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.
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Sunday, August 19. 2007
From Indians to Pilgrims to Yankee fishermen to Portuguese fishermen to artists to tourists to gays, Provincetown has seen a lot over the years.
Maybe the yuppies will be next, and gentrify it like they did to the Hamptons and Nantucket.
My favorite restaurant there: The Lobster Pot. Lots of Portuguese stuff, like Kale Soup with linguica, baked stuffed Haddock with molho tomate (strong cumin) and onion, and Squid Stew. They also do a great job with tuna belly (toro) on the grill, when they can get it: it's the best - burnt on the surface, rare on the inside, and dripping with fat.
My Mom, proper and refined Yankee lady that she is, likes to schedule our annual drive up from Wellfleet to P-town and the Lobster Pot to coincide with the Gay Carnival Parade. She thinks it's a hoot.
P-town in the 1940's: Sippican
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O/T but too rich
Pet camel given as gift kills Australian woman
BRISBANE, Australia - An Australian woman was killed by a pet camel given to her as a 60th birthday present, police said Sunday.
The woman, whose name has not been released, was killed Saturday at her family sheep and cattle ranch near Mitchell, 350 miles west of the Queensland state capital Brisbane, state police Detective Senior Constable Craig Gregory said.
The 10-month-old male — weighing about 330 pounds — had knocked her to the ground then lay on top of her in what police suspect was mating behavior , Gregory said.
Speaking of sanctuary, where's ours ?
At the funeral of Iofemi Hightower, her classmate Mecca Ali wore a T-shirt with the slogan: "Tell Me Why They Had To Die."
"They" are Miss Hightower, Dashon Harvey and Terrance Aeriel, three young citizens of Newark, New Jersey, lined up against a schoolyard wall, forced to kneel and then shot in the head.
Miss Ali poses an interesting question. No one can say why they "had" to die, but it ought to be possible to advance theories as to what factors make violent death in Newark a more-likely proposition than it should be. That's usually what happens when lurid cases make national headlines: When Matthew Shepard was beaten and hung on a fence in Wyoming, Frank Rich wrote in the New York Times that it was merely the latest stage in a "war" against homosexuals loosed by the forces of intolerance. Mr. Shepard's murder was dramatized in plays and movies and innumerable songs by Melissa Etheridge, Elton John, Peter, Paul and Mary, etc. The fact that this vile crucifixion was a grisly one-off and that American gays have never been less at risk from getting bashed did not deter pundits and politicians and lobby groups galore from arguing that this freak case demonstrated the need for special legislation.
By contrast, there's been a succession of prominent stories with one common feature that the very same pundits, politicians and lobby groups have a curious reluctance to go anywhere near. In a New York Times report headlined "Sorrow And Anger As Newark Buries Slain Youth," the limpidly tasteful Times prose prioritized "sorrow" over "anger," and offered only the following reference to the perpetrators: "The authorities have said robbery appeared to be the motive. Three suspects – two 15-year-olds and a 28-year-old construction worker from Peru – have been arrested."
So, this Peruvian guy was here on a green card? Or did he apply for a temporary construction-work visa from the U.S. Embassy in Lima?
Not exactly. Jose Carranza is an "undocumented" immigrant. His criminal career did not begin with the triple murder he's alleged to have committed, nor with the barroom assault from earlier this year, nor with the 31 counts of aggravated sexual assault relating to the rape of a 5-year-old child, for which Mr. Carranza had been released on bail. (His $50,000 bail on the assault charge and $150,000 bail on the child-rape charges have now been revoked.) No, Mr. Carranza's criminal career in the United States began when he decided to live in this country unlawfully.
Jose Carranza isn't exactly a member of an exclusive club. Violent crime committed by fine upstanding members of the Undocumented-American community is now a routine feature of American life. But who cares? In 2002, as the "Washington Sniper" piled up his body count, "experts" lined up to tell the media that he was most likely an "angry white male," a "macho hunter" or an "icy loner." When the icy loner turned out to be a black Muslim named Muhammad accompanied by an illegal immigrant from Jamaica, the only angry white males around were the lads in America's newsrooms who were noticeably reluctant to abandon their thesis: Early editions of the New York Times speculated that Muhammad and John Lee Malvo were being sought for "possible ties to 'skinhead militia' groups," which seemed a somewhat improbable alliance given the size of Mr. Muhammad's hair in the only available mug shot. As for his illegal sidekick, Malvo was detained and released by the INS in breach of their own procedures.
