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, November 27. 2012
Mammograms leading to unnecessary treatment, study finds
Stevie Wonder to perform for IDF
After Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv Ranks Best for Tech Startups
They Are Going To Make It Nearly Impossible To Pass On A Farm Or A Business To Your Children
Raisin’ Hell at the Supreme Court!… Raisin Farmers Tired of Giving Half Their Crop to Feds For Free
Approaching Crunch Time on the Student Loan Debacle
The Fiscal Cliff? Let's Rush Off Of It
I tend to agree
Does this mean it’s now okay to say that Obama is a redistributionist?
Your Obamacare on the way
Most Americans Clueless As ObamaCare Rolls Out
The Democrats' Fallback Plan For When Obamacare Inevitably Fails
Millions of jobs at stake in logging case - Supreme Court ruling poised to impact economy
Typical old apartment building, on Fairfield Ave. Note vacant lots on either side.
Monday, November 26. 2012
"Jamie Foxx calls Obama ‘Our Lord and Savior’ during Soul Train Awards"
This leads to twitter reactions.
My favorite "#If Obama was Jesus..." at Twitchy:
I am humbled to have as a good friend Del Vecchio. He writes in hopes you'll read and give. The Vietnam Healing Foundation gets needed prothetics, food and money to the wounded soldiers, sailors and airmen of South Vietnam, who are still maltreated by the conquerors from the North. If you haven't blown it all on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, please give.
This satirical video is intended to show that much of Western aid to Africa " is more about making donors look good than about doing good for the needy."
That's the Liberal project. Liberals take the long view and the long march. As Ace says,
The State is God? Addiction to government "help" is sold and marketed in the same way that drugs are. It is, in fact, a drug in the sense that dependency sneaks into the brain and distorts who you are, strips you of your dignity, corrupts your soul by tempting you to focus on what you can get for free, and enslaves you if you let it. In the end, it leaves you just hungry for more.
Welfare includes crony capitalism, tax breaks for businesses, mortgage deductions, bailouts, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid right down to disability and the now ubiquitous EBT cards.
Naturally, we Conservatives think it best to eliminate all forms of welfare and charity from government control except for the most desperate or hopeless of individual cases. Remove welfare from the middle classes and provide a safety net for the desperate: Restoring a True Safety Net
The Left, on the other hand, aspires to normalize and universalize welfare programs. Hayek's serfdom under a benevolent, altruistic, and all-powerful state. With Obomacare on track to fail resulting in a total government take-over, Liberals are beginning to comtemplate their next project: The Great Society's Next Frontier - Now that Obamacare—the largest expansion of the social-safety net in the last 60 years—is safe, what's next for the liberal economic project?
Apparently Americans have many "unmet needs" which can only be provided by government - or by our neighbors at gunpoint. It's a sorry sort of mess and will not end well. Americans can do better than this if the government would get the heck out of the way of effort and creativity.
Cas in point: Tigerhawk's new blog posts about how the new Obamacare tax will damage American medical innovations.
This week's series began yesterday. You never know what you'll find here at Maggie's. America has plenty of Bridgeports these days. We'll have a daily Bridgeport post this week.
Bridgeport, CT (settled 1639 as "Newfield") was a boom town from around 1800 until the end of WW 2. Lots of farming in the back country, fishing, shipping and ship-building on the harbor, and, at its peak, over 500 factories. "Help wanted" signs everywhere.
Few people know that Bridgeport was the first city in America with an auto industry.
Farmers, factory workers, a good share of prosperous folk, tons of Polish, Irish, and Italian immigrants and then southern blacks attracted to jobs during the war, grand theaters, fancy stores, and of course, PT Barnum (who Walt Kelly yclept PT Bridgeport). Today, Bridgeport is about 40% recent Hispanic immigrants, 30% Black, and the rest are various kinds of white.
There has been no gentrification of downtown because there are few jobs and not much to do. Well, nothing to do. The weekend streets, empty of traffic and foot traffic except for the occasional hoodie, give a sense of desolation but not menace. There is no critical mass of activity, which has all moved to the suburbs to escape Blue City decay and taxes. (It's Obamaville for sure. In the previous election, just enough uncounted paper votes were mysteriously discovered in bags in a Bridgeport school basement to turn the election over to a Democrat CT governor days after good Repub Tom Foley appeared to have won the election.)
The city's heyday was probably between 1840 and the late 1940s - a century. In today's post-industrial northeast, the town's population is down to around 144,000, and many of the old factories are now vacant lots and the rest are rotting hulks. Even the old Bridgeport Post-Telegram is now the "Connecticut Post." With the decline of the town's manufacturing and farming base - its main bank used to be Mechanics and Farmer's Savings Bank - corrupt politicians, high taxation, criminals, drugs, welfare recipients, and mob influence have been feeding off the carcass of this failed old Blue State city.
This once-proud city, with abundant advantages, did not deserve this fate. Such bountiful towns are like the third world now.
