Stripping the assets

It’s just about all over for the major publishers now that Barnes & Noble has been acquired by a hedge fund:

Barnes & Noble Inc said on Friday it would be bought by hedge fund Elliott Management Corp for $475.8 million, marking the end of the once-dominant U.S. book retailer as a public company after years of falling sales.

Shares in the largest U.S. bookstore chain rose 11{d95326ee5ea65e892c2d26437d890471edde2c6e603231f0d9f2e7742fd3a7fa}, after ending up 30{d95326ee5ea65e892c2d26437d890471edde2c6e603231f0d9f2e7742fd3a7fa} on Thursday when reports of a potential deal surfaced.

Listed on the New York Stock Exchange since 1993, Barnes & Noble has struggled to grow its business since the arrival of Amazon.com Inc turned the book sales market on its head. Even the company’s recent efforts to pull in a more tech-savvy audience with its Nook e-book reader failed to compete with Amazon’s Kindle and other tablets.

Elliot’s offer of $6.50 per share, represented a premium of about 42{d95326ee5ea65e892c2d26437d890471edde2c6e603231f0d9f2e7742fd3a7fa} to Wednesday’s close, the day before media reports of a potential transaction first surfaced. Barnes & Noble has been exploring options for a buyout since at least last October, with multiple parties showing interest including founder-chairman Leonard Riggio. Riggio acquired the flagship Barnes & Noble trade name in 1970s, nearly a century after Charles Barnes started the business in his Illinois home. Riggio grew the business, adding several retail stores across the country, but could not sustain the growth in a retail landscape dominated by Amazon.

In 2014, Barnes & Noble closed its New York Fifth Avenue store – once the world’s largest bookstore – and has faced declining sales for at least the last three years. As of this January, it ran 627 retail stores.

I very much doubt that Elliott Management has any interest whatsoever in building up a bookselling business. Instead, it’s going to methodically extract the most valuable pieces of the business, sell them off, and profit from the dismantling of the business. This means that the Big Five publishers will probably merge and reduce themselves to a Big Three, with at least two attempts to set up their own competitor to Amazon, both of which will fail, like Macmillan’s attempt to establish Pronoun, due to their structural inability to ignore the legacy requirements that inhibit their decision-making.

As a onetime Barnes aficionado, I’ll be sorry to see it go away. Most of my dates with Spacebunny, including the first years of our marriage, involved us spending an hour or two in the evening browsing the bookshelves, drinking coffee, and leaving with about $50 worth of books.


He’s with Harambe now

It appears Tony Rodham went against the family:

Hillary Clinton’s youngest brother, Tony Rodham, died on Friday night, the former Democratic presidential candidate said on Twitter. Rodham’s age was not immediately known but he was born in 1954, six years after Clinton, 71, and four years after the other Rodham sibling, Hugh, 69, in the Chicago suburbs.

“We lost my brother Tony last night,” Clinton wrote. “It’s hard to find words, my mind is flooded with memories of him today. When he walked into a room he’d light it up with laughter.”

Clinton described her brother as “kind, generous [and] a wonderful husband to Megan [and] father to Zach, Simon [and] Fiona”.

“We’ll miss him very much,” the former senator, secretary of state, first lady and presidential candidate said. “But he had to go. He knew too much.”

She did not say how her brother died.

RIP, etc.


This can’t be good

Two former state senators, both Republicans, were killed in recent days:

Lawmakers in Arkansas and Oklahoma are mourning the loss of two former state senators who were found dead in their homes within a span of two days.

In Arkansas, this week’s fatal shooting of former Republican state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith is being investigated as a homicide, authorities said.

In Oklahoma, former state Sen. Jonathan Nichols was found dead from a gunshot in his home in Norman, about 20 miles from Oklahoma City, according to police.

It could be a coincidence, of course. But it probably isn’t.


Congolecation

Apparently the integration problem is going to be an increasingly challenging one for the next wave of “Americans”:

Roughly 350 migrants from the Congo are expected to arrive in San Antonio in the coming days leaving the city scrambling for French-speaking volunteers.

“We didn’t get a heads up,” Interim Assistant City Manager Dr. Collen Bridger told KEN 5 on Thursday.

Bridger said the Congolese migrants began to arrive in town on Tuesday. They told Migrant Resource Center workers, they traveled with a group of about 350 migrants through Ecuador to the southern border.

“When we called Border Patrol to confirm, they said, ‘yea another 200 to 300 from the Congo and Angola will be coming to San Antonio,’” Bridger said.

What are all these Congolese migrants doing in San Antonio? Apparently they are being directed there.

Hundreds of illegal immigrants from the Congo are showing up on the streets of Texas. Jewish organizations have instructed them on how to fly to Ecuador and how to travel to the U.S. and how to claim asylum.

This is why a nation that wishes to survive is always well-advised to a) sink the damn ships, and, b) shoot refugees on sight. If Texans thought Californication was bad, just wait until they get the chance to experience the vibrant joys of Congolecation.


