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
Saturday, March 31. 2012
The huge investment by students, parents and taxpayers made in colleges to provide a foundation of knowledge and critical thought has already or is in process of sinking into the hole of politicized instruction that is one-sided indoctrination. The California Association of Scholars details this in a just published 87-page report, A Crisis Of Competence:The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California.
The specifics describe the University of California but, also, uses broader principles and statistics that apply nationally. The report to the Regents of the University of California cites its own policies that are being ignored by passive or activist administrators, allowing or furthering a lack of academic standards, yes also of academic freedom, that is digging a deeper hole under our society and prosperity.
Continue reading "Important Report On The Sinkhole That Is Higher Education"
We served only two side dishes at dinner last weekend: Wild Rice with Apple and Cranberry, and simple String Beans.
At our house, we only eat those skinny string beans that come fresh in packages. French String Beans, Haricot verts. No strings in them. We eat them like candy. Costco sells them in big packages, and our supermarket overprices them in smaller bags. We steam them all up and they are good green food for a week in the fridge. I feel that the full-sized string beans that I was raised on are not really fit for human consumption.
We do them the Italian way:
Steamed for a few minutes until tender but still bright green. Drain, then tossed in the best olive oil you have, with sea salt. In Italy, simple is the best when the ingredients are the best.
Delicious either warm or room temp.
This thing that is supposedly done for me, as if I were a moron and incapable of making life decisions, is not what I want and definitely not what I want done for me. I have a better idea. As readers know, I have Major Medical, high-deductible insurance because it works for me. The law will make my policy illegal. I once worked for a firm which self-insured: the firm paid 80% of the employees' medical bills after a $1000 deductible. Doing that would be illegal too.
The Dems passed a law to eliminate our free choice to purchase a personal item. As a favor to us, of course. Because they know what's best for us proles. Or are we serfs now, living for the greater good of the kings?
From the liberal Mead's The Health Care Disaster and the Miseries of Blue:
Earth Hour: A Dissent. As usual, North Korea wins!
Every day is Earth Hour there.
BlackBerry maker RIM abandons battle with iPhone and Android
Vanderleun's Frequently Answered Questions
Arkansas Supreme Court overturns teacher-sex law
A Small Pension Step - New York’s new law reduces costs, but not enough.
‘2-million-strong march to Jerusalem’ fizzles; anti-Zionist rabbis beaten at Jordan protest
Robert Bales, Trayvon Martin, and Media Malpractice
PATTERSON: Obama kills coal - as promised - Higher electricity prices will most affect those who can least afford them
The Anti-Energy President - He really meant it when he said prices would "skyrocket."
More than Just Broccoli: The Real Slippery Slope of ObamaCare’s ‘Must-Buy’ Provision
ADHD Is Over-Diagnosed, Experts Say
The Bellesisles Scandal: What Clayton Cramer Saw and (Nearly) Everyone Else Missed
Krauthammer:The ‘flexibility’ doctrine
Effort To Pay Hospitals Based On Quality Didn’t Cut Death Rates, Study Finds
Even If It Survives the Court, the Health Care Law Is Doomed - A Commentary By Scott Rasmussen
Book examines Israel’s intelligence-gathering
The Old Man's Comforts and How He Gained Them
Lewis Carroll's version below the fold-
Continue reading "Saturday Verse: Robert Southey and Lewis Carroll"
Friday, March 30. 2012
You probably already saw this: Not-So-Smooth Operator - Obama increasingly comes across as devious and dishonest. A quote:
Will Maureen Dowd be next?
Gerard found this oldie - 1963
It's quite remarkable to me that Polical Correctness, widely mocked ten years ago, has taken over in the academy. More satire is needed, but now there is fear of free expression. It is creepy.
Nobody ever expects the Spanish Inquisition.
I can certainly understand when anyone spends more time or energy on defending his or her own ethnic group or race or affinity group from unfairness. I do, regarding Jews and Israel, and Marines.