The main businesses in town now seem to be government services, hospitals, and law, since it's the legal and court center of prosperous southern Connecticut and remains Connecticut's largest urban center. Oh, it also has the woebegone and marginal University of Bridgeport which until recently was owned by the Moonies and one which few would attend given any choice at all. Lots of foreign students desperate for an American degree of any sort.
Nobody visits downtown Bridgeport as tourists except me and a couple of my kids on an urban exploration jaunt last weekend. Well, also visitors taking the Port Jefferson ferry or going to Bridgeport Bluefish games. (They have a decent government-looking transportation hub, with the bus station, the Boston - Washington DC train station, I-95, and the ferry all within walking distance.)
During our tourism, we stopped for a pleasant lunch at The Creek in the Black Rock section of town. They had Palm on tap and the place was full of people. I'm told another good popular joint in the neighborhood is Harborview Market. I'll have to try that next time I'm in the area.
A few of my pics:
A cute old half-block (rest of the block demolished at some point, probably in "urban renewal" aka "Negro Removal" in the 1960s) in Bridgeport's South End, with garbage from Sandy's flooding.
Most of the in-town residential areas look like this. Typical northeast workingman's dwellings from the 1880s-1920s. Cheap housing now, but too-high property taxes for the people who might otherwise afford them. When the taxes are higher than a mortgage, it's not attractive. It leads to a downward, death spiral. The poorer it becomes, the more taxes are raised for government "services." Then voters vote with their feet.
Building on the corner of Main St, a block or two from the big new RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland, for those of you in Yorba Linda) bulding - doubtless located with generous multi-year tax breaks. The graffiti is really pretty well-done:
Rolling Stones mark 50th year with London show
Would you buy this parking space for $640,000?
A Physician’s New Reality: Patients Ask Me to Break the Law - Ironically, but expectedly, the ones who do this now are likely to have supported Obamacare.
The war on men
'Drivelapse' of the Day: Route 66 in 3 Minutes
Moonbats’ remorse - For shafted Obama voters, repenting comes early
Mark Steyn: Jill Kelley for secretary of state
Microsoft push for worker visas raises concerns, exposes loophole
Doubt of the benefit - Why increasing unemployment aid is prolonging the recessio
The 49ers - How ObamaCare will keep unemployment high — by forcing small companies to cut their workforce to fewer than 50 people
George Will: Digesting the Twinkies’ lessons
Don’t look now, but the US Postal Service has just taken a giant step closer to insolvency.
Who Won the Latest Israel-Hamas War?
Sunday, November 25. 2012
Why? Why not?
For a taste, here's Iranistan (pronouced Iranis'tan), PT Barnum's home in 1848 on the corner of Fairfield Avenue and Iranistan Ave. Barnum did a lot of things in his life, made and lost fortunes, was Mayor of Bridgeport for a while, got elected to the CT State Senate to lobby for the railroads (he liked to commute to NYC in the pre-commuter era), promoted and was a major contributor to the creation of Bridgeport's Olmstead-designed Seaside Park, was a great impresario of hoaxes and the strange, and later in life a circus impresario. Everything on a grand scale, always taking risks, a bit of a con man who didn't mind admitting it. An American icon.
His three magnificent Bridgeport homes all burned down but his circus lives on as he first envisioned it: traveling by train and performing in permanent venues instead of under tents. And always, elephants. He transformed the circus industry.
Their story in the WSJ. Oh Happy Day, 1969:
I learned a lot about ADD and ADHD at a recent conference. I am slowly coming around to thinking that it's something worth looking for and paying attention to. There are a number of complicated issues surrounding the diagnosis which I will not get into now.
No sex? Permission to speak freely, Sir.
China to Build World’s Tallest Building in Just 90 Days
The US has imposed protective shoe tariffs on Americans for decades, even with no domestic shoe industry to protect
Small-bank CEO: I spend 50-60% of my time dealing with regulatory issues
Liberal Judges: Equality Is Unconstitutional
Why do we give a damn whether the Egyptians have democracy or not?
By Benghazi Illogic, Try This Absurd Headline: "CIA Finds Hurricane Sandy Caused By Obscure Anti-Gore Video"
A Primer on the Flat Tax and Fundamental Tax Reform
Poverty Thrives on the Same Old Song - It’s up to conservatives to compose a better tune.
Saturday, November 24. 2012
Mark Knopfler did this one on the Dylan tour in Brooklyn Weds. night:
Stanley Fish's essay...
Read the whole thing at Minding the Campus.
Pine, spruce, hemlock, and fir make excellent firewood. With their pitch content, they may burn hotter and quicker than hardwoods, but they produce plenty of good heat and light. They produce no more chimney creosote than anything else, and probably less. Firs and pines are all they burn out West.
