11 Sep 2014

The Rice Affair

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RayRice

It is kind of interesting to note that the Rice video’s release produced another classic Internet lynch mob with the self-appointed defenders of women howling for more punishment, while the victim they are championing pleads for all of it to stop. She and her husband obviously have a lot to lose were he to be permanently banned from football.

For a rational and intelligent approach to this very unfortunate incident, read John Hinderaker:

The person in this story for whom I have the most sympathy is Janay Rice, Ray Rice’s fiancé at the time of the elevator incident, now his wife. Janay has been with Rice for a long time. They dated in high school and have a child. She has expressed regret for her role in the events that led to her husband’s downfall. Some think that is outrageous. Not me: she and her now-husband (likely both drunk) were screaming obscenities at one another as they entered the elevator; Janay took a poke at Ray and spat at him before he slugged her. Does that excuse his knocking her out? Of course not. But it is easy to see why she regrets her role in the incident, too. On Instagram, Janay Rice wrote:

    I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend. But to have to accept the fact that it’s reality is a nightmare in itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.

    THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!

Some think that Janay Rice is psychologically defective because she has stood up for Ray. Others think she is a gold-digger who will dump him now that he is more or less unemployable. They could be right. I don’t know, I’ve never met the woman. But why not believe her? Is she embarrassed by the videos that have come to light? No doubt. Imagine the worst 30 seconds of your life being published on TMZ. But she has been with Rice since they were teenagers. She knows him a hell of a lot better than you and I do. She got knocked out, and married him anyway. I don’t know; there is a lot of posturing going on here, but my inclination is to be on her side.

Read the whole thing.

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Meanwhile, another of those racist Republicans and conservatives, Ian Tuttle, writing at National Review, notes just how thoroughly this kind of media feeding frenzy violates due process.

[T]he release of the video reopened the case not in a court of law, but in the court of public opinion, where millions of amateur observers have psychoanalyzed, speculated, and nitpicked every grainy second of footage.

There is much to be said about the problem of domestic violence, about the rights and responsibilities of victims of abuse, about the way cases of abuse ought to be handled by the legal system. But Ray and Janay Rice made a point of not offering their case as evidence for any argument in these debates. Against their will, the affair they deemed settled, finished, past, has been commandeered for political points, usurped as evidence, transmuted into a morality tale.

TMZ has no doubt garnered millions of website clicks in the last three days. But the release of the video has not served to correct an error or to right a wrong. It has served only to inflame our voyeuristic inclinations and give us de facto permission to readjudicate a settled matter of law.

We do not suffer the consequences of armchair lawyering. Ray and Janay Rice do. However damnable their decisions, in America private citizens still have the right to live private lives.

Full article.

When I was out running errands yesterday, I heard Rush Limbaugh also sympathizing with the Rices.

11 Sep 2014

13 Years Ago: Rick Rescorla Saved 2700 Lives

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Rick Rescorla in Vietnam, 15 Nov 1965
Captain Rescorla in action at Ia Drang, Republic of Vietnam, 15 November 1965.
photograph: Peter Arnett/AP.

Born in Hayle, Cornwall, May 27, 1939, to a working-class family, Rescorla joined the British Army in 1957, serving three years in Cyprus. Still eager for adventure, after army service, Rescorla enlisted in the Northern Rhodesia Police.

Ultimately finding few prospects for advancement in Britain or her few remaining colonies, Rescorla moved to the United States, and joined the US Army in 1963. After graduating from Officers’ Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1964, he was assigned as a platoon leader to Bravo Company of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, Third Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Rescorla’s serious approach to training and his commitment to excellence led to his men to apply to him the nickname “Hard Corps.”

The 2nd Battalion of the 7th Cavalry was sent to Vietnam in 1965, where it soon engaged in the first major battle between American forces and the North Vietnamese Army at Ia Drang.

The photograph above was used on the cover of Colonel Harold Moore’s 1992 memoir We Were Soldiers Once… and Young, made into a film starring Mel Gibson in 2002. Rescorla was omitted from the cast of characters in the film, which nonetheless made prominent use of his actual exploits, including the capture of the French bugle and the elimination of a North Vietnamese machine gun using a grenade.

For his actions in Vietnam, Rescorla was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star (twice), the Purple Heart, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. After Vietnam, he continued to serve in the Army Reserve, rising to the rank of Colonel by the time of his retirement in 1990.

