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, February 25. 2010
Few of our readers recall tunneling to the barn during the big New England nor'easter blizzard of March 11, 1888.
Here's the weather story of that snowstorm (which tragically omits the role of AGW - we should never let an ancient weather crisis go to waste).
Longacre Square, NYC (Now Times Square):
Somewhere in Manhattan:
Somewhere in Brooklyn:
Main St., Stamford, CT, from this Stamford history site with more photos:
Train tracks in Norwalk, CT:
From the New Math of Poetry in Chronicle:
Posted by Opie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
There’s nothing like Lent for reflecting on the sins of other people.
A sarcastic Mead, linked here. Oscar Wilde could have said that.
Now the obnoxious nanny idiots are targeting salt. What next? Ten years ago they told us to eat broccoli. Now they say broccoli contains carcinogens. Ten years ago they said to avoid fat. Now they say eat all the meat and fat you want, but avoid carbs. I say "Ignore them all." Food has little or nothing to do with health.
Charlie Munger on China
The next bubble: Carbon trading. As they say, how can the promise not to produce something which is invisible be a valuable commodity?
Al Gore peeks out his igloo and says nothing but untrue things.
The O's team already planning for 2012
Abortion debated, with civility
From Roger on Obamacare:
A rant from Prelutsky: Searching for intelligent life on the left
I expect tricks like this from the warmists, but not from the CBO. Computer models?
Warmism at its height, just before the fall
Wednesday, February 24. 2010
Vicenza is an uncrowded, almost unvisited UNESCO World Heritage site with a great number of Palladian buildings. The nearby La Rotonda was shown here recently, but usually Americans visit it as a side trip from over-crowded Venice. A great pity. Our suggestion is to stay in Vicenza or Verona, and if absolutely necessary, take a day-trip to Venice!
Piazza dei Signori, Vicenza. The two columns were built at different times. The lion represents the Venetian republic and was once the only column in the square. It wasn't until over a century later that the second column was built in honor of Vicenza and its citizens.
Street Scene, Vicenza
Below is Villa Valmarana, between La Rotonda and Vincenza. In 1757, Tiepolo and his son Giandomenico were invited to Vicenza to fresco rooms in the Villa Valmarana and in the adjoining guest quarters, the so-called 'foresteria'. Their patron was Count Giustino Valmarana, a scholar and theater enthusiast. Tiepolo frescoed the walls and ceilings of the vestibule and four ground-floor rooms, while his son executed the decoration in the adjacent guest house.
Cuban Doctors Sue Over 'Modern Form of Slavery'. "I ain't gonna work on Maggie's Farm no more..."
From Drudge: VIDEO FLASHBACK: Obama & Dems in 2005: 51 Vote 'Nuclear Option' Is 'Arrogant' Power Grab Against the Founder's Intent... ... MORE... MORE
Looks like another big dump for New England. This will please the News Junkie, who I believe suffers from a serious case of Skiing Addiction. (He loves the cold fresh powder and the fine wintry weather this global warming is bringing us.)
I do not know the history of how government unions came to be, but I deplore them. Who are they defending those employees from? Their evil neighbors who pay their salaries and their benefits?
The days of fat-cat evil Capitalists oppressing workers are long gone. Private sector unionization is in the dusk of its history, but government unionization is growing by leaps and bounds. Can anyone imagine a unionized military?
In my view, public employee unionization should be illegal because their opponent, in effect, is the public. But there is the basic right to free assembly. At the very least, public employee unions should be prohibited from politics and political contributions: that seems corrupt by definition but, again, there are logical consistency and freedom issues here.
People have been thinking about the topic lately:
From Rick Moran's WHAT DO WE OWE PUBLIC EMPLOYEES?
At Reason, Class War: How public servants became our masters:
Nearly 25% of all mortgages are underwater. What's the big deal? Is a home an investment, or a home? What is truly remarkable in life is to buy something - and to have it appreciate in value. That rarely happens.
100% of auto loans are underwater, and so is the vacation you took last year and put on the credit card. That new leather sofa too, the TV and the boat. And probably your life savings, compared to a few years ago.
For those headed for trouble because of job or income loss, however, I have nothing but sympathy... while I blame Washington: We need tax cuts instead of ever-higher taxes.
We wish all you kids a hard life: living hard, studying hard, working hard, playing hard, loving hard, giving hard, praying hard, worshipping hard, and loving God hard so you can have the life in abundance through Christ which he offers us.
Prager via Lizards:
Can the Euro survive?
Cuba is great because...no MacDonalds
How crappy was Haiti before the earthquake?
How stupid do Swedish elites think the people are?
Climategate Meets the Law: Senator Inhofe To Ask for DOJ Investigation
Krauthammer video: Krauthammer: Obama's Health Plan "Is Really A Travesty Masquerading As An Outreach To The Republicans"
Brilliant analysis from Vandy:
Tuesday, February 23. 2010
Well said, Dr. Satel.
Ed. Addendum: Louis Menand, with wonderful clarity, looks at the tendency to pathologize everything into a "disorder" in The New Yorker. Every human has his own difficulties, weaknesses, pains, sorrows, limitations, fears, heartaches, struggles. No one can catalogue and categorize them all. Simply trying to understand one person is a heck of a challenge.
