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Posts by untenured

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  • OK all, what book(s) are you reading now or have you read in the last 6 months?

    05/19/2015 4:10:07 PM PDT · 138 of 154
    untenured to US Navy Vet
    History and social sciences, as usual:

    The Social Order of the Underworld: How Prison Gangs Govern the American Penal System, David Skarbek. A discussion of how the need to create some facsimile of social order amidst violent men and traffic in contraband motivates prison gangs.

    Principles of Economics (a classic, Alfred Marshall; part of some book-writing I'm doing)

    Phantom Terror: Political Paranoia and the Creation of the Modern State, 1789-1848, Adam Zarnovski. Author seems to be a leftist, but it still a fairly impressive account of how paranoia about the French revolution led to rampant conspiracism and the creation of much more sophisticated state surveillance. Metternich is a prominent villain in this account.

    Books Without Borders in Enlightenment Europe, Jeffrey Freedman. Hardly started it, but the title is about how French Enlightenment texts were smuggled throughout Europe, where they were banned.

    Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World, Amir Alexander. Occasionally fascinating account of struggles inside and outside the Church over an obscure mathematical doctrine with profound theological implications.

    The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century, Jurgen Osterhammel. An astonishing panorama of the planet - not just Europe - from roughly 1789-1914. It is amazing how much this guy knows, although he too is a bit of a leftie. About 900pp, so not for the faint of heart.

    Inventing Freedom: How the English-Speaking Peoples Made the Modern World. Self-explanatory. On my list: Charles Murray's newest, By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission.

  • Pamela Geller Confronted Evil, so the Left Hates Her

    05/19/2015 8:59:20 AM PDT · 9 of 17
    untenured to RoosterRedux
    I think the left's hatred for Ms Geller derives from two factors. First, she creates in them a cognitive dysfunction, a collision between their hatred of this country because of their feminism and commitment to gay "rights," and their commitment to multiculturalism (which also emanates from their hatred of this country). Their eagerness to simultaneously hold these two sets of beliefs means they must ignore the fact that radical Islam is an existential threat to the first set.

    Second, she is very well-spoken, no shrinking violet, and can handle herself on television against representatives of both the left and radical Islam. So she is able to make plain this insincerity in the left's view of the world.

  • Loyola professor who called slavery 'not so bad' loses lawsuit against New York Times

    05/13/2015 8:47:58 AM PDT · 13 of 13
    untenured to Oliviaforever
    Here, according to Prof. Block's own reply, are the remarks that contain the NYT quotation:

    "Free association is a very important aspect of liberty. It is crucial. Indeed, its lack was the major problem with slavery. The slaves could not quit. They were forced to ‘associate’ with their masters when they would have vastly preferred not to do so. Otherwise, slavery wasn’t so bad. You could pick cotton, sing songs, be fed nice gruel, etc. The only real problem was that this relationship was compulsory. It violated the law of free association, and that of the slaves’ private property rights in their own persons. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, then, to a much smaller degree of course, made partial slaves of the owners of establishments like Woolworths.”

    Later on he describes slavery as "vicious, depraved and monstrous," and gives his reasons for thinking so, which are not reasons peculiar to the peculiar institution. Freepers can decide whether the NYT's characterization, that the prof. "described slavery as 'not so bad,'" is false.


    04/28/2015 4:32:43 PM PDT · 35 of 39
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson; henkster
    The last column of Ernie Pyle's to appear in print, ironically his memories of another deceased war correspondent.


    Fred Painton: A Tribute

    IU Archives

    OKINAWA, April 28, 1945 – This is a column about Fred Painton, the war correspondent who dropped dead on Guam a short time ago.

    Fred wrote war articles for Reader’s Digest and many other magazines. He even gambled his future once writing a piece for the Saturday Evening Post about me.

    Fred was one of the little group of real old-timers in the European war. He was past forty-nine and an overseas veteran of the last war. His son is grown and in the Army. Fred had seen a great deal of war for a man his age.

    He was just about to start back to America when he died. He had grown pretty weary of war. He was anxious to get home to have some time with his family.

    But I’m sure he had no inkling of death, for he told me in Guam of his postwar plans to take his family and start on an ideal and easy life of six months in Europe, six in America. He had reached the point where life was nice.


    Fred Painton was one of the modest people; I mean real down-deep modest. He had no side whatever, no ax to grind, no coy ambition.

    He loved to talk and his words bore the authority of sound common sense. He had no intellectualisms. His philosophy was the practical kind. He was too old and experienced and too wise in the ways of human nature to belittle his fellow man for the failures that go with trying hard.

    Fred didn’t pretend to literary genius but he did pride himself on a facility for production. He could get a thousand dollars apiece for his articles and he wrote a score of them a year. And his pieces, like himself, were always honest. I’ve known him to decline to do an assignment when he felt the subject prohibited his doing it with complete honesty.

    Fred’s balding head and crooked nose, his loud and friendly nasal voice, his British Army trousers and short leggings were familiar in every campaign in Europe.

    He took rough life as it came and complained about nothing, except for an occasional bout with the censors. And even there he made no enemies for he was always sincere.

    There were a lot of people Fred didn’t like, and being no introvert everybody within earshot knew whom he didn’t like and why. And I have never known him to dislike anyone who wasn’t a phony.


    Fred and I have traveled through lots of war together. We did those bitter cold days, early in Tunisia, and we were the last stragglers out of Sicily.

    We both came home for short furloughs after Sicily. The Army provided me with a powerful Number Two air priority, while Fred had only the routine Number Three.

    We left the airport at Algiers within four hours of each other on the same morning. I promised Fred I would call his wife and tell her he would be home within a week.

    When I got to New York I called the Painton home at Westport, Connecticut. Fred answered the phone himself. He had beat me home by three days on his measly little priority! He never got over kidding me about that.


    As the war years rolled by we have become so indoctrinated into sudden and artificially imposed death that natural death in a combat zone seems incongruous, and almost as though the one who died had been cheated.

    Fred had been through the mill. His ship was torpedoed out from under him in the Mediterranean. Anti-aircraft fire killed a man beside him in a plane over Morocco.

    He had gone on many invasions. He was in Cassino. He was ashore at Iwo Jima. He was certainly living on borrowed time. To many it seems unfair for him to die prosaically. And yet . . .

    The wear and the weariness of war is cumulative. To many a man in the line today fear is not so much of death itself, but fear of the terror and anguish and utter horror that precedes death in battle.

    I have no idea how Fred Painton would have liked to die. But somehow I’m glad he didn’t have to go through the unnatural terror of dying on the battlefield. For he was one of my dear friends and I know that he, like myself, had come to feel that terror.

    Ernie Pyle
    Source: Ernie's War: The Best of Ernie Pyle's World War II Dispatches, edited by David Nichols, pp. 416-18. Pictures courtesy of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

    04/25/2015 11:27:44 AM PDT · 28 of 70
    untenured to iowamark

    All in all, Henry Stimson’s memo that you posted was remarkably prescient. That does not happen often in human affairs, especially in government.


    04/21/2015 9:07:59 AM PDT · 22 of 40
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson; henkster
    Another posthumous column from Ernie Pyle.


    They Just Lay There, Blinking

    IU Archives
    Boris Chaliapin drew this sketch of Ernie Pyle for the July 17, 1944 cover of TIME Magazine.

    OKINAWA, April 21, 1945 – Now I’ve seen my first Jap soldiers in their native state – that is, before capture. But not for long, because the boys of my company captured them quicker than a wink.

    It was mid-forenoon and we had just reached our new bivouac area after a march of an hour and a half. The boys threw off their packs, sat down on the ground, and took off their helmets to mop their perspiring foreheads.

