Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Trained Seals

From NRO, a WaPo story on Ed Kennedy, a WWII war correspondent now posthumously being championed by media types for a pulitzer, for defying a US military order delaying the news of Germany's surrender.
In headier days, Ed Kennedy personified the hard-drinking, hard-charging war correspondent of another era. The first time his future wife saw him, he was sidled up to a hotel bar in Paris with none other than Ernest Hemingway, both of them so “dead drunk” they could hardly stand. 
***

On May 6, 1945, U.S. military officials ushered Kennedy and 16 other correspondents onto a plane in Paris. The plane was airborne before they learned the purpose of the trip: They were flying to Reims, France, to witness the signing of surrender documents ending the largest conflict in world history.

Kennedy chafed at being controlled. The reporters on the plane were “seventeen trained seals,” he observed acidly in a memoir, “Ed Kennedy’s War: V-E Day, Censorship, & the Associated Press,” that was published this spring, nearly a half-century after his death.

Their military handlers insisted that news of the signing be kept secret for several hours. But after they returned to Paris, the embargo was extended. Not for security reasons, which might have been an acceptable rationale, but for political reasons, Kennedy learned. It turned out that Russia’s leader, Joseph Stalin, wanted to stage a signing ceremony of his own to claim partial credit for the surrender, and U.S. officials were interested in helping him have his moment of glory.
Kennedy got word that news of the surrender was already out on German radio, so he went ahead and broke the story, and was subsequently fired.

My take: first, wonderful to have a glimpse at the type of man the US used to produce, the type of guy you feel like you've met before, in any number of black and white films.  This type of story that gives me a happy break in the day for a nostalgic daydream for the country we had.  It truly was great.  Second, it's purely ironic that current trained seal media are championing Kennedy, which I chalk up to their admiration of his defiance of the US military.  But, with a few notable exceptions like Catherine Herridge, what were today's media doing as the Benghazi incident/whitewash happened, other than perching on a slippery rock, slapping their flippers together and yelping "Mitt!  Mitt!"  The story of Benghazi has heroic SEALS, to be sure, but there was nothing heroic in the behavior of the Obama campaign propaganda army. 

New terminology is called for to differentiate the new type of permanent campaign presidency we've now got, and which is probably here to stay.  In the old days, first you had a campaign and politicians promised what they will do if elected or bragged about what they'd done already and promise more of it, and then after the campaign the president governed, then the cycle repeated.  Now we have a presidency totally melded with a permanent propaganda effort both to retain power and to push its aims.  How about the Obama "campinistration", or maybe the Obama "propigandancy"?

And how great is Catherine Herridge -- and Michelle Malkin, and Megyn Kelly, and a handful of others -- by the way?  Those are the type of headstrong dames who would fit right in at the bar with Kennedy and Hemminway, holding their own and trading snappy dialogue, or using their charm and press credentials to get past a roadblock in postwar Vienna to hand a manila envelope to a geezer in a trench coat.  Ah, when things were black and white.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Time for Government to Take ACTION!

I suppose there are cynics out there right about now, muttering things like: "How come when a tragedy makes national news politicians have no shame in jumping all over it and feasting like jackals on a corpse, or corpses as the case may be?  And how come the message they want us to take away always happens to be the message they advocated beforehand?  It's never like with the fictional Dick Cheney in that gay global warming movie from 2005 or whatever where after the world is covered in ice, he comes on TV and says he's sorry for waging evil wars for oil?  Can't these sleazy, shameless con artists at least have the dignity to not use tragedies as a chance to get the parasitic TV cameras turned on themselves yet again, summon some tears by recalling how the pet dog got served for dinner when they were a kid or whatever the trick is, and urge us to ACTION!  Our benevolent rulers deigning to fly out to podunkland with their million dollar retinue, using newly grieving families essentially as props in the new perma-campaign, well, what else can people of good faith say about this, it's just bad, it's icky and gross and I mean, what the hell is happening to the world." 

To which I would reply, oh you so-called cynics, going on watching the news still!  What do you expect to see, virtue and merit and real acheivement rewarded and things like that?  Yeah, let me turn on Katie Couric so she can do her duty as an impartial arbiter of objective facts and report to me what The Events Of The Day are, and then armed with that knowledge I'll be a good citizen and go vote, and our citizen/representatives will go to Washington like Mr. Smith and work to fix the problems I and my fellow citizens elected them in good faith to fix!  Pshaw, and you call yourself cynics.  Stop bothering me.  And besides, these politicians are totally right, if we're talking about the same thing.  This incident is so horrific and gnarled that clearly Government Must Do Something, To Make Sure Nothing Like This Ever Happens Again!  To be sure though, it certainly is an unsettling bit of news:

A 37-year-old Swedish woman with an admitted obsession with skeletons has been convicted of disturbing the peace of the dead for allegedly using human bones for sexual purposes. 
In issuing its ruling on Monday, the Gothenburg District Court also convicted the woman of weapons crimes, sentencing her to probation and ordering that she undergo treatment for addiction and psychiatric problems.
The woman has continually denied committing any crimes, telling the local G√∂teborgs Posten (GP) newspaper that she is an "odd bird" but that she is "not sexually interested in necrophilia". 
She had argued that she acquired the skeletons legally and that she handled the bones in a respectful manner and that her actions weren't covered by Sweden's laws against disturbing the peace of the dead.

But the woman was found to have kept some bones scattered on the floor in her home, stored skulls in plastic bags, and to have sold some bones to others.

"Criminal protection starts when a person dies, and the protection remains as long as there are remains of the deceased," the court wrote in a statement.