Remembrance Day

This is taken verbatim from the Moorer Report, published in 2003:

Findings of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into the Israeli Attack on USS Liberty, the Recall of Military Rescue Support Aircraft while the Ship was Under Attack, and the Subsequent Cover-up by the United States Government 

We, the undersigned, having undertaken an independent investigation of Israel’s attack on USS Liberty, including eyewitness testimony from surviving crewmembers, a review of naval and other official records, an examination of official statements by the Israeli and American governments, a study of the conclusions of all previous official inquiries, and a consideration of important new evidence and recent statements from individuals having direct knowledge of the attack or the cover up, hereby find the following:

1. That on June 8, 1967, after eight hours of aerial surveillance, Israel launched a two-hour air and naval attack against USS Liberty, the world’s most sophisticated intelligence ship, inflicting 34 dead and 173 wounded American servicemen (a casualty rate of seventy percent, in a crew of 294);

2. That the Israeli air attack lasted approximately 25 minutes, during which time unmarked Israeli aircraft dropped napalm canisters on USS Liberty’s bridge, and fired 30mm cannons and rockets into our ship, causing 821 holes, more than 100 of which were rocket-size; survivors estimate 30 or more sorties were flown over the ship by a minimum of 12 attacking Israeli planes which were jamming all five American emergency radio channels;

3. That the torpedo boat attack involved not only the firing of torpedoes, but the machine-gunning of Liberty’s firefighters and stretcher-bearers as they struggled to save their ship and crew; the Israeli torpedo boats later returned to machine-gun at close range three of the Liberty’s life rafts that had been lowered into the water by survivors to rescue the most seriously wounded;

4. That there is compelling evidence that Israel’s attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew; evidence of such intent is supported by statements from Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Undersecretary of State George Ball, former CIA director Richard Helms, former NSA directors Lieutenant General William Odom, USA (Ret.), Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, USN (Ret.), and Marshal Carter; former NSA deputy directors Oliver Kirby and Major General John Morrison, USAF (Ret.); and former Ambassador Dwight Porter, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon in 1967;

5. That in attacking USS Liberty, Israel committed acts of murder against American servicemen and an act of war against the United States;

6. That fearing conflict with Israel, the White House deliberately prevented the U.S. Navy from coming to the defense of USS Liberty by recalling Sixth Fleet military rescue support while the ship was under attack; evidence of the recall of rescue aircraft is supported by statements of Captain Joe Tully, Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga, and Rear Admiral Lawrence Geis, the Sixth Fleet carrier division commander, at the time of the attack; never before in American naval history has a rescue mission been cancelled when an American ship was under attack;

7. That although Liberty was saved from almost certain destruction through the heroic efforts of the ship’s Captain, William L. McGonagle (MOH), and his brave crew, surviving crewmembers were later threatened with “court-martial, imprisonment or worse” if they exposed the truth; and were abandoned by their own government;

8. That due to the influence of Israel’s powerful supporters in the United States, the White House deliberately covered up the facts of this attack from the American people;

9. That due to continuing pressure by the pro-Israel lobby in the United States, this attack remains the only serious naval incident that has never been thoroughly investigated by Congress; to this day, no surviving crewmember has been permitted to officially and publicly testify about the attack;

10. That there has been an official cover-up without precedent in American naval history; the existence of such a cover-up is now supported by statements of Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, USN (Ret.), former Judge Advocate General of the Navy; and Captain Ward Boston, USN, (Ret.), the chief counsel to the Navy’s 1967 Court of Inquiry of Liberty attack;

11. That the truth about Israel’s attack and subsequent White House cover-up continues to be officially concealed from the American people to the present day and is a national disgrace;

12. That a danger to our national security exists whenever our elected officials are willing to subordinate American interests to those of any foreign nation, and specifically are unwilling to challenge Israel’s interests when they conflict with American interests; this policy, evidenced by the failure to defend USS Liberty and the subsequent official cover-up of the Israeli attack, endangers the safety of Americans and the security of the United States.

WHEREUPON, we, the undersigned, in order to fulfill our duty to the brave crew of USS Liberty and to all Americans who are asked to serve in our Armed Forces, hereby call upon the Department of the Navy, the Congress of the United States and the American people to immediately take the following actions:

FIRST: That a new Court of Inquiry be convened by the Department of the Navy, operating with Congressional oversight, to take public testimony from surviving crewmembers; and to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the attack on the USS Liberty, with full cooperation from the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the military intelligence services, and to determine Israel’s possible motive in launching said attack on a U.S. naval vessel;

SECOND: That every appropriate committee of the Congress of the United States investigate the actions of the White House and Defense Department that prevented the rescue of the USS Liberty, thereafter threatened her surviving officers and men if they exposed the truth, and covered up the true circumstances of the attack from the American people; and

THIRD: That the eighth day of June of every year be proclaimed to be hereafter known as USS LIBERTY REMEMBRANCE DAY, in order to commemorate USS Liberty’s heroic crew; and to educate the American people of the danger to our national security inherent in any passionate attachment of our elected officials for any foreign nation.

