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.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, June 30. 2005
The Court and Politics
Posted at 8 AM: I am heading down to Maine in about an hour, but I wanted to register one thought first: This Supreme Court has handed the Repubs more ammunition than they want or need to correct the course of the Court, or for the 2006 elections, for that matter. McCreary County, and Kelo, have given regular people fits. Respect for religion, and Right to Property - what could be more basic to the lives of Americans? The lefty-elitist hubris of this Court will lead to its correction, in good time. The fight to protect our freedom from government power is endless, as is the fight to protect freedom from external powers. It's a damn shame that we ever have to think about the former, but we do. Show me a government, and I'll show you a sponge for money and power over the individual, and it will mainly be run by phonies who couldn't do much in real life, except schmooze and BS.
Comment from Editor
Second comment from Editor
Why does a Texan, even though he lives in CT now, say he's going "down" to Maine? Also known as "down east"? First correct email answer gets a Maggie's Farm t-shirt.
One XL Maggie's Farm t-shirt to RT of Portland, Maine: You go "down east" because the prevailing winds carry your sailing ship northeast along the Atlantic coast easily, especially on the Boston to Maine stretch. If not downwind, at least on a reach. Sailing from Maine to Boston or New York usually involves much more tacking and is a more arduous, upwind trip. Thus, in Maine, the older generation still goes "up to Boston."
Yo Ho Ho And A Bottle Of Bread
Jimmy Buffett bemoaned the fact that he missed his true calling as a pirate by 200 years, but he apparently never thought to check out Somalia, where honest-to-goodness pirates recently hijacked a UN-chartered freighter bearing food aid for tsunami victims. Now, one could more easily sympathize with the likes of Blackbeard and Captain Kidd, who are known for plundering gold-laden Spanish galleons, but the theft by Somalis of food destined for their starving compatriots somehow strikes one as less daring and romantic. Do we now need to bring in food shipments to these people under full military guard to prevent criminals from stealing the whole lot of them? I seem to remember us trying something like that back in 1993 but somehow I don't think it ended up very well.
How's the Economy Doing?
Could not be much better, with low inflation too, and about the best employment rates in modern history. Is anyone complaining? Hmmm, the angry-type Dems are strangely silent on jobs and the economy. Plus we have a little housing correction, which is good for young buyers. The incomes of married blacks equal those of married whites - and that is a big deal. We have come through a stock market blow up, and 9-11, stronger than ever, and subject to the ugly envy of the world for our freedom, our faith, our confidence, our prosperity and work-ethic, and for the opportunities we offer everyone. We have so much work that we're being unwillingly invaded on all sides by people seeking opportunity. Growth rates on Ex-Donk. Oh, I guess if someone is determined to bitch about something, you can bitch about gas prices, but in 5 years these will look cheap: the Chinese gave up their bikes, and took up oil-based capitalism. I am waiting for the NYT headline: "Things Are Good in the USA."
Dem approval polls looking worse
Duh. Wonder why? Thanks, Michelle. In UPI. It's a tough time to be a leftist Dem - they keep pushing on everything they can think up, but no door ever opens; there is never any traction - except in the NYT. The few "centrist" Dems - not many left around - are doing fine. Good times in the USA - except for the moonbat Supreme Court.
The Deep Impact spacecraft will collide with comet Tempel 1, a comet about the size of Manhattan, on July 4th. Sadly, most of us will not be able to see the big show. Story in NYT.
And, for other news from around the solar system, it looks like a lake of liquid methane on Titan. BBC. Be careful with your matches if you have a smoke while fishing for walleye, or duck-hunting, on Titan.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:42 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Steyn Views Europe's Decay
Steyn on the world economies and demographics: "... the GDP per capita Top Five are, in order, America, Canada, Australia, Belgium and the United Kingdom. And if you make it territories with over 20 million, the Top Four is an Anglosphere sweep. In other words, the ability to generate wealth among large populations does indeed seem to be an "Anglo-Saxon" thing. That being so, which is more likely? That Blair will transform a Europe antipathetic to Anglo-Saxon ways? Or that Europe will drag its Anglo-Saxons down with it? A political entity hostile to the three principal building blocks of functioning societies - religion, family and wealth creation - was never a likely bet for the long term."