    We were in a small grassy spot at the foot of a hill. Most of these hillsides have caves with household stuff hidden in them. They are a rich field for souvenir hunters. And all Marines are souvenir hunters.

    So immediately two of our boys, instead of resting, started up through the brush, looking for caves and souvenirs. They had gone about fifty yards when one of them yelled:

    "There’s a Jap soldier under this bush."

    We didn’t get too excited for most of us figured he meant a dead Jap. But three or four of the boys got up and went up the hill. A few moments later somebody yelled again:

    "Hey, here’s another one. They’re alive and they’ve got rifles."

    So the boys went at them in earnest. The Japs were lying under two bushes. They had their hands up over their ears and were pretending to be asleep.

    The Marines surrounded the bushes and, with guns pointing, they ordered the Japs out. But the Japs were too scared to move. They just lay there, blinking.

    The average Jap soldier would have come out shooting. But, thank goodness, these were of a different stripe. They were so petrified the Marines had to go into the bushes, lift them by the shoulders, and throw them out in the open,

    My contribution to the capture consisted of standing to one side and looking as mean as I could.

    One Jap was small, and about thirty years old. The other was just a kid of sixteen or seventeen, but good-sized and well-built. The kid had the rank of superior private and the other was a corporal. They were real Japanese from Japan, not the Okinawan home guard.

    They were both trembling all over. The kid’s face turned a sickly white. Their hands shook. The muscles in the corporal’s jaw were twitching. The kid was so paralyzed he couldn’t even understand sign language.

    We don’t know why those two Japs didn’t fight. They had good rifles and potato-masher hand grenades. They could have stood behind their bushes and heaved grenades into our tightly packed group and got themselves two dozen casualties, easily.

    The Marines took their arms. One Marine tried to direct the corporal in handbook Japanese, but the fellow couldn’t understand.

    The scared kid just stood there, sweating like an ox. I guess he thought he was dead. Finally we sent them back to the regiment.


    The two Marines who flushed these Japs were Corp. Jack Ossege of Silver Grove, Kentucky, across the river from Cincinnati, and Pfc. Lawrence Bennett of Port Huron, Michigan.

    Okinawa was the first blitz for Bennett and this was the first Jap soldier he’d ever seen. He is thirty years old, married, and has a baby girl. Back home he was a freight dispatcher.

    The Jap corporal had a metal photo holder like a cigaret case. In it were photos which we took to be of three Japanese movie stars. They were good-looking, and everybody had to have a look.

    Ossege had been through one Pacific blitz, but this was the first Jap he ever took alive. As an old hand at souvenir hunting he made sure to get the Jap’s rifle.

    That rifle was the envy of everybody. Later when we were sitting around, discussing the capture, the other boys tried to buy or trade him out of it. "Pop" Taylor, the black-whiskered corporal from Jackson, Michigan, offered Ossege a hundred dollars for the rifle.

    The answer was no. Then Taylor offered four quarts of whiskey. The answer still was no. Then he offered eight quarts. Ossege weakened a little. He said, "Where would you get eight quarts of whiskey?" Pop said he had no idea. So Ossege kept the rifle.

    So there you have my first two Japs. And I hope my future Japs will all be as tame as these two. But I doubt it.

    Ernie Pyle

    04/19/2015 11:52:25 AM PDT · 25 of 61
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    Iva Toguri, a Japanese-American marries Felipe D’Aquino, a Portuguese, registering with the Portuguese consulate in Tokyo and Toguri declining to take her husband’s citizenship.

    Also known in some circles as Tokyo Rose. A 1949 conviction on 1 of 7 counts of treason in 1977 and a pardon by outgoing Pres. Ford (due to questions about testimony in her trial) both await. According to Wikipedia, she has largely been misunderstood by subsequent generations.


    04/18/2015 10:14:58 AM PDT · 18 of 51
    untenured to untenured; henkster

    Oops, meant to ping you to the above.


    04/18/2015 10:13:22 AM PDT · 17 of 51
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    As was noted both yesterday and today, Ernie Pyle perishes today during the fight for Okinawa. In addition to this column, which he presumably meant to be published after the German surrender, there are two columns not published before he died that will come out in the days after his death, and will be posted accordingly.


    This column was never completed. A draft of it was found in Pyle's pocket, April 18, 1945, the day he was killed by a Japanese machine-gunner on the island of Ie Shima.

    On Victory in Europe

    IU Archives
    Pyle with an Army Jeep driver.

    And so it is over. The catastrophe on one side of the world has run its course. The day that it had so long seemed would never come has come at last. I suppose our emotions here in the Pacific are the same as they were among Allies all over the world. First a shouting of the good news with such joyous surprise that you would think the shouter himself had brought it about.

    And then an unspoken sense of gigantic relief-and then a hope that the collapse in Europe would hasten the end in the Pacific.

    It has been seven months since I heard my last shot in the European War. Now I am as far away from it as it is possible to get on this globe.

    This is written on a little ship lying off the coast of the Island of Okinawa, just south of Japan, on the other side of the world from Ardennes.

    But my heart is still in Europe, and that’s why I am writing this column.

    It is to the boys who were my friends for so long. My one regret of the war is that I was not with them when it ended.

    For the companionship of two and a half years of death and misery is a spouse that tolerates no divorce. Such companionship finally becomes a part of one’s soul, and it cannot be obliterated.

    True, I am with American boys in the other war not yet ended, but I am old-fashioned and my sentiment runs to old things.

    To me the European War is old, and the Pacific War is new.

    Last summer I wrote that I hoped the end of the war could be a gigantic relief, but not an elation. In the joyousness of high spirits it is so easy for us to forget the dead. Those who are gone would not wish themselves to be a millstone of gloom around our necks.

    But there are so many of the living who have had burned into their brains forever the unnatural sight of cold dead men scattered over the hillsides and in the ditches along the high rows of hedge throughout the world.

    Dead men by mass production-in one country after another-month after month and year after year. Dead men in winter and dead men in summer.

    Dead men in such familiar promiscuity that they become monotonous.

    Dead men in such monstrous infinity that you come almost to hate them.

    Those are the things that you at home need not even try to understand. To you at home they are columns of figures, or he is a near one who went way and just didn’t come back. You didn’t see him lying so grotesque and pasty beside the gravel road in France.

    We saw him, saw him by the multiple thousands. That’s the difference.

    We hope above all things that Japan won’t make the same stubborn mistake that Germany did. You must credit Germany for her courage in adversity, but you can doubt her good common sense in fighting blindly on long after there was any doubt whatever about the outcome.

    Ernie Pyle
    Source: From handwritten Pyle original, which belongs to Albuquerque Public Library, but in October 2013, it was on loan to Santa Fe. Also published on the front page of the Pittsburgh Press, Sept. 24, 1945.
    back to Wartime Columns

    04/13/2015 9:50:20 AM PDT · 28 of 81
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson

    In addition to the coincidence of the choice to interview Lyndon Johnson about the shock of the death of a president in office, the Times appears not to have had a correspondent in Warm Springs. (Only an Associated Press report is included.) Nowadays, when the imperial entourage lands on Martha’s Vineyard or Crawford or some such place, even if merely for a summer vacation, the press hordes, many of them duly credentialed specialists in “political journalism,” must tag along.


    03/15/2015 6:50:06 PM PDT · 14 of 17
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    The last Ernie Pyle column in the IU journalism school archive to appear before his death next month.


    Pyle writes about life on an aircraft carrier.

    Aboard a Fighting Ship

    IU Archives
    Pyle on board a Navy ship in the Pacific.

    IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC, March 15, 1945 – An aircraft carrier is a noble thing. It lacks almost everything that seems to denote nobility, yet deep nobility is there.

    A carrier has no poise. It has no grace. It is top-heavy and lopsided. It has the lines of a well-fed cow.

    It doesn’t cut through the water like a cruiser, knifing romantically along. It doesn’t dance and cavort like a destroyer. It just plows. You feel it should be carrying a hod, rather than wearing a red sash.

    Yet a carrier is a ferocious thing, and out of its heritage of action has grown its nobility. I believe that today every Navy in the world has as its No. 1 priority the destruction of enemy carriers. That’s a precarious honor, but it’s a proud one.


    My carrier is a proud one. She’s small, and you have never heard of her unless you have a son or husband on her, but still she’s proud, and deservedly so.

    She has been at sea, without returning home, longer than any other carrier in the Pacific, with one exception. She left home in November 1943.

    She is a little thing, yet her planes have shot two hundred thirty-eight of the enemy out of the sky in air battles, and her guns have knocked down five Jap planes in defending herself.

    She is too proud to keep track of little ships she destroys, but she has sent to the bottom twenty-nine big Japanese ships. Her bombs and aerial torpedoes have smashed into everything from the greatest Jap battleships to the tiniest coastal schooners.

    She has weathered five typhoons. Her men have not set foot on any soil bigger than a farm-sized uninhabited atoll for a solid year. They have not seen a woman, white or otherwise, for nearly ten months. In a year and a quarter out of America, she has steamed a total of one hundred forty-nine thousand miles!

    Four different air squadrons have used her as their flying field, flown their allotted missions, and returned to America. But the ship’s crew stays on – and on, and on.

    She is known in the fleet as "The Iron Woman," because she has fought in every battle in the Pacific in the years 1944 and 1945.

    Her battle record sounds like a train-caller on the Lackawanna Railroad. Listen – Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Truk, Palau, Hollandia, Saipan, Chichi Jima, Mindanao, Luzon, Formosa, Nansei Shoto, Hong Kong, Iwo Jima, Tokyo . . . and many others.

    She has known disaster. Her fliers who have perished could not be counted on both hands, yet the ratio is about as it always is – about one American lost for every ten of the Exalted Race sent to the Exalted Heaven.

    She has been hit twice by Jap bombs. She has had mass burials at sea . . . with her dry-eyed crew sewing 40-mm shells to the corpses of their friends, as weights to take them to the bottom of the sea.

    Yet she has never even returned to Pearl Harbor to patch her wounds. She slaps on some patches on the run, and is ready for the next battle. The crew in semi-jocularity cuss her chief engineer for keeping her in such good shape they have no excuse to go back to Honolulu or America for overhaul.


    My carrier, even though classed as "light," is still a very large ship. More than a thousand men dwell upon her. She is more than seven hundred feet long.

    She has all the facilities of a small city. And all the gossip and small talk too. Latest news and rumors have reached the farthest cranny of the ship a few minutes after the captain himself knows about them. All she lacks is a hitching rack and a town pump with a handle.

    She has five barbers, a laundry, a general store. Deep in her belly she carries tons of bombs. She has a daily newspaper. She carries fire-fighting equipment that a city of fifty thousand back in America would be proud of.

    She has a preacher, she has three doctors and two dentists, she has two libraries, and movies every night, except when they’re in battle. And still she is a tiny thing, as the big carriers go. She is a "baby flat-top." She is little. And she is proud.

    She has been out so long that her men put their ship above their captain. They have seen captains come and go, but they and the ship stay on forever.

    They aren’t romantic about their long stay out here. They hate it, and their gripes are long and loud. They yearn pathetically to go home. But down beneath, they are proud – proud of their ship and proud of themselves. And you would be too.

    Ernie Pyle

    03/14/2015 5:37:54 PM PDT · 46 of 52
    untenured to AppyPappy

    If you’re able to get the German World War II vet to speak, let us know how it turns out.


    03/14/2015 10:22:20 AM PDT · 29 of 52
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    "...the Office of Strategic Services, an investigative and interjurative agency operated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff...


  • 'Orbis Spike' in 1610 marks humanity's first major impact on planet Earth

    03/13/2015 10:02:48 AM PDT · 3 of 23
    untenured to posterchild

    And yet 500 years on, catastrophe has continued to fail to happen.


    03/13/2015 9:41:13 AM PDT · 22 of 32
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson

    Churchill’s telegram to FDR captures the new world nicely. Britain can’t exert itself beyond its permanently diminished capacities, and so must simply urge the US to act. But, in shades of the 1970s to come, the Democratic leadership (FDR) prefers to reach out to and coddle Stalin.


    03/10/2015 10:06:57 AM PDT · 21 of 28
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson

    In Churchill’s note to the Minister of Labo(u)r he criticizes the plans to direct the postwar deployment of workers, including returned military personnel, to whatever activities the ministry saw fit. I have often heard that what the British government contemplated in this regard toward the end of and after the war was sweeping in its assertion of authority over the individual, as Churchill notes here, but have done no research on it yet. (I am going to, for a book I am writing.) This is the first reference I have seen to the particulars.


    03/02/2015 5:07:44 PM PST · 18 of 19
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson; henkster
    I've been traveling, so this Ernie Pyle column is a little late.


    Water Everywhere

    IU Archives
    Pyle among Marines on their way to Okinawa.

    IN THE MARIANAS ISLANDS- (Delayed) – When you see a headline saying "Superforts Blast Japan Again" I hope you don’t get the idea that Japan is being blown sky high and that she’ll be bombed out of the war within another week or two. Because that isn’t the case. We are just barely starting on a program of bombing that will be long and tough. Even with heavy and constant bombing it would take years to reduce Japan by bombing alone. And our bombings are not yet heavy.

    Too, we have lots of things to contend with. Distance is the main thing, and Jap fighters and ack-ack and foul weather are other things. The weather over Japan is their best defense. As one pilot jokingly suggested, "The Nips should broadcast us the weather every night and save both themselves and us lots of trouble."

    The B-29 raids are important, just as every island taken and every ship sunk is important. But in their present strength it would be putting them clear out of proportion if you think they are a dominant factor in our Pacific war.

    I say this not to belittle the B-29 boys, because they are wonderful. I say it because they themselves want it understood by the folks at home.


    Their lot is a tough one. The worst part is that they’re over water every inch of the way to Japan, every inch of the way back. And, brother, it’s a lot of water. The average time for one of their missions is more than 14 hours.

    The flak and fighters over Japan are bad enough, but that tense period is fairly short. They are over the empire for only 20 minutes to an hour, depending on their target. Jap fighters follow them only about 15 minutes off the coast.

    What gives the boys the woolies is "sweating out" those six or seven hours of ocean beneath them on the way back. To make it worse, it’s usually at night.

    Some of them are bound to be shot up and just staggering along. There’s always the danger of running out of gas from many forms of overconsumption. If you’ve got one engine gone, others are liable to quit.

    If anything happens, you go into the ocean. That is known as "ditching." I suppose around a B-29 base you hear the word "ditching" almost more than any other word.


    "Ditching" out here isn’t like "ditching" in the English Channel, where your chances of being picked up are awfully good. "Ditching" out here is usually fatal.

    We have set up a search-and-rescue system for these "ditched" fliers, but still the ocean is awfully big, and it’s mighty hard to find a couple of little rubber boats. The fact that we do rescue about a fifth of our "ditched" fliers is amazing to me.

    Yes, that long drag back home after the bombing is a definite mental hazard, and is what eventually makes the boys sit and stare.

