Recently in Culture Category

Great quote

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"Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility."
--Sigmund Freud

A good list - 88 Truths

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From raptitude.com - Getting better at being human:

88 Important Truths I’ve Learned About Life
Everyone gets drilled with certain lessons in life. Sometimes it takes repeated demonstrations of a given law of life to really get it into your skull, and other times one powerful experience drives the point home once forever. Here are 88 things I’ve discovered about life, the world, and its inhabitants by this point in my short time on earth.

A couple that caught my eye:

01. You can’t change other people, and it’s rude to try.
05. Everyone likes somebody who gets to the point quickly.
16. Cynicism is far too easy to be useful.
55. By default, people think far too much.
83. The fewer possessions you have, the more they do for you.

83 more at the site - some obvious stuff, some not so obvious, some downright insightful...

Trash Talking

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From NPR comes this story of a garbage war:

Philippines' Duterte Talks Trash (Literally) To Canada, Threatening War Over Garbage
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wants Canada to come get tons of trash that was wrongly sent to his country — and he's threatening extreme steps if Canada doesn't clean up the situation. "We'll declare war against them," Duterte said Tuesday.

The president was referring to a large shipment of municipal trash that has sat in Manila since its arrival in 2013 and 2014. The more than 100 shipping containers had been declared to hold recyclable plastic. But when the doors were opened, customs officials found "household trash, plastic bottles and bags, newspapers, and used adult diapers," according to Filipino news outlet ABS-CBN.

"I will not allow that kind of s***," Duterte said at a news conference Tuesday, adding that Canada has attempted to provide educational grant money to the Philippines — on the condition that it also accept the garbage.

Duterte said he wants the trash gone within a week, even if he has to return it by force.

I like Duterte - zero bullshit. All of the Philippine people I ever met have been really nice. Would not mind visiting there sometime. Besides, they have the world's only pipe organ made out of Bamboo.

A new town in Israel

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From The Jerusalem Post:

NETANYAHU: 'I WILL NAME A GOLAN TOWN AFTER TRUMP'
If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has his way, alongside Katzrin, Ramot and Ramat Magshimim on the Golan Heights, there may someday soon be a community named Kiryat Trump.

Netanyahu, who on Tuesday toured the Golan with his wife and sons, said a community or neighborhood on the Golan Heights should be named after US President Donald Trump in appreciation for his decision last month to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the strategic plateau.

“I am here with my family and many citizens of Israel at the foot of the Golan Heights, happy with the joy of the holiday and our beautiful country,” Netanyahu said in a video post. “And there is more joy - a few weeks ago I brought President Trump’s official recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights forever.”

A very nice tribute to a truly great man.

From Town and Country:

The Royal Family Celebrates Queen Elizabeth's Birthday With Sweet Messages on Instagram
This morning, Queen Elizabeth turned 93. The British monarch celebrated her birthday by attending Easter church services in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle alongside several members of her family. Prince William and Kate were in attendance, as were Princess Anne and her two children, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall and their spouses. Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice, and Prince Edward and his family were all there as well.

But there were still a few missing faces in the crowd. While Harry walked down the hill alongside his cousins, his wife Meghan stayed home, likely as she is just days away from her due date. Prince Philip also skipped this morning's events, as did Prince Charles and Camilla, who are currently in Scotland.

But regardless of who was at the church this morning, the royal family also turned out for the Queen's big day on social media, sharing tributes to their matriarch on Instagram.

God Save (and Bless) The Queen. She is one of a kind.

Now this looks wonderful

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We focus on his hobbit books but J. R. R. Tolkien lived a very rich and interesting life. Comes out May 10th.

Looks like Georgetown University is circling the drain. From the New York Times:

Georgetown Students Agree to Create Reparations Fund
Students at Georgetown University voted on Thursday to increase their tuition to benefit descendants of the 272 enslaved Africans that the Jesuits who ran the school sold nearly two centuries ago to secure its financial future.

The fund they voted to create would represent the first instance of reparations for slavery by a prominent American organization.

I am fine with this AS LONG AS those receiving the monies agree to pay $1 for every cell phone call they make. Why? Cell phones were invented by a white guy. Television? Same thing. The encryption process that secures online commerce? Two white guys.

