Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Only By Fire Is Fascism Finished

" The victim gasped loudly as blood poured from his neck. His killer held up the head at one point, and placed it on top of the body. " -- The killing of Eugene Armstrong

Year upon year in the world's darkest woods
On the dirt at the foot of the ancient trees,
Tangles and brambles and dead brush increase
Which the sunlight can never seize.

The vampire by sunlight or stake.
The wolfman by silver in bone.
The demon by book, chant and pentagram.
The fascist by fire alone.

Our ash that descends in our clearest of skies?
Our leapers that swam down the stones?
Best answered by bombs from mid-heaven at prayer,
Bringing that fire which hollows the bones.

The vampire by sunlight or stake.
The wolfman by silver in bone.
The demon by book, chant and pentagram.
The fascist by fire alone.

If their god decrees war, war shall prevail.
This lesson is written in stone.
No dreams will defer, nor wishes erase,
The hate that is burnished on bone.

The vampire by sunlight or stake.
The wolfman by silver in bone.
The demon by book, chant and pentagram.
The fascist by fire alone.

Only by fire is fascism finished.
This sin is demanded that your line may live.
Only through fire is freedom reborn.
Each generation pulls the sword from the stone.

The vampire by sunlight or stake.
The wolfman by silver in bone.
The demon by book, chant and pentagram.
The fascist by fire alone.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 20, 2004 4:27 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Tragedy of Omlet, Prince of Massachusetts, Redux

J M Hanes, in the comments to our Shakespearean homage -- The Tragedy of Omlet, Prince of Massachusetts picks up our sorry tale of woe, our slo-mo tragedy, with the ever popular Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, aka Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy

Scene I


THE KING: And can you, by no drift of circumstance,
Get from Omlet why he puts on this confusion,
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?

ROSENCRANTZ: He does confess he feels himself distracted;
But from what cause he will by no means speak.

GUILDENSTERN: Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof,
When we would bring him on to some confession.

THE KING: Yet may true stated what you have observed,
Unwrinkle the body politic in parts.


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 19, 2004 11:10 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Visit to an Old Friend

Seated, second from the left.

While riding on a train goin' west,
I fell asleep for to take my rest.
I dreamed a dream that made me sad,
Concerning myself and the first few friends I had.*

Cruising in the bright August morning down Highway 5. California's great central valley, north of Sacramento, where the farm towns roll by, their blunt names like an old catechism of your life, "Willows," "Williams," "Orland," "Nord."

Rice fields shimmer in fives shades of green. Enough rice to feed the Orient with a bunch left over for the States. Old and new orchards in whirring diagonal rows. Roadside attractions promising 20 different varieties of olives. White egrets pacing in the irrigation canals. Yellow crop dusters banking and coming in low over the highway.

Heading south towards San Francisco; towards an appointment with an old friend trapped too early in a brain where all the furniture is fading, dissolving, melting into a blurred now and a bright twenty years ago.

The old story. You wonder about a friend you haven't been in touch with for a decade. You meet someone who knows someone who knows him. Or you run an Internet search and find an email of a person who once knew him. And you ask. Most of the time things are fine, but then there's that time when the news is not good. Not good at all.

How many a year has passed and gone,
And many a gamble has been lost and won,
And many a road taken by many a friend,
And each one I've never seen again. *

You get a phone number for his brother and you call. His brother fills you in on the details.

Several strokes stemming from a traffic accident twenty years gone and an operation on the brain five years later. First wife saw what was coming and cleared out, dumping the marriage to become a poet. Right.

He married again and, by all accounts, married well. Had some good years. Was back to his music and his songs. But then the strokes came, and came again, and his mind began to liquefy. The second wife couldn't handle all the care -- could you? -- and placed him, at last, in a home in San Francisco.

One daughter sees him often, the other daughter seldom, the second wife some times, the brother every six weeks, the first wife never.

And so, because of what was, and because you have to be, at the least, a witness to this part of his life and yours, your arrange a visit.


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 18, 2004 1:45 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Movie Most Unlikely to Be Applauded at Cannes or Given an Oscar

Citizens United
My favorite line from the trailer. (An ernest gray haired woman at the fringe of a demonstration in New York City: "When you talk about a dictator, there's pros and there's cons...
CUT TO: Man tied to post in middle east with his back being whipped to the bone.
".... If a dictator provides free health care, I like that dictator. If a dictator provides a free university education, I like that dictator."
CUT TO: Taliban woman being shot in the head in soccer stadium.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 17, 2004 9:21 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Dead Documents Sketch

BLOGGER: I wish to complain about these documents you palmed off on your shrinking but credulous audience last week.

RATHER: Oh yes, the, uh, the Bush Guard memos. They are full of accurate facts.... What's,uh... What's wrong with them?

BLOGGER: I'll tell you what's wrong with them, Dan. They're forgeries, that's what's wrong with them!

RATHER: No, no, they're just pretending to be forgeries. They contain accurate facts vetted by all experts we could find that agree with me.

BLOGGER: Look, "Kenneth", I know a forgery when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

RATHER: No no they're not forged because they're accurate! Remarkable set of facts, aren't they. Best I've ever made.

BLOGGER: The "facts" don't enter into it. Forged facts forfiet their factualness.

RATHER: Nononono, no, no! They're accurate in the facts from our carefully checked but secret sources! I know they're true because I've reviewed the tapes of myself claiming they're true.

BLOGGER: Look, I took the liberty of examining those tapes when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason you claimed they were true was the fact they'd been NAILED to your head.


RATHER: Well, o'course they was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed them to my head, I would have forgotten where I got them from in the first place. Nailed or not, they'll still fly. They'll still Voooooooom!

BLOGGER: "VOOM"?!? Mate, these documents wouldn't "voom" if you strapped four million frothing moonbats on them! They've been trying that over on Kos for days and there is no lift-off. These documents is bleedin' demised!

RATHER: No no! Don't you understand? They're ACCURATE even if they're FAKE! They're pining for a Democratic Administration. Which makes them TRUE LIES.

