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
Saturday, December 25. 2021
I went today with my son to see the remake of West Side Story. I'd read several reviews, positive and critical. The show on which the 1961 movie was based was a BIG hit as was the movie. For a decade, high school students performed it. I grew up in those rough New York City streets in the 1950s, in Flatbush, and poor, and tribalism was the norm, including street fights even when not as violent as in the poorest sections of the city.
The remake is almost completely true to the original. The original being drawn from the stage had less production values than the remake, and the remake's set had authenticity, right down to the type of bedspreads that were common in the 1950's.
The original seemed to have some more energy, perhaps because of the more compact limited sets. And the actors seemed younger in the remake, but maybe that's because I'm much older now.
Some of the critics felt that there is some insertions of wokeism in the remake. But, the original had that basic message too: get over being hostile and fighting over racism born out of grappling for a piece of the American pie. Instead striving to raise out of poverty is the positive side of the message, contrary to the socialist denigrating of opportunity.
It's up to you what you see. My high school son liked it, and he is not a musical movie type but a Marvel action type.
I'll give it an 8 1/2 Vs the 10 of the original. That's a lot better than the drivel Hollywood usually spews today.
Wednesday, November 10. 2021
Today is the 246th birthday of the United States Marine Corps.
Those of us who served and those of us who appreciate what Marines have always accomplished despite odds or suffering are proud of that birthday and what it signifies.
During the Iraq and Afghanistan commitments (the victories now tossed in the dumpster), the Marine Corps abilities to win were proven again and again in the worst combat conditions that Marines uniquely train for, have the attitude for, and the will for. The Marine Corps adapted and was used as a land army.
Now that China is increasingly competent and focused on taking over the Pacific, and is doing so step by step without much restraint, the Marine Corps is returning to its maritime roots. It has stepped up its training to even higher toughness and smarts. The Marine Corps is being missioned with a dispersed strategy to be on islands and ships spread across the Pacific and strike deathly blows back. But, there's a big problem there: the Marines will be sacrificed while the US leadership is not spending adequately to back the Marines up by building counterforces and lacks the political will to win. I am terribly saddened.
Will we get a new President who can smartly and determinedly stand up to lethargy and rouse patriots in America and Congress to be the overwhelming nation in readiness that will make war and sacrifice unnecessary? I pray so.
Honor, Loyalty, Courage are the Marine Corps values. May Americans also live those values. My son and I were honored to address the annual Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation's banquet. The theme was continuity of values. After I spoke about Honor and integrity, regardless the cost, Loyalty to country and comrades, regardless the cost, Courage to overcome obstacles, regardless the cost, my son spoke. He looked at me and said, "Yes, that's what he taught me." In a large room of seasoned Marines, my son brought them to their feet.
As you go about your day, about your life, take the time to pass on those American values. Especially to the young.
Thursday, October 28. 2021
Wednesday, October 27. 2021
Tuesday, October 26. 2021
Monday, October 25. 2021
Who Pays Sin Taxes? Understanding the Overlapping Burdens of Corrective Taxes
Israel outlaws Palestinian rights groups, alleging terrorism: The Defense Ministry said the organizations are “controlled by senior leaders” of the PFLP and employ its members, including some who have “participated in terror activity.”
Sunday, October 24. 2021
Friday, October 22. 2021
Lhamon’s nomination spurred warnings from education advocates and former Education Department officials
Heritage Foundation annual study: As currently postured, the U.S. military continues to be only marginally able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests.
Thursday, October 21. 2021
Join the Alliance for Constructive Ethnic Studies, The Institute for Liberal Values, Free Black Thought, and The Jewish Institute for Liberal Values for the Livestream, Education or Indoctrination: Ethnic Studies K-12. EDUCATION OR INDOCTRINATION: ETHNIC STUDIES IN K-12 Wednesday, October 27, 5pm PST/ 8pm EST
Some Thoughts About Courage: We are living through an epidemic of cowardice. The antidote is courage.
