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.
The cost of travel in 1800. Marginal Revolution. No wonder nobody ever went anywhere beyond their local market village, unless they were rich. Stagecoaches were expensive.
Sovereign Wealth Funds: The new thing. Government entities are learning to be capitalist investors. Guess they realized they can't run businesses themselves. Dinocrat. Yes, governments love money and power, don't they?
The US campaign in Iraq is probably one of the most complex campaigns in military history. It is an event fundamentally unsuited to facile political characterization. And I am afraid that, if General Petraeus' efforts meet with some success, what was officially a "bad" war -- after first having been a "good war" -- will become a "good war" again, as politicians anxiously reposition themselves according to the latest polls. Iraq will become, whatever it is, exactly what the politicians want it to be. And that's bad. Because the one thing that Gen Petraeus is doing right -- if he is doing anything right at all -- is adapting; moving through the OODA loop faster than his enemies and unfettered by restricting shibboleths and doctrinal dogma. Success is based on seeing things as they are as opposed to viewing them through political lenses. In some sense you have to see things different from Washington to have a snowball's chance in Hell.
A good first step would be to codify the Executive Order on Federalism first signed by President Ronald Reagan. That Executive Order, first revoked by President Clinton, then modified to the point of uselessness, required agencies to respect the principle of the Tenth Amendment when formulating policies and implementing the laws passed by Congress. It preserved the division of responsibilities between the states and the federal government envisioned by the Framers of the Constitution. It was a fine idea that should never have been revoked. The next president should put it right back in effect, and see to it that the rightful authority of state and local governments is respected.
Why are we importing doctors? From a piece by Kesler:
Physicians in the USA: 794,893. Foreign graduate doctors in the USA: 185,234 (from 127 countries). * Percentage of doctors in U.S. training programs who are foreigners: 24%.
Does one have a right not to be offended in America?
From a piece on the toilet Koran story by Rick Moran. Also, with photos, at Moonbattery. In my view, it is the privilege of every American to both offend and to be offended. This kid was charged with a felony? Gimme a break. The only thing he is guilty of is bad manners.
You can't really find vast fields of wild Lowbush Blueberry south of Maine. They especially seem to grow where there has been forest fire or clear-cutting. Always keep an eye out for bears in a lowbush blueberry field.
And Rightly So has a little photo essay on the subject. Here's one of her fine photos:
We posted a piece this week on the terrible recent home invasion in Connecticut, about 20 minutes from where I live. By coincidence, this was the same week I was taking my required Concealed Carry course down in Bridgeport (which was excellent, and good fun blasting away at targets with 9mm Glocks and H&Ks, plus some .22 revolvers).
One could not help but wonder what good protection might be from home invasion. In the reported story, the good doctor was downstairs, and knocked out by the invaders with a baseball bat immediately, then tied up and carried to the basement. No handgun in the bedside table would have been of any use.
As home invasion becomes more common, I wonder what good protection might be, unless you carry 24 hrs/day, as many do. I had a good chat, during a break in the course, with a husky young black kid with a du-rag, silver earrings, and pants half-falling off - nicest kid in the world - who wants to be a bank guard. He told me that he was dozing in front of the TV when he was awakened by an intruder, while the rest of his family was upstairs.
The intruder was a bit frightened, and this kid told him to leave in 3 seconds. The minute the guy turned, the kid slammed him in the back of the head with an aluminum baseball bat that was lying around. The kid had been at softball that afternoon, and never put his bat away.
The one swing knocked the guy out. He called the cops who cuffed the skull-fractured intruder and took him away in an ambulance. He said the cops came back one more time to ask more questions, and told him "You done good, kid." He never heard any more about it.
I told him to forget being a bank guard - go into the Army. He told me his Dad was a jarhead, and his granddad was in the Army. I told him he had an innate tactical sense. The way my life is, I do not have enough contact with du-rag kids. (I told my wife the story, and told her that the kid looked scary until I chatted with him. She said "It's just fashion: he wants to look scary, and you want to look dorky.")
A man's home is his castle. My friend and I concluded that a short-barreled pump 12 ga., like a trench gun, might the the best tool - assuming it's handy. It is tough for an amateur to hit anything moving with a handgun, unless it's ten feet away.
Photo on top: The Petit family of Cheshire, CT, the victims of the home invasion/rape/murder. Photo below, The entrance to The Tower, of course.
Some folks like to read and think about reason and revelation. For some reason, when I think about it much my brain gets numb. Maybe I believe that existence itself is a mysterious dream from the mind of God.
