Hither and Yon

Well, yesterday I forgot it was Columbus Day. That’s pretty easy to do with the American version of ‘Bank Holidays’. The Banks and Government are closed, the rest of us carry on. Oh well, sometimes its hard to tell with the government, anyway. Lots going on though for a weekend where the government got an extra day off.


Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue way back in 1492.

This delightful ditty firmly places the date of the discovery of the New World into the minds of saavy kids everywhere in Great Satan.

Later on, CC get’s dissed in crash courses for introducing alien concepts like slavery, STD’s, baby Jesus and advanced weaponry to hapless, childlike human sacrificing races in places from South America all the way to Alaska.

What ev.

What was the motivation for CC to split sail from Europa and head west?

Easy!

Find a short cut to India.

The real quiz is quite significant. Why?

After all, Europa was the centre of the world for the tech saavy Europeans – India’s locale was well known since Alexander the Great’s era and thanks to Prince Henry (the cat who put the ‘gator’ in navigator) sealanes and land routes could have sweetly hooked up to provide the fastest transport times circa 1500 anywhere on earth.

Check out a World map from 1500 AD and the answer is prett obvious.

From Great Satan’s Girlfriend, although I agree with Cowboylawyer. Our ancestor, Leif Ericcson, should get the parades, not that Italian jackanapes.


RS McCain wrote a superb article on Harvey Weinstein and why their pandering to such people may well kill the Democratic Party on their own altar of abortion.

Say what you will, it was obviously no accident that Democrat Anthony Weiner was married to Hillary Clinton’s assistant Huma Abedin. The Clintons have always surrounded themselves with corrupt and immoral people, because no honest or moral person would support them — at least, not once they realized who the Clintons really are. It is always better to be an enemy of such people than to be their allies. Christopher Hitchens famously chronicled Bill Clinton’s betrayals of his liberal supporters in a book aptly titled, No One Left to Lie To.

Does anyone really believe, as Harvey Weinstein said, that support for the abortion industry is synonymous with “women’s rights”?

Cui bono? Who actually benefits from the abortion industry’s grisly trade? Isn’t it true that the main effect of legalized abortion, and the Contraceptive Culture in general, is to enable irresponsible men to pursue hedonistic sexual activity without being bothered by the potential burden of caring for children? And how is it in the best interest of women to be treated as “pump-and-dump” sexual commodities?

Years ago, I remarked that many Democrats go into politics for the same reason teenage boys learn to play guitar. And in 2013, after Anthony Weiner was caught in his second “sexting” scandal, I described Democrats as “The Pervert Party”:

One of those stories (like so much of the Clinton Presidency) that you feel like you’ve been reading pornography.


From Lifehacker, every hot dog in baseball rated.

Yep, give me a Vienna Chicago Dog, and I’ll be happy!


And with it, a cup of coffee here’s a quite NSFW for language (but good) commercial from the guys that make mine. The coffee is even better! 🙂


Putting the kettle on department, London has figured out that it is closer to Pyongyang than Los Angeles is. They don’t sound overly amused, in fact, there is talk of commissioning the Queen Eleizabeth early, so it can get in on taking out the trash. From the Daily Mail.

The Armed Forces are preparing for a potential war with North Korea, sources have revealed.

Officials have been instructed to draw up plans for how Britain would respond if war broke out with Pyongyang amid heightening tensions between the West and dictator Kim Jong-Un.

One option involves deploying Britain’s new aircraft carrier – due to be handed over to the Navy later this year – to the region before she has undergone flight trials.

Details of the secret operation plan have emerged after Donald Trump warned that ‘only one thing will work’ when it comes to dealing with North Korea, which has continued nuclear and rocket tests despite widespread condemnation.

Good on the cousins. It’d be even better if they’d figure out that a free country doesn’t suppress the rights of its own citizens subjects. Well, Brits are a good bit like Americans, just a bit slower to anger, I suspect they’ll get Westminster back under control, for a thousand years they’ve managed to control it. One hopes, anyway.


