Archive for July 2015

The Council Has Spoken: July 31, 2015

Council Winners


Non-Council Winners


Council Nominations: July 29, 2015

Council Submissions


Honorable Mentions


Non-Council Submissions


The Council Has Spoken: July 24, 2015

Council Winners


Non-Council Winners


Council Nominations: July 22, 2015

Council Submissions


Honorable Mentions


(hat tip, Puma By Design)

Non-Council Submissions


Emperor Valerian: What’s Past is Prologue

Emperor Valerian was born Publius Licinius Valerianus during the reign of Septimius Severus in 195 AD. At the time of his birth the Roman empire stretched from modern day Scotland in the northwest to Sudan in the southeast, Morocco in the southwest to Armenia in the east. Although the empire had reached its greatest extent under Trajan a century earlier, Severus had arrested the gradual decline during his rule that lasted until 211 AD. Unfortunately the emperors that followed Severus accelerated that decline as mismanagement, incompetence, and vanity eroded imperial power internally while external threats grew. By the time Valerian took power in 253, the previous emperor had allowed the Goths to invade the empire and return home keeping their captives and plunder as well as an annual payment from Rome, suffering a humiliation the Romans hadn’t experienced in over 500 years.

Valerian had at his disposal a great army, the legions of the Upper Rhine, appointed to him two years earlier. Those legions declared him emperor, and after taking Rome the Senate conferred the title on him.

Valerian had inherited a mess. The empire was besieged by all sides so he appointed his son Gallienus co-emperor to rule the western part of the empire and took the eastern part on himself. Gallienus was in charge of protecting the frontier at the Rhine and keeping the Germans on the northern side of this natural boundary, while Valerian moved his army east to handle the Goths. Plague decimated his troops. Seeing the empire divided and weak the Persian king Shapur I struck, sacking dozens of Roman cities, provinces and protectorates in Armenia, Syria, modern day Iraq and Turkey. Valerian moved his forces to counter the Persians and enjoyed some initial success. But the ravages of plague and war took their toll on his army, and the eastern campaign became a quagmire for Valerian. This didn’t stop him from sending orders back to Rome commanding the execution of Christian leaders and forcing of converts to make public sacrifices to the Roman gods.

Desperate for an opportunity to sue for peace, he sent a peace delegation to Shapur, who suggested a face-to-face meeting between the two emperors. The meeting was arranged and Valerian, ignoring the advice of his generals, went to meet Shapur with a small entourage of aides.

He was never seen again.

Christian historians wrote that Valerian had been captured by Shapur and was either flayed alive or forced to drink molten gold, his skin then being used to cover a stool or filled with straw and hung in Shapur’s court. But that could reflect the desire of the historians to see Valerian punished for his anti-Christian pogroms. Others suggest that he was kept by Shapur as a personal servant or even protected from his mutinous troops and given a comfortable place in exile.

Source Wikipedia: Emperor Valerian standing at the background and held captive by Shapur I found at Naqsh-e Rustam, Shiraz, Iran. The kneeling man is probably Philip the Arab.

A mighty empire in disarray. A quagmire in the Middle East. A vain emperor and persecutor of Christians willing to make a deal at any cost with an Iranian leader.

It will be interesting if Ayatollah Khameini issues an invite to the President.

And it will be even more interesting if he accepts it.

 

The Council Has Spoken: July 17, 2015

Council Winners


Non-Council Winners


Council Submissions: June 17, 2015

Council Submissions


Honorable Mentions


Non-Council Submissions


Council Submissions: July 15, 2015

Council Submissions


Honorable Mentions


Non-Council Submissions


The Council Has Spoken: July 10, 2015

Council Winners


Non-Council Winners


Council Submissions: July 8, 2015

Council Submissions


Honorable Mentions


Non-Council Submissions


Time To Stand Up Against the Morality Police (Once Again)

If there’s any libertarian creed it is this: I don’t know what’s best for you. This statement expresses my honest ignorance that it is impossible for me to understand your situation well enough to offer anything more than advice based on my experiences. Consequently that admission prohibits me from meddling in your affairs, and it is expected that you refrain from meddling in mine.

