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
Sunday, May 19. 2013
We discussed salt last week. Here's The Bogus Public Health Attack on Sugar
Sugar in soda pop is no more fattening than any other carb, eg fruit, bread, milk, fruit juices like apple juice and orange juice. Nevertheless, it's not a "public health" issue, it's an individual choice issue. I like that light brown granulated sugar in my coffee. It's brown, so it must be healthier, right?
More bad news about American higher ed: Overqualified and underprepared
North America hosts a number of species and subspecies of Cottontail Rabbits. Around here, we have the Eastern Cottontail. (There is also one named the New England Cottontail, but I could not tell the difference.)
They are most abundant here in the later summer and fall, but their numbers nosedive during the winter mostly due to predation by owls, hawks, coyotes, and Red Fox. The cottontails' position on the food chain leads to an annual survival rate of around 20%.
When we see one hop out of its nesting "form" when mowing, we mow around it.
Here's a list of the rabbits and hares of North America
Saturday, May 18. 2013
Three weekends ago, my wife's company ran a volunteer day. They have one every year, and we will sign up to clean beaches, parks, or do a variety of things which benefit the community. I feel if I use the beach or the park, I should help keep it clean.
This year we signed up to help clean a shore town in New Jersey that was afflicted by Sandy. We were assigned to clean streets and lend a hand to any homeowners who requested assistance in removing trash. Others in our group were assigned to paint the Ambulance Hall. We cleaned a 2 square block area, and our team 'captain' was a local man who not only gave us guidance on what we would be doing, but also filled us in on what transpired in the town.
He pointed out that May 1st would be the 6 month anniversary of Sandy, and requests for FEMA funds would have to be in by then. He said most residents had already applied, but the funds were limited. In addition the payment wasn't enough to help those with any substantial damage. His home had filled with water up to the ceiling of the first floor and his foundation had cracked, so he was renting the house next door in order to keep his kids in the school district. FEMA was a drop in the bucket for him. Charities were few and far between in this section of NJ. He was getting by on his pension and couldn't afford to get work done on his home.
He took some of us on a brief walk around town to point out the damage. The water level had reached 4-18 feet in this 1 square mile town. 7 of the 21 bars and restaurants were open. The police were still operating out of a trailer.
Continue reading "6 1/2 Months and Counting"
What a great country! It's no wonder why Americans are little on the heavy side.
It's all too sad.
The forest-dwelling, nondescript and rather common Broad-Wing is rarely seen except during fall migration. They hang out quietly in deep woods and rarely soar except during migration. I saw one the other day, probably on his way north. They breed in woodlands across the Eastern US and Canada, migrate to South America in large flocks.
Prof. B. explained why reds should be on ice a bit before serving, especially in the summer - assuming the bottles are not coming from your underground or temperature-controlled wine cellar. 55-62 degrees F, max. That's not "room temperature."
I think The Prof is absolutely right, but I had never thought it through. No wine tastes good at 76 degrees. Hot grape juice isn't good either. (my Dad calls wine "grape juice" even if it's '81 Petrus).
Same thing applies to old Ports, I think.
Rich folks have wine refrigerators that keep each type of wine at its own preferred temp. If you have one, surely you deserve to be more highly taxed.
Disagree? Let me know.
One of the things the Intelligent Design people like to pull out is that evolution wasn't smart enough to invent the eye. It was, however, apparently smart enough to design a three-dimensional gyroscope. Like all birds, watch how still their heads are, no matter what gyrations their bodies are going through.
Their tail feathers also perform an interesting role. Notice how it's almost like the birds are hinged on a rod running through their wings and the tail feathers act as a 'tilting' mechanism. One quick flap and they tilt up or down on the axis running through their wings. Truly a marvelous animal.
Take it away, slo-mo!
In the old days, an article on how to avoid an IRS audit would be titled, "How To Avoid An IRS Audit".
But in light of recent events, we have...
No problem! Simply follow these five easy steps and you'll be rolling in clover before the day is done!
Much like drone technology and printed guns, Glass will be used in both directions, good and bad. A number of casinos and bars have already banned them — and they're not even on the market yet. At some point, sure enough some Congressman is going to have his career ruined because someone innocently wearing Glass accidentally caught him using a hideous, derogatory word like macaca. It was on YouTube a minute later and that was that.