    The other morning after a mission, my friend Maj. Gerald Robertson was lying in his cot resting and reminiscing. And he said:

    "You feel so damn helpless when the others get in trouble. The air will be full of radio calls from those guys saying they’ve only got two engines or they’re running short on gas.

    "I’ve been lucky and there I’ll be sitting with four engines and a thousand gallons extra of gas, I could spare any of them one engine and 500 gallons of gas if I could just get it to them. It makes you feel so damn helpless."

    Ernie Pyle
    Source: Rocky Mountain News, February 28, 1945: from a scrapbook given to Indiana University by Mrs. Henry Schoon. Pictures courtesy of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

    02/26/2015 10:11:11 AM PST · 21 of 36
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    Ernie Pyle on the brave, but impenetrable thinking of the Japanese soldier.


    Reflecting the biases of his times, Pyle found the Japanese soldiers less than human.

    The Illogical Japs

    IU Archives
    Pyle with Joe J. Ray and Charles W. Page (Navy) in the Pacific.

    IN THE MARIANAS – (Delayed) – Soldiers and marines have told me stories by the dozen about how tough the Japs are, yet how dumb they are; How illogical and yet how uncannily smart at times; how easy to route when disorganized, yet how brave. I’ve become more confused with each story. At the end of one evening, I said, "I can’t make head nor tail out of what you’ve told me. I’m trying to learn about the Jap soldiers, but everything you say about them seems to be inconsistent."

    "That’s the answer," my friends said. "They are inconsistent. They do the damndest things. But they are dangerous fighters just the same."


    They tell one story about a Jap officer and six men who were surrounded on a beach by a small bunch of marines.

    As the marines approached, they could see the Jap giving emphatic orders to his men, and then all six bent over and the officer went along the line and chopped off their heads with his sword.

    Then as the marines closed in, he stood knee-deep in the surf and beat his bloody sword against the water in a fierce gesture of defiance, just before they shot him.

    What code led the officer to kill his own men rather than let them fight to the death is something only another Jap would know.


    Another little story – a marine sentry walking up and down before a command post on top of a steep bluff one night heard a noise in the brush on the hillside below.

    He called a couple of times, got no answer, then fired an exploratory shot down into the darkness. In a moment there was a loud explosion from below. A solitary Jap hiding down there had put a hand grenade to his chest.

    Why he did that, instead of tossing it up over the bluff and getting himself a half-dozen Americans, is beyond an American’s comprehension.


    On Saipan, they tell of a Jap plane that appeared overhead one bright noonday, all alone. He obviously wasn’t a photographic plane, and they couldn’t figure out what he was doing.

    Then something came out of the plane, and fluttered down. It was a little paper wreath, with a long streamer to it. He had flown it all the way from Japan, and dropped it "in honor of Japan’s glorious dead" on Saipan.

    We shot him down in the sea a few minutes later, as he undoubtedly knew we would before he ever left Japan. The gesture is touching – but so what?


    I’ve talked with marines. I’ve begun to get over that creepy feeling that fighting Japs is like fighting snakes or ghosts.

    They are, indeed, queer, but they are people with certain tactics, and now, by much experience, our men have learned how to fight them.

    As far as I can see, our men are no more afraid of the Japs than they are of the Germans. They are afraid of them as a modern soldier is afraid of his foe, but not because they are slippery or rat-like, but simply because they have weapons and fire them like good, tough soldiers. And the Japs are human enough to be afraid of us exactly the same way.

    Some of our people over here think that, in the long run, the Japs won’t take the beating the Germans have. Others think they will, and even more.

    I’ve not been here long enough really to learn anything of the Jap psychology. But the Pacific war is gradually getting condensed, and consequently tougher and tougher. The closer we go to Japan itself, the harder it will be.

    The Japs are dangerous people and they aren’t funny when they’ve got guns in their hands. It would be tragic for us to underestimate their power to do us damage, or their will to do it. To me it looks like soul-trying days for us in the years ahead.

    Ernie Pyle
    Source: Rocky Mountain News, February 26, 1945: from a scrapbook given to Indiana University by Mrs. Henry Schoon. Pictures courtesy of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

    02/23/2015 11:30:46 AM PST · 25 of 33
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson

    Much of the war reporting throughout, much of it filed from HQ, has to this point been optimistic, Pollyannish even. David Dempsey’s report on p.4 may be, in contrast, the most somber thing I have seen yet in the pages of the Times since the U.S. entered the war.


    02/22/2015 12:11:03 PM PST · 20 of 22
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson; henkster
    First Ernie Pyle column from the Pacific. The global logistics campaign of the U.S. by now seems unprecedented, and not by a small margin.


    A Finger on the Wide Web of the War

    IU Archives
    Pyle with marines in Guam.

    IN THE MARIANAS ISLANDS (Delayed) – February 22, 1945 – You may wonder why we have American troops at all here in the Marianas Islands, since we are 1500 miles away from the Philippines, China, or Japan itself.

    Well, it’s because in this Pacific war of vast water distances, we have to make gigantic bases of each group of islands we take, in order to build up supplies and preparations for future invasions farther on.

    The Marianas happen to be a sort of crossroads in the Western Pacific. Stuff can go either west or north from here. Whoever sits in the Marianas can have his finger on the whole web of the war.

    Thus the Marianas are becoming a heart of the Pacific war. Our naval and military leaders make no bones about it, for the Japs know it anyhow, but they’re too far away to do anything about it.

    The Marianas are both thrilling and engaging right now. Scores of thousands of troops of all kinds are here. Furious building is going on. Planes arrive on schedule from all directions as though this were Chicago airport – only they’ve come thousands of miles over water. Convoys unload unbelievable tonnages.

    These islands will hum throughout the war and they will never return to their former placid life, for we are building on almost every inch of useable land. Supplies in staggering quantities are being stacked up here for future use. You can take your pick of K-rations or lumber or bombs, and you’d find enough of either to feed a city, build one, or blow it up.

    Fleets can base here between engagements. Combat troops train here. Other troops come back to rest. Great hospitals are set up for our future wounded. Pipelines criss-cross the islands. Trucks bumper to bumper dash forward as though they were on the Western front. Ox-cart trails turn almost overnight into four-lane macadam highways for military traffic. There is no blackout in the islands. If raiders come the lights are turned off, but they seldom come anymore. The Marianas are a pretty safe place now.

    Great long macadam airstrips are in operation and others are being laid. The Marianas are the seat of some our B-29 bomber fleets which will grow and grow and grow.

    Thousands of square tents, thousands of curved steel Quonset huts, thousands of huge, permanent warehouses and office buildings dot the islands. Lights burn all night and the roar of planes, the clank of bulldozers, and the clatter of hammers is constant. It is a strange contrast to the stillness that dwelt amidst this greenery for so many centuries.

    There are 15 islands in this chain, running due north and south. They string out a total distance of more than 400 miles. We are on the southern end.

    We only hold three islands, but they are the biggest and the only three that count. The other islands are completely "neutralized" by our occupancy of these three.

    There are a few Japs living on some of the others, but there’s nothing they can do to harm us. The islands we haven’t bothered with are small and worthless. Most of them have no inhabitants at all.

    The islands we took are Guam, Tinian and Saipan. Guam had been ours for many years before Japan took it away from just after Pearl Harbor. Tinian and Saipan had been Japanese since the last war. We took the whole batch last summer.

    Guam is the biggest and southernmost. Tinian and Saipan are right together, 120 miles north of Guam. You can fly up there in less than an hour, and our transport planes shuttle back and forth several times daily on regular schedule. They have to make a "dog-leg" around the island of Rota, about half way up for there are still Japs on it with 50-caliber machine guns, and they’ll shoot at you.

    I’ve been on all three of our islands, and I must admit two things – that I like it here, and that you can’t help but be thrilled by what the Americans are doing.