This may be how the GOPe bites the dust, The League of Extraordinary Candidates: Economic Nationalist Leaders Plan for Anti-Establishment Midterm Tsunami to Force Change.

Conservatives and economic nationalist leaders are looking past the current dysfunction in Washington to a group of new and exciting young candidates throwing their hats in the ring nationwide to break the gridlock with midterm election victories.

This group of individuals, which some are calling “The League of Extraordinary Candidates,” is emerging nationally—a distinct slate of U.S. Senate and House candidates, as well as key gubernatorial contenders, all united in their focus on breaking the logjam in Congress. Movement leaders view establishment Republicans and Democrats alike as a force blocking, slow-walking, or stonewalling the agenda that President Donald J. Trump campaigned on, and aim to elect new voices by riding a new economic nationalist electoral wave in 2018 meant to mirror and surpass what happened in previous wave elections like 2010—which saw the rise of the Tea Party.

“We’re planning on building a broad anti-establishment coalition to replace the Republican Party of old with fresh new blood and fresh new ideas,” Andy Surabian, a senior adviser to the Great America Alliance and ex-White House aide, told Breitbart News.

Surabian worked alongside Stephen K. Bannon, the now former White House chief strategist, during their White House tenure and is now working with the Great America Alliance—a pro-Trump Super PAC run by ex-Ronald Reagan aide Ed Rollins that doubles as a fundraising powerhouse, having raised $30 million last year to help the president.

“The only thing the Republican establishment has succeeded in is clarifying to the American people that they don’t represent their interests,” Surabian added. “Their repeated failures to govern have only crystallized their lack of vision or backbone. The group of candidates we are looking to support in 2018 are all bound together in their agreement that the new Republican Party must be bold in their thinking and aggressive in their tactics.”

Works for me, so far, anyway, and if we get Senators Like Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, I think it works for all of us, although not the so-called Uniparty and the press. That’s OK, I’m sick unto death of them anyway.

And bravo to Vice President Pence for walking out of the Colts game the other day after a bunch of 49ers players took the knee. Well done, sir. This crap has gone on long enough. Guess it doesn’t really matter though, the NFL seems intent on suicide by social justice. So be it.

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Really, Ireland?

Hard to understand just what the Republic of Ireland is thinking. A few months ago they installed a picture of Che Guevara as somebody of Irish descent who had made a difference in South America. Well, I suppose one could say that if one allows that murdering thousands of innocent fellow citizens is making a difference. In that case, the Cuban population of Miami was enraged and soon it was gone. And the Irish government apologized. Good.

But I wonder if they mostly apologized for getting caught, it seems so, if nothing else, these fools are persistent. Irelands Post Office has issued a €1 stamp commemorating this murderous thug. Who as Jay Nordlinger reminds us.

The fog of time and the strength of anti-anti-Communism have obscured the real Che. Who was he? He was an Argentinian revolutionary who served as Castro’s primary thug. He was especially infamous for presiding over summary executions at La Cabana, the fortress that was his abattoir. He liked to administer the coup de grace, the bullet to the back of the neck. And he loved to parade people past El Paredon, the reddened wall against which so many innocents were killed. Furthermore, he established the labor-camp system in which countless citizens–dissidents, democrats, artists, homosexuals–would suffer and die. This is the Cuban gulag. A Cuban-American writer, Humberto Fontova, described Guevara as “a combination of Beria and Himmler.” Anthony Daniels once quipped, “The difference between [Guevara] and Pol Pot was that [the former] never studied in Paris.”

Maybe it’s because Pol Pot didn’t have ancestors from Galway. A bit more from that article of Jay’s…

And yet, he is celebrated by “liberals,” this most illiberal of men. As Paul Berman summed up recently in Slate, “Che was an enemy of freedom, and yet he has been erected into a symbol of freedom. He helped establish an unjust social system in Cuba and has been erected into a symbol of social justice. He stood for the ancient rigidities of Latin-American thought, in a Marxist-Leninist version, and he has been celebrated as a freethinker and a rebel.” Those who know, or care about, the truth concerning Guevara are often tempted to despair. The website of our own National Institutes of Health describes him this way: an “Argentine physician and freedom fighter.” Guevara was a physician roughly like Mrs. Ceausescu was a chemist. As for freedom fighter … again, the temptation to despair is great.

