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, September 30. 2006
Pajamas Media's Roger Simon interviews Joe Lieberman. It is politically interesting. The Youtube is here.
How good is this? (our bold print)
Whole thing at One Cosmos.
When a man comes home from a difficult day at work, nothing brightens his spirits and makes him feel more appreciated than being greeted at the door by the smiling face of the woman he loves with an ice-cold beer in her hand!
(T-rated image below - right-click on continuation page)
Continue reading "It's a guy thing"
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:00 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
The old Soviet doctors from the Serbsky Insitute for Social and Forensic Psychiatry seem to be up to their old tricks, but to a much lesser extent than in the Soviet days of the "reformist delusion" diagnosis.
Still, Russia seems like a country which is comfortable with authoritarianism in all of its forms. Story in WaPo.
This came in over the transom:
Subject: Marine Intel Officer, Comments about Iraq
All: I haven't written very much from Iraq. There's really not much to write about. More exactly, there's not much I can write about because practically everything I do, read or hear is classified military information or isdepressing to the point that I'd rather just forget about it, never mind write about it. The gaps in between all of that are filled with the pure tedium of daily life in an armed camp. So it's a bit of a struggle to think of anything to put into a letter that's worth reading. Worse, this place just consumes you. I work 18-20-hour days, every day. The quest to draw a clear picture of what the insurgents are up to never ends. Problems and frictions crop up faster than solutions. Every challenge demands a response. It's like this every day. Before I know it, I can't see straight, because it's 0400 and I've been at work for twenty hours straight, somehow missing dinner again in the process. And once again I haven't written to anyone. It starts all over again four hours later. It's not really like Ground Hog Day, it's more like a level from Dante's Inferno.
Rather than attempting to sum up the last seven months, I figured I'd just hit the record setting highlights of 2006 in Iraq. These are among the events and experiences I'll remember best.
Worst Case of Déjà Vu - I thought I was familiar with the feeling of déjà vu until I arrived back here in Fallujah in February. The moment I stepped off of the helicopter, just as dawn broke, and saw the camp just as I had left it ten months before - that was déjà vu. Kind of unnerving. It was as if I had never left. Same work area, same busted desk, same chair, same computer, same room, same creaky rack, same . . . everything. Same everything for the next year. It was like entering a parallel universe. Home wasn't 10,000 miles away, it was a different lifetime.
Most Surreal Moment - Watching Marines arrive at my detention facility and unload a truck load of flex-cuffed midgets. 26 to be exact. I had put the word out earlier in the day to the Marines in Fallujah that we were looking for Bad Guy X, who was described as a midget. Little did I know that Fallujah was home to a small community of midgets, who banded together for support since they were considered as social outcasts. The Marines were anxious to get back to the midget colony to bring in the rest of the midget suspects, but I called off the search, figuring Bad Guy X was long gone on his short legs after seeing his companions rounded up by the giant infidels.
Most Profound Man in Iraq - an unidentified farmer in a fairly remote area
who, after being asked by Reconnaissance Marines (searching for Syrians) if he had seen any foreign fighters in the area replied "Yes, you."
Worst City in al-Anbar Province - Ramadi, hands down. The provincial capital of 400,000 people. Killed over 1,000 insurgents in there since we arrived in February. Every day is a nasty gun battle. They blast us with giant bombs in the road, snipers, mortars and small arms. We blast them with tanks, attack helicopters, artillery, our snipers (much better than theirs), and every weapon that an infantryman can carry. Every day. Incredibly, I rarely see Ramadi in the news. We have as many attacks out here in the west as Baghdad. Yet, Baghdad has 7 million people, we have just 1.2 million. Per capita, al-Anbar province is the most violent place in Iraq by several orders of magnitude. I suppose it was no accident that the Marines were assigned this area in 2003.
Bravest Guy in al-Anbar Province - Any Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD Tech). How'd you like a job that required you to defuse bombs in a hole in the middle of the road that very likely are booby-trapped or connected by wire to a bad guy who's just waiting for you to get close to the bomb before he clicks the detonator? Every day. Sanitation workers in New York City get paid more than these guys. Talk about courage and commitment.
Second Bravest Guy in al-Anbar Province - It's a 20,000 way tie among all the Marines and Soldiers who venture out on the highways and through the towns of al-Anbar every day, not knowing if it will be their last - and for a couple of them, it will be.
