Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun


It would seem that some side-effects of being recently dead still linger. Chief among them is a strange side-effect in which food that normally tastes delicious either tastes bland, utterly unappealing, or nauseous.

More disconcerting still seeems to be a tendncy on the past of my hands to type with a focus that comes and goos randlmly.
Although I did keep notes, off and on, and althoj=gh I have several sourvces of witynesses, it's going to take awhile to come pbak to full utility. [<-- That last sentence left as typed to illustrate the problem.]

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 27, 2011 6:10 AM | Comments (32)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What Was It Like to Die?

Stick around and I'll tell you, but I have to warn you that most of what I have to say is hearsay.

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 26, 2011 11:33 AM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Will American Digest Be Back On the Air Soon?

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 25, 2011 11:28 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Study Shows That Spending Time as a Hippie Leads to Heart Attacks in Later Life


Of course, the sample size was one, which means that the margin of error could be on the high side. But still . . . Remember the dangers of hippiedom, kids, as the "Occupier" protesters fill the parks and civic centers of America's urban areas, pretending to change the world while they issue largely incoherent position papers, rip each other off, bang on their drums, and disregard the advantages of modern sewage systems.

Why? Well, because Mr. Gerard Van der Leun, who once referred to himself (accurately) as "the f*cking Forrest Gump of the 1960s," suffered a heart attack about week ago, and is being held at an undisclosed hospital in the Pacific Northwest. All is okay, thanks to medical miracles that present-days hippies generally take for granted: a stent was placed in the offending blood vessel, and GVDL has been assured that after his recovery is complete he may even be "better than before" (cue the theme from "The Six-Million-Dollar Man," and imagine the awesome advantages of a bionic heart).

Mr. VDL did consider the upsides of simply staying at the hospital; perhaps, he mused, it might prove to be the ultimate writers' colony. There was the option of having one of his well-wishers bring his keyboard in, hooking that up to his smart phone, and cranking some copy out. A few disadvantages presented themselves almost immediately, though: for one thing, the hospital staff was extremely narrow-minded about letting him out of bed to cook dinner in his room, and if you've looked at the cost of hospital visits these days you'll be knocked over by the nurses' chutzpah. Also, the other guests at the resort weren't up to the usual standards for a writers' colony; few of them were conversationally up to snuff, and some of the others . . . well, they just didn't have either a cosmopolitan outlook, or a connection with bedrock American values. Many of 'em just lay there, without contributing any insight whatsoever. What was that all about?

The upshot here is that Mr. VDL has consented to come home, probably the day after tomorrow, and he expects to be blogging another 48-72 hours after that—or whenever he finds all those little notes he's making about truly brilliant entries for the blog, some of which may not gleam as brightly after the doctors cut down those blessed post-surgical levels of painkillers.

What that means to me is that I have precious little time if I want to really vandalize the site properly; please do drop me a line if you've got ideas for shaking this place up over the next several days. After all, the cat is away—so the mice should play. Or, just leave your suggestions in the comment box. (And pray that the healing continues to go as beautifully as it has gone.)

Some of you are probably at your wit's end, though, with Gerard out of the picture. Remember that you can always scratch that itch via Amazon. Particuarly if you want to read about the implications of the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont (the pictures are amazing), or the genius of Sherlock Holmes.

If you will, please contemplate the OWS hippies one more time, meditate on Gerard's experiments with alternative culture (not to mention that sweater and the all-too-appropriate copy of The New York Times), and sort of shudder at how all that heightened his cardiovascular risk profile. Then put on some ooky, Bach-inspired and Halloweeney music.

That concludes today's morality tale. Thank you.

UPDATE: Yes—yes, that is Telegraph Ave. How did you know? I got that one terribly wrong. From the comments: "Mr. Vanderleun would like to assure Miss Atilla that said locale is not Telegraph Avenue, but just outside Carol Doda's estabishment for the overendowed in San Francisco's North Beach." Clearly I'd hit the wine early the night we talked about that pic.

Posted by Little Miss Attila Oct 24, 2011 5:47 PM | Comments (70)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Message from Gerard

This is a friend, delivering a message from Gerard: he was taken ill but is glad to report that he's recuperating nicely, and plans to be back in the not-too-distant future to tell you all about it. Knowing Gerard, he should have a lot to say.

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 22, 2011 5:32 AM | Comments (121)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: This Is A Future Leader Who Will Give You Real Hope

Feeling depressed about the state of the nation? Feeling frantic that "The Kids Are NOT All Right?" Spend three minutes with this homeschooled student. You'll be the better for it and you'll even learn a lot about U.S. Presidents and "President's Math".

Keep Cool With Coolidge And Garrett from sippican cottage on Vimeo.

An amazing little feat. The "President Math," ie: who is Lincoln minus Adams? and so forth was his own creation. His parents have to look up many of the answers to see if he's correct, because for the life of us we don't know who the 17th President is. Do you?