But, at the same time, if one does so even when evidence points another way, ignores the rights or rightful claims of others, even adversaries, it – at least – indicates a narrowness of perspective and inadequate interest in justice for all, which reduces credibility. It clearly spills over into racism when attacks or defense use racial or ethnic stereotypes, jumps to conclusions based on race or ethnicity, especially in the absence of facts or connection. When one tolerates such, even defends such, even encourages such, then one is choosing to affiliate with racists and is properly grouped with them. I think that is where President Obama falls. By dint of his repeated one-sided and unsupported words and gestures, and his inadequate attention to the facts or rights of others, President Obama is a racist. By dint of his high public position and influence, those repeated words and gestures make him a hatemonger, as well.
Document Deep Dive: What Does the Magna Carta Really Say?
Fracking: an Existential Threat to Green Dogma
Cameron: Brick by brick, we’re tearing down the big state - The Prime Minister says he will not rest until people have been put in control of their choices and chances in life.
IPCC Confirms: We Do Not Know If The Climate Is Becoming More Extreme
It'’s Not Just the Mandate: ObamaCare’s Other Infringements - The bill seizes liberty from doctors and insurance firms, too
Examiner editorial: Liberals' budget would raise taxes to an all-time high
New global warming deadline: Reverse it in 8 years or it’ll be too late
" If this last desperate effort of the power-mongers of leftism fails, then their whip may become a wet noodle, and the whole corrupt syndicate of leftism may completely unravel. Watch Wisconsin."
Checking In on Yale's New Anti-Semitism Program
Morning Jay: Why Were Liberals So Surprised By the Supreme Court?
No Subway $5 Footlongs In SF, 'Cost of Doing Business' Too High
Assessing Pacification in Vietnam: We Won the Counterinsurgency War!
Thursday, March 29. 2012
Besides "social media," it's interesting to me how others keep in touch with their old friends, how they reach out and make new friends, and, in general, how they keep their interpersonal lives alive, vibrant, and stimulating.
Readers know that I like to host parties at home, both formal and informal. Even if it isn't a time to have deep, intimate conversations as one does in other settings like in restaurants or clubs, it's a way of letting people know that that you view them as a part of your life that matters. That is an important signal to send to people (assuming that they care).
I know the Bird Dogs like to host formal dinners, and especially big semi-formal multi-course game dinners for 25-30, but that sounds like work to me. Sounds like a holiday effort, but they seem to be used to doing it joyfully and without much expense, and take it in stride.
At my house, we are partial to hosting semi-stuffy formal dinners for 12 at least monthly from October to March (why else have a formal dining room?), and casual family clambakes, barbecues, pig roasts, or the like in the summertime. Sometimes in the winter it is good to host a decadent after-church brunch with champagne and bloodies, with a guy making omelettes to order, and bacon n' sausage n' pancakes. A big brunch at home is not an expensive party, and people love to come in the winter for good cheer with the fireplaces blazing. People have been known to get good new jobs at our get-togethers.
Every few years, I think it's a good idea to find an excuse to throw a big cocktail party or Christmas party and cast a wide net of hospitality. Inviting people into your home, however humble, means a lot to people. Doing those things right, of course, can be a little bit costly but makes life much more fun.
I enjoy people. If I don't do it, who will?
Friends of ours, recent empty-nesters, have come up with another idea which I like. They term it "Suppertime." Once a week, they just call a couple to join them for an ordinary supper on the kitchen table after work. A cocktail by the fire first, of course. Nothing fancy, no big deal, just a visit for an hour or two at most. Salad and spaghetti, or a grilled ribeye and mashed potatoes, or whatever, and some fruit for dessert.
I think it is a brilliant idea.
What do our readers do?
Toon above via NYM's The Contradictions of Democracy.
The left side of the Supremes cannot define any limiting principles to the federal government. That, of course, concerns me because it is their job to be the backstop for freedom. That is really their only job.
Buddy sent us these:
Last December, my article at City Journal, Cal State’s Chutzpah: A hypocritical university goes silent while a math professor spouts anti-Israeli politics, raised attention to the illegal abuse of college websites by some professors, allowed to continue by administrators. Here's another case, at UCLA. Private companies don't allow this, so why should taxpayers be forced to fund this? At the bottom of the open letter below I've included the email addresses. You might copy-and-paste them and add your two-cents. Thank you.