Rick Rescorla became a US citizen in 1967. He subsequently earned bachelor’s, master’s, and law degrees from the University of Oklahoma, and proceeded to teach criminal law at the University of South Carolina from 1972-1976, before he moved to Chicago to become Director of Security for Continental Illinois Bank and Trust.

In 1985, Rescorla moved to New York to become Director of Security for Dean Witter, supervising a staff of 200 protecting 40 floors in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. (Morgan Stanley and Dean Witter merged in 1997.) Rescorla produced a report addressed to New York’s Port Authority identifying the vulnerability of the Tower’s central load-bearing columns to attacks from the complex’s insecure underground levels, used for parking and deliveries. It was ignored.

On February 26, 1993, Islamic terrorists detonated a car bomb in the underground garage located below the North Tower. Six people were killed, and over a thousand injured. Rescorla took personal charge of the evacuation, and got everyone out of the building. After a final sweep to make certain that no one was left behind, Rick Rescorla was the last to step outside.

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Rescorla on 9/11
Directing the evacuation on September 11th.
Security Guards Jorge Velasquez and Godwin Forde are on the right.
photograph: Eileen Mayer Hillock.

Rescorla was 62 years old, and suffering from prostate cancer on September 11, 2001. Nonetheless, he successfully evacuated all but 6 of Morgan Stanley’s 2800 employees. (Four of the six lost included Rescorla himself and three members of his own security staff, including both the two security guards who appear in the above photo and Vice President of Corporate Security Wesley Mercer, Rescorla’s deputy.) Rescorla travelled personally, bullhorn in hand, as low as the 10th floor and as high as the 78th floor, encouraging people to stay calm and make their way down the stairs in an orderly fashion. He is reported by many witnesses to have sung “God Bless America,” “Men of Harlech, ” and favorites from Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. “Today is a day to be proud to be an American,” he told evacuees.

A substantial portion of the South Tower’s workforce had already gotten out, thanks to Rescorla’s efforts, by the time the second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, struck the South Tower at 9:02:59 AM. Just under an hour later, as the stream of evacuees came to an end, Rescorla called his best friend Daniel Hill on his cell phone, and told him that he was going to make a final sweep. Then the South Tower collapsed.

Rescorla had observed a few months earlier to Hill, “Men like us shouldn’t go out like this.” (Referring to his cancer.) “We’re supposed to die in some desperate battle performing great deeds.” And he did.

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His hometown of Hayle in Cornwall has erected a memorial.

Hayle Memorial

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2,996 was a project put together by blogger Dale Roe to honor each victim of the September 11, 2001 attacks. 3,061 blogs committed to posting tributes to each victim. Never Yet Melted’s tribute was to Rick Rescorla, and is republished annually.

10 Sep 2014

Count Them

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ObamaSmarterThan

10 Sep 2014

Sleepy Morning

09 Sep 2014

Susan Sontag

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susansontag10

Emily St. John Mandel, in Humanities, discusses a new documentary, Regarding Susan Sontag, on the life and personality of the renowned critic and intellectual.

I was going to embed the trailer but, when I looked at it, I thought it was a completely distortive crock which was attempting, unnecessarily, to ramp up excitement over its subject by misleadingly portraying Sontag as some kind of danger-loving war correspondent and street-fighting activist.

Sontag, of course, was neither of the above. What she was was really an extraordinarily gifted and extraordinarily passionate autodidact, who by force of will lifted herself from 1950s American suburbia to a position of international fame as a critic, author, and engagée public intellectual.

The film apparently accurately, unlike the trailer, devotes itself to paying tribute to Sontag’s omniverous intellectual enthusiasm and unbridled capacity for taking pleasure in the exercise of the mind.

Reflecting on the collapse of his marriage with Sontag, in a story that appeared in the New York Observer a year after her death, Philip Rieff said, “I think what I wanted was a large family and what she wanted was a large library.”

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

09 Sep 2014

110 Years Ago

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James_Joyce_Tower_01
The Martello Tower is now a museum.

Today in Literature:

On this day in 1904, twenty-two-year-old James Joyce moved into the Martello Tower in Sandycove, outside Dublin, with his friend Oliver St. John Gogarty. Joyce only stayed with Gogarty for a week — there were disagreements, and in October Joyce and Nora Barnacle left for Europe — but their relationship and the Tower setting would become the opening chapter of Ulysses. The Sandycove Martello Tower was one of many built by the British army a century earlier as a defense system against a Napoleonic invasion — thus Stephen Dedalus (Joyce) is able to joke that Buck Mulligan (Gogarty) pays his rent to “the secretary of state for war.”

james-joyce

09 Sep 2014

Animation

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09 Sep 2014

Last Friday

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Two deer interrupted the evening commute last Friday around 5:30 PM, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. They were presumably on their way north to attend one of the private events up at Bohemian Grove on the Russian River.

