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
Wednesday, November 30. 2011
All God's Critters Got a Place in the Choir, here done Irish but written by New Hampshire's Bill Staines:
Somebody thinks the West is finished financially. What does that mean, though?
Personally, I've been a supporter of switching back to a gold standard, even if only temporarily, in order to impose budgetary discipline and promote economic growth.
Regardless, it was only a matter of time before Emerging Economies started to catch up. In the long run, this will benefit the United States, because at some point their workers will want to live like us, demand wages like us, and spend like us. Outsourcing will shift back to high productivity areas like the US.
In the meantime, the question becomes a relatively simple one. Would you rather see the US grow at 2% a year and the rest of the world at 1% or less, or see the US grow at 3% a year and the rest of the world grow at 5% or more? The first is the situation we've been in, recently. The second is more likely over the long haul, because as other small nations grow, they will demand more from the US.
So I reject the concept that we're "finished financially" and suggest we're at a turning point, and the direction we go is dependent on whether we make intelligent economic decisions, or continue to engage crony capitalism financed by fiat currency.
Where we go is dependent on how we choose to manage our current state. Artificially, as we are now, or by focusing on our strengths, such as creativity, marketing, and education. We are entrepreneurs at heart. The rest of the world benefits from the vision and effort the US exhibits.
From J.M. Anderson's Three Cheers for Useless Education:
I agree about the value of a "useless education." I also agree with his distinction between "liberal arts" and "job training." I think Prof. Anderson is likely an inspiring prof.
However, I think liberal arts education has become insanely and unnecessarily expensive, so that people feel forced to regard it as a financial investment. Ask me whether I think higher ed is a credentialling racket, or expensive babysitting for superannuated adolescents.
Also, I do not think "the life of the mind" is for everybody. Seems to me that we have many people feeling obligated to "attend college," whatever that means, when they would feel more motivated and engaged in "training" to do something practical instead.
Nice list of Life 101: 50 Things Every 18-Year-Old Should Know. I must have slept through that class.
#48 is a good one: You beat 50% of the people by just showing up. You beat another 40% by working hard. The last 10% is a dogfight in the free enterprise system.
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:53 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
How about a coffee mug that keeps your coffee warm up to ten times longer than a normal coffee mug?
Sounds pretty amazing — and sellable — doesn't it? I mean, lots of people prefer their coffee hot, and probably subconsciously drink it faster than they normally would, just to get it while it's still warm. Me, I use a coffee mug warmer plate which keeps it hot and allows me to drink it at a leisurely pace.
And think what an ad would look like for The Magic Coffee Mug. You'd have a bar graph showing how long various popular mugs keep the coffee warm, and while the other bars on the graph would be a quarter-inch high, The Magic Coffee Mug's would be four inches high. Very impressive, and sure to ignite a million sales.
Alas, I can't market this amazing product, even though I could probably get them for dirt cheap.
But let's start at the beginning.
Continue reading "The Magic Coffee Mug"
Posted by Dr. Mercury in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 09:00 | Comments (41) | Trackbacks (0)
Old-timey Christmas cards and stuff
PJ Advice columnist Belladonna Rogers on whether a friendship forged decades ago can endure the ultra-partisan Age of Obama.
Stossel: Government Blocking the Paths Out of Poverty
VDH: The Other California
Chris Christie on the Super Committee: What the hell are we paying Obama for?
5th Consecutive Month Of House Price Drops As Case-Shiller Misses Expectations Again
The Great Global Warming Fizzle - The climate religion fades in spasms of anger and twitches of boredom.
Readers know that we seasonally, and sometimes plain impulsively, change the image on our header. Some find those old images a little too cutesy and sentimental, but I think they are part of what we are. I love the details of 19th C life.
Of course, when Currier and Ives produced their images they were making contemporary illos and would never have dreamed of their ongoing appeal.
