GIVE TIL IT HURTS!

Fashion plates

The tall but brilliant Diogenes Sarcastic would like a word.

Gentlemen, Stop It! Just Stop It!
By Stop It I mean stop wearing, over a shirt and tie, sleeveless fleece pullovers underneath Suit Coats! Stop it. Just Stop It!! Do you not look in the mirror? Your collars sticking out like a malignant growth saying ‘Look at Me’ I’m Kool! No, You Look Ridiculous! You look homeless with everything you own on all at once!

The first time I noticed this ridiculous combination it was on NYT reporter Michal Schmidt, who just happened to be recently married to the MSNBC wacko Nicole Wallace. I thought okay, this little toad couldn’t be very bright if he married her. But now I see it has spread to places I would not expect to see such clownish recklessness in appearance.  

Find out who started this disgusting trend and bring them to me!

And while I’m at it, who started this unshaven three days of growth look? First it was the bedhead look in hairstyles, and then the ‘I only shave every third month’ because I’m kool like the guys in GQ. No, the guys in GQ are fags, and it makes you look like a derelict, it’s not sexy and doesn’t feel good to the touch. My Gawd man, either grow a nice short beard or shave your face!

That is all.

Yes, MA’AM. Gotta love that woman; nobody else says it quite like she can.

If I remember right, and I may not, the three-days-growth fad—a/k/a “designer stubble”—began with Don Johnson and Miami Vice. In fact, there for a while somebody or other was selling razors specifically designed to leave stubble to emulate the fashionable look of the day. Never tried one myself; I’ve always hated shaving like a bad rash, so skipping a cpl-three days was just SOP. For me, being bestubbled wasn’t a fashion statement, it was an admission that I just didn’t care enough about what I looked like on the off-days to bother.

Nowadays, I use a Panasonic Arc-5 electric for three or four days, then clean up the leavings—of which there are plenty; electric razors purely suck on heavy beard-growth like mine—with my trusty old Fusion ProGlide. This clever strategem saves on blades for the Fusion, which are exorbitantly priced. Don’t last long, either; seeing as how there’s five of ‘em, each single blade is extremely thin, thus they dull easily. Wiping the things dry with a towel when you’re done is a big, fat no-no for these frail things, or so I’ve read. If your bathroom sink isn’t so arranged that you can hang it upside down to drip dry, you can carefully, gently blot the cartridge with a soft, plush towel or cloth. Even with that kid-gloves treatment, they’ll lose their edge with a quickness.

And believe you me, fellas, when your cartridge blades have gone dull, you WILL know it. Won’t much like it, either. Since I usually shave at night—a routine established in my trucking days; starting your 14 hour workday at 5 am affords no leisure for anything more than rolling out of bed, taking a fast whiz, snatching on some clothes, and then shagging ass to the warehouse at top speed—I’m pretty sure the screaming from the agony of scraping five (5) worn-out Fusion blades across my face has woken the neighbors more than just once or twice.

The bedhead thing, though? I’m a-okay with that one, at least when it comes to attractive, sexy females with long, loosely-curling locks. Brunettes or redheads either one, makes no never-mind to me; I’m not at all persnickety about it. I don’t mind seeing those manes flowing all tousled, wild, and free, and I hope I never will.

Knucklebuster blues

Well, although I’ve longed ever since having a limb or three chopped off two years ago to be able to get up and turn a wrench again, I never dreamed my return to the ranks of the Most Honorable and Exalted Order of the Gearhead™ would involve working on a blasted…wheelchair?!?

No shit, folks, Memezapoppin’ is delayed tonight due to the fact that I have just spent the last two hours re-installing a wandering hex-head shoulder bolt that somehow worked itself loose from the left backrest riser—without, thankfully, backing out altogether, hitting dirt, and skedaddling off to someplace betwixt here and Timbuktu.

I guess the stupid thing musta rattled out of its assigned threaded orifice because of excessive vibration from the high RPMs the stroked-out big-block Cobra Jet engine installed on this contraption that I…oh God, I can’t even joke about this shit, that’s how not fuckin’ funny it is.

Yep, it’s a long way from banging up my delicate concert-pianist and guitarslinger hands on Harley V-Twins and beater-classic Fords to rasslin’ recalcitranrt wheelchair hardware, all of it straight down. Mind you, the chair I have is actually a no-shit, for-real racing model: Clinton River’s Tailwind, a sweet $800 dealio which was taken off the market years ago ‘cause some doctor fella got hisself hurt in one, sued the company for 8 million simoleons, and won.

How I got mine was, a close friend of mine is always scouting around at the wheelchair store in CLT—his mom has MS and has been locked down in a chair for as long as I’ve known him, which is a lotta years—and happened to see my Tailwind sitting out by the dumpster in back of the store one day, waiting to be hauled off and scrapped. Shane looked it over real good—knowing a thing or two about a thing or two concerning such things as he does—was aware that I’d be in the market for one once I got out of hospital durance vile, and tossed it into his pickup to bring home for me.

I like the thing, actually; the battery-assist never has worked, since the strange-o battery packs have long since gone the way of the dodo just like the chair itself has. Also, it has no brakes on it of any kind, which has taken a great deal of getting used to and requires much careful forethought and attention.

That said, though, it also has quick-detach main wheels and the seat-back folds down flat, making it a lead-pipe cinch to break down, toss into the back seat of the car, and motor on off when the walls here at home begin to close in on me and I just GOTTA get out and go somewhere…ANYwhere. Which is usually about once a week or thereabouts.

The no-parking-brake thingie, though downright dangerous when it isn’t just an ordinary pain in the ass, admits of a blood-simple, inexpensive workaround which I’ve already worked out in my head and plan to implement as soon as possible, transforming this already-rare wheelchair into a true one-of-a-kind custom build. Someday, it’d be nice if I could figure out a way to do away with the heavy electric motors on each of the main wheels and lighten this little jewel up a bit, but since that’s where the splined shafts of the detachable wheels go in and attach, I haven’t got that one figured out yet in such a way that wouldn’t require full-machine-shop access and some serious fabrication.

What can I say; once a gearhead, always a gearhead, I guess.

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Law of the Jungle (bunny)

Don’t like stores closing in your dangerous, lawless shitholes? Stop looting them blind and broke then, you parasitic assholes.

Today’s fearless probe into the wilds of cause-and-effect reasoning comes from Roxbury, Massachusetts:

As this CBS “journalist” summarizes the issue: “Why do you think Walgreen’s is targeting black and brown neighborhoods?”

She refuses to ask anyone about rampant looting putting this store out of business.

“Predominantly black neighborhood.” Okay, got it. The residents of that neighborhood will now have to travel a bit further to find a Walgreen’s to loot shop at. And as those residents are “predominantly black,” this constitutes racial discrimination.

But protesting residents exercised a bit of subtlety:

“What happens to our seniors and our single parents that have no way to get to a Walgreen’s or another pharmacy anywhere near their home?”

