Friday, May 12, 2006

Bad History

Everything you ever wanted to know about why you should not be in the least impressed with the religious history presented in The Da Vinci Code (neither the book nor the movie) can be found at Roberts is a scholar of the first rank and his treatment of author Dan Brown's claims is both thorough and devastating.

The State of Star Wars

A few short years ago skeptics were scoffing at Ronald Reagan's proposal to build a defense against a missile attack on our soil. The doubters derisively dubbed the program a "star wars defense". The name stuck, but the derision behind it has long since evaporated. Those who thought that a workable missile defense system was technologically beyond reach, those who scorned Reagan's dream of being able to protect American cities against nuclear ICBMs launched from a hostile country, are no longer easily found.

As with so many other naysayers who proclaimed in confident accents that the U.S. couldn't accomplish some great goal, those who self-assuredly dismissed the ability of the U.S. to develop a workable missile defense system are left looking pretty dumb. The system they said could not be built is today up and running, and will soon be complete.

For an overview of what missile defense is, how it works, and where we are in its development read James Thayer's article in the Weekly Standard titled "Star Wars Now". Thayer begins with a description of the most recent test of the system:

High above the earth, the Aries missile streaked toward its target, creasing the thermosphere at two miles a second. Launched at 8:12 a.m. Hawaiian Standard Time, the 30-foot long solid-fuel rocket had weighed in at more than six tons and had generated 200 kilonewtons of thrust. But now, high overhead, the missile had separated from its booster, and it screamed along the edge of space.

It was doomed from the start. Far below, rolling gently in the sea off the Kauai coast, the USS Lake Erie waited. The ship--a Ticonderoga class cruiser--is 567 feet of gray lethality: Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles, MK 46 sub-killer torpedoes, and a brace of six-barreled Vulcan Gatling guns (rate of fire: a sweet 6,000 rounds per minute). The Lake Erie is outfitted with the Aegis ballistic missile defense system. The sailors detected the missile, and went to work.

"The firing team had no clue when the [Aries target] missile would be launched," said Fire Controlman 3rd Class Jacob Todd on board Lake Erie. The ship's crew tracked the missile's course, and quickly generated a fire-control solution. At 8:16 a.m., an SM-3 missile was launched from the Lake Erie's deck. Trailing a cone of fire, the SM-3 rose into the sulfurous yellow sky.

Six minutes elapsed. Then, a hundred miles up and 375 miles northwest of Kauai, the Lake Erie's missile ripped into the incoming Aries. The explosion was brilliant and furious and then instantly gone, and the only things remaining of the two missiles were slivers of hot metal drifting back toward earth.

This test occurred last November, and was the sixth successful missile interception out of seven attempts.

In a world in which North Korea, China, and Iran all have, or soon will have, nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, it is reassuring to know that there is a good chance that sending those weapons our way by mounting them on missiles is very likely going to be futile.

How to Help With the Fence

NewsMax has a short article on the proposed fence along the Mexican border. The article includes a little bit on the design and what interested persons can do to support the project. Give it a look and give some thought to helping out.

By the way, I'm told that the Mexican staff of my favorite eating spot, all of whom I'm assured are legal immigrants, showed up for work the day when immigrants were being called upon to take off from work to show the gringos how important they are. Co-workers who asked them about their decision were told simply that they came to the U.S. to work to support their families and that's what they were going to do.

That sort of immigrant - legal, hard working, and family centered - should be welcome in every community in this land.

Let's build the fence so that all the immigrants who come here are like those who prepare the food and do the custodial tasks at that restaurant.