Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Something Wonderful: The Galaxy Song

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.

The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.

Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars.
It's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick,
But out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide.

We're thirty thousand light years from galactic central point.
We go 'round every two hundred million years,
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute, and that's the fastest speed there is.

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 28, 2014 9:08 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Once Out of Nature.....

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Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

- - WB Yeats, Sailing to Byzantium
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Art from Intricacies: A Book of Collaborative Drawings Inspired by Nature | Colossal



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 28, 2014 3:54 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
And Now for the Banana Bandito: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Nathan Channing arrested after pointing banana at police in Grand Junction, Colorado - CBS News

According to an arrest affidavit, Mesa County deputies Joshua Bunch and Donald Love said Channing pointed the fruit at them while crossing a street.

The deputies said they feared for their lives even though they saw that the object was yellow. Bunch wrote in the affidavit that he has seen handguns in many shapes and colors. He wrote that Love was drawing his service weapon when Channing, of Fruitvale, Colo. yelled, "It's a banana!" Yes, the man accused of pointing a banana at police is from Fruitvale. And yes, one of the police officers he pointed the banana at is named Bunch. And, no, we didn't make this up.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 28, 2014 10:44 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Mine Enemy Grows Older

A few days ago a chance remark to an elderly woman in Chico that incorporated the name "Richard Nixon" elicited a response from here along the lines of "He was the first of a long line of evil presidents such as Bush One and Bush Two."

I replied that you could not overlook the really demented daily evil of Obama.

She responded, "Oh, you people only hate him because he's black."

I said, "Actually we despise him in spite of him being black and the fact that he can't play the blues."

She started to blink rapidly and small white flecks of spittle began to form in the corners of her lips. I put the car in gear and drove away confident that my work with her was done for the day, but noting her address so that I could reserve her a seat in the tumbrils.

All of which put me in mind of this item from 2011 concerning the roach motel of the progressive mindset where the evil checks in but it doesn't check out.

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Gary Laison, his wife Diane Laison and Joan Kosloff, all of Philadelphia, take part in the Occupy Philadelphia protest outside of City Hall in Philadelphia. Gary Laison, 75, said: "I think the kids like seeing older people there. I think the sense (that) they are not alone, that they are a part of this span of generations is important to them."

They that beg us barter—wait his yielding mood—
Pledge the years we hold in trust—pawn our brother's blood—
Howso' great their clamour, whatsoe'er their claim,

"Suffer not the old King under any name!"

Their infernal machine lops and trims the green upstarts, the single emerald sprouts, the high stalk topped with the blue cornflower down to the level of their dull brown mass. Down there in the dull damp, down among the dead men, the mass molders and they love to inhale the musk of decay.

Their minds are the godless grave of words muttered by Mao, garbled by Goebbels, and limned by Lenin from which no life or liberty can ever hope for escape and resurrection.

Their secular "green" religion has its bad rap but no hymns.

Their "progressive" policies eviscerate all prayers.

Their fantasy of a "fairer world" will become their grandchildren's small and shrunken lives on a nightmare planet where all men, finally equalized, will live like dung beetles on the desolate wastes of what once was.

They persist , like zombies lashed to a dying animal, in their death-in-life existence, seeking only the freedom of an approved and "assisted" suicide as their reward.

They call themselves "progressives" and flatter themselves that their thoughts and actions are "revolutionary" when they are as reactionary as any mob that can be remembered from history.

They chain themselves deep in the pit of pretend, and celebrate their servitude by bending heaven and earth to get you down in the hole that they're in.

They believe that the individual should become the mass, and that the mass should worship its apotheosis; that single one who best reflects their ossified visions on which the anointing oil has long since dried to a brown crust of thought.

They are the monarchists of the masses. They seek a state in which the head that wears the crown may change but where the crown itself grows forever larger.

What happened to all those who, in my youth, marched and sang for "freedom?"

How did they become so old, so hidebound, so shrived, so shriveled, so stuck in the past?

When did they become so mired in "Imagine?" How, from once striving so hard against colonialism in all its guises, did they allow their minds to become so utterly colonized by a matted mass of dim and discredited notions?

They no longer "rage against the machine." They are the machine.

"Drive them fast to their tomb."



Posted by Vanderleun Nov 28, 2014 3:24 AM | Comments (24)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"OK, Here are the names AND ADDRESSES of the 2 NY Slimes Nazi Liberal hacks who published Officer Wilson's address..

This just in.... Reckless move: The NY Times publishes Darren Wilson’s address | Fox News

The New York Times, whether consciously or not, has just endangered Darren Wilson’s life.

With tensions running high in Ferguson over the lack of an indictment for Wilson’s killing of Michael Brown, the paper has published the officer’s approximate address -- the street and town where he lives with his new wife, who also is named.

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Via Johnny Jones on Twitter Why not drop in if you're in the neighborhood?



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 27, 2014 12:09 AM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Some See a Challenge as a "Why?" Most See It as a "WTF!?"



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 26, 2014 6:46 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Blues Don't Get Better Than This, They Just Get More Elaborate

▶ Get Your Money Where You Spend Your Time | Bobby "Blue" Bland

My lord...
Baby...
Oh Lord....
Let’s see....

