This one really is fucking trivia, but hey its pretty awesome.  The word admiral came about due to the merging of Arab and Norman culture during the Norman kingdom of Sicily in the ten hundreds, the Norman Sicilian Duke/king Roger the II wanted to build a great navy to attack the Berber North African kingdoms, but didn’t want to do it himself because he was not a military man.  So he wanted to invest his naval commander with enough power to wield supreme military power without interference, so he needed to promote his commander to a rank higher than anything other than Duke himself.  

   To this end, he took the old Arab title of Emir and latinized it to the term Admiral, thus making his commander essentially the Emir of the Sea, a royal rank opposed to a noble rank so people had to obey him.  However his power was limited to the sea so he couldn’t use his power to take power over the land.


Jews ordered to register by pro-Russian group in east Ukraine

Jews in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk where pro-Russian militants have taken over government buildings were told they have to “register” with the Ukrainians who are trying to make the city become part of Russia.

Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city’s Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee “or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated,” reported Ynet News, Israel’s largest news website.

"We don’t know if these notifications were distributed by pro-Russian activists or someone else, but it’s serious that it exists," said Olga Reznikova, 32, a Jewish resident of Donetsk. "The text reminds of the fascists in 1941," she said referring to the Nazis who occupied Ukraine during World War II.

Michael Salberg, director of the international affairs at the New York City-based Anti-Defamation League, said it’s unclear if the leaflets were issued by the pro-Russian leadership or a splinter group operating within the pro-Russian camp.

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Literally terrifying. This is how it starts…

while this isn’t official Russian policy, knowing how anti Semitic the country was its pretty creepy 


There is an attitude among certain people that Shakespeare didn’t write his plays, because clearly a filthy poor person couldn’t possible be such a good writer. The recent movie Anonymous (which is in my list of top ten worse movies of all time) proposed that, and was stupid as…

OMG i love the Bard but do not go to this man for an accurate understanding of other countries, he thought the Romans had watches and the Greeks lions

I have been extremely sick, like coughing up blood sick, so this one is going to be short.  Interest fact, the ancient Greeks thought there were only one gender, IE male, they had a perception that all human beings were handmade in the womb and those who were not finished were women, who just hadn’t been properly formed, and thus were inferior.   Yeah the Ancient Greeks were sexist as shit.  Secondly they believed that it was the men who did most of the work with the children, that producing the sperm for the child was like planting the seed in the soil, the seed does all of the work not the soil and for that reason they didn’t really understand race, if a greek man slept with a persian women, the child is Greek because of the father.  Finally, they believed that men had a limited amount of “energy” IE sperm, and so if they didn’t have sex very much they would be able to maintain their vital essence.  Yes, General Ripper has some basis in fact.  

"Shanker’s experience suggested the dawn of a new kind of racial politics based on identity, antagonism, and assertion of one’s inherent rights rather than on the traditional liberal coalition politics of empathy and cooperation. Of course the often violently expressed racial fears of so many white working people had always stymied the progress of liberal coalitions between union and civil rights leaders, even those with the most far-sighted leadership … But black demands in housing, education, and the workplace, coupled with a deep aversion to the disrespect of traditional values by anti war demonstrators and their Black Power allies, were turning the white working class toward an identity politics of their own: one based on resentment of blacks, of government bureaucrats, and of the intellectuals and “experts” who empowered what felt very much like an attack on their schools, their neighborhoods, their values, and, indeed, their entire way of life. For every one if these assaults they blamed a single culprit: liberals.”
"The Cause: the fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama"


Even if you can’t afford free-range meat. Because that shit is expensive.

So two days ago I was doing the massacre of the Sikh temple, and I noticed the anti Sikh riots came about instantly after and I was curious about what happened so I started to read about it and wanted to check it out and yet that is my fact of the day.  So the Sikh temple massacre, where between 5,500-20,000 people were killed was framed in the langauge of Nationalism vs. Seperatism, and the Sikhs were framed as a bunch of violent religious extremists in reference to Pakistan.  This wasn’t really how it was, but you know how things can get twisted.  What was shocking though is that after ordering a raid on the Sikh temple killing thousands of civilians and damaging their most holy site, it never occurred to her that her two Sikh body guards might take issue with this.  Thirty Three issues actually, all of them bullets into her chest.  The two assassins, Beant Singh and Satwant Singh (no relation) shot her, the former emptying his gun into her, the later firing only three shots, before they sat down and waited for the police to come arrest them.  Despite the fact that they surrendered and made no attempt to escape, Beant Singh was shot 5 times when he supposedly attempted to flee while Satwant was wounded.  Satwant and the planner Kehar Singh (no relation) were both hung and their cremated ashes were not buried religiously as they requested.  

