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
Tuesday, April 26. 2011
I had to run home this afternoon to meet with my chimney guy. Actually, not my chimney guy, but my semi-local sheet-metal guy.
I never had a sheet-metal guy, but I'm glad to have one now. He can make whatever you need in his wood-heated shop in an old mill building in CT, and he will install what he makes, too. Cheerfully.
Our old farmhouse has three fireplaces. We needed some new flashing, new collars, caps, etc. to keep the rain and the animals out. That was a piece of cake for the good old guy. He promised me that his patch-up job would outlive me, which isn't saying much. In olde Yankeeland, everything is a patch-up job.
I chatted up his 20-something black assistant. He said "Man, we have a beautiful shop. We can make anything - copper, aluminum, stainless, plain steel - whatever you want. Ducts, flashing, roofs, gutters, whatever. Square ducting, round ducting, whatever you need. We have the technology. We built our own wood stove too."
"What do you do for wood?" I asked.
"Oh, our tree guy friends just dump it off for us. Saves them a dump fee. We cut and split it ourselves. We load the stove up at night, and it's as warm as toast when we come to work in the morning."
So much for dickering over the price of wood.
The latest Marxist trick, cloaked in virtue but a wolf in sheep's clothing: The Sustainability Agenda.
Watermelons: Green on the outside, Red on the inside. They want my money, and to control my life. It ain't going to happen because She Who Must Be Obeyed would not permit it.
It is a fun interview.
A friend sends this:
Their ad says:
Earth Day with Right Whales on Cape Cod
Separating school and State
Food trucks getting better and better
"Moral Combat": How immoral was the Second World War?
Seeds of Obama's coming defense disaster
What is the definition of an American ally?
Have you noticed all the huge antiwar demonstrations in the last twelve months? Yeah, me neither.
Monday, April 25. 2011
Testament of a Fisherman
I fish because I love to,
Because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly;
Because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted social posturing I thus escape;
Because in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion;
Because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience;
Because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don't want to waste the trip;
Because mercifully there are no telephones on trout waters;
Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness;
Because bourbon out of an old tin cup always tastes better out there;
Because maybe one day I will catch a mermaid;
And finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important, but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant - and not nearly so much fun.
A mermaid, or a cougar in a tree? Cougar safely below the fold -
Continue reading "Testament of a Fisherman"
The MSM never told us, but inquiring minds want to know and are curious because he ran for President of the USA and won an election (h/t Sistah). Caveat: I hold nobody's past or stupid youth against them, because we are in America where we are free to invent and re-invent ourselves if we wish to:
IMF bombshell: Age of America nears end. They wanted it, and they got it. But can they keep it?
It's time for a new Reagan - or Maggie Thatcher.
Traditionally, when Microsoft releases a new version of Internet Exploder, a chill runs through the geek community as we cower and tremble, wondering what have they done to the poor thing this time? Some favorite button is now gone? That one tricky thing it did is now history? That one feature that you found quite useful, but nobody else did, has been removed because nobody else did?
There's always something we can count on to gripe, moan, carp, whine and bitch about.
But, showing that Microsoft can be even crueler than cruel, this time they played the dirtiest trick on all on us:
They didn't change anything.
And if that isn't spitting in the face on tradition, I don't know what is.
Pic: The lovely Melanie proudly displays two of Doc's favorite logos.
Oh, I might also mention that it's now faster than goose shit when accessing blog sites. Review & setup tips are below the fold.
Continue reading "Doc's Computin' Tips: Internet Explorer 9"
Arthur Brooks at WaPo: The O is wrong about taxing the rich:
Well, luck, motivation, and personality traits are involved too. However, luck favors the prepared mind, and "Showing up is 70% of success." Most heirs, like most lottery winners, blow their good fortunes on instant gratification. Furthermore, many people do not pursue wealth and "getting ahead" as a life goal anyway. It's just one of many possible choices of life goals, although the Marxists and Materialists might see it otherwise. Choosing life goals is a very big deal, differentiates the adults from the kids, and, for most, is probably best done in a partnership. "Chacun a son gout" - which does not mean each selects his own path to gout.
