The House of Savoy is one of the oldest noble families in Europe. In 1003, Humbert the White Handed was made Count of Savoy, a mountainous region along the modern French-Italian border, in return for military service. Humbert’s heirs would add slowly to the holdings of Savoy, periodically becoming involved in larger European wars. In 1046 Piedmont was added to the holdings of the House of Savoy, and in 1416, for continued good service to the Emperor, the Counts of Savoy were made Dukes.
In the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries Piedmont became a battleground between France and Spain for influence on the Italian peninsula. The House of Savoy, lacking the capacity to fight either power for very long, was forced to combine periodic military activity with canny diplomacy in order to remain independent. A clever split with France in the War of Spanish Succession allowed the House to consolidate its holdings, and made Vittorio Amedio II the King of Sicily. Finding the Sicilians a bit unruly, King Vittorio exchanged Sicily for Sardinia a few years later. During the French Revolution, the House of Savoy retreated to Sardinia before resuming rulership of their ancestral lands after the Congress of Vienna.
Piedmont was the one of the two most powerful of the Italian states in the 19th century, and was well positioned to take advantage of the Risorgimento. Through deft diplomacy and patient military action Piedmont’s Prime Minister, Conte di Cavour, managed to play off or defeat the French and the Austrians, eventually annexing most of the remaining Italian kingdoms. In retrospect, the unification of Italy must be considered a more difficult diplomatic task than the unification of Germany, given the strength of the Italian players. After only 858 years, Vittorio Emanuele II, House of Savoy, became King of Italy. Along the way, Savoy had acquired claim to the crowns of Armenia, Cyprus, and Jerusalem, the last in reference to the Crusader Kingdom destroyed in the 13th century. The Savoy’s record as Kings of Italy was decidedly mixed, as it witnessed several disastrous colonial adventures, involvement of limited effectiveness in World War I, the rise of Mussolini, and the disastrous Italian intervention in World War II. The penultimate King of Italy was Vittorio Emanuele III. He was overly tolerant of Mussolini, and was driven from the throne after World War II. Power briefly passed to his son, Umberto II, before the monarchy was abolished and the royal family exiled. After the death of Umberto II in 1983, leadership of the House passed to Vittorio Emanuele, who would become Vittorio Emanuele IV if he ever manages to regain the throne.
Sadly, the latest Vittorio Emanuele is no prize. Exiled from Italy in 1946, he has spent most of his life in Switzerland. In 1978 he killed a guy. Responding to the theft of his yacht’s dinghy, he began firing at random passengers on a neighboring yacht, killing Dirk Hamer. For some reason, he received only a six month suspended sentence. In 2002 he formally renounced the crown in exchange for the right to return to Italy, which led monarchists to start favoring the Duke of Aosta. Apparently irritated by this turn of events, Vittorio Emanuele punched the Duke in the face at the wedding of King Juan Carlos’ son. Amedeo, Duke of Aosta, has since claimed the titles of King and Duke of Savoy, as Vittorio Emanuele married without his father’s permission in 1971. Since his return to Italy, Vittorio Emanuele has allegedly spent his time recruiting prostitutes and making friends in the Mafia. This has not, strangely, endeared him to the Italian public. In June the Duke was arrested and subjected to house arrest. Although released a month later, he is now legally prohibited from leaving Italy.
Trivia: In 1993, what colonial power formally apologized for the overthrow of what royal house?
One reason I like football somewhat less than hockey or baseball is that I’ve never been a really big fan of any team. This playoff game, however, is my Maximum Rooting Interest–the team I’d most like to win the Super Bowl against the time I’d least like to win it. So I would have advised you to bet the mortgage on Dallas before I got on the plane if I had time, but I’m happy that I was probably wrong…good that the ref had the balls to overturn that ridiculous spot too.
…Yesh! Although given the quality of Seattle’s secondary I wasn’t counting on anything until the Hail Mary actually hit the turf…
…and a beating-Dallas doubleheader is certainly a nice digestif. As I’ve said countless times, who needs Jarome Iginla when you have the immortal Byron Ritchie?
The political fight over animal cloning is just beginning. It’s a lot like the fight over human cloning, except that the roles are reversed. Right-wing groups and Republican senators fanned fear and ignorance about human cloning; left-wing groups and Democratic senators are fanning fear and ignorance about animal cloning. Moderates on both sides get trampled. So do principles. The same liberals who demand stem-cell research using human embryos and who blasted the FDA for delaying approval of emergency contraception now accuse the FDA of recklessly approving cloned food.
I’m not really a specialist in this area, largely because I don’t really care about cloned food, but this strikes me as a classic Slate “pox on both their houses” paragraph, with a bone to the uncherished middle tossed in. But even I, a simple caveman, can see that there’s some nonsense being pushed here.
Right-wing groups and Republican senators fanned fear and ignorance about human cloning; left-wing groups and Democratic senators are fanning fear and ignorance about animal cloning.
