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
Wednesday, July 23. 2014
Few kids would turn down an Ivy scholarship, but, after your first job out, you are on your own and nobody cares about it anymore except for you and your narcissistic needs. Done right, wonderfully life-enriching, speaking as an older Dartmouth fellow from the era when your Ivy BA meant something; many things, really. Lots of social signalling and networking, because everybody likes a Dartmouth lad (or lassie). Those were the good old days when elitism gave you a leg up in the sport of life. Clubs, jobs, friends, grad school, social acceptance, deals, etc. Of course, being a Col. or above in the US military offered similar perks. Respect.
It reminds me of the oldie, "Don't send my boy to Harvard, the dying mother said, Don't send my boy to Harvard, I'd rather see him dead, but send him to Columbia, or better yet Cornell, but as for Pennsylvan-i-ay I'll see him first in hell."
He begins, In the spring of 2008, I did a daylong stint on the Yale admissions committee...
Sheesh. All of my fairly bright, talented, athletic and endlessly-curious kids are going to Dartmouth and I never donated a nickel. The tuition is already more than I can handle. Worth it?
Tuesday, July 22. 2014
Monday, July 21. 2014
Last week we had a couple of posts about the administrative state and its extra-legal, unconstitutional power.
Besides Obamacare (20,000 pages of federal regs), we now have Dodd-Frank regulations (14,000 pages and counting). It's anticipated that it will be years before all of the Dodd-Frank regs are fleshed out. If ever.
Who can know or understand all of this crap? All people know is that you can get in trouble if you do not. Insane, but it keeps lawyers and lobbyists employed.
Sunday, July 20. 2014
Friday, July 18. 2014
Some good history and some good thinking about the modern (and ancient) administrative state with its extra-legal powers. I have no doubt that the founders hoped to prevent a Versailles-like giant central bureaucracy, but they failed at that. Why? They wrote all they could to prevent it.
Very enjoyable interview with law Prof. Philip Hamburger. I know you probably hate podcasts as much as I do, but this is a goodie which will make you think.
The USA Progressives borrowed our public school structures, and developed our central governmental administration, from the Prussian models. As Hamburger says, "as American as Bismarck."
"There is always a 'necessity' for increasing government administrative power."
Thursday, July 17. 2014
A Conservative case: The case for allowing these debts to be erased via bankruptcy.
Makes some sense, as long as that doesn't get dumped on the taxpayer. Of course, having a bankruptcy on your credit report will not do much for your future prospects.
Wednesday, July 16. 2014
One quote from the article:
Tuesday, July 15. 2014
It's not so much the drinking that bothers me - it's that he was not doing his job and it sounds like he still is not. For him, it's all about him. I would not want this jerk "teaching" my kids anything. Since I am sure he is in a government teaching union, he can't be fired.
Related, Narcissistic Personality
Monday, July 14. 2014
Saturday, July 12. 2014
I guarantee it, unless you have aerated them. If you haven't aerated in a while, I'd recommend going over it all a few times. The more, the better. The machine can be a bit physically-challenging, but it is sort-of fun.
Between now and September is a perfect time to do it. A single thunderstorm will eliminate the plugs, and the grass will look great afterwards - especially with some rain and some fertilizer. However, I would not fertilize in midsummer except for an irrigated or dampish wetlands lawn.
Readers know that I do it every year, and my lawns are lovely and healthy and full of worms despite dogs, horses, kids, the occasional truck and tractor, etc. Do parts of my lawns burn and go dormant in mid-summer? Sure. That's normal for them, without irrigation. A lawn is a garden. Lawns are dumb things to have, but they beat weeding.
Friday, July 11. 2014
Thursday, July 10. 2014
I like Guggenheim S&P500 Equal Weight (RSP). For equities, I prefer it to S&P 500 funds, which are weighted by market cap, but I keep my equity money to a relatively small % of my modest pile of financial assets.
My Godfather was one of the original inventors of mutual funds. At the time, he only sold his funds to rich guys.
His first fund was simply to sell shares of his own portfolio from his inheritance from his family. He had done well with it, and had sold the family business.
When I was a kid, he would tell me that he was certain that, in the future, retail funds would be a big business, diluting risk. I didn't really know what he was talking about. He was slightly ahead of his time but made enough money to build a custom 92-foot sailboat which is all he ever dreamed of.
Guy did not leave me a penny, but left me the memories of his companionship and the example of his Christian faith which has been a great gift indeed. I never told him that before he died at his desk in his office, aged 88.
I do not care to pay for actively-managed money. When it comes to investing on the retail level, I have always said that one can never get rich that way unless one is blessed with the same combination of recklessness and luck that wins the Powerball. Like investing every penny you had in Microsoft when it first went public in 1986. Some office secretaries did, though, just like all the regular citizens of Omaha invested in Berkshire 40 years ago just because they knew Warren from around town.
