Today: Slavery, Dunmore’s Proclamation, Small Pox & The Ethiopian Regiment in the Revolutionary War; England’s Glorious Revolution; Lutefisk; John Milton; Christmas Music . . .
AND MORE . . . [Read more…]
Today: Slavery, Dunmore’s Proclamation, Small Pox & The Ethiopian Regiment in the Revolutionary War; England’s Glorious Revolution; Lutefisk; John Milton; Christmas Music . . .
AND MORE . . . [Read more…]
A look at some of the history and holidays on December 6
Feast of St Nicholas – Yes, Virginia, there is a St. Nickolaus . . . and his feast day is today. The Santa Claus we associate with Christmas is a melding of the legends of St. Nickolaus and Odin as filtered through the Dutch. The actual St. Nickolaus was a 4th century Bishop of Myra famous for his gift giving:
After his parents died, Nicholas is said to have distributed their wealth to the poor. In his most famous exploit, which is first attested in Michael the Archimandrite’s Life of Saint Nicholas, Nicholas heard of a devout man who once had been wealthy, but had lost all his money due to the “plotting and envy of Satan.” The man had three daughters, but could not afford a proper dowry for them. This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably, in absence of any other possible employment, be forced to become prostitutes. Hearing of the girls’ plight, Nicholas decided to help them, but, being too modest to help the family in public (or to save them the humiliation of accepting charity), he went to the house under the cover of night and threw a purse filled with gold coins through the window opening into the house. He did the same thing the next two nights, giving the man a total of three bags of gold, one for each of his three daughters.
According to Michael the Archimandrite’s version, on the third night, the father of the three girls stayed up and caught Saint Nicholas in the act of the charity. The father fell on his knees, thanking him. Nicholas ordered him not to tell anyone about the gift. The scene of Nicholas’s secret gift-giving is one of the most popular scenes in Christian devotional art, appearing in icons and frescoes from across Europe. Although depictions vary depending on time and place, Nicholas is often shown wearing a cowl while the daughters are typically shown in bed, dressed in their nightclothes. . . .
The Feast Day of St. Nicholas is celebrated widely throughout all of Europe as a St. Nickolaus Day celebration that begins with a worship service. Then there are the giving of gifts, parades and other local traditions. [Read more…]
A look at some of the history and holidays on November 27
Feast of Vergilius of Salzburg, an 8th century Irish missionary and astronomer. In 745, he left Ireland for the Holy Land, but made it no further than France where he became a favorite of King Pippin III. At some point, Vergilius’s observation of the sky led him to conclude that the earth was a sphere. A contemporary, (later St.) Boniface, accused Vergilius of teaching against Church Doctrine. Records have been lost of how the matter was handled, though we can assume Vergilius defended himself adequately before the Pope, for he was later promoted to Bishop of Salzburg.
602 – Emperor Maurice is forced to watch his five sons be executed before being beheaded himself.
It always seemed strange to me that the Muslim armies of 7th century Arabia, a backwater at most, were able to expand so rapidly to the north and east against two of the greatest powers in the world at the time, Byzantium and Persia. The story of Byzantine Emperor Maurice is the starting point to understand what happened.
Maurice had become emperor of Byzantine in 582, A general, he spent most of reign waging successful wars. He earned a notable victory in the Balkans against the Avars – pushing them back across the Danube by 599. His biggest victory, though, was his defeat of Sasanian Persians. For the first time in nearly two centuries, the Romans were no longer obliged to pay the Persians thousands of pounds of gold annually for peace.
In 602, a disgruntled general, Phocas, led a coup against Maurice. Capturing the Emperor and his family, Phocas forced Maurice to watch as Phocas executed Maurice’s five sons, and then finally beheaded Maurice as well. The Persians, humiliated and cowed by Maurice but not by Phocas, renewed their war with Byzantium. What followed was the brutal Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628. a war that proved devastating to both empires. When it ended, both empires were too weak to withstand the onslaught of the Arab Muslims. Byzantium lost territory and, though it survived for another five centuries against the Arabs (only to fall in the 15th century to the Muslim Turks), it became a weak shadow of its former self. Persia disappeared entirely. The great Persian culture and traditions of an empire that had vied with Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, fell to Arab Muslims in 651 A.D.