You go how you wanna go,
And you stay as long as you please
You gave your best love to John Henry,
Then you bring your scraps home to me
Now if that’s the way you want to do it,
I’ve got to draw the line
So from now on just get your money
Where you spend your time

I work too hard for these pennies,
To be treated like a fool
And the 2-time game you’re trying to run on me,
Is something I just can’t use
There’s too many good women out there,
Could use a love like mine
So from now on just get your money
Where you spend your time

I’m not gonna let you worry me no more

I’m not going to try to catch you,
And i hope you understand
I’m gonna find me another woman,
And you can go on out there with your man
I’m tired of being mistreated by you
(tired of being mistreated)
When I’ve made up my mind
(made up my mind)
So from now on just get your money
Where you spend your time
(get your money, where you spend your time)

Where you spend your time baby...
(get your money, where you spend your time)

I don’t know about you right now baby,
I don’t know where you’re gonna spend your time
(get your money, where you spend your time)

There’s nothing i know baby,
But i sure know where I’m gonna spend mine
(get your money, where you spend your time)

I’m tired Lord...
Lord I’m so tired
(get your money, where you spend your time)

Get your money,
Where you spend your time
Get your money,
Oh Lord, Where you spend your time



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 26, 2014 6:17 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
What no one wants to say about Ferguson!



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 26, 2014 4:13 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Of the Continuing Greatness of Matt Drudge and the Drudgereport

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 25, 2014 7:54 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Grandma Put It All In Jars

This weekend dear friends brought me many jars of homemade jams.... strawberry, blackberry, golden raspberry.... fruit handpicked at the peak of their season and now all tucked tight into gleaming jars by loving hands. The winter is closing in but shining in the shadows of my cupboards are these citadels of summer. It reminded me of this Greg Brown ode, Canned Goods. Taste a little of the summer.....

"Let those December winds bellow 'n' blow
I'm as warm as a July tomato.
Peaches on the shelf
Potatoes in the bin
Supper's ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer,
Taste a little of the summer,
You can taste a little of the summer
My grandma's put it all in jars."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 24, 2014 8:19 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Not Ending Well? Hell, Not Even Beginning Well

Resolved: That all children raised by gay parents will be just as normal and squared away as kids raised by straight parents.

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While I had numerous brushes with extremist feminists in law school

— women who declared that all (heterosexual) sex was rape and often responded with literal screams to classroom speech they didn’t like — it all felt fashionably fake. Surely no one took that level of extremism into the real world, did they? Then my wife encountered a lesbian couple in Ithaca, N.Y., who was raising their child to be “genderless.” They refused to call him a boy or girl, allowing him to “choose his gender” identity during his teenage years. And, apparently, they are not alone. Modern Feminism: Appalling Stupidity Backed by Hysterical Rage | National Review Online



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 24, 2014 10:19 AM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Circumlocution Office: Containing the whole Science of Government

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“The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office.

“This glorious establishment had been early in the field, when the one sublime principle involving the difficult art of governing a country, was first distinctly revealed to statesmen. It had been foremost to study that bright revelation and to carry its shining influence through the whole of the official proceedings. Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving--HOW NOT TO DO IT.

“Through this delicate perception, through the tact with which it invariably seized it, and through the genius with which it always acted on it, the Circumlocution Office had risen to overtop all the public departments; and the public condition had risen to be--what it was.

“It is true that How not to do it was the great study and object of all public departments and professional politicians all round the Circumlocution Office. It is true that every new premier and every new government, coming in because they had upheld a certain thing as necessary to be done, were no sooner come in than they applied their utmost faculties to discovering How not to do it. It is true that from the moment when a general election was over, every returned man who had been raving on hustings because it hadn't been done, and who had been asking the friends of the honourable gentleman in the opposite interest on pain of impeachment to tell him why it hadn't been done, and who had been asserting that it must be done, and who had been pledging himself that it should be done, began to devise, How it was not to be done.” -- Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

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Posted by Vanderleun Nov 23, 2014 1:01 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Persephone, the Queen of Hades and the beautiful bride of grief.

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"It was as if we slept from Friday to Monday and dreamed an oppressive, unsearchably significant dream, which, we discovered on awaking, millions of others had dreamed also. Furniture, family, the streets, and the sky dissolved, only the dream on television was real. The faces of the world's great mingled with the faces of landladies who happened to house an unhappy ex-Marine; cathedrals alternated with warehouses; temples of government with suburban garages; anonymous men tugged at a casket in a glaring airport; a murder was committed before our eyes; a Dallas strip-tease artist drawled amiably of her employer's quick temper; the heads of state of the Western world strode down a sunlit street like a grim village rabble; and Jacqueline Kennedy became Persephone, the Queen of Hades and the beautiful bride of grief. All human possibilities, of magnificence and courage, of meanness and confusion, seemed to find an image in this long montage, and a stack of cardboard boxes in Dallas, a tawdry movie house, a tiny rented room where some shaving cream still clung to the underside of a washbasin, a row of parking meters that had witnessed a panicked flight all acquired the opaque and dreadful importance that innocent objects acquire in nightmares." -- John Updike

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via neo-neocon

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Posted by Vanderleun Nov 22, 2014 12:52 AM | Comments (33)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Colonel by Carolyn Forché / Kurtz and Judgment

WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD is true. I was in his house. His wife carried a tray of coffee and sugar. His daughter filed her nails, his son went    out for the night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol on the cushion beside him. The moon swung bare on its black cord over the house. On the television was a cop show. It was in English. Broken bottles were embedded in the walls around the house to scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his hands to lace. On the windows there were gratings like those in liquor stores. We had dinner, rack of lamb, good wine, a gold bell was on the table for calling the maid. The maid brought green mangoes, salt, a type of bread. I was asked how I enjoyed the country. There was a brief commercial in Spanish. His wife took everything away. There was some talk then of how difficult it had become to govern. The parrot said hello on the terrace. The colonel told it to shut up, and pushed himself from the table. My friend said to me with his eyes: say nothing. The colonel returned with a sack used to bring groceries home. He spilled many human ears on the table. They were like dried peach halves. There is no other way to say this. He took one of them in his hands, shook it in our faces, dropped it into a water glass. It came alive there. I am tired of fooling around he said. As for the rights of anyone, tell your people they can go fuck them- selves. He swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held the last of his wine in the air. Something for your poetry, no? he said. Some of the ears on the floor caught this scrap of his voice. Some of the ears on the floor were pressed to the ground.                                                                                     
- - May 1978

Kurtz: I've seen the horror. Horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that, but you have no right to judge me . It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face, and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and mortal terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies.

I remember when I was with Special Forces--it seems a thousand centuries ago--we went into a camp to inoculate it. The children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us, and he was crying. He couldn't see.

We went there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile--a pile of little arms. And I remember ...I ...I ...I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out, I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it, I never want to forget. And then I realized--like I was shot...like I was shot with a diamond...a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, "My God, the genius of that, the genius, the will to do that." Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they could stand that--these were not monsters, these were men, trained cadres, these men who fought with their hearts, who have families, who have children, who are filled with love--that they had this strength, the strength to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, then our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral and at the same time were able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling, without passion, without judgment--without judgment.

Because it's judgment that defeats us.

I worry that my son might not understand what I've tried to be, and if I were to be killed, Willard, I would want someone to go to my home and tell my son everything. Everything I did, everything you saw, because there's nothing that I detest more than t he stench of lies. And if you understand me, Willard, you... you will do this for me.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 21, 2014 12:46 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
One may smile and smile and be a villain....

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Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams....
Richard III

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Meanwhile, back at the Roman Forum....

CASCA Speak, hands for me!

CASCA first, then the other Conspirators and BRUTUS stab CAESAR

CAESAR Et tu, Brute! Then fall, Caesar.

Dies

CINNA Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead! Run hence, proclaim, cry it about the streets.

CASSIUS Some to the common pulpits, and cry out 'Liberty, freedom, and enfranchisement!'

BRUTUS People and senators, be not affrighted; Fly not; stand stiff: ambition's debt is paid.

SCENE I. Rome. Before the Capitol; the Senate sitting above.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 20, 2014 7:11 PM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Police Chief Edward Flynn has had enough of the endless bullshit from "community activists"

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn speaks to reporters after a Fire and Police Commission meeting Thursday night concerning the shooting of Dontre Hamilton. During the meeting, Flynn learned that a 5-year-old girl was shot and killed.

“Well I was on my phone, and yes, that’s true. I was following developments with a 5-year-old little girl sitting on her dad’s lap who just got shot in the head by a drive-by shooting. And if some of the people here gave a good g*dd*mn about the victimization of the people in this community by crime, I’d take some of their invective more seriously. The greatest racial disparity in the city of Milwaukee is getting shot and killed. Hello! Eighty percent of my homicide victims every year are African-American. Eighty percent of our aggravated assault victims are African-American. Eighty percent of our shooting victims, who survive their shooting are African-American. Now they know all about the last three people who’ve been killed by the Milwaukee Police Department over the course of the last several years. There’s not one of them that can name one of the last three homicide victims we’ve had in this city.”



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 20, 2014 12:26 PM | Comments (20)  | QuickLink: Permalink
TODAY'S TRUESBURY Behind the scenes with the Truth Team

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Today’s Truesbury |



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 19, 2014 12:10 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
After Eleven Years and 24,797 Published Items, I Find I Need to Raise Some Cash

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A thoughtful reader inquires, "I view your site a few times a day, -=several times=-, and I find it invaluable. How the heck do you make a living? Some other authors/producers that I appreciate, like the great John Derbyshire or World Wide Words.org, accept PayPal. I usually send them a few dollars each year to express my appreciation and I would gladly do the same for American Digest."

My recent move seems to have drained my never-too-overwhelming reserves. Hence, after eleven years, I thought I might pass the hat among my readers for the first time. I'm new to this "Donate" business but I am informed that Paypal's Donation button here should work. Let me know if it doesn't and I'll work to fix it. To paraphrase Chicago politicians, "If you feel the need to donate, donate early and donate often."




UPDATE: A number of readers have asked if they can send a donation by other means. By all means. As they used to say in the ads on the Wolfman Jack radio show: "You can send cash, check, or money order to...."

Gerard Van der Leun
c/o Lake Union Mail
117 East Louisa, #380
Seattle, WA
98102


Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 19, 2014 11:58 AM | Comments (43)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Barnhardt-Van der Leun Musical Awesomeness Cagematch: Round Two!

The lovely Koran-Burning-While-Living-in-a-Van-by-the-River Ann Barnhardt has taken note of the recent Boomer Anthems: What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted? @ AMERICAN DIGEST and decided, since she has little regard for her own safety, to DROP THE VINYL!

Barnhardt-Van der Leun Musical Awesomeness Cagematch | BarnhardtSo Gerard Van der Leun over at AmericanDigest.org, a frequent syndicator of this strange website and frequent poachee of mine, cross posted the Sting/Lute/Fields of Gold clip, because he is a gentleman, a poet, and a scholar. How could he not? But now I feel we need to keep this thing going. He posted today an INCREDIBLE cover of “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” by Joan Osborne, who, quoting Arsenio Hall, sings her face off.
A’ight. A’ight. I feel you. I’ll see your Joan Osborne and raise you Miss Bonnie Raitt covering Del Shannon’s “Runaway”. ON VINYL.
Oh, smack. It’s on now! Barnhardt dropped the VINYL.

