Category Archives: Culture

Long Range Thinking in a Representative Government

This is a fascinating article that explores the short range thinking inherent in a representative government. Here is the underlying problem, as envisioned by the author:

The time has come to face an inconvenient reality: that modern democracy – especially in wealthy countries – has enabled us to colonise the future. We treat the future like a distant colonial outpost devoid of people, where we can freely dump ecological degradation, technological risk, nuclear waste and public debt, and that we feel at liberty to plunder as we please.

He then walks through a few ideas for addressing the problem. For example, totalitarian regimes like China are really good at long range planning as long as you are cool with the government murdering millions of citizens. Some nations have tried various committees and ombudsmen to force legislators to think about the long range impact of their policy decisions. Frankly, I think I like this idea the best:

A more radical alternative has been suggested by the veteran Canadian ecological campaigner David Suzuki, who wants to replace the country’s elected politicians with a randomly selected citizens’ assembly, which would contain everyday Canadians with no party affiliation who would each spend six years in office. In his view, such an assembly, resembling a form of political jury service, would deal more effectively with long-term issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss, and solve the problem of politicians obsessed with the next election.

I highly recommend you read the whole article. The author brings up a long of though-proving points.

 

Clinton Attacked

Chelsea, that is.

Muslim students have berated Chelsea Clinton at a vigil for the victims of the New Zealand mosques massacre, saying she is to blame for the attack.

Clinton, who is pregnant with her third child, was attending the vigil at New York University on Friday when senior Leen Dweik began castigating her in an astonishing moment caught on video.

‘This right here is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you put out into the world,’ says Dweik, gesturing to the vigil for the 49 who were killed in Christchurch when a white nationalist shooter stormed two mosques.

‘And I want you to know that and I want you to feel that deeply – 49 people died because of the rhetoric you put out there,’ Dweik continues, jabbing her index finger toward Clinton as other students snap their fingers in apparent approval of her words.

We live in strange times when a right-winger like me rises to the defense of Chelsea Clinton, but here we are. It’s a ludicrous accusation by the Muslim students.

I was impressed by Clinton’s composure and response. This is clearly not her first rodeo being confronted by ranting idiots.

One Immigrant’s Experience

Usually when I travel, I’m the guy with my headphones on and the scowl that says, “leave me alone.” Last night was a lesson for why I should take those headphones off from time to time.

I was in Tampa for work, but had dinner on my own. I took a Lyft from Tampa to Tarpon Springs, the Sponge Capital of the World, to get some good Greek seafood. It was about a 45 minute drive and on the way back I got to talking with my driver.

Turns out that he is a Filipino immigrant. In 1971, he spent a year with a couple who bought a 41-foot Taiwanese catamaran to sail it from the Philippines to the U.S. There weren’t any good Loran stations back then, so they navigated with their sextant. The hopped through the islands, but ended up 400 miles off course and got stuck on a reef in Figi. He then went to Australia for a year as the boat was repaired. Then they sailed it to Hawaii and over to the mainland.

In the U.S., he settled in Florida and was a truck driver for 25 years. He worked for several years for a company in Minnesota, so he regaled me with stories about traversing Wisconsin.

He had been to 49 states, excluding Alaska, and had wonderful things to say about the warmth and kindness of his adopted country. He also waxed on about the opportunities in America and how it allowed him to raise his 5 kids into the middle class.

At a time when the news cycles are often filled with negative portrayals of Americans, it was heartening to hear one immigrant’s American experience and to remember that it is, by far, the common experience that has been attracting people to our nation for generations.

Decline of Local Journalism

I’m not sure there is a solution to it, but it is a problem for local communities and their ability to keep tabs on local government.

Over the past 15 years, more than 1,400 towns and cities have lost a newspaper. Among them are the twin towns of Waynesville and St. Robert in central Missouri’s Ozark hills.

The newspaper that served them closed last September, leaving residents without a source of regular news about their community.

The reasons for the closures vary. But the result is that many Americans no longer have someone watching the city council for them, chronicling the soccer exploits of their children or reporting on the kindly neighbor who died.

Wisconsinites Falling All Over the Place

I blame Canada.

Wisconsin has the nation’s highest rate of deadly falls among the elderly, according to a report last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 1,365 residents 65 or older died from falls in 2016, giving the state a rate more than double the national average.

