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, January 31. 2017
My poker night is this Friday, and I look forward to it each month. 50 people, food, libations, conversation and competition. There are afew heated moments. Not many, mostly good fun and the chance to take your friends' and neighbors' money. I have more or less broken even in this game. I keep pretty good records. We play a cash game for an hour, then a tournament, followed by cash games as people are bounced.
It's a game of incomplete information. Computers are good at games that have lots of available information, not games lacking in it. But poker often has more information available than we care to admit. Betting trends are like prices. They give signals. Being able to sort through the signals and recognize where value lies is a skill. But humans also think and behave in linear ways. If you have a non-random betting approach, a computer should be able to sniff it out.
A computer beating a human at Texas Hold 'em, even a limited table such as this, is quite a feat. The fact I happen to know the inventor of the computer makes it doubly interesting for me. He presented some of his yield optimization techniques to our team several times. I have suggested to our team we bring him back in.
Inside the cockpit. Those are not smiles - they are G forces:
Becoming a Blue Angel:
"Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.”
- TS Eliot
Efficient primary education for the masses probably does work best for the most according to the Prussian model which American schools adopted during the 1800s as primary ed became government-run. One-size-fits-all authoritarian ed is in fact efficient, if terrible for boys, to learn the basics of readin, ritin, and rithmetic that any citizen needs to function in the world. The fundamentals are not much fun unless there is competition added to the mix.
When the primary school basics are not achieved, I tend not to blame the school because there are too many external variables at play.
When it comes to post-primary ed, the external variables increase. Native curiosity plays a larger role, as does family support and structure, IQ, etc. etc. However, the Prussian model begins to work less well for boys as they grow up. But I am wandering from the topic: According to Albert Jay Nock, America's theory of education is off.
Many Americans have an adolescent attitude towards gummint. They want stuff from it, but can feel defiant and don't want to be told what to do.
Initial Impressions: India and Mumbai
First Buckingham Palace, now Windsor Castle: Time-honoured tradition of Changing the Guard is AXED amid fears of a Nice-style terrorist attack
Trump v. the Border-less Left: For progressives, the universe of victims is infinite.
Microaggressions, Macro Debate
An American Leader
FLASHBACK: Chuck Schumer in 2015: “REFUGEE PAUSE MAY BE NECESSARY!”
Diaz-Balart: Where was the outrage when Obama blocked Cubans?
New Rasmussen Poll Reveals Silent Majority Approves Of Immigration Ban
Millions Of Lost American Jobs Show The High Cost Of Unfettered Free Trade
Trump's team gets ready for Supreme Court fight
Saul Alinsky in the White House...Still?
Monday, January 30. 2017
Story here. Maybe "the world" can learn something from Trump.
That is disturbing on many counts.
The Italian Jesuit Who Taught Computers to Talk to Us
Scientists finally figured out how to make tomatoes taste good again
Eat More Peppers, Live Longer; Eat More Grilled Meat, Die Sooner - Exploring the absurdities of modern nutritional epidemiology.
"I'm A Woman Who Went To The Women's March And The March For Life. The Differences Were Stunning"
A union in Ohio is actually cutting their pension benefits
Trump’s EPA Secretary Will Have ‘16,000 Employees Working Against Him’
The Media Honestly Doesn’t Get It
Trump's Unconstitutional Attack on Sanctuary Cities - How the president’s executive order debases the Constitution.
Obama Banned all Iraqi Refugees for 6 Months in 2011 – Liberals SAID NOTHING!
Epic – Is Team Trump Baiting Liberal Media and Refugee Protesters By Using Obama’s Own Policy?…
President Trump's Immigration Ban is Magnificently Right
NY Times Pukes All Over Trump's Refugee Ban
Washington Post solicits immigration sob stories
Newt Gingrich: The left should be scared to death after Trump's first week
UN Ambassador Haley: 'There is a new US at the UN'
Sunday, January 29. 2017
Shirtsleeves to Shirtsleeves in Three Generations. Family wealth usually doesn't last very long unless it is vast and managed by people with the job to maintain it: Kennedys keep their wealth offshore and untaxed, and Rockefellers have a huge family office to protect and build the family $ - but by three generations ordinary wealth tends to be spent/wasted/diluted/frittered away by generations which are less effective at, or less interested in, wealth accumulation. Thus downward mobility.
In my work, I see as much downward financial mobility as upward. Naturally, the upward is more rewarding for me and the downward more painful to watch. I just tell myself "Regression to the mean is a law of nature."
Social class, which is more about culture than about wealth, but still implies a little loose cash, continues to be of value because of relationships, manners, life experiences, sophistication, etc. Nowadays, though, life in America is far more democratic than a generation or two or three ago when your family clubs, prep school, summer communities, and Ivy colleges guaranteed you social and occupational entree. No more pedigree in the USA, if there ever was because here "old money" was always rather new. America is far more meritocratic than it once was, but it has always been more meritocratic than Euroland or other places in general. The American Dream and all that. Andrew Carnegie: penniless Scottish immigrant makes good.