I’m a walkin’ in the rain
Tears are fallin’ an’ I feel the pain
Wishin’ you were here by me
To end this misery….

To which I put aside my tea cup and my crustless cucumber sandwiches and say, Oh rilly? Well..... Okay I suppose... even with that embarrassing tempo glitch around 1:18 it does have a certain requisite "inevitability" that all good music has. In response I shall drop a performance which, many years ago, I had the good fortune to hear live as it was being filmed at Monterey Pop.... A performance that is seared, SEARED, into my memory!



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 19, 2014 11:00 AM | Comments (23)  | QuickLink: Permalink
This Crisis Was Foreseeable … Thousands of Years Ago

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History lessons, repeated, from George Washington's blog @ Zero Hedge:


We’ve known for 5,000 years that mass spying on one’s own people is always aimed at grabbing power and crushing dissent, not protecting us from bad guys.

We’ve known for 4,000 years that debts need to be periodically written down, or the entire economy will collapse. And see this.

We’ve known for 2,500 years that prolonged war bankrupts an economy.

We’ve known for 2,000 years that wars are based on lies.

We’ve known for 1,900 years that runaway inequality destroys societies.

We’ve known for thousands of years that debasing currencies leads to economic collapse.

We’ve known for millennia that torture is a form of terrorism.

We’ve known for thousands of years that – when criminals are not punished – crime spreads.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that the failure to punish financial fraud destroys economies, as it destroys all trust in the financial system.

We’ve known for centuries that monopolies and the political influence which accompanies too much power in too few hands are dangerous for free markets.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that companies will try to pawn their debts off on governments, and that it is a huge mistake for governments to allow corporate debt to be backstopped by government.

We’ve known for centuries that powerful people – unless held to account – will get together and steal from everyone else.

We’ve known for hundreds of years that standing armies and warmongering harm Western civilization.

We’ve known for 200 years that allowing private banks to control credit creation eventually destroys the nation’s prosperity.

We’ve known for two centuries that a fiat money system – where the money supply is not pegged to anything real – is harmful in the long-run.

We’ve known for 200 years that a two-party system quickly becomes corrupted.

We’ve known for over a century that torture produces false and useless information.

We’ve known since the 1930s Great Depression that separating depository banking from speculative investment banking is key to economic stability. See this, this, this and this.

We’ve known for 80 years that inflation is a hidden tax.

We’ve known for 79 years that war is a racket that benefits the elites but harms everyone else.

We’ve known since 1988 that quantitative easing doesn’t work to rescue an ailing economy.

We’ve known since 1993 that derivatives such as credit default swaps – if not reined in – could take down the economy. And see this.

We’ve known since 1998 that crony capitalism destroys even the strongest economies, and that economies that are capitalist in name only need major reforms to create accountability and competitive markets.

We’ve known since 2007 or earlier that lax oversight of hedge funds could blow up the economy.

And we knew before the 2008 financial crash and subsequent bailouts that:

  • The easy credit policy of the Fed and other central banks, the failure to regulate the shadow banking system, and “the use of gimmicks and palliatives” by central banks hurt the economy
  • Anything other than (1) letting asset prices fall to their true market value, (2) increasing savings rates, and (3) forcing companies to write off bad debts “will only make things worse”
  • Bailouts of big banks harm the economy
  • The Fed and other central banks were simply transferring risk from private banks to governments, which could lead to a sovereign debt crisis

Postscript:  Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it … and we’ve known that for a long time.

 

This Crisis Was Foreseeable … Thousands of Years Ago | Zero Hedge



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 19, 2014 9:42 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sweet Dreams in the Olympics

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"Avalanche lilies (Erythronium montanum) signal the short season of plenty in the coastal mountains of Olympic National Park. I found this field of dreams along Obstruction Point Road." Sweet Dreams by Gary Luhm / 500px



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 19, 2014 9:19 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Shapes of this Year's Early Global Warming Events

Time-Lapse of Buffalo Lake Effect Snow.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 19, 2014 8:04 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Address: Seven Score and Ten Tears Ago

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The top hat worn by Abraham Lincoln to Ford’s Theatre on April 14th, 1865- approximately one week after Lee surrendered to Grant in Appomattox Courthouse thus ending the war.

To be born an American, or to become an American, you need only know and understand four things that we have written down. Our founding document, The Declaration of Independence. Our agreement with ourselves and our government that specifies and protects the self-evident truths and freedoms of the Declaration, The Constitution. Our national motto:  "In God we trust." And our credo, "The Gettysburg Address."

A credo is a short and straightforward statement of beliefs or principles. A credo has no fixed length but lies somewhere between a motto and a manifesto. The most widely known traditional credo would be "The Apostles Creed."

Although it is not often thought of as such, Lincoln's brief oration at Gettysburg at noon on that long ago November day is, in all its elements, our national credo. Although shaped as prose fit to be cut, as it has been, into stone, The Gettysburg Address is also a lyrical poem as polished as a crystal prism. Through it, all that we had been up until that day midway through our most terrible conflict passed and was transformed into the multifaceted nation we have become today. And it is still not finished with us, nor we with it. 

