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.
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Friday, March 8. 2013
I loved the comment about angels. One of my sisters-in-law believes in them. (Or is it fairies?)
Of course, all of the above could be easily dismissed as 'So what?'. Okay, friggin' Uganda beat us in math. So what? It doesn't make any difference. The only bottom-line question is, would you rather live here or in Uganda?
And there's one facet of life that America's so good at that there's not even a second place:
Because our one big mountain range is placed exactly where it is, slightly off to one side, our continent has the vast Food Belt in the center, and on the outside of the eastern coast runs the Gulf Stream current, protecting that side of the continent with a belt of warmth. On the west coast, the Sierras and Cascades act as a buffer, keeping the worse ravages the Pacific has to offer at bay.
In South America, the mountain range is too near the coast, so you end up with very little habitable land on one side and lots of barren or swampy nothingness on the other.
The Eurasian continent is simply too big and is becluttered by large mountain ranges, and what little 'food belt' there is lies in some of the poorest, most underpopulated, underindustrialized countries on the continent, the ex-Russian -stan states.
So, when it comes to a nation's overall weather — you know, the stuff you actually have to live in — ours is so bountiful that, as I said, there's not even a second place.
Viva America! And pass the tanning oil.
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I'm just reading 'The Revenge of Geography' (Robert Kaplan). It is a very interesting read that goes into detail about how geography drives nations and civilization. Most of Europe and Asia is where Canada is for us. Russia has no natural defensive geography and so has a cultural paranoia of invasion. We have two vast oceans on the sides, a friendly country to the north that also has little room to be belligerent. To our south, a smaller border in the desert. Kaplan asserts such a fortuitous naturally secure geography was very conducive to individualism, freedom and the birth of democracy. Makes sense. And is also why for all the fear mongering, Americans just aren't into collectivism outside our learned institutions of higher stupidity and crowded island cities.
Very interesting, as you said it makes sense, and a nice piece of timing on my part. While all continents could be said to be 'unique', ours is in a league of its own.
Statistical data at the international level is dishonest at it's core. We probably aren't 27th in math or even close to that. The problem is we keep good data and other countries do not. In most 1st world countries poor students are funneled towards job training and out of school. This is especially true in Asian countries but even in Europe this tends to be true. So when we are comparing math scores across the world 100% of our youth are measured and compared with the top 50% in other countries. Go to Europe and ask the mechanic or baker how long he went to public school and you will discover that he probably went into a training program at age 14 to 16 and never finished 12 years of public school. Arguably where our system falls down is that we don't have these alternatives for students who can't or don't want to master math. But to imply it is as simple as America is 27th in math worldwide is to be naive.
I don't know we do have NY city schools as well as school systems run by Los Angeles and Chicago and such dragging down our average.
It's almost like the Democrats in these Progressive bastions recreated poor education for minorities, and poor whites, after SCOTUS banned school segregation.
Is it just me or is Sorkin's refrain the same-old, same-old. I love the way Jeff Daniels' character is described as a "moderate Republican" while he waxes poetically about a Camelot that never existed.
Correct. If you keep up with Pat Buchanan's or Steve Sailer's take on the PISA scores, you can see through that one quickly. The other numbers in this video are similarly misleading - they leave out important bits of information.
It's almost as if some people want to believe we're failing...
Many of those countries Daniels listed don't have freedom.
In Canada, a recent Supreme Court ruling convicted a man for passing out flyers condemning homosexuality (="hate speech). He's not allowed to say bad things about it.
In Scotland, I read today, a Catholic adoption agency has until April 22 to start placing kids with homosexual parents, or they lose their license.
I could go on and on, but this is not freedom. No country has total freedom, but it is really getting bad out there with the hate crime/political correctness thing.
Somewhere on the east coast a kid is in trouble for eating a "gun" out of a toaster pastry.
In California, if I and a friend buy a newspaper ad to comment on a political race we have to fill out a pile of paperwork that basically requires a lawyer--just to advocate a political position.
In California I have to petition a local Chief Law Enforcement Officer for permission to carry a firearm to defend myself--and he can (and most do) turn me down for any reason.
In Illinois I can't do it at all.
I can throw some yeast in a bucket of grape juice, or whatever that swill is that turns into beer, but if I wanted to make Gods Own Beverage (whiskey), well, I can't be trusted to make my own anywhere here in the land of the Free.
There's tons of really stupid rules that we have here in the US that make us considerably less than "free", and some hate crime legislation here is REALLY close to what the Canucks are doing.
Another problem for the Russians is that their rivers run north. In spring the thaw starts but there is nowhere for the water to run until it thaws in the far north regions. The result is the worlds largest swamp...every year. Rivers are cheap transport for goods, like the missouri, ohio, and mississippi. But cheap transport to the artic?
Infant mortality is another number easy to manipulate. The US starts at actual birth while others vary from a year old to as much as five years old before they are counted in infant mortality figures.
"On the west coast, the Sierras and Cascades act as a buffer, keeping the worse ravages the Pacific has to offer at bay." Yeah, thanks for reminding me of why San Francisco weather is such a mixed bag. I just love wearing a scarf and trench coat in July!
That said, even within California itself you have a similar situation on a smaller scale. The coastal mountains keep cities like San Jose and the Silicon Valley from being exposed to the direct onslaught from the Pacific, whereas San Francisco can get pummeled with fog and chill winds constantly. As you head east you end up in the vast Central Valley, miles and miles of amazing soil that grows everything necessary to a perfect salad as well as acres and acres of nut trees laid out in exact rows in the flat interior. We also shouldn’t forget the large ranches that raise livestock and the dairy farms tucked in here and there.
It’s still so amazing to me - a native New Englander - that so much is contained in just one state. It takes about 9 hours to drive from San Francisco to Death Valley and on the East Coast I could be through at least two if not three states in the same amount of time. By the way, Death Valley is going to be a balmy 85 degrees this weekend…
That's because California is the size of almost all those tiny little counties you New Englanders call a "state".
Don't be sucked in. He's got a few good points, but I watched the whole first season of that show -- the show, and that character specifically, exists to put a "intelligent republican front" on left-wing liberalism. At first it's carefully packaged, but less so as the show goes on to render Jeff a stereotypical, hypocritical liberal wet dream.
It's so smoothly done I have to think it's deliberate.
Sounds like good advice. I don't have a TV, so I'm out of the loop, but the ploy sounds like typical Hollywood. I expounded on the theme with an article on the great TV show Lie To Me. Same thing.
Is there a country in the world that so many people would move to tomorrow if they had a chance?
I agree with his point that we used to be better.
But liberal ass-wipes have torn down any positive white male role models in this country and wussiefied the men of two generations. The problem with men today is that far too many don't take responsibility for their actions. Use your bully pulpit to beat that drum, Sorkin.
Give us males of every color, but especially white acting as men should: responsible, decisive and noble. I know that isn't always reality...not nearly often enough in fact. But if you tell generation after generation of men that they don't have to grow up or be held responsible then they won't.
There are a lot of problems with America, but that is the one that will go the furtherest if you can fix it. Start there.
Don't forget the waterways. But for the intertwined Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri River, the Great Lakes, our vast inland bread basket and industrial base would be inaccessible. Not to mention the Inter-Coastal Waterway and our small pittance of a contribution, the various man made canals connecting spots that God neglected to connect...
An exceptionally good point. The only two other rivers that compare with the Mighty Mississippi are the Nile and Amazon, both of which are wasted by their locale. While having a natural 'breadbasket' is one thing, getting it to the populace is quite another, and projects like the Erie Canal should be given huge credit for getting our nation under way.