I don’t know, maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I’m appalled and sickened at this hero worship of a man who murdered thousands of his fellow citizens, often for no reason at all. You go right ahead Ireland, there’s plenty of other places to visit, and it will be quite easy that day in March, to drink Norfolk whisky instead of Jameson, and I already have an Orange shirt.

Simply deplorable. Bad enough if they don’t know enough history to know what this man was, worse if they do, and still idolize him.

Weekend Pictures

Time to look around before we start a fresh week of hell, not to mention Pumpkin Spice

In case you were in space last week, the news is that casting couches still exist in Hollywood, and Harvey Weinstein knows how to use them, often. But something happened and all the bribes paid to politicians contributions to the Democratic Party haven’t sufficed to keep the story out of the paper. Film at 11!

“I’ll take that one!”

As always mostly from Bookworm and PowerLine. Have a good week!

 

Game Day; Honoring a Coach

Saturday, well, for many of us it will be game day. Something about the NCAA, isn’t there? Compared to the NFL, it just seems a friendlier game, more enjoyable, somehow, and if you went to school amongst the red bricks, there were some memorable people. For me, it was Coach Jack Mollenkopf, and the trip to the 1967 Rose Bowl (and unlike some more storied programs, we won.)

A generation or so later, it happened again with Joe Tiller as coach, a man that Rockne, Wooden, and yes, Mollenkopf would have recognized, as their sort of guy. In any case, Joe Tiller died last weekend, at his home in Wyoming, and it matters somehow, just as it always does. Maybe you didn’t play Purdue Football, I didn’t and yet, the way Mollenkopf coached made me a better man. I dare say it was the same in 2001 for those guys as Tiller took his Boiler team back to Pasadena.

And now there is Jeff Brohm, in the same place as Mollenkopf, and Tiller were, perhaps even worse as he tries to revive a program that was almost destroyed over the last few years. Purdue is no football school, and yet, once in a while, it gets done, and done right. So, we’ll see.

Today, P.J. Fleck’s Minnesota Golden Gophers will row their boat on down to West Lafayette, many will be thinking of Joe Tiller, and whether Purdue is back for a time. I hope so, I still remember the magic back in the 60s, there is simply nothing like it.

And Fleck is a class act, this Tweet is from him, and that helmet is what Minnesota will wear today, Purdue has some things planned as well, but Fleck is a class act. Thanks, Coach.

Just because we can, here is the AAMB, from the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day parade, in Dublin, of course.

And something else new today, There’s a new Boilermaker X-tra Special to be seen. Seems appropriate somehow, since the one that is retiring is the one that led Joe Tiller’s teams onto the field, now that Jeff Brohm is trying to write a new chapter in this saga, a new special seems appropriate. I think we’ll like the new one, just like we like winning again. The video is rather long, and all you’ll really see is the tarp, but if you’re like me, you’ll also see some familiar places that haven’t been seen in quite a while. Enjoy.

Boiler up, and you guys in Nate’s way, stay safe!

Update: via ‘Hammer and Rails‘.

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Friday Change of Pace

Let’s talk about something completely different this Friday. There’s plenty of bad news out there, but it’s Friday, and I’m not in the mood.  Cheryl Magness wrote an article for The Federalist the other day, that tickled my fancy. Let’s have a look…

Robert Herrick, in his classic carpe diem poem “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time,” called upon youth to “gather ye rosebuds while ye may” because “having lost but once your prime / You may forever tarry.” With all due respect to the poet, I am not convinced “That age is best which is the first.” In fact, I have argued one’s fifties may well be the best, bringing with it an increase of wisdom, time, respect, and self-awareness that can lead to great contentment.

I realize I am painting with a broad brush and there are certainly exceptions. No age is immune to life’s crud. There is also undoubtedly at mid-life a certain sense of urgency, of time running short, that can lead to that phenomenon known as a “mid-life crisis.” It is often stereotypically depicted as the normally staid, dignified businessman who suddenly shows up on a motorcycle, freshly tattooed, with a much younger woman on his arm. But real mid-life crises, as opposed to those of the cartoon variety, are way more complicated.

