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Friday, January 19, 2018

Sweden running out of patience

Let's face it, we all know where this is going to end, sooner or later:
Sweden will do whatever it takes, including sending in the army, to end a wave of gang violence that has seen a string of deadly shootings, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in Wednesday. Law and order is likely to be a major issue in a parliamentary election scheduled for September with the populist, opposition Sweden Democrats linking public concern about the rising crime rate to a large increase in the numbers of immigrants. …

“People are shot to death in pizza restaurants, people are killed by hand grenades they find on the street,” Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Akesson said in parliament on Wednesday.

“This is the new Sweden; the new, exciting dynamic, multicultural paradise that so many here in this assembly … have fought to create for so many years,” he said sarcastically.
Forget "ending gang violence." End the invasion. That's actually what the army is for, after all.

And immigration is war.

Nationalism intensifies. The Sweden Democrats growing vote share:

1998: 0.4%
2002: 1.4%
2006: 2.9%
2010: 5.7%
2014: 12.9%
2018: I expect 30%+

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Free Stupefication

The Original Cyberpunk has an announcement:
To celebrate the release of STUPEFYING STORIES #19, we’re giving away the Kindle editions of both our latest book (issue #19) and our oldest book that’s still on Amazon (issue #12) FREE for the cost of a click—but for today only.

Tell your friends! Tell your family! Tell people you know who aren’t such good friends but still like to get free ebooks! Share the news!

But share it soon, because at midnight tonight, these books go back to normal price.

» DOWNLOAD ISSUE #19 RIGHT NOW
» DOWNLOAD ISSUE #12 RIGHT NOW

STUPEFYING STORIES #19 features the remarkable cover story, “Communion,” by Fi Michell, along with  a terrific mix of fantasy, light horror, superheroes, alien invasions, space adventure, and I don’t know what to call “More Crackle Than Music” but I love it. The book ends with Harold Thompson’s dark but charming story, “Dogs and Monsters,” which I’m hereby going to go out on a limb and christen an entirely new sub-genre, “post-Human steampunk.” Clifford Simak would have loved it.

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Who subsidizes whom?

California politicians are worried about their taxpayers' new inability to offset against their Federal taxes:
The Republican-backed federal tax bill flipped the tables on a never-ending question for California politicians: Will high taxes lead the state’s wealthiest residents to flee the Golden State for the comparable tax havens of Florida, Nevada and Texas?

Republicans reliably raise that alarm when Democrats advocate for tax increases, like the 2012 and 2016 ballot initiatives that levied a new income tax on very high-earning residents.

But now, with the federal tax bill cutting off deductions that benefited well-off Californians, the state’s Democrats suddenly are singing the GOP song about a potential millionaire exodus.

“People with higher incomes pay a lot more money, and some of them may be tempted to leave,” Gov. Jerry Brown said when he unveiled his 2018-19 budget proposal last week. “This was an assault by the Republicans in Congress against California.”

That fear animates Senate President pro tem Kevin de León’s bill that would allow California residents to write off their state taxes on their federal returns as a charitable deduction, as well as other proposals that Assembly leaders have hinted they’re preparing to offer. De Leon’s bill cleared a second committee this week and is on its way to a vote on the Senate floor. Trump administration officials say it won’t pass muster with the IRS.

Democratic state lawmakers are worried because California relies so heavily on the income taxes it collects from high earners to fund government services. The state’s wealthiest 1 percent, for instance, pay 48 percent of its income tax, and the departure of just a few families could lead to a noticeable hit to state general fund revenue.

“It is a genuine concern and that’s why the legislatures in high-tax states are swinging into action immediately,” said Katie Pratt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles who specializes in taxes.

The new federal tax law poses problems for high earners in the Golden State because it caps two deductions that Californians used to limit their federal income tax liability, restricting their ability to write off mortgage interest and their state and local taxes.
Come now. Every time the issue gets raised in Minnesota, the newspapers produce one argument after another to explain why people don't move based on tax rates. Because great schools! And art! And people!

Of course, since liberals and progressives are totally incapable of keeping two thoughts in their head at the same time, the fact that moving a bunch of Mexicans and Somalis might degrade the value of those competing factors never occurs to them.

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Stealing their wind

To the Point articulates how Trump systematically undermines the power and influence of the media:
President Trump’s systematic thrashing of the leftist media is the example that illustrates the theory.  See his literal thrashing in the YouTube above.

Conservatives complained about the media for a long time. Aristotle’s dialectic approach, against people uninterested in truth. Net effect? Very low. Sad!

So let’s apply what we’ve learned.

Why do the media have power? Because they have social status with ordinary people. Are we still hearing about Watergate — decades later? The Pentagon Papers? How many movies seem to exist just to show journalists as heroes?

Or let’s take a different tack: What’s the attraction of such a low-paying profession? Status given by the profession, and status from rubbing shoulders with high-status people. Status by acting as a vector for status signals, which is what every women’s magazine is.

Ditto publications like WIRED, which is just Cosmo for geeks.

The media offers people clues about what things are high status within the areas they cover. People notice, and act accordingly. Yet most conservatives still don’t understand Trump’s response:

 If I lower the media’s status, I will wreck their power.

So The Donald says that the media has “some of the most dishonest people” he has ever seen. Not an arm’s length complaint. A direct and personal status attack, rooted in truth.

Trump also acts in ways that cause journalists to fulfill his pre-suasion labeling. He makes “outrageous” statements, which many people outside the Beltway Bubble agree with. Those statements receive over-the-top media attacks, which make his enemies look ridiculous.

Then events swiftly show that Trump had a point. Trump rubs it in, using the media’s own “Fake News” term against them and pouncing on every sloppy and dishonest mistake. As a final topper, Trump makes the dishonest media a focus during every massive rally. Which strengthens his out-grouping effect among participants and viewers.

He uses ridicule and lèse majesté, not bended knee and appeals — note that subordinating word — to logical argument.

The result?

American belief in the credibility of their news media is now at about 32 percent. That’s the lowest ever polled, and an 8 percent drop from the lowest point of the 2008-2015 period. The media has lost audience, and a lot of power.
This is an extremely effective technique. And like all rhetoric, the more based in truth it is, the more powerful it is. The point about status-signaling is important too, because that is how SJWs decide who gets to determine the Narrative. It is also one more reason why giving them what they demand will never satisfy them, because the struggle for status continues regardless.

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

They all knew

A woman's expose of Brian Epstein in Vanity Fair was whitewashed back in 2003:
I got to work on all of it—and Epstein kept close tabs on me. He didn’t want to be seen to cooperate, but he’d do his best to control me. He phoned regularly. I wasn’t altogether surprised to be quickly summoned to the offices of the rich and powerful, sometimes before I’d even asked to meet with them.

James “Jimmy” Cayne, then the cigar-chomping CEO of Bear Stearns, not only phoned me up, he found the time in his busy day to give me a tour of the office. He was on his best behavior, talking up Epstein’s alleged supposed great brain, his value to the bank—never mind the fact that Epstein had had to leave it quickly in 1981; this Cayne put down to Epstein’s ambition “outgrowing” the place.

I also met with respected real estate developer Marshall Rose; the former Bear Stearns chairman Alan “Ace” Greenberg called me; so too did Leslie Wexner, the founder and CEO of The Limited, who trusted Epstein so much he had given Epstein carte blanche to insert himself into both Wexner’s family and business affairs, according to people who saw Epstein’s contract; they all chattered on about Epstein’s brilliantly creative mind, his intellectual prowess—a mental agility that, to put it bluntly, was simply not evident in the many phone conversations he had with me....

I worked through December 2002 like a dog. I worked with three fact-checkers, the magazine’s lawyer; I sifted through everything Epstein threw at me and defused it. We were getting ready to go to press. And then the bullet came. “Graydon’s taking out the women from the piece,” Doug Stumpf, my editor, told me.

