Quotulatiousness

August 18, 2017

The worst part of being a pet owner

Filed under: Personal — Tags: — Nicholas @ 20:38

Sadly, this is not a repost of my similarly titled post from less than two weeks ago. Today, we lost the very last of our cat clan. Ash, our eldest cat, is no longer with us.

Harry Paget Flashman on the left, with Cinders and Ash, making sure that nobody can make the bed right now. October 2010.

Ash had been fading for a while, but as long as he was still interested in life, we were not going to make any irrevocable decisions. Over the last couple of days, he’d stopped eating and was barely drinking, which meant we needed to talk to the vet about what to do. The initial diagnosis was liver failure, and at 17 the prognosis was not hopeful. The vet suggested that with liver issues, especially for older cats, it was not likely to be a favourable outcome if we elected for surgery, and we didn’t want to subject him to that kind of stress with such low odds of survival.

“Rebel Commander Ezra Levant” calls retreat

Filed under: Cancon, Media, Politics — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

In the National Post, Chris Selley recounts the sudden changes in staffing and editorial policy at Ezra Levant’s mini media empire:

If Rebel Media’s uppance was coming, if some event was finally going to wipe the smirk off its face, it could hardly have been more hideously appropriate than what happened over the weekend in Charlottesville, Va.

Live on the internet, Rebel personality Faith Goldy was blathering on about how intolerant the left is, and about left-right double standards in the media and in policing, and about all the other things that gladden the hearts of the Rebel’s grievance-based nihilist-conservative fans.

And then, right there in the frame, someone rammed his car into the crowd of counter-protesters she was mocking, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring many others. That guy, allegedly, was 20-year-old James Alex Fields, whose high school teachers said he was obsessed with Adolf Hitler in all the wrong ways.

Fun time was over. This was, apparently, a real live neo-Nazi committing, certainly, real live murder.

At this point, Rebel Commander Ezra Levant could have steered his vessel in one of several directions. “Nothing to do with us,” he could have said, plausibly enough.

[…]

Levant could have gone there; instead, he blinked.

“When I first heard of the alt-right a year ago, I thought it simply meant the insurgent right, the politically incorrect right … the right that backed Trump and his ‘Make America Great Again’ style over Jeb Bush and the swamp,” he wrote in a purported “staff memo.”

“But the alt-right has changed into something new, especially since Trump’s election,” Levant lamented. “Now the leading figure … is Richard Spencer, and other white nationalists.” There were actual Nazi flags in Charlottesville, Levant noted, waxing appalled (while allowing they might have been carried by “agents provocateurs”). That’s “racist,” he averred, rather than “conservative,” and he would have none of it.

It is, in a word, pathetic. Spencer coined the term “alt-right,” for heaven’s sake. He has never, ever been shy about his white nationalist views. A manifesto he released before the march in Charlottesville talks of “a shared civilization” that “sprang” from the “Aryan” race, and dismisses the idea of “Judeo-Christian values” as “a distortion of the historical and metaphysical reality of both Jews and Europeans.”

I haven’t closely followed the adventures of Ezra and his Rebel Media organization, so the sudden rash of departures (Brian Lilley and Barbara Kay, in particular) caught me somewhat by surprise. I don’t use Rebel Media as a source, but I have linked to non-Rebel Media articles by Lilley and Kay, and probably other contributors outside that affiliation. I had noted the organization’s dedication to “afflicting the comfortable” — almost always those on the political left — without much corresponding “comforting the afflicted” to balance it out. Explicitly abandoning the Richard Spencer wing of the alt-right is probably a good move, but it may have come too late to prevent the alt-right taint from permanently damaging their brand.

The Battle of Hill 70 – Mackensen Advances in Romania I THE GREAT WAR Week 160

Filed under: Britain, Cancon, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 17 Aug 2017

The Battle of Passchendaele has turned into a muddy mess, the weather conditions take a toll on both the defenders and the attackers alike. The Canadians relieve some pressure on the British Army in the Battle of Hill 70 south of Ypres. Meanwhile, August von Mackensen is fighting back the Romanian offensive that was unleashed last week.

Refuting the “Canadians supported the Confederacy” slur

Filed under: Cancon, History, Military, USA — Tags: — Nicholas @ 03:00

A tweet from Colby Cosh linked to this informative little section of the “Canada in the American Civil War” page at Wikipedia:

Canadians in the Union Army

The best recent estimates are that between 33,000 and 55,000 men from British North America (BNA) served in the Union army, and a few hundred in the Confederate army. Many of these men already lived in the United States; they were joined by volunteers signed up in Canada by Union recruiters.

Canada refused to return about 15,000 American deserters and draft dodgers.

