What-ever

October 29th, 2019

Selwyn Duke tries to make sense of the Tulsi Gabbard business, which comments apparently didn’t draw much reaction from the Queen’s interviewer. Calm down evertyone. It all makes complete sense if you just understand that Gabbard is a gremlin acting up.

Ho Hum

October 28th, 2019

Just someplace:

The Getty Center, in Los Angeles, California, is a campus of the Getty Museum and other programs of the Getty Trust. The $1.3 billion Center opened to the public on December 16, 1997 and is well known for its architecture, gardens, and views overlooking Los Angeles. The Center sits atop a hill connected to a visitors’ parking garage at the bottom of the hill by a three-car, cable-pulled hovertrain people mover. Located in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, the Center is one of two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum and draws 1.8 million visitors annually.

The Center branch of the Museum features pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; and photographs from the 1830s through present day from all over the world. In addition, the Museum’s collection at the Center includes outdoor sculpture displayed on terraces and in gardens and the large Central Garden designed by Robert Irwin. Among the artworks on display is the Vincent Van Gogh painting Irises.

News: The fire, dubbed the Getty Fire, broke out and began burning on a hill around 1:30 a.m. adjacent to the 405 Freeway at Getty Center Drive near the Getty Center museum. It quickly burned 75 acres, with the acreage growing to more than 500 acres as of 7 a.m.

Nothing to see here folks. All spontaneous fires break out at one in the morning next to freeway exits and billion dollar complexes, (and only a couple of miles away BTW). Great job, LA gov’t. Hey, homelessness is “the moral and humanitarian crisis of our time”, except for homelessness caused by arson, that is.

UPDATE: they lie with such ease – the TV news reported the CA government blaming “a falling branch hitting a power line” for the Getty Center fire, when it was obviously arson. (Maybe tomorrow it will be “climate change.”) They obviously want to deny the obvious because they don’t know how to fix it.

A little fun for a change

October 28th, 2019

Sadly, a vegan activist and a party clown perished, as did a certain “news”paper.

Good fun or not, depending on your perspective

October 28th, 2019

VDH:

Take all the signature brand names that the Baby Boomers inherited from prior generations—Harvard, Yale, the New York Times, NPR, CNN, the Oscars, the NFL, the NBA, the FBI, the CIA, the Rockefeller and Ford foundations, and a host of others. And then ask whether they enhanced our diminished such inheritances?

Donald Trump is now in the midst of another coup frenzy that has the Left accusing him of being crazy. But he already took the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test. It was a simple cognitive exam and he aced it, as would most people. The Left, remember, had called in a Yale psychiatrist to testify that Trump was demented, during the lulls between the first impeachment, the serial “Russian collusion” hoaxes, the emoluments clause psychodrama and Robert Mueller’s “walls-are-closing-in,” “turning-point,” and “bombshell” investigation.

Perhaps the wrong public figures took the test.

It goes on from there, covering all the usual suspects of course, and with some humor sprinkled in, if you like this sort of thing. Have a nice day!

Greatest Commie Plot Ever?

October 27th, 2019

Background:

Until 1967, the Vietnam anti-war movement was something of a sideshow — in that year it began to grow significantly in numbers and organization. The growth of the Vietnam anti-war movement was in large measure grounded in self-interest. It became intense only after conscription expanded substantially in the young adult population (first to 29,000 a month and then to 42,000 a month by spring 1968), and after the passage of the Selective Service Act of 1967. That Act made it more difficult to get a draft deferment, and in fact created the violent and intense war protests at elite institutions, since it cancelled graduate school deferments, beginning with the fall 1968 student year. As contemporaneous reporting in the Harvard Crimson demonstrates, the end of the deferments threw elite university students and professors into the frenzy of sit-ins, takeovers, and demonstrations that began in 1968.

Newsflash: We have just received a tape recording of USSR leaders Brezhnev and Kosygin, made sometime after Apollo 11. Excerpts follow.

Brezhnev:

“We will take advantage of the anti-Vietnam grad students and their teachers and create at least one and maybe two generations of “educators” in the enemy’s universities and high schools that detest their country. The people that then will celebrate the glories of Communism will be able to rule that wretched nation in less than two generations, I’ll bet. Probably some outright sons of Marx, Engels and Stalin will even run for president repeating their ‘truths’ and ‘promises’.”

