Archive for QOTW

Quote of the week

Ana Marie Cox, founding editor of Wonkette, presently writing about US politics for the Guardian, on coming out as Christian in an atmosphere that seems hostile to it:

Conservatives might pounce on my closeted Christianity as evidence of a liberal media aversion to God. After all, my day job is all about expressing my opinions and beliefs — some of them unpopular. In my private life, and very cautiously on social media, the people close to me can see evidence of my affiliation. Tweeting out prayers and quotes from Scripture still feels subversive. But until now, I have avoided publicly aligning myself with one of the most popular beliefs in the world.

My hesitancy to flaunt my faith has nothing to do with fear of judgment by non-believers. My mother was an angry, agnostic ex-Baptist; my father is a casual atheist. (I asked him once why he didn’t believe in God, and he replied easily, “Because He doesn’t exist.”)

I am not smart enough to argue with those that cling to disbelief. Centuries of philosophers have made better arguments than I could, and I am comfortable with just pointing in their direction if an acquaintance insists, “If there is a God, then why [insert atrocity]?” For me, belief didn’t come after I had the answer to that question. Belief came when I stopped needing the answer.

As for said “liberal media,” they will happily acknowledge something greater than themselves. Unfortunately, they think it’s government.

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Fark blurb of the week

Purina. Dog? Ciao.

(Linked to this.)

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Quote of the week

Roberta X, on the debased condition of our politics, and by extension our culture:

[W]e live in a bumper-sticker kind of world, where Twitter’s 140-character limit about matches the typical attention span. Buckley, Vidal and Mencken are all dead and buried deep and the latter’s “boobocracy” is in the driver’s seat, encouraged by as rotten a pack of politicians as we’ve ever had — no worse than the worst, but certainly not a patch on the best.

The Right have become modern-day Know-Nothings (and even the Left has learned to drop final g’s when hectoring the unwashed); the Left encourages a culture of smug superiority, especially among the average (and the Right emulates it with a wink and a chortle), with a resulting downward pressure on the intellect of the body politic: Sure, both sides say, we’re Average Folks, but we’re way smarter than those crooks and fools who support the other party. Next thing you know, we’re all extras in Idiocracy. (I’m not talking about who does or doesn’t have a college degree — you can walk out with a Ph.D. and still be an ignorant lout about anything outside your specialty.)

By under-estimating themselves and way underestimating the other guy, by measuring “smart” and “savvy” in terms of buzzwords and unexamined bullshit, The People generally act dumber than they are — and our “Leaders,” who were supposed to be high-minded public servants, have become rulers, laughing behind closed doors at the milling pack of rubes who comprise the electorate. It ain’t no way to run a railroad, let alone a nation of people who were supposed to be largely left alone, neither run nor railroaded unless they violated the peace.

Then again, The People, or some substantial fraction thereof, voted for those “Leaders”; they can’t foist off all the blame on Washington and the state capitals. As Mencken put it, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” Of course, this nation was never intended to be a democracy; but once again, The People dropped the ball.

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Quote of the week

Almost a mocking tone here, one might say:

Well played, sir.

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Quote of the week

Severian’s heard it all before:

The entire apparatus of academic-leftist discourse, stem to stern, top to bottom, exists solely to justify the raging narcissism of rich white kids. They have everything in the world, yet still feel empty inside. They’re deathly afraid that they only exist because of their massive head start in life, and they’ll do anything to ease that pain. If you’re endlessly searching for “microaggressions,” and you’re the ever-vigilant champion of the oppressed, you’ll never, ever have to be alone with your own thoughts.

Where are the macroaggressions, now that we need them?

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Fark blurb of the week

Van Halen will let Van Halen use the name Van Halen, says Van Halen.

Explanation:

A three-year legal battle over the name “Van Halen” has finally been settled. Kelly Van Halen, who was once married to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band’s drummer, Alex Van Halen, until they divorced almost 20 years ago, has been fighting to use her famous last name on a variety of businesses like a construction and interior design company.

When Kelly Van Halen attempted to trademark products donning her name, ELVH Inc., the entity that protects the copyright of the band’s moniker, argued in various courts that Kelly Van Halen’s use of her name diluted their brand, the Hollywood Reporter writes, ultimately filing a lawsuit in October 2013 to prevent her from infringing on “Van Halen.” However, on January 5th, both parties alerted the judge presiding over the case that they want the lawsuit to be dismissed after settling the matter out of court.