Fred Reed has just a partial list:

Euclidean geometry. Parabolic geometry. Hyperbolic geometry. Projective geometry. Differential geometry. Calculus: Limits, continuity, differentiation, integration. Physical chemistry. Organic chemistry. Biochemistry. Classical mechanics. The indeterminacy principle. The wave equation. The Parthenon. The Anabasis. Air conditioning. Number theory. Romanesque architecture. Gothic architecture. Information theory. Entropy. Enthalpy. Every symphony ever written. Pierre Auguste Renoir. The twelve-tone scale. The mathematics behind it, twelfth root of two and all that. S-p hybrid bonding orbitals. The Bohr-Sommerfeld atom. The purine-pyrimidine structure of the DNA ladder. Single-sideband radio. All other radio. Dentistry. The internal-combustion engine. Turbojets. Turbofans. Doppler beam-sharpening. Penicillin. Airplanes. Surgery. The mammogram. The Pill. The condom. Polio vaccine. The integrated circuit. The computer. Football. Computational fluid dynamics. Tensors. The Constitution. Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Aeschylus, Homer, Hesiod. Glass. Rubber. Nylon. Roads. Buildings. Elvis. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. (OK, that’s nerve gas, and maybe we didn’t really need it.) Silicone. The automobile. Really weird stuff, like clathrates, Buckyballs, and rotaxanes. The Bible. Bug spray. Diffie-Hellman, public-key cryptography, and RSA. Et cetera.

'Nuff said... This observation is not racism. It is a simple fact. Truth is color blind and if you try to bend the narrative around this (all hail diversity) than YOU are being racist.

Immigrant gangs - MS-13

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Just wonderful - from the Houston Chronicle:

‘A ticking time bomb’: MS-13 threatens a middle school, warn teachers, parents, students
The boys had once been friends before MS-13 began recruiting one of them. Now, as other students streamed to class one April morning at William Wirt Middle School in Riverdale, Maryland, the two teens squared off in the third-story bathroom - a fight captured by another student on his cellphone.

A bit more:

Gang-related fights are now a near-daily occurrence at Wirt, where a small group of suspected MS-13 members at the overwhelmingly Hispanic school throw gang signs, sell drugs, draw gang graffiti and aggressively recruit students recently arrived from Central America, according to more than two dozen teachers, parents and students. Most of those interviewed asked not to be identified for fear of losing their jobs or being targeted by MS-13.

Although administrators deny Wirt has a gang problem, the situation inside the aging, overcrowded building has left some teachers so afraid that they refuse to be alone with their students. Many said they had repeatedly reported incidents involving suspected gang members to administrators, only to be ignored.

And of course:

Rhonda Simley, the principal at Wirt, declined repeated requests for an interview.

Discovery is a bitch

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Trials can turn out really bad at times - the dicovery process can uncover things that people do not want uncovered. When you see a very public lawsuit and then a very quick out-of-court settlement, you can bet that the concept of discovery was not fully understood by one or more parties. From Karl Denninger writing at The Market Ticker:

Jussie Gets 'In The Butt' Smollett
I'm going to grab a big bowl and sit back to watch the ****show...

Chicago is vowing a civil suit against Jussie Smollett after the "Empire" actor "refused to reimburse" the city for the cost of investigating his controversial case.

He's gonna lose, and badly -- the standard of proof is preponderance of the evidence in a civil suit, not beyond a reasonable doubt.

But more to the point he's got a much bigger problem -- discovery.

The so-called "sealed records" are worthless in this regard, especially considering that the CPD released them before the sealing order was filed. Those are usable in a civil trial and what's worse since the criminal charges were dismissed I doubt he can get anywhere trying to take the 5th either.

That's the real bitch when you pull something and whoever you screw gets mad enough to sue; they get to file for discovery and damn near anything they want that is relevant to the case, they get -- and its public. You can try to have things sealed but you're likely to lose that motion; there are only a few legitimate ways to seal discovery in a civil suit other than by agreement (e.g. trade secrets, etc) and none of them are going to work in this case. "I don't want anyone to see it" doesn't get there.

Were I Jussie I'd have negotiated the invoice from the city and forked over the money rather than go down this road. Once they sue him he gets to pay the lawyers, even if he settles later, and that isn't going to be cheap.

It would be one thing if he had a reasonable chance of prevailing -- but I give him one chance in 10. Trying to throw the two brothers under the bus isn't likely to work, given that they have the check from Jussie. If it was one word against another, maybe -- but there's documentation and that's going to be damn hard to explain. Never mind that the civil trial record will likely bury any chance of him working ever again. Would you hire someone who gets nailed on a civil judgement for a hate-crime hoax when said person is a minority?

Heh - the wheels of justice may grind slow but they leave a very fine ash in their wake.

Passages - RIP Dan Robbins

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Dan Robbins? From the Toledo Blade:

Toledo-area artist who created paint-by-numbers pictures dies
An artist who created the first paint-by-numbers pictures and helped turn the kits into an American sensation during the 1950s has died.

Dan Robbins, whose works were dismissed by some critics but later celebrated by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, died Monday in Sylvania, said his son, Larry Robbins. He was 93.

A bit of Americana - sales peaked in 1955 at 20,000,000

Life in today's America

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Interesting story - from The Daily Wire:

61-Year-Old Woman Gives Birth To Own Granddaughter For Gay Son Using His Husband's Sister's Egg
Last week, a 61-year-old woman carrying her own granddaughter via a surrogacy pregnancy gave birth in a Nebraska hospital.

