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The blues guitarist Johnny Winter has died at age 70, on tour in Switzerland.

Johnny (like his younger brother, keyboardist Edgar) started out as a session musician, briefly became a major solo rock star in the early 1970s, and then went back to a long career as a session musician, mixed with touring.

Both Winter Brothers were albinos — unable to go outside and play in the Texas sun, they stayed indoors and became musical prodigies.

The Winter Brothers filed an interesting lawsuit against DC Comics over a 1995 Jonah Hex comic book arc featuring the disgusting Autumn Brothers, half-worm/half-albino brothers who were the mutant offspring of a giant worm raping their mother.

The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation (NOAH) filed an amicus curiae brief noting the discrimination and ignorance under which albinos live, especially in Africa.

In 2003, the California Supreme Court ruled overwhelmingly against the Winter Brothers.

What I was struck by was less the intellectual property questions than how the court didn’t even give the slightest sympathy to NOAH’s friend of the court brief about how albinos were a minority victimized by prejudice. For more politically fearsome minority groups, the courts would normally provide some lip service, especially when shooting down their case.

But albinos are one of those potential identity politics groups that, like lefthanders, aren’t real identity politics groups for reasons that aren’t immediately obvious but are worth inquiring into. Apparently, skin color doesn’t actually have much to do with who is and who isn’t a protected minority.

 
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  1. While their case seems ridiculous, it is worthy to raise the specter of the cannibalism of albinos in Africa. Seems aids homeopathy trumps melanin deficiency.

  2. bomag [AKA "doombuggy"] says:

    But albinos are one of those potential identity politics groups that, like lefthanders, aren’t real identity politics groups for reasons that aren’t immediately obvious but are worth inquiring into.

    Inquiring minds don’t get ahead in today’s world. The value is in regurgitating the party line.

  3. The winters are offensively white. Those with privilege cannot be victims of discrimination.

    Persecution of albinos a a direct result of conservative Christian dogma taught to black Africans. Attacks would not be taking place if the traditional animism was still practiced by the indigenous population

    • Replies: @Joe Walker
    I know you are joking but there are plenty of politically-correct people who believe - or at least pretend to believe - that these attacks on albinos are caused by Christianity.
  4. RE: Albinos,

    Back when the DA VINCI CODE came out, albino organizations protested the film’s use of the “evil albino” trope. THE DAILY SHOW did a comedy bit about the protests. The bit consisted of footage showing people who were supposed to be albinos picketing a theatre. The funny bit? See, their skins were so pale that the image was nothing more than a bunch of white blobs moving around. Imagine them doing a bit where Black protesters were nothing but a bunch of dark blobs scuttling about. It would never happen. And if it did, they would swiftly issue a mea culpa.

  5. http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/07/nightmare-scenario-polish-ukranian-lithuanian-brigade.html

    Jews usually hate gentile nationalism… except when it serves their interests.

  6. Albinos have the wrong skin color. Same thing for gingers.

  7. Being a lefty, I’ve thought about this a lot. Here are some reason why southpaws don’t have an identity politics:

    -It’s easy to adapt to being a lefty (shaking hands and using a can opener is not that hard to do with one’s weak hand, even the first few times)
    -Frustration felt by lefties is usually focused on the design of objects or spaces, which are the result of rational design decisions, and lefties realize this
    -When lefty-centric design is critical, it usually exists (e.g. baseball mitts, golf clubs)
    -Lefties have a strong sense of their random disbursement
    -Being somewhat randomly disbursed, lefties have no natural inclination to group together and form a common culture
    -Other identity politics–many of them even more visible and prominent than dexterity–already exist and intercept the tribalist energy before left-handedness can get a shot

    I suspect the same is true for albinism, combined with the fact that many albinos also have other health problems that soak up the energy and time needed to sustain an identity politics.

  8. The reason for lack of Albino Identity Politics is that anti-White feelings are endemic to Western Society, and a function of:

    *White guys bringing more and more disruptive technology that overturns hereditary advantage.
    *White guys becoming more and more beta, thus repulsive and inciting hatred among women.
    *An abundance of security and wealth, allowing worship of NAMs and in particular dark skin as a talisman.

    Yes it IS based on skin color. It was no accident that the writers of Jonah Hex essentially slandered the Winter Brothers. Or that Dan Brown chose Albinos as the epitome of evil (as opposed to AIDs sufferers or such).

    Imagine more White guys on the problem, create a very lightweight battery that recharges in minutes, that can power an electric car for 300 miles, and does not burst into flame when exposed to water or oxygen. Now suppose more White guys create a flexible, solar panel film that converts 90% of light energy into electricity. See the problem? Already you create massive losers among the hereditary elite. No one among the elite, among women (who love hereditary systems — the better to find their prince/Alpha among them), among NAMs (who win in elite-patronage systems and lose with merit based White guy systems — being the 1,000th best basketball dunker is not much in a society run by engineers) and so on.

    Hence overt hatred for White skin that bubbles up in hatred for Albinos being tossed around.

    Conan O’Brien does this riff all the time — he’s “icky” in his taped bits because he’s pale and male and freckled and red headed. Of course, Alyson Hannigan, or Laura Prepon, or a young, pre-nuts Lindsay Lohan, or any other red haired actress (that one on Mad Men for example) are “hot” and all the stuff that makes Conan O’Brien or WWE Superstar Seamus “weird looking” is very attractive on women. Pale skin, freckles, red hair.

