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, February 26. 2008
The ugly end of the Ponzi housing bubble.
Since when is being labelled a Moslem a smear?
Why is eating meat unacceptably patriarchal?
Religion shopping in America
Global warmists try to stifle debate. John Fund
The economy, bad decisions, and the endless pursuit of stuff, quoted from Free Republic:
No more Mr. Nice Guy: Clinton to throw kitchen sink at Obama
Female sexual predators. Why should that be puzzling?
Having fun with hippies
And speaking of firearms, the Prof likes this wheelgun.
And speaking of hippies and weapons, here's a good example of how our MA intelligentsia thinks.
Detroit schools. Quote from Surber:
I am only an average man but, by George, I work harder at it than the average man.
I have read a number of comments and reviews of Dr. Lyle Rossiter's book The Liberal Mind: The Psychological Causes of Political Madness. I suppose I should read it, but I wish I had taken the time to write it myself, because the themes of the book seem close to much of what I have posted here about liberty.
A quote from a WorldNetDaily review:
I know exactly what is meant here, but I have reservations about terming it "neurotic," which implies internal unconscious conflict. I think Dr. R. means "irrational."
When we talk about the beliefs of others, everybody tends to views those who disagree as irrational or uninformed. The fact is that peoples' convictions and attitudes can be based on any mix of emotion, experience, emotional tendencies, fantasy, personality type, logic, self-interest, intelligence and amount of information they have, emotional maturity, and so forth. There are many recipes that end up with a bowl of Chili.
For example, I know some Liberal types who are as benevolent, independent, intelligent, and high-functioning as can be, and who want nothing from the government. And I have met (and often read) Conservatives (and Liberals too) who seem driven, in part, by a paranoid undercurrent and sense of grievance.
Thus I think that the psychology of beliefs is complicated. As readers know, I prefer to use individual liberty as my starting point in political discussion, rather than psychology. Individual liberty is what my ancestors fought, died, and lived for and the realization of it, and the reverence for the idea, is what differentiates the US from the rest of the civilized world. I believe that life in a world of individual liberty is risky, often difficult, often daunting, filled with failure, but offers endless opportunity to pursue the realization of dreams. Still, liberty is obviously not for everybody, as voting patterns indicate. Not even a majority of Americans supported the Revolution.
The failure of modern "Liberalism" to maintain the ideals of personal liberty associated with classical liberalism is discouraging for me. Modern Liberals seem to celebrate leftist dictators, and, as I have posted, How Come Liberals never talk about Liberty? Clearly it is because they do not revere the founding ideas of America. I do revere them as the highest and most noble expression of the human spirit.
Image: Trumbull's painting of Cornwallis' surrender.
For at least 100 years, there has been a slow, steady flow of power from the individual to the state in the US. Despite American history, American ideals, and some parts of the Constitution which have grown weak with disuse, these flows of power have been approved by voters. Both liberals and Republicans have played roles in this trend, and even Reagan was (unwillingly) in the grip of this populist, quasi-socialistic trend which, in my view, amounts in the end in little more than a series of power grabs from people to government, with little to show for what was bought with that bowl of lentils other than more financial security for the poor and the removal of government-supported racial discrimination.
This trend has been driven by Leftist populism, and opposed, especially in the past 30 years, by Conservative populism. (Both populisms are interestingly discussed here in the WSJ.) Populisms sell dreams, usually with an "us vs. them" theme as an emotional hook. Paul at Powerline takes a gander at Obama's populist dream-marketing (my highlighting).
As the nurse-anesthetist said to me before they put me out for my last colonoscopy, "Pick a dream." My dream for America is to reclaim the best of our pre-60s, pre-1930s historical character and ideals. But, OK, I am rambling, and posting truisms. I'll stop for now, and close with this:
Monday, February 25. 2008
The God particle (h/t to ?)
The "Monkey Theorem" is wrong.
Obama seeks to reassure Jewish voters.
Debating legacy admissions to college.
These folks make remarkable toys.
The roller coasters and ferris wheels are remarkable, but the main thing with k'nex is putting them together. It's a challenge, a 3-D puzzle, and that's the fun of it. Like Legos.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:26 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
It ain't Baryshnikov - it is square-dancing tractors and a real Maggie's Farm sort of simple, county fair entertainment (h/t, Theo):
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:25 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Quoted in a thoughtful discussion at David Thompson about the Left's internal conflict between internationalism and nationalism:
Read the whole thing.
It turns out that Aristotle, not Jean Buridan, first came up with the logical paradox of the hungry, thirsty ass who dies, paralyzed by indecision between a bucket of water and a pile of hay.
Viking mentions the Dem version, with its apparent solution:
Our editor mentions another one: A MA Yankee torn between his attachment to the Berkshire Hills and Cape Cod. (God forbid that leaves you stuck inside of Worcester, MA with the Memphis blues.)
“Liberals, it has been said, are generous with other peoples' money, except when it comes to questions of national survival when they prefer to be generous with other people's freedom and security.”
William F. Buckley, Jr.
I'm hungry. Got any grub?
If you vote for Hillary, you must be a racist. If you vote for Obama, you must be a sexist. Classical Values. If you live by PC, you will die by PC.
