24 Nov 2015

Good Rhetoric

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Assistant Surgeon William Brydon arriving at the gates of Jalalabad as the only survivor of a 16,500 strong evacuation from Kabul in January 1842 in Lady Butler’s Remnants of an Army, 1879, Tate Gallery.

Philip Mason (writing as “Philip Woodruff”) in his The Men Who Ruled India: Volume One, The Founders praised generally quite fulsomely the courage, intelligence, and disinterested statesmanship of most Governors-General of British India, but George Eden, Lord Auckland, Governor-General 1836-1842, initiator of the First Afghan War, failed to come off, in Mason’s history, quite so well.

[Lord Auckland] had a reputation in England for ability. he had a mild preference for justice, a mild and amiable good nature. In India, however, he was bored. Invested with the empire of Tamerlane and Akbar, made suddenly heir-at-law to Kubla Khan and Prester John, he was bored. Charged with the destiny of millions, moving in magnificence at which he mildly chafed through a country-sidestriken by famine, among children dying of starvation, he was bored. ‘G. detests his tent, and his march and the whole business so activelythat he will not perceive how well he is’, wrote his sister. She took him one evening to see an interesting ruin, but poor G. was more wretchedly bored than ever. …

Lord Auckland was a humane man. It may be that he was appalled by the horrors of the famine and dismayed at hos ignorance, his impotence to take any effective steps. It may bethat he concealed his wretchedness behind an emotion that seemed more appropriate to his birth. That is an interpretation more charitable to the man and more in keeping with his character than to take his boredom at face value; it does not, however, raise his reputation as Governor-General. …

The famine was at least the result of the weather and cannot be attributed directly to Lord Auckland. Not so the Afghan War. Miss Eden has a pleasantry of a flying squirrel that sat on G.’s shoulder, apparently whispering to him, ‘and though G. said the squirrel was only pulling his ear I am convinced he had more to do with public affairs than people generally supposed.’ Some explanation of public affairs was certainly needed.”

24 Nov 2015

Words of Wisdom


23 Nov 2015



Skull from Civil War battle. Fatal wound inflicted by exploding 12 pound artillery shell. National Museum of Health and Medicine.

22 Nov 2015

Hitler Learns of the Unrest on Campuses

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22 Nov 2015

The Game This Year

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Harvard won 38-19.

Quote from the Yale Class of ’69 list-server:

Harvard had more points but we had a more diverse defensive line. Does that mean we won?”


“Yes. Because that diverse line didn’t inhibit Harvard’s freedom of expression and opposition to our view they should not score more points than us and win, but was allowed to express and implement that point of view at will with almost no resistance from us.”

Hat tip to Frank A. Dobbs ’69.

22 Nov 2015

Who Will Be Next?

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Geoffrey R. Stone wonders out loud:

[I]f Woodrow Wilson is to be obliterated from Princeton because his views about race were backward and offensive by contemporary standards, then what are we to do with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and Andrew Jackson, all of whom actually owned slaves? What are we to do with Abraham Lincoln, who declared in 1958 that “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races,” and that “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people”?

What are we to do with Franklin Roosevelt, who ordered the internment of 120,000 persons of Japanese descent? With Dwight Eisenhower, who issued an Executive Order declaring homosexuals a serious security risk? With Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act? With Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, both of whom opposed the legalization of same-sex marriage?

And what are we to do with Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who once opined in a case involving compulsory sterilization that “three generations of imbeciles is enough”? With Leland Stanford, after whom Stanford University is named who, as governor of California, lobbied for the restriction of Chinese immigration, explaining to the state legislature in 1862 that “the presence of numbers of that degraded and distinct people would exercise a deleterious effect upon the superior race”?

And what are we do with all of the presidents, politicians, academic leaders, industrial leaders, jurists, and social reformers who at one time or another in American history denied women’s right to equality, opposed women’s suffrage, and insisted that a woman’s proper place was “in the home”? And on and on and on.

22 Nov 2015

Progressives Devouring Their Own

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When former head of the NKVD Nikolai Yezhov was purged and executed in 1940 by Stalin, his image, too, was purged from official photographs.

With characteristic Ivy League administrative courage, Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber surrendered to snowflakes of color demands that former Princeton (& US) President Woodrow Wilson be purged for holding racial opinions a century ago deemed politically incorrect today.

Following a 32-hour standoff with student protesters, the president of Princeton University acceded Thursday night to demands that Woodrow Wilson’s name be removed from campus.

In a statement released Thursday evening, the university announced that President Christopher Eisgruber, along with Dean Jill Dolan and Vice President for Campus Life Rochelle Calhoun, had reached an agreement with members of the Black Justice League to resolve a sit-in that had been taking place outside Eisgruber’s office since Wednesday afternoon.

Seventeen students also signed the document addressing their demands for various diversity initiatives, which was inspired by the Mizzou protests, and in the process received immunity from disciplinary consequences related to their demonstration.

In the agreement, the administrators promise to “initiate conversations” with the Board of Trustees on proposals to change the name of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, as well as to remove a mural of the former U.S. president from a dining hall on campus.

