We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It looks bad for Newty. That he and Fannie don't seem to be able to agree on what he did doesn't help. The one thing that seems clear is that he wasn't contracted to provide financial guidance or advice nor did he do any lobbying. So far, to my mind it looks worse than it really is.
I find that hard to believe. The whole point of having a fire/rescue service is to get in and out of these situations quickly and safely. There are dangerous situations in every critical accident event - that's why its called rescue. They had to send somebody to get the body out - WTH?
Some senior putz looking after his career I would suspect. Hope he get his ass fired over this.
One quibble with your comment on the wine course (which is one of two courses I have sitting on my desk): We are at the moment in mankind's history where more good to excellent wine is readily available to anyone who cares to drink it. Costco carries amazingly good wine at amazingly good prices and when considering what the drinker gets for a bottle of "two buck chuck" (though no longer two bucks) at Trader Joe's, there may be no better bargain in wine.
One may educate one's palate beyond one's budget but if said person educates himself as a consumer, the beauty of great wine is still highly available.
The concept of free will vs neurological determinism is interesting and disconcerting. After all, if one is driven by neurology to be dangerous or a failure, presumably one is driven by neurology to be generous or successful. I'd like to lose the blame for my sins while keeping the credit for my achievements.
But this has a kind of reversed religious version. That is, according to some religious people, any evil or foolish thing I do is my own stinking fault, but anything I achieve is only because God gave me the gift to achieve it.
We do know that scrambling people's brains with drugs or injuries often leads to someone whose normal behavior has been responsible and generous acting in dangerous, selfish and even cruel ways. Very, very rarely, I have heard anecdotes of the reverse effect, of a brain event leading to an improvement in thoughts or behavior.