He managed not to mention either rampant shoplifting or race. And yes, it will certainly inconvenience the locale’s senior citizens, but do they have an enforceable right to a pharmacy within walking distance? But wait: there’s more! Hearken to the Reverend Minard Pepper:

“So we think it’s insensitive, it’s unjust…Why do you think they target black and brown communities? I think because they get no push back.”

Well, there is the possibility that shoplifting in predominantly white districts is far less: a tolerable degree of what liquor store owners have traditionally called “spillage.” But once again, there’s no mention of either theft or race. One more, from former Boston NAACP president Michael Curry:

“The communities where they’re closing these pharmacies are communities where people are, uh, desperately impacted by disease. You know, two or three times higher rates in cancer, diabetes, heart disease, where life expectancy can be 15, 20 years less.”

Such awareness. Such compassion! I wonder if the thieves who’ve driven Walgreen’s out of this “predominantly black” neighborhood ever stop to think about the burdens they load onto their sick neighbors. My bet is on “no.” Where’s yours?

These black “civil rights activists” are fully aware of why Walgreen’s is closing those stores. They simply don’t want to acknowledge the facts of the matter. That would indict “their people.” It would suggest that if there’s a solution – which is unclear, as battling shoplifting has always been a difficult and expensive undertaking – it would take the form of law enforcement. But no, we can’t have that in “predominantly black” Roxbury! That would be racist.

Such closures are occurring wherever there’s a high enough percentage of blacks. And in every case, “civil rights leaders” – almost always black – step to the microphones and cameras to denounce it. But they seldom mention the plague of shoplifting. Neither do they mention the ceaseless propagandization of young blacks against law enforcement and the rights of property owners, nor the simple cause-and-effect dynamic that makes whites and businesses flee from the blacks who prey on them.

So simple, so obvious only a “liberal” Sooperdoopergenius© and the feral urban sub-primate class they’ve brainwashed into feeble, helpless dependence could fail to grasp it.

American classic

All hail the one, the only, the all-American Zippo.

Zippo Lighters: The Vietnam War Icon
During the Vietnam War, the trend of personalized the Zippo lighter emerged. Soldiers, with the assistance of local artists in Vietnam, began engraving their Zippos with various slogans. These engravings frequently carried a tone of sarcasm or expressed anti-war sentiments. This practice of customizing lighters gained popularity, as engraving messages on the metal casings of Zippos became a widespread phenomenon.

The Zippo lighter is a simple yet functional item, made of chrome-plated brass and measuring 2.2 inches in height with a weight of 2.05 ounces. It’s designed for efficiency, capable of being opened and lit with a single, practiced movement, and emits a satisfying ‘thwink’ sound upon being snapped shut.

However, during the Vietnam War, Zippos transcended their role as mere lighters. They became symbolic, much like the crests on medieval knights’ armor, bearing slogans that reflected the soldiers’ internal views on what many felt was a futile mission.

These lighters were comparable to tattoos in their personal significance. The custom engraving was often done in small, makeshift shops by the roadside.

Comparable to tattoos? Well, much as I’ve always loved my Zippos, let’s not get nuts here about this. A tattoo represents much, much more in the way of personal commitment, sacrifice, and dedication than a lighter purchasable in any truck stop for about 14.95.

History
The origins of the iconic Zippo lighter trace back to 1932 in Pennsylvania. George G. Blaisdell observed a friend struggling with a bulky Austrian-designed lighter, which was cumbersome and required two hands to operate, though it had a sturdy flame protected by an internal chimney.

Blaisdell set out to refine this design. His initial model retained the protective chimney but was more compact and stylish. He added a hinge connecting the lid to the base, allowing for one-handed operation. These innovations quickly popularized his creation, which he named the Zippo.

In 1936, Blaisdell patented his lighter design and offered a unique guarantee, promising to repair any defective Zippo at the company’s expense. The Zippo’s legacy was profoundly shaped by two major conflicts: World War II and the Vietnam War.

With America’s entry into WWII in 1941, Blaisdell ceased commercial production of Zippo lighters, focusing instead on supplying American soldiers. Due to wartime restrictions, the Zippo factory used lower-grade metal, and the lighters were given a protective “black crackle” finish.

Someplace around here I should have one of those wrinkle-black Zippos, I believe, althought not WW2 vintage; my friends, incredible as it may seem, even I am not that fuckin’ cool. My current favorite Zippo amongst the ten or twelve I still have would have to be this ‘un:

Okay, okay, allow me to adjust my previous statement a wee mite: I AM pretty danged cool after all.

A-HENH.

The Vietnam/Zippo chronicle continues at the link, featuring many snaps of those custom-engraved, jungle-dwelling, hooch-torching Zips of yore. It’s a fascinating tale, of which you should read the all.

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America’s toxic business culture

I’ve been muttering about where things were headed since the late 80s, when getting an MBA and starting out in middle-management replaced rising through the ranks from the factory floor to eventually land in the executive suite as the primary model for success. And now, well…here we all are, staring at the pluperfect example of that lamentable development: Boeing.

Boeing was once a well-run engineering company that became very profitable from its well-engineered products. It is now a poorly-run manufacturing company being managed in the manner taught in elite MBA programs, placing an emphasis above all else on cost control and expense reduction.

It is also a company whose current version of its workhorse product, the 737 Max, continues to have catastrophic in-flight failures.

Part of the 737 Max fleet has been grounded, again, this time after a door plug came off the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines airplane while in flight. Back in 2018 and 2019, there were two fatal 737 Max crashes, both apparently related to poorly designed and programmed flight stabilizer systems.

There is so much more that needs to be said about the toxicity of the “slash and cut your way to increased profit” culture that is learned at business schools, but I’ll briefly summarize that putting the “Chief Cost Cutter” at the helm of a corporation is just as ridiculous as putting the Accounts Payable Manager or Facilities Manager in charge of all operations. They’re all important roles, but you would not have the entire company focus almost exclusively on just one of those facets. Yet too many modern executives have a monomaniacal obsession with cutting costs and expenses, which causes neglect of innovation, quality, safety, and new product development, if not outright hostility toward those critical areas. It also causes a loss of important talent whose legacy knowledge has a value that can’t be quantified on a financial statement.

Throckmorton goes on to cite, at length, a seminal Atlantic piece which appeared in the wake of the 2019 crash, to wind up thusly:

If I can make a quick side note, the only people more destructive in corporate C-suites than Ivy League business school graduates are General Electric alums. They tend to bring a cult-like fanaticism for the idiotic business fads that ultimately destroyed GE, never understanding that the success of GE in the 1990s was despite those awful gimmicks, not because of them, and that the subsequent destruction of GE as a successful company in the 21st century was largely because of all the gimmicks that came to define GE’s culture.

Right now, there is much well-deserved mockery of Boeing and Alaska Airlines for how their focus on DEI and LGBTQ has distracted them from manufacturing and operating airplanes that don’t fall apart mid-flight. I have no doubt that if Alaska Airlines spent more time inspecting its airplanes rather than decorating them in rainbow colors and putting on drag shows, this latest incident would not have happened.

