Archive for June, 2014
24 Jun 2014

Tweet of the Day

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24 Jun 2014

By Federal Law: Everyone Must Live Here

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San Francisco: nice view, kind of pricey though.

Kevin D. Williamson considers the implications of applying the principles behind Obamacare more widely.

I have heard it argued that the San Francisco Bay Area is not only the nation’s but the world’s most desirable metropolis. I don’t buy that for a minute, but it’s not entirely implausible. There’s great natural beauty, and many of the world’s most creative people and institutions choose to make the area their home. It’s pricey by American standards but still a bargain by global standards. Like New York City in its golden age, it is a glorious collision between culture and money.

Let’s assume that the Bay Area partisans are correct in their high estimation of the metropolis. What might we do with that information? Why not pass a law requiring everybody in the United States to live there? As with the Affordable Care Act’s approach to health insurance, we wouldn’t be forcing an inferior product on people; we’d be forcing them to drop their second-rate cities for something better. Sorry, Cleveland — you can’t keep your crappy city, so deal with it. There would be some great economies of scale at work, and there are well-known economic benefits associated with population density, which we’d have in spades with a population of 300 million. (Though if we define the Bay Area broadly, we’d still have a lower population density than Manhattan, on average.) We could drop altogether thousands and thousands of redundancies — of school districts, police departments, fire departments, planning and zoning codes, tax laws, city councils. The rest of the country could be turned into farmland or left to revert to wilderness. Think of the efficiency we could achieve.

Once we’ve decided where everybody should live, we can move on to the question of what they should eat.

Read the whole thing.

24 Jun 2014

Atticus Aims a Krag



Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) takes aim at a rabid dog menacing the residents of 1930s Maycomb, Alabama in “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962) with a neighbor’s Krag carbine.

I have one of these. Don’t you love that box magazine?

Via Ratak Monodosico.

Full video of scene here.

24 Jun 2014

The Anchoress Spanks Chelsea Clinton

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Combined living-dining room of Chelsea Clinton’s block-long, Gramercy Park apartment.

Chelsea Clinton, who got paid $26,000 a minute by NBC, recently informed America that she doesn’t really care about money.

“It is frustrating, because who wants to grow up and follow their parents?” admits Chelsea. “I’ve tried really hard to care about things that were very different from my parents. I was curious if I could care about [money] on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t. That wasn’t the metric of success I wanted in my life. I’ve talked about this to my friends who are doctors and whose parents are doctors, or who are lawyers and their parents are lawyers. It’s a funny thing to realise I feel called to this work both as a daughter and also as someone who believes I have contributions to make.”


Which posturing not surprisingly provoked Elizabeth Scalia (“The Anchoress”) to put the spoiled young woman firmly in her place.

Dear Chelsea;

Stop. Just…stop it.

Do not follow in your parent’s footsteps and try to convince the world that money means nothing to you. Money never means “nothing” to the people who cannot stop talking about it, and between your poor “not truly well off” mother, and your dad who is forever telling us that he’s happy to be a rich guy paying rich guy taxes, and now this…just stop it.

You tried really hard to care about money? And naturally you couldn’t because no good or noble person actually does that? Naturally, only greedy, vulgar people would care about money. I wonder who they might be? And do they know how offensive they are?

Come to think of it, I might know some of them, and I can hear them grumbling a bit at the moment, can you? Listen…cock your ear over here, away from Nobu, and listen to that single mom:

“She’d bloody well care about money if every time the gas and food prices go up it’s another supper of macaroni and cheese for us!”

Maybe, from your $10 million dollar pad in Gramercy Park you can hear the young couple weighed down with college debt: “She’d freaking care about money if she was living in her mom’s basement while trying to find a real job and carrying $45,000 in college loans.”

Perhaps on your way to the Hamptons this summer you can lean out — but not if you’re taking a chopper, of course — and hear the family that will be stay-cationing it for the fourth year in a row, because the “recovery summer” hasn’t reached them yet. You should be able to hear them, because the grumbling is getting pretty loud in those neighborhoods.

When you mewl in blissful ignorance about trying “really hard to care about money” all you do is emphasize that money worries are a non-issue for you. You insult every man and woman who are forced to “care about money” as they struggle to pay their bills and sacrifice so their kids can join a baseball league or take a dance class (like you did); you diss everyone who is forced to “care about money” because they haven’t had a raise in a couple of years, though costs keep rising — or because they are retired and aren’t seeing the interest income they’d planned on, and so the house is falling into disrepair, and they can’t sell it because young couples weighed down with student loans aren’t buying those fixer-uppers the way they used to.

