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, July 6. 2015
Image from Eratosthenes' Recent Hairpin Turns in Our Nationalized Moral Reasoning
The Placebo Effect
"What’s most striking is that most of them hadn’t exercised vigorously their entire lives, but rather started late in life."
WHICH IS BETTER, EXERCISING BEFORE OR AFTER WORK?
What is "sexual health"?
Just protecting government jobs
The Federal Reserve Hasn’t Reduced Frequency of Recessions. Why Is It Necessary Again?
What the Role of ‘We the People’ Is
Best of Enemies- Bill Buckley vs Gore Vidal
“Green” Taxes Out of Control in Great Britain
Sorry, Donald Trump Has A Point
Kate Steinle was Murdered by a Sanctuary City
It’s Bernie Sanders’ America: 5 “radical” ideas Americans strongly support
Jim Webb Writes His Own Books - Meet the new candidate when he was revered novelist James Webb.
Fading Dowager Empress of Chappaqua Refuses to ‘Take Back Seat’ to Other Socialists - Even though Her Highness hasn't driven a car since Lenin was a pup.
Reporters Had the Rare Opportunity to Question Hillary Clinton — Here’s What They Asked
Fine with me. War on Drugs was a bust
Don’t Lose any Sleep Over United Church of Christ Divestment
Think Greece can’t happen here? You’re wrong
Tallying Right-Wing Terror vs. Jihad
Will we let Ukraine die?
Am I Ukraine's keeper?
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Oh guess what ?!
Conversation with two mid school teachers on the 4th:
"my daughter (aged 10) asked me about oral sex today--she thinks it's something everybody does!"
"ohh--that's because that XXXXX (a third female teacher in the same school) doesn't teach very well. She teaches that part of the sex/ed curriculum as if it were science and the kids get the idea there is nothing personal about oral sex --just bad teaching!"
Oh! Just bad teaching... I guess it's ok then!
Sex education was supposed to reduce the problems of sex in society but I don't see any evidence of that. Conducting one's sex life is part of one's morality and this is just another example of the government intruding in our lives by taking over what used to be the domain of parents.
Re: the Federal Reserve
I do not support the Fed, but to say that things are not more since the Fed was instituted seems a little disingenuous. In the hundred years before the Fed, there were panics in 1819, 1837, 1857, 1873, 1893, and 1907. The effects of these were hard to gauge because the data was not nearly as complete as it is now, but they were major economic events that lasted years.
There certainly were times the Fed screwed up and made things worse and it also sometimes corrected bad policy, but my take on the fed is that it traded volatility for inflation. The value of the US Dollar used to be fairly stable (though there were periods of inflation and deflation) but after the Fed and the rise of government spending, the value of the dollar has been whittled away. It's a tax all earners pay.
Vetoing Liquor Privatization, Pennsylvania's Governor Says Competition Would Raise Prices
well now that's a change. before they were saying privatization is going to lead to increased OUT OF CONTROL underage drinking !
oh and Wolf is a communist.
PA liquor- competition will raise prices? Huh, must be the new math in economics. Collusion will raise prices (see CaTV), but competition? Not so much.
He's a Democrat. Math and Economics are to them what Holy Water and stakes are to vampires.
The governor Wolf of Pennsylvania is a graduate of MIT. I have met a few MIT graduates so I'm guessing Wolf must have cheated.
Everyone I know here in PA goes to Delaware for low cost and wide selection at world class wine and liquor stores. If not Delaware, some go to Maryland. Our governer is a complete clown.
Re: Kate Steinle
I read where Trump called Kate Steinle's murder sad. He's wrong. it's an outrage!
I don't support Trump for president but I think what he is saying about illegal immigration needs to be said. I wish he were a more artful spokesman and that it is more bravely said. It seems, Trump and Coulter are the only one's with guts enough to say the truth about immigration.
Parents, don’t worry about your kids’ sexual health!
I've seen this article circulating and maybe it's just me, but I have three girls and they not only wouldn't allow a "school health official" insert an IUD or examine them internally, but they would tell me if this (expletive) was going on in their public school to 'other' kids.
There is something seriously wrong here.