The Politics of Envy
Envy is one of those devilishly enjoyable deadly sins
Another Passover Massacre
Syria: Who is the opposition?
How to Advance Communism in the Classroom
Sheesh. We are paying them for this? They should do this on their own time, on their own nickel. Not on mine.
Reich: Let everybody join Medicare
Great idea, Robert. But my Doc doesn't do Medicare. He wants to get paid for his time and interest in my well-being, and he should be. I pay him, with my own money. I thank him, too, and also send him a holiday basket of goodies for his family.
It's not mainly about oil prices. It's about hedging the dollar with commodities, it seems to me. Global investors must hedge their risks somehow, and China wants to dump dollars. Gold, silver, oil - anything real instead of paper money.
Related, at PJ, A Field Guide to Scandinavian Literary Birdbrains:
Sunday, April 24. 2011
Mark Steyn reports that his childrens' Kinder Eggs were seized by US Customs as he and they crossed the border from Canada to the US. According to Customs: "Many of the toys that have been tested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the past were determined to present a choking hazard for young children....Last year, CBP officers discovered more than 25,000 of these banned chocolate eggs. More than 2,000 separate seizures were made of this product." As Steyn states, however: "And yet oddly enough generations of European and Latin American children remain unchoked."
If you don't know what Kinder Eggs are, they are hollow chocolate eggs with ingenious little assembly toys inside.
Each Summer, my wife and boys visit grandma in Germany. My wife brings back two egg cartons of twelve Kinder Eggs in each carton. Throughout the year they provide exceptional motivational rewards for the boys. My wife is as paranoid as most mothers about her childrens' safety, and as prone as most to believe most scares. The boys have collected several hundred of Kinder Egg toys. They reacted with deep disappointment this morning when I told them they are now illegal to bring into the US , then asked Mom if they could eat them all before getting on the plane home. My wife is trying to figure out something else as powerful a motivational reward as Kinder Eggs.
There's someone in Washington smiling that another motivation for individual effort has been broken and outlawed.
At USA Today, How Easter and Christianity undermine atheism. A quote:
Yes - why not, doggone it? We have no problem with atheists - or with any other religions, here at Maggie's. Life, and consciousness, is a deep mystery and a puzzlement, and we all must find our own ways through it with whatever sources of illumination we can find. As readers know, I am a Jesus guy - and I am not even particularly attracted to the idea of eternal life.
Saturday, April 23. 2011
The lovely place where TigerHawk grew up in Virgina (more pics there). I see a nice seat for a cigar and glass of brandy:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:53 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Preparing Easter feast for after church tomorrow for my in-laws and all the kids we can collect.
Two of my sisters are going to tend to the old folks this weekend while we finally seek some serious home help for them. I think I was in denial about their decline: it is painful to face as they have always had so much adventurousness, vitality, and work-and-study ethic.
Our menu is Butternut Squash Soup with nutmeg with a dollop of sour cream and my special homemade crouton, Arista (bone in, with garlic and rosemary - Arista is pork loin-rib roast, Tuscan-style), roast potatoes, stuffing with apples, apple sauce, roast parsnips, and Brussel Sprouts with garlic and oil. A nice Cote Roti.
For dessert, Wheat Pie, Rice Pie - and a Bunny Cake! With my good Mexican coffee. A multicultural Easter feast.
Next year, I want to make an Italian Easter Pie - Pizza Rustica.
Dylan does his song better on the Bootleg recording, but Emmylou is always worth listening to:
and I did find an OK live version with Bob:
Around the world in 22 days, visiting World heritage sites by private jet.
I'd do it in a minute, if I could take 22 days off work.
Warren Buffet once said the the main advantage in life about being rich is private travel. We regular people easily forget that wealthy people worry as much, or more, about money than regular folks. They have more to worry about.
