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.
It appears Maggie's Farm readers and contributors were taken in by a hoax photograph. I hear tell that such things are rife on the Internet. I'm in a hurry, as I have a date witha Canadian Moose/Elk hybrid tonight, but I had time to locate the actual original source photograph for the now infamous Obamaphone hoax. As you can see, Obama's people have obviously airbrushed out the artery-clogging submarine sandwich Obama always devours for his lunches -- before having an evil cigarette. It's an obvious attempt to pander to the Minivan Mom demographic to "disappear" the sandwich like one of Stalin's out-of-favor colleagues, but politics is a rough and tumble business these days. And a man's gotta eat.
Even if you are faking it for a photo op, you might have the presence of mind to get the phone right. On the other hand, maybe the younger generation doesn't know how to use a land line. (OK, maybe it's photoshopped. The truth, these days, is getting harder and harder to discern...not that it was ever easy.)
Here's Diana West on "Pre-emptive Rage" at the Wash. Times. My only reaction to the fuss and the predictable Moslem "rage" and the rush of the Left to disparage and attack the film is this: What if Geert Wilders had made a short movie critiquing the Holy Bible? Would anybody say anything?
The Left likes the Islamists (only in the abstract, mind you - not for their dinner parties) because they imagine themselves to be rebelliously anti-Western civilization as they sip their Pinot Noir. The rest of 'em are just scared pantywaists, as Teddy Roosevelt would say, and don't want to poke a rattlesnake.
My opinion on Obama's race speech: Condescending to white folks. We aren't stupid, and we aren't racist - and we are sick of "conversations about race." If black folks want to join Team America, then somebody like Obama ought to tell them how to do it, because he joined it, like so many fine black folks I know.
Thought I might share the data from a meeting tonight about vitamins, health, and cancer. The short version:
- Do not take folate-containing supplements unless you are bearing babies. (Unfortunately, the government in its infinite wisdom mandated its addtion to bread and other foods for the benefit of child-bearing women who eat terrible diets.) - Adults should not bother with vitamin supplements, except... - it's probably a good idea for most people to take 2000 iu of Vit D3 daily (which is actually a hormone, not a vitamin) even if you spend time outdoors, and... - 20 minutes of daily exercise is a good thing.
"High water risin' - risin' night and day All the gold and silver are being stolen away Big Joe Turner lookin' East and West From the dark room of his mind He made it to Kansas City Twelfth Street and Vine Nothing standing there High water everywhere
High water risin', the shacks are slidin' down Folks lose their possessions - folks are leaving town Bertha Mason shook it - broke it Then she hung it on a wall Says, "You're dancin' with whom they tell you to Or you don't dance at all." It's tough out there High water everywhere
I got a cravin' love for blazing speed Got a hopped up Mustang Ford Jump into the wagon, love, throw your panties overboard I can write you poems, make a strong man lose his mind I'm no pig without a wig I hope you treat me kind Things are breakin' up out there High water everywhere
High water risin', six inches 'bove my head Coffins droppin' in the street Like balloons made out of lead Water pourin' into Vicksburg, don't know what I'm going to do "Don't reach out for me," she said "Can't you see I'm drownin' too?" It's rough out there High water everywhere
Well, George Lewis told the Englishman, the Italian and the Jew "You can't open your mind, boys To every conceivable point of view." They got Charles Darwin trapped out there on Highway Five Judge says to the High Sheriff, "I want him dead or alive Either one, I don't care." High Water everywhere
The Cuckoo is a pretty bird, she warbles as she flies I'm preachin' the Word of God I'm puttin' out your eyes I asked Fat Nancy for something to eat, she said, "Take it off the shelf - As great as you are a man, You'll never be greater than yourself." I told her I didn't really care High water everywhere
I'm getting' up in the morning - I believe I'll dust my broom Keeping away from the women I'm givin' 'em lots of room Thunder rolling over Clarksdale, everything is looking blue I just can't be happy, love Unless you're happy too It's bad out there High water everywhere."
"High Water (For Charley Patton)," from 2001's Love and Theft. Here is a decent performance from the spring 2007 tour (the album version, BD will agree, remains the best, never really topped in live performances).
The essay, Are We Really That Ill? (in which the author notes that, according to that Psychiatric diagnostic manual "DSM", half of us are mentally ill) in the NY Sun has been referenced frequently this week. And regrettably so, because the author is a Professor of English and knows little of the practice of Psychiatry. I only have the time to address one of his statements:
With over a million copies in print, the manual is known as the bible of American psychiatry; certainly it is an invoked chapter and verse in schools, prisons, courts, and by mental-health professionals around the world.
Yes, it is invoked often - but it is no bible. No well-trained Psychiatrist uses it as a tool for understanding or treatment. It was designed as a research tool, so that researchers would share definitions. It rapidly became a tool for filling out the "diagnosis code" space on insurance forms so that patients might be eligible for some medical reimbursement.
Many of the "diagnoses" listed are not illnesses in any usual sense: nictotine addiction, insomnia, alcohol abuse, post-traumatic stress, personality disorders, ADD, and "adjustment disorder" are just a few examples of the listed items which are common parts of the human condition, but which are subjects of medical research and which are things for which people often ask for help. But they aren't illnesses - they are insurance codes.