Tuesday, November 29. 2011
I'm not a big fan of religious exhibitions in public venues. I'm not opposed to them, I'm not critical of seeing a prayer circle after a game, or a player thanking God for divine intervention. That's what the player wants to believe? Fine. My issue is really one that relates to this - if God is helping the winning team, then what's He doing for the losing team? Are they just not strong enough believers? Did they not say the right prayers or did they not make the correct sacrifices? It's not really a strong argument to say "God allowed/helped me to win" because it presumes God didn't allow or help those on the losing side.
God gives each of us abilities, and how we use them is what determines how well we do at sports, work, home life, etc. Beyond that, God doesn't intervene much, in my view. If I start using drugs and begin to play poorly on the field, did "God allow/help me to use drugs"? I don't think so.
It's a sword that cuts both ways, and in the end it's a personal decision relating to how you choose to use your God-given talents that determines whether you're a winner or loser. When you're playing for the championship against another believer, then it comes down to your mental toughness. Another God-given talent, one which can be developed and improved (just as any God-given talent can).
Continue reading "Tim Tebow and Religion in Sports"
Danny Bloom is an American expatriate enjoying his cyberholic life in Taiwan. He writes:
Being myself a lover of Amazing Grace, I was skeptical.........until I listened to this. Wonderful. The lyrics are at the above link.
Bitter or disappointed about life? Shamed by your life? It's because you believed the rainbow pony BS
"We created a group of self-entitled monsters." Hey youths, this is for you. Hey, OWSers, this is for you, too. Adam Carolla tells it like it is (language not entirely SFW, and h/t, SDA):
"Life is difficult." That book did me a lot of good, a few years ago. Got me into a little therapy, changed my life for the better, helped me realize that I was my biggest obstacle in getting on with life. Corny as it sounds, that empowered me. Shrink told me that there was nothing wrong with me except for being a "blaming and excuse-making a-hole" and I had to get my shit together, quit blaming and making self-flattering excuses, and take charge of my life like an adult who was willing to deal with reality instead of fantasies. Mean SOB was spot on. That's why I am, at present, having a very good life in New York City.
It is also why I don't do the morning posts here anymore. I am grandfathered in, to post whatever I want, whenever I want.
Those greedy 1%ers (household AGI $350,000 and up) are Hollywood and Broadway actors, rock and hip-hop stars, sports stars, popular writers, entrepreneurs, TV people, fancy restaurant owners, artists, theater impresarios, prosperous small business owners, some accountants and portfolio managers, opera stars, the CEOs of big businesses, neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons, and some other high-income medical specialists, NYT columnists, college presidents, retired politicians, law partners, real estate magnates, and a few high-level investment bankers.
Not exactly an evil bunch of people. I plan to join that crowd, at least for a while. How many people are permanently in that group? Very few, I suspect. Careers rise and fall, which is why people need to save a little of their money while making sure to fully enjoy and make good use of the rest.
Read it. HuffPo, working on the envy meme: U.S. Income Inequality: Top 1 Percent Take Home 24 Percent Of U.S. Income. The economic ignorance, or feigned ignorance, is astonishing. There is no set "pie:" the pie is infinitely expandable. It's is called "Growth in GDP." Wealth can be created out of thin air, out of effective, creative, and unique qualities of work and investment. The Rolling Stones, on their next final tour, do not "take" their greedy % of American income. Those old boys earn it.
All the same, Krugman has it all figured out: Tax the Rich
Photo: Bob Dylan, one of the 1%ers.
Durban Climate Conference: The Dream Fades
Sheesh. We needed this story before Halloween.
George Will: Privatize the nation’s mail delivery
Jack Kelly's Odious Occupiers:
Boom towns: the NYT is upset with growth and prosperity. Mead's The Forgotten Look of Prosperity
From Roger's The Opium of the Intellectuals:
Obama and Liberal Intelligentsia Shed Dignity Ahead of 2012 Election - While the President dithers and hides, media enablers plead for votes from his disappointed ’08 supporters.
