THE GEITHNER CONFIRMATION: “Tacit permission for everyone to cheat on taxes.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Feel like a chump?
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
Wednesday, January 28. 2009
The 40-year wish list. That's exactly what I've been thinking. Every Dem in Congress has his long pent-up list, and suddenly he is the kid in the candy shop, with unlimited funds.
In the telling words of Rahm Emanuel, "Never let a serious crisis go to waste."
Who is going to pay for all of this candy?
Asa Yoelson, aka Al Jolson, one of the top American entertainers of the 20th Century. A reader reminded us that Dylan thinks of Jolson and Sinatra as his role models/inspirations for making a song come alive with good phrasing.
Here's some Jolson:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:12 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
The earth has a
It's the economy, girlfriend. NYT
Who was Arthur Rimbaud? A teenage dirtbag?
Your government bureaucrats at work.
Some scummy, low-life, ungrateful guy wants to sue US Airways. Maybe he doesn't believe in Hell. He should believe: he is it, or is in it.
Texas added jobs in 2008.
Bernard Goldberg on the press' man-crush on Obama
Culinary Olympics begin in France
All sorts of good stuff to read at Powerline
Obama admin tries to destroy US auto biz. No, not rational.
The Sarah PAC. Why not?
The Pope and Mozart's Mass in C Major. SISU. The Pope:
About 8" of fresh snow today on top of the previous 6''.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:03 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
I am snowed-in today. Going nowhere past the end of my driveway with my snowplow. My road hasn't seen a plow yet this morning, and it's coming down hard and fast and blowy. Beautiful. I will light a fire, feed the birds, do some plowing, sip some sherry, catch up on some paperwork, and do some billable work too. Maybe find a new topic for a future post, if something piques my curiosity. Maybe bundle up and boot up and take a hike in the woods.
Re the Kesler post below, via the above-named essay at Politico:
I agree. But since when is politics rational? It's sales and marketing.
From guest poster Bruce Kesler -
I heard Rush Limbaugh on radio say that the stimulus bill being worked on in Washington should be split in proportion of the popular vote percentages for Obama and McCain between Democrat ideas of “infrastructure” and Republican ideas of “tax cuts.”
One is never sure whether Rush is joking. Regardless, I gagged. (Ed note: It was irony, BK)
Indeed, I’m gagging at the whole stimulus discussions. Whether spending or tax cuts. The concept of the stimulus bill is that by putting more money in some people’s pockets, demand for goods and services will be increased, which will stimulate business spending. There are several slips between cup and lip in this.
First, much of the demand we were accustomed to was speculation, and much else was reckless to prudent family budgets. Much home and auto buying, as well as much other consumer spending, was by those who couldn’t afford the purchases. This should not be restimulated. Those who can afford purchases will make purchases.
Second, relatively few of those who can afford purchases are rejected for credit. Loosening credit will mostly reallow those who cannot afford purchases to resume.
Third, though the stimulus bill is not based on currently increasing most taxes, unless we want to see a future major inflation tax on everyone due to this huge deficit spending we will see huge future tax increases on most to pay for the otherwise unsustainable deficit spending.
In short, the very idea of the stimulus bill is inane.
There may be grounds for some very, very limited and targeted, proven boosts to some people or businesses in real dire need, provided it does not become ongoing or contrary to their getting their affairs and operations in effective order.
The rest is sheer hooey. The politicians who support it are just trying to buy votes and contributions from their constituencies, at the expense of everyone else and of reason.
See John Cochrane's Fiscal Stimulus, Fiscal Inflation, or Fiscal Fallacies
John Updike died. I read all of his Rabbit books, and a few others. But I like his essays best.
Germany's choice: Power, or sitting cold in the dark
What Euroland is up against in recession
Mankiw on Barro on stimulus
JR Dunn on Obama's first week and the economy:
Tuesday, January 27. 2009
"A dark hour for the Netherlands." You may insult Christianity all you want, but don't hurt the tender, sensitive and delicate Islamic feelings. Allah supposedly hates that, and would like your head separated from the rest of your body to emphasize his holy, sacred point.
h/t to Moonbattery for this excellent bit by Pat Condell re Geert Wilders' insane and frightening persecution. Yes, we are all sick and tired of Islam and the multicultural Mafia - and also of the Dutch-style suicidal idiocy. What's in their water? If a religious belief cannot handle a little multicultural criticism, what good is it?
Our version of Godwin's Law: This is like the Spanish Inquisition. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.
Deeply related: Never be rude to an Arab
Come and get us, you Dutch moonbats. You are a disgrace to your heritage and your history.
