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  • Archive for February, 2013

    The Apple II of 3 D Printing?

    Posted by Zenpundit on 28th February 2013 (All posts by )

    It may be 1977 all over again.

    Check out the Form 1 Kickstarter page 

    The Formlabs home page and their blog.

    I recently reviewed Chris Anderson’s book Makers. What 3 D printing needs is the affordable, user-friendly, versatile device to move 3 D printing from the arcane realm of  techno-hobbyist geeks to the general population’s “early adapters”, which will put the next “consumer model” generation on everyone’s office desk; eventually as ubiquitous as cell phones or microwaves.

    Formlabs should send one of these to John Robb and Shloky for a product review.

    Hat tip to Feral Jundi

    Cross-posted from zenpundit.com

    Posted in Business, Economics & Finance, Entrepreneurship, Predictions, Science | 1 Comment »

    Not a Single One

    Posted by David Foster on 27th February 2013 (All posts by )

    Not a single Democratic senator managed to demonstrate enough judgment and courage to go against his Party herd and vote “Nay” on the Hagel confirmation.

    Not a single one.

    Roll call here

    About a week ago, Cassandra cited a study showing in which white “racial liberals” (as identified by a four-question survey) were asked whether or not they supported targeted killings of suspected terrorists.

    Only 27% of the respondents supported such killings….BUT, if they were told before answering the question that OBAMA had conducted such killings, then the support rose to 47%.

    Cass cited another political scientist, Lilliana Mason, who argues that the electorate is becoming increasingly tribal. Our party affiliation is increasingly intertwined with our personal identity, making us more prone than ever to support the policies of “our side,” regardless of their actual content.

    As I noted in comments, this kind of thinking/behavior represents the outsourcing of judgment and conscience.

    And I think this outsourcing has a lot to do with the Democratic unanimity on Hegal, as well as with the  lockstep pro-Obama coverage of the old media.

     

     

    Posted in Human Behavior, Politics, USA, War and Peace | 21 Comments »

    Taxed Enough Already

    Posted by Lexington Green on 25th February 2013 (All posts by )

    Very closely are noble issues bound up with material ones. Nothing could be more grossly material than the refusal to pay taxes, and the honest historian who comes to examine these occasional epic refusals will find often that the tax was reasonable and the refusal, on material grounds, absurd. Yet the refusal to pay taxes is one of the sacraments of history, the outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace, the symbol of a resurgent spirit among an oppressed people, the assertion of the rights of man, the voice of liberty defying the dictates of authority.

    William the Silent: William of Nassau, Prince of Orange, 1533-1584 by C.V. Wedgwood

    Posted in Anglosphere, Arts & Letters, Book Notes, History, Taxes, Tea Party, Video | 16 Comments »

    Rye Bread Follow Up

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 25th February 2013 (All posts by )

    A few days ago here I asked a question about what “1 yeast” was in my grandmothers rye bread recipe. The comments held a lot of good information and I am happy to report that one packet of yeast worked just fine.

    Below the fold are a bunch of photos from my first run at Grandma’s rye bread and some random thoughts I had along the way. Forgive some of the photos for not being centered or perfect in advance, as since my hands were pretty dirty and I had my 8 year old daughter assisting me with the camera.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Photos, Recipes | 12 Comments »

    I don’t mean to be negative but….

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 24th February 2013 (All posts by )

    I know this is a cousin to stealing but you need to see this. I remember when those who warned of the danger were ignored or punished.

    Seventeen years ago, Bernard Connolly foretold the misery that awaited the European Union. Given that he was an instrumental figure in the EU bureaucracy and publicly expressed his doubts in a book called “The Rotten Heart of Europe,” he was promptly fired. Mr. Connolly takes no pleasure now in having seen his prediction come true. And he takes no comfort in the view, prevalent in many quarters, that the EU has passed through the worst of its crisis and is on the cusp of revival.

    As far as Mr. Connolly is concerned, Europe’s heart is still rotting away.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in America 3.0, Big Government, Conservatism, Economics & Finance, Europe, France, Germany, Politics | 8 Comments »

    Walter Russell Mead: Channeling America 3.0???

