08 Apr 2018

Black Florida Legislator Thanks God for Slavery

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Florida Rep. Kimberly Daniels

Kimberly Daniels is a former prostitute who got religion, became a minister, and wound up elected to the Florida State House of Representatives from Jacksonville as a democrat.

She recently sponsored a bill which would require Florida public schools to post “In God We Trust” on their premises, which has outraged the militant secularist crowd.

Progressive Secular Humanist Michael Stone had a cow on the Patheos blog over a recent comment by Daniels thanking God for American Antebellum Slavery, because “if it wasn’t for slavery, I might be somewhere in Africa worshipping a tree.”

Personally, I found her comment refreshingly un-PC and a lot more intelligent than the standard bitching and moaning about 150-years-dead historical circumstances and events.

Rep. Daniels’ quip is obviously not precisely accurate, absent slavery, today’s individual African Americans simply would never would have been born. But if, like Rep. Daniels, they indulge in imagining themselves born with the same identical personhood in their ancestral African place of genetic origin, they obviously would find themselves living in extreme poverty and primitive circumstances, with a much shorter life expectancy, possibly exposed to the hazards of tribal or religious violence or even to a slave trade still operating in the 21st Century, and worshiping trees or worse.

Michael Stone barks: “The stupid, it burns.” Well, he ought to know, because he, not Rep. Daniels, is the stupid one.

The African American community would be a lot better off with more leaders and spokesmen like Kimberly Daniels than they are with Al Sharpton and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

08 Apr 2018

Who Made These Ancient Sculptures of Horsemen Near the Pir Panjal Range?

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Scroll.in:

The Pir Panjal is a sub-range of the Great Himalayan mountain system that stretches from Murree in Pakistan to the Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh. Across the Pir Panjal were ancient trade routes connected by passes locally known as Galis. Strewn along these old trade routes through the passes, between the Kashmir Valley and Jammu, you will come across mysterious and spectacular sculptures of soldiers on horseback. Mostly unknown outside the region, these ancient sentinels are only known to trekkers and locals who make their way through here.

The Horsemen of the Pir Panjal are found mostly at the foot of the Galis or on the main Gali itself and they usually have a natural water spring and accompanying pond nearby. There is no doubt that these sculptures mark important strategic points on ancient routes that connected various villages in the Pir Panjal. These were probably markers to identify milestones or resting places for weary horses and men. However, little is known about who built them and when.

The sculptures are mostly of horsemen along with some other reliefs of what seem to be local Gods and Devtas. This has led to a fair bit of speculation. Locals believe that the horsemen were put here by the Pandavas from the Hindu epic Mahabharata when they visited the place millennia back. Others point to the attire of the horsemen and the unique geometric shapes, as motifs, to say that these horsemen may have Bactrian origins.

RTWT

07 Apr 2018

The Atlantic Narrows the Overton Window to an Arrow Slit (For Conservatives)

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I think Jonah Goldberg did the best job of putting Kevin Williamson’s rapid firing by The Atlantic (after a single editorial) in the appropriate perspective.

Michael Anton, who penned “The Flight 93 Election” back when he was hiding behind a pen-name, articulated very well in an exchange with me what millions of conservatives believe to be true:

    The old American ideal of judging individuals and not groups, content-of-character-not-color-of-skin, is dead, dead, dead. Dead as a matter of politics, policy and culture. The left plays by new rules. The right still plays by the old rules. The left laughs at us for it — but also demands that we keep to that rulebook. They don’t even bother to cheat. They proclaim outright that “these rules don’t apply to our side.”

I disagree with Anton’s prescription — to surrender to identity politics and cheat the way our “enemies” do — but I cannot argue much with this description of a widespread mindset. Many on the right are surrendering to the logic of the mob because they are sick of double standards. Again, I disagree with the decision to surrender, but I certainly empathize with the temptation. The Left and the mainstream media can’t even see how they don’t want to simply win, they want to force people to celebrate their victories (“You will be made to care!”). It isn’t forced conversion at the tip of a sword, but at the blunt edge of a virtual mob.