Dr. Bob takes on the subject of reason and faith once again. A quote:
Sweeping generalizations about what “most Christians think” seem common among those who understand little of what any Christian thinks, and miss the mark anyway: the standard is not what “most Christians” believe, but what Christianity as a faith has taught and maintained throughout its two-thousand year history. And while Christianity maintains that aspects of its core beliefs may be reached through reason alone — such as the existence of God, the nature of the soul, and the existence of a natural moral law — Christianity is above all a faith based on revelation. It maintains that God exists, that He is personal, and that He has intervened in human history, making Himself known both by written revelation and through the person of Jesus Christ. While the secular materialist views such a position as irrational – contrary to reason — Christianity maintains instead that it is supra-rational: not contrary to reason, but above reason by the very nature of God. It stands to reason that man — confined by his very nature to space and time — cannot through reason alone understand a Being who transcends space and time — eternal and self-existent in nature, unlimited in intellect and power, unchanged and unbound by time, having existed both before time and throughout eternity.
The U.S. now has 125 opera companies. That’s more than Germany or Italy, and roughly as many Americans attend live opera performances as attend NFL football games. Jonathan Leaf examines a surprising phenomenon—beyond the Met.
If that is true, then why don't we have more opera on TV? I wish we did. Read the article here. Readers know that we like the Met, but are also very happy with the NYC Opera just next door. Other than in Lincoln Center, where in the world are there two opera companies performing next door to eachother?
A free public service school? I say nuts to that commie, Frenchie notion, and so does Tammy. Part of the idea of America is citizen-politicians, not trained managers of us masses. That is why I am sympathetic to term-limits.
If our gummint can't run a passport office, why should we imagine they can run American medicine? Cafe Hayek
The Gonzales story. There is no story. He is just another potential scalp. The Democratic Party: The Party of Hate. Not to defend the dopey Repubs or to be unbalanced, but the Dems have gone over the edge.
Penfield Reef, a long-time hazard to ships and boats, extends south from the Fairfield (CT) beach one mile into Long Island Sound. It is covered at high tide, but exposed otherwise as a broad ridge of sand, now reinforced with large riprap in parts so you can walk out - but not without slipping on slabs of rockweed.
Here's a photo of Jennings Beach, the wide and excellent town beach of Fairfield:
During the Revolution the Brits landed on this beach, marched a mile into town, and burned a few houses and the Congregational Church. I don't think they killed anybody. I knew a girl whose family showed the burn marks on the inside of their house. After the Brits began to march back to their boats, the owners quickly returned and put the fire out.
Many moons ago, an awkward, dorky, bookish young Bird Dog was rejected by a number of young fillies on that beach in the sunshine, and made out with one or two others on that beach in the dark. That photo brought back memories...
And I shot my first duck from Penfield Reef, just a few hundred yards away. In the good old days, the hunters would huddle on the reef with their Labs and get wonderful passing shots at the Bluebills buzzing around. I don't know whether they even allow it anymore, but a mile-long reef could accommodate quite a few duck hunters comfortably and happily.
On the southernmost tip of the reef sits Penfield Light, a handsome 1880s structure which was manned by a lighthouse keeper until 1970. The light is automated now. The place is well-known for being inhabited by a ghost. Here's Penfield Light at high tide:
The subject of Penfield Light comes up because the Coast Guard, which is responsible for navigation aids, has decided that they don't need to own it, and are putting it up for sale. It would be a fine dwelling for a non-social blogger who wants to get away from it all, and who wants to shoot their supper every day in the winter from the front porch, and to catch their fish dinner the rest of the year from their back porch.
Moonbattery noted that PETA is considering buying it, and using it as a place to study the souls of fish, or something equally PETA-ish. I would like to warn them off. In a good storm, spray and crashing wave tips reach the level of the roof. I doubt that PETA types would be comfortable with that much raw nature... not to mention the cormorant shit everywhere.
The world is full of insanity. Dr. Sanity offers a collection each Sunday, and always links our relevant pieces. Make it part of your Sunday afternoon ritual. I believe it is important to label insanity for what it is, or we could lose our fragile grip on reality.
I like this quote from Bob at One Cosmos (whose puns and triple-edged spelling you have to let yourself enjoy), from a piece of the above name:
Eckhart said that we are held back or "estranged" from God by three primary conditions, time, multiplicity and matter. As a result, one cannot "know" God per se. Rather, one can only undergo him. Bion would have oppreciated this observation, for he recognized that if one cannot suffer pain, one cannot suffer pleasure, and knowledge is rooted in the pain of separation -- separation from O. Unknowing this separation is the highest form of knowledge, but it can only happen if you exert enough passivity or strive with enough effortlessness.