“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"The more I see of man, the more I like dogs" - Mme. de Stael


  1. Interesting babe, Mme. de Stael:

    Germaine de Staël was born Anne Louise Germaine Necker in Paris on April 22, 1766. Her father was Jacques Necker, a man of modest origins, who had risen to become Louis XVI's finance minister. Her mother Suzanne, though stiff and cold, entertained the leading intellectuals and politicians of the day in her famous salon. Staël's natural genius was thus nurtured from her infancy. The child adored her father - to the point of deploring that she was born too late to marry him - and he adored and pampered her.

    Madame Necker was intensely jealous of their mutual adoration; she and Staël bitterly resented one another. The three were bound together by a complex web of passions and hostilities, and their family life was characterized by emotional frenzy.

    When she was 20 years old, Staël made a loveless marriage to the Swedish ambassador to France, Baron Erik Magnus de Staël-Holstein. Though he grew to love her, she lived with him only at strategic intervals when the origin of a child she was carrying might arouse suspicion. Only one of her five children was fathered by him.

    Staël did, however, profit from her husband's diplomatic immunity by remaining in Paris during most of the French Revolution. Her salon became a center of political intrigue for those who favored a modern constitutional monarchy and a bicameral legislature. During the Terror she courageously arranged and financed the escape of numerous constitutionalist friends.

    Although Staël was not considered a woman of traditional beauty, her brilliance and wit attracted some of the leading intellectuals and political figures of her day. Her love affairs were continuous, intense, and simultaneous. She never ended a love affair, and often as many as five lovers lived with her.

    She spent much of her life in exile, always surrounded by a small court of French émigrés and admirers. Her first lover was Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, and another was August Wilhelm von Schlegel, the German scholar and poet. But it was Benjamin Constant, a French-Swiss writer, who became the passion and torment of her life. They lived together for 12 turbulent years. Constant's novel Adolphe examines their relationship.

    In 1797 Staël welcomed Napoleon Bonaparte to Paris as France's deliverer; within a few years she grew to detest him. Napoleon resented both her interference in politics and her unorthodox views. He repeatedly confiscated her manuscripts and banished her from Paris.

  2. Definitely Elephant Bar material.

  3. she lived with him only at strategic intervals-heh, good turn of phrase

    Necker, a man of modest origins, who had risen to become Louis XVI's finance minister.

    A real villain in Blake.

    Her love affairs were continuous, intense, and simultaneous.

    She never ended a love affair.

    Madame Necker drove a chevy
    And when the work got really heavy
    The neighborhood kids, a whole bevy
    Cheered at each rock of the chevy
    dirty ditty

    Madame Necker was intensely jealous of their mutual adoration; she and Staël bitterly resented one another. The three were bound together by a complex web of passions and hostilities, and their family life was characterized by emotional frenzy.

    The drama of the romper room.

    Indeed, EB material.

    She had the same attitude towards the animals as my aunt.

    "Bob, the animals are better than we!"

    That mutt was trained, or else a tool using mutt of the first order. A vunderhund.

    I wish I could have a dog, they just don't work out, here in town.

    Walt Whitman momentarily slips the tomb, to read us a poem.

    I Think I Could Turn And Live With The Animals

  4. Xena has a point there. I have to take a series of flights next week, one of them through Houston. Was thinking about getting a surgical mask.

  5. That's worrisome, deuce. Too far to drive? Teleconference? Get the mask. And some Tamiflu if you can.

  6. Now the bad news--

    WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's health is fine a little more than a week after he traveled to Mexico, where an outbreak of swine flu has killed at least 68 people and sickened more than 1,000, the White House said Saturday.

  7. wow, what a bunch, wishing illness and death upon the POTUS...and I thought the BDS folk had problems.

  8. wow, what a bunch, wishing illness and death upon the POTUS...and I thought the BDS folk had problems.Tis but an idle fancy, a passing wish, perhaps more for the deliverance of the nation, you who don't shrug a shoulder at vacuuming out wombs, thou villainous knotty-pated joithead, thou poisonous bunch-back'd toad.

    But the saying really is sometimes true, it's better for one man to die than that a whole nation perish.

    We got no one to blame for the pickle jar we're entering but people like you.

    You and your idiotic rationing of medical care.


    Would thou wert clean enough to spit upon!

    It's starting to sound like a lot of those TARP funds are going missing, Ash. Surprise, surprise. Are you keeping account?

