Saturday, January 23, 2016

One Suggestion For What Mme T Might Do with Profits From Her Tell-All Hollande Book

 … the delicious irony is that with all this money Valérie Trierweiler’s earning from her book sales, she’ll probably be moving to London to escape her ex-boyfriend’s tax laws
noted Stephen Clarke on French TV, tongue firmly in cheek (or is that: in chique? In chic?).
Madame T … was almost universally despised when she was First Girlfriend – for her bitchy remarks about François Hollande’s ex, the political star Ségolène Royal; for her extravagant lifestyle paid for by the public purse (a private hairdo every day, for example); and, no doubt because she was nearly 50 but still managed to look sexy. And yet, despite all this avowed public loathing, when she published her revenge book, the French bought 650,000 copies, making her an instant millionaire (well, almost instant, because royalties take a year to filter through). And they seemed to think, what the hell have we done?

 … the whole episode of her stint as Première Amie was a huge media reality show conducted to make the President look butch, and the book was just the last episode of season one. With the English translation, we’re now in season two: the jilted lover starts her own international career bashing the jilter, while he conducts his new affair with an actress and insists that his private life is private while inviting her to the presidential palace and whoops, oh no, some photos of her visit were leaked. Next they’ll all be going into the video room to bitch about each other, then there will be the auditions for season three. It’s not politics, and the French economy is going down the toilettes while it’s going on, but at least it’s entertaining.

 … You can’t chip away at French polticians’ privileges, especially not at the president’s own imperial lifestyle. And now that France has become accustomed to having its regular doses of presidential reality TV, the public wants all the scandal it can get. And in a way, it’s the best antidote to austerity there is. For the last few days at least, no one has been talking about the economy at all. Except to note that at least one French person is making a fortune by selling Frenchness overseas. Vive la France, non?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Denouncing the Lack of Blacks in the Oscar Race, Says One 2016 Oscar Nominee, "Amounts to Anti-White Racism"

As a guest on Caroline Roux's Europe 1 radio show, reports the Morandini entertainment site (listen to the interview in French), Charlotte Rampling was asked about the VIPs who have announced they will boycott the Academy Awards ceremony.

For the second consecutive year, no black actor and actress will appear in the selection. "I do not understand that anger," says the "45 Years" actress, who is herself nominated for an Oscar (although you can't help wondering whether, with this interview, she hasn't risked losing any chance of winning the coveted prize).
On the contrary, I find it racist for white people. You can not really know if this [racism] is really the issue. Some years black actors simply do not deserve to be in the final countdown.
To the question as to whether quotas should be introduced, the actress replied:
Why the need to classify people? We live in a country where everyone is more or less accepted. But there will always be problems with "this one is less handsome", "that one is too tall"…
When Caroline Roux equated "a minority" with "victimhood" in the question, "The fact that they feel themselves as a minority, does that not speak to you?", Charlotte Rampling finally put an end to the questioning with a "no comment."
Ce matin, Charlotte Rampling était l'invitée de Caroline Roux sur Europe 1 .

L'actrice, qui est nommée aux Oscars, est revenue sur les différentes personnalités qui ont décidé de boycotter la cérémonie . Pour la deuxième année consécutive, aucun acteur et actrice noire ne figure dans la sélection.

"Je ne comprends pas cette colère. Dans l'autre sens, je trouve ça raciste pour les blancs. On ne peut pas vraiment savoir si c'est vraiment le cas. Parfois les acteurs noirs ne méritaient pas d'être dans la dernière ligne droite", a-t-elle expliqué.

A la question de savoir s'il faut instaurer des quotas, la comédienne répond : "Pourquoi classer les gens ? On vit dans un pays où l'on est plus ou moins accepté. Mais, il y aura toujours des problématiques avec 'lui il est moins beau', 'lui il est trop grand'".

"Le fait qu'ils se sentent eux comme une minorité, ça ne vous parle pas ?", a questionné Caroline Roux avant que Charlotte Rampling ne réponde "no comment".