On the other hand, picture a fireman fighting inside a massive blaze and having his Glass direct him to the room the children are cowering in. So it'll be interesting to see what springs forth.
Individual states like the one D.C. Congress is actually in:
Which isn't to say that D.C. is the only one joining in the fun:
And back to those numerous health benefits (lumbago, gout, heart disease, athlete's foot, cancer) we keep hearing about...
Uh-yup. We've shown this over and over again on this site. Even when these same great scientific minds claim that global colding is the real menace here, they turn a blind eye and continue their hearty endeavors.
Under the heading of "Damn!", I was hoping the new Star Trek 'prequel' would be as good as the first. But it ain't worth dogshit according to this reviewer:
On the other end of the spectrum, I thought 'Django Unchained' was the best movie I'd seen in a year. I'll do a review on it sometime. There's an interesting connection to make between it and 'Blazing Saddles'. Any guesses?
On the 'NCIS' front, I watched the last five episodes of the season the other day. I sat there petrified the entire time, worrying that they'd dig up (not literally this time) good ol' Pedro Hernandez — Gibbs' nemesis from his NIS past. They did, but thankfully moved on, and I was left just as bewildered at the end as anyone.
One thing I didn't think through were the other three team members. I would have half-figured they'd picked their badges back up when Gibbs went rogue (?), but the article indicates that they held true and resigned en masse, so we should get some interesting background stories about their 4-month escapades this fall. There's a recent interview with Mark Harman here.
I have a number of articles about this great show here.
Politically, I thought the most touchingly poignant moment of the week was when renown historian James Douglas Muir Leno recalled the Obama early years and our fondness for Joe Biden at the time, and how sad it is how V.P. Biden's glory has faded over the years.
Friday, May 17. 2013
This is cute, from Jon Stewart:
It's a topic of great concern and interest to me. We have already seen serious depletion of some fish species (eg Halibut, Atlantic Cod, others). It's a free-for-all, and the scarcer the fish get, the higher the prices they fetch.
Via Powerline, Prof. Kagan's Yale retirement speech. A fine gentleman.
Mead writes a long post on the topic:
Here's the story of the creation of the dioramas. Those hunters sure had fun.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:05 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
Never trust anyone who doesn’t eat cheeseburgers.
Two weeks ago, I wrote a piece about Jason Collins and one comment made a comparison to the gay Jason Collins getting all the media attention, while Tim Tebow was being run out of the NFL for being a vocal Christian. I think the first part was true, while the second part was primarily a longshot opinion. There are too many Christians, and some very vocal ones, like Kurt Warner, who have played the game and not suffered.
I do believe Christians in the US suffer far more media abuse than gangster rappers, but that's another story. I'm writing this about Tebow, who I happen to like. He's a smart kid, a hard worker, and a good leader.
But sometimes even that just isn't enough. While his introduction to the NFL signaled an appreciable change in the nature of the QB position, unfortunately his skill set is not up to snuff.
That said, the guy still has more playoff wins in Denver than a certain Peyton Manning. Which perhaps says more about Tebow than it does Manning.
Posted by Bulldog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:11 | Comments (13) | Trackbacks (0)
Well, while there have been a few instances in recent years where it could be argued that total transparency was not forthcoming, here we are on the edge of three major political scandals where transparency must be forthcoming; the IRS targeting the Tea Party and specific Republican donors, the Justice Department illegally wiretapping AP reporters, and the shame of Benghazi and claiming the violence was merely a YouTube video review gone bad, a story they perpetrated for three weeks.
But there's good news on the horizon.
Because, with the incredible public scrutiny these stories are garnering — at least, after the press, itself, was targeted — it seems fairly obvious that key players like Department of Justice head Eric Holder and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney will open up to the American public and finally tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help them God.
Here's Mr. Holder finally putting to rest some of the key questions that arose at the recent congressional hearing:
Mr. Carney also elaborated on a number of details in a stalwart effort to clean the slate:
What's that? You think they seemed a bit evasive?
You're obviously missing the point.
Compared to the past five years, this is being transparent!