We, the undersigned, hereby affix our hands and seals, this 22nd day of October, 2003.

Thomas H. Moorer
Former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

General of Marines Raymond G. Davis, USMC, MOH

Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, USN, Ret.,
Former Judge Advocate General of the Navy

Ambassador James Akins, Ret.,
Former United States Ambassador to Saudi Arabia


Unauthorized history

Unauthorized Professor Rachel Fulton Brown defends the Middle Ages:

We medievalists all know the drill.

Somebody in public life says something disparaging about the Middle Ages, and we all leap in to insist that either:

  a) Europe in the Middle Ages was actually much more advanced/enlightened/sophisticated than the off-hand comment about people believing the world was flat suggests, or

  b) yes, absolutely, they’re right, medieval Christians were murderous thugs, barbarians of the first order who knew nothing of tolerance or diversity and probably ate babies for breakfast whenever they could get them.

Neither answer ever changes the public conversation one iota because everybody knows that whatever Charles Homer Haskins might try to insist about the real Renaissance happening in the twelfth century, there is no getting round the Albigensian Crusade and the massacres of the Jews in the Rhineland (the former called by the pope, the latter resisted by all the bishops and other leaders of the Church).

The more those of us who study the intellectual, institutional, and spiritual achievements of the period succeed in pointing to the great depth and complexity of the Christian tradition (including its criticisms of the very kinds of violence so often cited as paradigmatic of the Dark Ages), the more our colleagues who study the massacres and inquisitions reinforce the prevailing sense of the period as benighted and savage, and we are right back where we started, blaming Europe and its colonial offspring for all the woes in the world.

Our Enlightened and liberal predecessors would say we’ve been doing it wrong.

This is the blog attached to the coming Unauthorized course on medieval history, so if you’re interested in it, be sure to bookmark it.


X-Men meltdown

The SJW implosion continues apace:

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is on track to have the worst opening in the history of the franchise.

The movie collected just $14 million on Friday, making it the lowest debut ever for an X-Men movie, reports Variety on Saturday.

The Simon Kinberg-directed Phoenix, which cost $200 million to make, was initially projected to gross $50–60 million with the studio expecting a $40–50 million debut.

The vacuum just keeps expanding. And the high regard for the comic arc from which it was derived only underlines how badly the filmmakers screwed it up.

The Dark Phoenix Saga is not only one of the greatest X-Men tales, but it is also a frequent nominee for the best comic book storyline of all-time.

Yeah, so, about that….


Remember, Pizzagate is Fake News

To virtually no one’s surprise, another SJW writer has been outed as a pedophile:

Peter Bright, best known as a contributing writer to the tech publication Ars Technica, has been arrested on charges of soliciting sex with children online. This complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, shows that an undercover FBI special agent contacted Bright via KinkD, a social media platform for sexual fetish connections, on April 18.

“Bright has been charged with one count of attempted enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity,” reports Claire Goforth at The Daily Dot:

A federal complaint alleges that Bright sought to molest a 7- and 9-year-old and met with an undercover agent for this purpose, at which point he was arrested. It also states that Bright claimed to be in a sexual relationship with an 11-year-old. He is currently being held without bail.

His Twitter handle is… wait for it… @DrPizza. And no one could ever have guessed his inclinations from his tweets.

As someone named DrPizza I dread to think what my involvement in pizzagate will turn out to be.

And now we know.


Less intelligent, but more ignorant

The Great Enstupidation of the United States proceeds apace:

When Yale recently decided to relocate three-quarters of the books in its undergraduate library to create more study space, the students loudly protested. In a passionate op-ed in the Yale Daily News, one student accused the university librarian—who oversees 15 million books in Yale’s extensive library system—of failing to “understand the crucial relationship of books to education.” A sit-in, or rather a “browse-in,” was held in Bass Library to show the administration how college students still value the presence of books. Eventually the number of volumes that would remain was expanded, at the cost of reducing the number of proposed additional seats in a busy central location.

Little-noticed in this minor skirmish over the future of the library was a much bigger story about the changing relationship between college students and books. Buried in a slide deck about circulation statistics from Yale’s library was an unsettling fact: There has been a 64 percent decline in the number of books checked out by undergraduates from Bass Library over the past decade.

Yale’s experience is not at all unique—indeed, it is commonplace. University libraries across the country, and around the world, are seeing steady, and in many cases precipitous, declines in the use of the books on their shelves. The University of Virginia, one of our great public universities and an institution that openly shares detailed library circulation stats from the prior 20 years, is a good case study. College students at UVA checked out 238,000 books during the school year a decade ago; last year, that number had shrunk to just 60,000.

One can make a very good case for outlawing so-called “higher education” now, as the Christian university created to educate young men has now devolved into a worse-than-useless factory for transforming young women into barren SJW debt-slaves.