"The fact that the woman had moved bones constitutes a crime because she was unauthorized to do so, just as it's a crime to put together a skeleton and have it lying on the floor, to have bones in plastic bags, and to sell them."

According to the court, the 37-year-old handled the human bones "ignominiously", something which is prohibited by Sweden's laws against disturbing the peace of the dead.

The court added that the woman didn't need to be aware that her actions were criminal in order to be convicted.

"It's enough that she knew that she was handling human bones," the court said, explaining there was no doubt she was acting with intent.

However, the court threw out a charge stemming from allegations that she had stored human skulls in her freezer and used human bones for sexual purposes.

While the 37-year-old was facing up to two years in prison, the court ruled that her lack of criminal record and the nature of her crimes meant she should not be jailed, but instead be sentenced to probation.

The woman, who has continually denied any wrongdoing, was arrested in September when police arrived at her flat and found human skeletons and knives after responding to a call about gunfire coming from the apartment.
When femur-dildoes are outlawed, only outlaws will have femur-dildoes.

This reminds me of the film by German director Jorg Buttregeit, Nekromantic (1987).  I have seen it, I like it, I recommend it, and I've also seen and recommend his other film Der Todesking, which is about seven deaths in seven days.

Here's the photo gallery, so that readers may have a full and complete understanding of this incident in Sweden.  You decide!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Adaptation

Squirrel adopted by cat, will grow up thinking it's a cat:

American dynamism

From City Journal:
America’s economic might is rooted in an entrepreneurial culture and a passion for innovation and risk-taking, traits nourished by the nation’s commitment to the rule of law, property rights, and a predictable set of tax and regulatory policies. Policymakers have lost sight of these fundamental principles in recent years. The next era of American prosperity will be hastened when they return to them.
This may be a stupid question, but why is economic "growth" the thing people are always going on about?  Isn't the notion that an economy always should be growing and expanding (in order to... what?  In order to meet liabilities, like the interest on the US debt?) sort of unhealthy?  The definition of a bubble almost?  Is it possible to have an economy that maximizes value, GDP remains constant for a long period of time, and everybody lives quite nicely, using goods and services that are all produced within the economy, or at the very least that an economy is self sustaining and not dependent on imports?  Is it possible to do this on a macro scale?  Why growth, though, I wonder.  The way things stand now, "poor" people have it far better in their everyday life than did the upper echelon in the 1950s, with tons more gadgets and comforts.  What are we going for here?  The new America feels like a huge colossal bubble.  It was the greatest country on earth for specific cultural based reasons that fueled its dynamism.  The American ideals of freedom, rule of law, work ethic, etc., which drove its success are gone, as shown by our "Paper Tiger" responses to 9/11 and by the rise of Obama, particularly his reelection in 2012 once the cards were on the table (and, yes, while it's true that Obama would not have won had not our rulers have tinkered with our demographics over the last half century, it boils down to the same thing, because America's foundational and historical ideals were culturally rooted).  America is now just a geographic place on the map, with a government like any other, yet we have all these things, which were essentially dropped into our lap.  We cannot make them, haven't earned them, and won't fight for them.  A real reordering is called for in the lives of individuals, a reexamination of first principles.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Katy Perry Smurfette

Katy Perry's remarkable "Smurfette dress", from July 2011.  Slideshow here.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Free Ice Crem game

Creepy game:

Racehorces: goats as pets/friends




Painter Tatiana Berg in L Magazine
What’s the most insightful thing anyone’s ever said about what you do?When racehorses are trained some of them are given little goats as pets that live with them in the stables and keep them company, so they stay calm when they’re traveling or in a new place. Some of the paintings you’re going to make are horses, and some of them are going to be goats. The goats are really important, you just wouldn’t ever send them down the race track.

More on this happy phenomenon:
While most horses don't seem to mind the short separation for racing and exercising, if their goats aren't around the barn with them, it often means trouble. They will pace the stalls, and fail to get the rest they need.

"It really affects their performance. They just can't relax unless that goat is nearby," she said.
Goats also frequently ride in the trailer with the horses when they are moving from track to track.
Gabriel said that when a horse she was training was sold in a claiming race, she sent its goat along with it.

"It was the only humane thing to do," she said. "A horse that loses its goat is just bereft and actually mourns."


McEwen: Sweet Tooth

Here, links to loads of articles on the book.
 


Here, a blog on McEwen.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Human migration

Go peeps, go.



Michael Barone: Mexicans might stop coming.
 


Even if conditions in the US do continue to deteriorate I think Mexicans and South Americans will continue to stroll across the border, probably settling in areas that have been allowed to become majority Hispanic. 

Is a crackup of the US in the cards?  I don't know.  Quebec still hasn't left Canada after all these years.  Maybe in addition to "a geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle", conditions simply have to be dire enough before people get up off the couch and break out the torches and pitchforks.  I think things could be quite dire though without any crackup happening, so long as the centralized government of a country is sufficiently powerful and invasive.  It seems like a good deal of personal space would be needed to carry off a good civil war, which is not the case where the government can read your emails, texts, and bank statements, where government intrusion is easy (for the rulers), arbitrary, and devastating, and where the legions of government employees and dependents outnumber freemen.  So maybe people living within the new US will simply continue to "secede from each other" into ethnic enclaves, all dependent upon/oppressed by the government -- as will be necessary by the way (once all sense of civic society and the values of free people doing good themselves and managing their own affairs is finally squelched) in order to hold the whole miserable thing together.

Mexican sugar skulls.


I

Lapham: American democracy

A "Florida resort hotel wherein all present receive the privileges and comforts owed to their status as valued customers, invited to convert the practice of citizenship into the art of shopping, to select wisely from the campaign advertisements, texting A for Yes, B for No."

Here.