America has a high murder rate: Murdering people is definitely one of the jobs Americans can do. But that's what ties young Malvo to Jose Carranza: He's just another killer let loose in this country to kill Americans by the bureaucracy's boundless sensitivity toward the "undocumented " Will the Newark murders change anything? Will there be an Ioefemi Hightower Act of Congress like the Matthew Shepard Act passed by the House of Representatives? No. Three thousand people died Sept. 11, 2001, in an act of murder facilitated by the illegal-immigration support structures in this country, and, if that didn't rouse Americans to action, another trio of victims seems unlikely to tip the scales. As Michelle Malkin documented in her book "Invasion," four of the killers boarded the plane with photo ID obtained through the "undocumented worker" network at the 7-Eleven in Falls Church, Va. That's to say, officialdom's tolerance of the illegal immigration shadow-state enabled 9/11. And what did we do? Not only did we not shut it down, we enshrined the shadow-state's charade as part of the new tough post-slaughter security procedures.
Go take a flight from Newark Airport. The TSA guy will ask for your driver's license, glance at the name and picture, and hand it back to you. Feel safer? The terrorists could pass that test, and the morning of 9/11 they did: 19 foreign "visitors" had, between them, 63 valid U.S. driver's licenses. Did government agencies then make it harder to obtain lawful photo ID? No. Since 9/11, the likes of Maryland and New Mexico have joined those states that issue legal driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
Newark is the logical end point of these policies. It is a failed city: 60 percent of its children are being raised in households without fathers. Into that vacuum pour all kinds of alternative authority structures: Mr. Carranza is alleged to have committed his crime with various teenage members of MS-13, a gang with origins in El Salvador's civil war of the 1980s that now operates in some 30 U.S. states. In its toughest redoubts, immigrants don't assimilate with America, America assimilates to the immigrants, and a Fairfax, Va., teenager finds himself getting hacked at by machete wielders.
One could, I suppose, regard this as one of those unforeseen incremental consequences that happens in the darkest shadows of society. But that doesn't extend to Newark's official status as an illegal-immigrant "sanctuary city." Like Los Angeles, New York and untold others, Newark has formally erased the distinction between U.S. citizens and the armies of the undocumented. This is the active collusion by multiple cities and states in the subversion of U.S. sovereignty. In Newark, N.J., it means an illegal-immigrant child rapist is free to murder on a Saturday night. In Somerville, Mass., it means two deaf girls are raped by MS-13 members. And in Falls Church, Va., it means Saudi Wahhabists figuring out that, if the "sanctuary nation" (in Michelle Malkin's phrases) offers such rich pickings to imported killers and imported gangs, why not to jihadists ?
"Tell Me Why They Had To Die"? Hard to answer. But tell me why, no matter how many Jose Carranzas it spawns, the nationwide undocumented-immigration protection program erected by this country's political class remains untouchable and ever-expanding.
Forthwith any US city,town ,hamlet .or other entity that declares itself an illegal alien-sanctuary should have all federal government monies withheld, have the local police federalized and those officials who have subverted our sovereignty jailed and held without bond as unregistered agents of foreign countries .
Open announcement to those officials who have voted for their jurisdictions to be illegal alien sactuaries
Should any of my family members be killed within your jurisdiction by an illegal alien that you are harboring, stand by to use your imagination on what I will have to convey to you.
P-Town ..great food.
A week perhaps longer ago there was a thread that contained comments about Wall Street. I recently ran across a reference to a book published 55 years ago that is touted to be hilarious and too true. I thoght I would share one reviewers look at this timeless book..now I've got to read it cause you know what jerks I think brokers are, even though I toiled in those fields for years.
Where Are the Customers' Yachts ? ..the book
This book clearly deserves more than five stars for exposing the folly of Wall Street in the most humorous possible terms.
This book's fame far exceeds the number of people who have read it. Almost every experienced stock investor will cite examples from the book, without even knowing their source.
The title refers to an ancient story (which the author finds is probably at least 100 years old by now) about a visitor to New York who admired the yachts that the bankers and brokers had in the harbor. Naively, he then asked where the customers' yachts were. Naturally, there were no customers' yachts.
Let me set the stage. The author spent two years on Wall Street in the 20s, but knew it better than that and continued to invest in stocks. He wrote the book in 1940 after the horrible bear years of 1929-1940. The memories of the 1920s were still fresh. Then he updated the book in 1955 in the midst of the 50s bull market with a new introduction in which he explained that the book did not need updating.
Although commissions are no longer fixed, and few spend the day sitting in a broker's office, many of the other observations in the book remain as timely as those in The Madness of Crowds. Human nature doesn't change.
Behind all of the hype about getting rich with stock investments is a sad reality. Over a lifetime, the vast majority of people get poor results from their stock investing. Around 90 percent of professionals will also underperform the market averages over their careers.
But the desire to "outsmart" everyone else is almost universal. Raging bull markets, like the one we had until March 2000 on the NASDAQ, only tend to reinforce these ultimately expensive urges.
I have been around professional investors for over thirty years and all the big scores I remember involving stocks came after someone who was a founder or worked for a company that went public cashed in their stock and stock options after many years of service. These are not stock-investing events, they are entrepreneurial compensation. In the Money Game, Adam Smith pointed that out, and it remains as true today as it was then.