Best Piece of U.S. Gear - new, bullet-proof flak jackets. O.K., they weigh 40 lbs and aren't exactly comfortable in 120 degree heat, but they've saved countless lives out here.
Best Piece of Bad Guy Gear - Armor Piercing ammunition that goes right through the new flak jackets and the Marines inside them.
Worst E-Mail Message - "The Walking Blood Bank is Activated. We need blood type A+ stat." I always head down to the surgical unit as soon as I get these messages, but I never give blood - there's always about 80 Marines in line, night or day.
Biggest Surprise - Iraqi Police. All local guys. I never figured that we'd
get a police force established in the cities in al-Anbar. I estimated that
insurgents would kill the first few, scaring off the rest. Well, insurgents
did kill the first few, but the cops kept on coming. The insurgents continue to target the police, killing them in their homes and on the streets, but the cops won't give up. Absolutely incredible tenacity. The insurgents know that the police are far better at finding them than we are. - and they are finding them. Now, if we could just get them out of the habit of beating prisoners to a pulp . . .
Greatest Vindication - Stocking up on outrageous quantities of Diet Coke from the chow hall in spite of the derision from my men on such hoarding, then having a 122mm rocket blast apart the giant shipping container that held all of the soda for the chow hall. Yep, you can't buy experience.
Biggest Mystery - How some people can gain weight out here. I'm down to 165 lbs. Who has time to eat?
Second Biggest Mystery - if there's no atheists in foxholes, then why aren't there more people at Mass every Sunday?
Continue reading "A Marine's Letter from Iraq"
Friday, September 29. 2006
"Scientists form group to support science-friendly candidates." Guess who they do not like? (hint: they apply moral criteria to policy...) NYT
Are there Ivorybills in the Fla. panhandle? Maybe.
Lawyer Advt. Hall of Fame: "Call me if you hate your spouse like poison." Haha. Guy has a Youtube too. At Overlawyered
The EU upholds Hitler's ban on home schooling. I told ya that the EU is a fascist organization.
Mayor Bloomberg wants to be everybody's Jewish mother. "Don't eat that." "Don't smoke." "It's raining - put on your rubbers." Absolutely obnoxious, intrusive, and infantilizing of adult citizens. Where does he think we are - England? I agree with Dr. Helen.
Are doctors equal? They get paid the same. DB's Rants
Education is not subject to market pressures. Why not? Because they couldn't handle it. RWN
Sen. Inhofe is fed up with the reception to his entirely reasonable global warming speech. Link to his original speech, and text of his comments on the reaction to his speech above. A quote:
Read the whole story (link above) and find out.
Smart bloggers are always talking about Karl Popper. Who was he? Wiki. I only knew him from his concept of falsifiability - a criterion for a scientific claim (ie, it includes criteria by which it may be modified or disproven).
Ya gotta love that argument. It's our fault!
They should be upset. We fight back. That is a surprise? Maybe it is, after Clinton/Albright. Let them die angry. Why not? Allah loves that. Let's make Allah happy!
Hey, Ned Lamont! Let's please Allah! Change your ideas, and let them die. They want it, and need it, badly. Be multicultural, and consider their feelings! Let's give them the deaths they long for. It's a form of "caring," plus it meets their emotional needs.
A dead church? Tod Bolsinger quotes Peterson on "dead institutions." It's the dead bark that protects the living word.
He is heavy - he's my brother. Joe has mixed feelings on the Values Voters meeting. And deals with it admirably - as usual. Better than I would. Evang. Outpost
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:43 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
To hear the voice of God, turn down the volume of the world.
From a roadside sign, h/t Slower Pace
Maggie's Farm endorses Joe Lieberman for CT! Lieberman is leading Lamont in the polls. Good. We may not care for left-wing Lieberman too much, but at least he understands the critical challenge of the time. But quit whining, Joe. Speak out!
LaShawn reconsiders the concept of "birthright citizenship."
Counting terrorists. Haha. Who can count them? Somebody must be counting them, if Bush is increasing their numbers. RWNH
How to carefully think through your real estate purchases and investments, esp with respect to financing and mortages. Useful stuff from Maxed Out Mama. Do you want to pay off your mortgage?
How Kling went from a leftie to a libertarian. He is not alone. It had something to do with using his brain.