I began to cry. It was so wrong. The family had been so brave. I thought about the mother, her fear of the dark, of the harm she feared might come to her daughters. And then I thought of all the rich, powerful men in suits ready to talk about Epstein’s “great mind.”

“Why?” I asked Graydon. “He’s sensitive about the young women” was his answer. “And we still get to run most of the piece.”
And then the guy got his wrist slapped four years later for multiple sex offenses that should have been enough to put him away for a long time.

The thing is, if a man has a brilliantly creative mind, an intelligent woman is not merely going to notice it, she's going to be drawn to it. So, whatever it was that those very rich men saw in Epstein, I very much doubt that it was his intellect that made him so valuable to them.

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Lawdog in audio

LawDog had the honor of representing law and order in the Texas town of Bugscuffle as a sheriff's deputy, where he became notorious for, among other things, the famous Case of the Pink Gorilla Suit. In The LawDog Files, he chronicles his official encounters with everything from naked bikers, combative eco-warriors, suicidal drunks, respectful methheads, prison tattoo artists, and creepy children to six-foot chickens and lethal chihuahuas.

The LawDog Files range from the bittersweet to the explosively hilarious, as LawDog relates his unforgettable experiences in a laconic, self-deprecating manner that is funny in its own right. The audiobook is more than mere entertainment, it is an education in two English dialects, Police and Texas Country. And underlying the humor is an unmistakable sympathy for society's less fortunate - and in most cases, significantly less intelligent - whose encounters with the law are an all-too-frequent affair.

Narrated by David. T. Williams, The Lawdog Files are 4 hours and 29 minutes of genuine Texas hilarity. You really have to listen to the audio sample. His voice is just about perfect for Lawdog.

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Good sports

Your feel-good story of the day. It probably doesn't hurt that he has what is very nearly a proper Minnesota name:
It all started after the last play of Sunday’s game, following the touchdown that thrilled Vikings fans and broke the Saints’ hearts. By NFL rule, an point-after touchdown attempt must be played after a touchdown, even if it comes with no time left and with no chance of that attempt affecting the outcome of the game. So after the Saints had already gone to the locker room and the Vikings had already taken the field to celebrate, the officials went into the tunnel and informed the Saints that the game wasn’t over and they had to put 11 players on the field for the point after.

Morstead, a punter, isn’t used to lining up on defense, but he was the first guy to volunteer to jog back onto the field. He wasn’t happy about it, but he had a job to do and he was going to do it. That impressed Vikings fans.

So Vikings fans, appreciating Morstead’s professionalism, took to social media and encouraged donations to What You Give Will Grow, Morstead’s charity for kids battling cancer. When Morstead heard about that he said that if donations topped $100,000, the charity would use the money for programs at Children’s Minnesota hospital, and that he’d personally go to Minnesota to deliver the check. As of Wednesday night, the $100,000 goal had been reached.

“Alright, Minnesota, you guys are officially ridiculous — $100,000 raised for the child life program at the children’s hospital in Minneapolis. I am totally blown away,” Morstead said in a Twitter video.
Of course, the proper spelling is Morstad.... In any event, it is a good cause and a great hospital. I was more impressed that he kept punting so well despite being observably injured.

It would have been funny, though, if Bill Belichick had been the coach. It wouldn't have mattered to him that the game was over. If he saw an injured punter playing goal line defense, you know he's going for two.

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Winning: corporate tax edition

Say what you will about the God-Emperor, but his policies actually work as designed:
Apple just announced on Wednesday it will bring back hundreds of billions of dollars from overseas to fund investment in the U.S. and likely increase its capital returns.

"Apple, already the largest US taxpayer, anticipates repatriation tax payments of approximately $38 billion as required by recent changes to the tax law. A payment of that size would likely be the largest of its kind ever made," the company said in the release.

Using the new 15.5 percent repatriation tax rate, the $38 billion tax payment disclosed by Apple means they are planning a $245 billion repatriation.

The tax overhaul, which President Donald Trump signed into law last month, also lowered the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.

After the repatriation tax payment, the company will have $207 billion left over from the move it can use for investments, acquisitions, stock buybacks or larger dividends. Apple said it plans more than $30 billion in capital expenditures in the U.S. during the next five years.

Apple had $252.3 billion in overseas cash as of the end of September quarter, according to SEC filings, so that means the company is paying tax on nearly all of that foreign cash.
$38 billion is a lot of money. And I note that it's considerably more than the $21.6 billion the Department of Homeland Security said it would cost to build a big beautiful wall on the southern border.

Also, there are going to be some very sad European bankers and investment managers this morning. All those glorious fees gone in the blink of an eye. No wonder they hate the God-Emperor so much. It was very smart to make the repatriation fee even lower than the reduced corporate tax fee.

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Cuckservative racists

Why do cuckservatives who reflexively cringe in fear and wet themselves every time a man demands they call him a woman, and angrily denounce even the softest criticism of a Black as racist, a Jew as anti-semitic, and a woman as sexist somehow believe it is perfectly acceptable to mock and deny the ethnic heritage of American Indians?

This behavior is really reprehensible on the part of Capn Cuckings, who is projecting as shamelessly as any SJW ever has.
Fraek
Vox is an American Indian. I'm sure he will be amused to learn that Capn Cummings thinks he is a white nationalist.

Capn Cummings
Yeah, he's 12% Cherokee
You know, we really don't need proposed allies like these. No one does. First, that one comment would be enough to get him fired from Marvel or DC, or Short Fuse, for that matter, and I am reliably informed that there is No Place for such Behavior in the Comics Industry. Second, I am not Cherokee. Third, I am unquestionably an American Indian by both DNA and genealogy, as everyone who has ever met my family or even seen pictures of it can confirm. Have you ever noticed that absolutely none of my friends, family, or acquaintances have ever surfaced to contest anything I have ever said on the subject? Fourth, African-Americans are not pure Black and Ashkenazim are not pure Jews, so does he similarly deny their ethnic identities? And fifth, in what organization is this "Capn" a captain, the race police?

We live in a very strange time when we are supposed to unquestionably accept that a man is a woman just because he wears a skirt, a human female is a Yellow-Scaled Wingless Dragonkin just because she says so, two men, three women, or six goldfish are "married" just because five justices say so, but nevertheless feel free to insist that a mixed-race American Indian is not an Indian at all even when all the genetic science, legal precedents and genealogical documents support the assertion.

But it is more than reprehensible, it is downright tragic to see Americans mock mixed-race American Indians and deny the existence of their Indian heritage when their own country has been under mass invasion by the Third World for more than 50 years and is already not much more than half-white. Note that just three generations will be sufficient for Capn Cuckings's great-grandchildren to be as little "white" as he claims that I am "Cherokee".

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Fake News Award

Congratulations, Paul Krugman! Well-merited indeed.

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Disabled veteran fired by SJWs

SJWs don't care who you are if you violate their narrative.
Will Caligan, a Desert Shield and Desert Storm veteran suffering Gulf War Syndrome, is out of a job. What caused him to lose it is one more weight on the scale that is tipping America toward total insanity. Caligan is a talented comics artist who contracted with Short Fuse Media Group to produce comic books. If you have followed any of my investigations into #Comicsgate you would know that the comics industry has been completely taken over by rabid alt-left types who spent their days devising ways to destroy beloved characters by "diversifying" them into an approved SJW mold. Caligan, a conservative Christian, had little chance of survival in that environment. One hint of wrongthink could spell curtains for any artist, writer or producer in today's comics climate. In Caligan's case, he made the catastrophic mistake of voicing his opinion about a pop culture story about a straight man rebuffing a kiss from a transwoman....

Caligan contacted Sean Mack, his boss at Short Fuse Media Group, who seemed to take the whole thing in stride at first, writing in a communication, "If it's not this, it would be for something else. Don't stress over it. I'm good and we're dealing with it head on. I have your back!" He quickly changed his tune with no explanation — presumably after being threatened by rabid SJWs and facing too much pressure by the lynch mob — and cut ties with Caligan. "I'm going to have to put some distance between us until you can change the perception people have of you," wrote Mack.
I've been asked to see if there is anything we can do as a comics publisher to help the guy out, and I'm looking into the situation. I'll do a Periscope in half an hour if I manage to pull a few things together.

