Monthly Archives: May 2013

Yay! It’s What the F**k Friday!

“I want that dolphin closer to my vagina,” said no sane woman ever. Oh, would you like to read more about dolphin-assisted human births and how male dolphins are horrible gang rapists? You would? You disgust me. Here. Ugh, I can’t even look at you.

Americans are now too lazy to hold their own hamburgers or pop their own popcorn. Stick a fork in it, America. WE’RE DONE.

“Your home cannot be a democracy; children are naturally tyrants.” Words to live by.

Attention job-seekers: a mother-daughter porn duo is looking for a father and son to tag team. Don’t worry, they never kiss because THAT would be weird.

Miami police choke black teenager because he was giving them “dehumanizing stares”…while bottle-feeding a puppy.

The days when a witch could fly high on her broomstick through the skies of Swaziland are over. Now she has to follow the rules and fly at 150 m or lower like everyone else. Fucking nanny state.

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Image of the Day

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South Park hijab! This girl is awesome. H/T Andrew Sullivan.

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Afternoon Links

Eric Holder has managed to do the unthinkable…unite much of the press…against the administration. At least for a day. Usually the media is like this Monty Python scene from Life of Brian, but some of them may now be realizing “he’s not the Messiah,” and today most of them told the administration to take their off-the-record meeting and shove it. Yay!

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A review of a new movie about Hannah Arendt, one of the most interesting women of the last hundred years. One of my summer reading goals is to re-read The Origins of Totalitarianism. Even if you’re not familiar with Arendt, you’ve probably heard the phrase she coined, “the banality of evil.” Here’s a brief summary of her life from the Tablet review:

Hannah Arendt (1906-1976) was that German-Jewish wild child who embarked on a teenaged love affair with a married professor twice her age, the philosopher king (and future Nazi) Martin Heidegger; who wrote her dissertation on the concept of love in the writings of St. Augustine; who, costumed as a harem girl, met her first husband attending a Marxist-sponsored masquerade ball at Berlin’s Museum of Ethnology. The young Hannah smoked cigars and exhibited an intellect so dazzling that her mainly Jewish cohort nicknamed her Pallas Athena. She messed with future colleague Leo Strauss’ mind, was arrested only weeks after the post-Reichstag Nazi seizure of power for engaging in illegal Zionist activities, then smuggled herself out of Germany and into Paris (where she directed the local branch of the Youth Aliyah) only to be “interned” by Vichy before escaping again. Arendt arrived in America carrying a cache of manuscripts entrusted to her by Walter Benjamin—appropriate in that, more than any other individual, she brought the culture of Weimar Jewish intellectuals to New York. She wrote for the German-Jewish press, worked for Schocken (where she edited the second edition of Gershom Scholem’s Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism as well as Kafka’s Diaries), introduced American readers to novelist Hermann Broch, contributed to Partisan Review and Commentary, and addressed the central political issue of her life with The Origins of Totalitarianism, published in 1951—the same year that she, stateless since 1933, was allowed to become an American citizen. A decade later, Arendt traveled to Jerusalem to report on the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the onetime Nazi “Administrator for Jewish Affairs,” captured by the Mossad in Argentina; in the late winter of 1963, nine months after Eichmann’s execution, she all but overshadowed the trial with five articles in The New Yorker that were shortly thereafter collected as Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. The most scandalous Jewish-American text to appear between Sholem Asch’s The Nazarene and Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint, Arendt’s report made “the banality of evil” a world-renowned phrase and its author the most reviled Jewish thinker since Baruch Spinoza.

As for the film itself…

As a film, Hannah Arendt is a sort of hybrid and not just because it is half in German. The movie is a didactic docu-drama, part old-school Soviet “publicist” film in its idealized, ideological representation of historical figures, and part Hollywood biopic in its entertainingly kitschy notion of how they might have interacted in real life…Von Trotta and Katz could not possibly do justice to the outrage—and outrageous abuse—that Arendt inspired, or to the breadth of her continents-spanning life and thought. A sprinkling of flashbacks notwithstanding, it’s Arendt in Jerusalem and on Eichmann that Von Trotta considers in her film…Hannah Arendt is ultimately a pleasure, because Sukowa plays the most forbidding of intellectuals as a fabulous, passionate doll. Sometimes clueless, sometimes kittenish, and always, always thinking, her Hannah is not only admirable but lovable. Sukowa’s vitality succeeds in bringing at least some of Arendt’s ideas to life—it should be interesting to see the degree to which, a half century after the controversy she inspired, its embers will be rekindled.

Speaking of questions of evil, here is an analysis of the influence of Marquis de Sade on the Western world, particularly America, over the last century and a half.

A tale told by an idiot…signifying nothing…here’s a summary of Veep Biden’s Latin America trip, told through Bidenisms. Never change, Joe, never change. But for the love of brain cells, don’t run for President.

