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.
No rational person can look at Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and now Obamacare and actually believe that these programs can be funded for 50 more years. Yet there isn’t a substantive movement from either political party’s leadership to stop them.
At a critical time in its history, the country has as its president a man unqualified and unable to lead. Even the left has begun to finally question their allegiance to Barack Obama, and more importantly, his allegiance to them. More Americans, some in the media, are openly asking if the president is a liar, with the word mendacity frequently used in describing his actions. (snip) For the first time in Barack Obama's life, he is accountable, and upon his shoulders rest the lives and fortunes of millions in the United States and the world.
It seems like a waste of Maggie's Farm's precious paper and ink to simply forward the efforts of tediously brilliant folks like Mead, Steyn, and VDH. Even had I the time, I could not do what they do. From VDH's Our Ten-Trillion-Dollar Man:
So we have what we have always had — the most partisan and the least experienced man in the U.S. Senate as president, elected by a perfect storm of events (e.g., the 2008 meltdown, the media adulation, the anemic McCain candidacy, the furor over Bush and the Iraq war, the orphaned election without a single incumbent, etc.), in which no one was allowed to ask “Who is this stranger?” and “What has he ever done?”, in which the media finally gave up its last shred of impartiality and became a megaphone, as we were assured that Mr. Obama’s most intimate associates were really total strangers, his once praised avid church-going was merely sporadic, his most partisan voting record was in truth bipartisan, and his bad habits of saying disturbing things were simply a symptom of racialist, raise-the-bar nitpicking on behalf of his Neanderthal critics.
In short, Obama came into office with all the Carteresque assumptions on how to take over a private-sector economy and outsource foreign policy to international bodies. He now finds to his utter amazement — as Carter discovered in late 1979 after Teheran, Afghanistan, and Central America — that in the real world none of what worked in word worked in deed. Those who assured Obama that his Harvard lounge fantasies were real have either quit, are now offering new advice, or are criticizing him for once taking them at their word.
Obama, you see, is our nemesis. He is a totem, the logical manifestation of a warped media, the reification of some crazy — and arrogant — ideas about redistributive politics, the statist economy, and cultural and social life that permeated American life the last forty years. He is the president with a 1,000 faces that we have all seen at work, on TV, throughout American life, and at some point the odds determined that we had to have a rendezvous with him— perhaps a catharsis to teach us the wages of Keynesian debt, of a social policy contrary to human nature with its equality of result doctrines, of an all-powerful, all-growing unaccountable government, of the now hip ambiguity about past American protocols and history. Obama is the exaggeration of all the dubious ideas that arose since the 1960s — brought to fruition on his watch, delivered by mellifluous cadences by an untouchable persona.
In fact, a Barack Obama was long overdue. Had he not appeared out of nowhere in 2008, we would have surely had to invent him.
An overwhelming majority of those polled would not want to be 20 again. The question: “Knowing no more than you did then, would you want to be 20 again?” The key is in making the choice knowing what the respondents do now.
This wasn’t a scientific poll but was random across almost anyone I met and had a conversation with during the past month, successful in whatever field from business to arts to teaching; economically stressed from illegal immigrants to trades people to clerks to unemployed; politically conservative, liberal, somewhere in between, indifferent; married, single, happy, sad.
About 20% said they’d choose to be 20 again, about half confident and about half wanting to feel free like when they were 20. About 30% didn’t want to repeat the same or similar early errors, feeling their personalities would be the same. Then, half of the respondents just believe that it would be far tougher to get ahead now than whenever then was when they were 20. Those with grown children went on about how difficult it is for their sons and daughters to even get a toehold, and those with young children remarked about what they are seeing around them and deeply worry about their children’s future prospects.
Delving a little deeper into my respondents’ concerns about their children’s futures: Our children’s future being heavily mortgaged is at the core of the current Washington wrangles, and that is recognized although feeling powerless to affect it or almost hopeless that real reforms will happen. Another core issue is, as one respondent commented, “even with a professional degree, my kid is going to have to be working for the government.” Directly or indirectly through burdensome, intrusive and nitpicking regulations.
Gerard would be amused to know that I "met" Janis once, at good old Max's Kansas City in NYC just off Union Square. I was there with some college friends, late, when she came in with a couple of guys from her band. She pulls up a stool next to mine, said "Hey" to acknowledge me, and ordered a couple of shots of Wild Turkey and a beer. She looked like a mess. I think they were all stoned out of their minds.
Those were the days. I went to Woodstock too. It sucked. Trust me. The best thing about going turned out to be being able to say I went.
A house has been made so "energy-efficent" that it can't go two weeks without dehumidification, humidification, heating, cooling, mechanical ventilation, sump-pumping, and ten other things I'm too weary to write.
We were all better off before we "fixed" houses, and housing.
Our ruling class’s agenda is power for itself. While it stakes its claim through intellectual-moral pretense, it holds power by one of the oldest and most prosaic of means: patronage and promises thereof. Like left-wing parties always and everywhere, it is a “machine,” that is, based on providing tangible rewards to its members. Such parties often provide rank-and-file activists with modest livelihoods and enhance mightily the upper levels’ wealth. Because this is so, whatever else such parties might accomplish, they must feed the machine by transferring money or jobs or privileges—civic as well as economic—to the party’s clients, directly or indirectly. This, incidentally, is close to Aristotle’s view of democracy.
I have seen a lot about schools lately on these internets, and it causes me to reflect on my medical and pre-medical education.