Cecile Eledge carried her gay son's daughter to term; the six-pound baby girl, named Uma Louise Dougherty-Eledge, was conceived through in vitro fertilization with her son Matthew Eledge's sperm and his husband's sister's eggs.

According to NBC News, Matthew and his husband Elliot Dougherty decided to have a child using Elliot's sister Lea Yribe's eggs via surrogacy but were "hesitant to go into agencies" due to the conservative nature of the state.

“Nebraska is a bit more conservative, and we were hesitant to go into agencies, and had a bit of fear that maybe some things would hold us back being a gay couple,” Matthew said, according to the outlet.

So, Matthew’s mother offered to carry the baby. “I just never hesitated. I was just so excited to be able to be part of this adventure with them. … It was just unconditional love," she said.

That is going to make family reunions interesting...

Signs of the times - Las Vegas

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From Las Vegas station KTNV:

Narcan now available in Las Vegas vending machines
Narcan is now available in vending machines within the Las Vegas valley.

These machines won't potentially subtract years from your life, but instead, it could save your life - making a huge difference in the fight against opioid addiction in Southern Nevada.

You have to register and get a card to use these machines but still, a great idea.

Make that a Hell No! - gun grabbing

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Interesting news from the New Zealand Herald:

Mongrel Mob leader says members won't hand in their guns
Gang members will not be handing in their guns following the law reform announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, a Mongrel Mob leader has said.

Sonny Fatu, president of the Waikato branch of the Mongrel Mob, said that, while some members of the gang may have illegal guns, they will not be handing them in as they are necessary to their protection.

"Will gangs get rid of their weapons? No. Because of who we are, we can't guarantee our own safety," he told Stuff.

He admitted many of the gang's estimated 1000 associates hold illegal firearms but says they should be trusted not to harm innocent people.

"It's not in our culture to inflict harm on innocent people like what happened in Christchurch," Fatu said.

Again, public shootings are always perpetuated by mentally ill people and we are failing to address this. Sane gun owners never do something like that. A bit more:

Members of the Mongrel Mob and Black Power gangs have had public displays of solidarity with the victims, including guarding mosques while Muslim people prayed.

More here, here and here.

Learning from history - not

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George Santayana said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
And then, there is this attributed to Mark Twain: "History Does Not Repeat Itself, But It Rhymes"
Anyway, here is something from Ed Driscoll writing at Instapundit that caught my eye:

Shot:

Infectious diseases—some that ravaged populations in the Middle Ages—are resurging in California and around the country, and are hitting homeless populations especially hard.

Los Angeles recently experienced an outbreak of typhus—a disease spread by infected fleas on rats and other animals—in downtown streets. Officials briefly closed part of City Hall after reporting that rodents had invaded the building.

* * * * * * * *

The diseases sometimes get the “medieval” moniker because people in that era lived in squalid conditions without clean water or sewage treatment, said Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of medicine and public health at UCLA.

— “’Medieval’ Diseases Flare as Unsanitary Living Conditions Proliferate,” Scientific American, March 15th.

Chaser:

In 1968, in San Francisco, I came across a curious footnote to the hippie movement. At the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic there were doctors who were treating diseases no living doctor had ever encountered before, diseases that had disappeared so long ago they had never even picked up Latin names, diseases such as the mange, the grunge, the itch, the twitch, the thrush, the scroll, the rot. And how was it that they had now returned? It had to do with the fact that thousands of young men and women had migrated to San Francisco to live communally in what I think history will record as one of the most extraordinary religious fevers of all time.

The hippies sought nothing less than to sweep aside all codes and restraints of the past and start out from zero. At one point the novelist Ken Kesey, leader of a commune called the Merry Pranksters, organized a pilgrimage to Stonehenge with the idea of returning to Anglo-Saxon civilization’s point zero, which he figured was Stonehenge, and heading out all over again to do it better. Among the codes and restraints that people in the communes swept aside—quite purposely—were those that said you shouldn’t use other people’s toothbrushes or sleep on other people’s mattresses without changing the sheets or, as was more likely, without using any sheets at all, or that you and five other people shouldn’t drink from the same bottle of Shasta or take tokes from the same cigarette. And now, in 1968, they were relearning . . . the laws of hygiene . . . by getting the mange, the grunge, the itch, the twitch, the thrush, the scroff, the rot. This process, namely the relearning—following a Promethean and unprecedented start from zero—seems to me to be the leitmotif of the twenty-first century in America.

—Tom Wolfe, from his 1987 essay “The Great Relearning,” included in his 2000 anthology, Hooking Up. 

Ed also links to this article; the thesis of which, I think, is a very good idea: We Shut Down State Mental Hospitals. Some People Want to Bring Them Back

Some sobering numbers - social media

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From WebMd:

Do Social Media Hurt Mental Health of US Young?
Young Americans may be more vulnerable to depression, distress and suicidal thoughts or attempts than their parents' generation, and social media might be fueling that troubling trend.

