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.
Half the county was at Home Depot this morning. We aren't into buying Hostas at Home Depot, but their tomatoes are good, and mine are in the ground now. And I have 20 more bags of black mulch to carry around.
But getting back to Hostas, Mrs. BD found this site.
Long-time readers know that we have rules about Hostas - never anywhere near the sun and never less than 5-20 plants of the same type en masse. Done right, they can be wonderful, but done wrong, they can be tacky.
One of their downsides is that they take a few years to fully establish themselves. One of their upsides, besides their preference for dense shade, is the astonishing variety of sizes and colors of foliage available these days.
I find it difficult to remember fallen soldiers in the abstract, so I am going to focus on gratitude for Maj. Zembiec today (h/t, Michelle), along with a guy I knew - a gentle soul in my high school writing class and later briefly a classmate in college until he enlisted - who didn't come back from his first tour in Vietnam.
Amnesty, moreover, risks abrogating the “love your neighbor” commandment and biblical standards of justice. It privileges the foreigners who broke our laws to get and stay here, and puts at a disadvantage the poorest citizens, law-abiding employers, and legal immigrants. This doesn’t sound at all like what Romans 13 describes, where the civil government wields the sword of justice to punish the wrongdoer and protect the innocent.
We all can empathize with someone who aspires to a better life. We wish the same for ourselves and our children. But there are lawful ways to achieve it.
Particularly in light of the utter failure of previous amnesties, the legalization route would constitute the government’s failure to mete out justice. It certainly wouldn’t be merciful, on balance.
When government tries to show mercy, it often results in injustice toward someone else. In this case, it’s native-born Americans who’ll suffer government-inflicted injustice.
Some 12 to 20 million illegal aliens have broken just, duly enacted laws that deserve to be enforced. Mass amnesty and a failure to enforce immigration laws subject all our laws, to contempt. That is a very high price to pay, because the rule of law protects us all against tyranny.
Whenever politicians invoke Christ's name, watch out. They are desperate. There is a little thing called the Third Commandment -Catholics call it the Second - it's about using the name of the Lord in vain, eg for your own purposes.
We have not given Dr. Sanity proper credit for occasionally posting our insanities on her weekly, always-amusing Sunday Carnival of the Insanities. Thanks, Dr. S, for linking our piece on Nanny Bloomberg. And thanks for helping to resist the gowing crisis of Global Insanity.
Christina Hoff Summers on the silence of the feminists (h/t Thompson). They have no problem with multicultural denial of women's rights. One quote from the interesting piece:
One reason is that many feminists are tied up in knots by multiculturalism and find it very hard to pass judgment on non-Western cultures. They are far more comfortable finding fault with American society for minor inequities (the exclusion of women from the Augusta National Golf Club, the "underrepresentation" of women on faculties of engineering) than criticizing heinous practices beyond our shores. The occasional feminist scholar who takes the women's movement to task for neglecting the plight of foreigners is ignored or ruled out of order.
Which makes them look more like stereotypical cry-babies than heros. Photo to right - a lady friend of Theo. She is no cry-baby, and she seems so feminine that she must be a real feminist.
The bit about the pangolins especially bothered me. Who would eat a cute lil' pangolin? Now mesquite-grilled raccoon I can relate to, but they aren't endangered.
Dallas HS students protest not passing graduation exams. Good grief. What have we bred in this country? Sheesh. Show a little dignity.
NYT immigration poll reported at Blue Crab. Just one bit from the piece:
A New York Times/CBS News poll released yesterday found that 69% of American adults believe illegal immigrants should “be prosecuted and deported for being in the U.S. illegally.” Just 24% disagree and say they should not. The survey of 1,125 adults was conducted May 18-23, 2007.
Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18
On the way to Costco yesterday to pick up a load of stuff for today's church coffee hour, the Mrs. Bird Dog and I were discussing C.S. Lewis' notion of "the shadow of God" - the indirect manifestations of God's presence in our world. I was thinking that it is similar to Plato's analogy of the cave, but Mrs. BD thought that the recent proofs of the abundance of dark matter in the universe - discoverable only through its effects on other things but not directly knowable - was a better image.
In short, there is no necessary connection between intelligence and truth. At first blush this seems odd, but at second blush I think you can see why. It has to do with the two aspects of our intelligence, one natural (or animal), the other supernatural (or divine). For example, at this moment I have a nine week-old puppy playing at my feet. She is obviously very intelligent, but no matter how intelligent she becomes, she will never know truth. This is because she has only natural intelligence -- the sort of intelligence that can more or less be explained by natural selection (not really, but we'll let it slide for the moment).
...This is again why we should value good character over intelligence, since good character implies a kind of intelligence that is faithful to the transcendent object of human existence, whereas intelligence alone assures no such concordance. The former implies "cardiac comprehension," or intellection, which transcends mere mental knowing. And as we mentioned yesterday, a truly intelligent person is a humble person, since he does not fundamentally seek recognition but transcendence: "he is interested in surpassing himself; hence in pleasing God more than men" (Schuon).