Similarly: Katy Perry v. Katie Perry, no litigation ensued: J. Geils v. J. Geils Band, still up in the air.

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Quote of the week

Pergelator on the major difficulty with waging war these days:

The big problem with military action is that it is done by governments, and given our recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, I wouldn’t trust our government to go to the store for a jug of milk. Okay, they might be able to get the jug of milk, but they would have to borrow a billion dollars to equip their security forces to ensure that no one tampered with the jug on the way back.

Almost an argument for mercenaries, really. What’s Blackwater Xe Academi up to nowadays?

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Quote of the week

Lynn can’t take this nonsense anymore:

I am so very, very tired of “my suffering is worse than your suffering” screeds.

Listen boys and girls, suffering is always individual and very personal and is not necessarily proportional to the sufferers actual situation and the injustices suffered. What one person can easily shake off might be a deeply personal and hurtful attack to another and telling someone that “your suffering is nothing compared to mine” is just as hurtful as actual bullying.

Not to mention the fact that it’s not about you: if someone else is in pain, hearing about your pain is not going to improve matters even slightly.

This might work with mild discomfort, maybe: I know I get exasperated during the winter, and then I think about way-colder places like Flin Flon and Saskatoon, and finally I shut up. But the person contemplating walking into the front of a moving truck? Clearly there are needs that simply can’t be met by trying to compare comfort levels.

And we can start by holding our heads up and not whining quite so much no matter what our position in the hierarchy. We can show sympathy to other people who are suffering instead of belittling their feelings. We can refuse to play the game that keeps some people down while protecting those at the top.

If we’re all in this together — and we are — jockeying for position is an exercise in self-aggrandizement, and not a particularly good one at that.

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Quote of the week

The conclusion of a heartfelt piece by Brandon Finnigan at AOSHQ:

We live our lives, and make more lives, and mourn those lost, and celebrate our milestones, the milestones of others, and fuck up, and fix ourselves, and fuck up further, and triumph, and fail, and repeat all of this until our heart taps out. That is the shared experience of billions. We are well aware of the workings and complexities of the universe we live in, and for some it depresses: we get maybe ten decades of life in a multidimensional spacetime that will last trillions of years.

But those among us who see it that way get things all wrong. Sure, there is an incalculable amount of stuff in our universe (or multiverse if you subscribe to that eleven-dimension reality). Yes, there are probably trillions of life forms in this one. But the few bits of stuff lucky enough to be alive, and further, self-aware, like the bits within ourselves, have an incredible moment. The life we live itself is fantastically beautiful, especially since it isn’t guaranteed, it has no certainty, and rises and falls in the blink of a cosmic eye. Whether by chance or by divine hand, that we are even here, with the conscious ability to do and see and explore and try and hope while we are, is extremely precious. Why waste it in an introverted darkness? Why wallow? Life is promised to none of us. Live it.

This is here more for my reference than for yours.

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The left of the Sixties and Seventies is not quite the left of today, speculates the Z Man:

Back then the radicals were building a coalition in order to take control of the Democratic Party and then the country. Today, they run the country. The reason Washington looks like a high school cafeteria is because it is an adult version of what these people experienced as kids. The cool kids were the ones smoking weed and freaking out the squares, while the dorks publicly resented the fact they couldn’t join them, but privately wish they could. Those kids grew up and became Democrats and Republicans, respectively.

It’s why liberal hectoring sounds suicidal. The people in charge are railing about the people in charge. The people in charge are raising a mob from the dispossessed to assault the people in charge. The radicals of forty years ago at least had a rational aim in mind. Today it is an aging street fighter looking for a fight when there’s no one left to fight. It is both irrational and ridiculous.

But is it dead, Jim? I still hear the screams:

It’s also why this may be the end of the Left and radical politics in America. It has burned itself out like we have seen with every Marxist-Leninist state. It’s ironic that Obama is normalizing relations with Cuba. Just as the American Radicals who were inspired by Castro are heading into an absurd decline, the end of the Castro brothers will be Walmart selling Che t-shirts in Havana.

