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  • Archive for the 'Obits' Category

    Chicago Send-Off, with Guinness, for Neptunus Lex

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 10th March 2012 (All posts by )

    Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
    and the hunter home from he hill.

    Lex was a sailor, and F-18 pilots are hunters, so it fits.

    Rest in peace.

    Posted in Blogging, Chicagoania, Military Affairs, Obits, USA | 12 Comments »

    In Memoriam: Neptunus Lex

    Posted by David Foster on 7th March 2012 (All posts by )

    Captain Carroll LeFon, USN (retired)…known to the blogosphere as Neptunus Lex….was killed yesterday. Lex was flying an Israeli-made Kfir fighter for a contractor that provides “adversary” services for training U.S. combat pilots. Details of the accident are not yet clear; however, it’s been reported that weather conditions included both fog and snow.

    This is a terrible loss. Lex was a great writer and an incisive thinker, extraordinarily well-read in literature and history. He must have been a great officer; some of his leadership qualities can be seen in his discussion of various shipboard incidents and the gentle but firm way he managed the occasional out-of-control comments exchange on his blog. He was a true patriot, devoted to his family, he loved the Navy, and he loved aviation. He had a great sense of humor, and he was that rare thing, a truly morally serious person.

    Herewith, a collection of some of my favorite Neptunus Lex posts…

    The captain wakes before dawn…with a feeling that all is not well with the ship

    Reading Solzhenitsyn at the US Naval Academy

    Movie vs reality. Lex, who served as executive officer of the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), answers some question’s from his daughter’s friend about the movie.

    Hornets, Tomcats, Scooters, Girls & Guys, Oh My!

    Lex, in a pensive mood

    Some reflections on a less-than-perfect carrier landing, a verbal interchange that probably shouldn’t have happened, and the nature of leadership

    Have you ever killed anyone? asked the massage therapist, after learning that Lex had been in the Navy.

    You’re having a dinner party and have the magical ability to invite 10 people–5 men and 5 women–from all of history. Who would you pick?

    Tennyson’s Ulysses, personalized and hyperlinked. Created by Lex to mark his retirement from the Navy. Perhaps my favorite of all of Lex’s posts, and particularly appropriate today.

    As Cassandra says, quoting Hamlet:

    He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again

    Posted in Obits | 10 Comments »

    Neptunus Lex

    Posted by Jonathan on 7th March 2012 (All posts by )

    Carroll LeFon, who blogged under the pseudonym Neptunus Lex, was killed in a plane crash.

    David Foster first told me about Lex and I have read Lex’s blog on and off for years. He was one of the best bloggers and was obviously a first-class person in many ways, as well as being a highly talented writer. My sympathies to his family. Alav hashalom.

    Posted in Obits | 7 Comments »

    Quote of the Day: Andrew Breitbart

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 1st March 2012 (All posts by )

    [O]ur culture is the most important front. And the three most important pillars of that culture are Hollywood and pop culture, along with education and the media. Those three are absolutely controlled by the left.


    We must recapture or replace the “commanding heights” of the culture.

    It is long overdue. The Right-O-Sphere is but a first step.

    Otherwise, merely political gains will be built on sand.

    Be happy.

    Fear God and dread nought.

    It can be done.


    Also this:

    Family is what motivated Andrew. I know someone must have known him without Susie, but not I. It has always seemed to me like they have been together forever. He dedicated his most recent book to his kids, writing: “Too many people fought to create this country” for us “to squander it in a generation. . . . I cannot stand on the sidelines as you and your generation are being handed the tab.”

    From K-Lo at the Corner. RTWT.

    Posted in Obits | 4 Comments »

    Andrew Breitbart

    Posted by Jonathan on 1st March 2012 (All posts by )

    RIP. My sympathies to his family and friends. His death is a great loss to the cause of freedom.

    Posted in Obits | 5 Comments »

    Everything Old is New Again

    Posted by Mitch Townsend on 21st December 2011 (All posts by )

    One of humanity’s oldest forms of national economy is the “palace economy.” Under this system, the king would have the harvest brought into a central granary for storage. In Genesis 41, Joseph interprets Pharoah’s dream as predicting seven good harvests and seven poor ones, and says: “Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.”

