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
Saturday, July 30. 2005
Van Gogh's son has been beaten up. Nice country ya got there, Holland.
I was going to write a few sentences about the NYT calling people "un-American' re the 9-11 Memorial, but Moran did it better, here.
The Grievance Collector femi-Nazis go over the top, (thanks, View from 1776), from John Stossel
Air America caught stealing from orphans and widows. Jeez.
Using our hard-earned money to buy votes: Ankle-Biter on the Highway Bill. Disgusting. And since when do we need more highways anyway?
Frist has a poll for us to take, on immigration and other subjects, here
New biography of Georges Braque. The review is interesting
Are we cyber-sluts here at Maggie's? Maybe kinda sorta. We love new readers, and we love getting linked. We do believe we offer interesting stuff. And we, like many bloggers, have tried to get the great Glenn Reynold's attention with some of our stuff, but at some point you feel like a hopeful young actress who can't get onto Darryl Zanuck's casting couch. It's lousy for your pride and your dignity. Enough self-pity - we are doing fine and our readers are discriminating folk with wit, curiosity, and brains. Abe Lincoln famously said, "Maggie's Farm is my favorite blog, after Powerline," and Teddy Roosevelt said "The most influential and eclectic blog in America" but he may have been referring to another blog. American Digest has a humorous inside look at the mega-blog "gatekeepers".
One Single Rose
A single flow'r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet -
One perfect rose.
I knew the language of the floweret;
"My fragile leaves," it said, "his heart enclose."
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.
Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose.
For a little summary of the life of Dorothy Parker, the founder of the Algonquin Round Table, click here. And does the Algonquin remain a NYC legend? Yes. Even if you don't work at The New Yorker, you can stop by anytime and have a drink on the sofas in the old-timey, England-feeling, not-fancy front room.
Friday, July 29. 2005
Photo from Free Market Fairy Tales (UK) I like her steady, watchful gaze. God Save the Queen.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch,
Taking Back the Universities
Horowitz is making progress with his Academic Bill of Rights in Congress, and McDonald warns naive donors and timid trustees to wake up. The serious backlash has begun. The Summers debacle was the turning point, and the Dartmouth trustee election this spring was a ray of hope for a return to sanity.
Abortion: One Doctor's View
I have participated in my share of D&Cs, many years ago, and maybe some elective ones that I cannot or do not want to recall. I am no politican, and no lawyer, but I can read the Constitution which is deliberately written in plain English so as to be understandable to the average farmer or country doctor like me, and I think it's fairly clear that the Federal Govt has no business getting into such matters - these seem like 10th Amendment matters, to be left either to the states or to the people - ie freedom. Wasn't the whole point of the Constitution to limit the power of the Feds so as not to recreate a distant tyranny like the one we had just driven away? As for the morality, it seems to me to pit two moral ideas against one-another: the value of human life vs. the value of personal freedom and self-determination. I tend towards the life end of that argument, and find the latter a bit new-age and narcissitic (there is no Commandment: Thou Shalt fully realize and fullfill thyself in a convenient and consequence-free manner), but things can get tough in real life and I am capable of sympathy. Anyway, overturning Roe v. Wade is not on my personal agenda, but it would not be a catastrophe, and would let the unfortunate, miserable battle be fought where it probably belongs, among the people, through politics. The Supreme Court is not the Sanhedrin. In the end, though, if you don't use birth control and don't want a baby, as the Dylanologist would quote, "My advice is to not let the boys in." If you haven't figured it out yet, gals and ladies - boys have very little brains when it comes to a pretty girl and no court will ever be able to change that. It's called "biology." In the 70s they used to talk about "empowerment": control and master your own emotions and your own bodies, ladies, where the rubber meets the road, as it were. That is true empowerment - self-mastery.
Why you can't count on moderate reason in the Middle East (as if that were hot news): Many Egyptian Moslems believe Israel did the bombing to frame Muslims! Here (thanks, View from the Right). There is no reasoning with the paranoid and ignorant. It's like a debate with a Hollywood airhead: "Well, it could be Bush and the CIA were behind 9-11 for an excuse to go to Iraq to get the oil...well, it's possible, right? With the Israeli Air Force and Haliiburton. As a favor to Cheney and his friends? Anything's possible, right? We'll never know for sure, right?"