3-D printed dress, with Dita
How about a 3-D printed Dita? The dress can wait.
25-Year-Old Woman's Biggest Dream - Still Being Popular High School Student
He talks like a sociopath. Gift of gab.
The EPA spent 40,000 of our tax dollars on this oil painting
Brain Rewires Itself After Damage or Injury, Life Scientists Discover
Advice endorsed by Insty: Get her drunk
US windfarms avoiding prosecution for eagle deaths
AVI discusses some of the keys to success, and where IQ fits in
The Hank Greenberg Story That '42' Forgot - Remembering Day Jackie Robinson Met the Hebrew Hammer
That is economically insane
What happens when idiots don't get their kids vaccinated
Sexual assault scandal becomes a Pentagon test
False reports outpace sex assaults in the military
The case that the 2nd Amendment has already "evolved"
This is comforting: IRS Official in Targeting Scandal Now Overseeing Obamacare Unit
Thursday, May 16. 2013
Government programs like this inhibit change, innovation, flexibility, and creativity, and hand control to government bureaucrats. When Prof. Mead discusses evolving alternatives to the old fee-for-service model of primary care, he might be forgetting that Obamacare has set it in stone just as Medicare did for the over-65.
Left alone, medical care would evolve according to markets and peoples' choices. As we have surmised before, Obamacare was designed to fail and to bring in single payer, also a blast from the past which would inhibit innovation.
As our paleontological readers know, we are currently living in an Ice Age, right now in a minor somewhat warm (but not today) interglacial respite between the last and the next major glacial incursion.
History does matter, boys and girls. The most recent major interglacial (as opposed to the mini warm spells as in the past few thousand years) is known as the Eemian Interglacial. It lasted around 15,000 years, beginning about 130,000 years ago, and ended with our current ice age cycle.
Via Gene Expression:
The Eemian was the time when Homo sapiens began moving north out of Africa and the Middle East.
Sometimes it's a good idea to put things in perspective. Just for fun, here's the past 500 million years of climate change. We're still in an alarming and great 50-million year glacial, cold period, period with ups and downs within it. It's a fact that the earth, right now, is about as cold as it has ever been in the past half-billion years.
That's the big picture. Here's more detail, of just the past 65 million years but even on this scale the Eemian doesn't show:
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:36 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
If they hate fossil fuel, they should first set an example by giving up their cars, computers, cell phones, heat, and air conditioning. Nobody is stopping them from wearing pinwheels on their heads for wind power.
More on the topic: Danielle Charette: My Top-Notch Illiberal Arts Education - At Swarthmore, it's fine to smash 'hegemonic power structures' and silence other students
For some reason, these guys never followed up on all the stories about Obama hanging out in gay bars in Chicago. Not that there's anything wrong with that...
IRS approved liberal groups while Tea Party in limbo
He does a good job explaining it
Your Next IRS Political Audit - The tax agency is getting vast new power in health care.
Breaking: Holder Justice Department Also Tapped House of Representatives Cloak Room
A degree of malevolence in the Administration
The (501(c)3) Media Matters Distributes Talking Points to Defend DOJ Spying on AP Reporters
I do not understand why any political 501(c)(3)s are legal.
Jon Stewart is angry at Obama for proving us right
Things Obama didn't know about
Race card = desperation. Matthews doesn't believe it for a minute. The reason for (at least 2 parties) is to hold eachother to account.
Wednesday, May 15. 2013
One of the Bird Dog daughters, and my lad, know that it is easy to please Dad with a selection of stinky, strong, expensive imported cheeses from The Grand Central Market in NY. At Sunday's Mom's Day cookout we had a killer cheese platter. Even a goat brie, which was a first for me.
All present were lovers of rare and strong cheeses. Since I have heard Steve Jenkins interviewed on the radio a few times recently, I began to pontificate about what I had learned from him. (He is the cheese-buyer for Fairway, the world's most prominent cheese pro, and author of the Cheese Primer.)
Jenkins preaches serving cheese with fruit, nuts, or honey - never without. To demonstrate his correctness on the topic, I pulled some hot pepper jelly (like this) and some fig preserves out of our dying fridge. Fresh fruit is good too, but I am partial to the preserves. I think everybody present was converted.