Winston Churchill's Evolving Views of Russia, 1917-1953, Reconsidered
Guess Which State Has The Highest Debt Per Person
Arafat planned and led the Intifada: Testimonies from PA leaders and others
Monday, November 28. 2011
Where is OWS hoping things wind up? Given some of the recent pictures in the blogosphere, one calling for a "Cultural Revolution", it's likely that these nitwits have a hankering for the recent past and all the wonderfulness others in Russia and China experienced. In a sense, a very bizarre sense, we could call them 'conservative', because they want to return to the way things were - even if those things were in another severely degraded country. Lord knows they are not progressive.
I was watching a boring football game and began to glance around other channels, and noticed "Dr. Zhivago". I'm a fan of David Lean, and in particular this film. Beautifully shot, well crafted, magnificent characters and storytelling.
As I watched, I couldn't help but think "this is what OWS dreams about - the chance to expropriate the property of others so they can misuse and destroy property."
Continue reading "Zhivago"
Barone has an excellent piece up, Entitlement, Not Tax Cuts, Widen the Wealth Gap.
I see no reason to care about income inequality in America: I hope the very prosperous 1% spend and donate their money wisely and enjoyably. The poorest have more comforts and conveniences than middle-class Americans had in the 1960s, and, in fact, live in larger quarters than members of the European middle classes do today.
The poorest, most dysfunctional or unfortunate have abundant governmental and charitable supports, but, unfortunately, these supports are not counted in their income status thus exaggerating disparities. Just Medicaid alone is equivalent to around $10,000 of income.
And, of course, income varies over the course of life; down, up and down and maybe up again for many, so statistics do not tell you who is newly poor and who is newly but perhaps only temporarily prosperous.
Of course, one way (if you want to address the statistics alone and ignore the people behind the numbers) to reduce income disparities is just to tax the hell out of the upper 10%. They'll quit working, of course, if they can afford to. Seen many big entrepreneurs in Europe lately?
Barone makes a few good points. Here's one:
I am highlighting a weekend link about Fred Siegel that might have gone overlooked in the shuffle: 'The New Tammany Hall' - The historian of the American city on what Wall Street and the 'Occupy' movement have in common, and how government unions came to dominate state and local politics. One quote:
Anchoress is hating the buying season
Leonardo's To Do list, translated
Because It Can Be Done (Just Barely)
I'm with Jonah: Linked In? No thanks
The United States of EPA - Ms. Jackson's agency takes over automobile design.
How’s that affordable housing working out for you?
Some jobs are going begging. Main skill required? Work ethic.
Derbyshire: I'm a gloomy f-er
How can government help the economy? End the corn ethanol subsidy
If Africans want a bourgeois culture, they need a bourgeois economy
Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks Undisclosed $13B
California rail boondoggle will fail, is worse than Solyndra
NYT Campaign Blog: Obama Will Explicitly Give Up on the Working Class White Vote Like No Democrat Before Him Ever Has
A half-billion bucks to an Obama fund-raiser? Don't we vaccinate our military already?
“I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth."
William F. Buckley Jr, via Samiz
Our national fascination with holiday shopping is once again at 'all in' mode. Black Friday has passed, Cyber Monday is upon us. Cyber Monday was originally a fictional concept, with online retailers suggesting for years that the Monday after Black Friday was the heaviest online shopping day of the year. It wasn't. When it was first suggested, it was twelfth largest holiday shopping day. However, Cyber Monday is now a cultural meme and last year became the largest online shopping day for Amazon simply because that's how it was marketed.
Regardless of which day is largest online, Black Friday remains the shopping holiday that resonates. Every year, we hear it used as a bellwether on the health of our animal spirits toward spending. This year, we've heard that it's indicative of great things to come! Then again, it was used that way last year, too. 2011 has proven to be substantially larger than 2010, in terms of Black Friday spending (6.6% growth versus 0.3% growth year over year). Ultimately, Black Friday of 2010 indicated nothing of importance economically, because most of the holiday spending increases were from high income folk. The large initial growth on Black Friday this year may not say much more than people are looking for bargains, and retailers are seeking to burn off inventory.
