Weekend Links/WTF Friday

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA STOP IT HURTS HAHAHAHA Pelosi on Obama: “He has been practically apolitical, certainly nonpartisan.” HAHAHAHAHAHA ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE?!?

“Sitting down, pouring cereal and adding milk is simply too inconvenient.” Are you happy now, millennials? Are you happy now that you’ve DESTROYED CEREAL?

What fresh hell is this? Here’s a brief list of things I would rather drink than “Clinton Victory Wine”: my own urine, bleach, polyjuice potion (which supposedly tastes like goblin piss, remember?), New Coke (remember that shit?), whatever the hell this is.

“White America has spoken. You’re not offended, so we’ll be offended for you.”

And here’s a great follow-up to the above link…

The Redskins are not named the Redskins to suggest any of the negative stereotypes associated with American Indians. No one says “Wow now that’s some real Redskins football, by which I mean overrepresented in the casino and high skyscraper-construction trades.” No one says that; no one thinks that. I don’t even think that, and I’m a racist. No, what they’re thinking, obviously, is about a Redskin scout on a lean horse with a spear and a rifle and maybe some counting-coup feathers from opponents he’s slain, looking all bad-ass and showing off his six-pack abs and maybe scalping someone for littering. Not just pro-environment, yo, but pro-environment with a tomahawk. No one names teams after things that are silly or weak or infirm. You do not have teams named, for example, the Cleveland Peacocks. There is no team named the Kansas City Panda Bears. No one has started a franchise called the New York Fine Arts Majors…Leftists in general are very feminized and do not understand that suggesting that someone might be reminiscent of the male ideal of Achilles is a tribute; rather, being thoroughly feminized, they think it’s insulting. So they don’t get how 90% of males react to the idea (the idea, mind you) of being a Viking, or a Buccaneer, or a Raider, or a Fighting Irishman, or a Redskin. 90% of males think “That’s awesome. I wish I had a broadsword.”

Turns out it was an enlisted airman who deciphered al-Qaeda’s “conference call of doom.”

The mysterious”conference call”of al Qaeda leaders that led the United States to close its embassies around the Middle East in August was deciphered by a low-ranking enlisted man in the Air Force, who alerted his senior officers after finding clues about the ominous communication in the course of his regular duties. “The warning that prompted that action [the embassy closures] came from the 70th ISR Wing, and specifically from a senior airman,” Lt. Gen. Robert Otto, the Air Force chief of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance, said at the Air Force’s annual conference in Washington.  The individual analyst being credited with the key discovery that alerted officials to a possible terrorist attack is a “cryptologic linguist” with the rank of senior airman who leads a team of electronic data analysts in one of the Air Force’s premier signals intelligence units, Lt. Gen. Otto said. A senior airman in the Air Force is equivalent in rank to a corporal in the Army.

Some people have a ridiculously awesome superhuman skill “disorder” that causes them to brew beer in their own belly.

Looks like the Royal Hall described in Beowulf may have been found.

The Old English epic poem “Beowulf” is partly based on a real hall unearthed in a small town in Denmark, according to archeologists. The poem is believed to have been composed between 700 and 750 A.D.Considered by many to be a literary masterpiece, the work spans thousands of lines and details the heroics of a brave Scandinavian fighter named Beowulf,who frees Danish King Hrothgar’s hall from the murderous demon Grendel. While no evidence of Grendel has ever been found,archaeologists believe they now know the location of the hall where Hrothgar’s warriors once feasted, reports BBC History Magazine.

The history of the Trapper Keeper, the coolest binder (that’s not full of women) of all time.

The House just voted to defund Obamacare. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a chance in hell in the Senate. Andrew McCarthy frowns at those Republicans who think resistance is futile.

