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
Monday, April 6. 2020
I'm now about 12 days into my Covid experience, and I'm getting better. I probably thought I was better than I was. I went out and raked for hour yesterday, trying to benefit from fresh air for the first time and get a little exercise. I was pretty wiped out after that. So I'm resting today. I may have the mild version, but it doesn't make it less difficult to recover from.
However, I'm moving into newer territory. The cough is diminished significantly, the headache has eased, and my main issue now is hydration. I seem to be dehydrated no matter what I do. So I drink a lot of water and Gatorade. But my appetite is back, and I'm finally moving more. Sleep is still at a premium...10 hours every night.
My brother also has it. He has a much tougher version, but he also has adult onset diabetes. So he's at-risk. He's struggled much, much more than I have, had many more symptoms, and is fighting it still. He is also getting better, but at a much slower pace. He warned me not to rake yesterday. He was probably right.
What I'm more concerned about now is not my health, but where we go in the post-shutdown world...
I fear we're not going to move in the best directions. Value structures are a mess. The social shaming over this is an example of the worst of what can happen, and I (sadly) see this as something people will engage in more of.
Thursday, April 2. 2020
Not too long ago, I shared my views on Covid-19 and the lockdown. I still stand by my (often misunderstood) position and I feel that after this is over, I'll still stand as having a well-developed viewpoint. Meanwhile, as we sit in the midst of all this, I am now officially 3 weeks working-from-home. The Covid numbers have continued to rise, the deaths have risen as well, and the newsmedia has...ratcheted up the fear factor as high as possible. Even my sister, down in Florida (where even she admits nothing is happening of any note) is freaking out and running scared.
Well, today I chatted by phone with her and shared with her something I'll share with all of you. I am Covid-19 positive. I found out yesterday.
Let me share some of my own personal thoughts and some of my doctors' comments.
First, I was told "this is a high-powered flu". By 3 different doctors who checked me or spoke with me. Second, "No, there's nothing we can do unless you have respiratory distress, so please monitor yourself carefully." Yup. I do that anyway. Third, there were no lines at the station where I got checked. Called first, drove up, got out, they checked me in a field tent, sent me to another field tent, and did the swab (annoying, but not horrible...a Q-Tip WAY UP into your sinuses). Doesn't hurt. You do sneeze a little.
I am in good general health. I work out regularly, good BP, good pulse rate, not an ox by any standard, but I'll keep up with most people my age, and probably surpass them (55+, in case you're wondering).
My first hints of the virus were on Tuesday 3/24. A little coughing, lots of mucous, etc. Not a dry cough. By Thursday, Mrs. Bulldog was saying "You're coughing too much, I don't want people on our walks to think you have it, so stay home." Fine...I stopped taking walks. I had started having headaches (sinus) anyway. The headaches got worse. By Friday, my head was pounding, the cough was persistent, and it was dry. No fever. No rash. 3 days of (sorry) diarrhea began.
Over the weekend, the headaches intensified, the coughing got worse. I was more or less stuck on the couch watching movies, in a very annoyed frame of mind. By Sunday, it was suggested I get tested.
So we arranged it, and yesterday at 3pm the results were back. Positive.
Of course, by now the headache is starting to fade. It's still there, but Tylenol keeps it reduced. The coughing is still there, but laying down helps it stop (don't lay down too much...no need to promote pneumonia). I've been sleeping 10 hours a night. The really weird things, and there are 2 of them, are the general haziness of frame of mind - I can't concentrate very long - and what I'd call "fever dreams without the fever." I don't know how to describe these, but I have the strangest dreams all night. Then I wake up in the morning very dehydrated and have to drink a pint or two of water.
My doctor voiced concern over the number of cases, but also pointed out that "it's just a flu that is worse for at-risk people, you're not at risk. Just stay vigilant, take care of yourself and you should be fine."
So if this were the normal world - I'd take 2-3 weeks off from work, and get better. Instead, I've had 3 weeks off, and based on current protocol I will have AT LEAST (if my symptoms play out normally) 3 more weeks off (because my office says 2 weeks after cessation).
For what it's worth - most people in the US, after 6 weeks off from work, will be broke. If it goes longer, who knows. At this point, the "cure" is worse than the disease. Trump is right to consider opening some counties as soon as possible - like any other pandemic, this has areas of concentration. We can limit exposure to those regions, and keep the rest of the nation working well.