The Address shows us first how we came into existence as "the last best hope of Earth." It echoes the opening refrain of the Declaration's notes of liberty and equality. It reminds us of our original goals of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" goals to which our founding fathers pledged their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor." It implies that all generations of Americans must, if the nation is to endure, pledge the same.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

The poem then brings the credo into the present. Not just the present moment of November 19, 1863, but all the present moments that came after right up to this very day in November in 2013. Then the argument between Americans had become so pitched that civil war between the contending factions had torn the nation asunder. We have come close to similar passes since then several times, but have -- remembering "the better angels of our nature" -- always turned aside and found a way to move forward together as a great nation of a greater people. Now may be another such moment; another such turning. Lincoln could not know our moment, but in his credo he indicates his belief that the test of his moment will be passed and that the nation will long endure. He also knows the cost of that test for those who "gave their lives that that nation might live." 

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

From that moment in that long ago November, Lincoln's credo casts a cold eye on the ultimate costs of liberty whenever men determine that liberty, for themselves and their posterity, is worth whatever sacrifice is asked of them. Out of that vision he tells us what the duty of all future generations of Americans must be. 

In the closing of the Address, Lincoln is at once a President, a poet, a seer, and an American. As such, he closes the credo to which all future Americans must cleave. The credo requires us to be constantly renewing the work of liberty. The credo tells us that we -- if we are to bear true faith and allegiance to all those who have built, stone by stone, poem by poem, word by word, and life by life, the city on the hill that is America -- must always be dedicated to the unfinished work that is always before us. The credo requires that we "highly resolve" to leave our nation in a greater state of liberty than we found it. And to leave our Union entire and intact as "the last best hope of Earth."

The most successful revolution in history was not the Russian Revolution or the Chinese Revolution. It was the American Revolution. It began more than two centuries ago and it continues to this day. It is not over yet. This is its credo.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 

curriergettysburg.jpg Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 18, 2014 11:57 AM | Comments (21)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Jerry’s monologue from “The Visa” episode of Seinfeld:

"I am for open immigration but that sign we have on the front of the Statue of Liberty,

“Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…” Can’t we just say, “Hey, the door’s open, we’ll take whoever you got”? Do we have to specify the wretched refuse? I mean, why don’t we just say, “Give us the unhappy, the sad, the slow, the ugly, people that can’t drive, that they have trouble merging, if they can’t stay in their lane, if they don’t signal, they can’t parallel park, if they’re sneezing, if they’re stuffed up, if they’re clogged, if they have bad penmanship, don’t return calls, if they have dandruff, food between their teeth, if they have bad credit, if they have no credit, missed a spot shaving, in other words any dysfunctional defective slob that you can somehow cattle prod onto a wagon, send them over, we want ‘em.”

Via NYT finally discovers a type of immigrant it doesn’t want - The Unz Review



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 18, 2014 7:37 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Sleep Bomber

"Let our virtual B-17 airplane sound

lull you to sleep with a low frequency engine drone in stereo. This is an 8 hour long version designed to run all night."

[HT: Remus]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 17, 2014 10:59 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?

This was the definitive soul video/film setup for "What Becomes?" in the days before MTV. Jimmy Ruffin - (1965)

And it stayed on top for this song for decades, for so long that it was thought to be the epitome of this song.

Thought to be until.... until Joan Osborne strolls up to the mike and, somewhere around 3:00, kicks the song through the wall at the back of the hall......

[Speakers up. Full screen]

"The roots of love grow all around
But for me they come a tumblin' down.
Every day heartaches grow a little stronger,
I can't stand this pain much longer!
I walk in shadows,
Searching for light.
Cold and alone,
No comfort in sight.
Hoping and praying for someone who care,
Always moving and goin' nowhere.
What becomes of the broken hearted
Who had love that's now departed?
I know I've got to find,
Some kind of peace of mind.
Help me...."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 17, 2014 10:37 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Wait for It

Big Fur Hat asks, "Can You Spot the New Zealand Bull Tahr? "



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 17, 2014 5:47 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Holiday Store Decoration in Ferguson

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"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!"

And a white Christmas at that, complete with Snow White and her Christmas Carolers!

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 17, 2014 4:57 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Sting singing Fields Of Gold using a lute, with Edin Karamazov

"I never made promises lightly
And there have been some that I've broken
But I swear in the days still left
We'll walk in fields of gold
We'll walk in fields of gold..."

Closing out this luminous Sunday in the year of Our Lord, 2014.

HT from Ann Barnhardt



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 16, 2014 7:37 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Obama Don't Know Nothing About Birthing Grubers

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Gruber? Gruber? Never heard of him before today: “The fact that some adviser who never worked on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters is no reflection on the actual process that was run,” Mr. Obama said during a press conference in Brisbane, Australia.

Then again way back, pre-presidency, in 2006 there was this little get together at Brookings. Restoring America's Promise of Opportunity, Prosperity and Growth: Launch of The Hamilton Project | Brookings Institution

April 5, 2006
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM EDT

Moderator:
Peter Orszag
Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Panel One: Restoring America's Promise of Opportunity, Prosperity, and Growth

Senator Barack Obama (D-IL)

Robert Rubin
Director and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Citigroup Inc.

The Reverend Jim Wallis
Founder, Sojourners; Author, God's Politics

Panel Two: Innovative Policy Ideas

Molly Fifer
Doctoral Candidate, Princeton University

Jonathan Gruber
Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Austan Goolsbee
Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics, University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business

Robert Gordon
Senior Vice President, Center for American Progress

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 16, 2014 6:51 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
More Mush from the Wimp [Updated with a Reader's Response]

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Gerard --

Two years: That's all the time I have left as your president.

