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.
Bare Naked. Travelwire: The agency in charge of the nation's air security expects later this year to begin using a controversial X-ray machine that will show airport screeners a clear picture of what's under passengers' clothes — whether weapons or just bare skin.Screeners plan to test the "backscatter" machines at several U.S. airports, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says. The refrigerator-sized machines are considered a breakthrough in scanning technology but have been labeled "a virtual strip search" by the American Civil Liberties Union.http://www.travelwirenews.com/cgi-script/csArticles/articles/000038/003873-p.htm
Seattle High School Blocks Army Recruiters. What is it with these people? From CSM:"They're spending $4 billion a month in Iraq, but we have to cut our race relations class, which costs $12,500," Ms. Hagopian pointed out. "That's an important class for our kids."
Cannes. From My Way News: The dark underside of the United States has taken center stage in several films at Cannes this year, capped on Monday with a scathing attack of past and present racism in America by Danish director Lars von Trier.
The State of Marriage around the World. Perry Anderson in The Nation: What, then, of marriage? Here, certainly, contrasts remain greatest. In speaking of "the core of romantic freedom and commitment in the modern European (and New World) family system," Therborn implies this remains specific to the West. But while the caste system or Sharia law plainly preclude extempore love, does it show no signs of spreading, as ideal or realization, in the big cities of East Asia or Latin America? The imagination of urban Japan, he shows, is already half-seized with it. Not, of course, that the decline of marriage in Western Europe, with the advent of mass cohabitation, has so far been replicated anywhere else. But here a different sort of question might be asked. Is it really the case that the negative rates of reproduction that have accompanied this pattern are as unwished-for as Therborn suggests? He relies on the discrepancy between surveys in which women explain how many children they expect and those they actually have. But this could just mean that in practice their desire for children proved weaker than for a well-paid job, a satisfying career or more than one lover at a time. Voters in the West regularly say they want better schools and healthcare, and in principle expect to pay for them, and commentators on the left often pin high hopes on such declarations. But once such citizens get to the polling booth they tend to stick to lower taxes. The same kind of self-deception could apply to children. If so, it would be difficult to say European marriage was in such good shape, since there would be no stopping place in sight for its plunge of society into an actuarial abyss.