"Murdered by a sanctuary city"
Illegal aliens kill thousands in this country every year. They commit tens and maybe hundreds of thousands of sexual attacks. They are major offenders in violent crime. In some states they are 30% or more of the prison population. Americans are being murdered by a sanctuary federal government. Why is this crime against our citizens allowed???
Because they vote Democrat...
The UCC story doesn't surprise me but it saddens me. I was a part of a NE Congregational church for a number of years, even served as a trustee. Very good people at that church. But the association with the UCC was problem that just kept getting worse.
Finally the preaching of AGW and the glories of Barack Obama from pulpit got to be to much. When they pulled the old Pilgrim Hymnal and replaced it with the New Century Hymnal, that was it. (They rewrote the words to America the Beautiful as well as editing out the words and phrases that offended the left).
I miss going and the rot is in all the UCC churches around here. I'm thinking of trying the Baptists.
"Sexual Health" How the heck do you keep a teenage boy with a computer and the internet from accessing porn?
John: I'm thinking of trying the Baptists.
I think the Baptist and Catholic churches are the only major denominations with enough backbone to stick with their original beliefs to a significant degree. We go to a Methodist church that we like just fine, but we're a not yet convinced that it Methodists won't end up following the path of the Episcopal church.
Even the small Methodist church in my small town has gone progressive. That leaves only the several versions of Baptists and the Catholics. But I wonder if you can really count the Catholics now that the Pope has lost the plot.
From the positions spelled out on their website, the Methodists have some predictable positions:
On gun control:
develop advocacy groups within local congregations to advocate for the eventual reduction of the availability of guns in society with a particular emphasis upon handguns, handgun ammunition, assault weapons, automatic weapons, automatic weapon conversion kits, and guns that cannot be detected by traditionally used metal detection devices.
...every United Methodist church is officially declared a weapon-free zone.
They designate churches as weapons free zones.
... We support parental, guardian, or other responsible adult notification and consent before abortions can be performed on girls who have not yet reached the age of legal adulthood. We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control, and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection or eugenics.
Not as full throated as I'd prefer. They are against partial birth abortion (except to support the physical life of the mother or when the baby has conditions that are incompatible with life.
We support the right of all public and private employees and employers to organize for collective bargaining into unions and other groups of their own choosing.
That they have a position on unions is interesting to me. I oppose public sector unions, of course.
I can't say I'm surprised. It could certainly be worse. Our pastors, so far, haven't discussed any of those policies in in person or in any sermons, thankfully. I would guess that our congregation is probably split on those issues.
Yeah, the Pope has unnecessarily swerved into some stupid political positions where he should have kept his mouth shut. I would be amazed if a pope supported a "woman's right to choose".
There was a message from Methodist uppity ups that said that there was a certain procedure that had to play out in order to change church policy. IIRC, it is a pretty democratic process so I think it is just a mater of time.
I'd like to self-interestedly add the confessional or traditionalist Lutheran synods to your list (Missouri Synod or ALEC). Despite our reputation for being behind the times, we had our major liberal/conservative schism back in the 1970s, basically leading to what is now the ELCA and LCMS.
John the River--There are a couple of Presbyterian denominations that are still solid you may wish to try out, if there are any around your area. As you probably know, the Congregationalists and the Presbyterians are close cousins, originally not differing in their theology but in their form of church government. (Congregationalists believed in each church being independent and run by a church council of some type; Presbyterians believed in government by elders, both in the church's session and in larger associations of churches known as presbyteries. But there has always been a lot of crossover--for example, Jonathan Edwards served as a pastor in both Presbyterian and Congregational churches.)
One you don't want is the liberal Presbyterian Church USA (known as PCUSA) that has gone the same route as the UCC and is shedding members and churches rapidly (it is about half the size it was 20 years ago). There are still some solid PCUSA churches, but they are going to be rarer and rarer, and most are on their way out, or some are folding shop. But with some exceptions, in the PCUSA you are going to get the exact same atmosphere as the present UCC (including a revisionist hymn book).
But there are 3 other Presbyterian denominations, and each of these is growing. The most conservative is the Presbyterian Church in America, or PCA. They still take traditional Presbyterianism seriously, and also do not ordain women. But they have some excellent preachers and teachers such as Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City, and of course R.C. Sproul. Worship styles can range from very traditional to the modern rock band (but again, the theology is quite traditional). The PCA was originally formed out of those churches that did not agree with the merger of the Northern and Southern Presbyterian churches that formed the PCUSA; they believed that would lead to a too liberal church (and they were right).
