Category Archive 'Uncategorized'
18 Jun 2018

Theresa May Hit by Best Zinger of the Year

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18 Jun 2018

World Cup

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18 Jun 2018

For the Convenience of Today’s College Students

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HT: Vanderleun.

18 Jun 2018

The Arrogance of the Ill-Educated Elite

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Joseph Pearce responds with understandable frustration to the chief problem of our time: the combination of arrogance with lack of real education.

Recently, sitting in traffic, I saw this .. bumper sticker on the car in front of me… which declared the following: “What you call the Liberal Elite, we call being well-educated.” …

Clearly designed to offend other motorists, it is supremely supercilious and extremely arrogant. We, the average Joe, whoever we may be, are not as “well-educated” as the royal “we” driving the car in front of us. This pompous “we,” who is presumably a she, presumes that anyone who disagrees with her is poorly educated, whereas she, of course, is well-educated. If we were as well-educated as she, we would agree with her.

To be fair to her, she is basing her presumption on data that shows that those who are “well-educated” tend to vote for the Democrats whereas those who are less “educated” tend to vote Republican. She votes Democrat because she is well-educated. We, who are presumed to be Republicans (because we are presumed to be stupid), complain that those who are better educated than us (and are therefore better than us) are part of an elite.

The problem is that her education is not as good as she thinks it is. …

If she was educated in our secular system, she will know nothing of philosophy, or, if she does, she will believe that there was no philosophy worth taking seriously before René Descartes. She will know nothing of the philosophy of the Greeks, of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, and still less of the great Christian philosophers, such as Augustine or Aquinas. Insofar as she’s even heard of these people, she will presume that they did not know what they were talking about: “What the ancient philosophers call error, we call being well-educated.”

If she was educated in our secular system, she will know nothing of history, or, if she does, she will know it only from her own twenty-first century perspective, or from the twenty-first century perspective of those who taught it to her. History is not about learning from the people of the past, their triumphs and their mistakes, but is about sitting in judgment on the stupidity of our ancestors, who are presumed to be unenlightened, or at least not as enlightened as she is or her teachers are. “What the people of the past believed to be immoral, we call being well-educated.”

If she was educated in our secular system, she will know nothing of great literature, or, if she does, she will have misread it from the perspective of her own twenty-first century pride and prejudice, or from the proud and prejudiced twenty-first century perspective of those who taught her. She would not think of trying to read the great authors of the past through their own eyes because, living in the past, such authors lack the sense and sensibility which she has.

RTWT

The usual argument over free enterprise versus the regulatory administrative state economy erupted over the weekend on my Yale class list. The usual three classmates who’d operated businesses defended freedom against the larger group of lefties who’d spent careers in academia.

The left-wing arguments were, as usual, actually embarrassing expressions of relativism combined with glib attempts to deflect substantive points by simple word-play. Reading the leftists’ efforts at debate, it is impossible to avoid noticing that what they really believe in is the absolute reliability of the consensus opinion of the community of fashion. The common culture of the establishment elite cannot possibly be wrong.

They fail to recognize at all just how dramatically that consensus has changed, even within their own adult lifetimes, because the accepted narrative is everything, History and Reality are nothing.

Their Cliff-Notes-based education has merely trained these people in the skillful manipulation of numbers, symbols, and ideas. Each of them is, of course, competent, even excellent, in some professional specialty, but if the gods of fashionable opinion decreed that college professors should go around barking like dogs, our universities would sound exactly like hunt kennels. They could be persuaded to accept anything, and they view with bitter hatred and disdainful contempt anyone daring to dissent.

16 Jun 2018

The Right to Discriminate

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One of the bookplates used by Harry Worcester Smith, 1865-1945.

Bruce Walker argues, perfectly correctly, that people have a right to discriminate.

The left has created a macabre myth that runs counter to the whole experience of mankind. The left has persuaded the gullible masses of America, including, sadly, most conservatives, that “discrimination” by individuals and businesses is wrong and that it violates the Constitution.

