20 Nov 2019

To Be Auctioned: New Alleged Photograph of Billy the Kid

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Billy the Kid and three Regulator friends playing cards. From left, Richard Brewer, Billy the Kid (with tall hat), Fred Waite, Henry Brown.

Sofe Design Auctions, November 22, 2019, 11:00 AM CST
Richardson, TX, Lot 241: Sensational Authenticated 1870s BILLY THE KID Tintype Image with Great Provenance. Opening Bid: $50,000. Estimated price: $500,000 — $1,000,000.

A HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT, INCREDIBLY RARE ONE-OF-A-KIND 1877-78 BON-TON TINTYPE PHOTO IMAGE OF THE OLD WEST’S MOST FAMOUS AND MYSTERIOUS OUTLAW, WILLIAM BONNEY, AKA BILLY THE KID. THE IMAGE ALSO CONTAINING THREE IMPORTANT BTK FRIENDS AND FELLOW NEW MEXICO LINCOLN COUNTY WAR REGULATOR VIGILANTES: RICHARD BREWER, FRED WAITE, AND HENRY BROWN. (BILLY THE KID WILL HERETOFORE BE REFERRED TO AS BTK). THIS AMAZING PHOTO IMAGE IS ONLY THE SECOND POSITIVELY DOCUMENTED, ANALYZED PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGE OF BTK. AS WELL AS THE ONLY KNOWN GROUP IMAGE KNOWN TO INCLUDE BTK. POSSESSING METICULOUS AND IRREFUTABLE TEXAS/NEW MEXICO ANDERSON FAMILY PROVENANCE DATING BACK THREE GENERATIONS. AS WELL AS 101 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS ANDERSON FAMILY POSSESSION AND SAFEKEEPING. THIS NEVER BEFORE SEEN NOR PUBLICLY OFFERED (LIKELY ONE OF A FOUR-PLATE) PHOTOGRAPHIC MASTERPIECE IS ONLY THE SECOND POSITIVELY DOCUMENTED AND FORENSICALLY ESTABLISHED BTK IMAGE. AS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, THE SUBJECT PHOTOGRAPH BEING THE ONLY AS YET UNEARTHED GROUP IMAGE OF BTK, POSITIVELY ESTABLISHED THROUGH BOTH SCIENTIFIC AND FORENSIC STUDY. AND EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, CRUCIAL AND CONTINUOUS ANDERSON FAMILY CHAIN OF PROVENANCE DATING BACK FROM THE PRESENT DAY, BACK TO 1918, WHEN TOMAS ANDERSON SR. RECEIVED THE SUBJECT PHOTO DIRECTLY, AND WITH POSITIVE AFFIRMATION OF IDENTIFICATION OF IT POSITIVELY CONTAINING BTK. COMING DIRECTLY FROM, AND GIVEN TO MY GRANDFATHER BY THE WIDOW OF DAVID LAWRENCE ANDERSON, (MY GRANDFATHER’S 2ND COUSIN) ALIAS BILLY WILSON, (WHO RODE WITH AND BEFRIENDED BTK DURING THE LINCOLN COUNTY WAR, AND WHO WAS THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE SUBJECT PHOTOGRAPH TO HOLD AS SAFEKEEPING PRIOR TO BTK’S 1881 MURDER). …

HE IMAGE DEPICTS THE FOUR MEN PLAYING A FRIENDLY GAME OF CARDS AND DRINKING, IN WHAT WAS UNDOUBTEDLY A “STAGED” PHOTO SITTING BY AN ANONYMOUS TRAVELING PHOTOGRAPHER. MOST LIKELY THE SUBJECT PHOTO WAS PART OF A FOUR-TIN PLATE, WHICH WOULD HAVE COST AROUND, AND SOLD FOR, 25 CENTS, AND DISTRIBUTED INDIVIDUALLY TO EACH OF THE FOUR MEN. ALL PERTINENT DOCUMENTATION PAPERWORK INCLUDED WITH SALE (SHOWN IN AUCTION PHOTOS): PERSONALLY WRITTEN AND ATTESTED-TO ANDERSON FAMILY PROVENANCE CONTINUOUSLY DATING BACK TO 1918 IS PROVIDED TO THE WINNING BIDDER. AS WELL, THE APPROXIMATE AGE AND SPECIFIC TYPE OF ORIGINAL BON-TON TINTYPE BEING POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BY THE ESTEEMED GEORGE EASTMAN MUSEUM’S HEAD CURATOR. (THE APPROXIMATION OF DATE STAMPING THE PHOTO FROM MID-1877 TO EARLY 1878, COMES FROM THE FACT THAT THE FOUR SUBJECTS IN THE PHOTO ALL WORKED AT THE JOHN TUNSTALL NEW MEXICO RANCH TOGETHER STARTING IN MID-1877, AND RICHARD BREWER, THE SUBJECT ON THE FAR LEFT IN THE PHOTOGRAPH WAS MURDERED IN APRIL,1878). IN ADDITION, A TOP WESTERN PHOTO FORENSIC SCIENTIST WHO RESEARCHED AND WORKED ON SCIENTIFIC FACIAL RECOGNITION AND OTHER PERTINENT RESEARCH FOR SEVERAL MONTHS POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BTK AND FRED WAITE AS TWO OF THE MEMBERS OF THE SUBJECT PHOTO. (THE OTHER TWO SUBJECTS: BREWER AND BROWN ARE TURNED PROFILE, THUS PRECLUDING FORENSICALLY IDENTIFYING THEM. HOWEVER, AS SEEN IN THE SUPERIMPOSED PHOTO OF PREVIOUSLY DOCUMENTED IMAGES OF THE FOUR MEN, THEN PLACED ON TOP OF THE SUBJECT PHOTO, THE EXTREMELY CLOSE SIMILARITIES OF THE FOUR MEN, INCLUDING BREWER AND BROWN ARE QUITE EVIDENT. IN ADDITION, NOTED ENGLISH APPRAISAL FIRM BARNEBY’S HAS APPRAISED AND COMMENTED VERY POSITIVELY ABOUT THE SUBJECT PHOTOGRAPH, ASSIGNING AN APPROXIMATE PRE-AUCTION ESTIMATE OF 100,000+. BESIDES ALL THE ACCOMPANYING DOCUMENTATION INCLUDED IN THE SALE, IS THE ORIGINAL 1872 LEATHER PHOTO ALBUM WITH BILLY WILSON’S CARVED INITIALS IN WHICH THE SUBJECT PHOTO WAS ORIGINALLY ACQUIRED BY TOMAS ANDERSON SR. IN 1918. …