But neither would it have happened if Boeing was still a company run by engineers, rather than being a company run by MBAs who will gladly sacrifice quality and safety to temporarily goose the bottom line.

Quelle surprise, that a communist-run nation should lose touch so completely with its capitalist roots.

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Star Trek TOS, a “liberal” show?

Shet yo’ mouth.

Shatner Suggests That Moderns Feel Threatened by Capt. Kirk
I’m an actor, not an activist! That’s a line that a lot of modern entertainment gurus apparently need to hear. According to actor William Shatner, Paramount will not be bringing back his iconic character of Captain Kirk and will continue to sideline Kirk because people “feel threatened” by the heroic starship officer.

A strong male leader who defies the odds — and sometimes the rules — to be the main hero? That’s almost as offensive as misgendering a hulking dude in a dress! Some of us might be okay with Captain Kirk not being resurrected again from the standpoint that Shatner played the role best, but it does seem mystifying that so many recent Star Trek ads or graphics excluded Kirk. Fans might love all the supporting characters of the original cast, and all the newer characters that came after, but Captain Kirk was essential in making Star Trek the hugely popular franchise it is.

There were definitely undertones of progressivism and liberalism in the original Star Trek show, and I’d guess Shatner is no conservative. But it does make sense that the masculine, weapon-wielding Kirk, definitely in command of his ship and appealing to lovers of the classic American hero (as a white male, no less!), should have been beloved in his heyday but suppressed by modern wokies. 

The esteemed George MF Washington begs to differ with that “liberal Trek” business.

So first, let’s be clear about what the original Star Trek series, Gene Roddenberry’s first creation, actually was…it was a smart, muscular and unapologetic defense of the power of Western Civilization to change the world (universe) for the better…and it was a series which celebrated courage and risk taking as among the most important of all human virtues.

If any of that sounds like something that would send Conservatives fleeing for their lives like vampires before a runaway garlic truck with a busted brake line, well then you’re probably a BLM activist…or at the very least you are admitting that you’re entirely ignorant of the things that modern Conservatives actually believe.

The problem, in my experience, is that most Progressives have not actually seen much of the original series (TOS), and have only a very rudimentary understanding of the show’s ethos. To the extent they are familiar with TOS at all, it is often through modern media “criticism” of the show which focuses on what mainstream critics, which is to say Leftists, have concluded…that the show’s politics were proudly and unapologetically Progressive.

The problem is that this conclusion just ain’t true it’s a misunderstanding often based on a single episode… “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”, which has become the most famous episode of Star Trek precisely because it is about race…our modern culture’s most fraught, most talked about, most obsesssed-over issue.

“Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” (S3; EP15): In this most broadly well-known episode of TOS, Kirk and his crew stumble on two aliens, one of whom is a criminal being pursued across interstellar space by the other. These two men’s faces are split down the middle, one side is black, the other white. The intractable problem, these aliens explain to a befuddled Captain Kirk, is that while the right side of one man’s face is white, the other man’s face is white on the left side.

Other than that, they are identical in every way…the only thing that differentiates these two men is…the color of their skin.

But that is not the full story of “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.”

In the end, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” is not an argument for modern Progressive obsessions like CRT, Race-based preferences, Diversity and Equity programs, reparations or any other form of racial remuneration… the episode makes a much larger, and oppositional point. It makes the case that our obsession with race is unworthy of an intelligent advanced species, that it is terminally corrosive to any pluralist society and that, in the end, this unhealthy obsession will doom us all… just as, in the episode’s final twist, it dooms Bele and Lokai’s entire planet.

“Listen to me…you both must end up dead…if you don’t stop hating…” Kirk implores them both as the two men careen towards an entirely avoidable tragedy…

I do not know a single American Conservative, white black or other, who would object to that message.

And while “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” dealt specifically with the issue of race, the original Star Trek series tackled a broad range of political hot button issues week-in-and-week-out, beyond just race, over the course of its three seasons…

GMFW goes on to examine several TOS episodes in like fashion, with accompanying video clips including Kirk’s brilliant “Risk is our business” soliloquy, before coming to the beating, bleeding heart of the whole thing.

Look, I could go on and on, citing episode after episode which mirror aspects of our current political moment and which advocate for a modern Conservative (or at the very least a classically Liberal) point of view, but in the end that’s not even really the point, because STAR TREK: TOS has the ultimate trump card hidden in its deck…one singular thing that stands as an unimpeachable argument against the idea that Star Trek represents a modern Progressive ideal that has no appeal whatsoever to the average American conservative.

And that thing is the show’s main character…the iconic and incomparable Captain James T. Kirk himself.

Captain Kirk is everything that the broader Progressive dominated culture has been teling us for years that we are supposed to hate. He is the very definition of what is now called “toxic masculinity” by our Progressive “betters.”

Kirk is a total stud…he’s handsome, he’s unabashedly heterosexual, he has absolutely no confusion about his gender identity and he doesn’t hesitate to take his shirt off.

In his career, as in his life, Kirk is an aggressive Alpha Male… and while he certainly has the guts and skill to fight his way out of just about any situation, he’s also smart, charismatic and clever enough to talk his way out of trouble whenever he recognizes that his is the weakest hand at the table.

Star Trek, and in particular its iconic lead character, celebrated those things about Human nature from which Progressives, and our participation trophy culture in general, tend to recoil like slugs from salt…courage, risk taking, steadfastness, self-sacrifice and confidence in one’s culture and principles. One need only to have survived the COVID pandemic and its concomitant lockdowns and mandates to understand that Progressives no longer admire these things, that indeed they often seek to use their political advantage to suppress or even eliminate them altogether.

The courage to face risk has become something of a lost art here in America of the early 2020’s, to our country’s great detriment. It is our culture’s multi-decade project to decouple risk from reward that has softened the population to the extent that the COVID lockdowns were greeted, not with the rage, indignation and resistance they deserved, but with a quiet un-American acquiesence…almost as if large majorities of the population were eager for Government to remove risk from their lives, regardless of whatever rewards might be thrown overboard right along with it.

But once upon a time, Star Trek and Captain Kirk stood athwart this corrosive “safety first” instinct for risk aversion at all costs and tried to remind us of an America where risk was a necessary part of achieving the things we wanted most in our lives…love, adventure, career success, victory…all those things that make life worth living.

And that is a Conservative impulse to its core.

Much as I’ve always adored both TOS and TNG, I’ve never really thought of it this way before. But now that he mentions it, the man makes one hell of an excellent point, I think.

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Today’s must-read story

It’s all about baseball, folks, and it’s a pure-dee KILLAH.

The Comiskey effect: Can MLB revive what it lost in the retro building boom?
CHICAGO – During the last season of Comiskey Park’s existence, its replacement was rising adjacent to it.

