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.
Stuck in Reagan with the Memphis blues again, with a delayed flight to Boston. We have written about the notion of "good intentions" by people with power on this blog, but I cannot find the piece. Found this quoted at Driscoll:
Fortunately, the Daily Gut has a running tally, "For those of you keeping score at home, here's a partial list (in no particular order) of leaders who have meant or mean well":
Hitler Stalin Lenin Mao Big Kim and Li'l Kim Castro The Khmer Rouge Ceausescu The Taliban Saddam Ayatollah Khomeini Ahmedinejad
I'll take an incompetent leader over one who means well any day!
The thing about Mehlman's column is it lays out the central tenet of lefty thought: All that matters is that you mean well.
In the 1940s and '50s many lefties (including some if not all of the Hollywood Ten) were apologists for Stalin? Who cares - they were "idealists" who meant well.
Decades of welfare programs actually hurt the already poor and and caused more to join them? Doesn't matter - we meant well.
Read the whole piece. As CS Lewis said, "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive."
"In polite society, you don’t say certain things lest there be violence. In civil society, you can say what you need to, and there won’t be violence. Let’s stop being so damned polite to the wrong people."
My life experience, and common sense, tell me that clear cultural and subcultural structures are necessary foundations for dependable and predictable human interaction. People associate tribally for good reasons - they don't know what the deal is with other tribes, nor are they powerfully curious about finding out (which cannot really be done non-superficially anyway, since inculcation into a culture requires the time from birth to around age 18).
Multiculturalism throws a bomb at those grounding, life-sustaining structures, which is why I consider it to be a nihilistic political movement.
Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam is seemingly scared by the non-PC, non-multicult results of his new diversity research. He has reason to be scared: The PC Speech Control Enforcers can be ruthless: recall the academic fury towards Charles Murray's Bell Curve, the Larry Summers massacre, etc.
John Leo's piece about Putnam, Bowling with our Own at City Journal, begins thus:
Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, is very nervous about releasing his new research, and understandably so. His five-year study shows that immigration and ethnic diversity have a devastating short- and medium-term influence on the social capital, fabric of associations, trust, and neighborliness that create and sustain communities. He fears that his work on the surprisingly negative effects of diversity will become part of the immigration debate, even though he finds that in the long run, people do forge new communities and new ties.
Putnam’s study reveals that immigration and diversity not only reduce social capital between ethnic groups, but also within the groups themselves. Trust, even for members of one’s own race, is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friendships fewer.
Read Leo's whole piece about Putnam. We like John Leo - he is an expert birder and birders are a good, if a bit eccentric, crew.
The News Junkie wonders why we are admitting Iraqi refugees below. Fact is, we are not just bringing over any old Iraqis, but the ones who, through their actions, have been our best allies and who have become targets through providing aid and assistance to the American occupation. The problem with this is that these are the very people we need to stay in Iraq to work for ... well, whatever it is we are trying to work for over there. Not to mention the fact that by admitting Christian Iraqis as permanent refugees were are in a sense assisting the Muslim majority in ethnically cleansing the country of its ancient Christian communities.
As a side note, the refugee program has nothing do to with the needs of refugees anyways, and is profoundly corrupt: the government sets an annual quota to be met regardless of need, then hires contractors (often religious organizations) to scour the world for anyone they can plausibly depict as a refugee, then provides money to ship them over to what is usually a small, poor Northeastern or Midwestern town. After the initial funding runs out, the town is stuck with the bill for taking care of the newcomers whether it wanted them or not.
Now David Brooks is a bright guy, so I wonder how he can blame the free market for failing in this way (that is, with education). He continues, "Despite all the incentives, 30 percent of kids drop out of high school and the college graduation rate has been flat for a generation."
Excuse me, but why is that the market's fault? Government dominates education in America. K-12 education is a coercive, often rigidly unionized government virtual monopoly that fights every attempt to experiment with free-market competition.
How the heck did the New York Times get this handsome photo of me on the front porch of my comfortable Maggie's Farm sharecropper home? Moonbattery. And no, obviously Maggie's Farm does not offer dental insurance. Worse yet, Maggie makes us mow our own lawns with push mowers: all of the illegals are too busy working at jobs Americans won't do.
Indigent defence counsel. Do disparities violate the Civil Rights Act? Volokh
Getting ready to punish your reps in DC? Here's the immigration polls. Dino
Senate just passed the largest farm subsidy bill in US history. But they termed it an "energy bill." Coyote.
Pay more for math and science teachers? Why not? They seem to be much more difficult to find.
Final proof: Matter does bend space-time, as Einstein claimed. Synthstuff
If you can't understand English, you have no business voting. Cramer
I am confused by all of these Iraqi refugees to the US. I thought we were saving their country for them, so why do they want to leave? And to move to Michigan, of all places? It's a fine state, but not too strong in the jobs department these days.