One of the classic stories in this book is about what would happen if 4000 people started flipping coins against each other. You are eliminated from the competition after one loss. Although by definition, half would win and half with lose with each flip, those who had won ten times in a row (as must happen for some in this format) would soon start to give lessons in coin flipping techniques. That story nicely captures the folly of Wall Street. Even though some may win, it usually doesn't mean anything.
The book contains other investment classic stories that you must have in your repertoire. The book is brilliantly illustrated by the classy cartoons of Peter Arno. It is worth acquiring the book just for those.
The subjects covered include Wall Street's passion for prophecy, financiers and seers, customers (or the sheep to be shorn), mutual funds, short sellers, options, speculators and the bull market of the 20s, and the excuses handed out to those who are relieved of their money.
The writing style is urbane and witty. For example, there is the usual disclaimer on not following the advice in the book in the beginning. Except, it is illustrated by two hands with fingers crossed. And, the warnings are a just little different. The information in this book "while not guaranteed by us, has been obtained from sources which have not in the past proved particularly reliable."
The author had discovered that titles cannot be copyrighted, and he "had planned to have my book appear under a good title, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
The author's favorite review of the book contained this phrase, "If I were J.P. Morgan, and I have no reason to suspect that I am not . . . .", and was signed by the author of the review, Mr. Frank Sullivan. The subsequent witty correspondence between them is included in the introduction.
If you are a fan of Louis Rukeyser, you will find the humor here comparable with the badinage on Wall $treet Week during the opening comments.
Seriously, the humor in this book will help you to better understand the risks associated with stock investing. There is a wonderful quiz you can take that will tell whether or not you should be a stock investor. Most will not pass that quiz.
If you still want to own stocks, I suggest that you advance to John Bogle's book, Common Sense About Mutual Funds. It can make you some real money.
If you do not want to own stocks, go instead to Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Follow on to Cash Flow Quadrant.
I also suggest you think about where else folly is taken seriously. This will also put things in perspective for you. My favorite location is the Congress of the United States.
Keep looking for those yachts when you make your investments! To whom do they belong?
Wow, I'm getting hungry! Never had squid stew before. My dad used to make boullibase, though. Does that count?
Are we a republic or a democracy?
We often hear the claim that our nation is a democracy. That wasn't the vision of the founders. They saw democracy as another form of tyranny. If we've become a democracy, I guarantee you that the founders would be deeply disappointed by our betrayal of their vision. The founders intended, and laid out the ground rules, for our nation to be a republic.
The word "democracy" appears nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution – two most fundamental documents of our nation. Instead of a democracy, the Constitution's Article IV, Section 4, guarantees "to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government." Moreover, let's ask ourselves: Does our pledge of allegiance to the flag say to "the democracy for which it stands," or does it say to "the republic for which it stands"? Or do we sing "The Battle Hymn of the Democracy" or "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"?
So what's the difference between republican and democratic forms of government? John Adams captured the essence of the difference when he said, "You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe." Nothing in our Constitution suggests that government is a grantor of rights. Instead, government is a protector of rights.
In recognition that it's Congress that poses the greatest threat to our liberties, the framers used negative phrases against Congress throughout the Constitution such as: shall not abridge, infringe, deny, disparage, and shall not be violated, nor be denied. In a republican form of government, there is rule of law. All citizens, including government officials, are accountable to the same laws. Government power is limited and decentralized through a system of checks and balances. Government intervenes in civil society to protect its citizens against force and fraud but does not intervene in the cases of peaceable, voluntary exchange.
Contrast the framers' vision of a republic with that of a democracy. In a democracy, the majority rules either directly or through its elected representatives. As in a monarchy, the law is whatever the government determines it to be. Laws do not represent reason. They represent power. The restraint is upon the individual instead of government. Unlike that envisioned under a republican form of government, rights are seen as privileges and permissions that are granted by government and can be rescinded by government.
How about a few quotations demonstrating the disdain our founders held for democracy?
James Madison, Federalist Paper No. 10: In a pure democracy, "there is nothing to check the inducement to sacrifice the weaker party or the obnoxious individual."
At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Edmund Randolph said, " ... that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy."
John Adams said, "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
Chief Justice John Marshall observed, "Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos."
In a word or two, the founders knew that a democracy would lead to the same kind of tyranny the colonies suffered under King George III.
The framers gave us a Constitution that is replete with undemocratic mechanisms. One that has come in for recent criticism and calls for its elimination is the Electoral College. In their wisdom, the framers gave us the Electoral College so that in presidential elections large, heavily populated states couldn't democratically run roughshod over small, sparsely populated states.
Here's my question: Do Americans share the republican values laid out by our founders, and is it simply a matter of our being unschooled about the differences between a republic and a democracy? Or is it a matter of preference and we now want the kind of tyranny feared by the founders where Congress can do anything it can muster a majority vote to do? I fear it's the latter.
good stuff, habu, however i have to pass along my recipe for making squid stew: tell them their tentacles are goofy-looking.