Kosygin:

“And that’s not even the best part, comrade. We understand that NASA will now try to miniaturize the computing power for the moon landing and there are youngsters even now who will commercialize this process, until everyone has a NASA computer on his desk or maybe in his telephone! (laughs follow). At that point we can complete the process of separating children from their parents, their religions, and their national traditions. Trivial games and twitterings and the knowledge that Washington, Lincoln, and their Constitution are terrible evils are what will remain.”

We heard that Ludlum tried to sell the story back in the days before the Berlin Wall fell, but publishers just wouldn’t bite. Too bad…

Update: The commies didn’t mention that the 4th estate and the 5th estate (the Deep State bureaucrats) would be all-in.

Hey, you figure it out

October 27th, 2019

Here’s a book review we don’t at all understand. Um, we don’t understand the book either. Oh well, maybe you can figure it out. Bonuses: more weather jib-jab and more whining “geniuses“.

Just a thought

October 26th, 2019

Now with Barr going PK4 on his side (with RW media high fives), and the obvious responses coming from the other side in the next day or so, we may abstain from mentioning the drama again until it resembles the last ten minutes of A Face in The Crowd. We’ll see. It just seems so boring at the moment.

Not going away

October 25th, 2019

WSJ:

Indonesian investigators blamed Boeing Co.’s design and inadequate U.S. safety oversight, combined with lax maintenance and poor piloting skills, for a Lion Air 737 MAX’s fatal nosedive into the Java Sea nearly a year ago.

The final accident report, summarized by Indonesian authorities at a press briefing on Friday, provides a litany of safety lapses spanning the jet’s manufacture and operation without pointing to any as the most important factor.

Most of the problems—including a distracted and seemingly ill-prepared cockpit crew and information Boeing withheld from pilots world-wide about a faulty flight-control system—had been disclosed since the jet crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta last October. All 189 people on board were killed.

Still, the findings, draft conclusions of which were previously reported by The Wall Street Journal, could stoke attention surrounding the crash and a similar MAX crash in Ethiopia five months later. Boeing is facing a management shake-up and investigations by federal prosecutors and congressional committees.

Indonesian investigators have concluded that Boeing’s design of a flight-control system called MCAS, which the plane maker withheld from pilot manuals, played a significant role in the crash. Leaving out such information made it more difficult for flight crews to properly respond to MCAS malfunctions

The investigation situation is not getting better anytime soon. In another management situation with bad results, CA has more than 70,000 “wildfires” a year, in which many people get killed. Maybe Xi Jinping has a better way to detect arsonists.

More this and that

October 23rd, 2019

(1) “like a big cat stalking a wildebeest.” (2) “this is an easy mistake to make if you happen to be brain damaged.” (3) Utterly sick. (4) “you can’t have a quid pro quo with no quo.” That’s enough for now.

Fun and Unfun and VSS

October 22nd, 2019

(1) Fun: no not that one, it’s this one. (2) Unfun: we used to agree with our high school classmate and NYC roommate on a lot of things back in the day. Now, like a lot of folks, we’re in 10/90 territory or worse. (3) Very Serious Stupidity: was that witch?

The meltdown continues. Serious question: what can be done to stop it?

Miscellany again

October 21st, 2019

(1) Interesting piece on Blake, whom we studied via Harold Bloom (sigh); (2) Taheri on Kurds; (3) Just too weird – médecins sans frontières is becoming étrangeté sans frontières; (4) discriminatory madness that few seem to be complaining about; (5) Silliness but some fun; (6) Help!!

A little edumacation for a change

October 20th, 2019

Conrad Black:

There are about 35 million Kurds, approximately half of them in Turkey, where they make up about a fifth of Turkey’s population. A century ago almost all the Kurds had been in the Ottoman Empire, which the Allied powers broke up after World War I, a foolish decision that is on all fours with the destruction of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The result was the creation of four patched-together artificial states that have all now disintegrated: Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Syria. They are not alike in other respects, of course. The Czechs and Slovenians (Yugoslavia) have flourished; the Slovaks and Croatians, and more recently the Serbs, have got by adequately well; and the rest of the remnants of Yugoslavia are struggling, but they are all living paradisiacal monuments to the foresight of western statesmen compared to the current fate of the populations of Syria and Iraq.

