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« Spaced-Out Challenge: the Great Bear, a $100 Telescope(!), and Stopping SMOD | Main | Top Headline Comments 4-28-14 »
April 27, 2014

Overnight Open Thread (4-27-2014)

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Long ago, Tacitus said "Proprium humani ingenii est odisse quem laeseris. (It is a principle of human nature to hate those whom you have injured.)" Or as people have more recently noted, the Europeans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.

How Amsterdam Treated Holocaust Survivors Released from the Camps

They gave them no quarter on taxes or penalties. (H/T Molly's Page)

Charlotte van den Berg was a 20-year-old college student working part-time in Amsterdam's city archives when she and other interns came across a shocking find: letters from Jewish Holocaust survivors complaining that the city was forcing them to pay back taxes and late payment fines on property seized after they were deported to Nazi death camps.

How, the survivors asked, could they be on the hook for taxes due while Hitler's regime was trying to exterminate them? A typical response was: "The base fees and the fines for late payment must be satisfied, regardless of whether a third party, legally empowered or not, has for some time held the title to the building."

...Amsterdam's official ruling of Sept. 12, 1947, a public document viewed by the AP, was that "the city has the right to full payment of fees and fines" and that most excuses - including that property had been seized by the Nazis - were invalid.

Jan Karski and Remembering Those Who Acted

Jan Karski was a professor at Georgetown University for 40 years (and had many famous students including Bill Clinton) but he's best known for his actions with the Polish Underground on behalf of the Jews during WWII.

Born Jan Kozielewski, he used Karski as his nom de guerre when after his escape from Soviet imprisonment (an army officer, he was captured when the Soviet Union invaded Poland as part of the Hitler-Stalin pact) and joined the Polish Home Army. During the course of his activities in the underground, Karski, a Polish Catholic, was smuggled in and out of the Warsaw Ghetto and a transit point for the Belzec death camp. In 1942 he brought proof of the reality of the Holocaust to first Britain and then the following year to the United States when, under the sponsorship of the free Polish government in exile, he spread the news of the extermination of the Jews to American leaders including Roosevelt, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, and William Donovan, the chief of the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency. As he later told the story, in his own writings, Roosevelt was silent when Karski discussed the fate of the Jews, asking questions only about the conditions of horses in Poland. Frankfurter, a Jew, said that while he didn't question Karski's honesty, he nevertheless "could not believe him." Karski was shocked at the Allied leaders' refusal to act on his knowledge even to bomb the railroad tracks to the death camps when that became possible.
Jan Karski’s example, as well as the failure of those who chose not to listen to him, stands as a reminder that all the tears wept today about the Holocaust are meaningless if they are not accompanied by action to ensure that contemporary atrocities are not halted or prevented


Mark Steyn on Quoting Churchill While It's Still Allowed

He wrote this a decade ago:

In The River War (1899), Winston Churchill's account of the Sudanese campaign, there's a memorable passage which I reproduce here while I'm still able to:

'How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property - either as a child, a wife, or a concubine - must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

'Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytising faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science - the science against which it had vainly struggled - the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.'

Is that grossly offensive to Muslims? Almost certainly. Is it also a rather shrewd and pertinent analysis by one of Britain's most eminent leaders? I think so. If Blunkett bans the sentiments in that first sentence, the sentiments of the last will prove even more pertinent.

And now publicly quoting this in the UK is enough to get you arrested:

Yesterday, in Hampshire, Paul Weston, the chairman of a newish political party called Liberty GB and a candidate in next month's European elections, was speaking on the steps of Winchester Guildhall and quoted that same Churchill passage. A half-dozen police officers arrested him and took him away in a police van.

Oh and you're not allowed to reference the brutal public murder of Lee Rigby either.