Billy The Kid (born Henry McCarty 1859-1881, also known as William H. Bonney) was an American Old West outlaw and gunfighter who killed eight men before he was shot and killed at age 21. He took part in New Mexico’s Lincoln County War, during which he allegedly committed three murders.After murdering a blacksmith during an altercation in August 1877, Bonney became a wanted man in Arizona Territory and returned to New Mexico, where he joined a group of cattle rustlers. He became a well-known figure in the region when he joined the Regulators and took part in the Lincoln County War. In April 1878, the Regulators killed three men, including Lincoln County Sheriff William J. Brady and one of his deputies. Bonney and two other Regulators were later charged with killing all three men. Bonney’s notoriety grew in December 1880 when the Las Vegas Gazette in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and The Sun in New York City carried stories about his crimes. Sheriff Pat Garrett captured Bonney later that month. In April 1881, Bonney was tried and convicted of the murder of Brady, and was sentenced to hang in May of that year. He escaped from jail on April 28, 1881, killing two sheriff’s deputies in the process and evading capture for more than two months. Garrett shot and killed Bonney aged 21 in Fort Sumner on July 14, 1881. During the following decades, legends that Bonney had survived that night grew, and a number of men claimed to be him.

Richard M. “Dick” Brewer (February 19, 1850 – April 4, 1878), was an American cowboy and Lincoln County, New Mexico, lawman. He was the founding leader of the Regulators, a deputized posse that fought in the Lincoln County War. Brewer was born on February 19, 1850 in St. Albans, Vermont. At the age of four, he and his family moved to Boaz, Wisconsin. Brewer moved on to Missouri before arriving in Lincoln County, New Mexico. Brewer tried farming as a profession, and he bought a farm in Lincoln County with this in mind. In the spring of 1871, Brewer began working for Lawrence Murphy, but soon left that job. By 1876, he was working as a cattle foreman for cattleman John Tunstall, owner of one of the largest farms in the area. On February 18, 1878, Tunstall was murdered. After Tunstall’s murder, a posse was deputized to serve arrest warrants on his killers, with Brewer chosen to lead the posse. The Regulators originated from that posse, and included Billy the Kid and Jose Chavez y Chavez. Dick Brewer established a bond of friendship with Billy the Kid, Chavez and the rest of Billy the Kid’s gang, and he was often accompanied by gang members. Being one of the founders of the Regulators, Brewer sometimes assumed a leadership role when around Billy, Chavez and the rest of their company, and was the first leader of the Regulators during the early stages of the Lincoln County War. The pair remained friends until Brewer’s death, and evidently he followed Brewer’s lead. Brewer was the most mature of the group, by all accounts, and the rest of the Regulators accepted him in that role.

Frederick Tecumseh Waite, occasionally spelled Fred Wayte (born September 23, 1853 – September 24, 1895), was a Chickasaw cowboy who joined Billy the Kid’s gang. His father was a farmer and operated a trading store and stage stop southeast of Pauls Valley in the Chickasaw Nation. Waite left Indian Territory to work as a cowboy in the New Mexico Territory. While working for John Tunstall as a ranch hand, he met Bill Bonney and several other men who worked for Tunstall. After Tunstall was killed in the Lincoln County War, Bonney, Waite and the others called themselves the Regulators while they pursued Tunstall’s killers. After that, they became known as the “Billy the Kid gang.” In 1880, Waite left the gang, returning to live in the Chickasaw Nation. Waite married, became a rancher and started a family. He lived a law-abiding life thereafter and became involved in Choctaw and Chickasaw politics. Elected to the legislature as a representative both as a representative and as a senator, he was even elected Speaker of the House for three sessions. Then he was appointed Attorney General of the Chickasaw Nation. He died of rheumatism at the age of 42.