As Comiskey’s final months ticked away in 1990, the new stadium’s giant concrete grandstands began to take shape, eventually towering over the old ballpark across 35th Street on the south side of Chicago.

Comiskey opened on a sweltering July 1, 1910 afternoon, the fifth of 13 so-called “jewel-box” ballparks built early in the 20th century. The ballpark was part of baseball’s first steel-and-concrete stadium construction boom, of which only Wrigley Field and Fenway Park remain.

Eighty years later, something very different was looming to the south.

While Toronto’s multipurpose SkyDome opened in the middle of the 1989 season – ushering in a new type of stadium, the first with a retractable dome – new Comiskey was the first baseball-only facility to open since Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium debuted in 1973.

Later named U.S. Cellular Field, and now called Guaranteed Rate Field, the facility featured a top-row, upper-deck seat 130 feet above the playing surface – more than twice the height of Comiskey’s, whose last row was 62 feet above field level.

Chicago native Matt Flesch recalls visiting Guaranteed Rate Field during its inaugural season.

“I remember being depressed that there were escalators. I couldn’t believe how high it was. The players were like ants,” Flesch said. “After new Comiskey was opened, in that first year when going to games, they were slowly tearing down old Comiskey. So you’d see old Comiskey with a gaping hole and a wrecking ball hitting it. And then you’re walking into this death star and you’re like, ‘Oh man, I cannot believe we are tearing this down.’”

Flesch released a documentary last year called “Last Comiskey,” which covers the final season at the old park and the White Sox team that played there.

“Bill Gleason was a famous longtime sports writer in Chicago. He has a great quote in the documentary. He said, ‘In Europe, they preserve their magnificent old buildings. In America, we tear everything down.’”

The architecture firm HOK, later named Populous, designed Guaranteed Rate Field. The firm also created Camden Yards, which opened in 1992 in Baltimore. Populous has designed or renovated 20 MLB parks.

Camden Yards was viewed as a revelation in design, harkening back to a bygone era because it featured the B&O Warehouse beyond right field, asymmetric dimensions, and wrought-iron flourishes. Camden Yards ushered in the greatest stadium construction boom since the jewel-box era.

In contrast, it made Comiskey’s replacement appear to be a massive error: it was generic, gigantic, and soulless. (HOK gave White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf a Camden-like option, but he turned it down.)

It’s one hellaciously compelling, soul-stirring read, even if you aren’t really much of a fan of the ol’ bes-o-boru, closing thusly:

Compared to Globe Life Park, the Rangers’ previous home built in 1994, architecture firm HKS moved the decks on average about 30 feet closer to the playing surface.

The last row of the upper deck is 33 feet closer and 5 feet higher in elevation. The first suite level is 39 feet closer, and the closest seating behind home plate is 10 feet closer. There are also 8,000 fewer seats in the new stadium.

Fred Ortiz, a partner at HKS, shared with me a few years ago two black-and-white photos that influenced the design. One was from the upper deck of another long demolished jewel-box park, Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., the franchise’s first home in 1961. The second was the same photo but with the steel support beams photoshopped out.

“What if we could eliminate those and bring fans closer to the field,” Ortiz said of the inspiration, “and change the dynamic of the cross section of a typical ballpark?”

While that exact effect wasn’t quite created, it was arguably the greatest change to ballpark design since Camden Yards opened.

If MLB clubs truly want to engage a new generation of fans, perhaps they should think about returning to what we once had: the experience of being close to the game, of better hearing it, seeing it, and feeling it. Perhaps that’s the lesson in moving from old Comiskey to new.

I repeat: even if your feelings about the game known far and wide as America’s Pastime are lukewarm at best, do NOT let this one get by you. The crack of a traditional wooden bat meeting the ball; the taste of those ballpark chili-dogs; the lush, manicured green of the infield diamond, marked off by the brown of the base paths; the feel of a well-broken-in fielder’s glove, the warm scent of linseed oil wafting from it; the umpire’s bawling cry of “Heeeerike TWOOO!!”—this article is richly redolent of all those precious things and many, many more.

The history of baseball is the history of the nation that birthed it, nothing more nor less, and the piece is bound to introduce you to a chapter of that wonderful history you almost certainly weren’t previously acquainted with. Don’t dare miss it.

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COOOOL!

If it’s gonna be done, it’s gonna have to be Musk that does it.

180 Days for a SpaceX Starship Moonbase
There is a proposal to use the SpaceX lunar starship as a rapidly deployable moonbase. It could be completed 180 days after the SpaceX lunar Starship lands on the moon.

The payload area of the Starship is about 1000 cubic meters. This proposal would tip over the lunar Starship and cut it open to use three times as much volume and enable it be buried for radiation shielding.

NASA and Thales Alenia just rolled out their first Moon Base concept for the Artemis project. Why do we need a tiny module when we have over a thousand cubic meters in Starship? Does this base have any use at all?

Does it really matter? It’s nothing but pie in the sky, a pipe-dream. NASA can’t even get a man into low-earth orbit anymore.

Via Insty, who quips: NOW THIS IS MORE LIKE THE 21ST CENTURY I WAS HOPING FOR. Heh, indeed. Now about those Jetsons-style flying cars we’ve all been waiting for, Elon…

Which reminds me of a humorous incident from a cpl-three weeks ago. I was trying to access a shopping-center wheelchair ramp blocked by one of those damned Teslas, see. Thankfully, the driver was still in the driver-seat—her BF/husband/whatever had dashed into a restaurant to grab their go-order while she waited, it soon developed. Anyhoo, as she backed out of the way for me the car made that burbling beedle-beedle-beedle noise originally produced by the Jetsonmobiles in the classic old Hanna-Barbera cartoon. I just about fell out laughing at that, and I’m still laughing.

I solemnly swear to you here and now, that Tesla sounded so exactly, precisely like the above I have to conclude that Musk must have licensed a recording of it to use in lieu of the exhaust note typical of an ICE. Good going, Elon!

“Fossil” fuels?

Ummm…well…see, now, uhh…okay, it’s like this…

Titan Has More Oil Than Earth
Saturn’s smoggy moon Titan has hundreds of times more natural gas and other liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth, scientists said today.

The hydrocarbons rain from the sky on the miserable moon, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes. This much was known. But now the stuff has been quantified using observations from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

“Titan is just covered in carbon-bearing material — it’s a giant factory of organic chemicals,” said Ralph Lorenz, a Cassini radar team member from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. “This vast carbon inventory is an important window into the geology and climate history of Titan.”

At minus 179 degrees Celsius (minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit), Titan would be an awful place to live. Instead of water, liquid hydrocarbons in the form of methane and ethane are present on the moon’s surface, and tholins probably make up its dunes. The term “tholins” was coined by Carl Sagan in 1979 to describe the complex organic molecules at the heart of prebiotic chemistry.

