Archive for September, 2009
25 Sep 2009

Anglo-Saxon Gold Hoard Found in Staffordshire

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Metal detecting is a popular working man’s hobby here in the United States as well, but Americans can expect to find some coins or possibly Civil War relics. In Britain, there is a lot more history, and a lot older and more valuable treasure lying right in the fields.

The Daily Mail has terrific coverage of a spectacular new find.

The largest haul of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found has been discovered by a metal detector enthusiast on farmland in Staffordshire, it was revealed today.

Experts say the hoard, which is at least as significant as any other treasure from the Anglo-Saxon era ever unearthed, is worth millions and could have belonged to a king.

The discovery of at least 1,345 different items, thought to date back to the seventh century, is expected to redefine perceptions of the period.

Terry Herbert, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, came across the collection as he searched a field near his home with his trusty 14-year-old detector and is now in line for a seven-figure sum.

It had been hidden for more than 1,300 years but was recently thrown up by ploughing and amazingly, some was just sitting on the top of the ground.

Experts have already examined the 1,345 items but another 56 clods of earth have been X-rayed and are known to hold more metal artefacts, meaning the figure is likely to rise to around 1,500.

At least 650 are gold, weighing more than than 5kg, and another 530 are silver, weighing around 1kg. This is far bigger than previous finds – including the Sutton Hoo burial site in Suffolk.

Many of the items in the hoard are warfare paraphernalia inlaid with precious stones, including sword pommel caps and hilt plates.

Experts say it is the best example of Anglo-Saxon workmanship they have ever seen and may have belonged to Saxon royalty, possibly the King of Mercia.’

Archaeology expert Leslie Webster, who used to work at the British Museum, said: ‘(It is) absolutely the equivalent of finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells.’

It was officially declared treasure by a coroner today, which means the haul will now be valued by committee of experts before being offered for sale.

They may take more than a year to value the collection and, given its scale, the financial worth will be massive.

Once a valuation and sale is complete, its market value will be split between Mr Herbert, who is unemployed, and the owner of the farmland where it was found.

Roger Bland, head of portable antiquities and treasure at the British Museum: ‘I can’t say anything other than we expect it to be a seven-figure sum.’

Hat tip to Bird Dog.

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The gold-proud of warriors, trod the mould grassy, exulting in gold-store.
–Beowulf (William Morris translation)

You can gloat over the treasure hoard looted from those puny Christians, just like a true follower of Odin, at the Staffordshire Hoard web-site.

25 Sep 2009

Obama’s UN Address

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I was hearing complaints about Obama’s UN Speech all day yesterday. Rich Lowry gives the president’s performance one of its most negative reviews.

President Obama yesterday did his best impression of a high-school sophomore participating in his first Model UN meeting, retailing pious clichés he learned from his pony-tailed social studies teacher.

Even Woodrow Wilson might have blanched at the mushy-headed exhortations to world peace and collective action better suited to a college dorm-room bull session or a holiday-season Coca-Cola commercial.

“No nation can or should try to dominate another nation,” Obama intoned. “No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold.”

Has an American president ever expressed such implicit hostility toward his own nation’s pre-eminence in world affairs? Or so relished in recalling its failings, or so readily elevated himself and his own virtues over those of his country?

Between America and the world, Obama adopts a happy medium. It is in this sense only that he is a centrist.

“For those who question the character and cause of my nation,” Obama said, “I ask you to look at the concrete actions we have taken in just nine months.” In other words, he’s the redeemer of a nation sunk in war crimes (we condoned torture), high-handedness (we ignored the United Nations) and hypocrisy (we promoted democracy selectively) prior to the ascension of his blessed administration.

Read the whole thing.

Text and video at HuffPo.

24 Sep 2009

Two Songs For the Dear Leader

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This video recorded around June 19, 2009 at the B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington, New Jersey shows young students being taught to sing a pair of songs praising President Obama.

This interesting performance was arranged in connection with Father’s Day.

2:24 video

Song 1:

Barack Hussein Obama
He said that all must lend a hand
To make this country strong again
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
He said we must be clear today
Equal work means equal pay
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
He said that we must take a stand
To make sure everyone gets a chance
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
He said Red, Yellow, Black or White
All are equal in his sight
Mmm, mmm, mm!

Barack Hussein Obama
Mmm, mmm, mm!
Yes

Song 2:

Hello, Mr. President we honor you today!
For all your great accomplishments, we all doth say “hooray!”

Hooray, Mr. President! You’re number one!
The first black American to lead this great nation!

Hooray, Mr. President we honor your great plans
To make this country’s economy number one again!