Financial mobility works both ways, goes up and down. The medium-prosperous naturally want to maintain their family traditions of perquisites and cultural advantages, but that is difficult to do for most people if they do not dodge estate taxes (which many do). Better off to have scrappy kids and if they can golf, sail, play tennis, can tell a Breughel from a Rembrandt, and have perfect dinner party manners with snappy repartee, so much the better. They can set an example for others and get on with the program.
Lefties (although McArdle is not one, really) love to focus on money and income mobility: There are advantages that come with genes, manner of upbringing, and social background. It's the rare black ghetto kid in Baltimore or Hartford who has a prayer to escape his background. Some do, but it takes more drive and brains than for the middle class white kid in central Ohio whose dream is to get off the farm and go to New York to start a business with his or her algorithm.
The vast majority of middle-class Americans do not care much about such things and just want to build some security and comfort for their families. Many, however, are ambitious wealth-builders too. They are necessary, the job and wealth-creators. Everybody else is a parasite. Including me.
Ruling Class ain't what it used to be...
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:16 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Funny, isn't it? There was no outrage when Obama passed those immigration restrictions in 2015 which Trump just reinstated. None. Stunning media malpractice on Trump suspension of entry.
People tend to forget that many if not most jobs are learned "on the job," if effect, in apprenticeship. Formal education does not teach you how to be a litigator or to be an orthopedic surgeon. They are learned by working under supervision.
In North Carolina, Industrial Internships Put Teens on an Upward Trajectory
Saturday, January 28. 2017
Images from various places including Moonbattery
She gets a couple of things wrong though. Freud did not invent Psychatry. It's been around for a long time. An American founding father and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush, was a Psychiatrist and a leader in the movement towards the humane care of the mentally ill. Another thing she gets wrong is to equate Psychoanalysis with Psychiatry. Psychodynamic ideas are one useful tool in Psychiatry, but just one of the tools in the toolbox.
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:51 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Finding the Poetry in 'Paterson' -The film chronicles beautifully banal life in the New Jersey city.
The Forgotten Holocaust: The Films of Boris Maftsir
Freedom of speech and the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act on college campuses
The Neocon Lament - Nobody wants them in Trump's Washington
Scientific American: Trump Mexican Border Wall will be a “Climate Mistake”
Humiliating Mexico over the Wall Would Be a Big Mistake
Ohio State class teaches students to detect and respond to microaggressions, white privilege
Microscope skills required
Immigration Priorities: Translators, and Victims of Genocide
Trump argument bolstered: Clinton could have received 800,000 votes from noncitizens
NBC’s Chuck Todd: Media knew how ‘hated’ Hillary was in heartland and we ‘underplayed’ it
Scarborough warns Trump on fighting with the press: The media always wins
Voters Like What Trump Is Doing, and They Can’t Stand the Press
Press Pretends to Fact-Check Trump, But Only Misleads Readers
Surprise! Trump doing what he said he would
Germany: A Ministry of Truth is an assault on truth.
Mexico: Peña Nieto and the Juarez cartel
What military Aid to Israel Buys America
Friday, January 27. 2017
How deeply invested is the WaPo in spinning tales to make Trump look bad?
What Happens When Doctors Only Take Cash
Making New York’s Airports Great Again - Port Authority mismanagement has made air travel in the metro area a Third World experience—but there’s a better way.
California’s High-Speed Rail: Slow, Expensive, and Bound for Cancellation
Is it Time We Stopped Viewing Schools as the Best Parent?
It’s Not The State’s Job To Pay For Your Art Hobby — Or Your TV Shows - Let's remove the state’s imprimatur from art.
The “Weirding” of Sex - The concept of “affirmative consent” brings bureaucrats into bed.
VIDEO OF THE DAY: HOW TO SHUT DOWN A SILLY PROTEST
Dalrymple on the wealth gap
Libs Who Want To Move To Canada Blocked By Its Strict Immigration Policies
Bernie Is Blind to Compassion without Compulsion
In the Civil War Between Right and Left, Only the Latter Fights Ferociously
'This is an emergency': Left-leaning sites grapple with Trump's defiant attempts to undercut the media
They are as determined to destroy Trump as they were determined to cover for Obama. What is Trump supposed to do?
Trump Playing Rope-a-Dope with the Media
Can Trump Bell the Progressive Cat? The battle to shrink the last half-century of hypertrophied statism and leftist tyranny.
If he can't, nobody can
Donald Trump Is The First President To Turn Postmodernism Against Itself - No one should be surprised that postmodern America chose an antihero to be our next president.
Donald Trump's Revolution To Undo Barack Obama's Revolution - Trump's gutting of Obamacare is a breeze of freedom on a sea of regulation.
Shaken by Trump’s Criticism of NATO, Europe Mulls Building Own Military Force
Time for Europe to grow up
Europe's Hate-America Brigade is Back in business.
Iran's Axis of Resistance Rises - How It's Forging a New Middle East
Borders: Why Australia Day Matters
Thursday, January 26. 2017
Entire group of senior State Department administrators resign.