Precisely the opposite is true. All serious cognition and all honest moral judgments involve discrimination. When individuals and businesses are not free to discriminate, then the power to determine what is true and false and good and bad becomes the sole property of the state – or that even more odious creature, that lobotomized Frankenstein monster, “society.”

Instead of diverse opinions and actions freely manifest, which are what happens when the state and society are denied the power to force a certain viewpoint down the throats of private citizens and enterprises, what happens is that all debate, all differences, and all individuality are crushed based upon what those who run the state or manipulate society deem sacrosanct.

RTWT

The framers never intended there to be federal laws and actual divisions of the Department of Justice prying into American’s hearts and minds and telling them what they can and cannot do with respect to their own property or businesses.

I may think, almost all of us might think, your personal opinions and inclinations wrong, stupid, even reprehensible, but that gives the rest of us no right whatsoever to tell you that you have to hire, rent to, or serve somebody against your will.

15 Jun 2018

Bring the Grizzly Back to California?

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Jeremy Miller plays with the idea in the Pacific Standard.

University of California–Santa Barbara researcher Peter Alagona has other ideas about what constitutes viable grizzly habitat. Alagona says that the grizzly was also known as the “chaparral bear” because it was found in greatest numbers not in California’s high country but in its Coast Ranges. In his 2013 book After the Grizzly, Alagona paints a vivid picture of these coastal bears: “Grizzlies scavenged the carcasses of beached marine mammals, grazed on perennial grasses and seeds, gathered berries, and foraged for fruits and nuts. They rooted around like pigs in search of roots and bulbs, and after the introduction of European hogs, the bears ate them too. At times and places of abundant food—such as along rivers during steelhead spawning seasons or in oak woodlands during acorn mast years—grizzlies congregated in large numbers. Such a varied and plentiful diet produced some enormous animals.”

In late March of 2017, Alagona and an interdisciplinary team of more than a dozen professors, lecturers, and graduate students made their first foray into the Sedgwick Reserve, a roughly 6,000-acre parcel of open space an hour north of Santa Barbara that is owned and managed by the University of California. The rolling hills were green, and bloomed with a colorful assortment of flowers. To the south, over a series of undulating hillsides, lay the Pacific Ocean. Beyond the property’s northwest boundary lay the former Neverland Ranch, the infamous estate of the late Michael Jackson.

Known as the California Grizzly Study Group, the team’s fieldwork is focused on gaining a better understanding of how the California grizzly lived in these coastal regions before human interference. As it turns out, reconstructing the way of life of an absent omnivorous animal largely means reconstructing its diet. One common misunderstanding, says Alagona (the group’s head and founding member), is that grizzlies are bloodthirsty predators just waiting for a hiker to snack on. “The California grizzly was an omnivorous opportunist—it ate almost anything and everything that was available,” wrote Tevis and Storer in California Grizzly. “In this respect the big bear was something like the house rat, the domestic pig, and even modern man.” …

We continued upward, to a ridgeline covered in a vibrant green rock called serpentinite. Below us unfolded a pastoral landscape of orchards and vine-stitched hillsides with small towns and farmhouses tucked between. The scenery was of a distinctly Mediterranean cast, which may explain our conversation’s turn toward Europe. There, Alagona noted, European brown bears (European cousins of the American grizzly) have recovered in areas very close to cities, including in Abruzzo National Park, only two hours by car from downtown Rome—closer than we were to downtown Los Angeles.

Demographic shifts and social changes have also played a key role in the brown bear’s resurgence overseas. “One of the reasons you have predators coming back to Europe—wolves, bears, lynx, and wolverines—is partly because Europe has become more urbanized, and parts of the countryside are emptying out,” Alagona said. “You also have a change in thinking and attitudes. People are imagining different futures, which is also vitally important.”

