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, May 25. 2006
VDH on Our Brave New World of Immigration:
His entire piece at RCP here.
"You know something is happening
I have always thought of the capacity for irony as a good, rule-of-thumb IQ test.
Language without an occasional twist of irony is like language without metaphor.
However, if you don't get the definition of the word correctly, you can't use the concept. The word is only properly used to refer to something addressed to a dual audience, or "as if" to a dual audience: one in the know, and one not.
The usage has been contaminated by the illiterate, and is now sometimes used to apply to the "incongruous" or "unexpected", as in "Ironically, we both showed up at the wedding in the same dress." The cutest way to say that would be "Funnily enough,..."
One amusing use of irony is to say stupid things, or ungrammatical things, with the assumption that those in the know will figure that you are using irony, while others will figure that you are plain uneducated or ignorant. Start with "nucular."
Anyway, world - let's get the usage down properly: there is no excuse for abuse of English, since it has now become our "national language."
Ed: Image of Dr. Bliss added to this post, entirely without irony.
From Michael Yon:
On amnesty - stolen (but do laws matter anymore?) from Polipundit:
Liberty is the very last idea that seems to occur to anybody, in considering any political or social proposal. It is only necessary for anybody for any reason to allege any evidence of any evil in any human practice, for people instantly to suggest that the practice should be suppressed by the police.
G.K. Chesterton (1921)
Wednesday, May 24. 2006
Bob is 65! But ageless and timeless.
Once upon a time you dressed so fine; didn't you? (video, with Lennon - neither sober in the least)
I dreamed I saw St. Augustine,
("I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" words and music by Bob Dylan 1968 Dwarf Music)
A powerful multimedia photo essay on Afghanistan, from Time: http://www.time.com/time/photoessays/2006/afghanistan_multimedia/
Bill Clinton's comments on Iraq, Dec. 16, 1998 (entire speech on continuation page). It began thus:
Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.
Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the
Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons.
I want to explain why I have decided, with the unanimous recommendation of my national security team, to use force in
Six weeks ago, Saddam Hussein announced that he would no longer cooperate with the United Nations weapons inspectors called UNSCOM. They are highly professional experts from dozens of countries. Their job is to oversee the elimination of
The inspectors undertook this mission first 7.5 years ago at the end of the Gulf War when
The international community had good reason to set this requirement. Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq.
The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.
Continue reading "A trip down memory lane: Bill Clinton on Iraq"
Pinkerton has written at TCS today about nationalism vs. universalism. His piece, which is excellent, left out the one bit that is most important to me: in a no-border, one world universalist dream, who runs it?
Isn't "universalism" a giant empire, in effect?
Who runs it, and what do I have to say about how they run it? What is right for me in CT just might not be right for Mohammed in Somalia, or Moishe in Israel, or Swen in Sweden.
Already, in the mini- and already-failed experiment of the EU, distant bureaucrats put out edicts faster than Democrats hand out street money in Newark. The leftist universalist dream is a totalitarian nightmare.
Any one-world dream would be a nightmare of oppression, and then a nightmare of local rebellion - Star Wars. People are tribal and the best governments are the most local, where people have some control over their destiny according to their own ideas, for better or worse. I'm a State's Rights person, too. Give me flawed, messy, non-utopian ideas, any time.
Pinkerton points out that Einstein was famous for deriding nationalism, but, without nationalism, where would he have fled from the Nazis?
From the beginning of Pinkerton's piece:
Yeah, read the whole thing. Good stuff.
From WTFV: MEXICO CITY - A Varig airlines cargo plane from Brazil sits parked at the Mexico City airport with its nose up in the air after the cargo was unevenly distributed. Brazil's troubled flagship airline, Varig, is
reeling under an estimated US$3.3 billion (euro2.7 billion) in debt and
is currently in the restructuring phase of bankruptcy proceedings and,
last April 12, some 300 Varig employees boarded a chartered jet to
Brasilia, the nation's capital, to call on the federal government to
bail out the company, which employs 11,000 people. Rest of story: (04/17/06 AP photo)
Immigration and the conspiracy against American workers. It is always cheaper to import cheap labor than to mechanize, but do not imagine that all of this cheap labor will come from Mexico. It's already coming from Asia, too. An open-ended guest worker program will flood this country, solely for the benefit of businesses who understandably do not want to pay any more than they need to. VDARE goes into the subject at length. Labor has become a global commodity, as Marx surmised.