    so in response there were massive riots across indian in response to the assassination against the Sikh community, I mean imagine if Obama was killed by a Muslim you can figure out the response.  The riots were at their worse in Delhi, and in fact were organized by the Delhi police who encouraged attacks on the Sikh communities.  Indira’s son Rajiv, who became the new Prime Minister said about the riots “When a big tree falls, the earth shakes”.  So yeah, at the risk of talking about a political figure I know almost nothing about, fuck you.  

    Around ten thousand Sikhs were arrested and held, some who were militants but most were just Sikhs.  8,000 people were killed in the riots, 1,000 people were forced to flee the cities and 20,000 were injured in some manner.  Most of the people were beaten to death, no news on how many rape victims just that it was in the thousands.  What allowed people to know who were Sikhs is that the voting records were “accidently” leaked to the mob and there is evidence that this was a deliberately organized government policy, with Sikh homes being marked with an X.    

     The issue became a matter of some contention for the next decade, but to give India a great deal of credit, since the 90s the Indian government has been pretty open about what happened and publicly apologized, calling it one of the most shameful incidents in their history.  There might have been a cover up during the 80s, but since then the government hasn’t tried to cover anything up and has in fact brought some people to justice.  In the last few years more and more people are getting charged for what happened, so kudos to India for owning up for what they did

Right so warning, this is possibly my most bias post I have ever done, firstly because McCarthy is on my list of top ten worse Americans of all time, and because my family was in the diplomacy core, we have been hating him since he first emerged unto the scene and so this is very much a family grudge.

     Right so when in the Early 50s Joe McCarthy produced his list of “Communists” who were infiltrating the US, not only was a violation of every standard that we hold dear and a complete rejection of the fundamental basis of the American way, it also was actually harmful to the cold war effort.  See President Truman and President Eisenhower were convinced that MCCarthy was a communist spy because he did so much damage to the anti Communist movement that they thought he must be lying.  Because for all of his ranting, McCarthy didn’t catch a single Communist spy.  THere were communist spies in the government, but the only one who McCarthy accused beat the rap, and used the fact that she beat the rap to avoid being caught for decades.  NOt only that, the increased anti communist fervor that lead to the second red scare caused popular opinion to turn against any sort of compromise.  

    You know how the Tea Party has gotten so radical that otherwise vile right wing establishment candidates are being voted out because they agreed with the left on like one single issue or something?   Well McCarthy was the anti communist version of that.  See during WWII, the US government was working with plenty of communists against hte Fascists, and even when Truman and Stalin had a falling out, we were still working with various leftists and non soviet communist in an attempt to weaken the Soviet Union.  

     One example was Mao, who very much wanted to be an American ally and we were honestly considering it because he hated Stalin and we hated both Stalin and Chaing Kai Shek.  But suddenly McCarthy gets the country worked into an anti communist frenzy and any alliance with Mao goes out the window.  Its the same reason why we couldn’t support left wing non communist candidates in South America and Africa, because the attitude had become so radical that anybody who even hinted at land reform or worker’s rights was instantly branded a leftist, so we opposed them, causing them to turn to the Soviet Union for aid.  Nassar is another example of this, because he had the name “socialist” in his party we couldn’t make an alliance with Egypt, same with Tito.  

     The reason why the US spent the 60s, 70s, and 80s backing right wing genocidal fascists is because the Presidents were so terrified of being called lefty pinkos so they opposed anybody remotely leftist.  My family was in the diplomatic core, we had a fucking plan, destroy the Soviet Union via undermining them from within, because they were an oppressive dictatorship, but because of McCarthy, we looked like a bunch of assholes.  