I rarely have a chance to travel by private jet, but have done so enough to say that it is very good. For my luxury, Mrs. BD just informed me that she rented an Alpha Romeo for me for our 10 days in Umbria. Only 100 E. more than the VW. Definitely worth it. Happy Bird Dog.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:24 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Enter 'Classic Start Menu' (where do they dream up these wild and crazy names?), a free replacement that mimics the old style menu perfectly. It's also quite configurable so you can get rid on any unwanted Start Menu entries, like "Help & Support", the ultra-worthless 'Search' box, and arrange the columns and icons to just the right size.
But the main thing is that the menus auto-expand — like in the old days — so there's no unnecessary clicking. If I want to access 'Process Explorer' inside of my 'Tools' Start Menu folder, that's 5 mouse clicks with the stock Start Menu, 2 with Classic.
Additional info (and some other program suggestions for Win7) is below the fold.
Continue reading "Doc's Computin' Tips: Classic Start Menu for Win7"
It's Will's birthday. 447th.
Raise a pint to celebrate today, my little Shakespearian collegiate pupette!
Brief, at IBD: Faith And Freedom
View from the Dems: Is America still a serious nation?
Is it serious to continue going into hock to the Chinese?
It's always Amateur Hour in Noko
Morning Jay: Memo to the Media: Obama Is Not Popular!
He will always be popular in Medialand.
Jurassic President - Obama's preserved in the amber of an echo chamber where the romanticized version of the 1930s, seen through the new-age gauze of the 1970s, is paradise.
As we have always contended here, the Left are dinosaurs and the myth of the omniscient State is dead. Defunct. An ex-myth. Gone to the choir invisible.
Surber: Public flunks Obama
Commentary: The Reality of Campus Anti-Semitism
More about the Boeing story
The Lefties often express thoughts about killing, suppressing or censoring those with whom they disagree. Ideology is their Jihad. At Maggie's, we enjoy having our ideas challenged. We welcome fact-based disagreement, but not emotional rants.
He would have done so much sooner, had he been a regular reader of Maggie's. Bastiat's The Law is part of our canon.
Good piece at FP about why Obama seems foreign. A quote:
de Rugy's The Truth About Taxes and Redistribution -Do the rich pay their fair share?
The "rich" won't work for nothing. If you take too much of their compensation for their efforts, they just retire, cut back on work, invest in munis, or give their money away. One interesting fact in her essay is that the "rich," as measured by income, are not the same people from one year to another in the US. We have high income mobility here.
God grant that I may live to fish,
until my dying day,
And when it comes to my last cast,
I then most humbly pray,
When in the Lord's safe landing net,
I'm peacefully asleep,
That in his mercy I be judged,
As big enough to keep.
Friday, April 22. 2011
Credible, mainstream foreign policy analysts express dismay that President Obama’s foreign policy actions are so often contradictory, misdirected from commonly perceived national interests, and counterproductive to even stated goals.
Such critiques, seeking sanity and to avoid extremism and conspiracy theories, just stop there. In these analysts further defense, the facts of foreign policy failures are enough to indict. In their limited purview, that is sufficient. However, if one is searching for deeper explanation in order to avoid or prevent the repetition of such wrong-headedness impaling the US national interests, another additional approach is needed.
In the lack of extensive internal documents (a la, to some extent, the “Pentagon Papers”) a functional analysis of President Obama’s foreign policies looks at outcomes to discern cause(s). When the outcomes are similar, there is more reason to look for common cause. In other words, the outcomes are either consciously purposeful and may have a common purpose and cause, or highly likely due to conditioning. These two can come together when the structure of justification for the conditioning is verbalized and then used by the actor. President Obama’s leftist worldview is that conditioning and conscious purpose.