Hooray Mr. President, we’re really proud of you!
And we stand for all Americans under the great Red, White, and Blue!

So continue,Mr. President we know you’ll do the trick
So here’s a hearty hip-hooray

Hip, hip hooray!
Hip, hip hooray!
Hip, hip hooray!

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Obama obviously did not write the songs or arrange for them to be composed, but it can hardly be denied that the teacher(s?) responsible in New Jersey were responding to a personality cult and a political style which has been recognizable since the appearance of Barach Hussein Obama (Mmm, mmm, mm!) on the national political stage. It is a style a lot more compatible with backward Third World Communist dictatorships than with the American Republic.

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Fox News story

I think Gateway Pundit was the original source of the story.

24 Sep 2009

Publishing a Scientific Comment in How Many? Easy Steps

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Rick Trebino of Georgia Tech seems a little frustrated by the process.

Hat tip to William Laffer.

24 Sep 2009

Tell Your Children to Start Learning Mandarin

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Rembrandt van Rijn, Belshazzar’s Feast, c. 1635, London, National Gallery

The phrase they are probably going to need most will be: “And would you like fries with that?”

Electing radicals from the democrat party’s Marxist fringe has consequences, and the Telegraph reports that the Obama Administration’s “Just turn on the printing presses!” economic policies are probably going to have some very nasty ones.

The Telegraph quotes a new report from Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC)’s currency chief that says the handwriting is on the wall for the United States.

“The dollar looks awfully like sterling after the First World War,” said David Bloom, the bank’s currency chief.

“The whole picture of risk-reward for emerging market currencies has changed. It is not so much that they have risen to our standards, it is that we have fallen to theirs. It used to be that sovereign risk was mainly an emerging market issue but the events of the last year have shown that this is no longer the case. Look at the UK – debt is racing up to 100pc of GDP,” he said

Crucially, China and rising Asia have reached the point where they can no longer keep holding down their currencies to boost exports because this is causing mayhem to their own economies, stoking asset bubbles. Asia’s “mercantilist mindset” of recent decades is about to be broken by the spectre of an inflation spiral.

The policy headache was already becoming clear in the final phase of the global credit boom but the financial crisis temporarily masked the effect. The pressures will return with a vengeance as these countries roar back to life, leaving the US and other laggards of the old world far behind.

A monetary policy of near zero rates – further juiced by quantitative easing – is completely incompatible with circumstances in most of Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa. Divorce is inevitable. The US is expected to hold rates near zero through 2010 to tackle its own crisis.

What is occurring is an epochal loss in the relative wealth and economic power of the old G10 bloc of rich countries compared to rising regions of the world. The euro, yen, sterling, Swiss franc and other mature currencies will be relegated along with the dollar in this great process of rebalancing, but the Greenback will bear the brunt.

Yes, Virginia, we’re talking about the End here: the end of the US dollar as world reserve currency, the end of the whole post-WWII era of American economic, cultural, and military ascendancy, including economic decline, retreat from no longer sustainable overseas responsibilities, the inability to support a first class military, and a whole new American way of life centered on decline, pessimism, and yearning for the permanently vanished good old days.

They may not have understood it at that time, but that is what they voted for.

23 Sep 2009

When the Going Gets Tough

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You can rely on liberals to start looking for the exit.

The New York Times tells us that King Obama is making his decisions with the counsel of the court clown.

President Obama is exploring alternatives to a major troop increase in Afghanistan, including a plan advocated by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to scale back American forces and focus more on rooting out Al Qaeda there and in Pakistan, officials said Tuesday.

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Hugh Hewitt recognizes how serious a choice Obama is making.

The idea of rejecting the proposals of the new commander on the ground less than six months after his appointment is bad enough, but to do so because Slow Joe Biden has a bright idea is truly terrible.

The president’s domestic agenda is in a shambles and his ratings are plummeting to near record levels for a modern president in his first year in office. His global warming hysteria of yesterday adds to the idea of a rookie being handed unvetted speeches –like the one in Congress with the man who died from denial of treatment, except he didn’t– and rushing off to his next media event.

Thousands of Americans died because of the Taliban’s partnership with al Qaeda, a partnership that endures. Hundreds more have died pushing the Taliban-al Qaeda alliance deep into the remote mountains of the region. General McChrystal’s report asserts that with the right forces, stability can be achieved, and within an acceptable number of years.

The choice facing President Obama is a defeat and vulnerability to more terror plots and a second mission back when one occurs, or the acceptance of the commanding general’s recommendations. This isn’t hard. The fact that Joe Biden is on the other side makes it even easier to tell Secretary Gates to proceed with the McChyrstal plan.

