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.
My local newspaper has the following this morning. Rulers rule, people suffer.
-- South Africa sees jump in circumcision deaths:
…39 young men died in the last month after undergoing the rite of passage into manhood….and that more than 120 young men are in hospitals nursing their botched wounds….The procedure is performed outdoors by a traditional leader who uses a spear to remove the foreskin. – Associated Press
At my younger son’s bris (that’s the Hebrew word for the Jewish circumcision) 8 days after birth performed by a mohel (that’s the religiously trained and vetted circumcisor), who was also a pediatrician, our guests included several Gentiles. I wish I had a camera aimed at them, as they all together scrunched their eyes and reached for their groin area.
I was walking down the main street in town looking for a watch repair shop. Finally, I saw a store with old watches hanging in the window. I entered, but the man there said he didn’t fix watches. “I’m a mohel. What do you expect me to hang in the window?”
-- Street peddlers eyed in inflation battle:
Venezuela’s government said Tuesday it will make street vendors freeze their prices, threatening violators with fines, confiscations and even jail.
Marxism in the streets of Venezuela is hardly like “power to the people”!
Chavez probably lost at three-card monte.
-- Supreme Court nominee faces another day of questions:
…But we get no answers from her.
Sorry, but the only illustrations I could find are too disrespectful. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but they do make a Supreme Court justice.
P.S.: Thanks to the kind reader who just sent me this illustration:
The next time you hear someone claim to be a vegetarian, ask them if they eat fish.
They'll probably admit they do. Fish, being a water animal, really isn't like all of those regular bad animals that they don't eat, being a vegetarian and all.
Then gently ask them if they eat chicken.
They'll hem and haw a bit, but admit that, yes, they'll occasionally have a little bite of chicken, perhaps with a salad â€” but only if the chicken is organically-grown, of course.
Then gently ask them if they eat turkey.
Well, yes, on Thanksgiving and other special days, they might eat a little turkey. After all, they eat chicken, don't they? It would seem kind of silly to suddenly draw the line between chickens and turkeys since they're practically the same thing.
In other words, if it has pretty, human-like eyes...
...then it's bad and evil to eat!
But if it has ugly little beady eyes...
...then it's perfectly okay to eat!
They're not "vegetarians", they're just regular ol' people â€” except they don't eat animals with pretty eyes. Just animals with ugly little beady eyes.
Or, to properly categorize them, they're the beady-eyed meat eaters.
No photo dump today; just this one pic from the Cliff Walk of what is now part of the campus of Salve Regina College in Newport. The family of the owner donated the grand if gloomy cottage overlooking the ocean to the college which now owns some good hunks of priceless Newport real estate.
Naturally, they needed more space and had to build that thing on the left in a style I refer to as Jesuit-Stalinist. Note absence of any windows facing the sea - and the flat roof which always is a genius idea on the rainy, snowy, and stormy Northeast coast.
Many nonprofit organizations in New York are deeply concerned they will lose significant contributions from wealthy donors if a pending state budget proposal becomes law. The proposal would reduce the charitable-contribution deductions allowed for individual donors who are “high earners.”
Gov. David Paterson and the state legislature are in a bitter battle as they try to finalize a budget during the bad economic times, but they apparently have agreed on a proposal that would allow the approximately 3,500 New York taxpayers who earn more than $10-million annually to deduct on their state tax returns only 25 percent of their charitable contributions rather than the current 50 percent.
In New York, Arts Trump Social Causes for Philanthropic Recognition: Large donations to institutions such as the Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the New York City Ballet are well covered in the press, and serving on major arts boards can raise members’ social standing and improve business ties, Crain’s writes. By contrast, when the New York investment managers Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller, who focus on medical and economic charities, ranked No. 1 on the latest Chronicle of Philanthropy list of top givers, “many in the city's nonprofit world wondered, 'Who?’”
Experts say the city's elite put great value on major arts institutions, and gifts to such organizations garner public attention because they are often landmarks frequented by residents and tourists, unlike new hospital wings or university buildings.
