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
Friday, September 30. 2011
I jokingly refer to my sons as The Mother’s Curse. Did your mother, exasperated or angry, ever stand over you and say, “You should have children like you. Then you’ll know how I feel.” Surely, my mother is rolling over in her grave laughing at me because they’re like me as I remember my childhood.
They get under my skin when they’re obstinate, selfish, nasty, use bad words, make excuses, talk back. And, I sometimes lose my temper.
Yeah, they are only 11 and 6, I know, and they’ve progressed and are supposed to know and act better and control themselves as they grow older and more experienced.
To become better it is necessary to correct and instruct them, and be willing to make it stick. When they continue to not listen, and even dig in to provoke me, I sometimes blow my stack. And they tremble then and cool it.
But, I wish, and if wishes were fishes we’d never go hungry, they would listen and learn more and I yell at them less (especially when I overreact).
I’ve read many books and tried to follow their guidance. Yet, I still have to yell at them. And, they keep pushing back, one of their more lovable characteristics that they don’t back down or off easily.
Or, is it just called parenting? Love ya, boys.
Many of those "slums" that the wrecking ball never got to are among the most expensive and fashionable parts of NYC today, while the government housing projects are bad news in many ways - many of them falling to the wrecking ball now as recognition of an arrogant, expensive, and deeply-flawed policy of our genius government planners.
Why the remarkable proliferation of law schools? Because schools make a lot of money from them. In my youth, in the 1800s, we learned law from books and apprenticeship. Law school was not a requirement for joining the bar until 1906, which is long after I was admitted to the bar. Why they jumped from 0 years to 3 years of formal education, I do not know.
I happen to believe that legal training is good training for all sorts of things that a person might want to accomplish. However, the legal field is looking a little shaky these days unless you want to chase ambulances and have strange hair like John Edwards. The Obama recession is hurting everybody, dentists and lawyers, plumbers and electricians, doctors and churches, handymen and builders.
My close personal friend Barack emailed this nice note to me today:
We're pleased to announce that we're adding a new guest blogger to the assorted collection of drunken reprobates and societal misfits already inhabiting this place. I've grilled him extensively on the finer art of hog sloppin' and how to read the future from chicken scratchings and I think he'll fit right in.
His name is Bulldog. And, when it comes to 'bulldog grip', I can't imagine a better handle. He and I are still arguing about my Magellan post from last April. The guy just won't let go! His condition is so pronounced that we're actually offering up three Official Maggie's Farm Bonus Points if you can win an argument with him in the comments.
Also, like myself, he comes with a dire warning, given the hard turn to the political right this site has taken over the past few years. When I started talkin' politics again a while back, I quickly noted that I was a confirmed Centrist, which I define as hating both sides equally. Thus, when the next thing you know I'm desecrating your favorite candidate with nasty euphemisms that even a hard-core lefty site would have qualms about using, it's understandable. But Bulldog is even worse.
He's a Libertarian.
Which is, of course, why I invited him aboard. The banner does say 'politically centrist', right? So, with only poor little me to fend off the unmitigated horror of the constant outpouring from the right-wing propaganda machine that infuses this place (our president is a "idiot", Greenpeace is "indoctrinating" people, Planned Parenthood is an "abortion mill", the Boomers and/or Hippies are to blame for all your problems, screw poor people and their food stamps, etc, etc, etc), I thought throwing a for-real Libertarian into the mix would help keep that 'politically centrist' part of the banner from becoming the biggest joke in the blogosphere.
Ever the helpful one, I.
Using the strange, archaic moniker 'Rick', Bird Dog and I have already posted two of his pieces. He should have his own account set up by next week. His next post follows this one, but he quickly notes that it's just a throwaway piece; just something he wanted to toss out there. He's going to save the really cruel, biting, acerbic pieces about those gun totin', dawg-lovin', Bible-thumpin', war mongerin' Conservatives until he can get his own byline and take full credit. Libertarians are like that.
