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, November 26. 2009
Wednesday, November 25. 2009
"Lord, you gotta help me now." Who has never felt that way? New Orleans blues:
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:53 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Ian Plimer:Yes, It's a fraud.
Somehow we missed this goodie from IBD: The day the climate stood still which asks the real question: "Is Gaia a "denier"?"
"The makers of the Constitution conferred, as against the government, the Right to be left alone; the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized men.”
United States Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, Olmstead v. United States (1928). h/t, reader.
Wines for Thanksgiving. Prof B
Good for a laugh: Artists for Gaia
Norm: All about Sherlock Holmes. It's about the aesthetics of detection.
How considerate of him: Obama will give you $2,500 a year to go to school. His money, right?
It's gonna get worse with the Dem taxes: Goodbye Jobs, Hello Mom and Dad, Say Young Adults
Hawkins: Would the O have been elected if he ran on what the Dems are doing?
Did you miss Robin of Berkeley's piece on why it's nuts for women to be Liberals
Does this fool you? Feds would make states collect health care taxes. The states do not want that job.
Related via NYM:
Fred Singer's 2007 speech: Global Warming: Man-Made or Natural?
Bishop Hill is all over Climategate
Islam Would Die Without Jihad
The truth about GM
The Arena: What would you do with Afghanistan?
Immigration: Republicans? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Republicans!
At Town Meeting in 1690, the citizens voted to teach and instruct their children to "read and cipher". At that time, the first "public instruction" was held at a local farmer's barn. Sometime around 1736/1739, the Quasset School was built and began formal classes ending in 1946 when the first Elementary School was built, thus the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating school in the US.
Tuesday, November 24. 2009
When the government proposes a major program, one expects a meaningful national consensus behind it. I neither see nor sense any national consensus behind a government takeover of medical care. Quite the opposite, and the polls agree with my impression.
Watch this video at Gateway to see what I mean. I think there is far more dissension on this issue than I ever heard about going into Afghanistan or Iraq.
Not very many people want what they are trying to "give" us. One of the things they want to "give" me is to make my family's medical insurance - my carefully considered free choice - illegal.
My message to my government: Quit giving me stuff. I am an adult. Leave me the heck alone.
Indeed. Here's the BBC on the climate issue of the day:
(That's odd - the experts said the tropics weren't affected by AGW, didn't they?)
And here's how ABC handles it: ABC News Instead Runs Headline, "Worse Than the Worst: Climate Report Says Even Most Dire Predictions Too Tame"
The Puzzle of Boys: Scholars and others debate what it means to grow up male in
It might be a puzzle for metrosexual scholars, but there is no "puzzle of boys." Boys are simple.
Editor's comment: To understand boys, just check this site: The Borderline Sociopathic Blog for Boys. No expensive studies by scholars required.
Posted by Opie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:48 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
He's not in the showers in jail picking up the soap, so why do this so constantly? Is it a twitch? A twitch of submission, like a beta dog? I think it is pathetic - and it reflects on me as a free and proud American. Please tell me it's only because the Asian leaders are
I cannot imagine Abe Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt bowing to a
The only people to whom the O does not bow is to people like me, the honest, hard-working, tax-paying, slightly overweight citizens of the USA. As Bob Grant says, "It's sick out there, and getting sicker."
Putting one of the BD pups and friends on the plane today to Barcelona or Madrid - I forget which - heading to the wedding of a friend since nursery school and a little vacation. I advised them to live on tapas, and, even if it is a boring food, to try paella in Spain once, just to be able to have done it.
Paella in Spain for Thanksgiving? The American yoots of today have it good. We often forget that Squanto had been to Spain - and to England too, before the Pilgrims met the fine dude who doubtless spoke his English with a refined Brit accent.
And we picked up the BD baby at the airport Friday night after the first few eventful months at college (including a grueling hospitalization with Swine Flu pneumonia - she has been otherwise in perfect health and is finally all better now).
After the airport, right to the baby's favorite little Thai place for a late supper. Very hot mango curry. Then home, at which point the likable and polite boyfriend shortly appears, and out they go.
The yoots of today have it good.
Saturday, she slept until 11, then did the big drive down to NYC - If You Can Drive It in NY, You Can Drive it Anywhere - to meet her big sister to see Men of Iron (basically Troilus and Cressida - I saw it the previous weekend with the $10 tix). Then home for supper (steak and string beans with lemon juice and olive oil), then out again with pals. She was out all day Sunday after throwing in a few loads of wash for us to deal with. I have no idea where, but that's fine with me.
The really good news is that she is obeying the "who pays the piper calls the tune" Bird Dog College Rules (which I once posted here): You gotta take the list of courses I require, since colleges these days do not require much real education despite the big $. Thus she is taking the year-long Great Books course (modeled after my Columbia required course), so I can now happily discuss Genesis, Augustine, Hesiod, Boethius, Aquinas, Homer, etc with her. It's about time. Good fun. Can't wait to discuss Calvin and Adam Smith and Locke with her. And later, Chem and Biochem - but especially Geology 1. (I believe if you don't know basic geology, you don't know what the heck you are looking at when you go outdoors just like if you don't take Econ 1 and 2 you don't know how the world works - unless or until you have a real job or two in the real world, of course.)
She said at supper Friday "Everybody I know at school is studious as hell."
She also said "My friends and I can't decide whether we like Augustine or not."