UPDATE: All right, I talked to Will and a few others and here is what we're going to do. On Monday, we're going to launch a special one-week Freestartr. Freestartr has reduced their usual fee to support the campaign and all of the funds are going to be used to hire Will, a colorist, and a cover artist to do as many comics as their normal rates allow, and to cover the cost of printing them. The comics will be based on the books(s) of one of the Castalia authors, to be chosen by the backers from a list that will be made public on Monday. So far, Nick Cole, Peter Grant, Lawdog, Rolf Nelson, Kai Wai Cheah, and John C. Wright have all made books available at no charge; if you're a Castalia author who is interested in supporting this project, email me and let me know that you're in and with which books. The scripts will be adapted from the books for free by Chuck Dixon and me.

Arkhaven will publish the comics in print and digital editions which will be provided to the backers as per the campaign rewards and 50 percent of any subsequent sales will be split between Will, the contributors, and the backer-selected author(s). Arkhaven will take care of all the setup and layout costs.

More details to come this weekend. I don't know Will, but I agreed to pitch in because he is a Christian and a veteran and I think it is is important to demonstrate to the SJWs and those they have successfully intimidated know that their victims are not going to be forgotten or left behind.


UPDATE: Moira Greyland also graciously offered her support for this project. GAH! (shudders uncontrollably for 15 seconds) While I appreciate her gesture, we will not even consider doing a graphic novel adaptation of The Last Closet, for reasons that anyone who has read it will understand.

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Trump was right... again

A Peace Corps volunteer confirms that the choice facing the West is a simple one between inside plumbing and shit in the streets:
Three weeks after college, I flew to Senegal, West Africa, to run a community center in a rural town.  Life was placid, with no danger, except to your health.  That danger was considerable, because it was, in the words of the Peace Corps doctor, "a fecalized environment."

In plain English: s--- is everywhere.  People defecate on the open ground, and the feces is blown with the dust – onto you, your clothes, your food, the water.  He warned us the first day of training: do not even touch water.  Human feces carries parasites that bore through your skin and cause organ failure.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that a few decades later, liberals would be pushing the lie that Western civilization is no better than a third-world country.  Or would teach two generations of our kids that loving your own culture and wanting to preserve it are racism.

Last time I was in Paris, I saw a beautiful African woman in a grand boubou have her child defecate on the sidewalk next to Notre Dame Cathedral.  The French police officer, ten steps from her, turned his head not to see.

I have seen.  I am not turning my head and pretending unpleasant things are not true.

Senegal was not a hellhole.  Very poor people can lead happy, meaningful lives in their own cultures' terms.  But they are not our terms.  The excrement is the least of it.  Our basic ideas of human relations, right and wrong, are incompatible.
They have to go back. And we should send those who would welcome them along with them.

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Mailvox: your mileage WILL vary

Baseball Savant emails about his daughter's inarguably flawless taste in epic fantasy literature:
I know I've e-mailed you this but my 14-year old daughter has read the Lord of the Rings trilogy 3x and the Hobbit countless times. She loves them. She basically has them memorized. She collects them if she sees copies with a different cover. It's crazy.

She read Throne of Bones in a week. After, she read Lord of the Rings again. So I asked her, how does Vox compare to Tolkien.

She hesitated and then said...."Hmmmm, I think Vox got him."

What I really like about Throne of Bones is that it sucks you in so fast. The beginning pages with the painting! Whoa. Loved it.
That's very flattering, of course, and I'm delighted to hear it, but honestly, it would be hard for me to disagree more. Here is how I rank some random authors on a broad and indistinct range of criteria I have not fully articulated. In some cases, it's based more on their peak, in others, on their average. There is no particular rhyme or reason in this regard; even the greatest novelists have their occasional clunkers.

10/10: Immortals
Tolkien, Eco, Tolstoy, Murakami, Hesse, Maupassant, Poe, Wodehouse

9/10: First-Rate
Lewis, Tanith Lee, Dostoevsky, Adams, Gibson, Herbert, Mieville, Stephenson, Balzac, Calvino, Douglas Adams, Lovecraft, Fitzgerald, Soseki

8/10: Second-Rate
Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Heinlein, Clarke, Barbara Hambly, Arthur C. Clarke, Pratchett, Keillor, Simmons, Zelazny, Howard

7/10: Third-Rate
Robert Anton Wilson, Katherine Kurtz, Ann McCaffrey, Raymond Feist, Eriksen, George RR Martin, Eddings, Card, Poul Anderson

6/10: Fourth-Rate
Gaiman, Asimov, Anthony, Bujold

At my very best, which is to say with ARTS OF DARK AND LIGHT, I'd give myself an 8 to date. But I'd regard a 7 as perfectly reasonable, depending upon your tastes. And yes, I can explain each of these ratings in detail, but I'm not going to do so here.


MAILVOX: Just read your recent posts on Gaiman, was curious which book or two you would recommend starting with China Mieville? I have read about his work here and there and it seemed intriguing but never got around to it, am interested now upon seeing that you admire his writing.

I would read The City and the City, followed by Kraken, and then, assuming you enjoyed both of those, read his best, which is Embassytown.

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Me-So was right!

I stand corrected. Apparently Japan has had the ability to invade California all along:
With its official operational date fast approaching, Japan’s first Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade kicked off the bilateral Iron Fist 2018 exercise on Friday with an opening ceremony alongside its Marine Corps hosts. It wasn’t a time for long speeches.

Over the next month, 350 soldiers with the Japan Ground Self Defense Force will train closely with Marines to hone skills that will run the gamut from amphibious reconnaissance and fire-and-maneuver assaults to close-air support and staff planning. They will fire mortars and artillery, land on beaches aboard rubber boats and assault craft and attack and defend “friendly” land from foes in various training scenarios.

The soldiers are members of Western Army Infantry Regiment, a light infantry force that Japan has tasked with creating the first brigade of sea soldiers – with the goal to be ready by April 1, 2018 – that can conduct amphibious operations ultimately as part of a broader “dynamic joint defense force.”

This year’s Iron Fist exercise – it runs from Jan. 12 to Feb. 12 – marks the 13th iteration of the annual training that focuses on amphibious operations, with I Marine Expeditionary Force as a primary host.
Time to dust off those old Japanese internment camps. Well done, Michelle!

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West or Not-West

The Northern League is finally confronting the mass invasion of Europe and the most important chart in the world:
An Italian politician has called for his countrymen to decide whether they wish to preserve the 'white race' in the face of mass migration to Europe.

Politician Attilio Fontana, from the Northern League, said Italy had a stark choice to make over immigration - propelling the contentious topic to the front and centre of the general election campaign.

'We have to decide if our ethnicity, if our white race, if our society continues to exist or if it will be wiped out,' Fontana said, the League's candidate to govern the northern Lombardy region.

It was 'not a question of being xenophobic or racist, but a question of being logical or rational,' he said in remarks made on Sunday.
Unfortunately, Fontana backed down a bit under media pressure, which is always a mistake. People have to stop denying that their position is xenophobic, racist, or whatever else the globalist media calls it. The characterizations are purely rhetorical and are totally meaningless from a dialectical perspective. All that matters is that the statement is true. The defenders of the West need to stop apologizing for defending their civilization. The West cannot and will not survive if it is populated by the South or the East; it will no longer be the West. Stop allowing the critics to pretend otherwise.

The correct response would have been: "Why do you wish to destroy Italy? Why do you wish to destroy the European nations? Why do you seek to destroy Western civilization?" Instead of constantly playing defense, force them to try to deny that they are doing what they are doing when the evidence is everywhere, right in front of everyone.

