Archive for July, 2011
27 Jul 2011

Connecticut Lion Came From South Dakota

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The last confirmed (until now) mountain lion resident in the Northeastern United States was killed by a trapper in Somerset County, Maine in 1938.

Mountain lions are thought by the wildlife experts to have a habitat range of 50 to 350 square miles.

DNA tests demonstrate that a mountain lion which was struck and killed by a 2006 Hyundai Tucson SUV around 1:00 a.m. on June 11 on Wilbur Cross Parkway in the area of Exit 55 in Milford, Connecticut came from far away and seems to have set something of a record for mountain lion roaming.

Middletown (CT) Press:

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said today that results of genetic tests show that the mountain lion killed in Milford in June made its way to the state from the Black Hills region of South Dakota and is an animal whose movements were actually tracked and recorded as it made its way through Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Genetic tests also show that it is likely that the mountain lion killed when it was hit by a car June 11 on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Milford was the same one that had been seen earlier that month in Greenwich.

Mountain lion seen and filmed in Greenwich circa June 5.

27 Jul 2011

Blogging Today at The Conservatory

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Students at Yale and Harvard don’t get single rooms as nice as the rooms at Norway’s maximum security Halden Prison

Norwegian Justice and Anders Breivik

27 Jul 2011

Wanna Trade?

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My liberal friends are always complaining bitterly about the terrible power of Rupert Murdoch to bend public opinion to his will.

Cornell Law Prof Bill Jacobson recently responded with a simple offer.

How about this. Conservatives take control of CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, WaPo, NYT, AP, Reuters, and so on, and liberals get the Murdoch empire? I’d take that trade in a heartbeat.

26 Jul 2011

“Earth-Stalls” and “Toadey-Holes:” A Central European Mystery

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click for photo slideshow

More than700 Erdstall (“Earth Stables”), also known as Schrazelloch (“Toadey = Dwarf Holes”) are known to exist in Bavaria. These underground passage systems are also found in significant numbers in Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Saxony, Moravia, and Hungary.

The tunnels are man-made and have been dated to the Middle Ages, but their use and purpose is unknown.

The chief explanation proposed is that they were the medieval equivalent of fallout shelters, in which people sought refuge from bandits or armed invaders. An alternative viewpoint proposes that they had supernatural or cultic purposes.

Spiegel feature article.

Google-translated version of German-language Wikipedia article.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

click for larger image

26 Jul 2011

Atlas Shrugged in Alabama

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Danny Lemieux:

I know of several people of considerable net worth who have already left the U.S. to settle elsewhere. I know others who have opted out of the workforce altogether to retire on what they have, knowing that their futures look grim. This morning, I listened to the founder and former CEO of The Home Depot, Bernie Marcus, explain that there is no way an enterprise such as The Home Depot could ever be founded in today’s regulatory climate. Around me, I see empty store fronts and shuttered businesses. The comments about the business climate from my contacts in California’s San Joaquin Valley are cringe inducing.

Then, via the blogs Small Dead Animals and Instapundit, I am directed this blog, linked below, describing one Alabama mine owner’s response to the current environmental, regulatory and business climate: read it carefully and read the comments.

Is Atlas shrugging?

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

26 Jul 2011

Swimming With Whale Sharks

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Wikipedia says that it is perfectly safe to swim in the immediate vicinity of Whale Sharks, Rhincodon typus, the largest extant species of fish which can reach a length of over 40′.

Whale Sharks are docile, only eat plankton, and the worst thing that can happen is the Whale Shark might accidentally bump you with his majestic tail.

Still, the diver in the Daily Mail photo looks concerned about getting sucked into that enormous gaping maw with all the plankton and finding out the hard way what those more than 300 rows of tiny teeth can do.

Who knows? The occasional diver may go nicely as an accent with one’s plankton.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

26 Jul 2011

Consequences of Default

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As suggested by various people on Twitter, see #ConsequencesofDefault.

Iowahawk: At-risk Mexican drug lords forced to buy own machine guns.


