Tag: Italy

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While there are some in the United States who believe we are headed toward another Civil War, there is perhaps another, more recent parallel worth exploring – the so-called “Italian Years of Lead.” The short version is that in the late 1960s through the early 1980s, Italy was a hotbed of assassination, shoot-outs and bombings between […]

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Fox News’ most-watched program host, Tucker Carlson, took after two US Senators for advocating the abolition of Columbus Day in favor of Juneteenth – or more accurate, June 19th, 1865, when the last slaves in Texas were informed that they were free – the end of slavery, as it were, at least confederate slavery (it […]

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I promised a little while ago that I would be writing about my recent travels, and since I’ve already done a piece on London and Paris last summer, I thought some readers might like a Saturday night sojourn to Rome.  This trip did not begin in the most auspicious of ways. While it was a […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they marvel at the SpaceX launch, celebrate the plummeting COVID-19 numbers in Italy, and unload on destructive rioters and feeble “leaders” as dozens of American cities descend into chaos.

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It’s my understanding that perhaps the worst plague in recorded history was in the 14th century — also known as the Black Death. It originated in rodents in Asia and then via fleas to humans. Trade via the Silk Road brought these rodents and their fleas in ships to southern Italy and started to spread […]

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I’m writing this post to accomplish two things: announce my engagement and ask my always-reliable Ricochet community for first-class advice, in this case regarding the honeymoon. We’ll spend around 10 days in Italy and I’d like to get your thoughts on how best to enjoy it. It will be the first visit for me and the […]

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The new Italian government is facing its first test by a European NGO that “rescues” migrants. That is, the German and French founded, migrant-labor and population-replacement, organization has been frustrated in its latest attempt to ferry African economic migrants to dump on the Italian people for welfare. The Italian people have had enough, and finally […]

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“His Holiness Will Receive You in a Few Moments. I Could Have Dropped Dead!”

 

One of the touchstones of my life has always been the story of how my dad met the Pope, in Rome, on June 5, 1944. Truth be told, my mother always pooh-poohed the whole thing a bit (not unusual for Mum to do something like that, especially for an event in which she wasn’t the main focus). And given Dad’s legendary story-telling abilities, we did sometimes wonder how much of it was really true, and whether he’d gilded the lily at any point.

Apparently, not.

I’ve told the following story on Ricochet before, more than half a decade ago. Many of you weren’t here, so perhaps those who were will forgive me if I repeat it. Those of you who liked it then, I hope you still do; those of you for whom it’s new, I hope you enjoy it, too. The accompanying black-and-white images (except for the one of Dad’s letter, which I took from my brother), are from contact prints of photos Dad himself took during the war. Apologies for the poor quality, but the initial prints are tiny (click to enlarge the images).

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Some of you may recall that my husband, three daughters, and I recently moved from Italy back to the States. Over the past several months, I have continued to home-school my kids while working as a substitute teacher in the local school system (a story for another day). And my husband and I have been searching […]

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It looks like our upcoming meetup will be busting out of the “mini” category: we are expecting Titus and his young miss, Merina with her husband and son, and possibly Blue State Curmudgeon and his wife.  We are planning on dinner at 7 p.m. on April 14th. I know that Merina will be staying in […]

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Italy Covers Nude Statues to Avoid Offending Iran

 
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Photo of Rome’s Capitoline Museum via Agenzia Anza.

As dusk approached on the eve of the First World War, British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey looked out his window and said, “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.” Not only were millions killed and maimed in that brutal conflict, many of Europe’s great architectural and artistic treasures were damaged and destroyed.

Sentinelle in Piedi

 

Standing Sentinels, or in Italian Sentinelle in Piede, is a protest movement. They stand in silence and read to protest the attempt to silence the suppression of speech. They stand in silent witness in front of courts and town halls never saying a word as a warning about the attempt to silence speech to further the cause of politically correct speech.

They have been met with violence by the progressive left because to silence one is never enough. Voice alone is not the target. Individual conscience must be stamped out.

