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    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 13th April 2014 (All posts by )

    Christopher Hitchens:

    Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.

    This wears well.

    Posted in Arts & Letters, Civil Society, Deep Thoughts, Human Behavior, Morality and Philosphy, Quotations, Rhetoric, Tradeoffs | 6 Comments »

    Sunrise

    Posted by Jonathan on 12th April 2014 (All posts by )

    Sunrise behind a grove of slash pines at Long Pine Key in Everglades National Park, Florida. WATERMARKS WILL NOT APPEAR ON PRINTS OR LICENSED IMAGES. (© 2013 Jonathan Gewirtz / jonathan@gewirtz.net)

    Posted in Photos | 1 Comment »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 7th April 2014 (All posts by )

    Seth Mandel: Brendan Eich, the Culture Wars, and the Ground Shifting Beneath Our Feet in Commentary:

    But forget about the Kochs for a moment. Forget, too, about the left’s major donors like Tom Steyer, who plans to spend $100 million in congressional midterm elections in support of Democrats. What about the guy who donated $1,000 to a state ballot initiative six years ago? Should he lose his job somewhere down the line because public opinion has shifted against an old ballot initiative? To the left, the answer is: Absolutely.
     
    This is part of why conservatives have been leery about the Democrats’ proposals to force disclosure of the kind of donors who give to Republicans (while exempting many of their own major donors). The left claims it wants full disclosure of political participation in the name of transparency and electoral integrity. We now know this isn’t remotely true. They want disclosure so they can extend the purge of heretics from private life and thus deter libertarian and conservative political participation. They want a permanent record of everyone’s political opinions to use against them at any time in the future. This is about disenfranchisement and blacklisting and nothing more. That should have been apparent before, but it’s crystal clear now.

    Posted in Leftism, Political Philosophy, Politics, Quotations, Society | 4 Comments »

    Relax

    Posted by Jonathan on 4th April 2014 (All posts by )

    Kayakers enjoy the warm, shallow waters of Florida Bay in the southernmost part of Everglades National Park. WATERMARKS WILL NOT APPEAR ON PRINTS OR LICENSED IMAGES. (Jonathan Gewirtz   jonathan@gewirtz.net)

     
    Order Prints
     

    Posted in Photos | 2 Comments »

    Miami Critical Mass

    Posted by Jonathan on 29th March 2014 (All posts by )

    critical mass

    We stand with all right-thinking citizens in condemning the irresponsible hooligans who put on those Critical Mass bike rides that disrupt traffic for productive people. Regrettably, as it’s been a few months since we went on our last CM ride, and they just changed the clocks, we felt compelled to go again, for research purposes.

    More pics below.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Diversions, Photos | 10 Comments »

    On the Beach

    Posted by Jonathan on 24th March 2014 (All posts by )

    Campers sit around a fire under a magnificent starry night sky on the beach at East Cape Sable, on Florida Bay at the southern end of Everglades National Park. (Jonathan Gewirtz   jonathan@gewirtz.net)

    East Cape Sable, Florida Everglades

    Posted in Photos | 6 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 20th March 2014 (All posts by )

    Michael Rubin in Commentary:

    What self-described realists misunderstand when they pursue their cost-benefit analysis without emotion or regard for principle is that friendship and trust have value. In one chapter of Dancing with the Devil, I explore the history of intelligence politicization. Iraq may now be the marquee example upon which many progressives seize, but intelligence politicization occurred under every president dating back at least to Lyndon Johnson, if not before (the scope of my book was just the past half-century or so). Iraq intelligence was flawed, but the world will get over it, especially since it was consistent with the intelligence gathered by almost every other country and the United Nations. The betrayal of allies, however, is a permanent wound on America’s reputation that will not be easy to overcome.

    This is a chronic problem. We were able to get away with being a fickle ally when we acted like a superpower. Our allies had no choice but to deal with us; our adversaries had to be cautious lest they provoke us. We betrayed Kurds, Iraqi Shiites and other groups without paying much of a long-term price. It was easy to be casual about our alliances. We could afford to see one-dimensional cynical calculations of national interest as realism.