Yet, as the official tabulation of income taxes paid in New York shows, (page 5) of $29.6 billion in personal income taxes collected in 2007, 49% came from those with income above $500,000, about 1% of taxpayers, and their deductions were 8% of the tax deductions claimed by all taxpayers.
The well-to-do are more than contributing their part to the NYS government largesse with taxpayer funds.
But, according to the tabulation of the top US contributors to charities for 2008,due to the economic downturn their charitable contributions have fallen:
[T]he number of wealthy people making big gifts has shrunk. A donor needed to part with just $16.2-million in 2009 to qualify for The Chronicle’s list. In 2008 that number was $30.5-million; and in 2007 it was $39-million.
So, tell me why and how New York State driving its golden geese out of state will benefit the needy or the art-starved in New York State.
So, tell me how higher taxes will incent the most productive to invest more or earn more just in order to have more taken away.
So, tell me why higher taxes will not lead to lowered prosperity and thus to lower tax collections and charitable contributions, most of which goes to help the real and supposedly needy.
So, tell me whether adding more government-sector workers, at higher pay and benefits than among private-sector workers, the private-sector workforce shrinking, is really the priority of liberal nest-feathering politicians.
HOPE: Consumer Confidence Plunges In June. “Recovery Summer, or Recovery Bummer? Economists are beginning to wonder whether we’re heading into a double-dip recession, or whether the first one ever really ended.”
To which this bottom-line economist adds:
Glenn Reynolds added this bit of observation:
Anecdotage: A woman who works at a local used bookstore told me they’re not selling nearly as many hardbacks as they used to — people won’t spring for them any more, even at the reduced prices. That doesn’t sound like a recovery to me.
Posted by Glenn Reynolds at 12:52 pm
Perhaps better marketing would help:
My former wife worked in fancy dinner houses for decades. She had the best economic indicator: the size of tips. She also received better tips with an extra blouse button open.
There seem to be just a few things a 3-day visitor to Newport can do to get the most out of the visit. (Like a real travel writer, I like to figure out the essence of a place quickly. I know that is not really possible without friends who live there, so I may BS a bit.)
Here's what I figured out:
1. Take a stroll down Thames St. and look at the boats and all of the cool piers and pubs.
2. Bike or take a hike down Bellevue Ave. from town out to the end, or, better, continue on and make it a bike ride all the way around the Ocean Drive back to the harbor. It's only about 12 miles.
3. Walk a few segments or more of the Cliff Walk. Do it early in the morning and beat the rush.
4. Scout out the antique areas of town where the tourists and drinkers don't go, and there are no shops. The Point is one such neighborhood. Also, around Spring St. Probably plenty more nooks and crannies we didn't find.
5. If you must, check out the interiors of one or two of the grand "cottages." ("Cottage" means that they aren't really winterized. Summer places.) I don't really like them or want to see the insides, but it gives one an idea of what life could be like for an ambitious entrepreneur before the income tax, the corporate tax, and the SEC. And with 20-30 servants to keep things functioning smoothly.
6. Rhode Island seafood always seems to have a Portuguese spin on it. Even a bowl of steamers has hot peppers, red peppers, chorizo, and onions in it. Not bad at all, but not my favorite. Mrs. BD loved her grilled salmon with sweet barbecue sauce on a bed of pickled red cabbage. People say The Mooring has the town's best seafood. It is housed in the old Station #6 of the New York Yacht Club, which has moved to a quieter side of the harbor.
7. On a rainy day, I'd probably stop by the Tennis Hall of Fame, right on the main drag.
Photo from along the Cliff Walk, facing the Atlantic Ocean on the right. I think that is the charming Little Compton in the distance.
Ron Radosh, as well as other knowledgeable or honest critics, recognize the “travesty” of “Oliver Stone’s new documentary, South of the Border, his ode to Hugo Chavez and South and Latin America’s new quasi-Marxist and not so quasi dictators.”
