January 8, 2011
What with all the Christmas shopping and the New Year's merriment, we've all gone and missed the December meeting of the Stalin Society.
February 1943 saw the turning point in the fight against Nazi fascism with the Red Army victory at Stalingrad. As the fascist General, Von Paulus, surrendered the world witnessed the incredible scene of the hitherto invincible Nazi war machine being defeated by the heroic troops of the Soviet Union. Yet bourgeois historians are so falsifying our history that millions have been forced to ‘forget’ the spectacular role played by the Soviet Union in the defeat of fascism and the fact that it was made possible because of the socialist system established by the Bolsheviks and built up by Stalin for several decades.
This film, a restoration of the original Soviet movie made in 1949 with English subtitles is a valuable aid to understand our history and an appropriate tribute to Stalin as we celebrate his birth on 21 December 1879. This film is a vivid re-enactment of what happened at Stalingrad, with the script written by Nikolai Virta, and the score composed by Aram Khachaturian. It lasts for 3 hours, so please arrive on time in order not to miss any of this epic Soviet film.
January 7, 2011
Milwaukee Is the Drunkest City in the Nation
Residents of Milwaukee get the most smashed.
The Daily Beast developed a drunkenness matrix to rate cities on how intoxicated their citizens are. The metric is based on average number of drinks per person per month, percentage of adults who are heavy drinkers, percentage of adults who are binge drinkers and deaths per 100,000 residents from liver cancer. Following Milwaukee, a city associated with beer production, were Fargo, N.D.; San Francisco; Austin; and Reno, Nev.
Considering only average drinks per person, per month, Milwaukee doesn't rate particularly high, trailing Austin; Boston (eighth overall); and Anchorage, Alaska (ninth), among other cities.
However, that could just prove the point that the folks in Milwaukee aren't sipping a glass of wine a day to keep their heart strong -- they're just out there on Friday nights drinking like there's no tomorrow.
January 6, 2011
Allen Haywood was trying to transfer to the Yellow Line around 7:15 p.m. when the assault happened. He was headed home to Fort Totten after working out at Results on Capitol Hill, a gym bag slung over his shoulder and a book in his hands. As he read with his back to the station wall, “all of a sudden someone whacked me on the back of the head really hard,” he recalls.
Haywood turned around. The boy looked to be about 11 or 12 years old. Baffled, Haywood asked, “What the fuck are you doing?” The boy stood there laughing. Then someone else cracked Haywood from the other side. He turned around again. This time it was the girl in the video above. She didn’t stop swinging for more than a full minute, chasing Haywood around the platform as other kids egged her on.
As seen in the video, Haywood repeatedly asked the girl why she was attacking him, pleading with her to end it. “Stop it! Stop it! Goddamn it! You stop this shit right now! I did nothing to you!”
Haywood looked to strangers for help, but all he saw were other kids with their cell phones out, recording the scene and laughing.
Hat Tip to TBD
"...We'll always have those nights in Oz!"
January 5, 2011
January 4, 2011
GNN - We came upon something we'd like to share with all our readers. Sadly, we can't share all of it with you because it's current copyrighted material. It won't be freely available on the Internet for 90 days or so, and it comes from the print-issue, Fall 2010, Claremont Review of Books.
CRB contributor, Harvey Mansfield, reviews Kenneth Minogue's new book The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life. Minogue authored the conservative classic The Liberal Mind (1963); his current book addresses the problem of liberal politics as the way the elites fashion a new morality of their own kind, with a politics that approves and coerces our thoughts and sentiments to "a sort of mild, regulated and peaceful servitude" .
Minogue proposes that the elite's intent is in the "wisdom paradox" of their idea of democracy, which works in this way: Democracy rests upon the principle that "the people" are wise enough for self-government even though, statistically, half the population is below average intelligence, (some, like Keith Olberman, is on the "extreme left" tail of the bell curve - Ed.)
