Un juego muy bueno:
Archive for the 'That’s NOT Funny' Category
I love a lot of things about France, and the food is probably one of the things I love the most. The French, at most restaurants that aren’t fast food joints, take their time eating and put all that they can into making their meals taste great and look great. Even when I dined at lower end establishments, they did whatever they could with what they had to make some sort of artistry on the plate. They just appreciate it more than having meat, veggie and potatoes all separate with a hunk of parsley as plate filler like we do in the states.
I am not saying that once in a while I don’t like a great steakhouse and/or ‘Mercun style meal. I do. I am saying that I prefer to take more time, relax and enjoy the artistry of a meal.
One thing I really hate about restaurants in France (at least in the south of France where I have cycled the last four years) is that they all let dogs in. Bars too. At first I thought it was novel and cute, but that wore off rather quickly. Most of the time I see the dogs under tables. This scene above from a few weeks ago made my skin crawl.
Cross posted at LITGM.
Lots of bad referenda
Of course they all pass
Ammo at Walmart
Queueing up, three box limit
Things were better once
Who the hell knows what they’ve got
We’re all wondering
Your student loan debt
Makes you unmarriageable
Might as well be gay
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!
Posted in That's NOT Funny | Comments Off
Covered here, at length, I am certain that New Mexico, or at the very least, the Hidalgo County PD needs a new motto. This takes ‘search and seizure to whole new levels. I’ve seen this story linked on a couple of different independent blogs, but now it goes to a whole new level of ‘WTF?’
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(Sorry, no history post today – just too much going on and I am too steamed about this particular First Amendment issue. It seems that in the eyes of certain parties, our current president may not be mocked by the peasants.)
That useful concept (thank you, the French language for putting it so succinctly!) is defined “as an offense that violates the dignity of a ruler” or “an attack on any custom, institution, belief, etc., held sacred or revered by numbers of people.”Well, it appears that our very dear current occupant of the White House is certainly held sacred by a substantial percentage of our fellow citizens. How else to account for the perfectly earsplitting howling from Missouri Democrats and the usual suspects over a rodeo clown wearing an Obama mask to yuck it up before the crowd – most of whom seem to be laughing their heads off. All but the desperately sensitive, who breathlessly insisted that it was just like a KKK rally, practically. The rodeo clown’s name apparently is Tuffy Gessling; his supporters, and those who, as a matter of fact, support the rights of a free citizen to mock authority figures of every color and persuasion, have set up a Facebook page. He’s also been invited by a Texas congressman to come and perform the skit at a rodeo in Texas.
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It is dangerous to promote an ideal and pretend it’s not for entertainment purposes only.
From time to time, motivational slogans like “national interest” and “grand strategy” have proved useful in prodding the slothful along. Fiction has power to move people and move people it does. Mixing up myth for reality, however, leads to cognitive whiplash when reality steps, as it must, on myth. Many gleaming ideals are little more than bright colors painted on after the fact to cover up grimy back stage shenanigans and less than visionary ad hoc improvisations, usually for temporary short-term political gain.
Entering politics, if you lead with your idealistic chin, you will soon discover you have a glass jaw. As Warren Buffet might have said once, “If you’ve been playing poker for half an hour and you still don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy.” This is true even in organizations that are reputedly non-political. Experience suggests that, the more someone protests how non-political they are, the more political they prove to be. Consider three of the most consequential peace treaties of the twentieth century:
“Key West Agreement“ (Function of the Armed Forces and the Joint Chiefs of Staff)
Signed: April 21, 1948
Belligerents: United States Army, United States Navy, United States Air Force
- ‘The Navy would be allowed to retain its own combat air arm “…to conduct air operations as necessary for the accomplishment of objectives in a naval campaign…”‘
- “The Army would be allowed to retain aviation assets for reconnaissance and medical evacuation purposes.”
- “The Air Force would have control of all strategic air assets, and most tactical and logistic functions as well.”
Signed: November 4, 1952
Belligerents: United States Army, United States Air Force
- “removed the weight restrictions on helicopters that the U.S. Army could use”
- “widened the range of tasks the Army’s helicopters could be used for”
- “created an arbitrary 5,000 pounds weight restriction that limits the Army’s ability to fly fixed-wing aircraft”
- “the U.S. Army…is dependent upon the U.S. Air Force to purchase and man fixed-wing ground-attack aircraft to fulfill close air support missions”
Signed: April 6, 1966
Belligerents: United States Army, United States Air Force
- “the U.S. Army agreed to give up its fixed-wing tactical airlift aircraft”
- “the U.S. Air Force relinquished its claim to most forms of rotary wing aircraft”
“The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason,” Wolfowitz was quoted as saying in a Pentagon transcript of an interview with Vanity Fair.
