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.
An old southern Baptist country preacher had a teenage son, and it was getting time the boy should give some thought to choosing a profession.
Like many young men, the boy didn't really know what he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it.
One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his study table four objects:
A Bible A silver dollar A bottle of whisky A Playboy magazine
"I'll just hide behind the door," the old preacher said to himself, "and when he comes home from school this afternoon, I'll see which object he picks up. If it's the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and what a blessing that would be! If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a businessman, and that would be okay, too. But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good drunkard, and, Lord, what a shame that would be! And worst of all, if he picks up that magazine he's gonna be a skirt-chasin' bum."
The old man waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's footsteps as he entered the house whistling and headed for his room. The boy tossed his books on the bed, and as he turned to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table.
With curiosity in his eye, he walked over to inspect them. Finally, he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped it into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink while he admired this month's Centerfold.
"Lord have mercy," the old preacher muttered in disgust, "he's gonna be a Congressman."
"Tolerance" is a one-way street. How about plain good manners? Michelle on the chocolate Jesus
Evita sending Bill out to raise money. A sign that she is worried. Who is running? And one rhetorical question: How come Rudy gets all sorts of attacks this week for answering a question by saying that perhaps his wife might attend a Cabinet meeting on a topic of special interest to her - while Bill Clinton ran as "two presidents for the price of one"? Hillary attended meetings whenever she wanted.
Breaking into houses at night and killing women and children. The US Army pays a visit to Omar's Baghdad home.
Nice example of justice in Texas. Ace. A bad day for the little Mrs.
Talked with a friend last night who had just returned from Africa, and who spent ten days at Singita's Ebony Lodge in South Africa's huge Kruger National Park.
It sounds like a trip of a lifetime, and Singita's lodges (each with a small number of guest suites) sound like the most comfortable places in Africa with service which silently anticipated their every want. They even had his favorite cigars in a humidor waiting for him on arrival.
They got to the lodge by chartering a plane from Johannesberg, which he described as becoming a lawless, white-hating and frightening city. The famous Saxon Hotel is surrounded by walls, barbed wire, with dogs on patrol and armed guards.
We may be fated to watch this amazing country deteriorate into a third world country.
You can fantasize about, or plan, your trip to Singita here. The lodges here. Conde Nast Traveller named Singita the 2004 Best Hotel in the World.
Blogs. I recently read (I forget where) that only around 300,000 people regularly follow politically-oriented blogs. I have no way to confirm the accuracy of that number. Are we a politically-oriented blog? I don't know: kinda-sorta. The size of the market is small, and therefore even the biggest blogs are limited in their ability to grow readership. It's a matter of people's interest as much as anything else. One can only envy the porn and NASCAR sites for the level of interest they attract. I mention this because Kim du Toit has an interesting piece on the stats of American internet access. Around 30% of Americans have no interest in internet access, according to a study. (That must be the 30% of Americans who don't read Maggie's Farm daily.)
Image: Maker's Mark advt. via Mr. Free Market, who I doubt is a bourbon drinker but who has a good eye for ads.
As an amateur-expert on charities, here's a very interesting one which is worth looking at: Kiva - Loans that change lives. Their concept is right, because every little new business has a ripple effect that magnifies and spreads wealth.
The NYT's Kristoff video report (quite remarkable) on Kiva is here.
Why is the overfishing of sharks leading to a serious decrease in scallops on the East coast? Explained here.
I think shark fishing is stupid anyway. What's the point? People chum for them, catch them, kill them, take a photo, and throw the thing overboard. Not sporting, not manly. People - not the government - should decide to quit it.
Image: A Sea Scallop, the source of those big "scallops" at the fish market.
The Feinstein Scandal is the biggest we've seen in a long time. We are looking at billions in an obvious conflict-of-interest case - and all that has happened is that she resigned from a subcommittee after she got caught.
Will the magic "D" after her name protect her? If she were an "R", how big would this story be?
20 I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.
21 This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.
22 The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.
23 Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.