A look at some of the history and holidays on November 18
Feast of Dedication for Saints Peter and Paul: This celebrates the building and consecration of the home of Catholicism, old St. Peter’s Basilica as well as the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, both built by the Emperor Constantine the Great during the 4th century and dedicated on this day in 326 A.D. The new (and current) St. Peter’s Basilica was built overtop the old and was consecrated on this day in 1626.
1302 – Pope Boniface VIII issues the Papal bull Unam sanctam
The great political contest of our time is statism and socialism versus republicanism and capitalism. The great contest in 1302 was the power struggle between Kings and the Papacy, with the former having acknowledged authority over the temporal, the latter having acknowledged authority over the spiritual. Most often this power struggle played out in competition for control over important clerical posts, with the Pope having the power excommunicate anyone, even Kings, for great offenses to the Church. But in 1302, Pope Boniface VIII upped the ante.
In response to challenges to his authority, Boniface issued the Papal bull (an edict issued by the Pope) Unam sanctam, claiming not only complete authority over the spiritual, but in worldly matters as well. When the French King Phillip II balked at that and refuted the claim, Boniface excommunicated the King. An adviser of the King led a small army to attack Boniface at his home in an incident known as the Outrage of Anagni. Boniface was made a prisoner and imprisoned for several days before the people of Anagni rose up and drove out the King’s men. Still, Boniface was shaken. He died not long after, something that automatically lifted the edict of excommunication against Phillip II. Boniface’s claim to rule the temporal was condemned at the time by many theologians, and no Pope ever repeated the claim.
After a manic weekend, I got the chance to put my all into this Bookworm Beat, which covers politics, homelessness, immigration, antisemitism, and more.
Oh, my gosh, but do I have a lot to share with you — and tonight I’ve got the time to do so. Go get a nice cup of tea or coffee, and maybe a few cookies or a little ice cream, find a comfortable chair, and let’s get going.
I should warn you before you begin that these snippets aren’t in any particular order. I’m writing them down in the order in which I first read them. It’s a little chaotic, but consider it a challenging brain teaser.
Trump is not a show-boater about his patriotism. Saturday was “Wreaths Across America” day, a day on which volunteers descended on military cemeteries all over America to decorate veterans’ graves with wreaths. Without fanfare, Trump showed up at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the fallen. I’ll leave you with a few photos of this present and a past president:
By the way, I know that Obama sometimes carried his own umbrella and that gateways can be tough. Still, there was something about Obama and umbrellas…. [Read more…]
If you like Trump’s accomplishments and hate the Dems’ Kavanaugh circus, vote strategically this November. Here are some ideas for the mid-term election.
We’re slightly less than a month away from the mid-term election. For those who have put off thinking about it, it’s time! As a nation, we are at a fork in the road, so people need to think very seriously about their choices.
The most important thing is that, contrary to the saying that “all politics is local,” this is not a local election. For once, it’s not about whether your particular Congress critter brings home the bacon to your district. Instead, the only thing that matters in this election is whether it gives Trump a Congress that will work with him or gives him a Congress that will work against him.
Even that, though, isn’t the correct formulation. Trump is the agent of the American people. This mid-term election is about you as an American, not you as a resident of this county or that state.
To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, as we head into the mid-terms, you need to ask yourself whether you as an American are better off now than you were two years ago. If you are, then you must support Trump to enable him to continue the policies that benefit you and the nation as a whole.
Regardless of your personal feelings about Trump, therefore, you need to take a step back and see if you objectively like or dislike what he’s done for America as a whole. The following is an off-the-top-of-my-head list of Trump’s accomplishments to help you decide whether you mostly support or mostly oppose what he’s done during his time in office: [Read more…]
Does it get any better, after Donald Trump’s spectacularly successful first year, to watch him “Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift style?