  9. If Obama were to die of the flu, I'd personally probably see it as a judgement of the gods on hubris.

  10. Fore she was Momma If this doesn't get me back into photoshop, nuthin will.
    Love makin that kid laugh.

  11. You are one bitter, clingin, mean spirited, racist, hate-filled mofo, al-Bob.

  12. Ash, please, we are just thrilled about the possibility of a President Biden.

  13. Well, we knew he could be rolled:

    "PRESIDENT Barack Obama has backed away from support for a truth commission to investigate the use of torture by CIA interrogators during the Bush administration, telling congressional leaders that he does not want to litigate the past.

    Earlier this week, the president suggested that he could support an independent commission to investigate the abuses but at a White House meeting with Democratic and Republican leaders, he said such an inquiry could open the door to a protracted, backward-looking discussion."

  14. The chick in the blue and white short dress would be a wild ride.

  15. Crap, Deuce!
    I LIKE Bananas.
    ...and I hate for 'Rat to be wrong when my hunch was right.

  16. A little thunder on the right got his attention.

  17. ...and nightmares about lynchins.

  18. Update: Floridian Kevin Kennedy (no relation to the Hyannisport ones, or so I assume) says you don't need big cubes and insane horsepower to cook the climate:

    "Here it is... a totaly unrestored, original Ford 200ci in my '65 Mustang coupe. The carb leaks vapors upwards and fuel down, years of running on unleaded have cracked the rings, valves, etc. No catastrophic converter, and the crankcase vents to atmosphere.

    It's a hybrid of sorts-it burns gas and oil: in the summer it's a gas/oil/steam hybrid!"
    - Iowahawk

  19. Breaking news-

    Washington State University Ranks Among Best Of Nation's Party Schools

    Playboy puts school at No. 16; police official says alcohol-related crime is up but overall partying has decreased

    Pullman, Washington AP--Once again WSU has made a national list of top party schools.

    This time, WSU came in at No. 16 on Playboy Magazine's periodic ranking. It was No. 18 on the 2002 list, moving up two slots, and has been included in the Princeton Review's list in previous years.

    "It doesn't trouble me at all," WSU Vice President for Equity and Diversity Mike Tate said of the ranking, noting his belief that the university should be known for is academic programs, not partying. "We know who we are and we know what we are as a university."

    (I tell you folks, we pay the big bucks for some nincompoops around here--"it doesn't bother me at all"--he's not supposed to say that!)

    Pullman Police Commandeer Chris Tennant said he was surprised to hear WSU was back on a top of a party schools list. He has been a Pullman cop for 27 years, and said overall partying has decreased during that time. He attributed the increase in violence to the popularity of reality fighting shows on TV and violent video games.
    Which is my perception too. Don't know about any increase in violence, but the drinking seems down. Back in the day, the students brought booze to the football games, a real no-no now in this softer, gentler PC world.

  20. You still are selling Obama short.

    The Truth Commission will be Congressional, not Executive. He is playing for plausible deniability. He'll be "against" it, but unable to "stop" it.

    As far as those 'comfort rooms' go, bob, should we kill those babies Alaskan style, just leave 'em out on the ice?

    That was the Spartan way, as well.
    Though they didn't have ice, just mountains.

    If the State decides there is no "Right" to life, then we should expedite the passing of those rejected from our midst in as humane a fashion as possible, no?

    Now I'm all for the State supporting the "Right" to life. But since it does not, we should make the Amerikan Holocaust as pleasent for those dying as we can.

    It is only humane.

    We shouldn't torture those babies any more than is required to kill 'em.

  21. heh--the little wench saw her opening at 1:19 and got in a pretty lick:) Dang near decked her. Feisty little whore.

    Mme. de Stael would have thought such behavior far beneath her, I'd imagine.

  22. I would have thought a Constitutionalist Libertarian like you would have thought a child that sruvives an abortion is at that moment an American Citizen. It is no longer in its mother womb. The mothers 'right' to choose has ended at that point.

    Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness belong to a newborn American Citizen at that point I would think.

    What's illogical about this view?

  23. How is giving life saving aid to a survivor torture?

  24. The air in a passenger jet is recycled around, isn't it, again and again?

    Get that mask, deuce.

  25. You see her take that swing at 1:19 al-Doug?

  26. Bill Roggio says that military sources are astounded at the speed with which Pakistani resistance has collapsed. Some of his sources suggested that Pakistan lost an opportunity to defeat the Taliban and by turning to a policy of appeasement snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. While things could still be turned around, it meant the road back would be longer and harder than ever.

