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, June 19. 2017
11 Foods That People Think Are Way Healthier Than They Really Are
Fruit juices top the list
An Unsettling Climate - Global-warming proponents betray science by shutting down debate.
Portland’s “Green Energy” Bailout Continues
Too much ice: No matter what happens, it is “climate change driven.”
What do economists know about school vouchers?
St. Louis Cardinals Resist LGBTQ Outcry Over ‘Christian Day’
The Michelle Carter Verdict Was A Total Miscarriage Of Justice
Law-Abiding Armed Citizens Capture Skinhead Fugitives Accused of Murder As They Attempt to Steal a Truck; Hold Them Until Authorities Arrive
Why electing inexperienced politicians like Trump is backfiring
To increase the number of Democratic voters in his state, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe gave the right to vote to 206,000 convicted felons.
Could Illinois be the first state to file for bankruptcy?
For New York City’s Municipal Workers, a Supplementary Welfare State
Steve Scalise Can’t Defend Himself But MSNBC Is Back To Attacking Him Anyway
Gingrich on Russia Probe: ‘Somebody, Somewhere is Going to be Convicted of Something’
Liberals have no problem defending al-Qaeda -- but draw the line at Ivanka Trump.
Carr: Trump-bashing turning virulent
TWO CHEERS FOR TRUMP’S NEW CUBA POLICY
On Trump Letting Mattis Set Troop Levels, Washington Post Savages Barack Obama
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Trump Derangement Syndrome / Howie Carr
Peggy Noonan is also lamenting the toxic media environment. I don't think she got it right. Media today is theater for the chumps especially targeting an infantilized and feminized consumer, who craves melodrama via sound bites. I don't think it is going to go away; it represents a significant revenue stream that has driven out measured objective discourse, which is boring. I don't think Trump caused it though he has manipulated it. It is an artifact of New Media, 24/7 filler. It used to be that "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas". The same could have been said of "bar talk", drunk drivel. It didn't reach the light of day because the adults in the room understood it for what it is and didn't amplify or magnify it. This is not the case for the "New Media".
Just my opinion, but I think it is a lot equal opportunity than others would have you believe. I think it has damaged public figures across the political spectrum.
re Could Illinois be the first state to file for bankruptcy?
My understanding is they can't file for bankruptcy but they can default on their obligations,
Either way I will watch with morbid curiosity as that train wreck occurs.
There will be much weepin' and wailin' and gnashing of teeth.
The Illinois government pensions going tits up will definitely get everyone's attention and many a tear will fall.
An Unsettling Climate - Global-warming proponents betray science by shutting down debate.
Salby is more than welcome to make his views known, however, the evidence strongly indicates that human emissions are the major contributor to atmospheric CO2 content.
The observed behavior of nature, from which he draws his analysis, cannot be dismissed so readily.
drowningpuppies: The observed behavior of nature, from which he draws his analysis, cannot be dismissed so readily.
The observed behavior of nature, from which he draws his analysis, contradicts his position.
The obvious answer for Amazon buying Whole Foods isn't the one which matters.
And while the author seems to think the purchase is 'bad' for Instacart, I'd say the opposite. Instacart may be the real reason for the purchase.
Amazon is entering the shipping business, but has a huge hole - the final mile. Instacart provides it. Amazon gets great value from Whole Foods in many other ways. The investment in Instacart is a cheap way to solve the final mile problem, and if Instacart wants out, they will essentially slash their own throats. Sure, they'll probably get a nice big payment, but they will kill their business.
If anything, Instacart will be purchased by Amazon, over time, and probably sooner rather than later.
Amazon wins whether they keep Instacart or not. The purchase wasn't just about Instacart, after all, that was just an excellent add-on to an overwhelmingly good idea.
"11 Foods That People Think Are Way Healthier Than They Really Are"
The myth of the magical food. You need your MDR's. Your body requires food and this is how it gets the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to function and survive. When you get more than your MDR of any particular nutrient your may convert it to energy, store it or excrete it. If you get less than your MDR and a particular food that you might choose has that missing nutrient then by definition that food is "healthy" for you to eat. That could be a hamburger and fries or it could be kale (naw, just kidding about the kale). There simply is no magic food. There is literally nothing sold in the grocery stores today (including whole foods) that is "healthy" or "bad" for you. It is all just food.
You may be right, but I'm becoming troubled by epidemiological studies over the last century or two. There's an awfully clear pattern of a cluster of diseases that shows up when a population first gets access to refined carbs, especially sugar: diabetes, hypertension, gout, heart disease. There seem to be foods we don't tolerate at all well. But I agree that there's a huge amount of silly magical good/bad food thinking out there. The way some people talk, protein is hard on the kidneys, fat is bad for the heart (entirely unproven, as far as I can tell, though the jury may be out on polyunsaturated vegetable fat), and carbs are bad for the metabolism. Those are our only three choices, so we need to bring some order to our thinking.