Read entire excellent piece at Steyn Online.
A "diversified portfolio of crops"? "Dynamic agriculture"? "No-till dryland crops"? A good update on how farming on the Great Plains is changing, and becoming both more productive and more profitable, in Science Daily
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:28 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Blogs, Free Speech and the FEC
The Fox News lede:
"WASHINGTON — The Federal Election Commission says Web logs just might be a threat to democracy and it's considering whether to police them."
Sens. McCain and Feingold should feel life-destroying remorse over what they have done to Free Speech in the name of goo-goo-ism. Hey - this isn't China. Read entire.
The time has come to take a stand. Do we allow travel to Cuba or continue to live as if the Bay of Pigs was yesterday? From CubaCentral :: CUBA TRAVEL CALLS ARE URGENT:
Part 1: This is THE TIME of the summer for you to take action on easing the embargo on travel to Cuba. If you can take just ONE action this summer, NOW is the time. We anticipate that several amendments easing and/or ending the travel ban will be offered on the floor of the House NEXT WEEK, probably Wednesday or Thursday. Here’s what we expect and what we’re asking you to do. We emphasize its urgency!
Part 2: EXPECTED VOTES:
Flake Amendment on cutting off funding for enforcement of the full travel ban;
Davis Amendment on cutting off funding for enforcement of the restrictions on Cuban-American travel;
Lee Amendment on cutting off funding for enforcement of the restrictions on educational travel and exchanges;
Rangel Amendment on cutting off funding for enforcement of the full embargo.
Find out who received what from whom. This Cuba embargo has to change if for no other reason than the Cubans suffering have nothing to do with Fidel's insanity. They just want a Band-Aid to cover their cut, or toilet paper instead of newspaper print and toothpaste instead of water. read more here: Click here: Political Action Committees
Why Kyoto is a Scam
It's about $, and about simulated virtue. Samuelson
Take Back the Memorial
Consider signing the petition, if you haven't yet.
The 17th Amendment
A savvy reader is all over the role of the 17th Amendment (Click here: The Constitution of the United States of America - popular election of Senators) in undermining Federalism, with references here:Click here: Federalism & Seventeenth Amendment. Repeal it! and here: Click here: NeoPolitique -- Far-Reaching and Forgotten: The 17th Amendment. It's a heck of a good point but I think that battle has been lost. How could you run a campaign to take the vote away from people and return it to the morons in state legislatures?
A Namby-Pamby Nation
Michelle has a pretty good rant on the subject, at Town Hall.
More on Kelo
In American Thinker: The Pandora’s box opened up by such a position should be obvious. I ask you, what legal business doesn’t create jobs and revenue? That’s what businesses do. Therefore, under this reasoning it follows that any commercial development proposal under the sun could serve as an eminent domain-enabled pretext to seize your property. Hey, even a hotdog stand produces more jobs and tax revenue than your home does.
This fact was not lost on Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. In what strikes me as a rare moment of lucidity, she wrote in her dissent,
“The specter of condemnation hangs over all property . . . nothing is to prevent the state from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory.”
I do concur. Moreover, what seems to have escaped everyone’s notice is that the leftist judges have broadened the definition of “public use” to a point where they’ve rendered the term meaningless. After all, if a “public use” can in reality be any use deemed beneficial to society by the powers that be, then the term has lost its raison d’etre.
Read the whole thing - link above.
Can you believe Delay said this?
re the House voting to raise their salaries - try this one on your boss today:
"It's not a pay raise," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. "It's an adjustment so that they're not losing their purchasing power."
