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
Wednesday, October 26. 2005
More problems with pigs in England - it sounds like a joke, but isn't. Instapundit
Bush names crony to Fed: Cafe Hayek
Wellington Mara died.
The eunuchs are really getting out of hand. Eunuch murders eunuch
Buying black votes. Michelle
Galloway and $600,000. Gee, I thought he was a money-hating socialist. Captain Ed
Flaws in levees caused NO flooding
Reporters staggering in the wind videos These bozos love this stuff.
The Religion bogeyman: Click here: Townhall.com :: Columns :: The 'religion' bogeyman by Tony Snow
Tuesday, October 25. 2005
Hedgehogs and Foxes
What are the chances of two articles in one week both referring to Archilochus and Isiah Berlin writing on Tolstoy's philosophy invoking the hedgehog/fox idea upon the intellectual world?
From Thomas Albert Howard's review of John Lukacs Book: A Hedgehog and a Fox, Remembered Past: On History, Historians, and Historical Knowledge:
"Invoking an obscure line from the Greek poet Archilochus, Isaiah Berlin made famous
This piece from last week's Art section of the New York Times:
"The philosopher Isaiah Berlin famously divided writers and thinkers into foxes and hedgehogs. Foxes are interested in many things, hedgehogs in one. Foxes move from one problem to another. Hedgehogs dig deep. Dante and Proust were hedgehogs. Molière and Pushkin were foxes. Einstein was a hedgehog. Shakespeare was a fox."
Elizabeth Murray is a hedgehog. Stirring Up a Commotion on Canvas - New York Times
Posted by Opie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 07:00 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
His and Hers key holders
Wild salmon vs. money: Env. Econ.
A plug for Club ABC Tours: An affordable way to see the world
The Left and the Military: Further Comments on Imperialism, re Yesterday's Post
Remarkable, that Anatol Lieven review of the Bacevich book on American imperialism and militarism, just remarkable.
Lieven cannot stand “American civic nationalism, with its quasi-religious belief in the universal and timeless validity of its own democratic system, and in its right and duty to spread that system to the rest of the world.” One wonders whether this is in intentional contrast with the failure of Marxism and Communism to do anything more than enslave peoples unfortunate to be contiguous to the Soviet Union, which most earnestly, but so far unsuccessfully, has tried to “spread that system to the rest of the world.”
Lieven writes, “Indeed, a portrait of US militarism today could be built around a set of such apparently glaring contradictions: the contradiction, for example, between the military coercion of other nations and the belief in the spreading of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’.” I suppose he is referring to the coercion of Kuwaitis when Iraq had occupied their country fair and square; or maybe he means Bosnia and is suggesting we consider the Serbs’ notions of ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ when cleansing ethnics as having equal validity to America’s concepts. However, when someone with logic as pathetically shallow as Lieven’s refers to “the military coercion of other nations”, one longs to be able to ask for a list of just which nations we have “coerced”.
Lieven keeps on: “Historians of the future will perhaps see preaching ‘freedom’ at the point of an American rifle as no less morally and intellectually absurd than ‘voluntary’ conversion to Christianity at the point of a Spanish arquebus.” Right. Those Kuwaitis and Bosnians must just HATE their restored ‘freedoms’. One wonders which word he finds objectionable: “rifle” or “American”.
And don’t you just love it when British and Europeans talk about American Imperialism in speeches that could have come out of Pravda in the 1960s? Imperialism is what the Russians did – taking countries and not giving them back. Names like Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan come to mind.
Oh, wait! Maybe Anatol Lieven and Andrew Bacevich aren’t Russian (any more). Maybe Lieven is British! Does anyone in class remember that Britain was imperialist? Like, THE imperialist nation of all times (although Spain, Portugal, Holland, France and Germany did pretty well too)? Children, can you name a British colony (other than the 13 in the USA)? No? How about Aden, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Basutoland, Bechuanaland, British Central Africa, British East Africa, British Guiana, British Honduras, British New Guinea (Papua), British Somaliland, Brunei, Burma, Canada, Cape Colony (South Africa), Ceylon, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, East India Company, Fiji, Gambia, Kiribati and Tuvalu, Ghana, Ionian Islands, Grenada, Heligoland, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Labuan, Lagos (Nigeria), Leeward Islands, Malacca, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mosquito Coast (Nicaragua), Natal, Nauru, New Hebrides, Newfoundland, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, North Borneo, Nigeria, Nyasaland, Palestine, Penang, Rhodesia, Saint Christopher, Nevis and Anguilla, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sarawak, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Australia, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanganyika, Tasmania, Tonga, Transvaal, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, Weiheiwei, Western Samoa, Windward Islands, and Zanzibar? Now THAT’s a KNIFE!