The absolute failure of Common Core, in a great report by The Weekly Standard. I don’t know what everyone expected. Removing literature and historical context from education is idiotic. The goal should be to teach kids more, not less.

Massachusetts’s success was built upon a relentless focus on academics, specifically on literacy, math, and the liberal arts. Common Core emphasizes experiential, skills-based learning while reducing the amount of classic literature, poetry, and drama taught in English classes. Its more vocational bent includes far greater emphasis on jargon-laden “informational text” extracts, and it supports analyzing texts shorn of historical context and background knowledge…Rather than learn from leading states like Massachusetts, Common Core draws from the so-called “21st century skills” movement, which elevates soft skills like global awareness, media literacy, cross-cultural flexibility and adaptability, and creativity to equal footing with academic content. This less academic approach has, in fact, been road tested in places like Connecticut and West Virginia. Predictably, the results have been dismal…The Common Core standards are academically inferior to the standards they replaced in high performing states; and they ignore empirical lessons of how states like Massachusetts achieved historic successes.  Neither local leaders nor their constituents like having policies force fed by Washington, especially when the new requirements amount to a massive, and possibly illegal, unfunded mandate.

The discovery of liquid woolly mammoth blood gives hope for cloning the great beasts. YES. DO IT. This is the best preserved mammoth ever found and the first time mammoth blood has been discovered.

Researchers from the Northeast Federal University in Yakutsk found the 10,000-year-old female mammoth buried in ice on the Lyakhovsky Islands off the coast of northeast Russia. Scientists say they poked the frozen creature with a pick and dark liquid blood flowed out. “The fragments of muscle tissues, which we’ve found out of the body, have a natural red color of fresh meat. The reason for such preservation is that the lower part of the body was underlying in pure ice,” said Semyon Grigoriev, the head of the expedition and of the university’s Mammoth Museum…”The blood is very dark, it was found in ice cavities below the belly and when we broke these cavities with a poll pick, the blood came running out,” he said. “Interestingly, the temperature at the time of excavation was -7 to -10ºC. It may be assumed that the blood of mammoths had some cryoprotective properties.” Cryoprotectant is a substance found in modern fish and amphibians living in the Arctic and Antarctic that minimizes the damage to the creatures’ tissue in freezing temperatures.

The most comprehensive exhibition of Edvard Munch’s art is going on display in Oslo for the artist’s 150th birthday. More than 270 works will be displayed.

Europeans have much more tolerance for the “nanny state” than we do, but when you take pint glasses away from the Scottish people…well, you’ve gone too far.

The traditional vessel is already outlawed in nightclubs in the Highlands, which are forced to serve all drinks – including champagne, cocktails and the finest malt whiskies – in plastic containers after 9pm because of police fears over potential injury. Now anyone enjoying a leisurely drink by the roaring fireside of even the remotest rural location could have to drink out of plastic because of the ruling. As the plans to extend the scheme were revealed, landlords labelled them “nanny-state” interference, and accused licensing board chiefs of treating their customers like children.

Our possible future: the French quit France because socialism sucks.

Hurry up and pick your kid for the Scripps spelling bee/fight to the death tonight.

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Video of the Day

You need to watch this documentary…with a box of tissues. It’s amazing. If you have Xfinity OnDemand you can find it there.

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May 30, 2013 · 4:00 pm

Weekly Recipe

Steak and Potato Salad

Ingredients

10 ounces boneless sirloin steak (or whatever cut you like)

Vegetable oil and olive oil, salt and pepper

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 pound red potatoes, cut in small chunks

1/3 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half

A head of red leaf lettuce, washed and chopped

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

3 slices of bacon

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sour cream

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 scallions, chopped

Directions

Cook the bacon in a pan while preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle the steak with oil and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl mix together the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and then toss with the potatoes on a baking sheet. Cook the potatoes in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden and somewhat crispy, flipping halfway through. When the bacon is done, wipe the sautee pan out and put it back on the stove over medium-high heat. Cook the steak, a few minutes on each side for medium rare. While the steak is cooking, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, sour cream, vinegar and garlic powder. Whisk in about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. Whisk in half of the chopped bacon, scallions, salt and pepper to taste. Remove the steak from the pan, place on a cutting board or plate and tent with foil for at least 5 minutes. In the meantime, begin assembling the salad. Start with the lettuce, then add tomatoes, potatoes, the rest of the bacon and drizzle with the dressing. Slice the steak and place on top, then add the cheese as the finishing touch.

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Image of the Day/Your Wednesday Cry

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Your Wednesday cry: Jeff Bauman, the Boston Marathon bombing victim who lost both legs (remember the iconic photo?), then helped the FBI identify the bombers, threw out the first pitch at the Red Sox game last night, wheeled in by the extraordinary bystander who helped save his life. AmazingImage by Elise Amendola/AP.