Welcome aboard, Bulldog!
The other day, former Google employee Doug Edwards asked President Obama to please raise my taxes. Edwards has the luxury of being "unemployed by choice." This is a very nice choice to have, one which I wish I had when I was unemployed. Not having the financial wherewithal Mr. Edwards has, it forced me to make some very different choices during my period of unemployment. One of them was not related to raising my taxes at all.
Where Edwards, and Warren Buffett, go off the rails is their assumption that raising their taxes is something they should be allowed to impose on others who may not share their views. If Mr. Edwards has a very good friend who is also making money by selling his stock from "a small startup that did quite well", it's quite possible that friend is happy with his tax rate. Is it fair or right for Mr. Edwards to tell his friend that his taxes should be raised?
More importantly, what is Mr. Edwards doing with his money that he wants the government to have? He pointed to Pell Grants, infrastructure and job training programs as things he considered important and worthy of having his money taxed. We could all agree that infrastructure is in need of improvement. But couldn't Mr. Edwards put his money to better use by setting up scholarships and grants on his own, or becoming an entrepreneur and doing his own job training program by starting a business? Mr. Edwards, I don't want to tell you how to spend your money. After all, it's yours, and I have no right to tell you how it is best used. That's up to you. If you want to pay more taxes, then pay. After all, you can gift money to the government. Nobody's stopping you.
On the other hand, if I had the luxury of Mr. Edwards' position, I'm fairly certain I could set up a scholarship fund and provide money for schools far more efficiently than the government. Why would I want the government to take my money, spend hundreds of thousands of what they collect on bureaucrats who don't add value, and have those people distribute the money to needy school students? There's less money to help the students. Of course, it does become a remarkably inefficient jobs program. I suppose that's the joy. You've been taxed and given several people useless jobs that you could probably do better on your own.
If I had the background that Mr. Edwards has, and lived in the startup capital of the US, I could probably be an entrepreneur. Then my money does several things. It becomes productive, I get to have my own jobs program, and the company and all its employees get taxed. Funny thing about the free market; you can actually be quite effective with your money if you have a good idea.
Mr. Edwards and Buffett aren't asking not for their taxes to be raised, but for everyone's taxes to be raised, and they have missed the very point that not raising taxes creates value if people want it to create value. Edwards and Buffett think the money has to go to the government to be effective. Sadly, the money will produce nothing of value, and the government will only ask for more later after this money is misspent.
Mr. Edwards, the only thing I can think is that you mean well, but you have missed the boat entirely. It would probably be far more useful to everyone if you and your "Patriotic Millionaires for Higher Taxes" set up a Venture Capital Fund or funded some schools in down and out regions of the US. I'm sure all of your "Patriotic Millionaire" friends are very smart and capable people, so one option would help create jobs and taxes, while the other would reduce our reliance on the federal government for handouts. Either way, you get to feel better and we all win.
Took this pic on the main drag in Woodstock, VT:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:18 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Our poll yesterday about workplace romance generated interesting comments. Thanks, readers.
Not from The Onion: NYC Mayor Bloomberg: 'Government’s Highest Duty' Is to Push 'Healthy' Foods
What a putz
This comes recommended: Fr. Barron's Catholicism DVD Box Set
Your morning physics: Faster Than Light Neutrinos Do Not Time Travel To Spoil Your Date
Keep up with the Meteor for your morning giggle
College admissions testing in Britain and France
Turns out, the South is a pretty nice place to live
That is news?
College Students Skipping Law School Amid Stagnant Economy
McCaughey: Surge in Costs Start Of Obamacare Disaster
Red Jahncke: Ignoring cost of ObamaCare’s benefits
At Am Thinker's Justice Kennedy and the Fate of ObamaCare:
Europe must now grasp its chance to turn off the doomsday device
What's that quote about "If politicians don't like the voters, they should elect a new citizenry"? Of course, that's what illegal immigration amounts to.
