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.
One of my favorite letters of Paul - 1 Corinthians, 1:18
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
As most readers are aware, The New Republic really f-ed the pooch, pooped in its pants, etc. this week. If you scroll down through Ace you can see most of the story, delivered in an appropriately sarcastic manner.
Stop trying to help Africa, says an African. I am sure he is right. WaPo. Not only is it condescending as hell, but it's a new form of colonialism. Crooks there will take our money gladly, however. What the West can offer Africa is opportunities to trade, especially in agriculture. We already buy their oil.
Photo: One of Theo's girlfriends. She slipped me her phone number while he wasn't looking, but I lost it. I like her nice, firm biceps.
Put some tapwater in a plastic bottle, put a mountain on the label, and give it a foreign-sounding name. It's the genius of American marketing to sell water for 99 cents a bottle. Pepsi comes clean on Aquafina.
The U.S. homeland hasn't been struck by terrorists since September 11, and one reason may be more aggressive intelligence policies. So Americans should be alarmed that one of the best intelligence tools--warrantless wiretapping of al Qaeda suspects--has recently become far less effective and is in danger of being neutered by Congressional Democrats.
President Bush approved this terrorist surveillance not long after 9/11, allowing intelligence officials to track terrorist calls overseas, as well as overseas communications with al Qaeda sympathizers operating in the U.S. The New York Times exposed the program in late 2005, and Democrats and antiwar activists immediately denounced it as an "illegal" attempt to spy on Americans, à la J. Edgar Hoover.
Democratic leaders were briefed on the program from the first and never once tried to shut it down. But once it was exposed, these same Democrats accused Mr. Bush of breaking the law by not getting warrants from the special court created under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978. Mr. Bush has rightly defended the program's legality, but as a gesture of compromise in January he agreed to seek warrants under the FISA process.
This has turned out to be an enormous mistake that has unilaterally disarmed one of our best intelligence weapons in the war on terror. To understand why, keep in mind that we live in a world of fiber optics and packet-switching. A wiretap today doesn't mean the FBI must install a bug on Abdul Terrorist's phone in Peshawar. Information now follows the path of least resistance, wherever that may lead. And because the U.S. has among the world's most efficient networks, hundreds of millions of foreign calls are routed through the U.S.
That's right: If an al Qaeda operative in Quetta calls a fellow jihadi in Peshawar, that call may well travel through a U.S. network. This ought to be a big U.S. advantage in our "asymmetrical" conflict with terrorists. But it also means that, for the purposes of FISA, a foreign call that is routed through U.S. networks becomes a domestic call. So thanks to the obligation to abide by an outdated FISA statute, U.S. intelligence is now struggling even to tap the communications of foreign-based terrorists. If this makes you furious, it gets worse.
Read the whole thing. Also, some comments from Betsy. Why do the Dems seem to want to handcuff us in a war against foreign enemies? (That's a rhetorical question.)
The right to self-defence is the most basic human right.
It matters not to me that such crimes are rare. Lightning strikes on houses are rare, but where they are possible, we have lightning rods. We have them on the house and on the barn. It's a reasonable, cheap precaution against a low-likelihood but catastrophic event. Like fire insurance.
More thoughts: I have been thinking about this doctor for days, since the Dylanologist emailed the story to me. How does he feel? I cannot imagine losing a whole family - his life - in that way, or in any other way. Does he regret that he could not protect his family - or that he could not die trying? Surviving something like this must be a world of pain.
Our longer essay on the topic of the CT invasion, and home defence, here.
All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future, and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse.
Democrats and Republicans both view this battle as a harbinger for a coming showdown over full reform of the health care system. Rahm Emmanuel likes to call it "spring training for universal health care." Mitch McConnell and Trent Lott wrote warned that expanding S-CHIP "takes a significant step toward a government-run health care system." And indeed it does.
Listening - and re-listening - to Saccio is a pure delight. A quote from the piece in Dartmouth Life:
On the day of the lecture, Saccio begins almost dispassionately. "The death of Falstaff," he says, "is a short passage, in prose, related by simple characters leading common lives."
And then he begins to act the parts of those characters, explaining between lines how Shakespeare employs biblical allusion, Elizabethan thought and culture, word play and stage direction. He describes how Falstaff, near death, plays with his bedclothes and examines his fingertips, noting that contemporary doctors tell him that what Shakespeare portrayed four centuries ago is grounded in the physical reality of death.
The room becomes electric.
Saccio continues, "For Falstaff, in his final moments the world is getting smaller and smaller. He is 'focusing down'—as dying people do." He points out a reference to the 23rd Psalm towards the end of the scene and begins, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want..." and the classroom becomes utterly silent, spellbound.
Breaking the silence, Saccio concludes, "I've been trying to enter into Shakespeare's imagination. He imagined a scene that was peaceful, hopeful, bawdy, silly, childish, drunken, lecherous and terrifying—terrifying both physically and spiritually. All at once, in only 40 lines. I put my cards on the table," he concludes. "The man could write."