So claims a review of a decade's worth of data on roughly 200,000 teens between the ages of 12 and 17, and 400,000 young adults over 18.

Investigators found that beginning in the mid-2000s, those under the age of 26 started reporting a huge rise in symptoms related to all three mental health problems. The spikes ranged from about 55 to 70 percent. No such jump was seen among adults over the age of 26.

A bit more - Twenge is Dr. Jean Twenge from University of California at San Diego

Instead, Twenge thinks the likely culprit is the explosive rise of social media over the past 10 years. The result, she said, is that "the way teens and young adults spend their leisure time has fundamentally changed."

They "spend less time with their friends in person, and less time sleeping, and more time on digital media," Twenge noted. "The decline in sleep time may be especially important, as not getting enough sleep is a major risk factor for depression and suicidal thoughts."

What's more, digital media is "something that happens to them every day, for hours at a time," she said. "So, it makes sense it would have the largest impact on their mental health."

And that impact hasn't been good.

I see this all the time in restaurants and bars - people glued to their phones instead of talking to others. I have not logged into Facebook for months and am planning to delete the account. One less thing to deal with.

Any way they can - Mexicans

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Would not have thought that the numbers would be so high - from the Washington Examiner:

More than half of all illegal immigrants arrested at the US-Canada border are Mexican
More than half of the illegal immigrants arrested last year as they traveled from Canada to the U.S. were Mexican citizens, according to newly released government data.

A total of 4,316 noncitizens were arrested at the northern U.S. border in fiscal 2018, and 2,245 of those were Mexican citizens. Mexican nationals are able to fly to Canada without a visa.

Total arrests at the northern border jumped 43 percent between 2017 and 2018, and reached the highest level in eight years. In 2017, 3,027 were arrested.

The people trying to cross the Southern border are paying coyotes a lot of money to be transported and guided. A plane ticket and hotel lodging is a lot cheaper.

Rotten Tomatoes rating system

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Has been taken over by SJWs - from Zero Hedge:

After Rotten Tomates Removes 93% Of Reviews, Captain Marvel Still Sucks
After Rotten Tomatoes removed over 50,000 Captain Marvel reviews, or around 93%, the movie's audience score barely moved - rising from a dismal 32% to a pathetic 36%. 

While the unusually high user rating count was widely reported as the work of sexist, pro-patriarchy "trolls" - Rotten Tomatoes told Hollywood Reporter that the problem was due to a "bug in the post-release functionality for movies that have released into theaters since our product update last week," which "included both pre-release and post-release fan voting."

In short, the movie's "rotten" score isn't necessarily due to overly-aggressive feminist marketing, or star Brie Larson's man-hating comments against white male movie reviewers. The movie simply sucks.

In other words, they got caught fudging the reviews and they are backpedaling as fast as their little social justice warrior feet can pedal. Tyler has screen captures of before and after the alteration. Once again, the internet is forever.

Tyler recommends Alita: Battle Angel - am planning to see it before it leaves the big screen. Big fan of Tom Holkenborg the soundtrack composer.

RIP - King Kong Bundy

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When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, I tuned into WIIC's Chiller Theater for my weekly saturday night fix of science fiction movies. The host - Chilly Billy Cardille also announced local professional wrestling matches and since I liked his taste in science fiction, I started watching the wrestling shows. Far from being an agressive sport, it was pure theater and a lot of fun.

Segue forward 30 years or so when I moved to Seattle and opened my computer store. I had been building them from parts at first but was looking for a "system" I could sell for people just needing to do basic office stuff. I settled on Vendex - an arm of a Netherlands company but manufactured by Samsung. Very solid system, decent performance and good value.

They hired King Kong Bundy to promote these computers - here is one video:

Sadly, he passed away. From FOX News:

WWE legend King Kong Bundy dies at 61
Former WWE legend King Kong Bundy has died, the wrestling company announced Tuesday. He was 61.

The New Jersey native, whose real name is Christopher Pallies, was known for his enormous stature inside the ring. He was 6-foot-4 and weighed 458 pounds. People called him the “walking condominium.”

Part of his gimmick was having referees count to five, instead of three, when he pinned an opponent to show that there was no way they would get up from his destruction.

Didn't see anything of real interest there today. There was a broadcast radio console that was designed for remote operations but it was from the 1960's, monaural and no way to test it out so I passed. A lot of very collectible baseball memorbilia - autographed balls, etc... but that is not my thing so I didn't bother to register.

There was this piece - I would love to show it to a modern day progressive just to watch their little head explode:

20190302-history.jpgDemocrats were the founders of the Ku Klux Klan. They were the party of the South, especially Southren land owners and they created this "secret" militant arm of the Democrat party to keep the newly freed slaves "in line". Republicans were the party of the North - industrialists, ranchers, farmers, business owners, etc...

