Archive for June, 2017
18 Jun 2017

Father’s Day

Three photos of my father posing with his annual buck from the late 1940s at his Locust Valley farm. All these photographs were damaged by dampness having been stored in a basement.

17 Jun 2017

The Solution to Left-Wing Violence

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17 Jun 2017

Not Too Much for HuffPo

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CNN reported:

Doctors caring for released North Korea detainee Otto Warmbier said he has not spoken or moved on his own since he arrived in the United States on Tuesday, a condition they described as “unresponsive wakefulness” or persistent vegetative state.

The 22-year-old has suffered extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain, doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said in a news conference Thursday.

Also known as persistent vegetative state, the syndrome’s symptoms include no voluntary movement or awareness of surroundings. Warmbier opens his eyes and blinks spontaneously but shows no signs of understanding language or responding to verbal commands, said Dr. Daniel Kanter, professor of neurology and director of the Neurocritical Care Program.

The news shed light on the Warmbier family’s statement that their son suffered severe brain damage at some point in his 17 months of detention.

His parents said they learned of their son’s condition — what North Korea called a coma — only last week.

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On HuffPo, La Sha posted this humanitarian response.

[Otto Warmbier is a] young white man who went to an Asian country and violated their laws, and learned that the shield his cis white male identity provides here in America is not teflon abroad.

As shocked as I am by the sentence handed down to Warmbier, I am even more shocked that a grown man, an American citizen, would not only voluntarily enter North Korea but also commit what’s been described a “college-style prank.” That kind of reckless gall is an unfortunate side effect of being socialized first as a white boy, and then as a white man in this country. Every economic, academic, legal and social system in this country has for more than three centuries functioned with the implicit purpose of ensuring that white men are the primary benefactors of all privilege. The kind of arrogance bred by that kind of conditioning is pathogenic, causing its host to develop a subconscious yet no less obnoxious perception that the rules do not apply to him, or at least that their application is negotiable.

Headline after headline has highlighted that Otto Warmbier is a student. His LinkedIn profile states that he is majoring Economics with a minor in Global Sustainability and is a Managing Director of an “alternative investment fund.” A man reared in this country who studies the globe as a part of his higher education curriculum must have been at least passingly aware of the notoriously strained relationship between the United States and North Korea. Surely he had read the stories of Jeffrey Fowle and Matthew Miller, other white American men arrested in North Korea for “petty crimes” who were subsequently sentenced to hard labor.

Yeah, I’m willing to bet my last dollar that he was aware of the political climate in that country, but privilege is a hell of a drug. The high of privilege told him that North Korea’s history of making examples out of American citizens who dare challenge their rigid legal system in any way was no match for his alabaster American privilege. When you can watch a white man who entered a theatre and killed a dozen people come out unscathed, you start to believe you’re invincible. When you see a white man taken to Burger King in a bulletproof vest after he killed nine people in a church, you learn that the world will always protect you.

Coming from a country filled with citizens who lambaste black victims of state sanctioned violence by telling us that if we obey the law, we wouldn’t have to face the consequences, Warmbier should’ve listened. If he had obeyed North Korea’s laws, he would be home now. In fact, if he had heeded the U.S. Department of State’s strong advisement against travel to North Korea, he would be home right now. And if Eric Garner is to be blamed for his own death for selling loose cigarettes or if Sandra Bland is dead because she failed to signal when changing lanes, then Otto Warmbier is now facing a decade and a half of hard labor because he lacked both good judgment and respect for the national autonomy of a country which has made its hatred for and vendetta against America unequivocally clear.

And while I don’t blame his parents for pressuring the State Department to negotiate his release, I wonder where they were when their son was planning a trip to the DPRK. Didn’t they impress upon him the hostile climate that awaited him? Didn’t they rear him to respect law and order? Did they not teach him the importance of obeying authority?

What a mind-blowing moment it must be to realize after 21 years of being pedestaled by the world simply because your DNA coding produced the favorable phenotype that such favor is not absolute. What a bummer to realize that even the State Department with all its influence and power cannot assure your pardon. What a wake-up call it is to realize that your tears are met with indifference.

As I’ve said, living 15 years performing manual labor in North Korea is unimaginable, but so is going to a place I know I’m unwelcome and violating their laws. I’m a black woman though. The hopeless fear Warmbier is now experiencing is my daily reality living in a country where white men like him are willfully oblivious to my suffering even as they are complicit in maintaining the power structures which ensure their supremacy at my expense. He is now an outsider at the mercy of a government unfazed by his cries for help. I get it.