The next is the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. You will probably find that quite similar to your old Congo church before it became politicized. One sticking issue for some people is that some of their presbyteries will allow women pastors, others won't. The EPC was a break-off from the PCUSA when it started to become liberal for a lot of folks.
The third denomination is known as ECO, or the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. (Yeah I know, the acronym doesn't match with the name, but the story why is too long to repeat here). It is only a couple of years old at this point but is growing rapidly. This is largely made up of the PCUSA evangelical churches that have left PCUSA in the past several years and formed their own denomination. Again, the flavor is probably a lot like your old Congo church. ECO is very interested in things like church planting and active evangelism to the unchurched and these churches tend to be very active in terms of membership involvement, since most of them have had to be unified enough to go through the pain of leaving the PCUSA, which is a difficult process.
My prediction is that within the next five years the UCC and PCUSA will merge to try keep their numbers up. I also think at some point, the EPC and ECO will merge although that will probably be a fair number of years from now. But the EPC and ECO churches get along well with each other, and both get along tolerably well with the PCA churches (although PCA'ers might think the EPC'ers and ECO'ers are liberals by comparison).
But if none of these are available, I would agree to try the Baptists. They have a lot of solid churches, and the preaching is often very good. (But unless you were baptized as an adult, you will have to get re-baptized if you want to become a member).
John the River--they first destroyed the Episcopal Church. Starting in about 1997 there was a well organized attack. One young reverend moved into our very wealth and powerful diocese -- he came authorized with the power to dismiss 'non-cooperating' older ministers and threatened them with loosing all of their retirement funds, if they objected to the homosexual agenda! They took early retirement and he replaced them with young newly ordained women "of the cloth". The Chicago Union cloth--but, no clue as to . . . oh well you get the rest of the story!
Yeh. I started as a Episcopalian in a small town south of Boston. Not many changes when I was in high school but many years later I came back and found one of those "women" running things. When my father passed and we went to that church to arrange the funeral we were told that older members who hadn't been active in recent years couldn't use the church for their families.
That's when I started with the Congregationalists, who took us in and performed the funeral without question. I liked the plain, simple services and the feeling of community. I miss them.
The UCC minister and the Episcopal minister that I met were both very pleasant and friendly. They just had this over-riding belief in a politically correct social justice agenda that was more important than "that old book".
We are in the Evangelical Covenant Church and have been happy there. As with all denominations, the clergy and national headquarters are more liberal than the parishioners, but not alwys, and we stay as individual in our politics as we can. There are several dozen in New England.
I read last week from one of the Episcopalian reformers that this was a "discussion" that lasted 4 decades.
So the Episcopal denomination destroyed itself 40 years ago by not kicking out these heretical entryists.
I saw the Buckley-Vidal fight live.
Buckley was really mad and I don't doubt he was ready to spill some of Vidal's gore.
Screw HBO - that was the best TV ever.
Bernie Sanders is such a typical leftists. They believe that spending other peoples money is an act of charity.
Yes, Dr. Torch you are right--it was a long slow decline until about the mid-1990's then the yogurt hit the fan!
Bernie: Never addresses who's going to pay for what he wants except for "the rich", many of whom know how to defer and avoid taxation, leaving just the working stiffs of the nation. And, well, SALON is not a source I trust.
Webb: Wrote his own books. Democrats: Cook their own books.
Who profits from the "occupation of Palestine"? Seems to me that would be the PLO, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, likely others, none of whom will show a financial statement.
Re: Bernie Sanders, Right-Wing Terror...hell, just about half of these, now that I go over the list.
The problem is that people do not understand, or do not want to understand, statistics. Statistics stop lying when you grab them by the throat and make them confess who their friends and relatives are. Then the truth comes out.
Even Megan McArdle missed a turn on comparing the two murderous groups. There are about 300x more homegrown individuals in the pool than there are Muslims. (I grant some are both, but few adherents of Islam are more than a generation away from a previous country.)
"Do Arguments Against Polygamy Hold Up?"
Tinker once with the definition of marriage and you can always tinker some more.