Now, they are using identity politics to divide our population into little balkanized social groups. They are using the spectre of racism to shout down anyone who disagrees with them. The media ignores the hate-crime hoaxes and the pitiful black-on-black murder and violence (here, here and here for starters)  that years of Democrat rule in large cities have fostered.

Even just 40 years ago, our Black population faced major discrimination and white on black crime. Now, thanks to the Democratic party, they have been moved onto Welfare and the Democrat Plantation where they are kept disorganized and on the dole - a consistant source of Dem. votes and so disorganized that they can not rise up as one and protest.

It is interesting to look at the Black Radicals of the 1960's: Malcom X was a Republican. Dr. Martin Luther King was a Republican. James Meredith was a Republican.

People these days are forgetting their history and neither the media nor the schools are reminding them.

Seven years ago - Trayvon Martin

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Seven years ago, George Zimmerman defended himself against a violent attack and the media pushed a narrative that was completely incongruous with the facts. Bill Whittle did an excellent video outlining the reality:

William A. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has a lot more:

Seven years after Trayvon Martin shooting, the falsehoods, propaganda and misinformation are worse than ever
Seven years ago George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in lawful self-defense, as Martin beat Zimmerman to a bloody pulp Mixed Martial Arts style. Martin died of a single shot.

The eyewitness and forensic evidence introduced at trial corroborated Zimmerman’s account of being sucker punched in the nose, something Martin had bragged in text messages, kept from the jury, was his preferred method of starting fights. An eyewitness witnessed the beating, and the forensics were completely consistent with Zimmerman’s account.

Zimmerman did not have to rely on the Stand Your Ground law because SYG only addresses the duty to retreat, something Zimmerman could not do because he was pinned to the ground on his back with his head being smashed.

Much more at the site. The bias in today's media is unreal.

Smart phones - a rant

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Great rant at American Institute for Economic Research:

Don’t Blame Technology, Blame Yourself
An older woman and her middle-aged son were at a public restaurant for Thanksgiving. He spent the whole of the dinner flipping through his phone, without uttering a word. She did her best to maintain her dignity while looking past him and trying to pretend that this is what life is like. This tragic scene lasted until they paid the bill and left.

The scene was relayed to me by a senior in college who explains how her generation is figuring out the right and wrong ways to use new technology, correcting for the errors of their parents, who somehow allowed their lives to be drained by the newness of it all.

Zak Tebbal drew the perfect cartoon for how our relationship to our smartphones has changed over the last 10 years.

20190228-phone.jpg

Sadly so true - I will be out for a bite to eat or a beer and see couples both on their phones or one and the other one staring out into space. These things have their use but they should not be a constant distraction. What really gets me is seeing kids in a store plugged into their tablet watching cartoons. This is a cheap and effective way to keep little junior quiet but it is having a profound effect on their future mental development.

Just wow - gymnastics through the years

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Great video:

At least there is plenty to eat

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From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Multiple-vehicle crash near Donner Pass creates traffic nightmare on I-80 heading to Truckee
Traffic was still at a standstill or barely moving on eastbound I-80 following a multiple-vehicle crash near Donner Pass on Saturday morning that stopped eastbound traffic heading towards Truckee.

The Placer sheriff's Twitter account tweeted out a video at 8:25 a.m. showing traffic completely stopped on I-80 along with the following text: "Current view along EB I80 just before Applegate: traffic at a complete standstill. Please stay home and avoid traveling to the Sierra unless you absolutely have to."

Title? Here: Donner Party

Very cool - human rights

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Real action, not virtue signaling. From NBC News:

Trump administration launches global effort to end criminalization of homosexuality
The Trump administration is launching a global campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality in dozens of nations where it's still illegal to be gay, U.S. officials tell NBC News, a bid aimed in part at denouncing Iran over its human rights record.

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest-profile openly gay person in the Trump administration, is leading the effort, which kicks off Tuesday evening in Berlin. The U.S. embassy is flying in LGBT activists from across Europe for a strategy dinner to plan to push for decriminalization in places that still outlaw homosexuality — mostly concentrated in the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean.

“It is concerning that, in the 21st century, some 70 countries continue to have laws that criminalize LGBTI status or conduct,” said a U.S. official involved in organizing the event.

Outstanding. The problem is not the Jussie Smolletts in the USA, it is those nations that still persecute and murder gay people for the "crime" of being gay. 2010 US Census data puts homosexuality of any stripe at about 3.5% of the US population. No reason for that number to be different worldwide - gays need rights just as much as straights.

A bit more from Grenell:

“This is not the first time the Iranian regime has put a gay man to death with the usual outrageous claims of prostitution, kidnapping, or even pedophilia. And it sadly won’t be the last time,” Grenell wrote. “Barbaric public executions are all too common in a country where consensual homosexual relationships are criminalized and punishable by flogging and death.”

He added that “politicians, the U.N., democratic governments, diplomats and good people everywhere should speak up — and loudly.”

Good.