"Little boys like to know things about the way the world works. They like lists. They like dinosaurs and atoms and planets and Lego sets and army men, and man do six-year-olds like lists of presidents.
"There are lots of videos on YouTube of people who think their kids are geniuses because they've memorized something. The education and rearing of children has become so degraded and mysterious that people don't even recognize what comes naturally to children, especially male children, anymore. You have to beat the love of learning out of children. This has been totally accomplished, at least as far as boys are concerned in the public schools.

RTWT @ Sippican Cottage: The Kids Are Playing Rock Band Right Now, And The Bigger One Is Using A Real Guitar

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 13, 2011 1:42 PM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Occupy Wall Street: The Early Years


Posted by Vanderleun Oct 12, 2011 12:48 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Rage Against the Machine

In December of 1964 I stood in a crowd at the University of California at Berkeley where the student protest movement that shook the sixties and beyond was about to begin.

That day, and the days that would unfold after it across the decades, began with an extrordinary speech by the late Mario Savio, a passionate and tragic man. The speech he gave that day at 22 years of age was, in many ways, the peak moment of his short life. Still it was a moment many would wish they had in their own life. It set in motion many things, some good, some not so good, and some evil. For me it was a speech I would never forget, for better or worse.

It is, I think, a speech that speaks more to our era today, and more broadly, than the incident and world that was its focus when it was given. Like many great speeches it is subject to interpretation, misinterpretation, appropriation and revisionism. What it means now is not exactly what it meant then except in a more far reaching manner than perhaps Savio knew or intended. But then again perhaps he did know and did intend. Give a listen and see what you think.

I've never forgotten Savio's speech and, off and on in my own small way, I've tried to incorporate its sentiments and attitudes into my life through all manner of changing circumstances.

Today, in Daniel Greenfield's "Winning the System" I found an echo of these words from a time more than 46 years past. Reading them I thought about how far we've come from the America of those years and, at the same time, how much we've veered away from the direction of those dreams, preferring to have the experience of freedom and miss the meaning of liberty.

At the same time, in reading Greenfield's thoughts and finding the echo of that long ago December embedded in them, I think that perhaps, after all, the end is not yet and that enough stout hearts and able hands remain to steer the ship away from the lee shore:

All that's left is stopping the machine. That doesn't mean violent revolution, it means determined political change. The Tea Party was the first step of that change. It was extraordinary because for the first time in a long time, outrage at the operation of the machine brought massive numbers of people together around the country. Their principled stand was doomed to be muffled because the system has no interest in shifting power away from its institutions and toward the people. But it's only the beginning.

[In the elections of 2010 we saw that] a giant was slowly waking.

The task of the left is to complete its machine before the giant wakes. Our task is to wake the giant and point him at the machine. In that way the last three years have helped us more than they have helped the left, which could have made the same gains if it had waited and taken it more slowly. They put a face on the machine and that was their mistake. Now they're trying to take it back by putting Wall Street's face on the machine.

We will fight the good fight this election, and with the help of G-d may we win it, but it's the machine that is the real war. We cannot count on an Andrew Jackson to tear apart the machine for us. That will most likely come when the giant wakes and finds the continued operation of the machine so intolerable that he tears it apart. When the day comes that the machine advances and finds its path blocked by millions of people who are determined to stop it from operating then the people will have won over the system. And then the system can be scaled down to human level again. -- Winning the System by Daniel Greenfield

To repeat the nub of Savio's speech:

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus -- and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it -- that unless you're free the machine will be prevented from working at all!"

Well, maybe.

But there's a lot of power -- and even a prayer -- packed into that last small word in the last sentence: "May. Be."

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 11, 2011 9:32 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" Really? Wanna Bet?

"The revolution will not be televised; It will be streamed."


Posted by Vanderleun Oct 11, 2011 1:11 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Miss Him Yet?


Military veterans US Army Sgt. (Ret.) Dan Nevins, left, and North Carolina National Guard SSgt. (Ret.) Dale Beatty, look on as former President George W. Bush tees off during a practice round in the two-day Warrior Open tournament at Las Colinas Country Club, in Irving, Texas on Sunday, Oct. 9.

Former President George Bush hosted the Warrior Open golf tournament this past Sunday in Irving, Tex.

The competition for wounded veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, gave Bush the opportunity to interact with soldiers. While Bush has had few public appearances since leaving office, showing his support of the U.S troops has been one of his priorities. In April, he hosted Warrior 100, a similar event where he biked 62 miles (100 kilometers) with injured servicemen. -- PhotoBlog - Bush tees off with wounded veterans

Scratch what I said about trying to become more cynical below. This is a man who knows how to be an inspiring leader.

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 11, 2011 11:01 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Skill Sets of the Hardcore Unemployed


Someone, somewhere, please hire this sooper-genius!: Sharief Zakher, 26, of Los Angeles, "flies" a june bug that he had tied to the end of a string during the Occupy LA protest at City Hall in Los Angeles.