He's young and on fire
There'll be a time I hear tell
Dylan, excerpt from Lord Protect My Child, on Bootleg Series
Wednesday, June 29. 2005
I can see through your game at this blog. You want to dupe the people into thinking your blog is reasonable and intelligent and fun, while you sneak in extreme Right Wing propaganda and Christian mind-tricks to confuse their thinking. I know that the Right Wing game is to fool the people into thinking that there are things in life more important than their material comfort, which only can be secured by a caring government which understands the needs of the little people far better than they do themselves - a government which is not the agent of business.
Smarter than You, in Boston
Gee, I guess you just blew our cover. We were hoping no-one would notice our tin-foil hats to protect us from the government mind-rays, and our stash of AK-47s to fend off the government mind-control agents and Thought Police. But on a serious note, What qualifies as Right Wing? All I see on this blog is everyday normal American conversation. It is true that we feel that Freedom is a big deal, but is that extreme? Or do you folks just, out of habit, label anything extreme if it fails to advance international socialism? And, by the way, quit walking around Cambridge and sitting in Starbucks with that volume of Kierkegaard's Either/Or in your hand - it won't get you babes. Trust me - I've tried it.
The dumb (but still learning) Bird Dog
PS: Are you sure you just don't want some of my money?
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 08:56 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (16)
I like Dr. Bob, and I commend him for taking on a blog single-handedly, and for sticking with it. I doubt that he really knew that there was a writer in him, but the writer in him knew it, and out it came. As a Christian physician, Bob is able to see the spiritual dimensions of addictive and compulsive "diseases" in a way I find refreshing, and free of gobbledy-gook:
The paradox about 12-step programs–which have the only reliable track record for successful recovery from addiction–is that they emphasize the disease as the problem, and honesty, integrity, and personal responsibility as the solution. They do not excuse the behavior while admitting the disease, and this blend of honesty and humility, acceptance and tough love, works like nothing else. It is, as recovering alcoholics are quick to point out, a spiritual program: the Catch-22 of a body which craves alcohol without limit and a mind which denies the resulting problems cannot be solved any other means.
But as any recovering alcoholic will tell you, the problem is not the booze; it is not even the obsessive, irrational mindset which drives the drinking. Both these problems are symptoms of an underlying decay, one of spiritual dimensions, characterized at its core by extreme self-centeredness. The pursuit of happiness by feeding this monster creates not the promised joy but rather pain and emptiness. Alcohol hides that pain for a while, until the monster, growing ever stronger by its constant feeding, kills its host spiritually, emotionally, and often physically.
But addiction is hardly alone as a symptom of this dark core. The list of destructive behaviors arising from its belly is endless: obesity, sexual promiscuity, compulsive overwork, materialism, computer obsession, gambling, the pursuit of beauty over character, the lust for money and power. Some may be biologically-driven; some learned behaviors or dysfunctional coping. All seek to fill a hole with no bottom, providing the wrong salve for the pain, and more of the same when the salve makes the wound fester.
Dylan at Starbucks
I don't get what the big deal is about this - it gets his music out there, and makes him a few bucks. How bad is that for a musician? Story in Right Thinking. By the way, when does Scorsese's No Direction Home come out?
The Rogue Court, More
A Souter quote in the McCreary County (Ten Commandments) case, in NERepub:
Historically, this is nonsense. As one blogger pointed out yesterday - I forget who - during the early years of the nation several states had specific religious criteria for candidates for office. This is pure legislating from the bench, and it is insidious and wrong. In the end, as NERepub notes, public religious behavior and symbols become relegated to a similar status as pornography. Furthermore, if "divisiveness" is ample justification for a ruling, why not ban the Democratic Party? They are very "divisive" too. Heck, ban the NYYankees too - always creating angry division with the Red Sox.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:33 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
1968 Farmall, Model 656.
A sonnet in steel and rubber.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:22 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (19)
Souter's Farm, and Kelo, etc.