RIP - Karl Lagerfeld

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Not at all into the fashion world but I always liked his style. From Vogue:

Legendary Designer Karl Lagerfeld Has Died
Karl Lagerfeld, one of the most prolific and widely popular designers of the 20th and 21st centuries, has died in Paris. He was 85.

Lagerfeld was creative director of Chanel, the French house founded by Gabrielle Chanel, for an era-defining, age-defying 36 years. Upon assuming the reins in 1983, Lagerfeld swiftly revived Chanel, reinterpreting the house founder’s iconic tweed skirtsuits, little black dresses, and quilted handbags. He did it via the lens of hip-hop one season and California surfer chicks the next—he was a pop culture savant—without ever forgetting what the revolutionary Coco stood for: independence, freedom, and modernity.

He had a good run and now the angels will get some spiffy new robes.

No big surprise there - from The Hollywood Reporter:

Box Office: Winter 2019 Revenue Hits 8-Year Low in U.S.
Captain Marvel can't arrive in theaters soon enough.

That's the refrain across Hollywood — and on Wall Street — as industry observers grapple with a downturn at the North American box office following a record-shattering 2018. Revenue for the first seven weeks of 2019 has hit an eight-year low, capped by what looks to be the worst Presidents Day weekend in 15 years.

January was down more than 15 percent from the prior year sans a breakout hit or a carryover holiday hit such as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and The Greatest Showman last year, or a Star Wars pic the three previous years. Revenue for January 2019 came in at roughly $812 million, the lowest since 2011.

They keep remaking classic films but making them politically correct. This may satisfy a very small and very vocal minority but the great majority of us want our characters to remain true to their original form.

From Vanderleun who offers several more such truths at this link:

20190217-true.jpeg

It seems that the two accomplices are singing their little hearts out - more from yesterday's news item from Robert Stacy McCain:

Report: Nigerian Brothers ‘Flipped,’ Help Cops in Jussie Smollett ‘Hate Crime’ Hoax
Gateway Pundit notes that the local CWB Chicago news site has produced outstanding coverage of the Jussie Smollett story. Their latest report indicates that Nigerian brothers Abimbola “Abel” Osundairo and Olabinjo “Ola” Osundairo were released by cops Friday after two days of interrogation because they are cooperating with the investigation, which is now focused directly at Smollett himself:

CWBChicago has learned that federal investigators sat in as Chicago police interrogated the Osundario brothers for two days after the men were taken into custody at O’Hare airport on Wednesday evening. The Osundiros flew into the airport minutes earlier, returning from a trip to Nigeria that began hours after Smollett reported being attacked.

The brothers, who have a relationship with Smollett and served as extras on his TV show, saw their status with police evolve from “potential persons of interest” to “potential suspects” to being “unable to leave” custody because investigators had “probable cause that they were involved in a crime” to being set free in the course of 48 hours.

A lot more at the site and Robert concludes with this:

That “hate letter” was sent through the U.S. Postal Service, and I’m sure there’s a federal law that could make that a felony. Everything we’ve learned so far points toward Smollett attempting to stage a hoax that would make it seem he was attacked by Trump supporters. and you can bet money the Chicago FBI is under heavy pressure to solve this case. You see, this is not just a Chicago police case. Maybe the cops (or their Democrat bosses at City Hall) don’t want to bring any charges against Jussie, but because this was investigated by the feds as a potential “hate crime,” it’s not up to Chicago P.D. Lying to an FBI agent? You can go to prison for that. Obstruction of justice in a federal investigation? Witness tampering? Attempting to destroy evidence? Yeah, the feds have lots of ways to send you to prison, if they want to, and I’m thinking our new Attorney General William Barr might want to see maximum prosecution in a case like this.

Mr. Smollett brought this upon himself with his little act of virtue signalling. I am betting some kind of plea deal but he will never work in the media business again.

And of course, because it fit the narrative, Hollywood went bonkers:

15 Celebrities Who Blamed Trump, Deplorables for Hoax Attack on Jussie Smollett

Wheels are coming off his story - from CNN of all places:

Police sources: New evidence suggests Jussie Smollett orchestrated attack
Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation tell CNN that Chicago Police believe actor Jussie Smollet paid two men to orchestrate an assault on him that he reported late last month.

The men, who are brothers, were arrested Wednesday but released without charges Friday after Chicago police cited the discovery of "new evidence."

The sources told CNN the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement.

Heh - when you are a liberal public figure and CNN doubts your narrative? Toast... Hope he enjoyed his fifteen minutes of fame. He will probably be a star in the Chicago stage and media industry but never Hollywood, never again. Not trustworthy.

Thanks e-cigs

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From the Centers for Disease Control:

Tobacco Use By Youth Is Rising
Tobacco product use among US youth is increasing. More than 1 in 4 high school students and about 1 in 14 middle school students in 2018 had used a tobacco product in the past 30 days. This was a considerable increase from 2017, which was driven by an increase in e-cigarette use. E-cigarette use increased from 11.7% to 20.8% among high school students and from 3.3% to 4.9% among middle school students from 2017 to 2018. No change was found in the use of other tobacco products, including cigarettes, during this time.