Said I, with the wisdom of age, "What does 'like' have to do with it?"
Before AGW/climate change, Mars was wet and humid.
I've been slow to realize this: the O is turning out to be a dud. I did not vote for him, but I had some hope that he would try to govern as a pragmatist-moderate - against all evidence, of course. Even the thrill is gone for Chris Matthews.
Newt quoted in the Der Spiegel article:
More on the topic at Ace.
More evidence that tax cuts help an economy more than spending
Related: US to propose emission reductions in Copenhagen
Rick Moran on end of life costs.
Hysteria or rational? The debt
How does the health insurance business really work?
Attempting a Bush re-do? Immigration looms as the next test for Congress | Washington Examiner:
By 1940, essentially all American Chestnuts, a dominant climax tree (and a major mast-producing tree - once the major food of Turkey, Deer and lots of other critters) of American forests, were killed by the blight. Their wood has a remarkable durability and their somewhat rusty-colored carcasses can still be seen in our woodlands.
That is a bunch of Christmas Fern behind the fallen log.
Monday, November 23. 2009
From the climate scientists, via SDA:
Quite possibly. We have been calling "fraud" on this site since forever. The raw data has been carefully hidden for years (see conceal the decline). It's heart-warming to see a Viscount rant. One quote:
This is a performance recorded for Chinese television at the
Posted by Gwynnie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:27 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
It's remarkable these days how many amateur investigators are doing the work the MSM won't do. At Big Government.
Here's the quote:
Exactly. I'd even go so far as to change his "also" to "often or "usually". This is becoming a huge problem on the 'Net and is one of the driving forces behind both personal identity theft and 'botnet' attacks.
Most malevolent programs running around these days aren't "viruses" — meaning some program that does something nasty like suddenly delete your C Drive — because viruses don't ultimately do the instigator any good. Outside of the satisfaction of being mean, of course. The worst programs are the 'keyloggers', which send a record of your keystrokes to the bad guy. All he has to do is look for 19 numbers in a row (your credit card number plus the 3-digit number off the back that you just entered in some online order form) and bingo. Now all he has to do is try a few expiration dates and your bank account is toast.
Second-worst is the 'botnet' program that lies dormant in your computer until the bad guys launch an attack on some corporation, usually in the form of blackmail. They'll tell the company to either cough up the dough or the 20,000 computers on their botnet (of which you're one) will 'ping' their web site 10 times a second from now until Doomsday, thereby overloading the server and keeping legitimate customers from getting to the site. Obviously, for an online company, this is serious business.
And you, yourself, will never even know you were part of the attack.
That's why everyone from God on down recommends installing a quality anti-virus/spyware program, and don't forget a good firewall program. You cannot rely on the stock Windows programs, such as Windows Firewall and Windows Defender. I have a post on the subject here.
Back to Gringo's warning, it isn't just web sites and email where the damage is being done. There's an area of the Internet called 'Usenet' which has a large section of programs, pirated and otherwise. I got curious and did a study on this a few months ago and I'd estimate that three-fourths of the anti-virus/spyware programs available for downloading have some spyware buried deep in the install files. That is, it'll actually install the anti-virus program, but it'll have been tweaked so it overlooks the keylogger. While you're thinking your computer is finally safe, your bank account is being drained.
The same is true with P2P (peer-to-peer) file-sharing sites (eDonkey, BitTorrent, etc), and sophisticated chat lines, like the IRC, that allow for file transfers. Some chat buddy says, "Hey, I just downloaded the latest Norton Anti-Virus from Usenet! I installed it and it's working perfectly! Want a copy?" You reply "Sure!", and now both of you are unknowing partners in a gang of Internet blackmailers. Or simultaneously having your bank accounts drained.
So be safe, be cautious, use common sense, don't trust renegade downloads, and please spend the money on quality protection. Some program suggestions are in the above link.
General security rules-of-thumb:
1. Never open a file-attachment in an email unless you're 101% sure of the sender. Remember, one of the ploys of the clever virus or spyware is using the names in a person's address book to send itself on.
2. Never click on a link in (what appears to be) a commercial email, like from a bank or loan agency, much less input anything personal like a password. The reason phishing emails look so real is because they are real. Everything you see is probably coming directly from the bank's actual site. It's when you click on something that the trouble begins.
3. Never click 'OK' in any box that pops up while you're on a web site unless it's something you've initiated, like installing a program. Plus, you know the little click-box in the upper-right corner that closes the intrusive box? Well, if you wanted the person to click the 'OK' button to install your keylogger or netbot file, wouldn't you make the little 'close box' do the same thing? And, for that matter, the 'Cancel' button? When I see one of those things pop up, I open Task Manager and shut it down that way.
4. Always right-click on a download from a possibly suspicious source and have your anti-virus/spyware program scan the file directly. It'll give the file a quick scan when it's downloaded, but often only a deep scan will detect the really nasty stuff.
This doesn't apply to songs, pics and videos, but it definitely applies to compressed files such as Zip and Rar, and you should never, ever, download an EXE file unless you're positive of the source.
The real danger today is spyware, and it's on your shoulders to use a quality program to fend it off. Not only could an easy argument be made that it's the most important money you can spend on your computer, but it could even be argued that it's the only money that you actually need to spend on your computer. One can get by with a lot of great freebie programs in the computer world, but not in this area.
Any specific questions, as always, just ask in the comments.