Thursday, January 21, 2016

If Not for the Atom Bombs, Japan, as we know it today, would not exist

In reaction to Susan Southard's “Nagasaki, the forgotten city” (Opinion, Aug. 8), S L Sanger responds that, as the author of “Working on the Bomb”, an oral history of the Hanford plutonium works during World War II (Hanford manufactured the plutonium used to fuel the Nagasaki bomb as well as the Trinity test device), he remains
unconvinced that President Harry S. Truman and other decision makers knew as much in 1945 as Ms. Southard seems to know in 2015.

In my interviews with some 60 physicists, engineers, military men and ordinary working people who had been closely connected with Hanford and the Manhattan Project, the consensus was that both bombs were necessary, with a bit less consensus on the Nagasaki bomb.

The most brutal comment — perhaps the most realistic — was expressed by Leona Marshall Libby, probably the most well-known female scientist in the Manhattan Project.

“I have no regrets,” Dr. Libby said. “I think we did right, and we couldn’t have done differently. In wartime, it was a desperate time. … When you are in a war to the death, I don’t think you stand around and ask, ‘Is it right?’ ”

A similar viewpoint, from a combat soldier’s profoundly pessimistic perspective, is found in the historian Paul Fussell’s essay “Thank God for the Atom Bomb”. Mr. Fussell was probably headed for action on a Japanese beach, but to his everlasting relief, the Japanese surrendered a few days after the Nagasaki bombing.
Also check out more than a dozen voices in the
No Pasarán post, Hiroshima, 70 Years Later.

Don A. Farrell adds that Susan Southard
misses the reasons why dropping that second bomb so soon after Hiroshima was important: It prevented the Soviet partition of Japan.

Regarding the Japanese cabinet meeting on the morning of Aug. 9, 1945, it would have been more accurate to say that deliberations on the bomb ceased when news of the Nagasaki bomb arrived and those present recognized that more such bombs were likely. As Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, Brig. Gen. Leslie Groves and Rear Adm. William R. Purnell have estimated, it was the fear of a third bomb that drove the Japanese to accept unconditional surrender.

Moreover, Ms. Southard fails to recognize the abysmal alternatives to a “no drop” decision by President Harry S. Truman, or a delay in the use of the second bomb. Had he decided against dropping the bomb, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, along with Kokura and Niigata, would have been taken off the Manhattan Project list and Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay would have incinerated them. Instead of becoming billion-dollar tourist attractions, Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be no better known around the world than the other 60-some cities that were razed by American B-29s.

Had the second bomb not been used and had America begun negotiations with the Japanese, the surrender would have been delayed. Stalin’s Red Army was poised in southern Sakhalin for an airdrop on Hokkaido, Japan’s northern-most home island. Then, when the Japanese finally did surrender, a Soviet Army of occupation would have been entrenched in northern Japan, with General Douglas MacArthur and his army in southern Japan. Japan, as we know it today, would not exist.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Constitution of the United States, As Edited by the College Sensitivity Committee

The New Yorker's Patricia Marx has figured out how the United States Constitution would be improved thanks to a "movement [that] is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense."

We the People [not ALL the people] of the United States [U.S.-centric!] in Order to form a more perfect Union [singles’ therapy and anatomy-neutral gingerbread persons available to uncoupled undergrads] establish Justice [students unfairly punished for “wrong” answers on organic-chemistry exam should join the Tweet for A’s study group], insure domestic Tranquility [teaching assistants who are married but still exploring their socio-sexual identities advised to stop reading now], provide for the common defence [those who have ever felt intimidated by campus security, please gather in the cafeteria, Thursday at 2 P.M., for Stoning ‘n Donuts] promote the general Welfare [warning: could cause distress to anyone not happy all the time], and secure the Blessings [anti-atheistic] of Liberty [full disclosure: I’m going outside now to dumpster-dive for lunch and do community service—it’s a beautiful day, though I mustn’t forget that the fine weather is a serious indicator of global warming] to ourselves [the Committee of Apologies feels shame that the Founding Parents used such a possessive, exclusive, and egomaniacal pronoun] and . . . [The length of this Preamble, which consists entirely of one complex sentence, is discriminatory to those suffering from A.D.D., as well as other learning issues, so we are skipping ahead to Article I, Section 1; not that we’re implying that there’s anything wrong with a disorder, or even learning, as long as it is consensual.]
Read the whole thing™

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

If Christians “kill people every day in this country”, surely liberals should be able to come up with better and more recent examples than Columbine (which is a bogus example in any case)

Terrorism is almost always white Christians' fault 
notes Benny Huang tongue-in-cheek.
Just ask a liberal.

