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
Saturday, January 10. 2015
Saturday morning links
Today's image from People's Cube
Poor teeth - If you have a mouthful of teeth shaped by a childhood in poverty, don’t go knocking on the door of American privilege
My own teeth are a disaster, and I was never really poor except temporarily. Just bad luck and bad genes
This isn’t a culture anymore. It is a freak show.
The New Sneaky Tactic Gun Control Advocates Are Embracing
A Conservative case for New Urbanism: Conservatism for the City - Beauty, streetcars, and dual codes are the right ideas for urban policy.
Nikon 1200-1700mm Helps French Photogs Capture Hostage Situation from a Safe Distance
Mankind Tired Of Having To Remind Itself Of Good In World
We Don’t Need No (Free) Education - Ultimately, Obama's plan is a bad deal for America, because it will hurt people’s employment opportunities and cost too much.
On population growth and decline (a reader found this somewhere) - correction, it is from Alan Macfarlane, ‘The Invention of the Modern World’ -
Macfarlane, ‘The Invention of the Modern World’ - See more at:
Some people are surprised that Raùl Castro would act to precipitately in cracking down on Cuban freedom advocates. But why the surprise?
House passes 40-hour workweek for Obamacare; Dems buck Obama veto threat
The U.S. Marines' 5 Most Lethal Weapons of War
We Are Not All Charlie - It is easy to express solidarity with murdered cartoonists, but it is difficult to live as bravely as they did
Not so difficult if you are armed
Boko Haram massacres 2,000 in Nigeria
Nobody is afraid of Christians
Posted by Bird Dog in Hot News & Misc. Short Subjects at 06:30 | Comments (54) | Trackback (1)
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I think the New Urbanism is generally a good idea, but why streetcars instead of buses? Buses can react to changing patterns while streetcars can only adjust capacity on the same line.
Is it aesthetics?.... if so, you are encouraging a form of kinetic art as opposed to transportation.
Obama came to the community college in E. Tennessee that my oldest daughter attends but she was too busy working to go listen. Besides her employer pays for her schooling anyway. Curious why he picked this small school in a part of the country that isn't too fond of him.
I happen to think that community colleges are a good value, but this is nothing new; they have been for 50 years (my brother attended College of DuPage (near Chicago) before going on for a 4 year degree in the late 60s). I thought community colleges were pretty modestly priced and already subsidized ; not to mention, that there are already federal job training programs in existence. Am I wrong? So, why is this some sort of break through? Why now, what's up with this?
Could it be that this is just another manifestation of the Chicago way? Subsidized make work jobs for a special interest group; in this case, educators with useless degrees.
Interesting to compare how snaggle toothed upper class Europeans are to Americans of the same class.
Dying like a French satirist, how about "showing how an Italian dies".
Urbanists do like their street cars, means streets get dug up, widened, store fronts demolished (gotta met the new set back y'know), etc. Buses mean none of that happens.
The real sneakiness in the gun debate is the fact they won't say they don't say exactily how they are going to get firearms in "safe/poltically reliable" hands.
"it wasn’t sugar that guided our dental fates. And it wasn’t meth"
So much for taking the article seriously. Where is one of those "facepalm" images?
Thanks for the ignorant screed about "poor teeth". We don't need daily brushing, no what is needed is dental coverage, insurance. Insurance doesn't give you good teeth, actually going to the dentist does. Which means budgeting the cost and going.
Dental care as a result of medical issue is generally covered by health insurance. But not the expenses that aren't unexpected, like going to the dentist.
Another ignorant writer who doesn't understand insurance nor dental care.
Thought it was more a reflection on signifiers of social class in our egalitarian society. Much like the Carhartt coats worn by the smooth handed set or shirts with little alligators on them.
FWIW, as retired bureaucrat, my dental cover is 50% up to 1250 per year and none for accidental injury or dental work to repair a medical problem say, a full mouth extraction to prepare for radiation treatment of an throat cancer. With that cover, locally, its about $50-$75 for an extraction ($125 if surgery is needed) and $300 for a crown. Implants are not covered.
Alan Macfarlane's 'The Invention of the Modern World' can be found online at that link. The excerpt is from chapter 8.
I keep the hardcopy of his book in my truck to take in when I need something to read while waiting. I find it easy to pull out an excerpt to provoke my thoughts. While England had many advantages that created space, the invention of the world we enjoy was by no means preordained.
