Saturday, June 3, 2017
As they began to plot in earnest for the general election, Hillary and her aides thought things were finally starting to go their way. They believed Trump offered them the perfect foil against which to run a base-focused campaign with a dash of outreach to centrist Republicans fearful that he would be intemperate in an international crisis. Trump was dividing the Republican establishment from its base in the primary, and the Clinton campaign saw an opportunity to take advantage of that rift. If everything went right - and they thought there was a good chance of that happening - Hillary would be able to expand Democrats' dominance of the electoral map. They couldn't or wouldn't see that Trump had spent the primaries courting voters in their backyard.
-Jonathan Allen & Amie Parnes, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign
....................ventured out to the wondrous Midland Theatre to experience the Marshall Tucker Band. 35 years ago Marshall Tucker approached #1 on my play list. Only lead singer Doug Gray remains from the original version, but the new guys can play pretty well. If you get the chance, go see them.
They opened with this beauty:
Friday, June 2, 2017
Confused by the brouhaha over the Paris climate accord? The Execupundit points to an essay by Keith Hennessey that might help explain a few things. Essay here. A few wee excerpts here:
"QTIIPS stands for Quantitatively Trivial Impact + Intense Political Symbolism."
"I therefore read the text of the agreement to see for myself. Doing so reinforced the view I developed when the agreement was concluded. Relative to the scope of the problem it is trying to solve, the Paris Agreement is quantitatively trivial. It is a set of weak process agreements, with many areas of ambiguous language and “flexibility” for countries to reinterpret their only loosely binding quantitative commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions many years from now.
The national leaders who supported Paris, including President Obama, had a political interest in overselling their policy accomplishment. Similarly, President Trump has a political interest in selling today’s move to his base as an enormous policy win, when to me it appears he is nullifying American participation in an agreement that on policy grounds was insignificant to begin with."
"QTIIPS issues are unfortunately great fits for our modern advocacy, political, and communications structures. Everyone can virtue signal to their heart’s content. No one has to read the text of the policy change, look at the numbers, or ask hard questions of a relevant policy expert. Political tribes can inhabit their comfort zones and preach to the converted while heaping scorn and derision on the other tribe. Passion abounds while everyone ignores the policy nerds saying “Um… I think the actual effect here is too small to matter.”"
"There has been a fear, often unconscious, that clear thinking would lead to anarchy, and this fear has lead philosophers to hide in mists of fallacy and obscurity."
-Bertrand Russell, from his essay "Philosophy and Politics" as published in Unpopular Essays
Thursday, June 1, 2017
Man is a restless animal, not content, like the boa constrictor to have a good meal once a month and sleep the rest of the time. Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this and that, but hope and enterprise and change.
-Bertrand Russell, as excerpted from the essay Philosophy and Politics
On one of the flights, Hillary unburdened herself to Moore. "I don't understand what's happening with the country. I can't get my arms around it," Hillary confided. Moore just listened. "How do I get answers to this?" Hillary asked.
It was a quandary that would plague her throughout the campaign. After nearly a year on the campaign trail, and hundreds of stops at diners, coffee shops, and high school gymnasiums and just as many roundtables with young professionals and millworkers, Hillary still couldn't figure out why Americans were so angry or how she could bring the country together.
-Jonathan Allen & Amie Parnes, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign
I have never placed the security of a job above the value of home.
-Toni Morrison, as she concludes this passage, as excerpted on David Kanigan's wondrous Thrive
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
.........................and references a classic 1946 Disney movie:
The German chancellor in effect threatens to throw President Trump into the proverbial briar patch, giving him what he wants while appearing to denounce him (see the Disney version here).
-full post here
..........................................................this can't happen soon enough:
The area we live in is being flooded by couples with younger kids who are moving out of cities and into the suburbs. There will always be a huge demand for big city living but young people, like everyone who came before them, eventually get older. And when you get older and have kids it’s not quite as easy to make things work living in a city. Buying a house won’t be the right decision for everyone but the flood of new homebuyers from the millennial cohort in the coming years could be enormous.
-Ben Carlson, taken from this post
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
“Those who believe that the world of being is governed by luck or chance and that it depends upon material causes are far removed from the divine and from the notion of the One.”
-Plotinus, The Enneads
“God does not lead all His servants by one road, nor in one way, nor at one time; for God is in all things; and that man is not serving God aright, who can only serve Him in his own self-chosen way.”
On top of everything, the cancer ward was Number 13. Pavel Nikolayevich Rusanov had never been and could never be a superstitious person, but his heart sank when they wrote "Wing 13" on his admission card. They should have had the ingenuity to assign number 13 to some kind of prosthetic or intestinal department.