Photo: Leon D. Black Professor of Shakespearean Studies Peter Saccio
From General Keane, at NRO. Those who are politically committed to defeat and failure will need to ramp up the urgency of their calls for retreat, or they may end up with more than egg all over their faces.
"Close your eyes, close the door, You don't have to worry any more. I'll be your baby tonight.
Shut the light, shut the shade, You don't have to be afraid. I'll be your baby tonight.
Well, that mockingbird's gonna sail away, We're gonna forget it. That big, fat moon is gonna shine like a spoon, But we're gonna let it, You won't regret it.
Kick your shoes off, do not fear, Bring that bottle over here. I'll be your baby tonight."
"I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," the last song on John Wesley Harding and the one which portended the shift to country on Nashville Skyline. But a catchy little tune in its own right. A version from the Fall 2000 tour is below.
That pesky old Law of Unintended Consequences. MA health plan running into a major problem: not enough primary care docs. WSJ. If I know anything about government, they will proceed to create another program to deal with that problem of their own creation. (h/t, Bruce Kesler)
Photo: Bill and Hillary in law school. Since we've been posting on hippies, I think this photo demonstrates that the fad was more about fashion and wanting to be - or look -hip, than anything else. Ruthlessly ambitious, power-hungry, and calculating, these two hardly embodied the true hippy spirit. Peace, baby.
It is 40 years since the silly and juvenile 1967 "Summer of Love." Cinnamon Stillwell remembers it. Quote:
Among '60s disciples, it's an article of faith that everything that came out of that summer was a boon to American society. This has certainly been the impression conveyed through popular culture. Rarely are the more pernicious offshoots of the social and political experiment known as the Summer of Love referenced in the glowing and groovy portrayals seen on PBS and the History Channel.
But in its haste to dispense with all tradition that came before, the Summer of Love generation threw out much of the good along with the bad. The attempt to live in a manner that is essentially unsustainable led to a proliferation of divorce, drug use, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, and all the perils and problems associated therewith. Too many people left their families, became addicts, and in some cases, lost their lives.
When all social boundaries are tossed aside and self-fulfillment becomes one's raison d'etre, society breaks down and, with it, all sense of morality. Seen in this light, the Summer of Love starts to seem more like the Summer of Folly.
I have a hunch that there is a strong market for smoking flights, especially since most folks in Asia and in Europe seem to enjoy the pleasures of tobacco. Those flights to Hong Kong and Singapore are long, and not everybody has a private jet - yet.
The rise of a black underclass in America since the 60s has been troubling, and puzzling, to me for years. Wasted lives, wasted opportunities, wasted talents. It's been around for so long that many seem to forget that it did not exist before or during the war - or even in the 50s.
From before the Civil War, and since then, many people of all colors worked and died to bring the full freedoms of citizenship to black Americans. The emergence of a self-destructive underclass in the wake of all of that work is heartbreaking. From In the Heart of Freedom, from Myron Magnet in City Journal, a quote:
Two April days threw a clarifying light on the state of race in America. On the 11th, North Carolina’s attorney general exonerated three white Duke students of the rape charges that a black stripper had lodged with much press fanfare a year earlier. The next day, CBS fired shock jock Don Imus for calling black Rutgers women’s basketball players “nappy-headed hos.” Between them, these events suggest an explanation for America’s most vexed social question: in a country whose chief domestic imperative for 50 years has been ending racism and righting long-standing wrongs against blacks—with such success that we now have an expanding black middle class, a black secretary of state, black CEOs of three top corporations, a black Supreme Court justice, and a serious black presidential candidate—how can there still exist a large black urban underclass imprisoned in poverty, welfare dependency, school failure, nonwork, and crime? How even today can more black young men be entangled in the criminal-justice system than graduate from college? How can close to 70 percent of black children be born into single-mother families, which (almost all experts agree) prepare kids for success less well than two-parent families?
The legacy of slavery and racism isn’t the reason, economist Thomas Sowell has long argued. That legacy didn’t stop blacks from raising themselves up after Emancipation. By World War I, Sowell’s data show, northern blacks scored higher on armed-forces tests than southern whites. After World War II and the GI Bill, black education and income levels rose sharply. It was only in the mid-1960s that a century of black progress seemed to make a sudden U-turn, a reversal that long-past events didn’t cause. Beginning around 1964, the rates of black high school graduation, workforce participation, crime, illegitimacy, and drug use all turned sharply in the wrong direction. While many blacks continued to move forward, a sizable minority solidified into an underclass, defined by self-destructive behavior that all but guaranteed failure.
What was going on in the mid-sixties that could explain such a startling development? Political scientist Charles Murray gave the first answer to that question: welfare benefits sharply rose just at that moment. Offering more purchasing power than a minimum-wage job, the dole, he argued, provided an economic incentive for women to have out-of-wedlock babies and for their boyfriends to live off their welfare payments, too.
Is a sub-culture of dependency the issue? I don't know. Read the whole thing.