If Congolese or Chinese or penguins from the South Pole can truly become Westerners and maintain Western civilization, let them prove that they can do so in their own countries first. Civilization is not a game and the entire world will suffer greatly from the transformation of the West into the Not-West. Because what we are presently enduring is the Great Retardation of the West and the literal dumbing-down of the entire planet.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

EVS follows up

Ethan gave me the chance to speak my piece, so I'll leave him with the last word for now. However, I will respond to one of his commenters.

James Robins
I don’t get vox man. I mean comparing yourself to Gaiman? Nobody is haruki murakami, hes a great writer. But vox? Come on lol.

It's pretty simple. I am a better novelist than Neil Gaiman by almost every reasonable measure. Anyone who has read a sufficient variety of both our novels will recognize that pretty easily. Gaiman writes a variant of the same book with the same sort of characters almost every time. Even his Sandman is a Gary Stu of sorts. I have much wider literary range and can write everything from haunting shorts that could almost pass for modern Maupassant to murder mysteries to epic military fantasy. I don't write myself into my books and I can even successfully pull off the "you genuinely think he's dead but actually he isn't" trick without cheating or magic or medical science or anything but pure literary sleight of hand.

George Martin can't do that despite repeated attempts. Gaiman can't do it either. And as for Murakami, I have been writing a literary novel inspired by his style for years, although since I am not Japanese, it is more likely to feature a wedding than a suicide. I have no idea when it will be finished, if ever, but I think I might be able to pull it off. And if I can't get even reasonably close, then I won't publish it.

I admire Tanith Lee. I admire JRR Tolkien. I admire John C. Wright. I admire China Mieville. I admire Alan Moore. I admire Umberto Eco. The only thing I admire about Gaiman's writing is his ability to give everything the flavor of a fairy tale. That's not nothing, it's actually pretty cool, but it's very far from the most significant thing. Sure, he sells a lot more books, but then, Dan Brown and Katie Price sell even more and I don't have any respect for either of their literary abilities.

Anyhow, there is no need to pay any attention to my opinion. Read the reviews of the Arts of Dark and Light instead. Better yet, read the books and decide for yourself.
  • This book contains strong traces of DNA from Umberto Eco and Neal Stephenson but it stands on its own as a fantastically monstrous creature.
  • A Throne of Bones, for me at least, shines like a beacon in this literary twilight.
  • One of the best Fantasy novels I've read in the past ten years.
  • Better then GOT. I read a lot of fiction. Vox's writing skill is superb.
  • I'd put it on par with Tolkien in terms of epic fantasy.
  • I am a big time Tolkien and George Martin fan. Vox's Selenoth has wiggled its way between Middle Earth and Westeros.
  • Comparisons with Martin are much more useful, and there I agree, Day comes out ahead.
  • Vox Day has catapulted himself into the storied and rarefied rank of writers that sits just below The Master himself. That's right, I went there. I just said that Vox Day has written a book that is nearly as good as J. R. R. Tolkien's work.
  • Easily the best epic fantasy series out today.
  • It is the best fantasy book of the past 50 years.
Since we're on the subject, a bit of Selenoth-related news. Because Kindle Unlimited is becoming increasingly important, we're going to release a new version of the series specifically formatted for KU. It will be EXACTLY the same text, but divided into more readily digestible 50k to 60k chunks and released under the series name LEGIONS OF BLOOD & BONE.

And yes, I'm still working on A SEA OF SKULLS. And yes, it will be out this year. It will be worth the wait. I think I can safely promise you that. I'm not interested in just getting it out, I am attempting to further raise my writing game.

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Amazon's next market

I refuse to use any of these smart, voice-activated devices or to have one in my home. It astonishes me that anyone does:
Amazon wants to put a camera and microphone in your bedroom with the UK launch of its latest Echo home device. The camera on the £119.99 ($129) Echo Spot, which doubles up as a 'smart alarm', will probably be facing directly at the user's bed.  The device, which is already available in the US has such sophisticated microphones it can hear people talking from across the room - even if music is playing.

However, there remain privacy concerns over using such a device in the home. Amazon devices have previously activated when they're not wanted meaning this small device could turn into a potential spy.
Five years from now, I'm sure we'll all be shocked when Amazon unveils that it is adding adult channels to all of its streaming services, with a library bigger than all of its rivals combined.

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Decline is everywhere

Even the quality of the fake reviews on Amazon is in serious decline these days:
1.0 out of 5 stars
By Seth Rutledge January 15, 2018
This man writes for the Daily Stormer...
You should be ashamed of yourself for agreeing with this neo-nazi garbage.
That's definitely news to me. On the other hand, my column has appeared in both Pravda and The Boston Globe, two well-known organs of the global Neo-Nazi movement.

UPDATE: Assuming this is the same Seth Rutledge, and the other reviews suggest it is, this low-effort fake review appears to represent the first direct attack of the Art-SJWs doing what SJWs always do.

Last night Ethan asked about why SJWs behave the way they do, and I mentioned it was something I'd addressed in SJWs Always Double Down. Here is the relevant passage:
SJWs are creatures of pain. They are in a near-constant state of mild psychological distress, which is why so many of them are in therapy or on various psychotropic medications. This is why they are so sensitive, so fragile, and so prone to angry, incoherent rants for reasons that often seem inexplicable to others. They might well be pitied, were it not for the behavior that their suffering inspires in them.

Now, it may seem bizarre that individuals whose primary objective is to mitigate their emotional pain would make a habit of seeking out conflict, much less generating conflict where none previously existed. But that is because you are a normal, psychologically healthy individual whose normal state is not one of internal distress. It is only through conflict that the SJW can generate the feelings of moral superiority he requires in order to drown out his steady state of emotional pain. This is why the Narrative can never stop mutating and why no solution will ever suffice regardless of how perfectly it complies with SJW demands.

It also explains why SJWs are so relentlessly critical of others. In a paper entitled “Holding People Responsible for Ethical Violations: The Surprising Benefits of Accusing Others”, funded by the Wharton Behavioral Lab, researchers found that people who accuse others of unethical behavior can derive significant benefits from doing so. Compared to normal people who do not make a habit of accusing others of crimethink and other moral failures, accusers are perceived by others to have higher ethical standards. In one study, it was found that the act of making accusations increased trust in the accuser and lowered trust in the target. This is precisely the purpose of the disqualify and discredit routine that SJWs so often utilize. In a second study, it was found that making accusations tends to elevate trust in the accuser by boosting other people’s perceptions of the accuser’s ethical standards. And in a third study, it was found that accusations boosted trust in the accuser, decreased trust in the target, and even more significantly, promoted dissension within the group.

In other words, SJWs transfer their own emotional pain into making themselves feel more positive about themselves while simultaneously elevating their social status at the expense of others and at the cost of group harmony. This is why group after group, organization after organization, find that acceding to the demands of the SJWs in their midst inevitably generates more conflict, not less.
This explains why the moderate response to SJWs invariably fails. You cannot solve the problem of childhood obesity by giving the fat, screaming kid the candy for which he is screaming. All that acceding to SJW demands will accomplish is new and more outrageous SJW demands.

And this is also why it is simply false to claim that we are the "mirror image" of SJWs. We have literally nothing in common with them and it would be more accurate to say we are their polar opposites. Unlike their ever-shifting narratives, our standards do not change. We are psychologically strong and stable. We don't care what others do, so long as they don't interfere with our ability to do as we please.

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Their country?

The demonstration would have been more meaningful in Port-au-Prince:
A sizeable crowd of expatriate Haitians, waving their country’s flag, gathered near the foot of a bridge leading to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, to jeer at Trump as the motorcade returned from the golf club where the president capped his weekend before returning later Monday to Washington.

The Haitians and their supporters shouted, “Our country is not a shithole,” according to video posted by WPEC-TV, and engaged in a shouting match with the pro-Trump demonstrators who typically gather on the other side of the street.
Their country? I thought they were Americans now by virtue of the magic dirt. Interesting to see how "nationality" is now as mutable as the SJW narrative.