Canada to pull out of Kyoto Protocol next month
Cameron's green guru reveals his doubts over global warming
Climategate 2.0: Emails Show Government Collusion with Biased Scientists
Climategate 2 and the Corruption of Peer Review
Delingpole: Climategate 2.0
Climategate: The Things You'll Never See At The BBC
And at EU Ref:
Alarmists Isolated: IPCC Extreme Weather Report Triggers Storm Of Protest
Here at Maggie's, we don't understand why people do not pray for some global warming. The Medieval Warming, and the Roman-era warming - both now reversed by historic cooling - were excellent for civilization. Mostly, we worry about the effects of the next Ice Age on our property values. A mile-deep glacier on top of my house would have a negative effect, and another Ice Age is a certainty.
Sunday, November 27. 2011
How much do people love credit?
Politicians love it, because they can pay for votes today, and the next generation can worry about it after they have retired. I can buy a boat today, and hope I keep my job so I can pay it off over the next five years. Or I could buy a tiny 1 BR condo in NY, and pay if off over 15 years while taking an interest deduction from my crippling federal, state, and city income taxes. Businesses need it, in fact, require it, for investment purposes, in the hopes that they can grow. Banks love it, because they can lend the money and profit from the interest. Students love it: they can go to school now, and hope to pay off their loans in the future. Christmas shoppers love it, of course, because Santa is credit.
In the end, using credit makes people, and governments, debt slaves, slaves to bond markets and slaves to banks who offered the loans. This is annoying to debtors, who have already enjoyed spending the money and are peeved, if not in trouble, because they owe it. The bond market now controls the global economy, not because "it" wants to, but because of governments and people willingly, freely, democratically, taking on debt to pay the bills instead of taxing the heck out of the people who work. Borrowing is all voluntary, the loans are from one's neighbors, - and it is a big house of cards.
I was raised by parents who refused to ever go into debt. They viewed it as a temptation for the weak. They never even had a credit card. They saved for 15 years to buy a modest house, and never viewed it as an investment. They made it home, and live there now while the trees they had planted become enormous, dwarfing their home. They have hardly ever gone anywhere, or had much fun or adventure as I think of it, but they love their church and their little town where everybody knows them. A simple life. In my adult life, I have learned to take out loans for no reason, and to pay them back after a few months, just to have a good credit rating. A good credit rating, today, is like a grade in reality living. Someday, I might want to use some credit, but today I do not. I use credit cards as if cash, to keep my rating perfect.
I might need a loan, someday.
Easy money is dangerous. Living within your means, whether as a family or as a government, is just no darn fun. There's always a good excuse or rationale for taking on more debt. I fear that the world will soon see the economic consequences of excessive debt in which everybody has borrowed from his neighbor, and his neighbor from him. A bank, after all, contains nothing but one's neighbor's money, leveraged.
"I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today":
Good caveats there for the youth
Terrorist Bill Ayers to Teach on Radical Theory at #Occupy Harrisburg Meeting - All that is old is new again.
Let no crisis go to waste: Germany, France plan quick new Stability Pact
Will Vichy France and Germany finally win WW2?
The Non-Green Jobs Boom - Forget 'clean energy.' Oil and gas are boosting U.S. employment.
That's a good thing. Need lots more nuke plants, too. Everybody wants cheap energy, but they want it to come from nowhere.
Occupy Brain Dead College Students
We're Not Electing a Messiah
Must be human nature to desire some sort of supernatural political salvation, but that is far from an American notion: it's the fantasy of a having a perfect Master or a child's fantasy of a perfect parent.
New York Times on Solyndra: This Scandal Makes Republicans Look Bad, Right?
MIDEAST NOTES:The Coming Oil-Shale Revolution?
Venezuela Repeals the Laws of Supply and Demand
Next, Chavez repeals gravity
Scott Johnson loves Harry and Tonto:
They will email them to you daily during Advent.
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