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
Wednesday, May 25. 2016
Image from the famous lady's topless duel. Guess what they were fighting about
Well, I used to identify as a ham sandwich and before that as a bird dog, but now I identify as a 32 year old, 6'2" tall, dark and handsome male with an IQ equal to my weight of 178 lbs of pure muscle and $40 million in my checking account. Call me crazy.
"The eruption of transgender madness has very deep roots in feminist theory..."
About the Donald's hair
The Missing Links: Why 'Calvin and Hobbes' Was So Great (video)
Life is unfair
Just 5% of Terminally-Ill Cancer Patients Fully Understand Prognosis, Study Finds
Global warming causes squid
Crocodiles and palm trees in the arctic
Watch Out For The Campus Bias Team
I REMEMBER WHEN LOYALTY OATHS WERE CONSIDERED BAD
Normal things for the kids to want
Professor raised under communism explains academics’ love of socialism – and why they’re wrong
One U. Wisconsin-Madison solution to bias and hate: Read about ’em while taking a dump
Why is white bread, liberal Madison such a hotbed of racism, hate, and bias?
Black pro-life speaker shouted down at Harvard Law event, called ‘f*cking piece of sh*t’
20,642 New Regulations Added in the Obama Presidency
Can't open a candy shop without a team of lawyers
NY Times: Darn, These Black People In Mostly Democratic Run Cities Sure Like Shooting Each Other
Nationwide crime wave confirms the Ferguson effect
Trump Starts Doing the Job the Media Won't Do on the Clintons' Tawdry Past
Bill Cosby Will, Unlike Bill Clinton, Stand Trial For Sexual Assault
Althouse on Hillary's new motto
Why would I pay for your child care?
HILLARY CLINTON Defended WALL STREET – Blamed Homeowners During Financial Crisis
She was right about that. Foolish to take a loan you can not hope to repay. Caveat emptor.
The Problem With Those Waving Mexican Flags at Trump Rallies
McAuliffe is just one of many shady Hillary fundraisers
The Muslim world has no prospects for getting any better. The Arab Spring was a Western delusion.
For Allah the Most Merciful
MOST PALESTINIANS VIEW GOVERNMENT AS CORRUPT
OBAMA IN VIETNAM: VIETNAM WAR WAS CAUSED BY US POLITICIANS
True, of course. But not the whole picture
Obama’s Moral Lapse in Vietnam
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Life is unfair
"there is always inequity in life. Some men are killed in a war, and some men are wounded, and some men never leave the country, and some men are stationed in the Antarctic and some are stationed in San Francisco. It’s very hard in military or personal life to assure complete equality. Life is unfair." — JFK
Global warming causes squid ...No analysis relating temperature trends (spatially or temporally) to cephalopod trends, no examination of other patterns of climate change and cephalopod change, just speculation.
That is incorrect. While the cited study only concerns long-term trends in cephalopod abundance, they cite other studies that link human impacts on ecology to global sea populations.
Are there alternative hypotheses that can explain the global proliferation of cephalopods?
No. Global warming explains everything including toenail fungus.
Overfishing of predator/competitor species: sharks, tuna, billfish, cod, et al. Start there, work outwards.
That's right. Human impact on the ecological environment is considered a plausible mechanism. The specific causes, many of which are discussed in the paper, are still under investigation.
Crocodiles and palm trees in the arctic The current atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide doesn’t even break out of the Cenozoic noise level…
That's funny. If you look at the graph, CO2 levels were much higher in the Eocene when the world was much warmer than today, and large parts of the continents were flooded.
Are America’s Abortion Laws as Restrictive as Western Europe’s?
Generally not. Most (but not all) of Europe has reached a consensus where abortion is generally available in the first trimester, but only available for medical reasons after that. Counseling concerning options is widely available.
The U.S. has a peculiar system. The majority of abortions in the U.S. occur in the first trimester, but many second trimester abortions occur due to restrictions on abortion that often result in delays in acquiring an abortion (mostly for women who are lower income, less educated, who have trouble taking off work and traveling).
"Can't open a candy shop without a team of lawyers "
A chance to quote a favorite sentence of mine....from 1910. It is a complex sentence but well worth the time to expand your comprehension as it is packed with what is wrong, even more today.