When I see the poor little college students, especially the students of the Liberal arts, screaming against Western Civilization, Judeo-Christian teachings, English/British history, I can't help but wonder if they can even comprehend that without all those things, their mouths would be quickly silenced by a soldier's sword.
"Nobody is afraid of Christians "
Only in their fevered imaginations. Example: Margaret Atwood
"...the high-quality rail transit successful cities require."
I think that very large cities like New York or Boston can benefit from rail transit. But small to intermediate size cities do not. What drives light rail in these cities is money. The federal government pilfers money from the highway construction "lock box" and gives it to cites. The cities must also steal money from local and state highway construction funds to match the "free" money from the feds. The reason for this effort is not to improve transportation, not to provide the poor with dependable transportation so they can get jobs. The reason is simply to provide a lot of good paying jobs to union workers so that the unions will in return support those politicians for reelection. Simple as that. The tax payers pay enormous amounts of money into this fraud and literally get nothing for it. In Portland where billions have been spent to provide light rail transportation of 1/10th of 1% of the citizens 100% of that light rail transportation simply replaces an existing bus line. Imagine that for a moment; you spend a couple billion dollars and take up (usually) two traffic lanes out of a busy highway for the rail line and all you accomplish is to push the passengers out of busses and into light rail. The operating and sunk cost to the tax payer for a bus oriented transportation system is about 5% of the cost of the light rail. But that grim statistic doesn't even consider that there was already an existing system; the busses. The light rail in Portland Oregon is so expensive that the Metro area could have purchased a brand new luxury car for each and every regular commuter on the light rail. After the construction is alldone and paid for the cost per commute for light rail is about $20 but the commuter only pays about $1of that. Tax payers in Oregon who live 400 miles from light rail pay the difference. Tax payers in Florida and the other 49 states pay the difference that light rail in Portland Oregon costs. That is everyday, day in, day out for the rest of time. Why??? So some politicians could get reelected.
Population density at the nodes determines whether a train will pay for itself. A few places in America have it. Most don't. So GWTW's intuitive calculation turns out to be spot on. I recommend Balaker and Staley's The Road More Traveled on the subject.
Althouse has a thread based on the contempt and disdain for Charlie Hebdo's new best friends,expressed by Dutch cartoonist Bernard Holtrop.
"We have a lot of new friends, like the pope, Queen Elizabeth and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. It really makes me laugh," Bernard Holtrop, whose pen name is Willem, told the Dutch centre-left daily Volkskrant.
"Marine Le Pen is delighted when the Islamists start shooting all over the place," said Willem, 73, a longtime Paris resident who also draws for the French leftist daily Liberation.
He added: "We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends."
Re New Urbanism, Heart is in the right place, but prescriptions are off. Architecture nice but not crucial; NU codes are just tweaks; streetcars are almost universally boondoggles b/c they usually run in traffic. Need municipal consolidation, zoning deregulation and heavy rail.
Bird Dog: Nobody is afraid of Christians
Of course they are. Here is just one of many examples of why people might be afraid of Christians.
How do you know that was Christians?
Statistics-wise, this being France, the perpetrators were atheists. Or at least agnostic.
The perpetrators were probably right-wing extremists, so are far more likely to identify as Christian. In any case, other contemporary examples include the Lord's Resistance Army, the Oak Creek Massacre, and the Tripura rebellion.
And it's not just Muslims and Christians, but Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists, have all committed terrorism in the names of their religions. One significant difference is that Muslim terrorism has an internationalist bent, while most other cases are driven by domestic concerns.
I'm going for left-wing provacateurs doing a false-flag operation.
That people of other religions have used that religion as a reason for terror in the past is immaterial. They (speaking only of Christians) are not doing it now and Muslims are (in fact Muslims have done it since the founding of Islam). If there were Christian leaders who used their religion to promote killing and violence (not even the wackos in the Westboro Baptist Church do that and the rest of the Baptist establishment doesn't condone their intolerence), people would rightfully be afraid of Christians. But they don't and we aren't.
While historically, humans being human, evil has been done in the name of the Judeo-Christian God, it wasn't in accordance with his law. The third commandment deems doing evil in the name of God, unforgivable.
#220.127.116.11.1 JKB on 2015-01-10 14:15 (Reply)
Thanks for the link, JKB! That was excellent (not a surprise from Dennis Prager)!!