  9. @Ted
    The winters are offensively white. Those with privilege cannot be victims of discrimination.

    Persecution of albinos a a direct result of conservative Christian dogma taught to black Africans. Attacks would not be taking place if the traditional animism was still practiced by the indigenous population

    I know you are joking but there are plenty of politically-correct people who believe – or at least pretend to believe – that these attacks on albinos are caused by Christianity.

  10. WhatEvvs [AKA "Cookies"] says:

    Winter was apparently an unusually nice guy for a rock musician – and he was a bona fide star way back when.

    About African albinos, can anyone figure out why OCAII albinism is so much more common in sub-Saharan Africans (and descendents) than in Caucasians? (Google it if you don’t believe me.) Given that albinism is such a killer in Africa, you’d think it would be bred out of the population.

  11. Off-topic but interesting:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/07/19/332380449/how-turbans-helped-some-blacks-go-incognito-in-the-jim-crow-era

    Of course, since we live in the age of cultural amnesia, the article does drop this howler:”A privilege, if you want to call it that, was also the gaining of a large, predominantly female audience,” Kinkelaar says, which he wouldn’t have had if he were perceived to be African-American or Hispanic.”

    I guess that no one remembers Ricardo Montalban, Cesar Romero, Ramon Navarro, Gilbert Roland (born Luis Antonio Dámaso de Alonso in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua), Anthony Quinn, Jose Ferrer, etc.

  12. Ted, you ignorant slut.

  13. RIP Johnny Winter. You’re the coolest looking albino without a soul-drinking black rune-sword there ever was.

  14. Why are most Albinos cross eyed ? Has anybody else noticed this ?

  15. Priss Factor [AKA "Skyislander"] says: • Website

    All this stuff about Malaysian airline shot down over Ukraine. Whichever side did it, it seemed to have been a mistake…

    unlike the deliberate attack on USS Liberty by Israel, something that the media never remembers or commemorates. It’s been made to disappear from the Narrative like images of certain figures from Soviet photos.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Yes, I'd like to read Steve's take on this one. He didn't write anything on MH370, but this one seems to be more of a core Steve topic.

    Also, Steve hasn't written anything about Paul Walker lately. I wonder why he didn't give us some fresh thoughts on this important topic.
    , @Lugash
    On the flip side of the coin, the shootdown of Iran Air 665 by the USS Vincennes got dropped down the memory hole as well. I've been watching the MH17 news closely, and I've only heard it mentioned once.
  16. http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/07/19/332380449/how-turbans-helped-some-blacks-go-incognito-in-the-jim-crow-era

    Did Indian immigrants living in Jim Crow South really get to shop in the same stores and eat in the same restaurants as Whites no matter how dark their skin is ?

    I find that hard to believe.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    Jefferson:"Did Indian immigrants living in Jim Crow South really get to shop in the same stores and eat in the same restaurants as Whites no matter how dark their skin is ?

    I find that hard to believe."

    I've read many accounts of such things happening. C. Vann Woodward, for example, describes it. So, I don't really see why it should be doubted.
  17. Off-topic, but Steve might enjoy this–it riffs on HBD, black-white and male-female differences, the hypocrisy of Hollywood…it’s a real Sailer brew:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/17/straight-out-of-compton-casting-call_n_5597010.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

  18. Other ideas why lefties don’t engage in identiy politics:

    – It’s not an immediately noticable trait like skin color. It’s also becoming less noticable as people don’t write as much as in the pre-computer days.

    – Lefties are generally successful in modern, technical fields.

    – Lefties do suffer from mental health issues at a higher rate than righties, which probably derails anyone who would be interested in examining if lefties are discriminated against.

    – We’re not discriminated against.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Well, disparate impact does exist. Many things are designed for right-handed people, for example handwriting. I remember some guy from elementery school whose handwriting was as ugly as mine (we were given grades for that!), and that was because he was left-handed. I think I somehow considered it unfair, because I thought without being left-handed his handwriting would have been much better than mine. But nevertheless I was happy that his handwriting was also ugly, because when I was doing badly I always liked it if others were doing badly too.
  19. -Frustration felt by lefties is usually focused on the design of objects or spaces, which are the result of rational design decisions, and lefties realize this

    Case in point, the bullpup rifle design. It has to be fired in a right-handed manner.

  20. @Jefferson
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/07/19/332380449/how-turbans-helped-some-blacks-go-incognito-in-the-jim-crow-era

    Did Indian immigrants living in Jim Crow South really get to shop in the same stores and eat in the same restaurants as Whites no matter how dark their skin is ?

    I find that hard to believe.

    Jefferson:”Did Indian immigrants living in Jim Crow South really get to shop in the same stores and eat in the same restaurants as Whites no matter how dark their skin is ?

    I find that hard to believe.”

    I’ve read many accounts of such things happening. C. Vann Woodward, for example, describes it. So, I don’t really see why it should be doubted.

  21. Now if Mr. Winter was a disabled, part American-Indian, multisexual, wheelchair bound person. You can bet your next pay check that he’d would have the ACLU and every other grievance monger/extortionist on his side.

