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, August 20. 2012
Why Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, and Truman Capote All Failed to Write the Great American Novel - It's not a coincidence all three befriended murderers.
How Management Killed “The Village Voice”
The Unending Battle for the Upper West Side - Property owners take on the social-services empire.
...would you trust your day and your life at 70 MPH to this "branding bullshit" group?
What I built — with government help
Obama’s GM ‘Success Story’ Headed for Bankruptcy
MoDo thinks so too.
Gross… Code Pink Activists Dress Up as Vaginas for Free Abortions Rally
Obama deputy campaign manager: Entertainment Tonight of equal importance with White House press corps
Recovery Summer 3: July Unemployment Up In 44 States
Obama biographer Ed Klein says that about two weeks ago Valerie Jarrett, Obama's brain trust and manager of his Acme Campaign Strategery , offered Hillary Clinton a slot on the ticket as Obama's running mate and she turned it down.
Rights for ‘Asexuals?’
Bjorn Lomborg on junk science
The Most Powerful Attack Ever on Obama is in Newsweek?
The ‘new normal’ excuse - Just an economy that used to grow?
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Well, if Hemingway didn't write the Great American Novel, how can you expect Gore, Mailer and Capote (or the charlatan Steinbeck) to do it?
Face facts, "Moby-Dick" is the Great American Nove.
"Bjorn Lomborg on junk science"
That is unfortunate, because global warming is a real problem, and we do need to address it. Warming will increase some extremes (it is likely that both droughts and fires will become worse toward the end of the century).
So, Maggie's Farm now believes in man-made global warming?
On the plus side, Zach should be thrilled.
This opening statement of the article points to the vacuousness thought stream from the left. It is also based on an underlying premise of racial bias.
“four decades is not an especially long time. Yet in that brief period America has gone from the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. to the apotheosis of Barack Obama.[b] You would not be human if you failed to acknowledge this as a cause for great rejoicing.”[b]
Why is this a thing to rejoice? The one who achieve that position should be lauded for his/her qualifications not skin color.
This was the first time I have looked at Newsweek since the reign of terror that was the Clinton Administration. I refuse to waste time reading any further than that intro. Newsweek remains on my not worth reading list.
The Media is susceptible? Really? Shirley, you jest. Only if you consider eager to lick his boots as susceptible.
Susceptible? Hell, they are so far into the tank for Obama they can't see the surface. Although that may be changing ' I've been seeing some negative press lately from unlikely sources.
And don't call me Shirley...
Having been a Emergency Vehicle Driving Instructor, I knew about the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) but I had forgotten about a couple of sign facts so I looked it up. I came across this interesting little factoid about roads in the US.
"At the start of the 20th century—the early days of the rural highway—each road was promoted and maintained by automobile clubs of private individuals, who generated revenue through club membership and increased business along cross-country routes."
President Obama, Ms. Warren are you reading that? Private industry built our road system - not government. That's what made our country great in its second century - private Americans doing what needed to be done.
If anybody is interested in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices hit the link - despite the rather dry title, it is very interesting reading.
Great American Novel
Looking over the list of "Great American Novels", I'd have to conclude that there hadn't been a "Great American Novel" since Ralph Ellison's 1952 novel "Invisible Man". Others will probably disagree.
The sign issue was interesting to me because I just finished a book, "The Big Roads" by Earl Swift.
As Tom points out, above, the earliest roads were all privately funded and maintained. In fact, they likely would've remained that way except the road signs were so difficult to follow! Eventually the clubs and car manufacturers got together and basically petitioned the government to intervene, presumably to bring order from chaos.
They may have had this as their primary motive. I still think it was a way for auto manufacturers to get something they desperately needed on the cheap. Realizing they couldn't keep funding the huge amount of paving required, why not force people to pay via taxation? (that's how I see the conversations occurring)
The eventual product was the Interstate Highway System - which was NOT started by Eisenhower or even suggested by him. No, plans for this were in the works many years before he arrived on the scene. He was just president when the funds were freed up, and that was no sure thing, either!
The by-product, of course, was the signage. When you read the story of exactly how and why signs were designed the way they are, you'll no doubt marvel at the intelligence applied. The colors chosen, the numbers applied, and the logos designed were all done in what was about as scientific a fashion as might be expected for that era. No doubt if we were building these roads today, the signs in that article would be considered great ideas and become standard. But the reality is the current signs are actually pretty darn good, and chosen for some very specific reasons which still make sense today.
Do drivers sometimes find them confusing? Of course! But even if we made the signs more modern and easier to understand, some people would still not understand them. Everyone processes information slightly differently, we can't develop a signage system that is 100% foolproof.
I think the current signs are pretty darn effective. Why change them? The only reason I can think of is the reason a good friend of mine who runs an engineering firm told me. He sells stuff to the government. As he said, "some of what I put out isn't ever going to find much real use in the world, but the government pays for it and it's a good living. I see many of their orders as a make-work program." Well, that's what changing signs would be.
Millions on design and architecture, billions on the labor and manufacture of new signs. Millions more on classes to teach the new signs.
A perfect example of what Bastiat would call "The Broken Window Fallacy". Except what they'd be replacing ain't broken.
Agreed. The current signs are good. No need to change- especially since the "improved" signs are much harder to understand. Unless you happen to belong to the firm that designed the "new improved" signs, of course.
An irony of the firm's claiming that the old highway signs are reminders of a "police state" is that policing powers are much greater today than they used to be. As such, the archaic- to the design firm- road signs remind us of a time when policing power was much less than it is today.
No matter what Robert Reich writes, he always comes up short.
As I posted here some time ago, when I saw that Hillary Clinton was putting on weight and was beginning to look like an old Yiddishe bubbe, I concluded she had decided it was time to get out of politics...at least for a while. Election math says Clinton has nothing to gain by running as Obama's VP, whether he wins or loses, and that he needs her far more than she needs him. If they were to win, the VP position would keep her in her place, barefoot and silent in the Senate, which would hardly enhance her chances to run for the top spot in 2016. And if the economy were to tank under Obama in a repeat of the FDR-made 1930s depression, she would be tainted by The One's failed socialist agenda. Worse yet, if they were to lose in 2012, she'd be forever typecast as a loser.
On the other hand, by not running as Obama's VP in 2012, she is free to build her own campaign organization over the next four years and to speak her own mind. Plus, of course, there's the sweet revenge of being able to say I told you so to those who abandoned her in order to support a one-term wonder.
In the event of a Romney/Ryan victory, the possible downside risk for her is that R&R are able to work a miracle and turn the economy around. If the economy soars, her chances in 2016 would likely diminish considerably. However, most observers of the economy expect a modest recovery, feeling it will take years to undo the damage that's been done by the reckless policies of the Obama administration.