NY Transit Workers Union & Teamsters Agree to Support Commie Wall Street Protesters
Morning Bell: Time for Action on Pakistan
Krauthammer: The Palis do not want peace
Why not simply scatter cash - $50s and $100s - from airplanes? That would be the way to get re-elected.
I think we're gonna throw a little Oktoberfest party this year.
Cheap and easy: Get a pile of bratwurst, weisswurst, cole slaw, sauerkraut, applesauce, German mustard, German potato salad, and German pretzels at Costco.
Split the wursts and toss them on the charcoal. Boil some of the weisswurst, and grill some of them. Maybe cook up a pile of potato pancakes.
A random selection of German beers - definitely some weissbrau - and maybe some German wine. German chocolate cake too.
After a few brews, get everybody to do the Chicken Dance.
Thursday, September 29. 2011
Dan Kahan of Yale Law School discusses Cultural Cognition and the Challenge of Science Communication.
His lecture is basically about confirmation bias, which he discusses in terms of "cultural cognition."
While he acknowledges that at least some of what he terms "cultural" is in fact psychological (eg a person's fearfulness or curiosity about life) rather than groupthink, it is still an interesting approach to opinion formation.
I get the sense that he thinks people should believe what the experts say. I also think he has a slight case of Asperger's, which makes listening to him an interesting experience. As a Maggie's person, my tendency is to be skeptical about what experts say (which places me in his hierarchical, individualistic categories).
Well, I suppose that, to be up to date, I should say "Working with those to whom one is or becomes attracted."
Guys used to have affairs with their secretaries. Today, there are no secretaries, and women are working in every field from the military to police forces to trading floors. When it was a Man's World, there was less temptation.
It is no surprise that people form attractions and attachments with co-workers - after all, most people spend more time with co-workers than with their spouse and family. Some emotional connection is inevitable.
I won't even bother asking whether you have had this happen to you, because it is universal and frequent. (Years ago, a co-worker of mine told me that he only wanted assistants who were ugly or old, so he would not be distracted.)
My question for our readers, if they wish to be open about this topic, is this:
How do you deal with it when you feel turned on by, attracted to, or in love or lust with a co-worker?
Continue reading "The Morning Meeting at MSM Headquarters 9/29"
I enjoyed Bruce's post on the High Holy Days yesterday morning. I followed his link to the text of Al Chet
Hemingway: ‘The Finest Life You Ever Saw’
Talbott: What Do Organisms Mean?
AVI reminds us of O'Sullivan's Law
America's Great Dental Divide
Every Job Requires an Entrepreneur - Someone took risks to start every business—whether Ford, Google or your local dry cleaner.
Obama’s top ‘fat cat’ strays
Introspective Obama: Hey, I’m not telling enough stories; Plus: “I’m all dinged up”
Wrong. It's us who are dinged up
In Australia, a chilling verdict against free speech
Is AMTRAK A Model Of How High Speed Rail Will Be Managed?
Poster Children for New Health Care Model Won't Participate in Model Program
Green jobs? At $23 million a pop?
Harsanyi: The GOP Field Is a Gift for Obama - The Republicans face a rocky road to the White House.
How state lawmakers pump up pensions in ways you can't
The coming months will determine just how much democracy North Africa can support.
Wilkinson: The indeterminacy of political philosophy
Odds Favor GOP Gaining Senate Control in 2012
MSM Sheep: Ignoring the Scandal of the Century - Journalists are supposed to live for a chance to break a Gunwalker.
Journalists have built a firewall around the O admin
Wednesday, September 28. 2011
Yale Paper Shows That Climate Science Skeptics Are More Scientifically Educated.
Less gullible. Makes sense to me. The people who preach to me about it know nothing. People who have studied the sciences at higher levels know that most scientific knowledge is never settled. Science is about theories, mostly, tested by observation, and eventually replaced by new theories and new information.
