Archive for January, 2016
28 Jan 2016

Trump Proves He Isn’t Qualified

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Last night, I happened to catch Bill O’Reilly trying to persuade Donald Trump to change his mind and participate in tonight’s GOP Debate on Fox News.

O’Reilly was his usual annoying self, but I thought Trump was truly intolerable: egomaniacal (“I won all six debates!”), petulant, self-entitled, thin-skinned, vindictive, odiously tyrannical, and childishly spiteful.

I’m rather amazed that there are still lots of American adults out there still inclined to be supporting Trump after such an exhibition of irresponsible behavior.

El Rushbo, for instance, looked on yesterday, and interpreted Trump’s blowing off the Fox Debate as a commendable case of “not playing by the rules” made by the elites, and as a case example of the application of one of his own rules published in his book, The Art of the Deal. That rule being: You have to know when to walk away.

I rarely disagree with Rush, but this is one of those times.

Running for President of the United States is actually different from negotiating a real estate deal. Even if you are a bigshot and a billionaire, in politics, unlike your own private business activities, you cannot expect everything to be specifically arranged for your comfort and advantage. There is a complex process, partly derived from tradition, partly contrived by happenstance, ruled over in the final analysis by nobody in particular, through which American Democracy arrives at its decision and expresses its will. That process is bigger than Donald Trump.

A long time ago, candidates for the presidency were expected to sit in dignity at home, while others sought their nomination, and the country as a whole, in essence, politely invited them to serve. Today, Americans expect presidential candidates to go through a kind of ordeal involving submitting themselves to be tested on their personal history, political record, and grace under pressure by facing hostile questioning by the press and hostile attacks by their opponents. You know this, I know this, and Donald Trump knows this.

For a 69-year-old man, who expects to be taken seriously as a candidate for the presidency, to become petulant and complain that a girl reporter treated him unfairly by pointing to his personal history of saying less than polite things about different women is childishly unrealistic.

For a candidate to carry a grudge over one question for six months, to demand special treatment, to keep threatening a personal boycott of the debate process on the basis of his own self-perceived unique status, and then finally to announce that he will not participate in the final debate occurring directly before delegates actually begin to be chosen is fantastical behavior.

Trump’s refusal to participate is selfish, infantile, petulant, tyrannical, unrealistic, and it certainly should be self-defeating. He may have persuaded himself that he is proving to be oh-so clever, but I think most Republicans are going to agree with me that Donald Trump has definitively discredited himself as a presidential candidate.

Yes, a lot of us agree with Trump that Republican candidates get a kind of hostile treatment from members of the press, including those working for Fox News, that democrats don’t get. Some reform of debate formats and a better selection of journalistic participants is highly desirable. Donald Trump had an opportunity to exercise his alleged leadership skills here. He could have gone to his Republican rivals, and said: “Look, guys, what are we doing holding debates on thoroughly hostile venues like NBC and CNN? Why do Republicans let the likes of partisan lefties like Candy Crowley run the debates? Let’s do all of them on Fox and get Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to do the questioning.” Then, he could have stood back, pointed to an improved process and stronger GOP prospects, and taken the credit. Instead, Trump has delivered a disgraceful exhibition of thin-skinned egomania and rich kid self-entitlement. He obviously has neither the brains nor the character to hold any elected office. If you had a business, despite his megabucks, you would not want a petty tyrant like him as a customer.

28 Jan 2016

Boa vs. Coyote

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A South Florida man and his family came across a shocking sight while taking a break at a rest stop on Alligator Alley.

Will James was driving to Naples on Tuesday with his wife and daughter when they stopped at the rest area at Mile Marker 62 in the Big Cypress National Preserve.

James, an experienced hiker, said he heard snarling and barking just off the trail near the rest area and walked back to find what was making the odd noises.

That’s when they discovered a coyote in distress with a boa constrictor wrapped around its neck and body.