The paradox lies in the way government elected by half-incompetents ignores its own suspect competence, while also believing that a substantial portion of its electoral base is below average and incompetent in voting or dealing with the problems of life. Mired in prejudices, bigotry, self-indulgence, indolence, dishonesty and fecklessness. the voter's electoral wisdom vanishes, and his incompetence is to be relieved by the wise government that the idiot elected. Obviously, both positions can't be true, but Liberalism proves that it's possible to hold each of them, as true, at the same time.
True or not, the self-identified "wise" government elected by the sub-par will take as its first task the equalization of competence across the population, favoring the perceived incompetents and limiting the power of the competent and extra-competent to narrow disparity of results. Since government will necessarily end up doing more for people than they can conceivably do for themselves, the servile mind is the result and the goal.
January 3, 2011
On a personal note, the coming "semester" of my life promises to be a busy one, with the demands of real life pressing in on all sides. I would much rather have time to pontificate. So, my ramblings in these here parts will likely be sparce through the end of May or so.
Yet, I am sure the Great GNN will rock along swimmingly with its low-paid but talented correspondents. You see, Goomba acribes to the belief that one fails to get ahead by overpaying the hired help. Still, our professionalism compels us to march onward. Personally, I am paid handsomely in shipments of Chili Powder from Sam's Club. But I digress ...
These days I am finding that the quick hits of the Facebooks, Twitter and such are more to my liking. If you want to track me down on these other internets, drop me a note at dcutter-at-gmail-dot-com.
You know, posting on a blog leaves me looking for the perfect phrase, link (how do you HTML, again?), back-up materials, etc. I wish that Blogger made it as easy to "slap a link" up like other sites do. I wonder what gives.
Still, I'll be out here. Maybe I will throw up a quick hitter every now and again, or bust some one's chops if they say something dumb, like "my bad," "bipartisanship," "dude," "oy," etc.
But for now, let me throw out a few random thoughts for your perusal and edification (I am working on this brevity thing, you see):
* The American Revolution was won without a single blogger, but all manner of volunteers were required. There are myriad ways to serve the nation. So, get to it.* What 9/11 did on the issue of national security, the Obama Admin has done on the economic front. National security is impossible without economic solvency. As conservatives, we own the battlefield of ideas.
* The most important spheres of influence are those closest to us. Take care of the homefront, your neighborhood, and work. Then, move out.
*Above all, be true to yourselves. Let no mortal define your boundaries. Leave that only to the Creator who endows us with our liberty.
* Remember that a coward dies a thousand deaths.
* Be positive. Bitter, negative people are unpersuasive (and usually post-modern leftists, any way).
* We stand on the shoulders of giants. We owe it to them to press forward.
That's all for now.
So, see you on the beach as we advance the cause of freedom.
And see you around this here blog, as well.
Nickie Goomba sez... "If you have never visited The Bleat or the Institute of Good Cheer, you have not fully tasted of the sweet drippy peach that is the Internet. Enjoy!"
Happy New Year! I’d say “belatedly,” but I did put up a post on Friday night. No, I didn’t got out. Didn’t want to. The imperative to stand in a crowded room with people in silly hats and issue razzing sounds though plastic horns was never great when I was young; now it seems a trial, an ordeal you have to endure to get to the final objective of every long day, which is deep sleep in a warm soft bed.
I like staying up late; I like witty nights around the table with cocktails and bon mots and all that, but on New Year’s you have to thread the gauntlets of yobbos and boozers, hope no one T-bones your car when you drive through an intersection, and other such complications. Shredding my vocal cords in a spare bar or well-reviewed restaurant known for its exquisitely presented portions of ginger-infused shaved tofu is fine, but not on Amateur Night. Last year I was in such a hip place, and met an old chum from the hip 80s; he was part of the journalism circle, and was known for being one of the sponsors of an annual elegant formal party where we all pretended we were sophisticates who’d earned all the right to carry off a tux. Now he’s the mayor. I wished him well. He made a bid for the governorship, and didn’t make it. I’m still annoyed at some aspects of his tenure, but he’s one of those politicians I do believe loves this city as much as I do, and on that fact we could clasp hands and think remember when, and huzzah for what’s to come.