BLOGGER: 'They're not pining! They're passed on!
These documents are no more!
They have ceased to be!
They've expired and gone to meet their maker! ... Speaking of which...
They're a set of stiffs!
Bereft of truth, they're a pack of lies!
If you hadn't nailed them to your forehead on national television, they'd be compost in a New Jersey landfill next to Jimmy Hoffa.
These documents are pushing up the daisies!
Their hopes of altering our national election are now 'istory!
They and you are off the twig!
They have kicked the bucket, shuffled off the mortal coil, run down the curtain on your career and joined the Hitler Diaries!!


RATHER: Well, I'd better replace them with another set of true lies I whipped up on my old Selectric over the weekend. (he takes a quick peek behind the counter) Sorry Blogger, I've had a look 'round the back of CBS News, and uh, we're right out of forged documents with accurate facts.

BLOGGER: I see. I see, I get the picture.

Rather: I got a John Kerry.


BLOGGER: Pray, does it talk?

RATHER: Not to the press.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 15, 2004 9:50 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The American Digest Reader: A Short Selection

FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS I'll be in the process of relocating from Laguna Beach, California to Seattle, Washington. In the interim, I'll be driving Highway 1 up the coastline of California, Oregon, and Washington and I don't plan to push it. One thousand miles of coastline is nothing to just zoom past if you've got the chance. (See Laguna Dawn for my observations on part of this route.)

UPDATE: The Getty, Cambria, the Sur, Berkeley, Mill Valley, Stinson Beach, Bolinas, .... currently in Mendocino. The road goes on forever.

During this period, my ability and desire to update this page is likely to be intermittent. In the meantime, I've made a little list of essays and items in various categories that may be of interest to the idle browser.


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 14, 2004 4:44 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Tragedy of Omlet, Prince of Massachusetts

Omlet | Act 3, Scene 1

SCENE I. A cabin in the Gulfsteam, 40,000 feet over New Jersey.

To be or not to be President: that is my platform:
Whether 'tis more nuanced to vote for before against
The 87 billion of outrageous appropriation,
Or to make my case upon the seas of health care,
And by raising taxes get it fully funded? To windsurf: to trap-shoot:
To say "I cannot bring a gun to the debate." Oh end
The heart-ache and the thousand polling shocks
This campaign is heir to, tis a consomme
Devoutly to be reheated. To be elected, to rule;
To rule: perchance to decide: ay, there's the belly rub;
For in decision what results may come
When we have pulled out and hugged Chirac
Must give us all pause: I can't get no respect
That makes worthwhile of so long campaign.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of November;
The Limbaugh laugh, the Clintonian contumely,
The wrath of despising wife, the landslide votes of scorn,
The insolence of Begala, and the spurns
Of all my ambitions to be an aging JFK,
When I myself might my quietus make
With a pump-action? Who would Carville bear,
His grunts and sweating items of "To-Do,"
But that the dread of always junior senator,
That obscurity where I shall sink, from which
No non-Kennedy emerges, freezes me like headlighted deer,
And makes me bear John Edwards' southern drawl,
Than fly off to Nantucket or Gstaad to sport until December.
Thus candidacy doth make mincemeat of my myth;
And thus my native shape of waffle
Is amplified by my pale cast of speech
And my life's enterprise of "It's my ambition, stupid!,"
With view of my face their votes turn awry,
And lose the name of Winner. -- Soft me now!
The fair Teresa! Nymph, in thy checkbook
Be all my ambitions, stubs.

SOOTH! The Tragedy of Omlet, Prince of Massachusetts, doth continue at Protein Wisdom

Omlet | Act 5, Scene 1
SCENE I. A field in Red Bank, New Jersey. Prince Omlet examines the skull of a famous news anchor....

SOOTH! SCENE III. A lavish hotel room in Cleveland Enter OMLET and JOHN EDWARDS as described by Blogfonte.

Sooth, fair Instapunditeers, who, upon this plain of Mars
Hath joined good Sir Jeff and I, old Gerard of Gaunt,
To ponder demons from the Democratic depths
That rise with juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,
And in the porches of our ears do pour
Their leperous distilment. Abide in this abode,
And with keyboards brave and full of wit
Inscribe your scenes in comments that will fit.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 14, 2004 8:48 AM | Comments (31)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Missing

Their silence keeps me sleepless for I know
Within the smoke their ash revolves as snow,
To settle on our skin as fading stars
Dissolve into pure dust at break of day.

At dawn a distant shudder in the earth
Disclosed the fold of fire into steel,
The rumbles not of crossings underground
But screams from out of flowers built from flame.

We stood upon the Heights like men of straw
Transfixed by flames that started in the sky,
And watched them plunging down in death�s ballet
To land among those dying deep below.

By noon the band of smoke leaned low
Upon the harbor�s skin like some dark shawl,
A pall of smoke that in its curdled crawl
Kept reaching to extend its fatal fall.

The harp strung bridge held up ten thousand souls
Who�d screaming run beneath the paws of death,
As dusted ghosts that lived but were not sure
They lived in light or only in reprieve.

They'�d writhed and spun within a storm of smoke
And stumbled out to light and clearer air,
To find upon the river�s further shore
That sanctuary is not savored but secured.

The sirens scraped the sky and jets carved arcs
Within a heaven empty of all hope,
And marked its epicenter with one streak
Of black on polished bone where silver stood.

By evening all their ash had settled so
That on the leaves outside my window glowed
Their souls in small bright stars until the rain
Cleaned all that could not be clean again.

We breathed the smoke that bent and crept and crawled.
We learned to hate the smoke that lingered so.
We knew that blood could only answer blood,
And so we yearned to go and not to go.

That last, lost summer faded into ash
Their faces faded as endless autumn flowed
Through chill and heat into the winter sea
Where warships prowled in search of stones.

Within the city, shrines were our resolve.
We placed them where we stood or where they lay.
Upon our bricks and stones their faces loomed
To gaze at us from times beyond repeal.

In time, their ash and smoke became the shapes
Of stories told at dinner, found in books,
Or in the comments made by magazines
For whom the larger issues were of worth.