But no one, I think, has ever called attention to the enormous differences in living, in business, in political temper between the days (which practically lasted until the last century) when a citizen, a merchant, an employer of labor, or a laboring man, still more a corporation or association and lastly, a man even in his most intimate relations, the husband and the father, well knew the law as familiar law, a law with which he had grown up, and to which he had adapted his life, his marriage, the education of his children, his business career and his entrance into public life -- and these days of to-day, when all those doing business under a corporate firm primarily, but also those doing business at all; all owners of property, all employers of labor, all bankers or manufacturers or consumers; all citizens, in their gravest and their least actions, also must look into their newspapers every morning to make sure that the whole law of life has not been changed for them by a statute passed overnight; when not only no lawyer may maintain an office without the most recent day-by-day bulletins on legislation, but may not advise on the simplest proposition of marriage or divorce, of a wife's share in a husband's property, of her freedom of contract, without sending not only to his own State legislature, but for the most recent statute of any other State which may have a bearing on the situation.
--Popular Law-making: A Study of the Origin, History, and Present Tendencies of Law-making by Statute, Frederic J. Stimson (1910)
20,642 New Regulations Added in the Obama Presidency
It's not peculiar to Obama, but fits the overall trend.
It's a side-effect of running a large, complex trading empire.
It's not the federal governments job to micromanage the economy.
B Hammer: It's not the federal governments job to micromanage the economy.
Like all modern, advanced economies, the U.S. has a mixed system, with a state regulatory system, a social safety net, and robust markets.
Exactly. The government has no business running an empire.
mudbug: The government has no business running an empire.
The problem with that position is that there are significant benefits from global trade. Agreements with other countries, including conforming to standards of behavior, is an important part of the global trade system; and the U.S. has been at the forefront of setting those standards.
There is a huge difference between negotiating trade deals, and sending thousands of un-elected, accountable to no one, bureaucrats, to harass, intimidate, and steal property from citizens (subjects to the bureaucrat). The first is actually constitutional, the second, not so much. One is tyranny, one is not.
B. Hammer: There is a huge difference between negotiating trade deals, and sending thousands of un-elected, accountable to no one, bureaucrats, to harass, intimidate, and steal property from citizens (subjects to the bureaucrat).
Sure. But are you talking about eminent domain?
How are licensing laws, labeling laws, OSHA, healthcare mandates, overtime regulations, ethanol mandates, and even regulations that are applied to a kid's lemon aid stand, and on and on... relate to trade deals?
The amount of regulations to be met in order to start a business is becoming more and more onerous. If you make it hard to start a business and then harder to keep it legal, you'll get fewer businesses.
mudbug: How are licensing laws, labeling laws, OSHA, healthcare mandates, overtime regulations, ethanol mandates, and even regulations that are applied to a kid's lemon aid stand, and on and on... relate to trade deals?
They don't directly, but they are part of doing business in a complex global economic landscape. Sure, half of all regulations are a waste, even with good administration. But which half? It turns out there are benefits to licensing, labeling, workplace safety rules, healthcare mandates, and overtime regulations. Indeed, most people expect that the electrician who put the wires in their walls was licensed, and that the wires were inspected before the walls were sheathed.
Licensing does not in any way guarantee competent service, but putting aside medical licensing, and technical licensing, we have licensing laws for cab drivers, barbers and hairstylists, interior decorators, and hair braiders. In many cases, they are just another barrier to getting a job.
Of course some see benefits to some of those regulations! Why else would they be instituted? Well, they could also be a way for big companies to put little companies at a disadvantage - and in fact, that's probably pretty common. But if those regulations were useful to some consumers, then it would be advantageous for companies to provide what those regulations call for. Companies that didn't provide that information or service would be at a disadvantage. They would suffer and government coercion would not be necessary.
As for workplace safety rules, there's no evidence that OSHA has had a beneficial impact on workplace safety.
As a consumer, how am I benefitted by a company's healthcare benefit. I argue that I, and the worker, are harmed. I have to help pay for the worker's healthcare and the whole society is burdened with the problem pre-existing conditions.
mudbug: Licensing does not in any way guarantee competent service, but putting aside medical licensing, and technical licensing, we have licensing laws for cab drivers, barbers and hairstylists, interior decorators, and hair braiders. In many cases, they are just another barrier to getting a job.