When it comes to spending, Congress has primacy, and pride of place rests with the House (the one-half of one-third Republicans control) because the Constitution mandates that spending bills originate in the lower chamber – the one closest to the people. Equally important, the hard jobs in government are the ones where an officeholder has to do something. It is a lot easier when all that’s necessary is to refuse to act. Spending requires a positive act by Congress – not a thin dime may be spent unless Congress approves. That is, there can be no spending on Obamacare unless Congress votes to approve it. Thus, the one-half-of-one-third crowd is in the driver’s seat. All they need to do is say, “No.” It is President Obama who needs action here – congressional Republicans need only decline to act…In fact, defunding has a chance to work precisely because it is not an effort to repeal Obamacare…Obama is talking a brave game right now about how he won’t even entertain a budget that erases Obamacare – he vows a veto and a shutdown. But his political position is untenable, even with the media carrying his water. He will be grinding things to a halt to force Obamacare on the public even though he himself has slashed Obamacare for the benefit of big business and members of Congress. By agreeing to fund the rest of government, Republicans allow Obama a face-saving out: He can tell his base he preserved record-spending on social welfare programs, and that while Obamacare has been delayed, it is still the law and he will be back pushing for funding it in next year’s budget when the executive branch is more prepared to implement it…Obama himself is already defunding Obamacare. He has already demonstrated beyond cavil that the program is not ready to be applied as the enabling legislation commands. Conservatives need to be better at hammering this theme. Despite the White House campaign to paint them as extremists, Republicans are merely trying to do what Obama is already doing – except do it more fairly and more faithfully to both the terms of the statute and the debate over its passage…A waiver here, but not there. Big corporations relieved of their mandate (because the administration and the Democrats cannot afford the political fallout of higher unemployment heading into the 2014 midterms), but individual Americans told to pay up, pronto. Members of Congress who foisted Obamacare on us protected from its onerous terms, but ordinary citizens who never wanted Obamacare ordered to comply. That is a travesty, and millions of Americans are boiling over it. Even in a Congress solidly controlled by leftwing Democrats, Obamacare only passed by the skin of its teeth – and only thanks to the rankest kind of back-room deals and fraudulent budgeting. It would never have passed, not in a million years, if the public had been told that corporations would be favored over citizens, and Obama cronies over those without political connections. What conservative proponents of defunding are seeking is not a repeal. Conservatives seek merely to do what Obama is already doing: defund the law … except conservatives would defund within constitutional norms. This would be a refusal to fund a law accomplished by the branch of government responsible for spending and lawmaking, not by an imperial president who has usurped lawmaking power and would coerce spending in accordance with his political whims, not equal protection of law for all Americans. That is an argument conservatives can win, shutdown or no shutdown.

John McCormack begs to differ. He believes Obamacare will collapse on its own.

Obamacare is not guaranteed permanent victory when the subsidies start flowing in 2014. Obamacare is unlike Social Security and Medicare, popular programs passed with broad bipartisan support that provide universal entitlements, primarily for the elderly. Americans who pay Social Security and Medicare taxes all their working lives can easily envision benefiting from the programs one day if they live long enough. Obamacare, by contrast, is an elaborate regulatory scheme likely to hurt far more people than it helps. Few hurt by the law will ever be helped by it.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that just 2 percent of all Americans will receive Obamacare subsidies in 2014. That number is projected to rise to around 6 percent of the population by 2016 (and level off there-after). But for many recipients, Obamacare subsidies won’t even make up for the insurance rate hikes the program will cause…The participation of young Americans is critical to the success of Obamacare, but a study in the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries found that 80 percent of Americans younger than 30 will face higher premiums even with subsidies…On January 1, Americans won’t become addicted to Obamacare so much as they will be afflicted by it.

This Russian library just hired a stray cat to be its assistant librarian. “Kuzma’s job description? Entertaining children, participating in theatrical performances, and greeting visitors on the steps of the library. His salary and benefits? Thirty packets of food a month plus bonus in the form of additional treats and scratches behind the ears.” Sounds like a damn good deal in this economy.

A bipartisan autopsy report on America’s Middle East policy. Tom Nichols and John Schindler in The National Interest:

We write as two scholars and former national-security practitioners who agree on almost nothing else regarding Syria: one is a traditional realist who opposed military action against Assad, and the other is a recent arrival in the camp of the post-Cold War liberal internationalists who supported striking the Syrian regime. We come not only from diverging views but also from different academic disciplines (history and political science), and while both of us have served in positions relevant to American foreign and security policy, we speak on our own behalf, especially since we ourselves are otherwise so deeply divided about U.S. intervention overseas. We share, however, a background in the study of Russia, and it is here that we find the outcome of the Syrian crisis to be so disastrous. For nearly seven decades, American efforts in the Middle East have been based on a bipartisan consensus—one of the few to be found in U.S. foreign policy—aimed at limiting Moscow’s influence in that region. This is a core interest of American foreign policy: it reflects the strategic importance of the region to us and to our allies, as well as the historical reality Russia has continually sought clients there who would oppose both Western interests and ideals. In less than a week, an unguarded utterance by a U.S. Secretary of State has undone those efforts. Not only is Moscow now Washington’s peer in the Middle East, but the United States has effectively outsourced any further management of security problems in the region to Russian president Vladimir Putin.  We both deplore the hyperpartisanship that has required too many Republicans and Democrats to support or oppose this new agreement based on domestic political calculations. We recognize, however, that more sincere defenders of the September 9 deal see great virtue in it. They argue, for example, that it will avert the need for military force (a threat most Americans did not want carried out anyway), that it will strip Assad of his chemical arms without fighting, and that it will force Putin to take ownership of the WMD question in Syria and thus obligate Russia to live up to better standards of global citizenship. We find these to be optimistic and hopelessly naïve interpretations. It will be nearly impossible to move chemical weapons anywhere in the midst of a pitched civil war; moreover, the idea that the Putin regime cares anything for international norms or global citizenship beyond its own crudely defined interests is laughable on its face. By gaining American certification of the most important role Moscow has ever played in the Middle East, Putin has achieved in a week what no Soviet or Russian leader managed to do in a century. There should be little wonder that Putin pressed his advantage with a shameless lecture to America in the pages of The New York Times in one of the most appalling and hypocritical public relations stunts by a Kremlin boss since the Soviet era.

