May 31, 2016

Overnight Open Thread (5-31-2016)
— Maetenloch

Quote of the Day  I - Bad Things Edition

Oops! At JFK airport, workers were caught on video entering restricted areas without security checks.

Even worse, some of them had worked more than 29 hours that week.

Quote of the Day II

It is a common misconception that socialism is about helping poor people. Actually, what socialism does is create poor people, and keep them poor. And that's not by accident. Under capitalism, rich people become powerful. But under socialism, powerful people become rich. When you look at a socialist country like Venezuela, you find that the rulers are fabulously wealthy even as the ordinary citizenry deals with empty supermarket shelves and electricity rationing.

-- Glenn Reynolds

Peter Thiel: The Hero We Need Right Now

Eight years ago Gawker outed Peter Thiel for no other reason than they could plus their usual love of destroying peoples' lives. So it's not really shocking to find out that Thiel has been bankrolling Hulk Hogan's successful lawsuit against Gawker which that will almost certainly end with Gawker's destruction.

About eight-and-a-half years ago, the folks at Gawker made a big to-do about outing libertarian tech billionaire Peter Thiel. According to Nick Denton, the founder of Gawker, Thiel "was so paranoid that, when I was looking into the story, a year ago, I got a series of messages relaying the destruction that would rain down on me, and various innocent civilians caught in the crossfire, if a story ever ran."

Yesterday we learned the form of the destructor that Thiel chose: Hulk Hogan.

...There are many delightful wrinkles to Thiel's Count of Monte Cristo-style, best-served-cold revenge. Personally, I'm excited for all the think pieces from liberal journalists concern-trolling Thiel about The True Meaning Of Libertarianism while they wring their hands about the dangers of silencing opponents of the powerful. I'm sure all of these journalists are currently working on essays defending conservative think tanks from onerous, speech-chilling subpoenas filed by the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands. They'll be published soon, I just know it.

Frankly, I'm not all that concerned about the chilling effect that Hogan's suit will have, even if it's being funded by a guy with a (perfectly reasonable) grudge. Let's not forget that Gawker got sued for publishing a private sex tape without the permission of the participants. It was pure prurience, with a newsworthiness factor of nil.

Dennis Prager on Why the Left Hates Western Civilization

This month Stanford University students voted on a campus resolution that would have had their college require a course on Western civilization - as it did until the 1980s.

Stanford students rejected the proposal 1,992 to 347. A columnist in the Stanford Daily explained why: Teaching Western civilization means "upholding white supremacy, capitalism, and colonialism, and all other oppressive systems that flow from Western civilizations." The vote and the column encapsulated the Left's view of Western civilization: In Europe, Latin America, and America, the Left loathes Western civilization.
So, then, the Big Question is, Why? Why is the Left hostile to Western civilization?

After decades of considering this question, the answer, I have concluded, is: standards.

The Left hates standards - moral standards, artistic standards, cultural standards. The West is built on all three, and has excelled in all three.

The Left hates standards because when there are standards, there is judgment. And Leftists don't want to be judged.

...In the moral realm, the same rejection of standards exists. Thus, the Left loathed Ronald Reagan for labeling the Soviet Union an "evil empire." That would mean that America was morally superior to the Soviet Union. And such a judgment was unacceptable. The whole left-wing moral vocabulary is a rejection of Western moral standards: "tolerance," "inclusion," "anti-discrimination" (by definition, standards discriminate), "non-judgmental," and even "income inequality," which deems some people's work more valuable than that of others.

...And finally, we come to the Left's loathing of the religions of Western civilization - the Judeo-Christian religions, with their clear standards of right and wrong. Bible-based religions affirm a morally judging God. For the Left, that is anathema. For the Left, the only judging allowed is Leftist judging of others. No one judges the Left. Neither man nor God.

Japan Report - Part I

Yes maid cafes really do exist. Here is a photo I took in Akihabara while doing um..special blog research. And based on my casual yet oddly thorough research manga, anime, AV porn, energy drinks and convenience stores seem to make up approximately half of Japan's GDP. I'm not an trained economist or anything so it's entirely possibly I'm underestimating here.

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Posted by: Maetenloch at 06:33 PM | Comments (600)
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William Kristol Has Recruited NRO Writer and Iraq Veteran David French for his #NeverTrump Presidential Candidate?
— Ace

Hm.

Well, French is one of my favorite writers on the entire right. I've quoted him enough times.

A few months ago I was talking with someone about actual thought leaders -- not like the Twitter people who think they're thought leaders -- and I named, as my own thought leaders, Andrew McCarthy and David French.

And he has a presidential level bio -- Constitutional lawyer, soldier.

Is this serious? Well, French recently seemed to pick Trump's pocket and steal one of his key emotional issues, while keeping it respectable enough for the intellectual class.