Part lll of Dr. Bob's path to God. Need I mention that it is honest and moving?
Everything free in America: Pregnant Mexicans border-hopping for the free citizenship and the free delivery.
The more people that are married in a district, the more Republican it is. Ten Napel considers this fact.
Voter ID. Is there a need for it? Bainbridge opines, and the commenters coomment, many of them interestingly.
Why does Britain distrust the EU? For reasons like this one. (By the way, the EU is a latent totalitarian quasi-oligarchic state on the way to becoming a regional tyranny, requiring eventual revolution to repair.) And more on the EU, which is growing weary of its growth and its internal immigrants and economic competition. Why didn't they just stop with the trade agreements, and not be so grandiose?
Dalrymple on Evil. Dalrymple needs his own blog - quote from the piece at NER:
From an Amazon review of Gilbert's Stumbling on Happiness:
Thursday, September 28. 2006
"Oh, the gentlemen are talking and the midnight moon is on the riverside,
"Dark Eyes," off 1985's Empire Burlesque. Dylan hauled out and dusted off this song at the request of Patti Smith during their joint December 1995 tour, after Dylan told her she could pick any song of his she wanted for their duet performances. Dylan hasn't played it since, but we still have the recordings, one of which you can download here.
Dylan and Patti Smith perform "Dark Eyes" during the New York show, Dec. 11, 1995. Too bad it was a school night for the 14-year-old Dylanologist, or he would have been there for sure...
Rush played a clip today of Nancy Pelosi suggesting applying the Golden Rule to our terrorist enemies.
Thus far, she has not suggested applying the Golden Rule to fellow Americans, like Republicans, however.
Lost on Feb. 12, 1935, the USS Macon has been found in 1000 feet of water in the Pacific. This was the last US military dirigible.
Photos and story at Live Science.
Image from Live Science.
If others do not respond to your love with love, look into your own benevolence; if others fail to respond to your own attempts to govern them with order, look into your own wisdom; if others do not return your courtesy, look into your own respect. In other words, look into yourself whenever you fail to achieve your purpose. When you are correct in your person, the Empire will turn to you.
Mencius (aka Meng Zi, Meng Ke) circa 400 BC
More Clinton predictions
More of what Condi said: Babalu
Oh dear. The Moslems might not like Mozart! Opera cancelled in Germany for fear of Moslems. However, Chancellor Merkel is not in such a hurry to be a dhimmi, bless her. On the subject of Moslems, Capt. Ed highlights a piece by Max Boot called "The View from the Western Street" - about time someone worried about that street. Tim Blair has the updated list of what artists can no longer do in Australia, to keep Moslems from making a mess.
Moving on to the lovely and charming Afghanistan, Dr. Demarche contends that, with the Taliban resurgence, whoever wants it most will get it.
The White Man's Burden. Jay Tea reconsiders nation-building.
How Obama became an overnight millionaire. Hey - it's a good gig, being a Senator, especially the perks and book deals.
Gun man Col. Jeff Cooper died.
A marriage and family blog a reader sent us: And they lived happily ever after
Image: Hotel room view, Fiesole
Wednesday, September 27. 2006
The CD of his Carnegie Hall Concert of 2005 is released this week.
Chinin of the NYT visited Jarrett and interviewed him. It is worth reading for Jarrett fans. A quote:
The whole piece is here. Image from the NYT article from this past Sunday.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:58 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
John and some other Maggie's Farm buddies, standing in front of Class Action at Bud 'n Mary's Marina on Islamorada last Saturday. The fish are mainly King Mackerel, plus a couple of snapper. They released the sharks they caught.
Tuesday, September 26. 2006
"We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda," said Condi Rice. Piece at Captain Ed. Well, the entire NIE report is declassified and was released last night. Sister Toldjah/ I like Viking's summary of the issues, and his links.
The top ten lies about the Iraq war. RWN
"There he was on live television, the man those who have worked for him have come to know – the angry, sarcastic, snarling, self-righteous, bombastic bully, roused to a fever pitch. The truer the accusation, the greater the feigned indignation." Thus spake Dick Morris, re Clinton, via Sensible Mom, with more at her blog.
How to hate Jews like an Egyptian. Unbelievable. LGF
The latest crazy church-state case. Volokh's comments.