And if their country is not a shithole, then why are they in the United States? Why do they complain so vociferously when Americans call for them to be sent back to these wonderful places?

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Upon further review

Last night I made two comments that drew an amount of attention. Well, three, actually. Allow me to explain:

First, as a result of Marvel badly misplaying its hand in an attempt to bypass the two major comics distributors and go direct-to-dealer in the late 90s, Diamond managed to establish a near-monopoly over the comics distribution business. Like all monopolies, their customer service has gone downhill as their prices have risen. If you combine their own reports on total retail sales with Hoover's report on their annual revenue, Diamond takes 22 percent of the total retail dollar that goes through the comics stores. That amounts to a 37 percent markup, 17 points and 85 percent more than is normal for a distribution business.

It's good to be the monopolist. The additional markup amounts to $55.8 million annually, or $31,885 in lost profit to each of the 1,750+ brick-and-mortar comics stores in the USA. It's no wonder these stores are struggling or that long-established retail establishments are closing down everywhere from Arizona to Iowa and Sacramento. Diamond isn't evil or even particularly rapacious, they are simply failing to recognize that they have been devouring their own seed corn. The rise of digital delivery systems combined with the shrinking physical channel is going to place Diamond in an increasingly difficult position; I would expect them to buy some of the independent publishers and get into content production themselves as time goes on, since from what I hear they are pretty smart.

Second, we have found it difficult to establish Alpenwolf even though we have completed one DevGame game and have several others in various stages of development because the major free game sites, Addicting Games and Kongregate, have kept changing their strategies in ways that make it difficult to work for them. Since we already built a complete virtual goods and virtual currency infrastructure, there is no reason why we shouldn't simply launch our own free-to-play site. It's going to be very small by gaming standards, and will probably launch with 3-5 games, but at least we'll have a vehicle for getting our games out there to the gamers. From there, its simply a matter of building traffic and that's not a challenge that frightens us. Frankly, it's probably preferable to be able to grow slowly and steadily int his regard. Look for announcements asking for volunteers concerning forum moderation and writing trivia questions for everything from the NFL and NCAA football to comics and television shows in the next few months.

Third, if you think Neil Gaiman is a great novelist, or even a great SF/F novelist, you are simply wrong. He is a successful, talented and much-loved SF/F author, and understandably so, but he is also little more than a very successful stunt writer with two or three tricks in his bag. There is a reason that all of his notable books involve mythology of one sort or another; his true gift is translating ancient myth into a form that pleases postmodern palates. He also has the ability to convey that sense of the numinous that I lack. But Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, Alan Moore, John C. Wright, China Mieville, Nick Cole, and even George R.R. Martin are all better, more original SF/F writers with considerably more to say about the human condition than Gaiman.

When I have thought about the writers whose work I would like to be able to emulate or surpass over the years, Neil Gaiman never once entered into the equation, not even for a moment. Consider that American Gods is described as "Neil Gaiman's best and most ambitious novel yet." I liked that story considerably better when it was called Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul and On the Road. That being said, of the various comics I have read, Sandman is head-and-shoulders above the rest.

As for my own writing, you might contemplate this: How many other authors flow as easily across as broad a range of genres as I do? How many authors have historically done so? Perhaps my inability to focus precludes achieving greatness in any one genre, but I think that sort of unusual breadth at least merits consideration.

UPDATE: this guy has a skeptical, but reasonable perspective on the situation.
To say Arkhaven has been controversial is an understatement. From the moment the company’s flagship title, Alt-Hero, was announced the internet was debating whether a right wing perspective would “save” comics, or further damage an already fractured industry. But as I said before, what’s lacking is a shared notion of what “saving comics” really means. That said, there is a general consensus that Mark Waid’s head on pike would be a good start. Which brings us back to Vox Day and Arkhaven. Most criticism directed toward Vox can be boiled down to: “The last thing comics needs is another goddamn writer with an agenda.”

A self-described libertarian nationalist and member of the Alt-Right, Vox Day has never been shy about his politics. Likewise, his yet to be release Alt-Hero series looks to be something of a satire of today’s overly politicized comics. The project is still months away from completion, so for now we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, Arkhaven has two titles digitally available on Amazon—Quantum Mortis and Right Ho, Jeeves. Both are selling well. Neither are political in nature. And there’s the rub—Alt-Hero could be a political screed. Then again, maybe not. But so far Arkhaven’s catalog hasn’t shown itself to be a mouthpiece for anybody’s politics. If only we could say the same for Marvel.

Does this signal a new dawn for comics? Well, if bringing content to an ignored demographic is Arkhaven’s end goal, it’s not a bad start. And drawing new readers to the medium is a net gain for everyone. But as Green Lantern artist Ethan Van Sciver has been quick to point out, the company currently has no presence in Diamond’s monthly Previews catalog, which is a prerequisite for getting books stocked in comic book stores. And in Sciver’s eyes, if a company isn’t moving product through brick-and-mortar shops, it’s contributing absolutely nothing to the overall health of the industry.

I’ll be blunt, if Arkhaven can eventually become successful enough to provide comics shops with enough monthly product to pay the rent, Vox will not only save the industry, he’ll be the motherfucking Batman.
Better yet, the Shade.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

EVS vs Vox

We're going live at 7 PM... we are live, here is the link.

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The Ember War comes to Arkhaven

Richard Fox, the Dragon Award-winning author of the bestselling science fiction series THE EMBER WAR SAGA, has an announcement.
Exciting news! The Ember War will come to a comic store near you! The contract with the comic imprint (either Dark Legion or Arkhaven, publisher's choice) and fellow writer Jon Del Arroz (who'll do the prose to script work) are signed. 
We're excited about this, as we've wanted to work with Richard for some time now. The first series will be five issues that cover the events of the initial book; there are currently 9 books in the series. We'll also have another announcement soon about a collaboration for Castalia House that is definitely going to be of serious interest to fans of a certain science fiction series that has already seen graphic adaptation.

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This week's sign of the apocalypse

Peter King comments on his travels:
Flew from New York to San Francisco the other day with my wife for grandson Freddy’s first birthday. (Yes, it’s been a year.) In front of us in line to board the plane: an older woman pushing a lovely black carriage with some pretty red stones festooning either side. I look around the woman to see into the carriage.

Shih tzu.

What a country.
Exactly. Lesbians raising the product of artificial insemination and women with furry little child-substitutes has not, historically, been a sign of a healthy society.

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Plague for profit

All right, so this Blind Item at Crazy Days and Nights sounds way too far-fetched to be true; it's more akin to a SF-horror novel plot than actual news, right?
Apparently The Church is finding it more difficult to bring in children the way they have in the past. That elusive head of the Church has donated tens of millions of dollars to research against diseases, many of which adversely affect third world countries. It was during this process of trying to eradicate a disease that one of the scientists created a pathogen which can kill swiftly and effectively. When the head of The Church heard about it, he agreed to test it on a village in a country that was friendly to bribes. It worked really well. It killed an astonishing number of people which were mainly adults. The children of the adults were 30-40 miles distant at a boarding school. Now, with no parents, they needed to be adopted. The Church, along with more bribes to the government had a great way to get large numbers of children quickly.

With that success, they decided to try it again, but this time, the villagers didn't stay in place as they had before and some traveled to a neighboring village. The next thing you know, it has now started spreading to different countries and killing people faster than they can create cover stories. Look for them to spread the rumor it is an Ebola outbreak to give themselves a chance to destroy the evidence of what they did.

It wouldn't shock me if they come forward with a cure and make hundreds of millions of dollars. That might bring too much publicity for them though. Even they would have tough time watching thousands of people die though wouldn't they?
I mean, lethal artificial diseases that are being tested in third world countries is just crazy conspiracy theory, right? Right?
Fears are growing of a major health crisis in East Africa as a girl died of a suspected fever which could be more deadly than the Black Death. A nine-year-old girl died in central Uganda with the symptoms of an eye-bleeding disease which it is thought could kill up to 40 per cent of those infected by it.

