Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Marcus Brigstocke - The Red


Benedict Rufus Jones
His Father David Calder
Peter Marcus Brigstocke
Writer Marcus Brigstocke
Producer Caroline Raphael

What do you do when your late father was the kind of asshole who wanted his recovered alcoholic son to be tortured by his last wish?  Asshole.

Second Feature - Dylan Tighe & Séan Mac Erlain - Pulse Music / Ceol Cuisle

A sonic journey into the thoughts and poetic imagination of the late West Limerick poet Michael Hartnett.Directed and Researched by Dylan Tighe

Original music and sound design by Seán Mac Erlaine

Featuring the all-munster cast of Actor, Andrew Bennett, Singers Nell Ní Chróinín, Iarla O'Lionaird, and the voice of Michael Hartnett/ Micháel O hAirtnéide.

Texts and quotations are by Michael Hartnett and are drawn from his poems and translations, the Michael Hartnett papers in The National Library, the RTÉ radio archive and from the Claddagh Records recording - "The Blink of an Eye"

Additional quotations were drawn from the diaries of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.The writings of Michael Hartnett feature by Kind Permission of the Estate of Michael Hartnett and the Gallery Press - Special Thanks to Peter FallonAccess to the Michael Hartnett Papers is courtesy of the National Library of Ireland.Additional music is sampled from Camarón de la Isla - accompanied on guitar by Paco de Lucia, Elvis Presley, from Sibelius' 4th symphony, and from the track 'Nun's Island" from Seán Mac Erlaine's forthcoming album " A Slender Song" available from Ergodos Records.Special thanks to Jen Coppinger, Poetry Ireland and  Gabriel Rosenstock.Sound supervision by Richie Mc Cullough.

As always with plays from RTÉ you have to download it to hear it.

Corey Lewandowski and Sean Spicer Supporting The Shields That Say "Veritas"

Image result for harvard kennedy school crest

Shield of the Kennedy School of Government At Harvard
Having, in recent days,  slammed the highly esteemed, often mistaken for liberal New York Times, the ACLU and other institutions of professional prostitution, I had intended the other day, to note, as the inestimable Charles Pierce, alluded, that that most august of establishment whore houses, Harvarad was .... well, here's how Pierce put it.

Among Massachusetts pols of a certain age—an age which I, alas, have finally attained—the John F. Kennedy School of Government is fondly referred to as Loser U, a reference to the institution’s regular habit of providing landing pads to politicians who lost their last election. The heart of Loser U is the Harvard Institute of Politics, which offers fellowships to various luminaries from the worlds of politics and journalism. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t have anyone in the shebeen looking up from their pints, but the IOP has made a real three-ring circus out of its fellowship program this time around.

First, it brought aboard both Joe and Mika, which has established in me a terror that I might run into one or both of them on the Red Line. I have had many interesting experiences on the T. Several of them involved loud disputes over Communist space aliens. That’s one I might rather avoid. But things got even more interesting over the past couple of months.

The roster of IOP fellows in 2017 includes Benghazi faker Jason Chaffetz, professional political thug Corey Lewandowski, professional bad liar Sean Spicer, and run-of-the-mill wingnuts Mary Katherine Ham and Guy Benson. (You should keep all these names in mind the next time you read conservative whinging about how oppressed they are. This is a nice gig here.) And, while I was contemplating what Lewandowski could possibly “impact” on students other than a seminar on how to go goon on female reporters, the really heavy shoe dropped.

They announced that Chelsea Manning would be joining these folks for the semester.

And, yes, there was hell to pay. From, with profound apologies, Fox News.

I'll save you the trouble of wondering, if you are, yeah, yesterday they canceled the Chelsea Manning invite, on the whining of the same CIA torture figure Charles Pierce mentions later in his piece.

Long, long ago, at my first blog I noted how the Kennedy School, in the authority of its Shorenstein Center had a habit of honoring media whores, some of whom had done a great deal to drive American journalism into having more of a character as a knocking shop than a public service, it's something Harvard, the Ivies and elite, especially private universities has done for a long time.  Elsewhere I'd noted that the man who General Thomas Franks said was "The dumbest fucking guy on the planet," Douglas Feith, after his entirely dishonorable role in regard to the illegal, disastrous and massively homicidal and entirely stupid invasion of Iraq in the Bush II regime, landed softly on Georgetown and Stanford and yes, Harvard's Kennedy School, though it is a tribute to the students and faculty at at least Stanford that their opposition got him canned from that one. And, of course, there are others such as Henry Kissinger who held faculty positions there when they should have been facing tribunals for war crimes and crimes against humanity.   Well, Feith is a Harvard product, "dumbest fucking" and all.  Oh, yes, and Georgetown, aka CIA U.