Sam Valley: Airline passengers forced to pat-down their own genitals before boarding their flights.


Histervative: With funding cut, research scientists may never know what a howler monkey’s favorite song is.


Psycotte: Huge spike in mattress label removal as populace goes haywire.


ToadonaWire: Cowboys must fund their own poetry


Iowahawk: Mankind’s dream of high speed government rail service between Chicago and Iowa City tragically dies.


liberrocky: Some children left behind, where they belong.


Iowahawk: Without college loan program, America loses an entire generation of Marxist Dance Theorists.

ToadonaWire: Government ceases doing some of the things it doesn’t have the constitutional power to do.

25 Jul 2011

Breivik Was Fjordman?

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Anders Behring Breivik in the uniform, and wearing the medals and insignia, of a Knight Justiciar of the “Knights Templar Europe.”

The left is, not surprisingly, having a field day recriminating with conservatives for our new association with terrorism.

A number of left-wing sources are pointing out with great pleasure that Anders Behring Breivik in his Manifesto quoted several prominent conservative blogs associated with criticism of Islam and of Islamic immigration to Europe, including Gates of Vienna, Atlas Shrugs (Pam Geller), and most particularly the Fjordman blog (which closed down operations in 2005).

Leftwing JoeBlow delivered a bombshell, quoting sources reporting that Breivik actually is the much-admired Fjordman.

Norwegian bloggers are reporting that Breivik is the author of a blog called Fjordman and that he’s guest blogged for Atlas Shrugs, Jihad Watch and Gates of Vienna “for years.” As Breivik, he publicly praised one of her posts. Elise Hendrick has translated a passage from Realisten which confirms that Fjordman and Breivik are one and the same:

    According to his own statements, Anders Behring Breivik previously operated the blog ‘Fjordman’, and later wrote for many years under the pseudonym Fjordman for the anti-Muslim and Zionist blogs Gates of Vienna and Jihad Watch


Fjordman a terrorist bomber and child-killer? That would be pretty embarrassing to conservatives, especially to the owners of blogs who linked (like me), or who even hosted, his postings!

Pretty to think so, if you are a leftist, but happily for us, not so.

Fjordman answered attacks, on Gates of Vienna, today, assuring readers that he is not Anders Behring Breivik. He never met Anders Behring Breivik. And he does not support terrorism.

Hat tip to Stephen Frankel.

25 Jul 2011

Norway Terrorist Seems More Crazy Than Conservative

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Anders Behring Breivik

The New York Times provides some details on the Norway mass murderer.

When Anders Behring Breivik was not plotting mass murder and fine-tuning the bomb he detonated here last week, he was busy playing video games and blogging, listening to Euro pop and watching episodes of “True Blood” — except on Sunday nights, when he usually dined with his mother. …

For years, Mr. Breivik, who is 32, participated in debates in Internet forums on the dangers of Islam and immigration. It is not clear at what point he decided that violence was the solution to the ills he believed were tearing European civilization asunder. Before the attacks that he has admitted mounting on government buildings and a children’s summer camp on Friday, he was careful never to telegraph his intentions.

“He didn’t say anything you could remember,” said Stig Fjellskaalnes, who knew Mr. Breivik when he was a member of Norway’s conservative Progress Party in the early 2000s. “He’s one of the crowd, if you know what I mean. You forget him.” …

With the 1,500-page manifesto, which he said took three years to complete, Mr. Breivik endeavored to find common cause with xenophobic right-wing groups around the world, particularly in the United States. He quoted extensively from the anti-Islam writings of American bloggers, and cut and pasted a whole section of the manifesto written by Theodore J. Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber, into his own, replacing “leftism” with “multiculturalism” as the object of aspersion. …

He attended the elite high school where the country’s current king, Harald V, and his son once studied. Former classmates remembered him as quiet but intelligent, with a small rebellious streak: he was a prolific graffiti artist. …

To earn money for the attacks, he wrote that he had started a company that earned him millions. Neighbors cast doubt on this claim, however, saying that they thought he had inherited some money from relatives.

