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 31. 2015
Pic above from Old Gas Stations
A day with Chef Daniel Boulud
Dog shelters running out of dogs
“Middle School Reading Lists 100 Years Ago vs. Today Show How Far American Educational Standards Have Declined”
Students assigned to erect new porn genre at Carnegie Mellon, grades based on arousal
It is hard to look at this data and see anything but a positive story, but apparently the New York Times and the rest of the media only see tragedy.
ALMOST HALF OF U.S. HOUSEHOLDS CAN’T SAVE, SPEND ALL OF THEIR INCOME
Illinois’ New Republican Governor Just Declared War On Government Unions
Thanks Obamacare: This Is What Americans Spent The Most Money On In Q4
The GOP’s Long Love Affair With Schmucks - Why Republicans fall in love with inexperienced, no-hope candidates every four years.
Mitt did the right thing. Jeb will not be nominated either: Jeb Bush Fails Common Core Test
Amusing, re global warming crisis
The Hack That Warmed the World - Europe’s carbon-trading market was supposed to be capitalism’s solution to global warming. Instead, it became a playground for gangsters, international crime syndicates, and even two-bit crooks -- who stole hundreds of millions of dollars in pollution credits.
Douthat: Does Political Correctness Work?
Krauthammer: Do We Really Mean ‘Never Again’?
ISIL’s Rise in Libya - The country’s descent into chaos is getting harder for the United States to ignore.
Good essay on the future of eastern Europe
Tracked: Feb 01, 09:58
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Dog shelters running out of dogs:
a friend of ours has a retail store that sells farm products, feed, pets and supplies. She says the puppies are flying off the shelves. There is an animal shelter in the area, but from what I hear it's mismanaged and in order to adopt an animal you have to go thru paperwork (more than the pet store paperwork), home inspections, anal probes and drug tests in order to be qualified to adopt a dog/cat. One would think they need to keep the animals in the shelter in order to provide jobs for the mostly volunteer workers who care for them.
SHe also says that she wants to quit the store, because the paperwork involved in buying the puppies from the breeders, the transportation, and then subsequent paperwork for the buyer is enormous. Basically full time work in a rural area, no less. As if her finding employees who will actually show up and want to EARN a paycheck isn't bad enough. (as oposed to standing around and collecting pay just for 'being'.)
She also said that it's the same paperwork for pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs and gerbils. THey are basically "highly regulated". Why would this be? sarc-
THey quit selling firewood because they were only "allowed" to sell "certified" firewood. so you are shit out of luck if you are camping in the area and want to buy firewood in upstate PA. Bring a chainsaw.
We adopted a puppy last year. We called about an ad, put down a deposit, and picked her up a few weeks later (she had to be spayed first). When we walked in the door, they really didn't care one whit about us. We filled out some minor paper work (1 page), were handed her shot records and her chip info and left. No one asked us one personal question about our home, what other animals we had in the house, children, etc.
Compare that to my parents who adopted 2 cats about 5 years ago in southern California. They had to complete a sheaf of paperwork about their home, what they would feed the cats, certify that they would never let them outside, etc. They had an inspection done of their home...
I do not live in CA, but in that state most of the identifiable breeds are snatched up from the shelters immediately and put into 'rescues' at someone's home, where they can create whatever hoops you have to jump through to get yourself a certain breed of cat or dog.
I don't believe there is a shortage of rescue animals; I just think well-meaning animal lovers have taken the most adoptable dogs and recognizable breeds to place in their own 'rescue' for adoption.
BTW, our shelter is packed full of pit bull and pit bull mixes. These are the dogs very few want.
The firewood thing might be a measure to stop the spread of destructive pests such as the pine beetle here in Colorado. Around here, you'd be better off transporting and selling puppies to burn than beetle infested wood, it seems.
ALMOST HALF OF U.S. HOUSEHOLDS CAN’T SAVE, SPEND ALL OF THEIR INCOME. Most of those are Romney's 47%, and that's not all they can't. Add: do useful work, succeed at marriage, teach their children, control their impulses.....
I missed that "Save", and read it as "Almost Half Can't Spend All Their Income" and thought "SLACKERS!".
"Why Republicans fall in love with inexperienced, no-hope candidates every four years."
I think the premise is wrong. The Republican establishment chooses the candidates and they make their decision not based on the best person or even electability but on what it will do for them. Did anyone in the real world actually "want" McCain to win? As good a man Senator Dole was did anyone really think he could win the presidency? Now we are about to anoint Jeb Bush. He could win. But not because he is a great choice but rather because the choice will be Ol' Jeb or the crazy commie bitch. But honestly, I'm thinking of voting for the crazy commie bitch over Jeb. Why? Because I'm so tired of Rinos stabbing us in the back. I do believe I would rather have someone who tells me to my face they are going to tax me into poverty, give the country to illegals, double the number of people on welfare while simultaneousy destroying our health care system than promise me that they will not do all those things but allow it to happen anyway. Besides I do see the value in electing the crazy commie bitch; Today perhaps 40% of voters vote as though they understand that our great country is going to the dogs. I suspect after four and maybe eight years of radicalism that maybe; maybe 60% will finally get it. If not then perhaps this great experiment in freedom and democracy deserves to fail.
Unless, of course, it's the defectors every election who are stabbing the other Republicans in the back, forcing the rest of us to go with candidates who might carry more of the middle or bamboozle the low-information voters. You might consider that you've had it backward from the start, already setting the stage for a bad candidate in 2016.