Harvard is a whore house, any academic institution that could give Jason Chaffetz and Corey Lewandowski those kinds of honors fairly announces its character as a knocking shop, for sale to those with money.   That the whore house that Harvard is, which has the word "Veritas" for its motto ) but which would have the Baghdad Bob of the quintessentially mendacious Trump regime, Sean Spicer on its list of fellows, not to forget Lewandowski, etc. is something that the most cynical of restoration and 18th century playwrights couldn't have matched.   Harvard is a whore house, the Kennedy School at Harvard, what with the Institute of Politics and the Shorenstein Center are cynical jokes, their slogans and mottos transformed by the actions of their members emblems of the decadent cynicism of an imperial system, which, with the current state of science and technology under the regime of modernist amorality might end up burning us all.

You'd have to be one of the dumbest fucking guys on the planet and a cynical asshole to think they were anything else.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Carla Bley - Potación de Guaya

Carla Bley, piano
Alan Sheppard, Sax,
Steve Swallow, bass

Update:  The Girl Who Cried Champagne

Fats Navarro Quartet - The Things We Did Last Summer

Fats Navarro (trumpet), Hank Jones (piano), Ray Brown (bass), Shelly Manne (drums)

Tadd Dameron Sextet with Fats Navarro - Lady Bird 

Fats Navarro (tp); Wardell Gray, Allen Eager (ts); Tadd Dameron (p); Curly Russell (b); Kenny Clarke (d)

"The Best Way To Prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injecting drugs."

Well, what do you expect when Simps takes parts of sentences out of context.  I can remember when there were regulars at Eschaton who noticed things like that, clearly that's a thing of the past.  But it was so long ago that the memory fades ever a little more

I don't have anything more to say. Heroin kills, so can unprotected anal sex, including anal or vaginal heterosexual sex with an infected person, for that matter, so can alcohol. Mix any two together and your chances of dying of liver disease increase even more.   That's not me saying it, it's virtually every public health agency which has spoken on risk factors for STDs, hepatitis and liver disease, including cancer.  For example, from the CDC, Hepatitis C information

Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness but for 70%–85% of people who become infected with Hepatitis C, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection. Chronic Hepatitis C is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, even death. The majority of infected persons might not be aware of their infection because they are not clinically ill. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. The best way to prevent Hepatitis C is by avoiding behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injecting drugs.

In the United States, the most important routes of transmission are perinatal and sexual contact, either heterosexual or homosexual, with an infected person. Fecal-oral transmission does not appear to occur. However, transmission occurs among men who have sex with men, possibly via contamination from asymptomatic rectal mucosal lesions. In the past two decades, outbreaks of hepatitis B have occurred in long-term care facilities (e.g., assisted living facilities and nursing homes) as the result of lack of infection control practices related to blood glucose monitoring.

Today, more tools than ever are available to prevent HIV. In addition to abstinence, limiting your number of sexual partners, never sharing needles, and using condoms the right way every time you have sex, you may be able to take advantage of newer medicines such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

If you are living with HIV, there are many actions you can take to prevent passing it to others. The most important is taking medicines to treat HIV (called antiretroviral therapy, or ART) the right way, every day. They can keep you healthy for many years and greatly reduce your chance of transmitting HIV to your partners.

I could go on.  Really, it was a real revelation how resistant the "reality community" was to the health information from the CDC when it conflicts with the most primitive of adolescent thinking about sex and drinking and drugs.  They may as well be their most benighted science-phobic ideological opponents, then.

Update:  I said the other day that Simp's biggest competition for biggest liar at Eschaton was Freki. He's OK with them using his blog for that, it's too much like work to have integrity. 

Arthur Sulzberger jr. And His Family Rag Brought Us To Trump

I just listened to a pirated Youtube of the Hillary Clinton interview done by Rachel Maddow and the first thing I have to say is, listen to the interview and compare her to Trump. Just think as you listen to her rational, informed, brilliance that this is the woman the American media sandbagged and lied about for a quarter of a century, leading to the installation of Donald Trump in the American presidency.  

The degeneracy of America, 2017 is directly attributable to the influence of the free press in the United States, perhaps most of all the Publisher, Editors, writers and even reporters for the New York Times, perhaps more than any other venue, the cabloid 24-7 "news" networks and hate-talk radio.  The lefty magazines, the tiny radio presence of things like Democracy Now and podcasts like The Young Turks have had a role in it but their destructive influence pales in comparison to the big, reputable media.

When people ask how the United States went bad, it was the media that made people stupider, that sold them lies that sold them bigotry and cynicism and paranoia and snobbery.   

Just listen to the interview with the woman who won the election but lost it through the repulsive and destructive Constitutional mechanism of the Electoral College, something embedded in the Constitution by the slave-holding faction, the non-slaveholders selling out to them in order to get commercial concessions that favored their own wealth.   Just consider that she is the second person who has had an election stolen from them by the Constitution in the past seventeen years, the Founders are directly responsible for both the George W. Bush presidency and now the Trump regime.  They are also responsible for the absurdly vague language that turned the ability of the New York Times and the rest of the media to corrupt a sufficient number of Americans into voting for Donald Trump over probably the most qualified person to have run for the presidency in the history of the office.  And now the same venues of media are telling her to shut up?   