Sure. Some licensing is excessive, or outmoded.
mudbug: But if those regulations were useful to some consumers, then it would be advantageous for companies to provide what those regulations call for.
Sure. Just what people want, lack of independent inspection of the electrical system concerning what is hidden in their walls.
mudbug: As for workplace safety rules, there's no evidence that OSHA has had a beneficial impact on workplace safety.
mudbug: I have to help pay for the worker's healthcare and the whole society is burdened with the problem pre-existing conditions.
You're already burdened when society decided it wouldn't let people die on the street for lack of money to pay for medical care.
I don't argue for elimination of all regulations and I doubt you'd say that having a regulation solves the problem. Speaking of homebuilding, surely you're heard of drive by inspections - being the victim of some, I can assure you they happen.
As for OSHA, workplace fatalities were decreasing long before OSHA came into existence and the rate of decline in those fatalities did not increase after OSHA (http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/cato-handbook-policymakers/1997/9/105-36.pdf).
"The Problem With Those Waving Mexican Flags at Trump Rallies"
That's the Federalist doing this anti-Trump propaganda.
A legitimate headline writer would have said "at Trump Protests" but there is an effort to smear Trump even as the body of the articles are don't reflect the titles.
Journalism - lying bastards lying to shape public opinion.
They do make bad publicity for the anti-Trump protesters/rioters, and make many of us more determined to vote for Trump.
The Muslim world has no prospects for getting any better.
The largest populations of Muslims are found in Indonesia, Pakistan, and India; all emerging countries with democratic systems of government.
The Muslim world continues to make progress, though instability in the Middle East has caused widespread suffering in the region.
DrTorch: Completely untrue that it's improving.
Indonesia is a flawed democracy that has implemented wide-ranging reforms starting in 1998, replacing dictatorial rule.
Pakistan had its first democratic transfer of power in 2013.
India is the world's largest democracy, founded in 1947.
Followed immediately by fighting between Muslims and Hindus.
Obama’s Moral Lapse in Vietnam
The article makes no sense. The author agrees with opening relations with Vietnam, but criticizes Obama for not talking more about human rights, all the while reporting that in "a nationally broadcast speech in Vietnam on Tuesday, the president stressed the need for authorities in Hanoi to protect the rights of dissenters. Obama insisted that such freedoms are an adhesive that binds a nation together."
Yes, exactly like how the Obama administration protected the rights of the Tea Party organizations from abuse by the IRS and other bureaucracies.
Obama looks to open relations with Vietnam now that they are embracing markets and enterprises, i.e., capitalism. No doubt his Leftist tendencies wants to impede this.
From the professor who knows what life under socialism is like. With a bit of actual thought, critical or otherwise, one can see that socialism is not compatible with the life the Millennial expects, i.e, one of creativity and innovation.
Do you think socialist ideas could ever actually be implemented here in the U.S.?
Curta: To tell it frankly, I think this is a philosophical question and I can answer it by giving my take on this… Let’s take an invention, for example, an invention that really changes the lives of hundred, thousands, millions of people. From the moment that invention is drawn up on a piece of paper by the inventor, from the moment it actually gains social application, to change the lives of people, it takes very little under the capitalist system. That is because of the profit. It takes a very long while under socialism because it needs to be approved. Originality and creation and creativity, those forms of freedom that most Americans don’t think much about are discouraged under socialism. You have to stay in your line, not get out of your line.
But, of course, socialism favors the office holder, the politician. All though to make life better for all humanity, you need originality and creativity of the engineers.
Islam is a political system. It is one of the most oppressive and flawed political systems ever envisioned. It is designed to make slaves of women and 95% of the men. It gives unlimited power to the 5% of men who rule with an iron fist and a sword. The punishments are intended to be brutal and intimidating exactly so it can control and enslave it's people. The power of Islam is that they are all so angry that they are easily led to violence and they are all so biased/prejudiced that it is easy to make them attack "the other". It cannot coexist, it cannot modulate, it cannot be peaceful. Right this minute Islam is at open war in a couple dozen countries around the world. Thousands are killed every year to promote Islam and it will get worse. There is only one solution and that is full warfare against it sooner rather than later. It cannot possibly end well and the longer we wait to knock it down the worse it will be for the West, for freedom and democracy.
