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.
Like most parents, at least those who care or don't give up, I argue with my son Jason about some of the music he listens to, the Rap music. Aside from its lack of musical skill, when I can get past the speed with which they speak, the jargon and the accents, the message is misogynistic and elevates drugs and violence. Yesterday, Jason told me about a rapper he'd been listening to, Marcus Hopson, who goes by the stage-name Hopsin. He is very successful and has gathered some other rappers to his recording company. In this video, below, you can understand the words, and I hope that others who listen to Hopsin will take them to heart. Warning, there is cussing in the video, NSFW. (In case you do not understand the words or want a record of them, here's the same rap with the words.)
Now, on to white trash. Yesterday I took Jason to see the film Ted. I thought it was supposed to be a funny movie about a grown man and his wise-acre living teddy bear. What a screw-up that was. Including pornography, I have never seen a film that had so much non-stop vulgar language, allusions, and behavior. To me this film is the epitome of the white trash mentality too common among our artistes and elites. Hollywood and the actors should really be ashamed of themselves. But, of course, aren't. -- I didn't hear anyone in the movie theater laughing.
The U.S. was created to foster human flourishing. The means to that end was the exercise of liberty in the pursuit of happiness. Capitalism is the economic expression of liberty. The pursuit of happiness, with happiness defined in the classic sense of justified and lasting satisfaction with life as a whole, depends on economic liberty every bit as much as it depends on other kinds of freedom.
... these capitalists of the left are concentrated where it counts most. The most visible entrepreneurs of the high-tech industry are predominantly liberal. So are most of the people who run the entertainment and news industries. Even leaders of the financial industry increasingly share the politics of George Soros. Whether measured by fundraising data or by the members of Congress elected from the ZIP Codes where they live, the elite centers with the most clout in the culture are filled with people who are embarrassed to identify themselves as capitalists, and it shows in the cultural effect of their work.
Well over 200 million were liberated from poverty thanks to the rediscovery of the free market. And now as the world teeters close to another recession, leaders need to urgently rediscover Friedman's ideas.
I remember asking Milton, a year or so before his death, during one of our semiannual dinners in downtown San Francisco: What can we do to make America more prosperous? "Three things," he replied instantly. "Promote free trade, school choice for all children, and cut government spending."
How much should we cut? "As much as possible."
A Libertarian at heart. The man believed in American freedom from the state and had faith in human potential - when unleashed. Listening to him talk, for me, is like seeing the sun come out from behind a cloud.
And a 15-minute walk to the YMCA and the library. Plus a fairly dense neighborhood where kids can hop on their bike, or just walk down the street, and find tons of kids to hang out with and play ball with. How good is that?
The train would be the New Haven line (NYC to Boston). Fairfield is around an hour and 15 minutes by train to Grand Central Station. Not too bad, especially if you can get work done on the train. A little less time to New Haven. It's part of the "Gold Coast," but this neighborhood is more like Silver. Pricey for what little you get.
The lad and I took our annual journey to the great Pequot Library Book Sale in Southport, CT on Sunday afternoon, then spent a few minutes scouting out the Fairfield real estate (south of the Boston Post Road, near Long Island Sound), just for giggles - but thinking as investors.
With all of the amazing amenities, one might think these neighborhoods near the beaches would be charming as heck. They are not. They are mostly post-war, poorly-built and poorly-designed with lots of split-levels and other charmless ticky-tacky stuff, built on small lots on marsh fill and thus subject to flooding during big storms. But that's the price you pay to walk to the beach. Laws would not permit such wetlands construction today.
My lad says that post-war neighborhoods are rarely gentrified, or spruced-up, due to lack of charm and construction quality. Because of the local amenities and conveniences, the land here is worth about the same with house or without. It's mostly 1/4-acre lots, some less. That means the houses are what are termed "scrapers": the house adds no, or minimal, value to the lot. In fact, the cost of demolition detracts from the value. Those lots are valuable with or without a functional house - around $450-800,000, and well over a million post-scraping and rebuilding. As a result of the near-zero value of the building, many of them are not well-maintained or improved up to modern standards.
Only a few of them have been scraped and replaced by 3-story houses of indeterminate, ungainly style. (Due to setback requirements, you have to build up to 3 stories to get the square footage people want today.)
When people realize their houses are hopeless scrapers, they stop putting money into them and thus make the neighborhood - and themselves - look scruffy, dilapidated, or dysfunctional. Often, they are best off renting the darn thing. Here's an example of one below, a snout house I suppose, which has had nothing done since 1958 except paint. Landscaping, I think, by Home Depot. With a little effort in that department, it could look like a fairly good starter house or retirement shelter. An American flag over the entry, and some interesting landscaping, would add a lot to this basic dwelling without scraping it off.