To hell with the free press, their freedom to lie is what got us here.  Arthur Sulzberger jr and his rag did more than just about any other entity in American life to give us the Trump disaster.   He, personally, should take the blame on behalf of the media for which his family got the Supreme Court to give them a license to lie for their own purposes.   Someone, in one of the things I read in preparing this pointed out that Maureen Dowd got a goddamned Pulitzer Prize for writing her anti-Clinton crap.  The media, freed of having to stick to the facts have been destroying democracy for the past half century, it's only going to get worse.  Did anyone think it could get this bad back when Hillary Clinton was the embattled First Lady, under attack from the New York Times and everyone else?   And yet they have the gall to wonder how SHE lost the presidency to Trump? 

"what you've got to say about Grant Hart dying...." - Hate Mail

I never heard of Grant Hart before seeing your comment, I was vaguely aware that there was a band called Hüsker* Du but don't know if I was ever subjected to their music.  I'm sorry he died of liver cancer at the age of 56 but, really, that's as far as that can go.  I had a father and a brother who died of liver disease, it's a terrible death.  The thing you sent me noted he was a gay man with a heroin habit it says one of his bandmates had a serious alcoholism problem, my guess would be his cancer might have been a result of hepatitis caught from one or another of those frequent causes of that disease, though the obit didn't say that. 

I wonder, considering the character of the punk scene, are we supposed to have the kind of reverence for its recently deceased proponents you complain I don't have when I have never said I didn't.   It, somehow, doesn't seem to be in keeping, though as I rejected that anti-æsthetic pose from its start I'm very sorry to read about his passing and hope he did't suffer the horrible pain and suffering that disease leads to.  I'll give donations to Addiction prevention, Alcoholics Anonymous and or safe sex group today.  I'd think the best way to honor someone like that is to try to prevent the disease that killed them in other people by removing its avoidable causes. That's what I have to say to your challenge to address his death.   Did Simels put you up to this? 

*  I just wanted to find out if the wonderful EàsyType French Accents software I just downloaded would work on Blogger.  Finally, an easy way to type French accents that doesn't risk hand injury.  If you type French a lot it is great.  I will be buying it today.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

I Know It's Hard To Keep Up But I Think Kris Kobach is the Trump Thug I'd Most Like To See Go Down The Fat Faced .... Well, What Samantha Bee Said

It’s Now Dawned on Trump: People Hate Him

Dusan Bogdanovic - Mysterious Habitats for Guitar

I believe it's the composer playing.

This reminds me a lot of some of the French variations over a ground, chaconnes, passacaglias,  from the baroque period.  Only it's definitely Bogdanovic's style.  He, Leo Brouwer, Atanas Ourkouzounov, it's one of the most important periods of guitar composition going on right now.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Should Be Fired

What should be a fireable offense is for the presidential press hack to call for the firing of a journalist from the podium, as part of her official duties.   Sarah Huckabee Sanders should not be there because the line she crossed is a serious one and she went way, way over it. 

She's a blatant and serial liar, which should also be fireable offenses in a public spokesman, they should keep track and set a number when it becomes fireable.  She passed any reasonable number before she gets canned a long time ago.  She might even outdo Sean Spicer before long.

Three Robo-Blondes And A Blobbo-Boob - This Says It All

Hannity assembles a diverse panel of experts to discuss racism

Bloody Hell, He's Whining About My Fair Lady, Again

In the third season, the King Lear season of the great Canadian TV series, Slings and Arrows, about life in a great Canadian theater festival venue, as the young classical actor who is rehearsing the role of Edgar in King Lear falls in love with the musical theater actress who is playing the lead role of a hooker in the ridiculous musical "East Hastings," they, of course, discuss the plays they are rehearsing.  The boy is a little taken aback with discovering that the musical theater song bird's knowledge of the Shakespearean oeuvre, the mainstay of the classical repertoire at the festival, is limited to having been in West Side Story.  It's clear she's never read any of the plays or seen them.

The overall tragic theme of that series is how bad theater,  musicals, drives out the good and the role that money and how maintaining grand institutional edifices and programs work to insure that.  And so it is in real life, the reason that theater as a serious and intelligent part of the arts will have to be a theater without money, certainly as compared to salable lightweight crap.  You have to see it from the very first scene in the series to get that theme.

I don't have a theater background, unlike the Slings and Arrows songbird and Simps, but I know the difference between a musical "based on" a play and the real thing.  Apparently Simps the theater major doesn't, even though we've been through that before, George Bernard Shaw didn't write My Fair Lady, Alan Lerner and Frederick Lowe did.  I'm not saying the score doesn't have its moments, The Ascot Gavotte is amusing enough, especially as filmed by George Cukor and whoever it was who came up with those absurd hats.  The tacked on ending where Eliza goes back to Higgins is ridiculous and demeaning to Eliza in a way that even the asshole that Shaw was wouldn't have agreed with,  it's been reported he didn't like it when they did it in the movie they made in the 30s.  I think his preface to that play proves that it is a complete misreading of his intentions.  He explicitly says she married Freddy and that after the early attractions had faded she ended up supporting him.   His real aspirations for improvement didn't rest with the lower-class flower girl, it was with Freddy's upper-class sister. He was a friggin' Fabian, in the end.  But you can find that online so I'm not going over that again.  

