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.
As if the US didn’t already have enough lawsuits, and as if excess litigation isn’t one of the prime drivers of medical costs, and as if the Democrats didn’t garner 90% of tort lawyers’ contributions, ObamaCare will create a new boom in lawsuits.
A Qui Tam action is brought by a private citizen against a company for fraudulent claims on a federal agency in violation of the False Claims Act.If triumphant, the claimant gets part of the court award.
To now, it was necessary for the claimant to be the provider or original source of otherwise unknown information.If not, the claim was denied court jurisdiction.
Now, the failure to be the provider or original source will not deny jurisdiction, and should there be such dismissal the government can oppose the dismissal and allow the court case to proceed.
Guitarist and harmonica player Reed was really the first cross-over bluesman. Whether he was marketed as blues, rhythm and blues, or rock and roll, he was really a bluesman all the way. His music feels familiar even to those who have never heard him because so much of his style was borrowed by rockers in the 60s.
... it is Europe’s very readiness to acknowledge its faults that prompts self-hatred, for societies that do not engage in such introspection do not lacerate themselves. Europe’s strength is thus its weakness. Although the continent has “more or less vanquished its monsters,” such as slavery, colonialism, and fascism, it chooses to dwell on the worst of its record. Thus his book’s title, The Tyranny of Guilt. The past, with its violence and aggression, is frozen in time, a burden Europeans expect never to throw off.
''We believe dinosaurs were most likely to be cold-blooded creatures and would have needed the warmth to keep them alive,” he said.
“If they were unable to migrate south they could have been wiped out. Climate change is now very much on the agenda in trying to determine how the dinosaurs became extinct.
“We now believe that they died out gradually and it is very possible that this could have been caused by a series of climatic changes.''
The drop in temperature is thought to have occurred because high levels of CO2 were in the atmosphere which caused global temperatures to rise and polar ice to melt – a phenomenon currently predicted for Earth.
EPA Academy students are graded on a five-dimensional rubric, based on (1) Personal Responsibility; (2) Social Responsibility; (3) Communication Skills; (4) Application of Knowledge; and (5) Critical and Creative Thinking.
Only 20 percent of the grade is based on knowledge, notes Michele Kerr, who taught an ACT prep course for disadvantaged students at a nonprofit from 2007-09. Compared to district high school students, East Palo Academy tutees had “the lowest skills and the highest grades,” Kerr recalls. Students with high A averages turned out to have very poor reading and math skills, though their writing was relatively strong.
The psychoanalyst Alice Miller has died. She was not an MD. I blame her popular writings - all on the one theme of the evil of parents - for fueling the "victimization" and "trauma" crazes in pop psychology of the late 20th Century.
You can term people who take one idea to explain everything as monomaniacs but, to try to be charitable to the recently dead, I would term it hopelessly if not crazily reductionistic.
In the human soul, easy answers and simple explanations of things never do any good. Her sorts of explanations got their traction by absolving people of their own decisions and choices by blaming others, thus further denigrating the powers and potentials of the human soul.
Far be it for me to be a profound social critic but the brouhaha over the censoring of Southpark’s depiction of Mohammed reminds me of the musical Cabaret.
A central progression in Cabaret is the audience transforming from enjoying the subversive cultural progressivism to its jolly enjoying the triumph of Nazism.
Southpark has led in revealing the inanities and contradictions of almost everything.Yet, it became too much for Comedy Central to allow Southpark to depict Mohammed and Comedy Central also censored Southpark's defiance of self-censorship to avoid the wrath of ideologic gangsters.
Comedy Central features the funniest and the most vile forms of comedy, never before to my knowledge censoring itself in targeting or revealing cultural inanities and contradictions or denigrating cultural pieties.
Yet, now Comedy Central reveals itself in allowing the takeover of its Cabaret by thugs, becoming itself complicit.
Comedy Central reveals itself as enjoying the profits of decadence until its lack of spine collapses upon itself. Comedy Central transforms from the presenter of any irreverence to become the channel of self-imposed cultural decadence that refuses to resist and indeed joins in capitulation to thugs.
Not Even in South Park? — Two months before 9/11, Comedy Central aired an episode of “South Park” entitled “Super Best Friends,” in which the cartoon show's foul-mouthed urchins sought assistance from an unusual team of superheroes. These particular superfriends were all religious figures …
My internet discovery of the day: The Internet Bird Collection. Videos and photos, worldwide, by category. They are up to 40,000 videos thus far.
Ed. note: This is a wonderful resource. I just perused their videos of the Parulidae (New World Warblers). Fantastic. Identifying many of the female warblers remains just as tough for me as ever, I am sorry to say. When they are flitting through the treetops, I am lucky to get a glimpse. For example, below, female Tennessee Warbler, via CLO:
I mumbled briefly about Positivism last week, alluding to its potential as a fuel for hubris. No philosophy is the "cause" of human evil and destructiveness, but Human Nature is. Pure rationalism (if there is any such thing) is a frightening way to run the world, or to run anything.
This weekend, in timely fashion, I stumbled on a review of Grayling's latest screed against irrationalism by the esteemable John Gray. One quote from the thoughtful review:
Reading Grayling, it is hard to resist the impression that he believes Western civilization would be much improved if it did not include the Judeo-Christian inheritance. Absurd as it is, there is nothing new in such a claim. It is one of the most venerable clichés of Enlightenment thinking, and Ideas that Matter is a compendium of such dated prejudices. When Grayling condemns religion on the grounds that “a theory that explains everything, and can be falsified by nothing, is empty,” he takes for granted that religions are primitive theories, now rendered obsolete by science.