I know what I'm going to be fighting for until I leave this office.

And the work you do now with OFA -- whatever it is that you choose to fight for -- will define what we can achieve together in that time.

So let's go. If it's raising the minimum wage for hard-working Americans or fixing our broken immigration system that fires you up, I need you to stand up for it. If it's gun violence prevention, speak out. If it's marriage equality, or women's rights, or getting serious about fighting climate change, your voice is needed like never before.

The elected officials I'll work with in the last two years of my presidency need to be reminded that people like you aren't going away.

They need to know you won't let the special interests in Washington drown out the voices of Americans who want to drive our country forward. That's what OFA was built to do.

So today, I'm asking directly: Will you commit to finish what you started with OFA?

I want to be clear about this: The difference you make isn't theoretical -- what you choose to do has a concrete impact.

When it comes to health care reform and the effort to help Americans across the country get covered in the months ahead, the role you play will be life-changing for real people. I've seen it.

Because of you, and groups like OFA, the face of American politics is fundamentally different today. You've changed what it means to get involved, and you've redefined how power is built.

Last week's election doesn't change that -- it just makes your job all the more critical.

With or without help from Congress, I'm not done making real change for the American people. And I bet you aren't, either.

Let's hear it:

http://my.barackobama.com/Lets-Go

Thank you,

Barack Obama




A response just in via the comments:

Mr. President,
I agree that my legislators need to hear from me. Here's a letter I recently sent to my Representative Susan Delbene:

I cannot tell you how upset I am about the coming threat of an Executive Order by President Obama to legalize 5+ million illegal immigrants. This is a usurpation of the legislative powers of Congress. It is a lawless act by a President who seems to believe he has nothing to lose.

If this is allowed to happen we will be sliding toward Banana Republic status where laws are ignored and “strong men” do whatever they want.

Do I have to tell you that the legalization of millions of illegal immigrants will result in millions more rushing to come here? And who is to stop them? It’s easy because our executive branch has failed to enforce our border.

Sovereign nations enforce their borders


  • to stop invasions by foreign armies,
  • to prevent invasion by unwanted communicable diseases,
  • to keep agricultural pests and diseases out,
  • to prevent aliens from taking jobs from legal citizens,
  • to prevent illegal drugs from coming in,
  • to stop terrorists from infiltrating in,
  • and other things to protect the citizens and the nation.

We have the right to defend our borders. We also have a system for welcoming immigrants to this country. Those who have ignored our immigration laws are as much criminals as those who have broken into our homes and robbed us. Can we not remember that we used to be a nation of laws – not of the desires of one man or one political party.

Comprehensive immigration reform is not popular because there is no trust that the executive branch would actually close the border. So far they have done an ineffectual job and why would that change after a law is passed that provides a path to legality for those who are here illegally?

Do not let the President usurp your power as a legislator. Even if you want reform, you should recognize that once the President has successfully bypassed you on this, what is to stop him from just ignoring Congress all together. That is how it works in Banana Republics.

Let’s not go there!

Mr. President, if this letter doesn't meet your approval, tough shit! We conservatives can rag on our representatives too, ya know.

Posted by Jimmy J. at November 15, 2014 2:11 PM



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 15, 2014 2:18 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Number 9, Number 9, Number 9,000

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Just to keep the count going, this particular item is item number nine thousand at American Digest.

My sideblog, "The Top 40," has to date published 15,797 items.

The first item at American Digest was Do You Want Fries with That? @ AMERICAN DIGEST published on JUNE 9, 2003.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 15, 2014 9:19 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
On Knowing What's What and Who's Who

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Last week the 91-year-old father of a friend of mine was out riding his Harley. (He's a tough old bird to be sure.) Sadly that day turned out to be one of those times where, when taking a curve, something went wrong and down he went on his motorcycle at speed.

There were, as you might imagine, multiple injuries from which he will spend some months recovering. The first thing that happened, however, was that 911 was called and an ambulance pulled up to the scene of the accident where the elderly biker was being held still and comforted by his son who was out riding with him.

Two paramedics jumped out and came up to the injured man and assessed his physical condition. That done they moved onto his mental condition.

"What year is it, sir?"

"It's 2014," he replied faintly.

"What month is it, sir?"

"It's... it's November."

"How many quarters are there in a dollar," they asked.

"Four," he replied.

"And who is president of the United States?"

"That SON OF A BITCH!"

Prognosis today for a full recovery? Excellent.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 14, 2014 8:23 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Sainsbury's OFFICIAL Christmas 2014 Ad

Inspired by real events from 100 years ago.

Five and a half million views in just two days and well deserved.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 14, 2014 4:20 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The World's Most Persecuted Minority: Christians

The most persecuted and victimized people in the world today are Christians in the Middle East. The perpetrators of the widespread destruction of that region's Christian community? Islamists. Middle East expert Raymond Ibrahim lays out the grim details.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 14, 2014 2:47 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: "MacArthur Park" Everyone Knows the Refrain. Everyone Wishes They Didn't.

In which we discover that the cake is left, by some highly irresponsible person, outside in extreme precipitation with the predictable result that all the sweet, green icing ends up flowing down much to the distress of the singer who laments that he or she will be unable to repossess the evidently highly secret recipe to said baked good.

Which, as it turns out, was actually sitting there out in the rain in the Los Angeles park dedicated to the famous American general.

Despite the rather poetic homage paid to it in the 1968 song, MacArthur Park became known for violence after 1985 when prostitution, drug dealing, shoot-outs, and the occasional rumored drowning became commonplace, with as many as 30 murders in 1990.