I could go on for another 2,000 words about all of the double standards I have in mind. But let’s stick with the subject at hand: Kevin Williamson’s views on abortion put him outside the mainstream. And he was fired from The Atlantic merely for refusing to recant them.

Meanwhile, extreme views on the left are simply hot takes or even signs of genius. Take the philosopher Peter Singer. He has at least as extreme views on a host of issues, and he is feted and celebrated for them. He is the author of the Encyclopedia Britannica’s entry on “Ethics.” He holds an endowed chair at Princeton. He writes regularly for leading publications. And he argues that sometimes it’s okay to kill babies, as in his essay “Killing Babies Isn’t Always Wrong.” “Newborn human babies,” he writes, “have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living.” He cutely asks whether people should cease to exist. (He ultimately and grudgingly answers “No.”) Oh, he also argues in favor of bestiality.

And he’s been profiled favorably in the pages of The Atlantic.

And that’s okay. I can’t stand his utilitarian logic-chopping and nihilistic view of humanity, but at least going by Nock’s Ark of the Covenant rules, he should be free to make his arguments anywhere willing editors want to publish them. We have a right to be wrong.

But that’s not the point: Singer’s work does not render him anathema in elite circles, it earns awards, praise, and celebration for its ruthless consistency and edgy provocation. He is not fired for what he writes never mind what he thinks. I have no doubt some people don’t think this is a perfect example of a double standard, and I could come up with some objections to it myself. But if you can’t see why some people — fellow American citizens — see it as a glaring double standard, you are part of the problem.

Kevin was hired by The Atlantic because he is among the best of the homeless conservatives in the Trump Era. That’s why Bret Stephens went to the New York Times, and it’s probably why I’ve gotten my share of strange new respect from some liberals. But what Goldberg — or his boss — and countless others fail to appreciate, I think, is that the Trump Era is merely one facet of the larger age of tribalism that we live in. In an age when evangelical Christians and constitutional conservatives can overlook the sins of a Roy Moore, it’s easy to see how people could mistake a Trump critic as a useful voice in their chorus. But Kevin isn’t one of them. He sings from his own hymnal and he stands athwart the tribalisms of Trumpism and the tribalisms that gave us Trump. He is in The Remnant (which Nock described in, of all places, The Atlantic). And I am honored to be a happy warrior by his side, hopefully at National Review once again.

RTWT

It seems to me that The Atlantic disgraced and embarrassed itself so badly that it really did far more damage to itself than to Kevin Williamson.

07 Apr 2018

I’d Never Live in Britain

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Richard Osborn-Brooks

The Telegraph has another one of those stories which amazes and appalls.

A pensioner has been arrested after a suspected burglar was killed during a violent tussle at his home.

The 78-year-old was held on suspicion of murder after the 38-year-old died of his wounds in hospital in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Police said the struggle broke out after the pensioner, named locally as Richard Osborn-Brooks, found two men inside his home in South Park, Hither Green, south London shortly after midnight.

One of the burglars, who was armed with a screwdriver, forced the homeowner into his kitchen while his accomplice went upstairs.

Detectives believe a struggle then took place between “one of the males and the homeowner” and the 38-year-old intruder was stabbed in the upper body.

He was later found collapsed in nearby Further Green Road by paramedics from London Ambulance Service, who took him to a central London hospital where he died at 3.37am. Police were unable to confirm whether the suspect had been stabbed with the screwdriver.

The second suspect fled the scene before police arrived and is now being hunted by the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command.

Gordon Williams, a local resident, said: “I could hear people moaning in the street and just thought it was someone drunk. I saw the body laid in the street and another guy jump in a van and leave.

“I leaned over him and tried to reassure him. There was a lot of blood.”

In a statement Scotland Yard said: “At 00:45hrs on Wednesday, 4 April, police were called by a homeowner to reports of a burglary in progress at an address in South Park Crescent, Hither Green SE6, and a man injured.

“The 78-year-old resident found two males inside the address. A struggle ensued between one of the males and the homeowner. The man, aged 37, sustained a stab wound to the upper body.”

