“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, January 04, 2014

Hypothermic Hyperbole: A slight mixture of snow flakes and hysteria.

 Sure it is cold. It’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere. It happens now and again.


  1. I've been out in -42% weather. That's without any wind chill factor too. Day was quite calm as I recall. About 1964 or 1965........these Arctic Outbreaks usually hit the Midwest, the Rockies protecting us.......this time the Jet Stream had changed course or something and it came down right at us......trees died in the Parks......student wags claimed the spray from one's piss would ice up before it hit the ground (I cannot testify that this was so)......after one day it began to mellow a week we were back to normal.......only time this ever happened here that I recall.....


    1. “The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play.
      So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.”
      The Cat in the Hat


  2. When the cold comes to New England it arrives in sheets of sleet and ice.

    In December, the wind wraps itself around bare trees and twists in between husbands and wives asleep in their beds. It shakes the shingles from the roofs and sifts through cracks in the plaster.

    The only green things left are the holly bushes and the old boxwood hedges in the village,
    and these are often painted white with snow.

    Chipmunks and weasels come to nest in basements and barns; owls find their way into attics.
    At night,the dark is blue and bluer still, as sapphire of night.

    ― Alice Hoffman, Here on Earth


  3. Gripped with bitter cold, ice-locked, Petersburg burned in delirium.

    ― Yevgeny Zamyatin, The Dragon: Fifteen Stories


  4. The day I arrived in Yakutsk with my colleague Peter Osnos of The Washington Post, it was 46 below.

    When our plane landed, the door was frozen solidly shut, and it took about half an hour for a powerful hot-air blower- standard equipment at Siberian airports- to break the icy seal.

    Stepping outside was like stepping onto another planet, for at those low temperatures nothing seems quite normal.

    The air burns. Sounds are brittle.
    Every breath hovers in a strangle slow-motion cloud,
    adding to the mist of ice that pervades the city and blurs the sun.

    When the breath freezes into ice dust and falls almost silently to the ground,

    Siberians call it the whisper of stars.

    ― David K. Shipler, Russia: Broken Idols, Solemn Dreams; Revised Edition


  5. Why Rain and Cold Can’t Stop Our Family Farm

    Farmer Bob and I had left Mom, Dad and the girls back at Sap Bush Hollow.
    They confronted the labor of herding the flocks into the barn so the shorn sheep could escape the unnatural weather, and so they could begin administering treatment to a suddenly growing number of hypothermic lambs.
    We hoped the losses wouldn’t be too great,
    but as we piled winter parkas, blanket-lined work pants, extra hats and gloves into the car,
    our pity for that day’s on-farm drama was mitigated by our own heavy hearts as we faced the coming six hours.

    The girls would be able to stay in by the wood fire.
    Mom and Dad would be able to take breaks to come in and warm up.

    But Farmer Bob and I would get to remain out in our market booth,
    trying to sell meat to what would likely be a nonexistent crowd of market-goers.

    Farmer O-Bob-ma


  6. Farmer Bob hoping sudden temperature swing doesn't wipe out crop

    PALISADE, Colo. Area fruit farmers are always nervous about this time of year, not just during harvest.
    That's because our recent weather could really damage their crops.
    But it's not necessarily the cold temperatures themselves that could be a problem,
    instead it's the drastically fast change in temperatures.

    Farmer Bob Helman, owner of Alida's Fruit in Palisade,
    is used to growing some of the most sought after peaches and other fruits during the summer.

    Even though it's still December,
    the extreme temperature shift has the farming community uncertain about what this next season will bring.

    "This is extremely unusual to stay this warm late in the fall then turn this cold all of a sudden overnight,"

    Farmer Bob said.

    "Mother Nature may have thinned some of those of, or she may have not, only time will tell."


    1. Soon as i can get her to do it, my daughter will change the name on the sign-in, to my new 'legal' name

      Farmer O-Bob-ma

    2. You know, you are not exactly pursuing Moby Dick. Give it up.

    3. No,

      We are at the Samson Option point in the metaphor.