My point wasn't that an idiot whose knowledge and appreciation of theater is limited to the world of broadway musicals shouldn't indulge their childish tastes, it was that George Bernard Shaw advocated Nazi policies before the Nazis stated them and it rather put me off the old goat.  He wrote Pygmalion in 1913, by which time he had been publicly advocating the mass gassing of the poor, the disabled, those he deemed economically unproductive for at least three years, his having publicly called for that dating, if my memory serves, from March of 1910.  As I pointed out, his preface to On the Rocks proved that his moral degeneracy didn't get better as he saw actual regimes doing pretty much what he had advocated, he had no problem with Stalin or Hitler murdering huge numbers of people, as he stated in that preface.  He had the typical Fabian hatred of poor people and the disabled and decided to outdo the rest of them in depravity.  That the Nobel committee who gave him the Literature prize in 1925 talked about his idealism and morality proves that either those idiots didn't know what they were talking about, which is doubtful, or that the modernist conception of both of those realms of virtue included the kind of mass murder for economic utility that Shaw advocated. 

I guess Simels, who has that American habit of seeing antisemitism wherever he finds it convenient to throw the accusation, isn't bothered that Shaw advocated what Hitler did before Hitler did it and approved of it while he was doing it, explicitly approving what he was doing in Germany.   What can you expect from someone whose view of the world is based in the more vulgar parts of Anglo-American dreck?   Me, I disapprove of mass murder, it puts me off of someones work when they advocate it.  

Pop culture make people stupid when that's all they watch and listen to.  Materialism does that to people, too, it makes them morally retarded.  It's ruining the chances for democracy.  If the idiot wants to watch the movie or listen to the album, I'm not keeping him from doing it.  I got tired of it a long time ago.  Sugar poured on battery acid

Update:  2 Comments

Note:  I did think he'd do it and, indeed, he did.


  1. What? MY FAIR LADY was based on a play by Shaw? Who knew?

    Seriously, Sparkles, you are now officially the stupidest person on the planet, but because I pity you, here's a clue: My deliberate reference to MFL, rather than PYGMALION, was what we call a reductio ad absurdum. To demonstrate the ridiculousness of your argument.

    It kinda boggles my mind that this continues to be beyond your ken, but that's why I still hang out here.
    1. Lowlife Imitates Art

      And there it is, folks, that great sophisticate, that theater major, Steve Simels confirms my point that he doesn't know the difference between the original and the knockoff, the play and the song and dance derivative of it, complete with the tacked-on ending that totally changes the meaning of the thing. And he's so stupid and clueless that even when that is pointed out to him that he's the living embodiment of the cluelessly comic musical dolly bird-brain who the writers of Slings and Arrows wrote who we were supposed to find funny because she was so ignorant, vacuous and silly.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hate Mail

Steve Simels is a liar who has been calling me an antisemite on Eschaton for about the last five or six years because he's a liar and Duncan Black is an asshole who doesn't mind that his blog is used to lie about other people.  Eschaton is a has-been blog that people used to think showed some promise for reviving the left.  It isn't, it isn't productive, it's counterproductive. It's a waste of time by people who do nothing. 

Anyone who reads my blog would know I'm not an antisemite and nothing close to being one.  If it were possible to sue Black and Simels for libel, I would seriously consider doing it. 

Update:  "Freki" is just his main competition for biggest liar on Duncan's blog.  She's a Brit ex-pat who hates the Irish and another atheist mediocrity who has to lie because the truth doesn't favor her ideology.  

Duncan's been going through the motions since about 2006.  Someone told him that there was a walk-on role on that overrated show, The West Wing who was supposed to be him and he's been resting on that dubious laurel ever since. One measure of historical illiteracy is that there are a number of people who will point out how great he is because he once advocated (though never did much to push) increasing Social Security benefits.  As if that hasn't been proposed since Truman was in office as part of his Fair Deal.  

The Media Doesn’t Understand What Trump is Doing

Best iPhone Ad Ever - LastWeekTonight

I can't understand why anyone would be willing to pay the price of this latest friggin' iPhone.  igod has been dead a long, long time, that cult should have died even before then.  

I'm having an unexpectedly bad morning, I'll write something later.

The Check In: HUD, Ben Carson and Hurricanes

It's tempting to go with Ted Cruz getting caught liking a porn video but this is more scary and more important.

Heard from the last of my cousins from St. Petersburg, Florida, they all lived, their houses were mostly intact, except one which lost its roof.  I'm not expecting they're going to find getting help under Trump will be as fast or effective as it would have been under President Obama.  Especially with HUD being controlled by someone who should be in custodial care, not running a major agency of such importance.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Robert Mueller is Zeroing in on Trump’s Cover Up

It's So Unbecoming For Grown Adults To Whine "That's Not Fair!" Like A Seven Year Old - Hate Mail

You don't claim that George Bernard Shaw didn't advocate murdering huge numbers of people in large gas chambers, pretty much consigning anyone he deemed to be economically unproductive to, rightly, be murdered by the state for eugenic purposes, I suspect you checked and found out it would be pointless to claim that he didn't say that because the documentation that he not only said that then but he pretty much advocated that position over much of his public life, even up into his extreme old age is so very well documented, including in publications of his work which he, himself was involved in.