From The Teaching Company. Building Great Sentences: The Writer's Craft along with Argumentation: The Study of Effective Reasoning.
I have listened to the Argumentation series and enjoyed it a great deal. In fact, listening to it persuaded me that structured and rule-bound disputation is an excellent way to get to the heart of things, if not to ultimate Truths.
It is no doubt obvious to readers that I have not yet listened to the Building Great Sentences series.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:14 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Stolen in toto from Insty:
Right Wing Prof's Clown Awards for 2008. Nice job, Prof. You had lots of material from which to chose.
Why shrinks are allowed to insult you. If you want to be told that you're perfect, don't talk to one.
Dems full of denial and hypocrisy on the stimulus package. We have been sufficiently frightened by the MSM, and now we are about to get mugged.
Hut For Sale, and other unusual real estate offerings
Those innocent Gitmo grads
Muggers advise on how to deal with muggers. Hmmm.
Is dissent still patriotic? Driscoll. Probably not.
The swindle of carbon credits. No kidding. Big-time scam.
How come Jeff Skilling is in jail and Rick Wagoner isn't? Coyote
The Obama campaign will live on as a propaganda machine
This isn't what I marched and petitioned for. Classical V
Wilmington, Ohio, and what a stimulus cannot do.
California passes the tipping point. Yes, it is called "serfdom," but the crazy thing about it is that this return to the 12th century is voluntary. I guess many voters find the role comforting: I will work for the Lord of the Manor, and he will care for me. Freedom and independence aren't for everybody, maybe.
Obama's graciousness deficit. It isn't consistent with his public Fred Astaire, metrosexual presentation.
Kristol leaving NYT after one year. I generally like to read him, but never found his NYT pieces to be all that good. They should give John Hinderaker a call.
Shut up and sing or play. Can you ever go to hear music without getting a political lecture, or at least some gratuitious political comment? Powerline. Ed: Funny, I just commented to somebody yesterday that what bugs me the most about this sort of thing is the assumption that "we're all bien pensant, sophisticated, smart people here and not knuckle-draggers or gun-clinging rednecks, and so we surely all agree that (enter name of Repub or Conservative) is a total ignorant a-hole."
A reader sent a nice photo of a Cedar Waxwing in an apple tree in Lenox, Massachusetts, taken this past weekend. These birds can be seen in every state in the US either as breeders, migrants, or over-wintering.
These are usually flocking birds, and fruit is their favorite food. They have been known to get drunk or die from eating rotten, fermented fruit. They will roam the countryside all winter, stripping trees and vines of their remaining fruits and berries. That's why you will never see them at a bird-feeder.
You can read about this elegant songbird here. Interesting detail: the orange at the tip of the tail indicates that this bird ate plenty of Japanese Honeysuckle berries (an invasive alien species) when those feathers were growing.
Monday, January 26. 2009
Those photos of Florence, Alabama moved me to post this, a Dylan cover of the Grateful Dead's Alabama Getaway from 1997. I heard Dylan do this great song in New Haven around that time. Same band. He had so much incense or smoke or whatever he uses that you could barely see the band through it. And he did shake hands or slap hands with everybody up front, too. I do remember that he opened with a rousing Crash on the Levee that night, and did an acoustic set too including Girl from the North Country.
My theory is that he always likes to keep his band off balance and challenged. I do not think that they rehearse. Dylan was playing some interesting electric at this time.
Thanks to LGF for this dose of extreme cuteness:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:58 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
From Florence, Alabama -- a few shots from this weekend of the remarkable turn-of-the-century homes near downtown:
Our Editor sent me AVI's piece on the inauguration and the split-verb (and split infinitive) myth. It's clear to me that Justice Roberts' inner grammatical gyroscope resisted the grammatical error in "to faithfully execute..."
This grammatical issue is discussed at Volokh. Well, I will boldly go where many others have gone before, and offer my own views on the subject.
(But first, let me say that some blog writing tends to the off-the cuff, conversational, informal (ie sloppy) writing. Most of us have real jobs, and dash it off. Nevertheless, good habits like good character tends to shine through if we have them engrained. We aren't perfect in that way, and our own Grammatical Sticklers Gwynnie and Dylanologist sit like Jiminy Crickets on our shoulder to try to keep us in line. Grammar School was called that for a reason.)
Are "rules made to be broken"? Well, kinda-sorta. Grammatical rules can be broken for effect. Poets, orators, and good writers do that all the time. However, the effect is lost when the larger context of a transposition of words (a hyperbaton) is grammatically unsound too. Here's a good hyperbaton: "Constant you are, but yet a woman." (Henry IV). Here's one of mine: "I will happily attend your soiree
Life is the same way: if you do one crazy thing, it is dramatic. If you do crazy things all the time, it isn't.