Just stop it.

No one minds your being rich, but have a little class about it. Don’t sit in your ivory tower — justifiably excited to be expecting the best-connected-baby in the world, with access to the finest doctors and no worries about what sort of school environment or teachers your child will have to endure — and suggest that none of it matters, as though you’d be just as happy living in a garage apartment next to 7-11 and with no immediate plans to board a private jet.

You think it makes you sound humble, but it really makes you sound ungrateful. You think it makes you seem down-to-earth, but it only emphasizes the rarity of your air. …

[W]ith all due respect, lady, gain some self-awareness; understand what has been handed to you through very little effort of your own. Before you talk about how much you can’t bring yourself to care about money, why don’t you…check your extraordinary .0000001% of the .0001% privilege.

24 Jun 2014

French Army Knife

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Hat tip to Jose Guardia.

23 Jun 2014

“A Tale of Two Scandals”

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Peggy Noonan recently marveled at the partisan-induced somnolence of the establishment media at the revelation of the IRS destroyed hard-drives.

[T]he Obama administration is experiencing what appears to be its own Eighteen-and-a-Half Minute moment. In a truly stunning development in the Internal Revenue Service scandal, the agency last week informed Congress that more than two years’ of Lois Lerner’s email communications with those outside that agency—from 2009 to 2011, meaning the key years at the heart of the targeting-of-conservatives scandal—have gone missing. Quite strangely. The IRS says it cannot locate them. The reason is that Lerner’s computer crashed. …

And what is amazing—not surprising, but amazing—is that if my experience of normal human conversation the past few days is any guide, very few people are talking about it and almost no one cares.

The IRS scandal as a news story carries a stigma, and the stigma is in part due to the fact that when it broke, when Lois Lerner last year made her admission, with a planted question at an American Bar Association gathering, that the IRS had made some mistakes with conservative groups, and disingenuously suggested the blame lay with incompetents in a field office far from the Beltway, conservatives and partisans jumped. The mainstream press was inclined to believe Lerner, or believe at least that a series of mistakes had produced a small if embarrassing so-called scandal. Some conservatives, activists and partisans, not all of them sincere and not all of them serious, viewed the story primarily as another cudgel to use against the president and his party. Some no doubt viewed it as a fundraising opportunity.

The press viewed it not as a story but as a partisan political drama. And in partisan political dramas they are very rarely on the Republican side.

I haven’t ever met a reporter or producer who wasn’t a conservative who didn’t believe the IRS scandal was the result of the bureaucratic confusion and incompetence of some office workers in Cincinnati who made a mistake.

But the IRS scandal is a scandal, and if you can’t see the relation between a strangely destroyed key piece of evidence in an ongoing scandal and what happened 41 years ago with a strangely destroyed key piece of evidence in an ongoing scandal, something is wrong not with the story but with your news judgment. …

It would be very good to see the mainstream press call for a special prosecutor, fully armed with the powers to get to the bottom of the case. …

The mischief of the Nixon administration was specific to it, to its personnel. When Chuck Colson left, he left. All the figures in that drama failed to permanently disfigure the edifice of government. They got caught, and their particular brand of mischief ended.

But the IRS scandal is different, because if it isn’t stopped—if it isn’t fully uncovered, exposed, and its instigators held accountable—it will suggest an acceptance of the politicization of the IRS, and an expected and assumed partisanship within its future actions. That will be terrible not only for citizens but for the government itself.

23 Jun 2014

“A Man Under Authority”

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Left: Standartenführer Joachim Peiper commanding 1st SS Panzer Regiment during WWII; Right: Peiper, aged 61, shortly before his murder in 1976.

For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

–Matthew 8:9.

Reid Mitchell is a resident of New Orleans and author of a book on the history of Mardi Gras. He is best known as a Civil War historian. Mitchell taught American Studies at the University of Hong Kong as a Visiting Fulbright Professor during the 2005 academic year.

His only novel, A Man Under Authority, now out-of-print, was published in paperback by a small press publisher in 1997.

The man under authority is an aged, never specifically identified by name or nationality, Colonel (clearly directly modeled on Joachim Peiper), living in poverty in retirement in a former enemy country, eking out a modest living with translations.

The Colonel receives a letter (written, with characteristic American arrogance or linguistic ineptitude, in English) offering him a highly remunerative job as technical advisor to a film crew making a movie about his most famous battle, a battle in which he unsuccessfully led an armored assault force attempting to make a strategic breakthrough behind enemy lines.

Not unappreciative of the irony and implicit humiliation of his position, the elderly Colonel accepts the assignment, hoping to use the money to give a little pleasure to his wife.