What you're saying is that some conservatives have pointed that out makes it illegitimate for me, on the American left, to also call that depravity what it was, an advocacy of Nazi policy before Nazism was invented or at least named.  Nazism wasn't a sui generis manifestation that came out of nothing in 1919, changing its name to Nazism the next year, it was just one political party which was a manifestation of ideas which had become current in Western intellectuals since the 1860s, ideas which, themselves, were part of a longer materialist line of thought but which given biological affirmation in Darwinism, grew enormously in power.  The irony of conservatives using Shaw's and others depravity from that period is that is should work a lot better for American liberalism than it does for American conservatism, though if they're going to abandon scientific racism and eugenics I can't see that as a bad thing.  If, or rather IF THEY DO SO CONSISTENTLY AND COMPLETELY. I might add that I'm not waiting up nights for that to happen.

Anyone has the right to accurately cite what anyone says as part of their argument, if the argument is invalid it has to be attacked on some other basis than that noting what someone has said, truthfully, is somehow felt to be unfair.

The idea that because he wrote some witty plays and was a goddamned Fabian (about the most putrid of the supposed socialist parties of the English speaking peoples) we're supposed to pretend he didn't say those things and that, saying it over the period of a quarter of a century even as it was becoming reality, it was meant to be comic or ironic is about as stupid an assertion as anyone has ever made and passed it off as liberalism.  Shaw was as depraved as the authors of Nazi propaganda were, that he may have been a more skilled writer and dramatist doesn't change the fact that his witty mind was as diseased and likely more than that of Ezra Pound or anyone else who supported Hitler or Stalin or Mussolini or Mao.

Advocating mass murder by the state, whether for "racial purity" or economic efficiency should be enough to get someone removed from the honor roll of lazy-assed intellectualism.  The Nazis sold the acceptance of genocide to the German people through an appeal to economic efficiency as much as they did racial purity.  In the end, even much of their racial genocide was explained in economic terms, the plan to murder Poles and other Slavic people based on the desire to steal their land was, in the most basic way, an economic plan.  I don't have any problem with anyone slamming anyone for saying things like that, no matter how much I might have smiled at their wit in the past or how many supposedly respectable people have said pretty things about them.  I don't smile at Shaw anymore. He disgusts me.  So does any modernism that is compatible with that level of depravity.  It turns my stomach as much as the sentimental Nazi era Germanic kitsch or the American Nazi yearning for the phony old South, old West or Steve Bannon's ahistorical, farcical, 19th century nostalgia for a nativist economic power house that didn't exist.  That's the TV addled  meth-addict view of history, something liberals shouldn't have anything in common with.

Monday, September 11, 2017

How Did Trump Remember 9/11?

Busy Morning: A Background Reference to What I Wrote Yesterday And The Moral Fraud That Modernism Is

Looking over the things I wrote about the "scandal" bashing Nuns for dumping "800 bodies of babies into a septic tank"  I found that I'd cited an older story FROM THE BBC that noted that in the very period in question, infant mortality was extremely high in Britain.  Maybe if their reporters bothered to look at their own website, they'd find stuff like this.  Note, especially  these two paragraphs from their reporting of this latest, alleged scandal and what their older report said about children dying in that period

The death records indicate that most of the children died of natural causes, from diseases common at the time such as TB, pneumonia and pleurisy.

Analysis of the records show that a third of those who died were aged five or under. Very few of those who died, 24 in total, were aged over 15, and most of the deaths occurred between 1870 and 1930.

Health: Latest News

Before the revolution 

In the 30s, one in 20 children died before their first birthday 

Sixty years ago, Britain's children were born into a dangerous world.
Every year, thousands died of infectious diseases like pneumonia, meningitis, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and polio.
Infant mortality - deaths of children before their first birthday - was around one in 20.
It took some startling medical discoveries and pioneering work from paediatricians and doctors to turn around an appalling situation.

[ image: Dr Leslie Temple:
Dr Leslie Temple: "We could do nothing"
Helpless and frustrated
The early 1930s were a time of frustration for many doctors who powerlessly witnessed the deaths of thousands of babies and young children.
"When I was a student and newly qualified, there was an enormous area where we knew we could do nothing," Dr Leslie Temple remembers.
"We made the most of what little we could do, but over the vast area of childhood illness, all we could do was hold their hands and hope."
Professional attitudes
Poverty, poor diet and bad living conditions lay at the root of much childhood illness.