Let’s see now, who did the United States conquer and keep? Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and neither of them are willing to go away. The other states (beyond the 13) as well. Who did the United States occupy and give back to their native peoples? The Philippines, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Italy, Panama, South Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, and even Grenada. Add Iraq to the list - we're trying to give it to them, if they have the power to keep it.
Who is the imperialist?
Monday, October 24. 2005
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:09 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Is Forgiveness good for your health?
It is certainly good for the spirit and soul, but it's not an easy thing to do and most people need a little or a lot of God's help to achieve it. It might be good for one's health, too, thus supporting the idea that forgiveness is more of a gift to the forgiver than a gift to the forgiven.
Leaving the Left
Front Page held a symposium for those who have had second thoughts about their Leftist beliefs. Symposium here.
The Bill of Rights
It's time for me to re-read them.
The Left and the Military
Lieven in his review of Bacevitch's new book: The New American Militarism, in the excellent London Review of Books, suggests an approach for the American Left in which they can be both pro-military, and anti-imperialism. Lieven assumes that the war in Iraq is an imperialistic enterprise, which I believe is an error, unless he seeks to re-define imperialism as intellectual or cultural imperialism rather than territorial: I do not believe that the US wants to occupy Iraq, but that we want outta there ASAP. And Lieven, and Bacevitch, see Iraq as evidence of American "militarism" - which I do not: one data point does not make a pattern.
The US is in Iraq in an effort to stabilize and civilize the Middle East by creating a successful popular government which hopefully will not threaten the US, or aid enemies of the US. I believe that is an entirely justifiable and worthy and debatably moral use of force by a great power which is facing a global battle with an imperialistic Jihadist movement which has already made great inroads in Europe (via immigration/invasion) and around the world, but only time will tell whether the theory works. I hope it works: the Left hopes it won't.
One further word about that "imperialism" word: When, since our own Civil War (definitely an imperialist venture), the Indian Wars, and the Spanish-American War, has the US Government behaved imperialistically? We have been mainly anti-imperialist in our military ventures: saving Europe from imperial Germany twice, defeating an imperialist and expansionist Japan once (with no thank-you from China), and attempting to save many parts of the world from an imperialist, expansionist Soviet Union. And now, we are anti-imperialistic against a multi-national Jihadist movement. The Marxist propaganda, or Marxist "interpretation", does not hold up to reality.
Like many Leftists, Lieven concludes his piece by suggesting that the US reduce its military potency, which is of course what Bill (Make love, not war) Clinton did as President, and become isolationist. Why do "progressives" always want to disarm themselves in a dangerous world? I think that is the key question. Read the piece and see what you think.
Update: See further comments posted on Tues, Oct. 25
Evolution and Religion
51 percent of Americans do not accept the theory of evolution, and believe that God simply made man. Only 15 percent believe that God played no role in the evolution of man. New CBS poll here.
I find those numbers startling, but not disturbing. People think whatever they want, but I have never experienced any conflict between science and religion, and I assume we have been given a brain to use the darn thing.
Robert Pollock, a molecular biologist at Columbia and a re-born Jew, if one can use that term, wrote an excellent essay on how his faith and his science come together:
Read entire in Crosscurrents.
Truth about Colleges
From a review of several books, by Hacker, at NYReview of Books:
"Higher education in America is no longer the preserve of a privileged elite, with more than seven million undergraduates now enrolled in the roughly 2,600 colleges and universities that grant bachelor or higher degrees. In 2002, the most recent year for which figures are available, 1,291,900 students received bachelors' diplomas and 606,958 completed graduate programs. The latter figure is worth noting, since it tells us that almost half of those who are completing college believe that a single degree won't suffice for what they want to do or be.
A census study last year found that among adults aged thirty to thirty-four, only 41 percent had attended high school without going to college. These high school graduates, moreover, represent a dwindling part of the population. Another 32 percent had earned at least a bachelor's degree, while 27 percent had spent time on a campus, whether a community college or a four-year college, without finishing. Viewed one way, that figure shows a high attrition rate. Many of the colleges and community colleges, moreover, fail to provide more than perfunctory courses.
The claim that almost six in ten Americans in their early thirties have had some kind of college experience thus needs further scrutiny. The experience can range from small seminars in philosophy at Colgate to lectures in motel management at Southwest Missouri State. Some colleges have rigorous core curriculums: students elsewhere must choose courses from huge catalogs in order to amass the 128 credits needed for a BA. Reed College in Oregon limits its enrollment to 1,312 students, while at Michigan State University an entering student would be one of 34,617.
In fact, there are places open for anyone who wants to pursue a bachelor's degree and can pay for it, and many colleges must work hard to attract students. In a study published this year, James Fallows concluded that
Read entire interesting review.
Lebanon and Syria update: Publius
The Milestone Watch: 2000 coming up: LGF
Norm updates his country music classics list: The Momma and Daddy Archives. A Brit who loves country music? What a great guy, even if he is a socialist at heart.
Pigs and PC in Britain: Cao. Be careful Brits, or you will lose your culture and your country and your freedom. Don't be suckers like Canada - be proud.
Happiest countries: Lonely Centrist
Bush approval down in SC, abortion poll numbers change.
Does the Left believe anything is worth dying for? RWNH
Gal Wars: Dowd vs. Miller - Buzzmachine
A Modest Proposal: Kill Whitey
There is no basis for democracy except in a dogma about the divine origin of man. That is a perfectly simple fact which the modern world will find out more and more to be a fact. Every other basis is a sort of sentimental confusion, full of merely verbal echoes of the older creeds. … Men will more and more realize that there is no meaning in democracy if there is no meaning in anything; and that there is no meaning in anything if the universe has not a center of significance and an authority that is the author of our rights.
G. K. Chesterton
Sunday, October 23. 2005
For the next few weeks, and hopefully longer, we will post guest author Nathan Szajnberg M.D. each Tuesday, a medical pal and the son of an Auschwitz survivor, who moved to Israel from California two months ago and is doing his "aliyah" - the long path to becoming an Israeli citizen. I hope he makes his diary into a book, and I hope we can post a good bit of it here, first. It is casually written and not edited yet.
Aliyah 10-7: Fri.
Continue reading "Guest Author: Aliyah Diary, No. 1"
Saturday, October 22. 2005
Maggie's Farm will have the honor of publishing a weekly Tuesday feature from a guest author, our dear pal Nathan, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst professor, co-author of Lives Across Time, the son of an Auschwitz survivor, who moved from San Francisco to Israel two months ago and who is undergoing "aliyah," the long path to becoming an Israeli citizen. He can write and he can observe detail, so it makes for a good and true tale. As Editor Dog in Chief, my only challenge is to teach him brevity, which is the soul of wit, as I believe Donald Duck famously said. At the same time, I must understand that many stories come from such adventures, and all stories must be told.
Scary Federal Prosecutors
What can be terrifying about Federal prosecutors is that, having spent time and money trying to build a case, but failing to do so, they will look to indict on something else - something peripheral - anything, really, in order to justify their effort. The measure of the success of prosecutors is their ratio of indictments, not justice and fairness. They really cannot stand to let anyone out of their clutches - it makes them feel like they have failed.
Eg Martha Stewart: No underlying crime, but a problem with her ill-advised testimony which she innocently delivered without benefit of counsel. I've seen this sort of thing all too many times, and people's lives destroyed by it. Giuliani was a master of this when he was a prosecutor, and who remembers how many of his famous Wall Street arrests were followed by dropped charges, or Wall Street convictions were reversed, leaving a swath of human destruction behind? Yes, he had few reversals, but his reversals were the front-page arrests. Watch Fitzgerald try to do this with Rove and Libby now that they will not be charged with violating national security laws. They could get indicted for jaywalking while crossing the street to the courthouse. No-one's life can withstand the kind of scrutiny these guys can put someone under, and they do not think twice about sacrificing some poor soul when their careers are at stake.
The NYT vs. Halliburton, 9/2004-9/2005 (NYT is the dark line)
Boston Globe closes its national news offices. This is actually a big deal. Lots of unemployed reporters. Why do it? Because parent NYT is losing $. MassRight
Paternal nonsense, in England: Samizdata
Details of the War: Good source - Fourth Rail
Should Catholics attend Protestant services? Curt Jester
More on PC and football team names. Sensible Mom
Seen Harriet Miers' blog yet?
Friday, October 21. 2005
Loss and Grace: A good piece by Dr. Bob
Compassion as a way of life: "What would it look like if we could see others as Jesus see them? How would our daily interactions be different?" Real Meal.
The New York Times Keeps Fumbling the Ball
In WaPo, by, guess who? Tina Brown:
"You have to feel sorry for Sulzberger. Like every spirited young man who inherits a newspaper, he hankers after something more exciting than sitting in the front office fretting over the price of newsprint. He wants to feel as real in his role as valiant publisher as his reporters -- those driven, passionate, sometimes reckless seekers after truth -- feel in theirs. When he threw his support behind Miller's fight to protect her sources, he didn't think he was in a bad reality show. He thought it was an Oscar-winning movie -- "The Pentagon Papers 2.""
I'd say that is exactly right. Piece here.
Women matter little in Guatemala and as for the rest of Latin America, well let's just say most of those countries aren't very good on statistics. NYT investigates a scary situation:
"At least a thousand women have been victims in the past five years, and only three killers are in prison. Guatemala is still a country where a rapist can escape charges by marrying the victim, and domestic violence cases can be prosecuted only if the victim can still show bruises 10 days later. Sexual harassment is not illegal. When the body turns up, the crime is often dismissed with comments that the dead woman must have been a gang member or a prostitute, or killed by her partner - as if these were justifications for failing to investigate." Full story here: Guatemala's Murdered Women - New York Times