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
Sunday, February 7. 2016
Well, we're going to a Super Bowl party tonight but I will confess that I have only minimal interest in the game, and it will be past my bedtime. I like to see our friends though. The thought of guacamole sickens me - and not just because of the terrible cultural appropriation. We'll have spiral-cut ham and Mrs. BD will bake 50 biscuits for it. Any excuse for a party, I suppose. An early Mardi Gras.
U.S. Streetcars Just Aren't Meeting the Standards of Good Transit
The New College Degrees: The Good News and the Bad News
The Liberal Fantasy of Cultural Appropriation
New College Degrees: The Good News and the Bad News - See more at:
Gallup: We Hate to Admit It, but America Is Conservative
Single-payer collides with reality
It’s Happening Just Like I Told You - The implosion of the Democrats has begun, and they’re nearly ready to be bought.
Madeleine Albright Tells Young Women Voters ‘There’s A Special Place In Hell’ For Them If They Don’t Support Hillary
Hillary’s Sincerity Problem
Hillary Clinton's venality will be her downfall
Marco Rubio is a new kind of Republican. Really.
Why Marco Rubio is a once-in-a-generation candidate - US election 2016: Florida Senator is only political talent who can beat
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Si, Señor Rubio proved that, besides being ineligible to run for president of the U.S., he is not ready to take on the big boys in debate. Mr. Wide-Up Toy's prime time credentials need buffing before the GOPe will let him loose again…for any speechifying.
Marco has always been wrong on immigration and he's still wrong.
The idea of my mother throwing out a lot of food because we wouldn't eat it! Even with the severe disadvantage of being a stepmother confronted with rebellious kids, and having a palate that seemed very odd to us, she just soldiered on, cooked reasonable food, and expected us to eat it. My father backed her up. Exceptions were made only for the most outre choices.
It amazes me how hard some commentators try to avoid the obvious: people eat the "candy" form of food because it's cheap, available, and appealing, not because the good stuff is hard to come by. If mom puts broccoli on the plate of a hungry kid, he's going to eat the broccoli unless he can easily get his hands on a Cheetos alternative. That's a problem of affluence, not deprivation--and a problem, as the article points out, of limp parenting. Anyone would think these people had never seen how recent immigrants feed their families excellent, tasty food while living in grinding poverty. The "poor" must be some kind of exotic abstraction for them.
My spouse and I were raised by Spartan New England WASPs who were a bit extreme about food. First, every meal was accompanied with injunction NOT to be greedy or one would end up a fat piggy. Second, our mothers were abominable cooks, so one wasn't much tempted. Third, one was eternally reminded how fortunate one was to have dinner at all, and if one whimpered about the disgusting bony fish and the limp green beans one would get the "think of the starving children in India" lecture. Since our Sunday School and elementary school had big posters of Third World children with huge bellies (from starvation) and we all grew up carrying around those UNICEF cardboard boxes, hitting up people for money for said starving kids, we tended to gulp and swallow the hated food. I recall that our family had pretty much the modern low carb view on food, even back then. Starch was seen as a villain. When we would whine for sugar, candy, fruit, cookies, juice, soda, etc. like our friends had, our parents would tell us we had plebeian tastes and should eat our meat and veg.
The net result was that tho I grew up TOO thin in my early years, and my sibs were slim as kids, we all grew up completely out of control with junk food as young adults, as if making up for lost time. To this day, if there is chocolate in the office, I will eat without restraint. I think perhaps being too strictly raised food-wise, can backfire.
When I was a young mommy, we were very broke, so I served no junk food at all, as I couldn't waste money on anything that wasn't nutritious. When my spouse was out of work, I used to shop in a grocery store in a slum, because it was very cheap. I resented the overweight people I saw there with food stamps and carts piled high. At the time, I was buying disgusting 39 cents a pound chicken legs (I don't like dark meat but it was cheap), 25 pound bags of dried beans and rice, 10 lb sacks of potatoes for 99 cents, many heads of cabbage when it went on sale for 19cents a pound, etc. We had a huge vegetable garden in the backyard as well.