James says the coyote was kicking and biting at the snake before the unwelcome slithery friend finally let go, but not before biting the coyote on its hind leg.

The exhausted coyote was able to walk away with a noticeable limp.

Though I’m not normally on any coyote’s side, I think the photographer ought to have intervened out of mammalian solidarity against that snake.

28 Jan 2016

Getty’s Major New Acquisition

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[T]he Getty Museum has acquired an illuminated copy of the Book of Deeds of Jacques de Lalaing (c. 1530s). It includes a frontispiece by Simon Bening that (judging from the press images) rivals the best paintings of the Flemish Renaissance. The book’s primary author, Jean Lefèvre de Saint-Remy, is shown in his study. Within this image, about 8 inches high, Bening looks forward to such Netherlandish specialties as portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and genre scenes. It’s also a menagerie of sorts, with a dog, peacock, dappled horse, and chained pet monkey.

That’s the only Bening, but the Book of Deeds has 17 other miniatures by an artist assigned to the circle of the Master of Charles V. These show the adventures of knight errant Jacques de Lalaing. A famed tournament fighter and favorite of Philip the Good, he became one of the first Europeans to be killed by firearms. … Philip was so distraught at the loss of his knight that he ordered everyone in Poeke Castle hanged—sparing only children, priests, and lepers.

28 Jan 2016

The Dowager Countess of Grantham Is Right


Downton Abbey’s Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith) explains her opposition to the absorption of the private local hospital by the national public system.

27 Jan 2016

“Bernie Sanders, The Bum Who Wants Your Money”

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Investors Business Daily tells you who the potential democrat party presidential nominee really is.

Despite a prestigious degree, however, Sanders failed to earn a living, even as an adult. It took him 40 years to collect his first steady paycheck — and it was a government check.

“I never had any money my entire life,” Sanders told Vermont public TV in 1985, after settling into his first real job as mayor of Burlington.

Sanders spent most of his life as an angry radical and agitator who never accomplished much of anything. And yet now he thinks he deserves the power to run your life and your finances — “We will raise taxes;” he confirmed Monday, “yes, we will.”

One of his first jobs was registering people for food stamps, and it was all downhill from there. Sanders took his first bride to live in a maple sugar shack with a dirt floor, and she soon left him. Penniless, he went on unemployment. Then he had a child out of wedlock. Desperate, he tried carpentry but could barely sink a nail. “He was a shi**y carpenter,” a friend told Politico Magazine. “His carpentry was not going to support him, and didn’t.”

Then he tried his hand freelancing for leftist rags, writing about “masturbation and rape” and other crudities for $50 a story. He drove around in a rusted-out, Bondo-covered VW bug with no working windshield wipers. Friends said he was “always poor” and his “electricity was turned off a lot.” They described him as a slob who kept a messy apartment — and this is what his friends had to say about him.

The only thing he was good at was talking … non-stop … about socialism and how the rich were ripping everybody off. “The whole quality of life in America is based on greed,” the bitter layabout said. “I believe in the redistribution of wealth in this nation.”

So he tried politics, starting his own socialist party. Four times he ran for Vermont public office, and four times he lost — badly. He never attracted more than single-digit support — even in the People’s Republic of Vermont. In his 1971 bid for U.S. Senate, the local press said the 30-year-old “Sanders describes himself as a carpenter who has worked with ‘disturbed children.’ ” In other words, a real winner.

27 Jan 2016

The Future of Europe — German Identity Movement

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A powerful video made by right-wing young Germans.

26 Jan 2016

“The Republic is Dead… Time For the Empire.”

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Glenn Reynolds examines the entrails of the sacrifices and finds the omens alarming and disturbing.