Yeah, that ought to do it. The commodification of ideology. Another twenty years and it will be fashionable to own what North Korea thinks is a car.

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Quote of the week

Dr. B on that “torture” report:

Expect this report to be used to bash Republicans (without noting that President Obama doesn’t allow the capture and torture of suspected terrorists: he merely kills the bad guys with drones instead). True pacifists know this, and complain.

How can you tell a true pacifist from a fake one? If they only bash the US and the west, they are fake.

War is hell, as one General said, and the dirty little secret is that often trying to make wars more humane merely leads to the next war because you didn’t kill enough bad guys, so they regroup and attack again.

It’s only a secret to the politicians: the rest of us knew this all along. Most of the rest of us, anyway.

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Quote of the week

It helps, says Bill Quick, to think of Eric Garner as a small businessman:

One of the side effects of the legal/regulatory state has been to cut off poor people from small-scale entrepreneurship. Want to open a roadside taco stand? Offer cab services with your private car? Braid hair in your living room? Clean houses without a license or OSHA inspection? Work for less than minimum wage?

Add in a host of other restrictions and requirements that effectively function as a moat to competition that protects larger, better funded businesses, and you block an entire class of people (by income) from entrepreneurial work.

Remember the history of Jews in America? Remember the pushcarts and rug peddlers and all the other modes of self-employment that kept them and their offspring warm, fed, and well enough educated to become the next generation of doctors, lawyers, scholars, and businessmen?

We don’t do that any more. And if you try, you risk your life. Because that makes you a vile criminal.

“You must play by the rules,” say the people who invented those rules to benefit themselves and their cronies.

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Quote of the week

Theodore Dalrymple, in Taki’s, muses on a major deficiency of democracy:

Modern politicians, having been given the mandate of heaven (vox populi vox Dei), do not accept limitations of their authority or their moral competence, even if, in practice, only a third or even a quarter of the eligible voters have voted for them. Procedural correctness is all that is necessary for such a man to feel justified in pursuing his own moral enthusiasms at other people’s expense.

But the more firmly the politicians believe in their heavenly mandate, the more the political class is divided from the sacred people from whom that mandate allegedly derives. (I have noticed with astonishment recently how increasingly many of the potential candidates in the perpetual American presidential race are close relatives of previous candidates or at least of high-flying politicians.) Indeed, many a monarch and even dictator has been more physically accessible to the populace than modern democratic politicians, suggesting a deficiency of real rather than assumed or theoretical legitimacy. Democracy in the modern sense encourages monomania in the population, in which every citizen is viewed as, and many actually become, a potential assassin, from whom the democratic politician must be protected like gold in vaults. Where politics is the location of all virtue, politicians are the lightning conductors of all discontents.

They’ll make a monarchist of me yet.

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Quote of the week

Terry Teachout, in his obituary for Mike Nichols:

Nichols made his name in the Fifties by improvising supremely sharp-witted comedy routines with Elaine May. The lightning-quick timing that he cultivated on nightclub stages served him well when he took up directing in 1963. During a rehearsal for the Broadway premiere of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, he got into a shouting match with Walter Matthau. “You’re emasculating me!” the actor shouted. “Give me back my balls!” “Certainly,” Nichols replied, then snapped his fingers to summon the stage manager. “Props!”

Oh, Matthau got over it; he won a Tony Award for playing Oscar Madison, balls and all. (And Nichols got one for his direction.)

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Quote of the week

Jack Baruth, on the Wednesday following the first Tuesday in November:

I have to confess that I was entirely apathetic about the midterm election, insofar as I believe both parties are pawns of moneyed interests with plans to turn the nation into an economic facsimile of Brazil where drugged-out proles play Centrifugal Bumble-Puppy all day and mobility between the classes is murdered with extreme prejudice. Mr. Obama’s milquetoast pretensions to watered-down pseudo-populism have proven to be completely ephemeral and under his supposedly Democratic administrations the holders of capital in this country have experienced a new Gilded Age while the government openly fiddles the numbers in order to turn the tens of millions of healthy and competent but utterly unemployable men in this country into nonpersons.