Al Quaida attracts rich kids, mostly. Gee, like the Weathermen here used to be? Mixed-up young pampered nuts looking for meaning? Austin Bay.
The Truth about teen-rebel hero Che Guevara, the James Dean of the 70s: a re-posting here
King Arthur and the Round Table: (really)...A good website for fans of Arthur
Right Wing Nation picked this up from GOP Bloggers:
His comment: "‘Scuse me? What kind of drugs are these morons on, anyway? I mean, can anybody doubt that these people need to be institutionalized after they spout silly tofu-brained nonsense like this?"
My comment: Ditto about the tofu. The heart of liberty is political freedom and the right to vote. I never want to hear any branch of government dare talk about the meaning of life. It's way out of their league, plus it ain't their job.
Thursday, July 28. 2005
Bird Dog forwarded me a piece by Rick Moran about the spread of avian flu, and the possibility that China could be concealing its true impact, including human-to-human transmission, which would be something new for this virus. I agree with Rick - let's follow this scary story, and let's get some reporters off their duffs and into China to see what is really going on over there. The CDC reports that the virus is becoming more pathogenic to mammals, and that such viruses mutate faster than had been thought. Human-to-human transmission of a virus which is resistant to ordinary anti-virals, and which seems to have about a 50% mortality rate, would result in a modern-day plague. The key issue is whether it has mutated so as to permit inter-human transmission. I must admit I hate to contemplate that, especially having read The Black Death last month. (Photo is a nesting Common Tern, one of my favorite birds here in Narragansett Bay.)
This site has a useful overview of three of the so-called "immigration reform" bills currently floating around Capitol Hill. Two of them, as can be seen through taking even the briefest glance at their provisions, are little more than blanket amnesties that contain clauses which would also vastly increase our rate of legal immigration, already the highest in the world by a wide margin.
Read the rest of the review of the bills - click on continuation page below
Continue reading "The Three Immigration Bills in Congress"
Adds six more nations to the free trade zone, a good deal for them and for us, and a legislative success for Bush. Right Thinking explains why, in his usual direct manner. Willisms (thanks, Instap) tries to understand why the Dems are abandoning free trade, here.
A Very Good Thing - The London Review of Books - the best book review periodical in the world. You have to subscribe, but its price is fair - $42/yr. Here.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 07:03 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Two excellent pieces on poverty and the black family
Hymowitz in the new City Journal ("40 Years of Lies") describes the catastrophic effect of political correctness, which has frightened people, including the not-easily-frightened Lyndon Johnson - from telling the truth about poverty in the American ghettoes. She is one more voice in a rising chorus saying "Moynihan was right." Families are the core socializing institution and no fantasy "village" can compensate for its absence. (Look at what happened to kibbutzes - noone wants to live on them.) Very important article here.
Booker Rising blog considers the new "Cosby Republicans," and explains why blacks have good reason to leave the victim plantation and return to the party of Lincoln and the party of the Civil Rights Act. Here.
Tort Reform and Guns
The trial lawyers always seem to be hunting for their next target for rape and pillage, and in the past few years they have had the gun industry in their sights. Their pattern is to destroy a business, line their pockets, and move on, regardless of the justice in it - as happened with the silicone implant issue. Heck, even if the trial lawyers lose, they can leave a business staggering or bankrupt from the legal bills, which can run into the many millions.
However, gun ownership is a venerable and important American tradition with more ardent friends in congress than breast implants had. The Senate has a bill to provide immunity to the gun industry, especially the gun manufacturers, against liability for illegal use of guns by gun-possessors. This makes tons of sense to me. After all, if you kill someone with a Home Depot axe, can the victim sue Home Depot and the axe manufacturer? (Remember, if you ban guns - which you won't- you will have lots more murders with axes and knives - as in England.) Story in Opinion Journal.
Conservative Food - yum yum - pretty funny - from Right Wing Nation
More on food: Nutritional supplements not demonstrably important, says Tufts (but they might be if you live on that Conservative diet above)
Bush's Oil Policy: Defeat the Arabs and Take their Oil. Great idea...hey, why didn't I think of that? Scrappledude.
Orwell on Pacifism: MassRight
Palestinians believe their terrorism drove Israel to withdraw from West Bank: JihadWatch
Why I have stopped arguing with Liberals: A great piece by Pat Sajak which all Liberals shoud read, but won't. All of us reasonable folks have been through this and finally have given up. It's like a discussion with Palestinians. His story here. Sample:
Someone's got it in for me, they're planting stories in the press.