Some fun, and some seriousness, about the AZ 9-11 Memorial. Why AZ, anyway? Michelle
An extraordinary piece from Anchoress about Bill Clinton - both tender and tough. And empathic in a way that Bill can never experience.
Thanks to Assistant Village Idiot for pointing out what those lies were that the Hungarians are getting steamed about. Because they are ordinary, everyday political lies, and not specific deceptions.
Here is what Prime Minister Gyurcsany said, as quoted in Brussels Journal:
First in Europe? How about first in history? A vigorous wag of the dog's tail to this guy. Whole piece in Brussels Journal.
The null hypothesis is not a logical fallacy. We are discussing it as a base for further discussions of fallacies in future posts on the subject of the risks of action vs. inaction and Type 1 and Type 2 errors.
Outside of the world of statistics, the "null hypothesis" has become equated with the "nil hypothesis," which means, basically, nothing. That is to say, that nothing occurred that was not by chance or accident, or maybe by undiscovered or undiscussed causes. Thus it is a handy tool to use as a starting point for an honest discussion, debate, or argument.
The null hypothesis is what many logical arguments ultimately argue about, or around, whether it is made explicit or not (it is a basic assumption of thinking in Western Civilization). When a null hypothesis is not assumed, a case for something is often termed "biased." (As we will discuss in a future post, "bias" is often a very useful and reality-oriented posture, and is the reason we do not look for Bluebirds in Brooklyn.)
In law, the null hypothesis is the presumption of innocence. In science, it is the presumption that there is no connection between two phenomena. (Scientists and social scientists often complain that it is difficult to publish papers which support null hypotheses.) Hypotheses other than null hypotheses are often termed "alternative hypotheses." In general, it is easier to destroy an hypothesis than to prove one: proof is usually too much to ask for.
Let's take one incendiary example:
Null hypothesis: Blacks are not economically discriminated against, and there is nothing of interest here to debate or discuss.
Fact: Black households have lower incomes than white households.
Hypothesis #1: Employers pay blacks less money, or blacks get lower-paying jobs because of their color.
Fact: Black households with intact marriages have essentially the same average family incomes as whites, but blacks have very high rates of unmarried families.
Logical conclusion: An extraneous factor, such as marital status, may be determining the data, not skin color. The null hypothesis is supported by these facts.
A liability example:
Null hypothesis: Jim is innocent of liability or neglect.
Fact: Jim had no proper fence around his pool, and the neighbor's beloved Shitsu wandered over, fell in, and drowned, so the neighbor wants $100,000. for pain and suffering.
Hypothesis: Jim is guilty of not properly fencing his pool.
Fact: Hurricane Jose knocked down his pool fence a week ago.
Logical conclusion: Facts support the null hypothesis. Jim is innocent of negligence because of an accident of nature.
A vegetable example:
Null hypothesis: What you eat has no relationship with colon cancer.
Fact: People who eat lots of broccoli have lower rates of colon cancer.
Hypothesis #2: Broccoli helps prevent colon cancer.
Fact: People who eat broccoli tend to eat lots of other veggies too.
Hypothesis #3: Eating lots of veggies helps reduce colon cancer rates.
Fact: Volume of dietary roughage (cellulose) probably correlates with reduced rates of colon cancer.
Logical conclusion: The null hypothesis is probably wrong. There is some relationship, although causality is not demonstrated (that would be a cum hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy - a favorite fallacy of litigators). You might reduce your risk of colon cancer a bit by eating plenty of daily veggies and salads. (Still, your genes - or your GI doctor - may determine the outcome, eventually.)
We wll build on this null hypothesis subject in the next Fallacy posting, which will highlight Type l and Type ll errors.
More on the subject of the very important Null Hypothesis here. (I enjoy giving myself this elementary refresher - hope you like it too. Next installment probably on Thursday.)
Dems want to thwart honest voting. Hmmm. If I have to prove my identity to get on an airplane, why not for somethng important, like voting? Heck - everybody suspects that Dem big city politics are dishonest. Why not prove that they are honest? Prof B agrees. I have to show ID when I vote up here.
Who was Pvt. Francis Lupo? Rhymes with Right.
PETA doesn't want you to dine on cockroaches. Can I crush them with a fly-swatter, instead? RWN. But dang, they are so good and crunchy and low-fat, I just love to munch them in the morning.