    But now that we behave like just another country we are beginning to pay more of a cost for our unreliability. Our design margin, in Wretchard’s phrase, has eroded. It is increasingly difficult for us to protect our remaining interests. The Obama foreign policy is an inverse force-multiplier.

    Our geopolitical situation is going to deteriorate faster than most Americans expect.

    Posted in International Affairs, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Quotations, Russia, War and Peace | 13 Comments »

    Chicago Bean

    Posted by Jonathan on 18th March 2014 (All posts by )

    Chicago Skyline Reflected in Bean

    Posted in Photos | 1 Comment »

    Chicagoboyz Florida Meetup, March 22

    Posted by Jonathan on 17th March 2014 (All posts by )

    I’ll be getting together this coming Saturday night, March 22 with famous Chicagoboy Jay Manifold on Hollywood Beach. Shoot me an email if you’d like to join us.

    Posted in Announcements | 6 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on 17th March 2014 (All posts by )

    air plants

    Cyclists carrying bromeliads.

    Posted in Photos | 5 Comments »

    2014 Calle Ocho Street Festival

    Posted by Jonathan on 10th March 2014 (All posts by )

    The festival is an annual Miami event that I attended this past Sunday. The city closes down a section of SW 8th St, also known as Calle Ocho, in the Little Havana neighborhood. The weather was perfect and it was a lot of fun to walk around and photograph people.

    2014 Calle Ocho Carnival Miami

    Click the link below to see 24 more images. These are best viewed on a desktop or large tablet.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Diversions, Photos | 8 Comments »

    Hmm…

    Posted by Jonathan on 9th March 2014 (All posts by )

    Went to a big street fair today. Great weather, big crowd. Here’s a picture of the Obamacare signup booth.

    Obamacare is popular!

    Posted in Health Care, Photos | 6 Comments »

    Chicagoboyz Go Yachting

    Posted by Jonathan on 3rd March 2014 (All posts by )

    Under the sea:
    under the sea
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Diversions, Photos | Comments Off

    History of Political Correctness: The Frankfurt School

    Posted by Jonathan on 2nd March 2014 (All posts by )

    (Via Heartiste.)

    Posted in History, Leftism, Political Philosophy, Video | 5 Comments »

    Random Links

    Posted by Jonathan on 1st March 2014 (All posts by )

    -Will Israel Be the Next Energy Superpower? – A balanced, thoughtful look at recent developments from Arthur Herman. There is cause for optimism.

    -Wildlife photographer pleads guilty to violating Endangered Species Act – The gist of the story is that some guy was photographing “endangered” birds from less than 500 feet away, which apparently is a violation of the Endangered Species Act, and was turned in to the feds by zealous environmentalists who saw him do this. Of course he copped a plea. If he had taken his chances in court he could have ended up in jail for years. As it is he may still do time and will end up with a felony conviction and probably a big fine to make an example of him. The birds he supposedly harassed aren’t even rare, merely locally rare in Florida, and he didn’t harm any of them. At most he should have been fined a few hundred bucks and warned to stay farther away from the wildlife. But nowadays everything is a federal crime with draconian penalties, and you can’t fart in a wetland without violating some rule. And the enforcement agencies have to justify their budgets. He should have left the birds alone, but his punishment is cruelly excessive. Some of the comments in response to the article are remarkably heartless. Not just the EPA but also the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Park Service deserve substantial defunding.

    -Possibly my best blog post ever.

    Posted in Big Government, Civil Liberties, Energy & Power Generation, Environment, Humor, Israel, Law, Law Enforcement | 10 Comments »

    Fox News Doesn’t Represent Conservatives

    Posted by Jonathan on 19th February 2014 (All posts by )

    Well, OK. No offense to Roger Simon but he was expecting too much. Fox News is a business that has done well by catering to audiences — on the Center and Right of the political spectrum — that the other media companies ignored.

