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Second Civil War? It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons 10

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — more noise by far than reality, but still enough reality to be troubling — your opinions sought! ]
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Here’s the promised special chyron issue on the concept of a Second Civil War

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I’m featuring this quote from Nicolle Wallace first, because it suggests that Trump has already engendered a war — whereas the other materials I offer here will suggest that the war arises in response to Democratic actions against Trump — a difference in emphasis worth noting:

It’s a war. He permitted, he green-lit a war in this country around rce. And if you think about the most dangerous things he’s done, that might be it..

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Chyrons:

Rush Limbaugh:

You might even get away with saying that we are on the cusp of a second Civil War. Some of you might say that we are already into it, that it is already begun, however you characterize it though, we are under attack from within.

Chyrons again:

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That’s a whole lot of very-very-right and Trump-circle-right messaging about a Civil War, and that quote, I vote, and I buy guns, is chilling, with the example of Lt Hasson and his arsenal driving the point home. Another point about Hasson is that he stated his intention to have five such stashes of weaponry…

Fair enough, there are extremists putting together weapons stashes, some of them using them in infrequent but deadly terror operations. Fair enough, by no means everyone on the right, and by no means everyone who supports Second Amendment gun rights, is liable to join in any attempt at a civil war. But fair enough too, on the whole those on the right may well be better armed than those on the left

Fair enough again, many of those on the left have their grievances sharpened, much as many on the right do.. and grievances may in the end turn out to be the most significant of weapons, since they provide the motivation for mayhem, whether verbal or martial. And it should be admitted that threats and physical violence are intimately connected, and rhetoric can indeed incite to harm.

That’s my poor, off-the-cuff attempt to get some of the nuances of the situation stated, and no doubt some “on one side” would put their emphasis in some places and de-emphasize or deny others, and vice versa.. but my overall point would be something along these lines:

there’s enough rage simmering in the American body politic — and possibly in many other nations — for sporadic outbursts of violence and attempted civil war to occur — but at least in the States we are far from the full-blown CW2 that Rush Limbaugh seems to relish — and although I’ve heard the opinion expressed that Berkeley should be nuked, on the whole we don’t have the same sort of battle lines as were available (I think, being a Brit and no historian) in the North / South divide of CW!.

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Zen tweeted today:

That fits with my impression. And Zen is a (or an) historian.

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As an Oxford man, though, I was impressed with the fact that the street named North Parade runs south of the street named South Parade in that city, and the explanation that during the English civil war, the Roundheads gathered at South Parade while the Royalists faced them at North Parade — a pleasant fantasy, according to Wiki and its footnotes.

But that was a lo-o-ong while ago..

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Opinions?

Umpires, Brexit, and the State of the Union

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — the UK looks to be teetering over the White Cliffs of Dover, with 22 miles of channel separating them from the rest of Europe — and a hard border with Éire ]
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There are few more tumultuous games on earth than the British House of Commons, with its two sides lobbying and lobbing insults at one another, while the no-side-works-for-me cross-benchers face the no-side-I’ve-retired-from-the-fray Speaker across the length of the chamber, no doubt relishing the spectacle but, in the Speaker‘s case, regulating it with roars of “Order, order!!!”

And fray it is, glorious in its freedom, so wild as to demand frequent pruning — the Speaker, in the New Yorker‘s words, “presides over whatever fare — technical, listless, boorish, crazed — is unfolding in the chamber at a given moment. The House may be full with paper-waving cries of “Foul!” “Fiend!” Recant!” or even these days, I suppose, “Repent” — we do live, after all, in a remorselessly secular age..

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But then..

Pattern recognition: there seems to be a pattern of Speakers disinviting Donald Trump.

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Sources:

  • NYorker, Is the Speaker of the House of Commons Trying to Stop Brexit?
  • WaPo, Sorry, judges, we umpires do more than call balls
  • WHOtv, Speaker Pelosi Tells President Trump State of the Union Won’t Happen
  • Dates and Times:

  • te [re-invited] State of the Union is scheduled for 6.00pm Pacific, Tuesday, February 5
  • the Superbowl is 3.30pm Eastern, Sunday, February 3rd
  • Brexit will occur in un-negotiated form if nothing stops it, at 11pm GMT, Friday, March 29.

  • One way or another, fun times ahead..
  • One of England’s Freedoms

    Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — an amused defense of sacred measures such as the foot, yard, and acre — against the atheistic and idolatrous metric system ]
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    You can trudge uphill, you can run up hill and down dale as the saying goes, you may march from pillar to post, church spire to spire, you may follow ancient foot- or bridle-paths or ley lines — all these, if pursued on foot, are covered by the word rambling, and in England, if you follow well-trodden or half forgotten paths, it’s your right. It is one of England’s freedoms.