Is it just me or do the photos of the folks that show up at these rallies cause snow blindness due to their overwhelmingly white mounds of flesh? Oh, wait, that was the Tea Party, wasn't it?

To quote myself (excellent source): "I try to become more cynical everyday, but lately I just can't keep up."

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 11, 2011 10:49 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What to Do With the 99%

Scott Adams speaks @ The official Dilbert website

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 11, 2011 1:26 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The People of the Mud


They knew all the right people, they took all the right pills.
They threw outrageous parties, they paid heavenly bills.
There were lines on the mirror, lines on her face.
She pretended not to notice, she was caught up in the race.

-- Life in the Fast Lane

The French have an idiomatic phrase -- “nostalgie pour la boue” --which means, roughly, "the yearning for the mud." This compulsive “yearning” is something that seems to invariably come over people whose lives have veered into the fast lane of the secular life; a life without spirit, or, at best, a phony “spiritualism” such as yoga or transcendental meditation. In France they play with “nostalgie pour la boue” as a kind of minor amateur dabbling in the degrading. In America, where anything worth doing is worth overdoing, many who yearn to emulate the French have gone pro.

"Yearning for the mud" in America is a compulsion that comes over people when they have, for complex reasons, a need to immerse themselves in self-degradation. It's usually a mix of drink, drugs, and weird sex until the soul is obliterated by the abused flesh. Why? Hard to say but it is often the case that, when they look at themselves, they can't stand what they see.

This obliteration of the soul and the abuse of the flesh is one of the central tenets in many of our post-modern, secular lifestyle religions. For them the “signo” of “In hoc signo vinces” is the full body tattoo project, an earlobe plug, and the multiple facial piercings with a coke nail as an accessory.

Most people try some of these things for a time in their youth, but soon grow out of it when age and experience get the upper hand. Others grow out of it via deep psychoanalysis and a few trips to the rehab clinic. Still others are simply killed by it, their lives bracketed by dates that are far too close together.

Many, however, never kick this yearning for the mud and were, in the past, thought of as "perverts" but are now more kindly seen as "differently minded." Seeking the safety of number they now live in those urban sinkholes of the soul they laud as "enclaves of Alternative Lifestyles."

Once ensconced there they busy themselves in making bad design projects, bad art, bad fashion statements, bad life decisions and bad politics. Because we are rich and kindly as a culture so we generally let them be despite their endless moaning that they are "oppressed." Once comfortable in their redoubts, however, they think it their duty to sally forth from time to time and infest the rest of the nation. Not content to live their stunted lives among others of similar stature, they think it is incumbent upon them to get all other Americans “down in the hole that they’re in.”

A minority of the last group make a career and money out of nostalgie pour la boue, and are generally known as "pundits," "media personalities, or "celebrities." In reality they’re just perverts with positive cash flow.

An example might be the too often seen Janeane Garofalo whose mind and body bear all the markers of a mud person except for a bone through the nose, and that’s probably on her “To-Do” list for this winter. The fact that this creature is a “go-to” person for comment from her fellow blobfish Bill Maher tells you all you need to know about both them and the audience that tunes them in.

This week if you would see this demographic of spiritual dwarfism in action you have only to tune in to the current cluster of parasites and perverts inhabiting parks in lower Manhattan in search of a free lunch between bouts of free non-love and mutual masturbation.

Down in the mud of the All-American perverts' daisy chain there's a lot of cross-over between celebrity culture and media culture. Indeed, at a lot of levels, it is becoming hard to tell them apart. Both factions live, for the most part, in an insulated bubble of blather that is impervious to personal moral, psychological, spiritual, or political change; one that ruthlessly exacts the penalty of shunning and expulsion from the bubble in the event of any sudden shifts and heresies from any accepted inhabitant. Like junkies in all ages, once the ideological needle goes in, it never comes out.

Alas, this nostalgie pour la boue is starting to bore these creatures and they will, when bored, like junkies in all ages, feel the need to “increase the dose;” to move on to another, more powerful, and more deadly socio-political drug. And this is exactly what they are doing. I'd like to suggest that there's another kind nostalgie going around in this hybrid culture that glories in the mud: nostalgie pour la defaite -- "yearning for defeat." Given the war record of the French in the 20th century, this nouveau nostalgie is also tres Francais.

Nostalgie pour la defaite is that state of the flattened soul when an American, who either came of age in the Vietnam era, or who was taught and mentored by many leftists or liberals of that vintage, yearns for the defeat of America, and acts accordingly in word and deed.

This compulsion is now not only required to keep their residency in their subcultures, but to keep their status in the same as well. The more virulent their articulations of hate of America, the more shrill their calls for the death of host that sustains their parasitic existences, the higher their regard by their peers. Neither children nor even infants are safe from their depravities.

Nostalgie pour la defaite is a perverted form of "confirmation bias." In a way, joining this group is like joining a gang -- once you're in, getting out is not an option unless you seek social and political death. Once articulated, this ideological state is then seen as confirmation that his or her world view -- and that of their social milieu -- is the correct view and correct milieu. To operate otherwise would throw not only all the progressive views, assertions, and actions of the last thirty years of diseased progressive politics and sham social theory into question, but the entire structure of the afflicted personality as well. It is not just life in the fast lane but life inside the lie.