Deaths from falls in Wisconsin outnumber deaths from breast and prostate cancer combined. Falls resulted in about 129,000 emergency room visits and nearly 16,000 hospitalizations in 2017, according to the state Department of Health Services. Medical charges for falls, paid mostly by the taxpayer-supported Medicare and Medicaid programs, exceeded $1 billion.

Exactly why Wisconsin tops the charts in fatal falls is not clear, but experts cite a few possible reasons: icy winters; excessive drinking, including among the elderly; the population is older and whiter than the U.S. average; and officials here might report falls as a cause of death better than in other states.

School Tells Kids to Pretend They Own Slaves

When will they learn?

NASHVILLE – A Tennessee school district is apologizing for a homework assignment that asked students to pretend their families own slaves.

The hand-written assignment, which touched on issues of slavery, immigration and child labor, was given out Wednesday in an eighth grade social studies class at Sunset Middle School, about 20 miles from Nashville.

One box on the homework sheet reads, “Your family owns slaves. Create a list of expectations for your family’s slaves.”

[…]

The homework, which Fountain shared on Twitter, also asked students to write a poem or song lyrics that “compare and contrast the lives of plantation owners and their slave population” and “create a political cartoon depicting immigrant labor in the United States.”

Do you know what avoids these kinds of controversies? Just teach facts and stop trying to create social justice warriors. For example, instead of asking kids to write out the job duties of their fictional slaves, just teach the kids what actual slaves were forced to do. Or even go one step further and teach them what modern slaves are currently forced to do.

Belling Slams Realtors for Anti-Christian Bigotry

Looks like Belling and I were on the same wave length this week. He brought up a couple of angles that I did not in regards to the ugly anti-Christian bigotry running through the Left these days.

The Realtors positioned themselves as being against bigotry but the action was, in and of itself, an act of overt bigotry. The Realtors made it clear that a candidate for public office who holds traditional Christian beliefs can forget about getting the organization’s support. This is vile anti-religious bigotry. The Realtors, in their attempt to take a stand against bigotry, in fact engaged in bigotry. The Supreme Court election is critical. If Hagedorn loses, the court is only one seat away from flipping to a liberal majority. When that happens, look for all of the reforms passed during the Walker era to be struck down. The stakes are very high. The Realtors’ gratuitous trashing of Hagedorn damages his campaign and makes it likelier that Wisconsin’s highest court will eventually flip to the left.

The attack on Hagedorn’s religious beliefs is part of a concerted liberal effort to block Catholics and some other Christians from serving as judges. The nomination of Gordon Giampietro to a federal judgeship in Milwaukee recently died because of the opposition of Democrat Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who objected to an interview Giampietro gave in which he defended his acceptance of Catholic teaching. Baldwin’s stand was publicly criticized by Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki and all of the state’s other Catholic bishops but Baldwin prevailed. Now, a similar attack is aimed at another would-be judge, Hagedorn.

It is unimaginable that anyone could get away with attacking a Muslim candidate’s religious beliefs. Someone who ripped a Jewish candidate for following that religion’s teaching would be labeled an anti-Semite. But it is now standard operating procedure to attack the beliefs of conservative Christian candidates.

State liberals implement religious test for public office

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a taste:

There is a dangerous strain of anti-Christian bigotry emanating from the political left in our nation. It has been growing for years, but it has finally festered to the point that, for too many on the left, a person is unfit for public office if they simply and faithfully live their lives according to their Christian faith. That bigotry is rearing its vile head right here in Wisconsin with the left’s most recent attack on Judge Brian Hagedorn.

[…]

Whether one agrees with this teaching or not is not the issue. Our nation was founded on the principles of religious liberty and the freedom to associate, or not associate, with whomever one pleases. It has long been the modern American ethos that one can practice their faith and still serve in public office.

Article VI of the U.S. Constitution explicitly states that, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” This includes requiring that people who serve in public office do not have any religion at all.

The radical left is trying to destroy our religious liberty by implementing an anti-Christian religious test for public office. A candidate fails their religious test and is declared “unfit to serve” if the candidate is a practicing Christian. Their religious test is unconstitutional, un-American, immoral, and undermines representative government.

Captured American Jihadi Wants to Return to U.S.

Unlike the British one in the previous story, this one sees the error of her ways.

An American woman captured by Kurdish forces after fleeing the last pocket of land controlled by Islamic State says she “deeply regrets” travelling to Syria to join the terror group and has pleaded to be allowed to return to her family in Alabama.