The feared outbreak comes only months after hundreds of people were killed by the plague in Madagascar in what was described as the worst bout for 50 years. The symptoms of the new disease include headaches, bleeding, vomiting, diarrhoea and muscle pains.
This timeline just keeps getting weirder. If the Vikings win the Super Bowl, we'll know all bets are officially off and literally anything can happen.

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Mailvox: the NFL is not pro wrestling

But it is not pure sport for the pure of heart either:

Didn't we agree this was pro wrestling two weeks ago?

No. Pro wrestling is actually scripted. They know who is going to win ahead of time. The NFL, on the other hand, relies upon a "thumb on the scale" approach to gently favor its preferred narrative as well as to protect the betting lines and prevent the blowouts.

Football is too unpredictable, and has too many injuries, to successfully script a game, let alone a playoffs or a season. But you can usually know which team is going to get the marginal calls in the playoffs on a week-to-week basis, such as the Saints in 2009, the Chiefs last weekend, and the Vikings this weekend.

The thumb on the scale only matters if the game is very close. For example there is absolutely NO WAY the league wanted Jacksonville to beat Pittsburgh since the narrative all season was set up for Pittsburgh to seek revenge against New England in the AFC Championship. That's why the league spins multiple narratives, gently supports them all, and hopes one or more of them will play out. They are particularly intent on doing this now in order to try to carve back some of their lost ratings before the Super Bowl.

I expect that the league now favors a Minnesota-New England Super Bowl, as "the first Super Bowl at home" and "the last ride of the GOATs part II". Also because they don't want either New England or Jackonville, both of which have excellent defenses, blowing out an Eagles team starting a backup quarterback. (Of course, if Foles can somehow beat two of the top three defenses in the league this year, he will fully merit a Super Bowl ring.) But even if you suspect you might have the official wind at your back for a change, you still have to make the plays and win the games.

By the way, I'd like to point out that Sean Payton choked on the clock management as well. I watched the end of the game again and the Saints had two unnecessary, but intentional clock stoppages once they got into field goal range. And in defense of rookie safety Marcus Williams, I will note that his mistake was NOT intentionally missing the tackle of Stefon Diggs, but rather, misreading the ball and breaking on Diggs too fast and hard.

I can guarantee you that before the play, the defensive backs were reminding each other "no pass interference!" Williams appeared to think the ball was not going to hang as long as it did and broke on Diggs, then altered his path at the last moment when he realized that he was going to get there early. If he hadn't changed his course, he would have cut out Diggs's legs before the ball arrived.

Was Williams trying to avoid a pass interference penalty?

“I feel like I was a little early [getting to Diggs], but at that point, I’ve just got to make the tackle when he comes down.”

Williams was right. He was early. His mistake was trying to break up the play rather than letting Diggs catch the ball, then tackling him in-bounds to run out the clock. But then, given that his coaches were misplaying the sidelines on offense, it's not a surprise that their rookie safety did too.

I liked this quote from Coach Zim quoting the Hitman.

No one thought we were going to be any good. I know you guys didn't pick us very good going into the year. But we have a bunch of fighters in that locker room, guys that will compete. I said to Harrison Smith yesterday in practice, I said, ‘Are you afraid of these guys?’ He said, ‘I am afraid of everybody. That's why I play good.’ That's how our team is.”

Don't overlook anyone, hit everyone hard, and don't ever quit. That's the Viking philosophy and it's not a bad one for life.

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Berkeley riot pedos

Apparently By Any Means Necessary is connected to NAMBLA:
The left-wing activists behind the anti-conservative riots at Berkeley have ties to one of the nation’s most prominent pro-pedophilia organizations.

The Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary — more commonly referred to as By Any Means Necessary or BAMN — is one of the militant leftist groups waging a campaign against conservatives and Trump supporters in Berkeley. The group’s planned aggressive demonstrations against conservative commentator Ann Coulter and the students coming to hear her talk led to the cancellation of Coulter’s speech this week due to safety concerns.

BAMN’s parent organization worked directly with the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) in the years just before it founded BAMN, according to NAMBLA documents reviewed by The Daily Caller. In addition, a member of that parent organization said to have founded BAMN is an admitted member of NAMBLA, which she has described as the victim of a “witch-hunt.”
I suppose we should have known by the Star Trek uniforms. In other Berkeley riot-related news, two of the victims of the rioters filed suit in U.S. District Court last week against The Regents Of The University Of California, the President of the University of California, Janet Napolitano, the City of Berkeley and the City of Berkeley Police Department, as well as several named police officers and their two attackers.
This action seeks to protect and vindicate fundamental rights. It is a civil rights action brought under the Fourteenth Amendment against government actors responsible for creating dangerous conditions and exposing the Plaintiffs to physical harm caused by a violent mob of anarchists at a student-sponsored Milo Yiannopolous event (“Yiannopolous event”) scheduled to take place at the University of California, Berkeley (“UC Berkeley” and “University”) on February 1, 2017. Government actors took affirmative measures in preparation for and in response to the riotous mob that left the Plaintiffs in a situation more dangerous than the one in which they found the Plaintiffs.

Government actors are responsible for creating and exposing the Plaintiffs to the unlawful actions of an angry mob of violent anarchists by directing law enforcement officers to vacate locations in and around Sproul Plaza and the MLK Center at UC Berkeley, agitating the mob by issuing feckless disbursal orders and empty threats of arrest from a vantage point where they could ensure their own safety while leaving Plaintiffs exposed to violent assaults, erecting barricades in such a manner as to enable angry malefactors to surround Plaintiffs and assault them and to deprive Plaintiffs of an exit route, failing to enforce the law and by other affirmative actions. By their failure to intervene or employ reasonable tactical methods to ensure the safety of the Plaintiffs and the public, government actors conducted their official duties with deliberate indifference to the Plaintiffs’ safety, permitting hordes of violent rioters to swarm the university campus in a violent rage. By their failure, government actors are thus responsible for creating and exposing Plaintiffs to known and obvious danger.

This action additionally seeks relief from government actors who failed to exercise their duty of care to plan effectively for the foreseeable harms brought upon the Plaintiffs and from the perpetrators of unlawful assaults.

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Kwgwarblurgwokfurbla!

I think that is the exact quote from when we realized Stefon Diggs was going to not only be able to stop the clock in field goal range, but go in to score. Also, I'm pleased to discover that I am, apparently, in excellent cardio-vascular shape.

A few thoughts:
  • It's good to have the official NFL Narrative on your side for once.
  • The new stadium is already luckier than the previous two.
  • SKOL!
  • What happened to the pass rush in the second half? Also, what happened to the pass blocking?
  • It is better to be lucky than good.
  • The second pass interference call for 34 yards was actually correct, although it could have been called defensive holding instead. The clip they kept showing was just the very end; Crawley actually held Diggs's jersey for more than five yards to keep Diggs from blowing past him. When Aikman said that Diggs had his hand on Crawley's hand he was right, but he didn't realize that Diggs was trying to remove Crawley's hand from his jersey. Remember, Diggs has the fastest on-field time recorded this season and the Saints were playing a Seahawks clutch-grab-and-pray style in order to stay with the superior Vikings receivers. Note that the Vikings actually declined almost as many penalties committed by the Saints secondary as they accepted.
  • Michael Thomas actually won his battle with Xavier Rhodes. I did not expect that.
  • I love it when Harrison Smith blitzes.
  • Why can't any head coach except Bill Belichick understand that you have to burn the clock down to less than 20 seconds before you kick the field goal that puts you ahead by one or two points? I was going berserk when Pat Shurmur called a pass on second down, and aghast when he called another one on third down.
  • Case Keenum is a good quarterback. To become a really good one, he has to learn to avoid a) throwing the ball in the field of play when avoiding a sack and b) taking a sack on third down when in field goal range. Those two plays gave up 10 points.
  • Coach Zim is a really good coach. To become a great one, he has to learn not to wilt on the high pressure decisions. Not going for it on 4th and goal from the 2 was the first big mistake. Not calling a run on the first drive after the half was the second big mistake. Not burning the clock before kicking the go-ahead field goal was the third big mistake.
  • The punt getting blocked may have saved the game for the Vikes. With five minutes left, it prevented the Saints from being able to burn the clock while marching down the field. 
  • You HAVE to put away a good team when you have the chance. A good team, particularly one with a good quarterback, is ALWAYS going to come back on you. Even great defenses get tired. I would have felt good about going into the half up 20-0 and receiving to start the second half. I knew 17-0 was not enough, especially when they failed to score on the drive to open the second half.