Daniel Hannan, awesomest MEP ever, loves Shakespeare (one of the prerequisites for being awesome) and wrote this fascinating piece on The Merchant of Venice. Seems appropriate to post it today, since tonight is the premiere of The Hollow Crown series on PBS. Here’s an excerpt:

The Merchant of Venice is a cold, loveless, disturbing play. Unusually, it is more draining to read than to watch. Shakespeare can be distressingly amoral: as I get older, I find Measure for Measure bleaker even than King Lear. But directors almost always soften The Merchant of Venice. Every Shylock I’ve watched on stage or screen – Lawrence Olivier, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, F Murray Abraham – has played the role more sympathetically than a strict reading warrants. The sensibilities of a modern audience demand it. Unenhanced, the text is harder, meaner. Shylock is driven by a cruelty that is in his nature and needs no motive. He is not just malevolent, but malevolent in the way that anti-Semites, in their most lurid fantasies, imagine Jews to be: greedy, clever, legalistic, pitiless. The court scene is harrowing to read, because it is not just an old moneylender who is being tried, but an entire religion. Shylock, obsessed with the letter of the law, is trapped in what Shakespeare presents as a retributive Old Testament. Repeatedly offered the chance to show clemency, he refuses, and thus condemns himself. So, according to medieval theologians, had Jews condemned themselves by choosing to turn away from Christ’s mercy. Most Christians find the scene uncomfortable; most Jews find it excruciating. Some years ago, the lawyer Anthony Julius argued that the archetype created by Shylock was the basis of an English anti-Semitism that, while not as destructive as the European versions, was the worse for being rooted in high culture…I’m pretty certain that, if The Merchant of Venice had been written by any other author than Shakespeare, it would not now be staged. Still, I’m persuaded by James Shapiro, author of Shakespeare and the Jews: “Censoring the play is always more dangerous than staging it.”

American exceptionalism, baby!

Royal pillow talk: the strange bedfellows – and beds – in the domestic life of Elizabeth I.

Some of the best parts are the material details of Elizabeth’s domestic surroundings, such as her various beds: a boat-shaped one at Richmond Palace, curtained with sea-water green and quilted with light brown tinsel; an enormous gilded one at Whitehall Palace, carved with eight beasts and dressed with purple velvet and damask and silver tassels. Her close-stools too were sumptuous, covered with velvet and fringed with golden silk (though also, practically, lined with canvas and containing chamber pots of pewter). We learn that Elizabeth cleaned her teeth with a mixture of white wine, vinegar and honey; that she kept various pets, including a monkey and a parrot; and that the furnishings of Hampton Court Palace included a jewelled water-clock, a walking stick supposedly made from a unicorn’s horn, and a bust of Attila the Hun…We discover that Elizabeth washed her hair with lye (a compound of wood-ash and water), that she used toilet water made with marjoram and sugar, and that her wardrobe contained over 3,000 dresses. One of her longest-serving and most loved ladies of the bedchamber, Blanche Parry, received perks including a special allowance of horse-meat. During one of Elizabeth’s bouts of facial pain, the astrologer and physician Dr John Dee travelled 1,500 miles in winter to get her urine tested by a specialist in Frankfurt.

This is how ridiculous our society has become.

And finally, start your weekend off with “Downton Tabby.” It’s “Downton Abbey.” But with cats.

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Filed under History, Literature, Politics, Sports, Uncategorized, What the F**k Friday

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