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.
These two NOLA piano-men did a few duets at the festive event I went to a couple of weeks ago. Yes, including Iko Iko and Let The Good Times Roll. Good to see Dr. John - hadn't seen him perform in many years, but I always enjoyed that cranky SOB. Found this duet on Youtube:
Our family likes de Kooning, so we'll probably go to the the current show at the MOMA. Here's a brief review of Abstract Expressionist New York. I am still annoyed that we missed the Kandinsky show at the Guggenheim - lines to get in were always too long for me.
Even if I don't really get Jackson Pollock, we'll get a very good lunch someplace.
Dynastar Twisters, because I like to do the bumps. No bumps means boring. I can't wait to try these on the giant Superstar moguls.
Skiing and hunting - and drinks by the fire - are the blessings of winter. Too bad I don't play Paddle, because that's another one of those winter blessings.
Headed up north right now to Killington with a gang of pals with wives and/or girlfriends, for a merry weekend. We were going to do Sugarloaf, but decided against that drive. We have a Par-tay house, and one of our gang is happily in the program so we always have a fully-sober and emotionally-mature driver.
The Foam Weapon League is an alternative sports league that combines the best of live action role playing and martial arts, featuring male and female Warriors drawn from all walks of life, battling one-on-one in a combat circle using foam rubber weapons.
Like the WWE, each FWL Warrior has their own sci fi- or fantasy-inspired combat character name, as well as a distinctive costume to go along with it. Like a video game brought to life, Warriors wear whatever kind of makeup or costume they desire, and fight with the foam rubber armor and weapon of their choice.
Like the UFC, all FWL fights are 100% real and are not staged or choreographed in any way. FWL Warriors are real athletes who use real martial arts skills, but instead of grappling with or striking opponents with hands and feet, they are only allowed to strike each other with approved foam rubber weapons.
In order to simulate a battle fought with real weapons, Warriors wear harnesses with bags of fake blood attached at strategic points on the body. The first Warrior to break two of his opponent's blood bags wins.
Do foam or silicone breasts count as unfair advantage?
By assuming these 19 million public sector retirees, on average, received a retirement pension equal to 66% of their average base pay of $68,000 per year, you may estimate the total public employee pension bill per year at $862 billion. Similarly, by assuming these 67 million private sector retirees, on average, received a retirement pension equal to 33% of their average base pay of $41,500 per year, you may estimate the total private employee social security bill per year at $920 billion.
The implications of these calculations are difficult to overstate. Using assumptions which are well documented and representative of the actual wage and benefit realities in California, extrapolated to the United States as a whole, it is clear that the California model would mean that public sector retirees would cost taxpayers $862 billion per year, which is only 6% less than the entire bill for social security for more than six times as many people.
...faith is the unassailable citadel to which religion withdrew after reason had overrun much of its original territory. And, let’s be honest, storming religion’s territory is what rational inquiry came into this world doing. In the face of such relentless, even terrifying, psychological pressure, it makes sense that our collective embrace of the supernatural, if it was to persist without dissolving completely, would have to tighten to the point of obsessiveness.
But faith is also a mobile citadel, a portable fortress. Having evolved precisely to occupy the territory inaccessible to reason, faith evolved mechanisms to move fluidly with the boundaries of that territory, or, as with apocalypticism, to blithely revise its truth claims about the imminent end of the world as fast as they’re discredited by the world’s contrarian perseverence. Faith’s quicksilver essence can never be rationally pinned down: the harder you press, the faster it squirts out from under your finger. Like the alien monster in countless movies, faith only gets stronger every time you shoot at it.
If this model is correct in its psychology, monotheistic faith will spread across the globe together with reason—as indeed it seems to be doing already, whether through outright conversion or the subtle moulding of older traditions such as Hinduism and Buddhism into more monotheistic forms. Faith and reason help define the package we call Western civilization. We might even say that they do define it, and that they also account for its stunning global success.
I am only recently hearing about this new thing. I don't know whether it sounds more like voodoo or more like light shock treatment. It is said to work for some, but I wonder how much is placebo effect.
Psychiatrists are setting up centers to provide this. It is very expensive.
Radio talk show host Dennis Prager posed the following question: What’s the difference between the voters in California and the passengers on the Titanic? The obvious answer was that the poor souls on the doomed ship didn’t vote to hit the iceberg.
...scientists are not disinterested, they are interested, and as a consequence science is not dispassionate or fully transparent, rather it is human and partially arcane. As I argue elsewhere, science is not the public good of modern myth, it is a collegiate and quasi-private or invisible college good. That means, by the way, that it requires no public subsidies. More relevantly, it means that individual scientist’s pronouncements should be seen more as advertisements than as definitive.
Peer review, too, is merely a mechanism by which scientists keep a collective control over access to their quasi-private enterprise. One the e-mails leaked from the University of East Anglia included this from Professor Phil Jones, referring to two papers that apparently falsified his work:- “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”
Mayor Bloomberg may be receiving an unfair amount of criticism for his lackluster performance in coping with Mother Nature, given the almost unprecedented nature of the storm, but the unplowed city streets provide a metaphor for the nanny state: It can order us to do anything, but it can't take care of the basic obligations of government.
By the mid-1980s engineering and science curricula began their sea-change. Programs were “softened” in order to admit minorities and women. “Outreach” efforts were begun. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs were funded to entice women, inner-city blacks and other minorities into disciplines like engineering and physics. Grant applications (to the National Science Foundation, for example) that once dealt only with engineering now had to address social concerns, outreach to minorities and women, and other issues with which engineers were wholly unfamiliar. Current NSF proposals require a minimum of 2 pages out of 15 on the integration of education, outreach, and enhancement of diversity under subheadings such as “Focused Diversity,” “Underprivileged Student Participation,” and “Participation of Women and Minorities.” That leaves at most 13 pages for the scientific content.
I always thought America was about some sort of social equality where all had equal rights and human dignity. Equality of wealth and income is another whole kettle of fish. A good piece by Kaus in Newsweek: Obama and Income Inequality: No New Brazils!
There are two big questions to ask liberal opponents of income inequality. 1) What, exactly, is it about greater economic inequality that's so bad? and 2) What you gonna do about it?
It's worth reading. One of the constants I find in Lefty writings (not in Kaus) is the assumption that wealth and income is zero-sum, like slices of a pie. That is, that there is a set total amount of income and/or wealth in the world. Whether they write that way to fool the ignorant, or really believe it, I do not know.
The launch event for a year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan's birth, February 6, 1911, is the first-ever float in the New Years Day Rose Bowl Parade honoring a US President.
There are "replicas of 11 black-and-white photos of moments in Reagan's life, and those photos have been constructed by hand out of onion seed, poppy seed and rice....There's also a replica of the statue of Reagan now at the U.S. Capital, made of flax seeds."