For some background into useful idiot Oliver Stone’s “standard far-left narrative that is part of a long line of propaganda films, a modern American version of the old agitprop”:
From the BBC report and from Robert Service’s bio of Trotsky, will the real Chavez and Trotsky please stand up or be excused by ignorant fantasist rationalizers of tyranny?
This morning I saw my son off to sleepaway camp. The mother of my son’s seatmate on the bus and I met and spoke briefly. It turned out we have family (all Jewish) and other friends in common back East.
She was in law school with Obama at Harvard.
She says that Obama was not particularly “political” at that time. [My thought: probably unnecessary as most there likely agreed on most things.]
She says that Obama is not an anti-Semite. [My thought: So what if he hires “court Jews”, hangs out with real anti-Semites, and even for – in his opinion – the best of reasons weakens Israel.]
She says that Obama is a good listener. [My thought: So what, if he only listens to those who agree with him.]
She is an Obama-loyalist, only offering the criticism that he is “indecisive.” [My thought: Only indecisive while trying to figure out how to get away with weakening allies or national security, or propel the US into further debts, enlarge government intrusion into and control over our lives, and undermine free enterprise.]
As seen from the [ ]s brackets, I kept my thoughts to myself, only saying on parting that I am a Republican who wants to have an open mind, and listen, and hope she will call me for a coffee so I can hear more.
If I claim that there is no more saiboaty place in the US than Newport, RI in June, I know somebody will argue for San Francisco or Annapolis. All I can claim is that I have never seen as many lovely or majestic sailboats anywhere as I did in Newport this weekend.
I will share some of my pics this week, at the risk of producing boredom. It's an interesting salty 3-day getaway spot with plenty to do besides sitting and watching the scenery.
For those not familiar with this famous New England seaport summering spot, it sits on the southernmost part of Aquidneck Island (once known as "Rhode Island"), helping to define Narragansett Bay. It's about 30 miles south of Providence. Newport has a giant, well-protected harbor and, in the 1700s, was one of the 5 busiest harbors in North America - a major factor in the "Triangle Trade," in privateering, piracy, and general trade.
Newport, like all of Rhode Island, was settled in the 1600s by refugees from Massachusetts. The town was fortunate in having had no major fires during its history (although the Brits were tough on the town until the French navy chased them off), so large parts of its entire architectural history is well-preserved - predominantly early to mid 1700s dwellings and taverns.
Because it sits on the Atlantic, but guards the entrance of the Bay, it has been a naturally air-conditioned popular and fashionable summering spot since the 1730s. While it may be most famous for its Gilded Age summer "cottages," these ostentatious European palace imitations are not of much interest to me (but I don't mind the Shingle Style ones). However, Newport still has a considerable High Society, old money contingent. It's a good mix, but free of low-lifes and hippie-looking people. Preppy and wholesome mostly, but with a hedonistic flavoring to it. Nothing tacky about it.
Because of its night life, charm, and excellent harbor facilities, Newport remains a standard stop for those cruising the New England coast. Thames St. along the piers is one pub or open-air bar or restaurant after another. Lots of seafood, and Kobe beef for the rare seafood-avoidant. The boaters are known to get rambunctious at night: it is expected. John Hiatt and his group were playing at one of the open-air places on Sat. night, and you could hear him for blocks. Not bad at all.
Beaches? Newport has only a few, but the best are small and are owned by exclusive private clubs. It is not a very beachy place. It's a rocky coastline. People swim by diving off docks and boats.
Photo on top is a 1720s dwelling in the Point area, near the causeway to Goat Island. Photo below is the rear view of one of the Gilded Age cottages along Bellevue Avenue, from the Cliff Walk.
I'll have some photo reports from Newport this week.
Every interesting day needs to begin with some coffee and an exploratory hike around an unfamiliar place, trying to get lost for the fun of it (actually, I have been to Newport before, but it's been quite a while).
Why Newport this weekend? For the spectacular Flower Show, of course, for the benefit of The Preservation Society of Newport County. I am a good husband - or try to be.
This was early Sat AM - a truck handing out free samples on one of the piers: