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.
When ruling elites feel threatened they oppose partisan bickering. They oppose the idea of a legitimate opposition. If the polls showed support for stimulus spending and taxes on energy and government run health care there would be no partisanship in Washington. Only peace and unity and niceness. The elite views opposition to the imposition of their will as annoying and illegitimate.
A few years ago, I accepted global warming theory with few doubts. I wrote several columns for this paper condemning what I thought were unfair attacks by skeptics and defending the climate scientists.
I must confess that the more I read of the health care reform bill that just passed the senate this morning, the more it grows on me.
Unfortunately, that growth is a cancerous tumor, one that will be impossible to excise once this God-awful monstrosity becomes law.
If the Democrats had stuck to their original intent - covering more people, covering those who are chronically ill and denied insurance, and trying to bend the cost curve on Medicare - I would probably have supported it. These things are necessary goals for America and legislation was desperately needed to address these problems.
During FDR's New Deal, numerous “alphabet agencies” were created to pull the country out of a depression. Many of those agencies still exist, although their efforts to end the depression were largely ineffective. World War II was mainly responsible for ending the depression. The agencies not only continue to exist, they have “growed like Topsy” during the more than half century since their creation; they continue to do so, and it is at least questionable whether they do more to help the country than to harm it.
Most of the actual work done by the government is done by its Administrative Agencies. Let's look at how a typical agency works. I practiced communications law in Washington, D.C. for twenty years, and all of my clients had dealings with the Federal Communication Commission. That is the agency with which I am most familiar, and even though it was not created to end the Great Depression, it is typical in many respects of the other alphabet agencies. I should add that I retired twelve years ago, and so some of my observations may be dated; still, I think that not much has changed or ever will.
I can picture delicious Tautog (Blackfish) out there hanging around in the rocks, wanting and hoping to get caught and eaten on a nice warm platter - but Capt. Tom has gone south for Christmas - or maybe for the mid-winter - and I would guess that his boats up here are out of the water.
But the best thing for the gals and the guys are the post-Christmas sales, like Brooks Brothers. Or, as She Who Must Be Obeyed prefers, the "Polo Ralph" shop, aka Ralph Lauren, down where the cuz's live who we are visiting today and where I am enjoying some ceegars and scotch whiskey in the wintry global cooling sleet and wind:
The ladies naturally want to look good. I call that Ralph Lauren stuff wannabe Yankee clothing, and refuse to go into the place. I am a simple J. Press, tweed jacket, bow-tie sort of guy and do not care for their things for myself. Too expensive, too.
A commentary by Michael Barone
notes that it been more than 150 years since such significant but
unpopular legislation was passed through Congress on a partisan basis.
The political ramifications in 1854 were so significant that it led to
the creation of a new political party, the Republican Party.
Primary-care doctors who refer patients to specialists will face
financial penalties under the plan. Doctors will see 5% of their
Medicare pay cut when their "aggregated" use of resources is "at or
above the 90th percentile of national utilization," according to the
chairman's mark of Section 3003 of the bill. Doctors will feel
financial pressure to limit referrals to costly specialists like
surgeons, since these penalties will put the referring physician on the
hook for the cost of the referral and perhaps any resulting procedures.
I do not think it will be easy to delay Obamism. It is not just that both houses of Congress are under liberal leadership with ample majorities, with a White House and captive media egging them on. The problem is that now the entire engine of the federal government is harnessed in the most unapologetic way to pushing through a far left agenda. There is no shame, no hesitancy in using the full powers of the state.
The Puritans banned Christmas in New England. Even as late as 1851, a Cleveland minister nearly lost his job because he allowed a tree in his church. Schools in Boston stayed open on Christmas Day through 1870, and sometimes expelled students who stayed home.
The Christmas tree market was born in 1851 when Catskill farmer Mark Carr hauled two ox sleds of evergreens into New York City and sold them all. By 1900, one in five American families had a Christmas tree, and 20 years later, the custom was nearly universal.
That is good marketing.
Readers know that I love Christmas for all of its historical and current pagan, secular, and religious meanings.
I spent Christmas Eve, as usual, with dear friends and family - and candlelight at church. That is all magical for me and my family. We try not to over-spend.
Those of us who are of Catholic mind do not believe that the Enlightenment began with Kant (“What is Enlightenment?”), or Locke or Newton, or even with Descartes. We cherish Plato, Aristotle, Cicero. But the first Enlightenment began with Christ Our Lord.
It was only with the Christ that EQUALITY meant every human being, barring none. From then on, no one was “barbarian.” Each bore in his own soul the mark of being called to be a dwelling of the Father and the Son — being called beyond all other calls a son of God. Neither mother nor father, neither civil society nor state, can answer to this call for you or me. None has any deeper bond or precedence than the relation of Creator and human creature. It is a bond of Spirit and Truth.
Thus was revealed each human's LIBERTY primordial, and in that liberty, EQUALITY with all. No other but self can say to the the Father “No,” or “Yes.” That choice is for each single one of us inalienable. That choice brings each into the universal brotherhood and sisterhood of all who are equal in the sight of God.
And that is how universal FRATERNITY became a human principle and an object of our striving.
Moreover, a singular feature of the coming of the Christ is that all have access to him — rich pagan kings riding from the East, Roman centurions (those who would put him to death, even they), Jew and Greek, and those of every nation, station, and state of virtue or of sin. From Bethlehem went out the message of the First Globalization — the global call to become one human family. But only by the narrow path of the free choice of each.
This was the First Enlightenment. There has been no deeper nor more all-embracing since.
David Berlinski, one of the most impressive Darwin dissenters, quotes (in a Commentary essay) a smugly childish pronouncement by the journal Nature: "With all deference to the sensibilities of religious people, the idea that man was created in the image of God can surely be put aside." But what makes these ignoramuses so sure they know what the Bible means by "create"? How do they know that "evolution by natural selection" is not exactly what the Bible does mean? And how do they know that man is not "in the image of God"? Yes, we all know about the Bible's famous seven days, but has Nature never heard of a parable? It's not such a difficult concept. Does Nature fault the Bible for not starting with an account of Darwinian evolution?--right after the verses dealing with the Big Bang and astrophysics, which in turn follow the verses that brush everyone up on the necessary algebra, geometry, and calculus?
"The Torah speaks in the language of man," say the rabbis, and when the Bible emerged, men did not speak Darwin's language. But they did care about right and wrong, good and evil, justice and mercy, sanctity and man and God, and these (not biology or astrophysics) are the Bible's topics. Charles Darwin was a great thinker who taught us not only about science, but about religion--specifically, about what religion does not teach, and (for that matter) does not care about. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, at England's Christian heart. Darwin rejected the church, but the church didn't reject him. What does that mean? Berra has no comment.