La Sha

It’s always a bit astonishing for a normally sane person to discover just how vehemently racist some African Americans are, and a bit appalling as well to catch a glimpse of the lurid and extravagant thought world of self-indulgent paranoid fantasy that many of them inhabit.

And it is obviously a very bad thing that so many people make a habit of seeking self-gratification by wallowing in delusions of persecution and projecting vicious prejudices onto everyone unlike themselves, but the kind of people guilty of this sort of thing, at least, have the excuse of being enabled and encouraged by a kind of pathological group think. I don’t see though how anyone can excuse the editors at places like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and Huffington Post who routinely publish these kind of hydrophobic ravings, treating them as some kind of legitimate editorial perspective,

17 Jun 2017

Too Much For HuffPo (At Least in the Context of the Alexandria Shootings…)

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Washington Times:

An op-ed posted June 11 by Huffington Post contributor Jason Fuller was pulled by the website after Wednesday’s attack on congressional Republicans.

“Impeachment Is No Longer Enough; Donald Trump Must Face Justice,” a call for the prosecution and execution of the president, was published just three days before 66-year-old gunman James Hodgkinson shot Rep. Steve Scalise and three others on an Alexandria, Virginia, baseball field. A reporter for The Daily Caller noticed the deletion late Wednesday and found a cached version still available.

“Trump’s impeachment and removal from office are no longer enough,” the HuffPo contributor wrote. “Draining the swamp means not only ejecting Trump from the presidency, but also bringing himself and everyone assisting in his agenda up on charges of treason. They must be convicted (there is little room to doubt their guilt). And then —  upon receiving guilty verdicts  —  they must all be executed under the law. Anything less than capital punishment  — or at least life imprisonment without parole in a maximum security detention facility  — would send yet another message to the world that America has lost its moral compass.”

The writer then asserted that Republican leadership should face the same fate.

“Nothing would do more than to convict them of the highest offense defined by our Constitution, and then to deliver the ultimate punishment. Donald Trump deserves nothing less,” the author wrote. “Mitch McConnell, Steve Bannon, and Paul Ryan should also share Donald Trump’s fate, for they have done more than practically anyone to protect him and to throw our country under the proverbial bus. In order to survive, we as a nation must deliver the ultimate punishment under the law to all involved in its current destruction.”

Jason Fuller was mendacious, but not repentant, in the aftermath of the removal of his posting. Medium

16 Jun 2017

“More Youthful, More Urban, and More Inclusive of Women”

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Bad! Male shooting trap.

GunsAmerica makes it clear that entirely the wrong kind of people are on the International Olympic Committee.

The International Olympic Committee has dropped three men’s shooting events from the Tokyo 2020 lineup in an effort to make the games “more youthful, more urban” and more inclusive of women.

The Committee announced last Friday that men’s double trap, 50m rifle prone, and 50m pistol will be replaced by events in air rifle, trap, and air shooting, which will be open to competitors of any gender.

IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement, “I am delighted that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will be more youthful, more urban and will include more women.”

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Evelyn Waugh’s Scott-King’s Modern Europe follows the declining career of a balding & corpulent classics teacher at Granchester, a fictional English public school. Granchester is “entirely respectable” but in need of a bit of modernizing, at least in the opinion of its pragmatic headmaster, who is attuned to consumer demands. The story ends with a poignant conversation between Scott-King and the headmaster:

“You know,” [the headmaster] said, “we are starting this year with fifteen fewer classical specialists than we had last term?”

“I thought that would be about the number.”

“As you know I’m an old Greats man myself. I deplore it as much as you do. But what are we to do? Parents are not interested in producing the ‘complete man’ any more. They want to qualify their boys for jobs in the modern world. You can hardly blame them, can you?”

“Oh yes,” said Scott-King. “I can and do.”

“I always say you are a much more important man here than I am. One couldn’t conceive of Granchester without Scott-King. But has it ever occurred to you that a time may come when there will be no more classical boys at all?”

“Oh yes. Often.”

“What I was going to suggest was—I wonder if you will consider taking some other subject as well as the classics? History, for example, preferably economic history?”

“No, headmaster.”

“But, you know, there may be something of a crisis ahead.”

“Yes, headmaster.”

“Then what do you intend to do?”

“If you approve, headmaster, I will stay as I am here as long as any boy wants to read the classics. [Emphasis added] I think it would be very wicked indeed to do anything to fit a boy for the modern world.

“It’s a short-sighted view, Scott-King.”

“There, headmaster, with all respect, I differ from you profoundly. I think it the most long-sighted view it is possible to take.”

