Archive for June, 2011
30 Jun 2011

Katherine Hepburn’s House For Sale

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Asking price: $28,000,000. Location: Old Saybrook, Connecticut — An old coastal town in Eastern Connecticut, not conveniently close to anything. Built: 1939. 15 rooms, 6 bedrooms (3 suites), 7.5 bathrooms, private dock, beach, and pond, on 2.87 acres. Estimated mortgage payment: $164,633/per month.

20 photos.

My guess is that they won’t get anything remotely resembling that asking price.

30 Jun 2011

The Morbid Romanticism of Antoine Wiertz

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Antoine Joseph Wiertz, Dernières pensées et visions d’une tête coupee (Last Thoughts and Visions of a Decapitated Head), 1853

The Belgian artist Antoine Joseph Wiertz (1806-1865) devoted most of his art to expressions of the Romantic era’s obsession with death.

Wiertz took a personal interest in the scientific question of just how long consciousness survived in the head of the victim of execution by guillotine, and in 1848 used hypnosis to attempt to share the pains and rapidly fading consciousness of a murderer undergoing decapitation for the crime of bludgeoning his landlady. The result (above) was a triptych completed in 1853.

There is a state museum devoted to Wiertz’s art in Brussels.

Collected images of Wiertz’s paintings.

Jeffrey Howe essay.

30 Jun 2011

“Snuff the Bleeping Puppies!”

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Repair Man Jack is fed up with democrat class warfare efforts at distraction.

If the majority of Americans really and truly believe that cutting the size of government, when struggling under $14Tr of national debt, equates to a desire to snuff puppies, we deserve a national default. If the majority of Americans truly believe they have a right to extract a loan for their tuition costs out of some other person’s paycheck, America is massively overdue for a well-deserved 2nd Great Depression. If the majority of people really believe the National Weather Service won’t just hire replacements from Korea or China; where students go to class at college sober, they are in for a grievous upset and disappointment.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Jim Geraghty.

29 Jun 2011

Globe Theater Burns Down

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click on image for interactive identification of parts of the stage

On today’s date in 1613, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater burned down as the unfortunate result of the discharge of a cannon during the performance of the play Henry VIII.

It was not very old, having been built in 1599 by Shakespeare’s acting company, known at the time as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.

Shakespeare himself started out owning a single share amounting to 1/8th of the theater, but his percentage of ownership was diluted over time. He wound up owning only 7%.

The Globe was reconstructed in 1997, only 200 yards away from the location of the original theater, but new theories have grown up over the succeeding years, and there is a school of opinion that wishes the reconstruction to be torn down and rebuilt in accordance with the latest scholarship.

29 Jun 2011

Blagojevich Convicted

Roger Simon, in the Wall Street Journal, quotes an informed source who sums up Rod Blagojevich.

Having risen to high office due almost solely to the political machine of his father-in-law, Chicago alderman and ward boss Richard Mell, Blago is now exposed to the jury for what he really is. “You could cut off his head and he wouldn’t be any dumber,” a Chicago insider tells me.

It seems to me that we were shaking our heads over just how exotic a specimen of Natural History a different representative of haute bourgeois urban progressivism was about a week ago.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

29 Jun 2011

The Un-American President


The national anthem just doesn’t get the same kind of emotional response from some people.

Jay Clarke discusses (with agreeable insensitivity) the differences of outlook and identity that so many Americans perceive in President Barack Obama’s manner, statements, and philosophy.

Something is wrong with Barack Obama. We all know it. We all see it. When he speaks about America, Americans cringe. There is a strangeness to his manner, an unease when he talks about America. He appears awkward and uncomfortable. His speech seems performed and practiced yet, oddly halting. It’s reminiscent of American POW’s in Vietnam or Iraq reading a forced confession. His eyes, expressions, and vocal tone are disconnected from his words. The words themselves often sound American, but the delivery is clinical and detached. His attempts at patriotic sentiment ring hollow and phony. “Once again, with feeling!” is how Americans are left feeling. He just doesn’t seem right. He doesn’t seem like, well…one of us.

Before anyone “goes there” and makes accusations of racism, this is about a pervasive, nagging, national perception that Barack Obama does not intuitively understand or appreciate America or Americans. Not our past. Not our present or future. He just doesn’t act or sound like an American. In fact, there are good reasons and ample evidence for why.

For many of us, “being an American” was a normal part of our collective upbringing. We learned it in school. We said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning right alongside our teachers. Even in liberal Southern California the day began with the Pledge often followed by singing “God Bless America” or “America the Beautiful.” Annual “Flag Ceremonies” were held with quotations from the Declaration of Independence and patriotic songs performed by the student body, in public, for parents and passersby to enjoy.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Bird Dog, who paraphrases: His mother hated the USA, his dad hated the USA, his step-dad hated the USA. His schools in Indonesia hated the USA. His college buddies hated the USA. His pastor of 20 years hates the USA and his associates in Chicago hate the USA.