An America that is ascendant rather than retiring, an America whose policies are aggressive and not apologetic, is an America the People of the Lie are simply unequipped to inhabit or report on. They have, quite frankly, an empty tool box when it comes to this task and no raw materials with which to build.

The only America they can support is one that supports them and their lies without question. They want one thing and one thing only -- a blank check for money and means, unceasing regard, and an endless opportunity to smear the lie on all comers.

Our current infestation of American media personalities and American celebrities with Nostalgie pour la defaite rises from decades of beliefs in an America that is best as a "pitiful, helpless Giant;" a kind of "Nostalgie pour la jeunesse perdue" -- nostalgia for lost youth. It is literally the only America they know and their entire professional and personal lives, from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times, from the Hamptons to Beverly Hills are based on this grand assumption.

They've had Presidents and Presidential candidates that, commuting to and from these locales, have confirmed it to them. Their coworkers in their jobs confirm it to them. Their significant others, drawn from the same chitinous ranks, confirm it to them. The parties they attend, the awards they ceaselessly give and receive like the swapping of spit at orgies, the places they vacation, the books they read and the films they make and see, all confirm it to them over and over again. It is not only the only America they know, it is the only America they can know.

Anything that confirms the Nostalgie pour la defaite is news they can use. Anything that confirms American exceptionalism is not, by definition, news at all. Anything that actually represents American exceptionalism is bad news and must be crushed by any means necessary.

Now several generations of these diseased Americans have been raised and trained to desire that, in all things, America should always lose and become less of an important force in the world. The results of a weaker America do not concern them. It is only important that America become and remain weak and hamstrung. Only then will Europeans and others say nice things about them as they flit about the world.

If America is to become weak, what do they propose in its place? The short form for their vision of the future is "an empowered United Nations."

At which point they step from their Nostalgie pour la defaite back into nostalgie pour la boue -- the yearning for the mud. In the final analysis, it isn't that big a step. The mire is where they feel most at home.

Can they be saved from themselves? Not all. Not even most. The only thing that can save them from themselves would be themselves, and that is a rare transformation. It does happen, just as for some individual junkies the personal addiction can be brought under control “one day at a time”, but most of these bad Americans are stuck forever in their armed cultural hamlets and redoubts. They assure us of the truth of the motto, “Once a bear is hooked on garbage, there’s no cure.”

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 9, 2011 10:54 PM | Comments (22)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Thou Shalt Not Covet


This one goes out to the Occupy Parasites. It's in cartoon form so it doesn't require any actual education.

Please note that there's a reason "Envy" is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Also note that these rules are still in as much force as the law of gravity. Here's hoping you find out why before the bill comes due and the whip comes down.

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 9, 2011 7:07 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The 60s Baby Boomers: We Filmed Our Own Epitaph -- "We Blew It"


Andrew Klaven in €˜Willpower’ and the Suckiest Generation notes "If only the Baby Boomers — could die without taking me with them. I'€™d sure as hell like to be around to see them go.

They ruined the culture of this country, threw away the untold riches bequeathed to them, betrayed and undermined centuries of wisdom, spread the use of drugs, legitimized divorce and abortion, and even managed to screw up the civil rights movement that might otherwise have been their signal achievement. On the other hand, they did give us pre-faded jeans, so I guess that's something.
He's onto something that is made more explicit by comment to an item on Jalopnik's Peter Fonda's Easy Rider Harley Destroyed By Fire
Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Grizzly fucking Adams and pretty much the entire goddamned Baby Boom Generation can go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut, okay? Take your Hell's Angels, your Rolling Stones, your gaudy incompetent motorcycles, and whatever rusty piss pot you boiled up "Orange County Choppers" in and throw them on the fire too. Burn it all down. Throw Steve McQueen's dick on there while you're at it.
My generation had to grow up under the sanctimonious, egocentric, wrong-headed tutelage of the Boomers telling us they saved the fucking human race by making homemade hats out of beer cans and store bought yarn, taking drugs and groping each other in muddy fields. Now everybody was free because of them, and they'd never let you forget it. To me, the end of that movie? One ignorant self absorbed prick shooting another ignorant self absorbed prick in the face.

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 9, 2011 5:45 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Great Palestinian Lie

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 9, 2011 10:50 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Mercury is ready for its close-up


2011 October 8 - MESSENGER s First Day

One solar day on a planet is the length of time from noon to noon. A solar day lasts 24 hours on planet Earth. On Mercury a solar day is about 176 Earth days long. And during its first Mercury solar day in orbit the MESSENGER spacecraft has imaged nearly the entire surface of the innermost planet to generate a global monochrome map at 250 meters per pixel resolution and a 1 kilometer per pixel resolution color map.