    A senior intelligence official said the lack of response by the Pakistani government and military ensures a bloody fight. “The longer the state has deferred taking the Taliban head on, the stronger the Taliban has gotten,” the official said. “Any attempt to put the Taliban genie back in the bottle will result a major bloodbath. Assuming the Pakistanis make an effort to defend themselves, that is.”

    The rout began with an ill-conceived peace agreement with the Taliban. The collapse of the Pakistani efforts to contain them unfolded with shocking speed. Roggio writes:

  27. Actually it's at 0:57 or so, my mistake.

  28. 1:19 is the end:
    Looks like a kick to me.

    My shoulders would be toast from all that twisting around.

  29. There is nothing illogical about it, bob.
    I certainly find it objectionable that the babies are killed, post transitting the vagina.

    That is not when the kiss of life is given by those lips.

    I find abortion to be objectionable.

    My side of that debate has lost that political battle, 35 years ago. The die is cast, I'm sorry to say.

    There is no "right" to life in the United States, not that is protected by the Constitution, anyway.

    So we have an obligation to make the deaths as humane as we can, we demanded as much for Michael Vick's dogs.

  30. "A military officer said the Pakistani government missed its window of opportunity to contain the Taliban.
    “The time to stop this madness was five years ago, in Waziristan,”
    Tony, 'Rat, and I were right all along:
    Tony recalled and recommended Arc light.

  31. "Between June 1965 and August 1973, 126,615 B-52 sorties were flown over Southeast Asia"
    Shoulda saved them all for the Muzzies.

  32. 5 years ago we were fully invested in removing the Tribes of Iraq from their historical position in Iraqi society.

    A Trillion dollars later we have come to empower those Tribes, in the name of peace.

    We played Iraqi politics while Pakistan burned the candle at both ends.

  33. Granted the phrase is in the Declaration of Independence, however it is recognized in all the states, far as I know, that a mother who gives birth naturally does not have a right to kill her child. Directly, or by neglect. The child is a citizen. The citizen is protected by the laws.

    I think a child that survives an abortion is equally a citizen, and should not be killed directly nor by neglect. To refuse to render aid is neglect.

    Just sayin'

  34. Speaking of Bull Roggio

    Here is a map, of Pakistan.

    Color coded to show who controls what.

    The Pakistan Rangers, a paramilitary force under the command of Pakistan's Interior Ministry, have been deployed to the Margala hills on the northern outskirts of Islamabad. The deputy commissioner said the Taliban will not be able to cross through the Margala hills and into Islamabad.

    The move to reinforce Islamabad comes just one day after Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the chief of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl, an Islamist political party, said the Taliban are beginning to move into the districts of Haripur and Mansehra. Haripur directly borders Punjab province and Islamabad, and is close to two sensitive nuclear storage facilities.
    A senior (US) military officer said the Pakistani complaints about a lack of advanced weapons systems such as F-16s and attack helicopters are "nonsense."

    "The Pakistani Army doesn't need airplanes and night vision goggles to fight the Taliban," the official said. "First and foremost, they need to grow backbones, pick up their weapons, and fight it out. And if they don't do it soon, they might not have a country left to fight for.

  35. I agree, totally, bob.

    But the State disagrees, regardless.

    Your property is not yours, but a grant from the State

    Your income is not yours, it is but a funding source, for the State.

    Your time is not yours, for the State can call you to service.
    Service that is often fatal.

    So your life, is not your own.

    And your long term vialbility as a continued asset to the State, the basis of medical decisions to perform extra-ordinary procedures.

    As Charles Krauthammer wrote the other day, a third to half of a persons' lifetime medical expenses occur in the last 6 months of life, when for most folk, they're obviously terminal.

    The expediture of tens of thousands of dollars during that time, as detremental to the surviving society as the investment in Taco Bell mansions spead across surburbia was, when 1500 sq ft homes would have more than surficed.

  36. More from Roggio:

    "The Pakistani Army is sitting on the sidelines as the Taliban march all the way to Islamabad's back door," one intelligence official said. "Why is the government putting inferior troops in the path of the Taliban, only to watch them get chewed up and spit out. Where is the Army? The Army is purposefully sitting on the sidelines, either demoralized by losses or unwilling to fight, while Pakistan is burning."