So I have been trying to move out of my comfort zones in terms of HIstory, IE Europe and East Asia, so in that spirit lets go over a major event in a region I am not the most familiar with, India.  THis will be a very “High school” level introduction.   Right, the Temple massacre of 1984

      So who are the Sikhs?   Sikhism is one of the major religions in INdia, a monotheistic religion that has been around for about 500 years, living mostly in the Punjab region of the world.  They are the 5th largest religion in the world, after Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, with about 25 million people in total.  To sum them up in a VERY short and simplified way, when they were founded they rejected many aspects of Islam and Hinduism, such as Piligrimages, the Caste system, and to an lesser extent Monarchy in general.  Universal equality is a huge part of the faith, and the faith does not believe themselves to be an exclusive religion.  Now I am not trying to say Sikhism is a perfect faith, there are ALOT of problems with the faith, but generally I am a fan of Sikhism.    Now Sikhism has been strongly persecuted against since its founding during the Mughal Empire, and even established their own Empire for awhile until they were defeated by the British Empire.  The British realized that they made very good fighters and made up a disproportional amount of the the British occupation army.   When India was finally partitioned, many Sikhs felt that they deserved their own homeland in the same manner that the Muslims got Pakistan, specifically the region known as Punjab, which is the home of Sikhism.  Punjab was split in true which lead to a….very nasty war between Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims.  Finally the Golden Temple in Punjab is the center of the Sikh faith.

   Right so that is your background information there, so what was the massacre?  Well during the war, many Sikhs were protested in an attempt to get their own country called Khalistan, and there were some militant terrorists operating for that cause.  The Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi believed (correctly) that some of the militants were hiding in the Golden Temple.    Well kinda correct.  There was a separatist movement, however the far larger movement was lead by a group called the Akali Dai, whose leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was advocating secession or greater representation in the government.  Indira Gandhi basically put both of them in the same boat and claimed that Jarnail was a separatist and she was protecting Indian sovereignty.  Jarnail and about 600 armed followers were living in a guest house, though they hadn’t actually attacked anybody yet.  Following this event, there were a few murders, most notable Police Deputy Inspector General A. S> Atwal.  However only 200 troops remained by the time of the massacre 

   The Indian government choose to try to remove the organization from the temple, in what was called Operation Blue Star.  There was a general black, both with electricity and media for the region and the Indian Army stormed the Golden Temple, shooting anybody who showed even the slightest amount of resistance.  Some of the Sikhs did fight back, but most were unarmed civilians.  Jarnail was killed, and the Golden Temple was damaged.  In addition the Indian Army lost about 136 troops, the militants lost 200 men, and 5,000 civilians were killed.   At the time the Indian Army claimed only 492 people died, however it seems clear that 5,000 were killed, though some sikhs claim that between 10,000-20,000 people died.  This event lead to the Assassination of Ghandi and the anti Sikh protests.  



There is an attitude among certain people that Shakespeare didn’t write his plays, because clearly a filthy poor person couldn’t possible be such a good writer. The recent movie Anonymous (which is in my list of top ten worse movies of all time) proposed that, and was stupid as…

Also: Shakespeare was neither poor nor uneducated. His family wasn’t necessarily rich, but they were relatively well off, and the grammar school education that received was extensive and nothing to sneeze at.

That is true, Avon had a particularly good grammar school at that.  I wasn’t meaning to imply that Will was a street kid, just that this classist elitist assertion is just nonesense 

There is an attitude among certain people that Shakespeare didn’t write his plays, because clearly a filthy poor person couldn’t possible be such a good writer.  The recent movie Anonymous (which is in my list of top ten worse movies of all time) proposed that, and was stupid as hell.  Here are some reasons why yes, it is possible for a middle class person to be a good artist

1) Publishing plays anonymously was the norm.  In Elizabethan England it was perfectly normal to simply publish poems without your name attached, The Bard was somewhat unusual in that he actually published under his name.  If some noble needed to publish plays secretly, he just wouldn’t put his name on it

2) Shakespeare acted in his own plays.  He knew all of the actors he worked with and interacted with them, if he didn’t know his own dialogue somebody would have noticed

3) The Elizbethan records show that Skaespeare was a real person, an actor, a playwight, and globe sharer, we have the physical records.  

4) The reason why he didn’t leave his plays to anybody is because he didn’t own his plays, they were owned by the theater company.  