Henry Newton Brown (1857 – April 30, 1884) was an American Old West gunman who played the roles of both lawman and outlaw during his life. In 1877, Brown landed in the New Mexico Territory, and became embroiled in the Lincoln County War. Brown joined Billy the Kid and cowboys as “The Regulators”, working John Tunstall’s Rio Feliz Ranch. On April 1, 1878, Brown, Billy the Kid, Jim French, Frank McNab, John Middleton and Fred Waite ambushed and murdered Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady, who was indirectly responsible for the death of Tunstall. Three days later, at the Gunfight at Blazer’s Mill, Brown and the Regulators engaged in a gunfight with Buckshot Roberts, another man they believed involved in Tunstall’s murder. Roberts received a serious gunshot wound from Charlie Bowdre which later proved to be fatal, but not before he managed to kill the Regulators’ nominal leader, Richard M. Brewer. Retreating into proprietor Blazer’s office, Roberts continued a prolonged firefight with Brown and the Regulators. He died the next day.

It will be interesting to see if the market accepts its authetication and it sells.

18 Nov 2019

Topiary

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Chameleon topiary of Echeveria and Alternantheria, 2013 Mosaiculture at Montreal Botanic Garden.

18 Nov 2019

The Lost Gold of Monterey Bay

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You got lucky and stumbled upon a fabulously valuable treasure of gold, then you learned that you were unlucky enough to live in a time and place so hedged round everywhere with rules and regulations that you could never even try to recover that treasure. All you can do is tell your sad, sad story to the SF Chronicle

One night five years ago, fisherman Giuseppe Pennisi was lying in bed with his laptop propped up on his barrel chest, reviewing video footage captured from his 76-foot boat, the Pioneer. The boat is a bottom trawler. It scoops up fish with a net that bounces across the seafloor at depths of more than 4,000 feet. A tinkerer, Pennisi likes to keep GoPro cameras attached to the net, allowing him to study the footage and improve his technique. That night, around 2 a.m., he noticed his camera slide past something unusual.

Along the murky seafloor, fish and rocks come in rounded shapes and soft colors, muted grays and greens. His eyes were attuned to this drab underwater landscape, which is why he had been puzzled by brief flashes of light on the video screen, shiny surfaces glimmering by. Then he saw it: a rectangular object, sharp-edged and pale, almost white, with a tinge of yellow.

It was September 2014, and Pennisi, who goes by Joe, was 50 years old, with four decades of fishing behind him. He had sailed on commercial boats since he was 7; his father and grandfather had towed their nets in the same waters for more than a century. He had never seen anything like the object in the video. Still, Joe sensed immediately what it might be. His net often got caught on the rotting underwater husks of old ships wrecked just beyond the Golden Gate, and he knew that some of those ships — Spanish galleons, Gold Rush-era steamers — had carried treasure.

He rewound the video, peered forward and froze the frame with the yellow rectangular object. It looked for all the world like a gold bar, an ingot. For a few minutes, he stared at it while his wife, Grazia, slept beside him.

Then he started to scream.

RTWT

17 Nov 2019

It’s a Wonderful Impeachment

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17 Nov 2019

Skeet Shooting Middle-Eastern Style

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Israeli Phalanx Close-in air defense system (by Raytheon) engaging incoming missiles.

This is part of Israel’s “Iron Dome” defense system. There appear to be at least two high speed guns out of view of the camera, maybe more. At least 50cal. or maybe 20mm for the range they are shooting. The white can in the foreground appears to be for close-in fire, in the event the longer range guns do not do the job. All this is radar/computer controlled, no human action except to turn it on. What we are seeing are real shoot-downs, rockets launched probably from Lebanon aimed at Tel Aviv or other populated targets. This is cutting-edge American technology.

HT: Henry Bernatonis.

16 Nov 2019

On Reading the Reflections of a Transgendered Economist

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Donald “Dierdre” McCloskey today.

Last night, I was glancing through the web-sites I follow a bit less frequently than daily and brought up Quillette. The second or third article I opened drew my appalled attention, and kept me thinking about it uneasily all night, in much the manner one is haunted afterwards by the sight of a blood-and-compound-fractures-everywhere motorcycle crash.

The name of the author, “Dierdre” McCloskey, rang a faint bell. When I looked him/her up, that proved to be no surprise, this McCloskey person was actually the rather well-known author of a much positively reviewed book on “The Bourgeois Virtues.”

Professor McCloskey, not surprisingly, of course, for a graduate of Harvard and best-selling author, writes very well in a characteristically restrained, yet Olympian, manner, treating the bizarre topic under discussion, the author’s decision at age 53 to “change gender,” with good humor and detached mild irony.

The fine quality of the writing, however, and the author’s smug, self-congratulatory tone, struck me as outrageously incongruous considering all the issues being so artfully glanced over and avoided.