At first their faces faded with the rains,
The little altars thick with wax were scraped,
But now beneath clear plastic they endure
To remind those passing that we�ve not escaped.

Their silence keeps me sleepless for I know.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 11, 2004 7:28 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Missing

Their silence keeps me sleepless for I know
Within the smoke their ash revolves as snow,
To settle on our skin as fading stars
Dissolve into pure dust at break of day.

At dawn a distant shudder in the earth
Disclosed the fold of fire into steel,
The rumbles not of crossings underground
But screams from out of flowers built from flame.

We stood upon the Heights like men of straw
Transfixed by flames that started in the sky,
And watched them plunging down in deaths ballet
To land among those dying deep below.

By noon the band of smoke leaned low
Upon the harbors skin like some dark shawl,
A pall of smoke that in its curdled crawl
Kept reaching to extend its fatal fall.

The harp strung bridge held up ten thousand souls
Whod screaming run beneath the paws of death,
As dusted ghosts that lived but were not sure
They lived in light or only in reprieve.

Theyd writhed and spun within a storm of smoke
And stumbled out to light and clearer air,
To find upon the rivers further shore
That sanctuary is not savored but secured.

The sirens scraped the sky and jets carved arcs
Within a heaven empty of all hope,
And marked its epicenter with one streak
Of black on polished bone where silver stood.

By evening all their ash had settled so
That on the leaves outside my window glowed
Their souls in small bright stars until the rain
Cleaned all that could not be clean again.

We breathed the smoke that bent and crept and crawled.
We learned to hate the smoke that lingered so.
We knew that blood could only answer blood,
And so we yearned to go and not to go.

That last, lost summer faded into ash
Their faces faded as endless autumn flowed
Through chill and heat into the winter sea
Where warships prowled in search of stones.

Within the city, shrines were our resolve.
We placed them where we stood or where they lay.
Upon our bricks and stones their faces loomed
To gaze at us from times beyond repeal.

In time, their ash and smoke became the shapes
Of stories told at dinner, found in books,
Or in the comments made by magazines
For whom the larger issues were of worth.

At first their faces faded with the rains,
The little altars thick with wax were scraped,
But now beneath clear plastic they endure
To remind those passing that weve not escaped.

Their silence keeps me sleepless for I know.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 11, 2004 7:04 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
News Needs to Start Picking Up the Reality Check

When they start to argue about "what happens 'if,' " instead of "what happens 'when,'" you know that its time to call for the Reality Check, tip a penny, and get home in time to catch a Survivor re-run.

The New York Times makeover into the insane intellectual's favorite watering hole and Hooters franchise continues apace today with this fresh hooter steaming in middle of the dependably insane editorial columns.

If John Kerry was elected president, Mr. Cheney warned the crowd, "the danger is that we'll get hit again." In a long, rather rambling statement, he said the United States might then fall back into a "pre-9/11 mind-set" that "these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts." -- A Disgraceful Campaign Speech
The 'long ramble' between the two clauses quoted above amounts to this:
" ....the danger is that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States, and that we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind set if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts, and that we're not really at war. I think that would be a terrible mistake for us. -- Remarks by the Vice President
You can make up your own mind about the extent to which the Times is cherry-picking the original statement for its own dull purposes. Julian Sanchez at Hit & Run parses the statement well and shines some light on the use of it as "a partisan tactic or an attempt to generate a news story."

It is both really and is working well in this forgettable news cycles on all counts.

What isn't emerging is the truth about the situation. And that truth is that as far as the next "hit" is concerned it really, as one of my friends said many months ago in email, "doesn't matter one tinker's damn who gets elected, it will happen anyway."

He's right and he's right beyond the 99.9999999% limit. As we count down to the sad 3rd anniversary of September 11, breathes there a man with mind so dead that he does not believe to the core of his being that a second, third and other terrorist attacks on the United States soil is anything other than inevitable? If there is he is certainly running for re-election.

We can do and have done many things to increase "homeland security." We can do much, much more -- much of which we will not do. We could seal the entire country in tanzanite, we could shrink-wrap it in ideology, we could cause the resurrection and deployment of the Stasi, the Waffen SS, the Gestapo and the Republican Guard along our borders and throughout our nation, and we would still be attacked on American soil again and again. To paraphrase Frank Zappa over there on my side bar, "there's a lot of ways to delay that trouble comin' every day, but there's no way to avoid it."

This idea that because "he's kept the country safe since 9/11, ergo you will be safe forever if you vote for George Bush" is intellectual clap-trap. The counter-argument that "John Kerry will involve the French and Germans and jump-start international love for America and keep us safe forever" is the equal but opposite horse-apple. Both are lies and mean exactly nothing.

The real issue here at the bottom line on the Reality check is: "When the next attack comes, and the attacks after that, what, exactly, is the next President of the United States prepared to do about it?" For that answer, the only place to look is the one place the Times and the media do not want the voters to look -- at the record of the two candidates.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 9, 2004 6:02 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Times Fatigue

You know it is time for an emergency reboot of your brain when you read a paragraph like this in the New York Times on the death of Star Trek:

Some people suggest the problem is audience fatigue. Some say it is creative exhaustion. One solution to both, several actors, writers, producers and directors of past "Star Trek" incarnations say, may be to stop making new "Star Trek" stories for a while. -- Fans Hope Suns Can Rise Again on 'Star Trek'

and your mind instantly translates the paragraph into:
Some people suggest the problem is with the New York Times is audience fatigue. Some say it is creative exhaustion. One solution to both, many editors, writers, reporters and readers of past "New York Times" incarnations say, may be to stop publishing The New York Times for a while.
On the other hand....

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 8, 2004 10:18 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
On Media Ghouls, American Decency, and the 1000th Soldier

"It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom. " -- Lincoln

He or she does not yet have a name although that dark fact will emerge from behind a bullet or in the explosion of a coward's car bomb. When their paths intersect we will all know the name and most of us will mourn. That mourning will be fitting and proper. What will not be proper, what will repulse, is that some Americans, and not a small number, will rejoice at this death of an American soldier.