15 Jun 2017

Anita Pallenberg Died Tuesday at 75

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Anita Pallenberg

Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone:

Let’s raise a toast to the late great Anita Pallenberg, queen of the underground, the Rolling Stones muse who gave the Glimmer Twins their glimmer lessons. Pallenberg, who died Tuesday night at the age of 73 [Really 75], wasn’t merely Keith Richards’ consort – she was a rock & roll legend in herself, a style icon, a crucial part of the Stones’ mystique. She taught Keith her sinister glare, taught Mick Jagger her wiggle, taught Brian Jones how to wear floppy hats. Look at pictures of Keith before and after Anita – it’s like the difference between Buddy Holly and Jack the Ripper. As soon Keith connected with Anita, he lost his gawky shyness and learned to strut like her, wearing her scarves and shirts and bangles. She was the flower of evil in the Stones’ orbit, the baddest of bad girls – her grin declared she knew more about sin than any of these English schoolboys had ever imagined.

Things tended to burst into flames around Anita. Her friend Marianne Faithfull used to call her “Glenda Hindenburg.” “Loads of people were scared of me,” Anita said in Victor Bockris’ Keith Richards: The Biography. “I guess it was all that savoir-vivre that I had, and I was from Rome and I had traveled and been in New York and I knew all these people, and I was pretty reckless as well. You could see Keith and Mick exchanging looks like, ‘Who is this weird bird?'” That was putting it mildly. As Keith recalled, “She knew everything and she could say it in five languages. She scared the pants off me!”

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Ann Althouse:

What an embodiment of the mod beauty we adored in the 1960s! Go to the link — it’s to the NYT — to see the photographs of her that made us so envious — in the arms of Keith Richards in 1969 and drawing lipliner on Mick Jagger (in the movie “Performance”) in 1970.

That movie “remains as hallucinogenically strange and disturbing as ever and Pallenberg will be for ever remembered as Pherber: sexually omnivorous, dangerous, sweetly amoral. The movie… captures the psychosis of the end of the 60s, where art, crime and sex open up the gates of social mobility but identity becomes fragmented.”

    Pallenberg spoke of drugs freezing her, so she did not grow emotionally. Faithfull has spoken of not being able to have sex without being semi-anaesthetised with drugs. Their stories remind us of what sexual liberation could mean for women in the 60s. These great beauties paid a huge price for being the “girlfriends” of rock stars. Both these clever, multilingual, arty women educated their boyfriends (Jagger and Richards) about culture and art and style. Pallenberg got the boys to wear her clothes. Everyone, Faithfull once told me, was in love with Keith, even Mick of course …

“I like a high-spirited woman. And with Anita, you knew you were taking on a Valkyrie — she who decides who dies in battle.” — wrote Keith Richards.

———————

Telegraph: 17 Reasons Anita Pallenberg was the coolest girl in the world.

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It was Anita Pallenberg who did the unusual voice backgrounds in “Sympathy for the Devil.”

15 Jun 2017

Conspiracy of Silence

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Thomas Lifson marvels at the conspiracy of silence on the part of Republicans which has allowed the MSM to fabricate and keep running for months coverage of a completely imaginary story involving supposititious collusion with Russia for which no evidence whatsoever has been identified.

The stunning truth is that the American political and media establishment allowed a phony story – that they knew was phony — to dominate our political discourse for months. When James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, he revealed that he had informed many important Congressional leaders that there was no investigation of President Trump and the Russians underway, even as MSNBC, CNN, The New York Times, and the Washington Post daily carried stories alluding to an imaginary investigation.

None of these informed leaders spoke out! They allowed a make-believe tale intended to harm the legitimacy and therefore political power of President Trump to dominate mindshare in the nation’s collective political conversation. …

The American people were played as patsies, their attention diverted to a fantasy that had — and still has — no evidence whatsoever of its existence. That fantasy was propounded for political reasons, and used to subvert the outcome of a democratic election.

And except for Senator Grassley, the entire roster of congressional establishment held its tongues.

15 Jun 2017

When Millennials Protest…

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Taking selfies during a protest in Rennes, France.

Antonio Navalón, “Millennials: Owners of Nothing“:

Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) are on the brink. There is no company, organization or politician that does not dedicate its efforts to reach, convince or mobilize these children of the technological revolution. All are aimed at conquering them. However, there is no evidence that they were born and raised with the values ​​of civility and responsibility. Until now, except for their technological preferences, they do not identify with any political or social aspirations. Their lack of connection with the past and their indifference, in a certain sense, to the real world are the traits that best define them. In that sense, it is likely that the missing link of this generalized global crisis resides in the fact that they are a generation that has all rights, but no obligation.