Not yet clear why. Largest single loss of institutional memory and experience on record?
My uncle spent 30 years working at HUD under many administrations. He retired in the late 90's because the politicization under Clinton was too much to bear. I'm sure in the years since, all departments have gotten worse in this regard. It may be that these losses are no big deal. I'm less certain. My uncle was always a very strong believer in institutional memory. Not that everyone had to be retained, but you always need to maintain a level of management that understands the history and the operational capacity. That is why I believe the only way this is good is if the department is reduced dramatically. Which can happen, as there are well over 20 senior positions now open.
From a sheer "Wow, that's pretty big" point-of-view, I'm stunned at the turn of events. When you drain a swamp, you'd better be sure you know what is replacing the ecosystem. I am not confident in Trump, while I know many here are. At best, he remains 50/50 with me.
The article itself was the first I'd read shortly after this occurred. Many have since followed. I didn't post it to indicate support for the author's position, just that it was breaking news and rather surprising. A friend contacted me last night asking what I thought of all this. I replied "I still don't know. I don't trust the press, I don't trust Trump, I don't trust politicians in general, so I'm left trying to read whatever erratic signals continue to emanate from liars everywhere."
It's not easy to be a good and worthy citizen of a town, a state or a nation, but it is one measure by which we all judge others.
Part of the reason is that state tests do not test for it.
Photo, and more: "My Little Old Sod Shanty on the Plains"
No trees out there, for various reasons
Mary Tyler Moore, RIP
College Student Mistakes Lab Equipment for Klan Rally
What's Causing Chicago’s Homicide Spike?
Government is confused, but it's clearly
Researchers uncover vast numbers of unknown Nazi killing fields
The $7 billion school improvement grant program: Greatest failure in the history of the US Department of Education?
Money is rarely a solution for education
Bourbons of the Press, Believed by But 15%, Straggle on in Defeat
Was the Women's March a revolution — or a self-indulgent dead end?
Trump is the revolution
Are performers dumber than normal people? Like most people, I just assume this is so, because actors tend to say stupid things when not following a script.
Trump’s intervention into policing, voting and immigration sets up showdown with America’s largest cities
Texas Reps Move to Protect States’ Rights to Refuse Refugees
Suddenly, people are for state's rights. Local power vs. federal power - a good battle
Defeated candidate Clinton considers launching liberal television show to lay the groundwork for ANOTHER White House run
Trump Administration Preparing Executive Orders To Drastically Reduce U.S. Role in U.N.
CNN Quietly Releases Updated Pic Showing Trump’s Inaugural Crowd Size Greater than Obama’s 2009 Inaugural Crowd
‘America’s Having a Love Affair With Tucker Carlson’: Morning Joe Panel Praises Fox Host
Trump expected to order temporary ban on refugees
What if Trump ran Britain?
Germany Unleashes New 'Ministry Of Truth'
Confronting China's Slow Invasion of the South China Sea Is Long Overdue
Why is this America's problem?
Former CIA director: US must keep military option in Iran open
Wednesday, January 25. 2017
I do not blame tiny minorities of obnoxious, noisy bullies. I blame spineless, castrati administrators. In recent years, even comedians have been barred from some campi. Indeed, Milo is more entertainer than anything else. Reminds me of the equally-charismatic and anti-establishment Lenny Bruce, also banned in Boston.
Not many ballsy people make careers as college administrators.
My pic is from the mirador a good hike down and up from Alhambra, longer due to getting lost wandering through the old Muslim quarter - everybody gets lost trying to get to the mirador. Part of the fun. We linked up with a charming Turkish gal, and a German couple who were equally confused. There is always a jolly party of mostly young people up there at the mirador in the evening.
My previous Spain posts from last November:
With the amusing election, family matters, and holidays past, I will catch up on my Andalusia photo travelogue from early November.
Another inspiration is that I am re-reading (with more interest and understanding after having been there) Menocal's The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain.
In the 700s and 800s, Spain was invaded by Moslem immigration partly from Damascus (then the center of the caliphate before it moved to Baghdad) but especially by newly-Muslim Berbers from North Africa. That immigration wave brought civilization to post-Roman Visigoth-ruled Iberian peninsula, Christian in a Visigoth way, which was a dying place where the term "Dark Ages" accurately applied. That immigration/invasion produced the first Golden Age for Spain. The Muslims brought modern irrigation, agricultural wealth, architecture, art, landscape design, education, medical knowledge, enlightened governance, and poetry to a god-forsaken corner of Europe.
The only other place where something similar happened, as far as I know, was in Sicily where the Normans kept the Muslims on the job because they knew how to run things properly and were well-educated. Those were not the Muslims who grab the news these days.
Note to all history teachers and profs: My problem with your courses is that you never seem to locate the details in the Big Picture, into the Big Timeline. Please do it - it's for the kids!
All right, onward from Cordoba to Jaen and Grenada below the fold. I'll do a Madrid post later.
Continue reading "Andalusia travelogue #3, approximately"
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