The 1,000th American to die in Iraq will be marked by most Americans as both tragic and yet another reason to continue to crush Islamic terrorism relentlessly, using whatever it takes. When the word of the 1000th death is passed the words of Abraham Lincoln above will live again in the hearts of every American that understands every generation must pull the sword of freedom from the stone.

But because of freedom and what it means, this country will also allow the


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 7, 2004 5:48 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Will You Won't You Come and Join the Dance?

"If you do not join the dancing, you will feel foolish. If you dance, you will also feel foolish. So, why not dance? And I will tell you a secret: If you do not join the dance, we will know you are a fool. But if you dance, we will think well of you for trying. And if you dance badly to begin and we laugh, what's the sin in that? We all begin there. Come on."
-- Robert Fulghum

"The most important sort of disobedience is to write essays at all. Fortunately, this sort of disobedience shows signs of becoming rampant. It used to be that only a tiny number of officially approved writers were allowed to write essays. Magazines published few of them, and judged them less by what they said than who wrote them; a magazine might publish a story by an unknown writer if it was good enough, but if they published an essay on x it had to be by someone who was at least forty and whose job title had x in it. Which is a problem, because there are a lot of things insiders can't say precisely because they're insiders.

"The Internet is changing that. Anyone can publish an essay on the Web, and it gets judged, as any writing should, by what it says, not who wrote it. Who are you to write about x? You are whatever you wrote.

"Popular magazines made the period between the spread of literacy and the arrival of TV the golden age of the short story. The Web may well make this the golden age of the essay. And that's certainly not something I realized when I started writing this."
-- Paul Graham: The Age of the Essay

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 7, 2004 1:46 PM | QuickLink: Permalink

Children are easy.
One gun will rule dozens.
Shoot one, the rest will obey.

Children are easy
To keep and control.
No need to water or feed.

Children are easy.
Their tears are quite tiny.
No need to hear them or heed.

Children are easy.
They gather in schools.
It's simple to beat them en masse.

Children are easy.
Their bones are like sticks.
You can snap them in two if you please.

Children are easy,
And much cheaper to kill.
One bullet can blow away three.

Children are easy.
There will always be more
For the bags, for the bags, for the bags on the floor.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 6, 2004 11:11 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Dead Imagination of the New York Times

Once you understand the Pravadaesque Mindset that marks a New York Times lifer, the paper's capacity to irritate usually subsides into wry amusement. But every so often, the paper describes its own limited mindset so well it is hard to just let it slide. This morning's lead editorial on Russia is a textbook example of denial, incapacity and intellectual insanity: ( Deadly Stalemate in Chechnya ) It leads with:

A staggering series of recent terrorist attacks rooted in the Chechen conflict have been both horrific and remote to most Americans. It's hard to imagine what the public reaction would have been here if terrorists had seized a school full of children, blown up two passenger planes and set off a deadly suicide bomb outside a subway station in Western Europe or Canada.
It would be difficult for most honest reporters to write a more labored lead, but we aren't dealing with honest reporters here, we're dealing with a New York Times editorial.

To begin with I suppose that if by 'most Americans' you mean those who do not read newspapers, fail to watch television or listen to the radio, who never collect information from the web, and live in caves under the rich soil of Amish country, it might be conceivable that those Americans feel a terrorist attack on children in a school to be a "remote" event -- but only the ones with no children. This sort of shrink-wrapping the vast 'unwashed-unreaders' of the New York Times is a hallmark of the Times editorial page. It is a kind of noblesse distress signal in which the self-appointed and unelected media government distinguishes itself from the rabble. It is unfortunate that, to judge by declining circulation and audience figures, the rabble is also distinguishing itself from the major media.

After cleansing the room of the Yahoos, the editorial whips out the show stopper: "It's hard to imagine what the public reaction would have been here if terrorists had seized a school full of children, blown up two passenger planes and set off a deadly suicide bomb outside a subway station in Western Europe or Canada."

Actually it is hard to imagine that there breathes an imagination so dead that it thinks the Chechen atrocity is hard to imagine at all. Imagining it doesn't take more than three brain cells. If, lacking those three brain cells, you still struggle to imagine it, the media is chock full of aids to you imagination in the form of pictures, first hand accounts, and video. Pick up any newspaper or turn on any news station on the radio and television. These aids will be along right after the extensive reports on William Clinton's Big Mac bill coming due. The Russian outrage is many things, but "hard to imagine" doesn't make the list.

What is hard to imagine is that a newspaper which was once an American newspaper could write about such a thing happening and not reflect on what would happen if it the events actually took place in America. But that's what the Times does in the same sentence. Notice how the hypothetical 'happening' takes place "outside a subway station in Western Europe or Canada." A curious bit of localization for a newspaper whose offices are over a subway in New York City and only a few blocks from several schools.

Somehow the terrorist killings at Russian schools cannot be imagined by the Times to happen in America, in New York City, where 3,000 died. No, they have to be moved off, placed at a politically correct distance. With that, I suppose, no avid reader of the New York Times will imagine that what was done to the children of Russians will ever, could ever, happen to their own children in the city of New York.

If the readers could imagine such a thing then they certainly might not support the forthright Times editorial board in the one thing it wants out of the entire episode: "Unless Vladimir Putin opens up negotiations with legitimate Chechen leaders, Russia will not be the only nation to suffer more terrorist attacks."

Ah, the New York Times wants -- after the slaughter of hundreds of children -- appeasement and negotiation. On a certain level, it is comforting to known that in a world awash in fear and fascism, the New York Times remains true to the obsessions of its publisher and his editors. What would it take for this to change? It is hard to imagine, but at some future dark day the sight of dozens of the children of New York's media elite lying shot and burned in body bags on the sidewalk outside their private schools in New York City might do the trick.

I wonder whether, if that terrible day should ever come, the editorial staff of the New York Times will use copies of today's editorial to cover the faces of their own dead.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 4, 2004 8:27 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Victory Speech

It wasn't in what Bush said or how he said it. Nor was it in what he didn't say. it wasn't in the common touch parts, or the "Memo to America Re: My Upcoming Programs" part. It wasn't in the cheers or the protesters hustled out. It really wasn't in any of that because every part was what was expected, and what was practiced -- over and over again. Smooth and, you will excuse me, not entirely lacking in nuance. Yesterday was Miller Time. Tonight was a Noh Drama. It contrasted well with the D'oh Drama played out last month in Boston.