Why Are the Tyrants Always Short Guys? — Marion Evans

 

Or why only the French can stop Putin.
I am only 5’7” tall, 5’8” on warmer days or when I feel magnanimous. One day, soon after my wife and I started dating, she was in one of her it-is-better-to-be-honest-than-tactful moods, and she casually observed that I was the shortest boyfriend she had ever had. Since my height was a pre-existing condition, I was eminently prepared to face down this abject rebellion and I immediately shot back that I was “tall inside.” The trick worked and we have been married for over 10 years. This is what short guys do. We act and talk tall in the hope that other people will not notice or care. We also adopt some defensive measures, such as avoiding parties where everyone is standing up in close quarters. Dinner parties are so much more civilized anyway.
Another thing we enjoy more than the average American is overseas travel. This is so not only because cattle…uh, coach class on airlines feels roomier to us, but also, more importantly, because people in most other countries are shorter than Americans. Standing tall in the Tokyo subway a decade ago, I marveled at my unrestricted panoramic view of bobbing Japanese heads on their way to work. And then, there is France. The French are not as short as the Japanese, but they are short enough. A persistent theory claims that Napoleon culled the tall gene by recruiting the tallest for his endless battles at the four corners of Europe.
Which brings us nicely to the Napoleon-Hitler-Putin axis of history. Do you see a pattern here? Napoleon was short (5’6”), Hitler was short (5’8”), Putin is shorter (5’5”). Why is it always a short guy? Napoleon and Hitler set Europe aflame. If you think Putin is not as bad, it is only because you lack imagination. Or maybe you are blind. He participated in the destruction of a city inside Russia, Grozny in Chechnya (2000), and invaded two countries, Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2014). He also bears some responsibility for the devastation of Syria (2011-2014). And, by the way, he does not particularly dislike Syrians. He had no reason to feel any envy or anger towards them. Just think what he would do to Americans if he could. Use your imagination. Assume the worst. And be pleasantly surprised if you are wrong. That is better than being naïve and hoping for the best.
Now, Putin may not completely live up to his Hitlerian potential. An accident may happen. One day, a pet tiger may not take kindly to the smug humanoid fondling his luxurious coat to impress the cameras. Or he may fall off his horse or suffer hypothermia while bathing in a Siberian lake and be thus incapacitated. Or Pussy Riot may organize a simultaneous revolt across all of Russia’s nine time zones. That would be unfortunate, but here is a simple truth that is not always heeded: it can be reckless and dangerous to toy with unpredictable great forces such as wild animals, mother nature, angry women, and… well, the United States of America. But enough fantasy. Back to reality.
The reality is not only that Putin is short but that Russia is also “short.” I am not the kind of guy who can afford to pick a fight in a bar. And Russia today is not the kind of country that can afford to pick a fight with a superpower. Maybe the Russians are hoping that we will not notice. Maybe they are diverting our attention from their 12,600 miles of land borders, which are largely indefensible save through the threat of nuclear weapons. Maybe they are acting tall, or telling us that they are “tall inside.” Maybe that is why they are trying to rally more populous countries like China and India against us. It is no accident that Putin thanked both of these countries for their understanding just yesterday while he signed the annexation of Crimea. Ok, but problem! China probably wants Siberia and India is our friend.
Russia’s numbers speak for themselves. It has a population of 145 million people, expected to fall to 126 million by 2050 (UN estimates). It has the GDP of Italy (are you afraid of Italy?) and is very dependent on its energy resources. If oil fell to, say, $50 per barrel and stayed there for a few months, Putin would be more reasonable about Crimea. At $40, the Chinese would clear their throat about Siberia. And at $30, the Japanese would cough twice about the Kuril Islands. Remember that Putin’s last invasion (of Georgia) occurred in 2008, shortly after oil hit a record $150 per barrel. Keep that oil price down. Or better, drive it down to $50.
There has been a lot of criticism of President Obama regarding his response to the theft of Crimea. You see, the problem is that Obama is not short enough. Not only is he physically tall — not to say downright greedy — at 6’1.” He is also trying to keep things “tall”, dignified, on a higher plane. He thinks he is matching wits with Hillary Clinton or Mitt Romney.
What we need is a Putin-like leader on our side … and this is where the French come in. If you have ever been in a Parisian taxi, you know that you do not want to get into an argument with a Frenchman. It is true that they “took August off” during every month of World War II, but that is because they were deeply divided. Unlike the Germans or Soviet Russians, the French do not need a higher reason to antagonize you. No delusions about ideological struggle, or about master race or rebirth of empire. If you attack them or even just annoy them, they will lash back. What is more, as noted in a recent Ricochet article, in the sorry history of sub-5’9” mass murderers, Napoleon entered Moscow in 1812 (though mainly due to Russian withdrawal) and Hitler did not in 1942. Note that the Russians promptly returned the visit by occupying Paris in 1814.
The incumbent Francois Hollande is short enough (5’8”) to stop Vladimir Putin. But if not him, his predecessor and likely successor, Nicolas Sarkozy (5’7”), certainly has the goods. The super smart, short-tempered, streetfighting, supermodel-marrying Sarkozy has been working on a comeback and could well breeze into office in 2017. He is tan. He is rested. He is pro-Europe. He is pro-America. And he is short.