27 Nov 2020

Razorfist Wants Republicans to Fight

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This rant comes via Sarah Hoyt.

26 Nov 2020

A Proclamation

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As published in the Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789

26 Nov 2020

The Real Story of Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving1

Mike Franc, at Human Events in 2005, identified the real reason for celebration at the first Thanksgiving.

Writing in his diary of the dire economic straits and self-destructive behavior that consumed his fellow Puritans shortly after their arrival, Governor William Bradford painted a picture of destitute settlers selling their clothes and bed coverings for food while others became servants to the Indians, cutting wood and fetching water in exchange for capful of corn. The most desperate among them starved, with Bradford recounting how one settler, in gathering shellfish along the shore, so weak he stuck fast in the mud and was found dead in the place.

The colony’s leaders identified the source of their problem as a particularly vile form of what Bradford called communism. Property in Plymouth Colony, he observed, was communally owned and cultivated. This system (taking away of property and bringing [it] into a commonwealth) bred confusion and discontent and retarded much employment that would have been to [the settlers] benefit and comfort.

Just how did the Pilgrims solve the problem of famine? In addition to receiving help from the local Indians in farming, they decided allow the private ownership of individual plots of land.

On the brink of extermination, the Colony’s leaders changed course and allotted a parcel of land to each settler, hoping the private ownership of farmland would encourage self-sufficiency and lead to the cultivation of more corn and other foodstuffs.

As Adam Smith would have predicted, this new system worked famously. This had very good success, Bradford reported, for it made all hands very industrious. In fact, much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been and productivity increased. Women, for example, went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn.

The famine that nearly wiped out the Pilgrims in 1623 gave way to a period of agricultural abundance that enabled the Massachusetts settlers to set down permanent roots in the New World, prosper, and play an indispensable role in the ultimate success of the American experiment.

A profoundly religious man, Bradford saw the hand of God in the Pilgrims; economic recovery. Their success, he observed, may well evince the vanity of that conceit that the taking away of property would make [men] happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. Bradford surmised, God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them.

The real story of Thanksgiving is the triumph of capitalism and individualism over collectivism and socialism, which is the summation of the story of America.

25 Nov 2020

AOC for Speaker!

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C.J. Grover, in the Spectator, argues that links to Socialism, outside a few twisted urban enclaves are the kiss of death for democrats, and Biden’s support for the radical democrat party base’s noxious ideas was responsible for a bloodbath producing an “astonishing 17-seat gain for the GOP and the Democrats holding the smallest House majority in two decades.”

Why not use the GOP near-House-Majority to give the dems a bit more rope to hang themselves?

For Democrats to be truly honest, America deserves Speaker AOC. House Republicans should hand her the gavel.

The House Speaker is elected at the start of every new Congress by a simple majority of the Representatives-elect, meaning 218 votes in the 435-member body. As noted, the GOP stands to have 214 seats come January. Ocasio-Cortez’s Squad will have five with the addition of Cori Bush of Missouri’s 1st District. Ten if you count all successful candidates backed by Justice Democrats. The votes are there to be had.

Ocasio-Cortez is in open war with her party and hasn’t committed to supporting Pelosi for the job, while Justice Democrats have taken direct aim at Pelosi’s failed leadership. Few politicians since Washington have voluntarily refused power and rebuffing Republican overtures would mean passing on the chance to go from bartender to House Speaker in a mere four years. As Speaker, she would achieve in that short timespan what Bernie Sanders has sought for four decades in public office — actual congressional votes on socialist ideas.

RTWT

He has a point. It just might work at sinking the democrats nationally, and it would certainly serve Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden right.

24 Nov 2020

Leyat Hélica

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This showed up on Facebook this morning.

Wikipedia tells us:

Marcel Leyat was a French automobile manufacturer, born in Die, established by Marcel Leyat in 1919 in Paris. The automobiles were built on the Quai de Grenelle.

The first model was called Hélica, also known as ‘The plane without wings’. The passengers sat behind each other as in an aircraft. The vehicle was steered using the rear wheels and the car was not powered by an engine turning the wheels, but by a giant propeller powered by an 8 bhp (6.0 kW) Scorpion engine. The entire body of the vehicle was made of plywood, and weighed just 250 kg (550 lb), which made it dangerously fast.

In 1927, A Hélica reached the speed of 106 mph (171 km/h) at the Montlhéry circuit. Leyat continued to experiment with his Helica. He tried using propellers with two and four blades. Between 1919 and 1925, Leyat managed to sell 30 vehicles.

———————-

New Atlas:

Leyat was a biplane designer before World War 1 broke out, but turned his hand to automobile designs, feeling that the aviation world had a thing or two to teach car designers.