    Posted by Lexington Green on 23rd February 2013 (All posts by )

    3D printers, driverless cars, nanotech: the 21st century looks to be even more different from the 20th century than the 20th was from the 19th. American politics and institutions are going to change much more rapidly than most pundits and politicos can yet understand.

    Walter Russell Mead

    This quote is uncannily congruent the argument of the forthcoming book, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century – Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come by Jim Bennett and me.

    Walter Russell Mead’s wicked good blog Via Meadia has many posts which track closely with the arguments Jim and I are making. I am sure all this great material will end up in a forthcoming book by him about the demise of the Blue Model (a term he invented) and what is coming next.

    I am going to shamelessly recycle this: “the 21st century looks to be even more different from the 20th century than the 20th was from the 19th.” This is a very pithy observation which captures our vision of America 3.0, which of course we cannot really predict with a lot of detail. As Bruce Sterling wisely said:

    Nothing obsolesces like “the future.” Nothing burns out quite so quickly as a high tech avant-garde. Technology doesn’t glide into the streamlined world of tomorrow. It jolts and limps, all crutches and stilts, just like its ancient patron, the god Hephaestos.

    Tomorrow Now: Envisioning the Next Fifty Years.

    Still, we have to imagine the future, not so we will be correct then, but so we can plan, think, and act now. We also have to imagine the future so we don’t think today’s setbacks, as serious as they may be, are the apocalypse. Everyone reading this will be dead in 100 years, but our descendants will be alive, and they will have in part what we passed on to them. They will see us as living in a patch of history with a label and summed up in a few paragraphs. This is a phase, as is every other period in history.

    I will confidently predict, as Mead does, that the pace of change will be faster than ever before. Moore’s Law will be in force for a long time to come, I hope.

    What is particularly cool about the Mead quote, almost suggesting some kind of brain-meld via the astral plane between Mead and Bennett-Lotus, is the reference to “3D printers, driverless cars, nanotech” — each of these figure prominently in our first Chapter, America in 2040. One muse, three authors?

    If you have not read Mead’s two excellent books Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World and God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World you must do so. Get them soon, so you are done before our book comes out May 28, 2013.

    Cross-posted on America 3.0.

    Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Arts & Letters, Blogging, Book Notes, Predictions, USA | 30 Comments »

    The Normalization of Abusive Government

    Posted by David Foster on 23rd February 2013 (All posts by )

    Consider:

    1) The Drug Enforcement Administration is attempting to seize a $1.5 million building owned as a retirement-investment property by a dentist and an engineer. Grounds are a $37 sale of pot ..to an undercover agent..by one of the building’s tenants, a medical-marijuana dispensary.

    As the judge in the case notes, the Obama administration (in 2009) sent a memo instructing federal prosecutors to not target medical-marijuana patients..before deciding to crack down and sending threatening letters to landlords. He even wondered aloud if President Obama would change his mind about marijuana again, after the building had already been seized.

    This, in a country whose current President pretty clearly was himself a marijuana user, not to mention former President Bill Clinton, who “didn’t inhale.” Neither Obama nor Clinton are in any danger of having their property seized, however.

    2) When financial questions arose regarding the Mountain Pure Water Company, Washington did not send a few staffers to inspect documents. Instead, last spring, some 50 armed Treasury agents breached the company’s headquarters in Little Rock, Ark. They seized 82 boxes of records, herded employees into the cafeteria, snatched their cell phones, and..according to reports..refused to let them consult attorneys.

    “We’re the federal government,” Mountain Pure’s comptroller, Jerry Miller, says one pistol-packing fed told him. “We can do what we want, when we want, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

    3) In Alexandria, Virginia, a 10-year-old was suspended and arrested for bringing a toy gun to school

    4) In Tennessee, an Ohio couple was pulled over by  pair of black police SUVs. “They were very serious,” said the woman who was driving. “They had the body armor and the guns.”

    On the back of the couple’s car was a Buckeye leaf decal, similar to the one Ohio State players have on their helmets.

    “What are you doing with a marijuana sticker on your bumper?” asked one of the cops, who had apparently never heard of the First Amendment.