History and simply understanding our leaders leads me to believe that we will do little to nothing until we have another Pearl Harbor. The difference this time will be that it will most likely be a nuclear Pearl Harbor and most likely in NY City, London or Paris. Until then I believe we, most of us, will keep our heads firmly planted in the sand.
When I was young, in every supermarket bulletin board you'd see ads by mothers offering to watch children in their homes. This low cost solution benefited the stay at home mom, as well as the working moms. Shared child care is as old as human culture.
Government, Hillary's friends, has regulated this out of existence. Onerous regulatory restrictions have raised the cost of child care so that it's cheaper to not work. (much to the joy of the richly paid childcare industry)
Now that government has forced the price out of reach, government is being called on to help pay the bill. Further down the rabbit hole.
When I was a kid, every one in my peer group over the age of 10 (younger if you had a paper route, did yard work or shoveled snow) had some type of job. Pocket money. At 15 with the school's approval, you could get serious work at a restaurant, drug store, office, etc. during the school season, not just the summer. You went off to college or vocational school determined never to flip another burger unless you managed the restaurant and had to pitch in during a crisis.
Today's teens are regulated out of jobs and learn nothing about potential careers by dabbling in them. Our country's loss as we have college graduates with absolutely no real world experience.
Do feminists really understand what they are implicitly claiming by claiming to be perpetual victims? What they are really claiming is they are unable to cope with or overcome adversity. In other words, they claim they are a bunch of hapless, not to say helpless, losers.
I don't think most of them have really connected the dots. By acting as they do, they inadvertently make the case for themselves being delicate flowers, easily overcome and swooning from the vapors on a fainting couch, needing to be sheltered and protected from the hard realities of life. By claiming 'unfair!' and 'I'm being oppressed!' it reminds me of the tantrum throwing fifteen year old girl who wants to get her way in the face of opposition from her father. She screeches, cries and stomps around the house slamming doors and generally making life miserable because she's been brought up short by reality.
So, what does she do? Like a scheming fifteen year old she looks to work every angle she can to circumvent that reality; but instead of it being a fifteen year old girl with limited options and a lack of real life experience we are instead faced with a grown woman who has the ballot box and the bully pulpit of social media but is nevertheless still influenced and governed by those self-same immature fifteen year old girl emotions rather than the logic and reason of adulthood.
One U. Wisconsin-Madison solution to bias and hate: Read about ’em while taking a dump
Why is white bread, liberal Madison such a hotbed of racism, hate, and bias?
Having lived in or near Madison, WI for almost 59 years; the rest of Wisconsin is always asking this question.
Harken back to an earlier time when soldiers came back from WW2. The prevailing attitude back then was/is similar to today's attitude; you need a four year degree to get ahead. All of the east coast ivy league colleges were filled with (moneyed) returning vets. So the next best school of knowledge was that venerable land grant college, UW-Madison. UW-Madison like to think that they are the home for the states finest; but in actuality they are awash in the east coast mentality. That mentality is an east coast WASP attitude. An attitude that screams, "we know best for you because we are the elite!"
It is a religion for those folks, a religion of intellect and well meaning. And you dare not challenge their religion.
Two things I want to respond to. Maybe that 95% of cancer patients who don't understand their terminal diagnosis were kept from the truth. Yes, it happens. Or at least it did in 2002 when my father was dying of lung cancer. He went into the hospital thinking he had pneumonia, and died 6 weeks later of cancer. His girlfriend, who had power of attorney over health matters whipped together, told the docs and my siblings and me to keep silent on his terminal diagnosis. Yes, he had no idea he had cancer. Not sure if this was ethical, but this is how the girlfriend explained it to me: visit your father, but don't you dare bring up that he has cancer.
I didn't think that was possible. But it is.
The other issue is the housing crisis...I'm pretty upset that Maggie's would point the finger of blame at homeowners. I know that in certain states, you can be DUPED by unscrupulous real estate agents and complicit banks. Some states allow the same real estate agent who represents the seller, represent the buyer. Yes, very true. And if they want to unload a house on someone, they will LIE TO THE BUYER'S FACE about value, inspections, etc.
And there is ZERO recourse. Try getting your state involved in reporting an unethical real estate agent. They don't care.
Also, not everyone - especially first time buyers - understand mortgages as detailed as you would like. To me, it is the duty of the Bank or whoever is giving you the mortgage to explain things in plain English. They don't.