What it was in was the way in which the erstwhile "opponent" felt so behind, so defeated, so crushed that he felt he had to, he just had to, rush onto the airwaves and froth into the slipstream. Except for his dwindling pack of true believers, nobody watched, nobody listened --except to mock -- and nobody waved goodbye.

If I had any secret doubts that John Kerry has lost this election , and lost it big-time, they are now swept away by his blast of blather in the last hour.

I don't expect Bush or the RNC to back off of Kerry one centimeter for one nanosecond. It is important, for many reasons, that Kerry and the depraved version of the Democratic Party he leads to be crushed into compost so that a new party can grow back in its place. But I do expect Senator Kerry to sleep with Senator Kennedy's fishes.

Now, if we could just figure out how to start a recall election in Massachusetts.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 2, 2004 10:16 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Belmont Stakes

The great British statesman, Benjamin Disraeli once said: "My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me." The inaptly-aptly named 'Wretchard' of Belmont Club certainly fills out that notion admirably.

But it is more than just mere agreement that makes The Belmont Club a force for good in the blogsphere as well as the world. The real drawing power of the Belmont Club is the author's almost flawless melding of scholarship with style.

Many in the blogsphere write well, but few write as well and fewer still better. The prose of Wretchard is, on a day to day basis, clean, clear and spare with just a soupcon of poetry thrown in -- not just in his frequent pointed quotations from the masters. It's a prose that illuminates not only the insights but the great range of his mind.


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 2, 2004 6:00 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Post-Mortem Effects: The Kerry Campaign is Over

"Say goodnight, Gracie."
"Goodnight Gracie."

"Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me

I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed
I was looking kind of dumb
With my finger and my thumb
In the shape of an "L" on my forehead "
-- SmashMouth, All Star

In the last few days there have been a lot of cycles wasted by people on the left, right, and center noting how badly the Kerry campaign is doing. To my mind, this is like suddenly discovering gravity.

The Kerry Campaign is doing badly because it has always done badly. Snagging the nomination from eight or nine less-electable clowns doesn't mean you're doing well, it just means you're not doing as poorly as the rest of the pack.

Still, I will admit that the campaign itself has, over the last fortnight, begun to do poorly in a more visible fashion than the performance of the previous year. Usually, they were able to keep the lid on somehow keep the right face on things, but of late this mask has begun to slip and that's a sign of deep existential distress on the inside.

The big question that keeps the keyboards humming at this point is : "Why?" This meditation is usually answered by some pundit or another hauling out the quick fix, the sure tactic, and the smooth move that will set things right and put John Kerry back on the path to the big chair in the oval office. Some have even gone so far as to propose Joe Trippi be brought in from the fields of clover he is currently cavorting in to right the good ship Kerry and send it smoothly into the harbor.

All these answers and suggestions are rank nonsense.

The single and only internal reason that things are now seen to be going badly inside the Kerry campaign is that deep inside the Kerry campaign, in the very core of the candidate himself, the have seen the fiery finger of fate write in glowing and deeply etched letters the single word: LOSER.

That's right -- down in the center where the Kerryites are sifting their statistics and spreadsheets and seeding their spin they already know what most of us are just beginning to sense-- THEY'VE LOST AND THERE IS NOTHING, BUT NOTHING THEY CAN DO ABOUT IT.


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 2, 2004 5:29 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
VJ Day, September 2, 1945

Times Square Then Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt

Times Square Now: Was it worth it? Photo by Van der Leun

Donald Sensing reminds us that history is "what happened when" and why it means something more than "today is the first day of the rest of your life." At One Hand Clapping he reminds us that: On this date in 1945, the Empire of Japan surrendered almost without conditions to the United States and our allied nations, ending World War II.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 2, 2004 4:20 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Just Your Average American

I love it when card-carrying Upper Westside Wackos like Donna Leiberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union proclaims "We are not some fringe lunatics, we are the people. We are the mainstream of America!"

It makes me feel good to know that even after years of abuse, Prozac is still working for people like Donna. It confirms my judgment that people like Donna have been so nuts for so long that they actually think the life they lead is normal. I'm all for extending and heightening this delusion for as long as possible so that their crack-up after the looming November Bush Blow-Out will be permanent.

Over the years I probably attended more than two dozen Civil Liberty Union parties and somewhere, to my shame, I probably have a sheaf of cancelled checks. Between the cocaine, the marijuana, and the booze found and served at these little autofornication festivals, I can assure you that at no time did the word "normal" enter my thinking when discussing the parties. Among the many


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 2, 2004 2:21 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Islamic Terrorists and Their Child Hostages

Stan at Logic & Sanity: School seized in Russia reads Russian and is translating, summarizing and blogging the details of this unfolding atrocity from the Russian wires whenever a new item surfaces.

Earlier today, the animals who did this released 26 hostages. They still hold and threaten to kill hundreds .... of children.

Here's what the hostages they released look like:


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 2, 2004 1:39 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"A New Birth of Freedom:" Why Bleats and Blogs Matter

On Loaves, Fishes, and LILEKS (James)

I'm always among the last to be persuaded of the miracles of loaves and fishes to be found in "new" technologies and "new" media [see item just below this one], but during my recent month's break from blogging I took in a lot of arguments about the significance of blogs in this election cycle. Still, with all the citations of this study and the pointers to that study and the constant links to this issue provided by Reynolds I was, due to my innate conservatism on this issue, not quite persuaded. Until today when, at last, LILEKS (James) put paid to this issue in his usual offhand. "oh, by the way," manner.

James Lileks, the Mark Twain of our era, is always at the top of my must read list. He's best taken with the first cup of coffee in the morning. Although he's at the top of my list, I hesitate to link to him since I assume anybody coming here has already been there.

This morning, however, he serves up a textbook example of why blogging matters.
Hmm. First, Hewitt's interview with Terry McAuliffe.