    Conservatives and libertarians like to complain about Bill O’Reilly because he is an annoying blowhard, a bully and a suck-up interviewer who claims to be conservative but allows himself to be used by leftist pols. Why does the supposedly conservative network continue to employ O’Reilly? Because he has a huge audience and makes the network a lot of money. Making money is what Roger Ailes is about. He’s not in business to foster conservatism. He caters to a conservative audience because that’s where the money has been, but as other networks have moved even farther to the left he can now pick off even more of their audience by moving Fox to the left. It’s not like Fox’s conservative and libertarian audience has alternative sources of TV news.

    Fox is a bit like the Republican Party. If your organization is the only game in town for people on your side of the issues, you can maximize your constituency/votes/donations/budget/profit by being squishy enough to capture some of your ideological competitors’ audience. So now James Carville and Bob Beckel work for Fox.

    Conservatives and libertarians should avoid dependency on one news network, just as members of any constituency should avoid being dependent on one political party.

    Posted in Media | 16 Comments »

    Fish of a Different Color

    Posted by Jonathan on 17th February 2014 (All posts by )

    Closeup view of a crayfish, probably a Procambarus allen or Blue Crayfish, on a paved path in the Shark Valley section of Everglades National Park, Florida. (Jonathan Gewirtz   jonathan@gewirtz.net)

    Posted in Photos | 2 Comments »

    New! – Your kayaking news of the day

    Posted by Jonathan on 17th February 2014 (All posts by )

    SYDNEY (AP) – Australian police seized about 180 million Australian dollars ($162 million) worth of methamphetamine hidden inside kayaks shipped from China, officials said Wednesday.

    Love the headline!

    AOL.com

    Posted in That's NOT Funny | Comments Off

    “New Study: Internet Trolls Are Often Machiavellian Sadists”

    Posted by Jonathan on 16th February 2014 (All posts by )

    Cited here (via Lindsay Bell).

    The conclusions of this study seem consistent with observation.

    Abstract
    In two online studies (total N = 1215), respondents completed personality inventories and a survey of their Internet commenting styles. Overall, strong positive associations emerged among online commenting frequency, trolling enjoyment, and troll identity, pointing to a common construct underlying the measures. Both studies revealed similar patterns of relations between trolling and the Dark Tetrad of personality: trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling and, importantly, the relationship was specific to trolling behavior. Enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism. Thus cyber-trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism.

    There’s also this (via The Big Picture):

    It’s long been obvious that people with wacko tendencies are vastly overrepresented among Internet commenters as compared to the general population. (See also this and this and this and this.)

    We’re a mere twenty years into human mass-networking via anonymous electronic connection. There are hints of major Internet-driven social changes that we don’t yet understand or even perceive. Much Internet activity seems to be fake. Many people online aren’t who they appear to be. Real-world activities, as in relations between the sexes, appear to be changing faster than ever as information propagates and incentives change in record time. It will be interesting to make sense of the social changes of the 1990s through 2010s from the perspective of twenty years hence, if we live long enough.

    Posted in Deep Thoughts, Human Behavior, Internet | 26 Comments »

    [Updated:] Adobe Lightroom 5 Photo-Editing Software @ $69

    Posted by Jonathan on 16th February 2014 (All posts by )

    UPDATE: The discount code doesn’t work, so please disregard this post.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Announcements, Photos | 3 Comments »

    Sink It

    Posted by Jonathan on 12th February 2014 (All posts by )

    A couple of Iranian navy ships are slowly making their way to the Americas. What’s going on? J. E. Dyer has a long and thoughtful post:

    That said, two things are worth reiterating. One, the U.S. does not have a constant-ready missile defense network that would protect the central and southeastern United States from an MRBM threat emanating from the south. We are unprotected on this axis. Shifting to a footing of 24/365 alert and anti-missile protection – e.g., by deploying Patriot systems in the continental U.S. or Navy Aegis ships offshore – would constitute a new, un-resourced requirement. We’d have to cut back defense operations elsewhere to meet it.
     
    Two, our ability to react against the “shooter” is limited by the forces we have ready today. We don’t have extra ships and aircraft to deploy for a deterrent presence in Central America. We could react after the fact with B-2 bombers, and possibly other conventional forms of attack, such as submarine-launched cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with conventional warheads. But we would have to attack to mount a response, in (most probably) Venezuela or Cuba, and that response would be inherently escalatory.
     
