Archive for June, 2012
27 Jun 2012

Remembering Lakewood Park

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Quomodo sedet sola civitas.

General readers will need to bear with me. One of the basic functions of my blog is to pass along items I would otherwise be emailing to friends.

I grew up in the Anthracite region of Northeastern Pennsylvania, one of the principal centers of Lithuanian settlement in the United States. The coal mining industry expired after WWII. Americans had en masse converted to oil for domestic heating, and new post-War environmental regulations made extracting coal below the water-table impossible.

Nothing ever replaced Anthracite coal mining. Over the next 60 years after the last colliery shut down for good, essentially everyone who could walk left after graduating from high school. Populations dwindled, and once prosperous towns became almost ghost towns.

One renowned local institution after another closed down as the years went by.

A friend from back home, now living in Maryland, last night, sent me this video remembering our long-gone local amusement park.

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At least the fine old Lakewood carousel survives and is today still being enjoyed by young and old in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Would you believe that I can look at this video and find the particular horse I preferred as a small child?

Hat tip to Henry Bernatonis.

26 Jun 2012

Obama Con-Man

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Obama the Trickster, who scammed America’s left-wing democrats into putting him in the White House.

Amusingly, Matt Stoller seems to be the first person on the left to figure out who Barack Obama really is.

Obama is the ultimate cynic, a dishonest, highly reactionary social and corporate ladder climbing con artist. Obama is the guy who calls a female reporter “sweety”, who plays poker with the guys, and who thinks that his senior advisor’s decision to cash out after making a “modest” salary of $172,000 at the White House is just natural. He’s the guy who used the rationale that he’s a father of two girls as to why he doesn’t want young women to have access to Plan B. He was in favor of gay marriage in 1996, flip flopped for political reasons, and then pretended to change his mind as a matter of conscience. He runs on populism with a worse record than George W. Bush on income inequality. His narcissism, and the post-modern ironic sense of self-awareness of how his narrative is put together and tended, is his defining character trait. It’s not just that he’s a liar. … Obama’s entire edifice is based on lying almost entirely to help sustain his image, with almost no interest in sound policy-making. … Like a great con artist, he has studied his mark, the American voter, and specifically the Democratic voter, and he undersands which buttons to push.

Many criticize Obama, with the idea that he doesn’t understand, and if only he understood, he would change his mind. This is part of his false narrative of hope and change. …

Yves wrote about this narrative a few weeks ago, when she pointed out his career in the Illinois state Senate was based on working for billionaire developers to destroy poor neighborhoods. Few really gets who he is, at his core, and almost no one is willing to publicly point it out. There are some who went to law school with him, who saw his enormous grasping social climbing tendencies, his eager corporate good old boy persona, his narcissistic calculations. But they are drowned out by the institutional left-wing voices, the fanboy reporters, the sycophantic labor leaders, the slavishly worshipful foundations, and the voters who cannot hear any alternative to the hope and change they know and love. The only mainstream narrative challenging hope and change is the stupid right-wing storyline that he’s a Kenyan Muslim socialist. That’s just racist idiocy. But there are those on the right who understand Obama’s narcissism, and they may just make that their electoral narrative.

What Matt Stoller fails to grasp, of course, is that all prominent democrat politicians are playing the same game. Obama is just the one who went furthest on the basis of the most left-wing hype… and the most narcissistic.

Hat tip to Jim Geraughty.

26 Jun 2012

Causes of Death, Then and Now

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Celebrating its 200th anniversary, the New England Journal of Medicine takes a look back, comparing causes of death in 1811, 1900, and 2010.

We have more heart disease and cancer, and seem to less frequently expire due to spontaneous combustion or the impact of a cannon ball. Fears of racial suicide and belief in the progress of eugenics are not what they were in 1912.

Hat tip to Sarah Kliff.

25 Jun 2012

“The Least Interesting Man in the World”

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25 Jun 2012

A Well-Placed Dry Fly

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24 Jun 2012

Waiting For the Decision, Democrats Look Sad and Confused

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As the fatal hour when the Supreme Court announces the fate of Obamacare’s individual mandate draws near, the New York Times reports that a lot of Washington liberals today are looking embarrassed and trying to come up with new excuses for their past overconfidence.

With the Supreme Court likely to render judgment on President Obama’s health care law this week, the White House and Congress find themselves in a position that many advocates of the legislation once considered almost unimaginable.