We have always asserted on Maggie's Farm that the Left has fascist impulses, which is our main reason to fear them. We have been there and done that, so we know. We believe that they wish to control everything and anything they can, in their illusion of wisdom and their will for power, which is why they can seem so strangely sympathetic to dictators like Stalin, Fidel, Chavez, Saddam, Hamas, etc. No Pasaran takes a look at the "progressive" adoration of Chavez. It gives me a chill, and gives anyone a chill for whom individual freedom - the free choice which confers dignity, and the consequences of our choices which confer humility as often as they confer joy and glory - is the holy grail. I know I am preaching, but I fear the tendency in the human species to be willing to sell one's birthright for a bowl of lentils or a bottle of snake oil. But more than that, I fear the lentil salesman. Life was meant to be difficult and to stretch our neurons and muscles and spirit to the fullest as we seek our path through the dark woodlands and deserts of life, guided by whatever star or stars we chose. And still, we will fail in many ways. "Fail, and grow. Succeed, and stagnate." I said that. I guess I have little more to add to what The Beatles say in Revolution and what Dylan says in My Back Pages.
From a fine piece in The New York Sun:
Read the whole thing.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:18 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, May 23. 2006
On-ground airline accident, with mechanics horsing around in the cockpit - while voice recorder is turned on. Hilarity ensues. Very quick download, with photos: ContinentalAirlinesAccident11.pps
Ford Foundation supports anti-Israel causes and organizations. I still do not quite get why the Left does things like this.
More on Bill Cosby's "Call-outs." This man is speaking truth to power. USA Today. The professor's critique at the end is revealing of a certain kind of condescending and un-American mind-set.
Dr. Thomas McGlashan's career of treating schizophrenia. He's done it all. Science Times
Is Bush losing Hispanic support? Probably, but for no good reason. Calif. Yank
Roger Sandall became curious about the domestication of the horse, but he found out that modern prehistorians have no interest in such grand topics, but instead are interested in guinea pigs and mammoth droppings.
A wonderful piece, including rodeos and Vergil.
Image: Alexander on Bucephalus, from the piece.
Glenn Reynolds takes a look
He asserts that, in addition to the cost in money and time, parenthood no longer has the social value that it once had. He does not mention two medical factors: the Pill and the drop in infant mortality.
The piece is here.
Posted by The Chairman in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 05:53 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Deluge. A new book - the story of Katrina. Opie recommends it highly.
Why is it always the US? Why doesn't some other country invent renewable energy? RTLC
Cats cause eczema. Dogs prevent it.
Idaho Gem, a cloned racehorse, will compete against the natural variety.
George McGovern (!?!) tells unions that "more" is not always the best answer.
Will 2006 be a bad year for Repubs? Don't believe the hype. The Dems are leaving the center far behind.
Ouch. Many catheters are unnecessary. Make sure they give you a good reason, besides the convenience of the nurses. Catheters are not nice, especially for fellows. Is "intrusive" the right word?
Madeleine Albright, one of the favorite targets of normal people, is "worried" about Bush's faith. Better worry about Iran, Madeleine. Jeez. What a bozo.
Harry Reid drank the Kool-Aid. Will he die? We shall see. I hope not - we need kooks like this around, as constant reminders.
Paranoids on Parade. Just check this out. They call themselves "truthers." I call them nuts. What a world. These people vote?
It was only a couple of years ago that we were barraged by "Hunger in America." That was one scam: the latest is "Obesity in America." Life is just one crisis after another, for "activists." "Activists,", aka socialist quasi-revolutionaries, are like ambulance-chasing lawyers: any issue will do to find an excuse for more government intrusion into our lives. But obesity is a funny choice. The explanation, apparently, is that the American "poor" eat in restaurants too often. RWN can't find many fat people, but maybe they are all at Disney World. Or sitting in restaurants.
Multiply by 7? There is a better way to calculate your dog's age.
Performativity at Harvard. What? How your money is wasted paying for your kids' college stupidification. The New York Sun.
Monday, May 22. 2006
Slavery in Islam. Apparently it can be quite acceptable in parts of the Moslem world. Including selling little boys as sex slaves, to support Jihad. Can we say that Islam has a "different" view of humanity? Isn't tolerance fun? Rhymes with Right
And, speaking of Allah, California schools say Yes to Allah, No to God. Michelle. California is so enlightened.
Christians are swine. Jews are more highly ranked: they are apes. So say the Saudi textbooks. Patterico.
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This is the response from a retired Delta pilot in response to questions about whether he was planning to see United 93:
I haven't seen the movie, yet, but I intend to when I get the chance. Retirement has made me busier than ever, and I haven't had the chance to see many movies lately.
As a Delta B-767 captain myself at the time of the attacks on 9/11 I was in crew rest in
His name was Mohammad Atta, the leader of the terrorist hijackers. Atta had boarded my flight from
Something seemed a bit different about this jumpseat rider, though, because in my usual course of conversation with him as we reached cruise altitude he avoided all my questions about his personal life and focused very intently upon the cockpit instruments and our operation of the aircraft. I asked him what he flew at American and he said, "These", but he asked incessant questions about how we did this or why we did that. I said, "This is a 767. They all operate the same way." But he said, "No, we operate them differently at American." That seemed very strange, because I knew better. I asked him about his background, and he admitted he was from
There was nothing to indicate, though, that he was anything other than who or what he said he was, because he had the documentation to prove who he was. In retrospect, we now know his uniform was stolen and his documents were forged. Information later came to light as to how this was done.