    4. No, you are going to regain your focus and use your head for something other than an ass plug.

    5. He thinks Bob is a big dick, not a Moby.

  7. Replies
    1. Further, the BBC is reporting the use of artillery by ISIS. This is an escalation.


    2. Give us what we want and demand or we blow Western Civilization ...
      So sayith the Israeli…

      • How Israel threatened Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon with the use of nuclear weapons on the third day of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, successfully blackmailing the White House to airlift much needed supplies;

    3. Israel is the freest places in the entire middle east. Of course, that doesn't compare to the USA... America is free, sort of that is...


    4. Yom Kippur War Notes

      The arms shipment that helped stabilize the Israeli counterattack was delayed by Kissinger, but finally pushed through by Alexander Haig while Kissinger was still trying to calculate a “sweet spot” that would prevent Israel from either being destroyed or winning a major victory.

    5. AnonymousSat Jan 04, 02:46:00 PM EST

      Give us what we want and demand or we blow Western Civilization ...
      So sayith the Israeli…

      • How Israel threatened Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon with the use of nuclear weapons on the third day of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, successfully blackmailing the White House to airlift much needed supplies;


      The Israeli "Nuclear Alert" of 1973: Deterrence and Signalling in Crisis

      Read the entire report of 64 pages. Israel did not activate its nuclear assests nor did it threaten to do so. You have introduced more anti-Jewish sewage onto the followers of this site.

  8. This from the VOA ( a quaint name, VOA):

    BEIRUT — An alliance of Islamist and other rebel factions battled fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) across north-western Syria on Saturday in apparently coordinated strikes against the powerful al-Qaida-linked group.

    Activists said dozens of fighters had been killed in the clashes, which started on Friday and may have been provoked by increasing resentment against the radical ISIL fighters, many of them foreign jihadis.

    One group of fighters battling the ISIL was the newly formed Mujahideen Army, an alliance of eight brigades who accused the al-Qaida affiliate of hijacking their struggle to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

    It said ISIL fighters were “undermining stability and security in liberated areas” through theft, kidnapping and trying to impose their own brand of Islam, and vowed to fight them until ISIL was disbanded or driven out of Syria.

    The infighting amongst Assad's opponents has strengthened his hand ahead of planned peace talks in Geneva on Jan. 22. Assad, backed by Shi'ite fighters from Iraq and Lebanon's Hezbollah militia, has pushed back rebels around Damascus and in central Syria, and faces little pressure to make concessions.

    Fighters from the Islamic Front, made up of several Islamist brigades which have been close with ISIL in the past, were engaged in heavy clashes with the group in northern Aleppo province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

    The Observatory, a monitoring group based in Britain, said at least 60 people had been killed in fighting which it described as a major challenge to ISIL's control in Aleppo and neighboring Idlib province.

    The ISIL and another al-Qaida affiliate, the Nusra Front, together with Islamist fighters from the Islamic Front, have eclipsed the Free Syrian Army which Western powers had hoped to build into a moderate force capable of toppling Assad.

    That impotence was highlighted in November when the FSA's military command lost control of a military base and main weapons depot close to the Turkish border.

    Battling Qaida 'oppression'

    Assad's main political opponents in exile, the National Coalition, sought to portray Saturday's clashes as a counter assault by the FSA against ISIL's “authoritarian oppression”

    “The Syrian people clearly have rejected al-Qaida's attempts to establish a presence in the liberated territories,” coalition member Monzer Akbik said. “The solution to fighting extremism in Syria is to strengthen the Free Syrian Army at this critical juncture”.

    The coalition said the fighting erupted after ISIL gunmen fired into a crowd of civilians in the Aleppo village of Kafr Takharim who were commemorating the death in ISIL custody of a prominent Syrian doctor and rebel commander, Hussein Suleiman.


    1. {...}

      Suleiman's body was handed over by ISIL on Tuesday as part of a prisoner swap between rival rebel forces. Video footage of his corpse showed signs of beating and one ear was cut off.

      Several demonstrations were held across Aleppo to mark Suleiman's death on Friday. Some brought together several hundred protesters, a dim echo of the many thousands who took to the streets for anti-Assad protests in the early months of the uprising, before it turned into armed insurgency and civil war.

      More than 100,000 people have been killed in nearly three years of conflict. More than two million refugees have fled abroad and another 6.5 million are internally displaced within the country of 23 million, the United Nations says.