SO then: might this mean that there were once Thunder Lizards in space? Or might it mean instead that modern theories purporting to explain the origin and formulation of “fossil fuels” are totally bassackwards and wrong? Of those two possible eventualities—1) complex carbon-based life forms not just extant but flourishing on icy, barren rocks throughout our solar system ages ago (but long gone now), or B) simple human error—which scenario seems more likely to be accurate?

What made me think of it was running across mention in several places of Tucker’s latest ep (one of which was here), wherein the topic is discussed. I read about this a while back, may have even brought it up before here, dunno. But Tucker’s riffage on it got me to Luxxle-searching a bit, which led me to the above short article, from 2008. And, well, here we all are. Fascinating subject either way, I think.

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Masks are slipping all over the place

Most. Transparent. Facade. EVAR.

Biden in dark over defense chief’s cancer for month
President Joe Biden was kept in the dark over his defense secretary’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent hospitalizations for about a month, the White House admitted Tuesday, as details of Lloyd Austin’s deeply unusual disappearance raised questions about leadership of the world’s top military.

The 70-year-old’s failure to disclose his hospitalization has prompted an extraordinary row in Washington and could be embarrassing for Biden, who faces multiple foreign crises in his reelection campaign year, including in Israel and Ukraine.

As defense secretary, career soldier Austin is personally overseeing military deployments to try and contain fallout from the Israel-Hamas war, which has sparked violence against American forces in Iraq and Syria as well as attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea.

After days of refusal to issue details, the Pentagon came out Tuesday with its first full account of Austin’s health issues, but the new transparency came too late for a clearly upset White House.

According to two of his doctors from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Austin’s prostate cancer was detected as a result of routine screening in early December.

He underwent minor surgery to treat it on December 22, returning home the following day, the doctors said, referring to a procedure the Pentagon had previously been describing as “elective.”

However, Austin was readmitted to the same hospital on January 1 due to complications “including nausea with severe abdominal, hip, and leg pain,” they said.

“Initial evaluation revealed a urinary tract infection,” while medical personnel found “abdominal fluid collections impairing the function of his small intestines” after Austin was moved to intensive care on January 2.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby made clear that Austin had not followed procedures.

“It is not optimal for a situation like this to go as long as it did without the commander-in-chief knowing about it or the national security adviser knowing about it, or frankly other leaders at the Department of Defense,” Kirby said during a briefing at the White House.

“It’s not the way this is supposed to happen…It’s not good. We want to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Kirby insisted that Biden retains “complete confidence” in Austin and was looking forward to having him back at the Pentagon.

Yeah, tell me the one again about how ANY of these boobs—Bribem, Austin, Kirby, the whole clown-car load of ‘em—is actually in charge of anything whatsoever, Daddy. That one’s my favorite.

I need to establish a new category for this sort of thing, I’m thinking. “Deep State maskirovka” is pretty good, but doesn’t hit the mark quite as squarely as I’d like. Not sure what the name for it oughta be, but I’ll come up with something.

Update! So far I’ve got it narrowed down to six possibilities:

  • Frontmen, figureheads, and marionettes
  • The Great And Powerful OZ!
  • The Not-Ruling Class
  • Shadow-State kabuki
  • Signifying nothing
  • All the Washington world’s a stage

Preferences or suggestions of your own, anyone?

Updated update! Ace sees through it…almost.

White House Orders Cabinet Heads to Inform the “President” If They Cannot Perform Their Duties
—Disinformation Expert Ace

Let me save everyone the time: None of them is capable of performing their duties. Pete Buttigieg fucked off to play mommy for months and months and then have a secret vacay in Portugal and no one even noticed he was gone.

A “president” who even has to give this “order” (or strong recommendation) is obviously not really the president.

Annnnd bingo. In the next line, Ace says it’s “Obama’s staffers” who are in charge, but as much as it may seem so at times, I remain extremely skeptical. As far back as 2008, I maintained that the Boy Who Would Be King was nothing but a ventriloquist’s dummy himself; the man with his hand up Charlie McCarthy’s butt making his lips move was who really brought the act to life.

In fact, though, it isn’t even the Edgar Bergens who are of supreme interest here. The Grey Men skulking in the wings who don’t have faces; don’t have names; never do interviews or appear on the Sunday shows; and who don’t ever stand for “election” are the ones who must be sought out and uncovered. Otherwise, we’re still just playing the same old game, tilting at the same old (replaceable) windmills, dancing to their tune as always.

It’s a daunting task to be sure, but until the backstage string-pullers are at last brought out into the bright lights at center stage, willing or not, there can be no real hope of bringing the final curtain down to close the long-running Amerika v2.0 Show once and for all.

And even that arduous quest, should it be successfully accomplished, will be just the first step. Makes you respect the Founders more than ever, don’t it?

Update to the updated update! Gee, ya THINK?

Via WRSA.

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Pseudo-intellectual self-beclownment

Oh for the love of…

The Thrill Of Word-Policing
Come, dear reader. Let us visit the publication now laughingly referred to as Scientific American. In particular, an “analysis” piece by Juan P Madrid, in which we’re told,

The language of astronomy is needlessly violent and inaccurate.

Dr Madrid, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, begins his attempt to persuade with a tale of poetic drama:

This summer, a team of students and I were enjoying breathtaking views of the night sky while we collected data using telescopes at the McDonald Observatory in West Texas. One night, when we were outside on a telescope catwalk…one of my students amazed me with her interpretation of the fate of Andromeda, the galaxy closest to our Milky Way. In describing how these two galaxies will merge a few billion years from now, she said they will experience “a giant galactic hug.

I know. The very stuff of amazement. Brings a tear to the eye.

The kindness, but also the accuracy, of the language my student used was in sharp contrast to the standard description we use in astronomy to explain the final destiny of Andromeda and the Milky Way: “a collision.”

Apparently, the word collision is, for Dr Madrid, much too brutal and masculine when referring to the unstoppable convergence of two galaxies, and the subsequent merging of the supermassive black holes at their centres – an event that will entail the sling-shotting of countless stars and their orbiting planets, and which may release energy equivalent to around 100 million supernova explosions, and subsequently be detectable halfway across the universe.

A mere hug, you see. All that kindness.

A galactic hug is scientifically truthful, and it’s led me to believe that astronomers should reconsider the language we use.

Here, Dr Madrid’s own use of language – specifically, the word reconsider – is somewhat misleading and just a little coy. The reconsidering he has in mind would of course be enforced by those suitably enlightened, much like the author himself – as hinted at with enthusiasm later in the piece:

Referees, editors, and editorial boards can step up to…stop the use of violent, misogynistic language that is now pervasive.

So, not so much a reconsidering, then, as a coerced neuroticism. A mandatory affectation, on which career progress may very much depend. But hey, where’s the fun in being a pretentious and neurotic scold if you don’t have the power to make others jump through hoops?

