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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Diversity Perversity in February

At work, our diversity office posted on our website this "timeline" on "black" (sic) history.  It is worth sharing as an artifact of the unique mentality of people who work in these departments.  Note the interesting choices in photographs, especially the last one!  Black History Month Timeline  Yes, let's keep hate alive!

Big omissions in this timeline.  You'd never suspect that Will Smith once was the leading box office actor, or the now unmentionable Bill Cosby the leading entertainer.  (And where's Booker T.?)  Another thing worth pointing out:  how the integration of the Armed Forces during the Korean War assisted many men in finding a new pathway into the middle class.  A key event in U.S. history.

This type of propaganda belittles the real and significant achievements made by "blacks" in this country.  Achievements largely taken for granted.  

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Jon Stewart's Greatest Show on Earth

I ran into a coworker this week who told me that his main source of news was Jon Stewart's Daily Show.  This guy is fifty and an engineer.  I wondered: How the hell does this stuff happen?  
I never bought into the Jon Stewart phenomenon, which, let's face it, was driven primarily by media hype.  When Jon attempted more mainstream entertainment, he flopped. Cable niche programming is his metier.  

But he has a sort of low genius.  He's taken his humdrum and lazy liberal beliefs, which have not evolved since 1980 (when I knew him), and his wise-ass south Jersey persona, and made millions off of them. In the meantime, this former psychology major from William and Mary managed to convince millions that he's an authority on public affairs.  

Quite an achievement.  And a good reminder that P.T. Barnum remains an American archetype. 

Kyle Smith, the excellent and underrated columnist for the New York Post, blows up Jon Stewart here:  Lies into Comedy  

Image result for pt barnum pictures
On the shoulders of Giants?  
P.T. Barnum (right) and Jon Stewart


Friday, February 6, 2015

ISIS is a Death Cult

The ISIS boys are a tough bunch to figure out.  (I still call them ISIS.  Calling them Islamic State seems overly deferential.  Besides its harder to google that and get a clear result.  And try googling IS.  And ISIL just sounds funny.)    When they took over Mosul last June, I thought their leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, had earned the title of a Second Mao.  Had they contented themselves with consolidating their gains in Sunni-stan, they might have pulled off the Islamic State thing.  But no, they decided to attack the Kurds, and by threatening Erbil, they got the US involved.

Then they turned the insignificant town of Kobani into Stalingrad.  Prior to that, it seemed they were concerned about wasting manpower.  Not anymore.  What are they thinking?

They used to swap hostages, or give up hostages for ransom.  They probably could have gotten a deal with the Jordanians.  Certainly the Japanese would have paid up.  But no, they decided to brutally kill their captives.  They don't seem to mind retribution against their own.

Last month they ran a raid into the Kurdish province of Erbil with about 160 fighters, attacking one of the river crossings.  They killed at least two dozen Kurdish interior ministry (asayish) troops.  Maybe more.  But then they got carved up and many were killed trying to return across the Zab river to Ninewa.  What was the point of this operation?  

We are conditioned to think of insurgent organizations like ISIS based on our old Marxist guerrilla movement paradigms.  Well, throw that out: these guys are wired differently.  What we may think of as logical and rational doesn't apply to them.

George Packer calls them a "death cult."  See his article here: ISIS murdered Kenji Goto  Maybe, like the Kali-worshipping Thuggee cult,  that's really the whole objective: just to kill and be killed.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday: Let's Celebrate Nothing

I might just spend the afternoon reading, or weeding.  Super Bowl XLIX is the most over-hyped event of the year.  George Will post a good column on it here:  Letting the Air out of the Super Bowl

The reporting this year has been dominated by "Deflategate":  who let the air out of the Patriots balls prior to their win over the Colts two weeks ago?   (A better name for this non-event: Ballghazi!)  Saturday Night Live nails it here: 

Next year, I understand the NFL intends to drop the Roman numerals, because Americans won't understand what Super Bowl "L" means.