As he went about gathering six tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer and turning aspirin powder into pure acetylsalicylic acid for his bomb, he led an active life online, railing against Muslims and Marxists in debate forums.

He once approached Hans Rustad, the editor of a popular conservative Website called, with a proposal to create a pan-European movement modeled on Tea Party groups in the United States.

When not surfing conservative blogs, Mr. Breivik was fighting virtual demons, ogres and other fantastical creatures in online role-playing games. He was a regular in talk forums for players of “World of Warcraft,” using a busty female as his avatar and the handle Conservatism.


Mark Steyn was annoyed to find himself quoted in Breivik’s manifesto and points out some of the illogic of the commentariat’s reaction.

It is unclear how seriously this “manifesto” should be taken. Parts of it simply cut and paste chunks of the last big killer “manifesto” by Ted Kaczynski, with the occasional [insert-your-cause-here] word substitute replacing the Unabomber’s obsessions with Breivik’s. This would seem an odd technique to use for a sincerely meant political statement. The entire document is strangely anglocentric – in among the citations of NR and The Washington Times, there’s not a lot about Norway.

Nevertheless, Breivik’s manifesto seems to be determining the narrative in the anglophone media. The opening sentence from USA Today:

    Islamophobia has reached a mass murder level in Norway as the confessed killer claims he sought to combat encroachment by Muslims into his country and Europe.

So, if a blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavian kills dozens of other blonde blue-eyed Aryan Scandinavians, that’s now an “Islamophobic” mass murder? As far as we know, not a single Muslim was among the victims. Islamophobia seems an eccentric perspective to apply to this atrocity, and comes close to making the actual dead mere bit players in their own murder. Yet the Associated Press is on board:

    Security Beefed Up At UK Mosques After Norway Massacre.

But again: No mosque was targeted in Norway. A member of the country’s second political party gunned down members of its first. But, in the merest evolution of post-9/11 syndrome, Muslims are now the preferred victims even in a story in which they are entirely absent.

24 Jul 2011

“Keep Your Change”

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Not the greatest Country Western song of all-time, but its heart is in the right place.

I’m afraid that I think he is way, way “too young to remember when you could keep most of what you earned.” I’m too young to remember that myself, and I’m so much older than he is that it isn’t funny. But I did enjoy the “I’ll take my guns/My home on the range/I’ll take my Bible/You keep your change” bit. It brought to mind images of liberal friends turning purple.

Via Theo.

24 Jul 2011

Norway Terrorism

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Anyone surprised?: Progressives Ecstatic Over Anders Behring Breivik Alleged Ties to Right-Wing Extremism


Rand Simberg adds:

It took almost a day for some on the left to start blaming Sarah Palin for what happened in Norway. It probably took a while for them to get over their cynical shock that it actually was a white guy this time.

I will note, though, as an aside, that like school shootings in “gun-free zones,” this was another catastrophic failure of gun control. Just a few rifles in the hands of the older kids on that island, with training, would have ended this pretty quickly. Instead, they were fish in a barrel for him.

23 Jul 2011

Ramirez Cartoon

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click to enlarge

Via Theo.

23 Jul 2011

No Stick For You!


Heather Houlahan’s border collies demonstrate that possessive and hierarchical behavior is instinctive to dogs as well as people. Watch the hilarious slide-show.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

23 Jul 2011

The American Ruling Class

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Angelo M. Codevilla, in the American Spectator, describes the great division in American society between the rulers and the ruled, explains how someone like Barack Obama can make a career as a professional Alinskyite agitator while remaining a member in good standing of the establishment elite, and addresses the dilemma of the oppressed “country class:” how does a Burkean class, conservative in temperament and habits, finding itself revolutionized over a substantial period of time make its own revolution?

