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February 20, 2011

Stalin, cannibalism, and the true nature of evil

Stalin, cannibalism, and the true nature of evil. - By Ron Rosenbaum - Slate Magazine
How much should the cannibalism count? How should we factor it into the growing historical-moral-political argument over how to compare Hitler's and Stalin's genocides, and the death tolls of communism and fascism in general. I know I had not considered it. I had really not been aware of the extent of the cannibalism that took place during the Stalinist-enforced famine in the Ukraine in 1933 until I read Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder's shocking, unflinching depiction of it in Bloodlands, his groundbreaking new book about Hitler's and Stalin's near-simultaneous genocides. For the past three decades, beginning with what was called in Germany the Historikerstreit, or historians' battle, continuing with the 1997 French publication of The Black Book of Communism (which put the death toll from communist regimes at close to 100 million compared with 25 million from Hitler and fascism), there has been a controversy over comparative genocide and comparative evil that has pitted Hitler's mass murders against Stalin's, Mao's, and Pol Pot's. . . . There is no algorithm for evil, but the case of Stalin's has for a long time weighed more heavily the ideological murders and gulag deaths that began in 1937 and played down the millions who—Snyder argues—were just as deliberately, cold-bloodedly murdered by enforced famine in 1932 and 1933. Here is where the shock of Snyder's relatively few pages on cannibalism brought the question of degrees of evil alive once again to me. According to Snyder's carefully documented account, it was not uncommon during the Stalin-imposed famine in Soviet Ukraine for parents to cook and eat their children. The bare statement alone is horrifying even to write.

February 08, 2011

"whether someone likes the taste of beer is the single best predictor of if he or she has sex on the first date"

The Best Questions For A First Date -- OkTrends More stat-crunching fun from the nerds at OKCupid.

February 03, 2011

Nazi Germany pursued Finnish dog in sunglasses that did Hitler salute

BBC News - Nazi Germany pursued 'Hitler salute' Finnish dog
A Finnish dog which gave Nazi salutes so annoyed Germany's World War II government that it launched a campaign against its owner. Tor Borg's wife had reportedly given Jackie the nickname Hitler - saying the dog's strange way of raising its paw and barking reminded her of the Fuhrer. Newly discovered documents show Mr Borg was interrogated by the Germans on suspicion of insulting Hitler. Attempts were also made to sabotage his business, the papers show.

January 28, 2011

Ayn Rand collected Social Security and Medicare under a fake name

Michael Ford: Ayn Rand and the VIP-DIPers
The Right should be commended politically for their ability to develop and stick to a unified message. But close inspection of this unified message reveals a disappointing secret identified by a student of the Godfather of Neo-conservatism, --- the University of Chicago's Leo Strauss. The student, Anne Norton ("Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire") identified what she called VIP-DIP meaning Venerated in Public, Disdained in Private. "Do as I say, not as I do." The list of vip-dipers on the Right runs from Harold Bloom to Newt Gingrich, but certainly not Ayn Rand. Right? . . . However, it was revealed in the recent "Oral History of Ayn Rand" by Scott McConnell (founder of the media department at the Ayn Rand Institute) that in the end Ayn was a vip-dipper as well. An interview with Evva Pryror, a social worker and consultant to Miss Rand's law firm of Ernst, Cane, Gitlin and Winick verified that on Miss Rand's behalf she secured Rand's Social Security and Medicare payments which Ayn received under the name of Ann O'Connor (husband Frank O'Connor). As Pryor said, "Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out" without the aid of these two government programs. Ayn took the bail out even though Ayn "despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently... She didn't feel that an individual should take help." But alas she did and said it was wrong for everyone else to do so. Apart from the strong implication that those who take the help are morally weak, it is also a philosophic point that such help dulls the will to work, to save and government assistance is said to dull the entrepreneurial spirit. In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest.

January 25, 2011

Oh Damn! "Apoplectic" and "epiplectic" ain't the same word!

Crapcrapcrap! Egg all damn up on my face on this...

January 24, 2011

The United States of Shame, What Each State Is Worst At

The United States of Shame, What Each State Is Worst At

January 21, 2011

Life in Michigan: Rapper Snares Dear #YesMichigan!

Shannon's Dirty on the :30 - Mojo In The Morning...

Life in Michigan: Rapper Snares Dear #YesMichigan!

Shannon's Dirty on the :30 - Mojo In The Morning...