Dylan, from Idiot Wind, on Blood on the Tracks
Wednesday, July 27. 2005
Blog Power - Caught a murderer: Who Killed Theresa? , via Instapundit
Romney, on abortion, The Globe
A cool game - Geography - I know a winner for this game, via Chrenkoff
The Unions Disintegrate
Like most CEOs, I do not hate unions. I do hate the idea of govt employee unions, because they play games with the taxpayer's money - their neighbors - which is a disgrace, but unions have been a good thing over history, and brought blue-collar folks into the middle class. That is a very good thing. America needs a strong, blue-collar population, but globalization threatens that. And nothing can be done about it - it's a done deal via the power of history. Despite all of the hoopla about college education, etc., America needs people who want to work, and who are not scholars. And we have enough scholars - and more than enough 100 IQ citizens going to college who do not belong there in the first place, who are there to buy a piece of paper and do not care if they are scammed in doing so by getting a high-school education for $100,000. I see these people every day - they know nothing.
Watch the labor "movement" blow itself up - Why? Because many or most do not really approve of the political direction of the AFL-CIO as compared with their desire for growth - as if a business. We are in the post-industrial, post-union era, obviously. Everything in industry becomes obsolete over time, and now, at Walmart, you have more opportunity for advancement to the top than you will ever have in the average union job, because you are "a union worker" - ie a person looking for blackmailed hand-outs - and not an entrepreneurial "person" who wants more difficult challenges and opportunities. Just the identity of being a "union worker" almost eliminates you from consideration for management, no matter how talented you may be. Times change. Unions are out: opportunity is in.
For me, even though I can and do work with unions, that is still a good thing, because there is tons of talent and energy among those guys and gals, and I do not care whether they have read Virgil. (But I want my friends to have read Virgil, so we have something to talk about besides fly-fishing.) If anything is needed, it is unionization in the Third World, including China and India. That would shake things up...but would supposedly commie China allow unions? Doubt it. It's a quasi-socialist Police State terrified of the potential power of its "subjects".
Pain Control and the Law
It can be easy for modern folks to forget how recently medicine has been able to provide relief for serious pain. Yes, the ancient Greeks had aspirin - willow bark - but until narcotics, derived from the poppy, arrived, and ether, for surgical procedures, physicians could not offer much for pain, which may be the most common complaint of patients. A nice summary of the history of pain treatment here.
We distinquish chronic from acute pain. With acute pain, of course, we try to identify the cause and to fix it. For chronic pain, where we know the cause, for example, cancer, arthritis, back problems, and a vast variety of others, narcotics often end up being the only thing we have to offer. Sure, we send patients to pain clinics, neurologists, acupuncturists, etc., but narcotics are what we use when all else fails. They work, they are not evil, and they are a blessing to mankind. And yes, they are addictive or at least habit-forming, but with chronic pain or terminal cancer pain, you don't worry about that. Why would it matter?
What bothers me is when law-enforcement begins to worry about doctor prescribing, but I always figure it's a lot easier for them to go after docs than after drug dealers with 9 mm handguns, vast networks, street smarts, secrecy, etc. With docs, you just walk into their office with pharmacy records. Easy, but accomplishes nothing worthwhile. There may actually be MDs out there who prescribe narcotics in a criminal fashion, but they are so few as to be of no significance, while illegal drug-dealing is a billions-of-dollars business in the US. Not to excuse them, but it isn't exactly a major American crisis. All docs get pretty good, but never perfect, at discriminating drug-seekers from pain patients.
When, as is known to happen, patients with narcotics prescriptions sell or otherwise distribute their pills to others, it's not the doc's responsibility and it's not his doing. John Tierney in the NYT has an excellent piece on how legal intimidation can interfere with humane treatment of patients in pain, and his piece also shows how the "War on Drugs" has been totally ineffective. And when you read a case like this one featured in the current Time magazine, it breaks your heart. Any DA who thinks he's a hero for prosecuting a pain specialist is lower than whale poop. But it's much easier than going after the bad guys.
About twenty years ago, we went through one of these phases, when docs were fearful of making patients, even terminal patients, addicted. It was a silly medico-cultural fad, but it passed, and physicians resumed treating pain patients adequately. And the invention of the morphine pump has been, in recent years, a God-send. I would hate to see medicine forced back to the 1970s and 80s when docs were looking over their shoulders, worrying more about anything other than their patients' pain. And if you are a patient with pain, you will agree with that.