    5) In 2005, an Iowa couple purchased a small lot. When they began to lay gravel on the land, which is located in a residential neighborhood, they were hit by an order from the Environmental Protection Administration informing them that the property had been designated a wetland under the Clean Water Act. They were ordered to stop grading their property and were told that they would face fines of up to $75,000 per day if they did not return the parcel to its original state. When the Sacketts attempted to contest the order, the agency denied their request for a hearing.

    Last March, the Supreme Court overruled the EPA and stated that the Sacketts are entitled to appeal the EPA order, rejecting the agency’s claims to the contrary.

    “The EPA used bullying and threats of terrifying fines, and has made our life hell for the past five years,” said Mr. Sackett. See my post A Defensive Victory Against Administrative Tyranny.

    6) Bob Wallace and Marjorie Ottenberg, California residents in their 80s, started a business to make water purification devices for backpackers. Their enterprise has been crippled by the Drug Enforcement Administration and state officials, on grounds that iodine crystals–a key ingredient in their product–can also be used for methamphetamine production.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Liberties, Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, Law, Law Enforcement, Political Philosophy, USA | 28 Comments »

    The Sequester

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 22nd February 2013 (All posts by )

    As we count down to March 1, we are hearing more and more about the dreaded sequester. The left is confused about its history.

    How did this become Obama’s fault? It started with Mitt Romney, a once-influential Republican Party politician and its 2012 nominee for president. In the third debate with President Obama, Romney fretted that “a trillion dollars in cuts through sequestration and budget cuts to the military” would weaken America’s defenses. The president literally dismissed this with a wave of his hand. “The sequester is not something that I proposed,” he said. “It’s something that Congress has proposed. It will not happen.”

    How did this get to be the story ?

    The accidental Bible of Sequestration is The Price of Politics, Bob Woodward’s history of the debt-limit wars, and one of the least flattering portrayals of the president this side of Breitbart.com. In it, Woodward recounts a July 27, 2011, afternoon meeting between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and White House negotiators. Reid wanted a “trigger” as part of a debt deal, some way to force more cuts in the future without defaulting on the debt that summer. Chief of Staff Jack Lew and adviser Rob Nabors proposed sequestration, as a threat that could be averted if/when Congress passed a better deal.

    OK. The White House staff suggested it. Why ? Because they assumed that Republicans would cave in rather than accept cuts in the defense budget.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Conservatism, Economics & Finance, History, Leftism, Obama, Politics, Taxes | 9 Comments »

    History Friday: Disorder in the Court: 9-11-1842

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 21st February 2013 (All posts by )

    Re-enactors of an early Texas Court

    Strange but true – General Lopez de Santa Anna’s invasion of Texas in 1836 was not to be the last time that a Mexican Army crossed the border into Texas in full battle array – artillery, infantry, military band and all. Santa Anna may have been defeated at San Jacinto – but for the Napoleon of the west, that was only a temporary setback. In March of 1842 a brief raid by General Rafael Vasquez and some 400 soldiers made a lightening-fast dash over the Rio Grande, while another 150 soldiers struck at Goliad and Refugio. They met little resistance – and departed at speed before Texan forces could assemble and retaliate. All seemed to have quieted down by late summer, though: Texas had ratified a treaty with England, and the United States requesting that Texas suspend all hostilities with Mexico.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Americas, Civil Society, History | 6 Comments »

    The Liberal Welfare State is not Sustainable

    Posted by Lexington Green on 21st February 2013 (All posts by )

    It is increasingly clear that the liberal welfare state is not sustainable in its current form, and its costs and inefficiencies are increasingly present and real and are putting huge burdens on our economy at every level. This can’t really go on. From here on, the Left has mostly to play a defensive game of retrenchment and reaction, and this is an exhausting game, especially for liberals.

    Yuval Levin

    This comment encapsulates part of the argument that Jim Bennett and I make in our forthcoming book, America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century – Why America’s Greatest Days Are Yet to Come.