For heaven's sake - is it asking too much of Times editors to reflect for two seconds before they reflexively blurt out their current PC response? OK, we all understand that when the next case comes the Times will insist that it is completely different and that the living, breathing Constitution can solve the next problem on the exhale.
Benjamin Graham, perhaps the most astute analyst Wall Street has ever produced, was once asked whether he thought disclosure was adequate. Graham replied that the quantity of disclosure "makes me ill." He added, "I don't know if there is any solution … I suppose [a prospectus] would have to say in big red-letter words, THIS [SECURITY] IS NOT WORTH WHAT IT IS SELLING FOR. I don't know if that would make any difference either … somebody [would just say], 'What the hell, it is going up anyway.'"
You can lead an investor to disclosure, but you can't make him think.
Farm chores for my aging parents regularly pull me away from church, but this morning we trek down to NYC to meet the pup at Gascogne for a cheap brunch (I'll have the mussels - I always do when they are on a menu - and a healthy and organic Bloody Mary) before treating her to Paul Taylor ll's final day at the Joyce.
Mrs. BD is a big Taylor fan. Our blog pal Neoneo loves Taylor too. Despite being married to a dancer/choreographer for about 100 years, I remain a bit of a dance agnostic. I always did like Merce Cunningham, though, and Meredith Monk. Very quirky.
It was a wonderful program from the Paul Taylor ll (the 80 year-old Taylor's 6-person touring company), but I would have been fine just seeing Esplanade. In fact, just one dance is really all my brain can process in one day. Powerful stuff, Esplanade. Substantial. Recklessly physical and driven by physical momentum, romance, and gravity and, as I sometimes say about some dances, a poem without words - or like a dream. Mrs. BD could discuss it endlessly; how his Graham background evolved and how ballet training is essential to modern dance, etc., but I lack the skill, the words, and the knowledge. The dance is in my head, though, along with the Bach.
Brunch was good, too. Free Bloody Marys. And it is always a treat to spend some time with the Bird Dog pupette Wall Streeter who returned to work after the performance. Those folks work on weekends, keeping the engines of capitalism humming so that people have money to support Paul Taylor.
The "moderate" is the one who explains what you've done to deserve it.
If you want to have religion in the world today, you have to be big enough to take some teasing and/or annoyance from those who don't get it. If you have a religion with vocal murderous and hateful people in it today, teasing is the least one should expect.
I stumbled onto Myron Magnet's fine 2003 essay of the above title. Magnet says that good writing is about higher and deeper truths than "knowledge," "information," or "data" can provide, and I agree of course.
What’s wanted is wisdom: the ability to see into the heart of things. This is the kind of knowledge that Plato describes so poetically in that most literary of all philosophical passages, the allegory of the cave: the knowledge that sees through the world of appearances to the Truth, of which the appearances are but an emanation—a knowledge that requires a lifetime of reason and study to attain but that comes finally in a flash of intuition, because the Truth is in us, in an inner nature we can glimpse by introspection and intuition, as well as in the world. And this is the knowledge—a knowledge, one might say, that resides in our souls as well as in our minds—that great literature embodies.
He includes a smack-down of the one-dimensional pomo critics, but that's far from his main point.
And since Magnet mentions Cosi Fan Tutte so often in his piece, here's the truly ridiculous and lovely Act 1 Finale, in which the cheating suitors fake committing suicide to re-engage their girlfriends:
Hot-button issues like immigration, ObamaCare, bailouts, taxation, national security, faith divide us mostly along what has been labeled conservative-liberal.
At root, however, the differing views are more rooted in who gives and who takes.
Our “betters” are largely insulated from the consequences of their views, catering to themselves and our “lessers.”Then, there’s the “rest of us.”
The primary divide is between the rest of us who struggled, strived and gave versus those whose advantages parachuted them into powerful positions they abuse for their own wealth and to then take away the more meager advantages earned by others to give to the lessers who haven’t.
The rest of us favor immigration by those willing to work, but not to those who aren’t able or who just demand benefits.
The rest of us favor aiding the truly poor or disabled to adequate health care, but not to those who waste their money on frills and then demand providers to impoverish themselves and us not be allowed to make our own life decisions.
The rest of us favor business creating jobs and opportunities, but not lazy management and crazy schemes then feeding at the taxpayer trough.
The rest of us voluntarily pay our more than fair share, but not basic services being cut to enrich politicians and government workers who create more ways to tax in order to feather their own nests by creating more dependent lessers.
The rest of us support and serve in danger to preserve our freedoms and protect others’, but not to be frittered away through lack of priorities or will.
The rest of us thank G-d for our being and opportunities, but not to tolerate those who would deny us or others theirs.
The rest of us may become polarized but at root are not.The rest of us just feel caught between those who consider themselves our betters, who perpetuate themselves by allying with the lessers without due claim upon us, whether at home or abroad.These betters denigrate the legitimate concerns of the rest of us, but their scorn is hollow, ludicrous, and, indeed, energizing.
Our parents and grandparents were great generations whom we identify with because they were the inspiration for the rest of us.My baby-boomer peers have largely been the selfish punk generation of wastrels. Coming again, the generation of the “rest of us.” Those who want to lead, who deserve leadership, are recognized as authentic in being of, by and for the rest of us.