Why you have to shoot to kill, and why not to run from cops: Confed. Yank
Thornton at VDH slams multiculturalism
The "Constitution in Exile" fantasy....but I wish it were real. Hinderaker covers it thoroughly. Click here: False Exile
A bare-faced lie from Dean (really bad): Irish Pennants
Moslem arrests in Newark: JihadWatch
An expensive eminent domain catastrophe in Boston: LA Times
An opinion poll with Brit Moslems: Chrenkoff
Steyn on "Mugged by Reality" :
Bomb us, and we agonise over the "root causes" (that is, what we did wrong). Decapitate us, and our politicians rush to the nearest mosque to declare that "Islam is a religion of peace". Issue bloodcurdling calls at Friday prayers to kill all the Jews and infidels, and we fret that it may cause a backlash against Muslims. Behead sodomites and mutilate female genitalia, and gay groups and feminist groups can't wait to march alongside you denouncing Bush, Blair and Howard. Murder a schoolful of children, and our scholars explain that to the "vast majority" of Muslims "jihad" is a harmless concept meaning "decaf latte with skimmed milk and cinnamon sprinkles". Read entire here: Click here: The Australian: Mark Steyn: Mugged by reality? [July 25, 2005]
We made a great mistake in the beginning of our struggle, and I fear, in spite of all we can do, it will prove to be a fatal mistake. We appointed all our worst generals to command our armies, and all our best generals to edit the newspapers.
Robert E. Lee
Tuesday, July 26. 2005
You could be next in line to suffer for your naive and innocent "niceness." LGF
Opie, our reporter on misc. topics plus The Latin Beat, is on Nantucket. Gwynnie is at the family's ancestral mountain retreat (photo to right), trout fishing, dodging (mountain) lions and wasting time. So I will not expect to see much from them for a few weeks, except for this emailed photo, taken from the back porch of Gwynnie's 120 year-old stone main house. (Can you find the bear in the photo?)
Revaluation of the Yuan is a Very Big Deal: Austin Bay explains why.
Don't worry, terrorists. We don't profile. From Michelle
Krugman and Monty Python: Ex-Donkey nails Krugman. Gotta wonder - Does the NYT take him seriously? Do they actually pay him $? And Atlantic Blog piles on to point out the basic errors in his understanding of economics.
Tolkien and the Crisis of the West: View from the Right
The Media's War on Iraq: Small Dead Animals has a good letter from a serviceman
Roberts is imperfect - he gave a dumb and wrong answer, and he'd better think through the relationship between his faith and his official role. Story in LA Times
A Blogger I haven't encountered before emailed us - James Baxter. And read his profile - a heck of a guy. The Blogworld is full of interesting people.
Protests against terror in Egypt. Gateway
Why the EU will never work: "That's Brussels for you - out of touch, out of control, and in charge." At No Oil...
Monday, July 25. 2005
The name Bob Dylan would hardly have been a familiar one to anyone outside the Greenwich Village scene before 1963, even with the earlier release of a very first album containing blues and folk covers and a couple short, original compositions. The appearance less than a year later of “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” an album of astonishing originality and creativity, would firmly establish Dylan as one of the foremost songwriters of his time at a mere 22 years old.
Though his sound and style would continually change over the years, “Freewheelin’” contains many of the themes Dylan would later revisit: the social conscience and angry protest of “Blowin’ In The Wind” and “Masters of War;” absurdity and sly humor on “Talkin’ World War III Blues” and “Bob Dylan’s Dream;” the surrealist imagery and apocalyptic prophesying on “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall;” expressions of love and affection in “Girl From The North Country;” and the ever-present theme of the need to change and move on, rather than linger in past relationships and experiences, on “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.”
The structure of the songs is largely constructed from a folk foundation, the musical form that dominated the coffee houses and cafes of Greenwich Village and which Dylan had listened to assiduously since his arrival in the city and before. In particular, the influence of Woody Guthrie – Dylan’s undisputed icon – shines through, as Dylan virtually channels Guthrie’s spirit on “Talkin’ World War III Blues.” Dylan, who may have traveled to New York in large part to seek out the dying Guthrie, was also inspired by
Continue reading "Album Review: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan"
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