    The liberal welfare state is long past its peak. The question is, what next? We offer some predictions. But the main thing to consider is the transformative nature of the era we are living through. Both sides of the political spectrum are still stuck in 20th Century thinking, both thinking that the Blue Model can be tinkered with. It can’t. The challenge for Conservatives will be to figure out what they want to conserve and how to adapt their principles to the times. Progressives will need to figure out how to preserve their goals of protecting the weak and powerless using new methods, since the old ones are not working and will not continue to be popular once voters understand the burdens and costs.

    Cross-posted on America 3.0.

    Posted in America 3.0, Anglosphere, Big Government, Book Notes, Conservatism, USA | 8 Comments »

    High Ground in Chicago at the Siskel Center 2/21- 2/23

    Posted by Zenpundit on 20th February 2013 (All posts by )

    HIGH GROUND 

    Hat tip to Kanani Fong of Kitchen Dispatch 

    At the Siskel Center, 164 N State St, Chicago. IL. 60601
    (312) 846-2600

    The award -winning film HIGH GROUND :
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Announcements, Arts & Letters, Film, Iraq, Miscellaneous, Society, USA, War and Peace | Comments Off

    Rye Bread Bleg

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 20th February 2013 (All posts by )

    When my grandmother died several years ago one of the things I wanted most when we cleaned out her house was the giant box of hand written recipes. I got it.

    Many of these go back to when she was a poor child back in the early twentieth century in Munich.

    I was running through them the other day and found one for rye bread.

    I have never made bread in my life, but I think this could be fun. No bread machine here, we are going to do it the old fashioned way.

    The directions look pretty straightforward. But I have one question that maybe the ChicagoBoyz mind hive can help me with.

    The first step is to start the yeast. The card says to dissolve the yeast in warm water. The ingredient list says to use one cup of water with “1 yeast”.

    I am guessing that one yeast means one packet of yeast? Any help or advice you can provide is appreciated – below the fold are photos of the recipe card. You can click on them for larger versions.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Blegs, Recipes | 21 Comments »

    “No, Obama Is Not My Daddy – He’s My Employee”

    Posted by Jonathan on 19th February 2013 (All posts by )

    The grotesque spectacle of the State of the Union address, with its lengthy receiving line of adoring sycophants, demonstrates why the President is operating under the delusion that he is more than just our President. Like him, many people seem to fundamentally misunderstand his role. He’s not our “leader,” or our “ruler,” or our national “daddy,” no matter what his adoring fan, comic Chris Rock, thinks.
     
    Let’s clarify things for those folks with the unseemly desire to offer up their personal sovereignty to some government hack. Unlike Hollywood geniuses better known for exposing their breasts than exposing their brains, I’ll never pledge to be a servant of any politician.
     
    I’m an American citizen. As such, no mortal man may presume to lead or rule me.

    Read the whole thing.

    Posted in Big Government, Leftism, Obama, Political Philosophy | 10 Comments »

    High Ground Movie Tix

    Posted by Jonathan on 19th February 2013 (All posts by )

    From Twitter:

    @HighGroundMovie: @chicagoboyzblog Chicago: 7 free tix to veterans’ documentary HIGH GROUND 2/21 or 23 at the Siskel. Limit 2 http://owl.li/hQO51

    Posted in Announcements | Comments Off

    Sort-of-a-Rerun: The Power of Metaphor and Analogy

    Posted by David Foster on 19th February 2013 (All posts by )

    (This is a combination of two posts from 2005)

    Verbal imagery can affect decision-making. For example, Columbia professor Michael Morris has found that when stock price movements are described in terms of “agent metaphors,” people tend to believe that the trend will continue more than they do when the same stock price movements are described in terms of “object metaphors.”

    For example, “Caterpillar jumped up by 5% today” will be interpreted differently from “The price of Caterpillar increased by 5% today,” even though the two statements are semantically identical.

    Moreover, Morris found that people–including financial journalists–tend to use agent metaphors more often when prices go up, and object metaphors more often when they go down. Why? “Think about if you’re hiking, and you see something on the trail. It’s either a rock or a toad. If it starts moving up, it’s a toad. If it moves down, it’s probably a rock. Evolution built into our brains that things that move up are alive. Things moving down don’t provide that cue.”