The caveat must be raised that functional analysis is, like any theory when applied to real life, unable to explain or predict every cause or action, and can be abused to impose an inadequately supported structure. For example, most wizened observers of human affairs agree that “stupidity” is usually a better explanation than “mendacity” in understanding the foibles or mistakes of men.
For example, this criticism was tellingly made by critics of the Cold War revisionist historians who ascribed its origins to exploitive and rapacious capitalism and the consequent purposeful expansionism of America’s leaders, downplaying the role and actions of the Soviet Union’s leaders as well as the gaps in information upon which our leaders had to act or react. Further analyses of the Cold War revisionist historians’ works more simply showed poor historiography. More measured contemporary historians, now with access to more Soviet archives and Western, see some less adventurous motivations and choices by Stalin, communist ideology at work alongside any realpolitik, and more confusion and reserved responses by and among Western leaders in the Cold War battles.
The Marxism underlying the Cold War revisionist historians’ world view was, as is Marxism, a form of functional analysis. From the outcome of post-war global dominance by the US and the conflicts with spreading communism, the cause was ascribed of a “mendacious,” conniving US pursuing resources and seeking the subjugation of colonial peoples.
There will be more future transparency into President Obama’s foreign policies that will expose greater confusion and reservations than seems the case now. The confidence of Americans after World War II, the expansion of our economy, and some racism may have been among causes for some US excesses. President Obama’s foreign policies appear almost the reverse: lack of confidence in US exceptionalism – our deserved heightened confidence in our good motives and actions, neglect of maintaining or growing the US economy, and siding with those opposed to states aligned with or benign toward US foreign policies. In this, President Obama is acting out his leftist upbringing and education.
As with the Cold War revisionist historians, and the wider leftist critique of America, President Obama basically takes and acts upon their view that the US and the West is mostly at fault for conflict and the unreached aspirations of those seen as oppressed.
President Obama was raised and educated in this leftist view. Yes, he is limited by others in our society and politics. But, he has been both consistent and determined in pursuing his view. His half-measures of continuity in Iraq and Afghanistan are compromises with contrary facts and views, but his half-measures are likely to fail and still, thus, further his view. Functionally, President Obama is the foe of the US.
In the Middle East, this functional analysis of President Obama’s foreign policies is most evident. President Obama buys that the source of conflict is the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, and that Israel – the stronger – is at fault. The Palestinians are oppressed by Israel. The other states in the Middle East – all autocratic or despotic -- that have come to terms with Israel or whose policies don’t really threaten Israel are viewed negatively. The states that more actively oppose and threaten Israel are viewed as whom we should favor. Islamist ideology is either ignored or seen benignly as a spur to violence and conflict. Arab states and Iran’s internal policies of corruption, exploitation and repression are not viewed as the source of their backwardness or hostilities.
In short, in functional analysis, President Obama really acts to lessen the power of the US and its exertion and to increase the power and exertions of those opposed to the US and its allies. The rationalizations he has inculcated from his leftist past try to publicly justify this in evasions and euphemisms. Indeed, he may not consciously want the defeat of the West and victories by its foes. But that is the result and it is all rooted in his leftist world view.
Those, of whatever political orientation, who avoid calling him out as, functionally, the foe of Western values and US national interests are doing their listeners a serious harm by reducing the justified wholesale rejection of President Obama’s foreign policies. Worse, they mask the cause and its rejection, allowing it to reappear among others and further harm the US, its values and its allies.
BTW: Washington Post editorial gets close: Shameful U.S. inaction on Syria’s massacres
BTW: Washington Post editorial gets close: Shameful U.S. inaction on Syria’s massacres
Krugman, normally a hack and propagandist in my view, gets this right: Patients Are Not Consumers.
Patients are not consumers and physicians are not "providers": they are in a professional relationship of extremely personal and intimate content, in which judgement and individualized attention and care are required. Mutual trust and committment are key, and that is what Krugman wants.
On the other hand, Krugman would like us all standing in lines in government clinics. I think Krugman is a mixed-up person.
One of my fishing pals, this week.