I can't recall the first time I heard the phrase “white male” hissed as if it were some form of particularly vile insult. I know it happened in law school, where it was used as a short-hand way of saying that I should be silent, that my views were not welcome. Over time, I learned that, to a certain set of people, there was something positively wrong with being white.

"We" were the great privileged oppressors of history. And "we" were the great privileged oppressors of the present. Our law schools are, in many ways, incubators for the identity politics that dominate the social-justice Left. For those soaked in progressive identity politics, skin color was a stand-in for virtue.

It was impossible for a black person to be racist; it was impossible for a white person not to be. Any in-depth discussion of history had to acknowledge past injustice. It was tough even to talk about, say, Omaha Beach without in the next breath acknowledging the systematic segregation in the World War II–era U.S. Army.

Since my law-school days, the problem has only gotten worse. Now the true cultural and historical demons are white -- gasp! -- "cisgender" males, and any white cisgender woman who doesn’t appropriately check her privilege. The ticket to white acceptability in progressive politics is a form of self-loathing: a constant attitude of repentance not just for the sins of the past but also for the benefits of the present, which are presumably enjoyed only or mainly because of the plunder and exploitation of "brown bodies."

Oddly enough, this self-loathing doesn't diminish the power of the white progressive. The movement is still chock-full of rich white men and women. Indeed, they mainly lead the American Left. They simply purport to hate and mock "white males: with the same intensity as do their black friends.

But while there’s no price paid by Harvard Law students who "check their privilege," or by Silicon Valley execs who enthusiastically embrace the latest trends in identity politics -- they and their families will do just fine -- the rest of white America is not so fortunate. We're left with the odd reality in which white kids who live in trailer parks are "privileged," while the sons and daughters of wealthy black doctors are "oppressed" -- in which the legitimate concerns of white working-class and middle-class Americans are dismissed as misguided at best (after all, they’re privileged) and racist at worst.

Here's the problem: Progressives don’t like to admit this, but identity politics work as the mirror image of white supremacy -- compressing the extraordinarily rich and complex histories of nations, continents, and cultures into one characteristic: skin color. For the white supremacist, white people are natural-born victors. For the identity-politics leftist, white people are natural-born predators.

...

When identity politics rule, racism and polarization thrive. It is no coincidence that we are seeing a resurgence in outright white nationalism-- embodied in the so-called alt-right --at the same time that America's leftist cultural elite are decisively rejecting Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream that Americans be judged by the "content of their character" and not the color of their skin. When one side decides that skin color is a virtue, then -- as sure as the sun rises in the east -- the other side will eagerly agree....

The answer to misguided identity politics isn't more misguided identity politics.

Well I have two objections to a David French candidacy:

1. I think he'd be a perfect candidate -- one that I'd like an awful lot -- and my own understanding on this issue is that candidates I really like can never get elected to office.

2. He'd be a strong, well-funded, perfectly acceptable spoiler. My problem isn't a David French candidacy; it's a David French candidacy that can't actually win, but just serve as a protest vessel for 10% of the party, and thereby deliver the presidency into the corrupt talons of Hillary Clinton.

Eh. I'll keep my eyes open.

The minute I think he could actually win, I'm on the #FrenchRiviera.

But I need to see that this isn't just some protest candidacy by a miffed intellectual class with a pressing career interest in maintaining their #RespectabilityWithintheUpperMiddleClass.

But if it's more than that -- and if he has a dollop of charisma (I've never actually heard or seen him) -- then yeah, hell yeah. I'm interested.

But really, this would have to be more than personal career protection for some discarded beltway intellectuals.

I'd also like to see him say something about immigration other than the Intellectual Establishment Class Approved Rubio Line (give full amnesty now, get some additional border security later... maybe. God willing.)

But I have a feeling that a candidate put forward by a wing with a beloved "We're all Americans, including people who aren't American" globalist line would have to wind up echoing that line, even if he didn't necessarily believe it.

I assume that to capture the #NeverTrump remnant -- the bulk of whom are fire-breathing Rubio loyalists, for some bizarre reason I can't fathom -- French would have to parrot the Rubio Line on immigration.

Interview: Why French, at the age of 37, volunteered to join the JAG corps and serve in Iraq.

Posted by: Ace at 01:45 PM | Comments (1267)
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EPIX: No, We're Not Pulling the Katie Couric Mockumentary. But It's Now Available Only On Pay Per View.
— Ace

They say this was always the plan-- debut it on EPIX as part of the station's programming, then move it into a pay-per-view sitch.


"As of today, the doc moves out of the premium window -- off of EPIX -- and into a transactional [video on demand] and [electronic sell-through] window. This is part of the original agreement struck when we acquired the doc," she added. "The distribution strategy allowed us to premiere the doc on the network and also preserve maximum value for the transactional VOD and EST windows that follow."

Eh. I have no idea.