Jeez-O-PETE, but what a fucking loony-toony-maroony. Improbable as it may seem, these self-styled SooperDooperGenii© never cease to amaze: forever coming up with new ways of bringing saner, more sensible sorts to a dead screeching halt, scratching their heads in awed stupefaction at yet another wondrous exhibition of rampant, pointless imbecility. No matter how extreme, how over-the-top SPECTACULAR the previous ludicrous record-setter was, they nevertheless contrive to raise the bar of Teh Schtoopid with each successive outing. It’s damned nigh miraculous, really.

And to think: within about a week, no more, another Halfwit Hall O’ Fame hopeful will come staggering along to make this week’s tromping of one’s own dick nonpareil look like weak beer in comparison.

Dr Madrid being an astronomer and college prof and all, you’d think a well-above-average level of intelligence would surely have been required just to land the job at all, much less keep it for more than, say, three or four hours. And yet.

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Words mean things

Except, of course, when they don’t.

Political science professor Gay — who stepped down amid a tempest of allegations that she did not do enough to combat antisemitism and academic plagiarism Tuesday — will return to a position on the Cambridge, Mass., school’s faculty.

Bold mine, and indicative of some truly prime bullshit: 1) they are NOT “allegations,” and 2) it isn’t that she “didn’t do enough” to combat anything—she did plenty. Among other disgraceful things she is known for a fact to have done: she DID commit plagiarism, and she DID express her ((((JooJooJooJOOOOO!!!)))) hate clearly, unequivocally, even pridefully.

This, mind, while the selfsame dicks-with-ears puff out their sunken chests to indignantly declare the madman Trump ineligible to run for President because he’s a known “insurrectionist” and treasonous revolutionary—proving for all time that they really are incapable of shame, because otherwise they’d all be blushing so hard they’d stroke out and die of it.

The above rampant horsepuckey is but one of many abuses of the Mother Tongue we see perpetrated in the mass media every single day; in fact, I doubt it was even the most egregious example from that particular day. Fred Reed offers a primer for those who aspire to do better, a category which would not include any “mainstream” Jurassic Media “journalists.”

English, What’s Left of It, & Its Management
Recently I took part in a discussion of writing and how to do it on Counter-Currents. This being a topic of some importance to me, I decided to throw together a few thoughts in a form more coherent that I could do in a podcast. A danger in doing this is that readers will joyfully point out instances in which I have failed to follow my own suggestions. To these sins I confess in advance. Anyway:

This is not a golden age of writing. For one thing, few today have the grasp of English grammar that long ago we had learned by the fifth grade, or any idea why it might be important. Nor, I suspect, have many read much in the best authors in English, and so have not acquired an ingrained feel for what is good and what isn’t. I may be wrong. I hope so.

For another, good writing is elitist, and must be. Elitism means a preference for the better to the worse. In an intellectual climate resembling that of an urban bus station, in which the lower cultural orders seek to drag standards to the bottom, few will prefer good writing to bad, or know the difference.

Further, when people are in constant communication via telephones, garbling and semi-literacy are less important than they were when poor communication demanded clarity. In the following we will pretend that it is 1955 and that I am speaking to young people who want to write well.

To begin, my advice to the aspiring writer is to forget “creativity.” Writing is first a craft, involving rules and principles and things to which the student should learn to pay attention. Later, perhaps, writing is an art. You have to learn the notes before playing a concerto. Accepting this is important.

Also important, crucial I would say, is the habit of paying attention to language itself, not just its content. By this I mean the structure of sentences, choice of words, turn of phrase. If you read a piece and think it good, read it again and ask why it is good. If an analytical piece, is the analysis clear and compelling? The phrasing fresh and devoid of cliché? The vocabulary extensive and correct in use?

To again use a comparison to music, the listener doesn’t have to know music theory, but the musician does.

Lots, lots more good stuff to follow, including several rules I gleefully traduce on a habitual basis myself, just ’cause I think it’s funny. Even if you’re not a professional writer, you may find it interesting. NYPost link via JJ, Fred link via WRSA. Thanks, fellas!

Update! Also via JJ, Bill Ackerman digs deeper into the Gay brouhaha.

I first became concerned about @Harvard when 34 Harvard student organizations, early on the morning of October 8th before Israel had taken any military actions in Gaza, came out publicly in support of Hamas, a globally recognized terrorist organization, holding Israel ‘solely responsible’ for Hamas’ barbaric and heinous acts.

How could this be? I wondered.

When I saw President Gay’s initial statement about the massacre, it provided more context (!) for the student groups’ statement of support for terrorism. The protests began as pro-Palestine and then became anti-Israel. Shortly, thereafter, antisemitism exploded on campus as protesters who violated Harvard’s own codes of conduct were emboldened by the lack of enforcement of Harvard’s rules, and kept testing the limits on how aggressive, intimidating, and disruptive they could be to Jewish and Israeli students, and the student body at large. Sadly, antisemitism remains a simmering source of hate even at our best universities among a subset of students.

A few weeks later, I went up to campus to see things with my own eyes, and listen and learn from students and faculty. I met with 15 or so members of the faculty and a few hundred students in small and large settings, and a clearer picture began to emerge.

I ultimately concluded that antisemitism was not the core of the problem, it was simply a troubling warning sign – it was the “canary in the coal mine” – despite how destructive it was in impacting student life and learning on campus.  

I came to learn that the root cause of antisemitism at Harvard was an ideology that had been promulgated on campus, an oppressor/oppressed framework, that provided the intellectual bulwark behind the protests, helping to generate anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate speech and harassment.

Then I did more research. The more I learned, the more concerned I became, and the more ignorant I realized I had been about DEI, a powerful movement that has not only pervaded Harvard, but the educational system at large. I came to understand that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was not what I had naively thought these words meant.

I have always believed that diversity is an important feature of a successful organization, but by diversity I mean diversity in its broadest form: diversity of viewpoints, politics, ethnicity, race, age, religion, experience, socioeconomic background, sexual identity, gender, one’s upbringing, and more. 

What I learned, however, was that DEI was not about diversity in its purest form, but rather DEI was a political advocacy movement on behalf of certain groups that are deemed oppressed under DEI’s own methodology.

OHHH yeah, you’ll want to read all of this one. It’s choice stuff, covering a heckuva lot of bases well beyond the Gay business, and I haven’t finished it yet myself.

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Happy (?) New year!

I made a funny.

I saw something similar over the weekend somewhere or other, but when I went looking I couldn’t find it again, since I couldn’t remember where the heck I’d seen the danged thing. So I decided to hell with it and just struck out on my own—found the raw image, so’s it’s the same pitcher, same sentiment more or less, I just worded it differently and added the CF link, of course. Hopefully the maker of the original won’t waste his time trying to sue me over it; the phrase “blood from a rock” springs immediately to mind.

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Haley gets one right

Even though the Hallelujah Chorus of VOTE HARDERER!!! Republicrats© is giving her hell for it, she ain’t wrong for once.

I’ve never run for office, but I can imagine that for a politician in the South — especially a conservative — questions about race relations and history sound like “gotcha” questions. That may have been what was on Nikki Haley’s mind at a town hall event in New Hampshire earlier this week when an attendee asked her a historical question.