Wilson served as Princeton’s president prior to his election to national office—hence the tributes to him on campus—but the student protesters believe such references to him are unbecoming, insofar as the progressive-minded President was also a virulent racist and staunch segregationist.

In addition, the Black Justice League also secured concessions on related demands for mandatory cultural competency courses for all school employees and the creation of a cultural center for black students on campus.

While the school did agree to expand the availability of cultural competency training, it stopped short of committing to make the training mandatory as the protesters had requested, instead inviting the BJL to send representatives to an upcoming meeting to discuss the possibility of implementing a cultural diversity requirement.

The administrators also pledged to immediately designate four rooms in a building on campus for use by “Cultural Affinity Groups,” promising over the longer term to pursue the creation of “Affinity Housing for those interested in black culture” with the Residential Colleges.


Princeton’s eagerness to purge its one-time favorite son is absolutely loaded with delightful ironies, alas! lost upon the ideologically-deranged minority students as well as upon their slimy and invertebrate praecepters.

Yale renaming the residential college previously named in honor of Yale’s greatest contributor to political thought is rather tragic, but Princeton throwing Woodrow Wilson to the wolves of trendy contemporary elite opinion could scarcely be more fitting.

Woodrow Wilson himself would have been among the first to chisel out the name of any distinguished predecessor currently in bad odor with the forces of Moral Uplift and Progressive Thought. One can almost picture Wilson arising from his tomb in order to recant all of his old-time racial and eugenicist positions, and to volunteer to take down his own portrait, while getting in a few unkind remarks along the way about George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

Abraham Lincoln (the dirty racist!) will be next.

22 Nov 2015

Grutte Pier’s Sword


The zweihänder sword that belonged to Grutte Pier (1480-1520), Friesian pirate and warlord.


[A] great sword that is said to have belonged to Pier is on display at the Fries Museum in Leeuwarden. It measures 2.15 metres (7 ft) in length and weighs about 6.6 kilograms (14.6 lb). Some sources put his height at 7 ft.[20] Pier was alleged to be so strong that he could bend coins using just his thumb, index and middle finger. A huge helmet said to be Grutte Pier’s is kept in the town hall of Sneek. …

    Thee I’ll follow, noble Peter,
    Thou wert nobler far and greater,
    Than the noblest, home-kept lord,
    Battling like an ancient Roman,
    For his country with her foeman,
    Whom he chased with fire and sword.
21 Nov 2015

This Siren Has Wings and a Beard

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A Greek Late Archaic- maybe Etruscan – Bronze male siren.

Who knew that there were male sirens?

via Belacqui.

21 Nov 2015

19th Century Social Media

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Watson reads the newspaper to Holmes and Jabez Wilson

In the 19th century, safe and anonymous communication was achieved via classified advertisements in the daily newspapers.

In the Conan Doyle stories, Sherlock Holmes often turned to them for clues.

Adventure of the Red Circle:

He took down the great book in which, day by day, he filed the agony columns of the various London journals. “Dear me,” said he, turning over the pages, “what a chorus of groans, cries, and bleatings! A rag-bag of singular happening! But surely the most valuable hunting ground that was ever given to a student of the unusual.”


More examples

And more

still more

21 Nov 2015

“The Purgatory of Car Engines”

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My 1959 Triumph TR3A was blue, but did not have a white convertible top tonneau cover or whitewall tires.

Jack Baruth rants, in Road & Track, against the straight-4-cylinder engine.

As a design, the inline-four is both banal and inadequate. The intake hangs off one side and the exhaust off the other, so when you open the hood it looks unbalanced and cheap. ​Enlarged to modern two-liter-plus proportions, this lack of balance makes it want to shake itself to death. At idle it rattles; at full revs it moans. Instead of the dual-megaphone mufflers associated with powerful V8s, the most efficient four-cylinder exhaust is a massive coffee can hanging off one side of the bumper. With the possible exception of the famous Offenhauser, there has never been a coffee table made from a straight-four block. …

Yet the unloved inline-four plows on. It’s cheap to make, cheap to modify. It fits in everything from a small motorcycle to a 5-Series BMW. It can be turbocharged to serve as a poor replacement for a more colorful six. This strategy, employed by the high-end German manufacturers and the Koreans alike, makes it easier to pass CO2-related regulations. So what if the resulting concoction sounds like a paint shaker? You muffle it to death and then play a fake engine sound through the stereo. Nobody knows the difference.

Read the whole thing.

Sure, a 12-cylinder Ferrari or an E-type Jaguar with a straight-6 would be nice, but face reality, we all have to start somewhere, and less expensive cars, and even some very cool once-less-expensive sports cars which are highly enjoyable to drive are straight 4s. I, for instance, used to own the examples illustrated top and bottom, and they were definitely fun to drive.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spyder

21 Nov 2015

Let in Syrian Refugees?

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Barack Obama says we are morally obliged to admit them. Before you decide, listen to this account from a German woman who speaks Arabic who traveled with a group of Syrian refugees on the train from Budapest to Vienna recently.

20 Nov 2015

Iowahawk Tweets: You Can’t Blog Just One

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20 Nov 2015

Not Making Terrorists Like They Used To Department

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