28 Jun 2011

I Retweeted It, Too

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Via Jesus’ General (who was offended thereby):

As boatloads of American humanitarianofascists, including Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, and the Obamishly hued novelist/poet Alice Walker, steam toward Gaza, one proud GOP operative, Josh Trevino, assures Israel:

    Dear IDF: If you end up shooting any Americans on the new Gaza flotilla — well, most Americans are cool with that. Including me.

That’s what I call thinking out of the box. I mean, hey, when American citizens get all uppity about human rights–ask a foreign power to murder them.

28 Jun 2011

23 Craigslist Missed Connections That Vitally Need to Stay Missed

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Hat tip to Emmy Chang.

27 Jun 2011

Libertarianism and Gay Marriage


George Weigel explains that there is nothing libertarian about a state modifying the definition of marriage.

That what the New York state legislature approved has to be described, not as marriage, but as “gay marriage” or “same-sex marriage” is itself a verbal indicator that what is being done here is counterintuitive. We all know, or thought we knew, what marriage is, and to add the qualifier “gay” or “same-sex” is a tacit admission by the proponents of the practice that it requires an appeal to authority to enforce what seems strange, odd, not right. The verbal tic of “gay marriage” or “same-sex” marriage is thus itself a rhetorical warning sign that what was done in Albany was an exercise in raw state power, the state’s asserting that it can do X simply because it claims that it has the power to do so.

And that is an exercise of power that libertarians ought, in theory, to resist, not support.

New York State notwithstanding, the argument over marriage will and must continue, because it touches first principles of democratic governance — and because resistance to the agenda of the gay-marriage lobby is a necessary act of resistance against the dictatorship of relativism, in which coercive state power is used to impose on all of society a relativistic ethic of personal willfulness. In conducting that argument in the months and years ahead, it would be helpful if the proponents of marriage rightly understood would challenge the usurpation by the proponents of gay marriage of the civil-rights trump card.

That usurpation is at the heart of the gay lobby’s emotional, cultural, and political success — the moral mantle of those Freedom Riders whose golden anniversary we mark this year has, so to speak, been successfully claimed by the Stonewall Democratic Club and its epigones. And because the classic civil-rights movement and its righteous demand for equality before the law remains one of the few agreed-upon moral touchstones in 21st-century American culture (another being the Holocaust as an icon of evil), to seize that mantle and wear it is to have won a large part of the battle — as one sees when trying to discuss these questions with otherwise sensible young people.

But the analogy simply doesn’t work. Legally enforced segregation involved the same kind of coercive state power that the proponents of gay marriage now wish to deploy on behalf of their cause.

Read the whole thing.

The action of the New York legislature is as revolutionary a gesture as the alteration of the calendar and the names of the months by the French Convention. What distinguishes this example of revolutionary action from those of the past, however, is the fact that the Revolution is being conducted by the ruling class against the people.

The establishment of Gay Marriage is another of a series of symbolic aggressions and assaults by the privileged, well-educated, and influential against the culture, values, and beliefs of ordinary Americans. The American elite has simply chosen to exercise the contemporary equivalent of le droit du seigneur with the sacrament of marriage as its victim. Our rulers are once again demonstrating in the most dramatic possible manner the power of the establishment community of fashion to violate the most cherished cultural institutions and traditions of the plebians at will.

27 Jun 2011

Today’s Best Line

FrankJ: Deciding for yourself whether you should be allowed to eat transfats is a right, marriage isn’t.

27 Jun 2011

Only Real Photograph of Billy the Kid Sells For $2 Million

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William Koch (one of the notorious conservative donor Koch Brothers) bought the 2×3″ ferrotype taken by an unknown photographer in Fort Sumner, New Mexico in late 1879 or early 1880 at a Denver auction last Saturday.

This carte de visite image, commonly referred to as the Upham tintype (named for its longtime owner Frank Upham, a nephew of the original owner Dan Dedrick, one of Billy the Kid’s outlaw friends) is the only image of the famous Western gunfighter believed by experts to be authentic.

Wikipedia article on the Kid, which discusses the photograph.

New Mexico Tourism’s detailed discussion of the photograph.

27 Jun 2011

Identifying The Greatest Beneficiaries of the Redistributive State

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Victor David Hanson explains that liberal social benevolence is a very old game which has led to ruin for many states before ours.

[S]tatism is not a desired outcome, but rather more a strategy for obtaining power or winning acclaim as one of the caring, by offering the narcotic of promising millions something free at the expense of others who must be seen as culpable and obligated to fund it — entitlements fueled by someone else’s money that enfeebled the state, but in the process extended power, influence, and money to a technocratic class of overseers who are exempt from the very system that they have advocated.

So what is socialism? It is a sort of modern version of Louis XV’s “Après moi, le déluge” – an unsustainable Ponzi scheme in which elite overseers, for the duration of their own lives, enjoy power, influence, and gratuities by implementing a system that destroys the sort of wealth for others that they depend upon for themselves. …

Who are socialists?