No American adult needs an update on what a debacle post-Saddam Iraq has become. The Iranians are the principal influence in the 60% of the population that is Shiite, precisely the opposite of what was intended when the United States invaded Iraq under President George W. Bush. The dispossessed Sunni 20% of Iraqis around Baghdad are being thoroughly misgoverned, even by Saddam’s standards, and the Kurds in the north, where most of the oil is, should be building a modern and autonomous Kurdistan that could attract and accommodate mistreated Kurds from Turkey, Iran, and Syria — an authentic Kurdish homeland.

Instead, the Kurdish government in northern Iraq has been a sinkhole of corruption and misrule, anything but a Mecca for this bellicose, scattered, nomadic people.

The Kurds in northern Syria have undoubtedly been a source of considerable provocation to Turkey, and the Kurds in Turkey have also undoubtedly been a frequently oppressed minority. There is no room for anyone but the parties involved to sort this out.

The Turkish part of it is an internal matter for Turkey, and no one will ever know the rights and wrongs of who began or escalated the reciprocal antagonism of the Turkish central government and the Kurdish minority, which is effectively segregated in some parts of Turkey but thoroughly and distinguishedly integrated in others. It is, in any case, nobody’s business but the Turks’, including the Kurdish Turks.

The Syrian Kurds sometimes overlap with the PKK, an internationally recognized terrorist organization that is associated with the Syrian and Turkish Communist parties. PKK is not supported by all the Kurds in Syria, but they have substantially infiltrated that body of Kurds that made common cause with the West in destroying ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

They were doubtless useful allies in that conflict, but they also destabilized as best they could all the surrounding governments, and the picture being painted by both the Left and the neoconservative Right in Washington of the Trump administration deserting gallant and constant allies is bunk. The Kurds were constantly threatening to release all the ISIS prisoners (and their families) that they were holding, and they always drew the Turks out in hot pursuit of them after border outrages.

The president has been much criticized for seeming to take this move peremptorily, and for departing from talking points in a telephone conversation with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The facts appear to be that the Turkish president announced that PKK outrages at the border required a Turkish response and that he intended to retaliate, whatever the U.S. thought of it, and that he also intended to begin the process of moving a million Syrian refugees back into Syria humanely.

As the U.S forces involved were 400 highly trained specialists, very competent soldiers but scarcely numerous enough to restrain the movement of main units of the Turkish army, President Trump salvaged a good arrangement from the conversation: Mr. Erdogan would avoid civilian casualties as much as possible and clear the Kurdish military back 20 miles from the border, with the understanding that if Turkey was negligent about civilians, the United States would apply heavy economic sanctions against Turkey.

The entry of the Turks brought forward the Syrian army, supplied by Russia, and tele-spectators may have the spectacle of Turkey, which has been the superpower of the region since the fall of Constantinople in 1453, pouring fire on Assad’s Syrian army. Mr. Assad will not be able to maintain such an exchange for more than a few days, regardless of the volume of Russian assistance he receives.

There were serious limits to what the U.S. could do with 400 servicemen trying to sort out a large guerrilla force on one side and a large professional national army on the other. In the broader context, American sanctions will be much more of a lever on Turkey than 400 soldiers could have been, and U.S. goodwill generally will weigh more heavily on Erdogan than any other factor in these considerations.

Because Europe rebuffed Turkey, the latter turned to the Middle East to focus its foreign policy, where it had been somewhat displaced by the Great Powers’ preoccupation with the area during and after World War II, stemming from the strategic value of Arabian oil and the American interest in the success of Israel as a Jewish state. The hostility to the West of Egypt, Iraq, and Syria was more than compensated for by the benevolence of Turkey and Iran.

Between 1973 and 1978 there was a golden window, created by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, when Anwar Sadat of Egypt and the Shah of Iran both were friendly with the West. This was the time of the Camp David agreement, hosted by President Carter, who succumbed to the American weakness for promoting democracy in infertile soil, and who bears considerable blame for the fall of the Shah, a strategic disaster for the United States after the Nixon-Kissinger triumph of bringing Egypt into the western camp.

President George W. Bush was mercilessly attacked by the same democratic bug when he inadvertently promoted Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Islamic Brotherhood, a process in which President Barack Obama, Senator Lindsey Graham, and the late Senator John McCain were not blameless.