    Morris goes on to say that “For the naive investor who’s trying to make sense of the newspaper, the mental concepts that get triggered by agentic descriptions of uptrends may lead them to think that an uptrend is a meaningful signal for tomorrow, while the downtrend isn’t a meaningful signal about tomorrow.”

    See article at The Economist: Mind Your Language

    A very interesting example of the power of metaphor and analogy can be found in the writings of General Edward Spears. During the opening campaigns of WWI, in 1914, the British Commander-in-Chief (Sir John French) was tempted to withdraw his army into the fortress of Maubeuge.  Spears, who in 1914 was a liason officer between the British and French armies, describes the C-in-C’s thought processes:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Human Behavior | 11 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Lexington Green on 18th February 2013 (All posts by )

    Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.

    William Pitt the Younger, speech in Parliament, November 18, 1783.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, Conservatism, History, India, Quotations | 2 Comments »

    Presidents’ Day: Amity Schlaes’ biography of Coolidge

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 18th February 2013 (All posts by )

    Very little attention is being paid to the holiday today, except as a traffic annoyance. When I was a child, we still celebrated Lincoln’s birthday (February 12) and Washington’s birthday (February 22). Since the holidays were combined and made into a long weekend, like most other American holidays, interest has declined in the subject. It has been for many years the weekend of the Midwinter yacht races in southern California, so I enjoyed it as much as anyone.

    Amity Schlaes’ new biography of Coolidge, which has been delayed for nearly a year from the original date promised, is now out and I have begun reading it. It has also attracted a hostile review in the New York Times by Jacob Heilbrunn author of such profound works as God Bless Bernie Sanders, an encomium on the Socialist Senator from the “people’s republic of Vermont”, as it is known in New Hampshire, and another tiresome attack on Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife.

    Mr Heilbrunn does not seem to be an economist and I am not certain of his qualifications to criticize President Coolidge, other than the obvious invitation by the New York Times.

    James Ceaser, a political scientist at the University of Virginia and a regular contributor to The Weekly Standard, said it was important to revive the “moral stigma” of debt, and added, “I want to go back to Coolidge and even McKinley.” The Claremont fellow Charles Kesler, author of “I Am the Change,” a recent book denouncing President Obama and liberalism, agreed: “We’re in for a Coolidge revival.”

    Indeed we are. Coolidge was a figure of sport in his own era. H. L. Mencken mocked his daily naps — “Nero fiddled, but Coolidge only snored” — and Dorothy Parker reportedly asked, “How could they tell?” when his death was announced. But such quips have only heightened the determination of a growing contingent of Coolidge buffs to resurrect him. They abhor the progressive tradition among Democrats (Woodrow Wilson) and Republicans (Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover) as hostile to big business and prosperity. Instead, their aim is to spread the austere doctrine of what might be called Republican Calvinism.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Big Government, Biography, Blogging, Book Notes, Business, Civil Society, Conservatism, Coolidge, Economics & Finance, History, Holidays, Leftism, Political Philosophy, Politics | 9 Comments »

    Another “Tale From the Front” – Women Shooters and a Gun Show Visit

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 18th February 2013 (All posts by )

    This is another “tale from the front” from our friend Gerry over at LITGM. He works with guns and gun buyers all day in the thick of everything…

    Women And Firearms

    While most may not realize this, a fair amount of new firearms currently being purchased are by those who never held one before – especially women of all ages. This fact alarms those nanny-state leftists, Trotskyite politicians, useful celebrity idiots and milquetoast media sluts. While they gasp at the thought of so many first time gun owners this is a good sign that the Second Amendment may not be infringed after all.

    A Gallup poll reported that in 2005, 13 percent of all women owned a gun. That number jumped to 23 percent in 2011. Here is an interesting read on the subject, from the New York Times of all places.
    If we were a well-armed society last year then we are a very well armed society this year.

    Thank you ladies!

    Last weekend a lady who reminded me of my mother was standing at the end of an aisle holding some packages in one arm. She asked me for some assistance. She was somewhat overweight, well-dressed and used a cane for support. While not as old as my mother there was something very similar about the two.

