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
Thursday, May 28. 2009
Your Wall of Bacon brekky above brought to you by Mr. Free Market. Too bad he doesn't deliver, because I could go for some blood sausage, bacon, and runny eggs right about now.
Judicial empathy for whom?
Sotomayor is a racist. neoneo. Could be, but it's the "right kind of racism."
Sotomayor's "struggle." Private schools all the way. Nice.
More evidence on the politics of the Chrysler dealerships
There is only one current head of state who served in uniform in WW2
Check out some things you may have missed at the new, improved NAS site
Do you know who the Ladies of Arlington are?
The world is run by crazy people.
When a pol has nothing to lose. Betsy on Dr. Tom Coburn
Bob and Willie: Pancho and Lefty, at Nelson's 60th Birthday Party
Sunday is the bicentenary of the death of our beloved Joseph Haydn. There is a good appreciation of him at Brussels Journal.
It's a good weekend to spend some time with him.
A planted space (aka "a garden") isn't a "space" without the sense of, a suggestion of, or the reality of, enclosure - regardless of scale; whether the scale is a 20X20' herb or rose garden or a 50-100 acre meadow bounded by woods or windbreaks. Just like a picture wants a frame.
I think that comfortable feeling is deeply embedded in the human soul, and it is the reason garden designers speak of outdoor "rooms." I kinda prefer designing or thinking about outdoor "hallways" - the paths which lead from space to space. Hallways, though, must lead to rooms or they have no meaning and no purpose.
Wednesday, May 27. 2009
Sorry about the unattractive link problem below, but they do work.
Guns, Intellect and Judgement are the Key Sotomayor Issues. Committee for Justice Blog: http://www.committeeforjustice.org/blog/2009/05/guns-intellect-judgment-are-key.html
Related from Kimball: Life Experience, Affirmative Action, and You: http://pajamasmedia.com/rogerkimball/2009/05/27/the-kind-of-justice-we-need-life-experience-affirmative-action-and-you/
George Will: Identity Justice - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/26/AR2009052602348.html
Andrew Jackson: American Lion by Newsweek editor Jon Meacham.
An imperfect but absorbing book about the Presidency of an interesting American during interesting times.
The Tennessean Andrew Jackson was a tough guy, but a loving, emotionally sensitive and volatile guy. A General and a hard-nosed pol - not a philosopher.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:18 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Websites like ours and AVI's have a deep respect for the power of tribalism in the human psyche.
For better or worse, it seems like an inevitable human force for birds of a feather to flock together regardless of our basic biological similarities.
Early Colonial America had very few tribes: The evangelical and intolerant Protestants, the crazy Dutch entrepreneurs, the various warring Indian tribes, and the small handful of welcome Jews in Rhode Island and Catholics in Maryland. And African slaves in both the South and North (and some free Africans in the North).
Today, we have all sorts of tribes all over the place, from all over the world. In a way, I can view the Sotomayor affirmative-action nomination as a nod to the tribalism that we acknowledge here as being a powerful force.
The "progressive" identity politics of the Dems meets primitive tribalism. Politics gets very strange when the shape of your genitalia and your ancestry determine your career and power. Full-circle to primitivism.
“If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.”
Tom Watson, via our link last weekend
The national fusion facility will be dedicated this week. Nobody knows whether it will work. I hope it does. Endless fountains of clean energy sounds good to me, as does any free lunch.
This should be a huge scandal, if true.
It's all about me! Kristol on Obama's character and the presidency.
Related: Obama and the I word. Roger Simon
Princeton reinstates tough grading standards. Let's hope it's a trend.
Seven bad ideas for medical reform: Cato
Krugman: Blame Repubs for California's mess. Huh?
Did you read the hilarious story of the Europeans who went to join the Taliban in Paki?
The tyranny of our FICO scores is just a measure of our addiction to credit.
Jules on the O:
Indeed, the O's manhood is being tested all over right now. Norks threaten military strike on S. Korea
Rotterdam update: It's a Muslim city now.
The death of literary studies. Protein:
What if Bush had...
Related: Media bias, golf edition:
The attempt to link the recession with medical costs was everywhere last week. Makes no sense.
Quoted at Thompson:
Tuesday, May 26. 2009
In an essay of the above title, Will Wilkinson compares David Brooks with Glenn Beck, and wonders what "Conservative" means in actual policy terms.
I think it's well-worth thinking about, if only for fun. One quote:
Read the whole thing. What we're talking about here is where abstract ideology and abstract terms and abstract rallying cries like "individualism" and "freedom" meet reality in the form of politics.
Me? I am a small-scale collectivist (family, church, village, charities), and decreasingly collectivist as power and money move further away from my personal experience and purview, and into the hands of people who pursue personal (mainly careerist) goals and games with money and power they have taken from me.