Not a Mid-Life Crisis But a Mid-Life Launch

Looking at the many 50-somethings (and beyond) I know, I am not seeing mid-life crises as much as mid-to-late-life launches, manifested in renewed levels of personal energy, interest, and excitement. I know multiple people my age who are moving across the country, buying their dream homes, taking on new jobs, and immersing themselves in fresh (or long-delayed) interests, passions, and goals.

That’s not to say there aren’t struggles, some of them devastating and life-altering. But amid the struggles, there is a level of carpe diem I can’t say I’ve seen in my peers since my twenties. It is thrilling, and I love it.

Strikes me that there is a lot of truth in that. If I look back at my own 50s, that was when I started to not worry so much about the future but to again have outside interests. I must say though, it has accelerated in my 60s. I have my projects, that need doing on schedule, I have the blog, and have several things going on, but increasingly, if I don’t enjoy doing it, I don’t do it.

With exceptions, of course. I’m a better cook than I ever was, but mostly I grill a piece of meat – why? Because I can’t be bothered for one person. Things that must get done, get done, but there is also time to visit, and increasingly work (such as I choose to do) more resembles design and.or consulting. Part of it is the old eyes, that don’t see well in a box a foot off the floor, but more of it is a disinclination to do it.

It’s also fun that finally, I can buy some of the things I lusted after as a kid, not so much the Lotus, I could barely get in one when I was in college, no chance now, I’ve outgrown it. But I have scrounged around and put together an engineering drawing set that would have cost multiple thousands, in the 60s, and that I drooled over then in catalogs – now I have it, and yes, I enjoy drawing. Even if, as an artist, I’m a good engineer. But it is fun to draw with the drawing machine, especially with the engineering pens (yes, they are a bit of a pain as well). More fun, I think, than on the computer, although I enjoy both, I think better on paper.

There are other things I want to do, I’d like to travel some, especially to historic sites, and yet, I’m not very fond of travelling alone, so we’ll see. I’ve always wanted to live well out on a ranch or farm, increasingly I think neighbors should be kept a proper distance away, preferably at least couple of miles (Get off my lawn!) 🙂 I’m working on that, don’t know if it’ll happen, but keeps me occupied.

So, I think Cheryl is right. From the fifties on it just gets better. We no longer have to prove anything to anyone, more than ever before (since we were kids, anyway) we can follow our interests without thought of how they’ll affect our career, we’ve been there and done that, and bought the suits to prove it, jeans and t-shirts are more comfortable, aren’t they? And the suits are in the closet for when they are appropriate.

Don’t know about you, but I’m grateful to be in my 60s, can’t think of anything that would even tempt me to be in my 20s or 30s again, it’s better now than it’s ever been.

Have a good day!

Why Are There So Many Mass Shootings Today?

Rush did a segment on this the other day, it’ strikes me as a reasonable premise. It is also an uncomfortable one

On Oct. 1, 2017, a 64-year-old man named Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas, killing at least 58 people and injuring some 515 more.

Paddock, who had no previous criminal record, then turned one of his weapons on himself, reports say. It was the largest domestic mass shooting in U.S. history. Authorities have not yet identified a motive.

Paddock’s case has become all too familiar. The FBI has confirmed that mass shootings are on the rise, and statistics bear this out. According to Mother Jones, which tracks mass shootings (an attack involving four or more people killed indiscriminately in a public place), there have been seven mass shootings so far in 2017.

This figure is slightly higher than the annual average between 2012 and 2016 (5.8), a figure that, in turn, is nearly three times the annual average (2.0) from 2000 to 2011. As an additional point of reference, during the entire decade of the 1980s there were eight mass shootings, according to Mother Jones.

There is no shortage of theories attempting to explain the surge of violence. These theories include the large number of firearms in the U.S., “the collapse” of the American dream, a lack of mental health resources, violent movies, graphic video games, and many others.