(By the way, I hate those set-back zoning rules. Stupid. Houses could have friendly porches right off the street, and larger back yards for gardening, etc., without them. People making zoning rules are usually idiots. These are not exactly grand estates with gracious lawns full of grazing sheep.And, speaking of annoying zoning rules, these post-war neighborhoods are zoned as single-family residential, so there are no corner stores to walk to for coffee, a newspaper, an ice cream, or to chat with neighbors over a beer. You have to drive when anybody would prefer to push the stroller a few blocks for a coffee.)
What a great idea! Get rid of languages, too. They're too hard. That way, the division between the smart kids and the less-talented and lower-IQ kids will be even more obvious to colleges and employers.
Dan is a long-time Maggie's Farmer, a 23-year pilot in the Air Force, an 11th-generation American, an Eagle Scout and a total muscle-car gearhead. On top of that, he also has the audacity to still be married to his first wife. He's obviously one of those sad 'bitter clingers' that President Obama referred to.
He also has an interesting idea, which he mentioned to me a few days ago in email. I told him if he expounded on it, I'd guest-host the post. And here you go.
President Obama could very well find an avenue to a Supreme Court seat. Think about it for a bit. Let the idea simmer on the back burner before you reject the idea as the ranting of a lunatic.
Excuse me, make that Chief Justice Obama.
Obama doesn't seem to enjoy being President much. Does he seem to revel or bask in the glow? Numerous reports indicate he easily becomes frustrated with the political process. It is singularly clear he thinks himself the smartest man in the room, no matter the room. Some say he doesn't listen to his advisors. He doesn't attend the usual meetings. Apparently, he hasn't attended the economic briefing in almost a year. He simply isn't presidential. This is hard to quantify, but most will agree he doesn't have that elusive 'it'. His speech, dress, actions and words (not to mention bowing and scraping before foreign leaders) just don't state, "I'm the leader of the most powerful nation on earth."
While he is attempting to fundamentally transform America, and succeeding on numerous fronts, think what he could do from the Supreme Court bench for 30+ more years.
Some would argue this is about as scary as it gets.
If you haven't seen it, it's the best miniseries ever made for TV. One sample:
Percy Alleline: Merlin is the fruit of a long cultivation by certain people in the Circus. People who are bound to me as I am to them. People who are not at all entertained by the failure rate about this place. There's been too much blown, too much lost, too much wasted. Too many scandals. I've said so many times, but I might as well have talked to the wind for all the heed he paid me. Control: "He" means me, George. Percy Alleline: The ordinary principles of tradecraft and security have gone to the wall in this service. It's all "divide and rule," stimulated from the top. Control: Me again. Percy Alleline: We're losing our livelihood. Our self-respect. We've had enough. We've had a bellyful, in fact. [Alleline exits] Control: And like everybody who's ever had enough, he wants more!
At the heart of the Ricci case was the doctrine of disparate-impact discrimination, which the Supreme Court first articulated in its 1971 decision in Griggs v. Duke Power Company. At issue in Griggs was the requirement that employees hired into service jobs at the power company's facilities had to possess a high-school diploma and achieve a minimum score on an IQ test. The plaintiffs argued that these rules disqualified too many black job applicants, thereby violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
The Supreme Court agreed, ruling that job criteria with an adverse or exclusionary effect on minorities — even if those criteria were "neutral on their face, and even neutral in terms of intent" — could violate the Title VII ban on race discrimination in hiring. The Court further stipulated that employers could escape liability for "disparate impact" only if they demonstrated that their adverse selection practices had "a manifest relationship to the employment in question" or that they were justified by "business necessity." In examining the criteria for positions at the Duke Power Company, the Court found insufficient evidence to satisfy the job-relatedness defense, and so ruled against the utility.
Read the whole thing if you're interested. With all of the Federal legislation in recent years, employment law has become a hot area. A major expense for employers but one more gold mine for lawyers.
Gov. Paul LePage said Wednesday he will propose a bill in the next legislative session that will require school districts to pay for their graduates’ remedial courses in college. LePage cited the number of college students who need remedial classes as evidence of the ways Maine’s education system is failing students and taxpayers. Fifty-four percent of students entering the Maine Community College System need to re-learn basic skills, as do 20 to 25 percent of students at the state’s four-year universities, LePage said. “The parents of this state pay taxes for public education, then they have to pay a second time when their kids enter college.”
That's "higher ed" these days. My question would be "Why are these kids accepted at community colleges if they lack required skills?" (We all know it's all about warm bodies and the money.) I think the Gov. has it backwards, but it is a clever political ploy.