Has anyone come out in favor of human cloning? Is there really a “political fight” about it? Yes, wingnuts fly into hysterics at the very idea, but I don’t remember a lot of leftists thinking that human cloning is a great idea, either. Indeed, apart from the word “cloning” I’m flummoxed as to what the relationship between the two debates is. Moreover, whatever leftish opposition to animal cloning exists is presented, quite clearly, in public health and policy terms, questions which are subject to evidentiary examination. Human cloning evokes an entirely different set of questions and debates. Lord Saletan is playing fast and loose…
The same liberals who demand stem-cell research using human embryos and who blasted the FDA for delaying approval of emergency contraception now accuse the FDA of recklessly approving cloned food.
Huh. Well, now that I know I’ll be denounced for inconsistency if I don’t say either a) that the FDA should approve everything immediately, or b) that the FDA should never approve anything ever, I think I’ll refrain from taking any positions on what the FDA approves. Not too difficult, since it already describes my policy on the FDA. I’m also uncertain that liberals “demand stem-cell research using human embryos”; if other options were available and just as useful, this wouldn’t be a political question at all. The liberal position on these questions, to the extent that one can be described, clearly seems to be built around pragmatic public policy concerns, the basic “principle” at stake being an increase in human health.
The thing is, I largely agree with Saletan about cloned animals. Some of the objections that Saletan details are silly. But Lord Saletan can’t resist the impulse to be Mercutio; he can’t simply lay out the case for genetically modified foods without also trying to construct some “moderate” meta-narrative. The thing is, conservatives don’t read Slate anyway, and aren’t going to start. I have to wonder why he and Weisberg and Shafer and Dickerson bother.
The Ole Perfesser is still implying that we haven’t initiated regime change in Iran because of their secret trove of nuclear weapons. Because if the Iraq War proves anything, it’s that there’s no possible downside to razing a government and baselessly hoping that a stable pro-American government with a liberal constitution written and enforced by ponies will emerge in its place. There’s no other explanation except for that secret weapons stash nobody but Glenn Reynolds has heard of.
The most popular “warblog,” ladies and gentlemen!
Pretty old, but check out this Defense Tech post (and linked article) about Iranian efforts to keep the F-14s purchased by the Shah flying. It looks as if, contrary to some previous estimates, Iran has managed to keep a lot of F-14s in combat condition, and may even have substantially upgraded the original technology.
One of the most striking things about my recently departed friend Henry was her lack of basic cat skills. At no point in her eight odd years that I can recall did she ever intentionally scratch or bite a human being. She’s no pacifist, as she clearly demonstrated with regular attacks on weaker, smaller cats. I am convinced that she didn’t scratch or bite simply because she didn’t know that option was available to her. She lacked other basic cat skills, she couldn’t outrun a slow human such as myself, she couldn’t (or wouldn’t) hunt, and she rarely landed on her feet.
Henry routinely inspired jealousy in the humans she lived with. By arbitrarily favoring the lap of one person for weeks, then abandoning them and ignoring them for weeks at a time, in favor of other laps. It worked; she often had all her human hosts competing for her attention.
About a month ago, Henry got sick–it turned out it was her kidneys. She’s unusually young for kidney failure, and it’s possible she injested some toxins. Hoping the kidney failure was chronic and not acute, we hyrdrated her, took care of her, and hoped for the best. The last month of her life she was weak and inactive, but still enjoyed human attention and companionship. At six o’clock on December 31st, just after a feeding and some medicine, she left us. She was a wonderful, intriguing companion and the house feels empty without her.
Thanks to all who expressed their condolences in the earlier thread.
Yglesias [lighlty edited]:
The article comes to me via Martin Peretz, whose status as a cosignatory of the [Euston] Manifesto proudly demonstrates what a hollow farce it is to present the document as some kind of left position.
What’s really irritating about the column–besides trying to pretend that the Lubriderm Manifesto means anything to any audience outisde its small collection of signatories at this late date–is the fact that Cohen calls people who have been consistently saying the same things about the Iraq War since the idea was being floated (and have been conistently right where Cohen and his friends have been diastrously wrong in virtually every respect) “hindsighters.” I do not think that word means what he thinks it means.
Out On The Road, You’re Willie Loman and You’re Tom Joad, Vladimir and Estragon, Kerouac, Genghis Kahn
Light posting from me will continue for a couple of days as my vacation wraps up; it has involved more success at acquiring hockey tickets than anticipated, with more predictable compelling friends away from family responsibilities and taking advantage of the big new kitchen. Tonight involved a dinner engagement, followed by some winning ugly, which nonetheless made me happy, because it’s the last time I’ll see the Flames in Jeebus knows how long and I’m still pissed off at Florida for that ridiculous Luongo/Bertuzzi trade. Less intermittent posting should resume after the weekend.
BAGHDAD (AP) — The Interior Ministry acknowledged Thursday that an Iraqi police officer whose existence had been denied by the Iraqis and the U.S. military is in fact an active member of the force, and said he now faces arrest for speaking to the media.
Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, who had previously denied there was any such police employee as Capt. Jamil Hussein, said in an interview that Hussein is an officer assigned to the Khadra police station, as had been reported by The Associated Press.
The captain, whose full name is Jamil Gholaiem Hussein, was one of the sources for an AP story in late November about the burning and shooting of six people during a sectarian attack at a Sunni mosque.
The U.S. military and the Iraqi Interior Ministry raised the doubts about Hussein in questioning the veracity of the AP’s initial reporting on the incident, and the Iraqi ministry suggested that many news organization were giving a distorted, exaggerated picture of the conflict in Iraq. Some Internet bloggers spread and amplified these doubts, accusing the AP of having made up Hussein’s identity in order to disseminate false news about the war. . .
Nothing yet from TIDOS Yankee, though I would point out that today is the anniversary of the National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer, declared by President James Buchanan in 1861. National “Days of Humiliation” were a regular feature of Anglo-American political life from 1648 until the early 20th century; although such days are still declared every now and again, the political language has shifted somewhat to the use of the word “humililty” rather than “humiliation.” Nevertheless, for Bob Owens, Michelle Malkin, the guy from Flopping Aces — and every right-wing soldier in the Army of Davids who linked to these wankers over the past month — today must certainly a day of humiliation in the traditional as well as the more contemporary senses.
(Thanks to my brother for passing the E&P story along.)
. . . Well, that was quick.
Several months back, my friend Jonathan Sterne wrote an especially insightful post about social class and academia. One of the few American professors gifted enough to pass through Canada’s protectionist employment barriers, Jonathan teaches communication studies at McGill, where he recently had the opportunity to eat an expensive meal and reflect on the exaggerated postures that often define the lives of professionals who imagine themselves to be more well-to-do than they actually are. The whole post is quite fantastic — there’s a discussion of shitty and/or bizarre jobs his colleagues used to hold (carnival barker, Vegas lounge singer, etc.) — but this passage in particular stood out.
Major field-wide conferences . . . are held at hotels so expensive that they decimate university travel budgets. Groups of academics routinely go out to meals at these events that they can’t really afford. Broke job candidates are expected to dress in nice, expensive suits while senior faculty interview them wearing torn jeans and a t-shirt . . . . The first month or so of an assistant professor’s career can be financially crushing as he or she is drawn into a (more) middle class lifestyle before the funds have arrived. The list goes on.
Since I officially entered the professoriate in 2002, I’ve noticed that very few of my pre-professional tics have disappeared. I’m a notorious freeloader by nature and custom, although in my own defense I should note that until I was 32 years old I never earned more than about $14,000 a year. Among friends, my exploits are apparently legendary. In graduate school, for instance, I once pulled a hamstring lunging for a box of stale (albeit still edible) mini donuts; early in the dissertation stage, I spent several days trying to find someone to set up a website that would aggregate the day’s free food across the University of Minnesota campus (e.g., boxed lunches at the med school if you can sit through a 60 minute epidemiology lecture; coffee and cheap cookies at an afternoon meeting of the English Club).
And those are only the episodes I’m prepared to discuss in public. Let me put it this way: If there were an academic equivalent to George Costanza scarfing an eclair from the top of the garbage can, that person would be me.
As an assistant professor at an underfunded public university located in one of the most expensive states in the nation, I’ve had little cause to amend my ways. At the meeting of the American Studies Association in 2003, for instance, I shared a room with seven other graduate students from my old department, all of whose travel allowances were about at generous than my own. Because my annual travel budget is barely sufficient to get me as far as Seattle, attending the major conferences in my field can be almost prohibitively expensive, absent my apparent willingness to live on (or below) the cheap. At the Organization of American Historians conference in 2005, I subsisted on appetizers and free booze for an entire weekend, spending a mere $13.75 over the course of three days, mostly by appearing surreptitiously at receptions to which I had not been invited. At a conference in Washington, DC, in November 2005, I stayed at a cheap hotel that one cab driver hadn’t heard of and another didn’t think existed any more. And these, as I said, are only the examples I’m willing to mention.
Of course, the perversity of the academic job market requires that I be grateful for this. Unlike many recent PhD’s, I was fortunate to receive a job offer from a school that — while underfunded by its state legislature — treats its faculty reasonably well. Most history professors in the US, I would imagine, don’t enjoy that luxury. And most Americans don’t have jobs that pay them to read books and speak and write about things that genuinely interest them. So to pre-empt the inevitable charges of ingratitude and unacknowledged privilege, I’ll simply announce that I’m happy to be able to do what I do for a living and that — like nearly everything short of Stage 4 cancer — things could certainly be worse.
All that being said, if any LGM readers happen to be in Atlanta for the American Historical Association conference this weekend, I’ll be shacking up at the Motel 6 near Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Feel free to drop by and share a bottle of Boone’s Farm or a six-pack of Zimas with me. Otherwise, I’ll be the guy lurking around the hors d’oeuvres tables.