I think that what is actually happening is that about the time a country gets so civilized and brought into the 21st century and has 'plenty' of affordable food, they also have more doctors, more studies and more, for lack of a better term; theorists wanting to make a name for themselves.
The current rate of diabetes in the U.S. by race is the same as the rate of diabetes by race in the country of origin. BUT, if you live in Honduras or Kenya and have diabetes the odds are you won't know it, and if you do know it the odds are no one will collect the data about your diseases and others with the same disease and the odds are if you die from it they will simply bury you without ever knowing what you died from. Within the U.S. and other Western countries we are "over studied" and over theorized about. Everyone and their brother is writing a book either to claim a entire type of food is bad for you (i.e. carbs, meat, fat, sodas, etc.) OR conversely that some foods are "good" for you but not like your mother said (i.e. eat your vegetables they are good for you) but rather in some magical way. Why else would Whole Foods exist?? And I can assure you that the people who shop in Whole Foods do indeed believe they are buying "magical" food and that those who shop in Walmart are ignorant rubes.
The entire issue is also complicated by different tolerances for certain foods. Some people are allergic to certain foods and this fosters the belief or the susceptibility to the belief that there are "good foods and bad foods". Also some foods contain things that probably shouldn't be consumed but in low quantities they are not a problem, BUT sometimes they are and again makes us susceptible to believe anyone who writes a book. And then of course there are people who believe for no good reason other than having read a book or saw it on the Internet that something is bad for example: gluten. It has become a part of the new generations since WW II to claim that some food or additive makes them ill or makes them supermen/women. The people who live in Kinshasa or Mombasa don't think about these things, they are too busy trying to stay alive and support their family. Western food related "illnesses" are to some extent about the large amount of free time we have and the huge amount of information/disinformation available to us.
I used to agree with you, but honestly I don't think the available information backs up this view. There is something about modern conditions that has caused an explosion in a cluster of ills centered around insulin, and sugar is an extremely likely suspect. If it's not sugar, or other refined carbs, the question is whether it's other kinds of food, or overeating, or underexercising, environmental toxins, etc., or some elaborate combination thereof. But sugar is more plausible than any of these, once you take into account a number of populations that disprove various other proposed culprits (like the "French paradox" and the "Inuit paradox" and all the other paradoxes that aren't really paradoxes but simply straight-up refutations of bad hypotheses).
Nevertheless, if you don't eat too much and exercise enough, you can at least escape or delay a good deal of the danger posed by sugar according to its worst enemies.
EXERCISE has little or nothing to do with sugar and its impacts.
EATING sugar has everything to do with it.
I have a friend who about 30 years ago bought and consumed a scoop of Ben and jerry's ice cream. He wouldn't buy anyone else's ice cream but in his mind Ben and Jerry's was "good". He stated that it was the last time he would consume ice cream because he was going to be a vegetarian/vegan or something or other. I might add that it cost him about $4 for a single scoop in a cup (he wouldn't consume a cone of course) and he was virtually penniless. Such is the power of this belief in good food. He is retired living in a tiny trailer today on just his SS and he still buys only organic food at a 50%-200% markup. He believes it is the only healthy choice and even to consume on any given day a non-organic food would set his health back irreparably. Such is the power of this belief in magic foods.
The change in Cuba policy is really just a jobs creation bill - adding costs where none need to be added without really changing anything about the depth of the agreement itself.
We may not 'need' anything Cuba has (I'd disagree - every nation has something we either need or want, and my buddy for whom I brought back cigars and rum would really like more of these because they are still not available), and there are plenty of other Caribbean nations to visit, certainly. But neither of these are good reasons for an embargo. And neither is "they're Communists" or "I hate the Castros." The rest of the world has been working with Cuba, and Cuba has been forced to begin steps toward privatization - in meaningful ways.
The author of Powerline says his "liberal" friends were visiting Cuba because it was the "in" vacation. But I'm no liberal and I went - and I met several other (very conservative - including military personnel) Americans there.
We diminish ourselves by not opting to open trade relations with Cuba. We will diminish the Castros by opening these relations. We will finally crush Communism there by opening these relations.
Cubans know we have the good life. They love Americans, they want Americans to visit. They want our lives, they want to see how we live, they want to share their great products with us.
I don't smoke cigars, but my friend told me the cigars I brought back were fantastic. What's truly amazing? He felt the hand-rolled $1 cigar I picked up at the tobacco farm was BETTER than the Cohibas or MonteCristos (which go for $15-20). It didn't look as pretty as those, but he said it was clearly superior tobacco (the government claims to take the best tobacco, but everyone knows the farms keep the best for themselves).