    Egypt, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, the Minoans, and the Mycenaean Greeks all had similar arrangements. It was a command economy, with subsistence farming as a base and the excess over bare necessity taken into the care of the government. Many examples of early writing are simply accounting records for the acquisition, storage, and disbursement of grain, wine, and olive oil. In theory, the stored food would be redistributed to the poor and, in times of shortage, to the people in general. In practice, it put the weapon of hunger into the ruler’s hands.

    Politically, the ruler was the representative and near relation of the gods, and was invested with divine attributes. That may or may not have included shooting 18 holes-in-one in a single round of golf.

    Is any of this starting to sound familiar?

    Good riddance to the god-king of North Korea. I hope his fellow god-king Stalin has saved him a seat by the fire.

    Posted in Economics & Finance, International Affairs, Leftism, Obits, Political Philosophy | 13 Comments »

    Vaclav Havel

    Posted by Helen on 19th December 2011 (All posts by )

    To me the Cold War is very real, perhaps because my family was involved in various ways and, towards the end, I was, too. The news of the great men and women of that fight dying comes with very special sadness and also with many conflicting thoughts. Vaclav Havel, for instance, was a great symbol of that struggle against Communism but as a politician he did not live up to that and so one see-saws between various opinions.

    I have tried to sum it all up on Your Freedom and Ours (though the posting starts with the death of Kim Jong-il). I may get beaten up (figuratively speaking).

    Posted in Europe, Obits, Politics | 4 Comments »

    R.I.P. – Vaclav Havel

    Posted by Ginny on 18th December 2011 (All posts by )

    As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension, and man began to lose control of it. Havel

    At 75, having lived a remarkably full and generous life, Vaclav Havel has died. (Other comments today.)
    Instapundit links to Welch’s 2003 profile which ironically begins by discussing Havel’s sense of the moral rot of dishonesty within communism by referring to Orwell and Hitchens.

    The richness of his vision comes through in one of the more superficial but certainly evocative sites, where this man of action demonstrates the power of the epigrammatic as well. But, while writing well, he also acted well: words of commitment amd acts of commitment.

    Posted in Obits | 1 Comment »

    Vaclav Havel, 1936-2011

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 18th December 2011 (All posts by )

    The Cold War didn’t have to end the way it did. The Communists could have won. Or it could have ended with a lot of big explosions. Instead it ended when a lot of people who had lived under Communist lies, oppression, stupidity, waste, pollution, hypocrisy, squalor and corruption stood up, risked getting their heads kicked in by the cops, and pushed the whole stinking pile of junk onto the ash heap of history.

    Vaclav Havel was one of the guys who did the pushing.

    A Velvet Revolution, where as few people get killed as possible, is a great achievement.

    Havel is one of the guys who made that happen.

    1989 and the Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe already seems like something from ancient history to many people.

    To me it seems like last week.

    An entire disgraceful and brutal episode in our past is being sanitized and tossed down the memory hole.

    Please do not forget the Soviet Union, do not forget the Cold War, do not forget Communism, do not forget the people who suffered under it, do not forget the people who opposed it, do not forget the people who wanted to give in to it, and who lied about it, do not forget the people who brought it all to an end.

    Vaclav Havel, rest in peace.

    The Power of the Powerless (1978)

    (I just re-read this one, and it is a pretty good fit for our current situation in America. It is also in the book Open Letters: Selected Writings, 1965-1990 — cheap used copies available.)

    [BTW, I cannot find the link to the extremely funny and insightful essay Havel wrote about how being President of Czechoslovakia, with someone always doing his laundry and cooking and driving him places, was making him infantile and out of touch. Anyone who has that, please put the link in the comments and I will update this post.]