All I know is that Katie Couric is a stupid old whore.

Posted by: Ace at 01:04 PM | Comments (135)
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Assholishly Provocative (And Superiority-Signalling) Thought of the Day
— Ace

A Question I Find Interesting: How Much of "Thought" Is Intellectuated, and How Much Is Merely Socialized?

That is to say, how much thought is the result of someone's own private research (in terms of reading) and thinking about that reading, and how much is actually just social/cultural acquiescence, in much the same way that a guy who moves to Texas picks up a Texan accent and appreciation for Texan BBQ?

Obviously both are always at play, but I think "philosophy and belief and thought" tends to be much more of a social construct than is widely acknowledged. After all, the paradigmatic ideal of "thought" is one man or woman pondering on his or her own at his or her desk; there is feeling of corruption or "cheating" if there is any admission that something as important as thought and belief is largely a product of socialization and group accommodation. But the fact that the reality strays so far from the idea ought not blind a truly thinking person from wondering precisely how much he's actually "thought" and how much he's actually simply accepted the group's "thinking" (to the extent group thinking is thinking at all).

This occurred to me recently when I checked Twitter for the first time in a while and saw that #NeverTrump was more than the dominant group norm -- it was the enforced group norm, with a cadre of Orthodoxy Defenders who responded to any questioning of it with the typical (dumb) means of Group Opinion Enforcement -- lame insults, drive-by demurrals, etc.

Not to say that all objections were in that category -- several people responded to my provocation with questions and challenges that warranted (and actually invited) responses, and I responded.

But much of the "response" was just the typical Twitter ideological enforcement thug crap -- dogpile dogshit.

I had an odd image. I'm not quite sure how the brain functions, but I do think that when the brain becomes urgently determined on a particular action or impulse, the neurons all tend to fire in that direction, and re-align any non-conforming neurons to similarly fire in that vector.

For example, if you stumble across a menacing figure in a dark and lonely alley, a great many of your neurons are going to be firing in the Get the hell out of here direction. While you may have other stray thoughts -- "I shouldn't judge a book by its cover," "Maybe this is my chance to discover if I am a natural, intuitive expert at karate" -- those will soon be overwhelmed by the rush of neurons singing the the Let's get out of here song.

Anyway, I had this image that Twitter -- or "social" media generally, or even more generally, mob psychology itself -- is essentially a very large ersatz hive-brain in which each speaker -- each mob unit -- participates as a neuron. Different neurons have different inclinations -- some neurons want to discuss things, some neurons remain quiet, taking in information from neurons firing around them.

But a lot of neurons are Ringleader Neurons and are fixated on the idea of beginning a Neuron Stampede in their preferred direction. (Or, because much thought is socialized -- in the direction they've been socialized by other neurons to believe is preferred.)

This is why I fucking hate Twitter, and why I hate blog comments when they mimic this We must shout down and silence all dissenting neurons.

The point of my provocation wasn't actually to be #ProTrump, though, in a contest with Hillary, I am in fact #ProTrump.

I know, for example, Moxie Mom, who I respect immensely, is #NeverTrump (or at least swings that way). I have no problem with a thinking being coming down on that side of the question.

My problem is more meta -- my problem is with the non-thinking beings.

My problem is with the people who seem to think that Thinking Can Only Damage the Righeousness and Morale of Our Cause, and seek to bully -- or at least ridiculize -- discordant voices (neurons firing in stubborny contrary manners) and either marginalize them and deligitimize them or apply social pressure to re-align them to fire in a more socially acceptable direction.

As I've observed a thousand times: Mankind is a social animal, with a deep-seeded desire to get along with his pack (or herd).

Thus, social pressures -- bullying, ridiculizing, stripping people of their respectability, claims of disloyalty, etc. -- are very effective in swaying human thought.

They ought not be, but they are.

The intellectual tradition, as I understand it anyway, is an attempt to set aside such mammalian group pressure tactics as a legitimate method of persuasion or conformization.

The intellectual tradition deems such tactics to be anti-intellectual, crude, animalistic, and -- if i can use this word -- rather gross.

The intellectual tradition champions the idea that only intellectual means -- facts, evidence, persuasions that appeal to the mind rather than the social-conformization centers of the brain -- will be used to sway opinion.

Now I'm not stupid. I realize that in terms of effectiveness, the herd-persuasion/tribal loyalty appeals are about, I don't know, twenty or thirty times more effective than the according-to-Hoyle intellectual means.

Nevertheless, I tend to become unreasonably angry when I see them at play, and especially when I see them in a position of dominance, where people are barely even pretending to be even playing on the intellectual-persuasion field at all.

As I've mentioned a thousand time, though I am (I think) naturally more inclined to the liberal side of things on many issues, I am so antagonistic to the group-think/social-pressure/tribal-loyalty signalling side of things that I broke angrily from not only that style of liberalism (which is really leftistm/progressivism) but liberalism itself, tossing out the baby with the befouled bathwater, out of pure pique.