Dartmouth Bans White People From Using the Word 'Fiesta'

Because of cultural appropriation and racism or some such. Apparently a fraternity and sorority were sponsoring a fundraiser for cardiac care with a Cinco de mayo theme and dared to call it a 'Phiesta'. A single student complained so it now it all has to be banned. (H/T to JustTheTip)

This time, the fracas is over a fundraiser for cardiac care that the Phi Delta Alpha fraternity and the Alpha Phi sorority had planned to jointly sponsor, reports Campus Reform.

Problems arose because a single student, junior Daniela Hernandez, was offended by the party's theme of "Phiesta."

As a result, the soiree, which was scheduled for Saturday, has been canceled by the presidents of the respective Greek organizations.

Had the party happened, it would have included a live band as well as virgin piña coladas and strawberry daiquiris. There would also have been burritos, chips and salsa, and guacamole.

The cash raised at the event would have gone to benefit cardiac treatments.

However, Hernandez's deep offense about racial insensitivity was enough to call it off.

The self-proclaimed "Mexican-born, United-States-raised, first-generation woman of color" declared in an angry email that "there are various problematic structures and ideologies regarding a Cinco de Mayo-inspired event," according to Campus Reform.


CNN Analyst Welches on Bet After Andrew Branca Wins "Stand-Your-Ground" Debate

To lose your honor over a measly $100 well I guess for CNN-types that's still cheaper than ever admitting you were wrong.

One of the people on the anti-SYG side of things was Sunny Hostin, a CNN legal analyst. At one point her debate partner. Attorney Rice-Lave, made the statement that it was "indisputed" that George Zimmerman had gotten out of his car after being told by police not to.

Well, I pretty much know the relevant 911 audio by heart, and knew that was wrong. Zimmerman never was ordered not to get out of his car.

I immediately offered her a $100 wager that Zimmerman had never been told by police to stay in his car.

While Rice-Lave paused in silence, Sunny Hostin (participating via Skype) said "I'll take that bet."

The next morning I sent Sunny the link to the 911 audio, which lacked any mention of the police telling Zimmerman to stay in his car, and offered to send her my mailing address so she could send me my $100.

She has not paid, changed the subject when I contacted her on Twitter, and now refuses to communicate on the issue.

What I Learned in Engineering School (12 things)

And if you didn't learn it in school, you'll learn it through hard-earned experience.

Working faster doesn't save money. When a production schedule is accelerated, savings are often expected through reduced indirect costs such as overhead, equipment rental, insurance, supervision, and utilities. Direct costs such as labor, materials, and equipment are expected to stay constant, because the same amount of work is being done. In practice, however, faster work produces confusion, errors, substandard
quality, and overtime pay, ultimately increasing costs.


Baseball Fandom by Region


This Year the Casual Straitjacket Look Is In


Weekly Commenter Standings

Top 10 commenters:
1 [659 comments] 'tangonine' [92.51 posts/day]
2 [644 comments] 'sven10077'
3 [433 comments] 'Anna Puma (+SmuD)'
4 [389 comments] 'Mike Hammer'
5 [389 comments] 'Misanthropic Humanitarian '
6 [377 comments] 'Niedermeyer's Dead Horse'
7 [376 comments] 'Boss Moss'
8 [369 comments] 'EC'
9 [339 comments] 'Insomniac'
10 [314 comments] 'thunderb'

Top 10 sockpuppeteers:
1 [65 names] 'Brandon In Baton Rouge' [9.12 unique names/day]
2 [60 names] 'Cicero (@cicero)'
3 [52 names] 'The Political Hat'
4 [48 names] 'Islamic Rage Boy'
5 [37 names] 'Prez'nit 404'
6 [30 names] 'Hate Miser'
7 [25 names] 'Mike Hammer'
8 [25 names] 'noone, really'
9 [24 names] 'kbdabear'
10 [23 names] 'Ricardo Kill'

The group. Yeah.

Where it's at - the Twitter

Tonight's post brought to you by four Wongs and a Wright:


Notice: Posted by permission of AceCorp LLC. Please e-mail overnight open thread tips to maetenloch at gmail. Otherwise send tips to Ace.

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