For an extremely large hi-res image GO HERE.

UPDATE: As Deborah points out, the L-shaped patch obviously covers the interstellar landing port for the Transunxians.

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 9, 2011 12:35 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"We had our chance to do some serious gun-grabbing and blew it!"

Just when you think it's safe to go back in the bunker.

HT: Wretchard

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 8, 2011 6:16 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
NYET! My New & Improved Default Voting Position


When it came to voting in elections I once spent a lot of time “weighing my options” . I would research this and read that. I’d study the “non-partisan” handbook that came in the mail outlining the pros and cons of all the issues, candidates, and referendums on the forthcoming ballot. I’d discuss issues with friends and associates and sometimes even debate those same issues at meetings and forums. I’d dig into the background of candidates, and always ask “Qui bono” when it came to new measures, projects, taxes, fees and other effluvia attendant on a democracy.

This process has now been filed under, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” It led, in retrospect, to a lot of wrong votes that also “seemed like a good idea at the time.”

My new default voting position is much simpler, much more relaxing, much more efficient, and has a greater likelihood of being correct than my previous efforts. It has the added benefit of being capable of being stated in very simple terms.

My present default position is: “If voting yes on this measure or candidate will result in ceding more power to, or giving more money to, the government or any element of the government, vote NO.”

That means, in its purest form to "vote NO" on anything or anyone if it is in violation of the first principle of no more power or money. After all, politics is only something we do to get to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

These days it seems to me that in life one achieves the most happiness by saying “Yes.” Yes to the day. Yes to the world. Yes to life. Yes to the cute puppies. Yes to the ones worthy of live. Yes to God. Yes to the whole wide and wonderful universe. Even, God forgive me, Yes to "Yes to the Dress."

Once upon a time it seemed to me that one achieved the most happiness in politics by saying “Yes.” Yes to “new, previously undiscovered ‘rights’.” Yes to the funding of projects that would make the city a better, bigger and brighter place regardless of the plainly visible fact that all the other previous public projects made it a more dismal sinkhole. Yes to man with his hand out for a handshake and a hand out who was going to make all God’s children happy with just a few more of my dollars. Yes to the bond issue that would guarantee a new bridge and road right after ten years of expensive study on how it would impact the sex lives of rhinos and snail darters. Yes to affirmative unction. Yes to this or that or the other thing that would, at last, bring on that great getting up morning in America where all would be equal and the grunting sows in the government somehow, mysteriously, much more equal than others.

In the end all I could see and hear from all this yessing was a country flushing itself and its future down the crapper, and the refrain from an ancient Tin-Pan Alley ditty that goes,

“When you ask him anything
He never answers “No.”
He just yes-yes’s you to death,
And then he takes your dough,
And tells you ‘Yes, we have no bananas....”

I give and I give and I say yes and yes and don’t even get a banana? I think it’s time to try another way; to give another answer: “NO,” or to be colorful and transnational about it all, "NYET!" I don’t think I am at all alone in this. Indeed, I think NYET is the wave of the future.

I admit that there may be times when NYET requires nuance; requires something a tad less than an adamantine attitude. One may, when it comes to electing human beings, be required to judge which candidate is likely to grab for less power and to grub for less money. That is always a sad moment when dealing with politics but, absent armed insurrection, it seems something that is unavoidable given the offerings placed on the plate for citizen consumption.

Nevertheless, having a clear and simple default position of saying NYET to more power or more money seems to me to be a sensible stand to take. It’s not only the right way, it’s the Reagan way. Nancy, that is: “JUST SAY NO.”

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 8, 2011 4:29 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Taylor Mali on "The Voice of the Neuter"

This is, like, so totally worth you while, ya know? And it works well, sort of, with the things over on the, like, sidebar about the totally hip interrogative tone?

Thanks, like, Jewel?

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 8, 2011 3:25 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Iron Rule of American Politics
From Tom Weller's MINIMS

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 8, 2011 1:09 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Obama Practices a New Appeal to Supporters for 2012

Now that his "Shake it off. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying" approach hasn't worked, Obama's decided to try for a mercy vote.

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 8, 2011 12:54 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Age Test: Best Guess. No Peeking.


Posted by Vanderleun Oct 8, 2011 11:08 AM | Comments (27)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Join Us!

Delivered unto the web as Occupy Corporate Space by Maggie's Farm

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 7, 2011 1:06 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Meanwhile, across the bridge from Wall Street

Not all young people are deadbeats. Many are actually doing something about being laid-off.

"We moved from this crazy idea to 'Look we can make something..."

Breuckelen Distilling Company, the first gin distiller in Brooklyn since prohibition. Founder Brad Estabrooke talks about starting from nothing and the imperfect process of perfecting a craft. His experience bears a lesson for us all: knowing you could fail brings you that much closer to success. -- Made by Hand

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 7, 2011 9:13 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What has Wall Street Ever Done for Us?