#18.104.22.168.1.1 mudbug on 2015-01-10 14:43 (Reply)
If you didn't click through, Prager has done all 10 of the commandments
#22.214.171.124.1.1.1 JKB on 2015-01-10 21:10 (Reply)
Muslims, who also worship the god of Abraham, are also enjoined from committing evil in the name of God.
#126.96.36.199.1.2 Zachriel on 2015-01-10 15:54 (Reply)
What is your definition of evil? Do any of these seem evil to you:
War against all non-Muslims to establish the religion. (it is the duty of every Muslim and Muslim head of state (Caliph)).
Leaving the Muslim religion. (requires death)
The murder of someone who leaves the Muslim religion.
Beating your "rebellious" wife, beating her and keep her from leaving the house. (allowed)
A woman's testimony of rape not being accepted without four mail witnesses.
All those punishments and behaviors are done in the name of Islam.
#188.8.131.52.1.2.1 mudbug on 2015-01-10 17:46 (Reply)
mudbug: All those punishments and behaviors are done in the name of Islam.
Yes, and there's a long history of persecution by Christians. Even today, some Christians advocate or excuse torture.
Meanwhile, a Muslim, Lassana Bathily, helped hide people from the recent terror attack on the Kosher store in France.
#184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Zachriel on 2015-01-10 18:21 (Reply)
#18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 Zachriel on 2015-01-10 18:24 (Reply)
There was Christian persecution in the past. So what. That is the past. How long must Christians pay for past offenses? Muslims have been waging war - off and on - against nonbelievers since the inception of the religion. Why? Because it calls for nonbelievers to be killed or subjugated.
The fact that some Christians advocate "torture" (undefined) is immaterial. They don't say that in order to be a good Christian that somebody must be tortured. If anything, the Christian denomination establishments are pacifist.
I was wonderful to read that a Muslim helped keep Jews from being killed. I wish there were more like him. I'm not sure how this relates.
#126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52.1.1 mudbug on 2015-01-10 19:51 (Reply)
mudbug: If there were Christian leaders who used their religion to promote killing and violence
There are. We provided examples.
#184.108.40.206.2 Zachriel on 2015-01-10 14:20 (Reply)
The Lord's Resistance Army? The Oak Creek Massacre? The Tripura rebellion? Which Christian leaders sanctioned them ? Are these your examples or did I miss them?
#220.127.116.11.2.1 mudbug on 2015-01-10 14:35 (Reply)
mudbug: Which Christian leaders sanctioned them?
The Lord's Resistance Army is led by Joseph Kony. The National Liberation Front of Tripura is splintered, but has received funding and material support from local Baptist groups.
#18.104.22.168.2.1.1 Zachriel on 2015-01-10 14:45 (Reply)
Taking Wikipedia as a source, Joseph Kony was an alter boy. Local Baptist groups? That is your definition of validation of terrorism by Christian leadership? You're joking, right? You need to come up with something better than this.
Besides, I note that you didn't respond to JKB's post:
While historically, humans being human, evil has been done in the name of the Judeo-Christian God, it wasn't in accordance with his law. The third commandment deems doing evil in the name of God, unforgivable.
I also note you (all) haven't seen fit to respond to my post below. Maybe that's because you watched the video...
As much as you want to show an equivalence between the terrorism sanctioned by Muslim Imams with the terror performed by someone who claims (for himself) Christian validity. There is none. Sorry.
#22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 mudbug on 2015-01-10 15:40 (Reply)
mudbug: That is your definition of validation of terrorism by Christian leadership?
Joseph Kony is a Christian leader.
#188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 Zachriel on 2015-01-10 15:52 (Reply)
According to who? You? Kony? The highest level of religious accreditation was that he was an alter boy. Here's description of his Christianity (from Wikipedia):
Kony believes in the literal protection provided by a cross symbol and tells his child soldiers a cross on their chest drawn in oil will protect them from bullets.And also:
According to Francis Ongom, a former LRA officer who defected, Kony "has found Bible justifications for killing witches, for killing [those who farm or eat] pigs because of the story of the Gadarene swine, and for killing [other] people because God did the same with Noah's flood and Sodom and Gomorrah."He was a leader in his (and apparently your) own mind.
As usual, you refuse to address other pertinent points in previous posts which makes discussing this pretty tedious.
#220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.1.1 mudbug on 2015-01-10 17:22 (Reply)
mudbug: The highest level of religious accreditation was that he was an alter boy.