Climate science, in my view, is in its infancy, is overfunded compared with more compelling areas, and will ultimately turn out to be largely irrelevant except to those who study it - and to paleontologists.
As regular readers know, we are skeptical but have some hope that some global warming is happening. Gaia would like it. The next ice age would be quite unpleasant.
Only 17% of American physicians are members. I quit them long ago, over their politics. Like so many foundations and non-profits in America, they were hijacked by Lefties years ago.
The antipathy of physicians for the AMA is not just about money, turf, and guild. It goes way beyond that. However, apparently the AMA's strenuous support of Obamacare (seemingly without understanding any of its implications) has been the final straw.
There is a new breed of young physicians, especially women, who don't mind being employees, having bosses, or working as an agent of the government, but most docs over 40 are not interested in that. In general, docs like autonomy, flexibility, self-direction. Also, they hate paperwork and bureaucracy.
From James Buckley's Restoring Federalism:
People have to spend tons of money on lawyers just to know what is in those pages. What a waste. Good for the legal industry, however.
The Who's 'Quadrophenia' Is Love, Joy & Suffering
Are these people still saying that minorities cannot understand White Math?
Controversial Bake Sale Highlights Debate on Bill Allowing California Colleges to Consider Race, Gender
Obama’s Jobs Bill: Read It and Weep - An infernal mish-mash of taxes, subsidies, and regulations.
From a commenter at a Cafe Hayek post:
Nobel-winning economist Robert Lucas on the high cost of the welfare state, why he voted for Barack Obama, and how Milton Friedman changed his life.
LA Times Remakes Judah Ben-Hur into 'Palestinian Nobleman'
"... staff should be prepared to be economical with the truth when asked by pupils what their favourite colour is and, in the interests of good race relations, answer “black” or “brown”.
Tuesday, September 27. 2011
The article leaves out one reason: confidentiality.
If I told patients that their records would be electronically accessible, I doubt anyone would speak openly with me. For that same reason, I keep very minimal paper records. My field of medicine is a little different, however.
Along with ordinary aerobics, this is all anybody needs to keep the lower bones and muscles fit for vigorous living.
Feel the burn: Squats and lunges, done properly. I just do them during spare minutes in my day, around 5 sets of each until it hurts too much. It's no big workout, but, like hitting your head with a hammer, it feels good when you stop.
Volokh says yes: The “Rules of English”
And he offers this compelling example.
With all due respect to the Bible and to Shakespeare, I say that it is obviously acceptable in casual and conversational English, and in poetic English, but not in formal English, and the same goes for run-on sentences.
Today's toon via Theo
America does run on Dunkin', as does Maggie's HQ. Mediocre coffee but good caffeine - and always a great ambience.
Families Wise Up About Paying for College
Even if you're innocent, it can make more sense to cop a plea
Via Insty, the price of sex has dropped to record lows
Are American girls hornier than they were when I was young? If so, is it an effect of global warming?
Public Schools Eat Too Much At Gov't Trough
The growing laundry list of Totalitarian Humanism
The Bake Sale:
Europe's Failure Demands Europe Choose A Different Path, And That We Stop Following Their Example In America
Billionaires, Jews and Janitors
Tax Demagogues Are Lying Liars, in One Graph
Eurozone crisis: there are no miracles in Greek tragedies - Lending ever greater sums to a mismanaged and corrupt economy won’t make it solvent , says Jeff Randall.
Carville: Tea Party a 'Dangerous Political Force That Threatens the Very Future of Our Country'
Which is worse, global warming or Tea Parties?
Americans Express Historic Negativity Toward U.S. Government
NGO report: 93,000 Copts left Egypt since March:
Obama strategy could spawn future Vietnams
"The average American does not appear to give government at all levels much credit for being careful in spending tax dollars," Gallup concluded.
Definitive proof of global warming:
Road to the lodge in Manitoba where Gwynnie and I would like to be this week, but are not.
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