Unlike today, when I went to medical school there were a few Asians, lots of Jewish boys, only about 20% girls, and almost no black kids. That was not very long ago, either.
My medical college expected a 20% flunk-out, wash-out, or drop-out rate. In pre-med, of course, it's much worse than that: most quit after their first B or B+ in college (there was no grade inflation then) and went off to do other things. In med school, one lousy grade, or one lousy report from a prof, and you were outta there. Packing your bags with profound humiliation. People who couldn't take the pressure just disappeared without a trace, like somebody falling off a ship.
For each course or clinical rotation, we had both written and oral exams. The oral exams, maybe, were the toughest, because the profs sought the limits of your knowledge, which they could only do by pushing past your limits, making you painfully aware of your ignorance (the oral exams were administered by panels of senior docs who were checking to make sure the junior profs were doing their jobs).
Interest and fear were the motivations. Especially fear, because we all wanted to be docs of some sort. At the same time, we enjoyed acquiring the priestly expertise. Nuns with rulers were not required.
There is an optimal level of anxiety at which a person learns best - high, but not so high as to short-circuit the synapses. The problem is, that point varies for every individual. For doctors, pilots, ship captains, and the like, you need people with high anxiety tolerance who do not lose it or get confused when the anxiety level ramps up and the sh-t hits the fan.
My point, however, was to raise the topic of fear in education. I believe it to be a great motivator, even for those highly self-motivated students but especially for those who are not. Most kids in most schools are the latter.
Do we really know how kids would learn if, instead of having mandatory education, we threw them out of school if they did not measure up or take advantage of the incredible opportunities for learning we offer everybody in America? I mean, from High School and on. Problem is, they need those warm bodies to get the dollars.
Jeffrey Pelt in Hunt For Red October: "I'm a politician, which means I'm a cheater and a liar, and when I'm not kissing babies I'm stealing their lollipops." More memorable quotes from the wonderful film here.
... true to the concept, the Sunday Review section features a cover page boldly splashed with a proposal to move the burgeoning nanny state into further regulation of what we may and may not eat. Penned by Mark Bittman, an erstwhile Sunday writer of rabbit-food recipes, the article condemns Americans' food and drink choices and proposes to control them via the means of taxation -- picking winners and losers in the marketplace much in the way that regulation is attempting to control the winners and losers in the light bulb industry.
...appears incapable of marketing healthier foods. And whether its leaders are confused or just stalling doesn't matter, because the fixes are not really their problem. Their mission is not public health but profit, so they'll continue to sell the health-damaging food that's most profitable, until the market or another force skews things otherwise. That "other force" should be the federal government, fulfilling its role as an agent of the public good and establishing a bold national fix.
Some of my slightly provocative Lib friends have been emailing me to make the point that this Norwegian proves that Christians are terrorists, or something like that. "What more proof do you need?"
It's best never to take the bait, because it is hopeless.
They are clearly delighted that the perpetrator was not a Moslem. It's The Narrative, you know. Before I read the details, I did assume it was a Jihad-type thing. Sounded like it he learned it from them.
I think I will do some like totally random slide shows from my old pics this summer on weekends - if only for my own and for my family's amusement. "Show and Tell." It's tough to have ideas on summer weekends. I love to go places - both the old and familiar, and the new and astonishing. Anywhere is interesting to me. "Go Go Hi Ho!" as my friend says. That's the spirit.
This guy is a new breed of preacher. Here's an engaging sermon for ya today (h/t reader). Two quotes: "If you're married, you are married to somebody with quirks." Also, "The lack of fighting in a marriage worries me."
Will serve my ceviche in shallow bowls, on Boston Lettuce, using one large shrimp each as a garnish along with orange slices and avocado slices. Hope I used enough jalopeno and garlic. Bowl of salty chips, of course, and I am ready to make both virgin and regular Margueritas. Watermelon for dessert.
Mrs. BD got me some cool Marguerita glasses in Mexico which she likes to use for fruit with tiny scoops of Haagen Dazs coconut gelato on top.
Update: It was very good. Next time, more red onion, more garlic, more salt, and more jalapeno.
Pic is some of my young relatives, on Cape Cod. High tide on the ocean beaches keeps people mostly out of the water. Low tide is for swimming, body surfing, and lolling in the chilly water. The Cape Cod Bay side is sort of the opposite, and plenty warmer too, so it all works out.
Their ugliness seems to be escalating day by day, and with it the dishonesty, distortions, and bullying anger of their mainstream-media fellow travelers. There’s a reason for this, I think. It’s the increasingly apparent failure of Barack Obama. With the notable exception of Osama bin Laden’s execution, the Obama presidency has resembled nothing so much as an episode of Mr. Bean, one slapstick misadventure after another.
Bertrand Russell, who met Lenin in 1920, came away with a different impression:
"When I met Lenin … my most vivid impressions were of bigotry and Mongolian cruelty. When I put a question to him about socialism in agriculture, he explained with glee how he had incited the poorer peasants against the richer ones, ‘and they soon hanged them from the nearest tree—ha ha ha!’ His guffaw at the thought of those massacred made my blood run cold."
I think Stove is right, though—prescient even—about the ultimate destination of the welfare state: “We also know that the inherent tendency of the welfare state is to increase poverty; that ‘welfare’ still continues every year to absorb a greater proportion of our nations’ wealth and population; and that there is no social force in sight capable of stopping that process.”