I'm with Charles Murray in thinking that around 5% of kids are "ready" for serious higher ed, unless that "higher ed" means job training. It's all about Insty's College Bubble. Except for the most competitive schools, I think community colleges and most colleges are the new High Schools. Honestly, you would not believe the ignorance and intellectual incompetence of college grads that I have interviewed in recent years.
We have to face the fact that "higher ed" is a government-sponsored industry, just like GM and Solydra, churning out stuff that nobody really needs.
...believe it or not, the federal government is now starting another initiative to force banks to lend to low-credit-rated blacks and Hispanics -- not just anybody but specifically blacks and Hispanics -- and is threatening -- and already imposing -- huge punitive fines if they don't. Moreover, this time they're going even further. They're going to take over thecredit rating agencies and force them to change their standards to accommodate blacks and Hispanics so that nobody will have any idea who is a bad credit risk and who is not. In so many words, the government is about impose its will on the whole home-lending market and force another round of bad loans so that the banks are going to be looted once again so that even the federal government may not be able to bail them out this time.
Designed to fail, like the Health Care bill. They'll blame the "greedy bankers" again, while forcing them to do stupid things which lose money. Then they will want to nationalize the banks and eliminate the reality of credit risk. Laws that try to cancel out reality are never a good idea but can gain plenty of political support.
My dad took a huge chance without any help, grants, assistance -- no safety net -- and started our small company in our garage. He worked hard, and he did finally achieve "solid middle-class" levels by the time I moved out on my own, but I'll tell you, things got pretty thin at times.
On my own I worked for my dad, and I worked hard. Neither of us ever asked for anything from the government. I paid my taxes. I married. My wife and I both worked for the company. We saved our money. We gambled with the future, investing our efforts into that small family business that paid us little. In fact, among the three of us, we made less than we paid our top employee.
We lived simply; we didn't eat out except sometimes a take-out pizza. We didn't have much, but we were working for the future.
That's what my Dad did, but he never hit the big time. Didn't care too much, just wanted to be honest and to get by on his own with some masculine dignity. Still proudly working every day at age 72. He will never retire because work is in his Polish-Yankee blood and he was not made for leisure.
Welcome to the Dependency Society, where citizens and public servants alike have their hands out, and sometimes even in the till.
In all, some 45 million Americans are now on food stamps — a record high. And more Americans went on “disability” over the past three months (246,000) than actually found jobs (225,000).
It’s vicious cycle: The bad economy leads to job losses and reduced income; lower or nonexistent incomes force more people to take advantage of the safety net; government spending on “entitlements” rises to meet the demand; deficits widen; borrowing soars; the economy worsens — and ’round we go again.
Yet President Obama and the Democrats soldier blithely on, proposing $3 trillion budgets, running up massive deficits and pushing the national debt — now almost $16 trillion — into the ionosphere.
And, for the most part, the Republicans go right along with them.
Why? For votes. It’s just that simple.
Yep. What did FDR's aide say? "Tax, tax; spend, spend; elect, elect." Bread and circuses for the plebs, provided via the patricians. It keeps the plebs fat and malleable, until it doesn't. Gimme more!
11:1 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.
11:2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful.
11:3 David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, "This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite."
11:4 So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house.
11:5 The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, "I am pregnant."
11:6 So David sent word to Joab, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent Uriah to David.
11:7 When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going.
11:8 Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house, and wash your feet." Uriah went out of the king's house, and there followed him a present from the king.
11:9 But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house.
11:10 When they told David, "Uriah did not go down to his house," David said to Uriah, "You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?"
11:11 Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing."
11:12 Then David said to Uriah, "Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day,
11:13 David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.
11:14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
11:15 In the letter he wrote, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die."
Image is David and Bathsheba by Lucas Cranach (the elder, I think), 1526. What a good opportunity to paint a charming nude, but I suppose he had to do what was requested of him by his patron. David and Bathsheba's adulterous lovechild was, as the story goes, Solomon.Correction: that kid died, their second was Solomon. Solomon had, they say, 600 wives but only one had a Neiman-Marcus charge card. The rest of them had to shop at WalMart. Makes sense to me.
Splendid song, I think, and his phrasing is perfect, as usual. Lacking a beautiful - but on key - voice, compelling phrasing is important. Well, I guess it's always important unless you just mail it in or are singing a dance song but Bob takes phrasing to a new level. Word-handling is part of his genius.
Candlewood Lake in western CT is an 11-mile long man-made lake, built in 1924 for hydroelectric.
Excess power is used to pump water up hill from the nearby Housatonic River into the lake, then allowed to flow back into the river through pipes and turbines when power is needed. An interesting engineering idea.
Turbines, of course, are not healthy for anadromous fish, but Candlewood Lake is good for bass fishing, water-skiing, and swimming.