Once one of Isis’s most prominent online agitators who took to social media to call for the blood of Americans to be spilled, Hoda Muthana, 24, claims to have made a “big mistake” when she left the US four years ago and says she was brainwashed into doing so online.

Speaking from al-Hawl refugee camp in northern Syria, while her 18-month-old son played at her feet, Muthana said she misunderstood her faith, and that friends she had at the time believed they were following Islamic tenets when they aligned themselves to Isis.

“We were basically in the time of ignorance […] and then became jihadi, if you like to describe it that way,” she said. “I thought I was doing things correctly for the sake of God.”

Muthana said she had not been in contact with US officials since her capture. “I would tell them please forgive me for being so ignorant, and I was really young and ignorant and I was 19 when I decided to leave. I believe that America gives second chances. I want to return and I’ll never come back to the Middle East. America can take my passport and I wouldn’t mind.”

What do you think? On the one hand, she appears regretful and might not return to her violent ways. On the other hand, why take the risk? She was an adult when she joined the Islamic State. She made her bed, as they say…

Britain Considers Allowing Jihadist to Move In

Britain should find a way to deny her. They have enough jihadists in their midst without allowing one to return home and raise more. Oh, and remember that there are a lot more like her – unrepentant jihadists – in those refugee camps.

One of three schoolgirls who left east London in 2015 to join the Islamic State group says she has no regrets, but wants to return to the UK.

In an interview with the Times, Shamima Begum, now 19, talked about seeing “beheaded heads” in bins – but said that it “did not faze her”.

Speaking from a refugee camp in Syria, she said she was nine months pregnant and wanted to come home for her baby.

She said she’d had two other children who had both died.

[…]

Shamima Begum was legally a child when she pinned her colours to the Islamic State mast. And if she were still under 18 years old, the government would have a duty to take her and her unborn child’s “best interests” into account in deciding what to do next.

But she’s now an apparently unrepentant adult – and that means she would have to account for her decisions, even if her journey is a story of grooming and abuse.

Another British jihadi bride, Tareena Shakil, who got out of the war zone with her child, lied to the security services on her return and was jailed for membership of a terrorist group.

Northam Calls Slaves “Indentured Servants”

It is entirely possible that this man is a blithering idiot. It is also entirely possible that he’s a raging bigot. Then again, those two possibilities are not mutually exclusive.

The governor’s damage-limitation efforts risked making matters worse when he told the interviewer that 400 years has passed since the “first indentured servants from Africa landed on our shores”.

CBS presenter Gayle King, who is African American, said: “Also known as slavery.”

According to Encyclopedia Virginia, which is produced in partnership with the Library of Virginia, the first Africans to arrive in Virginia were sold in exchange for food in August 1619 from the English ship White Lion.

Unlike indentured servants, who were typically released after paying off the debt of their voyage to America, black slaves were rarely freed.

After the interview aired on Monday, Mr Northam released a statement defending his word choice.

He said that during a recent speech he “referred to them in my remarks as enslaved”.

“A historian advised me that the use of indentured was more historically accurate. The fact is, I’m still learning and committed to getting it right.”

It’s really not that hard to get it right.

Washington County Deputy Jeff Schwitz Makes us Proud

Simple kindness deserves to be celebrated.

“On Friday January 18, 2019 you were on duty and on break at a local restaurant. During your meal break, the waitress came to your table; she was noticeably upset.

You learned in the middle of bringing your meal to the table, the waitress was stopped by an individual she had hired to make a cake for a 1-year-old family member’s birthday party. The individual had come to the restaurant and told the waitress that she could no longer make the cake, returned the money and abruptly left. The birthday party was scheduled for the following day. You inquired how long ago the waitress had hired this person to make the cake. She replied, “Several weeks ago”. As a suggestion you recommended she call a local store to see if they could make a cake in time for upcoming birthday party.

The waitress was clearly upset and relayed to you that she did not know what she was going to do. She had to work two shifts that day, and did not have time to go get a cake or bake one.

Just prior to leaving, you called the waitress over to the table and asked how many people she needed the cake for, and what kind she wanted. You then told the waitress that you would go after work and get a cake for her. You also determined how many people the cake was for, what kind she wanted, and the child’s name to put on the cake. You even asked about what kind of decoration to put on the cake. The waitress explained that the child really likes “Cookie Monster”, but that any cake would be great.

