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
Sunday, February 26. 2012
Saturday, February 25. 2012
The International Center of Photography is running a retrospective on Weegee, also known as Arthur Fellig, who was known for his stark black and white photos. His story is very inspirational, but most interesting was how he remade himself in the midst of the Depression.
Weegee had an eye for the presentation of America's social life. It was generally optimistic, tinged with dark humor. This developed only after he redirected his career as a studio photographer into one following a police radio, and is the portion of his career the retrospective focuses on in "Murder is My Business." As this career path began to fade, Weegee recreated himself again by documenting society and individuals in an America that was enjoying itself. The mythology surrounding him was primarily of his own creation, which today adds an extra dimension to what makes him so fascinating.
One of his pieces of work become the model for Mad's Alfred E. Neuman.
The story of Arthur Fellig is the story of individual American exceptionalism.
Drudge headlines this morning:
5th day of Koran-burning protests...
Andy McCarthy asks whether we have officially lost our minds. I haven't. My government has.
Who is crazier: the ignorant, lunatic, hyper-reactive Muslems, or our pathetic Western governments? Gee whiz, I am so deeply sorry I hurt your sensitive feelings while sacrificing our lives while trying to rescue your freedom and lives.
Rarely, Charles? try "never."
These people make Islam look both stupid and bad. If they don't want to understand me, why should I bother trying to understand them? "Hearts and minds"? Are you kidding?
Screw 'em. We gave them a chance, and that's all we can do. On this topic, I agree with Obama and the Russians and the Brits before: Afghanistan is a tar baby. If they aren't one kind of trouble, they're another: heroin, terrorism, tribal warfare, Taliban. Kipling knew this.
Arthur Brooks: Obama's Budget Flunks the Marshmallow Test - People who cannot defer gratification tend to be less successful. That's also true of countries.
David Brooks: America is Europe (we just don't admit it)
AP on Obama’s tax plan: Loopholes for me but not for thee
The UK Independent asks: “Is catastrophic global warming, like the Millennium Bug, a mistake?”
British Parliament heard devastating testimony overturning the global warming hoax
'Stupid' and Oil Prices - Obama's Forrest Gump analysis of rising gas prices.
California Asks Judges: Gay or Straight?
Cloudy Contraception Costs - Does insurance coverage for contraception save money? We find lots of evidence. But it's conflicting, and inconclusive.
Sailer: Decreasingly Asymmetric Media
PIPES: Peculiar proliferation of Palestine refugees - Status has been passed from one generation to the next
Tone-deaf: Mitt Romney, Man of the People
No doubt a smart guy and a good manager, but a lousy politician: he says what he thinks. Obama is a far better pol - no integrity and no conscience, and lies and distorts without hesitation. That's the job - plus to have some crowd appeal. Mitt lacks crowd appeal. Personally, I detest crowd appeal.
Buchanan: Did 'The Great Society' ruin society?
What recovery? BLS chart below via Hot Air:
A Prayer in Spring
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
Friday, February 24. 2012
Remember how Russell Crowe in Beautiful Mind gradually slid into a paranoid psychosis, letting the audience experience some of the reality-confusion along the way? Ron Howard depicted this process well in that movie; the creepy feeling that things are getting a little strange.
It may not be a general-interest topic, but it is an issue which Psychiatrists are frequently presented. You consult with a late teen or young adult, usually on the urging of a parent, who has shown some decline in functioning and has some new anxieties and some peculiar symptoms.
A seasoned shrink thinks "Hmmm. This smells sort-of pre-psychotic but of course I might be wrong." (Much of medical care is as much art and experience as it is science. Never, ever go to a young doctor.)
Apparently our instincts in this area are right at least 50% of the time, which isn't very good.
This article at Neuroanthropology is excellent: Slipping into psychosis: living in the prodrome.
Congressman Bob Filner, together with PETA, wants to replace with simulators military Corpsmen’s “live tissue trauma training” on pigs. Filner’s proposal is a “pig in a poke”, experience and science not supporting his drastic change in military training. But, Filner is running for mayor of San Diego and this is the type of issue that appeals to his liberal base, regardless of the peril to Marines wounded on the battlefield. It may be that after much further research that some pigs may be saved, but until then Filner’s politics are “a pig too far.”
Several years ago, while building a structure with a diverse group of men, a pallet fell on to the leg of an elderly man. I ran over, lifted off the pallet, raised the man in my arms and kept him talking so he wouldn’t go into shock. His leg was bleeding profusely. Standing around us, the group included several medical doctors, doing nothing. I told one to cut away his trouser leg, put on a tourniquet and apply a compress, which he then did. Fortunately, once the bleeding was slowed by the tourniquet and compress, it did not turn out to be a severed artery. Fifteen or twenty minutes later an ambulance arrived, the medic commenting that it was good the correct immediate treatment was applied, and they took the conscious elderly man away to the hospital.
Continue reading "Pig Politics Vs Marines Lives"
We all surely agree that lying is immoral and, most of the time, a terrible thing to do. We all surely agree that lying by omission is equally evil, most of the time. As we say here, a lie is the theft of somebody else's reality.
In life, we tend to identify liars and to distrust them, figuring reasonably that if they lie about one thing, they just tend to be liars. It's not always true, of course, but it's a safe rule of thumb.
Robin Hanson asks Why Allow Lies? He says:
Making lying illegal seems crazy to me. For starters, every politician would be convicted.
Here's Lex's take on Stolen Valor.
From the article at FT:
"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.
Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion.That is “trillion” with a “T.” That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers. And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.
Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand. Some people may wonder why they matter.