The magazine’s reporter did not tape the telephone interview and provided a slightly different version of the quote in the article: “For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.”
America’s armed forces are, and always have been, dens filled with vipers scrambling for procurement bucks. For every John Boyd willing to subsist on morning dew and lichen gnawed from the bottom of rocks for principle, there are fifty James Wilkinsons with eyes single to the glory of their personal bottom line.
Some of this is due to unideal incentives to let slip the inner sociopath when someone, previously constrained by circumstance of the most bootlicking sort, acquires power. A professor of H.W. Brands used to observe “a country gets the foreign policy it can afford”. This is why, since political power is a form of supply that generates its own demand, today’s U.S. has a finger in every global pie. Similarly, a problem at a lower rank can become a catastrophe when promoted to higher rank. More power comes with more opportunities for pratfalls: an officer gets the Paula Broadwell he can afford.
Here’s a proven way to lose weight: The Chicagoboyz anchovy diet.
Cut out the sweets and sticky buns and load up on as much healthful anchovy protein as you want. Simple and delicious.
I’ve lost 289 pounds so far.
It’s been most unsettling, over the last month or so, watching as the ship of state powers straight towards the reefs of financial meltdown, while the Dems and Pubs – establishment ruling class, with just about every one of them grubbing snout deep in the trough – do nothing much but squabble over the arrangement of the deck chairs, and figure out how to be the first one into the purser’s office to loot the safe. And if that wasn’t bad enough to put a dent in my enjoyment of the season: the Newton massacre of school children, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the murders in my own neighborhood, the fact that a basically decent and widely experienced candidate could be defeated in a national election by a legislatively untalented and inexperienced machine hack … all of this was depressing in itself. And don’t get me started on the State Department and the Mysteries of Benghazi. But when a credentialed spawn of academia is given op-ed space in the so-called paper of record to call for deep-sixing the Constitution as an outdated and discredited piece of paper, network television personalities can hector and abuse interviewees with regard to the Second Amendment of same, and an editorialist in a mid-western newspaper (who may be exaggerating for humorous effect, not that he would have a micro-speck slack cut for him if he were a conservative ripping on progressives by name) can call for the torture and execution of those not in agreement on a particular matter, and some fairly senior military commanders can be abruptly side-lined and discredited for playing hide-the-salami (or being assumed to have been playing hide the salami) with a woman not their spouse … well, really, one has to wonder what has been happening here. The ‘othering’ proceeds at a perfectly dismaying rate of speed, with mainstream media and assorted celebs cheerleading from front and center.
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First Guy: I voted for Gary Johnson. We should never have to settle for the lesser of two evils.
Second Guy: You’re married, right?
I don’t remember why I took Debate 101 my sophomore year of high school.
I’m not an enthusiastic public speaker nor was I inclined to become one. Perhaps I was interested in learning advanced debating techniques. Then I’d be ever triumphant in the important debates of daily life:
“You think you deserve that last piece of pizza? Let me tell you why you don’t.”
The explanation may be much simpler:
- my experience suggests that teenagers aren’t terribly bright
- my later experience as a junior and senior suggests that sophomores aren’t terribly bright either
Entering Debate 101, I was:
- a teenager and
- a sophomore.
The evidence, however circumstantial, is sufficient to convict.
If I was interested in learning debate technique, I was disappointed: the debate class wasn’t designed to systematically instruct students to taking apart their own position, reassemble it into a stronger position, and then use their new strong position to destroy their opponent’s position. This debate class was designed to cull skilled debaters out of the general student body who would then go on and compete in regional and state debate competitions. Some technique was dispensed in miserly bursts but mostly it was one instruction-free speaking assignment after another. Those with innate debating instinct went on to join the school team with all the glory that bestowed (not much). The rest of the class had to live with disappointment (again, not much).
One debate format we were taught, Lincoln-Douglas (LD), was roughly similar to this format laid out by Wikipedia:
Thomas William Ward was born in Ireland of English parents in 1807, and at the age of 21 took ship and emigrated to America. He settled in New Orleans, which by that time had passed from French to Spanish, back to French and finally landed in American hands thanks to the Louisiana Purchase. There he took up the study of architecture and engineering – this being a time when an intelligent and striving young man could engage in a course of study and hang out a shingle to practice it professionally shortly thereafter. However, Thomas Ward was diverted from his studies early in October, 1835 by an excited and well-attended meeting in a large coffee-room at Banks’ Arcade on Magazine Street. Matters between the Anglo settlers in Texas and the central Mexican governing authority – helmed by the so-called Napoleon of the West, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna – had come to a frothy boil. Bad feelings between the Texian and Tejano settlers of Texas, who were of generally federalist (semi-autonomous) sympathies had been building against the centralist (conservative and authoritarian) faction. These developments were followed with close and passionate attention by political junkies in the United States.