Barrister comment: I had read that Brooks piece. Wilkinson rightly notes "... Brooks goes wrong when he leaps from the biological facts of life to the “illusion” of individual agency and the desirability of a more communitarian culture." In fact, we view Individualism with its Judeo-Christian-Greek underpinnings as one of the, if not the most remarkable, contribution to Western civilization, and a giant advance for the human spirit on the external control cultures which preceded them. That revolutionary individualism said that a man can be his own master, that he need not be mastered or be a serf, and that the sacred spark in everyone requires this. Socialists, Communists, Liberal Communitarians, Totalitarians, Dictators, Mussolini-style Fascists, Kings of the Jungle and Kings of France are all communitarians who place the individual second to the whole.
Editor reply to The B: Thanks for that, B. By coincidence, but I was working yesterday on an entirely non-political post about ant colonies, and your comment seems relevant to that.
It only takes 2 minutes to watch.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 18:13 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
TigerHawk agreed with what I have said here many times: Retirement is over-rated. What is your number? The false promise of idle retirement.
He doesn't get to all of the important considerations, though.
First, many have no option but to retire. Laid-off career guys in their 50s have a tough time finding employment. Some (esp government) jobs offer pensions after x years which make continuing in the job economically silly. OK, they can do something else - and many do.
Second, as Tiger notes, many have jobs which they do not particularly enjoy or with which they have become bored - yet have life responsibilities to fulfill. An "attitude adjustment" might be nice, but it ain't so easy. The main reward of many if not most jobs is the sense of fulfilling a family responsibility rather than the work itself.
Third, many value the notion of being "idle." "Idle" may be the wrong word, though, because most retired folks seem to stay pretty busy, from what I see. It can mean more time for hobbies, for fishing and hunting and boating and mowing your own lawns and fields, doing your own home repairs, spending more time with friends, volunteering, and maybe more trips.
Fourth, I think "the number" is important. If you hit your number (which few can say they have right now), work can be more enjoyable because it seems more optional. You know you can say "Take this job and shove it" whenever you want.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:54 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
From Steyn today on Foreign Language: How to talk about immigration:
Please do not peruse these Tuesday morning links until you have caught up on our posts over the past few days, as I just have done on my return from the sea to hard reality (drove a boat up from Cape May to Rhode Island with a few stops for gas and beer - including one at good old City Island for fried clams and another at Northport for more fried clams and fried oysters). The posts are jam-packed with inneresting stuff.
Poster above from Atlas' collection of fine old posters yesterday.
Brit public rebels against EU taxes and control. Yo, Cousins. Been there, done that. We can tell you how, but it involves firearms...
Quit lamb and beer to save the planet. Sure, OK. But not right now. Later, maybe, if I lose my taste for these things.
"It's a thumbsucker's playpen" now. Kaus
Wind farm kills Taiwanese goats. Pinwheels or goats: it's your choice.
Korea, Iran, etc. Must be time for more diplomacy.
The UN speaks, and people listen. Are we nuts?
Millionaires flee Maryland
Pols love to present Straw Men, but the O specializes in them.
Libs wonder how they lost on guns and Gitmo. Welcome to America, where we are not quite a dictatorship yet.
What lady would not want to be a MILF, despite the crudeness of the appellation? And what red-blooded male has not a filthy mind? To my eyes, MILFs are a dime a dozen around my neighborhood. Photo
When things get too hot in the kitchen, pols run away. Pelosi picked China for her Memorial Day weekend. Nice. Hope they taught her something about Capitalism.
Dr. X on the Irish abuse scandal
Media still lying abut the Swift Boat Vets
Armed and Dangerous says it better than we usually do, re California:
Related, The NYT gets California completely wrong - Driscoll. They are right on the Dem talking points but wrong on the facts.
Two dish washers carry their towels home after a hard day discussing uranium:
Monday, May 25. 2009
From Steyn, via No Pasaran:
For Memorial Day, A Ring from VDH in 2002: http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson052402.asp
Here's something worthwhile and wonderful.
Vitruvius at SDA recommends the highly enjoyable and accessible MIT required freshman year intro Physics courses - Classical Mechanics and Electricity and Magnetism. Prof. Walter Lewin, who teaches both, says his goal is to make the student love Physics, and to see the beauty in it. He succeeds. (If you fail one of the required courses, you are sent home.)
I don't know why any college would bother lecturing on these topics when they can use Dr. Lewin's recordings. Both entire series of lectures are on YouTube, for those of us who could not have gotten into MIT with an H-bomb because of our B+ in BC Calc:
Prof. Lewin makes it all vivid, clear, and entertaining, and the math is straightforward and clear as a bell. Plus no exams, so it's a wonderful way to get some free education, or to refresh your old, fading memories.
For me, Physics, Music (which is Physics + a twist by the human soul), and Religion merge into one sublime cosmic entity which is the awe-inspiring, terrifying, love-inspiring miracle of Creation. I have never understood how anyone can feel like they can feel close to God without knowing all the Physics they are capable of, but I know that is stupid of me.
Photo is Prof. Lewin. Here's his bio.
Sunday, May 24. 2009