While everybody needs to have a well-used chimney cleaned regularly, creosote accumulates in a chimney mainly from wood with high water content. In other words, "green wood" which has not had 6-12 months to shed its water content by sitting outdoors, or has not been "kiln-dried" like the expensive stuff in stores. Green pine wood is no more problematic than green maple, according to the experts. Ideally, give all wood some time to dry out to minimize creosote build-up.
A second cause of creosote build-up (we are not talking about ash build-up in the chimney, just the greasy creosote) is probably smoldering fires. The hotter the fire, the less likely that creosote will find time to condense and attach somewhere in your chimney. Creosote is, to some extent, water-soluble and thus condenses as it moves up to the cooler parts of the upper chimney.
The problem with creosote is chimney fires. Readers know that I've had a few, and it is not fun. If you are far from a fire station, it can burn your house down by either sparking the roof or penetrating the flue. People like me who burn wood indiscriminately - any wood from any tree, green or aged - must deal with the creosote issue with creosote fighters. Chimney sweeps cannot remove the grease, but chemicals can. I also enjoy quiety smoldering fires rather than dramatic blazes, so I do everything wrong.
Details on the firewood topic here.
Details on creosote oils here. Some creosote oils are what preserves and gives flavor to smoked meats. I remember painting fence posts with creosote as a lad, with my Dad. I don't think people do that anymore but it is a good and cheap wood preservative.
Here's a good piece on dangerous creosote and wood stoves.
If you want to destroy an infantry unit, you cut it off from its neighboring units. If you want to destroy a generation, you cut it off from previous generations.
CS Lewis - approximate quote, h/t Chicago Boyz
Good stuff: Best Gear
Cry Me A Tributary - The Colorado river is being drained beyond sustainability. Gerard Helferich reviews Wade Davis's "River Notes."
What do you do after losing a presidential election? You go to Disneyland!
'Unbreakable WWII code' on pigeon skeleton's leg
Should People Who Make $250,000 a Year Worry About Obama's Tax Proposals?
The Genius Who Invented Economics Blogging Reveals How He Got Everything Right And What's Coming Next
Obama Campaign Clothing Line Cleared $40M
Douthat: Can We Be Sweden?
100 injured in Egyptian clashes over presidential power grab
Weekly Std: The West Fights Back
Friday, November 23. 2012
A vigorous and brilliant debate on Natural Law and the US Constitution at the Federalist Society last week (h/t Volokh). These are very smart guys:
My family of origin voted to ban Christmas presents amongst eachother years ago. It's my two parents, five kids with five spouses, countless grandkids. However, bringing food, booze, and home-made Christmas cookies to the family gathering is welcome and wanted.
In my own family, as the kids have gotten older, we keep it generally in the area of books, scarves, and Christmas socks.
My in-laws, on the other hand, love the whole Christmas ritual of buying, wrapping, and giving presents, and find joy in it.
To each his own. Here's one view: It's time to ban Christmas presents
and here's a classic - Mama's Family Christmas Morning:
Someone once told Mary that the way to hold a moment in your mind forever is to list at least three things you can see, three you can hear, smell, feel.
It's the biggest shopping day of the year!
Or, is it?
Well, okay, I did read somewhere that increasing online sales have put a real dent in the overall take.
Or, have they?
But hey, we've all read the horror stories, and one thing Black Friday does is turn average Americans into sale-crazed lunatics.
Or, does it?
Well, one thing we know for certain is that it's always been on the day after Thanksgiving.
Or, has it?
And certainly the 'Black' refers to the businesses being put 'in the black' from the mountain of sales.
Or, does it?
Perhaps we should ask 5 Black Friday Myths The Media Wants You to Believe.
And so much for those notions.
Myths or not, we seem to be overlooking that Black Friday signals one of the greatest events of the year, the official beginning of...
This year, let's all do our part!
Learning How To Drive a Stick-Shift Car
The Advantages of Buying a Manual-Transmission Vehicle
Congress prepares for bailout of flood insurance program amid Sandy claims
The European Citizen: Just a Myth?
Kimball: The Surrealistic States of America
Statist Thugs And The Rocks They Crawl Out From Under
First cap-and-trade auction a bust for California budget
Twinkies bakers say they'd rather lose jobs than take pay cuts
Fewest vets in Congress since 1940s
Accuracy isn’t priority as VA battles disability claims backlog
Can Marco Rubio be the Hispanic Reagan?
VDH: Let Obama Be Obama - The defeated Republicans should meet the president halfway.
What need do you have for God when you’ve got the state?
Petraeus’s COIN Gets Flipped
The general's counterinsurgency doctrine is as disgraced as he is.
Setbacks and Squabbles in Russia’s Foreign Policy
Jake Tapper's 'The Outpost' Raises Vital Questions on U.S. Afghanistan Strategy
Winners & Losers - ADVANCE COPY from the December 3, 2012 issue: The Gaza war and its fallout.
The Vatican on Gaza: Israel is a Baby-Killer”
Young Children of Former Hamas Leader: We Want to Be “Martyred” Like Our Dad
The NY Times’ mixed message on Gaza