Filed under: Environment, History, Movies, News, United Kingdom | Tags: Historic Icebreaker Photos, Sir Ernest Shackleton, The Endurance Expedition
The Week has assembled a group of historic photographs of icebreakers here, from a much longer historical photography collection from the U.S.Coast Guard, showing icebreaking since the mid 1800s. You start getting interested in the Arctic and Antarctic, and explorations and rescues, and first thing you know, you’re collecting every book you can find about Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton’s Antarctic explorations and the Endurance, and then you get the 2002 Kenneth Branagh film (excellent) and books about the incredible expedition and examples of leadership, survival and courage, and you’re hooked. You’ll be ordering up the whiskey reproduced from the Scotch Whiskey buried for a hundred years, in Shackleton’s Nimrod Expedition Hut. There’s even a book about that.
Filed under: Entertainment, Humor, Pop Culture, Television, United Kingdom | Tags: How Can He Be Alive?, Mystery Upon Mystery, Sherlock Holmes
O.K. So how can he be still alive? You saw him fall off the building. You saw him dead. A major tease from the BBC.
Filed under: Entertainment, Movies, United Kingdom | Tags: Lawrence of Arabia, Peter O'Toole, The Lion in Winter
Consummate actor Peter O’Toole has died in London at the age of 81.
From Lawrence of Arabia which brought him to stardom, he brought much pleasure to world audiences over the years. And there was Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye Mr. Chips, My Favorite Year, and even the Pixar animated Ratatouille. So many memories. His movies will live on.
Filed under: Australia, Canada, Freedom, History, The United States, United Kingdom | Tags: Free Markets / Free People, Individual Liberty, The Anglosphere
In “Inventing Freedom”, Daniel Hannan reflects on the historical origin and spread of the principles that have made America great, and their role in creating a sphere of economic and political liberty that is as crucial as it is imperiled. Hannan argues that the ideas and institutions we consider essential to maintaining and preserving our freedoms — individual rights, private property, the rule of law, and the institutions of representative government — are the legacy of a very specific tradition that was born in England and that we Americans, along with other former British colonies, inherited.
Filed under: Movies, News of the Weird, United Kingdom | Tags: Emergency Landing, Trite Story Plot, True Life Adventure
It’s a favorite plot, so overused that it has become trite: something happens to the pilot and a passenger, a stewardess, someone who is not a pilot has to be coached into bringing the plane in for a landing. Heard it all too many times, right? Tiresome.
Except it just happened, in England. Officials at Humberside Airport in northwest England put emergency plans into place and called in flight instructors when the pilot of a small Cessna 172 collapsed in the cockpit and his passenger, 77 year-old John Wildey took the controls and began his first landing with help from flight instructors. Soon after he landed, his friend, the pilot, died.
It has always been a possible scenario, as so many scary situations are — and sometimes they turn real. Here’s the full story;
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Health Care, History, Law, Politics, United Kingdom | Tags: A Looming Train Wreck, The NHS Failure, The ObamaCare Disaster
The Obama administration lied to you from the beginning. They claimed that health care costs were spiraling out of control and by reforming health care they would bring costs down. In fact, the costs of health care were slowly coming down in response to new diagnostic tools and new medicines that saved higher hospital costs. They claimed that they were echoing Massachusetts health plan, but the president’s advisers on health care were all great admirers of Britain’s National Health Service.
The advisers looked at the cost of health care and determined that most of the cost for any person came in the final years of their lives. If they could get rid of that cost, then American health care would cost lots less. So if someone was in their 80s or 90s, they shouldn’t be allowed to rack up big costs for operations or expensive treatments.
A new report on Britain’s National Health Service notes that as many as 13,000 needless deaths have occurred in 14 NHS hospital trusts since 2005. This is no fluke. It’s the result of socialized medicine, done by experts.
In ObamaCare, the government panel that controls what procedures one may receive (cost effectiveness) is the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) or as Sarah Palin called it — the Death Panel. It would decide when you could get dialysis and when they pulled the cord.
Then there was the “Liverpool Care Pathway” — an Orwellian death panel operation, where nurses shouted to visitors to not give their dying relatives sips of water for fear it would interfere with the hospital’s death target. “No one was doing anything ‘wrong’ since everything was done by the book,” wrote Jenkins.
Keogh found that as many as 13,000 “needless” deaths were the result, about 3 per day in each hospital district.
The U.K. has seen reform after reform of its health care system, but none has made much difference.
The administration granted a one-year delay in the employer mandate, something that he cannot legally do. The House just passed a one-year delay for the individual mandate, which Obama says he will veto. Obama’s goal is to get as many people signed up or ObamaCare subsidies as he can, as quickly as he can, so that any repeal of the law becomes politically impossible. That’s why the administration is paying people to sign individuals up. Delaying the employer mandate guarantees that hundreds of thousands of people will end up at an ObamaCare exchange after their employers use the delay to drop coverage.