    And from all I’ve picked up so far, I think it can be said that most Americans like the Marianas Islands, assuming they have to be away from home at all.

    The savage heat and the dread diseases and the awful jungles of the more southern Pacific Islands do not exist here. The climate is good, the islands are pretty, and the native Chamorros are nice people.

    Health conditions among our men are excellent. They work in shorts or without shirts and are deeply tanned. The mosquito and fly problem has been licked. There is almost no venereal disease. Food is good. The weather is always warm but not cruelly hot. Almost always a breeze is blowing. Anywhere you look, you have a pretty view.

    Yes, the islands are a paradise and life here is fine – except it’s empty and there is no diversion and the monotony eventually gnaws at you.

    Ernie Pyle
    Source: Photocopy of typescript sent March 8, 1945, by Sgt. Philip Stolper of the Army Air Force, a parts technician for a B-29 bomber squadron, to his parents, Samuel and Eva Stolper, of Muskogee, Oklahoma, with the notation, "This report from Ernie Pyle better describes our conditions than anything I could possibly write. I think however, he has underestimated the present building program." Photocopy given to Prof. Owen V. Johnson, Indiana University, by Alli Stolper, Phil Stolper's granddaughter and an IU student, April 2003.

    02/14/2015 10:56:26 AM PST · 18 of 27
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    Ernie Pyle, in his last column to involve in any way life back home, gives us a glimpse of Hollywood before we all found out all too much about it.


    Pyle writes about the "The Story of GI Joe," a movie based on Pyle's columns.

    In the Movies

    IU Archives
    Pyle with nurses at an air raid shelter.

    SAN FRANCISCO – And now about the movie which is being partly based on these columns from the war fronts over the last two years.

    Well, the movie is finished at last. I mean the shooting is finished. But there are a lot of things we laymen don’t know about the movies, and one of them is that a film isn’t ready to show for about three months after they’ve finished shooting. So I don’t expect you’ll be seeing it till April or May.

    They are still calling it "The Story of G.I. Joe." I never did like the title, but nobody could think of a better one, and I was too lazy to try.

    It is a movie about the infantry. There isn’t much of a story to it, and there’s no conventional love interest running through it. The War Department co-operated and furnished two companies of soldiers, who were moved to Hollywood, plus lots of equipment such as trucks, tanks, guns and what not.

    The soldiers all grew beards, and although they got awfully itchy, the boys said the girls in Hollywood sure do go for a soft, flossy beard. The only tragedy was when one soldier’s beard caught fire one day and he got pretty badly burned. I don’t know whether he got a Purple Heart.


    The six main soldier characters in the picture were played by professional actors. But the run-of-the-mill soldiers were played by real soldiers. As was expected, a couple of the real soldiers turned out to be "finds" as actors. By the time you see the picture, practically all the soldiers in it will be fighting overseas.

    I spent a week in Hollywood nosing into the picture in October, another week in December. I still don’t know whether it will be a good picture or not, but I think it will.

    If it isn’t a good picture, it will not be for lack of good intentions. They have worked a year and a half on it, and spent more than a million dollars. They’ve slaved to avoid "Hollywooding" it. They’ve sought, and listened, to advice from men who know what war is.

    They’ve had at least one veteran war correspondent there all the time. The army has kept never less than three overseas veterans of combat out there constantly. As I left Hollywood, one of these veterans said, "I think it’s going to be a good picture. At least I think it will be the most authentic war picture ever made."


    My own part in it is very minor. My part is played by Capt. Burgess Meredith. The makeup men shaved his head and wrinkled his face and made him up so well that he’s even uglier than I am, poor fellow.

    The picture was directed by "Wild Bill" Wellman, one of Hollywood’s top men. The picture was produced by Lester Cowan, an independent, through United Artists. If it’s a lousy picture, poor Lester will have to face the wrath of about two million irate soldiers. If it isn’t a lousy picture, then he can float on air for years.

    An almost anonymous person whose hand bore strongly on the picture is an old Indiana school friend of mine named Paige Cavanaugh. Being one of my closest friends, he quit whatever he was doing last spring and went to work for Lester Cowan, largely to insure, as Lester puts it, that "Cowan didn’t louse Pyle up."

    But as time went on Cavanaugh’s innate good sense began to make an impression around Hollywood, and in the end they have leaned heavily on his judgment. Cavanaugh, being a farmer at heart, still sneers at Hollywood, but he’s got a gleam in his eye that looks permanent to me.


    When the picture is finally ready for release, they hope to fly a print across the Pacific and let me have a little world premiere of my own before a few hundred fighting infantrymen somewhere in the Far East.

    But there won’t be any single premiere in America. It will open simultaneously in 100 cities. My little old hometown of Dana, Ind., and my new hometown of Albuquerque will, of course, be among them.

    The theater manager in Dana has volunteered to let my father and Aunt Mary in free on opening night. They think that’s sure mighty nice, and they’ll probably take him up on it.

    Ernie Pyle
    Source: Rocky Mountain News, February 14, 1945: from a scrapbook given to Indiana University by Mrs. Henry Schoon. Pictures courtesy of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
    back to Wartime Columns

    02/13/2015 9:22:48 AM PST · 7 of 13
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    Ernie Pyle on Ernie Pyle's books.


    In writing about his writing, Pyle showed elements of both ego and modesty.

    About My Books

    Pyle with unidentified Asian children.
    SAN FRANCISCO – I think it permissible to mention in this column the two big things that have grown out of the column, since so many people ask me about them. They are the book "Brave Men" and the movie, "Story of GI Joe."

    First for the book. It was almost impossible for you to buy one in late December and early January. That was because of paper rationing. The publishers, Henry Holt & Co., simply couldn’t beg, borrow or steal enough paper.

    Holts finally succeeded in printing 239,000 in 1944, and they were sold before they were printed. In addition, the Book-of-the-Month Club printed 415,000, which I understand is their biggest first month’s sale in history. (No harm in a little bragging, is there?).

    On New Year Day the 1945 paper quota opened, and Holts began a new printing of a quarter of a million. They go out to bookstores over the country in monthly driblets of about 75,000, so you should be able to buy the book by the time this is printed. Provided, of course, that you still want it, and if you don’t I’ll send my hatchet man around to chop your head off.


    Holts say the book will pass a million by late spring. The previous book, "Here Is Your War," is part a million and a quarter. Don’t you wish you were a great big wonderful author like me?

    I finally got around to reading "Brave Men" myself – something which I’ve not yet succeeded in doing to "Here Is Your War." I read it for the purpose of making typographical corrections, and bringing little incidents about the men in it up to date, for later printings.

    And when I finished, I counted up and found that 15 of my friends in it had been killed just since I came back to America. That many I know of, because their families have written me. Doubtless there are many more that I haven’t heard about.

    While we’re writing about the book, I want to use this device to thank all the reviewers who were so kind. I had intended writing each one of them a letter, but hell, there are lots of things you intend to do.

    Old war-time acquaintances, such as Cy Sulzberger and Ira Wolfert and Quentin Reynolds, put a lump in my throat by the nice things they said. And others by people I’ve never known were touchingly beautiful. To every one of you who wrote so feelingly about this book, herewith is my deep gratitude.


    As you know, the book, except for the last chapter, was simply a reprint of the columns I’d sent back to the papers from Sicily, Italy, England and France.

    No changes were made in them. But in some instances they were reassembled in order to put similar subjects all in the same chapter. This work was done by a vivacious little creature who works for Holts, named Judy Underhill.

