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.
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Monday, January 31. 2011
It must be midwinter, because we have been posting so many New York City items. Much more than usual. Hunting season is over, Spring is far off, we don't all ski, and we all like to ingest some culcha on weekends. Where else can you find more and better of everything, without having to spend a lot of money (except for parking)?
Audio only, with pics:
I made it into Manhattan this weekend. Vermeer and Central Park.
Posted by Gwynnie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 19:31 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
The federal district court in Pensacola, FL ruled today the entire ObamaCare bill is unconstitutional. The case was brought by 26 states and the major group representing small business.
Their plead had two parts: 1) The mandate to require purchase of medical insurance exceeds the federal government’s authority under the Commerce Clause or the Necessary and Proper Clause of the US Constitition; and 2) The imposition of additional Medicaid costs upon the states violates the 10th Amedment to the Constitution.
The court ruled against the second pleading, as – impractical as it may be – the states could refuse to participate in Medicaid. Actually, in reaction to the increasing costs of Medicaid, many states are already, instead, paring back on Medicaid benefits they themselves have added onto the base required by the federal government.
The judge, however, did rule that the mandate is inextricably wound up with the complex interdependencies of ObamaCare and cannot be severed. Thus, the entire ObamaCare is ruled unconstitutional. (See my earlier post about the Virginia federal district court ruling that the mandate is unconstitutional but can be severed, and the rest of ObamaCare stand.) But, pending appeals, the Florida judge will allow ObamaCare to stay in effect.
The Republican leader in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell – an able practitioner of Senate rules – says he will use the Senate Rule 14 to force a vote in the Senate on the repeal bill passed by an overwhelming majority of the House. It would be a surprise if he can muster 60-votes, but it will force the Democrat Senators to each be on record.
The US Supreme Court is unlikely to rule for another year or two. In the meantime, however, the Obama administration will continue to issue regulations, and the insurance markets will continue to comply and adjust, making it more difficult to excise ObamaCare’s effects.
Some Democrat Senators are floating ideas to neutralize the mandate issue by other means of impelling purchase of medical insurance. Why didn’t they float and support these last year, one may ask. It will take more than these ideas to right what’s wrong with ObamaCare. I floated some in my Op-Ed in the San Diego Union-Tribune ("No GOP Ideas? Try These 10") last year during the Congressional debates. Surely the Republicans in the House and Senate can even do better than I. They better. Reform is needed in some areas, and the better ideas wouldn’t throw out the baby with the washwater as the Democrats did in federalizing control of virtually all aspects of our medical care by throwing out free choice and the freer market.
What that "dysfunction" seems to mean is that one is a lousy boss of oneself. A useful concept, I think. People who achieve their goals make rational, practical plans, follow their plans, and are good at taking orders from themselves. When they tell themelves they are going to do it, they do it.
If Plan A doesn't work, they already have Plan B waiting in the drawer.
I think people vary enormously in their executive functioning.
If the weather permits me to get to Ohio for a quick visit this weekend, I will of course try to stop by my favorite 24-hr WalMart in Mt. Vernon. Who knows, might run into Mr. Hardin in a leopard skin suit.
But what to wear? Does everybody at WalMart look unusual? Is this "fashion-forward"? I wonder what Janet Napolitano wears when she goes. Dressing subversively for WalMart is a challenging task for uninventive folks like me. (h/t, Moonbattery):
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:42 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Matthews: When Agencies Rule Our Lives. He asks:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Via Insty, THEY CALL IT THE STUPID PARTY FOR A REASON.
Image is Grant Wood's eery "February" (1941)
NY Post: Shut your mouth U (fixed)
Re the Himalayan glaciers - it was a lie
Thou Shalt Not Offend Islam - A firsthand account of the Dutch trial of Geert Wilders
New Jersey planning to poach jobs from Illinios
Sunday, January 30. 2011
Went to a very enjoyable and festive Chinese New Year party last night. It's the Year of the Bunny Rabbit, I was told.
The special cocktail of the evening was the Lychee Martini. I don't think I had ever had a Lychee before, much less a Lychee Martini. Delicious and refreshing.
Lychees are tasty fruits, flavor somewhere between a pear and a grape.
At Reason - Economist Walter E. Williams reflects on his long career battling Jim Crow, big government, and liberal orthodoxy.