I do drink rum, and the Havana Club I brought back is better than any other rum I've had.
So saying we don't "need" anything they have is just a personal feeling to justify an absurd political stance.
Always enjoy your comments Bulldog.
Perhaps you could expatiate on your comment that
We will finally crush Communism there by opening these relations.
Where have we "crushed communism" by actively trading with them?
Soviet Union? I thought they collapsed because we outspent them on arms.
China? The Chinese communists are stronger than ever thanks to their international trade. One could argue, from a national security point of view, that Nixon opening up China was a colossal strategic blunder. China is a much bigger threat than they were 30 years ago and it has all been financed by global trade.
One can certainly make the case that the Cuban people would be better off with normalized relations with the USA, but one could also speculate that the resulting prosperity would give the Castros money to make mischief around the world.
So I am obviously missing something. Please enlighten me.
China's Communists are not communists in the traditional sense. They are just corrupt politicians working in a rigged market system.
Vietnam has, more or less, shifted to market (also fairly corrupt) economics.
But the Soviet Union (as well as many of its satellite nations, prior to its collapse) fell because of its inability to produce what its people needed. So yes - trade is what did the trick. Our sanctions only prolonged the damage the Politburo was able to inflict.
The arms race was a sidelight concocted by the CIA and DoD to keep money funneled into the military industrial complex. Even Eisenhower saw that and warned us of it (him being a victim of this race, saw it for what it was).
Trade always opens markets.
If you visit Cuba, and I really suggest you do, you'll see what I mean. The sectors which have been freed are booming, the people in them are happy and want more freedom. When a cab driver and a restaurant owner are among the wealthier members of society (of course, the corrupt politicians are still in charge), you know something special is going on.
Sure, the politicians could clamp down - there's always that possibility. But I really doubt that will happen IF we keep proving to them just how good our lives are by going there and spending our money. They truly believe we are all rich. Comparatively speaking, we are.
Castro won't last. Nor will his system.
Castro won't last. Nor will his system.
Fidel and Raul have lasted since 1953. They've lasted a lot longer than most expected.
Bulldog: So saying we don't "need" anything they have is just a personal feeling to justify an absurd political stance.
We remind you of the difference between "need" and "want."
LOL, love the finger in the eye of Z...complete with proper grammar. Very nice.
I'm well aware of the difference. But in a nation where our true needs (food, clothing, housing) are more or less well provided, 'needs' tend to shift.
I don't need cigars or rum. But if and when I want them, I'd need the best, because that's what I like. You may not like that position, but it's a truth.
You don't 'need' the internet, or a mobile phone, or a host of other new tech goodies. But try living your life without these things today. You can do it. You may even feel superior to others for being able to do so. Still, you'll be constantly working at a disadvantage. So, in reality, those things became 'needs'.
Not real needs like food, clothing or housing. But needs nonetheless.
The fake news is trying to paint Scalise as a bigot because he spoke to a local civics association meeting in a building that a couple of hours later hosted the white supremacist event. Yet many politicians have openly supported BLM which is clearly a racist organization and one that is funded by communist groups as well. An interesting double standard even for our MSM.
This is more serious than Steve Scalise's reputation. Whose side is the American media on? They often/usually side with the organizations that are backed by communist groups and/or that are anti-American in their politics/policies. Why? Pure stupidity? Ideology? Why?
It's the stupidity to buy into the ideology. Embrace the poer of AND.
I think buying Whole Foods is hilarious. I can't imagine that Amazon wants to keep its snooty, high-priced reputation. It's all about competing with Wal-Mart. LOL.
Whole Foods has space in ritzy neighborhoods across the country. It's a space where Wal-Mart is unwanted or possibly stays away b/c the rent may be too high or the size of the location not large enough for their corporate store model.
I am waiting to see Jeff Bezos get rid of cashiers and turn it into as automated a space as he can make it. Meanwhile, they are just starting to try out grocery home deliveries in Silicon Valley. This is an outgrowth of that experiment. Richer people will pay for someone else to pick out their groceries and shop for them.
For now, I don't see regular grocery stores at risk. Maybe in denser markets where delivery is possible on the cheap. But not in small cities and rural areas...as is usual with any internet development.
I think this is what they'll probably go for.
SAM's already has a somewhat similar system - you can just scan the items you put into your cart with a smartphone, then pay on-line and show your barcode as you walk out the door.
I really see this purchase as a 'toy' for Bezos to play with. He can try out any number of things. Doesn't matter too much if some work and some don't. He's got plenty of money.