      The war pits Sunni rebels against forces loyal to Assad, from the Alawite faith which is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, and has divided the Middle East along sectarian lines, with Sunni states such as Turkey and the Gulf monarchies backing the rebels, and Shi'ite Iran and Hezbollah supporting Assad.

      Western reluctance to intervene militarily in the conflict - in contrast to the rapid NATO involvement in Libya in 2011 - has been heightened by concerns about the growth of al-Qaida-linked Sunni Muslim groups in rebel areas of north and eastern Syria.

      Their spread inside Syria has been matched across the border in western Iraq, where ISIL has tightened its grip in the Sunni Muslim province of Anbar.

  9. ...part of a prisoner swap between rival rebel forces. Video footage of his corpse showed signs of beating and one ear was cut off.

    1. What can be said? ...barbaric...


    2. “Do you know, Mother, that Haj Salem was buried alive in his home?

      Does he tell you stories in heaven now?

      I wish I had had a chance to meet him.
      To see his toothless grin and touch his leathery skin.
      To beg him, as you did in your youth, for a story from our Palestine.

      He was over one hundred years old, Mother.

      To have lived so long, only to be crushed to death by a bulldozer.

      Is this what it means to be Palestinian?”

      ― Susan Abulhawa, Mornings in Jenin

  10. ...and as Allen posted:

    Al-Qaeda militants have seized much of Fallujah, a key city in western Iraq, engaging Iraqi army forces in pitched battles there in a brazen challenge to Iraq's central government.

    "The whole of Fallujah is taken," said Qasim Abed, a member of the provincial council in the region and the former governor of Anbar. "The situation is very bad."

    Abed was reached Saturday by phone from his home in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar, a mostly Sunni region west of Baghdad. He said militants have occupied police stations and government buildings throughout Fallujah and are also controlling limited parts of Ramadi.

    Reports from the region are sketchy, and it is unlikely militants can hold any ground they have seized, analysts say.

    However, the battlefield successes do provide al-Qaeda with an important propaganda victory; the militants depend on an image of invincibility for recruitment and fundraising. During the Iraq War, al-Qaeda frequently disseminated video of militants waving flags in public places.

    Abed said it could take a week for government forces — and tribes who are fighting with the government — to push al-Qaeda out of the two cities. Abed said most Anbar tribes are fighting alongside government forces, but a handful have sided with the militants.

    Al-Qaeda militants, emboldened by their powerful role in attempting to topple the government in neighboring Syria, have been exploiting the sense of alienation among Sunnis.

    "It's a perfect storm that's been brewing for a long time," said Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

    The fighting in Anbar province comes amid growing sectarian tensions between the minority Sunnis and the Shiite-dominated government.

    Sunnis have accused the Shiite-led government of Nouri al-Maliki of being heavy-handed in his treatment of political rivals and have responded with spasms of violence.

    "Maliki has taken a very serious and unfortunate step toward pushing a large percentage of the Sunni population to feel disenfranchised," said James Jeffrey, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

    Recently, government forces arrested a prominent Sunni, touching off a firefight that killed the lawmaker's brother and some of his bodyguards. Security forces then dismantled a Sunni protest camp in Ramadi.

    Responding to Sunni concerns, the central government agreed to withdraw its forces from Anbar cities this week. But once the forces left, al-Qaeda militants surfaced in Ramadi and Fallujah.



  11. {...}

    The fighting, the worst violence since U.S. forces left Iraq at the end of 2011, erupted just as a number of tribal leaders in recent weeks have been trying to work out a political compromise with al-Maliki's government.

    "They were about to get a negotiated settlement," said Sterling Jensen, an analyst at the National Defense University's Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies. "For some reason, Maliki chose this time to go against the protesters."

    Anbar has played an influential role in shaping Iraq's history.

    After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the region became a hotbed of the Sunni insurgency that fought American forces. In 2004, Fallujah had become a symbol of resistance to the U.S. presence until an American-led offensive drove militants from the city in bloody street fighting.

    In 2006 and 2007, a network of tribal leaders in Ramadi who were backed by American forces led an effective revolt against al-Qaeda, helping to turn the tide of war in Iraq.

    Today, tribal leaders in Anbar remain wary of al-Qaeda and have urged local police to fight the militants, analysts say.