HEWITT: I want to start with some very easy questions.
HEWITT: Do you believe that John Kerry took a CIA man into Cambodia and kept his hat?
MCAULIFFE: Uh, I have no idea.
HEWITT: You have no idea that he made that story to the Washington Post and that he made it again in 2004 to the LA Times?
MCAULIFFE: If John Kerry said he did something, I'll take John Kerry at his word.
HEWITT: Do you think that he ran guns to anti-communists in Cambodia which he told the U.S. News & World Report on May of 2000? MCAULIFFE: I don't know. You'd have to ask John Kerry about that. I don't know what he did in Cambodia or didn't. That was a war 35 years ago. I want to talk about this year.
HEWITT: Did he go to Cambodia on Christmas Eve -- your understanding-- in 1968?
MCAULIFFE: I think he probably did and probably George Bush when he was in the Alabama National Guard was driving the boat.

"Now watch this.

"In one instance, it's "I have no idea," and in the other he's quite certain what Kerry did. In McAuliffe's mind, the contradiction doesn't matter -- who'll notice? He's compartmentalizing. The Hewitt interview ceased to exist, or matter, the moment it was over. On to the next engagement. But that's oldthink, brother. If you want an example of how blogging can impact elections, this is a perfect example. Radio host blogs an interview with big-time party strategist. Another blogger uses a camcorder, iMovie and a .mac account to post a snippet of an interview with the same guy on the same subject. A third party draws a connection between the two statements. You can hunt and link and draw your own conclusions. You're no longer the reader, absorbing what the editors have sought fit to give you. You are the editor."

Who are you going to believe? Us or your lying eyes?

Lileks, as usual, is the polite Minnesotan in his use of "compartmentalizing." What is really going on is that McAuliffe is lying through his bleached porcelain inlays. He is lying as fast as he can and as hard as he can. He is lying because he knows that his candidate has lied, that his party has bought the lie and that the only slim, razor thin hope, for victory lies in more lying.

The only problem is, as Lileks so deftly demonstrates with one excerpt and one link, is that lies that previously "didn't matter" are now blood simple to expose and distribute.

And with tens of thousands of blogs eager to participate in the exposure of lies and real-time fact-checking it becomes harder and harder to disavow them. Blogs stand McLuhan on his head as a medium that instantly massages messages and finds all the lumps, bumps and blockages.

This current electoral campaign has exposed in harsh and brilliant light the brutal fact that the major media does not now have, nor has ever possessed, a self-policing mechanism. (Spare me the pointers to Dan Okrant, the clean-up of the Jason Blair hoax or any of the numerous other items. These are either desperation moves or post mortem effects -- most likely the latter.)

For a long time it has been obvious that the major media has become, through sloth, attrition, nepotism and cronyism, a self-selected and unelected shadow


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 2, 2004 10:42 AM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Technoblatherism Redux

On the Recurring Plague of the Technocrits, the Global Swarming of the Internet, and the Flaming Ozone Holes of the Blogsphere

NOTE: When I initially wrote this response to one of the endless Technology-As-Messiah manifestos that polluted the Net in the boom-boom days of the dot.bomb bubble, I had assumed that the then looming blow-out would put paid to the mouthbreathers who then spewed their gospel on the rubber-tofu circuit of conferences and seminars. Of course, I was wrong.

I failed to take into account that these perverted purveyors of pap had no second careers lined up and were indeed members of the hard-core unemployable. (Which is probably why so many have failed to see any improvement in their personal economies of late.) I did not foresee that their bodies would no be exposed to the elements and recycled by roaches, but that they would simply enter a state of stasis until reanimated by foreclosures on their jumbo mortgages, or the need to put their spawn into useless colleges.

With the advent of the GoogleSpasm, they have all returned to life and are again selling the same old spew in the same old bottles but with a few new fonts on the label.

Watching their tsunami of crapola again infest the Net, it seems appropriate to return to this essay and update it just a tad to acknowledge that the undead spawn of Neuromancer lurch among us again. The Technocrits are back. Time to get out the sledgehammer and sharpen several dozen wooden stakes.

In this besotted age of unremitting technological spasms, we all struggle to maintain our consciousness, social position, phony-baloney jobs and inadequate incomes through rigidly researched and needlessly reiterated blather. The Ponzi schemes that unfold each day in communications and computing can be numbing, yet still personally enriching -- which is why we need to pay attention to who's got the honey pot.

One understandable reaction is to blather: "Are these changes good, bad, or profitable? Should we sell out or buy in?"

The answer is "Both, frequently, and 'SHOW ME THE MONEY!'"

"But how, Uncle Gerard," you ask, "can we buy in?"

My children, nothing could be simpler. Just look around and whip out the cash. You are The Consuming Class, do what you do best. When in doubt, buy the bullshit.

Hypnotic technologies, such as voice mail, Gmail, feature-glutted and overpriced software, fertility drugs, boner pills, Spam, genetic engineering, instant messaging, Gameboy, cruise missiles, online conferencing, Black Tar Heroin and Roofies are making business, dating and life itself more convenient and enjoyable, and many (white) people in San Jose, New York, Boston, Washington, Seattle, Bern and the Grand Cayman Islands healthier, wealthier, and wiser.

So get yours now while the getting is good. With Google on the Big Board, Technocrit is back in play.

Technology is again working hard at trivializing work, atomizing families, and puffing up the economy in utterly predictable ways. Our cool new technologies -- now wireless! with snapshots! -- are also reintroducing every single day age-old forms of muscular tension, wrist damage, sight impairment, mental distraction, goofing off, and spiritual and physical masturbation. You also get useless gadgets you just gotta have to organize a life that has no purpose beyond the next


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 1, 2004 12:37 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Civilization Vs. Global Psychopathology

The American Left, the Democratic Party, and John Kerry's "message" is that everyone should just back off on this "War on Terror" business and look to their wallets and their health care plans. This group of unhinged allies seems to feel the important things at this time are entitlements and more taxes. Check that-- their only real idea is that George Bush must go. Beyond that, they have no real feelings or plans or proposals whatsoever.