The promise of the new arrangement is that the U.S. withdraws manpower from an area where its forces were extremely vulnerable but of insufficient number to be decisive, as candidate Trump promised. This removes all obstacles to good relations with Turkey, the region’s premier force and a NATO ally. Mr. Erdogan is an unreliable, Islamist ally, but as long as the U.S. isn’t protecting Kurdish terrorists, there is no reason that Turkish and American interests could not be reasonably aligned.

And Mr. Erdogan’s grandiose nationalist ambitions could be usefully satisfied by urging him to extend his influence over the Sunni Muslims of Iraq and Syria, leaving an autonomous Kurdistan in northern Iraq. With Hezbollah thus starved and discouraged in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza, a Palestinian settlement and a stable Lebanon could finally be possible, and a solid coalition of aligned interests between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel, with U.S. backing, could expel Iran from its terrorist meddling around the region and relieve the United States of most of the defense burden it has carried in the region for seven decades.

Establishing sustainable local balances of power with comparatively modest contributions to maintain them has been the U.S. foreign-policy goal since shortly after World War II. It has been achieved in Western and Central Europe and is close at hand in the Far East and now, perhaps, in the Middle East as well. It is from this perspective that the president’s actions with the Kurds should be seen, not with shamed and breathless hand-wringing every time there is a casualty on the Syrian–Turkish border.

HT: Clarice. Good stuff, but not as brilliant as what’s going on at Rutgers.

Miscellany

October 19th, 2019

(1) Thoughtful piece by Andy McCarthy about the much-worse-than-silliness of today. (2) Do kids of today know Mary had a Little Lamb? (3) Did Video Village or Shenanigans have the better theme song? (4) As you can see, we can’t relate to current events, unlike the sainted media, who know so well how stupid you have to be to be even modestly successful in a business with both high cyclicality and high leverage.

It gets nuttier every day

October 18th, 2019

OK, Boris and Natasha, meet Tulsi.

We can only hope that Frostbite Falls

October 17th, 2019

Powerline here. We’ve had fun with Frostbite Falls (here and here for example). But hey, it’s the bad bad right-wingers now, as is obvious.

Maybe tomorrow

October 17th, 2019

We worked at Citibank decades ago and Walt Wriston and team were not stupid. Today, however, the company has descended into idiocy. According to Citibank’s own ad, the company should be firing more than half its Board and Senior Management to save some dough.

Maybe tomorrow

October 16th, 2019

Curds without whey.

Interesting reading

October 15th, 2019

1093 patents: The inventor of the phonograph was completely deaf in one ear and could barely hear in the other, the result of a mysterious affliction in his childhood. To appreciate a delicate tune emanating from a music player or piano, he would chomp into the wood and absorb the sound waves into his skull. From there they would pass through the cochlea and into the auditory nerve…The year after inventing the phonograph, Edison built a telephone that surpassed the devices made by its inventors, Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray, in an official contest of call clarity. The year after that, he achieved semidivine status with his incandescent light bulb. He did all this by the time he was 33, despite almost no prior experience in acoustics, telephony, or illumination technology.

Hey, what’s on TV?

October 14th, 2019

Oh, it’s just people being illegally monitored by the State Department, if this allegation is true. How weird is this?

More hilarity, but…

October 14th, 2019

Not a joke:

Billions of people around the globe are well-acquainted with SpongeBob Squarepants and the antics of the title character and his friends on Bikini Bottom. By the same token, there is an absence of public discourse about the whitewashing of violent American military activities through SpongeBob’s occupation and reclaiming of the bottom of Bikini Atoll’s lagoon. SpongeBob Squarepants and his friends play a role in normalizing the settler colonial takings of Indigenous lands while erasing the ancestral Bikinian people from their nonfictional homeland. This article exposes the complicity of popular culture in maintaining American military hegemonies in Oceania while amplifying the enduring indigeneity (Kauanui 2016) of the Marshallese people, who maintain deeply spiritual and historical connections to land — even land they cannot occupy due to residual radiation contamination from US nuclear weapons testing — through a range of cultural practices, including language, song, and weaving. This article also considers the gendered violence of nuclear colonialism and the resilience of Marshallese women.

Funny, except if you are paying your kid’s tuition at the college she teaches at.