[ image: Harold Everley Jones: houses were hovels]
Harold Everley Jones: houses were hovels
Harold Everley Jones was one of Britain's first paediatricians, and spent 40 years working with children. He qualified as a doctor in 1934.
"I stood in a house to which I was called and was amazed to see the wallpaper moving due to the bugs underneath. Many of these houses were little more better than hovels." he recalls.
Antibiotic revolution
It was only in 1939 that the world's first anti-bacterial drugs, Sulphonamides, became widely available.

[ image: Antibiotics like penicillin changed everything]
Antibiotics like penicillin changed everything
They greatly reduced childhood deaths from pneumonia. Shortly afterwards, in 1944, Penicillin, the original antibiotic, was used to wage war on meningitis.
The second antibiotic to be developed, Streptomycin in 1947, tackled the horrors of TB.
In 1960, a vaccination to protect against Polio was introduced to British shores from the United States.

[ image: A child had a mirror above the lung to see behind]
A child had a mirror above the lung to see behind
Mechanical aid
The iron lung was used for the worst polio cases, where the chest muscles and diaphragm were paralysed, and the patient would suffocate without assisted respiration. The machine breathed for them.
Simon Parrit spent 14 months in hospital, much of that time inside the mechanical lung.
"I won't say I liked being in it, but it was like a very safe environment that's breathing for you.
"My life was lived through a mirror. I had a mirror over the iron lung and you could see the world through the mirror, back-to-front."

[ image: Dr Beryl Corner:  halved mortality rates]
Dr Beryl Corner: halved mortality rates
Premature babies
Post-war Britain concentrated its medicinal effort on new born babies; Britain's second premature baby unit was set up at Bristol's Southmead hospital, under the auspices of a leading paediatrician, Dr Beryl Corner.
With a measly budget of £100 - enough for just six cots - Dr Corner and her team halved mortality rates for the babies in their care within a year of being established.
Dr Corner also won fame and accolades for her profession when she successfully assisted in the delivery of the world's first quadruplets to be born by Caesarean; the birth of the Good sisters became an international news story.

[ image: All the quads survived]
All the quads survived
Last, but not least
The births were regarded as a triumph for intensive care, especially since the fourth baby was not breathing when she was delivered.
"We had no resuscitation equipment then such as we know it now.
"But I had a sucker that I sucked with a rubber tube down the baby's throat, and after about four or five minutes the baby cried and breathed; and she lived," says Dr Corner.
Speed of change
Few can comprehend the advances made in healthcare over the last sixty years.
"It's difficult for people now to imagine a world without antibiotics, in which people died of infection all the time," says Dr Leslie Temple.
In the decade before the polio vaccine was introduced there were 45,000 cases. Since 1985 there have been fewer than 40. The other diseases that blighted children's lives have also all but gone, or are easily treated.
The infant mortality rate last year was 10 times less than in the late 1930's.

Dr Temple says: "We no longer expect children to die of common disease or to be crippled by them."
One in twenty,  5% of children died in their first year, I will see if I can find figures for the rest of childhood but percentage of children who died of natural causes in childhood was certainly quite a bit higher than that which was reported last weekend as being a scandal when it happened in a Catholic orphanage.   I will also remind you that you can read the paper I cited yesterday for more information about those figures and you can look at the truly scandalous science of the eminent and respected and lauded British scientist, member of the Fabians, Karl Pearson, The Intensity of Natural Selection In Man, in which he tacitly advocates a high infant and early childhood mortality rate as good for the human species.   Note that even Dr. Arthur Newsholme, who Pearson is arguing against because his view of the salubrity of infant and early child mortality doesn't attribute the level of benefit that Pearson asserted, even Newsholme blithely talked about it "weeding out the weaklings".  Such is the ingrained habit in Britain, long learned by the regime of hatred of the poor, the ill and the merely unfortunate which is incorporated in the class system and the law.  That is what Darwin turned into science through his theory of natural selection and elevated the deaths of such children into a modern virtue.

And he was hardly the only member of the English Language scientific, medical, intellectual establishment to hold that position, it wasn't uncommon in those who accepted the beliefs of Charles Darwin and Francis Galton, not to mention Ernst Haeckel.   Pearson positively cites the work of Alfred Ploetz, in Germany, who had already become a convinced antiSemite due to his Darwinism and who would supply the Nazis with a good deal of their scientific support for their racial genocide as well as the kind he shared, wholeheartedly with members of the British elite, from what was considered the far right to more centrist icons such as Winston Churchill to what was, in contemporary British terms, the far left, such as Karl Pearson.  

If you want an example of the depravity of such thinking, consider that the hero of so many English language intellectuals on the alleged left,  especially among "free thinkers" and atheists, George Bernard Shaw went from giving entertaining speeches about the desirability of mass gassings more than a quarter of a century before the Nazis put his dream into practice, to writing his pathological preface to his late play, On the Rocks, which was, if anything, even more enthusiastic about mass murders, such as were happening in the Soviet Union under Stalin and as Hitler was in power and preparing his country for doing the same.   That such thinking was all the rage among European intellectuals in the rise of modernism is proven by their acceptance of Shaw as some kind of moral personage.  In 1925, well into his period of advocating gassing huge numbers in gas chambers, he was given the Nobel Prize for Literature.  Here's what it says at the Nobel site, now:

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1925 was awarded to George Bernard Shaw "for his work which is marked by both idealism and humanity, its stimulating satire often being infused with a singular poetic beauty".