Among youth:

    • E-cigarettes are still the most commonly used tobacco product, ahead of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, hookah, and pipes.
    • E-cigarettes are the most commonly used product in combination with other tobacco products.
    • E-cigarette use is highest for boys, whites, and high school students.

Thanks guys. e-cigarettes need to have the same warning labels as any other tobacco product. The "juice" is full of crap that I would not want in my lungs and there is no historical record of what long-term use will cause.

Interesting study - at The Atlantic:

Liberals and Conservatives React in Wildly Different Ways to Repulsive Pictures
Why do we have the political opinions we have? Why do we embrace one outlook toward the world and not another? How and why do our stances change? The answers to questions such as these are of course complex. Most people aren’t reading policy memos to inform every decision. Differences of opinion are shaped by contrasting life experiences: where you live; how you were raised; whether you’re rich or poor, young or old. Emotion comes into the picture, and emotion has a biological basis, at least in part. All of this and more combines into a stew without a fixed recipe, even if many of the ingredients are known.

The study:

In the mid-2000s, a political scientist approached the neuroscientist Read Montague with a radical proposal. He and his colleagues had evidence, he said, that political orientation might be partly inherited, and might be revealed by our physiological reactivity to threats. To test their theory, they wanted Montague, who heads the Human Neuroimaging Laboratory at Virginia Tech, to scan the brains of subjects as they looked at a variety of images—including ones displaying potential contaminants such as mutilated animals, filthy toilets, and faces covered with sores—to see whether neural responses showed any correlation with political ideology. Was he interested?

Montague initially laughed at the idea—for one thing, MRI research requires considerable time and resources—but the team returned with studies to argue their case, and eventually he signed on. When the data began rolling in, any skepticism about the project quickly dissolved. The subjects, 83 in total, were first shown a randomized mixture of neutral and emotionally evocative pictures—this second category contained both positive and negative images—while undergoing brain scans. Then they filled out a questionnaire seeking their views on hot-button political and social issues, in order to classify their general outlook on a spectrum from extremely liberal to extremely conservative. As Montague mapped the neuroimaging data against ideology, he recalls, “my jaw dropped.” The brains of liberals and conservatives reacted in wildly different ways to repulsive pictures: Both groups reacted, but different brain networks were stimulated. Just by looking at the subjects’ neural responses, in fact, Montague could predict with more than 95 percent accuracy whether they were liberal or conservative.

And it starts to get really interesting:

The subjects in the trial were also shown violent imagery (men pointing revolvers directly at the camera, battle scenes, car wrecks) and pleasant pictures (smiling babies, beautiful sunsets, cute bunnies). But it was only the reaction to repulsive things that correlated with ideology. “I was completely flabbergasted by the predictability of the results,” Montague says.

A long and very interesting article. It explains a lot of events in current "culture".

From CNN:

Washington measles outbreak climbs while other states grapple with the disease
This year, Washington state is averaging more than one new measles case a day as officials try to stop the disease's spread.

Since January 1, Clark County Public Health has confirmed 49 cases of measles. In King County, home of Seattle, at least one confirmed case was reported.

A vast majority of those who came down with measles -- 41 -- were not vaccinated against the disease, Clark County officials said. One patient received a vaccination against MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), but the health agency declined to provide more details on that case "to protect the patient's privacy."

Not vaccinating your child is child abuse pure and simple. Simple, cheap and effective.

About that climate change - Chicago

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From the New York City FOX affiliate:

People robbed of Canada Goose coats at gunpoint in Chicago
Chicago police are reporting gunpoint robberies targeting people wearing pricey Canada Goose jackets as temperatures plunge in the city.

Over the past two weeks, police say there's been a spate of the thefts in which people wearing the luxury coats have been targeted and forced to give up the jackets. The coats can cost upward of $1,000 and are often seen on celebrities.

Six people had their Canada Goose coats stolen last week and two more were targeted Wednesday.

Police say two men jumped from a Mercedes, showed a gun and punched a 54-year-old man before forcibly taking his coat and wallet Wednesday. The same night, two men showed a gun to a 23-year-old man walking with a friend and demanded his Canada Goose coat.

Got to love Chicago - draconian gun laws and in January alone, 124 shootings with 20 homicides. Yeah - gun control really works...

Mike Rowe is a national treasure

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He was speaking at this year's SHOT Show in Vegas - from The Federalist:

At SHOT Show 2019, Mike Rowe Shares Three Life Lessons He Learned From Gun Owners
Using lessons he learned from his time hosting the show “Dirty Jobs,” popular TV personality Mike Rowe promoted common sense and personal responsibility at SHOT Show 2019, the nation’s largest annual gun industry convention. Organized by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), SHOT Show attracts upwards of 60,000 people each year.