Stay healthy. Stay vigilant. I do believe there is much more, politically, to play out. At this point I no longer believe it's mainly a health crisis (if it ever was). It's a political one.
ps - I had to inform my HR Department - just a public safety thing. Naturally, I got a call back today...all pre-arranged, and about exactly what I supposed. They were trying to determine if I could have caught it anywhere else but at the office. "AVOID LAWSUITS AT ANY COST" must be their view. Can't blame them, I suppose. Not that it would stop me if I was litigious. Thing is, nobody can EVER prove where they got it from. I commute, via train, every day. I went to the bank. I was playing poker one night with 50 people at a bar the week before being sent home (won $650 and the tournament WITH A ROYAL FLUSH - not a joke, totally telling the truth, I have pictures...it's the poker players' Hole-in-One). So I could have gotten it anywhere...and I admitted that. Because it doesn't matter where I got it from. I KNEW I was going to get it. That was the point of my original article. If you believe you can avoid it, you're fooling yourself. I DO NOT believe social distancing works. But don't worry - they politicians and other liars will convince you it's working.
Wednesday, March 18. 2020
Some things to consider in the Covid-19 panic. I've always known Covid is real, and that it's slightly more dangerous than the flu. I'm quite aware of how the mortality rate is considerably higher than some other viral outbreaks, especially with the elderly and those suffering health conditions. I've been less than convinced there is anything we could have done to stop it, short of shutting the nation down completely in January and keeping it shut down for about 2 months....which seems to be where we've gone anyway. That said, even extreme measures are unlikely to stop the spread. I've always supported an abundance of caution. But now that we're here with extreme measures, let's think calmly about HOW we got here.
Fear. Just fear. Yes, many of us would've gotten sick. Yes, some people would die. We can talk all we want about flattening the curve to keep hospital facilities from being overrun...while ignoring how herd immunity is being compromised. Furthermore, in shutting down in the manner we did, we basically sent people on 5 days of panic shopping whereby anyone infected and shopping was busy spreading the virus. It seems to me, the 'cure' is just as bad as letting it run its course. By increasing fear and panic, and even potentially the spread.
What's really concerning to me, however, is less the health issue and more the socio-political issue. This is the largest non-partisan event of our lifetime, and it's been heavily politicized. To that point, consider this - Democrats, who only a week ago complained that President Trump was abusing power, now are complaining that he isn't using enough power to 'fix' this.
Continue reading "Some Notes From Home"
Friday, February 21. 2020
I make an effort, in my role as an older member of my department, to reinforce knowing history. Not only of the industry, which critical to avoiding errors already made, but also general history because it helps create a more advanced social order. The critical part of any social order is trust. Without it, markets fail, relationships fray, and good behavior is set aside in favor of self-interest. History, at its core, teaches the value of trust.
All good teams, departments, interactions, communities, and even nations are built upon a basic level of trust. It is rarely discussed, but absolutely essential.
In the U.S., trust has begun a slow dissipation. Think of an example of someone who did things the 'right way' and was moderately, or supremely, successful (let's say the Boston Red Sox of 2018) versus those who do things the 'wrong way' and are supremely successful yet go unpunished or are barely touched (the Houston Astros of 2017). When we fail to punish those who gain rewards improperly, we reduce the ability to trust our institutions. How often have you talked about someone you admire, only to have someone else say "if he/she is so smart or good, why did person X (who wasn't as 'clean') make all the money?" That kind of response typifies the slow fraying of fundamental trust.
Another example could be our recent trials and investigations regarding Trump. In this, we see an example of retributive anger (Trump won and I hate him so he has to go), which is very damaging and occurs with the complete loss of trust (can anyone argue that the Democrats trust Trump even a little?). Transitional anger, the anger we feel as we shift from one order to the next, that sense of loss yielding anger but without feeling the need to lash out, is manageable and useful. It can help people progress. Retributive anger is dangerous and undermines the fabric of trust that is necessary to move forward.
The Democrats are suffering now because of the fact they have engaged retributive anger. They're mad they lost an election they assumed was theirs, and rather than be angry at their own shortcomings and using that anger in a transitional manner to improve themselves, they've lashed out and are destroying themselves and potentially the nation (if their behavior is followed to its logical conclusion).
We are successful as a nation because we have an innate trust in our political institutions. That trust exists regardless of those in power because the Constitution protects us, as individuals. Even if bad people are elected, one person and even a few cannot destroy the system. Checks and balances assure that. We can survive a bad president (and have many times). There are reasonable methods to oust the truly awful. Engaging those levers in wrong-headed attempts simply because someone is 'offensive' undermines that innate trust of our institutions. It causes some, and possibly many, to question the validity of our original belief in our Constitution and our laws.
This doesn't happen because of one person. It doesn't happen because "Trump did it," it happens because a group of people are hoping and trying to undermine that trust, and it isn't the Russians. Or the Chinese. It has to happen internally.