    Posted in Book Notes, Obits, Politics | 22 Comments »

    A Negative Take on Steve Jobs

    Posted by Jonathan on 28th October 2011 (All posts by )

    Tom Smith:

    That Jobs stole ideas, cheated his business partners and lied habitually seems to be generally accepted and documented in the new Isaacson biography. These are bad things not only morally but also for business. In my book this doesn’t make a Jobs “complex”; it makes him a scoundrel, a person not be admired. Yes, I know, iPods are cool.

    Read the whole thing, and read the Forbes column that Smith and Glenn Reynolds link to.

    Jobs accomplished great things, but his accomplishments are separate from his personal behavior, which by all accounts was bad.

    Many of us have worked for jerks at one time or another. Jerks may be brilliant but they are still jerks. When I worked for a jerk I remember thinking: This must be like how it feels to be in an abusive marriage. True, nobody beat me, I got to go home every afternoon, I was paid for my time and eventually I moved on. But it was a miserable period in my life, and it was unnecessary, an artifact of some jerk’s peculiar brain chemistry or bad upbringing or who knows what. Were the people Jobs abused in his career eggs that had to be broken to make the magnificent Apple omelet? I doubt it. He was just a jerk. He might have treated people better and gotten the same or better results. Even if the results had been a bit less insanely great, was the return on his bad behavior worth the pain it caused other people? I don’t think so.

    Posted in Business, Human Behavior, Obits, Quotations, Tech | 45 Comments »

    William Niskanen, 1933-2011

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 26th October 2011 (All posts by )

    Cato obituary here. Requiescat in pace.

    Posted in Libertarianism, Obits | 1 Comment »

    Ed Thompson

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 22nd October 2011 (All posts by )

    I just learned that Ed Thompson finally lost his long battle with cancer. Ed is Tommy Thompson’s brother.

    Ed was one of those characters that you only meet every once in a while. I remember the campaign for governor here in Wisconsin in 2002. It was my first serious foray into politics. I attended meetings that Ed had and eventually decided he was the guy for me. I donated to his campaign and worked on it as well. Ed was a Libertarian through and through. It was amazing to talk to the guy.

    He got an astounding 11% of the vote in that election. We were all very proud of what we had done. At the meetings there was every political stripe represented. There were people who just wanted more lax drug laws. There were businessmen. Women. All colors. Everyone believed in Ed and knew we were all tired of the same ‘ol two party system.

    Thank you Ed. You taught me more than you will ever know. RIP.

    Posted in Libertarianism, Obits, Politics | Comments Off on Ed Thompson

    Steve Jobs Created This

    Posted by Shannon Love on 6th October 2011 (All posts by )

    My spouse works for Apple in the finance department and today took over 30 calls from finance contacts, e.g., accounts payable, comptrollers and the like, who called to express their condolences to the company on the passing of Steve Jobs. Note that these weren’t people who expressed condolences in passing during a routine business call, these were people who called specifically to express their condolences.

    My spouse mused, “If  Bill Gates died do you think people would call Microsoft just to say how sad they were?”

    I gonna go with, no, no they wouldn’t.

    It’s strange to see a billionaire entrepreneurial executive lionized and mourned like a heroic soldier or a great artist. Most business people, regardless of the good they do or how much they change the world for the better are hated and resented by the greater public. People seldom believe they’ve earned their wealth or deserve respect for their work. Jobs was different.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Business, Obits | 4 Comments »

    Jim Bennett on Steve Jobs

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 6th October 2011 (All posts by )

    Good piece by Jim about Steve Jobs, and what kind of entrepreneur he was, entitled “Hitting the Sweet Spot.”

    The intro:

    There are, fundamentally, two subspecies of entrepreneur. One starts from the present, and visualizes the next logical step from where things are now. This type figures out how to make something better, cheaper, or more widely available, and manages to clear the financial, regulatory, and market barriers to getting it into the marketplace. The other visualizes a different world, one in which things are different and better from the way they are now, and then figures out what path of evolution brings us to that world, and, as the last step, what is the least ambitious step possible that will move things toward that goal.
    Steve Jobs was one of the latter group, and one of the most successful of his time.