 … A newly surfaced video, recorded in October, shows Professor Ross Avila of UC-Merced teaching his class that 90% of terrorism in this country is carried out by “white Caucasian men.” I think he meant to say “white Christian men,” though it’s possible the professor doesn’t understand [the meaning of] redundancy.

 … This nonsense is gospel in left-wing circles.

“I’m not saying that white men are evil, but that is what we should be thinking about,” said Avila. “Usually these are people who are religiously motivated and politically conservative.”

So now Avila has added two more demographic traits to his description. … But he’s not saying that white men are evil. Those are just the facts, you see, and he’s a dispassionate observer.

 … Luckily, Avila offered an anecdote to illustrate his point that white dudes are dangerous and the rest of us are bigots because we don’t realize it. [Except that the incident mentioned from Austin, Texas (wait for it)…] never happened.

Professor Avila pulled all of those statistics out of his backside.

 … Liberals are downright obsessed with conservative white Christian terrorists, so obsessed in fact that they try to mold every incident of terrorism into what they want it to be. The liberal media attempted to link both the Tucson and Aurora shootings to the Tea Party despite zero evidence. After the Boston Marathon bombing, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry shrieked that the bombers were “literally Caucasian!” because they supposedly hailed from the Caucasus Mountains. (One brother was born there, the other wasn’t.) Though racial categories are often hazy, I don’t know anyone who would have considered the Tsarnaev brothers white—which is what Harris-Perry was implying—before they started killing people. In any case, their race didn’t drive them to terrorism; their religion did. These guys were Muslims and their religion was not incidental.

Even anti-Christian terrorists can be counted as Christians if liberals decide that it makes a better story–and they always do. Liberal commentator Tavis Smiley actually said that Christians “kill people every day in this country.” When asked to cite examples, he quipped: “Oh, Christians, every day, people walk into post offices, they walk into schools, that’s what Columbine is — I could do this all day long.”

If Smiley wants to educate himself on the Columbine Massacre I would recommend Dave Cullen’s superbly researched book “Columbine,” which I found to be even-handed and credible. He would learn that the killers were not Christians.

 … But Tavis Smiley is convinced that Christians commit acts of terrorism “every day” in this country. His only cited example was actually anti-Christian terrorism and it happened in 1999. Surely, if these incidents happen “every day” he should be able to come up with something better and more recent than Columbine.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Nazi Genocide Rooted in Hitler's Belief of a Global Ecological Crisis (One Caused by the Jews)

And as far as regards the Kremlin, from the earliest days of the Soviet revolution to the current days of Russian resurgence (cf. Ukraine and the Crimea):
Too many Western intellectuals … “got pushed around by a really effective propaganda apparatus while a good deal of architecture of European peace and prosperity got taken down.”
All this we learn from Jennifer Schuessler's article in the New York Times (!) Review of Books on the author of, most lately, “Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning” (Dankeschön zu Herr Professor Reynolds für die Instapundit link).
When Timothy Snyder’s book “Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin” was published in 2010, it quickly established its author as one of the leading historians of his generation, a scholar who combined formidable linguistic skills — he reads or speaks 11 languages — with an elegant literary style, white-hot moral passion and a willingness to start arguments about some of the most fraught questions of the recent past.
Here, Mr. Snyder aims to offer a radically new explanation of the Nazi genocide grounded in Hitler’s belief in a global ecological crisis caused by the Jews, while also sounding an alarm about how our own era of environmental disruption could lead to similar orgies of violence.

 … Mr. Snyder has already been credited with powerfully reframing the darkest chapter of the 20th century. “Bloodlands” situated the Holocaust in the context of the 14 million civilians, by Mr. Snyder’s count, who were murdered or deliberately starved in the contested territory between the Baltics and the Black Sea from 1933 to 1945, thus putting an event often sealed off in quasi-mystical uniqueness squarely in historical context. Translated into more than 25 languages, the book stirred multiple debates in multiple countries, perhaps most intensely in Eastern Europe, where it has figured in highly politicized arguments about collaboration, national suffering and how to weigh the crimes of Hitler against those of Stalin.