"Idealism and humanity" under the modern, scientific view of things is clearly quite consonant with fascism and Nazism as well as Stalinism.  Shaw is hardly the only writer and intellectual held up as a hero, now and then, as they favored fascism, Nazism Stalinism and on into the Maoist period and on to today. Modernism, with its Darwinian demotion of human life was then and as that part of modernism which was deemphasized in the recoiling horror in reaction to World War II fades , that is resurgent.  It will be as long as its pathological basis remains current in the general culture.

And it's the nuns they love to bash.  

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dinah Washington - Willow Weep for Me

I don't have the time to tease out the players who backed her up on this but these were the people who played on that album.

Maynard Ferguson, Conrad Gozzo, Mannie Klein, Ray Linn (trumpet) Tommy Pederson, Frank Rosolino, Si Zentner (trombone) Herb Geller, Skeets Herfurt (alto sax) Georgie Auld, Babe Russin (tenor sax) Chuck Gentry (baritone sax) Wynton Kelly (piano) Al Hendrickson (guitar) Keter Betts (bass) Jimmy Cobb (drums) Dinah Washington (vocals) Hal Mooney (arranger, conductor)

More Than You Know 

The BBC Brings On Another Aborted Nun-Run Orphanage Scandal Before Its Time

Another day, another e-mail demanding I answer for another Brit Catholic orphanage "scandal" which, upon reading what was sent to me, is just the BBC doing what it's done before, holding Nuns who ran an orphanage to a far higher standard than they do secular institutions or, in fact, the horrific treatment of orphans, widows and paupers that was general in Britain in the 19th and early 20th century.   Also, holding the past, especially the pre-antibiotic past, in which infant and child mortality rates, especially in institutional settings and wherever people were poor, to modern expectations.

I don't, from reading what the BBC posted, know if there is an actual scandal attributable to the Nuns who ran the place.  And, apparently,  neither do they. 

The children were all residents of a care home run by Catholic nuns.

At least 400 children are thought to be buried in a section of St Mary's Cemetery in Lanark.
The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, which ran the home, refused to comment on the findings.

The research by the File on 4 programme in conjunction with the Sunday Post newspaper focused on Smyllum Park Orphanage in Lanark.

It opened in 1864 and provided care for orphans or children from broken homes. It closed in 1981, having looked after 11,600 children.

A burial plot, containing the bodies of a number of children, was uncovered by two former residents of Smyllum in 2003.

Frank Docherty and Jim Kane discovered an overgrown, unmarked section of St Mary's Cemetery during their efforts to reveal physical abuse which they said many former residents had suffered.

In 2004, the campaigners said the Daughters of Charity told them their records suggested that children had been buried in 158 compartments in the graveyard.

Frank and Jim, who both died earlier this year, believed however, that the numbers were far higher as the nuns had indicated their records were incomplete.

The investigation by File on 4 and the Sunday Post indicates they were right; at least 400 children are understood to be buried in the plot.

"Oh my God, I've got goose pimples. It's shocking," said Frank Docherty's widow, Janet.
"He had been trying for years to find a figure and he didn't get anywhere. That's unbelievable."

The death records indicate that most of the children died of natural causes, from diseases common at the time such as TB, pneumonia and pleurisy.

Analysis of the records show that a third of those who died were aged five or under. Very few of those who died, 24 in total, were aged over 15, and most of the deaths occurred between 1870 and 1930.

Janet Docherty might find that shocking and unbelievable but, having looked at this kind of thing before and the general character of British "charitable" institutions of the period, especially the appalling system of death camps that the Workhouses were, none of it is surprising or shocking, including that rate of death, nor the fact that the dead were buried in a single location without any markers or records.  That was typical of the way of death, at all ages, but especially among infants and children, in British and other institutions of most of the time.  

If an inmate died in the workhouse, the death was notified to their family who could ,if they wished, organize a funeral themselves.  If this did not happen, which was often the case because of the expense, the Guardians arranged a burial in a local cemetery or burial ground - this was originally required to be in the parish where the workhouse stood...

The burial would be in the cheapest possible coffin and in an unmarked grave, into which several coffins might be placed on the same occasion. Under the terms of the 1832 Anatomy Act, bodies unclaimed for forty-eight hours could be disposed of by donating them for use in medical research and training - this was not specific to workhouses, but applied to any institution whose inmates died while in its care.  Deaths were, however, not always registered in the normal way. 

Pauper funerals were often without mourners.  At Bourne in 1901, the workhouse master reported that despite repeated invitations, workhouse inmates always declined to attend funerals.  This was perhaps a testimony to the old saying, "rattle his bones over the stones, he's only a pauper whom nobody owns."

And as to the dignity accorded to the graves of the poor, the unwanted, etc.

Following the closure of many of London's old parish graveyards in the 1850s, a number of new cemeteries - often commercially operated - were set up at out-of-town locations.  The most prominent of these were the London Necropolis....

