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The Book of Skulls by Robert Silverberg.

In Memoriam

The Rwanda genocide of 1994, as told by former Canadian Forces general Romeo Dallaire whose own experience running the UN's undermanned and outgunned Assistance Mission was just another reminder that even the highest-ranking soldiers can see far too much in terms of bloodbaths for their own good.  

Schadenfreude: Fred Phelps

Well, he's dead. And although he was one of the biggest assholes I have ever heard of in terms of the sheer amount of hatred and bile he spewed (selections of which are included here and here), death is not something I would even wish on him. The best punishment for him is, in a sense, far worse: a deathbed realization of how ethically empty, wrong and utterly pointless his life was in engaging in this sort of shit for decade after decade.

Now reading

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman.

 Shorter Sean P. Fodera: "you can't possibly be a feminist because you're hawt and don't dress like a Victorian schoolmarm all of the time!" Uh, yeah. Sure.                                                                                                                            

Cold outside, colder in head

And now the terminally stupid (fringe political candidate division) check in on the real reasons for the bad weather we've been having lately. It's a tender mercy that Atanus has no real chance of defeating Schakowsky even if she actually wins the primary, but if she did I'm sure such an event would be worth tons of potential future jokes for comedians across the US.

It might come as a rude shock to Weepy and his shrinking circle of acolytes at The Blaze, but Malala Yousafzai actually has accomplished at least one useful thing in her life - which is one more than he ever has.

Seasons Greetings

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and whatever other holiday wishes you can think of, peeps. Appropriate (?) musical accomplishment follows shortly, so feel free to vote for your favorite after the worst (best?) effects of the egg nog kicks in:


In Memoriam: Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

I don't think I can say anything to do him proper justice in a eulogy, so I'll just let the New York Times do it instead:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

The question most often asked about Mr. Mandela was how, after whites had systematically humiliated his people, tortured and murdered many of his friends, and cast him into prison for 27 years, he could be so evidently free of spite.

The government he formed when he finally won the chance was an improbable fusion of races and beliefs, including many of his former oppressors. When he became president, he invited one of his white wardens to the inauguration. Mr. Mandela overcame a personal mistrust bordering on loathing to share both power and a Nobel Peace Prize with the white president who preceded him, F. W. de Klerk.

And as president, from 1994 to 1999, he devoted much energy to moderating the bitterness of his black electorate and to reassuring whites against their fears of vengeance.

The explanation for his absence of rancor, at least in part, is that Mr. Mandela was that rarity among revolutionaries and moral dissidents: a capable statesman, comfortable with compromise and impatient with the doctrinaire.