Still, I was pleased to wake up this morning and see that American voters had delivered a hammer to the back of Mr. Obama’s head with a staggering repudiation of his administration and his nonexistent accomplishments. It cannot be helped that most of the politicians who benefited from this ballots-not-bullets revolution are scarcely any different from the ones they replaced. What is important is that the country reaffirmed its willingness to eject major percentages of sitting elected officials for low performance.

The metaphor that works for me here is the doofus who’s gone 120,000 miles on the same automatic transmission fluid: eventually, he has to do something about the stuff, which by now looks more like Nesquik than like Fanta Strawberry, but everybody screamed “DON’T FLUSH IT!” So he had someone drop the pan and refill the unit. This improved things a bit, but it eventually dawned on him that the fluid that was in the torque converter at the time he had it serviced is still sloshing around inside there, so he takes it back to the shop, parts with another $150, and repeats the process. Eventually the fluid looks like, and smells like, what it’s supposed to be. Of course, had he flushed it, it would have failed before he got it home from the shop the first time, or so everybody says. I’ve always suspected that this was confusing correlation with causation: the trans was already about to fail, and fail it did.

(Personal note: I once bought a car that pretty much demanded the flush: the pan was vertically oriented, and the filter was internal and couldn’t be reached for cleaning. It did not fail me. Then again, I didn’t leave the same ATF in it for 120,000 miles, either.)

Which is by way of saying that if things don’t look better in a couple of years — well, a third of the Senate will be replaced in 2016.

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Quote of the week

InStyle’s fashion news editor Eric Wilson chatted with fashion reporter Teri Agins (in the November issue) on the subject of Agins’ new book, Hijacking the Runway: How Celebrities Are Stealing the Spotlight from Fashion Designers (New York: Gotham Books, 2014), and somewhere in the middle of things Wilson posed this question:

I still have conflicting feelings about Kanye West’s fashion collection in 2011. Should we have held him to a different standard because he’s a celebrity? He continues to bring up his treatment by the media and our negative reaction to his desire to become the world’s next top designer.

Agins replied:

Kanye raised his hand and decided that this was what he wanted to do. It wasn’t like he was going to try to sell a few snorkel jackets at Macy’s, like Sean Combs. He wanted to be like Balenciaga or Tom Ford. Bless his heart. He’s a talented entertainer, make no mistake about it. But just because you spent an afternoon with Azzedine Alaïa, that’s not going to make you a designer.

Bonus points for the canonical Southern use of “Bless his heart,” though Agins hails from the not-so-Southern metropolis of Kansas City, Kansas. This article (two pages total) was enough to drive me to seek out Agins’ book.

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Quote of the week

We open with a paragraph from Wikipedia, in case you missed what was going on:

Malala Yousafzai (born 12 July 1997) is a Pakistani female education activist, who became the youngest ever Nobel Prize recipient in any category. She is known mainly for human rights advocacy for education and for women in her native Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Yousafzai’s advocacy has since grown into an international movement.

All this, says Pakistani journalist Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, makes it easy to hate her:

Do you think it’s easy for me to accept flag bearers of my religion as my enemy? Do you believe that it’s easy for me to accept the fact that a 16-year-old girl fearlessly took a stand against the biggest threat facing this country while men like me were busy being apologetic on the behalf of the “freedom fighters”?

Do you honestly believe that it’s easy for me to accept that a young girl from our neck of the woods, with all the societal handicaps that one can think of, can singlehandedly orchestrate a global rude awakening? The thought rips the bigoted, discriminatory and misogynistic ideals that I’ve grown up with, into tiny little shreds.

How can I accept Malala to be a hero, when her speeches do not have any Islamic or nationalistic agenda? How can I consider her to be my future leader when nothing she says or does imbues a false sense of superiority in me as a Muslim or a Pakistani? How can I accept that a young girl was able to highlight who our actual enemies are, when grown up men in our parliaments are still hell bent on befriending them?

How can I rejoice at Malala’s global achievement when I’ve been taught all my life that a girl’s place is in the kitchen? I just can’t.

The religion I follow is inherently misogynistic. The society I live in is quintessentially patriarchal. And I’m supposed to manifest ideals of gender equality and women empowerment out of the blue?

Tough questions. But in the long run, the penalty for a wrong answer is infinitely tougher.

(Via Blazing Cat Fur.)