And Jesus was a carpenter. So? The question is whether anybody is afraid of Christians, and the answer is yes.
mudbug: He was a leader in his (and apparently your) own mind.
He's obviously a leader of a radial Christian movement.
#22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199.1.1.1 Zachriel on 2015-01-10 18:16 (Reply)
Jesus was considered a rabbi an a teacher when he preached. Not a carpenter. His father was a carpenter.
Kony was a radical but not because he took Christian teachings further than most but because he twisted them. Other than some "local Baptist groups", he did not have support from the mainstream Christian establishment. From what I've been able to tell, he was a kook who mixed some Christian beliefs with what may have been mental illness.
#188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 mudbug on 2015-01-10 19:58 (Reply)
Don't forget Jim Jones, David Koresh....
#18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 JKB on 2015-01-10 21:07 (Reply)
Whenever someone says "obviously" in a long online argument, they've pretty much conceded every trick. By the examples you have chosen and the enormous squinting you've resorted to to define them as Christian, you have pretty much sealed it that you are only arguing that some bad people call themselves Christians, that Christians aren't perfect, but not that there is an equivalence.
You keep starting off with decent points but just can't give an inch, and get backed into saying stupid things. I can relate, I've done it myself, but it still doesn't make sense.
Most of everybody, even in bad parts of the world, is not a religious terrorist. Everyone tries to use their religion to justify their actions. But that only works for a short while, before the religion starts to push back. See Barmen Declaration.
Islam may actually be a force for reducing violence among peoples who are insanely tribal. Most violence everywhere is tribal, whatever mask it wears. NW Europe and the Anglosphere have much lower violence than the rest of the world. And if you take a strict definition of religious violence, not much at all since 1648. Explanations vary, but facts remain. The Asian totals for deaths in warfare in recorded history dwarf anything we can imagine.
#188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11 Assistant Village Idiot (Link) on 2015-01-10 21:36 (Reply)
We all remember the violence engendered by our tax dollars spent to display Serrano's "Piss Christ" and Ofili's "The Holy Virgin Mary". I mean for months the body count kept rising and the property destruction was enormous! I remember all the signs and tee shirts printed with slogans like "I am Serrano" when his life was in danger. Well, maybe not.
I'm not aware of any prominent figure who was offended by either of these two "art works" suggest that they should banned in any way. Other than expressing how offended (interesting how when Christians are offended, it doesn't rise to the level of a single person offended by a Christian) they were, the only thing that was said was they shouldn't be supported by tax dollars.
People like Bill Maher routinely say that all religions are stupid, but ask him who he thinks he as to worry about (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg84Bhtxg6M).
New Urbanism is the movement to return to traditional, pre-World War II towns, cities, and urban neighborhoods as an alternative to automobile-dependent, postwar sprawl suburbs.
Party like it's 1913, because you know these New Urbanist secretly think they should have a couple servants to help around their upper middle class digs. All that went away for the upper middle class when the income tax made supporting servants untenable for them.
And for all their streetcar wet dreams, they never consider that the big flaw in their plan is that their Master plans exile manufacturing to the suburban sprawl. You know, those places where the poor work but the street cars don't go. Nope in their utopia, everyone will work downtown, in offices, drawing cartoons of da profit mo'homid.
Of course, then they rush out to protest the police enforcing "Broken Window" laws against the less income intensive residents of their new urban ghettos. Never realizing that without that overbearing enforcement, the streets are dirty and soon the term "urban jungle" replaces urban, well anything.
I do think we should impose one rule, the New Urbanists must be forced to live for the rest of their lives in their creation, regardless of how decayed it becomes. Everyone else can move, but they stay.
Prediction: When flight from the urban crime happens again, the cities are done for. To easy to move the office files out of town. Industrial shops were hemmed in with zoning, but you can draw a cartoon anywhere.
New Urbanist article is high satire and it wasn't meant to be:
Some decades ago, while heading west on board the Super Chief train, I got into a discussion about architecture with a fellow passenger in the first-class lounge car. While I expounded on the many sins of I.M. Pei, a woman at the next table interrupted and said, “I live in a house designed by Pei.” I asked her, “Is it unlivable?” She thought for a moment and replied, “Yes.”
Let's see old rich guy is nostalgic for a time when he could whisk across the landscape in the manner of Katniss going to the Hunger Games. While on his journey he opines with others on the proper way for the subjects in the Districts should live.