He is even allowing states to take the applicants’ word for it that they don’t have coverage available to them at work and that their income is as low as they claim it is. It opens the door to fraud, but lax enforcement means more will sign up.
Unions are turning against ObamaCare in a big way, they are learning about the downside. The law will drive up insurance costs, massively increase government spending, create huge shortages of doctors with no way to solve that problem except for long waits to see a doctor, $1 trillion in new taxes, continue to destroy full-time jobs, and do nothing whatsoever to control health care costs.
It is a train wreck. Even Democrats are wanting to repeal and replace. But they are obsessed with “public” rather than “private”, “non-profit” rather than “for profit” that they become oblivious to simple basic facts. Some Democrats see the solution as moving everyone into Medicare, but that would not solve a single problem in ObamaCare.
A warning shot was fired a few months ago when one hospital, Mid-Staffordshire, was found to be a veritable death trap of neglect, misspent funds and starved investment. Now a new report on 14 NHS trusts, released by government-appointed Prof. Sir Bruce Keogh this week, finds that neglect and “needless” deaths are pretty much a characteristic of the entire system.
Socialized medicine simply doesn’t work. The state can cover up big problems, state priorities trump those of the consumer, bureaucracies resist change. Is that really what we need— a system to provide needless death?
Filed under: Entertainment, Freedom, History, Humor, United Kingdom | Tags: Queen Elizabeth"s Horse 'Estimate', The Royal Ascot Meeting, Winning is Just Plain Fun
This post began with a picture. Queen Elizabeth’s horse won the Gold Cup at the Royal Ascot meeting. The Gold Cup is the most prestigious event for “stayers”— horses which specialize in racing over long distances. It is traditionally held on day three of the meeting.
The Ascot Racecourse was founded in 1711 by Queen Anne, and the Ascot estate belongs to the crown. Queen Elizabeth attends every year, as do members of the Royal Family. They arrive each day in a horse-drawn carriage, with the Royal procession taking place at the start of each race day with the raising of the Queen’s Royal Standard.
It is a major event in the British social calendar, and press coverage of the attendees and what they are wearing often gets more attention than the actual racing. Ladies’ hats are a feature of the day. Dress code is strictly enforced, day dresses with a hat for the ladies and for the men black or grey morning dress with top hat is required. People who have no idea about the horse race part of the day have undoubtedly seen pictures of the weird and wonderful or just plain strange hats.
There are five days of races, and the Gold Cup on the third day was on June 20th. The Queen has reigned for 61 years and has attended Ascot every year since 1945. Her horses have won races 22 times, but this is the first Gold Cup, the most prestigious of all. Estimate’s win is the first time ever that a reigning monarch has won the Gold Cup. The Queen usually awards the cup to the winner. This year Prince Andrew awarded the cup to his mother. The race is two miles and four furlongs. It is the world’s most famous horse race.
So this is a belated post, but I just loved the triumphant grin.
Filed under: Economy, Freedom, History, The United States, United Kingdom | Tags: America's Problematic Finances, Britain As A Great Power, Winning By Not Losing
“The country that declared its independence on July 4, 1776, had many advantages in the military struggle with Britain that was already under way. Finances, however, was not one of them.
The United States was fighting on its home ground and could react quickly. Britain had to fight from a distance of three thousand miles and with a communications time lag of at least three months, often four. The American military commanders and politicians were intimately familiar with that ground; their British counterparts were often profoundly ignorant. Most of all, the United States had only to avoid losing the war until the British government and people tired sufficiently of the struggle and its mounting costs. Britain had to defeat and pacify a vast country awash in rebellion.
But Britain had virtually unlimited financial resources; the Americans had hardly any. Because of those resources it could deploy the largest and best navy in the world (although it had been allowed to decay considerably since the end of the Seven Years’ War). The British army was second to none in training and equipment, and could be easily augmented with hired foreign troops. The Americans had to scratch together what forces they could using state militias and privateers as much as if not more than the Continental Army and Navy.
The rest had to come from borrowing, some from wealthy Americans committed to the cause, but mostly from France and Holland, who were both, of course, far more interested in humbling Britain than in helping the Americans. Along with money, they also supplied about 60 percent of the gunpowder used by American forces. During the course of the war, American privateers seized some two thousand British vessels, worth, together with their cargoes some 18 million pounds.” *
So to overcome the limits of borrowing, the Americans turned to the printing press, with the usual result — inflation. From early 1779 to early 1781 prices rose nearly tenfold. Robert Morris, a Philadelphia merchant, took charge in 1781 and was able to raise financing to move the Continental Army from New York State to Yorktown, Virgina.