5) All of the other candidates for the “true writer of Shakespeare” be it the Earl of Oxford, Marlow or the Queen died before Shakespeare finished writing his plays 

6) Many of his plays, notable the Henry VI plays and Titus Andronicus were collaborations

7) Shakespeare was a well known writer, first noticed in 1592 

Right lets move unto the next region of Asia, South Asia.  IT is made up of India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and sometimes Afghanistan.  Personally I think that Afghanistan shouldn’t count I think that is more Central Asia/The Middle East.  Finally, if you accept Tibet as a country, it is sometimes called South Asia.  So what makes up South Asia?  

First and most importantly, South Asia is a an actual sub continent, the entire thing is on a entire different land mass.  Much in how Europe is a different continent plate than Asia, South Asia is a different landmass than the rest of Asia, though not large enough to be its own continent.  

Secondly, South Asia due to its climate, doesn’t have 4 seasons, instead it has two, Monsoon and not Monsoon, Moonsoons being fucking huge rainstorms they get during part of the year.  

Thirdly, the influence of India….sort of.  With ever other region, there is normally a single country who serves as the main cultural influence of a region, such as France for Western Europe, Germany/Austria for Central Europe, and China for East Asia.  South Asia doesn’t really have that, not exactly.  See India is actually a very young country, before the BRitish came what we now call India was just a collection of different states, and that region has never been fully unified.  So there hasn’t been a single long lasting state in India that has provided to the main culture influence the way you have say, China.  However, there have been many long lasting states in what we now call India that have provided the main cultural influence, such as the Maurya empire, the Middle Kingdoms, Gupta Empire, Mughal Empire, Maratha Confederacy etc.  While none of these nations were THE defining state of the region, the area of India is generally the main cultural powerhouse of the region

Fourthly, a total lack of unification.   Tied to the earlier point, the Region hasn’t really came to unify until after the British Raj.  The entire region has been infighting for about 3 thousand years until the last 60 years, and even Modern India has some deep divisions. That is to say nothing of the tensions between the other nations, Pakistan and India being only the largest.  

5) The influence of the Indian Goldan Age, the period between the 400-600s where the region was the single wealthiest economy in human history, seriously it was the just overthrowing in wealth which made their goods be in demand all throughout the world, 

6) The relative isolation.  The sub continent is rather cut off, due to the largest mountain range in the entire world, a desert, and a giant jungle, so while there were plenty of invasion, trade, and integration, it was far more limited than you would see in other parts of the world

7) The Religious influence of Hinduism.  There are far more religions in the region, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam, and Christianity, but even they are influenced by Hinduism.  



Photo by Ron Sachs-Corbis

Source: Time Magazine

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The Normans are very much the success story of the dark ages, they were a wandering peoples who were able to take over a vast amount of kingdoms, and shaped the history of France, Italy, Byzantium and of course England.  The Normans were originally Vikings, who were raiding all of Europe and were pretty much terrifying and undeafetable.  England and France were the worse hit by the Vikings, England several times being almost entirely conquered and the Frankish Empire was so badly hit that the Charlamaign Empire was essentially destroyed. The Franks were the wealthiest Western European power, extremely rich, but their armies were unable to deal with the Viking’s hit and run tactics.  It finally got to the point where all of the villages on the French Coast had been abandoned and the Vikings had to go further inland for raids.  In 911, one band of Vikings lead by Rollo the Tall, a man so tall he couldn’t actually ride horses (so he was also called Rollo the Walker) got themselves trapped in French territory but were able to defeat a large French army put up against them.  The Franks and the Vikings were at a bit of an impass, the Vikings were better fighters but they couldn’t afford to escape.  It was then that the French King Charles III, also called CHarles the Simple, proposed a plan.  He would give the vikings a part of Costal France, and in return they would convert to Christianity and swear loyality to the Franks.  The idea was that if the vikings were living off the land they would have to protect the land from the other Viking raiders, and who better to fight vikings than other vikings?  However, in the ceremony of feudal submission, when Rollo was told to kiss the Royal Boot, he reached down, picked the king up by the leg, kissed his foot and dropped him, which summed up the relationship.  THe land was called Normandy, IE land of the Norseman, and the people who lived there were called Normands, and they were able to effectively end the Viking fight, combining Viking warrior skills with Frankish horsemanship.  


Photo by Ron Sachs-Corbis

Source: Time Magazine

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