A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Friday, May 16, 2014

Odds and Ends

Fukuyama's "End of History"?

'But they also give rise to the further irony that it is ultimately in the name of "history" that history itself is currently in the process of being deleted from our collective memory. The "common core" educational standards subsume it under history/social studies and subsume that under what used to be called English — but only that part of English which involves the critical reading and analysis of "texts."
There is no body of historical knowledge that the common core identifies as mandatory or even useful for secondary school pupils to know.'
-- James Bowman, Negative Side Effects

"I am appalled to find that Fukuyama is a fool." -- John Lukacs, review of "The End of History"

On the Death Penalty

“We all deserve to hang, of course, but it can be a serious administrative embarrassment when someone is hanged for the wrong reason.”
-- David Warren, "Against Happiness"

This Worked Out So Well the Last Time We Tried It

"Obama to Loosen Lending Standards to Boost Home Ownership. What Could Go Wrong?"

Hey, Isn't This Called "Stalking"?

"Researchers followed 30,000 women for 20 years and found that those who avoided the sunshine were twice as likely to die"

Coincidence?  We Think Not

1. "HURT: Media Lap Dogs in Hot Pursuit of the Wrong Story"--headline, Washington Times, Sept. 18, 2012
2. "CHP Officers Rescue Scared Chihuahua From Busy Highway"--headline, KNTV website (San Jose, Calif.), May 12, 2014

1. "Missing: Furman White Swan Eggs"--headline, Greenville (S.C.) News, May 8
2. "Eggs Up Grill to Open in Downtown Greenville"--headline, Greenville News, May 9

Asked, and Answered

1. "What if College Is Making People Stupid?"--headline, Commentary website, May 13
2. "College Students: No, We Can't Name a Single Hillary Accomplishment, But We'd Vote for Her"--headline,, May 14

So, According to Daily Kos, Hillary....

1. "Let None Doubt That Karl Rove Is a Liar"--headline,, March 23, 2012
2. "Rove on Hillary Clinton: 'Of Course She Doesn't Have Brain Damage' "--headline, Washington Post website, May 13, 2014

He Wouldn't Have Been Had There Been only 2

"Gunman Sought in 3 Shootings 'Armed and Extremely Dangerous' "--headline, Seattle Times, May 14

One Wonders What Else Could be Suspected

"Arson Suspected After Nine Vehicles, House Torched"--headline, Toronto Star, May 9

Usually the Robbery Doesn't Work if it Isn't

"Police Seek Man Who Robbed Bank in Surprise"--headline, Arizona Republic, May 13

D'uh Moment of the Week

"At present, the total biomass of mammals raised for food vastly exceeds the biomass of all mammalian wildlife on the planet (it also exceeds that of the human species itself). This was certainly not the case 10,000 or so years ago, at the dawn of the age of pastoralism." [Emph. added]

Be Careful What You Wish For

"Run, Joe, Run: Why Democrats Need a Biden Candidacy'--headline,, May 9

Quote of the Day

"Being in love with yourself means never having to say you’re sorry.” -- Spengler

The War on Fat. Fat Won.

One consequence is that in cutting back on fats, we are now eating a lot more carbohydrates—at least 25% more since the early 1970s. Consumption of saturated fat, meanwhile, has dropped by 11%, according to the best available government data. Translation: Instead of meat, eggs and cheese, we're eating more pasta, grains, fruit and starchy vegetables such as potatoes. Even seemingly healthy low-fat foods, such as yogurt, are stealth carb-delivery systems, since removing the fat often requires the addition of fillers to make up for lost texture—and these are usually carbohydrate-based.

Consistency is a Jewel, Valuable Because it is Rare

In Nigeria, Islamists think nothing of seizing hundreds of schoolgirls for the crime of aspiring to an education. Here in the United States, the educated class thinks nothing of denying an honorary degree to a fearless Muslim woman who at peril of her life, and in the name of liberal democracy, has insisted on exposing such outrages to the light.
Ruth R. Wisse, "The Closing of the Collegiate Mind" WSJ May 11, 2014


  1. The last one is an error, if it's in reference to Ali. She's not a muslim woman - ex-muslim, atheist activist.

    Here's part of the wiki entry regarding her:

    Hirsi Ali supported the move by the Dutch courts to abrogate the party subsidy to a conservative Protestant Christian political party, the Political Reformed Party (SGP), which did not grant full membership rights to women and still withholds passive voting rights from female members. She stated that "any political party discriminating against women or homosexuals should be deprived of funding."[97]

    Hirsi Ali has also stated that she wants the Belgian authorities to ban the (non-Muslim) Flemish Vlaams Belang party, claiming that "it hardly differs from the Hofstad Group. Though the VB members have not committed any violent crimes yet, they are just postponing them and waiting until they have an absolute majority. On many issues they have exactly the same opinions as the Muslim extremists: on the position of women, on the suppression of gays, on abortion. This way of thinking will lead straight to genocide."[98]

    I have trouble finding much concern about her being denied an honorary degree.

  2. Ironically, removing all (or even most) fat from your diet tends to have the adverse affect of making your body think that you are starving, and thus, makes it want to both hold onto fat and turn carbs into fat.

    If you have to choose between adding fat or carbs to your diet, generally you should add the fat, since carbs are usually what all that extra weight is made from; it doesn't take much extra fat to make you feel full, but it takes ALOT of extra carbs. That's why a type 1 diabetic diet is usually the most effective for maintaining weight loss, since it focuses on regulating carbs.

    1. Similarly, skim milk in early childhood actually causes weight gain (something Hilaire Belloc mentioned somewhere, around 1909, with regard to the raising of piglets). The child's body says "Milk with no fat? Plainly Mom is starving. Better pack on the pounds, this is gonna be rough!"

  3. To paraphrase our host, as a historian, Fukuyama is an okay political economist. (And to borrow a gag from Mike Nelson, "You'd probably be better off with the historical speculations of Jun Fukuyama.")

  4. Consumption of fat declined. Heart disease mortality rates also declined. So far the anti-fat prediction is holding. OTOH, it might be spurious.


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