    See being wronged isn’t enough anymore, especially if you’re White and don’t have access to those $400 a hour lawyers the rich people have. So that means you have to work the angles to get the leverage you need.

    You do what Elizabeth Warren has done – claim you are a aggrieved minority. There is nothing more aggrieved than a American Indian and it opens doors normally closed to pale faces and scares employers into obeying your demands. Claiming one is gay, disabled also works, even being a drug addict or fat can work to your advantage. The latter two are good for getting disability claims approved not much else though.

    See in America, we’re taught to be either terrified of people with these “issues” or simply kow tow them for fear being slapped with a ADA lawsuit.

    Learn to use them to your advantage. Does it make you a grifter or flim-flam man? No, we’re faced with a system that doesn’t work right. It’s been so messed up, you have to play by a different set of rules.

  22. @Lugash
    Other ideas why lefties don't engage in identiy politics:

    - It's not an immediately noticable trait like skin color. It's also becoming less noticable as people don't write as much as in the pre-computer days.

    - Lefties are generally successful in modern, technical fields.

    - Lefties do suffer from mental health issues at a higher rate than righties, which probably derails anyone who would be interested in examining if lefties are discriminated against.

    - We're not discriminated against.

    Well, disparate impact does exist. Many things are designed for right-handed people, for example handwriting. I remember some guy from elementery school whose handwriting was as ugly as mine (we were given grades for that!), and that was because he was left-handed. I think I somehow considered it unfair, because I thought without being left-handed his handwriting would have been much better than mine. But nevertheless I was happy that his handwriting was also ugly, because when I was doing badly I always liked it if others were doing badly too.

  23. @Priss Factor
    All this stuff about Malaysian airline shot down over Ukraine. Whichever side did it, it seemed to have been a mistake...

    unlike the deliberate attack on USS Liberty by Israel, something that the media never remembers or commemorates. It's been made to disappear from the Narrative like images of certain figures from Soviet photos.

    Yes, I’d like to read Steve’s take on this one. He didn’t write anything on MH370, but this one seems to be more of a core Steve topic.

    Also, Steve hasn’t written anything about Paul Walker lately. I wonder why he didn’t give us some fresh thoughts on this important topic.

  24. “I’ve read many accounts of such things happening. C. Vann Woodward, for example, describes it. So, I don’t really see why it should be doubted.”

    If Indians were allowed to eat at “Whites only” restaurants and shop at “Whites only” stores than it wasn’t really Whites only was it. Since Indians are not White, especially the ones who are as dark as the average African American.

    Business owners instead putting up signs that said “Whites only”, they should have instead put up signs that said “No Sub Saharan Africans allowed”. Saying their businesses only served Whites was extremely misleading.

    If most Indians were seen as “White”, you would be seeing iSteve readers here encouraging more immigration from India in order to help “Whiten” America even more.

    • Replies: @syonredux
    Jefferson:"If Indians were allowed to eat at “Whites only” restaurants and shop at “Whites only” stores than it wasn’t really Whites only was it. Since Indians are not White, especially the ones who are as dark as the average African American.

    Business owners instead putting up signs that said “Whites only”, they should have instead put up signs that said “No Sub Saharan Africans allowed”. Saying their businesses only served Whites was extremely misleading."

    In the Jim Crow South, "Whites Only" basically did mean "No Blacks Allowed." Other races (South Asians, Amerinds, East Asians) were negotiable.
    , @syonredux
    Jefferson:"If most Indians were seen as “White”, you would be seeing iSteve readers here encouraging more immigration from India in order to help “Whiten” America even more."

    They weren't seen as White; they were seen as "Not Black."
  25. Not just Indians. I remember reading something about African “exchange” students being allowed to sit in the white section of theaters. Maybe an anomaly or a rare exception.

    • Replies: @WhatEvvs
    Reminds me of how the French have always been (well, since 20th century travel, WWI...etc.) nice to American blacks. They are not so nice to their own.
  26. Re: Indian immigrants in the South

    IOW, it’s behavioral patterns, not skin color, and always has been.

  27. Case in point, the bullpup rifle design. It has to be fired in a right-handed manner.

    Well, there are actually many problems with bullpup designs. Hot shells ejecting much nearer your eyes is one. Another is the long mechanical linkage from the trigger group to the hammer/striker.

    While the empty shells can be ejected downwards, which eliminates the left-hand firer issue, that makes the mechanism even more complex, IMO.

  28. @Priss Factor
    All this stuff about Malaysian airline shot down over Ukraine. Whichever side did it, it seemed to have been a mistake...

    unlike the deliberate attack on USS Liberty by Israel, something that the media never remembers or commemorates. It's been made to disappear from the Narrative like images of certain figures from Soviet photos.

    On the flip side of the coin, the shootdown of Iran Air 665 by the USS Vincennes got dropped down the memory hole as well. I’ve been watching the MH17 news closely, and I’ve only heard it mentioned once.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Even though it killed roughly as many people as the downing of MH17, and even though the commanders received medals from the US for downing the plane. You can't make that stuff up!

    BTW the Ukrainian downing of a Russian civil airliner over the Black Sea has been dropped down the memory hole either.
  29. @Jefferson
    "I’ve read many accounts of such things happening. C. Vann Woodward, for example, describes it. So, I don’t really see why it should be doubted."