Today’s ruling class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters — speaking the “in” language — serves as a badge of identity. Regardless of what business or profession they are in, their road up included government channels and government money because, as government has grown, its boundary with the rest of American life has become indistinct. Many began their careers in government and leveraged their way into the private sector. Some, e.g., Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, never held a non-government job. Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America’s ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats. It rules uneasily over the majority of Americans not oriented to government. …

Who are these rulers, and by what right do they rule? How did America change from a place where people could expect to live without bowing to privileged classes to one in which, at best, they might have the chance to climb into them? What sets our ruling class apart from the rest of us?

The most widespread answers — by such as the Times’s Thomas Friedman and David Brooks — are schlock sociology. Supposedly, modern society became so complex and productive, the technical skills to run it so rare, that it called forth a new class of highly educated officials and cooperators in an ever less private sector. Similarly fanciful is Edward Goldberg’s notion that America is now ruled by a “newocracy”: a “new aristocracy who are the true beneficiaries of globalization — including the multinational manager, the technologist and the aspirational members of the meritocracy.” In fact, our ruling class grew and set itself apart from the rest of us by its connection with ever bigger government, and above all by a certain attitude. …

Professional prominence or position will not secure a place in the class any more than mere money. In fact, it is possible to be an official of a major corporation or a member of the U.S. Supreme Court (just ask Justice Clarence Thomas), or even president (Ronald Reagan ), and not be taken seriously by the ruling class. Like a fraternity, this class requires above all comity — being in with the right people, giving the required signs that one is on the right side, and joining in despising the Outs. Once an official or professional shows that he shares the manners, the tastes, the interests of the class, gives lip service to its ideals and shibboleths, and is willing to accommodate the interests of its senior members, he can move profitably among our establishment’s parts. …

Its attitude is key to understanding our bipartisan ruling class. Its first tenet is that “we” are the best and brightest while the rest of Americans are retrograde, racist, and dysfunctional unless properly constrained. …

Our ruling class’s agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof. Like left-wing parties always and everywhere, it is a “machine,” that is, based on providing tangible rewards to its members. Such parties often provide rank-and-file activists with modest livelihoods and enhance mightily the upper levels’ wealth. Because this is so, whatever else such parties might accomplish, they must feed the machine by transferring money or jobs or privileges — civic as well as economic — to the party’s clients, directly or indirectly. This, incidentally, is close to Aristotle’s view of democracy. Hence our ruling class’s standard approach to any and all matters, its solution to any and all problems, is to increase the power of the government — meaning of those who run it, meaning themselves, to profit those who pay with political support for privileged jobs, contracts, etc. Hence more power for the ruling class has been our ruling class’s solution not just for economic downturns and social ills but also for hurricanes and tornadoes, global cooling and global warming. A priori, one might wonder whether enriching and empowering individuals of a certain kind can make Americans kinder and gentler, much less control the weather. But there can be no doubt that such power and money makes Americans ever more dependent on those who wield it. …

By taxing and parceling out more than a third of what Americans produce, through regulations that reach deep into American life, our ruling class is making itself the arbiter of wealth and poverty. While the economic value of anything depends on sellers and buyers agreeing on that value as civil equals in the absence of force, modern government is about nothing if not tampering with civil equality. By endowing some in society with power to force others to sell cheaper than they would, and forcing others yet to buy at higher prices — even to buy in the first place — modern government makes valuable some things that are not, and devalues others that are. Thus if you are not among the favored guests at the table where officials make detailed lists of who is to receive what at whose expense, you are on the menu. Eventually, pretending forcibly that valueless things have value dilutes the currency’s value for all.

Laws and regulations nowadays are longer than ever because length is needed to specify how people will be treated unequally. For example, the health care bill of 2010 takes more than 2,700 pages to make sure not just that some states will be treated differently from others because their senators offered key political support, but more importantly to codify bargains between the government and various parts of the health care industry, state governments, and large employers about who would receive what benefits (e.g., public employee unions and auto workers) and who would pass what indirect taxes onto the general public. The financial regulation bill of 2010, far from setting univocal rules for the entire financial industry in few words, spends some 3,000 pages (at this writing) tilting the field exquisitely toward some and away from others.

Read the whole thing.

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