Eh, I'm an asshole. What can I say. Assholes are eagerly on the hunt for any opportunity to tell other people "You're being assholes."

This is not any particular problem of the #NeverTrumper movement. They have no particular succeptibility to it. Indeed, the ProTrump forces were -- often are -- pretty egregious in attempting to use such "Let's Make This Viral"/astroturfing/artificial conformity creation techniques.

They drove me mad in these own comments for a while, to the point where I just began banning people by the score.

Make any argument you like, my motto goes, but I must insist it actually be an argument, and not simply an attempt to bully someone into silence or coerced agreement by heaping abuse and denigration on them.

But as I say, this is not particularly a Trump thing, or a NeveTrump thing.

It is a human thing, because human beings are in fact pack animals, social animals, to whom in-group peace is important, as is in-group respectability, as is loyalty to the group.

Humans are simultaneously animals who respond -- despite themselves -- to social pressure and dominance displays by, um, Bull Twitter Males and Comments Area Alpha Wolves, and also rational beings. The animal part, I think, exceeds the rational part (which Enlightenment deists might call the divine part) by at least an order of magnitude.

And that's okay. We are what we are. We shouldn't hate ourselves for being as the Lord made us.

Nevertheless, as with anything, it strikes me that we have our better selves and our worse selves, and while no one should curse his creation for having a worse self, one should strive to be one's better self, at least most of the time.

Every human being is more reasonable, civil, moral, virtuous, and intelligent in a one-on-one discussion than he is when he is speaking -- or howling -- as part of the pack. When one deems oneself to be speaking -- howling, hooting -- for the Pack, one not only begins resorting to more animalistic expressions (words become quite secondary to the emotional charge those words act as the mere carrier signal for) but one also begins justifying behavior one would never justify on one's own behalf.

That is, when you're acting to defend the privileges and rights of the group, one quickly finds oneself succumbing to Ends Justify the Means thinking -- I am not acting out of a selfish desire to champion myself, but out of an altruistic desire to champion a large group of beings who I am, at least temporarily, the advocate of.

Incivil behavior and anti-intellectual howls become not merely allowable, but nigh imperative -- after all, the pack is counting on you to vindicate them.

Were you just speaking for yourself, you wouldn't feel that sort of obligation to be cruel on behalf of the group, that license for incivility and, frankly, stupidity.

It is the imperative of defending the pack that justifies that.

Add into this the fact that 90% of political "communication" in the Age of Twitter is not chiefly expressive but instead chiefly performative.

It grows very hard to distinguish the things people really believe when they say them, and the things they merely say to declare loyalty to the pack.

And there's also a healthy mix of the Self Brag included in any expression. (N.B.: Including the post you are currently reading.) Just as there's always been that old question -- when you shout your devotion to God, are you really seeking to increase God's glory, or your own? (for, after all, who but a Good and Righteous Man would shout the glories of God so loudly?) -- there is a healthy amount of self-tribute going on in most political chatter.

Is the man raging about Principles really talking about those principles, or is his major goal in talking about principles to convince the hearer that he is the sort of man deeply interested in Principles?

There's really no one who is ever completely talking about principles, nor completely aggrandizing himself -- there's always a mix of things going on. I think that most people reading this right now can agree that Anti-Semitism is the Socialism of Fools. (And we can probably agree with William F. Buckle's (IIRC) caveat to that claim - while Anti-Semitism is the Socialism of Fools, Socialism is also the Socialism of Fools.)

And that's certainly a true thing (I think). And when I say that, I mean it.

But I also can't help but mean something else when I say it: People who disagree with this are fools, and I'm smarter than any idiot currently disagreeing.

So there's a mix of things going on in any political utterance, both a declaration of the sacredness of principles, and implicitly -- unavoidably -- a very strong suggestion about the sacredness of the being so unselfish as to declare his devotion to principles.

But I think that, while conceding that self-aggrandizement is an unavoidable (and desirable, to be honest) part of any aggrandizement of some larger purpose, people really ought to at least keep it covert and subliminal, to the extent possible.

It should not become so obnoxious and overt that the subtext of "I'm better" becomes the main text.

As Adam Carolla observed, it's like many have collectively decided that we no longer need to be particularly subtle in our self-promotion and that it's now just "Game On for Narcissists."

Anyway, to sum up:

1. Social media is anti-social media. It's a medium of "sick burns" and dogpiling and narcissistic performance art. The smartest person in the world -- such as, if I'm being honest, myself -- becomes orders of magnitude more stupid when "debating" on social media.

It ought to be limited.

I think I had a pretty good discussion with Ben Shapiro. Because it didn't happen on social media; we weren't playing to similarly-minded thugs on the playground.