I would offer an enticing quote but my machine is acting up. I like him.
"I don't understand it. I don't like it. And I don't think anyone would think differently. There's nothing you're trying to say that hasn't been said before you. And everyone who's said it before you has said it better than you have."
That was part of the critique the pupette got on her recent college poetry writing course effort. I guess everything is supposed to be new, despite what Ecclesiastes teaches us. She has always been told in the past that she is a talented writer. She did say "I'd like to point out, however, that this professor is phenomenal."
"That's what we are paying them for - tough criticism, high demands, and a dose of humility. If you could meet their demands already, what would be the point of being there and paying them money? My best teachers ripped me to shreds. They want to stretch you to your max and beyond it to find your limits, and that is good. We can't all be TS Eliots, and few youths have enough life under their belts to write poems that are more than pretty strings of words anyway. Don't worry - you have your friends and family to love you regardless."
Last week I sent her a poem that my brain wrote during a dream. (I never sit down to write a poem, but sometimes they come to me so I try to put them on paper before they disappear. Generally, I only share them with my sis who is a published poet.) I thought this one might have been about my college pup, or maybe any one of my kids, and did not add the title until I guessed what it could be about. I would not want to show it to a Prof.
First you jumped
It certainly looks like Egypt is heating up. Looks like the Brotherhood has been waiting for this moment.
Via Other McCain: “I have to pay 150 pounds a day to bribe police officers to let me sell on this pavement. How can I be this educated and not find proper work?” – Ramadan Mohamed, Law graduate selling sunglasses on Cairo street
But their unemployment rate is lower than that in the US
Iconoclast has update on the near-chaos
Some friends in the know told me last night that I might think I am going to North Africa this summer - but that I'm not. Lucianne's headline: U.S. Embassy tells Americans they should consider leaving Egypt as soon as possible because of unrest, violence and ongoing demonstrations. An estimated 55,000 Americans are currently in Egypt. Flights scheduled for Monday
Related, Tunisia: The End of a 23-Year Regime. We were there in summer 2009. Cool place, exotic. Different rules. Not Kansas.
Perhaps reason has prevailed, this time. When something becomes a joke in stupid DC, you know its time has passed.
But what the heck is a "climate change analyst"? Is that a paying job?
Our mens' study and prayer group is doing Ecclesiastes right now. As we are all more or less middle-aged, we can all relate to this poetic "wisdom book."
1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Saturday, January 29. 2011
Cuz it's Real Life, not fairy tale.
Heavier snows may stick around, climate experts say
Let's all plan our lives around what the experts say. That's a good plan, if one is utterly lacking in common sense and "critical thinking."
In a way, this all makes me feel more interested in my trip to Egypt and the Middle East this summer. Danger and chaos adds a little spice to life.
Mostly, those gloomy Swedes are crazy-depressed, Moslem-loving, atheistic drunk and sex-addicted Socialists who hate hard or unpleasant work, but they got this one thing right.
Because it sucks, and takes away freedom of choice.
Will people adjust to change? VDH: The Waning of an Old Established Order:
When a child,
Friday, January 28. 2011
A big snow is a delight to every Yankee who has a camera. Big snow makes everything new. An ordinary snowfall is not as inspiring. Here's the road I live on:
Just kidding re the above. My friend Nathan sent this pic of Central Park yesterday. I'd guess that was his Leica, not his cell phone:
NYC is a wonderland in a good snow. Our buddy Kab sent these to me from NYC too:
A relative sent in this pic of his house in CT. That's a typical, in-town New England house. It provides shelter. Your heart and soul provide the charm and warmth:
Those of you spending tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for your children’s college education, and paying taxes to support colleges, may be interested in a current brouhaha at my alma mater, Brooklyn College.
A doctoral student, 1 ½ years into his studies, was hired by the Political Science department to teach a graduate level course on the Politics of the Middle East. I wrote about his clear and one-sided pro-Palestinian writings and radical associations, and of his slanted syllabus of readings. Subsequently, others wrote to the college administration questioning this hire, including the New York State Assemblyman for the adjoining district. The hire was rescinded, the formal reason given that the hire was insufficiently credentialed.