Apparently you were not able to find a “Cookie Monster” themed cake, so in addition to the cake you purchased a stuffed cookie and had the bakery place frosting on it to try and resemble “Cookie Monster”. A supervisor approached you to tell you that you did a really nice thing for the waitress. Your response was that you, “Did not have anything going on after work and that it’s what we do, we help people.”

These simple acts of kindness have a lasting impression on the individuals we serve. On behalf of the Sheriff’s Office, I want to personally thank you for your dedication and compassion to the citizens of Washington County.”

Ancient Texts Discovered About Merlin

Cool.

Fragments of a manuscript from the Middle Ages which tell the story of Merlin the magician from Arthurian legend have been found in a library.

Seven hand-written fragments were discovered in the University of Bristol’s special collections library.

Specialists analysing the pieces said they contained “subtle but significant” differences from the traditional story.

“We are all very excited to discover more,” said Dr Leah Tether, of the International Arthurian Society.

The pieces of parchment were discovered by librarian Michael Richardson, who recognised a number of Arthurian names and contacted Dr Tether.

The newly-discovered text has longer, more detailed descriptions of various characters particularly during battles.

“These fragments of the story of Merlin are a wonderfully exciting find, which may have implications for the study not just of this text but also of other related and later texts that have shaped our modern understanding of the Arthurian legend,” said Dr Tether.

The books in which the fragments were found were all printed in Strasbourg between 1494 and 1502.

A team of experts will try to find out how and when the books came to England in order to be able to trace the origin of the parchments.

CNN Does Best to Spin Venezuela

Despite 20 years of the Left celebrating Socialist Venezuela, now they are trying to claim that something else caused the misery currently being felt. Yes, it is about yet another failure of socialism. Sadly, history is full of failed socialist nations.

As the dispute over who should lead Venezuela escalated to a larger geopolitical struggle between the United States, Russia, China and others, we spent nearly a week inside the country attending protests, talking to soldiers, meeting rich and poor. Their live crisis is not about the fate of socialism in South America, or Cold War-era geopolitics, they told us. It is a very simple emergency of hunger.
The average Venezuelan lost an average of 11 kilos (24 pounds) in 2017, the result of years of inflation, economic mismanagement and corruption. Venezuela was once the richest petrostate in the region, but in one Caracas supermarket last week, no eggs or bread could be found. A modest basket of water, nuts, cheese, ham and fruit cost $200 US.

Phillips Forgives Students

What a piece of garbage. He targeted teenagers and lied about the whole thing. He should be apologizing – not forgiving.

Native American activist Nathan Phillips said he has prayed about a videotaped encounter last week at the Lincoln Memorial and now he has good feelings in his heart for all the people who mistreated him.

So even though he’s angry, Phillips told NBC’s “Today” show on Thursday that he has forgiveness for the boys from Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School who he said could be seen mocking Native Americans in videos.

Phillips said the white boys were angrily chanting at a group of black street preachers, and “it was really getting explosive.” So he said he used his drum to reach God, and felt “spiritually moved into that center, that whirlwind.”

Infanticide is Legalized in Mew York

Ghastly. If it will snuff out one undesired life…

On Tuesday, coincidentally the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the New York State Senate passed the Reproductive Health Act, and it was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The law, which is likely the most expansive abortion bill in the country, allows late-term abortion until the baby’s due date if it meets certain requirements. Not only is this kind of legal protection of late-term abortion an affront to the humanity of the unborn and the dignity of society, but New York celebrated it publicly, as if it had just won the Super Bowl.

[…]

Two of the most heinous parts of the bill describe the new parameters of abortion: if “the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy” and second, and this is the worst qualifier, “or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.” The wording of that second phrase is so comprehensive, even in legal lingo, protecting the patient’s health could mean almost anything.

This new bill ensures that New York remains the most progressive of all the states in pushing forward “reproductive rights” (an absurd term for baby-killing). Per the CDC, about one in three unborn babies are aborted in New York City. Statistics also show more black babies are aborted than born alive in New York City.

Olde English

Fascinating.

“Something like 80% of all surviving Old English verse survives in four physical books… for the first time in recorded history they are all together [in this exhibition],” she tells BBC Culture. “The period that is represented by Old English is about 600 years, which is like between us and back to Chaucer… imagine if there were only four physical books that survived from that period, what would that say about our literature?”