There are none. Only technocratic overseers who wish to give someone else’s money to others as a means of winning capitalist-style lifestyles and power for themselves — in a penultimate cycle of unsustainable spending. When this latest attempt at statism is over, Barack Obama will enjoy a sort of Clintonism, a globe-trotting post officium lifestyle of multimillion dollar honoraria to fund a lifestyle analogous to “two Americas” John Edwards, “earth in the balance” Al Gore, a tax-exempt yachting John Kerry, a revolving-door Citibank grandee like Peter Orszag, or a socialist Strauss-Kahn in $20,000 suits doling out billions to the “poor.”

That is just the way it has been and will always be.

Read the whole thing.

27 Jun 2011

Reasons For Being a Democrat


I’m a Republican because democrats are idiots.

Hat tip to Joe Egan.

26 Jun 2011

Another Corrupt Vote By the New York Legislature

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The New York Times explains how Andrew Cuomo’s political skills and the dollars of a handful of rich donors succeeded in securing enough Republican votes to win passage for Same Sex Marriage in the same State Senate which defeated it two years ago.

Professional politics and hedge fund money took control of the political process to decide on behalf of the 19 million citizens of the State of New York that the immemorial definition of marriage, predating not only New York State and the United States, but the state in general, needed to be modified to recognize the equality of homosexual relationships.

The homosexual political movement has come a long way.

Homosexual relations only became de facto legal in New York State in 1980, when the New York Court of Appeals, in New York v. Onofre, decided to apply a newly discovered Constitutional right of “privacy” found in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) to protect the use of contraception to consensual homosexual relations.

The actual law identifying homosexual acts as a criminal misdemeanor, New York Penal Law § 130.38, was not repealed until June 22, 2000.

In the short time of one generation, homosexuality has been promoted in status from being regarded psychologically as a mental disorder and from being treated legally as a form of criminal activity to full legal equality in a several states, and enthusiastic recognition by the bien pensant community as a worthy cause.

As is customary in all such matters, well-behaved, respectable members of the elite community of fashion speak with a single voice, but nonetheless very substantial numbers of other Americans continue to resent the essentially tyrannical manner in which a small but influential elite successfully usurps control of the decision-making processes and imposes its own will on society in general.

The vote taken by the New York State Senate was, at least, superior to the mode of decision-making in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where Gay Marriage became institutionalized via a preposterous and contrived decision of the State Supreme Judicial Tribunal in 2003. At least, in New York, there was a legislative vote, and New Yorkers insulted and offended by the elevation of perverse relationships to a level of equality with the traditionally most sacred human institution can look forward to voting those responsible out of office.

Most people today agree with John Stuart Mill that the state ought to assume a position of neutrality on matters of morals involving voluntary activities among consenting adults. Support for tolerance of homosexual activity does not, however, necessarily translate, outside the community of elite conformity, into complete recognition of homosexual equality, and for good reason.

Homosexuality is not equal. Homosexuality is not even, as the propaganda insists, an innate identity. Homosexuality, in reality, consists of behavior, voluntary actions, participation within, and entirely voluntary affiliation with, a particular subculture.

Some people clearly experience inclinations toward forms of sexual activity which others do not. Until quite recently, no one ever suggested that the experience of temptation constituted both a membership card in an independent, and fully legitimate, identity group and a license to gratify one’s urges, regardless of their character.

In no other category of unwholesome desire, does the argument that “the impulse is involuntary” bestow a new identity status and a permit to proceed, along with membership in a group protected and awarded its own identity housing, departments of study and academic major by an indulgent aristocracy smiling down in approval.

The dominant political class of a blue state has imposed its desires on the general population once again. They can bribe venal Republican senators, and they can bully cowardly senators. They can pull off a vote of this kind, and they can make their absurdities the laws of the land for a time, at least, but they still cannot make homosexuality equal.

They might as well get the New York State Senate to vote that color-blind people can see just as well as people with normal vision. They might as well vote that 2+2 in New York State will now equal 5. All integers are equal, after all.

However Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Tribunals rule and corrupt New York legislatures vote, homosexuality will still be a perversion. Homosexual activity will not result in reproduction, and homosexuality will be still unequal. Homosexuality will still fail the ethical test of Kant’s Categorical Imperative. Homosexuality will still be a tremendously dangerous disease vector. The homosexual subculture will still be characterized by promiscuity, fetishism, and self-degradation. Homosexual inclinations will still be characteristically associated with abnormality, effeminacy, and physical cowardice. People who choose to spend their time in the homosexual subculture will share a bizarre perspective, and consider routine what most Americans would find shocking and intolerably obscene, and characteristic homosexual manners, activity, and practices will still be regarded with deserved contempt by most people.

Inclinations toward homosexual monogamy and gay matrimonial aspirations are an extremely recent phenomenon, constituting a deliberate political stratagem aiming at capturing the ultimate symbol of homosexual equality of status and representing no kind of conversion or change of heart, but merely typically signifying only a prudent response adopted by many gays to the AIDS epidemic. The kind of leadership class which hastens to remodel the fundamental institution underlying human society to accommodate the single-generation-old whim of a very recently criminal subculture is too irresponsible to be permitted to retain its authority. Our rulers have no sense of history, no intellectual integrity, and no piety toward culture, tradition, and the past.

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