In passing the law two years ago, Democrats entertained little doubt that it was constitutional. The White House held a conference call to tell reporters that any legal challenge, as one Obama aide put it, “will eventually fail and shouldn’t be given too much credence in the press.”

Congress held no hearing on the plan’s constitutionality until nearly a year after it was signed into law. Representative Nancy Pelosi, then the House speaker, scoffed when a reporter asked what part of the Constitution empowered Congress to force Americans to buy health insurance. “Are you serious?” she asked with disdain. “Are you serious?”

Opponents of the health plan were indeed serious, and so was the Supreme Court, which devoted more time to hearing the case than to any other in decades. A White House that had assumed any challenge would fail now fears that a centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s presidency may be partly or completely overturned on a theory that it gave little credence. The miscalculation left the administration on the defensive as its legal strategy evolved over the last two years.

“It led to some people taking it too lightly,” said a Congressional lawyer who like others involved in drafting the law declined to be identified before the ruling. “It shouldn’t strike anybody as a close call,” the lawyer added, but “given where we are now, do I wish we had focused even more on this? I guess I would say yes.”

Watch Nancy Pelosi confidently predict Obamacare being upheld 6-3 and then assuring reporters that she knows the Constitution and the bill is “ironclad” and laugh.

24 Jun 2012

Language & Colors

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The Crayolification of the World, Part 1:

Different cultures and different languages recognize colors differently. In Japan, the traffic light we describe as green is referred to as blue.

Over time, new names have been invented for particular portions of the color continuum and, voilà, a new color was created.

Brent Berlin and Paul Kay began studying how 98 different languages name colors in the late 1960s.

Curiously, the differentiation of colors seems to proceed in stages, with various languages stopping at varying points in the same process of differentiation.

Of course, how we differentiate colors is, in the end, based on our physiological capabilities. Some other species with different eyes could differentiate fewer colors; some others far more.

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Part 2:

We then come to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which holds that language determines how people conceptualize the world.

Koreans are familiar with the colors yeondu and chorok, both light green, but yeondu is a more yellowish light green. Looking at color charts, Koreans are found to differentiate yeondu from chorok quicker than Westerners who don’t speak Korean leading cognitive psychology types to infer that what must be happening is that the language-oriented portion of brain must be joining in to assist the visual perception of the Koreans.

This matches the results of experiments showing slight differences is the speed of color identification acuity between our right and left sides.

And apparently once children learn the names of colors, the advantage in speed changes from one side to the other.

Interesting stuff.

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And here’s a game which tests how good you are at matching colors.

24 Jun 2012

Best Line of the Weekend

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Ann Althouse:

Michelle Obama wants to take away your cheeseburgers, but with Ann Romney, everybody gets a pony!

23 Jun 2012

Another Banned Commercial

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The Dutch Insurance Company Central Beheer promises to be there for you when things totally fail to go as planned.

23 Jun 2012

Gandalf’s Function

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Hat tip to The Meta Picture via Kathleen Wagner.

23 Jun 2012

Billboard on Maryland Eastern Shore

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Bruce Kessler found it just over the border into Worcester County, Maryland from Virginia.

22 Jun 2012

Alexandra Pelosi Interviews the Desperate and Disenfranchised in NYC

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Bill Maher says this video by Nancy Pelosi’s daughter may “Make Liberals Go Insane.”

22 Jun 2012

Game of Thrones Attack Ads

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From Mother Jones (even Commies, at least sometimes, have a sense of humor):

Daenerys Targaryen: Wrong For Dragons, Wrong For The Realm

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Joffrey Baratheon: Where Is The Birth Certificate?

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Robb Stark: The Biggest Celebrity in The North

21 Jun 2012

The Problem of “White Privilege”

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The University of Minnesota at Duluth is campaigning against white privilege.

CampusReform.org has the story.

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This mentality is sufficiently prevalent in educational circles that it has provoked the creation in response of a satire site called OK HOLD ON LET ME CHECK MY PRIVILEGE.

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I thought that if we just awarded an undeserved presidency to an African-American nobody from Illinois, whose only life-time accomplishment was writing a memoir after graduating from law school, that all our racial problems and divisions would vanish and the whole era of racial grievances and complaints would be finished and done with. Whatever happened to the deal that liberals kept promising?

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