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Civil War in 4 minutes December 22, 2007

Posted by Administrator in history.
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via the hapless idiot at Pharyngula, comes this short four-minute animation showing graphically the expanse of the South from 1861 to its zenith in mid1862, followed by the inevitable swamping by the northern forces in mid 1865. Punctuated by explosions denoting battles, the racing tally of casualties in the lower right hand corner, and the haunting strings of Ashokan Farewell so well known from Ken Burns’ documentary, it makes for an illustrative and sobering quick-view of America’s first Civil War.

LINK.

(WARNING: Other videos at the site hosting this animation may be NSFW.  If you can find a more appropriate host for this animation, let me know and I’ll update the link.)

Nobel Committee joins the ranks of the absurd, engages in unconscious irony. . .UPDATED October 15, 2007

Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, Environmentalism, Global Warming, history, Idiots, Liberal Hypocrisy, Liberal self-loathing, Politics.
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. . .by recognizing their equally absurd and unconsciously ironic confreres in idiocy, the UN, along with the Amazing Bloviator, the Goracle Himeself, Al Gore, as the co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Utterly ridiculous. The Nobel Peace Prize has now achieved the same level of legitimacy as the MTV Movie Awards and the award for Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel.

The irony comes about as this award is given on the same day as a British judge demands that guide notes be provided to Brit schoolchildren who are compelled to watch Gore’s exercise in propaganda, An Inconvenient Truth. Seems the thing is so full of fallacy and exaggeration, the British courts have to order that the kids be told the film is spurious nonsense.

Of course, the mainstream press paints that headline different. MSNBC paraphrases: “British Judge OKs Gore’s film for schools.”

Mendacity from the press, irony in history, and cluelessness and absurdity from the Nobel committee.

Yep. A fine world we live in.

UPDATE:  You must, –MUST, I SAY!!!!!- click this link from the Iowahawk that spoofs both Gore’s award, the idiocy of the Nobel committee, and the horrors of mass market mailing all in one fell swoop (and I do mean fell, as in the old meaning of evilly menacing and destructive).  It is hilarious.

65 years ago today. . . December 7, 2006

Posted by Administrator in history, Know Thine Enemy.
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The top photo shows a tinted picture of the USS Arizona, her forward magazine having exploded, enroute to killing or entombing over 1100 of her sailors, with her superstructure keeling over prior to her final settlement in the Pearl Harbor mud.

The black and white photo is of the USS Shaw, as her own forward magazine detonates while she was in drydock.

Below is an image of the Shaw after her refit in 1942, setting out to take her vengeance on the Japanese Navy.

Below we have a picture of the capsized USS Oklahoma. The blades of her propeller can be clearly seen, despite the small image. (The USS West Virginia was about to suffer a similar fate as the Oklahoma, as she was taking in great volumes of water on her starboard side, but her captain wisely ordered that she be counterflooded. Her port side was opened to the water, and she then settledupright into the Pearl Harbor mud. This presented an added problem in that the West Virginia was dual docked with the Tennessee. West Virginia’s controlled sinking left the relatively undamaged Tennessee pinned to the Pearl dock, unable to put to sea.)

Subsequent picture show Okalahoma being righted in 1943:

And a picture of her refloated hull in 1946. She has been stripped of her guns and materiel, so that she can be towed to a shipbreaker on the mainland to be broken up for scrap. Enroute to the breakers, she broke her tow line and sank in a storm in 1946.

65 years ago, what amounts to a sneak attack on our Pacific Fleet left our West Coast virtually defenseless. A day that lived in infamy.

Never forget.

A great roundup can be found at RightWingNutHouse.

Tony Blair channels Winston Churchill December 4, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, history, Politics.
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Make no mistake. Churchill was not the greatest PM in the history of Great Britain. Though in terms of having the right man at the right time, he certainly was THE man in the ’40s.

Blair is no Churchill. Yet he echoes some famous sentiments of Churchill’s with the following statement (Churchill’s original quote remains beyond my limited ability to find it just now. . .)

“Sometimes (the Americans) can be difficult friends to have. But the strain of, frankly, anti-American feeling in parts of European politics is madness when set against the long-term interests of the world we believe in.

“The danger with America today is not that they are too much involved. The danger is that they decide to pull up the drawbridge and disengage. We need them involved. We want them engaged.”

At one point in WWII, Churchill couched an appeal to Roosevelt, to the effect that once the “New World, with all of its might” were to enter the conflict, the long night of Nazism in Europe would end. Which is exactly what happened, as pressure from Russia, England and the US in the end doomed the Nazi terror, as any halfwit elementary history student ought to know by now.

Blair is now echoing the ghost of Churchill, and perhaps not for the wrong reasons. Heaven knows with all the “good feeling” coming from so many countries east of the Atlantic (Europe, Asia) towards the US, perhaps isolationism isn’t such a bad idea.

Fascinating idea of what today’s youth do not know September 5, 2006

Posted by Administrator in Blogging, history, Humor.
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WARNING:  If under the age of 20, this post will be meaningless.

Since this day has not been one of the red letter types for me, I submit -from Mark Shea,- a list of college freshmen realities.  (could also serve for high school students).

Very entertaining and illuminating.

On the other hand. . . August 11, 2006

Posted by Administrator in history, Politics.
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. . .there is this great article from the UK that perhaps has one of the best viewpoints on American sensibilities -as an overall culture- than any I have read in years.

However, if the weak-kneed Left has its final way in the US (this article gives me renewed faith that in the end, it can’t) then something truly great, not just for America, but for mankind, will have been lost.

Key quote is in the conclusion:

when the Americans speak of freedom, we should not imagine, in our cynical and worldly-wise way, that they are merely using that word as a cloak for realpolitik. They are not above realpolitik, but they also mean what they say.

These formidable people think freedom is so valuable that it is worth dying for.

Shelby Foote and the noun/adjective combination June 15, 2006

Posted by Administrator in history, Smart People.
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Went from reading Walker Percy as mentioned before to reading his best friend, Shelby Foote, and his three volume, nearly 3,000 page narrative The Civil War.

In the first volume, Foote describes the maneuvering that occurred before Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson handed Pope his lunch at 2nd Manassas. Lee, despite being outnumbered nearly two-to-one, for first time (and certainly not the last) divides his army while confronted by a numerically superior foe; giving Jackson and his brigades the assignment of marching deep into Pope’s rear and disrupting his supply lines.

Jackson, previously noted for making his men march great distances with little notice and less food, immediately double-times his men over 25 miles into Pope’s rear, finding a signal supply depot at Manassas Junction, site of a huge Confederate victory more than a year previous.

Foote goes on to describe the reaction of the footsore, attenuated and ravenous Confederates as they discover the mountain of Union goods:

. . .Jackson moved on Manassas. . .the sight that awaited them there was past the imagining of Stonewall’s famished tatterdemalions. Acres -a square mile, in fact- of supplies of every description were stacked in overwhelming abundance. Newly constructed warehouses overflowed with rations, quartermaster goods and ordnance stores. . .best of all, from the point of view of the starved raiders, sutler wagons parked hub-to-hub were packed with every delicacy their vanished owners thought might tempt a payday soldier’s jaded palate. There it all was, spread before the butternut horde out as if the mythical horn of plenty had been upended there. . .the chief object of the search. . .was whiskey. This. . .their commander had foreseen, and by his orders the guards staved in the barrels and shattered the demijohns; whereupon the looters dropped to their hands and knees, scooping and sipping at the pools and rivulets before the liquor soaked into the earth or drained away.”

I cracked up reading his description of the tattered Confederates. Shelby Foote could write.