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Quote of the week

The political left, somewhat more so than the right, tends to believe in the fundamental mutability of mankind: you can change minds, you can change hearts, you can change murderers into commencement speakers. Baseball owner Bill Veeck was pointing out the futility of this sort of thing before many of them were born:

When I signed Larry Doby, the first Negro player in the American League, we received 20,000 letters, most of them in violent and sometimes obscene protest. Over a period of time I answered all. In each answer, I included a paragraph congratulating them on being wise enough to have chosen parents so obviously to their liking. If everyone knew their precious secret, I told them, I was sure everyone would conform to the majority. Until that happy day, I wrote, I was sure they would agree that any man should be judged on his personal merit and allowed to exploit his talents to the fullest, whether he happened to be black, green, or blue with pink dots.

I am afraid irony is lost on these people, but that’s not the point I want to make here. A year later, I was a collector for what is now called the Combined Jewish Appeal. This time, I got something close to 5,000 violent and sometimes obscene letters. In answering, something interesting happened. The names began to have a familiar ring. I became curious enough to check our files and I found they were to an astonishing degree — about 95 percent — the same people. A year after that, I converted to Catholicism. About 2,000 anti-Catholics were concerned enough about my soul to write me violent and again often obscene letters. All but a handful of them were already in our anti-Negro and anti-Semite files.

So I am one man who has documentary proof that prejudice is indivisible. The jackal, after all, doesn’t care what kind of animal he sinks his teeth into.

Once an asshat, always an asshat.

The kind soul who dug up this Veeck quote added:

So to all those who claim the Internet has led to some degree of courtesy breakdowns, moral decay, and Loss Of Values, I just want to say the following:

It’s always been like this. It’s just a lot faster now.

Note that no one is saying you don’t have a right to your opinion. You don’t, however, have a right to make anyone give a damn about it.

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Quote of the week

Most of us, at one time or another, will encounter someone who is Clearly Inferior, and we won’t say a word because, well, we’re just not that way.

Which is a shame, because being that way leaves open the possibility of a denunciation like this:

Let me tell you why. I’m not in WalMars wearing what looks like a drag-queen’s best curtains turned into yoga pants and basted with neon. I’m not testing the tensile strength of those pants by sausaging a 10 pound rump roast into a 2 pound sack. I’m not wearing a t-shirt with what I can only imagine are strategically placed holes designed to let all eligible males know you are open for business and your nipples, even though they’re at approximate knee level, are fantastic as far as you and your pimp go. I don’t smell like I rolled in a puddle made of wet dog and Old Thunderholt and then sprinkled my seven-acre cleavage with glitter and cheap cigarillo ashes. I speak normal, understandable English. I haven’t spent my entire net worth on acrylic talons the length of Godzilla’s dick so I have to try to con the cashier into letting me get my generic cigarettes on the food stamp card. But you know the main reason, the absolute main reason I’m better than you?

I’m not you. Put that in your crack pipe, which I see sticking out of your oversized, stuffed with thongs you just shoplifted, purse, and smoke it.

Invertebrates like me will simply shop somewhere else and pay the extra $6.19 a week.

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Quote of the week

Tam’s thoughts on EbolaCorps:

I was going to get outraged and say “The military is not there to boost the president’s poll numbers!” but that would be disingenuous; of course they are, and presidents have been using them for that since George had to make a standing army to go shake down Pennsylvanian farmers. But they should at least be used for military-type missions.

The administration says that the troops in West Africa will be there for logistical support reasons, to build hospitals and refugee housing and whatnot. But haven’t I just spent a whole damned Iraq war hearing about how KBR and DynCorp and Spacely Sprockets can do that stuff cheaper and more effectively than the lumbering dinosaur of the DoD?

Are we sending 3,000 personnel into even theoretical danger so that congresscritters in tough races can go pose with carefully-selected-for-diversity photo-op platoons of ACU-clad troopies stacking rice bags and building hospitals among throngs of smiling wogs right before election time? It’s cynical of me to think so, but if true, then for shame! (As though the parties responsible would know shame if it bit them on the ass.)

At the very least, we should be sending congresscritters into theoretical danger. Or maybe not so theoretical; if they’re so damned important, let’s have their boots on the ground.