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A tale of two reviews

SuperComicFunTime really did not like QUANTUM MORTIS A Man Disrupted #1:

Quantum Mortis: The Actionless Comic
This book is not a good book. It is action-less, motionless, and for the most part, people-less. The book is divided into two chapters. The first chapter is mostly some guy named Tower flying around and talking to his computer until he lands the ship and talks to a green space monkey that spouts gibberish into a translating device.

Then chapter 2 starts and we still don't have our second character for a few more pages. Tower pops a space Tic Tac and we get a pin-up entrance for Hildreth the civilian space detective.

Then both characters are seemingly attacked by word bubbles until their magic space technology identifies the body as an exiled royal from another planet. We get a nice splash page giving the history of the exiled royal's family. Then the book ends.

It's not fun. I didn't learn anything. I don't care what happens next. It's bad. The whole 29 pages should be summarized in a page or two while giving us character development. Don't spend money on this like I did.

On the other hand, Harry liked it a lot.

Great job craftmanship restored
This is a very well done animation of the book .the quantum mortis series is top notch story telling . I read them as fast as I could. The art while having a distinctly retro feel adds to the story without overwhelming it. Knowing what comes next in no way detracts from enjoying the artist's perspective of the story because he is staying true to the heart of it. The illustrations of hildy and tower actually bring out the romantic understory without taking away from the plot. It is great to see craftsmanship restored to graphic novels. Very few English ones approach the Japanese masters. Letting the art add to the story instead of being pictures without purpose. Well done.

To put it in perspective, there is another first issue of a comic where virtually nothing happens, although for 40 pages instead of 28. A guy is in a cage. For decades. Nothing happens except for people actually falling asleep - now there is a fitting metaphor, right? There is no action except for an occult ceremony that doesn't even involve a dead goat or a naked woman until the guy in the cage escapes off-camera, so we still haven't seen anything happen until one of the guys who took part in the ceremony falls asleep and has a dream. The end.

How absolutely horrible, right? How action-less, motion-less, and literally people-less, as the guy in the cage was not a normal human being. Clearly no one ever bought or read or liked that particular comic, right?  Well, no, because that's all that happens in the first issue of Neil Gaiman's Sandman, which happens to be one of the most well-regarded comics series ever written.

Now, I wonder if there might be anything we can glean from these two extremely divergent reactions to the same comic. Why does SuperComicFunTime hate QM:AMD so much while Harry likes it so much? Perhaps their reviews of other products unrelated to Quantum Mortis might give us a clue. Here are a pair of five-star reviews for other products they liked. Guess which review was written by whom?

Review of Avengers #219: By Divine Right
This comic is AWESOME! I got it in a box of comics I opened about three weeks ago. OMG! I was so stoked when I saw Jim Shooter was the writer! Janet Van Dyne loses her clothes early on and soon, cosmic hijinks ensue.

Review of A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami
I immediately recognized the writer's talent, the characterizations and plot integrate seamlessly and while the ending is surprising and a little bit disappointing the journey is absolutely worth the time. I can't remember such good prose, and by a non-native English speaker. 

Different audiences, different tastes. SuperFunComic's perspective isn't wrong, it's just different. I have no doubt that he would be as bored by Murakami as he was by QM-AMD #1. As far as I am concerned, the only relevant question is which market is more interesting to us as a publisher? And since the top-selling comic of 2016 was Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York which sold 421,625 units while Murakami's books sell in the millions, well, I am confident that we are making the right choice.

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Divisional Sunday

I have to admit, I did not think the Eagles would pull it together well enough to beat the Falcons. Discuss amongst yourselves. And Skol Vikings!

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Hollywood values: the dam cracks

Eliza Dushku accuses Joel Kramer of sexually assaulting her at the age of 12:
Eliza Dushku has accused stunt coordinator Joel Kramer of molesting her when she was 12 years old. Kramer has denied the allegations. Her account, posted early Saturday morning, comes in the wake of the continuing #metoo movement and the launch of the Time’s Up campaign to combat sexual harassment and assault.

In a Facebook post, Dushku wrote that she was assaulted while working with Kramer on the 1994 James Cameron film “True Lies.”  According to her post, Kramer molested her in a Miami hotel room, where he “laid me down on the bed, wrapped me with his gigantic writhing body, and rubbed all over me.” Kramer would have been 36 at the time.

Dushku alleges that he “methodically built my and my parents’ trust, for months grooming me,” and told her parent that he would take her for a swim in the hotel’s pool. Instead, her took her to his hotel room, where he “disappeared in the bathroom and emerged, naked, bearing nothing but a small hand towel held flimsy at his mid-section.”

Kramer told Variety Saturday morning that Dushku’s allegations were “absolutely not true.” According to Kramer, Dushku swam in the hotel pool with him and other members of the stunt crew, including Dushku’s stunt double. Afterwards, he took her to her first ever sushi meal, and then took her home.
Crazy Days and Nights has been hinting at this for a while. Reese Witherspoon has made similar allegations of an attack by a producer when she was underage, although she has not yet named the individual responsible. The Hollywood Values dam hasn't crumbled yet, but the cracks are spreading.

I observe that Kramer's suggestion that Dushku is making up the allegations because "she may have had a crush on him" is classic pedophile deflection. As I have personally witnessed in court, pedos frequently resort to the "she came on to me" defense.

Years ago, my friends and I nearly got kicked out of a courtroom when a clean-cut, harmless little defendant who looked like Michael J. Fox, right down to the feathered hair and the brown corduroy sports coat with leather elbow pads, was on the stand and was asked by the judge if he had any mitigating facts to offer for his behavior in what, as far as we understood, was a date rape case. (We were there for a traffic offense and had come in towards the end of the hearing.) The defendant pointed out that he had not been the aggressor, that the alleged victim had come on to him, and that in fact he had been asleep when she jumped into his bed and woke him up by tickling him.

To be honest, we felt that this was a pretty compelling defense until the judge said, "Mr. So-and-so, she was FIVE YEARS OLD!" This was so shocking and unexpected that we all burst out laughing, thereby causing the security guards to give us a stern warning. Needless to say, the "she came on to me" defense was not a success then, and I very much doubt it will be in Mr. Kramer's case.

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State employee screws up, Trump to blame

Americans are so not ready for actual war that involves them actually being attacked, as opposed to an accidental false warning. And remember, no matter who screws up, the God-Emperor is responsible.
Approx. 8.05am: A routine internal test during a shift change was initiated. This was a test that involved the Emergency Alert System, the Wireless Emergency Alert, but no warning sirens.

8.07am: A warning was erroneously triggered statewide by an employee at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA).

8.10am: State Adjutant Maj. Gen. Joe Logan validated with the US Pacific Command that there was no missile launch.

Honolulu Police Department notified of the false alarm by HI-EMA.

8.13am: State Warning Point issues a cancellation of the Civil Danger Warning Message. This would have prevented the initial alert from being rebroadcast to phones that may not have received it yet. For instance, if a phone was not on at 8.07am, it would not receive the alert later on.

8.20am: HI-EMA issues public notification of cancellation via their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

8.24am: Governor Ige retweets HI-EMA’s cancellation notice.

8.30am: Governor posts cancellation notification to his Facebook page.