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I started following what I called “The Affair of the Danish Mo-Toons” way back at the very beginning of that particular imbroglio, followed by the ruckus last year over “Everybody Draw Mohammad” and now we seem to have moved on to the Charlie Hebdo fiasco – a French satirical magazine dared to poke fun at the founder of Islam … by putting a cartoon version on the cover of their latest issue, with the result that their offices were firebombed. I think at this point it would have been fair to assume that representatives of the Religion of Peace would respond in a not-quite-so peaceful manner, so all props for the Charlie Hebdo management for even going ahead with it – for even thinking of standing up for freedom of thought, freedom of a press, even freedom to take the piss out of a target. (The following is what I wrote last year – still relevant to this latest case) Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Mitch Townsend on 21st August 2011 (All posts by Mitch Townsend)
I know it’s confusing, but here is how to tell them apart: one of them used to be an evil alien mastermind bent on universal domination and the destruction of his many enemies; nowadays, he’s more of a comic foil.
The other is a cartoon.
Posted by Charles Cameron on 21st May 2011 (All posts by Charles Cameron)
[ cross-posted at Zenpundit -- apocalyptic movements, best readings, budget shortfalls, lack of support for scholarship in crucial natsec areas -- and with a h/t to Dan from Madison for the video that triggered this post ]
What with rapture parties breaking out all over, billboards in Dubai proclaiming The End and thousands of Hmong tribespeople in Vietnam among the believers, this whole sorry business of Harold Camping‘s latest end times prediction is catching plenty of attention. I thought it might be helpful to recommend some of the more interesting and knowledgeable commentary on Camping’s failed prophecy.
First, three friends and colleagues of mine from the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University, about which I will have a further paragraph later:
Richard Landes of BU has a text interview here, and a TV interview here. His forthcoming book, Heaven on Earth, is a monumental [554 pp.] treatment of millenarian movements ranging “from ancient Egypt to modern-day UFO cults and global Jihad” with a focus on “ten widely different case studies, none of which come from Judaism or Christianity” — and “shows that many events typically regarded as secular–including the French Revolution, Marxism, Bolshevism, Nazism-not only contain key millennialist elements, but follow the apocalyptic curve of enthusiastic launch, disappointment and (often catastrophic) re-entry into ‘normal time’”.
Stephen O’Leary of USC wrote up the Harold Camping prediction a couple of days ago on the WSJ “Speakeasy” blog. He’s the rhetorician and communications scholar who co-wrote the first article on religion on the internet, and his specialty as it applies to apocalyptic thinking is doubly relevant: the timing of the end — and the timing of the announcement of the end. His book, Arguing the Apocalypse, is the classic treatment.
Damian Thompson of the Daily Telegraph is a wicked and witty blogger on all things Catholic and much else beside — the normally staid Church Times (UK) once called him a “blood-crazed ferret” and he wears the quote with pride on his blog, where you can also find his comments on Camping. Damian’s book, Waiting for Antichrist, is a masterful treatment of one “expecting” church in London, and has a lot to tell us about the distance between the orthodoxies of its clergy and the various levels of enthusiasm and eclectic beliefs of their congregants.
Three experts, three highly recommended books.
Two quick notes for those whose motto is “follow the money” (I prefer “cherchez la femme” myself, but chacun a son gout):
The LA Times has a piece that examines the “worldwide $100-million campaign of caravans and billboards, financed by the sale and swap of TV and radio stations” behind Camping’s more recent prediction (the 1994 version was less widely known).
Well worth reading.
And for those who suspect the man of living “high on the hog” — this quote from the same piece might cause you to rethink the possibility that the man’s sincere (one can be misguided with one’s integrity intact, I’d suggest):
Though his organization has large financial holdings, he drives a 1993 Camry and lives in a modest house.
Now back to the Center for Millennial Studies.
While it existed, it was quite simply the world center of apocalyptic, messianic and millenarian studies. CMS conferences brought together a wide range of scholars of different eras and areas, who could together begin to fathom the commonalities and differences — anthropological, theological, psychological, political, local, global, historical, and contemporary — of movements such as the Essenes, the Falun Gong, the Quakers, Nazism, the Muenster Anabaptists, al-Qaida, the Taiping Rebellion, Branch Davidians, the Y2K scare, classic Marxism, Aum Shinrikyo and Heaven’s Gate.