"While Wall Street may be responsible for bad things, it is Wall Street who financed putting a million miles of fiber optic cables crisscrossing continents and under oceans. It is Wall Street that financed the thousands of cell towers. It is Wall Street from which venture capital comes to finance startups like Twitter. Thus, tweeting “Down with capitalism” from your iPhone for those around the word to read seems to be the most ironic thing a person can do. The live stream from the protest site, shared with 12,000 (at this moment) people across the Internet is a testament to Wall Street's allocation of capital that these protesters fight against." --Errata Security: Independent reporting of #OccupyWallStreet [ Entire article highly recommended ]

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 7, 2011 8:29 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
And Now It's.... SUNNY! Showing you how the stimulus is STIMULATING!


Posted by Vanderleun Oct 6, 2011 9:38 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment

"Borders? We don't got to respect no steenking borders!"

A Report by General Barry McCaffrey, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under President Bill Clinton, and Major-General Robert Scales, former Commandant of the United States Army War College.

From the Executive Summary:

During the past two years the state of Texas has become increasingly threatened by the spread of Mexican cartel organized crime. The threat reflects a change in the strategic intent of the cartels to move their operations into the United States.

In effect, the cartels seek to create a “sanitary zone” inside the Texas border -- one county deep -- that will provide sanctuary from Mexican law enforcement and, at the same time, enable the cartels to transform Texas’ border counties into narcotics transshipment points for continued transport and distribution into the continental United States.

To achieve their objectives the cartels are relying increasingly on organized gangs to provide expendable and unaccountable manpower to do their dirty work. These gangs are recruited on the streets of Texas cities and inside Texas prisons by top-tier gangs who work in conjunction with the cartels.

In other news, Napolitano defends Obama immigration policies, says border is “safest it’s been in decades”

Full report in PDF format is HERE.

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 6, 2011 11:14 AM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Apple's Steve Jobs Narrates "The Crazy Ones"

Steve Jobs narrates the first Think different commercial, "Here's to the Crazy Ones". It never aired.

It wouldn't be a bad idea for Apple to run this again across the full spectrum of television.

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 6, 2011 2:43 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Steve Jobs (1955-2011): A Great Life, A Good Life, A Big Life


'Fare forward, you who think that you are voyaging;
You are not those who saw the harbour
Receding, or those who will disembark.
Here between the hither and the farther shore
While time is withdrawn, consider the future
And the past with an equal mind.
At the moment which is not of action or inaction
You can receive this: "on whatever sphere of being
The mind of a man may be intent
At the time of death"—that is the one action
(And the time of death is every moment)
Which shall fructify in the lives of others:
And do not think of the fruit of action.
Fare forward.

O voyagers, O seamen,
You who came to port, and you whose bodies
Will suffer the trial and judgement of the sea,
Or whatever event, this is your real destination.'
So Krishna, as when he admonished Arjuna
On the field of battle.

Not fare well,
But fare forward, voyagers.

-- The Dry Salvages

Home page today at Boing Boing:


Posted by Vanderleun Oct 5, 2011 4:56 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Occupy Wall Street: A Manifesto


"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men, women, and transgendered—and any other human who is able to elude the tyranny of work for a couple of weeks—are created equal.


"We gather to be free not of tyranny, but of responsibility and college tuitions. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that a government long established and a nation long prosperous be changed for light and transient causes. So let our demands* be submitted to a candid world.


"First, we are imbued with as many inalienable rights as a few thousand college kids and a gaggle of borderline celebrities can concoct, among them a guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment and immediate across-the-board debt forgiveness—


"even if that debt was acquired taking on a mortgage with a 4.1 percent interest rate and no money down, which, we admit, is a pretty sweet deal in historical context...

"...but down with the modern gilded age!.....


Read the Rest Right HERE: Occupy Wall Street: A Manifesto - Reason Magazine

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 5, 2011 3:20 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Coming Election According to Don Rodrigo


We've been having a "spirited" discussion in Dreamdating is Over: Right Now "Romney | Cain" is the Ticket and "Getting US Back to Business" is the Slogan [Bumped] @ AMERICAN DIGEST. One conclusion to the Romney|Cain ticket -- or indeed to any generic Republican on the ticket, has just been aptly summed up by our own Don Rodrigo. Take it away, Don!

If Romney is the nominee and next President, then an all-Republican Congress will have to keep pressure on him to steer the proper course.

That will be a challenge. What may happen is that Romney will become the "darling" of the MSM for "standing up" to the "extremist" Congress. I hope not. I hope the VP choice will be solidly conservative and exert pressure on Romney.

To be utterly realistic: we are a center-right country. We posters here tend to forget the CENTER part. We are currently, and have been for some time, RULED by a center-left coalition. Our best bet for the foreseeable future is to have center-right governance for the foreseeable future. A smart GOP Congress (both houses) would steer the president to that path, rather than try to pull him hard right. Sorry folks, but that beats the alternative we have now.