Those New Hampshire folk don't take it lying down. Live Free or Die. The law suit to build a hotel at David Souter's home, from Ex-Donk.
And Scrapple-Dude: "In a pair of rulings on the constitutionality of the 10 Commandments on government property, the Supreme Court today said the commandments may be displayed on public land if that property has been seized from private owners for 'public purposes' under eminent domain. The 5-4 decision comes on the heels of last week's court declaration that so-called "private" property is actually government land temporarily under private management until its eventual seizure."
Who Wrote that Lame Speech?
That speech was pure high-school, as was the delivery. Fire the writer right now. Bush did himself little good, but no harm. He should have called Bird Dog. Re the flaws, Auster agrees.
Eve chats with God: "Lord, I have a problem."
Adam sees God across the garden and calls out "Yo, Lord, do you have a minute?"
Tuesday, June 28. 2005
The Latin Beat: Travel
Spots worth a visit. Some legal and others not so easy to visit. Latin America has a lot to offer other than corrupt politicians, poverty, and plain old chaos. Some of the most beautiful sights and beaches and architecture in the world. And of course, the food, music and beautiful women are great too.
Belize and the fishing is easy
Old Belize offers an unforgettable experience that will surely provide an excellent orientation and appreciation for the country and people of Belize. The 45-minute tour begins inside a rainforest exhibit that showcases giant tropical trees that tower the path you walk. Inside this display a waterfall and limestone cave depicts the magnificent stalactite and stalagmite formations that scientist say grows about an inch every 100 years! Click here: Old Belize Cultural and Historical Center
Ecological greatness right next door and the water rafting is a blast. San Jose City, known simply as San Jose, was designated as the capital of Costa Rica in 1835. The sprawling capital is nestled in the fertile “Valle Central” (Central Valley) and surrounded on all sides by large forested mountain ranges, some of which include active volcanoes, perennially green savannahs and working coffee plantations.Costa Rica - San Jose
Bossa Nova In Brazil
For hundreds of years, Brazil has symbolized the great escape into a primordial, tropical paradise, igniting the Western imagination like no other South American country. From the mad passion of Carnaval to the immensity of the dark Amazon, it is a country of mythic proportions.Perhaps it's not quite the Eden of popular imagination, but it's still a land of staggering beauty. There are stretches of unexplored rainforest, islands with pristine tropical beaches, and endless rivers. And there are the people themselves, who delight the visitor with their energy and joy.Lonely Planet's Guide to Brazil
Cuba: it is illegal to visit but there is always a way. If you should be so lucky. Fly in through Cancun or Lyford Cay as the Cubans love dollars and no passport is needed. The scariest part of the trip will be flying in on the YAK planes from Russia. Hot flying in and freezing on the way back, but don't be afraid when you board as the seats are collapsed but they bounce back up when you sit. Upon arrival, you will feel like you have stepped back in time as the island hasn't changed much since 1959. Che is everywhere and the old Presidential Palace still has the bullets in the walls from the revolutionary days and Fidel's trinkets and garbage like the boots he wore in the mountains. Hemingway's house is worth the trip and so is the Nacional Hotel and the Havana Yacht Club is completely dilapidated and the opera house has pigeons nesting where the sconces use to be. There is an old lady guarding the door and kids dancing ballet as an eighty year old man plays piano on a Steinway that has seen better days. Eating out is best done in private homes where jam jars serve as the glasses and no tow dishes are alike but the food is good. It is quite sad to see the city in ruins but if you close your eyes sometimes you can imagine Havana as it once must have been. An old girl in need of some TLC, Cuba will rise up again. For more help with your trip to Cuba, continue below the fold:
Continue reading ""
Michael Yon, on patrol in Iraq, with photos. Wish I could be there with him.