It seems that Mohammad Atta and his cronies had possibly stolen pilot uniforms and credentials from hotel rooms during the previous year. We had many security alerts at the airline to watch out for our personal items in hotel rooms because these were mysteriously disappearing, but nobody knew why. Atta and his men used these to make dry runs prior to their actual hijackings on 9/11. How do I know? I called the FBI as soon as I saw his face on the TV that day, and the agent on the other end of the line took my information and told me I'd hear back from them when all the dust settled. A few weeks later I got a letter from the Bureau saying that my call was one of at least half a dozen calls that day from other pilots who had had the same experience. Flights were being selected at random to make test runs for accessing the cockpit. It seems we had all dodged bullets.
Over the years my attitude towards the War Against Terrorism and the wars in
I don't mind admitting that one of the reasons I retired early from Delta last May, other than to protect my disappearing company retirement, was because it became harder and harder for me to go to work every day knowing that the war wasn't being taken seriously by the general public. The worst offenders were the Liberal detractors to the present administration, and right or wrong, this administration is at least taking the bull by the horns and fighting our enemies, which is something concrete that I can appreciate. Nobody was taking this war seriously, and it seems everyone found fault with the
I also found myself being scrutinized by TSA screeners more and more every day when I went to work, and suffered the humiliating indignity of being identified about half the time for body searches in front of the general flying public who looked at the entire process as being ludicrous. "They don't even trust their own pilots!" accompanied by an unbelieving snicker was the usual response. Here I was, a retired USAF officer who had been entrusted to fly nuclear weapons around the world, who had been granted a Top Secret clearance and had been on missions over the course of 21 years in the military that I still can't talk about without fear of prosecution by the DoD, who was being scanned by a flunkie TSA screener looking for any sign of a pen knife or nail file on my person.
It wasn't until six months after my retirement when my wife and I flew to
I will see United 93 when I get the chance, and I will probably enjoy the movie for its realness and historical significance, but forgive me if I do not embrace the Muslim world for the rest of my life. The Islamic world is no friend of the West, and although we may be able to get along with their governments in the future, the stated goal of Islam is world conquest through Jihad and it is the extremist Jihadists, backed and funded by "friendly" Moslem governments, whom we have to fear the most. We must have a presence in the
Best to all,
Editor's Note: For some reason which is beyond me, some people do not want to believe this. Perhaps they do not want to believe that Jihadist terrorism actually exists, because it someone doesn't believe it yet, they never will. Capt. Gilmore himself posted this comment, in our comments below, but I will put it here for all to see:
I assure you this letter is true. As to the fact that I wrote that a holder of an Airline Transport Pilot rating (ATP) must be a US citizen, I admit that I was mistaken here. I had always assumed so, because that's what I had heard, so I looked up the requrements for an ATP just now. There is nothing that says that US citizenship is required. Okay, I'll bite the bullet on that one. I recieved my ATP back in 1975 and now that I think of it I do not remember having to prove my citizenship. However, the rest of the story is true.
6/5/06 Editor's Note: Late this afternoon, we will post a new thought about this subject - go to top of the blog - click header - and see if it's there yet.
After reading Novak's commments, I decided not to go but, like Bird Dog, I let the family go by themselves while I worked in the vegetable garden.
The gave it a 7 or 8 as a thriller, and said the religious aspect was functionally trivial and not worth getting excited about. Shrinkwrapped has a review. This blog will write no further on this silly subject: movies are entertainment. We have bigger fish to fry...or do we?
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:39 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Who knew? I need to read more about "Little Phil."
Image below: Sheridan on Rienzi, at the Battle of Cedar Creek
Sunday, May 21. 2006
We had a plague of cottontails here in
Fred, a nice dog in Weston, was nearly taken part by a wolf - no, not a big coyote.
Gee, isn't this great! Audubon and the Friends of the Earth must be thrilled at the return of the balance of nature, compensating for
With your house recycled into mulch, I can get a better field of fire at the larger predators lurking in the bush.
Note from Editor: They were here first - not that that matters. So were dinos. But I hear these beautiful, majestic animals prefer vegetarians and liberals for meals. It's a wierd thing, but the wild animals like to eat those who surrender easily to danger. There is less effort involved. I guess it's a Darwinian thing. And I do not believe that there are pumas in the Northeast. Bobcat scat, I suspect. Or am I in denial?