Our error was in offering the cheese board before the steaks, instead of after. The savoury course. Well, nobody's perfect.
Here are some of Fairway's cheese-platter suggestions.
IRS faces class action lawsuit over theft of 60 million medical records
By the way, what is Rubio's name doing on this idea?
This from a piece at Politico:
For five years, this president has been making the case that a growing and activist government has good intentions and can carry these intentions out with competence. Conservatives have warned that government is dangerous, and even good intentions get bungled in the execution. In different ways, the IRS uproar, the Justice Department leak investigations, the Benghazi tragedy and the misleading attempts to explain it, and the growing problems with implementation of health care reform all bolster the conservative worldview.
Here's the latest on this impending horror:
Here, now, is the peril that you, too, will one day face.
It's not for the squeamish.
Well, it was nice while it lasted.
Stunning college degree gap: Women have earned almost 10 million more college degrees than men since 1982
Kevin Drum on why the robots will rise up and take all our jobs
Progressive Group: IRS Gave Us Conservative Groups' Confidential Docs
Spring is in the air, which means that it’s time for another insane moral panic regarding the Great Egalitarian Unmentionable...
Another Example of Editorial-Page Fiction at the New York Times
Times defends IRS
But if the shoe were on the other foot?
Obama’s aloof mien and holier-than-thou rhetoric have left him with little reservoir of good will, even among Democrats
IRS Told Pro-Life Group It Must Promote Abortion
Tuesday, May 14. 2013
Salt is one of those things that drive dietary cranks, control-freaks, and ignorant do-gooders nuts.
There really is no reason for that. Most of us docs have been saying this for years and I have made this point here in the past. Salt is an absolutely necessary nutrient for all animals, and very low levels of sodium chloride can make you sick or dead.
The average, normal human body contains around 50 quarts of salt water.
The reason people used to advise "low-salt" diet is because excess dietary sodium is a bad idea for people with kidney failure and congestive heart failure, and people with uncontrolled high blood pressure (with its associated higher risks of heart attack and stroke).
However, salt does not cause those things.
Significantly-high blood pressure is easily dealt with these days. Heart failure will likely kill you in time regardless of what you do (barring a heart transplant), but it is treatable with medicines and some salt restriction.
The new study from the CDC: No Benefit in Salt Restriction.
The American Heart Association is not up to date on the topic: Sodium is Your enemy.
If you have high blood pressure, get it under reasonable control with your doctor. If you have organ failure (eg kidney or heart failure), or have some other ailment, do whatever your doc says. If you're healthy, enjoy your salt. It makes food taste better.
One recipe tip: I always season a salad with salt and pepper. It makes rabbit food taste almost good. Don't get me on the topic of whether green salad is "healthy." (It's neither healthy nor unhealthy. It's just filler.)
Quite astonishing, really. Volokh discusses: The Administration Says Universities Must Implement Broad Speech Codes.
As they say, these sick codes make every student a violator. It's 1984. Meanwhile, American colleges and universities seem to be encouraging and promoting every form of sexual activity imaginable and unimaginable.
Thus my question is this: How are the students supposed to get all of this adventurous and wacky college sex if they can't talk about it?
George Washington. More here.
Yep, it's looking more and more like Your Future Will Be Manufactured on a 3-D Printer.
As you might expect, until things get sorted out, the State Department Orders Firm to Remove 3D-Printed Guns Web Blueprints.
After all, this could be a pretty big deal if you understood How 3D-Printed Guns Violate International Arms Controls.
Because, as everyone knows, anyone who opposes any aspect of guns is a dirty, rotten, scumdog liberal.
Because, as everyone knows, what the Second Amendment is really saying is that every American has an equal right to kill any other American.
In other words, if I want to post plans on how to produce a dirty nuclear bomb in the comfort of your own kitchen, that's a First Amendment issue??
John in the comments enhanced the point:
Which is how the bloggers are viewing it, as just another gun control issue. But it's clearly not.
As long-time readers of this site know, I'm
1. Would you trust your family's health to a printed plastic gun?
— Common criminals, because the store owner they're trying to rob would just laugh in their face.