The French fleet blocked the entrance to Chesapeake Bay, cutting off relief to the British army. If the British wanted to continue the war they would have to raise, equip and transport a new army. There was no political will to do so. The British were “war weary” in the common phrase of journalists. The British began negotiating a peace treaty that resulted in formal recognition of American independence in 1783. The Americans won the war by not losing.
* John Steele Gordon: An Empire of Wealth
Filed under: Freedom, History, Military, The United States, United Kingdom | Tags: Commander-in-Chief George Washington, The Beginnings of the Revolution, The War Around Boston
General Washington arrived in Cambridge. The next morning, without ceremony, he took over command from General Ward. For the following two or three days he toured the lines, appraising his forces, their camps and their fortifications. He was accompanied by General Charles Lee who wrote to his old friend Robert Morris in Philadelphia: “We found e everything exactly the reverse of what had been represented. We were assured at Philadelphia that the army was socked with engineers. We found not one. We were assured that we should find an expert train of artillery. They have not a single gunner, and so on…”
Two weeks later, he remarked of the army, “I really believe not a single man of ‘em is capable of constructing an oven,” Lee was a soldier of fortune who had seen a variety of troops in several parts of the world. He was described by a Yankee clergyman as “a perfect original, a good scholar and soldier, and an odd genius, full of fire and passion and but little good manners; a great sloven, wretchedly profane, and a great admirer of dogs.” Lee said of New England’s enlisted men:
…they are admirable — young, stout, healthy, zealous, good-humoured and sober. Had we but uniforms, compleat arms, more gentlemen for officers, I really believe a very little time and pains would render ‘em the most invincible army that have appeared since the first period of the Roman Republic …The more we consider the affair of Bunker’s Hill the more wonderful it appears…
July 27, 1775
Three and a half weeks after his arrival at Cambridge, Washington summed up his efforts and the general situation in this way:
My whole time since I came here has been impolyed in throwing up lines of defence at these three several places; to secure, in the first instance, our own troops from any attempts of the enemy; and, in the next, to cut off all communication between their troops and the country …Their force, including Marines, Tories, etc., are computed, from the best accounts I can get, at about 12,000 men. Ours, including sick, absent, etc., at about 16,000 …
The enemy are sickly and scarce of fresh provisions…I have drove all the live[stock] within a considerable distance of this place back into the country, out of the way of the men-of-war’s boats. In short, I have, and shall continue to do, everything in my power to distress them. The [British] transports are all arrived, and their whole reinforcement is landed, so that I can see no reason why they should not, if they ever attempt it, come boldly out and put the matter to issue at once. If they think themselves not strong enough to do this, they surely will carry their arms (having ships of war and transports ready) to some other part of the continent, or relinquish the dispute; the last of which the Ministry [in England] unless compelled, will never agree to do. Our works and those of the enemy are so near and quite open between that we see every thing that the other is doing.
August 14, 1775
Reinforcements continued to arrive. A newspaper report stated:
Last night arrived at the camp, …Swashan the chief, with four other Indians of the St. Francis tribe, conducted by Mr. Reuben Colburn, who has been honorable recompensed for his trouble. The above Indians came to offer their services to the cause of American liberty, have been kindly received, and are now entered the service. Swashan says he will bring one-half of his tribe and has engaged four or five other tribes, if they should be wanted.
Other new arrivals at Cambridge were additional riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Dr. Thacher described them:
They are remarkably stout and hardy men, many of them exceeding six feet in height. They are dressed in white frocks or rifle-shirts, and round hats. These men are remarkable for the accuracy of their aim, striking a mark with great certainty at two hundred yards distance…They are now stationed in our line, and their shot have frequently proved fatal to British officers and soldiers who expose them selves to view, even at more than double the distance of common musket-shot.
Late in August, Washington wrote:
…As we have now nearly compleated our lines of defence, we [have] nothing more, in my opinion, to fear from the enemy, provided we can keep our men to their duty and make them watchful and vigilant. But it is among the most difficult tasks I ever undertook in my life to induce these people to believe there is, or can be, danger till the bayonet is pushed at their breasts…
The stalemate in Boston was to drag on until the following spring. But a second front was moving to attack Quebec. The province was largely inhabited by Frenchmen who were not all reconciled to having British masters. In the summer of 1775 there were only about eight hundred regulars in the whole of Canada. One expedition under General Philip Schuyler and General Richard Montgomery assembled at Ticonderoga prepared to boat northward on Lake Champlain, hoping to capture St. Johns and Montreal before heading on to Quebec. The second expedition under Colonel Benedict Arnold proposed to go up through the wilderness, up the Kennebec River.
This is the point at which you have to read Kenneth Roberts Arundel and Rabble in Arms, historical novels written in the 1930s that turned many a young man into an historian. They follow Steven Nason of Arundel, Maine, as he joins Benedict Arnold in his march to Quebec. I have always loved those books.