...Polanyi has written extensively of how the intellectually gifted scientist (as opposed to the typical "worker bee" scientific laborer) employs a kind of translogical vision in order to identify a fruitful problem that will then be susceptible to conventional reasoning. But this vision can never be reduced to some mechanical or deterministic rational formula (any more than great songwriting can be reduced to knowledge of musical scales). Rather, it is much more analogous to artistic vision, to a sort of holistic seeing, than to scientific reason. It is a kind of "seeing within," or into the "withinness of things." It is what Einstein meant when he said that he wanted to understand the mind of God.
Photo: Hubble image of gas pillars in the star-formation region of the Eagle nebula. How trivial are our daily concerns?
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. 16No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 20The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 21Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
Fifty days after Easter and related symbolically and historically to the Jewish shavuot, Pentecost seems like the most mystical of holy days in a religion which abounds in mystery and wonder. Image: El Greco's depiction of Pentecost.
Post-modernism is the idea that everything is just an affectation, and so you can pull it apart and make little jokes out of the bits. I reject the approach, and not just in architecture. The problem with the Daily Show and Colbert is not that they are smarmy wags, it's that they derive their smugness from making fun of a establishment that no longer exists, if it ever did. Yes, everything sucks. But I hate to break it to you: You're the everything now.
The Traveller's Dilemma. It's a variation on the Prisoner's Dilemma, but what is interesting about these games is to play them yourself multiple times, and see what happens. We like Game Theory, but the math eludes us as this point.
But it's not just about math - it's about how illogicality can often be logical. Here's the premise:
Lucy and Pete, returning from a remote Pacific island, find that the airline has damaged the identical antiques that each had purchased. An airline manager says that he is happy to compensate them but is handicapped by being clueless about the value of these strange objects. Simply asking the travelers for the price is hopeless, he figures, for they will inflate it.
Instead he devises a more complicated scheme. He asks each of them to write down the price of the antique as any dollar integer between 2 and 100 without conferring together. If both write the same number, he will take that to be the true price, and he will pay each of them that amount. But if they write different numbers, he will assume that the lower one is the actual price and that the person writing the higher number is cheating. In that case, he will pay both of them the lower number along with a bonus and a penalty--the person who wrote the lower number will get $2 more as a reward for honesty and the one who wrote the higher number will get $2 less as a punishment. For instance, if Lucy writes 46 and Pete writes 100, Lucy will get $48 and Pete will get $44.
What numbers will Lucy and Pete write? What number would you write?
To keep it simple, play with three people - same as The Prisoner's Dilemma. You play it over and over. Of course, they cannot discuss the strategy together.
And who the heck cares? Well, apparently some people do. (h/t, Jules). Some people need to get a life. What did Tut do anyway, other than get born into the right family, die young, and have the luck not to have his tomb ransacked before the Brit archeologists arrived.
New York's Bravest lowering standards to avoid DOJ problems. Apparently literacy standards are racist. LaShawn digs into the subject. If those of African heritage really have lower average "g" than other races, as abundant studies show, it's a big problem. I remain a skeptic.
We should stop, slow down and absorb. We should sit and settle. We should do what you do after eating an eight-course meal. We should digest what we've eaten.
We should close our borders. We should do whatever it takes to close them tight and solid. Will that take the Army? Then send the Army. Does it mean building a wall? Then build a wall, but the wall must have doors, which can be opened a little or a lot down the road once we know where we are. Should all legal immigration stop? No. We should make a list of what our nation needs, such as engineers and nurses, and then admit a lot of engineers and nurses. We should take in what we need to survive and flourish.
As we end illegal immigration, we should set ourselves to the Americanization of the immigrants we have. They haven't only joined a place of riches, it's a place of meaning. We must teach them what it is they've joined and why it is good and what is expected of them and what is owed. We stopped Americanizing ourselves 40 years ago. We've got to start telling the story of our country again.
We linked this piece at Flares titled Facing the Market last week, but I thought it so usefully clear and succinct that I'd re-post it with a quote. Every kid in high school or college should read this to inject some reality into the romantic psychobabble about self-actualization which is endemic in our pampered society.
Some people have a "calling," but most do not. Some people have ego-driven compulsions to achieve to compensate for feelings of inadequacy. Some lucky people find work plain fun. But while work offers many rewards including money, social contact, dignity, and a variety of challenges, most people would not do their jobs if they won the Powerball. Otherwise, why is everyone planning for retirement?
For most folks, work is not recreation. A quote from the piece at Flares about the labor market:
The sad fact of life in a market economy is that you have to do what somebody else wants in order to get paid. You don't generally get paid for what is fun for you or for what you want to do; you get paid for what somebody else wants you to do, and usually that's something they themselves don't want to do for some reason. Maybe the work is tedious, maybe it requires high levels of responsibility, maybe it is dirty or dangerous. One thing you can be guaranteed is that it's something somebody else doesn't want to do themselves.
