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.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, November 27. 2007
Monday, November 26. 2007
With Iowa coming up soon, it's been a tough month for Hillary Clinton with a whirlwind of uncomplimentary stories.
The Hu contribution scandal, the radical law firm story, her strange reversal on illegal driving licenses, her unwillingness to take a firm stand on anything, new polls that reinforce the idea that she might not be electable, the Vin Gupta story, news articles reporting that people do not trust her honesty - and now the lesbian theme comes out of the closet today, a theme which has been whispered around Washington for many years. That's enough to short-circuit any rapid-response team.
The Dems do have two excellent candidates who are substantial, savvy, accomplished, and ready for prime time: Joe Biden and Chris Dodd - Dodd being perhaps the more impressive of the two. If primary voters take a look beyond the two celeb candidates (Clinton and Obama) they might find something to like.
When candidates were chosen by wise men in smoke-filled rooms, Biden and Dodd would have been on the top of the list and Clinton and Obama would have been viewed as arrogant, presumptuous lightweights and laughed out of the room and instructed to return when they have accomplished something.
Are voters so celeb-intoxicated these days that solid guys ("solid" as politicians go - even though I would not be voting for any of these) don't have a chance?
Rudy's Roots. Who is Rudy, and what does he believe in? Much detail in Newsweek.
A Chavez Freezing Fenzy. Gateway.
Fur is Green. FMFT
The insanity epidemic. Moonbattery. Paranoia, stupidity, or plain boredom with life?
Insty found this brewing story about the Clintons and Vin Gupta.
This came in over the transom (thanks, C):
Stuart Brown describes Norbert Rosing's striking images of a wild polar bear playing with sled dogs near Churchill, Manitoba on
The photographer was sure that he was going to see the end of his huskies when the polar bear materialized out of the blue, as it were:
The rest of the photos and story on continuation page below:
Continue reading "Bear Story"
While persuing trips for next summer this weekend, the Mrs. reminded me of her long-time wish to visit the Shetlands and the Outer Hebrides.
Photo: The Isle of Harris
Total Control: How Brussels regulates our daily lives. Der Spiegel
The Times of London tentatively outs Hillary Clinton
American Thinker outs the Nazis
Chauncey Bailey and Oakland's Moslem Bakers. Classical Values
Immigrants an economic boon to NY State? NY Sun. I see no distinction made between legal and illegal in the story, and I wonder about those numbers.
Rowan Williams - Public Embarassment. Roger Kimball
From useful idiot to useless idiot. The Tanja Nijmeijer story.
When Social Security was initiated by FDR as an effort to remove workers from the workforce to reduce politically-dangerous unemployment while virtuously cloaking it as "caring" for the old folks, politicians never publicly considered the long-term effect of that incentive.
Or did they?
Adding money to lower-, middle- and upper-class folks' retirement calculations helps incentivize them to quit being productive and to retire earlier while they are still able-bodied, paid for, as parasites, by a shrinking number of hard-working youngsters.
Politicians never think long-term (but, in the defence of those in the 1940s, folks in their 60s now are in far better shape that folks in their 60s then). Politicians think election, job, power, importance, ego, etc. But we know better: The Law of Incentive and the Law of Unintended Consequences are always in force. The Feds need an "Office of Consequences and Incentive" along with the "Office of the Budget."
Mankind is powerfully motivated by money, and that will never change. Money offers choices. Many have commented on Megan McArdle's fine piece on Social Security, but I will link this piece on her piece.
I believe Social Security should be income- and asset- balanced, but it will never happen. It's an entitlement now: another freebie on the backs of others.
Photo: Ida May Fuller, supposedly the first Social Security check recipient
Sunday, November 25. 2007
Survived Thanksgiving with 23 relatives, and gave abundant thanks. Next comes Christmas Eve, my favorite night of the year. A delicious random photo from ye olde Maggie's Farm sideboard from Thanksgiving. Relatives brought their best stuff, but I bought a case of Jarhead Red.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 17:02 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
The Greatest Generation won the war, but how were they as parents? Walter Williams, via Driscoll.