    If Indians were allowed to eat at "Whites only" restaurants and shop at "Whites only" stores than it wasn't really Whites only was it. Since Indians are not White, especially the ones who are as dark as the average African American.

    Business owners instead putting up signs that said "Whites only", they should have instead put up signs that said "No Sub Saharan Africans allowed". Saying their businesses only served Whites was extremely misleading.

    If most Indians were seen as "White", you would be seeing iSteve readers here encouraging more immigration from India in order to help "Whiten" America even more.

    Jefferson:”If Indians were allowed to eat at “Whites only” restaurants and shop at “Whites only” stores than it wasn’t really Whites only was it. Since Indians are not White, especially the ones who are as dark as the average African American.

    Business owners instead putting up signs that said “Whites only”, they should have instead put up signs that said “No Sub Saharan Africans allowed”. Saying their businesses only served Whites was extremely misleading.”

    In the Jim Crow South, “Whites Only” basically did mean “No Blacks Allowed.” Other races (South Asians, Amerinds, East Asians) were negotiable.

  30. @Jefferson
    "I’ve read many accounts of such things happening. C. Vann Woodward, for example, describes it. So, I don’t really see why it should be doubted."

    If Indians were allowed to eat at "Whites only" restaurants and shop at "Whites only" stores than it wasn't really Whites only was it. Since Indians are not White, especially the ones who are as dark as the average African American.

    Business owners instead putting up signs that said "Whites only", they should have instead put up signs that said "No Sub Saharan Africans allowed". Saying their businesses only served Whites was extremely misleading.

    If most Indians were seen as "White", you would be seeing iSteve readers here encouraging more immigration from India in order to help "Whiten" America even more.

    Jefferson:”If most Indians were seen as “White”, you would be seeing iSteve readers here encouraging more immigration from India in order to help “Whiten” America even more.”

    They weren’t seen as White; they were seen as “Not Black.”

  31. Johnny had 34 months on brother Edgar, but he looked 34 years older. Whatever Scientology may do to the mind, it’s clearly a lot easier on the body than is heroin.

  32. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Well, this isn’t about albinos, but it seems maybe like interesting/odd genetics:

    “Danish DNA could be key to happiness”, Phys.org, Jul 17, 2014:

    “Economists at the University’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE)… have found the closer a nation is to the genetic makeup of Denmark, the happier that country is.

    …three forms of evidence… …the greater a nation’s genetic distance from Denmark, the lower the reported wellbeing of that nation.

    …suggesting an association between mental wellbeing and a mutation of the gene that influences the reuptake of serotonin…”

    I wouldn’t have guessed that. Perhaps just the reverse, the melancholy Dane, and all that.

    But perhaps this is what is wrong with the modern West. To much serotonin. Don’t worry, be happy!

    (Why would this be? Maybe, as per the title of another study, “New study shows we work harder when we are happy”. And work is good. Old Protestant work ethic, etc..)

    The title of the actual paper is “National Happiness and Genetic Distance: A Cautious Exploration”, Eugenio Proto and Andrew J. Oswald, July 2014, TR, CAGE, University of Warwick.

    “This paper examines a famous puzzle in social science… Denmark, for instance, regularly tops the league table of rich nations’ well-being… even after adjustment for GDP and socio-economic and cultural variables…

    This paper has demonstrated that the cross-country happiness pattern is correlated
    with genetic differences. The implied effect-size is not small. …a one standard deviation in genetic distance is associated with more than one third of a standard deviation in country well-being. Contrary to our own presumptions when we began the project, it seems there are reasons to believe that genetic patterns may help researchers to understand international well-being levels. …

    …economists and other social scientists may need to pay greater heed
    to the role of genetic variation across national populations.

    …the correlation survives adjustment in the regression equations for many confounding
    variables. It is robust…

    …this manuscript… has been in construction for some years…”

  33. …unable to go outside and play in the Texas sun, they stayed indoors and became musical prodigies.

    Do I detect the faint aroma of 10,000 hours in this statement? Weren’t they born with their gifts?

  34. @Lugash
    On the flip side of the coin, the shootdown of Iran Air 665 by the USS Vincennes got dropped down the memory hole as well. I've been watching the MH17 news closely, and I've only heard it mentioned once.

    Even though it killed roughly as many people as the downing of MH17, and even though the commanders received medals from the US for downing the plane. You can’t make that stuff up!

    BTW the Ukrainian downing of a Russian civil airliner over the Black Sea has been dropped down the memory hole either.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    And of course, it happened in peacetime, not in war zone, where adrenaline levels run higher, making it easier to make errors of that magnitude.
    , @HA
    BTW the Ukrainian downing of a Russian civil airliner over the Black Sea has been dropped down the memory hole either.


    Perhaps because it happened over a decade ago and was determined by both Russia and Ukraine to have no hostile intent? From the Wiki page you cited:

    "Later, the Moscow based, IAC ruled that the crash was caused by an accidental Ukrainian S-200 missile strike during military training exercises... Preliminary Russian report confirmed initial private assessments of American Military officials that the S-200 missile overshot its target drone... and exploded as a ball of Shrapnel shells 50 feet over the plane... Ukrainian officials later admitted that it was indeed their military that shot down the airliner. Ukraine, reportedly, banned the testing of Buk, S-300 and similar missile systems for a period of 7 years following this incident."