Rowe, who made a name for himself showcasing the work ethic of blue collar workers on the show “Dirty Jobs,” told the audience of three major lessons he learned from people he met on the show–lessons that all came from people who owned guns.

A couple of nuggets:

“Be wary of experts,” he told the group. “Don’t dismiss them out of hand, but don’t always assume they know what they’re talking about.”

“A pig farmer might know more than an MBA. A farmer might know more about being kind to animals than a self-appointed expert.”

“The country has a skills gap,” he said. “We have seven million jobs available that can’t be filled because people in this country no longer have the skills to do them.”

“We have lent over $1.5 trillion to kids who can’t pay it back so they can spend four years trying to get jobs that don’t exist.”

Great article and so true. Mike speaks truth to power.

A counter to the toxic Gillette video

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Spot on:

More at The Western Journal:

Exclusive: Meet the CEO Who Put His Company on the Line To Stand Up to Gillette’s ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Ad
Editor’s note: The following was written by Ilan Srulovicz, the CEO and founder of Egard Watch Company, explaining why his company produced an ad to counter Gillette’s recent commercial on masculinity.
The story behind making the video is interesting. I made the ad completely alone. The voice in the video is mine and the editing is my own.

I was told by most people around me and in my company that making this video was a terrible idea and could not only hurt my brand but me personally as the CEO.

I used my personal funds on the video because I was worried about the backlash.

The main feedback was, “This will draw attention away from women’s issues,” “The political climate right now won’t support a film like this,” “Ask yourself why no other company is doing it,” etc.

He concludes with this:

The Gillette ad rubbed me the wrong way. I, like the overwhelming majority of men, am absolutely disgusted by sexual assault, rape, bullying, so why throw it in my face as if my “gender” as a whole is toxic? Using terms like “toxic masculinity” is using too broad a stroke to address specific issues — issues which I agree very much need to be addressed, especially after all the crazy stuff we’ve seen in Hollywood.

I am not against Gillette trying to start a conversation about assault, but I do have an issue with how they went about it.

Great call - pity I do not wear a watch. They make some nice ones. The overall response to the video has been impressively favorable too - they are back-ordered on many of their watches.

And, of course, the YouTube Thumb-O-Meter:

20190121-egard.jpg

I love it - 161K to 2.1K - 76 times greater.

A song for our times

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Tip of the hat to Vanderleun

YouTube channel for the performer: Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq

That Gillette video

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Boy did they get a reaction - just not what they were expecting. Gillette released a video that is 100% pure virtue signalling. You can watch it here if you want. As we can see, the overall reaction has not been kind:

20190115-gillette.jpg

421K Thumbs Down as opposed to 129K Thumbs Up. More than three to one. That has got to hurt. The 115,670 Comments are a fun read - some weapons grade snark...

Makes perfect sense to me

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From Big Think:

Does manual labor boost happiness?

The author detours to set up a story and then, a few paragraphs later, gets to his thesis.

As Luddites were raging against machines, neuroscientist Kelly Lambert says doctors were prescribing knitting to anxious women. Medical professionals sensed that the act of working with their hands calmed housewives. It appears that using our biological inheritance, a wonderful adaptation of bipedalism—dexterous and flexible hands featuring opposable thumbs—is necessary for optimal mental health.

Sure, the Luddites were concerned about feeding their family, not weaving cotton per se, but losing such an integral part of your identity forces you to confront your value as a sentient being. The combination of repetitive movement (of say, knitting) and the production of a tangible product (a hat or scarf) can be therapeutic. Lambert coined the term "behaviorceuticals" to honor this valuable drug.

In her most recent book, Well Grounded, Lambert notes the devastating effects automation technologies wreak on our brains:

Our view of prosperity in contemporary Western societies with creature comforts such as lush surroundings and various personal services to avoid physical effort may suffocate our neural functions.

Matthew Crawford agrees. He was "always sleepy" while employed at a D.C. think tank. Though earning more money than ever before, he felt a valuable piece of himself being lost. He left the lucrative position to become an auto mechanic, which resulted in his 2009 book, Shop Class as Soulcraft.

In it he posits the idea that as a society we've gotten the role of work backwards. Instead of championing manual labor, which he says is more intellectually engaging than his desk job, we choose to financially and socially reward careers that rely on computers to work for us. With industrialization came automation as warehouse owners sought to maximize capital while minimizing labor costs. In this two-century-long process, an essential part of our humanity is gone.

A lot more at the site - I totally agree with this. I am a lot more fulfilled when working with my hands.

Quote of the day - academia

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From Vox Day:

In academia there is no difference between academia and the real world; in the real world there is.

Christmas Eve. Roswell, New Mexico. 1949

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Finally, the story comes out:

20181224-roswell.jpg

Shamelessly stolen from The Silicon Graybeard

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