New Link

He doesn’t post that often, but when he does, it’s a wonder of stream-of-consciousness bile and invective.  Just call him Ishmael:

…and in future you’ll find him among the permalinks over on the right-hand side of the page.

Wrong Kind Of Heroes

Charles Lindbergh was the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean by air non-stop, in 1927.

Wrong: the first nonstop crossing of the Atlantic by air was by John Alcock and Arthur Brown, some eight years earlier.

Yet while we all remember Lindbergh, Alcock and Brown aren’t acknowledged often, not even by their own country on the centenary of their achievement:

Two WWI heroes made the first transatlantic flight fuelled only by sandwiches, a flask of coffee and raw courage to win £10,000 Daily Mail prize. So why 100 years on is Britain doing nothing to remember these magnificent men?

Oh, please.  I can think of several reasons.

  • White men
  • Worse yet, heterosexual  White men
  • War veterans mongers
  • Didn’t even try  to recruit female- or POC crew members
  • Leaving from a country stolen from the native peoples by colonialist oppressors
  • Using an aircraft once used as a weapon of war to bomb helpless civilians
  • Burning countless gallons of fuel, i.e. a leaving a massive carbon footprint
  • Showing up less brave, less able people by a pointless act of so-called “heroism”
  • Their sandwiches contained meat, and their coffee wasn’t “Fair Trade”.

I could go on, but I think you get the point.  I’m just surprised that their existing monuments haven’t been destroyed by now.

When Gummint Fails

…which is to say, almost all of the time, it’s incumbent then for citizens to step in and fix the problem, if they can.  As did a couple folks in the People’s Collective of Oakland, Californistan:

We don’t need to remind Oakland drivers their streets are some of the worst in the country, costing locals an extra $1,049 a year in car maintenance on average.
The problem has prompted two Oakland residents to go rogue, pulling off covert missions to patch potholes in the middle of the night. They’ve dubbed themselves the “Pothole Vigilantes” and show off their work on an Instagram page by the same name.

Needless to say, Gummint isn’t impressed:

When asked about the unauthorized roadwork, Oakland Public Works empathized with the problem at hand, but made it clear that Oakland residents shouldn’t be taking to the streets to themselves.
Said Sean Maher, a spokesperson for the department, “We can’t recommend anyone do this work themselves, not least because it raises safety issues while people are working in the streets.”

Oh yeah, the old “safety” bullshit.  Like hundreds of people hitting deep potholes with their cars every day is a “safer” alternative.  I also like the other part:

Maher made a plea for patience, saying more resources to fix roads are on the way. The city council is set to vote on a $100 million plan to repave streets over the next three years. The money would come from Measure KK, approved by voters in 2016.

Okay, let me just make sure I’ve got the arithmetic right.  The voters approved the necessary spending in 2016.  We are now nearly halfway through 2019 — and the council is only now “set to vote” on the repaving plan?  Uh-huh.  No wonder people are getting impatient.  I wonder what else the OakGov may have been doing over the past couple years, that prevented them from working on the thing any earlier… never mind, I remember now:  Oakland City Hall was busy preventing ICE from rounding up illegal immigrants, making themselves feel all virtuous by defying federal law.  But back to our story:

“They are frustrated and fed up with the pavement condition in their neighborhood,” said Maher.

I bet this guy also works for the Oakland Department Of The Blindingly Obvious.

Taken Too Young

When I grow up, I want to be like the recently-deceased historian John Lukacs, who has often been labeled an “iconoclast” (i.e. someone who destroys icons and sacred cows).  I think John Willson’s description fits him perfectly:

“John Lukacs is well known not so much for speaking truth to power as speaking truth to audiences he senses have settled into safe and unexamined opinions.”

No better example was when Rudi Giuliani compared the spirit and endurance of 9/11 New Yorkers to 1940s-era Londoners, which the irritated historian called nonsense — he thought (with plenty of justification) that the Blitzed Londoners had had it far worse than New Yorkers.

In addition to all that, Lukacs was an unashamed fan of BritPM Sir Winston Churchill, which is yet another reason to respect him.  When pomo historians attempted to downplay Churchill’s wartime achievements, Lukacs shot them down like RAF Spitfires did Nazi Heinkels.

We need more historians like John Lukacs:  many, many more.  For those who want to read his stuff, I can absolutely recommend two works in particular:  Five Days In London and The Legacy of World War II.  I’ve read his Budapest: 1900 three times.

Lukacs was 95 when he died, so I have thirty years’ work to do, and I’m going to set myself a goal of reading a “new” Lukacs book (i.e. ones I haven’t already read) every six months.

Definitely No Snowflake

Yikes.  Try this wilting flower for size:

Virginia Hall was fluent in French, Italian and German when she went to work for the US foreign service before World War II but was invalided out of the service after a hunting accident in Turkey.
Her shotgun slipped from her grasp and as she grabbed it, it fired, blasting away her foot.
By the time she got to a hospital, gangrene had set in. To save her life, the surgeon had to amputate her left leg below the knee.
Always able to see the funny side of things, Miss Hall immediately named her wooden leg Cuthbert.

When the Nazis invaded France in 1940, she fled to London, and with her language skills, was soon recruited by the SOE.
After training in the clandestine arts of killing, communications and security, she went to Vichy France to set up resistance networks under the cover of being a reporter for the New York Post.
After the November, 1942, North Africa invasion, German troops flooded into her area and things became too hot even for her.
She hiked on her artificial leg across the Pyrenees in the dead of winter to Spain.
During the journey she radioed London saying she was okay but Cuthbert was giving her trouble.

…and then she got really serious about doing bad things to Nazis.  Read the whole thing.