When I was coming of age in the 1980’s it was the Religious Right as personified in Jerry Falwell and his acolytes in the Moral Majority that claimed to know what is best for me. Today it is the Left that tells me that I should reduce my carbon footprint, lose my guns,  avoid GMO in foods, and in general control every aspect in my life the way the Moral Majority tried and failed to do in Reagan’s America. Back then I was younger and had more hair than money, and while the situation may be reversed today my feelings haven’t changed: whether the Moral Majority or the Regressive/Progressive Left, in the words of the great politically incorrect Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten “f*** off.”

These days are much like the 1980’s with the exception that the music and movies were better then. Both have an atmosphere that I best characterize as humorless. When the few talented comedians left like Amy Schumer are blamed for racist attacks like Dylann Roof’s rampage in Charleston, we’re living in a new Victorian era, and likely one that won’t be subject to endless period pieces on Masterpiece Theater. Amy Schumer’s humor is tepid compared to the greats of the 1980s like Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and pre-movie career Robin Williams. Schumer obviously tries to avoid upsetting people, sticking to a lot of sexual humor and often regressing to toilet humor as she searches for laughs. But off-color jokes are to humor what alcohol is to wine. You’re never going to have anything remarkable without it. Schumer seems to instinctively know this which is why she occasionally lets slip a joke that upsets our humorless morality police.

In the Washington Post two Leftist heirs to the mantels of Jerry Falwell and Ed Meese of 3 decades ago, Stacey Patton and David J. Leonard write, “What matters is the costs and consequences of these “jokes” to those being objectified. Invoking the “it’s just a joke” defense denies the social, historic and cultural implications of racial humor. It ignores the ways that disparaging jokes provide a safe vehicle to share stereotypes, release inhibitions and spread racism.” These self-appointed officers of the morality police then lay blame on Schumer for Roof’s actions.

Personally I blame his mother for naming him Dylann. It’s spelled like the name a transsexual would take mid-change. Or perhaps I’ll just blame Dylann himself.

Whereas I don’t know what’s best for Ms. Patton and Mr. Leonard, they clearly claim to know what’s best for us. Just as the Moral Majority sought to control what we watched (no porn) and listened to (no naughty lyrics), the Left seeks to control what we say in the magical belief that if we would all stop saying racist things we would stop being racist, as if that’s all we need to do. Schumer’s success at speaking freely offends them, so they attack her. After all, she’s a relatively easy target. Although a woman she is white, straight and better yet, Jewish. I suppose the next step will be to have her justify her sins in some public forum, the way Dee Snider of Twisted Sister was forced to defend rock music in front of Congress in 1985.

But before then we need to begin to stand up for ourselves, and eventually go all-Ferguson on these self-appointed morality cops. But for now the very least I’ll do is spin up the best album of the Punk era, “Never Mind the Bollocks” and tell Stacey Patton and David J. Leonard to just “f*** off.”

Update: At least we can assume the Ed Meese watched the porn he wanted to ban and Tipper Gore listened to the music she wanted taken off the radio. Debra Kessler writing for Interrobang interviewed Ms. Patton, and Patton admitted she has never watched one of Amy Schumer’s shows or seen one of her stand-up routine (worrisome in itself given how popular Schumer has become).  Kessler notes, “Despite seeing the quotes out of context, and without the benefit of knowing anything about Amy’s comedy, she was comfortable making judgements about whether Schumer’s comedy was or wasn’t racist.  She also was comfortable deciding whether Schumer’s audience was or wasn’t racially diverse (she characterizes Amy’s following as predominately white), and she was comfortable to conclude that Schumer’s comedy breeds racism in others.” Schumer even apologized and said she would try harder to be more sensitive.

But there is no pleasing these people when it comes to humor since they are humorless ideologues whose minds have been filled with the very hate they claim to despise. No, Amy Schumer should have simply said, “F*** off.”

The Council Has Spoken: July 3, 2015

Council Winners


Non-Council Winners


Council Submissions: July 1, 2015

Council Submissions


Honorable Mentions


Non-Council Submissions