    Government military exercises, and frequent bungling thereof, are regarded as a somewhat inevitable fact of life. Arming dissidents (and/or their Chechen mercenaries) with SAM's -- not quite the same thing.
  35. @reiner Tor
    Even though it killed roughly as many people as the downing of MH17, and even though the commanders received medals from the US for downing the plane. You can't make that stuff up!

    BTW the Ukrainian downing of a Russian civil airliner over the Black Sea has been dropped down the memory hole either.

    And of course, it happened in peacetime, not in war zone, where adrenaline levels run higher, making it easier to make errors of that magnitude.

  36. “They weren’t seen as White; they were seen as “Not Black.”

    After Blacks, Indians in the U.S were the second biggest racial/ethnic voting bloc for Barack Obama in 2012. A whopping 84 percent of Indian voters voted for Barack Obama.

    Indians voted for Barack Obama at an even higher rate than Jews, Hispanics, Arabs, and Orientals did.

    Indians with their dark pigmentation vote almost like African Americans.

    http://www.apiavote.org/newsroom/related-news/2013/84-indian-americans-voted-obama’s-2nd-te

    • Replies: @syonredux
    Jefferson:"Indians with their dark pigmentation vote almost like African Americans."

    There's a fair amount of pigment variation among South Asians. Nikki Haley, the Republican governor of South Carolina, is a Sikh and is quite light-complected.

  37. Thomas Jefferson said about African albinos in Notes from Virgina, “They are uncommonly shrewd, quick in their apprehensions and in reply.”

  38. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “…even though the commanders received medals from the US for downing the plane.
    You can’t make that stuff up!

    The shoot-down of the Iranian air-liner was a tragedy and I hope it went on their records, it’s a relevant screw-up for others to know about, etc.. But looking at the link you post, the medals were the normal medals that everyone receives just for serving in the combat zone. They are more akin to tracking where you have (physically) been in the military (what war zones you have been in) then saying anything about your actions. The first sentence of the link itself makes that clear:

    “…were awarded Combat Action Ribbons for completion of their tours in a combat zone…”

    It’s important to recognize that the US Navy was at war with Iran at the time, so these combat tour medals didn’t have anything specific to do with the shoot-down:

    Operation Earnest Will

    Operation Praying Mantis

    (“This battle was the largest of the five major U.S. surface engagements since the Second World War.”)

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    OTOH the shootdown wasn't considered a significant enough screwup to bar them from getting the medals.
  39. HA says:
    @reiner Tor
    Even though it killed roughly as many people as the downing of MH17, and even though the commanders received medals from the US for downing the plane. You can't make that stuff up!

    BTW the Ukrainian downing of a Russian civil airliner over the Black Sea has been dropped down the memory hole either.

    BTW the Ukrainian downing of a Russian civil airliner over the Black Sea has been dropped down the memory hole either.

    Perhaps because it happened over a decade ago and was determined by both Russia and Ukraine to have no hostile intent? From the Wiki page you cited:

    “Later, the Moscow based, IAC ruled that the crash was caused by an accidental Ukrainian S-200 missile strike during military training exercises… Preliminary Russian report confirmed initial private assessments of American Military officials that the S-200 missile overshot its target drone… and exploded as a ball of Shrapnel shells 50 feet over the plane… Ukrainian officials later admitted that it was indeed their military that shot down the airliner. Ukraine, reportedly, banned the testing of Buk, S-300 and similar missile systems for a period of 7 years following this incident.”

    Government military exercises, and frequent bungling thereof, are regarded as a somewhat inevitable fact of life. Arming dissidents (and/or their Chechen mercenaries) with SAM’s — not quite the same thing.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    This shooting also had no hostile intent, they didn't want to down this - or any other - airliner. Assuming the Ukrainian youtube video contains the truth, it was an accident. Oh, and if the Ukrainians knew the rebels had Buk (they certainly seemed to be sure about it an hour after the disaster), then why weren't they restricting the airspace where they were conducting air strikes and airborne operations? Perhaps they were using the passengers of civil airliners as human shield? I guess just incompetence, but i think it's a valid question.
  40. Both Winter Brothers were albinos — unable to go outside and play in the Texas sun, they stayed indoors and became musical prodigies.

    If albinism causes you to spend more time studying or developing other indoor talents, why aren’t there more albino prodigies, excepting those who are too blind to read?

    Plenty of kids these days don’t get outside much. That doesn’t mean they’re spending their time indoors usefully. But we don’t even seem to have had many albino prodigies before the advent of television/internet/video games.

    Why are most Albinos cross eyed ? Has anybody else noticed this?

    The biggest handicap albinos tend to have is actually vision-related, and some of them are legally blind. That was the ridiculous irony of “The Da Vinci Code” having an albino assassin.

  41. An article decades ago about one of the Winters said that he was barred from getting a driver’s license. I think it’s safe to assume the other couldn’t either.

  42. @Jefferson
    "They weren’t seen as White; they were seen as “Not Black.”

    After Blacks, Indians in the U.S were the second biggest racial/ethnic voting bloc for Barack Obama in 2012. A whopping 84 percent of Indian voters voted for Barack Obama.

    Indians voted for Barack Obama at an even higher rate than Jews, Hispanics, Arabs, and Orientals did.