Well, we probably both were -- but the people we were playing to, or the parts of those people we were playing to, were reasonable people, or their reasonable sides -- we were exhibiting our reasonableness and civility and ergo parading our virtue.

But I would say that it's no terrible thing to parade civility and reasonableness around like virtues from time to time.

2. People telling other people to shut up, or people attempting to humiliate people into silence, should be told to shut up, and should be themselves humiliated into silence, so the rest of us can have an actual exchange of ideas without their mouth-breathing poop-flinging chest-beating Dominance Displays.

3. No one should forget that everyone is human. We should recognize our own human vanities and cruelties in ourselves, and we should recognize the human capacity to be hurt or to be made to feel excluded in others.

4. People need to think more and take longer to respond. They should react less, and react less quickly. #HotTakes are for the stupid and insecure. #CoolTakes are better.

5. People need to stop signalling which tribe they belong to. By this point, with everyone babbling, hooting, and howling online for years and years and years, we all know damn well which tribes we align with. There's really no need to further advertise one's tribal loyalty. It's as obvious as someone's height and weight.

6. People knock contrarianism too damn much. Contrarianism, sure, is often lodged as a performative, look-at-me thing. (For example -- Look at Me Now!!!!)

But without contrarians, you get smug conformity, and worse yet, smug conformity enforcement officers.

The moment you have something resembling a Received Wisdom, you will have self-appointed Inquisitors sniffing out any heretical rejection of that Received Wisdom. (I'm a believer in Jung's archetypes -- I think this archetype, the Priest archetype, will always exist, particularly in politics, which is just Religion By Other Means.)

People should be more contrarian just to make sure the conformity being created is being created honestly -- with all of the demerits of that conformity examined and acknowledged -- and especially to prevent the odious rise of the conformity enforcement officers, a group of intellectually useless people involved in the creation of zero ideas but the suppression of quite a number of them.

7. Anything worth saying is worth spending more than 140 characters on saying. If you find your contribution to the public debate seems to occur in 140 character bursts, you might want to consider starting a blog, where you can post more thought-out essays, or you might want to consider shutting the fuck up.

For the good of all.

Posted by: Ace at 10:37 AM | Comments (803)
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Stupid Old Whore Katie Couric Regrets Conveying the Misimpression That She Is Stupid and an Old Whore
— Ace

In what was called a modified limited hang-out during Watergate days -- a partial admission combined with a continuing denial about the deadliest of the charges arrayed against you -- Katie Couric admits when she first saw the "stump the chump" edit in the documentary she's serving as a spokesmodel for, she wondered "What the hell is that about?"

But she still won't admit this was a deliberate hatchet job against political enemies.

Exit question: is it time for these leftist frontmen to admit they don't really do much of the research or writing in the projects they allegedly "produce"?


Posted by: Ace at 09:11 AM | Comments (443)
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More Deceptive Editing From Pay Channel "Documentarians:" AR-15 Rifle Inventor's Quote Truncated to Suggest the AR-15 Is Just as Deadly as Its Military Cousin the M-16
— Ace

He did say the AR-15 was just as deadly as the M-16, a quote that HBO's "Real Sports" (real except for all the lying) included.

What they deliberately omitted was what he said immediately after saying the AR-15 was just as deadly as the M16 -- "When firing semi-auto only" and that "the select fire M16 on full auto is of course more effective."

If their case is so strong, why do they have to continuously lie about it?

Alternately, this could be yet another case of willful ignorance by the anti-gun assholes. They honestly do not seem to understand the difference between single-shot and burst-fire weapons most of the time, or at least seem to think that any gun that "looks sort of military-ish" is a burst-fire weapon.

Posted by: Ace at 06:53 AM | Comments (437)
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Mid-Morning Open Thread: Rejected Art Edition [CBD]
— Open Blogger


Whalers.jpg

Whalers
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1845

Turner was seventy years old when Whalers debuted to mixed reviews at the Royal Academy exhibition of 1845. Its subject proved elusive, as the English novelist William Thackeray observed: "That is not a smear of purple you see yonder, but a beautiful whale, whose tail has just slapped a half-dozen whale-boats into perdition; and as for what you fancied to be a few zig-zag lines spattered on the canvas at hap-hazard, look! they turn out to be a ship with all her sails." Apparently Turner undertook the painting—which was returned to him—for the collector Elhanan Bicknell, who had made his fortune in the whale-oil business.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 05:00 AM | Comments (359)
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May 30, 2016

Overnight Open Thread (5-30-2016)
— Maetenloch

So I'm back...and pretty wiped out. This was a long three weeks - 1.5 weeks of work, 1 week of vacation, and 1 week of family business/hard physical labor. In the process I visited Tokyo, Yokohama, Nikko, Hakone, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Shikoku. I'll fill you in on the details over the next few days.

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Here's the onsen where I spent most mornings and evenings during the vacation phase of my trip. It was awesome.