Calixa Lavallée was a French-Canadian musician and Union officer during the American Civil War who later composed the music for “O Canada”, which officially became the national anthem of Canada in 1980. In 1857, he moved to the United States and lived in Rhode Island where he enlisted in the 4th Rhode Island Volunteers of the Union army during the American Civil War, attaining the rank of lieutenant.

Canadian-born Edward P. Doherty was a Union Army officer who formed and led the detachment of Union soldiers that captured and killed John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Lincoln, in a Virginia barn on April 26, 1865, 12 days after Lincoln was fatally shot. Canadian-born Sarah Emma Edmonds was a noted Union spy.

One of the longest living Canadians to have fought in the American Civil War was James Beach Moore who died August 29, 1931.

Anderson Ruffin Abbott was a Toronto-born son of free people of color who had fled Alabama after their store was ransacked. Canada’s first Black physician, he applied for a commission as an assistant surgeon in the Union Army in February 1863, but his offer was evidently not accepted. That April, he applied to be a “medical cadet” in the United States Colored Troops, but was finally accepted as a civilian surgeon under contract. He served in Washington, D.C. from June 1863 to August 1865, first at the Contraband Hospital which became Freedmen’s Hospital. He then went to a hospital in Arlington, Virginia. Receiving numerous commendations and becoming popular in Washington society, Abbott was one of only thirteen black surgeons to serve in the Civil War, a fact that fostered a friendly relationship between him and the president. On the night of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Abbott accompanied Elizabeth Keckley to the Petersen House and returned to his lodgings that evening. After Lincoln’s death, Mary Todd Lincoln presented Abbott with the plaid shawl that Lincoln had worn to his 1861 inauguration.

At least 29 Canadian-born men were awarded the Medal of Honor.

The usual assortment of internal links to other Wikipedia articles are omitted because I’m too damned lazy to recreate ’em. They’re all available on the original page.

What Do Banks Do?

Filed under: Business, Economics — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 28 Jun 2016

This week: Dive deeper into one type of financial intermediary: Banks.

Next week: Sticking with macroeconomics, we’ll take a look at the next intermediary: Stock Markets.

Some people want to save and invest, others want to borrow. Sometimes, savers and borrowers link up directly. But most times, they don’t know each other. So they rely on institutions that bridge them together. These bridges are called financial intermediaries, and this video will show you one kind—banks.

How do banks operate?

On the savings side, they attract depositors by paying interest on deposits. On the borrowing side, banks make loans, for which they charge interest. The key to a bank’s profit is in charging a higher interest for loans than the interest paid out to depositors. Of course, to make sure that loans are as productive as possible, banks have specialized staff and systems for evaluating loan applications.

That sort of due diligence, and specialization is central to what a bank does. Not only does a bank coordinate the savings of many, but it also undertakes the task of studying borrowers in order to determine the most qualified. And then, to further minimize risk, a bank will spread its money out across a whole portfolio of loans. Thus, if one loan goes bad, the bank won’t go bankrupt.

In this way, you can see how banks provide valuable services—they allow you to earn interest on your savings, while also turning those savings into loans, which help economic growth.

Notice though, that as a depositor, your savings won’t just rest in a vault. But then, what happens when you decide to make a withdrawal? Banks account for that by having reserves. Banks keep an eye on their reserves so they can cover the withdrawals of various depositors. Predictably, problems arise, when there aren’t enough reserves to cover withdrawals. In the words of our previous video, that’s one kind of failed intermediation.

In the next video, we’ll look at a different kind of intermediary — stock markets.

There, we’ll show you how stock markets turn savings into investment. Hang tight, and see you then!

QotD: “Justifying” the Holocaust

Filed under: Europe, History, Media, Politics, Quotations — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

… that underlying tone of “Of course what Hitler and the Nazis did was unjustifiable, they were wrong about what was going on around them” whenever the topic of the Holocaust is discussed implies that, if they had been right, what they did would have been, at least, justifiable. In other words, there’s an acceptance of the underlying logic of collective justice going on there, and when you put adjectives in front of justice, you almost never get justice.

Which brings us to the current brawl in SF/F and the wider culture. There’s a very large swathe, of Western society that has regressed, though they call it progress, to the idea that one should deliberately punish all members of a group for the actions, real or imagined, of a few members, and to the idea that because members of a group are over-represented in a particular area that it is a deliberate choice on the part of the group, rather than an accident of history.

You see it nearly everywhere. The idea that SF was somehow filled with racist, sexist hatemongers until … well, as near as I can tell, around five years ago is ludicrous when you have H. Beam Piper writing stories where racial intermarriage has turned almost all of humanity a nice shade of brown and there are heroic characters with names like Themistocles M’Zangwe. But, even if that were true — what, we should stop reading (and buying books from) straight white male authors for an entire year? Because a bunch of people they never even met were theoretically jerks?

Sarah Hoyt, “Social Injustice – 60 Guilders”, According to Hoyt, 2015-07-31.

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