In September 1883, the Times carried a report about the transport of pauper bodies to Colney Hatch Cemetery from Clerkenwell workhouse mortuary by an undertake's sub-contractor.  It had been alleged that a coach carrying five coffins three of adults and two of children had broken down on Exmouth Street with the coffins rolling into the road.  It was also claimed that, for the sake of economy bodies were kept in store until a batch of sufficient size was reached, resulting in offensive smells.  The coffins were said to be identified only by a name chalked on them and that during the journey the writing rubbed off  Although an investigation of committee of Guardians refuted the allegations it was agreed that the union should acquire its own hearse, coach and horses for the use at pauper funerals. 

I doubt they afforded markers for the infants and children who died in horrifically high numbers or even took much notice or bother to document where they were disposed of.  

I would suspect that if the BBC looked for bodies of infants and children at just about any British workhouse they would find similar if not worse practices under the auspices of the British government.  I have pointed out a number of times, the workhouse system was designed to starve the inmates, the food rations to the inmates was smaller than that given to prisoners.  Many children as well as adults died of starvation in them, they even recorded the deaths as by starvation so there was no secret made of it.  And I have pointed out that the law in Britain which allowed men to father children out of wedlock, relieving them of any obligation to care for them led to widespread infanticide, enough so that it was not uncommon to find bodies of infants dumped in the streets of London.  

And it was hardly just British institutions in the islands that fell under that appalling system of hatred of the poor and powerless, it is typical of institutions of the time.   

In order to know if this is a scandal, you would have to know how the children died, if their death rate was unusually high for the years and locations they happened in and if those deaths could have been prevented.   Without doing that this is not journalism.   Until that is done, it's holding Catholic Nuns to a higher standard than others who operated institutions.   

When Is The BBC Going To Look At The Scandal of Eminent British Scientists Advocating The Benefits Of The Deaths OF Infants And Children In The Same Time Period?  

You might want to look at this paper, Infant Mortality and the Health of Survivors: Britain 1910-1950 by Timothy J. Hatton to see that there was a real infant and child death scandal in those years and it wasn't one by created by Catholic nuns but in entirely secular scientists and politicians who asserted that a high infant and child mortality rate was socially beneficial, improving the stock of the working class.   You can read about that on pages 3-7 of the paper.  Two things, first is this quote from the eminent British sociological researcher, Seebohm  Rowntree's survey of the working class of York in 1901,  

[i]t is sometimes urged that although the individual suffering indicated by high infant mortality is considerable, it is not without some counterbalancing advantages, as sickly children are thus weeded out.  Even if this Spartan view is accepted, it must be remembered that of those who survive, a large proportion do so only with seriously enfeebled constitutions.

I will remind people who have read my blog that taking such a "Spartan view" had been promoted by Charles Darwin in The Descent of man in 1872 and it characterized his disciples, who by that time pretty much encompassed the large majority of the educated class of Britain and elsewhere.  That can be seen by fact checking this from the same paper. 

The most well-known protagonist of the selection view in the early twentieth century was the eminent statistician Karl Pearson.  Following Francis Galton he stressed the importance of heredity.  

"The selection view" was the assertion that natural selection, the deaths of those of "lesser fitness," especially as children, was beneficial for the surviving population, as asserted by biologists and others who believed in natural selection since it was first invented. 

If health was largely inherited, then elimination of the least fit at an early age would increase the average fitness of the survivors as well as preserving racial quality in the longer run [ after a brief discussion of problems with data collection it continues]... As he put it" "the only method by which data for different different districts can be compared is by endeavouring to fix the nature of the environment.  We want to know whether under a constant environment, the correlation between the death rates of infancy and of childhood is positive or negative." 

Only, Pearson was in little doubt that the actual deaths of infants and children was positive.  You can read that section of the paper to see how the scientific assertion that infants and children dying young was a good thing.  But there is little to no doubt that Pearson and other British and English language scientists and scholars asserted that there was an up-side to high mortality rates for the children of the poor and destitute.   I have mentioned before that Karl Pearson was the author of a pamphlet which decried the use of cesarean section because it kept too many babies and mothers alive who would have died in childbirth, on the assumption that such as did die were inferior and that their survival was a danger to the future of humanity.  What Darwin wrought in inventing natural selection is a real scandal but I don't expect the BBC or the people who find these kinds of scandals buried under Victorian orphanages - but only those run by Nuns - will want to look into. 

If a real investigation that takes into account actual evidence and compares it to the general child mortality rate in British institutions to see if the Nuns who ran the place were culpable finds a scandal, then I'll address the scandal.  As of now, just as in previous cases, the journalists haven't done that. 

I don't doubt this will be revisited in the coming days.  I wonder if, as the previous "scandal" in Tuam, if it will turn out that the orphanage was located in property of the local workhouse.  There was one in Lanark, I wonder how many children are buried in unmarked, undocumented graves who died there under British Government auspices.  I wonder if the BBC has ever done any reporting about that.