It’s been a long time now since, at age 53, I became a woman. Actually, I’m an old woman more than twenty years on, who walks sometimes with a nice fold-up cane, and has had two hip-joint replacements, and lives in a loft in downtown Chicago with 8,000 books, delighting in her dogs, her birth family, her friends scattered from Chile to China, her Episcopal church across the street, her eating club near the Art Institute, and above all her teaching and writing as a professor. Or, as the Italians so charmingly say, as una professoressa. …

But of course one can’t “really” change gender, can one? The “really” comes up when an angry conservative man or an angry essentialist feminist writes in a blog or an editorial or a comment page. The angry folk are correct, biologically speaking. That’s why their anger sounds to them like common sense. Every cell in my body shouts XY, XY, XY! I do wish they would shut up. Wretched little chromosomes. In some magical future I suppose we’ll be able to change XYs into XXs. But not now.

And more importantly a gender changer age 53, as I was in 1995, can’t have had the history of a born girl and woman. She cannot have had the good and the bad experiences of girlhood and motherhood and the rest. No science can change her life history. …

I had a normal boy’s life, and the advantage in a macho field like economics of being a man for half of my academic career. The question of what you are is qualitative, not quantitative. What sort? What life? What team? In late 1995, I chose to switch teams. …

It’s a Romantic fallacy to think that people have simple and eternal essences. They change. In a free society, shouldn’t they be allowed to? Tell me.

My wife soon remarried, and lives with her new husband and still enjoys the square dancing she and I loved in the last five years of our happy if sometimes tempestuous thirty years of marriage. Bless ‘em. She’s not spoken to me. In that autumn of first realization in 1995 I left to my wife—stupidly, husband-style—the task of telling my children, my grown son and my college-freshman daughter. Women do emotional work, Donald must have thought, if he thought at all, which I don’t recall he did. I should have gone myself in Donald drag to my children. Not that gender change is a theorem, to be “explained” with the snap shut of a proof. It’s a story, and in October 1995 it was in the middle of Act 1. But my confused and self-absorbed neglect was an awful mistake.

My daughter still lives in the Midwest; she is married and has a child. I’ve told in Crossing about how, a year later, when she was still in college, I saw her that one time, very early in my transition, a weeping father in a dress begging for a hug. My friend Patty had advised against the meeting, wisely. Later I occasionally wrote to her, fruitlessly, and a long time afterwards helped her financially. Her lone letter in reply said “Thanks for the money. I still don’t want you in my life. …

My son lives not too far from me. He too won’t speak. None of my marriage-family, out to cousins, is permitted to speak to any of my birth family, out to cousins. Is my son enforcing the embargo with threats? I don’t know. His wife’s father, a professor of law whom I persuaded once to meet me at O’Hare airport, won’t help, because he’s afraid of losing his daughter. To what? Not to love or to tolerance of human change. Hmm.

In 2000 I had moved from sweet Iowa City to a new job at the University of Illinois at Chicago, deciding to live downtown. I learned that a neighbor on the very same hallway was also a well-known libertarian, someone who wrote blazingly on human freedom. True, I noted, he and his wife were strangely distant towards me. Odd. I heard that every month the man hosted a soirée of free-market types. Oh, nice. Natural for me, I thought. But a note I left suggesting I might join got no response. Hmm. Oh, well. I’ve got plenty to do.

Then one day I learned with a jolt from another libertarian economist that my son came to the very same soirée, and knew that I lived thirty feet down the hallway. Good Lord. My Episcopal God was tapping me on the shoulder, hard. In the same hallway. Hope flared. Huzzah!! With the strange neighbor’s help, surely, I thought, I can get back my marriage family, my children, my grandchildren. After all, the neighbor believes in freedom. True, my son had chosen not to knock on the door down the hall. But, well, hope. I left a wrapped copy of Crossing at the neighbor’s door.

Next morning I opened my own door to get the newspaper. The package, unopened, lay on the welcome mat, a message scribbled on it, “We don’t want to have anything to do with you.” My breath stopped. I couldn’t cry. Hope left as shockingly quickly as it had arrived. I thought: So that’s why his wife so awkwardly wouldn’t let her children collect Hallowe’en candy from my door last October. Not even to indulge the sentimental middle-aged lady down the hall. So-called lady. Thus freedom. Maybe my son had claimed to them that I had been an evil father or something. I don’t know. By a decade later they had become at least ordinarily courteous in encounters on the elevator, and I invited them once by note to eat at my club. A note in return:

“No, we are your son’s friends.” And so?

I have not seen my son’s children, now in college or high school, or my daughter’s child, just now in school. The forbidding of children and grandchildren was at first like being stabbed in the chest, the knife twisted in the wound. Early on, I would send Christmas gifts to the grandchildren. But I gave up after a while. Strange, isn’t it, that I care about these offspring I’ve never seen? But there it is. Blood is thicker than water, I suppose.

What worries me most—with the decades, the stab wound hurts less—is the loss to my children and then their children. I would have been a good father, an aunt, whatever you want to say, and anyway a grandparent, nearby and visiting out of state. Youngsters benefit from having more people in their lives, more models of how to live and to love. …

How does a new gender feel after all these years?