You can get anybody to eat healthy food if you offer the good stuff first, when they are hungry enough to gobble up anything. Also, people who complain that kids won't eat veggies are probably the same morons who stunt their kids' brain growth by depriving them of fat. Kids will eat raw veggies if you give them yummy dip for them. They will also eat cooked veggies if you make good homemade gravy or give them lots of butter and cheese on them. There is probably nothing so scrumptious as deep fried cauliflower, a staple at our local Indian restaurant, tho plain cauliflower makes everyone in my family go YUK. The point is, one compromises a little to get the little monsters used to the idea that vegetables and the like are NOT nuclear waste and eating them won't result in immediate death...
My husband and I are lucky in enjoying the cheap, icky cuts of meat: dark chicken meat, oxtails, you name it. (Well, oxtails used to be cheap, but now they're out of sight. Think beef cheeks instead.) Ditto pork butt, which is hands-down better than expensive loin.
When I was a starving student, my roommate and I ate an awful lot of cabbage, at about 10 cents a pound. We still eat a lot of cabbage in this household; it's still cheap and still keeps a very long time in the fridge, but we eat it because we like it, though we can afford asparagus as well. Ditto beans and rice. My husband's old immigrant roofing crews used to bring fantastically good home-packed lunches and share them with him: much better than anything available from the local restaurants. Some of the best Mexican food I've ever been served was at the homes of impoverished kids I was tutoring. They weren't wasting any time moaning over the high cost of organic Tuscan kale--which, by the way, is one of the easiest things to grow you can possibly include in a vegetable garden or even a window box.
I agree that a too-Puritan approach to food can lead to over-indulgent eating habits later in life, but I'm not even talking about a variety of deprivation here. This cheap food is more enjoyable than many of its expensive alternatives: usually better than dining out at any but the finest establishments, and certain better than expensive processed meals from the grocery store. It takes a bit more time and care to prepare, but not hugely so.
"Sorry, but poor kids can still eat healthy".
More inaccuracies in the obesity chronicles. Today the same percentage of African American kids are obese as were obese prior to 1998. The same percentage of Hispanic Americans are obese as were obese prior to 1998. The same percentage of European Americans are obese as were prior to 1998.
So what caused the obesity 'epidemic'? In 1998 they changed the measurement of weight and overnight the numbers of those who were counted as obese doubled and nobody gained a single pound to do it. Most of those we call obese are merely overweight and most of those we call overweight are in the normal range of weight.
But there is another factor that has changed the obesity landscape since 1998. Today while the total number of European Americans in this country has stayed about the same or increased only slightly the total numbers of African Americans and Hispanics have almost doubled. Why does this matter? Because both the African Americans and Hispanics are obese at twice the rate that European Americans are and ditto for simple overweight.
So without any real increase in obesity never the less obesity in America is now "epidemic". And for the sake of this article's point since most "poor" or people on the dole are African American and Hispanics the numbers of obese in that category has greatly exceeded the general population and again without any actual increase in obesity.
If "eating healthy" could prevent or reverse obesity than obesity could easily be ended. Most obesity is genetic. You can eat fast food or whole foods and it won't matter.
I would generally agree, except to note that grain-heavy food pyramid the government recommended to us probably increased obesity some since the 1950's.
I'm never quite sure what to think about views on major food groups, but grains do make me thoughtful. There's no question that shrinking their role in my diet puts a lid on my average calories (much as it pains me to say, given that bread is the ideal food in my book). There seems to be some good evidence that our evolution has barely caught up to our newly grain-rich environment over the last 10,000 years. Populations that were more recently exposed to agriculture do appear to have significant genetic disadvantages in their ability to withstand alcoholism, obesity, and diabetes, just as populations with less experience in dairy farming have a higher prevalence of lactose intolerance. It makes you wonder if the Paleo diet people aren't onto something. I hesitate to jump on these bandwagons, however, because the record of this sort of thinking over the last 50 years is laughable.