The home owner suffered bruising to his arms and his injuries are not life threatening.

Police arrested him on suspicion of grievous bodily harm before then arresting him on suspicion of murder.

He was taken to a south London police station where he remains at this time.

RTWT

07 Apr 2018

Cape York Shotgun

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A flintlock shot gun was found inside a tree harvested on Cape York, the northernmost point in Australia, in the course of it being milled into boards. The gun is supposed to have been left in the fork of the tree and the tree grown around it over many years.

Via Wide Open Spaces.

05 Apr 2018

The Age of the Whiny Victim

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Brett Stevens points out that, in an Age of Leftism, everyone wants to be a victim.

It is amazing how many people will approve of a concept that “sounds good” without understanding what it means. Take, for example, the term “equality.”

On the surface, equality sounds like this: treat everyone the same regardless of their background, or in other words, be fair. People think that is all that it means, but forget that life does not happen in a single step, but in cycles.

Here is the equality cycle: when we declare equality, we are setting ourselves up for failure if results are unequal despite fair treatment. For that reason, we give the people who are not succeeding a little nudge, hoping it will make them rise at least to the middle.

If we do not do that, then unequal results make us question the term “equality” at all. When people talk about inequality in wages despite different rates of individual productivity, they are caught in this stage. Results did not match expectations, and so people seek to inject subsidies in the mix.

These subsidies can be as simple as giving the poor kid more leeway in grading his papers at school, as moderate as social services which are free but mostly used by lower-income people, or as extreme as taxing the upper half of society to subsidize the lower half. Yet they always seem to drift toward that level.

In that, we see the feedback loop: each time results do not match the theory, we tip the scales a bit, but that does not work either. We tip the scales more in consequence, and then begin the cycle again. It never ends until something like full Communism comes around the bend, and then everyone is finally equal in theory.

For those caught in the middle of these loops, only one solution presents itself: be a victim.

We know that “equality” invariably and inevitably becomes a pathology of taking from the strong to give to the weak, so the only safety is in finding some way to be weak. You can be a minority, gay, disabled, abused, addicted, ill or mentally ill, or even just depressed, but you need something or the mob of the weak will come for you.

Thus we create a culture of entitlement and victimhood where the victims are entitled and therefore being a victim is valuable if for nothing else in fending off the demands of others who want subsidies with what you have.

RTWT

05 Apr 2018

Muslim Woman: “Too Many Finns in Finland”

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But she has the answer to the problem…

HT: VDare.

05 Apr 2018

Augustus II Coronation Plate

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Soup plate from the Coronation Service of Augustus II “the Strong”, King of Poland 1697-1706, 1709-1733, bearing, quartered, the arms of Poland and Lithuania.

Hampel Fine Art Auctions, April 12, 2018, 10:00 AM CET, Munich, Germany, Lot 332: Estimated price: €3,000 – €5,000.

Augustus sheltered the alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger, after he escaped captivity at the hands of Frederick I of Prussia, but then imprisoned him himself in order to force him to produce gold.

Efforts at producing gold proving unsuccessful, Augustus put Böttger to work on discovering the secret of Chinese porcelain. The correct method of producing hard-paste porcelain was discovered in 1708, leading to the establishment of the famous factory in Meissen in 1710. Böttger died in 1719.

05 Apr 2018

Lampshade, Japan, circa 1905.


Lampshade. Japan, circa 1905. Plique à jour enamel, silver. height 20.5 cm.

A plique à jour enamel lampshade with a rounded hexagonal bell-shaped body and petalled rim worked in white enamel with stylized flowers and foliate scrolls on a pale blue-grey ground. Applied with silver rims. Text and image via Khalili Collection.

It is said that it was Ando Jubei who introduced the technique of plique à jour (shotai jippo) to Japan; supposedly he first saw such work, made by Fernand Thesmar (see FR 284), at the Paris Exposition of 1900. But this cannot be true since the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore has a piece (inv. no. 44.156) in the technique labeled Namikawa Sosuke, and there is one in the 1896 Sosuke book (see E 7) said to have been exhibited at Chicago in 1893.