Great.

Most decisions leave at least a small regret, a 4:00 a.m. wakefulness. Did you marry the right person? (In my case, yes.) Did you choose the right profession? (In my case, yes.) Should Donald have stayed at his beloved University of Chicago, which in 1980 he left from irritation at the reluctance in the Economics Department, though not in History, to promote him right away to full professor? (A hard one, that; but on the whole, yes.) But becoming Deirdre has evoked not the slightest passing instant of regret. Not once. Nada. …

During the late 1990s shortly after my transition I had called up a male dean at Harvard and asked him if Harvard could change my degree to the women’s college, Radcliffe. “Oh, I don’t think we can do that.” “But the U. S. State Department,” I whined, “had no trouble changing my passport from male to female.” Pause. Then with a smile in his voice, “Yes. But Harvard is older than the U.S. Department of State.” Goodness. Some things never change.

Am I an “angry person?”

Yes and no. Reading Professor McCloskey’s essay did not make me angry, it made me very, very sad. What does make me angry is the patently obvious recognition that Professor McCloskey is, at some level, a very defective and mentally-deranged specimen of humanity afflicted with impulses and desires most of us would consider unbecoming, disgraceful, and bizarre, and the knowledge that a deliberately calculated and conceived political movement using appeals to sentimentality and ressentiment as leverage has successfully persuaded the contemporary elite community of fashion to accept an outrageous Falsehood as Truth and mental illness and sexual perversity as a legitimate societal constituency and a worthy cause.

OK, let us grant that Professor McCloskey really did experience an involuntary, unsolicited in any way, hankering to dress in female clothes and live life as a woman.

We all experience, going through life, involuntary and unsolicited impulses toward thoughts, fantasies, and actions which, acted upon, would really be destructive, disgraceful, illegal, and simply wrong. Who has never experienced homicidal thoughts? Who has not been tempted by an opportunity for theft? Who has never received a sexual proposition for an encounter that was out of bounds?

The political constituency for sexual perversity successfully bamboozled our dim and cowardly elite by the simple tactic of pointing to the involuntary and spontaneous character of homosexual desire and its universal temporal and geographical minority manifestation as evidence the sanction of Nature.

“Ich kann nicht Anders!” (I cannot do otherwise!), Peter Lorre, the child murderer in Fritz Lang’s 1931 “M” protests to the Berlin Underworld gangster jury deciding on his fate. 1931 Berlin gangsters had a lot more sense than the International millennial-era elite. They unsympathetically condemned the murderer Hans Beckert for his crimes.

Consensual homosexuality and female impersonating are, of course, not exactly the same thing as murder. They are basically self-regarding activities that could be omitted from the book of criminal statutes in a libertarian state. But that does not mean they are not disgraceful and wrong. Or even that they do no harm.

Pretending to be something one is not is contemptible and wrong. I expect everyone has one or more unfulfilled personal dreams or fantasies. Lots of people would love to have become rich and famous. Large numbers of people yearn to be movie stars or astronauts. Pretty much everyone has one or more unfulfilled personal ambitions. But living one’s life pretending to be something one is not, ruining one’s marriage, destroying one’s family, breaking one’s vows in order to pretend that the impossible is true? Maybe people like Professor McCloskey should be “allowed” to do all those things, but they certainly should not be encouraged and applauded. Nor should the rest of us participate in their charades. And doctors should certainly should not be allowed to violate the Hippocratic Oath by chemically or surgically mutilating the human body in pursuit of fantasy.

Professor McCloskey writes well, but I fail to understand how anyone can take seriously the academic and scholarly conclusions of someone who thinks it is possible to base his own identity and life on an obvious Lie and an essentially futile fantasy.

RTWT

16 Nov 2019

Technology!

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15 Nov 2019

Indiana Is Clearly Still Part of the Real America

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Judges Andrew Adams, Sabrina Bell and Bradley Jacobs.

NPR describes an unfortunate situation involving three Indiana judges where things got a bit out of control that might happen to anyone:

Back in May, three Indiana judges got into a fight. It was the crescendo of an incident brimming with colorful details: a gaggle of judges drinking the night before a judicial conference, a failed attempt to visit a strip club called the Red Garter, a brawl in the parking lot of an Indianapolis White Castle.

The altercation apparently started sometime after 3 a.m., when one of the judges, Sabrina Bell, raised a middle finger at two men yelling from a passing SUV, and ended after one of those men shot two of the judges.

In between, the three judges took a number of actions that “discredited the entire Indiana judiciary,” according to an opinion posted by the Indiana Supreme Court this week, suspending the judges.

The court found that the three — Andrew Adams, Bradley Jacobs and Sabrina Bell — had “engaged in judicial misconduct by appearing in public in an intoxicated state and behaving in an injudicious manner and by becoming involved in a verbal altercation.” Adams and Jacobs engaged in further judicial misconduct “by becoming involved in a physical altercation for which Judge Adams was criminally charged and convicted.”

