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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Leftism as the triumph of rote learning

We all know people who made it through high school with stellar grades and got into good colleges because they were grinds, and good at rote learning. But these types were never much fun because they never had anything interesting or original to say.

People like that never seem able to draw a bead on exactly what is absurd about a situation. They never come to conclusions other than the ones they're taught. And they rarely have good senses of humor. They have a lot of facts stored away; but they rarely have any real "feel" for a subject.

The word that's often to describe what these students do on tests is "regurgitation." Being able to cram for exams may be a useful life skill, but when the only opinions one can offer are also regurgitation, it's a little pathetic.

We've all known someone who got a 5 on the History AP but couldn't tell you why any of those historical events happened, or draw parallels with other events.

Certainly neither Left nor the Right has an absolutely monopoly on such people. But these days, what gets taught at in school, what newspapers publish, and the viewpoints promoted on TV and in the movie theaters, skew Left.

In such an atmosphere, those who buy into the propaganda without pausing to consider whether it's reality-based or not, skew Left. Absorbing all that unthinkingly is, for all practical purposes, rote learning.

Consider the central tenet of Leftism: that there are no differences between the races and the sexes (other than that white men are evil). This is ridiculous on its face. Yet many people ignore all the evidence in front of them and subscribe to those notions -- because they've been told to.

Now, it's not just rote learning alone involved here: fear of social censure is too. (Not everybody who said the emperor's new clothes were beautiful actually believed it; many were simply afraid to mock him.)

But, unquestioning acceptance factors in on both fronts.

Back in the 60's and 70's, one of the Left's mottoes was, "Question authority." Today, the Left hates it when people question the establishment media, academia, or government.

They would far rather we accepted their viewpoints unthinkingly.

Because, really, that's about the only way you can accept them.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


I recently heard of a new fat removal method, CoolSculpting, for the first time. It's an impressive medical breakthrough, maybe most impressive because of its simplicity.

Diets tend to be long, slow torture for those on them, and the few who win the battle of the bulge always seem to end up losing the war, because all dieting does is starve fat cells, which, the minute they're fed again, go back to their full size.

And some of those people really seem to hate themselves for it.

The problem is, no amount of dieting will reduce the number of fat cells in our bodies.

The principle behind Coolsculpting is that fat cells die at slightly higher temperatures than other tissue does. Their machines suck up an area of skin and cool it to between 0 and 3 degrees Celsius for an hour or so. Within two or three months, all of the crystallized fat cells are absorbed by the body's pancreatic system and excreted. And those fat cells are permanently gone.

Google "Coolsculpt" and you'll see a lot of sites, most of which are basically infomercials for various doctors. (Which is probably why this post sounds a little like an infomercial.)

Most of the advertisements emphasize that it's not a way to lose 100 pounds; the process only gets rid of subcutaneous fat, not visceral fat. It's mostly a way to smooth out problem surface areas exercising won't get rid of.

You can tell the procedure is expensive because no provider lists prices. According to the message boards, prices apparently run from $750 to 1500 per treatment, maybe less when you get away from NYC. But, there are worse ways to spend money.

The before and after pictures are pretty interesting. (Such pictures are always fascinating, whether they involve drastic weight change, plastic surgery, steroids, or meth addiction.)

Obviously most people do this for aesthetic reasons, but there may be athletic benefits as well. You never see an Olympic 1500 meter runner with a pot belly, but losing a couple pounds of fat would definitely benefit most runners.

And it's a lot easier than running a lot of miles and dieting. But, so far WADA hasn't declared CoolSculpting off-limits.

Anyway, it's sort of amazing to think that after all the attention that's been paid to dieting, shedding the last few pounds has gotten so much easier.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

What exactly is "a conscience?"

The term "conscience" is thrown around a lot, but its exact meaning is a little hard to pinpoint; it's actually a somewhat misleading term. Most link it to the ability to feel embarrassment, shame, and guilt, those somewhat different but overlapping emotions.

But a conscience seems to be more than that. If you had to define it, you might call it the sum of our inhibitions. It's what keep us from doing bad things. (I'm using the word "bad" because it's such an all-encompassing, vague term.) But how exactly does a "conscience" keep us from doing those things?

Part of it is fear -- fear of reprisals from wronged people, but also the fear of having to experience the three unpleasant emotions mentioned in the first paragraph. (But fear of reprisals shouldn't be overlooked; remember, sociopaths generally don't feel fear the same way.)

Part of "a conscience" is the ability to put oneself into other's shoes, knowing how they would feel should you wrong them.

Some of it seems to be tied into not thinking that you're better than you are. All of us are guilty of overestimating ourselves at times; but some of us are consistently guilty.

Another element of a conscience is awareness -- and therefore avoidance -- of your own possible hypocrisy. Anybody who criticizes others for doing exactly as he does probably has a pretty weak "conscience."

A conscience is really just a matter of instincts. You could describe it as the part of your mind which regulates your comfort zone -- or more specifically, your discomfort zone. The less comfortable you are when you're doing something you know you shouldn't be, the more of a "conscience" you have.

And the easier it is for you to justify your own actions, the less of one you have.

If you feel perfectly comfortable buttering up a distant relative in hopes he'll remember you in his will, then you may have less of a "conscience." If you are reluctantly going along with the plan only because, say, your wife is pushing you to, then you have more of one.

Discomfort zones, instincts, and hypocrisy: these terms are easier to relate to than that nebulous, intangible concept known as a "conscience."

Most people have the vague sense that a "conscience" is something they're supposed to have, but it's such an amorphous notion that they can't really get a fix on it. So decent people may wonder if they have one, since they're not really aware of it as a distinct entity.

And when they feel schadenfreude, or envy, or resentment, or even hate, it makes them doubt themselves. But those emotions are universal: everybody feels them from time to time. And it's not how we feel, but how we act, that's evidence of a conscience.

The word "conscience" is nothing more than a metaphor for a broad collection of instincts steering one in the general direction of the Golden Rule.

Your "conscience" is simply you. To think of it as being as a separate entity, like Jiminy Cricket, is misleading.

But people who lack what's called a "conscience," because they lack one, tend to think that it's an actual thing, and that if they claim its existence, it will prove their goodness. So these are the people who who talk about their conscience the most.

One of the things that give sociopaths away is their attempts to appear normal -- or even better than normal. What betrays them is that their act is always a little overdone. So they say things like "my conscience is clear," as if their conscience is a tangible part of them with absolute authority over what they can and cannot do.

I once knew a sociopath who would occasionally say, "Hey, I'm the guy who's gotta look at himself in  the mirror the next day" -- as if this rendered him incapable of doing anything immoral. Obviously, "looking in the mirror" is a metaphor, just like "a conscience" is. But because that sort of thing never troubled him, he figured that it was the actual physical act of seeing one's own reflected image that bothered normal people.

So, like all those sociopaths who blather about their consciences, he gave himself away with his words.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Wimpy men and masculine women

The NY Post ran an article this afternoon, Police union wants professor fired over 'dead cop' tweets. According to the article:

Professor Michael Isaacson, a self-proclaimed member of the Antifa movement who works in the economics department at the CUNY Manhattan college [John Jay], tweeted from the account @VulgarEconomics: “Some of ya’ll might think it sucks being an anti-fascist teaching at John Jay College but I think it’s a privilege to teach future dead cops” on Aug. 23.

Isaacson is evidently the kind of pretentious twerp who, in an effort to seem more street, uses black language like "y'all" without knowing how to spell it correctly. And, we know from his later email to the Post that he can't really think clearly, either:

“I critique policing as an institution which operates at the behest of a state that increasingly represents the weapons and prison industry rather than the public they’re supposed to serve through decades of gerrymandering by both Republicans and Democrats.”