    The other big hands in the publishing of the book were Holt’s employes named Helen Taylor and Bill Sloane, both of whom have become good friends through our slight association in these two books. The title, "Brave Men," was given the book by my boss, Lee Miller, of Scripps-Howard Newspapers.


    First proofs were flown to me in France in early August, and I made and cabled back what corrections I could. I wrote the last chapter in France in August, and cabled it back. By the time I got home the book was rolling off the presses.

    The very first copy was autographed by all the Holt’s people who work in the Trade Department, and sent to me in Albuquerque. I sent a few copies to friends overseas, gave a few hundred to friends in America and have since autographed about 1000 more around the country.

    Once I autographed 175 books in 45 minutes. Along toward the end I’d have to stop and think how to spell my name. For years I haven’t known where I am, and now I don’t know who I am. Oh, goodness, oh, goodness me.

    Ernie Pyle
    Source: Rocky Mountain News, February 13, 1945: from a scrapbook given to Indiana University by Mrs. Henry Schoon. Pictures courtesy of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
    back to Wartime Columns

    02/12/2015 9:47:10 AM PST · 17 of 38
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson; henkster
    Ernie Pyle today, the first of three columns on consecutive days that are publicly available. None directly involve life on the front lines; the first column from the Pacific will appear on Feb. 22.


    One of the things that endeared Pyle to his readers was the way in which he made his family part of their lives.

    Personal Items

    IU Archives
    Pyle sits between his Aunt Mary and his father.

    SAN FRANCISCO – Some of you old-time readers who’ve hung on faithfully to this column for years might like to know how some of my personal affairs are getting along, since I’ve always worn all the family intimacies on my sleeve.

    Take our little dog for instance – "Cheetah." When I got home she was in the midst of a romantic spell, and had a lot of strange men-dogs whom I’d never met hanging around outside the picket fence.

    But the romantic business has passed, and now she’s as quiet and lazy as an old woman. She never barks, never makes any trouble, and is always full of that most gracious of all dog gifts – affection for her masters. The little Shepherd is earning her way into Dog heaven by perpetual good conduct.


    Or take "That Girl," whom you used to read so much about before the war, and who for all those long years of peacetime traveling, rode beside me.

    I haven’t written much about her in recent years, because I haven’t seen much of her. The war has done the same thing to us that it has to millions of others. In the last four years, we have been together only on these little excursion trips to America.

    She has kept the hearth in Albuquerque – kept it under difficulties. She has been burdened by recurring illnesses, and has had to revolve between home and hospital. But she has succeeded in keeping the little white house just as it always was, which she knew is what I would want.

    She is back there now, trying to cope with the prospect of another year alone. She is still, by remote control, my guiding star. She thinks everything I do is wonderful. She even thinks I’m beautiful, which is the only flaw in her judgment.

    She lives only for the day when war is over and we can have a life together again. And that’s what I live for too, for life to a man isn’t much good without "his woman," and after 20 years that’s what "That Girl" still is to me. I hope we both last through until the sun shines in the world again.


    And my folks in Indiana – I visited them twice on this furlough in America, both visits all too short, but better than none.

    My Father and my Aunt Mary are still on the farm, three miles outside the little town of Dana. They have repapered the house and rearranged the furniture, and they are very comfortable.

    My father still limps from his hip fracture of a year ago. And his eyes are very bad now, and he can’t see to read. But he gets around all right and even drives the car to town now and then. We think he shouldn’t be driving, but every time Aunt Mary mentions that, he goes out and gets in the car and drives to town, so she’s stopped mentioning it.

    My Dad listens a lot to the radio, and helps with the dishes, and Aunt Mary reads to him at night, and last summer he even helped some with the harvesting when the neighbors were hard up for help. He raises a few chickens. Outside of that, life is without duties or energy for him.


    Aunt Mary is almost 79, and her spirit is boundless. She goes all day long, like a 16-year-old. She cooks the meals, cleans the house, works in the garden, does the washing for two or three families, goes to her club meetings and to church, does things for the neighbors, and never finds time to sit down.

    I was amused at a letter that came from her the other day. One of our neighbors, Mrs. Howard Goforth, came down with a violent rheumatism. So Aunt Mary drove over and put hot cloths on her for several hours, got noontime dinner for the farm hands, did the weekly washing, and then got supper ready for them before she came home for her own evening chores.

    Next day a blizzard was on. The ice was so slick she didn’t dare take the car out of the garage. The snow on the roads was two feet deep and it was bitter cold.

    So what did Aunt Mary do? She just bundled up and walked three-quarters of a mile over to Goforths, worked all day, and then walked back in the evening through the snow. She sure doesn’t take after her nephew.

    Ernie Pyle
    Source: Rocky Mountain News, February 12, 1945: from a scrapbook given to Indiana University by Mrs. Henry Schoon. Pictures courtesy of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
    back to Wartime Columns

    02/09/2015 9:51:55 AM PST · 13 of 32
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson

    One map is now sufficient to show the German fronts east and west.


    02/07/2015 12:01:45 PM PST · 15 of 21
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson

    From page 4:

    “The pipeline project not only concerns the entire world petroleum picture, with ramifications in international strategy affecting tanker availability, aircraft and war vessels as well as merchant shipping and oil markets and reserves, but also raises questions of a diplomatic in nature. Among these are how extensively the United States wishes to interest itself in Middle Eastern affairs and how closely the American government would participate in such a venture, how much protection it could guarantee it and how the idea would be viewed by interested great powers, such as Britain and France, or by smaller independent nations, such as Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon.”

    The big items on the agenda in the story, it seems, are such things as “merchant shipping,” Great Britain and France as “interested great powers” and a Lebanon described without irony as an “independent nation”! What ultimately mattered in that part of the world for the next 70 years is nowhere to be seen here, nor in the predictions I would imagine of any other contemporaneous expert. Predicting the human future in any detail is, it seems, an impossibly complex task. Of the extent to which ultimately “the United States wishe[d] to interest itself in Middle Eastern affairs,” little need be said.


    02/06/2015 6:21:45 PM PST · 23 of 25
    untenured to henkster

    You know I have to confess when I post those columns, I just open the HTML on the IU website and copy and paste at what looks like about the right place. And then whatever shows up in the preview box shows up. In other words, I didn’t know Mr. Wells nor did I go out of my way to post his picture, but I’m certainly glad you liked it.

    My dad was actually an IU professor from 1966-1969. I was born two years before that, and only remember it a little.


    02/06/2015 9:48:59 AM PST · 12 of 25
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    Ernie Pyle has not written a column for four months. Today, shortly before shipping out to the Pacific, he is back.

    Back Again

    IU Archives
    Pyle receiving his honorary degree from Herman B Wells

    SAN FRANCISCO – Well, here we go again.

    It has been four months since I wrote my last column, from France. In four months of non-production a writer gets out of the habit. He forgets the rhythm of words; falls into the easy habit of not making himself think or feel in self-expression.

    This first column is a man-killer. Your mind automatically resents the task of focusing itself again. Your thoughts are scattered and you can’t get them together to put onto paper. Words come hard. You have to think again. You curse the day you ever took up writing to make a living.

    So until I’m once more immersed in the routine of daily writing, and transported once more into the one-track world of war, I’m afraid you’ll have to be tolerant with me.


    There’s nothing nice about the prospect of going back to war again. Anybody who has been in war and wants to go back is a plain damn fool in my book.

    I’m certainly not going because I’ve got itchy feet again, or because I can’t stand America, or because there’s any mystic fascination about war that is drawing me back.

    I’m going simply because there’s a war on and I’m part of it and I’ve known all the time I was going back. I’m going simply because I’ve got to – and I hate it.