Mitchell’s novel depicts the Colonel’s last campaign as another final desperate attempt, this time with self-awareness and the maintenance of personal dignity, rather than the Meuse River and the Allied fuel reserves, as his unreachable goal, with the infirmities of age, modern Philistinism, and his own historical status as the defeated as his adversaries.

Arriving at the production site, the Colonel finds that the film crew are using the same chateau, now a hotel, which had been his own headquarters during the famous operation. But the choice highest tower room in the oldest part of the castle this time belongs to the female director, not to him. His role, this time, will not be that of commander, but that of curiosity, ornamental credential, and bemused spectator. Nonetheless, the Colonel finds himself able to maintain his Stoicism and even, on occasion, to employ his long-disused habit of command.

23 Jun 2014

Now That’s How to Sell Victory Bonds!

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Tank Crushing Car, November 11, 1918, University Avenue, Toronto

Via Ratak Monodosico.

23 Jun 2014

Tiny Little Screech Owl Stares Down Texas Sissy


Colton Wright of Fort Worth, Texas achieved dubious international renown, even making British and Canadian newspapers, by posting two short videos depicting his own impression of a 1950s housewife terrified of a bat getting caught in her hair. In Wright’s case, all the shrieking and foul language was occasioned by the presence of a handsome and tiny, little red morph screech owl.

Wright shared roughly a minute of his hysteria and pleading with the fearsome predator, but apparently the confrontation between owl and rodent went on for something like 40 minutes. In the end, Wright successfully persuaded the owl to perch on his Swiffer mop, then maneuvered his passenger out an open widow.

Lord! What a fuss over a tiny bird. There was a time when Americans used to wrestle alligators for fun and take on black bears with Bowie knives.

Daily Mail

Toronto Sun

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

22 Jun 2014

No Victory Lap For the Back-Stabbing Left



David French, at National Review, notes that the Dolchßtoss*-ing left-wing commentariat are in no position to blame other people for things going badly in Iraq now.

Rarely have so many people felt so cocky about leaving a genocidal dictator in place. Rarely have so many people felt so sure about the completely unprovable and speculative claim that this hostile genocidal dictator’s next eleven years in power would have been better for America than the decision to depose him. And rarely have these same people been so cocky about working so hard to ensure the failure of the course of action they opposed, then crowed about their success even as they blamed their ideological opponents for the resulting human toll.

This I believe: America made some profound mistakes at the beginning of the war, bad choices that if made differently could have had a material, beneficial effect on the course and conduct of the war. In hindsight, I believe we shouldn’t have disbanded Iraq’s military and its civil service. In hindsight, we shouldn’t have limited our footprint on the ground. In hindsight, we shouldn’t have waited so long to adopt the counterinsurgency tactics of the Surge. The list of mistakes could go on, but war is hard, the enemy always has a vote, and sometimes only cruel experience can teach us the right lessons.

This I know: America has made profound — and far more costly — mistakes at the beginning of virtually every war. The opening months of World War II were a national nightmare, rendered more palatable to the public only through large-scale censorship that sometimes blocked the American people’s knowledge of defeats that cost more lives in one night than America would lose in entire years in Iraq or Afghanistan. In the Korean War, profound diplomatic and intelligence failures led to headlong retreats and mass-scale slaughters of unprepared soldiers. In the Civil War, poor tactics and dreadful leadership almost destroyed the nation less than one century after its founding, as a Union with immense manpower and industrial benefits arguably came within a few improper orders and missed battlefield opportunities from crumbling in the face of the Army of Northern Virginia. The list of horrifying mistakes could go on, but — as I just said — war is hard, the enemy always has a vote, and sometimes only cruel experience can teach us the right lessons.

This I also know, because I was there: In Iraq, we learned from our mistakes, and the Iraq we left — even as early as late September 2008, when I flew home — was a far, far better place than it is today, a far better place than it was under Saddam, and an actual ally of the United States. …

We are all responsible for our words and actions. Even though my influence is minimal (especially compared to my colleagues posting here on NRO and syndicated nationally) I sometimes agonize over individual words in blog posts. And I still think every day about the choices I made in Iraq. But if I’m responsible — as a supporter of the war from the beginning and a veteran of that same conflict — for what I say and do, so are the victory lappers. And I would not trade places with a group that helped manufacture the “war weariness” that gripped an American public that has, apart from a tiny minority, sacrificed nothing for this conflict and would continue to sacrifice nothing even if we maintained the small force in Iraq necessary to secure our gains.

You helped America leave, and in so doing, you helped waste the sacrifice of those few who served.