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Quote of the Day

As we all know, high school girls can defeat any enemy that doesn't have tentacles. But against kaiju they need a bit of help.

Ragnastrike Angels! Earth is invaded from space and nothing seems able to defeat the giant aliens, known as Fiarem. So as an emergency measure a group of high school girls are recruited as a special defense force. When given technomagic treatment they become 38 meters tall and can fight the Fiarem on even terms.

WeaponsMan on Happy Memorial Day

The dead are only as dead or forgotten as we allow them to be.

As readers of this blog certainly know, Memorial Day is not on occasion to celebrate those many of us who survive. At least, not in the USA. We've got a day for that, in the bitter month of November, for good and historical reasons. That's the day for those who returned upright and animate. This day is to honor the ennobled among us, the ones that did not. And so many of us vets are thinking about absent friends, today; it may not be an occasion for happiness.

We are about to argue the opposite.

Nobody died so that you can mope around bewailing his fate. Let us consider an alternative way to think about him, about them. Let us, rather, take comfort and find joy in the fact that they lived, however briefly; let us remember them not as they died in a flash of HE, that unforgettable sound of a rifle-bullet impact, or an unstoppable running-down on the operating table; but rather, as they live: full of life and life's joys, or even more honestly, life's passions.

Surely you can call up that friend, or relative, or friend's relative, in your mind. This was a person with a distinctive smile, a laugh, and a gait that you could spot in a throng at a hundred yards. Bring that picture into your mind, that man (or, perhaps, woman) in color and in three dimensions.

Now, take that fallen hero - for the foundation of our little world stands on the shoulders of these, and that makes them heroes if nothing else does - along with you. To the cookout, to the ball game, to the beach, to the water park.

Expect others to look at you funny, as you're attentive to the old friend's envy of your home or kids - or his mockery of your current state of physical fitness.

Don't be surprised if he takes the last hot dog or the last beer - or if he leaves it for you. Either way, that's just the kind of guy he was, wasn't he?

We have been bringing our dead friends to holiday festivities for some years now. We haven't told anybody, because we enjoy, most of the time, just passing as regular, sane, non-vet Americans. But now it's time to let the secret out of the bag.

...Anyway, when some smiling, secure, comfortable citizen looks at you and says, "Happy Memorial Day," look right in his or her eye, shake hands if it's suitable, and say, "Happy Memorial Day" right back. Say it like you mean it, because you're saying it for two.

And if you're sensitive to it, if you're really tuned-in, that pressure on your shoulder is a squeeze from a dead hand, telling you it's OK.

Happy Memorial Day.
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Posted by: Maetenloch at 06:12 PM | Comments (422)
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Reviving Memorial Day Traditions [KT]
— Open Blogger

Further to the two moving post below,


6 Facts about the History of Memorial Day

There is a town in New Jersey that is bringing a Memorial Day tradition back to life, complete with a reading of the Gettysburg Address.

Interesting. I wonder if there are similar revivals in other places. Is your town or city doing anything special or different this year to make Memorial Day more meaningful? Either something new or something that hasn't been done for years?

Or, has your town or city maintained a meaningful ceremonial remembrance over the years? Do people still participate in such public commemorations where you live? I think we lose something important when these observances fade away.

Of course, for some, Memorial Day will always be personal.

Open Thread.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 11:50 AM | Comments (488)
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The Last Full Measure of Devotion
— Dave in Texas

lincoln_memorial449 (448x295).jpg

These words, spoken on a field at Gettysburg, to honor the fallen.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

These words are inscribed on one wall at the Lincoln Memorial. On the other wall, his Second inaugural address. "and for his widow and his orphan" are powerful words in that. But the words I hear more are "to bind up the nations's wounds"

I did a little battle monument/memorial storify thing here if you would like to see it. I haven't seen them all but I would like to.

Remember the fallen. They gave all they had to give and deserve our respect and remembrance.

May they rest in honored glory.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 06:32 AM | Comments (302)
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Memorial Day [CBD and Jim from Galveston ]
— Open Blogger

[Reposted from 2015]

AnnaPuma.JPG
American Military Cemetery at Luxembourg. July 4th, 2010
Photo courtesy of Anna Puma

If ever proof were needed that we fought for a cause and not for conquest it could be found in these cemeteries. Here was our only conquest. All we asked...was enough...soil in which to bury our gallant dead

-- General Mark W. Clark.
Chairman, American Battle Monuments Commission

In August of 2008 I visited the memorial and cemetery at Omaha Beach. There are two ways (at least) to enter the grounds, and we chose to walk around the side rather than through the main entrance. There is a path that parallels the beach that is shielded from the rest of the memorial by trees and a hedgerow. So when I turned the corner I was suddenly confronted by the sight of the cemetery's long rows of grave markers, seemingly going on forever. They were immaculate, and framed by the blue sky and the verdant French countryside. It was, literally, breathtaking. And shockingly emotional.