Alagona gestured to the high peaks of the Dick Smith and Sespe wilderness areas, rising to over 7,000 feet. He noted that, even in these wilderness areas—which are small by U.S. standards—one can find more continuous, roadless “wild” land than nearly anywhere in Europe. “When the Europeans look at our situation here, they think we have an ungodly amount of space. They are working in a completely different model,” he said, ticking off the essential differences on his fingers: Lots of people. Smaller land area. No wilderness. More bears.

In the U.S., we tend to operate in an either-or paradigm when it comes to conservation. And this historically has been a key stumbling block for the restoration of many large American mammals, including grizzly bears. Alagona points to the Central Valley, which has been transformed almost entirely into an unbroken industrial-scale agricultural landscape. And then there are the wilderness areas of the Sierra, which are off limits to all development. It is this bifurcation, he says, that has greatly influenced our thinking about what belongs where, what is “wild” and “not wild.” “We tend to think that animals belong in wilderness,” he said.

Europeans, on the other hand, have a less doctrinaire way of categorizing landscapes and, consequently, a more fluid way of looking at what constitutes habitat. “The Europeans are working to create more nature reserves, but they are limited in what they can do,” Alagona said. “And so, by definition, conservation has to occur in these human-dominated landscapes.” …

As Alagona said, it was easier to imagine the risks than the rewards. Any discussion of grizzly reintroduction is moot, he said, until we recognize that a reintroduction of this sort is not really about animal management but people management. “It’s not really clear whether having more bears in the world is actually good for bears, or whether it results in an increase in, say, ‘bear happiness,'” he said. “So if you can’t make that calculation, then you have to start looking at people—notably, what people want and what they are willing to risk or give up to have something else that is of value to them.”

That public reappraisal of the value of wildlife can happen—and sometimes very quickly. “When mountain lions started showing back up in Southern California in the 1980s and ’90s, people also freaked out,” Alagona said. “Now the mountain lion has become the mascot of Los Angeles.” He believes that the same might be true for the California grizzly. “If there was a way to fit these animals in,” he said, “then maybe a lot of other things that seemed impossible are possible.”

The next morning Owen and I rose at sun-up and plodded uptrail, toward the summit of Reyes Peak, which loomed 2,500 feet above. As we climbed the switchbacks, the full dimensions of the landscape became apparent below. Arid hillsides covered in chaparral and veined with arroyos ran in orderly rows toward the misty horizon. Plenty of space for a large omnivorous mammal to roam, it seemed.

In Spanish, Chorro Grande means “big flow.” But when we arrived at the trail’s namesake spring, it was dry. We plodded up one last steep section, through a stand of tall Ponderosa pines, before reaching the ridgeline. From the dry summit ridge, we could see the expanse of the Coast Range extending below us and, just beyond, the humped masses of the Channel Islands looming offshore. To the south, in the next valley, flowed Sespe Creek, one of the range’s permanent water sources and one of the last undammed waterways in Southern California. Just out of view, beyond the endless furrows of rolling ridgelines, lay the concrete wilderness of Los Angeles.

As I jotted notes, Owen sat on a large rock surveying the terrain through binoculars. “Dad, I can see bears up here,” he said matter-of-factly. I took him literally, and asked with slight concern if he’d spotted a black bear somewhere below us.

“No,” he said, smiling in the full California sun. “I mean someday. I think a grizzly would like it here.”

Grizzly bears and self-entitled hipsters in t shirts and Bermuda shorts sharing the wilderness a hop, skip, and a jump from densely populated suburbs?

Old Ephraim traveling down the arroyos in the dry three-quarters of the year from the Santa Cruz Mountains right into Palo Alto and Atherton?

Big, hungry bears munching cyclists and joggers in the San Gabriels bordering LA?

What the heck!

The tree-hugging California environmental whackos want those bears back, and the bears will want breakfast. I call that a win/win.

HT: The News Junkie.

High time to start working on restoring the extinct sabre-tooth tigers found in those La Brea tar pits to Los Angeles as well!