Probably, Obama and Mr. Vice-Blowhard-Doofus are thinking that the day is not far off when their own leftwing base will find stabbing American forces in the back one more time absolutely irresistible. So Obama is giving serious consideration to trying to avoid the misery of Lyndon Johnson by resorting to the cowardice of Jimmy Carter.

23 Sep 2009

She’s a Conservative

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The Stanford Review, that university’s student conservative newspaper, is looking for a few good women.

Jessica Palmer found the ad on a NYU Social Psychology page under Multiculturalism. It looks like a recruiting tool which the Stanford Review has been using for several years.

23 Sep 2009

Genre Fiction Generator

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David Malki’s original Electroplasmic Hydrocephalic Genre Fiction Generator 2000 design.

Liam Cooke’s working model

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

23 Sep 2009

Cool Weather Interfering With Climate Change Prevention

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The New York Times reports that cooler temperatures are getting in the way of international agreements required to forstall climate change.

The world leaders who met at the United Nations to discuss climate change on Tuesday are faced with an intricate challenge: building momentum for an international climate treaty at a time when global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade and may even drop in the next few years.

The plateau in temperatures has been seized upon by skeptics as evidence that the threat of global warming is overblown. And some climate experts worry that it could hamper treaty negotiations and slow the progress of legislation to curb carbon dioxide emissions in the United States.

The Times goes on (hilariously) to explain that recent cooler temperatures are just an irrelevant phenomenon that proves nothing, but that “scientists” (the plural proves to be one particular scientist) know better.

Current cooler weather, the Times gravely advises is just a “normal variation.” Long term global warming is still firmly underway. Of course, all this ignores the fact that the Global Warming hypothesis came into existence after the Impending Ice Age hypothesis collapsed due to several years of warming weather.

————————————————

A Missing Person Report

Statistician William M. Briggs takes us to a police precinct in Manhattan.

“Hey, Sarge. Got a lady here who wants to file a missing person report…Sarge?” Officer Hannigan stood in front of Sergeant Fitzgerald’s desk and rustled a sheaf of paper just loud enough so that it didn’t sound intentional, but with enough force to still be heard.

Sergeant Fitzgerald was dozing and he started at the noise, but long experience enabled him to remain mostly still. He did not want his junior to know he had been asleep, so he counted to three then slowly made the sign of the cross and said, “Amen.” He then let his watery eyes find Hannigan’s.

“Uh, sorry, Sarge.” Hannigan was new enough not to have seen this act before. “But I got this strange call and I didn’t know what to do.” Fitzgerald raised both eyebrows a millimeter. “This lady wants to report a missing person, only…”

Enough consciousness had seeped into Fitzgerald’s limbs that he was able to slap the table. “Now, young Hannigan. Nothing could be easier, sure. You have the right forms?” A nod. “You’ve asked the right questions?”

“I have.”

“Then there is no problem.” He shifted his weight and turned his attention inward.

“But Sarge, the answers made no sense!”

Fitzgerald sighed and knew that sleep was banished. “Well, then. Let’s have it. Who’s missing?”

“Global Warming.”

“And what’s that, then?” A shrug was his answer. He sighed. “How long has it been missing?”

“Lady said about eight years, maybe nine.”

Read the whole thing.

22 Sep 2009

Liberals Hate Dissent

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Michael Barone admires the liberal establishment’s recent efforts to marginalize dissent.

I would submit that the president’s call for an end to “bickering” and the charges of racism by some of his supporters are the natural reflex of people who are not used to hearing people disagree with them and who are determined to shut them up.

This comes naturally to liberals educated in our great colleges and universities, so many of which have speech codes whose primary aim is to prevent the expression of certain conservative ideas and which are commonly deployed for that purpose. (For examples, see the Website of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which defends students of all political stripes.) Once the haven of free inquiry and expression, academia has become a swamp of stifling political correctness.

Similarly, the “mainstream media” — the old-line broadcast networks, The New York Times, etc. — present a politically correct picture of the world. The result is that liberals can live in a cocoon, an America in which seldom is heard a discouraging word. Conservatives, in contrast, find themselves constantly pummeled with liberal criticism, on campus, in news media, and in Hollywood TV and movies. They don’t like it, but they’ve gotten used to it. Liberals aren’t used to it and increasingly try to stamp it out.

Read the whole thing.