    As I drew near I could see one package was a clear plastic container holding Howard Leight hearing protection headphones. In the other was a nylon holster. Her question to me was – is the holster she chose able to fit her new handgun, a small .38 special S&W revolver?

    Upon close inspection the holster was the type to be worn on the belt, outside the pants. Before explaining the function of different holsters I politely inquired what she intended to use her handgun for. Personal protection was the answer. Do you intend to wear the holster outside the pants or concealed, under the pants? Neither, she was simply looking for one that would keep her revolver from being banged up in her purse or, in her words, “have it accidentally go off”. What to do?

    I explained that while the holster she chose was a good fit it was meant to be worn on  the belt and exposed. It had a safety thumb break strap secured by a button snap with a thin piece of plastic. The strap keeps the revolver secure and by using the thumb it will release the revolver for use. With the button snap and strap secured I explained, it could take her two hands and at least thirty seconds to draw it from her purse. A long time to fumble around in a self-defense situation. I steered her toward a thin, concealable foam/nylon product from Blackhawk. I use it as my personal carry choice. It’s lightweight, good for protecting her revolver from abuse in the purse and somewhat easier for her to interact with due to the lack of a safety thumb break. And it’s very affordable.

    All of this considered I proposed another solution. We sell a line of handbags designed for women who wish to carry self-protection firearms. I led her over to the “Gun Totin’ Mama” line of handbags on display. Demonstrating to her the built-in feature of a zippered side compartment containing a lightweight nylon holster with soft velcro on one side and opposing hook velcro on the other, this slight holster (similar to the Blackhawk) could be positioned according to her style for ease of use.

    She smiled. “You just gave me a great idea” was her reply. She did not wish to spent $99.99 on another handbag. Instead this inspired her to use another handbag she already owned. Her intent was to buy the Blackhawk $14.99 conceal holster and sew velcro to it. The other velcro side would be stitched to the inside of her old handbag. Clever.

    The lady explained to me that when her husband asked what she wanted for Christmas her response was a gun. This floored the old boy, who had just arrived on the scene and explained to me his surprise at her request. They would soon be going to the range where he would help her become more familiar with her new gift. This explained the headphones.

    The Leight brand sells, it’s a good commercial retail product. They both asked me why there was a large price difference in the selection of headphones on display. I explained the features on more expensive models.

    The lady was so thankful and delighted that I spent so much time with her she went home and wrote a nice note about me on the corporate feedback website. This got back to me through management, who were very grateful and complementary.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in RKBA | 9 Comments »

    Posted by Jonathan on 18th February 2013 (All posts by )

    pink sauce

    Chicagoboyz — in search of ancient mysteries.

    Posted in Photos | Comments Off

    Comment Preview

    Posted by Jonathan on 16th February 2013 (All posts by )

    I’ve installed a comment-preview feature. A preview of your comment now appears below the comment-entry window as you type.

    Posted in Announcements | 18 Comments »

    So you think your politics is bad

    Posted by Helen on 15th February 2013 (All posts by )

    You guys should come to Britain. Then you would know what bad and stupid politics was. Have you heard of the doctor who was on the list of the Conservative (please note) parliamentary candidates but was suspended because she retweeted a picture of Hitler with a quotation of his in which he explained that the Nazi party was a socialist party? No? Well, here we are. Enjoy.

    Posted in Britain | 8 Comments »

    150 Years Later

    Posted by David Foster on 15th February 2013 (All posts by )

    …people are still writing songs about the Civil War.

    Josephine, by Rory Lee Feek

    The song is based on actual letters written by Confederate soldier J W Robison to his wife Josephine.

    I am reminded of something Connie Willis said:

    Because the Civil War isn’t over. Its images, dreamlike, stay with us — young boys lying face-down in cornfields and orchards, and Robert E. Lee on Traveller. And Lincoln, dead in the White House, and the sound of crying.

    The Civil War disturbs us, all these long years after, troubling our sleep. Like a cry for help, like a warning, like a dream. And we pore over it, trying to break the code, its meaning just out of reach.