So the average cop goes about his daily beat wondering what he can do to improve the net profits of Smith & Wesson? And what does gerrymandering have to do with the "weapons and prison industry?" (Nothing.)

Isaacson probably threw in "both Republicans and Democrats" to make himself sound impartial. (Yeah, right.) But mostly, he probably liked the sound of the word "gerrymandering," which has a sophisticated political sound to it.

Isaacson shouldn't be teaching at any college, let alone a college which a lot of future (dead?) law enforcement personnel attend. But that's not the point of this post. 

The point is, the pictures of Isaacson which accompanied the article:

After seeing this first picture, I thought, is his neck really that thin or is that an optical illusion created by the photo angle?

This second picture answered my question:

He is the proverbial pencil neck geek. This is a pattern I see over and over again, and I don't think it's coincidence: a lot of the white Left seems to consist of wimpy men and masculine women. 

Just by coincidence, I happened to see this article earlier today, about conservative Ben Shapiro's speech yesterday at Berkeley. It featured a photograph of a protester, Sarah Roark, who was arrested on suspicion of carrying a banned weapon. Here's Sarah, 44, of San Francisco:

When you see so many Leftists who follow this pattern, it's hard not to come to the conclusion that there's an innate connection with people's physicality and their political stances.

Did Isaacson and Roark arrive at their viewpoints via a certain baseline resentment against the people who ignored them in high school? 

Do they accuse the other side of being haters because of all the inchoate rage they feel at the unfairness of being considered unattractive? 

Is this why they are instinctively attracted to an ideology which bemoans "injustice" and caters to the politics of resentment and jealousy?

I don't know the answers to these questions.

But given the frequency with which wimpy men and masculine women are drawn to Leftism, it's hard not to see a connection.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Mary Bell

While reading that list of freed serial killers mentioned in the previous post, I learned about Mary Bell. Evidently she is quite famous in England; she is less well known in this country.

At age 11, Bell strangled 4-year-old Martin Brown, and a few months later, 3-year-old Brian Howe. Bell used a pair of scissors to carve an "M" into Howe's stomach, cut off some of his hair, and mutilate his penis. Mary had a weak-minded friend, Norma Bell (no relation) who accompanied her, but Mary was the leader.

You couldn't have asked for a more fertile background for sociopathy than Mary's. Her biological father is unknown, and her mother, Betty, was a prostitute who was often away. Betty is thought to have tried to kill Mary on several occasions, while trying to make it look like an accident. From Wiki:

Her family was suspicious when Mary "fell" from a window, and when she "accidentally" consumed sleeping pills. On one such occasion, an independent witness saw Betty giving the pills to her daughter as sweets. Mary herself says she was subjected to repeated sexual abuse, her mother forcing her from the age of four to engage in sexual acts with men.

In any case, there's absolutely no doubt about Bell's character. She was obviously not responsible for her own family background, but it is what shaped her, and the end result was a sociopath. And, as we all know, sociopaths always remain sociopaths.

But what's most interesting about Bell is how she's behaved apart from the two murders she committed -- both as a young girl, and since she was released from prison at age 23, in 1980, and granted anonymity (via a new name). This account from Murderpedia includes excerpts from several articles and books about how she presented herself, how she thought, and what impressions people had of her.

It's a wonderful case study in how sociopaths act.

From An Encyclopedia of Serial Killers -- Hunting Humans, by Michael Newton:

Described by court psychiatrists as "intelligent, manipulative, and dangerous," Mary proved herself a problem inmate. In 1970, she fabricated charges of indecent assault against one of her warders, but the man was acquitted in court. In September 1977, she escaped from Moor Court open prison with another inmate, but the runaways were captured three days later. 

False rape charges are a sociopathic female specialty. And keep in mind, Mary was only 13 when she fabricated those charges.

From Mary Bell: Portrait of a Killer as a Young Girl, by Shirly Lynn Scott:

"Are you looking for your Brian?" asked Mary Bell. Brian's sister, Pat, was worried about the missing toddler, who should have been home by now. A small, three-year-old boy with fair hair, Brian Howe usually played close to home. Mary and her best friend, Norma, eagerly offered to help search for him. They led Pat through the neighborhood, looking here and there, all the while knowing exactly where Brian was.

They crossed the railroad tracks to the industrial area, where the kids of Scotswood often played among construction materials, old cars, and dangerous wreckage. Pat was worried -- only a few weeks ago little Martin Brown was found dead inside of a condemned house. Mary pointed to some large concrete blocks. "He might be playing behind the blocks, or between them," she said.

"Oh no, he never goes there," insisted Norma. In fact, Brian lay dead between the blocks. Mary wanted Pat to discover her dead brother, Norma later said, "because she wanted Pat Howe to have a shock." But Pat decided to leave. The Newcastle Police would find his body at 11:10 later that night.

Serial killers often like to savor the pain of grieving relatives; and at age 11, Bell had all of those instincts.

Brian Howe was buried on August 7th. Detective Dobson was there: "Mary Bell was standing in front of the Howe's house when the coffin was brought out. I was, of course, watching her. And it was when I saw her there that I knew I did not dare risk another day. She stood there, laughing. Laughing and rubbing her hands. I thought, My God, I've got to bring her in, she'll do another one."

Once again, savoring the pain of the bereaved.

"I couldn't kill a bird by the neck or throat or anything, it's horrible that.
-- Mary Bell

This is a little reminiscent of double murderer Frederick Baer claiming, "I cry when a freakin' butterfly hits the windshield." Sociopaths are never content to portray themselves as average people: they must show themselves to be more noble and more tenderhearted than normal people.

After Martin Brown's death:

After hearing a knock, June [Martin's mother] opened the front door to find Mary standing there. "Mary smiled and asked to see Martin. I said, 'No, pet, Martin is dead.' She turned round and said, 'Oh, I know he's dead. I wanted to see him in his coffin,' and she was still grinning. I was just speechless that such a young child should want to see a dead baby and I just slammed the door on her."

That is amazingly ghoulish for an 11-year-old. 

"Murder isn't that bad, we all die sometime anyway."
-- Mary Bell to one of her guards

This is reminiscent of Ted Bundy saying, "Why's everybody so upset about a few missing people for? There are so many of them." Or of Richard Speck being asked why he killed those eight nurses and replying, "Just wasn't their night, I guess."

Serial killers often seem not to fathom the immensity of their crimes.

Once she was in jail, Bell showed two of the deadly triumvirate of traits that often distinguish serial killers (along with pyromania), bedwetting --

Mary, who had been a chronic bedwetter, was terrified of going to sleep, for fear that she might mess her bed. "I usually do," she confided. At home, Mary's mother severely humiliated her whenever she wet the bed, rubbing her daughter's face in the pool of urine, said Mary, years later. She then hung the mattress outside for the entire neighborhood to see.

-- and torturing animals: 

Mary's hostility had an almost naive quality: while tightly grabbing a stray cat by the neck, a guard told her not to hurt the cat. Mary allegedly replied, "Oh, she doesn't feel that, and anyway, I like hurting little things that can't fight back." In another incident, a police woman said that Mary said she'd like to be a nurse, "because then I can stick needles into people. I like hurting people."

(Is that how those serial-killing nurses get their start?)