The Unraveling of the EU
Blair wants to roll back EU regulations, but can he? In the (Uk's) Gun Culture
Memories of Childhood
Children's memories are famously unreliable, as are adult's memories of the past. Memory is distorted in hundreds of ways for hundreds of reasons for which there is no space here. But there is a truly "dark age" of birth through about age 6 in which children have what Freud termed "infantile amnesia." Nothing from that period seems to be retrievable, at least not in the usual ways.
Cognitive Daily speculates, and provides an excellent thumbnail summary, on the subject of infantile amnesia here. But I'd like to add a psychoanalytic dimension to the subject, despite the Munger's discomfort with analytic theorizing - some of which is surely deserved and some of which has to do with different disciplines. The realm of "meaning" crosses many discipline boundaries, and is a strange and baffling subject.
Several points of interest:
1. Memories from birth through 6 may not be retrievable in the sense of "I remember my 4th birthday party," but emotional reactions, and states of mind - neither of which are readily expressible, may be solidly engraved in the old hippocampus - and why not? Deep memories can be visceral, not just visual and verbal.
2. People create things which psychoanalysis terms "screen memories." These are not literally accurate memories, but they are mental constructions which may capture something meaningful from the past - an issue, a conflict, a fear, a joy, a wish, etc., in a similar way in which dreams do. Thus in analysis, we tend to be more interested in the psychological meaning of memories and recollections than in their objective truth. We psychiatrists and psychoanalysts are not historians of truth, we are historians of meaning. When we have a spontaneous memory, it probably carries a telegram, from ourself to ourself, relevant to the present.
3. Memory distortion - I said I would say nothing about this, but just one superficial comment. We all re-write our histories, especially to protect ourselves from pain, or to protect our self-respect, or to create a story we can feel good about, or to portray ourselves as virtuous victims, or to justify ourselves or to rationalize things (meaning an effort to justify, or to make sense out of something we have done or thought, that we are not comfortable with), etc. etc. We do not do this consciously or willfully - our devious, self-deceiving brains do it for us. Humans are forever at battle with their consciences...those that have one.
One of the most interesting things we observe in patients in analysis is how the "narrative" of their life changes over time. Thus anyone's autobiography is a momentary story, a construction of reality, usually with a self-serving psychological purpose - and the most common is to preserve an illusion of self-regard - something which darn few of us hominid critters deserve to hold, but which we must fake to survive. There is nothing easy about being an animal with a soul. (Just ask any hunting poodle - they will tell you all about it.)
It's True about Mosquitoes
Some people repel them, and some attract them. Hmmm.
A huge wildlife management success story - the reintroduction of the Wild Turkey into the areas in which it had been eliminated (by extensive farming, combined with the 1904 chestnut blight). This giant, ever-watchful game bird is now back in huntable numbers in forested areas across the US, even in suburbia.
And with its return, we see the return of the cult of the ancient Indian turkey-hunting techniques. Everybody says they see them all the time, so they should be easy to hunt, but have you ever seen one within 20 yards when you were in camo, sitting under a tree with a shotgun in your hand, at 6 AM? I haven't.
Ben Franklin wanted this guy to be on the National Seal, not the fish-thieving Bald Eagle. And, by the way, this is not the ancestor of the domestic turkey - that ancestor is the white-tailed wild turkey of Central America. Read more about this dramatic bird.
Interview with Ed Klein
by Hawkins: Ed Klein: She has been in the midst of one of the most brilliant campaigns of deception in terms of political make-overs that I have ever seen in my life time and I’ve been around a long time. She has suddenly turned into a “hawk” on foreign policy, she has voted for every military appropriation bill that has come down since she has been in the Senate, she has been talking out about, “Let’s be reasonable on the subject of abortion and get together on this,” she’s been reaching across the aisle to conservative Republicans like Tom DeLay, Trent Lott, Rick Santorum.
The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.
Monday, June 27. 2005
For what it's worth, the Discovery Channel's online poll of "Great Americans" puts Reagan as #1. What a wise people we are. Is this a real guy, or what?
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