I missed last year this cute Auto-Tune video, which gets Trump to sing a verse and chorus from Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off. I don’t know if I would have appreciated it last March as much as I do today. After all, in March, Trump hadn’t accomplished anything beyond getting elected. Now, though, after a brilliant first year in office, we can see just how successfully he was able to shake off all the venom and road-blocks that came his way.
Yes, the haters did “hate, hate, hate,” and they kept accusing Trump of having “nothing in his brain,” but Trump was able to “shake it off “– and while shaking, he
Trump sure knows how to “shake it off” — so celebrate this cute video.
(And yes, I’m sure I forgot some of Trump’s accomplishments. Please remind me in the comments.)
Following his unexpected victory, Trump is quickly becoming America’s most consequential conservative president, making him a one-man flock of Black Swans.
A “Black Swan Event” is one that:
A year and a half ago, pundits and pollsters gave Trump virtually no chance of winning the Republican nomination for President. Indeed, over half of America thought it was a joke when Trump entered the GOP primary in 2016. Feel free to raise your hand if you were one of the many.
Our country was in dire straits at that point. Obama, through regulatory overreach, new taxation, and Obamacare, had shackled our economy. Worse, Obama had taken our nation so far past the point of a constitutional crisis that it threatened a de facto end to our American experiment. As the November 2016 election approached, we were (and still very much are), to quote Victor Davis Hanson, in an “existential war for the soul of America.”
That war needed to be fought at multiple levels. Congress needed to have its Art. I Sec. I power restored. Only Congress has the power to pass and amend laws. But during the Obama era, we suddenly had “laws” from the President through executive orders (a constitutional violation so egregious even Saturday Night Live spoofed it); the regulatory bureaucracy, the FCC, the Courts, the DOJ, and even the Sec. of Education.
Our Supreme Court system, with its unelected justices, was poised to sit as a Politburo, subject to the addition of just one more Proggie justice. It badly needed to be reformed in line with Art. III.
Obama had entered into oppressive so-called foreign “treaties” — i.e., the Paris Accord and the Iran Deal — without Article II approval from the Senate. Those Frankenstein’s monsters needed to be revoked.
The list of necessary domestic battles at the end of Obama’s eight years went on and on: The economy had to be unleashed by rolling back the regulatory explosion under Obama. Rule of law and equality of justice for all — Hildabeast included — needed to be reestablished.
None of the above even touches upon Obama’s foreign policy accomplishments (or, more accurately, disasters), which left us with a Middle East in flames, ISIS ascendant, Iran on a glide path towards developing a nuclear arsenal, and North Korea building out its nuclear arsenal. Our new President would have to deal with a far more dangerous world than the one Obama had inherited in 2009.
As the 2016 primaries heated up, sixteen of the seventeen candidates, all of those not named Trump, seemed to be up to the task of righting at least some of the above. Then came the first of Trump’s Black Swan Events: he clinched the Republican nomination. Every aspect of that moment ticked off an item on the Black Swans checklist:
Then came the second Black Swan event, when Trump won the Presidency on November 8, 2016. Again, the Black Swans checklist plays out:
And now we come to question of the moment. Was Trump’s first year in office so surprising and consequential as to itself rise to the level of a Black Swan event? This post says “yes”:
With that as preamble, let’s examine the specifics of Trump’s first year accomplishments: [Read more…]
It would have been nice to have kept the Alabama seat in Republican hands, but the truth is Trump doesn’t need it for now — he’s doing great on his own.
I’d be lying if I said I was pleased about what happened tonight in Alabama. I strongly feel that no Republican candidate should be taken down at the last minute by scurrilous claims based upon long ago memories from women who have shown themselves to be unreliable or even dishonest.