Outed as a Jew? Krauthammer on George Allen. Am I mistaken, or did Hillary and John ("I served in Vietnam") Kerry not advertise their Jewish blood? Speaking of Hillary, Jewish or not: Iowa doesn't seem to like her very much. She really isn't an Iowa sort of gal, is she?
More dirt on the Lamont family. It's his wife's turn, now. Politics is rough, and nice guy golfer Ned is probably not ready for prime time yet. It's dirty laundry season. Ex-Donk
Monday, September 25. 2006
Western women don't seem to give a damn about Nazanin.
Did Clinton go postal? Polipundit thinks so, but I strongly suspect that everything Bill Clinton does is calculated for effect and for his advantage - even when appearing to be pissed off. Dino sees it the same way.
Which sports car are you? I am a Nissan 350Z. I answered honestly, except I had to pretend to be a woman on the topless question.
Adultery as a lifestyle choice. Villainous Company
The Swiss get tough on immigration. Smart. Hope they set an example.
Ape-man child found. AOL news
Ned Lamont under the microscope. Turns out he isn't so fond of unions when he's the CEO.
Poor Canada, land of the Loonie. The Loonies are indeed trying to take over. Check out the Little Black Book of sex education, via Dust My Broom.
The New Deal and Fascism. Coyote.
More women hunters. Is this a good thing? Alphecca
WalMart does $4. prescriptions. Are they competing with the Medicare plan? If so, they win. Synthstuff
Image stolen from Stumbling
When a snake-oil salesman has the crowd going good, the last thing he needs is someone in the crowd getting wise and breaking the mood. That's why they always have a shill in the audience, trying to keep the vibe going. Well, Bill Clinton had the mood going the way he wanted, but a crummy made for TV movie is mucking up his act. The shills are muffing it for him, and he knows it.
Now, Bill Clinton was two presidents, really; he spent his first term as a the most orthodox of liberals, trying to nationalize the healthcare industry like some Arkansan Peron. The voters slapped his nose, hard, with Newt Gingrich, and Bill Clinton 2.0 signed the the conservative's Welfare Reform bill and NAFTA, then settled in to his second term as a sort of Democrat version of Warren G. Harding.
He spent a lot of time trying to cobble together some narrative that would serve as his legacy, but his legacy was both defined and degraded by his shameful behavior and the lengths he would go to avoid facing up to the essential infantilism of his tenure.
And it's hard to get around it: Bill Clinton had nothing to offer on the central problem of the post Soviet Union age: Islamic totalitarianism. Neither he nor any of his acolytes identified the danger that would sweep into the vacuum left by the collapse of the CCCP, and they slashed the Defense budget, cheated at golf and just plain cheated, and waited around for Monica to bring him a pizza. But hindsight for his followers is not 20/20, it's blind; how many people even remember the World Trade Center was bombed the first time while he was president? Clinton's Whitehouse just worked overtime to make sure that the intelligence agencies never talked to each other, and never told him anything he didn't want to hear.
But almost by mistake, the idea that Clinton slept while Osama Bin Laden worked late was broached, and Clinton desperately wants to get that toothpaste back in the tube.
The president is never really "on vacation," They all go places remote from the WhiteHouse, but the duties, responsibilities, the staff -- all of the machinery of government -- never sleep. But there is a limited amount of attention any chief executive can pay to their duties, and Clinton seemed then, as we are being reminded now, to be preoccupied with all sorts of pointless and self-serving folderol to the detriment of the United States, and in its turn, the whole wide world.
Clinton doesn't like that idea to be out in the ether, because the image he's trying to cultivate of his time in office pops like a bubble under close inspection. He was doing pretty good for a while, considering how many things that belonged to America got blown up while he was in office. But Sandy Berger can't stuff everything down his pants, after all. And Clinton's taken to shouting at everybody that will listen to him, going back into his old playbook for the only thing that has ever worked for him: pretending to be the poor victim of an unfair attack, while viciously attacking his opponents.
So I leave you, dear reader, with visual evidence, intentionally made to make Bill Clinton seem like what he was not, which was charming; and unintentionally showing you exactly what he was, and is: a shameless pandering slacker, always on the make for attention, never paying attention when it matters:
Continue reading "While Clinton Slept"
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