    However, they point out that it was the presence of Americans who gave tribal leaders the confidence to turn on al-Qaeda in 2006 and 2007. Sunni tribal leaders saw Americans as an ally that could protect them from al-Qaeda and the excesses of a Shiite-dominated government.

    Analysts fear that Sunnis now may be driven into the arms of al-Qaeda if they feel it is the only bulwark against a government hostile to their interests.

    "It's possible they are now opening their communities to an al-Qaeda they didn't like," said Stephen Biddle, a national security analyst and professor at George Washington University.

    Al-Qaeda has also been strengthened by the civil war in neighboring Syria. The war there has attracted foreigners who came to fight under the al-Qaeda banner. Some of those fighters may be spilling into western Iraq, analysts say.

    The fighting in Syria has given al-Qaeda in Syria "a new lease on life," Jeffrey said.

    "There are no peacekeepers here to stabilize this," Biddle said. “As a result you get a very dangerous tinderbox.”

    Follow @jimmichaels on Twitter

  12. U.S. Median Income has been falling since nineteen hundred and fucking ninety-nine. I can't imagine how I could possibly care whose flag flies over god-forsaken town in Iraq.

    1. Some god-forsaken town in Iraq.

    2. Ditto goes for Egypt, Israel, Gaza, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Tunisia. Did I miss anybody?

    3. If I did, keep it to yourself; I don't care.

    4. The trillion dollars wasted to get that flag up might say something. All the Marine dead and wounded might give the place some sentimental value.

      Count on McCain and his flying circus to make a detour from Israel to Iraq, calling for American intervention. Talking about American intervention, yesterday the US used Hellfire missiles against targets in that area. We are in again, but how far will Mr. Obama take us?

    5. We hanged the guy who could keep the lid on and gave The Medal of Freedom to a world-class fuck-up who fired the Iraqi Army.

    6. It's really easy to understand. If you support Jihadists? beware.

      Support if Israel? A GOOD investment.

      In the future, this will become clearer and clearer and Jihadists of ALL stripes de-evolve into blood thirsty fascists of all stripes.

      As I have said many times over and over, Israel which sits on 1/900th of the middle east? has 1.2 Million arabs as citizens, who enjoy the safest, freest and the most liberty in the entire middle east.

      the 899/900th of the middle east that is under the occupation of arabs/islamists? A cesspool.

      If you wish to enlarge that to the Islamist world? From indonesia, pakistan and iran?

      It's just a larger cesspool..

    7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    9. If the US is patient, a strong leader will move to the head and impose order on the various factions. We will not like his methods. But there are no good guys to be found in this crew.

      Islam, like Judaism but unlike Roman Catholicism, has no center of power. If Islam were strictly a religious formulation, it could find its way as have the Jews. But Islam, supported by its founding documents, is a political manifesto, having as its goal the domination of the world under Sharia Law. Whoever has the power to interpret Sharia shapes the entire Muslim world to the limits of his military grasp. Since its founding, Islam has engaged in an endless series of internecine campaigns and wars. This is not going to cease because of the lack of a center of power - thus, the chaos throughout the Islamic world, leaving Islamic areas open to outside interference and manipulation. For example, the First Crusade was a bumbling success only because Saladin was preoccupied with bringing reunification to warring factions within the region of the Levant. Once this was accomplished, the Crusaders were doomed. What is striking about Saladin, other than his military genius, was his ethnicity: Saladin was a detestable Kurd – proving the old saw, “Might makes right.” This could serve as the motto for Islam.

      Syria has the misfortune of being the battleground for the two most fundamental strains of Islam, those of Saudi Arabia and Iran – Sunni v Shia at their most primitive and savage. Although Turkey has neo-Ottoman aspirations in the region, neither its economy nor its nascent revolutionary tendencies will afford it no more than the role it is already playing, “neutral” gunrunner and staging area. War being unpredictable, one or more of the warring Syrian factions may change the dynamic and force Turkey to take a more active role.

      Syria will emerge from its current woes more or less moribund. It is likely to exist in name only. Its territory will be subdivided according to tribal and/or ethnic lines. Each subdivision will fall under the influence of some outside power. Syria will be decentralized. If this is the case, the Saudis will have closed the door on Iran’s access to the Mediterranean, leaving Lebanon as its second choice. Therefore, one may expect to see Lebanon play the part of pawn in the power struggle between the Mullahs and the House of Saud.