"Defectors" like the tea party? But I heard the Republican leader pretty much write off the tea party. It just didn't sound like they had any love for us. But who are they courting? The illegal aliens. Why? Well of course I know why, but I mean why would they throw out conservatives over minor disagreements and give the farm away to people who aren't even citizens? Wouldn't it make sense to find some agreement with the conservative base instead of cozy up to illegals? After all the last "landslide" the Republicans enjoyed in a presidential race was Reagan and that was thanks to the conservatives. The probem is the Republicans have given up on America. They believe that we are about to undergo a fundamental change and uncontrolled immigration will bring us many millions of illegals who will be made citizens and voters. They are throwing us under the bus in favor of the future Americans. They want to retain power even if it destroys the country.
Did anyone in the real world actually "want" McCain to win?
Yes! I wanted him to win. He would have made a mediocre president at best but a whole lot better than what we have now!
As for Jeb, it ain't over till it's over and it's hardly begun! I'm not sure he'll be nominated. There are several other successful governors who thankfully don't have Bush as their last name. I expect that at some point, people will decide that there have been enough Bush presidents and as good and decent as they have been, they could have been much better presidents, it's time to pick somebody new.
I understand your frustration but for me if the election were between a conservative libertarian and anybody else, I'd choose the conservative libertarian. If is between a conservative and a lefty, I choose the conservative. If it is between the fake conservative and any lefty (honest or devious - They are all honest: they say they will take our money and freedoms. And they are all devious: they say it's for our own good.). I choose the fake with my eyes open that he was the least dangerous. We rarely get to choose the best person for president. Usually we have to choose who is the better person to be president.
John McCain would indeed have been a mediocre president but he also would have taken us to war in Libya and Syria and god knows where else. He would have given us the Republican version of "immigration reform" which would be amnesty and no border fence which would have brought in even more illegals. He would be so incompetent that today we would have a super majority Democrat house and Senate and zero chance for a Republican to win the presidency in 2016. About the only thing good would be that we wouldn't have Obamacare.
I just don't feel that the times allow us to keep putting incompetent and disasterous presidents in office. The country is headed towards a disaster on a number of fronts and we keep electing "place keepers" or worse when we need statesmen and leaders. If we don't get this country on track soon I fear all will be lost. At the least I see an economic collapse in the near future and at worst war. We have borrowed and printed so much money we are on line to be the next Greece. We are living in a fool's paradise.
As to the reading list, and lowering of standards: they are both recommended lists, with no evidence whether one child in a thousand was actually influenced. These are adults chirping out their values, which tells us nothing about the schools or the children.
The contrast between the values of the educators then and now is worth contemplating, but that's a different subject.
ALMOST HALF OF U.S. HOUSEHOLDS CAN’T SAVE, SPEND ALL OF THEIR INCOME
We need more information than the article gives. There are those who expend all their income on maintaining a modest life for their family. But there are a lot more who regardless of their income, run out to the end of their chain and bark.
If you don't have the income, there are some neighborhoods that you can't live in. Or $40k cars you can't drive. Or island vacations you can't take. Or special trips for the kids you can't afford. Or unlimited data plans you shouldn't be on.
There is a threshold and above that, I don't want to hear the shabby-genteel whining of those with upper middle class tastes and social aspirations but a "working" class income.
I agree, more data is required.
I fall into that 47%, or at least pretty close to it. But I have an unusual situation - I am paying for my 2 boys' college.
Were I not, I'd have a substantial sum I could sock away.
Even when I wasn't paying that, I had them at home - another drain, but not nearly to the amount I'm shelling out now.
Still, there are plenty of things to ask about that 47%, particularly those who, unlike me, are not paying college tuitions.
1. Is the current low interest rate driving them to spend? I know, for several years after 2008, after rates collapsed, my wife argued (justifiably, to an extent) that saving money in a low interest environment was a bad idea. Indeed, at less than 1% a year and with inflation well over 2% (actually, depending on how you calculate it as high as 9% in any given year of the last 5), it doesn't make sense to save.
2. Do they need everything they claim to spend on? Probably not. That huge cable bill, for one thing. I've never had the big cable package. Basic, however, is still very expensive. Better yet, get rid of it altogether if you don't watch sports, and rely on Netflix or Hulu. Or read.
3. Have they optimized their spending patterns? I know people who complain they don't have money to spare but each newly minted license in their house gets a used car. The family gets a new car every 3 years. Me? I've had my car for 6 years now, it was used when I bought it. We did get a new Mini 3 years ago, but only because our other, 12 year old car, died finally.
4. Have they optimized their income? Part of my borrowing is related to the fully-funded 401(k). I'm not interested in letting Uncle Sam take all my money in taxes, especially as I get 50% matched by my employer. But if I really needed the money and borrowing was a last-ditch option, then I'd stop putting money in the 401(k) for now. I'm lucky to be in that situation, I'll admit it, but I am in that situation because I've fully funded my 401(k) from the minute I started working. I can afford to not put money in for a year or two at this age. Most people I know didn't put a dime in when they were in the 22-30 age range. Silly...that money has exploded upwards for me. Even if I hadn't done that, and I needed the cash now, I'd still lower my investment.
The article points to personal insurance and pensions as part of the issue of where money is being devoted. I have actually LOWERED my personal insurance over the last 3 years. Why? Because at age 22 I got a whole life policy and now that I'm over 50, it's funding itself. People told me I was "stupid" for getting whole life. Funny.
The Hack’s Guide to Covering Israel
The lady with the two Dalmatians in her car who was pumping gas looked sharp!
Very classy indeed.
Gas Stations: I sure remember that Little America station from my kid days.
RE: gas stations. Yes, very interesting; especially the couple of pics in which you can see the price. I am old as I do remember when gas was 25 cents a gallon!