    **

    Sam Knight, in the New Yorker a couple of days ago, The Search for England’s Forgotten Footpaths:

    Nineteen years ago, the British government passed one of its periodic laws to manage how people move through the countryside. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act created a new “right to roam” on common land, opening up three million acres of mountains and moor, heath and down, to cyclists, climbers, and dog walkers. It also set an ambitious goal: to record every public path crisscrossing England and Wales… [ .. ]

    Between them, England and Wales have around a hundred and forty thousand miles of footpaths, of which around ten per cent are impassable at any time, with another ten thousand miles that are thought to have dropped off maps or otherwise misplaced. Finding them all again is like reconstructing the roots of a tree.

    Now that’s all numbers, and numbers are, d’oh, quantitative. The thing is, walks in the English countryside are primarily qualitative affairs, with mud, styles to clamber across, flash thunderstorms and after-storm greenery, oaks with mistletoe or a thousand rooks high in their branches, willows, snails, birdsong, conversation with a friend or two.. Plato, Brahms, Ann Patchett, Feynmann, Hitchcock, .. with picnics and sandwiches along the way..

    Freedom!

    Qualitative beats quantitative all to smithereens.

    **

    If you look at the photo that accompanies Sam Knight‘s New Yorker piece [above], it belies the “unremarkable walk in the English countryside” mentioned in its caption — clear on the horizon is Glastonbury Tor, hardly an unremarkable location for English walkers.

    Ever since my friend the late British hedgerow philosopher John Michell [above] — hedgerow and British Museum Reading Room philosopher, that is — wrote his startling best-seller The View Over Atlantis [below] —

    — ever since that book appeared, new-agers and ramblers have rambled along ley lines and in search of standing stones — I was one such rambler, along with Michell himself and our mutual friend, the photographer Gabi Nasemann, though I fear I was the slowest and most complaining in our small party — where was I? — Glastonbury Tor has been a sort of seekers’ central for those whose imaginations project ley lines — equivalent to Chinese dragon-paths — across the actual lay of the land.

    Another friend, Lex Neale, penned this piece, Glastonbury: King Arthur’s Field, giving an overview of Glastonbury and the supposed zodiac spread out around it —

    for my then guru’s in-house magazine, lo these many years ago. By then I was in America. And we were young.

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    Why do I so love my memories of John Michell?

    He was a William Blake returned, wrong by the mechanical standards of the age, right in imaginative reach.

    It was in the Spring 1978 issue of CoEvolution Quarterly that I first read the text of John‘s A Defence of Sacred Measures. He’d published it as a pamphlet — the first in a series of “Radical Traditionalist Papers” to which our mutual friend the recently deceased Heathcote Willians also contributed — Heathcote {below] —

    do watch this clip, it’ll only take three minutes of your lifetime, and they’ll be three minutes well-spent! —

    — and Stewart Brand must have snagged it for CoEQ. Anyway, you can get the gist from the full title, in the format the pamphlet gave it, as you may have seen at the head of this post:

    I’m deeply grateful to Zenpundit friend Grurray for pointing me to that cover and the full text of John‘s essay, which my own web searching hadn’t turned up. Grurray took particular pleasure in this excerpt:

    the use of the foot locates the centre of the world within each individual, and encourages him to arrange his kingdom after the best possible model, the cosmic order. The ancient method of acquiring this model was not astronomy but initiation

    For myself, it’s John‘s description of the cubit and sundry other measures — and their rationale — that gets me:

    Cloth is sold by the cubit, the distance from elbow to finger tip, and other such units as the span and handbreadth were formerly used which have now generally become obsolete. Of course no two people have the same bodily dimensions, and the canonical man has never existed save as an idea or archetype. These traditional units are not, however, imprecise or inaccurate. Ancient societies regarded their standards of measure as their most sacred possessions and they have been preserved with extreme accuracy from the earliest times. A craftsman soon learns to what extent the parts of his own body deviate from the conventional standard and adjusts accordingly.

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    Oh, you may think this all a pretentious, anachronistic attempt to revive a moribund system. But consider this, from the LA Times in 1999:

    NASA lost its $125-million Mars Climate Orbiter because spacecraft engineers failed to convert from English to metric measurements when exchanging vital data before the craft was launched, space agency officials said Thursday.

    A navigation team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory used the metric system of millimeters and meters in its calculations, while Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, which designed and built the spacecraft, provided crucial acceleration data in the English system of inches, feet and pounds.

    As a result, JPL engineers mistook acceleration readings measured in English units of pound-seconds for a metric measure of force called newton-seconds.

    In a sense, the spacecraft was lost in translation.

    The Times assumes the correct procedure would have been “to convert from English to metric measurements” — but who says? One might equally argue the translation should have gone from metric to English.. the mother tongue, so to speak.

    John Michell would lead us along that path..