    Indians with their dark pigmentation vote almost like African Americans.

    http://www.apiavote.org/newsroom/related-news/2013/84-indian-americans-voted-obama’s-2nd-te

    Jefferson:”Indians with their dark pigmentation vote almost like African Americans.”

    There’s a fair amount of pigment variation among South Asians. Nikki Haley, the Republican governor of South Carolina, is a Sikh and is quite light-complected.

  43. In the childhood photo atop this post, Mr. Winter bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the squalling, miscegenistic preacher known as John Piper. Singing the blues, indeed….

  44. @HA
    BTW the Ukrainian downing of a Russian civil airliner over the Black Sea has been dropped down the memory hole either.


    Perhaps because it happened over a decade ago and was determined by both Russia and Ukraine to have no hostile intent? From the Wiki page you cited:

    "Later, the Moscow based, IAC ruled that the crash was caused by an accidental Ukrainian S-200 missile strike during military training exercises... Preliminary Russian report confirmed initial private assessments of American Military officials that the S-200 missile overshot its target drone... and exploded as a ball of Shrapnel shells 50 feet over the plane... Ukrainian officials later admitted that it was indeed their military that shot down the airliner. Ukraine, reportedly, banned the testing of Buk, S-300 and similar missile systems for a period of 7 years following this incident."

    Government military exercises, and frequent bungling thereof, are regarded as a somewhat inevitable fact of life. Arming dissidents (and/or their Chechen mercenaries) with SAM's -- not quite the same thing.

    This shooting also had no hostile intent, they didn’t want to down this – or any other – airliner. Assuming the Ukrainian youtube video contains the truth, it was an accident. Oh, and if the Ukrainians knew the rebels had Buk (they certainly seemed to be sure about it an hour after the disaster), then why weren’t they restricting the airspace where they were conducting air strikes and airborne operations? Perhaps they were using the passengers of civil airliners as human shield? I guess just incompetence, but i think it’s a valid question.

  45. @anonymous
    "...even though the commanders received medals from the US for downing the plane.
    You can’t make that stuff up!
    "


    The shoot-down of the Iranian air-liner was a tragedy and I hope it went on their records, it's a relevant screw-up for others to know about, etc.. But looking at the link you post, the medals were the normal medals that everyone receives just for serving in the combat zone. They are more akin to tracking where you have (physically) been in the military (what war zones you have been in) then saying anything about your actions. The first sentence of the link itself makes that clear:

    "...were awarded Combat Action Ribbons for completion of their tours in a combat zone..."




    It's important to recognize that the US Navy was at war with Iran at the time, so these combat tour medals didn't have anything specific to do with the shoot-down:

    Operation Earnest Will

    Operation Praying Mantis


    ("This battle was the largest of the five major U.S. surface engagements since the Second World War.")

    OTOH the shootdown wasn’t considered a significant enough screwup to bar them from getting the medals.

  46. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “OTOH the shootdown wasn’t considered a significant enough screwup to bar them from getting the medals.”

    No, it wasn’t. Because at that time they didn’t know it was a screw-up. It wasn’t like they were looking at a radar screen that said “Iranian airliner” and decided to hit the big red button.

    The were probably looking at a radar screen that had a blip that didn’t say a thing. (Probably in combat most friendly aircraft have an IFF that says “Dont’ shoot me, I’m friendly” on the radar scope.) They didn’t have a lot of time to analyze things. Here’s some blip coming in their direction. Did it look like it had come from an Iranian airstrip that sometimes launched F-14s? Was it coming at them fast? Quick, decide. Right now! So someone probably launched with what was likely later deemed a reasonable degree of belief that they were under attack and in danger, that is, that is was a justified response.

    They weren’t right, of course, but the world is like that. It’s not a perfectly safe place, especially in a war zone. That’s just how it is.

    The same thing happens routinely in ever large American city. Some police officer or deputy has milliseconds to decide, and he shoots and kills the innocent 15 year old kid waving the air pistol or AR-15 replica. He was wrong, but he didn’t know that at the time. It’s the sort of thing his supervisor will want on his record, so he knows about it, but after some time on leave and counseling, he’s often back on the force and everybody understands. Perfection is not for this world.

    A lesson of these SAM airliner shoot-downs is that modern airlines and combat zones with modern SAMs operating in them just don’t mix. The SAMs aren’t smart enough to tell what they are killing. Perhaps they will try to come up with a universal IFF that says “Don’t shoot me, I’m an airliner!”.

  47. HA says:

    This shooting also had no hostile intent, they didn’t want to down this – or any other – airliner.

    There’s no comparison between basic military training exercises gone awry and SAM’s fired during a civil war by a dissident faction that owes its military presence to a neighboring state’s financing. Deny that all you want, if it will make you feel better but you’re not convincing anyone who isn’t already bending over backwards to make Putin look good (or at least less culpable).

  48. @Foreign Expert
    Not just Indians. I remember reading something about African "exchange" students being allowed to sit in the white section of theaters. Maybe an anomaly or a rare exception.

    Reminds me of how the French have always been (well, since 20th century travel, WWI…etc.) nice to American blacks. They are not so nice to their own.

  49. “anonymous says”

    ““OTOH the shootdown wasn’t considered a significant enough screwup to bar them from getting the medals.””