According to a recent Associated Press poll, the public lacks confidence in government. And by “lacks confidence,” I mean “really lacks confidence.” Specifically, “More than 6 in 10 respondents expressed only slight confidence — or none at all — that the federal government can make progress on the problems facing the nation in 2016.” …

A much-hyped YouGov poll from last fall found that 29% of Americans could imagine supporting a military coup. That poll probably overstated popular support — it didn’t ask if people favored a coup right now, just whether they could imagine supporting one, including in the instance of the government violating the Constitution — but there was also this, as Newser reported: “Some 71% said military officers put the interests of the country ahead of their own interests, while just 12% thought the same about members of Congress. “

A democracy that gives rise to those sorts of sentiments is a democracy that’s in trouble. And America’s political class, which is used to operating in a world where there’s lots of room to get things wrong, needs to up its game before things get worse.

I must admit: I’m part of that 29%.

26 Jan 2016

Connolly on Addison

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Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

From Enemies of Promise, 1938 by Cyril Connolly:

Style is manifest in language. The vocabulary of a writer is his curency but it is a paper currency and its value depends on the mind and heart that backs it. The perfect use of language is that in which every word carries the meaning that it is intended to, no less and no more. In the verbal exchange Fleet Street is a kind of Bucket Shop which unloads words on the public for less than they are worth and in consequence the more honest literary bankers, who try to use their words to mean what they say, who are always ‘good for’ the expressions they employ, find their currency constantly depreciating. There was a time when this was not so, a moment in the history of language when words expressed what they meant and when it was impossible to write badly. This time I think was at the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century, when the metaphysical conceits of the one were going out and before the classical tyranny of the other was established. To write badly at that time would involve a perversion of language , to write naturally was a certain way of writing well. Dryden, Rochester, Congreve, Swift, Gay, Defoe, belong to this period and some of its freshness is still found in the Lives of the Poets and in the letters of Gray and Walpole. It is a period which is ended by the work of two great Alterers, Addison and Pope.

Addison was responsible for many of the evils from which English prose has since suffered. He made prose artful, and whimsical, he made it sonorous when sonority was not needed, affected when it did not require affectation; he enjoined the essay on us so that countless small boys are at this moment busy setting down their views on Travel, the Great Man, Courage, Gardening, Capital Punishment to wind up with a quotation from Bacon. For though essay-writing was an occasional activity of Bacon, Walton and Evelyn, Addison turned it into an industry. He was the first to write for the entertainment of the middle classes, the new great power in the reign of Anne. He wrote as a gentleman (Sir Roger is the perfect gentleman), he emphasized his gentle irony, his gentle melancholy, his gentle inanity. He was the apologist for the New Bourgeoisie who writes playfully and apologetically about nothing, casting a smoke screen over its activities to make it seem harmless, genial and sensitive in its non-acquisitive moments; he anticipated Lamb and Emerson, Stevenson, Punch and the professional humorists, the delicious middlers, the fourth leaders, and the memoirs of cabinet ministers, the orations of business magnates, and of chiefs of police. He was the first Man of Letters. Addison had the misuse of an extensive vocabulary and so was able to invalidate a great number of words and expressions; the quality of his mind was inferior to the language which he used to express it.

26 Jan 2016




25 Jan 2016

Won’t Lose Any Votes

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25 Jan 2016

New Video Game

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25 Jan 2016

“Big Boy” the Funnel Web Spider Captured


“Big Boy,” a Funnel Web Spider with a 10 cm. (4 inch leg span)

Sydney, Australia is basically the centter of the natural range of the deadliest spider in the world, the Funnel Web Spider, Atrax robustus. Funnel Web Spiders additionally are aggressive, equipped with large fangs, and inclined to stand their ground when confronted. Death from Funnel Web bites was extraordinarily painful and was preceded by horrific symptoms. Death was certain before the creation of an anti-venom a generation ago.

Australia has so many deadly creatures that they have a poisonous varmint service which will come to your home and scoop up the lastest nasty, then carry him away to be used for anti-venom production.

A nice large Funnel Web, described as having “fangs dripping with venom, was recently encountered, totted off to the Reptile Park for milking, and christened “Big Boy.”

Daily Mail

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