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There has been much wailing and gnashing of lipstick-stained teeth over the continuing presence of those horrid little micro- (and sometimes macro-) aggressions known as gender roles; what’s more, a not-quite-insignificant percentage of one-half the species has sworn eternal enmity toward the entirety of the other half. James Lileks sums up (some of) the kerfuffle:

Modern-day sororal self-segregation is more of the same, and if they wish to form their own mutual-assistance societies of whatever form, go right ahead. No man will sue to join. To paraphrase Groucho, they wouldn’t want to join a club that wouldn’t want him for his member.

As for the male-free Internet thing, I can sympathize. Most of the vicious, idiotic, miserable, weevil-souled trolls are men, or rather largish boys who grew up on the internet and have not quite grasped the idea that there are true, actual human beings on the other side of the screen. Comments and tweets are just another form of electronic play; you shoot a hooker in the head in Grand Theft Auto, call a strange woman nasty names because she criticizes, say, the fact that you can shoot a hooker in the head in Grand Theft Auto. It’s just a game you **** and someone should do it to you. And so on.

It’s odd. You know most of these boy-men were brought up in solid homes with religious grounding, taught to respect women in the old chivalric sense of courtesy and respect, right? My heavens, what went wrong? You could say it’s confusion over how they’re supposed to behave: if you hold the door open for a woman, you’re a sexist, unless she likes you, in which case it’s romantic, although if you don’t hold the door open and it slams in her face you’re a jerk. But these roles were in flux when I was in my twenties, and we didn’t react by sending obscene postcards to strangers. It has to be something else. The internet, in general, has not created more idiots, fools, miscreants, pedants, and fiends; it has simply revealed their numberless hordes, and given them a limitless plain on which to play.

I’ve said this repeatedly at concentrations of douchery like, say, Yahoo! Answers: The asshats have always been with us. It’s just that they’ve made themselves marginally harder to ignore.

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Quote of the week

In Iraq War 3.0, whose boots will actually be on the ground? A prediction by nemo paradise:

So, if the Kurds (excellent cavalrymen all, and demonstrably fierce warriors) and the “Iraqi security forces” (who, when they last encountered ISIS, ran like scalded dogs, littering the battlefield with weapons ranging from pistols and rifles to armored personnel carriers and field artillery) are going to do the actual fighting, what is left for the US/Euro coalition?

According to our sources, the following assignments are contemplated:

U.S.: Carpet-bombing.
Britain: Blathering and pettifoggery.
France: Catering.
Australia: Loud insults.
Canada: Snowplows.
Germany: Beer.
Turkey: Colorful banners.
Italy: White flags.
Poland: Paprika.
Denmark: Skis and luges.

At least they’re contributing in the way they know best. I am minded of General Schwarzkopf’s comment on our catering-minded ally: “Going to war without the French is like going deer hunting without your accordion.”

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Gagdad Bob explains the current composition of the Democratic Party:

[H]ere’s a timely aphorism by [Nicolás Gómez] Dávila: “The worst demagogues are not recruited from the envious poor, but from among the embarrassed wealthy.”

This fully explains the high-low composition of the Democratic party, with super-wealthy elites at one end and lofo and lower IQ hordes at the other. You could say that the difference between the two is that the elites are bankrupt in every way except financially.

This little formula explains why the wealthiest counties in the nation trend Democrat, just as do places like Ferguson. The two are locked in a deathly parasitic embrace, for liberals destroy and have destroyed the very people they most rely upon to support them at the polls, and the underclass can be relied upon to support the very people and polices that ensure its own continued ruin. The resultant civilizational collapse is what they call “progress.”

If these are the parasites, who then are the hosts? Answer: everyone else.

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Quote of the week

From a New York Times profile of Michele Roberts, the new executive director of the NBA Players Association, which includes this report from her appearance before actual players:

She said she was all too aware that if she was selected, she would represent several hundred male athletes in the N.B.A.; she would deal with league officials and agents who were nearly all men; she would negotiate with team owners who were almost all men; and she would stand before reporters who were predominantly men.

She did not flinch. “My past,” she told the room, “is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.”

Billy Hunter, her predecessor, never said anything that forceful — and he used to be an NFL wide receiver, fercrissake.

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