If we study the vocabulary of the American elite, we find that strange things have happened to the English language. Slavish conformity of thought, readiness to bow to conventional opinion, credulous acceptance of popular alarms, willingness to embrace crude simplifications, and firm refusal to question supposed authority and pretended expertise are continually cited as evidencing sound judgment and good education. Skepticism and questioning the authority of media culture is, on the other hand, extremist, polarizing, and ignorant. Our contemporary political culture basically turns language inside out. The most craven conformist mouthing empty platitudes (Albert Gore) is praised for wisdom and bravery, and anyone attempting to subject a received prescription to scrutiny or analysis (Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh) is intrinsically unintelligent.

22 Sep 2009

National Endowment for the Arts: the New Ministry of Truth

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Roger Kimball comments with distaste on the Obama Administration’s communication plans revealed by Big Hollywood’s NEA as Propaganda Ministry scoop.

“This is just the beginning.” Who could doubt it? Reading through this transcript, I was struck by two things. One was the aroma of self-intoxication. These bureaucrats and artists and activists are utterly besotted by the contemplation of their own virtue. They know what’s good for the country, and what’s good for you, and they’re willing to devote themselves ceaselessly to making it happen.

The second thing that strikes one about this transcript is the aura of menace that floats just behind the talk of passion, pushing the president’s agenda, connecting with “labor unions, progressive groups,” etc., etc. As Yosi Sergant’s pep talk suggests, these people regard legal obstacles not as boundaries to be observed but as impediments to be overcome by “tactics,” a word that frequently appears in the transcript.

There is a German word for what we are witnessing at the NEA and elsewhere in the Obama administration’s effort to push its agenda. It is Gleichschaltung. It means two things: first, bringing all aspects of life into conformity with a given political line. And second, as a prerequisite for realizing that goal, the obliteration or at least marginalization of all opposition.

22 Sep 2009

The Shady Bunch

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A little ACORN humor.

0:58 video

22 Sep 2009

Russia Not Canceling New Missile Deployment

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Reuters quotes the head of the Russian General Staff asserting that, despite Barack Obama’s surrender to Russian objections to basing US missile defenses in Central Europe, Russia is intending to proceed with placing new offensive short-range missiles in the Kaliningrad Oblast.

Russia’s top general said on Monday that plans to deploy missiles in an enclave next to Poland had not been shelved, despite a decision by the United States to rethink plans for missile defense in Europe. …

President Barack Obama’s decision to scrap a land-based missile defense system has been welcomed by Russia, which had threatened to deploy short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad if the United States refused to drop the plans.

The Kremlin always said Russia would only deploy the missiles as a counter-measure if Washington went ahead with its missile shield. Moscow said the shield threatened its national security and would upset the strategic balance in Europe.

On Saturday Russian deputy defense minister Vladimir Popovkin said in an interview that “naturally we will scrap the measures that Russia planned to take” in response to the shield and specifically named Iskander deployment as one of them.

When asked about the matter on Monday, the chief of Russia’s general staff, Nikolai Makarov, said: “There has been no such decision. It should be a political decision. It should be made by the president.”

“They (the Americans) have not given up the anti-missile shield; they have replaced it with a sea-based component,” Makarov told reporters on a plane from Moscow to Zurich.

The general was accompanying President Dmitry Medvedev on a trip to Switzerland.

21 Sep 2009

The Philosophy of Envy

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Herbert London, at PJM, attacks the philosophy of Envy underlying the agenda of the American party of the left.

Whether it is the socialism espoused by the Nazis or the socialism of the former Soviet Union or the socialism that is emerging in the United States, there is one overarching sentiment, however different socialism in these three societies may be. Socialism everywhere expresses envy of excellence by treating the contributions and wealth of the successful as the wages of sin.

The Nazis saw the sin as a Jewish conspiracy, the Soviets saw sin as exploitation by the bourgeoisie, and what is emerging in the United States is the sin of the wealthy.

In the Obama administration greed is considered the sin that must be opposed. But greed, whatever its deficiencies, is, as Adam Smith pointed out, an incentive for the promotion of capitalism which, in the aggregate, has a salutary influence on the economy. To combat greed, the socialists emphasize envy. Since equality is the goal, even trivial differences in income are exaggerated and the progressivity in the tax system is employed as a blunt instrument to impose equality.

Lincoln said “you can’t make a poor man rich by making a rich man poor.” But President Obama seems to believe that wealth is invariably related to the wages of sin and must be controlled or, to use his language, “spread around.” To make sure this happens, government must expand and, in so doing, the private sector will inevitably contract. That explains why socialism, which purports to represent the interests of the average person, ends in overwhelming government control or outright tyranny. …

President Gerald Ford put this matter in perspective when he noted “that a government that can give you everything you want will be large enough to take everything you have.”

Read the whole thing.

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