And then the year 2000 came and went, and those who hadn’t followed the work of the CMS and its associates thought it’s all over, no more millennial expectation, we’ve entered the new millennium with barely a hiccup.
Well, guess what. It was at the CMS that David Cook presented early insights from his definitive work on contemporary millennial movements in Islam — and now we have millennial stirrings both on the Shia side (President Ahmadinejad et al) and among the Sunni (AQ theorist Abu Mus’ab Al-Suri devotes the last hundred pages of his treatise on jihad to “signs of the end times”)…
Apocalyptic expectation continues. But Richard Landes’ and Stephen O’Leary’s fine project, the CMS, is no longer with us to bring scholars together to discuss what remains one of the key topics of our times. When Richard’s book comes out, buy it and read it — and see if you don’t see what I mean.
And while it may not see Judgment Day or the beginning of the end of the world as predicted, what this week has seen is the end of funding of Fulbright scholarships for doctoral dissertation research abroad. But then as Abu Muqawama points out:
hey, it’s probably safe to cut funding for these languages. It’s hard to see Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan or anywhere in the Arabic-speaking world causing issues in terms of U.S. national security interests anytime soon.
So the CMS isn’t the only significant scholarly venue we’ve lost to terminal lack of vision.
Posted in Academia, Blogging, Book Notes, Christianity, Education, History, International Affairs, Iran, Islam, National Security, Predictions, Religion, Rhetoric, That's NOT Funny, Vietnam | Comments Off
Mrs. Dan from Madison and I vote absentee every election. We like it for a couple of reasons, the biggest being that we can sit at home and fill out our ballots at our leisure rather than standing in a line (much more important in presidential elections) and we get to hash out a few things politically away from the TV. We typically make it a date over a bottle of wine to research the candidates and talk about the issues on the ballot.
The ballot for our upcoming election in early April has a very strange referendum on it, proposed to the good people of Dane County:
Should the US Constitution be amended to establish that regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting freedom of speech, by stating that only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights?
The city of Madison council is famous for preparing and passing declarations denouncing all sorts of crap on the federal level (this activity, I assume has ceased since the zero became president), but I had hoped that the county board wouln’t get involved with this waste of time and ink. Sigh.
What’s next, declarations of war? Impeaching federal officials? Raising the federal tax rate?
Is burrita the word for a female burrito?
In researching the answer to this question we came across this interesting website. Needless to say, Chicagoboyz condemns the popular practice of donkey sex slavery in the strongest terms.
(But perhaps we could use more donkeys in the chain of command.)
Consider the Gap to be closed…
Core: I got my job because I have a remarkable talent for reading a teleprompter.
Gap: That’s interesting. I got my job because I have a remarkable talent for killing Tibetans.
Surprises can always happen…
The thirst for a magic bullet is profoundly American. In war, the magic bullet manifests itself in the antiseptic wonder weapons that promise to transform conflict into a harmless, contact-free sporting event. In politics, the magic bullet manifests itself as something like a 2,000+ page health care reform law. In finance, it manifests itself as the AAA rated senior tranche in a collateralized debt obligation (CDO).
In diplomacy, the manifestation of magic bulletry is the “grand bargain”. Every diplomat’s secret desire is making the agreement to end all agreements and conducting the negotiation to end all negotiations. As a magic bullet, the grand bargain would kill all diplomatic disputes for all time, Unfortunately, over every aspiring 1648 or 1815 hangs the long shadow of 1919. Versailles was intended to be the magic bullet to end all magic bullets. Instead, it became the magic bullet that wasn’t. Inasmuch as it possessed magic, it was the magic to ricochet off its intended target and right back at its originators.
In today’s West, dominated by those high on the heady drug of global meliorism, the mere act of talking has somehow become an end unto itself. Whether it’s a “peace process”, “six-party talks”, “quartet”, “agreed framework”, “security council resolution”, or some other high-falutin’ hogwash, Western diplomacy resembles is more the decrepit liturgy of a dying baroque cult than the hard-nosed power brokering beloved by naïve realists. Like a general who puts the desperate lunge for a tactically decisive battle above stodgy strategic logic, a diplomat who puts talking, negotiating, and agreements first puts the tactical cart before the strategic horse.
Strategy seeks to convert power into control to achieve purpose. The ideal was outlined by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 31: