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
Tuesday, July 24. 2012
Big C update II
So what kind of jokes do I get from my dear friends?
That is, I think it was a joke. Some jokes sound so real it's hard to tell.
In case you missed the announcement a few weeks ago, I need an operation to get rid of a tumor in my lower intestine. Thankfully, they caught it at an early stage, so I've got some time to dig up the cash for the operation. Horrific details are here.
I'm having it done down in ol' Mehico, because it's a quarter of the price as up here. Funny old world, huh? The Canadians come down here for medical treatment and we go down to Mexico.
With a little over a month to go, I'm edging nearer to my goal. After some wonderful donations from family (the advantage of having 13 cousins), the gang at my mom's rest home (thank you, Alice!), some terrific support from the Maggie's Valued Readers™ (and you know who you are) and selling off $5K in stocks, I'm about $6K short. I talked my neighbors into springing for a newspaper ad and we had a collective yard sale here last weekend where I sold pretty much everything that wasn't nailed down and garnered another $550. The one thing I refuse to put on the chopping block in the Guild 12-string guitar I bought in 1968. It's sitting here three feet from me. I'll go before it does.
The link to the Save-Our-Doc campaign is here. As I noted in the last update, if there's anything online I can do for you in exchange, like promote a web or blog site or set one up for you, just tell me in the comments to email you. Every little bit helps.
Do I have cool friends, or what?
Posted by Dr. Mercury in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects at 10:30 | Comments (13) | Trackbacks (0)
We made the top 100
Dr. Merc pointed out to me that Maggie's Farm made the list of the top 100 Centrist-to-Conservative websites.
But we didn't build that ourselves. Other people did that - our readers did that, but I know they read us for our recipes.
Are we a Conservative website? I think of us as more Small Government-Libertarian in our political ethos. "That government is best which governs least - that government is best which governs not at all." (That's a Thoreau quote, variously also attributed to Tom Paine and Tom Jefferson.) We're freedom-from-government-power-and-control people. Like this:
Posted by Bird Dog in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects at 09:19 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday morning links
200 Screaming SEIU Goons Storm Dunkin Donuts to Protest Mitt Romney
Apparently Bain bought Dunkin. Good move on Bain's part
“Sh*t You Don’t Say at a Job Interview”
Something Fascinating: The History of the (Secret) City of London
Lobstermen finding more odd colors in the catch
A theory is
A North Dakota criminal case highlights growing fears over police use of drones.
"What is the fair market value of an object that cannot be sold?"
Crop cronyism’s destructive results
The Case Against “Made in the U.S.A.” - Fear not China or any other foreign producer.
Earnings Show Recession May Be 'Fast Approaching'
US Economy Going from Bad to Worse: Roubini
Endangered Welfare Reform - Is the Obama administration targeting the most successful poverty-reduction program in decades?
Posted by Bird Dog in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects at 05:58 | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, July 23. 2012
Log Cabin for the new economy
Posted by Bird Dog at 17:01 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
"What keeps this failed president above water?"
David Gelernter via Powerline. Bingo.
Is John trying to snag Gelernter as a contributor to his site? Who would not? We have been Gelernter fans since his first book. A quote:
He has a winning smile, too. And
Posted by The News Junkie in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects, Our Essays at 14:59 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Janitors With College Degrees
What is college for, and why is it so expensive? From John Leo:
I am old-fashioned. I think college should be spartan but spartan doesn't sell. It's about branding and sales.
Related from Leef: The wealth gap in America may be widening, but higher education has very little to do with it:
I think the edupreneurs will own the future, especially for those who seek education mainly as an investment in their careers. Traditional colleges don't know whether they are centers for life-enrichment or job-training centers. They are confused about their mission because they do not want to see themselves as credential-salesmen. I have no problem with janitors with college degrees. Why not? I do have a problem with college for people who do not treasure the life of the mind.
Posted by The Barrister in Education, Our Essays at 13:15 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
New Ways to Raise Taxes, Without Raising Taxes
The main method Obama and many politicians seek to stimulate the economy is through deficit spending.
What is lost on those who engage this method is that for deficit spending to actually work, it has to be funneled into truly useful production, projects which will yield massive value. Without getting into the problems inherent in all deficit spending, some might make a case that government related spending may yield benefits. It's a stretch to say that the TVA or the Hoover Dam was best provisioned by the government. Fact is, private industry would have managed these projects much more efficiently.
But these are examples of the sort of project which could make the government look better than it does right now by spending massive amounts of money with little to show for it. I'm not saying I support these projects, just that better options exist than Obama's current path. He made a moderately good show by using some funds to try and build a train tunnel under the Hudson which would have saved me 15 minutes on my commute each day. That tunnel, however, was going to be built with limited oversight, meaning costs would've spiraled and New Jersey would have overspent on it, thus losing all the value it would provide.
More importantly, these types of projects are difficult to begin today. Why? Regulation. It would be virtually impossible to build the Tappan Zee Bridge today, and even the current upgrade of the facility has faced massive problems which have increased the cost dramatically. A study of the region around the Hoover Dam, with today's regulatory environment, would end up killing this sort of project altogether due to environmental concerns. My perspective is simply that the Left has hung themselves on their own petard. They want the government to spark job growth, but they want to regulate all sorts of things, not realizing they hamper job growth.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute has issued its annual report on the regulatory environment, outlining the economic costs of current Federal regulations. Today, these economic costs are greater than all corporate profits. In other words, one of the fastest and best ways for Obama to earn tax income to drive down the deficit would not to be raising taxes - but by reducing regulation. Of course, this would mean admitting his previous approach was incorrect and flawed.
Posted by Bulldog in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects, Our Essays at 12:13 | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday morning links
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Will KILL YOU!
5 Ways Parents Can Transform Their Wild Boys into Mature Men - Leading our sons into the essence of manhood.
Amazing Illusion of the Day
Surnames in Britain: Norman v. Saxon after 946 years
Adam Smith On Conceit, Central Planning, And Disorderly Society
"Three young men are being hailed as heroes for their old-fashioned chivalry and courage under fire in saving the lives of their girlfriends."
The New York Times is receiving pushback from its constituents for having the audacity to explain that changes in marriage patterns are playing a huge role in the growth of income inequality
You can't stop a madman - Sad truth is that we can’t make sense of the senseless, and not every problem has a solution
Why Hasn’t Brian Ross of ABC News Been Fired?
An Aurora Massacre Takes Place Every 10 Days in Chicago, Gun-Control Capital of the United States
The Obama campaign knew that what they were saying was false but proceeded to try to plant the “felon” idea, anyway.
Among Military Veterans: Romney 59% Obama 35%
Posted by Bird Dog in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects at 05:00 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, July 22. 2012
Posted by Bird Dog in Music at 17:13 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Haiti: A failed "state"? It's the culture, stupid.
Not California. Haiti. It's the culture, stupid.
You can try to rebuild buildings and ports, but buildings and ports are useless in what has become a feral, non-Western culture since the French abandoned it. In Haiti, guys with tire patches sit on the side of the road and throw nails onto the road to generate business. When people get a kid they don't want, they dump it off at the Catholic orphanages promising to return someday to pick the kid up if they get a bigger house. Many are oblivious to time and when they say next week they mean maybe next year. Haiti has two classes, the politicians and the rest. There are no oppressor Capitalists because there is no capital, so Socialism doesn't have a prayer.
Except that Haiti has tons of NGOs and GOs like AID with millions of dollars, and none of them make all that much difference. They seem to exist for purposes of moral vanity. The corrupt pols make deals with the NGOs. Foreign NGO administrators do stints there to earn their third-world stripes so they can earn a promotion while living in guarded NGO enclaves, then they get the heck out before they become clinically depressed or go postal from frustration. I've heard the stories from guys who have worked there for NGOs.
All you have to do is to compare the hell-hole of Haiti with the Dominican Republic on the other half of the island. The DR built itself and is now a major tourist, tobacco, and farming center. People in the DR work hard and worry like normal bourgeois people. Is that a good thing?
Culture is the ultimate infrastructure. You can quote me on that.
That's why it is so difficult to help Haiti get on a more solid footing, and why businesses are not eager to build plants there. Haiti's culture is dysfunctional from a Westerner's point of view but not necessarily from their point of view. They are fatalists ("Si Bondye testaman" is their key phrase), live day-to-day and there is lots of lying, cheating and stealing, bribery, and rape. That's why the NGOs so often fail in their efforts - except in providing the medical care which is entirely imported.
They are a happy, often amoral and hedonistic people, I am told, who don't bother with worrying the way we do. Go figure. OK, they are materially poor. They have a thriving black market in, I am told, extremely high-quality marijuana. The ports which receive donations are their cargo cults.
The Haitians will never become like New Hampshire Yankees, Germans, or Vietnamese no matter how much money people throw in there. If the West were truly multicultural, we would leave them alone to do their thing.
Just my amateur opinion. Debate, and better information, welcome.
Posted by The News Junkie at 12:27 | Comments (30) | Trackbacks (0)
Decadence Destiny - How New Orleans got that way:
Posted by The News Junkie at 12:07 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday morning links
How TV's 'Dallas' Won the Cold War
Ben Stein: Wall Street Misconduct?
With Extreme Prejudice - How ABC News "investigates" a horrific crime.
Sen. Tom Coburn: How Both Parties Bankrupted America
It's plunder politics nowadays, even in the USA. Eventually, maybe grown-ups will get elected and rip up the politicians' credit cards.
The 5 economic stats that will decide the election … are all pointing down for Obama
Feds Crack Down on Obama’s ‘Enemies’
The quiet overturn of No Child Left Behind
On rare occasions I agree with the teachers' unions, to whom this was an election year favor. I don't think the feds have any proper role in education. I don't even think the states have a proper role in education. Important things like education and medical care need to be kept far away from politicians.
Related, from Harsanyi: Are Obama's Ideas Un-American? - If not un-American, the ideas that propel Obama's re-election campaign are certainly unprecedented.
"Does your cauliflower have a large carbon footprint?"
Posted by Bird Dog in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects at 05:29 | Comments (10) | Trackbacks (2)
From today's Lectionary
23:1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
Posted by Bird Dog at 05:27 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, July 21. 2012
Roy Buchanan (1939-1988)
The shy master of the electric guitar, a guitarist's guitarist with, to my amateur ear, perfect taste without gratuitous flash. I think he was Robbie Robertson's hero, and hero of many others too: THE MESSIAH WILL COME AGAIN (LIVE 1976)
Then listen to this one:
Posted by Bird Dog at 16:52 | Comments (12) | Trackbacks (0)
She's Your Cook But She Burns My Bread Sometimes (1930)
Posted by Bird Dog at 16:24 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
How the Government Makes You Fat - Gary Taubes on Obesity, Carbs, and Bad Science
Posted by Bird Dog at 15:08 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
A neither boring nor depressing Iraq update
Posted by The News Junkie in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects at 13:44 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Bob Update: North American Tour with Mark Knopfler Announced for Fall 2012
Carpe diem. Details of tour here.
The man refuses to retire to his pads in Malibu, New Orleans, and Scotland on his Social Security, and thus sets a good example for us all. Most days now, he can only croak like a frog but on some days he can sort-of sing the songs. But that's not the point.
The rumor is that arthritis is what has him banging chords on the piano instead of using his guitar. I don't know. The olde expression is "It's good enough for rock n' roll." Sipp can maybe splain that to you.
I plan to catch Bob somewhere this fall, with the kids and some of my pals. Good fun, even if it were not with the great Knopfler.
You have to admire people who just won't quit, who keep on keepin' on. It's an American thing.
One feature of Dylan performances is the age range of the audiences these days. Are we tempted to bring the tiny one along? Yes, tempted. He did seem to enjoy Paul Simon.
Posted by Bird Dog at 11:48 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Pic: From the 'Framing The Shot' collection in my art gallery
For starters, I've recently rearranged my video section and have collected my better 'video articles'; that is, articles centered around a video, into a new section called, appropriately enough, Video Articles.
As for my double-hip Special Vids section, I've recently added an interesting documentary on crossword puzzles. Before that were two documentaries on the Fukushima tsunami/meltdown, and the brilliant — if half a century old — flick, '12 Angry Men'.
I also opened up a Fave Vids section where I've collected the web vids that have really touched me over the years, usually because of the music. If you remember Gwynnie's 'seat belt' commercial from about a year ago, that's in there.
And, of course, there's the infamous Bag O' Clips, also known as "the last refuge of societal misfits everywhere", where movie lovers can slip away for hours. If you think my movie clips on Maggie's are sharp, the WMV clips in that area are the next step up, because I'm not reducing the quality by rendering them to FLV so the Mac bunch can see them.
And, just in case you're a music lover and have been away for the past month or so, allow me toss out the link to my Introducing Jackie Evancho post one last time. What a fun post that was.
And I should mention the usual gang:
Home Repair — In case you're feeling fix-it-y
The Google Earth Project — My tribute to this marvelous computer program
Windows — Windows tips, tricks, tidbits and tweaks
Doc's Secrets — I still like the 'Guinness' one best
Ratville — Okay, so why are rats such great survivors?
Rainy Day — Original articles & humor
Have a fun weekend, y'all.
Posted by Dr. Mercury in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects at 10:00 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday morning links
DUMBEST MAYOR IN AMERICA CALLS FOR GUN CONTROL
The Right Honourable Mr. Burke - Impassioned orator, eloquent statesman, esteemed writer—but who was Edmund Burke the man?
The Kids Are Not Really Alright - It’s worse to be raised by a single mother, even if you’re not poor.
The Cave Paintings at Chauvet, Or, What Makes Men Men
Over the past 35 years, the number of fires in the United States has fallen by more than 40% while the number of career firefighters has increased by more than 40%
Battle over genetically engineered food heading to voters in CA
As if journalists weren’t already confounded enough by the misdirection of spin machines and talking points, they now risk being duped by publicity campaigns using blatant hoaxes.
Ireland Bulldozes Ghost Estates in Life After Real Estate Bubble
The New York Times’ Obsession With Mormonism
The Top 20% Paid 94.1% of Income Taxes in 2009
Explaining Obama's Ressentiment - Unearned success is the central theme of his life story.
Sovereignty of Violence: A Visit to Syria’s Civil War
Here Come the Closet Black Conservatives
Posted by Bird Dog in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects at 05:14 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday Verse: Kipling
Now Tomlinson gave up the ghost at his house in Berkeley Square,
Then Tomlinson looked up and down, and little gain was there,
Then Tomlinson looked back and forth, and little good it bore,
Continue reading "Saturday Verse: Kipling"
Posted by Bird Dog in Saturday Verse at 05:03 | Comments (4) | Trackback (1)
Tiny farm village, two years ago
Posted by Bird Dog at 05:00 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday, July 20. 2012
Thanks to Mr. Vanderleun for finding this, the only extant recording of Dr. Freud speaking. Despite the current zeitgeist, his legacy and his students have provided powerful tools to help suffering people and to understand human nature.
I started my professional activity as a neurologist trying to bring relief to my neurotic patients. Under the influence of an older friend and by my own efforts, I discovered some important new facts about the unconscious in psychic life, the role of instinctual urges, and so on. Out of these findings grew a new science, psychoanalysis, a part of psychology, and a new method of treatment of the neuroses. I had to pay heavily for this bit of good luck. People did not believe in my facts and thought my theories unsavory. Resistance was strong and unrelenting. In the end I succeeded in acquiring pupils and building up an International Psychoanalytic Association. But the struggle is not yet over. -- Sigmund Freud.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss at 15:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Over the last six months, President Barack Obama has golfed 10 times and held 106 fundraisers, but his jobs council has never met.
Well, White House: No, really, we’re focused like a laser on jobs.
Everything this administration has done, and hopes to do, undermines private sector, non-union job creation. It's not a bug...
Posted by The News Junkie at 11:51 | Comments (6) | Trackbacks (0)
Friday morning links
It's time Democrats came of the closet and raised the flag of social democracy.
I think they already did
Prostate Cancer Surgery Fails to Cut Death Rate in Study
To restate the obvious yet again... tolerance is not the same as respect
SF Considers Strict Outdoor Smoking Ban – Except For Pot
The Obama Record: Deep Poverty at Record High, Homeless Families on the Rise & 6.4 Million More Living Below Poverty Line
Obama faces Capitol Hill revolt after gutting welfare reform work requirements
Posted by Bird Dog in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects at 05:59 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
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