Mary Bell's mother was undoubtedly a sociopath herself:

"Take that thing away from me!"
-- Betty Bell, responding to the birth of her daughter Mary (Mary's Mother)

The most disturbing abuses came from Mary's frequent drug overdoses, which were likely administered by her mother. When Mary was one year old, she nearly overdosed after taking some pills that were hidden in a narrow nook inside a gramophone. It seemed impossible that the baby could reach the pills, and strange that she would eat so many of the "acid-tasting" medication. When Mary was three she and her brother were found eating "little blue pills" along with the candy their aunt Cath had brought for them. (Betty said, "they must have taken the bottle out of my handbag.") Cath and husband offered to adopt Mary, but Betty refused to let the child go, and soon broke off contact with her family.

In the most serious overdose, Mary swallowed a bunch of "iron" pills belonging to her mother. She lost consciousness and her stomach had to be pumped. A young playmate, as well as little Mary herself, said Betty Bell gave Mary the "Smarties" candy that made her sick. Overdoses, particularly for a developing child, can cause serious brain damage, a common trait among violent offenders.

Betty Bell was a drama queen and loved to play the martyr. She may have suffered from "Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome," thriving on the attention over her little daughter's tragic "accidents." This syndrome, first described in 1977, is characterized by caregivers who intentionally injure, suffocate, or poison their child for the sympathy of others. The "MSBP" mother usually had an unwanted child, or is unmarried. This may explain why Betty, despite the harm she caused Mary, always wanted her back.

Munchausen's, and Munchausen's-by-proxy, are merely facets of sociopathy. Reading about the abuse Mary Bell suffered as a child makes you feel sympathetic toward her, until you remember the monster that she herself became.

Since her release in 1983, Bell has fought hard for her anonymity, and has for the most part been successful, despite a few attempts by the media to unmask her. She has had a daughter, who has reportedly forgiven her mother for her childhood crimes, and Bell was reported to have become a grandmother in 2009. She was managed to stay out of trouble since her release, though her character can't possibly have changed.

A sympathetic 2001 article in the Telegraph described her life since her release. Some excerpts:

...As her full release date neared, she became frightened over her future. One friend said: "Even on the night before her release, Mary longed for the security of a prison cell where she would feel safe, know what time the light would be put out and when she would be woken in the morning.

"Mary told me that she had an incredible feeling of sadness and betrayal. She was floundering without an identity, saying that she was 'torn to shreds inside'." On the night before her release, Bell said that she had cried for "the past, my friends, the waste, the loss, my life. I cried and grieved for what I had done." Bell said that although the Parole Board had seemed to forgive her, she could not forgive herself.

Given that Bell is unquestionably a sociopath, it's hard to believe that she was so full of self-doubt; that is simply not in the gamut of sociopathic emotions. Grieving for what she had done, at least in the sense of feeling bad for the two boys she killed, would also be out of the question. As would not being able to forgive herself. But she knew what to tell her friends, and tell the press, in order to sound normal.

The article concludes with this paragraph:

Bell has told friends that while she has been happy at times since her release, there is always a part of her that is never content. "I am imprisoned by guilt and remorse," she once said.

A sociopath, of course, is never "imprisoned" by those two emotions. But the more intelligent ones learn to counterfeit the normal gamut of emotions as they get older.

Bell is now 60, not quite at the stage where strangers would help her cross the street. It's hard not to wonder how strangers perceive her, and what their reactions would be if they knew who she was.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Maximum prison sentences

Commenter "GT" recently mentioned Genene Jones, a serial killer thought to have murdered up to 60 infants and children while working as a nurse during the 1970's and '80's. I was surfing the internet this morning, and happened to see her name. She was evidently scheduled be released from prison next year, at age 67, under Texas' old mandatory release laws, which were in effect when she was convicted.

In order to prevent this, she was charged with another murder this past May (she was only convicted of one murder originally). It seems a pretty safe bet she'll never be freed.

Jones, like so many other serial killing nurses, was motivated by a desire to look like a hero, so she would give the children various life-threatening drugs so that she could then "save" them and experience the gratitude of her patients' families. But, of course, as a sociopath, she cared little if the children died in the process.

She's one of the few serial killer nurses who actually looks the part:

I can't put my finger on exactly what it is about her face that makes her look so brutal. (I don't think it's just a matter of her homeliness.) Her lips are thin, but not extremely so.  Here's a more recent picture of her:

Age has a way of homogenizing people, and here she just looks like an average sixty-ish woman,  maybe just a little more masculine.

Sure enough, Jones had been adopted, meaning, she likely spent her earliest, most formative part years without the sort of bonding experience most people have.

In any case, reading about Jones led me to list of serial killers who are now free. After reading about their crimes, it's hard not to feel that countries with a maximum allowable sentence of 21 years or so are misguided.

Norwegian Arnfinn Nesset, a male nurse who was convicted of killing 22 people, and is thought to have killed hundreds, received a sentence of 21 years. He served his time, and is now living free, somewhere, under an alias.

Anders Breivik, who killed 77 and wounded 319 more in Norway in 2011, was also given a 21 year sentence.

Colombian Pedro Lopez, "The Monster of the Andes," served 11 years in an Ecuadorian prison for having raped and killed 80 girls, though he boasted of having killed over 300. He was then rearrested as an illegal immigrant and handed over to Colombian authorities who subsequently declared him insane. He was declared sane three years later and released on $50 bail, at which point he fled. His whereabouts are now unknown.

The existence of people like Nesset and Breivik and Lopez make laws allowing maximum prison sentences of only 20 years seem insane.

Criminally insane.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Cultural bias, confirmation bias, pathologizing, and value judgments

Got the following response from an anonymous commenter this morning on the post about the difference between whites and blacks in their level of inhibition:

From your perspective your inhibition is good. That is a cultural bias. Second you're making sweeping generalizations based on your observations. People tend to have confirmation bias, e.g., they tend to see things that reinforce their beliefs. All of these so-called problems you are mentioning focus on pathologizing the behavior (there's something wrong). What you are really saying is the the white way/response is superior. In fact, different cultures communicate and behave in different ways, there is no superior/inferior. Ascribing superior and inferior to aspects of a certain race is by nature racist. So the problem here is not Black behavior, but the fact that you need to compare and make a value judgement.

This comment is a great example of liberal arguing technique. In the post, I never once used the words "superior" and "inferior" -- these are the commenter's words. 

At no point does the commenter even try to refute any of the individual examples I use; he merely attaches labels to my thoughtcrime. Which are the "sweeping generalizations" based on my observations which are wrong? Am I wrong about the difference in rates of violent crime? There are plenty of statistics which back that up. Am I wrong that blacks are less likely to hold onto a monetary windfall? The statistic about over half of professional football players declaring bankruptcy within two years of leaving the NFL is not something that I made up. 

He brings up confirmation bias, which does exist. But again, nowhere does he try to point out where my confirmation bias has steered me wrong. 

I never even used the word "good" -- that's the commenter's word. Obviously, there are both positives and negatives associated with a lack of inhibition. I pointed out several of the positives, saying that blacks, when you interact with them, generally seem much more genuine in their emotions than whites do; that blacks give more effusive compliments; that blacks tend to make better comedians; and that blacks are less likely to choke on the athletic field. Those are all "good" things; yet the commenter preferred to ignore anything not fitting his narrative. 

He also says I'm "pathologizing" certain behaviors. In other words, there's nothing wrong with a murder rate eight times higher than the white rate. The only problem, apparently, is that I see that as a bad thing. 

He also states that "there is no superior/inferior." This is the crux of modern liberalism. There is no good, there is no bad, there is no smart, there is no dumb, there is no beautiful, there is no ugly. There can be no value judgments -- except about people who notice differences. Not only are they bad, they're dumb, ugly people!

(Why is it that those who disparage "value judgments" always seem to be making one themselves?)