I heard one whinny at around 5 AM on Good Friday. It's a treat to hear, and I hope that it means we will have a nesting pair of these pigeon-sized little owls in the area.
Maybe I should put up a Screech Owl nest box, but there are so many trees with holes around here that it's probably not necessary. I have never had to chase them out of any of my Wood Duck boxes, but they are known to occupy them. I had neighbors who had a pair for years using their Wood Duck house on a tiny island in a pond (which seemed reckless of the owls, to me). You could see the owl's face, sometimes, sunning itself in the hole.
It's unusual to see them. Practically speaking, the only way you would know that they are around is by hearing them at night. These owls do not mind suburbia at all, and are probably breeding in all five boroughs of New York City.
These nocturnal birds are not rare everywhere east of the Rockies, and come in Red, Brown, and Grey races. They do not screech; they have a trill and a ghostly whinny. One more of those eery night-time sounds.
E-mail petitions are NOT acceptable to Congress or any other municipality. To be acceptable, petitions must have a signed signature and full address. Almost all e-mails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards.
All it was, and all this type of e-mail is, is to get names and "cookie" tracking info for telemarketers and spammers to validate active e-mail accounts for their own purposes. Any time you see an e-mail that says forward this on to "10" of your friends, sign this petition, or you'll get good luck, or what ever, it has either an e-mail tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and e-mails of those folks you forward to, or the host sender is getting a copy. Each time it gets forwarded, then the origination is able to get lists of "active" e-mails to use in spam e-mails, or sell to others that do. (If you have been sending out the above kinds of email, now you know why you get so much spam!)
NO MARRIAGE, PLEASE, We're British: "The number of Britons tying the knot has collapsed to a record low, it has emerged. The proportion of men and women getting married is below any level found since figures were first kept nearly 150 years ago. . . . The evidence that marriage is withering away at an increasing pace was met with a furious response from critics of Labour's benefits system, which disregards the status of husbands and wives and pays parents extra to stay single." Well, that's certainly going to produce the ideal society.
As I have discussed frequently here, people in America who fall into the poverty income stats (which significantly do not include govt and charity help - or take assets into account like our Maine blueberry famer with a 200-acre farm) because:
1. They do not function well or adjust well in civilized society, for whatever variety of reasons. 2. They don't care and are content with - or at least not motivated by - their economic condition (eg organic farmers in VT, moonshiners in the Kentucky hills, starving artists and actors, people following their hearts, blueberry farmers in Maine, Maine Guides, Indians on reservations where there is little work, ski bums, real bums (including San Francisco runaway kids), welfare and disability addicts, Vermont farm hands, people who remain in the old town after the jobs have left, old hippies in N. Calif., etc.). 3. They don't report their income (there's a huge cash-only economy in the US - not to mention "real" crime). 4. They are the temporary poor - students, new immigrants, people between jobs or people starting out in life or new careers. 5. They ran into some bad luck or made some bad financial decisions and life choices (eg getting over their heads in debt, crushed by medical problems, being single moms, having no savings and living on Social Security, drug addicts, folks in jail, etc.).
Furthermore, as long as poverty income stats are based on the lowest X%, it will never go away - even if, as it appears now, American poor have large-screen TVs, air-conditioned homes, and cars - and tend to be overweight.
Somebody - not a sociologist - should go out there and interview some poor people and get their real stories. It would be revealing. I know plenty of their stories and know what poverty is about because I work one day a week, pro bono, at a charity medical clinic in Boston - but I cannot tell those stories here.
The subject comes up because Steve Malanga has written the definitive report at City Journal: Getting Poverty Wrong, and it turns out that family structure accounts for the main problem. One quote:
The Census Bureau’s study on the living arrangements of American children appeared in mid-February. The data show that the number of children now living in two-parent families has dipped just below the 70 percent mark for the first time since the Census began collecting data on family formation nearly 130 years ago. After peaking in the 1950s—when about 87 percent of all children lived with two parents—the traditional family went through a rapid decline beginning in the 1970s and has continued to shrink over the last three decades, though the rate of decline has slowed somewhat. As part of this sweeping change, the percentage of children living with married parents has fallen more rapidly, down more than two full percentage points, to 66.6 percent of all kids, in the last 10 years alone. Consistent with these decreases has been a sharp rise in the number of children living with single parents and with unmarried parents.
The economic impact of this breakdown has been profound. Researchers estimate that the entire rise in poverty in America since the late 1970s can be attributed to “changes in family formation,” a euphemism for the decline of families headed by two married parents. The latest Census data illustrate the problem. Only one out of ten American kids living in two-married-parent families is in poverty—and about one-third of these families are recent immigrants whose poverty is temporary. By contrast, 37 percent of children living with single mothers are impoverished.
Last year when Antarctica set a new record for ice extent, it got no media attention. They focused on the north polar regions where the ice set record low levels. This summer when unprecedented anomalous cover continued in the Southern Hemisphere again no coverage. Then this report in the news today. You probably saw it on your favorite network or internet news site (pick one, anyone).