15 Jun 2018

New York Democrat Candidate Running as Class Warrior, Complete With $9000 Rolex

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The Washington Examiner admired the inadvertent irony.

He couldn’t wear a regular wristwatch. It had to be a Rolex. That’s just a little awkward for Brian Flynn.

The top Democrat running in New York’s 19th Congressional District took out a full page ad in the Albany Times Union slamming the “billionaires” and the “corporations” who “have rigged the system against us.” It is a pretty typical political ad. He looks stern with his arms crossed and his sleeves rolled up on his blue dress shirt — literally a blue collar! And then, there’s the $8,950 timepiece on his wrist.

Connoisseurs looking at his social media will recognize the watch as the Rolex GMT Master-II. The choice of fighter pilots and frat boys with large trust funds, it makes a statement but not the kind a progressive politician might want to make. …

First introduced in 1955 for international aviators, the Rolex GMT Master-II can tell the time in three time zones simultaneously. And so, it was fitting that when English and French test pilots climbed aboard the Concord, they were wearing the Rolex GMT Master-II. To this day, the brochure advertises the watch as “supersonic luxury.”

Flynn looks like the kind of guy who can appreciate the finer qualities of the Rolex GMT Master-II. Before entering politics as a candidate, he worked as an executive at Citibank, and later, he went on to become president of a large medical manufacturing company.

No one should begrudge him his wealth, of course. No one can question his taste either (as we’ve established, the Rolex GMT Master-II is exquisite). The Rolex GMT Master-II definitely fits that aesthetic of Flynn the businessman. Unfortunately, it clashes with the style of Flynn the progressive warrior.

RTWT

HT: Glenn Reynolds.

14 Jun 2018

“Liquid Death Spring Water: Murder Your Thirst”

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14 Jun 2018

Welsh Pied-a-Terre, Anyone?

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The Independent describes a relative real estate bargain.

An entire island off the coast of Pembrokeshire is on sale for £400,000 – less than the cost of a one-bedroom flat in London.

Stack Rock Fort is a Grade-II listed fortification built between 1850 and 1852 to protect Britain from French invasion under the rule of Napoleon III.

The large, circular building offers a 360-degree view of the surrounding waterways and is connected to the mainland by a short boat ride. Interested parties (and seasickness sufferers) should note that there won’t be any viewings taking place in bad weather, Ross McKenzie of Purplebricks, the property agent looking after the fort, has confirmed.

Although the island is currently uninhabitable, the property “represents an enormously lucrative and exciting opportunity, with limitless development potential”, says McKenzie.

“Imagine, for example, a cable car being built from the mainland which ferries guests over to a unique, boutique hotel? With the right imagination and investment, it could become a stunning property which would do wonders for the local area.”

Made up of three floors connected by spiral staircases, the building was once armed with sixteen 18-ton guns and manned by up to 150 men. It was manned by a small consignment of men during the First World War.

14 Jun 2018

Low Bridge

12 Jun 2018

Why A Decline In Hunting Could Be Bad News For Nature Lovers

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12 Jun 2018

Daily Routines of Famous Artists, Musicians, Writers, and Philosophers

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12 Jun 2018

New Canaan Bans Real Estate For Sale Signs

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Hot Air catches the burghers of New Canaan in denial.

Here’s an odd little story which is probably going to be cropping up more and more in blue states in the near future. The town of New Canaan, Connecticut is instituting a change this summer. Their Board of Realtors has passed a ban on “For Sale” signs placed in front of the properties where residents are selling their houses and moving away. Why is that? Well, if you ask the local government they’ll tell you that there’s simply no need for the signs anymore. Savvy shoppers are looking for houses online and besides… those signs are an eyesore anyway. …

So the official line here is that online browsing has made the signs redundant and people don’t like the look of them. But how much of that is true? I know from personal experience that shopping for a house may certainly include doing some online browsing, but that doesn’t give you a full picture or inform you about the real feel of the house and the neighborhood. Driving around and scouting nice neighborhoods looking for For Sale signs is part of the process for most people. So what’s the real reason that New Canaan doesn’t want all of those For Sale signs lining the streets?