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Afternoon Links

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has a great op-ed in the WSJ on the problem of Muslim leadership and Dennis Prager has an excellent column over at National Review on the nonsense of “moral equivalence”…

Muslims and leftists across the globe all too often believe — and professors teach our children this at college — that America, the U.K., and other countries are targeted by Muslims because we kill Muslims. The argument is morally perverse and a lie. First, the U.K. and others are in Afghanistan in order to defend Muslims. The British and other Westerners are risking their lives — and dying — in that country on behalf of Muslims…fighting the Taliban, the people who throw acid in the faces of Muslim girls for attending school, the people who murder nurses for inoculating Muslim children against disease. To equate fighting the Taliban with fighting Muslims is to contradict the contention that many Muslims and virtually the entire Left have been insisting on for years — that the Taliban represent a tiny group of extremists in the Muslim world, and that they have so completely perverted Islam that they cannot even be called Muslims. Well, you can’t have it both ways. If killing the Taliban is the same as “killing Muslims,” then you can’t argue that the Taliban don’t represent Islam or Muslims…Nearly every one of the tens of thousands of Muslims killed in the last few years has been killed by other Muslims, in Syria and Iraq in particular.

Nick Cohen has a good piece over at The Guardian as well.

The best response to those who argue that the “root cause” of the terror is western foreign policy is to reply that it may be in some cases. But when you face a psychopathic movement, it says more about you than it if all you can see is a protest against whatever you happen to dislike about your government. The Pakistani Taliban attacks girls who want a decent education. (And some elements of the British left ought to show more pride that Drummer Rigby and his comrades fought in Afghanistan to stop the Afghan Taliban doing the same.) It also murders Shia Muslims, Christians, Ahmadis and Pakistani liberals. In Timbuktu, the Ansar Dine destroyed beautiful mosques, which did not accord with their ultra-puritanical version of Islam, an act that to my mind seemed truly Islamophobic. Meanwhile, Boko Haram terrorises northern Nigeria and al-Shabaab terrorises Somalia. None of these organisations is terrorising because they want to make a legitimate if regrettably bloody critique of “the west”. They terrorise because they want to establish a misogynist and inquisitorial theocracy.

Scientists have finally pinpointed the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine.

The disease—along with a political system that required Ireland to export large amounts of corn, dairy and meat to England—led to widespread famine, and nearly all of the few potatoes available were eaten, causing shortages of seed potatoes that ensured starvation would continue for nearly a decade. Ultimately, over one million people died, and another million emigrated to escape the disaster, causing Ireland’s population to fall by roughly 25 percent; the island has still not reached its pre-famine population levels today.At the time, the science behind the blight was poorly understood, and most believed it was caused by a fungus. During the twentieth century, scientists determined that it was caused by an oomycete (a fungus-like eukaryote) called Phytophthora infestans. However, without access to the 1840s-era specimens, they couldn’t identify exactly which strain of the organism was responsible. Now, an international group of scientists has gone back and sampled the DNA of Irish potato leaves preserved in the collections of London’s Kew Gardens since 1847. In doing so, they discovered that a unique, previously unknown strain of P. infestans that they call HERB-1 caused the blight.

Some awesome dude named Justin Rowe rescues unwanted books and turns them into incredible works of art using a small scalpel.

An excerpt from Ronald Dworkin’s Religion Without Godwhich eloquently expresses the atheist/humanist perspective that I live by…

Many millions of people who count themselves atheists have convictions and experiences very like and just as profound as those that believers count as religious. They say that though they do not believe in a “personal” god, they nevertheless believe in a “force” in the universe “greater than we are.” They feel an inescapable responsibility to live their lives well, with due respect for the lives of others; they take pride in a life they think well lived and suffer sometimes inconsolable regret at a life they think, in retrospect, wasted. They find the Grand Canyon not just arresting but breathtakingly and eerily wonderful. They are not simply interested in the latest discoveries about the vast universe but enthralled by them. These are not, for them, just a matter of immediate sensuous and otherwise inexplicable response. They express a conviction that the force and wonder they sense are real, just as real as planets or pain, that moral truth and natural wonder do not simply evoke awe but call for it.

As Virginia Woolf succinctly put it: “The atheist’s religion of doing good for the sake of goodness.”

Ramesh Ponnuru details President Obama’s dangerous disregard for the rule of law, while A. Barton Hinkle over at Reason discusses his disregard for the Constitution.

Mean cops in the UK scared the crap out of some sweet, little grandma and simultaneously ruined an event which revolves around one of the great joys in life: delicious, delicious cheese. WHAT DICKS.

Update: apparently they still had the event anyway and an American won. USA! USA!

Vermont wants to use wine descriptors to talk about maple syrup. Meanwhile, in Canada, citizens are complaining that their money smells like maple syrup. I don’t understand the problem.

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