Now this is contrary to what most of us learn in school and in our cultural role models. We learn that we should be "free". We learn that we should be self-actualizing. We learn that we should break the rules and make things better and in the end everyone will reward us for "doing the right thing". Don't bet on it.
Warming has finally hit New England today. Very pleasant indeed. I have always wondered about cloud chambers, but never bothered to learn more about them. Eric took the trouble, and connects clouds to warming.
I heard Thomas Sowell quoted on the radio last night. I don't have the link, but he was asking something like "What problem does this immigration "reform" act solve?" His answer: just one problem - the politicians' problem, which is to look like they are doing something and to get the immigration theme off the table.
Too bad for the politicians: the voters aren't stupid. Too bad for the voters: the pols don't give a damn in this unholy alliance they have made.
Primum non nocere is my advice.
Second, a quote from me, yesterday (Buddy thought it was good):
People are not annoyed because they are racist. They are annoyed because they are being invaded. The fact that this particular invasion is not lead by an army is irrelevant: nowadays, leaving your gun behind is more effective.
People tend to hate to be invaded. It's sorta human not to put up with it, unless you are French.
Are bad manners and obnoxiousness hate crimes? I thought there had to be a crime before you could have a hate crime. Where's the ACLU? Heck, I've been called all sorts of names in my life. Sticks and stones...
A plague of locusts. The 17-year cicadas are crawling up from their 17-year stay in the soil, and will soon be all over the place. Predictably, there will be articles about how to cook them. This piece from 2004 explains how the broods work. I have always enjoyed watching birds try to catch them when they fly.
More about the new WalMart walk-in clinics. Always amazing the way markets can figure out things that experts and government cannot: it's because experts always have blinders on, and government is stupid.
This invasive species seems to have no friends. Not cuddly enough, I guess.
A treadmill desk. Not a bad idea. But the irony in the concept does not escape me.
Hansen:Cut America Some Slack. I agree. A quote:
...radical American egalitarianism is what terrifies our Islamist enemies. Bin Laden—many of the terrorist’s family were living in the United States on September 11—knows the insidious dangers of Americanization, both from his own wealthy youth spent enjoying the high life, and the failure of his Sharia law to compete with Spiderman for the attention of most of his flock.
The chorus of protest over the bill in the Senate right now (the "No Illegal Alien Left Behind" act, as some would call it, or the "Destroy America Now" act) is coming from so many places, and from so many unlikely sources that it is getting difficult to keep up.
While criticism has come from the usual quarters, even such open-borders advocates as George Will and John Podhoretz have come down hard on the bill. The staggering costs of the bill, only just now coming to light, have revealed a total outlay of as much as 2.5 trillion over the next two decades. Ed Morrissey notes that the bill has achieved the remarkable distinction of having almost every single voting group in the USA opposed to it:
Not a single demographic in the study favors this proposal, except under Race: Other. Democrats oppose it 51-28. Republicans oppose it 47-25. Men and women both clearly oppose it. Only people ages 30-39 come close to overcoming opposition, 34-32 in opposition. But when the subject turns to border security, the numbers turn even more dramatic....The data is so compelling, one has to wonder why Congress hasn't realized that they could offer a win for everyone by focusing exclusively on border security as an entrée to immigration reform. They literally would please every possible constituency by doing so, and would almost overnight dial down the emotion over the rest of the issue. Only in DC could the governing class be so out of touch with the national mood.
Meanwhile, another blogger eviscerates the irrational arguments of those like Dick Morris, Robert Novak and Fred Barnes that the GOP must support this bill or risk losing Hispanic votes:
The GOP has got to understand that they will never, ever be able to compete with Democrats when it comes to appealing to poor, uneducated welfare cases -- which is exactly the category most of these illegal aliens would fall into. That's because Democrats, being big government socialists, will always be willing to offer them more goodies for their votes. The GOP's target audience among Hispanics will be more educated, more successful, more middle-class Hispanics, not poverty cases or the La Raza crowd. That means for the GOP to gain with Hispanics over the long term, we've got to push policies that will allow the Hispanics who are already American citizens to become more successful, not bring in penniless, uneducated manual laborers from South America by the tens of millions and hope that they'll vote for us because we're "democrat light" on amnesty and welfare.
In the most amusing quote of the day, Barack Obama set some sort of Democratic first in the following critique of one of the few sensible changes in the bill - placing a skills requirement for immigrants above that of extended family ties:
This change "constitutes at minimum a radical experiment in social engineering and a departure from our tradition of having family and employers invite immigrants to come," Obama said.
A Democrat criticizing something for being a radical social experiment that's a departure from historical tradition? I'm expecting to see pigs flying around Nashville right about now.
"Short-dicked white boys"and "niggers." I never heard these details of the Duke story.
Sen. Kyle is baffled. From one of his constituents, Linknzona
It must be those dang Presbyterians again, violating dogs' rights. Blair
Women are to blame. Good point, from Stumbling and Mumbling. The entry of women into the job market in massive numbers over the past 20 years has certainly held down wages - not because they are women, but because it greatly increased the supply of labor in all areas, from law to medicine to government to business to clerical to the military.