Another point: I'd never use a term like "superior" to describe a race, simply because no race is "superior" in every category. I made that clear in that post. 

A higher level of inhibitions in a population does provide a certain amount of social lubrication. When people have more of a sense of wanting to save for a rainy day, and of thinking twice before acting, that will make for a more law-abiding society with a higher GDP. You know, the kind that other people want to immigrate to.

The fact is, there are lots of people of color tend to want to emigrate to majority white countries these days, whereas whites tend not to want to emigrate to majority non-white countries. But, perhaps that's the sort of "sweeping generalization" I should avoid.

The commenter cannot refrain from using that most meaningless of terms, "racist." (By the way, am I "racist" against whites for saying that they tend to be less genuine in their friendliness, or that they're more likely to choke on the athletic field?)

Finally, the commenter says that I have a "need" to compare and make a value judgment. I have no "need" to do this; I just do it because racial differences are interesting, and part of what makes them interesting is that there are so many people like this commenter who want the subject to remain taboo. 

It would help the commenter's argument if he could prove me wrong on a single point. Since he can't do that, he recites liberal boilerplate instead. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Narcos, Season 3

Just finished the third season of Narcos on Netflix this week, which was about the rise and fall of the Cali cartel. I was trying to figure out exactly why I enjoyed it so much; I think it was that it was so grittily realistic.

The staggering amounts of wealth that the various heads of the cartel accumulated gave the show a slight air of unreality, but the fact is that the cartel did control immense amounts of money. (A realistic drama about a small time marijuana dealer would, admittedly, hold less appeal.)

Beyond that, the women acted like women; there were no Angelina Jolies beating up men twice their size. The hotheads acted like hotheads, and the politicians acted like politicians.

Not everybody on the police force was good -- corruption in Colombia at that time was extremely pervasive. And not everybody on the side of the cartel was a sociopath; some people just get drawn into that life though circumstance.

And the education was enjoyable. Most of us are familiar with Pablo Escobar, and the fabulous wealth and power he amassed. But most of us also couldn't name a single member of the Cali cartel. And almost every major character in Narcos was based on a real person. (They would occasionally intersperse actual film clips of the real people into the dramatization.)

The actors actually looked like the the people they were supposed to represent, and not glamorized Hollywood versions of those people.

Even the two characters we're supposed to identify with most closely, the American DEA agent and a cartel security man who wants to leave the cartel, are pretty ordinary-looking guys.

Narcos also showed the government, even at the highest levels, to be corrupt -- just as it was.

And it showed how US politics were played: decisions by the US weren't based on who was corrupt and who wasn't, but rather by who was on our side. That added to the gritty realism as well.

The third season stands on its own, though you'd be better off with the background of the first two seasons, which focused on Pablo Escobar.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Driving as a window to the personality

Back in 2014, I pointed out that you can tell everything you need to know about someone from watching him work out. The same is true of driving.

Everybody I know expresses his personality perfectly through his driving.

Aggressive people make aggressive drivers. A Wall Streeter I once knew was a textbook narcissistic personality: extremely egocentric and entitled, and he reacted to criticism like Donald Trump. The one time I got a ride from him we were stuck in traffic and a car on a side street was trying to ease out onto our path. The narcissist said, "If that guy thinks he's going to pull in in front of me he's crazy," and moved his car as far forward as he could. He spoke with a tone of aggrievement, as if the other driver were personally insulting him.

I know a woman who only learned how to drive at age 35. When she drove, she would grasp the wheel in a sort of death grip and  when on a highway would stay in the righthand lane and go 50 mph, even when all the other cars were going at least 60. While driving, she couldn't do anything else, like change a CD or even carry on a conversation. Not surprisingly, she had a tendency to find little things overwhelming in other areas of her life as well.

Is someone socially aware? They're more likely to be aware of what other cars in the vicinity are up to, too, and to drive defensively.

How do people react to frustration? If they do so poorly, you may get the full flavor of their personalities when they're stuck in traffic jams. They mutter and grouse and in general act as if the traffic jam was created just to frustrate them. (As in, "Why is this happening to me?") I knew one guy, who, when stuck in traffic, just blasted his horn to express his impatience. It served no purpose, as there was nowhere the people in front of him could have gone; it was just a reflection of his inability to handle frustration.

Likewise, road rage is never a separate, unrelated syndrome; it's just one facet of an overall anger management issue.

I've known two drivers who were probably organic sociopaths. (Meaning, neither was evil -- both were in fact generally good-natured. But both had a high threshold of excitement, i.e., it took more to get them excited about something.) Both, not coincidentally, drove too fast, partly because they enjoyed the sensation of speed, partly because they enjoyed the feeling that they were taking a risk.

One of them told me that once, while on a deserted stretch, he took his car up to 100 mph and then started to masturbate, as a sort of challenge to himself, just to see if he could get an erection while driving at that speed.

The other organic sociopath drove way too fast, too often. He once got something like eight speeding tickets in one year. On a few occasions he took his muscle car up to 140 mph on a straightaway where he knew no police cars could be hidden.

Once I was in a car with him on a winding two lane road where the cars were whizzing past each other at 50 mph with no center divider. When I expressed concern about a possible accident, he actually found my concern funny.

Both organic sociopaths scoffed if I played it safe at a stoplight. One would cup his genitals and say, "Nada." The other would make similar comments. One of these guys was a high stakes gambler, the other was attracted to physical danger.

(Strangely, I can also recall having been driven by two out and out sociopaths, and neither was a particularly bad driver in any way that I can remember.)

Is someone usually courteous? He probably lets other drivers cut in front of him as well.

The two Aspies I've ridden with would both alternately step on the gas and brake constantly. Both would speed up right before stopping at a stop sign. One once exited the highway at a long uphill off ramp; as she did so, she stepped on the brakes -- on principle, because she was getting off the highway -- then stepped on the gas again to make it up the hill to the overpass. It never seemed to occur to her to just take her foot off the gas as she exited to let gravity gradually do its job and slow the car as it climbed the long hill. I joked to both Aspies that I'd gotten whiplash from their driving. (Neither appreciated my comment.)

Is someone able to take blame? The female Aspie I know once dented in the side of a car while rounding a cement-walled corner too soon. She described this as a "scratch." She also once rear ended an elderly driver when their light turned green. She explained this by saying, "He was too old to be driving! He shouldn't have been on the road! We had the green light! He took to long to react! The police officer said that there are a lot of accidents at that intersection!"

The other Aspie, if berated by another driver, would wag his finger at the driver, as if to say "Now now, you're the one who's at fault," even when he was clearly at fault.

I've never actually been driven by anyone who was a bad tailgater, though I seem to have met up with plenty of them on the highway. I would guess that they are pushy and aggressive all the time.

I've never known anyone who (wasn't handicapped who) parked in a handicap space. But I did know a woman who would regularly park in a 10 minute parking zone for an hour or so while she worked out. She was a slippery character in general. She hid money from her husband, and put spyware on his computer. She also had obvious implants, but denied that she had them.

If people are proud of their driving ability, they probably veer towards egotism in general.

Think of the people you know. Do any of them act out of character behind the wheel?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What would happen if we took out Kim Jong Un?

With all the recent news about NK's H-bomb test and ICBM trials, the question becomes, what do we do now? I've asked this question of a couple of well-informed people who normally have strong opinions, and neither had an answer.

I keep thinking, how hard could it be to just kill Kim Jong Un?

It would violate all sorts of international and domestic laws, of course. We haven't declared war on North Korea. And the only way they've attacked us so far is verbally. (At what point do words become actionable?)