Carver developed a homespun religious philosophy and told little stories that catch the imagination. One story has him crying out to God, “Oh, Mr. Creator, why did You make the universe?” to which God replied, “You want to know too much for that little mind of yours. Ask me something more your size.” So he tried “Dear Mr. Creator, tell me what man was made for.” Still too big. Finally: “Mr. Creator, why did You make the peanut?”
"Thats better!" the Lord said, and He gave me a handful of peanuts and went with me back to the laboratory and, together, we got down to work.
The "surge" isn't so much a surge in force as it is a tactical change towards aggressive neigborhood policing, with the theory that effective policing will embolden the good guys to get on our side, so we can leave Iraq to the Iraqis. Problem is that everything the Dems and the media are doing works to undermine that effort. Villainous has a good summary piece: Killing the Surge
LaShawn Barber, one of our favorites, is planning to give up her blog. Read the link to learn why (hint: It's about God).
Biological Fantasies: A few basic immutable facts about human nature from Dr. Sanity, who sounds like she is on the exact same page as our Dr. Bliss.
Captain Ed thinks Tehran blew it. I think that depends on whether their purpose is international or internal politics. An attack would bolster a possibly shaky government.
Take a look at me baby I am a teenage prayer when it's cloudy all the time all you gotta do is say you're mine, and I'll go anywhere...
Take a look at me babe I'm your teenage prayer take a look at me baby - just take a look at me baby I am your teenage prayer - yes I'm your teenage prayer take a look at me baby - just take a look over here at me baby I am your teenage prayer I'm your teenage prayer take a look and when it's cloudy all the time all you gotta do is say you're mine I come runnin' anywhere take a look at me baby - just take a look at me baby I'm your teenage prayer
Take a look at me baby I'm your teenage dream take a look at me baby I'm your teenage dream - yes and I'm a dream when it's rainy in your heart just come to me and start tell me how I do and cheer oh just come and take a look at me baby I'm your teenage prayer
(the rest of the lyrics on continuation page below) .
These ad-libbed nonsense lines are from a Basement Tape session with The Band, in the Big Pink's garage (photo). Dylan paid for the house, and had them all on salary for a while, to have people to play with when he felt like coming down from his house, wife, dogs, and kids in Woodstock. After a while, The Band decided to make their own first recording, which was mind-bogglingly good. In fact, all of their stuff holds up darn well.
"Obviously we trespassed into their waters," Turney said. "They were very friendly and very hospitable, very thoughtful, nice people. They explained to us why we've been arrested. There was no harm, no aggression."
Tuning in to C-Span recently, I found myself listening to a speech by Senator Barrack Hussein Obama, Jr. He was standing in the pulpit of a black church in Selma, Alabama, and as I studied the body language of the dozen or so black ministers standing behind the senator, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the little head-bobbing dolls that people used to place in the rear windows of their 1957 Chevrolets. If their reactions are any indication, the new Schlickmeister of the Democrat Party is actually a pretty accomplished public speaker.
However, as he spoke, I found my bull_ _ alarm going off, repeatedly. But I couldn’t quite figure out why until I actually read excerpts of his speech several days later. Here’s part of what he said:
It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?
Since neither wealth nor income are zero sum games (although the NYT tends to make it sound otherwise - as if money were an Easter Egg hunt), I see no reason why anyone should care - other than envy. And besides, the top 10% pays most of the taxes, too, for the benefit of the rest of us.
My feeling is this: If I had the talent, drive, and personality traits to be a Hollywood star, a major league pitcher, a sought-after CEO, a genius investor, a clever entrepreneur, a neurosurgeon, or a Wall Street lawyer - or the luck to be a fortunate heir - I'd get a big kick out of it. But it's not all that bad a thing to be a regular American. In fact, it's the best thing to be on earth.
Poverty, "relative poverty", and opportunity. Clearly as long as you define poverty as the lowest 10% of income, you will always have darn close to 10% poverty, right?
Stumbling and Mumbling points out that the above logic is in error. Providing benefits to bring everyone up to 61% of the median income would solve that statistical issue by eliminating the bottom. Of course, the disincentives to work provided by those benefits, and the disincentives to work which would be required via taxes, would make everyone far poorer in the end.
Take a look at his piece, and read the comments. The problem, of course, lies in not defining poverty by standard of living.