|Cole Thomas: The Course of Empire - Consummation (1835-36)|
- "U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies"--The New York Times. From the article: "Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally 'boy play,' and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records." A couple of points. First, this abuse is mostly of boys. Second, this is not limited to just our erstwhile "allies," but is also widespread among all Afghans, including the Taliban. Third, it is a universal sign of a culture or civilization that has reached terminal decay. Our civilization sure has fallen since the time of Charles James Napier, who, in stamping out the practice of Sati (the burning of widows with their husband's corpses) in India, explained to the Indians who contended it was a respected part of their culture: "Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs."
- "The Typical Male U.S. Worker Earned Less in 2014 Than in 1973"--The Wall Street Journal. Adjusted for inflation. Nothing new about this: wages have largely been stagnant since the Oil Embargo.
- "The Trouble With Kids Today"--The Federalist. A look at why the outcomes for certain cohorts of children is so bad. There are the general and time-honored mention of broken families, lack of money and opportunity (including the solution being to throw more money at the problem), and then this:
...the opportunity gap exists alongside a substantial ability gap. Most of the graphs in “Our Kids” show the results for parents with at least a college degree versus those for parents with no more than 12 years of school and a high-school diploma. What are the IQs of those two groups? In the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (NLSY), replicating Putnam’s assignment rules, the mean IQ of the college group was 23 points higher than that of the high school group.
- "Ernst & Young Removes Degree Classification From Entry Criteria As There's 'No Evidence' University Equals Success"--The Huffington Post (U.K.). According to the article, Ernst & Young will be instead relying on aptitude tests. Don't expect a similar course of action in the United States, though. At one time, aptitude tests were widely used. Then the Supreme Court found that they were racist because blacks generally performed worse. Since then, college degrees have become a crude replacement for aptitude tests.
- "The South China Sea is Not Beijing's Next Battlefield"--The National Interest. The author argues that the South China Sea is merely a distraction; that the real focus of the mainland Chinese remains Taiwan.
- "Saudi Arabia/GCC armor continues to get taken apart by the Houthis..."--SNAFU!
- "APNewsBreak: Waco Police Bullets Hit Bikers in May Melee"--ABC News. Another police scandal starting to come to light.
- "Solar Power for Off-the-Grid Travel"--The Loadout Room.
- "How To Defeat Tear Gas In A Riot"--Modern Survival Blog.
- "Canis Familiaris"--Shooting Illustrated. Advocating the use of dogs as part of your home security. After mentioning the use of trained dogs, the author adds: "But I have never bothered to attack train one of my dogs. Instead, I rely on them as an early alert system." I would note that Massad Ayoob's The Truth About Self Protection has a very good and detailed discussion of the pros and cons of using dogs.
- "The Ten Commandments Of Firearms Safety"--The Captain's Journal. It's good to review the basic safety rules. However, as the Captain reminds us:
But sometimes these things turn into religious observances for the Fudds. Take for example “unload firearms when they’re not in use,” or “store firearms and ammunition separately.”
An unloaded firearm does you no good in a home invasion or if someone attacks you when you pull over to put fuel in your car. The government wants the criminals and idiots to be safe, and they want their LEOs to be safe. The surest way to accomplish this is to effectively disarm you.
- "We're Turning Japanese Now"--Sultan Knish. Daniel Greenfield discusses Japans declining demographics and what it portends for the West and China.
Depressed post-industrial economy, low birth rate, social disintegration and a society obsessed with pop culture and useless tech toys? A country that has embraced pacifism to the extent that it can hardly defend its own borders? A nation where materialism has strangled spirituality leaving no sense of purpose?
We are Japan. And so is Europe. Or rather Japan is the place we all reach eventually.
- And for some humor: "It's Not About the Nail"