These were men who fought for me...a generation before I was born. I can do nothing for them except to ensure that they will not be forgotten in my lifetime.

******

Everyone has their personal feelings about those who sacrificed for us....Here are the thoughts of Moron Jim (Sunk New Dawn, Galveston, TX)
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EMT 5/30/16 - Thanks and Praise for our days edition. [krakatoa]
— Open Blogger

Posted by: Open Blogger at 01:00 AM | Comments (294)
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May 29, 2016

ONT 5/29/16 - You're only as good as your Tools edition. [krakatoa]
— Open Blogger

The long sojourn is over. Your deliverance is at hand. The cows are coming home to roost. Starting tomorrow, you will be graced with the inimitable presence of a tanned, rested and fully operational Maetenloch.

I would hope that the last 3 weeks have reawakened in each of you a respect for Maet and his relentless nightly presentation of quality content for the low low price of your choice of either an everlasting soul or a shot of Val-U-Rite.

Just in case it has not, you have me for one more night to remind you of the void that exists in the ONT without Maet.

Before we proceed, please take the time to properly thank those who stepped up to fill in.* In no particular order: WeirdDave, Neidermeyer's Dead Horse, Misanthropic Humanitarian, Slu, and of course, CDR M for never abandoning his weekend post in the first place.

They were asked for and delivered yeoman's work, and I want to give a particular shout out to Slu for going the extra mile even though I thought I'd made it clear that the dress code specifically called for tops as well.


more...

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Food Thread: It's BBQ Season! [CBD]
— Open Blogger

Technically, when the sun rises in the East, it is a signal that it is BBQ season, but some poor deluded souls don't grill or smoke during the winter. If you are one of those people, just click over to TofuAndArugulaWorld.com for more appropriate food talk.

rib racks.jpg

These are great for lots of racks, but it just occurred to me that I could have been using my roasting rack (turned upside down) for exactly the same thing. So now I feel stupid...or even stupider than normal.

Anyway, pork ribs or beef ribs (more of a challenge) are just perfect for a relatively quick smoked or grilled meal. Sure, they take several hours, but most of that time can be spent with your feet up on the table, drinking a beer and shooting at drones with your turkey gun. Once you decide what dry rub you will be using, the rest of it is pretty damned simple, unlike the gold standard of smoking....beef brisket.

here's a standard rub that I like for pork: more...

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People Are Awful [CBD]
— Open Blogger

20160529_095352.jpg

And Open Thread

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Sunday Morning Book Thread 05-29-2016: Memorial Fathers Day [OregonMuse]
— Open Blogger


spot the dad.jpg
Can You Spot The Dad In This Photograph?


Yes, I know the real fathers day is next month. But I've heard that Memorial Day is now self-identifying as Fathers Day, so hey, who am I to say otherwise? Also, today's book thread pic was sent to me just this week and so I had to use it.

Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and bartenders everywhere and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread, where men are men, all the 'ettes are lovely, space isn't safe, and snowflakes will melt. Oh, and gender is binary, so don't get cute. None of these weird hybrids. What are we, potted plants? The Sunday Morning Book Thread is the only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required.


Is The Patriarchy Smashed Yet?

Last week, there was some discussion in the comments about Washington Times columnist Diana West's book, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character, and the controversy that erupted when it was first published.
Her massively researched book

...lights up the massive, Moscow-directed penetration of America's most hallowed halls of power, revealing not just the familiar struggle between Communism and the Free World, but the hidden war between those wishing to conceal the truth and those trying to expose the increasingly official web of lies...It was this moral surrender to deception and self-deception, West argues, that sent us down the long road to moral relativism, "political correctness," and other cultural ills that have left us unable to ask the hard questions: Does our silence on the crimes of Communism explain our silence on the totalitarianism of Islam? Is Uncle Sam once again betraying America?

I had noticed a few years back that the way the left in our country was treating Islam and the Islamists was eerily similar to the way they treated communism and communists back in the days of the Cold War. It's like I'm watching a reboot of the same movie (the last movie ended with Reagan, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the dissolution of the USSR. So who's our Reagan now? Trump?)

The Islamists' sneaking of operatives into the American government is the book Ms. West originally set out to write, but the communism question came up as a side issue, and then became the main issue for her.

But that's not her first book. Rather, that honor belongs to The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization, wherein Ms. West asks "Is there a single adult left anywhere?" She sees

...a US filled with middle-age guys playing air guitar and thinks "No wonder we can't stop Islamic terrorism."...But, the grown-ups are all gone. The disease that killed them was incubated in the sixties to a rock-and-roll score, took hold in the seventies with the help of multiculturalism and left us with a nation of eternal adolescents who can't decide between "good" and "bad", a generation who can't say "no". From the inability to nix a sixteen year-old's request for Marilyn Manson concert tickets to offering adolescents parentally-funded motel rooms on prom night to rationalizing murderous acts of Islamic suicide bombers with platitudes of cultural equivalence, West sees us on a slippery slope that's lead to a time when America has forgotten its place in the world.