    Knowledge, London cabbies and American sommeliers

    Friday, October 26th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — inheritor of yet another form of knowledge]
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  • NYT, The Knowledge, London’s Legendary Taxi-Driver Test, Puts Up a Fight in the Age of GPS
  • New Yorker, The Cheating Scandal That Has Shaken the World of Master Wine Sommeliers
  • **

    For Bates it came down to a lifetime of knowledge. “While many questions may seem simple taken on their own, it is really about the amount of information needed to correctly answer one question. For example, if a question was asked about the location of a village in Germany, knowing where that one village is located is a very small part of the preparation for that question. To be sure to get that one question correct, I had to learn every major wine producing village in Germany, broken down by region, in order from north to south and west to east, with 2 or 3 of the most important villages in each. In order to be able to recall that information on demand, I had to learn to draw a map from memory of every wine growing region in the country. All that for the sake of be able to answer one or two questions that, out of context, may not have been all that hard.

    McCabe turned east on Coldharbour Lane, wending through the neighborhoods of Peckham and Bermondsey before reaching the tunnel. He emerged on the far side of the Thames in Limehouse, and from there his three-mile-long trip followed a zigzagging path northeast. “I came out of the tunnel and went forward into Yorkshire Road,” he told me. “I went right into Salmon Lane. Left into Rhodeswell Road, right into Turners Road. I went right into St. Paul’s Way, left into Burdett Road, right into Mile End Road. Left Tredegar Square. I went right Morgan Street, left Coborn Road, right into Tredegar Road. That gave me a forward into Wick Lane, a right into Monier Road, right into Smeed Road — and we’re there. Left into Stour Road.”

    **

    In early September, fifty-six nervous sommeliers in pressed suits and shined shoes assembled at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. They were there to attempt the most difficult and prestigious test in their industry: the Master Sommelier Exam, a three-part, application-only ordeal that just two hundred and forty-nine individuals worldwide have passed—fewer than have travelled to space.

    It’s not enough to know every wine region, village and district in the world, candidates also need to know which years were better than others for each region. The blind tasting of six wines requires not only identifying the grape varietal, but the region it came from and the year it was made. That’s merely scratching the testing surface though; during the service portion examinees have to recall facts about sake, spirits, distilling methods, apertifs and of course ideal food pairings.

    Knowledge of cigar production, with special reference to Havanas, will be required.

    **

    When trees leave, they find a spot where the sunlight can get through despite the existing leaves, and put out a leaf there.

    Suggestion: find, on the limb, branch, and in time, twig of the tree of knowledge you feel most passionate about, a space nobody else is occupying, and know it — in the kind of detail a knowledgeable cabbie knows London, or a master sommelier the aperitifs, wines, beers, ciders, liqueurs, brandies, whiskeys and cigars of the world.

    It’s worth a try.

    **

    esto nobis praegustatum
    in mortis examine.

    In the case of such Knowledge as most concerns us, the examen is still to come.

    King Canute, Imperial Beach, CA, and rising tides

    Monday, October 22nd, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — a coastal California town has learned the lesson King Canute either taught his nobles or learned the hard way himself — but what can anyone do about it? ]
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    Okay, here’s the first para of Can a California town move back from the sea? Imperial Beach considers the unthinkable: a retreat from nature:

    At the start of each year, Southern California gets a glimpse into a future of rising seas, through an annual event called the king tide. On that day, the sun, moon and Earth align to create a heavy gravitational pull, leading to the highest tides of the year. If “king tide” sounds ominous, that’s because it is, particularly for a city like Imperial Beach, a small coastal town near the Mexican border surrounded by water on three sides: San Diego Bay to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Tijuana River Delta to the south.

    It doesn’t hurt that there’s a king reference there either, from my POV — because?

    **

    Because King Canute.

    As a Brit, I was introduced to King Canute at an early age, along with every last one of the other Kings and Queens of England — and their dates — memorize them! Americans, however, have shaken off the dust of kings and queens, and may not know the tale of King Canute and the waves. Was he, as my gold-embossed, colour-plated richly patriotic children’s book had it, an imperious royal who set his chair in the sand before the incoming tide, and not about to lose one inch of English sovereign soil to the waves, dared the Atlantic to encroach on his royal prerogative?

    Or was he, as Henry of Huntingdon, the original chronicler of the tale has it, a humble and wise, one might say ecologically sound king, who set his chair in the sand to demonstrate to his fawning and flattering courtiers that look, not even my royal command can overrule the laws of God — or Nature?

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    So, back to the humbling question — rising tides?

    Currently an anomaly, the king tide is a portent of things to come. Researchers warn that, due to myriad factors including the Earth’s rotation, California will deal with even higher sea-level rise than other locations, as the atmosphere and oceans warm. The oceans are now rising at a faster rate than any time since the last Ice Age, about half an inch or more per decade. While much of this is understood by researchers and informed readers, very little has been done by coastal cities to confront this slow-moving catastrophe.

    And Imperial Beach in particular?

    That is what makes Imperial Beach so interesting. Here, at the southernmost beach town in California, in an obscure corner of the United States, one small city is asking: What if we just got out of nature’s way?

    **

    Sources and readings:

  • High Country News, Can a California town move back from the sea?
  • The Sun, You Canute be Serious

  • Wikipedia, King Canute and the tide
  • New York Times, Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040
  • ipcc, Global Warming of 1.5°C

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