John McCain: Once a poll-leader, now going down the tubes. It is possible to respect the guy without agreeing with him on some of his strong views. Ankle-Biting
Casting terrorists as defenders of the Constitution. JR Dunn in American Thinker. It begins thus:
The American legal system is the latest of our institutions to collapse in the face of terrorism. Cherished pillars of our society and polity have dropped, one after the other. In most cases, it was only to be expected. The media lasted a matter of days, the academy not even that long. The Democrats slid early, through a combination of cynicism, opportunism, and ideology. The Republicans are tottering, never having actually grasped what it meant to act as a "war party". The CIA, the State Department, and much of the federal bureaucracy have, as always, proven themselves masterly at looking out for their own interests.
But there was always some hope for the law. The legal system, with its deep sense of tradition, its intellectual resources, its clear concept of mission, and its simple, stolid inertia (sometimes as much as virtue as a failing), its refusal to be hurried concerning matters of import, had plenty of anchors to keep it from slipping the same way that more ephemeral sectors had.
That hope is now gone. With a series of decisions made over the past few weeks, the American legal establishment - both civil and military -- has met and surpassed the lowest expectations of its critics.
CT creates more gun criminals with a stroke of a pen. Alphecca
The Supremes support free speech (NY Sun), and Hinderaker agrees. A telling comment re the dissenting opinion - telling in that it says nothing about the Constitutional speech guarantee, from the NY Sun piece:
The single dissenting opinion — penned by Justice Souter and joined by Justices Stevens, Ginsburg, and Breyer — argued that the majority's opinion flew in the face of Congress's will and would breed "pervasive public cynicism" about the American political system.
But I don't understand the Bong Hits for Jesus case. This adolescent bozo was off-campus, being provocative. Free speech must include the freedom to be a jackass. I agree with Moderate Voice.
Paying taxes doesn't count, morally, as charity. Indeed it does not. No Pasaran
Gas price gouging laws - possibly good boob bait, but terrible economics. NY Sun
Almost everyone wants this bill killed except the politicians. A quote from the NRO piece Kill the Bill:
The bill is unpopular, but powerful forces — businesses, journalists, officials in both parties, and racial pressure groups — are determined to push it through. They do not mind if a few senators vote against the bill for the cameras while greasing the track for it when it counts.
Abdullah Azzam and the death cult. The guy makes death sound much preferable to life. I have no doubt that it is more peaceful, if possibly dull and lacking in broadband access. But I have to wonder this: did Azzam blow himself up, or just preach it? Flopping Aces.
Readers know that our theory has always been that a mistranslation of the Koran lead to the notion of 72 virgins. The correct translation, we believed, was "one 72 year-old virgin." However, we have been corrected by our friend Theo Spark:
With the interest in old time traditional cast iron cookware on our piece on A Darn Good Steak, (in which I learned that lots of folks prefer fried to grilled steak), here's a little cast iron cookware info.
Lodge is a good source, and you can buy directly from them. I like the assist handle and the pouring lip. Here's their advice for care and feeding of iron. I think two sizes of skillets ought to do it.
I know darn little about the subject, but I see that Wagner bought out Griswold, and that both brands are now owned by American Culinary Corp., which now produces a Wagner line.
This week it's La Crosse, Wisconsin, a nice little town on the Mississippi River along the border with Minnesota. As the story goes, the site got its name when explorer Zebulon Pike witnessed local Indian tribes playing a game with sticks that resembled a bishop's crozier, or crosse, in the language of the French fur traders who, as usual, were the first Europeans to establish themselves in the area. In the late 1800s, thousands of Norwegian and German settlers moved to the area, lending it a character which remains to this day.
The town was the beneficiary of plenty of that distinctively American "main street" style architecture during the 1880s and 1890s, as can be seen in the old postcard above, and to the town's good fortune most of it has survived to the present day. Through a city-wide master plan for redevelopment La Crosse has managed to renovate and refurbish over 100 historic buildings while attracting cutting-edge technology and communications firms to the town. The entire riverfront has been developed as well and outfitted with walking paths and recreational boating areas, making the downtown an even more attractive place to live. The main downside to the place? It's too darn cold for a lot of folks, though the Norwegian settlers didn't mind too much, as this excerpt from an 1854 letter written by a Norwegian immigrant to his relatives back home shows:
"When you wrote about some coffee beans, it is impossible for us to obtain them. They grow in South America under sunshine and a warm and unhealthy climate. Here the climate is cold, healthy and fresh. . . "
The Dylanologist would have to agree, though of course it's true that there's an awful lot of coffee in Brazil.