First off, he saw early car designs as far too heavy and aerodynamically inefficient, problems that the aviation world had been working hard to solve. Secondly, he felt that driven wheels were another power-sapping exercise in needless complexity, requiring transmissions and clutches and drive shafts and differentials and all sorts of other bits and pieces.

Aircraft, on the other hand, were designed to be aerodynamic and lightweight from the get go, and a propeller could mount more or less directly to the engine’s crankshaft. So why not a wingless airplane for the road? These were early days for the automotive industry, and all sorts of different technologies were being thrown at the wall to see which would stick and which would slide.

Horsepower was a fairly scarce resource back in 1913 when Leyat built his first Helica, which used an 18-horsepower, 1,000cc Harley-Davidson v-twin engine in a lightweight plywood body that weighed just 550 lb (250 kg). His goal was to extract motion from that power in the most efficient way possible. In that respect, he did pretty well; a subsequent Helica recorded a top speed of 106 mph (171 km/h) in 1927, a terrifying speed for the time.

In other respects, Leyat’s propeller car, and several other designs not dissimilar to it, were a roundly awful idea from the beginning, because, well, they had great big propellers on the front of them. While this example is wire mesh shielded, that doesn’t appear to have been a feature of the original designs, so errant pedestrians and wayward pigeons alike could end up getting fed through a several thousand-rpm blender, showering driver and passenger with an exuberance of gore.

What’s more, the spinning mass of the wooden prop could turn into a highly energetic constellation of airborne shrapnel in the event of a rear-ender. When it wasn’t exploding in an accident, it was making one more likely by obscuring the driver’s view and blowing wind directly into his face at high speed. And if that weren’t enough, Leyat had also taken an aircraft-inspired approach to the steering, eschewing the complexities of a steering rack for a very simple, cable-operated rear wheel steering system that threw the back end out sideways to turn the car.

The resulting vehicle looks, shall we say, rather exciting to drive, and thanks to the contemporary footage below assembled by Diagonal View, we can get an idea of how it handled. In even a slow-speed u-turn, the inside rear wheel lifts merrily off the ground, its front wheels wobble around like pin-fixed discs on a toy car, and the whole contraption does little to make us think propeller cars were ever the automobiles of the future.

23 Nov 2020

Ebenezer Scrooge, Environmentalist

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“If I could work my will,” said Scrooge indignantly, “Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!”

Campus Reform finds that Scrooge has been reincarnated and is teaching at Columbia.

A Columbia University faculty member has called for an end to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, calling the tree emblematic of an “absolutely toxic relationship” with nature.

Arguing that the tree is a “veritable island for wildlife,” Columbia University faculty member and environmental journalist Brian Kahn decried the loss of the ecological haven. Kahn is set to teach a class in spring 2021 titled “Applications in Climate and Society.”

He warned that the tree had lost its one “iota of dignity” it had in its previous home. …

Khan further argued that the Rockefeller tradition reflects how “we’ve subjugated nature to our whims.” He said the tree stands as “an icon of American exceptionalism,” pointing not only to the tree’s tie to filling the underground mall, thus “keeping the unnatural system alive,” but also to its place as a “paean to patriotism” following 9/11.

Khan added that watching the tree didn’t bring him “elation.” Instead, it made him feel “sad that we venerate the continued subjugation of nature at the expense of unfettered growth and consumption.” The tree is “a flashy, two-hour TV special,” which presents a “shiny veneer of corporate social responsibility and giving.”

“But really,” he added, “it just illustrates our broken system and priorities that are also strangling the planet…”

23 Nov 2020

Map of Europe’s Culinary Horrors

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(click on map for larger version.)

HT: Vanderleun.

23 Nov 2020

Incredible Victory

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Al Perrotta, like a lot of the rest of us, finds it hard to believe that Biden won on the up and up.

Joe Biden won crucial swing states fair and square — despite getting blown away in bellweather Ohio and Florida, despite being down by hundreds of thousands of votes until the mysterious shutdowns in counting, despite Trump outperforming Biden campaign’s own expectations, despite underperforming Hillary Clinton everywhere else in the country, despite not campaigning, despite having no ground game, despite having zero enthusiasm, despite losing support among minorities, despite pushing policies at odds with the desires of the public, despite aligning himself with BLM and Antifa. And despite having trouble executing a coherent sentence.

RTWT

HT: The News Junkie.

22 Nov 2020

Another Watershed Landmark in Contemporary Critical Scholarship

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In the Spectator, Ron Liddle reports that, on Thursday next, November 26th, at Longborough University, Dr. Lenka Vráblíková will deliver a ground-breaking new lecture:

“Othering Mushrooms: Migratism and its racist entanglements in the Brexit campaign.”