A voter asked Haley, “What was the cause of the United States Civil War?” Granted, it’s an odd question, but Haley could have answered it quickly and moved on. Instead, she gave the strangest answer imaginable.

“Well, don’t come with an easy question,” she began with a quip. “I mean, I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run, the freedoms, and what people could and couldn’t do.”

She then turned the tables on the man who asked the question and asked him what he thought caused the Civil War. That part of the exchange wasn’t audible on the video of the town hall, but it opened the door for Haley to dig her hole of bizarre answers a little deeper.

“I mean, I think it always comes down to the role of government and what the rights of the people are,” she continued. “And we — I will always stand by the fact that I think government was intended to secure the rights and freedoms of the people. It was never meant to be all things to all people.”

“Bizarre”…and perfectly correct, too. The “offense” Haley is being pilloried for, of course, is not making the obligatory genuflection towards the written-by-the-winners revisionist history which holds that the “cause” of Civil War I was blood-simple, that the North invaded and punitively subjugated the South over the “peculiar institution” of slavery.

Just one leeeetle problem with that belief: know who else didn’t think the War of Northern Aggression was all about slavery? Massa Abraham Lincoln, that’s who. Among other things, he said this:

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.

Note also that the “Great Emancipator,” with his fabled Proclamation in 1863, freed not a single slave in any state wherein he actually had the power to do so; the Emancipation Proclamation was a purely political document whose two-fold purpose was to maintain the shaky entente back home between the radical contingent of so-called “fire eater” abolitionists and the moderates, as well as to gain military advantage for the Yankee invader over the Southern foe.

The Emancipation Proclamation did not free all slaves in the U.S., contrary to a common misconception; it applied in the ten states that were still in rebellion on January 1, 1863, but it did not cover the nearly 500,000 slaves in the slaveholding border states (Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware) or in parts of Virginia and Louisiana that were no longer in rebellion. Those slaves were freed by later separate state and federal actions.

The state of Tennessee had already mostly returned to Union control, under a recognized Union government, so it was not named and was exempted. Virginia was named, but exemptions were specified for the 48 counties then in the process of forming the new state of West Virginia, and seven additional counties and two cities in the Union-controlled Tidewater region of Virginia. Also specifically exempted were New Orleans and 13 named parishes of Louisiana, which were mostly under federal control at the time of the Emancipation Proclamation. These exemptions left unemancipated an additional 300,000 slaves.

The Emancipation Proclamation has been ridiculed, notably by Richard Hofstadter, who wrote that it “had all the moral grandeur of a bill of lading” and “declared free all slaves…precisely where its effect could not reach”. Disagreeing with Hofstadter, William W. Freehling wrote that Lincoln’s asserting his power as Commander-in-Chief to issue the proclamation “reads not like an entrepreneur’s bill for past services but like a warrior’s brandishing of a new weapon”.

Lincoln first discussed the proclamation with his cabinet in July 1862. He drafted his “preliminary proclamation” and read it to Secretary of State William Seward, and Secretary of Navy Gideon Welles, on July 13. Seward and Welles were at first speechless, then Seward referred to possible anarchy throughout the South and resulting foreign intervention; Welles apparently said nothing. On July 22, Lincoln presented it to his entire cabinet as something he had determined to do and he asked their opinion on wording. Although Secretary of War Edwin Stanton supported it, Seward advised Lincoln to issue the proclamation after a major Union victory, or else it would appear as if the Union was giving “its last shriek of retreat”. Walter Stahr, however, writes, “There are contemporary sources, however, that suggest others were involved in the decision to delay”, and Stahr quotes them.

In September 1862, the Battle of Antietam gave Lincoln the victory he needed to issue the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. In the battle, though the Union suffered heavier losses than the Confederates and General McClellan allowed the escape of Robert E. Lee’s retreating troops, Union forces turned back a Confederate invasion of Maryland, eliminating more than a quarter of Lee’s army in the process.

On September 22, 1862, five days after Antietam, and while residing at the Soldier’s Home, Lincoln called his cabinet into session and issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. According to Civil War historian James M. McPherson, Lincoln told cabinet members, “I made a solemn vow before God, that if General Lee was driven back from Pennsylvania, I would crown the result by the declaration of freedom to the slaves.” Lincoln had first shown an early draft of the proclamation to Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, an ardent abolitionist, who was more often kept in the dark on presidential decisions. The final proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863. Although implicitly granted authority by Congress, Lincoln used his powers as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy to issue the proclamation “as a necessary war measure.” Therefore, it was not the equivalent of a statute enacted by Congress or a constitutional amendment, because Lincoln or a subsequent president could revoke it. One week after issuing the final Proclamation, Lincoln wrote to Major General John McClernand: “After the commencement of hostilities I struggled nearly a year and a half to get along without touching the ‘institution’; and when finally I conditionally determined to touch it, I gave a hundred days fair notice of my purpose, to all the States and people, within which time they could have turned it wholly aside, by simply again becoming good citizens of the United States. They chose to disregard it, and I made the peremptory proclamation on what appeared to me to be a military necessity. And being made, it must stand”. Lincoln continued, however, that the states included in the proclamation could “adopt systems of apprenticeship for the colored people, conforming substantially to the most approved plans of gradual emancipation; and…they may be nearly as well off, in this respect, as if the present trouble had not occurred”. He concluded by asking McClernand not to “make this letter public”.

Initially, the Emancipation Proclamation effectively freed only a small percentage of the slaves, namely those who were behind Union lines in areas not exempted. Most slaves were still behind Confederate lines or in exempted Union-occupied areas. Secretary of State William H. Seward commented, “We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free.” Had any slave state ended its secession attempt before January 1, 1863, it could have kept slavery, at least temporarily.

And there you have it. Nota bene:

  • Quite a few Northerners still owned slaves for some years after the war was over
  • Northern general US Grant was as ambivalent about slavery as his boss Lincoln, at least initially:

    To his father he wrote, “My inclination is to whip the rebellion into submission, preserving all Constitutional rights. If it cannot be whipped any other way than through a war against slavery, let it come to that legitimately. If it is necessary that slavery should fall that the Republic may continue its existence, let slavery go.”

    More on all that here

  • Legend has it that Grant’s wife retained ownership of her personal valet for several years after the end of the war; when asked about this apparent contradiction, Grant is said to have dismissed his interlocuter with a laconic “Because good help is so hard to find nowadays”
  • At the end of the war, certain Northern states and/or cities barred Nee-grows from so much as setting foot within their boundaries, decrees often enforced via violence

And so it goes. As is usually the case, the first American Civil War is not reducible to simple, easily summed-up causes and effects; it just doesn’t work that way, however much we flawed hoomons might wish otherwise. History is rich and complex, with many strange twists and turns serving to make the topic all the more interesting for those of us who study it intently.

Loathe though I ordinarily am to sing the woman’s praises, sincerest kudos to Nikki Haley for truly getting the historical nuance here, and refusing to yield to pressure from the stupes and dupes who don’t to dumb it down for them.