This year? Daughter went to a sleepover; I stayed up late with my wife talking in the kitchen about life and the year ahead. Since it was Friday I got a pizza, and went to Davanni’s. Hadn’t been there for a long time, since child insisted that Domino’s was the new ruling paradigm, but she’s sick of it too. Davanni’s moved from the old strip mall to a rehabbed restaurant that used to be a Big Boy in the suburb’s post-war heyday. Its last incarnation was a Thai restaurant, and you may recall the tale of the manager who insisted that the dark-meat chicken curry was totally authentic because Thai people used dark meat, not white? Uh huh. I wrote about that here. I heard from people from, oh, Thailand. Never went there again, and shot the place hot daggers every time I drove past. It closed, and after a year standing vacant it reopened as Davanni’s.
So I walk in, and the manager opens her arms and says LOOK WHO’S BACK.
This is what it means to live in a place for a while.
Really, it’s been a year. She wants to know what I think of the store, and I tell her it’s fantastic. It used to be a Big Boy, I say with the sage tone of the urban archeologist.
“I thought it was Mr. Steak,” says the cashier. I point out the window across the street.
“The Foot Clinic that went out of business was a Mr. Steak,” I said. “I don’t know what the child-care place next door was, but it was a fast-food place.”
“And the used car dealer down the street was an Arby’s,” said the manager. I grinned. Uh huh. If they’d had a plastic tray on the counter I would have picked it up and smacked it into my forehead repeatedly. All these years. All these years I have wondered what the HELL IT WAS and OF COURSE IT WAS ARBY’S.
For Crom’s sake. I should know this.
Not that’s important, but in a way, it is. Styles of commercial architecture in the 50s and 60s were intentionally distinctive, and if you want to be able to read the vernacular, you need to know the nouns. (Neon was the verbs.)
I picked up the pizza and went home and we had a fine feast, even though I live with philistines who will not let me order extra sauce because, and I quote, it’s too saucy. Gah.
Daughter went off to sleepover; parents stayed home. At midnight some people in the neighborhood set off fireworks, as is their wont – and we’re talking big belly-feel concussive shells, too. I still remember our first year here – we moved into Jasperwood in 2001 – how they set off the shells to salute the new year. What a miserable fall that was, what a grim winter. What a strained, rictus-grin Christmas. The bombs bursting in air at 12:00:01 were an analogue to the Times Square celebration I’d watched an hour before. Usually I don’t care if everyone’s freezing in Times Square counting it down, but that year it felt like defiance to show up, and solidarity to watch, and hope nothing happened.
We forget how much we thought something might happen.
Sunday: the tree came down. Sadness. All the holiday decorations were gathered and packed and stored and stowed – an annual duty that feels as if you’re not just closing off the emotions and memories of the holiday, but undoing them. I always want to tell the tales of the ornaments when I put them up; no such honors attend their annual internment. Away, mice playing with the 50s lunchcounter Coke dispenser. Silence, now, Retro Mickey bringing a snow-bedecked tree to Pluto’s doghouse. It all feels like exchanging personal items after a breakup: sorry it didn’t work out, here’s your hairbrush and CDs. I severed the android tree into its three segments, wrapped them in shrouds and stored them in the cave of the basement. As I noted on Twitter, the chair no one sat in was moved from its holiday spot – where no one sat in it – back to its usual place, where no one will sit in it. The chair is a tremendous chair. Sometimes I sit there and read, but it’s once a year, twice at best. It seems to be a ceremonial chair, waiting for something.
This is the point where you buckle down and plunge right into the duties of January, the aching expanse, the long frosty slog. In normal times that’s exactly what I’d be doing, but these are not normal times.
See you tomorrow . . . elsewhere. That’s right: it’s the first-ever on-the-road travel blog.
January 2, 2011
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday led condemnation of a New Year's Day bomb attack in a Coptic church in Egypt that claimed 21 lives, urging world leaders to defend Christians against abuse.
The head of the Roman Catholic Church was the first religious leader to react to the bombing which targeted worshippers as they emerged from a midnight mass in Alexandria.