    This time it will be the Pacific. When I left France last fall, we thought the war in Europe was about over. I say "we" because I mean almost everybody over there thought so. I felt it was so near the end I could come home and before the time came to go again, that side of the war would be finished, and only the Pacific would be left.


    But it didn’t turn out that way. Now nobody knows how long the European war will last. Naturally, all my friends and associations and sentiments are on that side. I suppose down in my heart I would rather go back to that side. For over in Europe I know the tempo of the battle; I feel at home with it, in a way.

    And yet I think it’s best to stick with the original plan and go on to the Pacific. There are a lot of guys in that war, too. They are the same guys who are fighting on the other side, only with different names, that’s all. It is not belittling my friends in Europe to desert them and go to the Pacific for a while.

    I’m going with the navy this time, since the navy is so dominant in the Pacific, and since I’ve done very little in the past on that part of the service. I won’t stay with the navy for the duration – probably two or three months, and then back ashore again with my noble souls, the doughfoots.

    Security forbids telling you just what the plans are. But can say that I’ll fly across the Pacific, and join ship on the other side. Aboard ship, I’ll be out of touch with the world on long cruises. It may be there will be lapses in the daily column, simply because it’s impossible to transmit these pieces. But we’ll do our best to keep them going steadily.


    I haven’t figured out yet what I’m going to do about seasickness. I’m one of those unfortunates with a terrific stomach on land, but one that turns to whey and jelly when I get aboard ship. I know of nothing that submerges the muse in a man as much as the constant compulsion to throw up. Perhaps I should take along my own oil to spread on the troubled waters.

    Friends warn me about all kinds of horrible diseases in the Pacific. About dysentery, and malaria, and fungus that gets in your ears and your intestines, and that horrible swelling disease known as elephantiasis.

    Well, all I can say is that I’m God’s gift to germs. Those fungi will shout and leap for joy when I show up. Maybe I can play the Pied Piper role – maybe the germs will all follow me when I get there, and leave the rest of the boys free to fight.


    So what with disease, Japs, seasickness and shot and shell – you see I’m not too overwhelmed with relief at starting out again.

    But there’s one thing in my favor where I’m going; one thing that will make life bearable when all else is darkness and gloom. And that one thing is that, out in the Pacific, I’ll be damned good and stinking hot. Oh, boy!

    Ernie Pyle
    Source: Rocky Mountain News, February 6, 1945: from a scrapbook given to Indiana University by Mrs. Henry Schoon. Pictures courtesy of The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
    back to Wartime Columns
  • Time: Women in Meetings Never Interrupt Men, "Interruption" Should be Changed to "Manterruption"

    01/15/2015 9:51:19 AM PST · 25 of 53
    untenured to rightistight

    It was brought to my attention a few years ago that I did interrupt a woman in a meeting, so I, sufficiently chastened, have tried very hard not to do that ever since and pay close attention to the interruption habits of others.

    I’m in a department with 11 members, four of whom are women. We have a lot of meetings, and there are two women who fact do interrupt. A lot. (Some but not all of the men, including me, don’t.)

    It doesn’t intrinsically have to be that way. The dean is also a woman, and she is very hard-charging and ambitious. But she never interrupts.


    01/13/2015 9:44:13 AM PST · 15 of 54
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson

    On page 15 we learn of Lady Mountbatten arriving in South Asia. If she has not already, she will soon begin a raging affair with the Congress Party leader Nehru, which Adm. Mountbatten himself will know all about by the time he is trying to patch ogether the hurried departure of the British from India several years later.

  • Fouad Ajami Goes To Israel

    01/09/2015 4:08:28 PM PST · 2 of 4
    untenured to OddLane

    I read a couple of Ajami’s books, and many of his essays in The Wall Street Journal. He was a man of a different era, the era when Arabs were blinded by mere delusional anti-Zionism rather than delusional Islamism. He was no blind supporter of Israel, but no stubborn rejectionist either. I grew skeptical of his belief in the ability of American blood and treasure to change the many and manifest ills of Arabia, but he diagnosed them very thoroughly, insightfully, and while pulling no punches. He also wrote beautiful English, far better than most native-speaker intellectuals.

  • The coming right-to-work fight in Wisconsin

    12/05/2014 5:37:19 AM PST · 7 of 19
    untenured to rellimpank
    Under right-to-work laws, workers in unionized shops cannot be required to pay dues as a condition of employment. That creates a "free rider" problem for unions as workers calculate that they can benefit from representation without paying for it. As a result, unions have a harder time organizing and less clout.

    Under laws artificially privileging labor unions over freedom of association, workers are forced to pay dues to unions as a condition of taking jobs with particular employers, which those employers are legally forced to impose. That creates an "entry barrier" benefit for unions, whose workers get more for doing less, and an "entry barrier" problem for workers and employers who find it in their mutual interest to come to agreement outside the unionized framework. As a result, many workers lose opportunities and prices of goods and services increase, stripping customers, owners and shareholders alike of the gains to be had from mutually beneficial exchanges.


    11/23/2014 10:53:46 AM PST · 18 of 28
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson

    It is striking how similar the menus for the army and navy personnel’s Thanksgiving meal are to those of today (not exactly the same, but surprisingly close). With everything else that would be utterly unrecognizable from the 1944 vantage point in the culture of 2014, somehow the Thanksgiving meal from 1944 looks pretty familiar now. Perhaps that’s one of the few things holding us together at this point.


    11/16/2014 10:59:31 AM PST · 16 of 24
    untenured to EternalVigilance
    Here is George Will today on the Bettina Stangneth book discussed in the article you linked to.

    11/11/2014 10:05:09 AM PST · 19 of 30
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson

    I was struck by the reference to Lieutenant Commander Eleanor Rigby on p. 8. Later that name, anyway, would go on to bigger things.

  • Vanity: HELP, Bias in HS World History Class

    11/07/2014 3:21:18 PM PST · 20 of 81
    untenured to CharlotteVRWC
    You may wish to ask the administration if, given that world history is several thousand years old, the teacher should be urged not to spend any class time at all on one political issue in the mere last six years of it in one particular country.
  • Feminist cancels USU talk after guns allowed despite death threat

    10/15/2014 11:29:04 AM PDT · 14 of 19
    untenured to Personal Responsibility
    "Feminists have ruined my life, and I will have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all others they’ve wronged,” read the message from a sender who claimed to be a USU student.

    The message threatened to rain gunfire and shrapnel upon a lecture by Sarkeesian, who created a feminist video blog and a video series on misogyny in video games. She was scheduled to speak at 11:30 a.m. at the Taggart Student Center Auditorium.

    “A Montreal Massacre style attack will be carried out,” warned the message, sent to multiple departments and individuals around campus. “I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs.”

    Awfully formal English for a "USU student." Also a somewhat dated reference, for a USU student of the expected age, to the "Montreal Massacre." I suspect it is just more Gamergate blather, although it may be a false-flag operation.


    10/13/2014 8:50:09 AM PDT · 21 of 41
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    Fomosa (Taiwan) is neither savage nor war-ridden now. It is a society with its share of problems, but they are the problems of a peaceful liberal democracy. They, South Korea, and Japan have built some of the most peaceful societies in world history.

    Of course, that may be due to the external peace provided by the US military umbrella.

  • Police Unleash Tear Gas in Hong Kong Protests

    09/28/2014 4:46:58 PM PDT · 5 of 8
    untenured to Enlightened1
    As was suggested above, this has been building since August. People want an open process for selecting candidates for the first universal-franchise election in HK's history in 2017, but it was decided in Chna that the PRC will, essentially, get to vet the candidates first. An OWS-type movement started occupying an area, followed last week by a student strike. But the HK leadership, answering to Beijing, won't budge.