If, somehow, the CIA managed to sneak into North Korea and arrange Un's death, it would bring universal condemnation. World leaders would simultaneously denounce Trump and inwardly breathe a sigh of relief that the world's biggest threat was taken care of while they managed to keep their own hands clean. 

The MSM, which almost entirely ignored the previous administration's three bombs per hour, seven days per week schedule during Obama's last year in office, would of course go crazy with outrage over this one killing by Trump.

They have been calling for Trump's impeachment since he first got into office, and for once, they'd have justifiable grounds. 

But how would the North Koreans themselves react to Kim Jong Un's death? I keep imagining that they would react the same way the inhabitants of Oz did when the Wicked Witch of the West melted. 

Do the North Koreans not live in terror of Un? Do they not fear to speak their minds even to their own families? Wouldn't they, in their heart of hearts, regard this as the lifting of a great cloud? Do they not want to be reunited with their brethren to the south?

There's no easy solution here, and no pretty outcome. But what are the alternatives? The destruction of Seoul, or Tokyo? The bombing of Guam, or California? Our missile deterrent systems are not perfect.

Even if Kim Jong Un doesn't make good on his threats, he would continue to operate the Hermit Kingdom as a virtual prison, with many its residents practically starving, while he lives like Sultan of Brunei. 

A surgical strike would result in all sorts of political problems, so the Trump administration is unlikely to do a preemptive one. But in terms of preventing loss of life, all the other alternatives  all seem worse.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Winston Churchill quotes

The other day someone told me about a conversation that was supposed to have taken place between Churchill and German ambassador von Ribbentrop in 1937. Von Ribbentrop said, "Remember, Mr. Churchill, if there is a war, we will have the Italians on our side this time." To which Churchill reportedly replied, "My dear Ambassador, it's only fair. We had them last time."

One of Churchill's better known quotes is, in response to a disapproving lady, "I may be drunk Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly." (I had always thought this incident actually happened, but as it turns out, it's something Churchill claimed that he said, which means it may have just been a line he came up with after the opportunity passed.)

Another famous Churchill saying which I've heard any number of times was one which I somehow thought was from Mark Twain: "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."

Churchill was always known for his wit, but if you look up his quotations, they seem to fall into three fairly distinct categories.

The first category are those that sound like something that might be uttered by a football coach -- or maybe Tony Robbins, or Joel Osteen. That Churchill said them in reference to war, rather than a sport, gives these quotes a little more gravitas, however:

Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

Never, never, never give up.

Continuous effort -- not strength or intelligence -- is the key to unlocking our potential.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

Kites rise highest against the wind -- not with it.

Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.

We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means inspiration and survival.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

I never worry about action, but only inaction.

The second category have the sort of punny, take-a-common-expression-and-reverse-it quality that make them sound as if they might have come from Oscar Wilde:

We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.

"No comment" is a splendid expression. I am using it again and again.

I am easily satisfied with the very best.

He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.

In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.

I always avoid prophesying beforehand, because it is a much better policy to prophesy after the event has taken place.

Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.

There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.

I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks.

But his best quotes are unmistakably Churchillian, and those are the ones with which he leaves the football coaches and Oscar Wilde in the dust:

The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.

You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing -- after they've tried everything else.

I am fond of pigs. dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride is, but in the end, there it is.

History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.

If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time -- a tremendous whack.

I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.

A state of society where men may not speak their minds cannot long endure.

(Boy, is that one ever topical.)

An appeaser is one who will feed a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.

There is no such thing as public opinion. There is only published opinion.

This report, by its very length, defends against the risk of being read.

Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.

A fanatic is one who won't change his mind and won't change the subject.

War is mainly a catalogue of blunders.

If you go on with this nuclear arms race, all you are going to do is make the rubble bounce.

It was the nation and the race dwelling around the globe that had the lion's heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.

I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.

My wife and I tried two or three times in the past 40 years to have breakfast together, but it was so disagreeable we had to stop.

Baldwin thought Europe was a bore, and Chamberlain thought it was only a greater Birmingham.

A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him.

When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.

A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen.

Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace and those who make a good peace would never have won the war.

Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter.

Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.

If the Almighty were to rebuild the world and asked me for advice, I would have English Channels round every country. And the atmosphere would be such that anything which attempted to fly would be set on fire.

The best Churchill quotes combine a wry worldliness, occasional self-mockery, and a little bit of acid.

And here's what Churchill had to say on the subject of Muslims:

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.

Kudos to Mark Caplan, who recently pointed out (after "Rhodes must fall") that Churchill was right about Muslims. I had never thought of women in Islamic society as slaves before, but that's not an entirely inaccurate description. That concept ought to get more airtime in the current discussion of immigration. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Cross Fit

Last night on Netflix I watched Fittest on Earth: a Decade of Fitness, which is basically an advertisement for Cross Fit.

It was hard not to be struck by several things. The first, unavoidable conclusion is that almost all the top competitors are juicing. (That said, it seems less like cheating in a sport in which practically everyone does it.) 

At the beginning of the movie, one of the organizers earnestly claims, about their championships, "If you get to the Cross Fit Games, it means you're in the top one percent of the world's top athletes, bar none."

From another Cross Fit exec: "What the Cross Fit Games is, is who's the world's best athlete. Not the best Cross Fitter, but the best athlete." (Comparing one sport to another is always ludicrous; different sports have different ways of measuring fitness.) 

Another claim: "What we're trying to do here is get people good at life." 

The movie itself seemed to incorporate every sports movie cliche: overly dramatic music, and the attempts to imbue a sport with a significance it can't quite sustain. (Are sports really that important?) The movie even has the obligatory competitor who was doing it not for herself, but for her dead grandmother.

I understand that a sport can be extremely important to its competitors. (I've been there.) But to an outsider, the dramatization can seem a little silly and overdone.

But the most overwhelming impression I was left with was that a lot of the female competitors must have been quite attractive, even beautiful, before they started serious Cross Fit training. Before they gained the musculature of men. 

Here's Sara Sigmundsdottir:

Here's Katrin Davidsdottir:

And here are the two of them together:

Yes, attractiveness is subjective. But when women who would otherwise be considered extremely attractive by most people spend 30 hours a week in the gym rendering themselves freakish, it seems, somehow, self-defeating.

Who knows, maybe some of these women don't care whether others find them conventionally attractive. And it's certainly their right to do whatever they want with their own bodies. 

But has Cross Fit really made these women, as that exec claims, better at life?

The shift from the jogging craze of thirty years ago to more whole body exercises has been a healthy one. Short, intense bursts of exercise release more human growth hormone and testosterone naturally than extended aerobic workouts do.

But when you supplement that increased natural hormone production with an exogenous, artificial supply, the results aren't necessarily pretty. Or healthy.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The cause du jour

The most recent cause among the Left is to demand that statues of Confederate heroes come down. They evidently feel very passionate about this, and have even staged mass protests abut it. Many seem moved to the point of hysteria.

But it leaves one wondering: if they find these statues of Robert E. Lee and Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis so incredibly offensive, why did they not object to them last year?

If, as the Left claims, the mere existence of these statues is the equivalent of violence, why did they not feel violated as they walked past these statues ten years ago? Or five years ago? Did those statues not rip at their souls then?

It certainly seems that this particular crowd thinks whatever it's told to think, whenever they're told to think something. Which basically means its members are unable to think for themselves. They're essentially automatons, who go in whichever direction they're pointed.

(Politburo members in the old Soviet Union used to refer to the American Left as "useful idiots.")

Most people walk by statues barely aware of whom the statues represent. I've walked past plenty of statues in public squares without bothering to see who was being commemorated. I'm sure that most of the people memorialized were admirable, but there were probably a few whom, had I known more about them, I might have disapproved of.