The reality, though, is that the media has been pounding away for weeks (“pedophile, pedophile, pedophile”) and that stuff seeps into people’s brains subliminally. It’s like old commercial jingles. Just being alive in the 1960s and 1970s meant that you could then (and probably still can now) sing a word-perfect rendition of the Oscar Meyer Weiner song.
Thanks to the media, Alabamans were starting to sing, “My candidate is a pedophile,” something that was grossly untrue even if one gave maximum credence to the WaPo’s attack dogs. Even if one assumed solely for the sake of argument that those women had no agenda and were remembering with perfect accuracy events from 40 years ago, the worst facts adduced were that Moore liked teenage girls, which does not pedophile make. That didn’t stop anyone on the Left, though, and apparently affected enough people on the Right.
Here are a couple of other thing to consider is that, while Moore is a stalwart conservative, he’s also a loose cannon. Anything he did that was the least bit . . . um, eccentric, would have been used to tar Trump and Republicans. While it’s true that Trump is successfully beating back the media, his life will be easier if he doesn’t have to deal with a whackadoodle Republican in his train.
The second thing to think about is that, had Moore been elected, the media and the Democrats (as if there’s a difference!) would have used him as a cudgel to drive Trump out on sex scandal grounds. I’ve already explained why I think that’s a ridiculous standard in Trump’s case (the voters knew who he was and elected him anyway) but, again, this deprives Lefties of some ammunition.
That’s the Moore issue. I want to make the rest of this post about Trump. Let me start by repeating Trump’s pitch-perfect congratulations to Doug Jones, along with his cheerful reminder to supporters that the ideological battle is scarcely over:
Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2017
As I see it, Trump has gotten little mileage out of Congress until just a few weeks ago, when the Stupid Party finally got its act together about taxes. Before that, Trump may as well not have had a majority in Congress. Moreover, if tax reform is as good for America and Americans as I think it will be, the elections in November 2018 really will be a whole new ball game for Trump and those Republicans who’ve learned any lessons from his presidency to date. And what would those lessons be?
Trump’s biggest successes as president have had nothing to do with Congress. He’s successful despite it.
An email is making the rounds among my conservative friends in which they share what they think about President Trump. The consensus is that they don’t like the man, but they sure do like what he’s doing. And that’s what I’ll talk about here.
I’ve decided that, unlike my friends, I like Trump quite a lot. I like him because, as Evan Sayet said, “he fights.” McCain and Romney were too “dignified” to fight, so they lost ignominiously. [Read more…]
On a day that sees the news look like news in Groundhog Day, with old stories endlessly repeating, today’s illustrated edition still brings fresh laughs.
Give yourself a gift this weekend and read my Illustrated Edition. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder what the heck is going on in America!
Trump’s new Jerusalem policy, recognizes reality, ends a failed paradigm, begins a new era that finally promises peace in the Middle East.
— Tel Aviv (@TelAviv) December 6, 2017
I was all ready to celebrate the big news but Linda Sarsour’s bakery is refusing to top my cake with the words, “Jerusalem is, was, and always will be the capital of Israel.”
I need the Government to make her do what I ask. pic.twitter.com/NR77HH21s4
— Andrew L Griner (@fake_news_u_r) December 6, 2017
I’ve promised myself not to tag any more posts until I clear those already cluttering the spindle — and they’re too good to let slip away.
It’s time for government to get off its moral high horse. Victor Davis Hanson hits another home run with an article reminding Democrat leaders that they’re not doing anyone any favors by focusing on such exciting things as climate change, transgender issues, and exerting control over the minutiae of every person’s life, even as real infrastructure crumbles at their feet.
When they [these Progressive moralists] are unwilling or unable to address pre-modern problems in their jurisdictions — crime, crumbling infrastructure, inadequate transportation — they compensate by posing as philosopher kings who cheaply lecture on existential challenges over which they have no control.
In this regard, think of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recent promises to nullify federal immigration law — even as he did little to mitigate the epidemic of murders in his own city.