And to this I would add the inability of college administrators to tell disruptive students to shut up and get back to class, otherwise face expulsion. I remember seeing a video of a Mizzou student throwing a tantrum in response to a college ombudsman who came out to talk, and she was yelling and railing at him, and the guy just stood there and took it. I'm watching this play out, absolutely dumbfounded at his reluctance to say anything in response, and then it suddenly occurred to me that there really is not much difference between the yeller and yellee: I'd guess that both like and dislike pretty much the same things, he is no doubt on board with all of the agenda of social-justice-wankerism, so he really didn't have any reason to tell her to shut up and go back to class. In fact, you could make the argument that given their similarities in worldview, he probably should've been out there with her, yelling and screaming and carrying on. In order to fight social-justice-wankerism, you need a different platform upon which to stand, and he didn't have one.

And, as has been pointed out, the trigglypuffs on campus will continue to throw their tantrums until the adults who write the checks decide they're not going to write any more checks.

And another book which covers much of the same ground is Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream - and Why It Matters by Helen Smith (I think she's the Instapundit's spouse), who argues that

...men aren’t dropping out because they are stuck in arrested development. They are instead acting rationally in response to the lack of incentives society offers them to be responsible fathers, husbands and providers. In addition, men are going on strike, either consciously or unconsciously, because they do not want to be injured by the myriad of laws, attitudes and hostility against them for the crime of happening to be male in the twenty-first century.

A male population consisting of adolescent and subservient pajama boys is seen by progressives as a social good. In order to get this, they have to start early. So says Christina Hoff Sommers in her book The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies are Harming Our Young Men, which documents how

...the problem of male underachievement is persistent and worsening. Among the new topics Sommers tackles: how the war against boys is harming our economic future, and how boy-averse trends such as the decline of recess and zero-tolerance disciplinary policies have turned our schools into hostile environments for boys. As our schools become more feelings-centered, risk-averse, competition-free, and sedentary, they move further and further from the characteristic needs of boys. She offers realistic, achievable solutions to these problems that include boy-friendly pedagogy, character and vocational education, and the choice of single-sex classrooms.

more...

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EMT 5/29/16 [krakatoa]
— Open Blogger

So sorry about yesterday everyone, especially Vic. I thought maybe I had turned off my alarm. Nope. Slept right through it. Friday was the last long long day of a long long week.


Posted by: Open Blogger at 01:00 AM | Comments (269)
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May 28, 2016

Overnight Open Thread (28 May 2016)
— CDR M

Hurricane season is getting started a tad early this year as tropical storm Bonnie threatens the east coast. Funny I actually forgot that we already had our first hurricane this year with Alex back in January. more...

Posted by: CDR M at 04:59 PM | Comments (529)
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Saturday Afternoon Chess/Open Thread 05-28-2016 [OregonMuse]
— Open Blogger


shotglass chess.jpg
Hillary! Clinton's Chess Set? *hic*

Good afternoon morons and moronettes, and welcome to the Saturday Afternoon Chess/Open Thread, the only AoSHQ thread with content specifically for all of us chess nerds who pay homage in the temple of Caïssa, goddess of doubled pawns and fianchettoed bishops. And, for those of you who aren't nerdly enough for chess, you can use this thread to talk about checkers, or politics, or whatever you wish, only please try to keep it civil. Nobody wants to get into a Gaulish fish fight on a Saturday afternoon.


Today's pic is of a chess set you can actually purchase (or at least you could before the business closed). The rules for this game are the usual except for the addition of one, which boils down to: capture a piece, do a shot. I've never played this variant of chess before, but I'd guess that the endgames must be, ah, "interesting."


White Wins Material

This is one for you noobs, an exercise in situational awareness. Look at this position:


20160528 - White wins material 1.jpg
FEN: [2rqk2r/pp2bppp/2n1p3/1B1pn3/8/P1N5/1P2QPPP/R1B1R1K1 w k - 0 14]

After looking at this for a bit, you should be able to say "oh look, White wins material, like, right now." How does he do this? Highlight the blank line just below this sentence if you need a hint:
The knight on c6 is pinned

Did you like that one? OK, good, here's one that's a bit more difficult:


20160528 - White wins material 2.jpg
FEN: [r2k4/1pp2rpp/pn1b1p2/3n4/8/P4NB1/1PP3PP/2KRR3 w - - 0 1]

Again, White can win some material. How? Highlight the blank line just below this sentence if you need a hint:
White needs to force a Black piece to move so he can put pressure on another.

more...

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