My favorite neighbors, all puffed up against the cold and the snow swirling around them.IMG_3249 IMG_3250 IMG_3252


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Brave young man, rest in peace.

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Fifty German cows, possibly weary of being exploited by humans, conspired in Rasdorf, Germany to blow up a barn.  They apparently coordinated their burping and farting to create a critical quantity of methane gas, then caused a spark, and poof!  (h/t Euronews)

One cow was treated for burns.

There is no word whether Al Qaeda was involved, but it is feared that the cows have a stash of guns somewhere and may be plotting something worse than a barn roof-raising.


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Joni Ernst believes that she is River City, Ioway’s man for Washington DC because she knows how to castrate hogs.  With this qualification, she hopes to become a U.S. Senatrix of the Republican variety. (h/t The Hill via Weasel Zippers)

To quote her first TV ad, filmed in a barn: “I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm, so when I get to Washington I’ll know how to cut pork. My parents taught us to live within our means. It’s time to force Washington to do the same, to cut wasteful spending, repeal ObamaCare and balance the budget.  I’m Joni Ernst and I approve this message because Washington is full of big spenders. Let’s make ‘em squeal.”

I understand the image, cutting pork and all.  However, comma, as they say…

Imagine, if you would, an ad in which a man says that he’s going to Washington to hoick out the ovaries of any woman who [---fill in the blank - any blank---].  Or, let’s lower the temperature a bit: a man is going to Washington to kick the butt of any woman who [---fill in the blank - any blank---].  Could anyone stand upright in the winds that would blow then?

Using images of violence against a particular segment of the population, regardless of context or attempt at cleverness, seems to me to be a measure of moral decay.  That this is routinely done with impunity – indeed, today, violence of all kinds against men is indispensable fare in both popular and highbrow culture – is a further indicator of moral decay and, I daresay, rank stupidity.  But that is another story.  The issue is that Ernst seems to have absorbed this pathetic mindset to the point where she sees nothing wrong with it.

However popular it might be, there is no room for such a mindset in civilized society.  If you don’t believe it, just ask a Jew, particularly one from Eastern Europe.

Joni Ernst is proud that her parents had taught her to live within her means.  Good on them.  Good on her.  But it is too bad that they gave her no moral compass.

If Ernst wants the votes of men, if any such are left in Ioway, she has a lot of retorquing of her clitocentric mindset to do.  My guess is that she will fail – women this far gone usually do – but time will tell.  She touts herself as a veteran, so maybe her time in the Service had taught her something.  But in the meanwhile, she should go back to the farm and ask someone to help her grow up.


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Pics I took in 1981.

This is where Leopold V of Austria had imprisoned Richard the Lionhearted after their dispute on the Third Crusade.  The castle was reduced to near-rubble by the Swedes in 1645.

Of note, Swedish troops had cut such a wide swath through Central Europe during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) that the Germans still have a saying to describe a total mess: “It looks as though the Swedes had been here.”  (Es sieht aus, als ob die Schweden hier waren.)


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Virginia Beach is in the news!  (I wish it weren’t; not for this…)

Last week, a Bayside Middle School sixth-grader, Adrionna Harris, found a classmate of hers cutting himself with a razor blade.  Because there was no adult around, Adrionna took intelligent, brainy action herself by taking it away from him herself instead of wandering off in search of an teacher or counselor.  However, having been “in possession” of it between the time she had taken it away and the time she had thrown it away (“immediately,” she said), she had run afoul of the No Tolerance policy.  (Virginia Beach reportedly has a little bit of leeway for K-5 in this respect, but not for 6-12.)

When Adrionna told a school counselor what she had done, the counselor also took action, though considerably less intelligent or brainy.  Adrionna found herself suspended for ten days, and the administration recommended expulsion.  It took considerable publicity (ah, the disinfecting effects of sunlight!) before the school board felt perhaps just a wee bit embarrassed and moved Adrionna’s hearing up to this coming Thursday.

But in spite of this show of unheard-of bureaucratic mercy, the criminal child remains unrepentant.  She knows what punishment she faces, yet she told reporters she would have done the same thing all over again.  “Even if I did get in trouble, it didn’t matter as long as I am helping him,” she said.

If this be crime, I am all for it.  Good on ya, Adrionne!

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In a non-binding Internet referendum, an overwhelming majority of Venetians expressed their desire for independence from Italy.  According to the Czech online newsmagazine iDNES, the pro-independence activist and governor of the Veneto region, Luca Gaia, stated the problem as follows: “We Venetians have the impression that we are only here to pay taxes.”

Rialto 02He added that the Italian government “sucks out” 71 billion euros in taxes but only invests about 50 billion in Veneto.  He directed a poke at the central government by adding that “the government in Rome still thinks that it’s the head of some kind of empire, and considers us mere periphery.”