    Do, please, RTWT.

    Posted in Biography, Entrepreneurship, Obits, Tech, USA | 2 Comments »

    Stay hungry, stay foolish

    Posted by Charles Cameron on 6th October 2011 (All posts by )

    [ Steve Jobs obit — cross-posted from Zenpundit ]
    Steve Jobs, February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011

    Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

    — from Steve JobsCommencement Address at Stanford University, June 2005


    I have removed an image from this post on request — I do however believe it complements the sentiments expressed here, and it can be found here should you wish to see it.

    Posted in Business, Education, Obits | 8 Comments »

    Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011), Writer, Soldier

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 10th June 2011 (All posts by )

    Rest in peace, sir.

    I recently read Fermor’s two travel books, set during his walk from Holland to Constantinople in 1933-34, A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople: From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube

    Fermor’s greatest feat was kidnapping the German commander on Crete during World War II.

    This site is dedicated to Fermor’s life and career.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Arts & Letters, Biography, Book Notes, Britain, Germany, History, Military Affairs, Obits | 10 Comments »

    RIP – Denis Dutton

    Posted by Ginny on 28th December 2010 (All posts by )

    A&L is clothed in black. Denis Dutton did much to make the blogosphere a better and more thoughtful place. Obits here and here. The Art Instinct site blog; a presentation. Authors on Google gives us a sense of his own vision — one implied by A&L’s subtle and evenhanded framing. The Chronicle’s blog appreciation and comments. D. G. Myers gives a more heart-felt and warmly written obit. And at National Review.

    Posted in Academia, Obits | 2 Comments »

    Alan Sullivan

    Posted by Jonathan on 10th July 2010 (All posts by )

    The blogger Alan Sullivan has died. This was not unexpected as he frequently blogged about his illness, but one wished him longer life. He was knowledgeable and opinionated on a surprisingly large range of topics. I enjoyed his political commentary, and his hurricane-season weather analyses stood out as exceptionally shrewd and helpful for those of us who live in affected areas. The discussion sections of his posts were lively and often gathered many comments, so he must have had a large readership. Alav hashalom.

    Posted in Blogging, Obits | 1 Comment »

    Borlaug Remembered

    Posted by Ginny on 7th October 2009 (All posts by )

    “He regarded himself as an instrument, which he used tirelessly for the benefit of others.”

    The world honors Borlaug here and here.

    Posted in Academia, Bioethics, Obits, Science | 2 Comments »

    Irving Kristol, 1920-2009

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 18th September 2009 (All posts by )

    Irving Kristol

    Irving Kristol was a CCNY Boy, not a Chicago Boy.

    Kristol was a Neoconservative when the “neo” part meant something. It started out as an insult, by former liberal friends, who derided Kristol and others for going where the evidence took them, and turning against their former views and former colleagues. The Neoconservatives were the people associated with The Public Interest magazine in the 1960s, mostly Jews from New York. The leading figures were Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Nathan Glazer and their circle. These guys followed a half-century course from Left to Right. They started out as Trotskyists at City College in New York in the ’30s and ’40s. Kristol describes that period here. They were anti-communist Social Democrats associated with Irving Howe and Sidney Hook in the 1950s. As the Democrat party undertook to build the Great Society in the 1960s, they became social planners. As that program failed, and Vietnam failed, and the McGovernite New Left began to take over the party, they became Scoop Jackson liberal hawks who were increasingly dubious about government social programs as well as staying hawkish on defense issues. As Jimmy Carter attempted to go beyond detente to something like appeasement, some switched parties and became Republicans. They were hawkish on defense and unideological and undogmatic critics of social programs that did not work. Kristol was the main figure in this intellectual odyssey. He and his colleagues added a critical infusion of intelligence and policy expertise to the conservative coalition that elected Ronald Reagan in 1980.

    Perhaps Kristol’s most important contribution was his editorship of The Public Interest, which he described here. Recently, the complete archives of the Public Interest became available online.

    Rest in peace.

    UPDATE: Helen weighs in, with many good links.