08 Sep 2014

Not Everyone at Yale Likes Free Speech

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HellenPriceTwitter
Helen Price’s Twitter page

Yale’s William F. Buckley Jr. Speaker Program announced recently that, in its third year of operation, it would be expanding its speaker program to host 8 speakers in the Fall semester. The most interesting guest speaker scheduled this Fall will probably be Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born victim of genital mutilation famous for her public criticism of certain Muslim practices.

The Oldest College Daily’s article, however, noted that not everyone approved of the speaker program.

Students who are not involved in the program have mixed feelings about its presence on campus — especially its conservative bent.

Helen Price ’18 said that although she appreciates the effort the program makes to promote intellectual diversity, in practice such an effort can be problematic.

“When you invite very conservative speakers here who perhaps have controversial views on Islam or homosexuality, you essentially make Yale a very uncomfortable place for a large percentage of the people here on campus, and everyone should feel at home at college,” Price said.

———————————————-

The freshman Ms. Price received national attention for her expressed discomfort at the airing of controversial, i.e. politically incorrect, views.

Eric Owens, at the Daily Caller, pounced all over her.

Who is Helen Price? According to her Twitter profile, she’s quite a ritzy, jet-setting princess. She describes herself as a “Yale student, leftie, Berliner, Brit, blogger” with not one and not two but three locations: ”Berlin, New Haven, England.”

She thinks incredibly highly of herself, too, let her just tell you:

    Since my last birthday I’ve got into Yale, Oxford etc, been published in the Guardian, captained my national debating team & moved to Berlin

    — Helen Price (@HelenPrice1994) November 5, 2013

Her Twitter profile also includes language from a May 17, 2014 tweet she composed:

    And I’m wearing a tee that says “My Marxist Feminist Dialectic Brings All The Boys to the Yard”, so that isn’t going down well.

    — Helen Price (@HelenPrice1994) May 17, 2014

It’s not clear if Price understands how such casual mentions of Marxism might make someone — from, say, Cambodia, or North Korea, or Ukraine — “very uncomfortable.”

The young Marxist’s 15-minutes-of-fame has clearly occasioned some further discomfort as the young lady’s Twitter feed has since become “Protected,” meaning that access to her current and older tweets is now specifically limited to followers she approves.

08 Sep 2014

Greene King IPA Commercial

Hat tip to Jose Guardia [Facebook].

08 Sep 2014

A Good Day

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FlyingMonkeys

08 Sep 2014

Watch Out, Putin!

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ObamaRuiningEconomy

07 Sep 2014

Amish Raise Barn in Ohio

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07 Sep 2014

London’s Ripper Murders Solved 126 Years Later

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Kosminski
Aaron Kosminski

The Daily Mail reports that DNA analysis of semen left on the shawl of one of the Ripper’s victims has pinned down the identity of the most famous killer of the 19th century.

It is the greatest murder mystery of all time, a puzzle that has perplexed criminologists for more than a century and spawned books, films and myriad theories ranging from the plausible to the utterly bizarre.

But now, thanks to modern forensic science, The Mail on Sunday can exclusively reveal the true identity of Jack the Ripper, the serial killer responsible for at least five grisly murders in Whitechapel in East London during the autumn of 1888.

DNA evidence has now shown beyond reasonable doubt which one of six key suspects commonly cited in connection with the Ripper’s reign of terror was the actual killer – and we reveal his identity.

A shawl found by the body of Catherine Eddowes, one of the Ripper’s victims, has been analysed and found to contain DNA from her blood as well as DNA from the killer.

The landmark discovery was made after businessman Russell Edwards, 48, bought the shawl at auction and enlisted the help of Dr Jari Louhelainen, a world-renowned expert in analysing genetic evidence from historical crime scenes.

Using cutting-edge techniques, Dr Louhelainen was able to extract 126-year-old DNA from the material and compare it to DNA from descendants of Eddowes and the suspect, with both proving a perfect match.

The revelation puts an end to the fevered speculation over the Ripper’s identity which has lasted since his murderous rampage in the most impoverished and dangerous streets of London.

Read the whole thing.

JacktheRipper

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