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The year that was

David Thompson offers a whole year’s worth of reasons intelligent, rational people despair of the very concept of “human” “progress” as nothing more than a laughable conceit.

The year began with a tale of oysters and college lesbianism, via Bon Appétit magazine, in which Brooklynite pronoun-stipulator Isha Maratha was keen to overshare. For Ms Maratha, “My first time eating an oyster was an act of queer intimacy.” Indeed, we were told by an obliging editor, “The act of eating an oyster uniquely and intimately expresses her queerness.” And so, we were regaled, at length, with descriptions of mollusc-gobbling, stolen glances, and lemon wedges being squeezed. “There is something uniquely unspoken,” we learned, “between the eater and the eaten.”

We also pondered mass fare-dodging, now at record levels, and its progressive defenders – including those employed to maintain public transport – and whose pre-emptive disapproval of anyone noticing such crimes was remarkable in its vehemence and uniformity. The effects on social trust of a large and growing minority disregarding the law and norms of behaviour, and doing so with a learned impunity, is apparently something one shouldn’t – and mustn’t – register or explore. Because, in the progressive world, noticing habitual and brazen thievery is much worse than indulging in it. And obviously racist.

And we visited the pages of Scientific American, where wokeness is ascendant and thinking simply isn’t done. In particular, an “important analysis” piece in which we were urged – by Tracie Canada, a “socio-cultural anthropologist” at Duke University – to fret about “the violence Black men experience in [American] football,” and in which we were told that the physicality of the sport “disproportionately affects black men.” This was framed to imply, but never establish, some systemic racial wrongdoing – “anti-Black practices” that are “inescapable” – rather than, say, being an unremarkable reflection of the sport’s demographics, in which, at professional levels, black players are a majority. Or to put it another, no less scientific, way – the risk of injury while playing a contact sport disproportionately affects those who actually play it. When this rather glaring logical error was pointed out by readers, the magazine’s editor-in-chief promptly accused said readers of “systemic racism.”

In February, we encountered a suboptimal substitute teacher named Lydia Lamere – formerly Christopher Lamere – who spent lesson time directing students to his overtly sexual TikTok account, and conscripting middle-school children into his cross-dressing psychodrama. When not discussing “kink” and preferred sexual positions with other people’s eleven-year-old children, Mr Lamere found time to tells us, “I’m not a predator, I’m just a woman who happens to be super tall and hot.”

Matters academic cropped up again via an eye-widening overview of racial “equity” policies in various schools and institutions, where expectations of competence are deemed racist and terribly problematic. In New York City, for instance, thanks to “disparate impact” policies, firefighters are no longer expected to be able to read the instructions on their own firefighting equipment. Likewise, in scrupulously progressive Ontario, it is now illegal to use a maths test to determine whether maths teachers actually possess the knowledge that they are being paid to convey in class. Such is the world of triumphant wokeness, in which “suspending proficiency requirements” – and denouncing diligence and competence as “white supremacy,” a wickedness to be shunned – will somehow “benefit” the children on whom these things are imposed.

We also marvelled at a contrived and unconvincing display of forgiveness by Guardian contributor Anna Spargo-Ryan, whose home was invaded in the night by a gang of sociopaths armed with carving knives. It turns out that when being robbed by habitual predators, the progressive thing to do is to sympathise with the creatures breaking into one’s home and driving off with one’s stuff in one’s own car. Ms Spargo-Ryan was hailed by her peers as a “beautiful person” for gushing with pretentious sympathy for her assailants and for wishing to see the burglars spared the normal corrective consequences, presumably so that they might go on to burgle the homes of others, including her neighbours. Which of course they were busy doing. Though it occurs to me that a person breaking into someone’s home in the middle of the night and stealing their possessions is sending a pretty strong signal about how much concern, or how little, the rest of us should have for that person’s wellbeing.

The Pronoun Game, so very much in fashion, cropped up in March, along with a demand that employers accommodate the made-up identities of insufferable narcissists. Even when those made-up identities can change several times a day, with such changes being signalled via colour-coded pronoun bracelets, pronoun earrings, and other pronoun-stipulating accessories. Accessories that all colleagues would be expected to monitor closely, lest “misgendering” ensue, followed by a visit to Human Resources. A scenario that inspired the question of exactly how much farce in the workplace might be considered excessive.

Thanks to Oxford University’s Department of Biology, we beheld some ostentatious fretting about the “numerous negative consequences” of obscure Latin names that almost no-one knows about. According to Assistant Professor of Conservation Science Ricardo Rocha, some “1,565 species of bird, reptiles, amphibians and mammals” are named after “white, male Europeans from the 19th and 20th centuries,” which is apparently a very bad thing. What with all that whiteness and maleness, you see. This legacy of legwork and exploration is, we’re to believe, oppressing the people of Zimbabwe and Botswana, for whom the Latin textbook names of lizards and beetles are foremost in their minds. We were also assured that would-be botanists and biologists are in some way being psychologically injured by the existence of this Latin taxonomy, and by the fact that much of the “flora of New Caledonia” is “named after a man.”

Read on for the rest of it, there’s lots more yet to come, alas.

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"There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters."
Daniel Webster

“When I was young I was depressed all the time. But suicide no longer seemed a possibility in my life. At my age there was very little left to kill.”
Charles Bukowski

“A slave is one who waits for someone to come and free him.”
Ezra Pound

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
Frank Zappa

“The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea.”
John Adams

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
Bertrand de Jouvenel

"It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged."
GK Chesterton

"I predict that the Bush administration will be seen by freedom-wishing Americans a generation or two hence as the hinge on the cell door locking up our freedom. When my children are my age, they will not be free in any recognizably traditional American meaning of the word. I’d tell them to emigrate, but there’s nowhere left to go. I am left with nauseating near-conviction that I am a member of the last generation in the history of the world that is minimally truly free."
Donald Surber

"The only way to live free is to live unobserved."
Etienne de la Boiete

"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

"To put it simply, the Left is the stupid and the insane, led by the evil. You can’t persuade the stupid or the insane and you had damn well better fight the evil."
Skeptic

"There is no better way to stamp your power on people than through the dead hand of bureaucracy. You cannot reason with paperwork."
David Black, from Turn Left For Gibraltar

"If the laws of God and men, are therefore of no effect, when the magistracy is left at liberty to break them; and if the lusts of those who are too strong for the tribunals of justice, cannot be otherwise restrained than by sedition, tumults and war, those seditions, tumults and wars, are justified by the laws of God and man."
John Adams

"The limits of tyranny are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
Frederick Douglass

"Give me the media and I will make of any nation a herd of swine."
Joseph Goebbels

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
Ronald Reagan

"Ain't no misunderstanding this war. They want to rule us and aim to do it. We aim not to allow it. All there is to it."
NC Reed, from Parno's Peril

"I just want a government that fits in the box it originally came in."
Bill Whittle

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