Here is why: This year, the Federal Government will spend $220 billion on interest. That is more money to pay interest on our national debt than we’ll spend on Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. That is more money to pay interest on our debt this year than we will spend on education, homeland security, transportation, and veterans benefits combined. It is more money in one year than we are likely to spend to rebuild the devastated gulf coast in a way that honors the best of America.
Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities."
It's Hooters, Italian-style
TS Eliot's career in banking
Alcohol makes you smarter
Fakegate: The climate scandal that wasn't
This guy is screwed
Let them burn algae
First the Dutch Pull the Plug on Wind Subsidies, Now Germany Throws in Towel on Solar Subsidies
Eric Hoffer - 50 years ago - on The Big Idea People
Barone: Rick’s Loose Lips
He's an amateur
The Arab Spring on the verge of oblivion
Hatred: Coming soon to a campus near you
Egyptians claim Israeli goods cause disease, infertility
A New Poll Shows That Most People Prefer Austerity To The 'Millionaire Tax'
Formerly secret telexes reveal Iran’s early use of deceit in nuclear program
Israel says Iran seeking U.S.-range missile
City Journal: The State of the Anglosphere - The decline of the English-speaking world has been greatly exaggerated.
Thursday, February 23. 2012
As probably only former Cirque du Soleil gymnasts could:
Ben Shapiro via Tatler:
What he said.
What kind of club is that, where half the members pay no dues? (chart via Foundry)
To mix metaphors, we believe that every citizen should have some skin in the game. It's only "fair."
Of course, from a political standpoint the Left wants all the free-loaders and dependents they can get. We all get that. (Look at what has been happening to Disability. After some time on Disability, no matter how functional, few will ever work again. It has become the new Welfare. Everybody has some disability, don't they? Nobody's perfect.) Here's a question from Bernie: Can Obama Win Re-Election by Promising Free Stuff?
We linked Ben Howe at Redstate this morning, discussing how to engage the 50% non-income taxpayers on the topic of taxes. He notes all of the hidden taxes that this 50% does pay. One quote:
OK, but those taxes are covert. Here's one thought about the issue: Unbundle the Welfare State
Can humans learn to forget?
Thornton: “Nature Fakery”:
The madness of increasing dividend taxes (econ for dummies)
Schools are greedy
Europe Is Now China's Sweatshop
Brown Surges in Massachusetts
How Come No One Wants to Help Gaza?
The Arabs dislike and distrust the Palis
The Myth of Runaway Health Spending - The growth rate of national health expenditures has been declining for a decade, driven by better medical care and consumer choice.
The Cuba Embargo: A Foreign Policy Success Story
Israel: Judges headed by outgoing Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch rule that law exempting ultra-Orthodox men from army service is unconstitutional
Daniel Pearl’s death, 10 years later: An interview with his father Judea Pearl
Of all the good reasons to evict Barack Obama from the presidency in November, the most fundamental is that he is spending our country into financial ruin.
Sorry #Occupy Commies… Income Inequality Is Actually Plummeting in US
"The left says we need to “pay our fair share” and we respond indignantly that “we already are! It’s you that aren’t!” The truth of our reply aside, our ability to get people to agree with us is not helped with this tactic. For one thing, we are accepting a premise from the outset: taxes are about “fairness.”"
Wednesday, February 22. 2012
It's a campion species.
So says Powerline. Global Warming Alarmists Resort to Hoax. John says:
And at PJ, Fakegate: Can’t Hide This Decline - Peter Gleick adds yet more fraud to the warmists’ resume (my bolds):
Lots more at Watts: BREAKING: Gleick Confesses and Heartland accuses him of forging documents.
Here's Gleik's own personal justification for perpetrating a fraud. (His excuse is that the alarmists are losing the debate, so he got upset. What debate?)
I find the ongoing saga of fraud after fraud, deception after deception, to be depressing. As we have said here many times, some good old global warming would be great for the earth and great for people. It certainly has been, in the past. However, I predict that we will not be so lucky.
" $2.7 billion later, it was concluded that the Registry had never resulted in the solution of a single murder."
How rare it is for a government to shut down an entire government program, even if it doesn't work. Or especially if it doesn't work: "We didn't spend enough money on it."
I'm sure Isaac Asimov was not a fan of capitalism, let alone the Republican Party (or even Libertarians). The movie I, Robot was based on his series, primarily his work on the Three Laws of Robotics and some outcomes that may occur with their implementation. In some ways, the movie was a criticism of corporate culture and government becoming too interlaced. US Robotics becomes an overly powerful organization with deep ties to government, ultimately making the robot takeover very difficult to slow or stop. On the other hand, it's a criticism of Progressive overreach. Perhaps unknowingly.
There is one scene which reminded me of our current government's goals. The idea that we have politicians or bureaucrats who 'know better', and can guide us to a better place. All we have to do is agree to let them, and while many will be harmed, it will be for a 'better good'.
Continue reading "I, Progressive"
Just a thought about the election: The O cannot run on his record or on his real beliefs about what America should be, so he is going to run mainly as a celeb candidate with a good smile and a good voice. A Hollywood candidate for personal popularity, an American Idol sort of thing?
The Global Warming Cult and the Death of Science
How to Defuse Political Peril of Surging Gas Prices
Santorum is right about U.S. ‘factory schools’
Fascinating speech by the head of the Dutch armed forces: Why I Chose a Gun
At the Supreme Court, Odds Lie Against Affirmative Action
The Baha’i in Egypt and Egypt’s Future
It's called Zero Tolerance
Morning Bell: ‘Buying’ House Votes for Unpopular Legislation
Survey: Very religious rate higher on 'well being' scale - Very religious Jews scored highest on survey
Islamist Lobbies' Washington War on Arab and Muslim Liberals
Jay Carney: Actually, President Obama Didn't Cancel the Keystone Pipeline. Republicans Cancelled the Keystone Pipeline.