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
Thursday, January 9. 2020
40-year-old tractors are now a hot commodity
What It’s Like to Date After Middle Age
Another Expensive Solar Scheme Bites the Dust
If you say you care about the environment but you oppose nuclear power or fracking, then you’re an idiot or a liar.
Bill Gates Calls For Instituting “Robot Tax” For Companies That Replace Workers With Robots…
Don't all machines replace people? Like even washing machines?
Why the NY Times’ 1619 Project Fails the Truth Test
Canada Touts How 'Assisted Suicide' Is Providing Human Spare Parts. So Hurry Up and Die, Already.
The US Has the Least Poverty In the World
Attorney General William Barr, ‘Adult of the Year’ - Kimberley Strassel has his critics’ number.
VDH: What Is the Middle East In the Middle Of Anymore? The United States is trying to square a circle, remaining strong and deterring dangerous elements, but to do so for U.S. interests—interests that increasingly seem to be fewer and fewer in the Middle East.
Enemy of the Republic Media Now Openly Mourning That Iran Didn't Kill Americans & Thereby Damage Trump's Political Standing
Joe Scarborough gets it wrong: Trump’s ignorance has created an international crisis
No, an opportunity
Defense Secretary Esper: Soleimani’s Attack on Americans Was Just Days Away
CNN International doesn't mention guest was spokesperson for Iranian hostage-takers during 1979 crisis
State Department Official Shutdown CNN Anchor & Leaves Her Speechless
The right strategy for Iran isn’t regime change. It’s regime collapse.
Venice mayor: Anyone who shouts 'Allahu Akbar' will be shot
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It remains fair to say that Trump's actions bring risk. Yet everything brings risk in the ME, including doing nothing, leaving, or economic sanctions. I don't see that anything is going to "work" until the nations themselves want to live in peace. We therefore shouldn't expect any decision by Trump to "work" in any full sense. What we hope for are things that work for America, next for its allies, and then for the world at large.
So far, our recent response seems to have been effective. Whether it will look good twenty years from now we don't know.
Old tractors are the best. Go to any parade and you will always see a few vintage John Deere tractors--restored and driven by a wide-smiling owner. I am the proud owned of a 1947 Ford 2N, all original with only a new paint job--correct Ford paint of course. It is a hit at car shows and parades because everyone has a story to share.
The article touches on a key point. John Deere has embarked on a new subscription paradigm that obligates the new tractor owner to [i] not touch [\i] their tractor at any time for repair or maintenance purposes. Doing so voids the warranty. Like Microsoft, while they want you to own your tractor, they also want you renting its practical usage - from them, in perpetuity. Now imagine a farmer in a community of 1000 other farmers, all trying to bring their crops in. When the tractors break, who gets the mechanic first? It's a great deal for John Deere's quarterly revenues, terrible deal for the farmers, and ultimately worse for John Deere, I think. A very poor application of the wrong business model. As the article mentions among other things, it removes all pride of ownership. That's saying a mouthful about the farming way of life, when you think about it.
Farmers have been repairing their own tractors ever since tractors came out. Farmers had to be handy to keep their farms going, so they learned repairs on much more than just tractors. It is no accident that many engineers grew up on farms. Learning to repair stuff on their family farms made good training for engineering.
Exactly right Aggie.
Deere has been bullying farmers (and to be fair, dealers) for years.
Ag equipment is an oligarchic market. There aren't many alternative choices, and the oligarchs tend to ape each other.
And don't get me started on the shoddy maintenance work done by the dealerships.
I have to disagree. Why would you think that a company should insure or warranty their product after you take it apart and screw it up. You can still repair your own tractor but if you choose to then it is YOURS. I think this is eminently fair and wise.
Really? So if I change my oil and replace the filter, or remove a flat tire and get it repaired, or add some accessory lights so I can see when I'm working into the night, the warranty for the entire equipment set should be voided? Interesting. I'm guessing you're not a farmer.
Sorry, that was impolite of me. Usually warranties are pretty clear that if you take a component apart or meddle with it, the warranty is void, for that component. Engines, transmissions, that kind of thing, and of course that's defensible - it's the norm. But Deere has changed that to specify that all work on their equipment must be done by mechanics that they have certified & approved, even minor things. It's what the Car Guys used to call 'shameless commerce'. It's got a lot of farmers hopping mad that they are now getting fitted for golden manacles with each tractor purchase.
It's reached the point that Deere has sued alleging that even publishing a list of their error codes and what faults they refer to is a violation of their software copyrights.
I'm an old mechanic. Mostly self taught or learned on the job but I did go to transmission school in 1962. If you have a car built before 2000 or so I can fix it. If you have a 2020 car I wouldn't touch it. I might be willing to make a guess about what the sound means or why it does or doesn't do something or another but I would not try to repair it. Obviously if you or someone else is trained or knowledgeable on the new tractor or vehicle I can understand why you would feel competent to jump in and work on it. However I have to ask why then do you want or expect the factory to warranty it? I have a new vehicle and in general I'm not too crazy about bringing it in for warranty work (yes I did work at a few dealerships). Don't get me wrong, the mechanics today are good and the dealers aren't dishonest but... everything is done based on a time estimate for the job and every mechanic is under the gun to finish the job in that designated time. AND they don't always put their best mechanic on warranty work. So pretty much when I buy a new car/truck I act like there is no warranty and typically never go back to the dealer for anything. But those are your choices: Do it yourself, have them do it or use your own mechanic. You don't usually get to do all three unless you fork over some money.
"At a campaign rally in Toledo Thursday night, President Trump said U.S. farmers should “go buy larger tractors” ahead of the China trade deal " -- Fox News, 10 Jan 2020
More winning. #MAGA
Can we have a tax for employees replaced by H1B and other foreign employment schemes? How about a tax on illegal alien or any non-citizen employee?