Deploying the ambivalence of mushrooms in the cultural imagination as an analytical lens, and drawing from Sara Ahmed’s (2010) theorization of ‘othering’ as an embodied process, the presentation examines the Brexit campaign’s migratism and its racist entanglements. Vráblíková argues that research on how forests, mushrooms and their foragers have figured in the formation of white heteropatriarchy is vital for contesting the re-emergence of the right-wing populism that, in Europe, is exemplified by events such as Brexit.

————————

Liddle responds:

I have long been of the opinion that the Brexit vote, along with the 2016 election of Donald Trump and the continued popularity of right-wing governments in Poland and Hungary, are almost entirely the consequences of the malign influence of fungi. I have attempted to advance this argument in political debates but am never taken seriously. Now at last I have some support. …

I have always had grave suspicions about the stinkhorn fungus: white, phallic and foul-smelling, just like Trump. If you see one of these mushrooms growing along the wayside, root it out and burn it, shouting ‘Die, Tory scum’ as you do so. Dr Vrablikova has not yet replied to my email — it will be interesting to see if her findings tally with mine.

We should attempt to examine all competing theories with dispassionate fairness, of course. One of these is that, rather than mushrooms, it is the existence of academics such as Dr Vrablikova which has persuaded vast swaths of the electorate across three continents to vote for people like Viktor Orban and Donald Trump. Had I invented her and her various exciting projects, you would have considered it heavy-handed satire and too ludicrous to make whatever point I was trying to make. But I did not make her up, any more than I made up Dr Alyosxa Tudor from the School of Oriental and African Studies, who has suggested that colonialism and racism were responsible for the gender constructs ‘men and women’: a theory which many historians would contest, I think.

Or the thousands of other similar courses and lectures taking place right now up and down the western world’s benighted campuses. The outpourings of unmitigated bilge from hundreds and hundreds of intellectually third-division chancers, mired in one or another imagined victimhood, all cordially loathing the government, economic system and culture of a society which has, ridiculously, afforded them academic tenure for these manifest idiocies, and who will surely pop up on Radio 4 or Newsnight at some point sticking it to whitey and the straights.

RTWT

22 Nov 2020

The Unicorn Tapestries

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In Paris Review, Danielle Oteri described how, despite the efforts of curators, scholars, and even an obsessed high school teacher turned museum guard, our understanding of the complex symbolism in the tapestries has retreated rather than advanced over decades. She notes: “the Met’s most eminent scholars have debated the finer points of the tapestries, each time removing more and more from the guidebooks and wall labels. Today at the Cloisters, the wall label for each of these tapestries, the most famous works in the museum, among the most famous works in the world, is only about one sentence long.”

Nobody knows who made the Unicorn Tapestries, a set of seven weavings that depict a unicorn hunt that has been described as “the greatest inheritance of the Middle Ages.”

Without evidence, the La Rochefoucauld family in France asserted that the tapestries originate with the marriage of a family ancestor in the fifteenth century. The tapestries did belong to the La Rochefoucauld in 1793, before they were stolen by rioters who set fire to their château at Verteuil. The family regained possession sixty years later, when the tapestries were recovered in a barn. The precious weavings of wool, silk, gold, and silver were in tatters at their edges and punched full of holes. They had been used to wrap barren fruit trees during the winter.

In late 1922, the Unicorn Tapestries disappeared again. They were sent to New York for an exhibition, which never opened. A rich American had bought them and transferred them to his bank vault before anyone else could see them. In February 1923, John D. Rockefeller Jr. confirmed from his vacation home in Florida that he was the American who had acquired the tapestries for the price of $1.1 million. The tapestries were transferred to Rockefeller’s private residence in Midtown Manhattan.

Fourteen years later, Rockefeller donated the tapestries to the Cloisters, a new medieval art museum he had funded as a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The mysterious works were to be on regular public display for the first time in their five-hundred-year history.

RTWT

22 Nov 2020

Noir

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In Greek tragedy, they fall from great heights. In noir, they fall from the curb.

— Dennis Lehane

From PG via Karen L. Myers.

21 Nov 2020

St. George

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Sotheby’s Old Master Sculpture and Works of Art
November 24, 2020 — London

Lot 19 Property from an Important European Collection

Italian, late 17th/ early 18th century
Saint George and the Dragon
polychromed terracotta

43cm., 17in. (including lance)

Italian, late 17th/ early 18th century
Estimate: 4,000 – 6,000 GBP — $5,315.24 – $7,970.36

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