A revival of the Venetian Republic, which had been a Mediterranean power in the Middle Ages and the Rennaissance, is not very likely, at least not in the near term.  Independence would require the consent of the regional council, the Italian Parliament and the Italian government itself.  According to signor Gaia, those bodies would exert too much resistance against any attempt at breakaway.

putin-powerOf note, to date, I have not found any evidence that Vladimir Putin is involved in this matter, but if I were a Venetian, I would be on the lookout for suspicious-looking characters plying the canals in gondole or vaporetti.  You can never be too careful, nowadays.

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You remember South Ossetia, right?  The place, previously part of Gruzia (i.e. Georgia in the Caucasus) that allegedly wanted to be “independent” and which achieved this blessed state in 2008 with help from Russian troops?

Well, independence under Russian auspices does not seem to have worked out too well.  Yesterday, the Czech online newsmagazine iDNES published a lengthy article titled We, Too, Celebrated, But We Lost Our Illusions Soon Enough; A Message from South Ossetia to the Crimea.  (translation mine)

The article is long, but here are the essential parts:

  • Five and a half years ago, the Ossetians celebrated.  Today, their enthusiasm is much dampened.
  • The local elites dreamed of attracting hordes of tourists and turning South Ossetia into a local version of Andorra or Monaco.  But this did not happen.
  • Today, South Ossetia’s economy is totally dependent on infusions of cash from Moscow.  Unemployment is high, and prices are skyrocketing.  All goods are brought in via a three kilometer-long tunnel that had been excavated through the Caucasus Mountains two thousand meters above sea level.
  • Local politics are in the hands of absolute Moscow loyalists who had suddenly become rich, driving around in shiny limousines.  On the other hand, buildings damaged during the Russo-Georgian war have yet to be repaired.
  • People who live in the damaged buildings have gradually begun to wonder where the promised aid from Moscow had gotten to.  According to a local analyst, Alexei Malashenko, only about 30% of Russian money had reached those in need.  Local officials kept the rest, possibly up to $22 million.
  • The new order has destroyed the local economy, which had consisted primarily of apple growing and smuggling vodka and drugs into Russia.  An anonymous resident of the capital Tskhinvali reported that she had recently paid the equivalent of $6 for a cup of tea in town.
  • Ossetians are increasingly complaining about the behavior of Russian soldiers in their republic.  (There is an estimated 5,000 Russian troops and up to 1,000 Russian border guards in the country.)
  • Ossetians generally like the idea of independence but some of them are still hopeful that their statelet will be one day incorporated into Russia which (so they hope) will bring more employment and higher incomes.

And the plum:

  • Leonid Tibilov, the current president of South Ossetia and a former KGB officer, was one of the first to welcome the annexation of the Crimea by Russia.
  • And while the world was staring in the direction of the Crimea, armed personnel in unmarked uniforms were completing the construction of fences that definitively separate South Ossetia from Georgia.
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The former Congressman Bart Stupak feels double-crossed because, somehow, the totalitarian phantasmagoria alternately called Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, or whatever, is being used to violate what he calls “…our most cherished beliefs that we, as American citizens, should not be required to relinquish our conscience and moral convictions in order to implement the Affordable Care Act.”  (h/t Hot Air)

He said that he and others had received an “…ironclad commitment that our conscience would remain free and our principles would be honored” by means of “an executive order directing federal agencies to respect America’s longstanding prohibitions on government funding of abortion and most relevant here, to respect longstanding protections for individuals and organizations conscientiously opposed to participating in or facilitating abortions.”

And…it did not turn out that way, and Stupak therefore became “…deeply concerned and objected to the HHS mandate that required all health plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives, including four drugs and devices that could terminate human life at its earliest stages by preventing an embryo’s implantation in the womb.”

What did the guy think was going to happen?  Did he not know anything about the character of the main players?  (Just look at who is standing around Obama in the signing pic!)  And so he now claims to stand with Hobby Lobby and other organizations and individuals who oppose the HHS contraception mandate.


And yet, he “…continue[s] to believe the Affordable Care Act is critical to reforming our health care markets and providing a critical safety net for millions, such as those who qualify for the Medicaid expansion, or for the seriously ill who will no longer see their benefits capped by annual limits.”

Now, this reaffirmation of Stupak’s faith in Obamacare dates to March 11, 2014, when one failure after another, one lie after other on the part of the Obama administration had been exposed to public view and ridicule.

Which makes me wonder if Stupak is really serious in his disclaimer, or whether he had imbibed so deeply of Party ideology that he has no independent reasoning ability left.  I keep hoping he is serious,; but either way, his non-disclaimer disclaimer reminds me of the hundreds – nay, untold thousands! – of Party faithful whose minds had been so twisted by blind faith that, despite being innocent, they had willingly gone to their deaths at the hands of murderous regimes just to prove that their Party was always right.

To help understand this phenomenon, I heartily recommend The Invisible Writing, the second volume of Arthur Koestler’s autobiography.

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