This technique, where the supporting metal is removed after firing to leave the glass and the wire alone, is notoriously difficult. It was an astonishing feat to acquire the skill so quickly and from such a slender source. Large pieces are particularly difficult to make as it is almost impossible to avoid some small cracks during the cooling process.

O. Impey, M. Fairley (eds.), Meiji No Takara: Treasures Of Imperial Japan: Enamel, London 1994, cat. 76.

J. Earle, Splendors of Imperial Japan: Arts of the Meiji period from the Khalili Collection, London 2002, cat. 234, p. 327.

04 Apr 2018

“If You Go Out to the Woods Tonight…”

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Boston Globe:

Something attacked my son while he was sledding in the woods. But what?

My child went sledding alone and emerged from the trees bloody and dazed. He still can’t remember what happened. …

The doctors’ conclusion, shared with us the next day, is that Beckett was attacked by a large bird of prey, probably a great horned owl. He likely encroached, unknowingly, on the bird’s nest and was blindsided with such force that he was knocked unconscious. The image of our son alone, face down in the snow, is haunting. We wonder what might have happened if he hadn’t managed to stagger to his feet and find his way home.

DO A LITTLE GOOGLING and you’ll discover that violent attacks of this sort aren’t common, but they do happen, usually in places where raptors and humans are forced to coexist, such as ski areas, golf courses, and suburban parks. Some victims compare the blitzkrieg to being hit in the head with a baseball bat.

The Fells includes hiking trails, meadows, and reservoirs, and over the years, we’ve encountered a lot of wildlife, including deer, foxes, coyotes, turkeys, hawks, and, once or twice, an owl with tufted ears and a storybook scowl, perched in a tree.

Andrew Vitz, the state ornithologist, tells me the Fells is home to raptors, including several types of hawks. But because hawks nest in the late spring and summer, they typically don’t behave aggressively in winter. If they do strike, Vitz says, hawks don’t inflict the sort of damage that was done to Beckett.

But great horned owls, which also reside in the Fells, are another matter. They nest in the winter and they’re bigger, more powerful birds, weighing about 4 pounds and capable of flying 40 miles per hour. Great horned owls are notorious for their stealth and strength. They strike without warning — their feathers are adapted to minimize noise during flight — and their long, needle-sharp talons can apply sufficient pressure to snap the spine of their prey.

“The great horned owl is a large, very strong bird, and when it strikes, it’s almost always at the head,” Vitz tells me. “What happened to your son is consistent with an owl attack.”

HT: Althouse via Bird Dog.

04 Apr 2018

Why a 53-Year-Old Big-City Lawyer Who Has Never Shot a Gun Joined the NRA

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Chuck wants you to join!

Josh Kantrow recently joined the NRA.

I am a 53-year-old lawyer who lives in a trendy neighborhood in a large diverse city with my wife and three kids. I have never owned a gun. In fact, even though I grew up in Louisiana (“Sportsman’s Paradise”), I have never even pulled the trigger of any weapon except a BB gun.

Yet, last week, I became a proud member of the NRA for the first time. I did so because the anti-gun hysteria that I’ve witnessed is dangerous, alarming, and ignores the facts. I’ve joined the NRA to stand up for them when they are viciously attacked, since the organization is a convenient scapegoat, not a cause of what happened in Florida.

I’m fed up. …

[I]nstead of focusing on … social issues and law enforcement breakdowns, we’ve seen unbridled hatred and rage directed toward responsible gun owners. I’ve seen this personally by my friends on the Left. The simple facts are these: overall gun violence is down markedly over the last 20 years, even as more guns are in circulation and the Supreme Court has given greater backing to individual rights to own a firearm. …

It seems to me, however, that the Left is not interested in sensible changes to existing gun laws, such as strengthening background checks, employing more armed security at schools, and better identification and separation of troubled youths. Rather, the Left wants to destroy the NRA and repeal the Second Amendment, as articulated recently by former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

RTWT

I’m a Life Member myself.