Jimmy Webb discusses famous lyrics in 'MacArthur Park':

"I've also tried to tell the truth, which is that it's just a song about a girlfriend of mine, Susie Horton, and this place on Wilshire Boulevard where we used to have lunch, which is called MacArthur Park. And the truth is that everything in the song was visible. There's nothing in it that's fabricated. The old men playing checkers by the trees, the cake that was left out in the rain, all of the things that are talked about in the song are things I actually saw. And so it's a kind of musical collage of this whole love affair that kind of went down in MacArthur Park."

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Muse Then

Muse for Jimmy Webb's 'MacArthur Park' treasures those days: Suzy Ronstadt — then Suzy Horton — was the flesh-and-blood muse Webb immortalized for "the yellow cotton dress foaming like a wave on the ground around your knees" that she wore one afternoon while the couple ate lunch in L.A.'s MacArthur Park.... But Webb was more smitten with her at the time than she with him. "It was unrequited love," said the woman who once held the title of Miss Colton — and who today sings in a pop-folk vocal quartet I Hear Voices!

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Muse Now

The song consists of four sections or movements:

A mid-tempo introduction and opening section, called "In the Park" in the original session notes, is built around piano and harpsichord, with horns and orchestra added. This arrangement accompanies the song's main verses and choruses. A slow tempo and quiet section follows, called "After the Loves of My Life". An up-tempo instrumental section, called "Allegro", is led by drums and percussion, punctuated by horn riffs, builds to an orchestral climax. A mid-tempo reprise of the first section, concludes with the final choruses and climax.

Harris's version

was released in April 1968 (WABC first played it on Tuesday 9 April 1968) and on the Hot 100 bowed at #79 on 11 May 1968 and peaked at #2 on 22 June 1968. The song peaked at No. 10 in Billboard's Easy Listening survey and was No. 8 for the year on WABC's overall 1968 chart. In 1969, "MacArthur Park" received the Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s).

First, a version by a man who can actually sing, Glenn Campbell

Second, the backstory and snippets of the original version by Richard Harris, a man who couldn't sing but whose version put it on the charts.

Third, the definitive Donna Summer Version....

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 14, 2014 9:28 AM | Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Gruberade from Concentrate

Watch as he savors the flavor of his lies; as he guzzles down his glug; as his fey little voice wisps along; as he inhales his own rich wiffle!

And here he is meeting with Obama. Not as the White House now says he didn't, but as the White House logs recorded he did on July 20, 2009:

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 13, 2014 2:57 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Riot, Mayhem, and Pillage: Now Just "Natural Disasters"

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"Please make sure your home and family are prepared for a period of disruption, just as you would in the event of a storm."

Exactly why the nation continues to put up with this sort of thing is something that is beyond my poor powers of comprehension. I guess we've just decided that large segments of urban populations have reverted back to a previous stage of development and have to be given more love and understanding and tolerance than other segments of the population. How long this will continue without a serious course correction in the general direction of society seems to be anybody's guess in our new and improved post-racial nation.

St. Louis area schools and townships are warning residents to stock up on water, food and medicine before the Mike Brown court decision. The City of Berkeley, near Ferguson, released this statement warning residents to stock up on water, food and medicine before the verdict is announced. #MikeBrown Decision | The Gateway Pundit
Let's all hope for a change of heart among those threatening this sort of thing. If not, let's hope for a change is the level of tolerance for this sort of thing.

In the meantime I guess the new phrase that pays is, "In the event of social disappointment, STOCK UP!" I note in passing that "ammuniton" is not on the list of "Stock Up" items. Seems to me it should be cosa numero uno. "But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 13, 2014 8:22 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the days when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth's foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling
And took their wages and are dead.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

by A. E. Housman [HT Ralph Kinney Bennett]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 13, 2014 7:52 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"The world stands out on either side "

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat -- €”the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.

-- Edna St. Vincent Millay, Renascence



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 12, 2014 9:06 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sacrifice

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From the House of Eratosthenes



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 11, 2014 8:00 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"My grandma wanted to see the ocean one last time before checking into hospice. "

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Her face says it all. - Imgur



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 9, 2014 5:24 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Town
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From sea to shining sea a bored and jaded nation says, "Oh, just get on with burning down your house." Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 8, 2014 10:58 PM | Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Age of Miracles and Wonders and Papaya in November

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This isn't a still life from 17th-century Europe. It's fresh produce from four upscale markets in Manhattan. [Detail]

Eating locally and reducing carbon footprints may be in, but these fruits and vegetables made big trips to the Big Apple—in some cases covering nearly 9,000 miles. In fact, in the United States, produce imports have increased significantly since 1980.
PRODUCE MILEAGE - 223,875: The total distance traveled by all the food items combined is 223,875 miles. That's enough to travel around the Earth roughly nine times. - 3,731 miles: The average distance traveled for all of the items is 3,731 miles. - - A Moveable Feast

To see the full still life....

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 8, 2014 7:29 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Sitting on Obama's Head" Is a Diplomatic Way of Putting It

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“In my first draft, I had the elephant sitting on Obama’s head,” says Liniers, the Argentine artist behind next week’s cover. “This version is a bit more subtle.... I hope Obama finds some way to maneuver around this situation.” Obama’s Elephant Problem - The New Yorker

Elsewhere:

A guy works in the circus, following the elephants with a pail and shovel. One day, his brother comes to see him. He says, “Sam, I’ve got great news. I’ve got you a job in my office. You’ll wear a suit and tie, work regular hours, and start at a nice salary. How about it? Sam says, “What? And give up show business?