The document lays out the events as soberly as possible, but the details remain spicy:

    “While in town to attend a statewide educational conference for judicial officers, 10 hours before the program convened, Respondents walked the streets of downtown Indianapolis in a heavily intoxicated state. When Judge Bell extended her middle finger to a passing vehicle, neither Judge Adams nor Judge Jacobs discouraged the provocation or removed themselves from the situation.”

The three had ended up at a White Castle after trying to go to a strip club at 3 a.m. and finding it closed. A fourth judge went into the White Castle, while Bell, Adams and Jacobs stood outside.

Two men in the passing vehicle, Alfredo Vazquez and Brandon Kaiser, parked their car after the gesture from Bell.

Bell and Vazquez traded further insults. A physical altercation ensued among the four men, with Adams and Vazquez allegedly hitting and kicking each other as Jacobs and Kaiser wrestled on the ground. Kaiser then allegedly pulled a gun and shot Adams once in the stomach and Jacobs twice in the chest.

Adams and Jacobs were both seriously wounded and required emergency surgeries; Jacobs was hospitalized for two weeks.

Bell tried to stop the fighting by pounding on the door of White Castle for help and calling 911 once shots were fired.

While at the scene, Bell was recorded on video telling police detectives something akin to “I feel like this is all my fault,” though the opinion notes that Bell “was intoxicated enough that she lacks any memory of the incident.”

Kaiser, who allegedly shot Adams and Jacobs, has been charged with 14 crimes related to the brawl, including four charges of felony aggravated battery, according to The Indianapolis Star.

The court suspended both Jacobs and Bell for 30 days without pay. Adams, who pleaded guilty in September to one count of misdemeanor battery, is suspended for 60 days without pay. He was sentenced to 365 days in jail but was required to serve only two.

In the White Castle incident, the court said, the three judges “gravely undermined public trust in the dignity and decency of Indiana’s judiciary.”

RTWT

15 Nov 2019

Wrong People in Charge Everywhere in America Today

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CBS Boston:

A Durham, New Hampshire celebration scheduled for the beginning of holidays is undergoing some changes this year in an effort to remove religious overtones.

Formerly called the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, the newly named Frost Fest will include the absence of a formal tree lighting. Santa will be at the event but he will not arrive in a town firetruck as he has in the past.

The wreaths that traditionally adorned lamp posts on Main Street will also not be present this year.

Town Councilor Sally Tobias says the changes came about after some controversy last holiday season. “There was another private citizen that came forward and said that he had always had a problem with the Christmas tree, as he called it,” Tobias said.

After holding a public meeting, the town formed a working committee and made changes to the event.

“There were a couple of people that did express some concerns about how they felt being included,” Tobias said. …

Tobias, herself, is not the biggest fan of the changes but says the town is open to feedback.

“I will state that trees and Santas and wreaths are not Christian,” Tobias said, “And we would like to hear back from the community. We’d like to hear what they think about it, how they would like to see it evolve a little differently and how we can make it better.”

RTWT

Everywhere you look in America today, from Harvard and Yale to Big Corporations and local town governments, you’ll find invertebrates in charge who instantly surrender to the insolent demands of the crackpot malcontent left.

14 Nov 2019

Time to Re-Write History at Yale Med School

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The current issue of the Yale Alumni Magazine features a chin-stroking article identifying a PROBLEM and wondering whether or not SOMETHING MUST BE DONE.

The problem? 55 portraits hanging in Yale Medical School’s Sterling Hall of Medicine, honoring distinguished former faculty feature the images of 52 white men and three white women.

Walls lined with portraits of past Yale medical luminaries—almost all of them white men—lead some medical students to feel that they themselves don’t belong at the school, a recent study found.

Two students interviewed 15 of their peers, asking them open-ended questions about their thoughts on the paintings in the Sterling Hall of Medicine. The portraits feature 52 white men and 3 white women.

Some students said the portraits displayed values of whiteness, elitism, maleness, and power. Some felt “judged and unwelcome”; one said, “If these portraits could speak, they would not be so excited about me . . . being a student here.” Some reported joking about the portraits or avoiding Sterling altogether.

“For many interviewed students, the portraiture signified that they did not fit the model of the ideal Yale physician,” wrote coauthors Nientara Anderson ’06, ’20MD, and Elizabeth Fitzsousa ’21MD. (The study is online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.) To many women students and students of color, the portraits represent a constant force of disapproval, says Anderson. Medical students of color, she adds, often already face challenges to their right to care for patients in the hospital. Other researchers have found that students who feel they’re on the margins may experience greater stress, potentially eroding their ability to succeed.

What should become of the portraits? It’s hard to know, but the conversation has begun, Anderson says. “In recent years, this is the first time this question is being raised with such force,” she adds. “There’s no road map.”

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Actually, Springer wants $39.95 for you to download and read the article. Nor is it available through a major research library like Yale University’s main library journal subscription service (accessible to alumni). You can only access that particular journal through Medical School libraries.

How worthwhile it would be to take the trouble to read the entire article is rather questionable. Why would anyone take seriously a “study” which consisted of soliciting the personal opinions of a mere 15 people?