I would love to know a single millennial idea that was not an Instagram filter or an application for the mobile phone. A single idea that transcends and originates in its name. Because, when one observes the relationship of many with the world around them, they seem more like software of the last generation than human beings who came to the world thanks to their mothers.

Those millennials that live submerged in virtual reality do not have a program, do not have projects and only have one objective: to live with the simple fact of existing. It seems that all they care about is the number of likes, comments and followers on their social networks just because they are there and because they want to live from being born.

The problem is that if a large part of this generation that is taking over has no responsibilities, no obligations and no definite project, perhaps that explains the arrival of leaders like Donald Trump or the huge electoral abstention in Mexico. Hopefully the high participation of those under 35 in the recent British elections will mean a change in the trend of this deep social indifference.

In the end the questions are many. Is it worthwhile to construct a discourse for those who do not have the function of listening in their DNA? Is it worth taking a step further in anthropology and finding the missing link between the millennial and the human being? Is it worth knowing the latest technological contribution and living wanting to influence it in a world that has historically been governed by ideas, evolution and changes?

If millennials want nothing and they are the future, then the future is in the middle of nowhere. That is why others, those of us who do not belong to that generation, who are not willing to be responsible for the failure that represents the significant part of these young people who want nothing in the real world, we must have the courage to ask them, if they want to belong to the human condition, begin by using their ideas and their technological tools, learn to speak up and close the circuit of autism. But also, let them know that the rest of the world is not obliged to maintain them simply because they lived and were part of the transition with which this century of knowledge arrived.

14 Jun 2017

Typography and Politics

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Ben Hersh, at Backchannel, discusses the ability of different fonts to make cultural and political statements.

The US is not so different from the rest of the world when it comes to tribalism and conflicted identity. This has crystalized in last few months, and we’ve seen typography play a substantial role.

Hillary Clinton ran for president with a slick logo befitting a Fortune 100 company. It had detractors, but I think we’ll remember it fondly as a symbol of what could have been — clarity, professionalism, and restraint.

Donald Trump countered with a garish baseball cap that looked like it had been designed in a Google Doc by the man himself. This proved to be an effective way of selling Trump’s unique brand.

I’m not interested in whether Clinton or Trump had good logos. I’m interested in the different values they reveal. Clinton’s typography embodies the spirit of modernism and enlightenment values. It was designed to appeal to smart, progressive people who like visual puns. They appreciate the serendipity of an arrow that completes a lettermark while also symbolizing progress. In other words, coastal elites who like “design.”

Trump’s typography speaks with a more primal, and seemingly earnest voice. “Make America Great Again” symbolizes “Make America Great Again.” It tells everyone what team you’re on, and what you believe in. Period. It speaks to a distrust of “clean” corporate aesthetics and snobs who think they’re better than Times New Roman on a baseball cap. Its mere existence is a political statement.

The two typographies are mutually intelligible at first glance, but a lot gets lost in translation. We live in a divided country, split on typographic lines as cleanly as the Serbs and the Croats.

RTWT

14 Jun 2017

Trump’s Teflon Explained

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Victor Davis Hanson explains why the establishment media’s furious efforts at ginning up public interest in the Trump Administration’s alleged offenses are not working.

The Left was mostly untroubled for eight years about the often unconstitutional abuses of Barack Obama — given that they saw their shared noble aims as justifying almost any means necessary to achieve them.

There was the not uncommon Rice-Gruber-Rhodes-Holder sort of deception (on Benghazi, on the conduct of Bowe Bergdahl, on the Affordable Care Act, the Iran deal, on Fast and Furious, etc.) — a required tactic because so much of the Obama agenda was antithetical to the wishes and preferences of the American electorate and thus had to be disguised and camouflaged to become enacted.

There was the pen-and-phone mockery of established federal law (the suspension of the ACA employer mandate, the Chrysler creditor reversal, the non-enforcement of federal immigration law, the institutionalization of sanctuary-city nullification). There was the constant mythmaking (from faux red lines, deadlines, and step-over lines to the fatuity of the Cairo Speech and Iran-deal harangues).

There were the abuses of presidential power (the surveillance of journalists, the selective release of the bin Laden trove to pet journalists, the likely surveilling, unmasking, and leaking through reversed targeting of political enemies).