Former president Barack Obama nearly doubled the national debt, never achieved 3 percent economic growth in any of his eight years in office, and left the health-care system in crisis. But he did manage to lecture Americans about the evils of the Crusades, and he promises to lower the seas and cool the planet.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California, likewise ran up record debt during his tenure, culminating in a $25 billion deficit his last year in office. Schwarzenegger liked to hector state residents on global warming and green energy, and brag about his commitment to wind and solar power.
Meanwhile, one of the state’s chief roadways, California State Route 99, earned the moniker “Highway of Death” for its potholes, bumper-to-bumper traffic, narrow lanes, and archaic on- and off-ramps. During California’s early-February storms, the state’s decrepit road system all but collapsed. A main access to Yosemite National Park was shut down by mudslides. Big Sur was inaccessible. Highway 17, which connects Monterey Bay to Silicon Valley, was a daily disaster.
Schwarzenegger’s successor, Jerry Brown, warned of climate change and permanent drought and did not authorize the construction of a single reservoir. Now, California is experiencing near-record rain and snowfall. Had the state simply completed its half-century-old water master plan, dozens of new reservoirs would now be storing the runoff, ensuring that the state could be drought-proof for years.
Instead, more than 20 million acre-feet of precious water have already been released to the sea. There is nowhere to put it, given that California has not built a major reservoir in nearly 40 years.
Preet Bharara — good riddance to bad rubbish. Some people had made noises about Preet Bharara maybe staying on as a U.S. Attorney in New York because he was going after corporate corruption. Except he wasn’t. He was engaged in corporate shakedowns — threatening corporations with lawsuits unless the corporations paid big bucks to Leftist organizations. Bharara was also the one who went after Dinesh D’Souza for a small dollar campaign violation that is ordinarily ignored even when big money is involved. It was payback for D’Souza’s exposes. And of course, when asked to resign — as is normal when a new government moves in the White House — Bharara did some grandstanding so that he could get fired. All of which, says Glenn Reynolds, proves that Trump was right to fire him. I think Trump should fire every single U.S. Attorney. I have no doubt but that they’re all tainted.
Naughty, naughty refugees. The grandstanding is that refugees from the Middle East are pure souls, escaping from a genocidal Hellhole. Putting aside the fact that all majority Muslims are genocidal Hellholes, this is crap. Most of the refugees are escaping economic stagnation, and the war and starvation that come with that, all of which results from the pre-medieval mindset controlling their nations. They are poor things insofar as they were unlucky enough to be from Muslim nations, but the reality is that they bring the pathologies with them. They don’t come here to start a new life; they come here to live on infidel welfare until they can take over. That’s the reality of Islam. It just is. That’s how they’ve been raised. It’s what they are.
Oh, and of course, a disturbing number of them are terrorist wannabes. That was not a problem with the Jews escaping Hitler’s ovens or the Vietnamese escaping the Viet Cong.
Of course, refugee antisemitism is a Democrat selling point. One of the worst pathologies that comes into a country with Muslim refugees is a burning hot, violent antisemitism. Islamophobia is an imaginary condition, except for those Shia Muslims getting killed by Sunnis or vice versa. Attacking, mutilating, and killing Jews is the real deal. (And no, I haven’t forgotten the Christian genocide throughout the Muslim lands; it’s just that this particular squiblet is about antisemitism.)
Unfortunately, what American Jews, who hew Left, haven’t figured out is that this antisemitism, rather than being a reason for the Left to reject the Muslim refugees is a reason that the Left embraces them. As Daniel Greenfield points out in a scathing article, today’s Democrats actively embrace antisemitism and then, when called upon it, rather than admitting to their bias, make all sorts of craven statements in their defense:
The Democrats care about anti-Semitism.
They care so much that they had a presidential candidate and convention speaker who led an anti-Semitic riot through a Jewish neighborhood. “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house,” he had taunted his victims.
He became a close presidential adviser whose endorsement is sought after by every Democrat running for the White House.