How about an alien tax on all aliens in the USA? Say a flat $2000/head/year? Delinquents to be deported.
As Reagan said, if you tax something you get less of it.
"Bill Gates Calls For Instituting 'Robot Tax' For Companies That Replace Workers With Robots…
Don't all machines replace people? Like even washing machines?"
Yup. And by Bill's own logic, we should be instituting an "IT Tax" on Microsoft, Apple et al for all the jobs their systems have rendered redundant: typists, secretaries, clerks, accountants, encyclopedia salesmen, travel and tourism agents, telephone receptionists, hotel reservations staffs... the list of occupations made surplus to requirements by the advent of the personal computer is almost endless.
And that would be on top of the "Robot Tax" too since, without IT, there'd be no robots.
Parents can homeschool with a computer, software and online books. Perhaps that is the next great replacement considering the current education system. Can teachers and school administrators code? If you read some of the old literature on Gates you realize he thought the internet would never amount to anything, just a passing fancy. It was one reason Netscape did well until Gates recognized the mistake and then handicapped Netscape while providing a free Explorer. Gates embraced Common Core...enough said.
The US Has the Least Poverty In the World
And it has the richest "poor" people. Our "poor" live as well as the middle class in Europe and live as well as the rich in poor countries.
Dating after middle age? I was middle-aged when I got married!
Why the NY Times’ 1619 Project Fails the Truth Test: Because it's written by the NYT! They lieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
What Is the Middle East In the Middle Of Anymore? TROUBLE.
Enemy of the Republic Media Now Openly Mourning That Iran Didn't Kill Americans & Thereby Damage Trump's Political Standing: The media hates Trump, and America, 'cause we're not buying what they want to sell us.
Opinions | Trump’s ignorance has created an international crisis: Joe, you ignorant slut...
State Department Official Shutdown CNN Anchor & Leaves Her Speechless: CNN steps in it again, and comes up stinky.
Venice mayor: Anyone who shouts 'Allahu Akbar' will be shot.
GOOD ON YA, MAYOR.
Joe Scarborough didn’t just get it wrong, he’s always wrong. Like a weather vane that points 180 degrees the wrong way.
A fool for sure, and almost certainly a mendacious liar.
ILLINOIS: Daughter of convicted Muslim terrorist is running for Congress
The latest good news is that deaths from cancer are down 2%. While I applaud this I suspect this is a somewhat misleading statistical fraud. Generally the rule is if you have cancer (i.e. cancer is diagnosed) and you live for 5 years then you are considered a survivor. Now this little twist is not stated in the news report but I suspect THAT is what the good news is based on. They did not say that no one dies in the 6th year. They did not say that these wonderful statistics don't still mean that the patient eventually dies from their cancer. It actually appears that the real fact is the "measure" of survival is flawed and even when the experts know it is flawed they choose to still use it because it makes them look good.
But, if you live five years that is still an improvement, right? Well it's complicated. Let's assume that if you get lung cancer from smoking that from the moment the first cancer cell is formed that you live no more than 10 years (because it is an aggressive cancer and very, very few survive it). Now lets assume that you, the patient, won't feel or notice the symptoms for 6-7 years or so. So if the doctors don't discover your cancer early more than likely after it is discovered you will die from it within 2-3 years. BUT with better and more tests the doctors can discover it earlier, maybe 3-4 years earlier. AND because we are using that flawed survival measure NOW you will still die from your cancer within 10 years of getting it BUT because we discovered it 3-4 years earlier than we used to we can CLAIM that we are making progress and fewer people are dying from lung cancer.
What I am hearing is that the improvements are mostly due to the societal decrease in smoking habits, and the declines are mostly in the lung cancer and skin cancer categories. In addition to better early detection and more precise imaging and radiation treatments, part of the decline is due to the increasing use of immunotherapy, which is increasingly effective against certain cancers (lung cancer is one of them). Let's hope that trend continues and technology improvement accelerates.
Also, obesity-related (or 'overeating rich diet' related) cancers are NOT decreasing: Things like colorectal, prostate, and pancreatic cancers. We have it too easy, and the fiddler must be paid.
And let's not forget that the main reason people are dying of cancer in their 50s and heart disease in their 60s is because they aren't dying of typhus in their 20s or smallpox in their 30s, or just plain living through infancy at higher rates.
When my dear late mother came down with diabetes in her late seventies, she was puzzled. She asked her doctor how that could be, there was no history of diabetes in the family.
He told her, "Look at it this way then: a hundred years ago you'd be dead already and it would never have developed."
I sincerely hope that you are right that treatment is reversing more cancer. But for smokers lung cancer it is a death sentence. A few people beat it just as a few people beat every known cancer even without treatment. But generally speaking if you get lung cancer caused by smoking you will die from it unless you get hit by a car or something else kills you first. So my point is that if you make it past five years the cancer statistics calls that a win EVZEN if you die the next day. It is kind of an anomaly of statistics.
I'll give you a good example of how statistics are used to push an agenda:
SO the agenda is that tea actually extends your life and there are statistical studies to prove it. But ask yourself How many gangbangers drink tea? How many hard drug users drink tea? How many serious alcoholics drink tea? Tea drinking kind of puts you in a class of people who don't hang around 7-11's at 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays and other risky traits. So statistics simply rolls up all the data and sure enough statistically all the people they found who drink tea live longer than the "average" life expectancy (with all the gang bangers, druggies and alcoholics rolled into the latter stats).
So does drinking tea make you live longer? Probably not. I would agree that probably someone who drinks tea will live longer but not because of the tea. It is because they are so boring and uninteresting that they do nothing with their lives but sip a little tea and curl up with a good book. Well I don't really know if they are all that boring BUT, I bet statistically they are LOL.