Department of Hillbilly Studies?
Riehl: Women seem to want politicians who sympathize with how hard they work. Pathetic, but it might be the reality. Pathetic because it's their husbands and kids who should appreciate their efforts - not politicians.
Too many elephants? How can anybody have too many?
Is the NYT news dept in free fall?
Old blighty might be ready for dhimmitude, but I doubt that Doritos is ready.
Clinton staff unravelling
Quit the ridiculous Obama bashing, says Rick.
The politics of illegal immigration. Wizbang. Lots of differing views out there.
Game with hunting equipment, by Willem van Aelst, 1660
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 07:00 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, February 24. 2008
If he really cares about me, he should shut up about no taxes for the greedy geezers (Why just them? Why not me, too?), and free health care, and all that nonsense. He should just do something truly useful: pay our dang Costco food bills.
Food prices are shockingly unprogressive for this enlightened, progressive era. America can do better, and there is no justice in the filthy rich paying the same price that I pay for a nice butterflied New Zealand leg o' lamb.
I paid $477.89 this afternoon to fill one lousy cart (admittedly the giant-sized Costco cart, full of lots of meat like lamb, salmon, pork loin, burger, and filets - and cheeses and fruit to supply us for a couple of weeks, plus ten years' worth of those skinny French string beans, plus the usual cleaning supplies and the random impulse buys that Costco thrives on), not to mention the gas to get there (20 miles). Food is more important and essential than anything else. Come on, Barry! "Universal Food Care" : promise me Costco food will be free in the beautiful future we all dream of.
Consider the same for Home Depot stuff, too, Barry. We cannot live without tools and lumber and cement and windows and screws and toilet parts and stuff like that. Simple justice requires that these things should be free, same as food.
I am back home from the snowy hills of Vermont. Global cooling, I can report, is in full swing up there.
From Tim Blair:
Even Frank Rich notes Hillary Clinton's quagmire. Surrender now! I thought Liberals enjoyed surrender...What's all this fighting about?
How did we get to Obama as a Dem nominee? VDH. My simple-minded theory is that nobody likes Hillary Clinton. She is no Maggie Thatcher.
Even the likeable Commie Moonbat Pete Seeger is prouder of America than Mrs. Obama
Run, Ralph, run. He will. For those of you who do not live in Massachusetts, let me inform you that Nader fits right in.
Campus rape. It's everywhere, in theory. But rare as hen's teeth, in reality. What gives? Oh, now I get it. It's about feminist victim politics. Facts urgently needed to support theory. (Of course, one can always change definitions, too, when theory-support is required. I suspect that some of the lesbian feministas wish to view all heterosexual romance and fun as rape.)
Is there any relationship between global climate and hurricanes? No, but it surely causes earthquakes. Everybody knows that.
Oysters that I would never eat. Yeccch.
Another shot of Cannon Mtn. Ski Area, where cannonistas appreciate the lack of upscale amenities:
and a shot of the Franconia Inn, not far from Cannon Mtn. and Rte. 93:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:40 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
How free trade and open markets can save the world, materially speaking, with wealth, health, and easier lives. We linked this fascinating 20 minute Hans Rosling piece once before, but it deserves a repeat.
Good example of food fear-mongering by know-nothings.
The arrogant impotence of the EU. No Pasaran, who quotes a Kissinger interview:
Why Barack unnerves me. Roger Simon
Try this. Something to do with the brain's wiring.
172 years ago: The battle of the Alamo began
Wedding sleuths in India.
Microsoft: Vista Update might mess you up.
The moral hazard of a housing bailout. NYT
Wild rattler in upstate NY - first film of a wild rattler feeding
(with thanks to The Anchoress for the reminder of this hopeful Psalm of David who was, indeed, a big-time sinner)
Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
My offenses truly I know them;
That you may be justified when you give sentence
Indeed you love truth in the heart;
Make me hear rejoicing and gladness,
A pure heart create for me, O God,
Give me again the joy of your help;
O rescue me, God, my helper,
For in sacrifice you take no delight,
In your goodness, show favor to Zion:
Saturday, February 23. 2008
A recent email from a nephew:
Dear Uncle J:
You probably won't post this on your centrist PC blog, but let me make a case for affirmative action in so-called "selective" institutions of so-called "higher education."
As an undergraduate at an Ivy university, I have given up on any hopes of diversity of political opinion. The politics here are fashionably Maoist and this place is packed with tenured radicals left over from the 60s who still think their thinking is "advanced." It's a joke, really, and most of us see it for what it is.
However, I would like to see some "affimative action" in the admission policy for female undergrads.
Specifically, they need to make a serious effort to recruit and admit more cute females who are comfortable with their femininity. There are not enough of them to go around for us wholesome, regular heterosexual fellows, so we are forced to go elsewhere to find them; forced to forage widely and inconveniently to the environs of BC and, if desperate and half in the bag, BU.
Never to MIT, believe me.
What makes it worse is that some of the gal students here, who could look great, do not. As a socio-political fashion statement, they do not try to look good. They try to look dowdy, or 60s, or scholarly, or to create the illusion of indifference to their appearance, or to look like dikes. It's just not appealing to a guy for a female to look unfeminine.