04 Apr 2018

Making Lunch in Belgium

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It’s not easy finding the chanterelles (girolles), even if all you need is a handful (une poignée).

02 Apr 2018

“The Middle of Nowhere”

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An 1812 log cabin somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

Salena Zito takes personal exception to the coastal urban elites’ condescension toward people who would rather live in the real America.

Earlier this year, Bill Kristol, editor at large at the Weekly Standard, tweeted ahead of the Super Bowl that it was too bad two Acela Corridor teams, the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, had to play their matchup “in the middle of nowhere.”

It was a reference to the host city of Minneapolis’ location in the Midwest, far from the “civilized worlds” of Boston and Philadelphia – the assumption being that unless you are on the East Coast, your town’s sophistication and glamour could not live up to the modern amenities of a cosmopolitan city.

In my estimation, there is no patch of geography in this country that is the “middle of nowhere.” This is America; everywhere is the middle of somewhere.

Whether it is Tightwad, Mo., Mooresville, Ala., Hyder, Alaska, Oatman, Ariz., or right here in Lost River, W.Va., every place, large or small, depressed or thriving, or down to one mailbox on one lonely road, is somewhere.

We are all equals; we all contribute to the culture, diversity, dialect, and importance of this country. We build things, we serve in our communities, we serve in our military, we create families, businesses, and technology no matter where we are – we find a way to make each village and town and city a unique snapshot of this country.

It is an idea and an ideal that Hillary Clinton not only got wrong in the last election, but is still getting wrong; her remarks in India in March reinforced that.

“If you look at the map of the United States, there’s all that red in the middle where Trump won,” she said. “I win the coast, I win, you know, Illinois and Minnesota, places like that.”

She went on to say that where she won, America is thriving: “I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product. So, I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward. And his whole campaign, ‘Make America Great Again,’ was looking backwards.”

Clinton is not the only person to hold that contempt. Many of her supporters have gone on to agree with her and to hold those same strident positions – and their condescension for half of the country has only deepened since November 2016.

No one has learned anything; no one cares to. Everyone wants to hold on to their bigotry towards the people who live and work and worship and go on with the business of life outside of “the places that represent two thirds of America’s gross domestic product.”

They don’t get that they are just as optimistic, just as diverse, just as dynamic, and deal with the same issues of gender, sexuality, and race just as often as they do. They just don’t make slick commercials of their lives to reinforce their worthiness.

They deal with these issues with dignity, not fanfare.

The response last week to Roseanne Barr’s return to ABC primetime television floored these same elites – the two-episode premiere attracted an astounding 18.2 million viewers, over-performing in the very middle of America, in states like Oklahoma, Ohio, and Pennsylvania where towns like Claremore, Center of the World, and Intercourse are always beating back the notion they are in the middle of nowhere.

Cities like New York and Los Angeles did not even crack the top 20.

Those “middle of somewhere” places showed everyone they are a viable and prosperous force to be reckoned with and that whether they supported Trump or not, they are tired of rarely finding an American family who looked just like them on television – when they do, those shows are often canceled too quickly.

Politics, government, Hollywood, and popular culture have long overlooked the middle of America – diversity focuses of the last generation have been on color and gender, leaving behind the religious, cultural, and economic diversity of the Midwest.

Their role has been to be a butt of a joke, or mocked, or sneered at, or all three.

Our current political populism has been a pushback against larger institutions like Hollywood and its disconnect with the heartland – and it has also been a pushback against establishment politicians, like Clinton and her unmasked contempt for those who live here.

It is only once the people in power understand that Trump was the result of this movement, and not the cause, that maybe they’ll start calling all of America the middle of somewhere.

RTWT

—————————–

That contempt often proceeds to real aggression. As Glenn Reynolds observes:

“Gun Control [u]ltimately, [is] all about humiliating the flyover rubes and letting them know who is boss. Everything else is window dressing.”

02 Apr 2018

When Snowflakes Date

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