Nonetheless, all three authors now sit on the Yale School of Medicine Committee on Art in Public Spaces, “work[ing] to ensure that artwork hung in public areas of the medical school reflects the mission, history, and diversity of the Yale medical community.” Anna Reisman M.D., who co-chairs the committee, says “this study is an important step in effecting institutional change.” And the Yale Alumni Magazine has joined in promoting it as “the beginning of a conversation” about just what’s going to happen to all those portraits of Dead, White Men.

I think we all know just how this kind of “conversation” always ends.

13 Nov 2019

A Must-Read Interview

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In a must-read interview with Tablet Magazine, David Samuels discusses with Angelo Codevilla the decline of post-Republican Imperial America, the corruption of the elite, meritocracy and its current absence, the populist revolt, the rise of the surveillance state, Jonathan Pollard, and the deep state’s efforts to discredit and remove Donald Trump.

David Samuels:

No one runs America. That’s the terror and the beauty of American life in a nutshell, the answer to the secret of how 300 million people from many different places can live together between two oceans, sharing a future-oriented outlook that methodically obliterates any ties to the past. All prior lived experience is transformed into science fiction, or else into self-serving evidence of the present-day moral, intellectual, and technological superiority of the brave imagineers who are fortunate enough to live here, in the Now, while all who came before them are cursed. No one can or does control such fantasy-driven machinery, which seems incapable of operating in any other way than it does, i.e., in a space with no beginning and no end, but tending always toward perfection. Learning to accept imperfection and failure may be an emotionally healthy way for adults to negotiate the terrors and absurdities of human existence, but it is not the highway to the perfectibility of man or woman-kind. …

Which is not to say that America isn’t governed by an elite class, just like China, or Japan, or France is—only that the ability of that class to actually rule anything is even more constrained by the native culture. The idea that an advanced technologically driven capitalist or socialist society of several hundred million people can be run by something other than an elite is silly or scary—the most obvious present-day alternative being a society run by ever-advancing forms of AI, which will no doubt have only the best interests of their flesh-and-blood creators at heart.

Yet it is possible to accept all of this, and to posit that the reason that the American ruling class seems so indisputably impotent and unmoored in the present is that there is no such thing as America anymore. In place of the America that is described in history books, where Henry Clay forged his compromises, and Walt Whitman wrote poetry, and Herman Melville contemplated the whale, and Ida Tarbell did her muckraking, and Thomas Alva Edison invented movies and the light bulb, and so forth, has arisen something new and vast and yet distinctly un-American that for lack of a better term is often called the American Empire, which in turn calls to mind the division of Roman history (and the Roman character) into two parts: the Republican, and the Imperial.

While containing the ghosts of the American past, the American Empire is clearly a very different kind of entity than the American Republic was—starting with the fact that the vast majority of its inhabitants aren’t Americans. Ancient American ideas about individual rights and liberties, the pursuit of happiness, and so forth, may still be inspiring to mainland American citizens or not, but they are foreign to the peoples that Americans conquered. To those people, America is an empire, or the shadow of an empire, under which seemingly endless wars are fought, a symbol of their own continuing powerlessness and cultural failure. Meanwhile, at home, the American ruling elites prattle on endlessly about their deeply held ideals of whatever that must be applied to Hondurans today, and Kurds tomorrow, in fits of frantic-seeming generosity in between courses of farm-to-table fare. Once the class bond has been firmly established, everyone can relax and exchange notes about their kids, who are off being credentialed at the same “meritocratic” but now hugely more expensive private schools that their parents attended, whose social purpose is no longer to teach basic math or a common history but to indoctrinate teenagers in the cultish mumbo-jumbo that serves as a kind of in-group glue that binds ruling class initiates (she/he/they/ze) together and usefully distinguishes them from townies during summer vacations by the seashore.

The understanding of America as an empire is as foreign to most Americans as is the idea that the specific country that they live in is run by a class of people who may number themselves among the elect but weren’t in fact elected by anyone. Under whatever professional job titles, the people who populate the institutions that exercise direct power over nearly all aspects of American life from birth to death are bureaucrats—university bureaucrats, corporate bureaucrats, local, state and federal bureaucrats, law enforcement bureaucrats, health bureaucrats, knowledge bureaucrats, spy agency bureaucrats. At each layer of specific institutional authority, bureaucrats coordinate their understandings and practices with bureaucrats in parallel institutions through lawyers, in language that is designed to be impenetrable, or nearly so, by outsiders. Their authority is pervasive, undemocratic, and increasingly not susceptible in practice to legal checks and balances. All those people together comprise a class.

Another thing that residents of the broad North American expanse between Canada and Mexico have noticed is that the programs and remedies that this class has promoted, both at home and abroad, have greatly enriched and empowered a small number of people, namely themselves—while the broader American population continues to decline in wealth, health, and education. Meanwhile, the American Empire that the ruling elite administers is collapsing. The popularity of such observations on both the left and the right is what accounts for the rise of Donald Trump, on one hand, and of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on the other hand, among an electorate that has not been historically distinguished by its embrace of radicalism. …

David Samuels: Where does the ethos of a class come from?