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 8, 2014 6:37 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Ye Olde Elephant in the Room

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[HT: The Antonnia]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 7, 2014 9:15 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Do You Hear the People Sing?

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the song of angry men?
It is the music of the people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes.

"One gentleman, whose name I never heard, was an earnest “friend of the people,” and descanted with much enthusiasm upon the glorious future then opening upon this new-born nation, and predicted the perpetuity of our institutions, from the purity and intelligence of the people, their freedom from interest or prejudice, their enlightened love of liberty, &c, &c. Alexander Hamilton was among the guests; and, his patience being somewhat exhausted, he replied with much emphasis, striking his hand upon the table,

“Your people, sir,—your people is a great beast!”

This old anvil laughs at many broken hammers.
            There are men who can't be bought.
            The fireborn are at home in fire.
            The stars make no noise,
            You can't hinder the wind from blowing.
            Time is a great teacher.
            Who can live without hope?

In the darkness with a great bundle of grief
            the people march.
In the night, and overhead a shovel of stars for keeps, the people
march:
            "Where to? what next?"

Carl Sandburg: The People Yes (excerpt)



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 6, 2014 7:36 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
How the Democrat Sees the "New Washington"

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New Democrat slogan: "Come, let us reason together."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 5, 2014 7:19 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Chris Botti Performs The National Anthem - Monday Night Football 11/3/2014

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Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne

HT: Truth Revolt



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 4, 2014 8:41 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
One of One Hundred Reasons to Vote

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Even if you are a staunch Marxist professor at a college, or a loyal devotee of Ayn Randian classical liberalism,

no matter how badly the RINO offered by the establishment Republican disagrees with you on ten percent of your policy positions, he does not disagree with you one hundred and ten percent, and while he might harm the nation through corruption, or foolery, he is not actively and energetically hellbent on dismantling and destroying the nation. He does not hate and loathe the Nation, nor does he seek the death of you and yours through war and plague and famine.
The Democrats apparently do, to judge by their actions. If you believe these are honest men who merely have a different theory of political economics than you, explain their unwavering support for terrorism, for sodomy, for voter fraud, for legalizing recreational drug use, for blocking education reform, and their fanatical, nay, diabolical support for tax-funded prenatal infanticide. 99 more reasons @ John C. Wright's Journal



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 3, 2014 10:47 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Il Capo
Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 3, 2014 10:30 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: Refugee

Admit it. You know most of the words. Especially the refrain.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 1, 2014 2:41 PM | Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Wanderer above the Sea of Fog" -- Then and Now

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In the foreground, a young man stands upon a rocky precipice with his back to the viewer.

He is wrapped in a dark green overcoat, and grips a walking stick in his right hand.[1] His hair caught in a wind, the wanderer gazes out on a landscape covered in a thick sea of fog. In the middle ground, several other ridges, perhaps not unlike the ones the wanderer himself stands upon, jut out from the mass.[2] Through the wreaths of fog, forests of trees can be perceived atop these escarpments. In the far distance, faded mountains rise in the left, gently leveling off into lowland plains in the east. Beyond here, the pervading fog stretches out indefinitely, eventually commingling with the horizon and becoming indistinguishable from the cloud-filled sky. - - La Wik

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 1, 2014 8:47 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Awe Gone

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The word “unbelievable” has lost all force. That's why the kiddies and their adult imitators invented the word awesome. -- Commentor BillH, 2014

Moments of real awe that overwhelm the soul are rare, but if you look closely at the miracle of creation in the macro or micro cosmos you can create such a moment almost at will. Real awe is front-loaded into the universe.

At the same time, those things of man that inspire awe diminish moment by moment under the unstoppable onslaught of the word "awesome." The descent of the word "awesome" from a valuable modifier when describing an experience to the status of a brain fart is a classic example of how our "educated" illiterates destroy literacy.

I've had a few moments in my life where genuine awe shook me to the roots of my soul. Holding my daughter in my arms a moment after she was born comes to mind as does a time when I was very young, lying a field and looking up at the sky and the high cirrus glowing burnt orange in the fading rays of day. There were others as well, gifts given and grace notes. Common to all were an intake of breath and a feeling as if your heart had been grazed by a thought of God and forgot, for that moment, to beat. Matched up against all the torrent and cascade of moments though, this genuine awe was rare; it was one of the pearls beyond price, the shining instant of "Ah ha, so that's what it's all about."

Not so today. Today awe is as common as clay. Today all things of man possesses the awe of someness. The movie is awesome. The SmartCar is awesome. The candy bar is awesome. The cheeseburger is awesome. Today it would seem that every slice of tripe spun out of the crap factories of pop culture is awesome even though one note of the 9th Symphony would crush the entire oeuvre of Arrowsmith. My morning latte was described by the barrista as "awesome" when, like all our cornucopia of crapulous things described as such, it was quite mediocre, thank you.

I'm not sure when "awesome" died, but it was sometime in the very late, not-so-great, 20th century. You'd think it would be mummified by now, but no. Whenever someone so forgets to drive their mouth responsibly that the word "awesome" emerges it carries with it the stench of that slaughterhouse where perfectly good words go to die.

In a time when moments of true awe are needed to slake the parched post-modern lost souls, the intense trivialization of awe by the neutered generation is awesome.



Posted by Vanderleun Nov 1, 2014 1:01 AM | Comments (30)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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