Used to be that when a bank examined your finances and sent it through underwriting, that the underwriter would tell the buyer: hey, you aren't qualified for that loan. But, nope, they didn't. They would push loans through that should never have gone through, giving buyers false impressions of what was affordable or what was a good risk.
You'd think a bank wouldn't want to take on too much risk, right? NOPE. They just did not care. They handed out loans right and left and never did their due diligence in ensuring people could pay back these loans.
So, please stop blaming the buyers for what happened.
Yes. This is the exception rather than the rule.
An excerpt at the link:
How one woman beat the big banks: The amazing, true story about how Wall Street’s mortgage fraud unraveled
The banks were "encouraged" by the government to make those loans. Wouldn't have done it without pressure.
The banks were required by the Community Reinvestment Act to make hundreds of billions of dollars of imprudent loans, or risk not obtaining federal approvals to operate or open new branches.
The 2008 financial collapse was entirely government-created. And those responsible have yet to be brought to justice.
Sam L: The banks were "encouraged" by the government to make those loans. Wouldn't have done it without pressure.
That is simply incorrect. Even a cursory look at the shadow markets at the time would reveal that the bubble was demand-driven, as are all market bubbles.
In general "Banks" make conventional loans. That is 80% loans where the borrower puts down 20%. Mortgage companies make the loans that require low down payments and are thus more risky. There has been some crossover, that is "some" banks will offer something other than a conventional loan. BUT in general all of the "bad" loans were NOT "Bank" loans, they were government backed low down payment loans. I think many people lump in all the mortgage lenders together under the title of "banks" which they are not. The "Banks" did NOT cause this problem, they did NOT change their rules which allowed this problem they WERE forced to obey congressional mandates and the were forced (i.e. regulations) to monetize,bundle and sell any and all government backed loans. The problem was 100% congress and their minions. It was not the banks, it wasn't even the mortgage companies it was congress who created regulations that mandated that all mortgage lenders had to make loans that common sense would never allow. ALL of these loans were backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. That means when someone tells you that the "banks" knowingly sold bad loans and even failing loans that were "junk" (I believe this is exactly what we have been lead to believe) that they are wrong or lying. Every loan was as good as the federal government.
Ahhh! But many loans did default and ended up worthless. True, the government essentially defaulted on their guarantee. BUT, that is why there was a bailout. The federal government had to either pay up to each lender (or who ever held the paper) OR bail out the system. The problem was simply that the maze of federal and state laws regarding the owner of the loans, the process to repossess/foreclose so complicated the ability of the government to make each of the millions of individual lenders/holders of the paper whole was simply not possible. For example: The federal government required that banks and other lenders would bundle the loans and sell them exactly so there would be more money available for more loans. BUT each state had different standards/rules for sell a mortgage. Because of this some of the holders of "paper" were really left holding the bag and judges willy-nilly handed down decisions that made no sense, defyed federal law and harmed innocent investors to the benefit of borrowers who willingly walked away from their contracts. Just one of the many problems caused by the unmanageable maze of conflicting regulations.
But was it the "banks"? Was it the larger group of lenders often referred to as the banks? Was it Wall Street traders? Greedy lenders? No, none of the above. They were doing exactly what the federal government (congress) mandated. The entire problem and the entire fault was congresses.
What percentage of Vietnam's population is moslem? Do they have any moslem refugees showing up from, say, the Philippines?
OldFert: What percentage of Vietnam's population is moslem?
Just 5% of Terminally-Ill Cancer Patients Understand Prognosis
"Just a fraction of terminally-ill cancer patients fully understood their prognosis according to a new small study published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology."
Based upon my first hand experience via family, friends and friends family I find this conclusion hard to believe. In most cases those who have this prognosis are quick to accept it and take immediate steps to put their affairs in order.
I am not in the health care industry, but would posit that those who wish to deny their dyer state do so in order to spare their loved ones despair and pain. A noble cause.
Most would probably ask "Is there anything you can do?" to which their Physician would hopefully answer " No. We can not save you. We can extend your life by a few precious days or weeks, but at great expense and suffering on your part." To some this may seem worthwhile. But I believe most would see the wisdom in accepting life's fate.
The problem is the loved ones who don't wish to say goodbye.