They care so much that they had a presidential candidate and speaker at two conventions who had used racial slurs against Jews and declared, “I’m sick and tired of hearing about the Holocaust.”
They care so much that the new deputy DNC chair, who had also spoken at a convention, has a long history with anti-Semitic hate groups.
From Al Sharpton to Jesse Jackson to Keith Ellison, there’s a safe space for anti-Semitism on the left.
John Kerry should have been on Greenfield’s list. John Kerry is, to state it plainly, a despicable human being. Well, that might not be accurate. I’m sure he’s despicable, but I have doubts about that human part. He’s like some swamp creature who crawls through rich Democrat habitats preying on stupid heiresses. He’s also an antisemite who did everything in his power — undoubtedly with Obama’s approval — to destroy Israel.
My brain is filled with Apocalyptic imagery, but it’s not because Obama is president, the Middle East is in flames, our southern border has collapsed, our economy is stagnant, Greece may drag down Europe, and Islamist’s are resurgent everywhere. It’s actually because last night, when my work load finally showed signs of a much-desired longish-term slowdown, I started reading two excellent books.
The first is Simon Sebag Montefiore’s lyrical and highly informative Jerusalem: The Biography, which takes the reader from Jerusalem’s pre-Biblical beginnings, to Old Testament and New Testament history, and then through post-Biblical history, all the way up to the 1967 War. It’s a lovely book, but I’ve just finished reading about Jesus’s crucifixion and am working my way toward’s the Kingdom of Israel’s destruction in 70 AD, so you can see why I’d be having an “end of days” feeling.
The second book that I’m reading, equally good so far, isn’t helping. It’s John Kelly’s The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time, another elegantly written book that makes you realize the speed with which civilization can collapse (as if the recent Ebola scare wasn’t reminder enough). I think too that Kelly, with a historian’s true knowledge rather than a Progressive’s fantasy-science melange, might just be a climate change skeptic. It’s this bit of information that’s the giveaway, about the changing climate and demographic conditions in Europe in the five hundred years leading to the plague:
As you already know, I’m sure, the Ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem are fighting hard to segregate men and women in public spaces in Jerusalem. I posted about the fact that Mr. Bookworm analogized this small group, which is fighting against a democratic, egalitarian government, to the sharia law that exists across large segments of the Muslim world. I doubt Mr. Bookworm arrived at this thought by himself. I haven’t been reading the New York Times lately, nor listening to NPR, but I’m willing to bet that their coverage implies that this comparison is real and valid.
Today, the AP managed to state outright that the Ultra-Orthodox are aping the Nazis. Here’s the AP headline:
The implication, of course, is that the Ultra-Orthodox Jews outfitted themselves in swastikas and jackboots. What the Ultra-Orthodox really did was to dress themselves up in concentration camp garb, thereby sending the message that they are helpless prisoners of a Nazi-style Jewish government:
Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered Saturday night in Jerusalem to protest what they say is a nationwide campaign directed against their lifestyle. The protesters called Israeli police officers Nazis, wore yellow Star of David patches with the word “Jude” – German for Jew – dressed their children in striped black-and-white uniforms associated with Nazi concentration camps and transported them in the back of a truck.
The Ultra-Orthodox’s stunt was tacky, offensive, ugly, distasteful, and inappropriate. But the more correct description of this tasteless bit of street theater would be that “Ultra-Orthodox Jews use Holocaust-era Images in Protest.” For the AP to have implied otherwise adds one more layer of indecency to the whole protest — and, worse, it’s a layer of indecency that dovetails perfectly with the Leftist (especially the European Leftist) effort to paint Jews as Nazis. It’s bad enough when radical Jews describe each other as Nazis, without having the media pile on too.
UPDATE: Somehow, this post seems apropos, insofar as it explains that the OWS add-on to the Rose Bowl Parade relied on Nazi imagery to depict the Jews’ alleged influence on world finances.