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
Monday, November 24. 2014
The 12 Wildest Songs to be Played at the Benefit Concert for American Digest's Gerard Vanderleun
Thad McCotter wrote a book
Wild turkeys have made a comeback and are ruffling some suburban feathers
Why Are America’s Poorest Toddlers Being Over-Prescribed ADHD Drugs?
The Truth We Won’t Admit: Drinking Is Healthy
The Unilateral Presidency - Obama may be right on the substance of immigration reform, but he's setting a dangerous precedent.
Democrats bet on diversity - Rallying behind the president on immigration, the party hopes to expand Obama’s winning coalition in 2016.
Ed Gillespie: An Obamacare Do-Over
Colleges struggle with protecting students without being accused of victim-blaming
Ice to close upper Mississippi from November 20, earliest on record
They are killers
What Big Wind Doesn’t Want You To Know
Shocker: Top Google Engineers Say Renewable Energy ‘Simply won’t work’
Penn’s gaydar admissions project goes back years: Gays are ‘blue-chip recruits’
White House Points to Decades-old Data on Immigration Benefits - Other studies show immigration reduces wages, employment
Cuban migrants head off from Caymans, bound for Honduras
Maine's Anti-Sanctuary Governor Blasts Obama Amnesty, Calls it ‘Very Shameful’
Salaita and The Historiography of Victimhood
Philosophers Behaving Badly: Brooklyn College BDS Edition
The European Parliament Threatens To Break Up Google
Sunday, November 23. 2014
You all know this already, but I just wanted to jot it down -
In the US, government has grown in importance as it has grown in power, in firepower, and in money. There was a time when nobody really cared about the federal government because it had no impact on daily life.
The Civil War, the Progressive Era of Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt, etc. changed all that. Government changed the culture. Over 100 years, government trained the masses to think "government should do something" whenever life presents them with obstacles, challenges, heartaches, bad luck, and expenses.
To win votes and to enjoy power, government decided to turn citizens into neo-serfs and to cement the impulse to turn to government instead of to God, to their own ingenuity, to family, to neighbor, etc. This infantilises people, weakens them, takes away their dignity.
Nowadays, everybody has his laundry list what government should do for them in their own interest. It is like a list for Santa. I want governments to do less and less.
Santa, keep your toys.
No, that is not a quote from The Onion. Is There Any Hope For Our Civilization?
Seems fairly easy to do but unlikely to be done unless market forces force it.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:29 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
A slice of village life in the Macedonian mountains. Wonderful.
Lots and lots of 'em but the hook brings you back.
When I was discussing the crops of the early north American colonists, I wondered what exactly Rye is. It's not ryegrass. Rye.
A very fine American state, Kentucky. But the guy left out gravy. They make serious gravy for grits or biscuits in Kentucky. I'd have it for any meal (but not that disgusting hot-dog gravy they like in coal country).
It's not the same as ADD. It's simply undisciplined:
95:1 O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
95:2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
95:3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
95:4 In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
95:5 The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
95:7a For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
Saturday, November 22. 2014
Tight Connection To My Heart (Has Anyone Seen My Love) - 1986
This is a re-post:
One historical detail I picked up in reading Philbrick's wonderful Mayflower is that the Pilgrims only permitted civil marriage ceremonies - no religion involved, and no preacher present.
As Calvinists, the Pilgrims/Puritans/Separatists of colonial New England viewed the Anglican sacraments as Papist, and thus representative of the Anti-Christ - and they meant it. As a consequence, Congregational Churches, the heirs of the Puritan movement, still have no sacraments per se, although many have liberalized (or backslided?) to the extent of doing baptism, communion - and, of course, weddings which, even if not technically sacramental, are viewed as sacred vows. People long for a touch of the sacred and sacramental.
It is fascinating to be reminded that our nation's deepest roots are in Calvinist theocracy: pre-enlightenment, for better or worse. They viewed the Indians as equals (though living in spiritual darkness), but they hung some Quakers in Boston as blasphemers (but mainly tried to just send them away).
They even hung an ancestor of mine, who ran away from her husband and kids in Kingston, Rhode Island and was caught on a trail outside of Boston, headed north. Her crime? She refused to return home. We suspect she was not overly fond of her husband, who had previously been suspected of throwing his first wife overboard on the way to Rhode Island in 1640.
Tyler Cowan's favorite 2014 films
Larry the Cable Guy: ‘How come Cosby is toast and Clinton is toast of the town?’
Poverty Causes Crime?
Colleges struggle with protecting students without being accused of victim-blaming
Ferguson – Race Baiting for Political Power and Profit
Meet the Washington Snobocrats
Americans Don't Want Government to Guarantee Healthcare, Again - Voters used to heavily favor federal intervention to ensure coverage. What happened?
This Is Why Rand Paul Is Hillary Clinton's Worst Nightmare
You Have to Give It to the President - It’s a brilliant, brutally cynical near-term gambit.
Despite highest poverty numbers in 50 years, Obama okays illegals to compete for jobs in US
President Obama has liberated the GOP from passing an immigration bill
Should Republicans Embrace the Obama Non-Enforcement Doctrine?
An utterly shattering video about the moral depravity of students at UC Berkeley
TAKING ON THE SICILIAN MAFIA WITH GANDHI TACTICS
Oxford cancels student-group-organized debate on abortion after the student union “voted to inform College Censors about the mental and physical security issues surrounding the debate.”
Talk is Cheap: U.S. Response to Jerusalem Synagogue Attack
NSA director: China can damage US power grid
Israeli Police Busted A Massive Shipment Of Knives, Tasers, And Swords Bound For East Jerusalem
Image below via Zero:
A Winter Night
It snowed and snowed, the whole world over,
Friday, November 21. 2014
From The Truth about Evil by John Gray:
An impressive essay.