    No, it wasn’t. Because at that time they didn’t know it was a screw-up.

    No, they DID know that it had been a screw-up by the time that the medals were awarded. They knew that they had downed a commercial airliner by the end of the day.

  50. “HA says:

    “This shooting also had no hostile intent, they didn’t want to down this – or any other – airliner.”

    There’s no comparison between basic military training exercises gone awry and SAM’s fired during a civil war by a dissident faction that owes its military presence to a neighboring state’s financing.”

    You’re right. They aren’t comparable. The Ukrainian downing of the Russian jet was even less forgiveable, as the expectation of safety should be greater in peacetime. While it’s true that the Russian separatists (or Russian soldiers) who fired the missile shouldn’t have been so quick to fire, it’s also true that commercial airliners should not have been flying over a war-zone.

    In all this discussion in the media, not only do I not hear much about the Russian jet shot down in 2001, or the Iranian jet that we shot down in 1988, I also don’t hear much about the civilian casualties of Ukrainian airstrikes in the rebel-held zones.

    And by the way, YOU are not convincing anyone who is not already reflexively defending the coup-installed government of Ukraine.

    • Replies: @HA
    The Ukrainian downing of the Russian jet was even less forgiveable, as the expectation of safety should be greater in peacetime.

    Safety *is* greater in peacetime -- on average. And yet, military exercises go awry and freak occurrences happen. Sane people (i.e. who are not Putin stooges) are able to balance the scales accordingly. The reparations for the Black Sea downing went to citizens of Russia and Israel -- given what you've read in this thread, you think Israel is exempt from military bungling? And don't even get me started with Russia.

    If you are a responsible gun owner and, in the course of basic firing range practice that responsible gun owners should undergo periodically, some mix-up happens that results in someone getting injured or killed, that is to some extent understandable given there was some justification for guns being there in the first place. But when you decide to lend a gun to someone without the proper credentials (because you rightly or wrongly suspect he's being bullied by someone, and you want to handle this "like men") and he then goes out and takes a shot at some shadow and kills someone, your culpability (not to mention his) is greater because there were better ways to handle the situation. That is the gravamen. Again, sane people can recognize the distinctions, but I suspect there's no sense in trying to argue with the likes of you.

    By the way, will Russia and the separatists ever step up and admit responsibility, like Ukraine did (albeit after some reluctance), and make reparations, or will they come up with some weaselly way to pretend this isn't their fault? What's the OTB spread on that?

  51. “anonymous says:

    It’s important to recognize that the US Navy was at war with Iran at the time, so these combat tour medals didn’t have anything specific to do with the shoot-down:”

    I was not aware that the US Navy had the authority to declare war. But even then, did it in fact declare war against Iran? No. Did the US government declare war against Iran? No.

    In fact, we were tacitly aiding Iran’s enemy in the Gulf War at the time – Iraq, at that time governed by well-known humanitarian Saddamm Hussein. It’s perhaps not surprising that he then later thought that he’d get a pass on invading Kuwait.

  52. HA says:
    @Mr. Anon
    "HA says:

    "This shooting also had no hostile intent, they didn’t want to down this – or any other – airliner."

    There’s no comparison between basic military training exercises gone awry and SAM’s fired during a civil war by a dissident faction that owes its military presence to a neighboring state’s financing."

    You're right. They aren't comparable. The Ukrainian downing of the Russian jet was even less forgiveable, as the expectation of safety should be greater in peacetime. While it's true that the Russian separatists (or Russian soldiers) who fired the missile shouldn't have been so quick to fire, it's also true that commercial airliners should not have been flying over a war-zone.

    In all this discussion in the media, not only do I not hear much about the Russian jet shot down in 2001, or the Iranian jet that we shot down in 1988, I also don't hear much about the civilian casualties of Ukrainian airstrikes in the rebel-held zones.

    And by the way, YOU are not convincing anyone who is not already reflexively defending the coup-installed government of Ukraine.

    The Ukrainian downing of the Russian jet was even less forgiveable, as the expectation of safety should be greater in peacetime.

    Safety *is* greater in peacetime — on average. And yet, military exercises go awry and freak occurrences happen. Sane people (i.e. who are not Putin stooges) are able to balance the scales accordingly. The reparations for the Black Sea downing went to citizens of Russia and Israel — given what you’ve read in this thread, you think Israel is exempt from military bungling? And don’t even get me started with Russia.

    If you are a responsible gun owner and, in the course of basic firing range practice that responsible gun owners should undergo periodically, some mix-up happens that results in someone getting injured or killed, that is to some extent understandable given there was some justification for guns being there in the first place. But when you decide to lend a gun to someone without the proper credentials (because you rightly or wrongly suspect he’s being bullied by someone, and you want to handle this “like men”) and he then goes out and takes a shot at some shadow and kills someone, your culpability (not to mention his) is greater because there were better ways to handle the situation. That is the gravamen. Again, sane people can recognize the distinctions, but I suspect there’s no sense in trying to argue with the likes of you.

    By the way, will Russia and the separatists ever step up and admit responsibility, like Ukraine did (albeit after some reluctance), and make reparations, or will they come up with some weaselly way to pretend this isn’t their fault? What’s the OTB spread on that?