We are certainly not Charlie. Some of us are not because we lack the guts to even display what Charlie Hebdo did. But now the images are part of the story so those press organs should be displayed to show they aren't afraid and believe in freedom of expression and that they are part of the story and give some context. Their explanation is that their policy is not to display provocative images - handy, isn't it?
Others of us are not Charlie because we don't have to be (yet). We can pretty much say what we want without (much) fear of retribution from government or Muslims. One reason we might have less fear is that we can be armed and don't have to depend on the protection of unarmed police on bicycles. Another reason is that the Muslim population in most areas of the US (all bets are off in certain parts of Michigan) are not great enough to support the kind of violence seen in Paris.
mudbug: We are certainly not Charlie.
You are not a left-wing satirist?
"I am not Charlie, I am Ahmed the dead cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture and I died defending his right to do so."
I am not a left wing satirist.
Either you didn't read my post or you have a real comprehension problem.
We (the editorial we) are not Charlie because most of the papers and news outlets refused to show the Charlie Hebdo's cartoons. They say it is because of some standard but we all know it is because they are either afraid of retribution. They have no qualms about publishing things that offend Christians, for example.
In the US, our free expression is much more protected than in France. We can protect ourselves and our police also have a greater ability to protect us should we publish controversial/offensive material.
In the US in general, there is a much smaller percentage of the population that is Muslim. That means we are more insulated against such acts.
The point is some of us in the US are chicken some of us don't have to be brave like Charlie was. It's not that I don't support his right to offend people, I do (that is something a lot of people on the left do not support). But so far, we generally don't have to be as brave as Charlie, thankfully. My hope is that we never give up our freedom of expression but that is certainly not a certainty given the freedoms we've already given up.
Gun Safety: Know what you're aiming at, and make sure there's a backstop or clear area behind.
New Urbanism and Streetcars: Again, someone thinking they know better than us what we should have, and not what we want. Unintended consequences to follow, followed by the plaintive cry, "Where did we go wrong?"
Marines' Most Lethal: They got #1 right. The Marine.
Raul: Anyone here surprised ? I would think only fools, fellow-travelers, and Pollyannas would be surprised.
mudbug: Kony was a radical but not because he took Christian teachings further than most but because he twisted them.
Ah, they twisted Islam Christianity to justify terrorism. The question was whether anyone is afraid of Christians, and the answer is yes. There are Christians terrorists in Africa, India, and elsewhere.
JKB: By the examples you have chosen and the enormous squinting you've resorted to to define them as Christian ...
Ah, they're not real Muslims Christians.
mudbug: I am not a left wing satirist.
No, but Charlie was.
mudbug: There was Christian persecution in the past. So what.
Because the past defines the present, including why some people might be afraid of Christians.
mudbug: I was wonderful to read that a Muslim helped keep Jews from being killed. I wish there were more like him.
The vast majority of Muslim groups have condemned the terrorists as aberrant and not representative of Islam.
Ah, the moving goalposts of Sir Zach-a-noodle.
Nothing can be criticized, you see, as all have sinned. Except the current American left, of course.
Jess1: Ah, the moving goalposts
The goalpost is right where it started. Zachriel's first comment:
Bird Dog: Nobody is afraid of Christians
Zachriel: Of course they are. Here is just one of many examples of why people might be afraid of Christians.
If Bird Dog has simply criticized terrorism, or noted that the religious and political civil war in Islam has resulted in an increase of terrorist violence, then we would not have disagreed.
Jess1: Nothing can be criticized, you see, as all have sinned.
Of course terrorism can and should be criticized. But if you think radical Christians, atheists, Buddhists, and Hindus haven't resorted to terrorism, then you're wrong. Though the U.S. brokered peace has largely held in Northern Ireland, people there are still afraid of Christians of the 'other' denomination.
Jess1: Except the current American left, of course.
Extremists on the American left and right have engaged in terrorism in the past.
Do you even read the links you provide?
"No link has yet been established between the attacks. "
Yes, the fear of Christian terror attacks is shaking the world...
Jess1: "No link has yet been established between the attacks. "
No direct link has to be established for it to instill fear.
Do let us know when Tea Partiers go on a rampage, or Christians break into the offices of NBC and shoot down writers and editors...
Tracked: Jan 11, 09:41