*German: “back-stab.”

22 Jun 2014

The Last Thing a Christmas Ornament Sees

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Via John Anderson.

21 Jun 2014

The Angry Grad Student and the Moral Philosopher

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“Lizbeth Mara” depicts herself in several places on the Internet by a stock photo of a pretty brunette muzzled by a pair of grimy male hands. Who knew that moral philosophers ever got their hands dirty?

Charlotte Allen reports, and reflects at length, upon all the sturm und drang, and also the delicious ironies attendant on the story emerging this month of the public shaming of a much-philandering Yale professor of Moral Philosophy and Global Justice by an irate female grad student, furious at having been seduced, now avenging herself via the extra-judicial methods of Internet grassroots appeals and social media.

Ms. Allen finds much entertaining reading in the now widely-distributed anonymous complaints of the alleged victim.

She reported that she began to get suspicious when the professor declined to leave his partner in order to be with her—or even, in fact, to tell his partner that she existed. Then she found out about the “22-year-old virgin” who’d been his former secret mistress, plus the “PhD student in India, who wears a sexy negligee,” and the “other young female scholars that he hosts in his apartment.” Anonymous concluded sadly: “He will continue giving his lectures about justice around the world, pretending not to eat meat for moral reasons, inviting young women to his hotel room for philosophical discussions, and I’m just among the other young women scorned by the moral philosopher, who devotes his life to justice.”

All this would make for a merry tale illustrating the adage “Hell hath no fury like a woman who discovers that her man has been whispering the same sweet nothings into the ears of other females as he’s been whispering into hers.” It would also make for a merry tale of hypocrisy among sanctimonious progressives in academia. “Global justice” typically involves requiring citizens of wealthy First World countries to hand over their income and assets (via taxes) for “redistribution” to impoverished Third World countries, on the theory that they’re complicit in Third World poverty. It’s always fun to see a vegetarian guru of redistribution who also happens to occupy a cushy position at a prestigious East Coast university doing a bit of redistribution of his own on the side. Anonymous lamented: “I falsely assumed that the man who calls affluent westerners human rights violators would treat women with dignity.” Surprise, surprise!

And finally, this ought to be an inspirational tale for grad-school nerds laboring in the library stacks trying to finish their philosophy dissertations: Get yourself a job in “global justice,” and you’ll have more progressive females in sexy negligees throwing themselves at you than there are stars in the sky or Third World kleptocrats.

But Allen is also a bit alarmed at the dark side of all of this, as one example of an increasing number of cases of feminist warfare against academic departments of Philosophy, and she notes that Internet shaming and mobbing has been, in this case, quite effective.

[W]ithin days of the appearance of Anonymous’s article in Thought Catalog, he was specifically identified by a number of feminist activists—including Anonymous herself—as a Yale professor who had allegedly made sexual overtures to a female Yale undergraduate while serving as her senior-essay adviser and, after her graduation in 2010, employing her as a researcher and translator. That woman is reportedly preparing to sue both the professor and Yale itself, which, according to a September 30, 2011, article in the student newspaper, the Yale Daily News, had found “insufficient evidence to support the allegation of sexual harassment” and merely issued the professor a reprimand for improper business practices.

In short, the global justice professor has been effectively “outed”—linked irrevocably not just to a taste for trysts in hotel rooms around the world but to a concrete allegation of sexual harassment on his own campus. He may win the lawsuit if it is ever filed (those cases are hard to prove), but that’s beside the point. Everyone in the philosophy world is now pretty certain who he is (he has been named on several philosophy blogs), and his career in academia, if not formally finished, may well be mortally wounded. Several well-known philosophers at other universities are more or less calling for his head. Global justice, indeed.

21 Jun 2014

Photogenic Felon

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Jeremy Meeks, a blue-eyed 30-year-old ex-convict got arrested in Stockton, California last Wednesday during a weapons sweep, when police found a .45 pistol in the trunk of his car. Mr. Meeks previously served two years for grand theft, and has tattoos implying that he is affiliated with the Crips gang and has previously killed someone.

The Stockton police make a practice of posting their most recent mug shots on-line, and the arrest photo of Jeremy Meeks immediately went viral on the Internet, causing women (and Andrew Sullivan) to swoon over the convict’s ethnically-diverse good looks.