      The US should distance itself to the degree necessary to keep its boots off the ground anywhere in the ME; Mr. Kerry’s dream of American troops garrisoned along the Jordan Valley notwithstanding. For credibility’s sake, the US may have to give moral and military support to its ally, Iraq. In doing so, the US has to insist that Iraq carry its own weight. The days of American Marines leading the charge with Iraqi security forces bringing up the rear like excited puppies are over.

  13. Czech officials request Palestinian embassy move after illegal weapons found

    How does one deal with these people?

    The ambassador's death was likely an assassination. By whom? For what?

    It looks like nothing so much as every man for himself, and devil take the hindmost.

    In Atlanta, it is cold and dreary. Yesterday, there was a hard frost, but no sleet or snow thus far. Two days ago, we experienced a monsoon.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


    2. Chaim Mordechai Rumkowski
      was a Polish Jew and businessman who was appointed as the German Nazi-nominated head of the Ältestenrat ("Council of Elders"), or Jewish authorities in the Łódź Ghetto.

      Some remember him for his haunting and tragic speech,
      . . . . "Give Me Your Children" . . . .,
      in 1942, when the Germans insisted on deporting 20,000 children to death camps.

      He was also remembered as an autocrat and tyrant who built a personal empire within the ghetto.
      He made work the basis of survival and created profit for the Germans

      Chaim Mordechai Rumkowski was a Fifth Columnist.

      Roberto - el auténtico anónimo

    3. Snow is predicted for Atlanta on Monday. If anyone remembers, there is scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where the German looks into the glowing Ark with a beatific, awestruck smile. In a second this look is replaced by one of horror. This is how Atlantans react to snowfall.

  14. 'Syria and extremism don't mix'

    Salman Shaikh, a scholar at the Brookings Doha Centre, said the recent fighting made it clear that "Syria and extremism don't mix" but that rebels opposed to both ISIL and Assad will need more international support to prevail.

    To date, the West has done little to arm the rebels for fear that weapons may end up in the hands of extremists.

    "Many Syrians have given up on the outside world, and have felt the need, despite the risks, to recover their own revolution, alone," Shaikh said.

    (FRANCE 24 with AFP)

    1. Deuce: To date, the West has done little to arm the rebels for fear that weapons may end up in the hands of extremists.

      Deuce Suleiman's body was handed over by ISIL on Tuesday as part of a prisoner swap between rival rebel forces. Video footage of his corpse showed signs of beating and one ear was cut off.

      'Nuff said.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Or just massively increase the supply of Valium for those Verdun lovers, and take a Soma Holiday.

    4. There are no good guys in that fight. May the US mind its own business and let them fight it out like scorpions, to the death.

      Whatever aid the US does provide, because we just have to get involved, should serve the purpose of turning the battlefield into a Verdun.

  15. Job Interview:

    Human Resources Manager: "What is your greatest weakness?"

    Old Man : "Honesty."

    Human Resources Manager: "I don't think honesty is a weakness."

    Old Man : "I don't really give a shit what you think."

  16. Replies
    1. (Rufie's Snowman has a little Hitler 'Stache on it cause of his Facistnazination Obsession.)

      ...I've got a purple hemorrhoid, Doc, be sure to send an electronic message and image to DC.

  17. Ignoring all the Global Warming Warnings, I went out today to get some sun and got frostbit.

  18. You must have hided up to the top of Mauna Kea.

    1. At night. When we went up there it wasn't all that cold.

    2. hiked not hided, hiked

      Quirk hid out up there one time though from the Hawaii State Patrol.....claiming he was an astronomer...

    3. He had 'borrowed' someone's rent a car in Hilo and had driven over to the King Kam hotel for a fancy luncheon with investors. When the luncheon meeting broke up Q was heading to the parking lot when he saw the cops surrounding the rental car, looking like they were dusting for fingerprints. He hitch hiked on out, and up to the top of the mountain.....had his star gazing maps along to prove he was an astronomer....

    4. Indeed. And yet, in other ways, in so many other ways, well, in some ways, Q is the very best our society has to offer.

      A man can be many things.......