So, it's kind of a sticky wicket, isn't it? It appears to boil down to that old confrontation, principle versus practicality. If we assume this is, by far, a bigger boon to airline hijackers than common homeowners, then the right-wing bloggers are standing by the principle that all guns, no matter what the situation, are good.
My question is, is that really what conservatism is all about?
All guns, no matter what the situation, are good.
That's how it is?
Big storms are on the horizon, headed towards Washington DC.
The mainstream media, after over five years of protecting, insulating, glorifying, romanticizing Obama and his administration, is beginning to realize that, if they continue on that same path, they will be left behind. With the MSM running interference for the admin., perhaps they felt invulnerable in Washington.
I recall Michelle Obama once bragging about that. No longer. Now the election is over.
I suspect the MSM and talking heads feel torn between doing their job and protecting their political hero and Leftist ambitions in general. Probably many Dems in Washington are feeling the same way this week.
This administration is dead in the water, will need to be towed to harbor, will not recover even with MSM help. Too many problems, with maybe more to come, and the MSM has already focused on constructing a Hillary narrative as the next savior.
But how likely is it that Americans would elect two Chicago Alinskyites in a row?
Ford previews the new F-150
The national pastime may be past its time. But those who think it’s boring need to think again.
He says women are hornier than men
Only gummint could be this stupid. Last I heard, Spotted Owl is just a subspecies of Barred Owl. So they are killing the Barred Owls? I like Barred Owls.
Primary school forced to turn off wind turbine after bird deaths
Ted Dalrymple says he's enjoying retirement.
He's not really retired - he just switched careers.
Watergate Was For Amateurs: Justice Department Spied For Months On Associated Press Reporters
"Employee Wellness" programs do no good
Detroit insolvent, EM Kevyn Orr says
Mead on Detroit:
The Weekly Winston: IRS Scandal Edition
After IRS, Benghazi, should I trust government?
Not before, not after. Never.
Attorney for Tea Party group: IRS told me a year ago about ‘secret working group’
With little comment from conservative media, President Obama last week appointed James Dobbins as special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the high-profile job long occupied by the late Richard Holbrooke.
From Benghazi to Boston: The government evades the truth about terror
The Wit and Wisdom of Herbert Romerstein
Stunning: The NYT refers to them as "babies"
Monday, May 13. 2013
World-views differ, as do views of human nature. It makes life interesting and interestingly-contentious.`
Still, once you get past the insulting title this is a good post: On the Arrested Development of the Left:
Addressing the tough realities of the real world, and the depressing limits of one's own self, are the best vitamins.
Mr. Solway references Rieff's challenging book, The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud.
Waterslides? Something has gone seriously wrong with higher ed. Who has time for waterslides in college?
Just a sample:
Wisdom includes not getting angry unnecessarily. The Law ignores trifles and
Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of — but do it in private and
What a wonderful world it is that has girls in it!
A superstorm from the sun: Astronomers watching for potential catastrophe
I blame global warming
Toward Rivals, It's Craigslitigious - The company's response: lawsuits to prevent anyone from doing to it what it did to newspapers.
Stellar science schools in NYC
What Your High School Teacher Won’t Tell You
Top Urbanists Agree: Casinos Ruin Cities
Has Christianity Been Outlawed in the US Army? link fixed
Is there any state where a college men's football or basketball coach is not the highest paid state official?
Who better to make the big bucks?
The Jobs Crisis: Bigger Than You Think:
The Incestuous Love-Child of the Democrat-Media Complex
Douthat: The Taxman vs. the Tea Party
Steyn: The Benghazi Lie - A failure of character of this magnitude corrodes the integrity of the state.
Talking Points on Benghazi Talking Points Changing - Out with the old, in with the new.
Maine governor: So, can we back off on all of these wind initiatives yet?
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT): Credentialed, Not Educated - Despite his law degree, an MSNBC appearance revealed him ignorant of two elements of the Constitution.
Sunday, May 12. 2013
I am sure that the energetic and ridiculously-productive (blog, books, newspaper opinion pieces - plus a day job teaching) Prof. Glenn Reynolds would enjoy having a law named after him.
A reader reminded us of Reynold's Law. Good comments there, too.
(Page 1 of 411, totaling 20527 entries) » next page