    It’s quite possible that our current administration would view that as a bridge too far. Realistically, I think the military would view the prospect with strong disfavor. Our ready forces would not have such a preponderance of power, or such advantages of geography, that we could do it easily and without inconvenience.
     
    Bottom line: MRBMs down south would constitute a material transformation of our security footing in the hemisphere. It’s a development we couldn’t live with.
     
    [...]
     
    The “red flag” in this whole saga is the concentration of verbal threats from the Iranians, at a time when they are making an unprecedented naval deployment to the Americas; they are mounting an unusual outreach with Fatah; and they are close enough to nuclearization – even by the expected route, as opposed to the speculative North Korean option – that dashing to the finish line is the only step left.
     
    The quality of some of the Iranian threats is deeply silly. But this doesn’t have the feel of random nuttiness to it. The Iranians are up to something.

    I agree with Dyer, who implies in the post (and states explicitly in a comment) that the lowest-risk course of action for us would be to sink the ship of the two that has a hold big enough to transport ballistic missiles.

    Dyer’s argument is long and well supported. You will have to read the whole thing to get the full thrust of her reasoning.

    My take on Iran continues to be that if it gets nuclear weapons, as now seems certain, it will use them. It will not necessarily use them to attack Israel or otherwise blow some place up, at least not in the near future. It will use them to gain leverage, to extort valuable concessions from its adversaries, including us. Obama’s feckless appeasement of the mullahs has whetted their appetite for aggression and confirmed that they have at least three more years of clear sailing ahead. They will press this advantage. We are not going to be able to contain them, because they will continue to look for opportunities to place us in situations where our disinclination to fight will give them victories by default. The current situation, with the two ships, appears to be the opener. We have a lot to lose. If we want to stop Iran we are going to have to confront it militarily at some point. The sooner we do this the less costly it will be.

    Posted in Americas, Cuba, Current Events, International Affairs, Iran, Israel, Military Affairs, National Security, War and Peace | 61 Comments »

    Straighten Up!

    Posted by Jonathan on 10th February 2014 (All posts by )

    The convoluted trunk of a slash pine tree in Everglades National Park, Florida. (Jonathan Gewirtz   jonathan@gewirtz.net)

    Posted in Photos | 1 Comment »

    Sunset

    Posted by Jonathan on 8th February 2014 (All posts by )

    Everglades Sunset

    Posted in Photos | 1 Comment »

    Barry Rubin ז״ל

    Posted by Jonathan on 3rd February 2014 (All posts by )

    Instapundit notes the passing of Barry Rubin, whose Rubin Report posts (later shared on PJ Media) were among the most thoughtful and accessible analyses of Middle Eastern politics. This is a great loss. My condolences to Mr. Rubin’s family.

    Posted in Middle East, Obits | 1 Comment »

    “When a fly falls into a cup of coffee…”

    Posted by Jonathan on 2nd February 2014 (All posts by )

    (Via The Augean Stables, The Jewish Chronicle Online and Free Republic. Original source unknown.)

    —-

    WHEN A FLY FALLS INTO A CUP OF COFFEE
     
    The Italian – throws the cup, breaks it, and walks away in a fit of rage.
     
    The German – carefully washes the cup, sterilizes it and makes a new cup of coffee.
     
    The Frenchman – takes out the fly, and drinks the coffee.
     
    The Chinese – eats the fly and throws away the coffee.
     
    The Russian – Drinks the coffee with the fly, since it was extra with no charge.
     
    The Israeli – sells the coffee to the Frenchman, sells the fly to the Chinese, sells the cup to the Italian, drinks a cup of tea, and uses the extra money to invent a device that prevents flies from falling into coffee.
     
    The Palestinian – blames the Israeli for the fly falling into his coffee, protests the act of aggression to the UN, takes a loan from the European Union to buy a new cup of coffee, uses the money to purchase explosives and then blows up the coffee house where the Italian, the Frenchman, the Chinese, the German and the Russian are all trying to explain to the Israeli that he should give away his cup of tea to the Palestinian…

    Posted in Humor | 9 Comments »