One theory I have not seen posited is an idea proposed by the philosopher Hannah Arendt (1906-1975). Arendt, a German-American political theorist who wrote extensively on totalitarianism, predicted that modern society would see a surge of domestic violence and social unrest.

Few humans have better understood power and the psychology of violence than Arendt. Widely considered one of the twentieth century’s greatest thinkers, she escaped Germany during the Holocaust and found refuge in America, where she became a visiting scholar at some of America’s finest academic institutions, and was Princeton’s first female lecturer.

In her classic work On Violence, Arendt discussed the ideas of power and violence at length. She begins her essay by quoting Voltaire, who said power essentially “consists in making others act as I choose.” If such a definition is true, and “if the essence of power is the effectiveness of command, then there is no greater power than that which grows out of the barrel of a gun,” she says.

But Arendt qualifed that power and violence are two very different things. In fact, she said they are diametrically opposed:

“…politically speaking, it is insufficient to say that power and violence are not the same. Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance.”

True power, Arendt says, doesn’t require violence. It belongs to a group (never an individual) and it remains so long as the group stays together and can exert its will. Violence, on the other hand, is an instrument. It’s most often employed by those who lack power (a ruffian on a dark street) or by a group that feels power slipping away.

If Arendt is correct, violence is an instrument most likely to be used by those who lack power and feel powerless. And this is where she critiqued modern society.

Arendt believed that modern states had become “bogged down under the monstrous weight of their own bigness.” She saw that the bigger a state grew, the more need there was for an administrative apparatus to allow it to function. The bureaucratization of society sounds more mundane than oppressive, but Arendt saw it as an insidious and smothering force that resulted in a sort of faceless tyranny.

“…bureaucracy, or the rule by an intricate system of bureaux in which no men, neither one nor the best, neither the few nor the many, can be held responsible, and which could be properly called the rule by Nobody. Indeed, if we identify tyranny as the government that is not held to give account of itself, rule by Nobody is clearly the most tyrannical of all, since there is no one left who could even be asked to answer for what is being done. It is this state of affairs which is among the most potent causes for the current world-wide rebellious unrest.”

Humans are by nature political creatures, Arendt understood. She believed the bureaucratization of society robs man of a fundamental human need: the ability to take action.

“What makes man a political being is his faculty to act,” she wrote in her 1969 essay Reflections on Violence. “And I think it can be shown that no other human ability has suffered to such an extent by the Progress of the modern age.”

And it’s here where she arrives at the correlation between bureacracy and violence:

“The greater the bureaucratization of public life, the greater will be the attraction of violence. In a fully developed bureaucracy there is nobody left with whom one could argue, to whom one could present grievances, on whom the pressures of power could be exerted. Bureaucracy is the form of government in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act; for the rule by Nobody is not no-rule, and where all are equally powerless we have a tyranny without a tyrant.”

Now, one might argue that perhaps Arendt was speaking primarily of political violence. That’s certainly possible (though unclear). But in any event there is a psychological aspect to consider.

If Arendt is right that 1) violence is perpetuated primarily by those who lack power; and 2) the bureaucratization of society deprives people of the ability to act, making them feel powerless; then it stands to reason that some individuals who lack power may be seeking to feel powerful through violence. As Arendt noted, in its traditional understanding “there is no greater power than that which grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

A mass shooting is only one form of violence, of course. But is there some truth in Arendt’s larger thesis? Will we witness increased social unrest and violence as societies become increasingly bureaucratized and humans are deprived of “the faculty of action”?

This post Why Are There So Many Mass Shootings Today? was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Jon Miltimore.

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I think if we look at this as objectively as we can, we will find that Ms Arendt has a very valid point. Who amongst us doesn’t get a hopeless feeling when dealing with our bureaux, and leave most of the time in a rage. The only saving grace for many of us is that we were raised as ladies and gentlemen, and so tend to be nonviolent even when furious. But I suggest there is a breaking point out there someplace that when that line is crossed all hell will break loose. Best if we control it before that point.

And yes, this too is why we got Trump!

 

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