Rubio doesn't do anything for me. Seems like your basic neo-con to me. Disinterested in restraining government at home, enthusiastic about more foreign adventures.
And he is happy to let all the illegal immigrants stay here. Agree, he is at best a neo-con, I am sure McConnell and Ryan just love him. (Probably Pelosi & Reed also).
I am sick of the political pundits. STFU and just let the votes speak for themselves.
Have you ever taken one of River Cruises through Europe? If so, do you have any thoughts on the subject? Thank you
Hi, Apple Pie,
We haven't yet been on one, tho I am planning to as soon as I can. But one thing you should DEFINITELY research is the height of the river and the clearance of the bridges on the rivers you might be cruising on. I say this because when Mr. Retriever and I were in Prague, Budapest and Vienna a couple of years ago in spring, there were torrential rains that led to floods and the river being so high that (when we were there) the riverboat cruises having to send their passengers off on busses instead of the boats. http://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cruising/River-cruise-lines-lose-millions-of-dollars-to-European-flooding/
This obviously depends on which river you are cruising on. The key issue is how many feet of clearance there is between the top of the boat and the arch of the bridges you go under.
Bird Dog is more of an expert than me, as he has actually gone on one of these trips. But I saw the wretched passengers who had spent thousands upon thousands on their Danube cruise only to have to go on a mouldy old tourbus. Springtime is I think the likeliest time to have lots of rain. And there are probably routes where one isn't so likely to have this problem.
Even as I say this, we are planning a trip to another part of Europe during a time when we might have a lot of rain, but at least our transport won't be affected.
The GOP and donor elite have given up on Jeb and are focusing on pushing Rubio to the finals. Rubio is everything that Dole, McCain, Bush 1 &2, McConnell, Romney, Boehner, and Ryan would find acceptable. No Thanks...I'll wait until after the rebellion to vote. Some years ago a regional restaurant chain used local newspapers photojournalist pictures to decorate the walls in their establishment. Most of the pictures were from the late 40's thru the 50's and then a few early 60's. They ranged from parade, memorial day, and electioneering photos to other everyday news events. I could only find a handful of "fat" people in those photos and no "fat" kids at all.
I recall seeing some in the movies. Eugene Pallette comes to mind.
@ Gallup: We Hate to Admit It, but America Is Conservative -
It would be interesting to see if there's a link between conservatism and Christianity. As thousands of Europeans (Germans included) left Europe to avoid religious persecution over the past several hundred years, America has well established itself as a very Christian nation. Not only by association, but by practice.
Unfortunately, Europeans have moved away from Christian values and the practice of Christianity. Our empty churches and Cathedrals are clear evidence of this. In fact, across Germany, you can buy abandoned churches for 1-Euro because there's no one to care for them. Some have been turned into shops, other into nigh clubs or restaurants.
As Christianity declines, it would seem liberalism thrives, as we've seen in Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Germany, like America, is still rather conservative, with the state of Bavaria probably the most conservative of all German states.
For example, in drivers license offices in Bavaria, one can find a crucifix hanging on the wall and no one even thinks about it. Try that in your country sometime and see how well that works out!
Karl, America isn't even remotely conservative or Christian. It just lays claims to the words. Iconology doesn't count.
This depends largely on one's definition of conservative. In the 1970's even most conservatives were okay with wage and price controls as a temp measure, for example; in contrast, even far-left wing voters would have shuddered at gay marriage and transgendered bathrooms.
Though not all conservatives are Christian nor Christians conservative, there is overlap along the lines of preserving what seems to have worked well in the past, and a reluctance to trade out without a good reason. (Sometimes even a good reason isn't enough.)
A Good Society for a large number of people has arisen precisely once in history, and that has been in the context of a general Christianity spead over a large area. It is entirely fair that even that society - what we would call Western Civ - has not been good for everyone all the way down; to note that Christianity may even be the cause of some of the ills; and to alternatively hypothesise that it was other factors that created the improvement, not the religious faith. Still, it's pretty much happened only once, and people of a conservative mind-set tend to be reluctant to tear things down.