We linked Mead's Sunday Jeremiad: Petty Prophets of the Blue Beast earlier today, but I feel it needs highlighting. He begins:
Read the whole thing.
"They are compassionate to it (humanity) doubtless, as one may be compassionate to the most revolting animal. But their dislike of it appears to be general and fundamental."
G K Chesterton "Humanitarian Hate," 1908, from AVI's Chesterton, Conrad, and HG Wells
This makes the best cornbread I've ever had - and I have had plenty of cornbread. I'll never bother with another brand. What makes it special is the sort of corn meal they use: coarse-ground with corn hunks so it comes out chewy but with a crunchy crust.
They sell it at Costco. Also, I was surprised to see, at Amazon. Try it.
Posted by Gwynnie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:09 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Blogger Retriever has a thoughtful commentary on my post yesterday about One way Jesus turned the world upside-down: "Beyond morality and religion".
"Contemporary mainline churches have confused the Blue social model with the Kingdom of God." Bingo.
One way to drive them out of business: Obama to Urge Oversight of Insurers’ Rate Increases. Hey, why not do the same with the cost of cars, and tuition...and the cost of government?
Are all narratives untrue? Jawa
The trap. Q&O via Blue Crab:
Getting rich off climate, Via Hot Air:
Monday, February 22. 2010
Listen to the whole thing:
Posted by Opie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:33 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
Related to our previous post, From Drudge:
President Obama’s proposals for health care legislation fiddles and fizzles, hardens disputes with opponents, excludes bridges to agreements, and ignores the root cause of overwhelming public unease. Rather than “change” he continues and exacerbates failure.
Summaries, inadequate, are available from the New York Times and
Essentially, Obama’s proposals are compromises between the entirely Democrat House and Senate legislation. It actually increases some taxpayer and industry garnishments to pay for enlarged entitlements, adjusting or delaying some. Similarly, the imposed mandate on the states to fund enlarged Medicaid eligibility is delayed a few years but remains a fiscal time-bomb impacting all other state services and driving tax increases. The penalty on large employers who do not provide medical insurance is slightly eased, for the first 30 employees, but the penalty increased, and it is still a sub
In essence, the Obama proposals continue on the path of grossly enlarged federal government intrusion into and control of individual choices and states’ variations that fit their circumstances and resources.
Indeed, it goes further than before in adding wholesale federal control over insurance premiums, imposing rates, exploiting ignorant furor at large increases in individual coverage premiums by Wellpoint (Blue Cross) in
The Obama proposals are meant to bridge differences among Democrats in control of the House and Senate, so they can turn the small procedural loophole of “reconciliation” into an override of all other procedures and precedents, not to mention public opposition. Further, Obama does not mention elements of the House and Senate legislation like wholesale cuts to Medicare spending (primarily of provider reimbursements, already low, which would drive more to not take Medicare patients) thus leaving the cuts included as a false way to mask the enormous budgetary costs because such drastic cuts are politically unlikely to actually occur. Meanwhile, taxes on high earners are increased even further than in the House and Senate bills.
“Reconciliation”, purportedly, allows the House to accept the Senate’s bill. There’s reasonable vote-count doubt about that, as well as legal challenges. President Obama’s proposals are, in effect, a new bill to be agreed by the House and Senate that fiddles with a “reconciliation” ram-through. If the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides an estimate of the Obama adjustment proposals together with the remainders of the House and Senate bills, it should be evident that the costs will be much larger, especially if unrealistic ploys are identified and full implementation time periods are included. (See footnote, added)
Obama fails to address the fundamental opposition to vastly increased federal control over 1/6th of the US economy and the lives of 100% of Americans, while deepening the race to national bankruptcy.
Obama fails to address the cost-driver of excess defensive-medicine, by various measures 10-30% of medical spending, that providers use to avoid excessive tort liability. Democrats’ largest contributors and supporters, tort attorneys, are left immunized from impact. Similarly, the impact on rich union benefits – unions being the other largest Democrat contributor base -- is delayed and reduced.
Reductions in the ability to save pretax dollars for health care remain, via health savings accounts and cafeteria plans, reducing individual choice, rather than maintaining or spreading them to more. Taxpayers or insureds who don’t use or support it are still likely to fund abortions. Sponsors of legal immigrants are still able to avoid their promised financial responsibility for legal immigrants’ medical care. Insureds are still unable to choose benefit plans allowed by other states that better fit their needs and budgets.
Obama’s proposals are nothing more than a campaign ploy to appear reasonable but they actually emphasize and enlarge the distance between Democrats’ floundering take-overs and the alternatives or discreet incremental measures that are widely supported.
Obama’s proposals are a transparent and hole-filled veil over what most already recognize as ugly and unacceptable. And, it isn’t closing time, when vision is blurred or judgment desperate. The public isn’t befuddled, and imperiled Congressional Democrats recognize that.
Rather than score, Obama again demonstrates himself as a crassly partisan loser, “arrogant” in the words of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, when it comes to accomplishing anything beyond words, his words no longer masking his ideologic inability to be practical.
House Republican Leader John Boehner sums Obama’s proposals as an “infomercial,” to be tuned out:
* The CBO just wrote that President Obama's proposals lack sufficient details to "score" (i.e., cost) it, and even if it did that scoring would take longer than this week, past the so-called TV infomercial "summit." How convenient for hollow proposals to have no relaible numbers. More "ramming" with hidden horns.