One hint can be found in the comments from local resident Shawn Gardner who said, “The amount of them is giving buyers an idea that this entire town is for sale.”

That seems to be the dirty little secret here. They don’t want people to know how many people are fleeing high tax areas like Connecticut.

RTWT

We got out of far less expensive and fashionable Newtown around 2000. Our real estate taxes which were $2000-per-annum when we moved in had risen to $10,000-per-annum, and Lowell Weicker’s state income tax had ruined the business environment. My wife and I had wound up commuting an exhausting one hour and 45 minutes each way to Manhattan.

12 Jun 2018

“A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad President Builds an Empire”

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Niall Ferguson points out that the supposedly oh-so-smart people just don’t get it. Trump is winning.

To most highly educated people I know, President Trump is a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad president.

For two years, the people with at least two university degrees (PALTUDs) have been gnashing their teeth about Trump’s every utterance and move. To the foreign policy experts, he is a bull in a china shop, trampling the “rules-based international order” underfoot. To the economics establishment, he is a human wrecking ball, smashing more than a half-century of consensus that free trade really works better than protectionism.

A striking feature of all this dire commentary is how wrong it has been so far. …

Despite all the trade war talk, the US economy is at full employment, the dollar is rallying, the stock market is up 30 percent since Trump’s election, and the only countries in any trouble are the usual suspects with their usual problems (e.g., Turkey).

It is not that Trump is an underrated genius, nor for that matter an idiot savant. It is just that his intuitive, instinctive, impulsive way of operating, familiar to those who have done business with him, is exposing some basic flaws in the conceptual framework of the PALTUDs. …

Think of the world as a three-empire system. It is dominated by the United States, China, and Europe, in that order. Each empire is evolving in a different direction. The American empire, having experienced overextension in Afghanistan and Iraq, has not retreated into isolation. Its latest step down the road to empire is domestic. …

All the accompanying symptoms of the transition from republic to empire are already visible. The plebs despise the elites. An old and noble senatorial order personified by John McCain is dying. A cultural civil war rages on social media, the modern-day forum, with all civility cast aside and character assassination a daily occurrence. The president-emperor dominates public discourse by issuing 280-character edicts, picking fights with football players, and arbitrarily pardoning convicted criminals.

Meanwhile, the Chinese empire becomes ever more centralized, ever more invasive of its citizens’ privacy, and ever more overt in its overseas expansion. The Western world regards Xi Jinping as an almighty potentate. Few observers appreciate the acute sense of weakness that has motivated his tightening grip on party and state and his surveillance of his own people. Few see the risks of imperial ventures such as the Belt and Road Initiative, which is drawing Chinese investment into economically unpromising and strategically dangerous locations.

The weakest of the three empires is the European Union. True, its central institutions in Brussels have the power to impose rules, fines, and taxes on the biggest American and Chinese corporations. But Europe lacks tech giants of its own. Its navies, armies, and air forces have melted away, so that it can scarcely defend its frontiers from penniless migrants, never mind hostile invaders. And the political consensus on which it has been based for the past 60 years —between social democrats and moderate conservatives in every member state — is crumbling under a nationalist-populist assault.

The logic of Trumpism is simply to bully the other empires, exploiting the fact that they are both weaker than the United States, in order to extract concessions and claim victories. The Chinese sincerely fear a trade war and will end up buying a very large amount of American produce in order to avoid one. The Europeans dare not stand up to Trump over his Iran sanctions and secretly agree with him about China, and so are reduced to impotent seething (Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany) or sycophancy (President Emmanuel Macron of France, until last week’s G-7 summit). If they unite against him, he brings up Russia and divides them again.

To the PALTUDs, who remain so certain of their intellectual superiority to the president, all this is incomprehensible. They will continue to find fault with Trump’s every success, nitpicking their way through the small print, failing to realize that in the imperial transition such details cease to matter.

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