8.45am: After getting authorization from FEMA Integral Public Alert and Warning System, HI-EMA issued a 'Civil Emergency Message' remotely, cancelling the false alert.
The Russians must be laughing so hard that vodka is coming out of their noses. So, this is what the great dumbing down looks like.

Allahpundit explains the two primary conspiracy theory explanations:

Minor: It was a hack but will be played off as an error by emergency warning services.
Major: There was a missile, we shot it down, and now it's all being played off as a false alarm.

Given that the West Coast is clearly under the threat of imminent attack, I expect Michelle Malkin has already concluded that the only rational response is the immediate internment of all Koreans and Korean-Americans.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Ye cats....

Steve Sailer observes that the civic nationalists really are as dumb as they appear.

They Really Do Believe Emma Lazarus's Poem Is "The Foundational Principle of Our Country"

Well, you certainly can't claim that the country doesn't deserve its fate. Especially the country that was founded in 1883. I don't think you have to be pig-ignorant to be a civic nationalist, but it observably helps.

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Divisional Saturday

Things would appear to be shaping up very nicely for a pro-Vikings narrative for once. Of course, we'll need a Falcons win to set up for a REVENGE FOR 1998 storyline.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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Mailvox: the more things change

Actually, some things never change. A reader shares an apt quote from Livy.
Ancus...raised fresh troops and marched to the Latin town of Politorium, which he took by assault.  The inhabitants he transferred bodily to Rome; former kings had increased the size of Rome by the absorption of conquered peoples; so the policy was not without precedent. The Palatine hill was where the Romans first settled; on one side of it were the Capitol and Citadel, subsequently occupied by the Sabines; and on the other lay the Caelian hill, occupied by the Albans; the Aventine was assigned to the new comers, and they were joined soon after  by others from the captured towns of Tellenae and Ficana....

One result of these enormous additions to the population was an increase in certain criminal activities, the dividing line between right and wrong becoming somewhat blurred.
- Livy, Ab Urbe Condita 1.33
Keep in mind this was more akin to the American importation of the Irish, which had similar consequences.

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Jack and the bullshit artist

Despite having been threatened by an unlikely beating at the hands of his corpse and being more than a little dubious about his war stories, I find that I rather like the aspects of Jack Kirby that are revealed by this extensive interview. I particularly liked the way he took on Jimmy Olsen, the worst-performing comic in the DC catalog, rather than the Superman comic that was offered to him, simply because he knew that doing so would be a better way of proving himself.

And frankly, it strikes me as more than a little fitting that Stan Lee will exit this Earth under a cloud of disgrace, given the fact that he appears to have pulled off one of the great con jobs of the 20th century:
GROTH: At the risk of sounding partisan, let me ask you this: every time I read something by Stan or see Stan speak publicly, I’m struck by how obvious a bullshit artist he is. Was he always that way?

ROZ KIRBY: Yeah.

KIRBY: Yes. Yes, I knew Stan when he was a young boy.

ROZ KIRBY: He was Mr. Personality. That’s what he was.

KIRBY: If you ever get to talk with Joe Simon, Simon will tell you exactly what the hell Stan Lee was. He was just a little wise guy, and he came from a family that was upper-middle class, and he could do whatever he liked. He could say whatever he liked. I’ll be frank with you. We considered him a pain in the ass. He grew up to be exactly what we considered him.
Let's face it, America can't say that Jack Kirby didn't warn them.

"Stan Lee was a pest." You don't say.

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That's the idea, sport

As I have repeatedly noted, Trump is proving himself to be a much better president - a much better CONSERVATIVE president - than the great Ronald Reagan himself:
The Environmental Protection Agency is on track to slash 47% of its total staff by the end of President Trump’s first term, according to a report in the Washington Examiner. After just one year, EPA chief Scott Pruitt has reduced his staff to levels unseen since the Reagan administration. If just those federal employees set to retire by 2021 do indeed leave, Pruitt will have cut more than 7,000 bureaucrats.

“We’re proud to report that we’re reducing the size of government, protecting taxpayer dollars, and staying true to our core mission of protecting the environment,” Pruitt boasted. Meanwhile, other federal agencies have followed suit after President Trump’s January 2017 hiring freeze hit large swaths of the executive branch. Trump’s order stated, “No vacant positions existing at noon on January 22, 2017, may be filled, and no new positions may be created, except in limited circumstances,” including those pertaining to national security. Although the freeze technically lifted in the spring, most agencies have continued to abide by its guidelines. The last president to enact a major federal hiring freeze was Ronald Reagan.

With the exception of Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Interior, all Cabinet departments by September had fewer permanent staff than the day Trump took office. In addition, Trump’s proposed spending cuts triggered a spending slowdown across agencies despite the absence of a 2017 budget from Congress.

Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union representing 150,000 federal workers at over 30 agencies laments, “Morale has never been lower. Government is making itself a lot less attractive as an employer.”
Reagan laid off the air traffic controllers. Trump has already halved the size of the EPA and is slashing the payrolls at dozens of other agencies. There is no comparison.

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Mailvox: up your game, people

JF writes about the declining quality of the comments here:
Over the years that I have been reading your blog, I haven't always agreed with everything you say, but I always find that it challenges my thinking about the world. I traditionally have enjoyed the comment section, also. However; over the last year, after reading the post I find myself doing a quick skim through the comments to see who is actually posting to see if it is worth following the discussion.

A number of the commenters who brought thoughtful, funny, and intelligent views seem to have moved on or only comment sporadically now. This has left the comments section to become filled with more midwit posturing and monomania that derails conversation (such as "muh purity"). I don't know what the solution is, or if it even needs one.

If I am out of line, just let me know. Either way, I'll continue to read.
He's not out of line, he's absolutely right. Now, it's important to keep in mind that this is a natural consequence of the blog readership having grown from 3,000 pageviews a day to 105,582 pageviews a day. The early readers tended to be highly intelligent outliers, almost all of whom were WorldNetDaily readers and familiar with a wide range of political subjects and authors. They were not monomaniacs and they had the ability to intelligently discuss a wide range of subjects as well as an interest in doing so.

Now we've got everything from Disney shills to commenters who see a nefarious Jewish hand at work in the fact that they ran out of skim milk this morning. I don't follow every discussion in the comments myself.

Now, this doesn't really matter all that much because the blog does not exist for the sake of the comments. The comments are mostly there as a requested courtesy for the readers and the posts of most interest to me seldom receive anywhere near the most comments. That's fine, because things are what they are, not what we might wish them to be. But if you're a commenter, perhaps it might matter to you that people notice the fact that you don't have much to say and you say the same thing over and over again.

(Which, of course, you could say is true of some of my posts on certain subjects, but then, history keeps happening and you can't say I don't manage to throw the occasional curveball on even the oldest chestnuts.)

The moderators do a pretty good job of blocking the trolls and neutralizing the shills, but they can't make people smarter, give them a broader perspective, or make them better-read or more interesting. That's something every commenter will have to do for himself. So, perhaps you might want to think about this and put a little more thought into your next comment. Or perhaps you'll just blurt out the same damn thing you've already posted here to no noticeable effect on 27 previous occasions.

It's up to you. Just don't think the readers don't notice... and remember that there are more than a thousand of them for every one of you. Also, drop the posturing. If you feel the need to strike poses and posture, just get your own blog. Or a mirror. If you find that you're about to make your third heated comment in another tedious pose-off with another commenter that everyone else is ignoring, just walk away from the keyboard. Believe me, no one - NO ONE AT ALL - is interested in those ridiculous arguments that never resolve anything.

We could, of course, turn on the feature that limits comments to members of the blog, which would permit the moderates and me to eliminate the shills, the trolls, and the tedious. In the past, I've resisted doing so in the interest of maximizing the range of the discourse, but if we've now reached the point of the tragedy of the commons, perhaps it is time to consider doing so. Then again, informing Google whose comments I permit here might be unwise, in light of recent revelations about the converged tech giant. Feel free to share your opinion.

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