Over time, however, one can hope to maintain one's financial assets and keep up with inflation and sometimes exceed it. Public equity markets are a sophisticated casino. Over the years I have gotten some very good tips, but a prudent person without inside info never wants to risk enough for it to make a meaningful difference in the end. I will confess that I own a few individual stocks.
It's those occasional base hits in bullish markets which keep retail citizen dopes like me coming back to the casino, while the people making big money in markets are those who construct and sell the financial products we little people buy, and the people in the non-public markets (eg venture capital, hedge funds, etc).
I am still waiting for a major market crash or correction. I have cash waiting in my "retirement" account, but that ammo is getting rusty.
Tuesday, July 8. 2014
Friday, July 4. 2014
From Sultan's Remember Your Right to Happiness:
Thursday, July 3. 2014
Wednesday, July 2. 2014
It's bogus to compare nations, really. It's apples and oranges. In America, K-12 has tons of immigrants who are not yet acculturated and do not have excellent English. And when it comes to college, America aspires to send everybody there, not just the scholarly. Why? Don't ask me. A credential I guess. Thus it makes no sense to compare with places like Finland or Singapore, or places like the UK with high bars for university entry and without mass-market schools.
As Schneiderman asks, How good are American universities? How can you tell?
The main NYT article is Americans Think We Have the World’s Best Colleges. We Don’t.
Tuesday, July 1. 2014
I recently had a conversation with a multi-multi-millionaire who recently sold his second business start-up at age 43.
He is a humble guy, good golfer. He told me that he was advised that he was not "college material" - and "I am not", he says. "I am not a scholar, not intellectual, not very smart but I am energetic, and strong on practical and common sense. I learned my math at work because I had to." He became an apprentice (I can't say in what area) and in ten years owned a rapidly-growing company with 130 employees and two warehouses.
He told me his future plans too, but I want to keep it short and confidential.
Anyway, it raised the question for me: What is "college material"? Or is that term obsolete?
Monday, June 30. 2014
Pot should be decriminalized everywhere, state by state. It should never have been criminalized in the first place. All it does is make you stupid, lazy, and hungry. If you want to be a pothead, be my guest. Like heroin, you can already buy it cheap on any street corner in the US. It's a free country. Waste your life if you want, but not on my nickel.
How screwed up is the Ukraine? Very.
Such a greenie victory, to let the Chinese burn it. Great.
The SCOTUS decisions today? They don't really mean that much, despite the howling hysteria.
Sunday, June 29. 2014
A sample of Luther's table talk, from a piece at Scriptorium Daily:
Luther was an outspoken, plain-speaking fellow. The piece is here.
Friday, June 27. 2014
I understand that the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is out of favor if not largely disproven, but it still makes sense to me in many instances, especially with more abstract concepts.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 13:08 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, June 25. 2014
How magical thinking haunts our everyday language, and fossilised ideas live on in even the most sophisticated science. One quote:
Monday, June 23. 2014
Prof. Mankiw makes the case that inherited money is good for the economy.
Who cares? It's their money to do whatever they want with it. They are free to just burn it if they want to (or is burning money illegal?) Mankiw is correct, though, about reversion to the mean.
Saturday, June 21. 2014
Monkeys Are Better Stockpickers Than You'd Think - Why dart-throwing primates demolish S&P 500 returns and most active fund managers don't even come close.
Actively-managed equity accounts are widely considered a rip-off for the muppets. I am not rich enough to get into hedge funds, but I'd like to be because those smart folks can do far more than I can, hedging currencies, national economies, sovereign debt, etc. while the average Joe like me is stuck with mass market retail products.
I like to have money, and enjoy the concept of making money in markets while busy at my day job. I keep spare cash in a Vanguard bond fund, while my IRA is miscellaneous but mostly Vanguard funds with a focus on proven income-producing equities and some balanced funds plus some good (legal, of course) stock tips, and some cash for the next market crash, locked and loaded. I control my IRA.
I also have substantial debt in the form of a low-interest but fairly large mortgage which I intend to keep as long as I am able to work. As I have calculated it, keeping a mortgage is a net gain for me.
Most people want capital-preservation above all, but if you want risk to make real money in markets, do what monkeys do and use your crystal ball and pick the right stocks instead of
What do y'all do with your spare cash and with your long-term savings?
Friday, June 20. 2014
Americans seem to want a little bit of both. The Founding Fathers knew that you can’t have both.
Portrait is the deeply-wise dead white male James Madison. To be an American, you need to know what he thought about this experiment in freedom.
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