I know that you will tell me that they will fix this appearance thing when they go for their job interviews at Goldman Sachs and McKinsey, but what about now? Would gals be drawn to me if I wore a skirt instead of khakis and a Brooks Brothers shirt? If it would work, I'd give it a try...
I think my idea is reasonable, since affirmative action is all about appearances anyway. So, as a consequence of my experience, I have decided to support the idea of affirmative action solutions to the statistically disproportionate lack of cute, charming, appealingly-dressed females on Ivy campuses - regardless of skin color, religion or lack thereof, ethnicity, dietary preference, or political orientation.
Your devoted nephew,
PS: I dare you to post this on Maggie's.
"Oh crap, I agree with Paul Krugman." Coyote
Michelle Obama's victocratic thesis. Does she imagine that only black women feel "out of it" in college? Wrong. Most people feel that way.
Kling on the elections: In November, the United States may take its strongest lurch to the left since 1933.
The trend holds: Obama leading in Texas polls.
Did the Columbia prof put the noose on her own door? She was in a bit of a jam, and nooses were all the rage that week.
Is the NYT looking to merge with The National Enquirer? How can they, if they are already a fully-owned subsidiary of the DNC?
This is a reposting from 2006, prompted by a post by Surber about the dramatic resurgence of the wolf populations in the northern Rockies. Also related to the Crichton video posted today.
The ways that ecological interactions take place is always fascinating to me, and unpredictable. The return of wolves to Yellowstone Park is a case study.
Wolves kill more elk, balancing the elk population and driving the elk to safe zones, thus permitting the return of normal willow growth along river edges, thus cooling and stabilizing rivers resulting in bigger trout, and happy songbirds, and generally more biodiversity. And the wolves kill coyotes, thus there are more fox and mice and little critters, and more and happier hawks. Sadly, a parvovirus from domestic dogs threatens the 170 Yellowstone wolves. I guess no-one brought them in for their shots.
"Apex predators" are a key piece of any ecological puzzle. I'd like to see our native Timber Wolf returned to New England, along with the Elk who used to live in the Northeast. It would solve the deer infestation and the coyote infestation, and might reduce the number of cats and dopey little ankle-biter dogs in suburbia, too. Politically, it might be tough - can you imagine running for state office with a campaign promise to return wolves to Pittsfield, MA? But maybe they will come under their own steam, the way the coyotes did - which were never native to the Northeast and which cannot take on a whitetail deer.
Friday, February 22. 2008
Skiing again in the morning. Okemo this time, and I am about to head up there for the weekend. Not a particularly challenging mountain (a "family mountain" for sure), but closer, and with the loan of a friend's condo and today's snow, some good fun without expense. Sometimes I wish that fall, with hunting, and winter with skiing, could simply rotate all year. One more reason to welcome the coming global cooling.
Bad decision, I think. No weapons screening in Texas for Obama rally. Heck, we get searched at Dylan concerts, and these rallys are no different from rock concerts.
Pours her heart out: Dr. Sanity on Ivy League Populism and the Path to Power. Preach it, Dr. S! What it is!
Reminder to LA Times: Illegal immigration is against the law. I think that is why it is called illegal, as in "a government of laws, not men."
Versatile. The always-chic Kim du Toit covers the fashion scene with flair.
Raise somebody else's taxes to help Chad. I want my iPod.
"And you want to run my country?" Althouse. No evidence of executive competence thus far.
Still hiding their incomes. Who? The Clintons, of course.
PressThink takes a thoughtful look at the NYT and the McCain content-less story. Makes ya wonder. Yes, The NYT is looking bad, again. I'd be embarassed to bring that "story" to my City Editor. My instinct tells me that the story was "ordered" from the top, and did not come from the guys on the ground. However, here's a real story that the NYT has not followed.
Similarly, a high school study is censored. Nowadays, if you censor information, it's all over the internet in 24 hrs.
More truth about Obama: His stance on gun rights. These lefties have absolutely no concept of the limits of government power which means, to me, no respect for the population. And what about this? Bernadette Dohrn?
America sucks and so does the military. That's really the story. It won't play in Peoria.
Did we mention this? The AP instructs on how to play the Fidel retirement story. OK, we all know that it's a happy country full of happy slaves, enjoying their "health care" while singing and dancing all day long, and never worrying their heads about politics at all. It probably is a paradise for the rulers, as long as they are sociopaths.
Back to Kindergarten. RW Prof advises Repubs to recognize that they are a coalition. Indeed. Otherwise we'd all be parties of one.
Feeling bad can be good for you. The miracle of melancholia. I guess I believe that the right amount of pain and heartache is good for us, but when do we get to say that we have had enough?
What happens when a Lefty wonders about global warming. Sheesh. Talk about Stalin.
A friend laid a box of the Ashton coronas on me last week to try, and I burned a few today while bumbling around. Very mild but a tasty flavor.
They are Dominican with a Connecticut shade wrapper. Funny how often those CT-grown wrappers return, eventually, back to New England.
Not expensive for the quality. An excellent everyday smoke.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:16 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)