Continue reading "Will California Public Universities Continue Hypocrisy?"
Earl Scruggs died yesterday. Coming from NYC, I was raised on folk music but was ignorant of country music, its variations, and links to folk music until I was in the service. I soon found a new group of friends, as so many millions of others did, when I listened and learned. Earl Scruggs was at the top of my list, and as you can see in this video of he and some of his friends, Earl Scruggs was at the top of everyone who mattered's list. No one can match Scrugg's 3-finger pickin'. RIP, Earl, your music and influence continues.
Via Althouse on the Supremes yesterday:
Freedom is slavery.
Image above via Voegeli's Not a Penny More - The case for antitax absolutism:
“What a Brilliant Man!” - Hilton Kramer, 1928–2012
History Repeats: In Europe, They Want Jewish Blood
A Somber Anniversary - Health-care reform isn’t playing out as advertised.
The Trayvon Martin Tragedies - The recent killing of Trayvon Martin needs more investigation. But where's the outrage over the daily scourge of black-on-black crime?
The SG closed with an argument that the health care statute as a whole including the mandate was essential to the public receiving the “blessings of liberty” because health care is so important.
Sympathy for the Devil: Saul Alinksy's Amoral, Ends-Justify-the-Means Style
Sinners In the Hands of Anthony Kennedy - The left cries foul as the right uses the federal courts to do as the left has done for years.
Police: Trayvon protesters ransack store
A Seder Among Former Slaves - A Passover of liberation in the Sudan.
Arab Spring Turns to Economic Winter on More Joblessness
Tutu’s crusaders to march on Jerusalem
US Criticized by Tunisian Secularists for Backing Islamists
Wednesday, March 28. 2012
What they were up against, via Powerline's Uncommon Knowledge with Mitch McConnell
Giotto's 1305 Lamentation
A friend who is aware of my interest in art and art history mentioned to me the other day that he has always regretted not having taken at least an intro art history course in college. (Where I went to college, intro Art History and Intro Music History were required courses. Good, but very demanding and well beyond cocktail party art conversation.)
I told him that this regret was easily remedied, at the cost of some time but for very little money. Here's what I suggested:
For starters, these two from Great Courses (the old Teaching Company)
After that, some of these Rolf Toman books are each a college sememster in themselves.
Then, for icing on the cake, it's fun to delve into the great E. H. Gombrich
The other day, a woman walked into a mall. She visited several stores, among them Macy's, Starbucks, Nordstrom's, an interior design shop, a paint store, and finally the Apple store.
She didn't buy in each one, but in cases where she did, she gave quite a bit of information about herself to the store in order to make her purchase. In fact, she gave quite a bit of information to each store and she didn't realize it. It wasn't long before she was inundated with coupons, offers, ideas for purchase, calendar of sales, and various other items related to her trip to the mall. It was as if she returned to her car and found all this under her windshield wiper. These coupons and offers were from the stores she visited, but from other stores that offered the same or similar products. At first she wondered, "Is someone following me?" At that point, her smartphone buzzed, and she had an email. Target was letting her know there was a sale on dresses from a designer she had recently purchased.
The mall the woman walked into was the internet, and there was somebody following her. But that somebody wasn't just one person. It was a large number of people. Faceless, nameless people collecting data on sites she visited so they could tell what she was interested in from her clicking, what online stores she visited, on her purchase decisions, whether she got to that store by clicking on an ad, as well as other data points. If this had happened in real life, as described above, how would you react? Certainly there are laws against this, you'd think? Not really. If I chose to sit in the mall and just pay attention to where you went, then visited each store to peek and see what you purchased, and then leave coupons on your car, you are limited in your ability to stop me. Laws exist to prevent stalking, but if I'm sneaky enough, you may never even notice me.
Continue reading "Internet privacy: Are You Following Me?"
The only possible good thing that could come out of this case would be to set a limit on the Commerce Clause. As far as medical care goes, the government could easily offer Medicare for all (if Congress could pass it and pay for it) and avoid any consitutional issues.
In Surber's Justices may not stop at dashing Obamacare:
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