In his homily at New Year's Day mass, the pope spoke of mounting tensions, "especially discrimination, abuse and religious intolerance which are today striking Christians in particular."
"I once again launch a pressing appeal not to give in to discouragement and resignation," he said, calling for the "concrete and constant engagement of leaders of nations" to protect Christians.
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fuad Twal, called on Christians to show courage in the face of the attack.
And once again the Islamic news washing machine that services the Religion of Peace cycles from "Spin" to "Frappe" in its coverage of this murderous attack.
The Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas also condemned the attack, saying it was "certain it was the work of elements acting against the interests of Egypt and looking to promote confrontation between Muslims and Christians".Aside from Islamic apologists, what does the Prophet Mohammad through the Koran have to say about this?
A top Shiite Muslim leader in Lebanon, Sheikh Abdel Amir Kabalan, denounced the attack as a "terrorist act aimed at sowing chaos and fear in Egypt".
"This terrorist act bears the fingerprints of Zionists who keep on targeting religious sights and are working to ... sow discord between Muslims and Christians," Kabalan said in a statement.
Allah is an enemy to unbelievers. - Sura 2:98Apparently the perpetrators of this outrage were good, obedient Muslims who were following the tenets of Islam. Who will you believe?
On unbelievers is the curse of Allah. - Sura 2:161
Slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. - Sura 2:191
Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme.- Sura 2:193
"The decline of contemporary thought has been hastened by the misty phantom of socialism. Socialism has created the illusion of quenching people’s thirst for justice: Socialism has lulled their conscience into thinking that the steamroller which is about to flatten them is a blessing in disguise, a salvation. And socialism, more than anything else, has caused public hypocrisy to thrive; it has enabled Europe to ignore the annihilation of 66 million people on its very borders.
There is not even a single precise definition of socialism that is generally recognized: all we have is a sort of hazy shimmering concept of something good, something noble, so that two socialists talking to each other about socialism might just as well be talking about completely different things. And, of course, any new-style African dictator can call himself a socialist without fear of contradiction.In his lecture of acceptance of the Nobel prize for Literature in 1970, Solzhenitsyn quoted a Russian proverb: "One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world."
But socialism defies logic. You see, it is an emotional impulse, a kind of worldly religion, and nobody has the slightest need to study or even to read the teachings of its early prophets. Their books are judged by hearsay; their conclusions are accepted ready-made. Socialism is defended with a passionate lack of reason; it is never analyzed; it’s proof against all criticism. Socialism, especially Marxist socialism, uses the neat device of declaring all serious criticism “outside the framework of possible discussion”; and one is required to accept 95 percent of socialist doctrine as a “basis for discussion”—all that is left to argue about is the remaining 5 percent.
There is another myth here too, namely that socialism represents a sort of ultra-modern structure, an alternative to dying capitalism. And yet it existed ages and ages before any sort of capitalism.
My friend Academician Igor Shafarevich has shown in his extensive study of socialism that socialist systems, which are being used today to lure us to some halcyon future, made up the greatest portion of the previous history of mankind in the ancient East, in China, and were repeated later in the bloody experiments of the Reformation. As for socialist doctrines, he has shown that they emerged far later but have still been with us for over two thousand years; and that they originated not in an eruption of progressive thought as people think nowadays but as a reaction—Plato’s reaction against Athenian democracy, the Gnostics’ reaction against Christianity—against the dynamic world of individualism and as a return to the impersonal, stagnant system of antiquity. And if we follow the explosive sequence of socialist doctrines and socialist utopias preached in Europe—by Thomas More, Campanella, Winstanley, Morelli, Deschamps, Babeuf, Fourier, Marx, and dozens of others—we cannot help but shudder as they openly proclaim certain features of that terrible form of society. It is about time we called upon right-minded socialists calmly and without prejudice to read, say, a dozen of the major works of the major prophets of European socialism and to ask themselves: Is this really that social ideal for which they would be prepared to sacrifice the lives of countless others and even to sacrifice their own?"