Posts by WH

  • Hard News: The next four years,

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    Above: the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

    During the last meeting of his cabinet on 14 April 1865 – the day of his assassination at the hands of John Wilkes Booth – President Abraham Lincoln spoke of a recurring dream that had preceded nearly every great and important event of the US Civil War.

    Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles, recorded the President’s remarks in his diary (see p.282). Lincoln’s Assistant Secretary of State, Frederick Seward, noted them in his memoirs (p.255):

    The conversation turning upon the subject of sleep, Mr. Lincoln remarked that a peculiar dream of the previous night was one that had occurred several times in his life, – a vague sense of floating – floating away on some vast and indistinct expanse, toward an unknown shore. The dream itself was not so strange as the coincidence that each of its previous recurrences had been followed by some important event or disaster, which he mentioned.

    The usual comments were made by his auditors. One thought it was merely a matter of coincidences. Another laughingly remarked, “at any rate it cannot presage a victory nor a defeat at this time, for the war is over”.

    I suggested, “perhaps at each of these periods there were possibilities of great change or disaster, and the vague feeling of uncertainty may have led to the dim vision in sleep”.

    “Perhaps,” said Mr. Lincoln, thoughtfully, "perhaps that is the explanation”.

    Since Nov 2006 • 762 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Vox has summarised some US legal opinion here and here.

    The discussion is around whether the granting of a pardon can constitute obstruction of justice, whether a pardon prevents the recipient from invoking the privilege against self-incrimination and whether a Presidential pardon can protect the recipient from prosecution at the state level.

    Since Nov 2006 • 762 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years,

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    A US jury has convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on eight counts of tax and bank fraud. Manafort faces a possible retrial of the ten charges on which the jury could not reach a verdict and a further trial on separate charges of money laundering, failing to register as a foreign agent, making false statements to federal agents and conspiring to defraud the Treasury Department.

    In addition, Michael Cohen, Trump's longtime personal attorney, has pleaded guilty to eight violations of tax, banking and campaign finance laws.

    As Alexandra Petri tried to explain yesterday, it's an unusual situation, but not everything that's important about it is in the public domain.

    Since Nov 2006 • 762 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years,

    The RMS Titanic has been in the news again this week, this time linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory (which you should generally ignore).

    The Titanic sank in April 1912 upon hitting an iceberg during its maiden voyage across the North Atlantic. 1500 of her 2200 passengers and crew were lost; a sense of safety created by the compartment design of the hull contributed to the fateful decision to carry lifeboats for only a fraction of those on board.

    There was considerable interest in those passengers who had premonitions of the danger. You can read some of the 1912 reports about those people here.

    A fictional account of the sinking of a passenger liner that eerily prefigured the fate of the Titanic was written in 1898. The Wreck of the Titan, or Futility was similar enough to the 1912 disaster that many commentators credited its author, Morgan Robertson, with clairvoyance. Robertson himself said the similarities were explained by his extensive knowledge of shipbuilding and maritime trends.

    Since Nov 2006 • 762 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: On joining the international…, in reply to mark taslov,

    Since Nov 2006 • 762 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: On joining the international…, in reply to mark taslov,

    The cancelled Harawira lecture you cited as an instance of racism was scheduled to be delivered on 12 May 2011. Harawira’s endorsement of Osama bin Laden was reported on 5 May 2011.

    I don’t know whether you’ve offered this seriously but I genuinely invite you to reconsider your position. This is not the way forward.

    Since Nov 2006 • 762 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: On joining the international…, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    There’s a subtext to Mark’s comments that you may not be aware of. He’s alluding to a series of crimes against living New Zealanders.

    There are elements of his argument I’m sure you don’t endorse.

    Since Nov 2006 • 762 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: On joining the international…,

    That’s a former leader of the National Party you’re trying to cut out of New Zealand’s political life, Mark. There’s more going on here than I can comment on directly but I couldn’t be more opposed to what you’re doing.

    Since Nov 2006 • 762 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years,

    This is a link to Noted’s podcast about police dog handler Bruce Howat entitled The Policeman, His Dog and the Premonition. The part of the story that relates to the 1983 attack on Howat begins at 27m:38s.

    Please note that the audio contains disturbing details of the attack.

    "When I started that week of nightshift I had a horrible premonition… I said, ‘Something really bad’s going to happen this week Senior. I’ve just got a horrible gut feel something bad’s gonna happen.’ I can’t explain it."

    “That’s when I looked back down at him, because I was drifting towards the light, that’s the only way I can describe it… Then I remembered I hadn’t said goodbye to my girls and I thought, ‘I can’t do that to my daughters.’”

    Since Nov 2006 • 762 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years,

    Charles Krauthammer passed away today; the Washington Post carried a column from his friend and colleague George Will.

    Will’s column mentions Krauthammer’s 2007 column about the career of Rick Ankiel, an MLB pitcher who suddenly and unaccountably lost the ability to find the plate during the 2000 postseason.

    Wikipedia states:

    In game one [of the NLDS], Ankiel did not allow a run through the first two innings. His performance suddenly deteriorated in the third. He allowed four runs on two hits, four walks and throwing five wild pitches before being removed with two outs. Despite Ankiel facing eight batters and throwing 35 pitches, the Cardinals won the game. Ankiel shrugged off the event, joking that he was the first pitcher to throw five wild pitches in an inning since Bert Cunningham of the Players’ League in 1890.

    In his next start, Game Two of the National League Championship Series against the New York Mets, Ankiel was removed in the first inning after throwing 20 pitches, five of which went past catcher Eli Marrero (only two were official wild pitches, as no runners were on base for the others), and the first of which sailed over the head of Mets’ hitter Timo Perez. Ankiel appeared again in the seventh inning of Game Five facing four hitters, walking two and throwing two more wild pitches. The Cardinals lost the series four games to one.

    After a lengthy hiatus in the lower leagues, Ankiel eventually returned to the majors as a midfielder.

    Since Nov 2006 • 762 posts Report Reply

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