Meanwhile, I hope Walmart is smart enough to get moving on technology improvements of their own. Beat Amazon to the punch if they can. Doubtful, but I hope they try.
The firms which will upend Facebook, Google and Amazon probably already exist. I have no idea who they are, but they probably are already out there.
The big question is - will they make it to the next level? Or will one of the big 3 purchase them? Will those firms know what they have and be wise enough to not sell out?
Hard to tell. WalMart actually already owns a huge portion of online retail. Their purchase of Jet.com last year was a good move, but few people realize they are also one of the largest online clothing retailers. You might not think that's a big deal, but in reality Amazon only started with books. So you never know.
Amazon is buying Whole Foods because there is at least one sucker born every minute.
No, really, there are that many people who are happy to pay $17/pound for gluten free ground beef from cows that had their own licensed psychotherapist. Here's the math:
60x24x365x75 = 39,420,000
(minutes/hour hours/day days/year * average life span).
That's how many consumers out there are suckers, by my SWAG. That's around 7% of the US population that will buy *anything*, particularly if it comes in a lovely virtue-signaling package. My estimate is probably a bit low. But yes, there's one born every minute.
As an FYI, we have 2 WalMarts and 2 Whole Foods within 20 minutes of my home (upper middle class). They are next to each other, or in the same strip mall.
Amazon's purchase is intriguing to me because it's never about the obvious with Jeff Bezos. There's always something else going on. He loves misdirection. While people are paying attention to Whole Foods, they aren't paying attention to something else that Amazon has done already, or some small portion (in this case, Instacart) which Whole Foods owns.
It's worth noting that Whole Foods was being forced into a sale, too. One of its shareholders owns a greater than 10% stake and was causing a raft of problems for Mackey. He was either going to be replaced or forced to find a buyer. He found his buyer.
Germany is slowly (??) surrendering to Islamists. This WILL end badly.
"Why electing inexperienced politicians like Trump is backfiring"
So we are supposed to continue to elect more human shit, subhuman garbage and the most evil and disgusting people on earth? How's that worked out for you?
Forty years of recent experience leaves no room for doubt, we can't do worse than what we have now. So why not Trump? Why not ANYBODY ELSE?
Within the next one to four years, there will be a full-on economic collapse in the US, thanks entirely to those steaming mounds of shit. We'll see how you value "experience" when that happens. Illinois first!
I, for one, will never vote for a career politician again. Illinois is teetering on the brink because that's what's running the joint.
Trump sits just fine with me, and I can understand his positions far better than those happy hounds feeding off the DC garbage heap of lobbyists.
The only thing the democratic/republican uniparty has added to the US since the 60's is more free shit and more debt...neither of which is sustainable. You would think that all the Malthusian global warming enviromentalists, who are drilled in the "sustainability" issues, would come to realize that sooner rather than never.
re Germany: Police Powerless Against Middle Eastern Crime Gangs
Wow! That's a must read.
How much longer will Germany be Germany, and how much of it, if any, will be left?
A few neutron bombs will settle the population down and then anything useful can be salvaged and the leftovers can be recycled or composted.
"Why electing inexperienced politicians like Trump is backfiring"
I am now going to be terribly boring. Your constitution only says this about who may or may not be elected president:
"No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."
Is there a line in invisible ink somewhere I've missed that reads: "and must have a law degree, preferably from an Ivy League college, and must have served inside the Washington beltway as a Congressional hack and CNN talking head for a minimum of 20 years plus, if a woman, must have slept with a serving president"?
Anyone who truly claims any belief in democracy ought to recoil in horror at the very concept of a professional politician.
All you need to know is that the never Trumpers are the ones who say things like this. When ever a politician or a pundit offers advice, be afraid. They do not have your best interest in mind.
I would turn this around and say "why electing experienced politicians is/has backfired for the last 100 years plus". Almost every problem we face today was brought to us by our elected experienced politicians. California is going bankrupt, has taxed everything that moves or exists and is now suggesting that they can afford a $ trillion single payer health care system not just for residents/citizens but for anyone and everyone who shows up. AND most importantly this idea came from and is fully supported by experienced politicians. Now I will add that I don't think that they really want to do this and this is all a ploy to encourage and support the experienced politicians in Washington creating a single payer health care system. But this is what experienced politicians do; take your wealth, put you and your children in debt and give you a stinking failing pile of shit and then they leave office and retire as millionaires.
For those in need of a good working climate model, one can be found at bastionofliberty.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-great-global-warming-swindle.html It is the sun...surprise, surprise.
I feel like our nation's flags should be flying at half staff for Otto Warmbier. Such a nice young man. Innocent. Full of promise. It's so devastating to see what happened to him. It really hit me hard to hear this terrible story.