  53. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “I was not aware that the US Navy had the authority to declare war. “

    Words don’t matter that much when there’s a lot of shooting going on. Have the Israelis declared war in Gaza?

    “TANKER WAR: America’s First Conflict with Iran, 1987-88”

    “This battle was the largest of the five major U.S. surface engagements since the Second World War….”

    Whatever it was, whatever you call it, sounds like there was a lot of shooting going on, lot of weapons being used.

    The Iranian airline wasn’t shot down because anybody wanted to do it. The Navy wasn’t at war with Iranian airlines or Iranian civilians. They were at war with the Iranians shooting at them. There was no ill intent. It was an accident, like the cop that shoots the kid waving the toy gun.

    Flying airlines through combat zones is something that air traffic types need to do more to address.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The same logic should apply to the Russians (if it were indeed them) who shot down MH 17. Instead of calling their errors "war crimes".
  54. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    No, they DID know that it had been a screw-up by the time that the medals were awarded. They knew that they had downed a commercial airliner by the end of the day.

    The medals were not about the airline. They were mostly just medals that said the people aboard the ship had been there.

    Let me ask you this. There were about 400 people on that ship. Take one of them whose main job was cook. He had nothing to do with the shoot-down. He was just the cook. You’re saying don’t give him a service medal for serving in a live-fire combat zone? Because of why, precisely? Some sort of collective guilt? I think you’re thinking of medals as always a reward for a job well done, which isn’t quite right (a lot of people in the US don’t seem to know much about the military any more).

    If it helps, think of a lot of medals, maybe most of them, not as rewards, but as a very old form of a database system. A sort of database that goes way back before computers and probably even widespread literacy. In this form of database the data records are medals that can be worn. They can instantly be read, kind of like a modern graphics interface with lots of cute icons. So some, say, major (or maybe it’s a captain or sergeant, or…) face to face with a handful of people who he’s never met, can look around and tell pretty much who he’s dealing with, their level of experience, where they’ve been, and so on. Superficially you seem to be arguing for polluting the quality of the data in the database, which doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Nobody's talking about the cooks. We're talking about the Legion of Merit awarded for exceptional conduct to the commander.
  55. @anonymous
    "I was not aware that the US Navy had the authority to declare war. "

    Words don't matter that much when there's a lot of shooting going on. Have the Israelis declared war in Gaza?

    "TANKER WAR: America's First Conflict with Iran, 1987-88"


    "This battle was the largest of the five major U.S. surface engagements since the Second World War...."

    Whatever it was, whatever you call it, sounds like there was a lot of shooting going on, lot of weapons being used.

    The Iranian airline wasn't shot down because anybody wanted to do it. The Navy wasn't at war with Iranian airlines or Iranian civilians. They were at war with the Iranians shooting at them. There was no ill intent. It was an accident, like the cop that shoots the kid waving the toy gun.

    Flying airlines through combat zones is something that air traffic types need to do more to address.

    The same logic should apply to the Russians (if it were indeed them) who shot down MH 17. Instead of calling their errors “war crimes”.

  56. @anonymous
    No, they DID know that it had been a screw-up by the time that the medals were awarded. They knew that they had downed a commercial airliner by the end of the day.

    The medals were not about the airline. They were mostly just medals that said the people aboard the ship had been there.

    Let me ask you this. There were about 400 people on that ship. Take one of them whose main job was cook. He had nothing to do with the shoot-down. He was just the cook. You're saying don't give him a service medal for serving in a live-fire combat zone? Because of why, precisely? Some sort of collective guilt? I think you're thinking of medals as always a reward for a job well done, which isn't quite right (a lot of people in the US don't seem to know much about the military any more).

    If it helps, think of a lot of medals, maybe most of them, not as rewards, but as a very old form of a database system. A sort of database that goes way back before computers and probably even widespread literacy. In this form of database the data records are medals that can be worn. They can instantly be read, kind of like a modern graphics interface with lots of cute icons. So some, say, major (or maybe it's a captain or sergeant, or...) face to face with a handful of people who he's never met, can look around and tell pretty much who he's dealing with, their level of experience, where they've been, and so on. Superficially you seem to be arguing for polluting the quality of the data in the database, which doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

    Nobody’s talking about the cooks. We’re talking about the Legion of Merit awarded for exceptional conduct to the commander.

  57. One of the greats.

  58. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “Nobody’s talking about the cooks. We’re talking about the Legion of Merit awarded for exceptional conduct to the commander.”

    Okay, but the way I read what you wrote you were saying that they got medals for shooting down the plane:

    “…the commanders received medals from the US for downing the plane. You can’t make that stuff up!”

    I was pointing out that the medals were not for the downing of the plane. They (or it) were routine medals that serve almost more as bread-crumbs to track where someone has been. The Recipients of the Legion of Merit wikipedia page puts it like this:

    “The Legion of Merit has been awarded to almost every general and flag officer in the Armed Forces of the United States from World War II to the present.”

    There’s a big difference between a medal routinely handed out simply for being there in a particular capacity and the military handing out a medal as a specific reward for killing a bunch of civilians in an airliner. The political cartoon painted is that the military gave the baby killer a medal. I’m saying that’s not likely the way it was.

    The medals weren’t about the shootdown. If nothing else, if someone had given the commander a medal for that, their head probably would have rolled.

    Does anyone know the actual text of the citation?

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