Let's take a look at split infinitives. I am of the school that views them as grammatical errors and as evidence of lousy schooling (but not of lousy intelligence). Split verbs have always been a similar subject of grammatical dispute. It is difficult to have a conversation without using them, but they are awkward-sounding.
I don't want to endlessly beat a dead horse. I suppose my point is that solid grammar and solid language are supportive of clear thinking and clear communication, but that rules can be broken for rhetorical purposes - but only by those who otherwise use the rules most of the time.
Sort of off-topic: One of my pet peeves which I see everywhere these days is the use of the quasi-legal term "absent." It is a kind of Lazy English which some seem to feel sounds elevated. "Absent a coordinated Republican resistance, tax-dodger Timothy Geithner will be approved as the new boss of the IRS." What's wrong with good old "without"?
Image: Sculpture of "Grammar" as one of the Seven Liberal Arts, Munster Church, Frieberg, c. 1270. As the source notes, "Notice that Grammar has a pretty good hold on the ear of one student and is holding a hefty cudgel that could whack the split infinitives and dangling participles from between the ears of any young and stubborn head."
The politics of campaigning are so simple: I’m going to beat you and leave you dead in a snowbank in New Hampshire and never look back.
Lawrence O'Donnell, via our Caroline link this morning. He goes on to say in the New Yorker piece:
Prof. John Sutherland says those have been the three dominant story-telling tools in English, since Beowulf.
His Classics of British Lit. at The Teaching Company is a delight. (I hate the word "literature." I prefer to call it "story-telling.") Get the CDs and, as Mark Levin would say, Thank me.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 09:43 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Finally, nice and warm this morning for a change from VT. 16 F here in NYC. That's global warming for you. Funny how it can feel colder without any wind, and the air itself feels frozen into a lifeless stillness. That's why I never bought into that wind chill nonsense.
The NHS: A National Disgrace
Feel sorry for wildly irresponsible people. Ben Stein
The Global Warming Scare is over. Monckton
The Afghanistan quagmire? Why does the NYT label everything difficult as a "quagmire"? As Jules notes, they are in one of their own.
A stimulus package for ACORN. Good grief. Can any organization be more discredited?
Asset prices need to fall. I agree. It's bad-tasting medicine. Related: A sensible critique of Dem spending. I think it's pure pork, and will do harm. A full-daylight raid on the treasury, and a theft from our kids.
Caroline: Profile in Vanity
Quote from Weisberg:
Sunday, January 25. 2009
Through the Khyber Pass to the tribal region to shop at the largest gun markets in the world. Don't miss this video. (Thanks, reader.)
Cognitive biases aren't formal logical fallacies, but I put them in my Fallacy Collection anyway.
In one short post in the realm of economics titled When Stupid is Smart, Stumbling hits on a bunch of my old favorites: The Gambler's Fallacy, The Hot Hand Fallacy, the Focusing Effect, The Status Quo Bias, Wishful Thinking, and the like.
He makes the point, as we have done here in the past, that cognitive biases save time, and that sometimes a quick, suboptimal decision is better than a slow, perfect one. Sometimes.
This is why Rush remains so good. He responds to Obama with good cheer and without rancor, while going straight to the heart of the matter. Byron York. One quote:
Completely related, The Audacity of Obama at Powerline. He has big plans for us, and it makes me uncomfortable.
The "Can" is probably the most sought-after duck for hunters (but I know I have described Mallards and Black Ducks similarly). Not only is his 60 mph flight a challenge, but he is considered the most tasty duck at the table. He is probably tasty because, despite being a diving duck, he prefers plant material. He's fairly large, too.
He breeds in the West and Northwest up through Alaska, but winters all along the Eastern Seaboard. You can read about them here.
Gwynnie took this photo of a male Can in breeding plumage on Saturday in CT. The sloped head is diagnostic, even in poor light. I suspect that he used a long lens:
Went to see Slumdog last night, but both seatings were sold out.
Waxman as Boogie Man
Would a nicer NRA be more effective? Reason
Mitch Daniels, Hoosier rock star
Black preachers did not like Obama's religious references
What's up with GE? Megan. Always been one of my favorite stocks...
Is Iran terrorism's Mother Regime?
I didn't know PBS did stuff like this: Lesson Plan on the Economy
Welcome back Carter? Anchoress
Sarkozy to rescue French newspapers.
Eric Holder on the fairness doctrine. NRO
Female tree below from Theo, of course.