    The Chinese are worried about similar protests breaking out in China proper, and the Chinese army has a unit in HK.

  • Of Candidates and Strip Clubs

    09/25/2014 7:42:02 AM PDT · 11 of 13
    untenured to golux

    Just days before the story broke Hart had also taunted the press to follow him around, saying they’d find nothing.

  • What John Quincy Adams Said About Immigration Will Blow Your Mind

    09/20/2014 3:27:21 PM PDT · 25 of 36
    untenured to MSSC6644
    It is a remarkable letter, one that seems to describe a different country. Who in our country could today say with a straight face something like the remarks below?

    "This is a land, not of privileges, but of equal rights. Privileges are granted by European sovereigns to particular classes of individuals, for purposes of general policy; but the general impression here is that privileges granted to one denomination of people, can very seldom be discriminated from erosions of the rights of others."

    The whole thing is full of passages like that that read like a document from an ancient civilization.


    09/20/2014 11:54:04 AM PDT · 21 of 25
    untenured to Homer_J_Simpson
    The BBC has a story on a parachute jump today (by much younger men) to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Arnhem. Some veterans were able to make it back as well.
  • Would Scottish Independence Be a Net Plus for Liberty?

    09/18/2014 9:11:34 AM PDT · 26 of 28
    untenured to Boogieman
    The problem is, you cannot assert a right that is dependent on the motivations or results of the exercise of that right, or it is no right at all.

    I think I began by saying in fact there is no such right to change the sovereign, no collective right of "self-determination." Indeed, I have worked very hard so far to avoid talking about the "rights" of collectives. (And be mindful of asserting that a right, especially a fictional collective one, is an absolute thing. How much misery has been brought about by such claims!) There is an individual right of individual resistance to an unjust sovereign, but that is all. If enough individuals resist, the sovereign will change. If they are really fighting for their rights, the amount of justice in this tragic world will happily increase. This is, I hope, the story of the American Revolution.

    Said differently, there is no right to change the sovereign just because some fraction of people under its jurisdiction wants a different sovereign. The change in sovereignty must be grounded in something more fundamental.

  • Would Scottish Independence Be a Net Plus for Liberty?

    09/18/2014 8:48:04 AM PDT · 24 of 28
    untenured to nathanbedford
    I think if you and I sat around for an hour or two we wouldn't end up far apart. I would say that revolutions should not be entered into lightly; the violence of the resistance should be proportionate to the violence of the oppression. Violent revolution should not be entered into for "light and transient causes."

    The Scottish plebiscite is far from violent, of course, although one reads accounts of intimidation of independence opponents, much like what happened to people who gave to the anti-gay marriage initiative in CA. But the impetus for Scottish independence seems absurd to me, driven significantly by a desire to put SNP types in charge of government largesse.

    As to "Suppose the South said, as a price of leaving the union we are willing to emancipate all slaves? Or consider the converse, should the union have compensated slaveholders for the loss of their property?," would not either of those outcomes have been better than what actually transpired? As I understand it many abolitionists were opposed to the second option on principle, and excessive devotion to principle can get a lot of people killed. So the principle had better be a good one.

  • Would Scottish Independence Be a Net Plus for Liberty?

    09/18/2014 8:31:32 AM PDT · 23 of 28
    untenured to Boogieman
    Well, it seems to me that the pro-independence camp is arguing for a change because "We're Scots and they're not." I grant I am not too familiar with the particulars of the Scottish campaign, but that appears to me to be nothing but a nationalist argument. Perhaps you and I are using the word differently.

    If the people of Scotland who favor independence are voting to depart to protect their rights as individuals (which I doubt), I am with them. If they are voting merely to be governed by people arbitrarily born in Scotland rather than by people arbitrarily born in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, I see no moral justification for that, especially if the new Scottish government will use that power to further violate their rights (which is what I think will happen).

    The sovereign is a means, not an end. Always.

  • Would Scottish Independence Be a Net Plus for Liberty?

    09/18/2014 6:42:11 AM PDT · 17 of 28
    untenured to Boogieman
    Well, I’m talking about self-determination and the social contract, not nationalism.

    In the present case, what's the difference?

  • Would Scottish Independence Be a Net Plus for Liberty?

    09/18/2014 6:41:17 AM PDT · 16 of 28
    untenured to nathanbedford
    Since the "majority of Southerners" to whom you refer was really the "majority of Southerners, excluding those unrepresented Southerners held in bondage," I am not sure that example is apposite. But your point about the Tories is a valid one.

    My thinking is that the function of the sovereign is to protect the people's liberties as individuals. There is no collective right per se to change it. Down that road lies much potential for mischief arising from the ambitions of evil men and the gullibility of those persuaded to follow them. Nationalism, unchaperoned by any broader notion of rights, is in my view for this reason dangerous, even pernicious. Based on what little I know about it, I view the SNP in part this way - as opportunists driven by the desire to accumulate power.

    But if a sovereign violates the liberties of the citizens, of course a rebellion might be justified. But what of the Tories, and others in similar situations? Having done nothing but been opposed to the side that eventually won, which from another perspective was merely being loyal to the side that lost, do they thus become traitors? Can they be expelled, stripped of their property, segregated, or killed, as has happened to others in such positions? If they are expelled, should they be compensated for their property? Or should some way be found to allow them to stay or leave as they like, in peace? (Perhaps this last is impossible, but surely it would be best to try.)

    And as to the present controversy, are any rights of Scots being violated simply because their sovereign is in Westminster and not Edinburgh? I think not. If independence would lead to the further violations of their rights via the imposition of burdensome laws by Edinburgh or Brussels, then can independence itself be held to violate the rights of Scots as individuals, regardless of how a majority voted? I think so.

    You are right, these are hard questions, even more in real situations than in the abstract. The environment after a change of sovereignty, nationalist or otherwise, violent or not, is not where I expect reason and decency to flourish, and yet that is where they are most needed. (Czechoslovakia appears to have pulled it off, but I cannot immediately think of other examples.)

  • The Fade-Out of the Fade-Out in Popular Music

    09/17/2014 7:08:40 PM PDT · 60 of 61
    untenured to dfwgator
    Nothing more annoying than a song that you know is longer on the album being faded out on the single version.

    Actually, I listen to the radio when in the car. Those oldies stations that delete portions in the middle of classic songs to fit their time requirements are actually even more annoying.

  • Is Obamacare Collapsing In Minnesota?

    09/17/2014 7:02:37 PM PDT · 5 of 35
    untenured to markomalley

    The trouble with big government is that it doesn’t collapse. It slowly unravels, meaning that politicians at every stage can say that the problem is that the enemies of decency are preventing the government from solving the people’s problems, so more government is called for.

  • Would Scottish Independence Be a Net Plus for Liberty?

    09/17/2014 6:59:43 PM PDT · 11 of 28
    untenured to Boogieman
    However, I think conservatives should all recognize that everyone, for better or worse, has the right to self-determination.

    You are using "everyone" and "rights" in the collectivist sense. What about Scots who don't want to pay higher taxes, who don't want a bigger welfare state, who don't want the EU to have more control over their country (assuming these things are the result of a "yes" vote)? Can a majority of Scots violate the rights of the minority this way by stripping them of their sovereign, their passports, just because they are the majority?

    Peoples don't have rights, individuals do. Nationalism is fundamentally an anti-freedom ideology.

  • Angry Ukrainian Mob Throws Politician Into A Dumpster (great video at link)

    09/17/2014 6:37:57 AM PDT · 26 of 35
    untenured to doug from upland
    Doug, don't know if you saw this one from yesterday on the same theme:

    Passengers eject Pak politicians out of plane for causing delay