My biggest concern with a President Romney is what he does with the Supreme Court when Ginsburg retires (and I hope she waits until 2013). "Moderate" GOP presidents have an infuriating habit of nominating ciphers like Souter, and even Reagan gave us that ditz O'Connor. Now Bush the First gave us Thomas, and another Thomas is what we need.


For all you would-be sourpuss dropouts: the idea of four more years of Obama in regards to the Supreme Court ought to have you crapping in your pants. While I may have misgivings about a GOP president nominating a cipher, we all know damned well that what we'll get with Obama, don't we?

Please think this through, fence-sitters: Think comprehensivley. GOP/conservative power is increasing at the state level, and redistricting is going to favor the GOP, even if only as a marginal improvement; let's take what we can get. If both the House and Senate are GOP, that's another bonus. If the president is republican, then the chances for a genuinely conservative court go up. Also, ANY Republican president is going to be enthusiastic about allowing America's looming hydrocarbon boom (oil, gas and coal) go forward, and ANY GOP president is going to boost business's confidence sky-high, and unleash them.

All these things are for the good. America will enjoy a rennaissance while in GOP hands. Get my drift? Do I have to slap you harder, or do you fnally get it?

Four years of Obama is plenty for enough people to get the message about the sheer stupidity of electing people like him and putting his party in charge of anything, but ONLY if it's followed by a boom presided over by a GOP political majority. Eight years of Obama, even with an opposition Congress will be very, very bad news for America. Remember, this guy has used the executive order and unleashed the federal agencies with a regularity and vengeance never seen in modern American history. And remember, his party has been making noises about suspending democracy.

Do you get it now? I sure as Hell hope so. If Romney ends up being the nominee, show up at the polls, hold your nose, shove the New Black Panther morons out of the way, and vote for Romney, or whichever ham sandwich the Stupid Party offers up.

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 5, 2011 1:26 PM | Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Dreamdating is Over: Right Now "Romney | Cain" is the Ticket and "Getting US Back to Business" is the Slogan [Bumped]

With Christie out, and Palin out riding fences, it looks like it's time to start calling the smart play instead of fantasy land lollygagging in the setting sun.



Posted by Vanderleun Oct 5, 2011 12:49 PM | Comments (62)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Going to Hell in A Bucket: Potential Campaign Theme and Song


Well we know you're the reincarnation
Of the ravenous Catherine the Great.
And we know how you love your ovations
For the Z-rated scenes you create.
The Z-rated scenes you create.

You analyze me, pretend to despise me,
You laugh when I stumble and fall.
There may come a day I will dance on your grave
If unable to dance, I will crawl across it
Unable to dance, I'll still crawl.

You must really consider the circus
'Cause it just might be your kind of zoo
I can't think of a place that's more perfect
For a person as perfect as you.

And it's not like I'm leaving you lonely
'Cause I wouldn't know where to begin
But I know that you'll think of me only
When the snakes come marching in
When the snakes come marching in

-- The Annotated "Hell In a Bucket"

(Ahh, good old Grateful Dead. Their songs fit so many things they never intended them to fit. Mark of a good song, isn't it?)

Image via The Looking Spoon

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 4, 2011 11:54 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Mr. President - Mr. President " -- And you can dance to it!

Finger-poppin' good.

{HT: That Dog at Maggies}

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 4, 2011 9:02 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Local Girl Comes Home: Amanda Knox Press Conference in Seattle Today

"They're reminding me to speak in English because right now I'm having problems with that."

I think it's safe to say she won't be going back to Europe any time soon no matter how "sophisticated" and "stylish" those French and Italians are.

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 4, 2011 7:35 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Life and Death Upon One Tether

[Click image to enlarge.]

White-tailed Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) being attacked by a Common Gull (Larus canus) in flight, Norway (via Magic moments: beautiful photographs of birds by Markus Varesvuo - Telegraph) --Love Truth & Beauty

HT: Neoneocon

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 4, 2011 2:49 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: "World's Greatest Lip Sync"

Yes, I know it's stupid. Yes, I know it's demented. Yes, I know it's vulgar. Yes, I know it's a complete waste of time. What can I say? It has the strange ability to make me happy when I watch it. I keep looking for reasons to keep on believing in the damned human race. I guess this will do for the next hour or so. Might as well face it, deep down, I'm just shallow.

P.S. Guys, quit with the begging emails. Her name is Rhian Ramos. ⇐ You don't really want to click that link, do you?

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 4, 2011 1:46 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Didn't Make "The News of the Day"
Police say the two men arrested on murder charges showed no remorse for their alleged crimes. Darren Price, 19, and Jerard "Jirao" Davis are accused of ambushing, robbing and shooting a young couple at Hicks Park in east Tulsa on Sunday night. The bodies of Ethan Nichols, 21, and Carissa Horton, 18, were found on the jogging trail the next day by a couple walking their dog.

Suspects in Hicks Park murders charged - FOX23 News Police say Price and Davis stole their car and cell phones and even texted Nichols family the next day.

A media station unknowingly interviewed Price at the park the day the couple was found and told the reporter how he was scared to take his children to the park.