Predictably, the hire complains that academic freedom has been trampled. Some on campus and the hire’s ideological friends in the blogosphere agree. The NYC press has covered the incident, repeating their charges. The hire himself appears in a TV report saying, “I have very vocal views in favor of the Palestinian cause for self-determination.” At his personal website, the hire says, “Unfortunately, due to external pressure, the Brooklyn College provost has chosen to suppress academic freedom and intervened to cancel my appointment. This is a profoundly unsettling outcome and I am currently challenging it.”
Au contraire writes a retired professor at the college to the Chancellor of the City University of New York:
Further, it does not appear this hire has any legal grounds to demand he be hired.
So, what is at stake: academic freedom or academic license, especially when abused, completely inviolate from legitimate concerns of students, parents, or knowledgeable critics?
The hire at Brooklyn College was, most charitably, a mistake, now corrected.
No surprise there. Those students don't know grammar either. What do they know? I hope they know quadratic equations. I hope they read the Constitution - but you don't need a school to do that.
Well, they certainly know what Howard Zinn thinks - I mean, thought. They aren't necessarily lazy and dumb, they just aren't cut out for the really demanding mental stuff. What they need is solid basic knowledge, learn a job, maybe make a family, and they'll be just fine and as happy as they want to be. How many really smart kids do we need?
Science and math require more disciplined, rigorous, and abstract thinking than most kids want to bother with or, perhaps, are capable of. If a kid says languages - or math, or chem - are "too hard," you know right off that they lack the serious horsepower even if they are "bright and articulate." Most kids like the soft stuff - if they like any of it at all. Trouble is, you don't need a school for the soft stuff: it's all available out there, for free. Everywhere, nowadays.
In our spoiled, decadent culture, most people seem happy to pay others do the heavy mental lifting while they benefit from it all at ridiculously low cost. I know, because I am one of them, although I did plenty of math and hard science in college.
It has always been my contention that nobody should be able to earn a college degree without at least a year of calc, and real college chem, physics, and Bio (also, Econ). Otherwise, however bright you may be, you can't call yourself eddicated because there is too much basic stuff in life you don't understand well enough to have a legitimate opinion about.
Maybe I should have said a High School degree instead of College. If a kid had my kind of High School degree, they would be in a position to learn everything else they were interested in or needed to know on their own, in the library, or from The Teaching Company, or on the job. (Wisdom, on the other hand, comes from getting out there and living and getting into the cage with the Beast of Reality, and taking the knocks and dealing with the BS.)
High Schools should have oral exams on simple basic facts, because kids aren't ready for wisdom. "What's a subordinate clause?" "What's Avogadro's number?" "What's iambic pentameter?" "Why was Alexander Hamilton important?" "Why was Alexander the Great important?" "How does a lever work?" "Why do we care about the Phoenicians?" "How do you find the volume of a cone?" "How does an airfoil work?" Etc. Send in examining teams to do the testing to see whether a High School degree is justified. Paper testing doesn't do it. Nowadays, there are kids graduating from High School who cannot answer those questions.
It's the elite few who design our software, who design and build our computers and X-boxes and cars and refrigerators and airplanes and bridges and office buildings and coffee pots and power plants and missiles and digital cameras and machine tools and oil refineries and robots and hybrid wheat and permanent paintless house siding and our chairs and tables and new medicines and our Blackberries. Those are the unsung heroes of our daily lives.
It's all I can do to repair a horse fence or to replace a cracked windowpane in the barn, yet I am paid better than the people who design and build those useful things I listed above. Understand the workings on my motherboard? Not likely. Not smart enough, yet I am considered "highly educated."
My point is that the kids don't need to know the challenging stuff: Let them learn the elementary basic stuff, and the soft stuff if they want, and get their lightweight diplomas signifying that "they attended," and leave the challenging stuff to the smart, ambitious kids. Let the rest of us lazies flip burgers or teach school or attend meetings or sit in cubicles or express shallow and uninformed opinions about how life works, because we do not know how to make anything useful.
Let those few precious brainiacs work nights to make the tools and toys for us while we fart around with stuff that "interests us." The rest of us don't have to know anything complicated, do we?
We hate it when our brain hurts.
How humans are 97% the same as orangutans
Not me. I am all dog.
Another bold social pioneer
Heck, if it's consensual...
Betsy: Dumb demagoguery
The Old (Liberal) Frontier - Barack Obama is stuck in the 1960s.
That is so true. We have been saying that the
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