The Car Shortage Is About To Get A Whole Lot Worse: A critical element in everything from engines to bodies is in short supply
Thursday, October 14. 2021
What is CRT?
CRT, Critical Race Theory, as it is translated outside academic circles-- often with masking euphemisms -- is identified by:
One-sided descriptions of history and of race that is negative or derogatory toward certain countries, races, or religions, without fair and balanced contrary facts;
One-sided elevation or superiority of one race, nationality, or religion above others;
Identification of individuals by their skin color as belonging to a favored (oppressed, some nonwhites)) or unfavored (oppressor, white) group;
Treating certain nonwhite groups as white (ex: Asians), and ignoring other nonwhite groups;
Ignoring that there is much and increasing interracial and interreligion individuals, and that the unfavored groups contain many nonwhites;
Frequent antisemitism and attacks on Israel's legitimacy;
Treating as traitors or ignoramuses any in the supposed "oppressed" grouping who disagree with CRT.
In short, CRT and its euphemisms is a racist and hateful, divisive, and false hate ideology.
Monday, September 20. 2021
Monday, September 6. 2021
I repost this about every four years. I think, a good reminder. Below is a repost of a column I wrote at another venue for Labor Day 2006 and posted again here in 2011 and 2014 and 2018:
What remains of Labor Day? Some speeches about the hard work of our parents or grandparents, and some newspaper articles about current difficulties getting established or obtaining benefits for today’s workers.
Conservatives are distinguished by particular respect for the hallowed history from which current and future advantages spring, without which we would be rootless and at the whim of passing fancies or incitements.
Supposedly, the virtues and rewards of hard work are among these cherished principles.
The Left trumpets redistributive schemes from the affluent or hard working to the poor or lazy, most of which have relatively little benefit to the poor but create newly enriched bureaucrats and union leaders.
Conservatives’ answer is usually more along the lines of how to preserve and protect the fruits of the labor by those in the middle and upper rungs of the economic ladder.
Sebastian Mallaby steps on the Left and Right’s toes today in the Washington Post.
Mallaby points out the futility of most of the Left’s prescriptions, to the “point the left begins to seethe.” He then focuses on reducing tax incentives that mostly accrue to the middle and upper classes, to free up a quarter of them for $180-billion that could be used for increased earned income credits and reduced regressive payroll taxes.
The problem with Mallaby’s arguments is that they are another, albeit better, form of redistribution, and government has repeatedly proven its penchant for wasting such billions on other than targeted needs. More necessary is the unbridling of energies and rewards for labor. That requires investment which creates demand for labor, and skills-oriented education that creates competitive wage earners to fill those new openings.
As Mallaby correctly argues, many of the poorest workers are in service trades not impacted by international competition. Such positions that were once beginning rungs on the ladder now face a gap of steps up due to lack of skills.
Instead of redistributing tax incentives, more needed is redistributing our already huge tax outlays on education from schemes that create administrative and union positions, and posh campuses, toward greater vocational and skills education.
That honors labor, by providing the tools for all to benefit from labor.
The evening of September 6, 2021 will launch the 5782th Jewish New Year.
The Hebrew word Rosh (ראש) means first/head/beginning and Hashanah (השנה) means the year. The root of the Hebrew word Shanah is both “repeat” and “change.” Rosh Hashanah constitutes an annual reminder of the need to enhance one’s behavior through a systematic study of moral values, learning from experience and avoiding past errors. Rosh Hashanah ushers-in the Ten Days of Repentance, which are concluded on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).
Humility. Rosh Hashanah is celebrated on the 6th day of Creation, when the first human-being, Adam, was created. Adam is the Hebrew word for a human-being (אדמ). Adam was created with humility before G-d. Adam strayed, the original sin, that we work to overcome with our learning the strength and humility to do what's right, regardless the temptation .
I think it’s very important that we think about what humility means and how we embody it as we walk into the High Holidays.
We are encouraged to enter humbly into the holidays as we stand before God and ourselves. But what does that mean?
It’s about dropping everything and anything that has to do with ego - pride, embarrassment, shame, jealousy, comparing myself to others and so much more. Humility is about standing in truth and that truth includes your strengths as well. It includes all of you. None of it is bad or good. But that truth reveals the parts of ourselves that may be getting in our own way. And we’re only able to see those things once we can humbly walk through them. And once we see them, well, that’s when the growth begins.
No one is watching your journey through the holidays. It is yours to have and experience. And it is between you, God (if God is a part of the equation for you), and yourself. Make the most of it.
Let’s walk humbly together into these coming days, vulnerable, open, and honest.
(I humbly borrowed most of the above from several wise ones.)
Friday, September 3. 2021
Even the Feds Reportedly Want to Know Why McDonald's Ice Cream Machines Are Always Broken (They've always worked for me, and for $1 a good deal)
Jonathan Turley: Is Roe vs. Wade finished? The mainstream media just can't hold back: It is not the first time that actual orders or decisions seemed immaterial to the mainstream media's coverage (Whatever the ultimate outcome, it pays to know the facts.....unless facts interfere with bias.)
Thursday, September 2. 2021
This corporate hustle is the subject of a new, bestselling book called Woke Inc: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam by biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Ramaswamy makes the compelling case that “stakeholder capitalism” sounds like a good thing, but is in fact deeply damaging our democracy.
China may be the most prominent example of stakeholder capitalism gone awry, but it is hardly alone.
Any number of American corporations now lavishing untold sums of capital on diversity, inclusion and equity initiatives in the United States are eager to do business in countries with reprehensible human-rights records
..So persists an inescapable contradiction of stakeholder capitalism: All of these corporations have successfully rebranded themselves as good citizens, global stewards and combatants in the war against systemic racism, which has obviously proven good for business, but very bad for America, blurring the moral distinction between democracies and closed societies, between the free West and fear-based societies like China.
And because this business strategy is dressed in the garments of justice, it only compounds our innumerable confusions about what makes us us.
Jewish Institute for Liberal Values: CRT and Antisemitism white paper (An important resource)
Wednesday, September 1. 2021
Sunday, August 29. 2021
When schools teach 'equity,' kids learn fear and anger: Social science research documents harm from well-intentioned "coddling." Time to rethink Biden's anti-American energy policies
Friday, August 27. 2021
Taliban Takeover Is a Boon for Cash-Strapped Iran: Tehran gets dollars from new oil sales to Afghanistan, while the Taliban get fuel for the ailing Afghan economy
Wednesday, August 25. 2021
Monday, August 23. 2021
Keeping Fear Alive: Reluctant to set the public free, policymakers and the public-health bureaucracy set unachievable and unnecessary goals.
Iran has doubled forces on Israeli border since 2018, report claims: Istanbul-based Jusoor research institute, which has close ties to Syrian opposition forces, says the number of bases used by pro-Iranian militias and Iranian satellite Hezbollah has increased from 40 to 88 since 2018.
Sunday, August 22. 2021
Friday, August 20. 2021
NYC exhibit of Nazi-looted art tells a tale of Jewish loss and recovery: Opening Friday, the Jewish Museum’s ‘Afterlives: Recovering the Lost Stories of Looted Art’ is a testament to survival, despite attempts to eradicate an identity and culture
Pentagon contradicts Biden MINUTES after his fumbling speech by saying Americans HAVE been attacked by the Taliban on the way to Kabul airport and al-Qaeda IS still present in Afghanistan
Wednesday, August 18. 2021
Efforts and pipe dreams by US policy makers under Trump in the last days of his presidency. Worthwhile background to know, and likely more to come, which stands in sharp contrast to Biden just throwing in the towel and the allied Afghanis under the Taliban bus.
This week's disaster set in motion by US military leadership, following Biden's direction in abandoning Bagram.
Excellent insights (promoted from the Comments, with thanks): What a Retired General Who Served 10 Tours in Afghanistan Has to Say
Tuesday, August 17. 2021
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