Later that day Price lled police on a chase and crashed Ethan’s car into a brick wall at an apartment complex one mile away from the park.

Price was also convicted and given a 10-year-suspended sentence in 2010 for kidnapping case in Cherokee Count

"There's no way to delay
That trouble coming every day."

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 4, 2011 9:31 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Inside "The American Job Act"


Pretty flimsy looking if you ask me. Congress agrees: Cantor: Obama’s Jobs Bill Is Dead - Susan Davis -

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 3, 2011 2:31 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace | All Those Moments Lost In Time


Posted by Vanderleun Oct 3, 2011 1:23 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
One the One Hand, "Why?" On the Other Hand, "Why Not?"

"Humanity on its raft. The raft on the endless ocean. From his present dissatisfaction man reasons that there was some catastrophic wreck in the past, before which he was happy; some golden age, some Garden of Eden. He also reasons that somewhere ahead lies a promised land, a land without conflict. Meanwhile, he is miserably en passage; this myth lies deeper than religious faith." (John Fowles, The Aristos, 1964)

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 3, 2011 11:10 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
"And so it begins..."

From House of Eratosthenes


But at least we're still doing better than Mexico: Acapulco: Severed Heads Found In Mexican Resort (WARNING: Graphic Photos)

If not quite so care-free as the Russians... (or is this just a moving metaphor for the European attitude of "We just wanna flash before we crash!" ?)

The Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys: Get Your Moped Runnin' - Head Out On The Highway

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 3, 2011 10:27 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Invisible Editors of the Internet:Your Filter Bubble

An important video about the secret shaping of the Internet.


Posted by Vanderleun Oct 3, 2011 12:41 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"It's all been done before. It's all been written in the Book."


And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the second day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

Son of man, because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people: she is turned unto me: I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste:

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up.

And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.

It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a spoil to the nations. -- Ezekiel 26

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 2, 2011 2:29 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Signal


Image via Flickr: BKeyser_'s Photostream

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 2, 2011 1:56 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Abandoning Hope For Post-It Notes On The Frig, Michael Kinsley Now Sending Coded Messages To His Tubby Wife In The Newspapers"

Mrs. Michael Kinsley aka Patty Stonesifer

"Look, I’m sorry, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie cannot be president: He is just too fat." -- Michael Kinsley | The Rumford Meteor

And when he gets home his wife says, "You know, you've got to sleep sometime. Pass the cheesecake, dear."

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 1, 2011 5:04 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Teaching Aids: Christie. Too Fat to Lead?

Today neoneocon continues her observations on the suitability of Chris Christie to be president given his ample girth. She notes:

Churchill, as many have pointed out, had a number of supposed risk factors but lived to be 90, and was PM for the last time at the age of 80. I think this tut-tutting at the fat is one of the vestiges of Puritanism in our society, which has always had that tendency. Sir Winston would not approve.
Nor do I. Here's another teaching aid for those you know who think Christie is too big to be president while maintaining that our Smoking President Slim is "too smart to fail."


Posted by Vanderleun Oct 1, 2011 2:06 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Palin Fetish: How Liberals Expose Themselves by Trying to Expose Sarah Palin

Must See TV:

"What is the most damning allegation against me? 'Sarah Palin doesn't deserve to be President because before she was married she has sex with a black man?' What's funnier is that liberals think they should be congratulated for crossing the color line."

HT: Morgan

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 1, 2011 1:06 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Teaching Aids: The Obama Presidency - By The Numbers


A masterpiece of the infographic genre, this chart of "achievements" is so large I'm including it at the bottom as a clickable image in order to be seen, read and appreciated. Created by John E for Ace:The Obama Presidency - By The Numbers [John E.]

"In this infographic, I took a look at various statements and promises made by Barack Obama (and a few others) during both the 2008 campaign and early on in his Presidency. These statements were then set against current statistics and those from inauguration day or 2008 for annual stats."

Here you are and remember to save it to your drive and use it as an attachment when you forward it.

Click to open in new window. Click image again to get full size.

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 1, 2011 1:05 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Teaching Aids: Operation Gunrunner in One Easy to Explain Chart

"Operation Gunrunner" is one of those government "brainstorms" that's difficult to explain uninitiated Americans.** There's a lot of "backgrounding" that makes the whole thing sound like the "magic bullet" in the Kennedy assassination. Even when "Gunrunner" is explained well there is the incredulous response, "But nobody in the federal government could be that stupid!"

Fortunately, the government is forever "that stupid" in this matter, and thanks to the not-so-stupid 'Friday evening document release syndrome' we have this handy graphic from the White House that sums it up:

[Click to enlarge or get your own copy HERE ]

On one level, it's pleasing to see a massive outflow of things leaving Arizona for points south. On another, I don't think that massive outflows of weapons south was exactly the reversal of border conditions the citizens of Arizona were looking for from the Feds.


Posted by Vanderleun Oct 1, 2011 11:32 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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