-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Cancer Ward
Monday, May 29, 2017
............................doesn't mean they are not out to get you:
Winston Churchill should have never been prime minister of Great Britain. He wasn't someone who "did everything right," and it was shocking that he was elected. His contemporaries knew he was brilliant - but he was also a paranoid loose cannon who was impossible to deal with.
Initially rising up through the ranks of British politics at a steady clip (he was elected to Parliament at age twenty-six), Churchill was eventually found lacking and deemed unsuitable for the highest offices. By the 1930s his career was effectively over. In many ways he was a perfect foil for Neville Chamberlain, a leader who had done everything right and was the prototypical British prime minister. ...
Churchill was a maverick. He did not merely love his country; he displayed a clear paranoia toward any possible threat to the empire. He saw even Gandhi as a danger and was quite outspoken in his opposition to what was a pacifist rebellion in India. He was the Chicken Little of Great Britain, passionately railing against all opposition to his country, great, small - or imagined. But this "bad" quality is the key to why he is one of the most revered leaders in world history. ...
When it mattered most, Churchill's paranoia was prescient. He didn't believe the schoolyard bully would leave them alone if they gave him their lunch money. He knew they needed to sock him in the nose.
Churchill's zealotry - the thing that had nearly ruined his career early on - was exactly what Britain needed heading into World War II. And thankfully the British people realized this before it was too late.
-Eric Barker, Barking Up The Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong
Our earnest eyes scan the busy groups on the opposite slopes, breaking camp for the last time, taking down their little shelter-tents and folding them carefully as precious things, then slowly forming ranks as for unwelcome duty. And now they move. The dusky swarms forge forward into gray columns of march. On they come, with the old swinging route step and swaying battle-flags. In the van, the proud Confederate ensign - the great field of white with canton of star-strewn cross of blue on a field of red, the regimental battle-flags with the same escutcheon following on, crowded so thick, by thinning out of men, that the whole column seemed crowned with red. At the right of our line our little group mounted beneath our flags, the red Maltese cross on field of white, erstwhile so bravely borne through many a field more crimson than itself, its mystic meaning now ruling all.
The momentous meaning of this occasion impressed me deeply. I resolved to mark it by some token of recognition, which could be no other than a salute of arms. Well aware of the responsibility assumed, and of the criticisms that would follow, as the sequel proved, nothing of that kind could move me in the least. The act could be defended, if needful, by the suggestion that such a salute was not to the cause for which the flag of the Confederacy stood, but to its going down before the flag of the Union. My main reason, however, was one for which I sought no authority nor asked forgiveness. Before us in proud humiliations stood the embodiment of manhood: men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death, nor disaster, nor hopelessness could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thing, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond' - was not such manhood to be welcomed back into the Union so tested and assured?
Instructions had been given; and when the head of each division column comes opposite our group, our bugle sounds out the signal and instantly our whole line from right to left, regiment by regiment in succession, gives the soldier's salutation, from the "order arms" to the old "carry" - the marching salute. Gordon at the head of the column, riding with heavy spirit and downcast face, catches the sound of shifting arms, looks up, and taking the meaning, wheels superbly, making with himself and his horse one uplifted figure, with profound salutation as he drops the point of his sword to the boot toe; then facing to his own command, gives word for his successive brigades to pass us with the same position of the manual, - honor answering honor. On our part not a sound of trumpet more, nor roll of drum; not a cheer, nor word nor whisper of vain-glorying, nor motion of man standing against the order, but an awed stillness rather, and breath-holding, as it were the passing of the dead!
-Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, The Passing Of The Armies, excerpting from the chapter "Appomattox"
art work via
Sunday, May 28, 2017
The idea of going nowhere is, as mentioned, as universal as the law of gravity; that's why wise souls from every tradition have spoken of it. "All the unhappiness of men," the seventeenth-century French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal famously noted, "arises from one simple fact: that they cannot sit quietly in their chamber." After Admiral Richard E. Byrd spent nearly five months alone in a shack in the Antarctic, in temperatures that sank to 70 degrees below zero, he emerged convinced that "Half the confusion in the world comes from not knowing how little we need." Or, as they sometimes say around Kyoto, "Don't just do something. Sit there."
-Pico Ilyer, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere
Humor is important to the maturation process, whereby we learn how not to take ourselves so seriously and to laugh at ourselves, thus decreasing narcissistic defensiveness. To be prone to "hurt feelings" is egocentric and a form of social paranoia. When we admit our downside and learn to laugh at it, we are not longer vulnerable to slights and insults.
-David R. Hawkins
I was one person raised by two very different people, each with a separate perspective to impress upon me, each trying to act in concert with the other, and each of whose eyes I tried to see the world through. Bringing up a son who can survive to adulthood must sometimes seem to parents little more than a dogged exercise in repetition, and an often futile but loving effort at consistency.
-Richard Ford, as shared by David Kanigan