Drive-by immigrants from Canada
Who wins in shareholder lawsuits? Coyote
"Can I claim my minority status now?" Protein on 9-11 conspiracy theorists
We, and others, warned about this last winter: The Dems could be making the wrong bet on Iraq. Hillary was shrewd - but not wise - to muddle her statements and to say many different things to many different audiences.
Chavez is getting hysterical, and more scarey.
The spiritual discipline against resentment. With reference to Christopher Lasch. Prof Deneen.
How good John Howard left Australia (big mistake to retire him, but I think they got tired of his face):
Photo: I saw one of those over a river this weekend, looking exactly like that. That's an immature Bald Eagle.
This tape is from 1966. This charming tune was never recorded on an album. Lyrics here.
A repost from 2005:
Birding (it used to known as bird-watching but that didn't sound cool, and birders are of course cool) is the most popular and rapidly growing form of outdoor recreation in America.
Besides all of the excellent birding handbooks that are out these days, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology has a good basic site for basic info and identification, All About Birds, which we use all the time. They also have an advanced site, The Birds of North America, which is by subscription.
Photo: Two warblers after banding. These are immature birds in fall plumage, a Mourning Warbler on top and a Connecticut Warbler below.
Mankind is killing the entire universe? Dino. There's a subject for Gaghdad Bob.
LA Times tries to make beach erosion into a global warming issue. Dumb, or deceptive?
The vast power of the Saudi lobby. Israpundit
Up to one billion songbirds may be killed during each migration - hitting glass.
Worst archbishop in history? Times Online. Commenter Tony G says:
Stockholm Syndrome? Kidnapped by Taliban and now defending Jihad.
My sense is that Hillary Clinton's heroes are Saul Alinsky and Eleanor Roosevelt. A good summary of Alinsky's political tactics for radicals here. A sample:
33When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One."
36The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself."
38There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
40But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? 41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."
42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
43Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."
Image: A Duccio Crucifixion
Saturday, November 24. 2007
I'm going to put an excerpt from The Guardian on here in a second. The Guardian, for those of you that aren't Anglophiles, is sort of the British Isles' intellectual appendix. That is to say, it doesn't seem to serve any positive function; it collects detritus; is dangerous if it ruptures into the body politic; and even though its removal from your life seems to have no deleterious effect, you just leave it there and ignore it unless it gets inflamed.
Anyway, we read the The Guardian because we are dying to know whether Bush is Hitler, or Bush is Mussolini; and they are the only ones that cover that waterfront 24/7 to our satisfaction. Personally I lean towards Hitler, as old Musso's girlfriend Clara Petacci was a babe and I can't picture George with any babes eating anything bolognese. While we were seeking Bushitlerburton guidance at the Guardian, we came across this nugget. It's industrial strength stupid. I'm talking worthy of enshrinement on the Mount Rushmore of Moronic Observations. It is profoundly dumb, which is hard to do. There's really no point in reading the whole thing. You can if you want, but like many such things, you get the idea of everything that goes throught the mind of such a person from the snippet, which appears to be lonely and pointless trip, and now you can ignore everything else he ever says forevermore.
Continue reading "Industrial Strength Stupid - Britannic Boogaloo"
Fred Thompson on the Democrats this week (h/t, Surber)
“It’s like they’re all in training for the NASCAR, you know, nothing but a left turn, just steady as she goes, all the way around.”
Got any rabid Moonbat relatives?
Man, I do. Our loyal readers are lucky that I got out of there alive. I was close to getting waterboarded, if not tied up and thrown into one of the several roaring fires in the fireplaces (they have four in the antique farmhouse).
All I did was to ask three entirely innocent and unprovocative questions in a mild-mannered, friendly fashion: 1. What if Iraq works out well? 2. Have you ever tried to find out where your "recycled" glass ends up? and 3. Who do you want to pay your medical bills for you? Apparently I am an "idiot," "greedy," "in denial" and a "blind Bush-lover."