But all their hate and all their rabid insanity comes to nothing, to less than nothing when, looking about the world, you see that the psychopaths of the Islamic religion are capable of this:

School seized in Russia.

Details... ~50 children managed to escape at the time of seizure. 11 students and 4 adults hid in the boiler room (from where they were safely led out by the police). Later on, 2 girls managed to escape. They report that the terrorists are acting very aggresively and are scaring the children. One of the terrorists is wounded. The hostages are being kept in the school's gymnasium. The number of hostages mentioned here is 500 . Terrorists have mined the area around the school.
There are about 25 terrorists, 4 of them are women with bomb belts, and they also have 2 dogs. now being re enforced with troops. No more specifics are given.

21 year old Kazik brought his sister to school. He tells the journalist what he witnessed.

Around 9 am, an old truck pulled up and about 20 heavily armed terrorists dressed in black and wear black masks and 4 women with bomb belts came out.
Children started to run. Those who were standing closest to the street were able to make it out. Terorrists starting pushing others, and throwing some children through windows (!!!).

And elderly woman was shot, and a girl who looked like an 11th grader was shot in the back. She died on the spot.

An elderly woman -- shot. An 11th grade girl -- shot in the back.

I've long realized that a small page on the web is not a tool for convincing anyone of anything they don't already believe, but it just stops me cold when -- knowing what these people are capable of, and having been shown it time and time again -- there are still people who are my fellow citizens that actually believe anything other than killing will work with this pathology. Instead, the tens of thousands of Left/Democrat demonstrators are using their time to dance, jump, and posture around Manhattan today. I've heard this lauded as an admirable exercise in freedom and perhaps it is. It's also just sick.

We once would have said that an attack on a school and the threatened killing of hundreds of school children couldn't happen here. Nobody says that anymore. And if it did?

Would that finally wake us up? Would it? And if not that, what, exactly will it take? You don't root out this kind of psychopathology with talk therapy, you quarantine and then cauterize it.

And it will come to that. Yes, it will.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 1, 2004 10:19 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Blogs Will Be Seared - Seared - Into the Memory of This Campaign

Glenn Reynolds in the Wall St. Journal on why old media can't seem to bail out Kerry's swamped boat.

Ten Bullets from Stephen Green that are shooting .527 holes in the hull of said boat.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 1, 2004 7:49 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
G2E Media GmbH




By Mail: Gerard Van der Leun | 6616-D Clark Road #176 | Paradise, CA 95969

Your Shower Is Lame, Your Dishwasher Doesn’t Work, and Your Clothes are Dirty

It’s not just about the showerhead.
The water pressure in our homes and apartments has been gradually getting worse for two decades, thanks to EPA mandates on state and local governments. This has meant that even with a good showerhead, the shower is not as good as it might be. It also means that less water is running through our pipes, causing lines to clog and homes to stink just slightly like the sewer. This problem is much more difficult to fix, especially because plumbers are forbidden by law from hacking your water pressure. | Foundation for Economic Education [HT: Never Yet Melted]

In 2016 the Western political system had a stroke.

The American political system is operating in the curious condition of being an impaired state.
It's not really thinking -- about China, Russia, Syria, Kurdistan. It's not really thinking about anything except half remembered slogans from 1968. Like a person afflicted by a stroke, it can't take a consistent view of external reality because it's regressing into atavisms by a loss of brain function. Impaired

Fake News. At the same time of the political putsch, the mainstream media outlets,

in particular the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and the major networks, via broadcasts and social media, began an orchestrated campaign of defamation and delegitimization.
The crazier and more diverse the media mythologies, the better. Melania Trump was a former call girl and illegal alien. Ivanka Trump was peddling her business wares from the West Wing. Jared Kushner was a profiteering collusionist. Steve Bannon was a racist, Sebastian Gorka an unrepentant Nazi. Baron Trump was a spoiled, autistic child. The late elder Trump had run a racist campaign for mayor. And on and on. Resistance & Regime Change: Any Means Necessary – Lies, Leaks, Violence | National Review

Crime simply does not pay as well as politics or banking.

That may be the way to look at something like the Clinton Foundation and, coming soon, the Obama Foundation.
These are not explicitly criminal organizations, but they certainly play outside the spirit of the laws. Obama is out of office and prohibited from running again, but he still controls the Democratic party. The Clintons would be in charge, if not for the fact that the voters took their under boss out in the Tuesday Night Massacre, otherwise known as the presidential election. Even so, the Clinton Family is still a player. Late Phase Capitalism | The Z Blog

Bodymore, Murderville”

Most whites have become habituated to the reality of life in this part of the world.
Everyone, white and black, knows the reality on the street. The blacks with anything on the ball do exactly like the whites and that’s put distance between themselves and the black ghetto. That does not stop the Progressive maniacs from ranting about racism, but they do it from high up in the towers of their whites-only neighborhoods. As a result, no one hears them and so they can be ignored. The Killing Season | The Z Blog

New Blog Arriving Soon

Some have asked, "Gee whiz, Unca Gerard, where is that thar new blog you keeps a promisin'?"

I am hoping for sometime tonight. Hoping. We've been having some issues getting this winged dinosaur landed.

Drink Tea


Drink tea, together with your friends; pay attention to the tea, and to your friends, and pay attention to your friends paying attention to the tea. Therein lies the meaning of life. The Essence of Peopling

We would love to cut a deal with the noble indigenous peoples across the Earth—

you can have your Navajo panties and aboriginal dot paintings and every last freaking burrito on the planet so long as you give us back our computers and cell phones and cars and indoor plumbing and electricity and air conditioners. Deal?

If people go their separate ways such a divorce would be an astonishing defeat for the Left.

As late as 2016 it was possible to imagine an America led to a "progressive" future by Hillary Clinton;
an EU guiding all of Europe to a similar destiny and the G20 taking the whole world to the same destination. Indeed everyone told they were fated to follow an Arc of History. Yet after Brexit, Trump and G-Zero it is no longer possible to visualize this outcome. A blue-red division would confirm the failure to create a "progressive" world. No conceivable rollback will ever put Humpty Dumpty together again. Opportunity

Trump, Julius Caesar, and killing tyrants

The Roman lower classes, with whom Caesar was popular, became enraged that a small group of aristocrats had sacrificed Caesar. -- neoneocon

Execute Trump? Nah, You First.