 … “Black Earth” presents a complicated braid of arguments, building on ideas already present in “Bloodlands.” Reviewers have already begun picking apart one of Mr. Snyder’s central, and most counterintuitive, claims: that the Holocaust depended crucially not on Hitler’s creation of an all-powerful German state but on his determination to create zones of statelessness in the territories he conquered, thus clearing the way for slaughter.

 … Some early reviews of “Black Earth” have lodged … criticisms. … “There’s a very strong focus again and again on former Communists and on the actions of the former Soviet Union, which were obviously absolutely horrific,” [the historian David A. Bell] said. “But what ultimately saved those Jews who survived was the Red Army.”
What some of us would call out of the frying pan and into the fire (as Bell reminds us of the intellectuals quoted in this post's opening excerpt). Not least because Stalin reopened some of the Germans' concentration camps (such as Sachsenhausen).
When asked about the role of popular anti-Semitism, Mr. Snyder, who is a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience, reiterated his belief that animus toward Jews, while widespread in prewar Poland and elsewhere, simply does not explain how the Nazi genocide started, the forms it took or who participated.

“There are arguments in this book that are clearly not my effort to win a popularity contest,” he added dryly.

And he sharply challenged the charge of bias. If anything, he said, scholarship of the Holocaust has been too dominated by German-language sources and by an “ethnic shorthand,” itself traceable to the Nazis, that obscures more than it illuminates.

“Our shorthand for talking about this stuff has been Poles and Jews, Germans and Jews,” Mr. Snyder said. “I think it should be states, institutions, micro-level sociological explanations, economic behavior.”

Paradoxically, he continued, while Germans were “the most responsible by far” for the Holocaust, Germany is generally viewed as having a complexity and variety not as readily granted to Eastern European nations.

 … Colleagues credit Mr. Snyder with insistently bringing East European voices from the margins to the center of the broader academic and political conversation, a mission he shared with his mentor and friend Tony Judt, who died in 2010.

 … “The work he’s done to bring research from the region to English-speaking audiences has been tremendous,” said Paul Hanebrink, an associate professor at Rutgers University who is working on a book about anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe.

That effort took on a more urgent dimension during the 2014 Ukraine crisis, when Mr. Snyder, a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, emerged as a leading interpreter and champion of the country’s pro-European revolution. His impassioned advocacy has made him a hero to many in Ukraine, where he and Mr. Wieseltier convened a conference of leading European and American intellectuals in May 2014, two months after the Russian annexation of Crimea, as a show of solidarity.

But Mr. Snyder is hardly universally celebrated in Eastern Europe. He has come under fire in a number of countries, including Ukraine, he notes, for challenging what he calls the “exaggerated” death tolls from Soviet crimes offered by some government-sanctioned scholars, among other challenges to nationalist history.

As for those on the American left who have accused him of glossing over far-right elements in the Ukrainian revolution, Mr. Snyder attributes the underlying claim to a Russian misinformation campaign that painted protesters on Maidan Square in Kiev as the heirs of National Socialism.
Too many Western intellectuals, Mr. Snyder said, “got pushed around by a really effective propaganda apparatus while a good deal of architecture of European peace and prosperity got taken down.”

In the conclusion of “Black Earth,” Mr. Snyder reiterates the central importance of Ukraine, arguing that Mr. Putin’s annexation of Crimea and depiction of Ukraine as “an artificial entity” backed by “Jews, gays, Europeans and Americans” carries dangerous echoes of Hitler in the late 1930s.
But Mr. Snyder also offers a wider-angled warning, arguing, in language verging on the prophetic, that political actors in any number of places — China, the Middle East, Africa — might blame very real environmental crises on imaginary global enemies, possibly setting the stage for another Holocaust.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Indeed, Your Subjects Would Be Delighted…

(Parker and Hart's
Wizard of Id)

PS: In the past few weeks, incidentally, I couldn't help noticing that although similar, the art of the comic strip had seemed to change; indeed, a visit to Wikipedia confirms that Johnny Hart's grand-son has taken over from Brant Parker's son:
On December 14 2015 the cartoonist changed to Mason Mastroianni from Jeff Parker.