What we understand as English has its roots in 5th-Century Germany and Denmark, from where the Anglian, Saxon and Jute tribes came. As the Roman legions withdrew around 410AD, so the Saxon war bands (what Rome called ‘the barbarians’) landed and an era of migration from the Continent and the formation of Anglo-Saxon England began. The word “English” derives from the homeland of the Angles, the Anglian peninsula in Germany. Early English was written in runes, combinations of vertical and diagonal lines that lent themselves to being carved into wood and were used by other closely related Germanic languages, such as Old Norse, Old Saxon and Old High German.

“The earliest fragments of the English language are likely to be a group of runic inscriptions on three 5th-Century cremation urns from Spong Hill in Norfolk,” Wellesley has written. “The inscriptions simply read alu, which probably means ‘ale’. Perhaps the early speakers of Old English longed for ale in death as well as life.”

How Media Manipulates to Create False Outrage Narrative

Yup. It’s not as cool of a story to say, “Gillette’s vapid virtue signaling causes minor annoyance.

Outrage? Uproar? Backlash? I’d say it’s more like a hacklash. It’s journalists dealing out pretend outrage.

Lazy media reporters who are too lazy to even actually speak to people anymore are instead constructing Potemkin Villages of fake hate, fake disgust and fake outrage. They’re Contemptkin Villages. No one really lives there. The laziest hacks can build them using tweets, even tweets from anonymous Twitter accounts. Somehow these hacks are employed at places like the BBC and the Times.

The instantly infamous Gillette ad calling out “toxic masculinity” that painted males as bullies and sexual harassers certainly spurred a lot of conversation. But were dudes outraged or did they just think the ad was misguided and wrong? Men aren’t going James-McAvoy-in-“Glass” Beastmode on Gillette. They’re just saying, “I’d rather not be lectured about what a bully and a creep I am, especially by my toiletries.” The New York Times quoted an obscure Irish deejay calling the ad “condescending” on Twitter as an example of “outrage,” alongside the British chat-show host Piers Morgan saying the ad was “pathetic.” “You’re pathetic” is an expression of outrage?

The BBC claimed breathlessly, “There have been calls for Gillette to post an apology video.” There have? Click through on the source for this tidbit, and it turns out to be a Twitter user with 18 followers who also demanded that everyone at Gillette be forced to read a men’s-rights book. Sure. Later in the piece the BBC cites another supposedly angry party to the controversy. That turned out to be an anonymous Twitter user with six followers.

(Most observers readily grasped that Gillette is desperately using cynical marketing ploys to make us remember they exist. “Gillette, Bleeding Market Share, Cuts Price of Razors” ran a Wall Street Journal headline in 2017.)

“Whip up a little outrage” is an old tabloid directive — the city editor of The Post used to scream it at me across the newsroom circa 1994 — but it did depend on finding someone who matters, or at least someone who represents a lot of people who really are angry. Shameless online editors today figure that readers will click through to anything that is supposedly making anyone mad. And if the underlying story doesn’t actually contain any evidence that anyone has blown his lid, too late! Made ya click.

Racial Integration by State

As someone who came of age in Texas and moved to Wisconsin as an adult, this is something that stuck out to me right away. For all of the moral preening about racial tolerance and diversity by yankees, Southerners are far better at actually being tolerant and diverse in their daily lives (yes, that’s a generalization).

States with the Most Racial Integration

1. New Mexico

2. West Virginia

3. Hawaii

4. Kentucky

5. Texas

States with the Least Racial Integration

45. Illinois

46. Michigan

47. Minnesota

48. Iowa

49. Maine

50. Wisconsin

Moose Envy

Heh.

For three decades, the Canadian city of Moose Jaw took pride in its status as the home of the world’s largest moose statue.

Standing at a majestic 10 meters tall, Mac the Moose has weathered brutal winters, graffiti and even the inglorious loss of his jaw. His recognition was so great that in 2013, he was named the city’s most popular celebrity.

But status and renown can be fleeting.

In 2015, Norway responded with its own moose sculpture – Storelgen, or “Big Elk” – a glitzy stainless steel bull, erected with the explicit aim of surpassing Mac’s height and stealing his place in the record books.

Now, however, the Canadians are fighting back, after a pair of comedians called Norway’s statue “an egregious offence” and pleaded with Moose Jaw residents to restore the city’s stolen glory.

“You are a city famous around the world for the glorious name of Moose Jaw,” Justin Reves told residents in a video posted to Facebook. “And everyone that comes by, knows that this should be the world’s tallest moose.”

Standing in front of a forlorn Mac, Reves and colleague Greg Moore implored the residents to act quickly by adding 31cm to Mac, to “stick it to Oslo”.