Draining the swamp means not only ejecting Trump from the presidency,
but also bringing himself and everyone assisting in his agenda up on charges of treason. They must be convicted (there is little room to doubt their guilt). And then — upon receiving guilty verdicts — they must all be executed under the law. Impeachment Is No Longer Enough; Donald Trump Must Face Justice | HuffPost [Retreived from GoogleCache after it was expunged from the Huffington Post]

A bee in her bonnet


Thousands of bees took over a car in the UK and beekeepers are struggling to make them leave -
At first it wasn't clear why the bees chose the blue Nissan car and he and a colleague were trying to determine whether this was just a temporary stop or a new nesting site. But as the bees moved to the inside of the bonnet, filling every nook and cranny, things got more serious. "They're building a lot of wax in there now, and of course once they start doing that, they're reluctant to leave it, because it's the start of building a house. They put a lot of effort into producing the wax," Coulson told Hull Daily Mail. "I've got a feeling this might be their chosen permanent home."

[Bumped] "They send one of ours to the hospital, we send two of theirs to the morgue."

Baseball Shooter a Big Wake-Up Call for the Left | Roger L. SimonRobespierre is alive and well in 2017 USA.

This pathetic character in Alexandria is, now was, the left's ungoverned id. By any means necessary -- that's for sure. They will undoubtedly try to shove him under the rug as quickly as possible, just one more aberrant individual to be forgotten, just one obscure Bernie volunteer gone bad. Sanders did his best to separate himself within minutes of the revelation. Yes, it's undoubtedly true that this was just one rotten apple, but it's also true that only five years ago Bernie was recommending Venezuela -- now ground zero for starvation, kidnapping and murder -- as a path for us to emulate.

Greatest antitheft device when the thieves are millenials:

Man leads Jeffco deputies on low-speed chase in stolen flatbed truck after unable to get out of 1st gear The driver - later identified as 29-year-old Randy Dewayne Vert - refused to stop and continued driving south on Center Point Parkway, Christian said. Vert was apparently unfamiliar with the complexities of a modern manual transmission.

The natural impulse of a political system in institutional crisis is to dig in.

Too many institutions in the West remain decades after their birth, frozen in the moment of their creation.
NASA, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the university system and the United Nations rule us from the past. Public life has become a museum of memes from which nothing can escape without a mummy hand dragging the fugitive back into the darkened interior. It is perhaps no coincidence the two most popular leaders of the Western left, Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, might credibly impersonate Boris Karloff. They are here to lead us back to 1968. Stuck

The Japanese. Nuked Too Much... or Trying to Get Their Mouths Around Fujiyama Volcano Plate


We put Japan's most phallic-looking roast beef meal into our mouth at VolcanoKitchen | SoraNews24
Since we’d already become somewhat desensitized to the initially unsettling sensation of peeling strips of meat off the top of the shaft, we mercilessly crushed the egg, sending viscous, gooey liquid running down to the base of the meat rod.

The power of the press is a figment of the imagination -- humbug --

Oscar Diggs behind the curtain projecting the image of Oz the Great and Powerful!
The Internet did not kill the power of the newspapers. It was suicide. And not just because most of them had Marxist editorials, editors, and reporters. Newspapers lost their sense of community -- and their credibility -- when the heirs to hometown publishers didn't want the paper, sold it to a chain for $1,000 per subscriber to a chain -- Gannett, Knight-Ridder, Thomson -- and moved on. Don Surber: Craigslist killed newspapers

When terrorists enter your children’s school and begin to execute them...

will the gun ban (you favored) in school that prevented abiding staff and teachers from saving your child, come to mind as a good idea?
If the answer to any or all of these and many more reasonable questions, is 'yes,' then you may be a delusional liberal, and likely a coward, and almost as big a threat to our nation as the terrorists who are at war with us." - Morgan K. Freeberg

"Happy birthday, Mr. President...."


First truth which has been grounded into dust, must spring forth from the earth again.

At the present time . . .he who practices loving-kindness is esteemed and sought after, while he who champions the truth in word and in deed is persecuted and shunned. 
For men desire to base their affairs on everything except the one incorruptible truth which has been set down before us by God , and therefore these affairs have no permanent value . . . only when love and truth meet together, only when men come to understand that the highest act of loving-kindness is to bring men to know and practice the truth, only then will the marriage of love and truth produce that condition on earth in which everyone and everything will occupy the place which has been assigned to it by the will of God. Truth and Peace - Men Of The West

What happened to Nuclear Winter?


As the media glare faded, its robust scenario appeared less persuasive;
John Maddox, editor of Nature, repeatedly criticized its claims; within a year, Stephen Schneider, one of the leading figures in the climate model, began to speak of "nuclear autumn." It just didn't have the same ring. A final media embarrassment came in 1991, when Carl Sagan predicted on Nightline that Kuwaiti oil fires would produce a nuclear winter effect, causing a "year without a summer," and endangering crops around the world. Sagan stressed this outcome was so likely that "it should affect the war plans." None of it happened. Raconteur Report: Aliens Cause Global Warming by Michael Crichton

If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus.

I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks.
Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. - - Woodpile Report

Joe Biden’s niece dodges jail after $100K credit card scam

She walks on a major felony? Of course she did. And who believes she'll keep her end of the deal? In her defense, we're assured she's "a very complicated girl who has a lot of feelings and a lot of issues." Oh ... okay. That explains everything. Hugs from all the little people. Woodpile Report

Why is English so weirdly different from other languages?

There is exactly one language on Earth whose present tense requires a special ending only in the third‑person singular.
I’m writing in it. I talk, you talk, he/she talk-s – why just that? The present‑tense verbs of a normal language have either no endings or a bunch of different ones (Spanish: hablo, hablas, habla). And try naming another language where you have to slip do into sentences to negate or question something. Do you find that difficult? | Aeon Essays

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