Either way, I never felt violated as I walked past one. Had I bothered to read the inscription at the base of the statue, and had I seen that the statue was of, say, Jack the Ripper, I think my reaction would have been astonishment. I might even have found it funny. But I doubt I would have felt violated and trembled with rage.

Frankly, it would never even have occurred to me to react that way.

This is an issue where it's a lot easier to sympathize with blacks than with their white allies on the Left. As I've said before, I've always seen Confederate flags as sort of an upraised middle finger to blacks. And if I were black, walking past a statue of Jefferson Davis might give me pause. (Though I suspect that most blacks, like me, are usually blithely unaware of the identity of most statues they happen to pass by.) But still, why did they not object before?

As for the whites who are now demanding such statues be torn down? For them, it's just the latest trendy way to virtue signal.

In fact, it's the same kind of whites who now demand Confederate statues be toppled who, had they been around in, say, Georgia, in 1810, would have believed whatever they were told to believe in back then, too.

Like slavery.

A certain type of personality will always subscribe to whatever mode of thinking is fashionable.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

"Rhodes must fall"

A friend forwarded the following letter yesterday. It was evidently written as a response to black students attending Oxford as Rhodes Scholars wanting to remove the statue of Oxford benefactor Cecil Rhodes. It's quite blunt. 

I hadn't heard of this movement until I saw the letter, and initially assumed it was an offshoot of the current crusade in the US to tear down Confederate statues. But it turns out the campaign to disavow Rhodes has been afoot for over a year. 

Dear Scrotty Students,
Cecil Rhodes’s generous bequest has contributed greatly to the comfort and well being of many generations of Oxford students – a good many of them, dare we say it, better, brighter and more deserving than you.

This does not necessarily mean we approve of everything Rhodes did in his lifetime – but then we don’t have to. Cecil Rhodes died over a century ago. Autres temps, autres moeures.*  If you don’t understand what this means – and it would not remotely surprise us if that were the case – then we really think you should ask yourself the question: “Why am I at Oxford?”

Oxford, let us remind you, is the world’s second oldest extant university. Scholars have been studying here since at least the 11th century. We’ve played a major part in the invention of Western civilisation, from the 12th century intellectual renaissance through the Enlightenment and beyond. Our alumni include William of Ockham, Roger Bacon, William Tyndale, John Donne, Sir Walter Raleigh, Erasmus, Sir Christopher Wren, William Penn, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Samuel Johnson, Robert Hooke, William Morris, Oscar Wilde, Emily Davison, Cardinal Newman, Julie Cocks. We’re a big deal. And most of the people privileged to come and study here are conscious of what a big deal we are. Oxford is their alma mater – their dear mother – and they respect and revere her accordingly.

And what were your ancestors doing in that period? Living in mud huts, mainly. Sure we’ll concede you the short lived Southern African civilisation of Great Zimbabwe. But let’s be brutally honest here. The contribution of the Bantu tribes to modern civilisation has been as near as damn it to zilch.

You’ll probably say that’s “racist”. But it’s what we here at Oxford prefer to call “true.”  Perhaps the rules are different at other universities. In fact, we know things are different at other universities. We’ve watched with horror at what has been happening across the pond from the University of Missouri to the University of Virginia and even to revered institutions like Harvard and Yale: the “safe spaces”; the #‎blacklivesmatter; the creeping cultural relativism; the stifling political correctness; what Allan Bloom rightly called “the closing of the American mind”.  At Oxford however, we will always prefer facts and free, open debate to petty grievance-mongering, identity politics and empty sloganeering. The day we cease to do so is the day we lose the right to call ourselves the world’s greatest university.

Of course, you are perfectly within your rights to squander your time at Oxford on silly, vexatious, single-issue political campaigns. (Though it does make us wonder how stringent the vetting procedure is these days for Rhodes scholarships and even more so, for Mandela Rhodes scholarships) We are well used to seeing undergraduates – or, in your case – postgraduates, making idiots of themselves. Just don’t expect us to indulge your idiocy, let alone genuflect before it. You may be black – “BME” as the grisly modern terminology has it – but we are colour blind.

We have been educating gifted undergraduates from our former colonies, our Empire, our Commonwealth and beyond for many generations. We do not discriminate over sex, race, colour or creed. We do, however, discriminate according to intellect.

That means, inter alia, that when our undergrads or postgrads come up with fatuous ideas, we don’t pat them on the back, give them a red rosette and say: “Ooh, you’re black and you come from South Africa. What a clever chap you are!”  No. We prefer to see the quality of those ideas tested in the crucible of public debate. That’s another key part of the Oxford intellectual tradition you see: you can argue any damn thing you like but you need to be able to justify it with facts and logic – otherwise your idea is worthless.

This ludicrous notion you have that a bronze statue of Cecil Rhodes should be removed from Oriel College, because it’s symbolic of “institutional racism” and “white slavery”. Well even if it is – which we dispute – so bloody what? Any undergraduate so feeble-minded that they can’t pass a bronze statue without having their “safe space” violated really does not deserve to be here. And besides, if we were to remove Rhodes’s statue on the premise that his life wasn’t blemish-free, where would we stop? As one of our alumni Dan Hannan has pointed out, Oriel’s other benefactors include two kings so awful – Edward II and Charles I – that their subjects had them killed. The college opposite – Christ Church – was built by a murderous, thieving bully who bumped off two of his wives. Thomas Jefferson kept slaves: does that invalidate the US Constitution?Winston Churchill had unenlightened views about Muslims and India: was he then the wrong man to lead Britain in the war?”

Actually, we’ll go further than that. Your Rhodes Must Fall campaign is not merely fatuous but ugly, vandalistic and dangerous. We agree with Oxford historian RW Johnson that what you are trying to do here is no different from what ISIS and Al-Qaeda have been doing to artefacts in places like Mali and Syria.  You are murdering history.   

And who are you, anyway, to be lecturing Oxford University on how it should order its affairs? Your #‎rhodesmustfall campaign, we understand, originates in South Africa and was initiated by a black activist who told one of his lecturers “whites have to be killed”. One of you – Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh – is the privileged son of a rich politician and a member of a party whose slogan is “Kill the Boer; Kill the Farmer”; another of you, Ntokozo Qwabe, who is only in Oxford as a beneficiary of a Rhodes scholarship, has boasted about the need for “socially conscious black students” to “dominate white universities, and do so ruthlessly and decisively!

Great. That’s just what Oxford University needs. Some cultural enrichment from the land of Winnie Mandela, burning tyre necklaces, an AIDS epidemic almost entirely the result of government indifference and ignorance, one of the world’s highest per capita murder rates, institutionalised corruption, tribal politics, anti-white racism and a collapsing economy. Please name which of the above items you think will enhance the lives of the 22,000 students studying here at Oxford.

And then please explain what it is that makes your attention grabbing campaign to remove a listed statue from an Oxford college more urgent, more deserving than the desire of probably at least 20,000 of those 22,000 students to enjoy their time here unencumbered by the irritation of spoilt, ungrateful little tossers on scholarships they clearly don’t merit using racial politics and cheap guilt-tripping to ruin the life and fabric of our beloved university.

Understand us and understand this clearly: you have everything to learn from us; we have nothing to learn from you.

Oriel College, Oxford
*Autres temps, autres moeurs – Other times, other customs: in other eras people behaved differently.

It's certainly in keeping with the tenor of the times that the author of this letter had to write it anonymously, whereas those on the Left, as quoted above, can advocate dominating white universities "ruthlessly," or even killing Boers, and do so without fear of losing their positions.  