No one worried much when Obama promised on a hot mic to Medvedev that he would be more flexible with the Russians after his reelection, as if they were to conform to a desired sort of behavior in service to Obama that would earn them dividends from him later on — the kind of unapologetic partisan “collusion” that would have earned Trump a Comey-induced indictment. No one cared that Obama pulled all peacekeepers out of Iraq and thereby ruined what the surge had saved.

Nor did anyone fret much about the serial scandals at the GSA, the VA, the IRS, and the Secret Service, or his disastrous reset policy with Russia and the implosion of the Middle East or the strange spectacles of Obama’s interview with GloZell or polarizing Oval Office guests, such as the rapper whose album cover portrayed celebrations over a dead white judge.

True, none of these were impeachable or even major offenses. But all of them recalibrated the bar of presidential behavior.

So along came the next Republican president, empowered by Obama’s exemptions to do almost anything he wished, albeit without the thin exculpatory veneer of Ivy League pretension, multicultural indemnity, and studied smoothness.

In biblical “there is a season” fashion, for every sermon about not building your business, making too much money, or profiting at the wrong time, there was a Trump retort to profit as never before.

For every too-frequent gala golf outing of a metrosexual Obama decked out in spiffy attire, there is a plumper Trump swinging away, oblivious to the angry pack of reporters that Obama once so carefully courted.

For every rapper with an ankle bracelet that went off in the White House, there is now a White House photo-op with Ted Nugent.

For every executive-order suspension of federal immigration enforcement, there is an executive-order corrective. For every lecture on the crusades, sermons on Western genocidal history, apology tour, or Islamic mythmaking, there is an American Greatness pride in everything.

The progressive ironies continued.

If the media were to be believed when they insisted that Obama was a “god,” or that he was the smartest man ever to achieve the presidency, or that the first lady was Jackie Kennedy incarnate, or that Obama was capable of sending electrical shocks down a reporter’s leg or was sure to be a brilliant president on the basis of his pants crease or because he talked in the manner of Washington elites, then surely it could not be believed when Trump was smeared as a veritable dunce, crook, buffoon, and naïf worthy of impeachment or that his wife (fluent in several languages) was an airhead former escort girl.

By their former unhinged adoration and obsequiousness, progressives and the media undermined all future credibility in their unhinged venom and loathing of Donald Trump. Now they live with the reality that by elevating Obama into a deity, they unleashed their own worst nightmare and have reduced themselves to irrelevance. In the end, no one believes the current venom of a CNN or a New York Times precisely because no one could have believed their prior slavish adulation.

RTWT

14 Jun 2017

They’ve Got a Point

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(click on image for larger version)

13 Jun 2017

Requiescat

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Briton Rivière, Requiescat, 1889, sold Christie’s, London, February 19, 2003.

Auction Note:

The picture is a small version, dated 1889, of one that Riviere exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1888 (Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney). Another small version, also dated 1889, was sold at Sotheby’s Belgravia on 16 November 1976, lot 80 (illustrated in catalogue). The existence of these reduced replicas is no surprise since the original version was immensely popular and praised in almost every review of the RA exhibition. The success of the image was predictable, combining as it does two concepts that held an enormous appeal for the Victorians, canine devotion and medieval chivalry. Riviere had chosen the subject as the inheritor of the mantle of Sir Edwin Landseer, specialising in animal subjects with a strong element of anthropomorphism. In fact Landseer had already treated it in a different context in his famous painting The Old Shepherd’s Chief Mourner, exhibited at the RA in 1837 (Sheepshanks Collection, Victoria and Albert Museum). In both pictures the body of a departed master is mourned by a faithful dog almost visibly shedding tears of grief. As Robert Rosenblum puts it, ‘If only, the message reads, human beings, in this or any other age, could be counted on for such selfless and prayerful devotion!’. But a dramatic change has also occurred. The lonely and indigent crofter who lies in the coffin in Landseer’s picture is replaced by a fallen medieval hero in full armour, while the crofter’s working collie becomes a noble and all too soulful bloodhound. The result is not only to push the image a long way up the social scale but to substitute for the true pathos of the Landseer (analysed at length and warmly commended by Ruskin in Modern Painters ) a dose of heady but rather obvious romance. In fact, come to think of it, it is surprising that Landseer himself did not paint Riviere’s subject; he was quite capable of doing so, and it was perfectly tailored to his talents. We might say he missed a trick, leaving a gap which the younger artist had no hesitation in filling. The recumbent knight lies so stiffly on his catafalque that he resembles the carved effigy of a knight on a medieval tomb. It is almost as if the dog on which such figures often rest their feet has jumped down to become ‘the fallen hero’s chief mourner’

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