The story of the excitement over the photo even gained international coverage by British newspapers like the Daily Mail. And Meeks’ mugshot has also become the object of the latest Photoshop humor meme. Buzzfeed

21 Jun 2014

Mr. Valiant-for-truth

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Mr. Valiant-for-truth (illustration by Frederick Barnard)

from John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come; Delivered under the Similitude of a Dream., Second Part, 1684:

Then they went on; and just at the place where Little-Faith formerly was robbed, there stood a man with his sword drawn, and his face all over with blood. Then said Mr. Great-Heart, Who art thou? The man made answer, saying, I am one whose name is Valiant-for-truth. I am a pilgrim, and am going to the Celestial City. Now, as I was in my way, there were three men that did beset me, and propounded unto me these three things: 1. Whether I would become one of them. 2. Or go back from whence I came. 3. Or die upon the place. Prov. 1:11-14. To the first I answered, I had been a true man for a long season, and therefore it could not be expected that I should now cast in my lot with thieves. Then they demanded what I would say to the second. So I told them that the place from whence I came, had I not found incommodity there, I had not forsaken it at all; but finding it altogether unsuitable to me, and very unprofitable for me, I forsook it for this way. Then they asked me what I said to the third. And I told them my life cost far more dear than that I should lightly give it away. Besides, you have nothing to do thus to put things to my choice; wherefore at your peril be it if you meddle. Then these three, to wit, Wild-head, Inconsiderate, and Pragmatic, drew upon me, and I also drew upon them. So we fell to it, one against three, for the space of above three hours. They have left upon me, as you see, some of the marks of their valor, and have also carried away with them some of mine. They are but just now gone; I suppose they might, as the saying is, hear your horse dash, and so they betook themselves to flight.

GREAT. But here was great odds, three against one.

VALIANT. ’Tis true; but little and more are nothing to him that has the truth on his side: “Though an host should encamp against me,” said one, [Psa. 27:3], “my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident,” etc. Besides, said he, I have read in some records, that one man has fought an army: and how many did Samson slay with the jawbone of an ass!

GREAT. Then said the guide, Why did you not cry out, that some might have come in for your succor?

VALIANT. So I did to my King, who I knew could hear me, and afford invisible help, and that was sufficient for me.

GREAT. Then said Great-Heart to Mr. Valiant-for-truth, Thou hast worthily behaved thyself; let me see thy sword. So he showed it him.

When he had taken it in his hand, and looked thereon awhile, he said, Ha, it is a right Jerusalem blade.

VALIANT. It is so. Let a man have one of these blades, with a hand to wield it, and skill to use it, and he may venture upon an angel with it. He need not fear its holding, if he can but tell how to lay on. Its edge will never blunt. It will cut flesh and bones, and soul, and spirit, and all. [Heb. 4:12.]

GREAT. But you fought a great while; I wonder you was not weary.

VALIANT. I fought till my sword did cleave to my hand; and then they were joined together as if a sword grew out of my arm; and when the blood ran through my fingers, then I fought with most courage.

GREAT. Thou hast done well; thou hast resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Thou shalt abide by us, come in and go out with us; for we are thy companions. Then they took him and washed his wounds, and gave him of what they had, to refresh him: and so they went together. Now, as they went on, because Mr. Great-Heart was delighted in him, (for he loved one greatly that he found to be a man of his hands.) …


Then it came to pass a while after, that there was a post in the town that inquired for Mr. Honest. So he came to the house where he was, and delivered to his hand these lines: Thou art commanded to be ready against this day seven-night, to present thyself before thy Lord at his Father’s house. And for a token that my message is true, “All the daughters of music shall be brought low.” Eccles. 12:4. Then Mr. Honest called for his friends, and said unto them, I die, but shall make no will. As for my honesty, it shall go with me; let him that comes after be told of this. When the day that he was to be gone was come, he addressed himself to go over the river. Now the river at that time over-flowed its banks in some places; but Mr. Honest, in his lifetime, had spoken to one Good-conscience to meet him there, the which he also did, and lent him his hand, and so helped him over. The last words of Mr. Honest were, Grace reigns! So he left the world.

After this it was noised abroad that Mr. Valiant-for-truth was taken with a summons by the same post as the other, and had this for a token that the summons was true, “That his pitcher was broken at the fountain.” Eccl. 12:6. When he understood it, he called for his friends, and told them of it. Then said he, I am going to my Father’s; and though with great difficulty I have got hither, yet now I do not repent me of all the trouble I have been at to arrive where I am. My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it. My marks and scars I carry with me, to be a witness for me that I have fought His battles who will now be my rewarder. When the day that he must go hence was come, many accompanied him to the river-side, into which as he went, he said, “Death, where is thy sting?” And as he went down deeper, he said, “Grave, where is thy victory?” [1 Cor. 15:55.] So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.

Mr. Valiant-for-truth’s hymn (19th century revision)

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