    Posted in History, Music, USA | 47 Comments »

    Glad This Didn’t Happen During the Cold War…

    Posted by Shannon Love on 15th February 2013 (All posts by )

    I’ve been studiously ignoring the news but this penetrated my anti-media barrier thanks to my spouse:

    Meteor explodes over central Russia, 500 people hurt

    My first thought was, “Thank God this didn’t happen during the Cold War!” The Soviets were so batsh*t paranoid that they would have started with the assumption it was some kind of attack just like when they shot down the Korean airliner.

    For all of the doom and gloom today about terrorism, global warming (or whatever apocalypse is fashionable this week) young folks should remember that no problem we face today was as serious and as dangerous as Cold War balance of terror. We faced the very real prospect that within the space of a mere hour, every major city and piece of infrastructure in the developed world, the communist and (it would turn out) India, would have been utterly destroyed along with most of the people inside them. Civilization would have ended for centuries. It would take just one hour for it all to end.

    The post-Cold War revelation of just how ready the Soviets were to empty the silos, and how they almost did once out of shear delusion, are easily the scariest thing I ever read.  The world could have ended just because a bunch of political zealots caught, in what was effectively a absolutist religious delusion, could have destroyed civilization for absolutely no valid reason at all, not even a reason valid in their ideology.

    The Soviet Union would turn out to have been an utterly militarized state whose ruling caste was totally convinced not only that America spent its every waking moment trying to destroy them but that the “scientific” doctrine of Marxist historical inevitability made an eventual American attack as certain as the predicted orbits of the planets. Leftists scoffed at Cold War CIA estimates that the Soviet Union spent 20% of its GNP on the military. The CIA was in fact wrong. The Soviets actually spent 40% of their GNP on the military. Basically WWII, never ended for them and the Soviet Union was a military with the bare minimum civilian sector necessary to support it. They thought themselves constantly at war.

    All the Cold War era arguments in the West itself about the West’s role in creating the Cold War turned out to be utterly moot. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Military Affairs | 12 Comments »

    Respect Her Authoritah

    Posted by David Foster on 15th February 2013 (All posts by )

    …don’t you dare even think about cutting her allowance.

    Nancy Cartman-Pelosi thinks it would be disrespectful to cut Congressional salaries because it would diminish the dignity of lawmakers’ jobs.

    “I think we should respect the work we do,” she said in a rather strangely-worded statement to reporters. “I think it’s necessary for us to have the dignity of the job that we have rewarded.”

    What a bizarre statement. The fact that someone’s income may fluctuate doesn’t detract from the dignity of their job. JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon just had his annual bonus cut by millions of dollars. Commissioned salespeople often have their incomes fluctuate downward as well as upward. Hourly worker have incomes that depend directly on how many hours of work are available. Small businesspeople and investors at whatever scale have incomes that are highly variable.

    Not everyone is a tenured professor or “nonprofit” executive or civil servant with guaranteed employment and guaranteed income. This doesn’t mean their work has any less worth or dignity.

    Good grief.

    link via Common Sense & Wonder

    Posted in Politics, USA | 10 Comments »

    History Became Legend, Legend Became Myth…

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 14th February 2013 (All posts by )

    (A reprise post from SSDB archives – about the legendary ‘teflon man’ broadcaster who shall be nameless here, although anyone who served in certain units will recognize the legend of whom I speak.)

    And some things which should not have been forgotten… Have not been, because they are either funny or excellent cautionary tales. The Teflon Man, for instance: he bestrode the small world of military broadcasting, providing a rich legacy of horrible gaffes, cringe-inducing miscalculations and antics which reflected no credit whatever upon the unit to which he was attached. Spend more than a couple of years as an NCO in military broadcasting, and you will know everyone, or know of everyone, and the Teflon Man was a legend, like Bigfoot or Elvis, because nothing ever seemed to stick. He had more lives than the wily coyote, bouncing back time and time again from incidents that would have seen any other military broadcaster sent back to civilian life, working the overnight TV board shift for the last-rated station in Sheboygan or Bakersfield. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Diversions, History, Humor, Media, Military Affairs, Russia | 8 Comments »