    Posted in Conservatism, Obits, Political Philosophy | 2 Comments »

    Norman Borlaug, 1914-2009

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 13th September 2009 (All posts by )

    Via Pejman Yousefzadeh, I hear that Norman Borlaug has passed; NYT obit.

    In the face of caviling from scarcity-mentality “environmentalists,” he saved a billion lives. Requiescat in pace.

    Posted in Bioethics, Environment, India, Latin America, Obits | 5 Comments »

    Kennedy the Catholic

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 27th August 2009 (All posts by )

    A brief, charitable, fair yet accurate assessment of Sen. Kennedy. RTWT.

    Many will speak and write of the legacy of Ted Kennedy in the days ahead. For me, as an East Coast “ethnic” grandchild of immigrants, Kennedy’s death symbolizes several cogent moments in Catholic America.
    It marks the passing of a generation that thought that being Catholic, Democratic, and pro–New Deal were synonymous. We now live in an age where many Catholic Americans are very happy to be described as pro-market and are suspicious of New Deal–like solutions — as, of course, they are entitled to be in a way that they are not on, for example, life issues. Senator Kennedy had it exactly the wrong way around.

    The author, Fr. Robert A. Sirico, of the Acton Institute, is a prolific writer and activist on behalf economic freedom: “The Mission of the Acton Institute is to promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.”

    UPDATE: Here is an excellent article by Carl Cannon, about Sen. Kennedy, entitled “Mary Jo Kopechne and Chappaquiddick: America’s Selective Memory”. It is fair and fact-based.

    In similar fashion, the editors of National Review do justice to the man, and end on a charitable note I will also end on: “May he encounter the divine mercy that both the greatest and the least of us will require at the end.” Amen.

    Posted in Economics & Finance, Morality and Philosphy, Obits, Religion, USA, War and Peace | Comments Off on Kennedy the Catholic

    Rose Friedman, “Advocate of Freedom”

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 25th August 2009 (All posts by )


    Jay already had a post up. But I decided a picture, and a link to the University of Chicago obituary were in order.

    Her most important contribution was the 1980 book Free to Choose, which she co-wrote with her husband, and the accompanying 10-part PBS series. Both were highly successful— the book topped the best-seller list for five weeks — and had a profound impact on public discussions of freedom. At a time when the nation’s confidence was at an all-time low, Free to Choose helped restore America’s faith in liberty[.]

    One reason these times are as bad as they are is that even good people are terribly ignorant about freedom, including economic freedom, and what it means, and how it works, and what it means to lose it. Revisiting the popular work of Milton and Rose Friedman, and introducing other people to it who were not even born when Free to Choose was on television, could do a lot of good.

    Eric Holder wants the American people, a nation of cowards, as he calls us, to have a national conversation about race.

    I propose instead that the American people have a national conversation about freedom.

    Amazingly, the entire Free to Choose TV show, all ten episodes, is available for free, here.

    You can get a used paperback copy of the book for a penny (+ postage).

    I am going to re-read it before the turn of the year.

    Posted in Book Notes, Chicagoania, Economics & Finance, Libertarianism, Obits, USA, Video | 5 Comments »

    Rose Friedman, ~1911-2009

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 18th August 2009 (All posts by )

    Via Brian Doherty and Pejman Yousefzadeh, I learn that Rose Friedman has died. Requiescat in pace.

    Posted in Obits | Comments Off on Rose Friedman, ~1911-2009

    Robert Novak, 1931-2009, Reporter

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 18th August 2009 (All posts by )

    Always love your country — but never trust your government!

    Robert Novak

    (His memoir, Prince of Darkness is supposed to be good. Thomas Sowell’s review here.)

    Also, see this:

    The fact is that Novak, as he would disclose in his autobiography, actually admired very few politicians. He wrote that he found the first politicians he covered less impressive than the athletic coaches he had covered as a young reporter — “an impression of the political class that did not change appreciably in a half-century of sustained contact.”

    Michael Barone says the man and his books will live on.

    Posted in Obits | 5 Comments »