It seems to me that any student who wanted to demonstrate his own high moral standards would do so more convincingly by turning down the offer of a Rhodes Scholarship, and even an acceptance to Oxford in the first place. After all, isn't accepting tainted money an act of immorality in itself?

Monday, August 28, 2017

Another male nurse serial killer

I pointed out in April 2016 that it was striking how many of the most prolific serial killers were male nurses.

Another one has just popped up. From the ABC News article which appeared today, "German prosecutors believe nurse killed at least 84 people":

A male nurse who was convicted of killing patients in Germany with overdoses of heart medication is now believed to have killed at least 86 people — and the true scale of the killings could be even larger, investigators said Monday.

Many of the deaths could have been prevented if health authorities had acted more quickly on their suspicions, said Johann Kuehme, police chief in the northwestern city of Oldenburg.

Niels Hoegel, now 40, was convicted in 2015 of two murders and two attempted murders at a hospital in the northwestern town of Delmenhorst. He was sentenced to life in prison. But prosecutors have long said they believe he killed many more people, last year putting the figure at 43 at least.

The crimes came to light after Hoegel was convicted of attempted murder in another case. Authorities subsequently investigated hundreds of deaths, exhuming bodies of former patients in Delmenhorst and nearby Oldenburg.

Kuehme said Monday that authorities have now unearthed evidence of 84 killings in addition to the ones for which Hoegel was convicted. The number of actual killings is likely higher because some possible victims were cremated, making it impossible to gather evidence, Kuehme added.

"Eighty-four killings ... leave us speechless," Kuehme told reporters. "And as if all that were not enough, we must realize that the real dimension of the killings by Niels H. is likely many times worse..."

He faulted local health authorities for being slow to act.

"If the people responsible at the time, particularly at the Oldenburg clinic but also later in Delmenhorst, hadn't hesitated to alert authorities — for example police, prosecutors —" Hoegel could have been stopped earlier, Kuehme said.

Authorities are already pursuing criminal cases against former staff at the two facilities.

Hoegel worked at the Oldenburg hospital from 1999 to 2002 and in Delmenhorst from 2003 to 2005.

Kuehme said other medical workers at Oldenburg were aware of an elevated number of resuscitations, and initial indications of possible wrongdoing by the nurse in Delmenhorst emerged as early as April 2003.

During his trial, Hoegel had said he intentionally brought about cardiac crises in some 90 patients in Delmenhorst because he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them.

He later told investigators that he also killed patients in Oldenburg....

Hoegel's killings follow a familiar pattern. First, Hoegel's coworkers, like the coworkers of several other serial killing nurses, saw that a lot of deaths seemed to be happening around him, but didn't jump to the obvious conclusion. Maybe they figured, oh no, Niels wouldn't do something like that; or maybe they just didn't want to get in trouble themselves in case he was innocent. But it seems in every case of nurses who were serial killers, the coworkers and sometimes even hospital administrators had their suspicions long before they contacted authorities. 

Note that Hoegel said that he "enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them." This, too, is a fairly common phenomenon. His motive wasn't necessarily to kill these patients, it was to be able to resuscitate them and therefore appear a hero. He enjoyed basking in the admiration and gratitude of the patients and their relatives afterwards. But as a sociopath, if patients happened to die while he set up a scenario in which he could appear the hero, it didn't bother him in the least. (If it had, he would have stopped doing it.) 

This is not dissimilar to those firemen/arsonists who've been convicted of setting fires so they could then put them out and appear the hero.

Hoegel's picture wasn't included with the article, but I found it elsewhere:

(He looks like an antifa type to me.) Here's another picture of him, evidently before he was caught:

Hoegel must have thought his Vandyke beard made him look stylishly devilish. Most people who saw him at the time must have thought him just pudgy and epicene. If they'd only known.....

Only a small percentage of nurses are male, yet it seems that at least half of the nurse serial killers are male. Of course, only a tiny fraction of male nurses have turned out to be killers.

Still, it's hard not to notice the correlation. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Mayweather - McGregor fight

Despite expectations, McGregor didn't embarrass himself, in fact gave a good accounting of himself considering it was his first professional boxing match. And Mayweather fought a smart fight, playing defense in the early rounds and letting McGregor tire himself out, then came on strong in the later rounds.

There was always something a little ridiculous about a long time boxing champion fighting an MMA guy in a boxing match. There's no doubt McGregor would beat Mayweather in a real fight, and there was little doubt Mayweather would prevail in a boxing match.

McGregor always had a puncher's chance, though. And that chance increased because he was 10 or 15 pounds heavier than Mayweather when they entered the ring, and 12 years younger. Still, it was Mayweather's sport.

Maybe next we can showcase Lebron James and Michael Phelps in a 200 meter butterfly to find out who the better athlete is.

From what I saw, the rooting pretty much fell along racial lines. And in keeping with the times, it was fairly nakedly so. Blacks have always rooted volubly for their own; whites, other than celebs speaking publicly, are now starting to do the same.

It wasn't as if anyone could use the excuse that he was rooting for his guy because the other guy was so loud, cocky, vulgar, and arrogant.

Both men were pretty much the definition of that.

But their cockiness drummed up more interest in the fight than it deserved. (People always want to see a braggart get his comeuppance.) And, for that reason, it was pretty obviously somewhat calculated.

Not that either guy had to step entirely out of character to act that way.

Both guys got what they wanted, a ton of money. Despite the $400 million or so that Mayweather has earned for his last two fights, though, it still wouldn't be surprising to see him with money problems in a few years.

Nothing quite says "future bankruptcy" like sixteen Rolls-Royces, two Ferraris, three Bugattis, a Lamborghini, a McLaren, and a huge entourage.

But, who knows, maybe the line of gyms Mayweather is starting will be a financial success.

McGregor, if he wasn't a household name before, is one now. He won't be able to get the same kind of money for his UFC fights. But he may not have to; he's about to start marketing Notorious Irish Whiskey.

The good news for the public is that despite the fact that this fight should have been a ridiculous mismatch, those who paid a hundred dollars to watch it on pay-per-view didn't end up feeling ripped off.

Update: For anyone who's interested, the fight is actually on Youtube at the moment (Sunday morning at 9:20AM, though it will undoubtedly be taken down shortly):

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Vive la what?

The French used to say, "Vive la difference!" in regard to the many ways men and women differ.

Those differences -- mental as well as physical -- were precisely what made the other sex mysterious and alluring.

Today, in America, we're supposed to say, "Quel difference?" and pretend we don't notice any. (Unless, of course, they favor women.)

How much more enlightened we are now!

Judging an argument on its own merits

Yesterday a friend, Dave Moriarty, sent an email saying, "I've just been reading the Unabomber manifesto. He has a LOT to say about the Left and political correctness. And he is spot on."

I applauded Dave for his open-mindedness in judging the Unabomber's arguments on their own merits rather than by the guy who made them.

(I, too, had been stunned to find out how cogent and insightful the Unabomber's manifesto was.)

Whenever I hear someone sniff, "Oh I would never listen to anything he has to say," I have a tendency to stop listening to the person who said that.

(Though, now that I think of it, I suppose that makes me a little like that person.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


I recently watched Icarus, the documentary on Netflix about Russian doping. It starts out seeming to be about Bryan Fogel, an amateur cyclist out to prove how easy it is to get away with doping (by doping himself). But then it turns into an expose on Russian doping in general, as related by Fogel's guru, Grigory Rodchenkov.

Rodchenkov used to be part of the Russian state doping apparatus, which is apparently pervasive at the highest levels of Russian sport. It's almost impossible to watch the documentary and not come away convinced that the Russians are doping the same way the East Germans were back in the 1970's and 1980's.