  37. "Why is the government putting inferior troops in the path of the Taliban, only to watch them get chewed up and spit out. Where is the Army?"

    trish tells us it is inexperience that was the cause of the creation to Talibanstan and the military failings, since.
    But I think the Paki Army needs to a reason to ride to the rescue, to leave the barracks and sieze the Government.

    They're playing their same old tune, but the mad dog on the leash, it may have turned on its' master.

    We'll see, won't we?

  38. ... cause of the creation "of" Talibanstan ...

  39. No sacrifice is to great, for America, is it, bob?

  40. Pledging our fortunes, lifes and sacred honor.

    What part of life escapes understanding?

    For there to be the right to life, liberty and happiness, you must pledge your fortune and life to the Nation, the Common Cause.

    That the State calls upon a citizen's service in the twilight of their years, just their further good fortune. For they were not called, in their teens, to Normandy or to Khe Sahn or even the Chosin, to die on foreign soil, thousands of miles from hearth and home.

  41. “If I hadn't spent so much time studying Earthlings,” said the Tralfamadorian, “I wouldn't have any idea what was meant by 'free will.' I've visited thirty-one inhabited planets in the universe, and I have studied reports on one hundred more. Only on Earth is there any talk of free will.”

  42. In the service of the Republic.

    The rationing of health care, just another sacrifice that has to be made, for the greater good.

    The Common Cause.

    As we leave no man behind.
    Because no one gets out of here, alive.

  43. If that's how the Pakistan army fights, what the hell does India worry about?

  44. Interesting clip Rat. look at the self-confidence of the artilleryman.

  45. A couple of those over Tora Bora, and there would have been no Iraq war, no al-qaeda and no Taliban strutting into Swat.

  46. Not an exceptionally large gun.

    Today, with rocket assisted artillery rounds, well 50km is not much distance, for conventional artillery.

    SEOUL (AFP) – The top US commander in South Korea said on Wednesday that North Korea has the world's largest artillery force and could rain fire on Seoul should the communist state decide to provoke all-out conflict.

    General Walter Sharp's comments came amid rising tensions on the peninsula.

    Last Saturday the North's military reminded South Korea that its densely populated capital is "only 50 km away" from the border.

    Sharp, commander of some 28,500 US troops in South Korea, said the North has "an old but very large military that is positioned in a very dangerous place, very close" to South Korea.

    "They have a very large special operating force. It has the world's largest artillery force that is positioned as far south as possible and that can rain on Seoul today," he told local business leaders.

  47. You could never overestimate the iconoclasmic clarification in the Islamist mind, of two rising mushroom clouds written with Taliban and al-qaeda dust, juxtaposed in history against the the two towers falling.

  48. Our NorK advesaries need a small nuke, not a Fat Bboy, not even Little Man was small enough, to fire from an artillery tube.

    The NorKs are skipping the first generation of bombs, which is why their initial tests were so "small" by nuclear standards.

  49. Patton and MacArthur would have dug it.

  50. The Ranger Bn was considered to be to big a footprint, for US, in Afghanistan.

    How quaint.

    The 82nd to provocative to send into Warizistan.

    The whole thing has been eyewashed.

  51. Today was a day at the Jersey shore. The pleasantry was not shared by all:

    "The August 14 dream wedding on the Jersey shore between accused Craigslist killer Philip Markoff and his fiancée Megan McAllister has been called off for now, according to the leader of their wedding band.

    "A family member of Megan's told me there is no possibility of this wedding taking place this August," William Forte, founder and keyboardist for the B-Street band, tells PEOPLE exclusively.

    Jim McAllister, father of the bride-to-be, told PEOPLE at the family's Little Silver, N.J. home: "We know nothing right now, no comment." Markoff's parents have not returned calls for comment.

    Forte describes the family member he spoke to as "distraught and in shock," and says the person called him in the last 24 hours.

    In preparing to play at the wedding, Forte met with Megan, 25, but not Markoff. "She was very nice, bubbly," he says, "very personable." Previously, Megan has described her fiance as a "beautiful man inside and out." Markoff is accused of killing aspiring model Julissa Brisman, 26."

  52. Lucky girl, that one.

    Demons or such, one could suppose.

    Or just another looney.

    Secular or spiritual?

  53. Patton took Sicily, last night, on the History Channel, "Patton 360".

    Interviews, vintage tape, CGI and re-enactments create an interesting show.

  54. This fellow, an SF medic, I believe, takes viewers on a trip through time, to battles of note, through out history.

    Analyzing the combat, strategies, tactics, training, weapons and pysch-ops techniques of the advesaries.

