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.
During the last week, we have seen the president support three political positions: gay marriage, a raise in the minimum wage, and a cut in the interest rate on loans to college students. These issues have one thing in common: The president’s supporters claim that those who oppose gay marriage, oppose a high minimum wage, and oppose the lowering of interest rates on college student loans must really hate gays, hate the poor, and oppose education. If you don’t favor President Obama’s programs, you hate the groups targeted by the programs. Thus, we have no serious debate on the merits of either side of these issues, and that is unhealthy.
Bird Dog: Sweden's Reputation As A Welfare State Is In Trouble
Quite the contrary. The lesson is that you can have a strong social safety net (Sweden's governments spends about 50% of GDP), while having robust growth. A key reason is Sweden's flexible currency exchange rate, with the Krona having been devalued. The effect of this is to spread the pain of the contraction, while making exports more competitive. That growth allows Sweden to make important structural changes, including to their social safety net to make them more competitive.
Well, that may be true, and if so it's one lesson taught by Sweden's example American Progressives tend to ignore: IIRC, right from the beginning of their post-WWII expansion of the welfare state, the Swedes recognized the golden goose (Business) that was going to fund it and decided killing it would be a bad idea. Sweden's reforms over the last 20 or so years seem to bear that in mind.
Here the notion seems to be to tax everybody punitively while compromising the ability of Business to do business as much as possible.
Not that, in the end, I admire much Sweden's example even if their welfare system has worked on its own terms. Tends to produce a increasingly comfortable but anesthetized society, in my view, but that may not be yours and obviously isn't theirs.
A Generation Hobbled by College Professors and Administrators increasing Demand for a Higher Percentage of their Future Earnings.
Not as catchy but the college costs have risen because universities found a way to use the US government to extract higher upfront payments of potential future earnings of their victims, er, I mean, students. Best of all, no downside for the university if the future earning estimates turn out to be based on fairy dust and unicorns.
That fighter plane story is getting linked all over the place. I think captures the imagination in the same way stories of being lost at sea do - you're alive but you're trapped without resources in a punishing environment. And, here, the evidence of the "shipwreck" is preserved so well, to the point of being able to see the pilot's footprints -- it's haunting.
It's amazing how much WWII era war materiel is still floating around out there, especially in Europe.
At the end of the war the Germans were making more armaments and munitions they could practicably use due to a lack of manpower and fuel; there are scores of Youtube videos by relic hunters digging up guns, ammo, unfired artillery shells, unused Panzerfausts etc., especially on the Eastern front from late in the war when the Germans were getting rolled back too fast to take everything with them.
There are some fascinating videos taken in Northeastern Europe of people pulling entire tanks out of bogs, some purposely sunk there by the Germans to keep the Russians from getting them. Because of the low levels of oxygen in those peat-type bogs, they come out almost perfectly preserved. There's a particularly fascinating one of a Russian T-34 tank that had been captured and used by the Germans and then sunk in a bog; the clips show it being hauled out and the treads aren't even frozen. IIRC they got it running again after doing little more than flushing the engine, replacing small parts like hoses and such & adding new lubricant.