International students now make up 17% of all U.S. graduate students
The schools want their money.
I have been perusing this out of print book: Truro - Cape Cod, Landmarks and Seamarks by Shebnah Rich (1888). I have a copy of the book, and wonder how in the world it got online.
Cape Cod began growing in European (English) population around 1630.
Farming and fishing were the main occupations. The soil was rich then due to the old forests. Today, there is no topsoil left. By 1750 there were few trees left on the Cape due to lumbering, land clearing for farming, and for fuel. The scrub oak and pine that predominate today is not the tall virgin hardwood forest that the colonists encountered.
Everybody grew things and raised animals. There was not much cash except from fishing and boat-building, and there were no shops. Main subsistence crops: orchards, maize, pumpkin and squash, root vegetables, beans, rye. No wheat, no flour, no sugar unless very wealthy - but there was molasses from the West Indies. Also, pigs, steer, milk cows, chickens, and horses for transportation. Cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries grew wild. There were plenty of deer and rabbits too, and of course abundant shellfish. Beans with a little pork was a standard meal. People baked their bread once a week, made of mixes of corn (maize) and rye flour. Food: Early American food and drink
When you slaughtered a hog or steer, you shared the meat with neighbors. They did the same.
You were allowed to shoot a wolf or a "problem Indian" but the Indians were not much of a problem and soon settled into Indiantowns and learned English. King Philip's War was not a big deal on Cape Cod.
A village Meeting House served many purposes including local government meetings and church. Most of the early congregations were "united," ie Methodist and Congregational worshipping together. In the early days there was a hot market for pastors and Harvard began grinding them out in 1636 to meet the demand. Like the Boston colonists, the Cape Codders were not Puritans like the Plymouth group.
Other than local rules made in town meetings, there was no "government" in evidence at all. Town officials were by vote, and volunteers. There were no police but there were informal militias. Every adult male citizen was required to own a firearm (mostly matchlocks). Later on, recruiters would pass through towns demanding recruits for the French and Indian War. The structure of grammar schooling varied widely from village to village.
Truancy from church was a crime. So was swearing. Sunday church services generally had two one-hour sermons and around an hour of prayer. The service was around four hours in all. No music, of course, and no communion. Those were Papist things. Each church had a guy assigned to wake up drowsers with a long stick with a feather on one end (for the ladies) and a knob on the other end (to conk the drowsy men on the head). A fun task, no doubt.
Thanksgiving: There were fall harvest Thanksgiving feasts all over the Cape. Nothing to do with the original Pilgrims, just a traditional harvest time thanks to God. The Pilgrim Thanksgiving? They had very little to be thankful for with half their group dead in that first winter, but they were anyway. Remember, they were headed for the already established town of New Amsterdam (New York), not Massachusetts. Got blown off course.
There were windmills all over the Cape, very early. Their main purposes were making corn or rye meal, or for filling up salt flats for salt production (to make salt cod).
Fishing meant mostly Cod on George's Bank, but later Mackeral too. Some guys were fishing schooner skippers by 25. Some of them went on to be transoceanic ship captains. There was some near-shore whaling, and the occasional stranding of a pod of Blackfish (aka Pilot Whales) was hitting the jackpot.
Death: Mainly infectious diseases of early childhood. Some TB in young adulthood. Also, puerperal fever killed a lot of wives so men often went through a series of them. After that, fishermen drowning was the main cause - which provided widows for the widowers. If you escaped those things, most people lived into their 80s. (Those childhood death rates and accident death rates are what skews old-time life expectancy data and thus the averages are meaningless.)
Illumination and heat: Fireplaces for heat, and one in the kitchen for cooking. Wood stoves came much later. Bayberry candles, whale oil lamps.
Transportation, etc: Roads were terrible. Transportation was mainly by water and to be a town you needed a harbor. With its fine harbor, Provincetown was the largest on the Lower Cape. Early on, there was regular travel and mail, via Boston packets.
We might consider these settlers poor and deprived, but all they saw was abundance, faith, and hope. Life was hard and highly uncomfortable (by our standards), and was expected to be. You fended for yourself. If judged utterly helpless, the church came to your aid.
Housing: The history of colonial housing is an interesting one, mostly borrowed from England and from Holland in areas around New York. However, the rural Cape Cod cottage was an American invention and typical on colonial Cape Cod. No plumbing. Every village had an amateur post and beam carpenter in an era where most trades were amateur and everybody was a farmer, including schooner skippers, pastors, and doctors.
Photo on top is the Jonah Atkins house, Truro, Mass.
ICE readies 2,400 beds for new surge of illegal immigrants through Texas
Fukuyama: Immigration Unilateralism - A Bad Call
After Barack I Issues His Amnesty Decree, The Ball Is In The GOP's Court
McArdle: "As an act of rare semantic derring-do, this was a towering achievement. As a political speech, I don't think it was very effective."
How Obama got here - The president, the Homeland Security secretary and their secret 9-month project to remake American’s broken immigration system.
Newbrough: "Opposing amnesty doesn’t make me heartless, selfish, or cruel, because the U.S. Constitution, our nation’s law, is not mine to give away. It’s not mine, yours, or anyone’s to simply hand over."
Thursday, November 20. 2014
Here is a recent article from Ephemeral New York on Five Points.
Silly me, thinking that illegal immigration was against the law rather than being rewarded. A few links:
Immigration Lawyer: Obama’s Plan Is ‘Like The Golden Ticket’
Christian Adams: Obama, Our Modern John C. Calhoun
I never learned in school that a president can make his own laws whenever he is frustrated by Congress, but the NYT says it's ok to do that. I can easily imagine what they would say with a Conservative pulling something like that. Anyway, what's the urgency?