Angelo Codevilla: Here I speak with the prejudices of an academician. Because the ethos of the academy changed, evolved. And what drove the change was the growing contempt of professors for our civilization. And you Jews ought not to feel that you are any less the enemy of these people than we Christians.

I should say the defining feature of the ruling class is a certain attitude. And that attitude developed in the academy, and that attitude became uniform throughout the country because of the uniform academy. The uniformity of the academy transformed itself into the uniformity of the ruling class.

Because that was the institution that credentialed the otherwise uncultured American masses?

It credentialed the mind and the habits. The habits of the heart. It credentialed the habits of the heart. The habits of conversation. The habits of work. The habits of logic. The habits period.

Can you imagine a bright kid coming in contact with that kind of intellectual fraud? The smartest ones will say, “hey, I don’t want to be part of this.” He’ll do something else. He won’t be taken in. Which means that this class will continue to degrade itself.

RTWT

12 Nov 2019

Scientific American: Study Attributes Western Individualism to Incest Taboo

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David Noonan, in Scientific American, surprisingly enough, has positive things to say about the influence of Christianity and the Church of Rome on Western Civilization.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, this article treats Individualism as a positive and implicitly acknowledges the inferiority of other cultures.

In what may come as a surprise to freethinkers and nonconformists happily defying social conventions these days in New York City, Paris, Sydney and other centers of Western culture, a new study traces the origins of contemporary individualism to the powerful influence of the Catholic Church in Europe more than 1,000 years ago, during the Middle Ages.

According to the researchers, strict church policies on marriage and family structure completely upended existing social norms and led to what they call “global psychological variation,” major changes in behavior and thinking that transformed the very nature of the European populations.

The study, published this week in Science, combines anthropology, psychology and history to track the evolution of the West, as we know it, from its roots in “kin-based” societies. The antecedents consisted of clans, derived from networks of tightly interconnected ties, that cultivated conformity, obedience and in-group loyalty—while displaying less trust and fairness with strangers and discouraging independence and analytic thinking.

The engine of that evolution, the authors propose, was the church’s obsession with incest and its determination to wipe out the marriages between cousins that those societies were built on. The result, the paper says, was the rise of “small, nuclear households, weak family ties, and residential mobility,” along with less conformity, more individuality, and, ultimately, a set of values and a psychological outlook that characterize the Western world. The impact of this change was clear: the longer a society’s exposure to the church, the greater the effect.

Around A.D. 500, explains Joseph Henrich, chair of Harvard University’s department of human evolutionary biology and senior author of the study, “the Western church, unlike other brands of Christianity and other religions, begins to implement this marriage and family program, which systematically breaks down these clans and kindreds of Europe into monogamous nuclear families. And we make the case that this then results in these psychological differences.”

In their comparison of kin-based and church-influenced populations, Henrich and his colleagues identified significant differences in everything from the frequency of blood donations to the use of checks (instead of cash) and the results of classic psychology tests—such as the passenger’s dilemma scenario, which elicits attitudes about telling a lie to help a friend. They even looked at the number of unpaid parking tickets accumulated by delegates to the United Nations.

“We really wanted to combine the kinds of measures that psychologists use, that give you some control in the lab, with real-world measures,” Henrich says. “We really like the parking tickets. We get the U.N. diplomats from around the world all in New York City and see how they behave.”

The policy has since changed, but for years diplomats who parked illegally were not required to pay the tickets the police wrote. In their analysis of those tickets, the researchers found that over the course of one year, diplomats from countries with higher levels of “kinship intensity”—the prevalence of clans and very tight families in a society—had many more unpaid parking tickets than those from countries without such history. Diplomats from Sweden and Canada, for example, had no outstanding tickets in the period studied, while unpaid parking tickets per diplomat were about 249 for Kuwait, 141 for Egypt and 126 for Chad. Henrich attributes this phenomenon to the insular mind-set that is characteristic of intense kinship.

While it builds a close and very cooperative group, that sense of cooperation does not carry beyond the group. “The idea is that you are less concerned about strangers, people you don’t know, outsiders,” he says.

The West itself is not uniform in kinship intensity. Working with cousin-marriage data from 92 provinces in Italy (derived from church records of requests for dispensations to allow the marriages), the researchers write, they found that “Italians from provinces with higher rates of cousin marriage take more loans from family and friends (instead of from banks), use fewer checks (preferring cash), and keep more of their wealth in cash instead of in banks, stocks, or other financial assets.” They were also observed to make fewer voluntary, unpaid blood donations.

In the course of their research, Henrich and his colleagues created a database and calculated “the duration of exposure” to the Western church for every country in the world, as well as 440 “subnational European regions.” They then tested their predictions about the influence of the church at three levels: globally, at the national scale; regionally, within European countries; and among the adult children of immigrants in Europe from countries with varying degrees of exposure to the church.

RTWT

The thesis of this study, unfortunately, is a classic case of mechanistic scientism. It would make much more sense to point out that Christianity fosters Individualism through ideas, that recognition of the value of the human individual is rooted in Christianity’s teaching that everyone has a soul and consequently possesses human dignity, and that each individual needs to pursue his soul’s salvation.

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