    He did that program on the Maya, kept me entertained and more knowledgabe at the end of 30 minutes of viewing.

  55. Roger Mudd vanished into the History Channel.

  56. These flu epidemics are odd. In the twentieth, there were three, all in the H type virus.

    But the worst, of 1918, and one I remember my aunt talking about, which killed around 50 million or so, seemed to hit those in the prime of their life, while the other two hit the young, then the elderly, and the other the elderly. Odd. You'd think the elderly and the young would always be most susceptible.

    A Glance a Past Flu Pandemics

    Saturday, April 25, 2009 1:40 PM

    -- Flu pandemics occur whenever a new strain of the virus arises to which most people have no natural immunity. Experts believe they have been occurring at irregular intervals since at least the 16th-century.

    Scientists classify flu viruses according to their surface proteins: H for hemagluttinin and N for neuraminidase. There are 16 different H types and 9 different N types, but numbers merely differentiate the strains and do not indicate greater severity.

    In the 20th century, there were three flu pandemics. Global health officials are carefully watching the ongoing swine flu outbreaks in Mexico and the U.S. to see if they might spark the next one.

    A glance at the last three pandemics:

    1918. The Spanish flu pandemic that started in 1918 was possibly the deadliest outbreak of all time. It was first identified in the U.S., but became known as the Spanish flu because it received more media attention in Spain than in other countries, which were censoring the press during World War I. The 1918 flu was an H1N1 strain _ different from the one currently affecting Mexico and the U.S. _ and struck mostly healthy young adults. Experts estimate it killed about 40 to 50 million people worldwide.

    1957. The 1957 pandemic was known as the Asian flu. It was sparked by an H2N2 strain and was first identified in China. There were two waves of illness during this pandemic; the first wave mostly hit children while the second mostly affected the elderly. It caused about 2 million deaths globally.

    1968. The most recent pandemic, known as the Hong Kong flu, was the mildest of the three pandemics this century. It was first spotted in Hong Kong in 1968 and it spread globally over the next two years. The people most susceptible to the virus were the elderly. About 1 million people are estimated to have been killed by this pandemic, an H3N2 flu strain.

  57. Why would you be surprised, bob, that President Obama would like to limit the rights that citizens have been extended for the past 23 years.

    To enhance the power of his office, at the expense of the already limited rights of the ignorant.

    You are looking at the President from the totally wrong perspective, to understand what he's doing.

  58. Just seems surprising that a black president and a black attorney general would want to limit the rights of defendants, when a lot of blacks are in that category, and going against long standing ACLU and democratic party dogma. I'm for those rights, by the way, terrorists and a few others excepted.

    How some poor guy in precinct 8 losing a case for babbling to the police enhances the power of the President in any meaningful way is a little hard to fathom.

    Unless of course there really are concentration camps being set up to receive us all, and we're walking into a slowing boiling fascism.

    The trouble with the idea of not having a lawyer present is the police can say so and so said to us.....and there is precious little broke illiterate Joe can do about it.

    Interrogations ought to be taped and filmed might not be too bad an idea. I remember that bandied about, but by whom escapes me.

    Never kill a mockingbird.

  59. Now they promote folks never seen before, perhaps never again, either.

    Fellow I know, Bob Boze Bell, he did some interviews for a Five-part documentary using reenactments, personal letters, diaries and journals to cast a personal light on legendary gunfighters Billy the Kid, Wild Bill Hockok, Jesse James, John Wesley Hardin and Wyatt Earp.

    He'd love to be as known as Roger Mudd.

    This is a slide show of his life and some of his art.

    He publishes True West Magazine and discusses his newest book Classic Gunfights.

    If you're into that kind of stuff, check out his work.

  60. And at any rate it's the Supreme Court making the decision, not Zero. Just seems a losing position to take, seems to me. But then I'm not overwhelmed by a conspiratorial mind.

  61. ILVTOFU License Plate Causes StirWoman liked tofu, so she claimed. State approved it.

  62. It is not about race, bob, it is about power.

    How to grow that power is what that job is about, gaining and utilizing the Rules for their own advantage.

  63. It stands as nothing, compared to holding Jose Pedilla for years, incognito.

    He was a citizen, natural born, maybe.

  64. "I'm your huckleberry"

    Really another of my favorite movies. Val Kilmer puts on quite the performance, as Doc Holliday,

  65. Choice at you hard