There was no possibility of calm, rational discussion. My fault: I have a couple of glasses of wine and I open my big mouth. I gracefully retired from the field after being asked "Didn't you see Al Gore's movie? Didn't you see the hockey stick graph?"
It's almost enough to make a Conservative/Libertarian like me decide to register as a Republican. Every one of these folks is prosperous by statistics (top 1% income, but far higher in assets like investments, home, second houses and land), and expensively over-educated - and each one of them has an envious, brooding, toxic contempt for the presumptively "criminally wealthy." Why do they care about what others do? And why so ungrateful for their freedom to chose their own lives in their own way? Why so bitter?
I am the only one who isn't even in the top 25% income category (I am at about the US average, with no assets other than a modest IRA, a $31,000 savings account in a Vanguard bond fund, a half-paid off Ford F-150 at 0% interest, and a powerful server and router rescued from my friend's company's discards. My modest and comfy living quarters, with wood stove, are rented. I do not do debt, and I do not need stuff; I desire no wine cellar and I drink good beer happily at Rudy's Bar and Grill. Yes, I could use a sweetie wife, if I can find a serious keeper to whom to devote myself.)
I don't give a damn what other people do or make because I chose my own path in life: I do not covet other peoples' money nor would I ask or expect anyone to pay my bills. I believe that my freedom from government power is my wealth and my inheritance, purchased with the blood of my ancestors and of my fellow countrymen.
For that historically rare and remarkable blessing I am fortunate - and profoundly thankful every day - not just on Thanksgiving.
NPR explains why Bush is Hitler. Moonbattery
What is a "cargo cult"? h/t, BL
More on how they think of us. Dissident Frogman
Secular Shakers. As long as these Gaia-worshippers, with a doctrine approximating child-sacrifice, keep this up, they may mercifully remove their genes from the gene pool.
Patri Friedman in a comment to his own post:
He's a thoughtful guy with all sorts of interests. Going to our Blogroll so we don't forget to keep up with him.
If you have been away from the blog for a few day as I have, you might have missed The Barrister's heart-warming Thanksgiving reminiscences. Also worth a look - my link on Weds to The Feminization of Churches/
Friday, November 23. 2007
A re-post from April, 2005:
I keep a pair of cheap Nikon 7X35 compact binocs in the car, just in case I happen to encounter an interesting bird. They work very well as opera glasses, too.
For marine use - not for birding but for looking around - I like a 7X50. Mine are inexpensive but good enough, and with the exposure to salt water and banging, I don't want to worry about them.
For more serious birding and nature-watching, I like my Minox rubber-coated 8X32s. Darn good lenses, and you don't want additional magnification for wildlife except in special circumstances.
The cool birders who want to spend the money use Swarovskis - but the very best birders I know can ID any bird with any old cheap compact binoculars, unless they are distant, on a beach or prairie. Then a spotting scope is essential.
Great source for binocs - Binoculars.com. They also have night-vision optics, spotting scopes, and rifle scopes.
Photo: Swarovski 8X42s.
On this lovely
Re the ''left parties" link in the previous post, here are two eye-openers:
The first from Tax Prof Blog, a quote:
“The 50-state ranking has a decided Red State-Blue State flavor: 28 of the 29 “most generous” states are Red States that voted for President Bush (including all 25 of the “most generous” states), while 17 of the 21 “least generous” states are Blue States that voted for Senator Kerry (including all 7 of the “least generous” states).”
Does government ever work? If not, then why give them more to do? EU Ref
Great bathrooms of NYC. Coyote
Immigrant sense of entitlement. Powerline. We detest any sense of entitlement in immigrants or in citizens. If you want freedom, apply to come to the US. If you feel entitled to anything other than the gift of freedom, go elsewhere.
The Second Amendment case: Big Iguana. You know my opinion: Self-defence is the most fundamental civil right.
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Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 08:15 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)