The Russians who are still involved in the national sports program of course deny the doping. But, of course, they would. Evidently the KGB (now called the SVR) is involved, and evidently it's all done with Putin's approval.

I've always assumed swimmer Vladimir Morozov was juicing. He's 5' 11", which is uncommonly short for a top sprinter, but is the world record holder in the 100 meter individual medley and is always a contender in the freestyle sprints in long course as well:

Note the way his trapezius muscles seem to jut up from his shoulders, and the way the line between his pectoral muscles extends all the way to his collarbones.

From Wikipedia:

On 25 July 2016, Morozov was named by FINA as an athlete who had been identified by WADA as one that had benefited from the 'disappearing positive methodology' as part of a Russian state-run doping programme, and as such FINA declared him ineligible for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics in accordance with the requirements issued by the International Olympic Committee the previous day. No further information was released as to possible punishments for doping. However, on August 4, 2016, Morozov was cleared to compete by the IOC.

Evidently Morozov also benefited from the "disappearing sanctions methodology" administered by the IOC.

By the way, here's a picture of Adam Peaty from the recent world championships in Budapest:

If you want humongous, unnaturally well-defined biceps, swimming is the way to go!

And here's another picture of Nicholas Santos (in the striped cap):

Check out that arm definition. All those people who tell you that swimming produces long, loose muscle are wrong. It makes you look like a body-builder!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

History test, Part II

On August 5th, I posted If history were recorded by fashion writers, Part II: the women. There weren't quite as many hidden references as there were in Part I, but it's possible you missed some. And, having done a little research on these women, it turns out a lot of the myths surrounding them probably aren't even true.

If you haven't read the post, please do. Then, take a look at the following:

Mary I:

Small wonder she wanted to cleanse England of that dowdy, "plain and simple" Protestant way of dress...Our beloved Queen was so assiduous in this task there's even a stylish drink named after her that's popular to this day: the Bloody Mary!

Mary I was known as Bloody Mary because she wanted to restore Catholicism to England and had over 280 Protestant dissenters burned at the stake. 

It's not clear what the popular drink was named after. Some say her. Others trace the name to a waitress named Mary who worked at a Chicago bar called the Bucket of Blood. And some say it's a mispronunciation of the first name of Vladimir Smirnov of the Smirnoff vodka family, for whom the drink was first prepared in 1921. 

Lucrezia Borgia: 

Her viper pendant, and the dagger/cross must both be Borgia family symbols. (Whose blood is that dripping from the dagger?)

The Borgias, particularly Lucrezia's brother Cesare, probably deserve their general reputation for ambition, greed, licentiousness, intrigue, and even murderousness; but Lucrezia herself seems to have been less of a schemer than Cesare. 

Lucrezia is rumored to have a hollow ring from which she slips poison into drinks.

That was a rumor about her, though its veracity has long since been lost in the fog of history.

Elizabeth Bathory: 

Bathory is at the top of every list of prolific serial killers, and is generally listed as having killed up to 600 young girls. But after looking into her story, as I wrote here, I don't think she was guilty. She doesn't fit the profile of a sociopath, and there was plenty of motive to frame her. The number of dead girls seems to have been a complete exaggeration. And the story about her having bathed in their blood didn't even appear until about a hundred years after she died.  

Catherine the Great:

Our Empress Catherine is a great lover of all things our favorite equestrienne looks sitting side saddle, astride a horse -- or in any position with a horse!

The one story everyone seems to know about Catherine the Great is that she died trying to have sex with a horse. This was just a rumor spread by enemies wanting to discredit her. She actually died of a stroke suffered in her bathroom. 

Marie Antoinette:

Marie has caused a revolution in French fashion...

Get it? The French Revolution happened during her reign.

And check out that daring décolletage, which accentuates her slender, delicate neck. You can't put that kind of style on the chopping block! 

She died at the guillotine.

Our darling Marie proves, once and for all, that you can have your cake and eat it too!

Her most famous "quote" is, "Let them eat cake" (since the peasants had no bread). She almost certainly never said this. 

Lizzie Borden:

At first glance it might look as if our Lizzie has taken a whack at fashion...

The most famous ditty about Lizzie Borden:

"Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one."

And those dark colors are only fitting given that she is probably still mourning her parents, whose tragic murders remain unsolved. 

Borden was acquitted  of their murders, but she is probably guilty.

Poor Lizzie! Note that her dress is quite modest, covering everything right up to the top of her neck, as befits a well brought up young lady of the Victorian era. (No man will get a peek at that body!) 

Borden was widely thought to have been a lesbian. 

We certainly have no axe to grind with her clothing choices!

Self-explanatory, see above.

Ilse Koch:

Ilse isn't held prisoner to passing trends, but prefers the timeless simplicity of a summer dress. It takes concentration to look that good without becoming camp! 

Ilse Koch was an infamous guard at the Buchenwald concentration camp during WWII. 

Ms. Koch knows that looking like just another frumpy hausfrau would be a crime against humanity. 

"Crimes against humanity" was what many of the more prominent Nazis (though not Koch) were convicted of at the Nuremberg Trials. Koch was in fact a very minor figure, though she later gained infamy through her multiple trials for corruption.

Frau Koch's husband Karl Otto looks resplendent as well in his sharply tailored uniform and well polished jackboots. 

Jackboots are almost synonymous with Nazis these days. 

Her neatly appointed houses is undoubtedly perfectly decorated, right down to the lampshades! 

Koch was accused to selecting tattooed prisoners for execution in order to make lampshades out of their skins, but this was never proven, and highly unlikely to be true. 

And look at that dog -- what a humongous bitch!

Koch later became popularly known as "the Bitch of Buchenwald" after an American reporter called her that.

Winnie Mandela:

As befits the wife of Nelson Mandela, she has great concern for the populace as well, generously providing for many of them to be necklaced as well. As the great lady said, "With our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country!"

That's an actual quote from Winnie Mandela in 1986. She was later the First Lady of South Africa from 1994 to 1996, when her divorced from Nelson Mandela was finalized. To be "necklaced" was to have an inner tube filled with gas forced around one's chest and arms, which was then lit on fire. Victims would take up to twenty minutes to die. According to Wikipedia:

[T]he South African Truth and Reconciliation commission [formed after apartheid had been abolished in 1994] found that she had personally been responsible for the murder, torture, abduction, and assault of numerous men, women, and children, as well as indirectly responsible for an even larger number of such crimes.

Michelle Duvalier:

From the time she married Baby Doc (top), Michele Duvalier has looked every inch the stylish voodoo queen! Who couldn't she cast a spell over with that headdress? 

Baby Doc reportedly believed in voodoo and Santeria. (I actually heard this from a Haitian the day before I wrote the post.)

Below, Michele wears one of her many fur coats she needed to stay warm through those cold Haiti winters! 

Michele reportedly spent $75,000 on a freezer in which to store all of her fur coats in Haiti.

You can be sure they're custom made -- there's no pret-a-porter for the lady from Port au Prince! 

"Prêt-à-porter" means ready to wear.

Whether she's encouraging her husband to resurrect the Tontons Macoutes, or abscond with the national treasury, our stylish Santeria knows how to dress for success!

The Tontons Macoutes were the feared secret police squad started by Papa Doc Duvalier in order to maintain power. They still existed during Baby Doc's reign. And when Baby Doc and Michele went into exile, they reportedly took almost the entire national treasury, roughly $500MM, with them. 

Hillary Clinton:

You just went through a heated Presidential campaign less than a year ago, so you're probably familiar with all of those references.