I don't love Trump, I barely tolerate him. But I've not liked plenty of presidents. I've had trust in our system, though. Thankfully, after two clear attempts to undermine that system, it has stood up to the attacks on it, and I still trust it. It's a shame there's an entire party out there so far off base that its members no longer trust the system and are proposing potential candidates to destroy it.
Monday, December 23. 2019
Wednesday, December 4. 2019
I don't have time to watch the impeachment hearings. In fact, I probably wouldn't, even if I could. It's boring stuff, and it's a rigged circus anyway.
That said, a friend called me to watch Jonathan Turley, saying "He's tearing it up, and all off notes from a play."
Took the time to watch the video this afternoon. Well worth it.
Sunday, September 22. 2019
For those, Randy Barnett and Josh Blackman have built an interactive site: Introduction to Constitutional law.
Tuesday, August 27. 2019
Thursday, August 22. 2019
This is more inquiry than commentary. Interested to see what people think.
The idea of human rights as myth, in my estimation, is really about using them in a myth-making manner. They are ideals to strive for, and protect. Basic moral goods that apply universally, and from which other 'rights' (perhaps better defined as legal rights) or duties may grow from.
I'd had a conversation about universal human rights with a Progressive who considers them to be a myth or social construct. Only useful or meaningful if they are enforced. I took a different view. I feel they are real things, existing as useful concepts whether they are enforced or not. In fact, I pointed out, enforcing them is the incorrect term. Protecting them, or efficiently allowing their application, is more to the point. But even if they are not protected or applied, they are real nonetheless. Which is why so many people have fought for them over the years, and why nations which do apply them efficiently see so many wonderful benefits to their society.
His next question was "what makes them real? How can you justify a right to a free attorney but not a right to free medical care?" I replied that was a logical fallacy. There is no right to a free attorney, that's just a SCOTUS ruling. That has no bearing on this discussion (though I'm open to other ideas that you may have in comments).
So what are basic human rights? To me, they are real things. Things you are endowed with at no cost, upon birth. The right to free speech, for example. The right to associate with whomever you like. The right to believe what you want. The right to worship as you see fit. These cost nothing. They do not impact others' rights, or other people (physically or directly) in any limiting fashion. What are typically known as "Natural Rights" - a thing Progressives don't believe in because, to them, everything is a social construct and open to manipulation.
Wednesday, June 19. 2019
Sports shouldn't seem to have much in common with the Electoral College, but in fact they share very interesting facets. Sometimes the team that reaches the championship level doesn't 'seem' like it should be there, or even deserve to win. Yet that team, amazingly, will wind up victorious.
I still have friends who want to eliminate the Electoral College. Apparently, they didn't take any courses about history while in high school or college. More and more states are approving bills that will give their Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote. That will 'work' until the national popular vote winner is someone they do not like. It may be Donald Trump, in 2020, who makes that happen. It would be amusing to see these states passing a bill like this because of 2016, and pulling it back because the man they hoped to stop made them look foolish.
Thursday, May 23. 2019
Saturday, May 4. 2019
Life has convinced me not to be. Far too many human qualities are inborn, both strengths and frailties. It is "psycho-utopian" to believe otherwise.
I know my limits pretty well, and have always been determined to blame my disappointments on myself. That's the best, most honest and self-critical approach even when it is ego-damaging. Ego-damaging is soul fertilizer, the wise men say.
But are progressives "Blank Slaters"? Not really, no. Just selectively. This is a longish read, but worth your while: Selective Blank Slatism and Ideologically Motivated Misunderstandings.
Wednesday, May 1. 2019
While I feel bad for Joe and his touchy-feely problem being under attack (not really, I figure he's getting what he deserves for promoting and supporting bad ideas - these idiots all eat their own children and/or parents), he's finding that having a long, storied history is probably going to be harder to overcome than being a creepy uncle.
After all, he was a plagiarist. That cost him a run for the presidency years ago. But now, his racist colors are starting to come out. Yes, it seems Joe was a racist, and even looked to team up with other racists. To stop busing which would help integrate schools. Let's not forget this doozy:
Most Democrats are closet racists. Yeah, they say nice things, and 'feel' the right things. But their practical application of ideas is designed to create, support, and extend servitude of groups they can buy votes from. Which is a practical application of racism.
Wednesday, April 17. 2019
It depends on what one means by "equality," doesn't it?
Equality under law is the most important form of equality, and is remarkably standard now in Western nations. Equality of opportunity is important too. Equality of personal attributes, along with wealth and power, are another matter.
de Toqueville thought a lot about the topic. WILL TOCQUEVILLE’S DILEMMA CRASH AMERICA? Is equality a danger to freedom in a democratic United States?
Wednesday, March 27. 2019
That principle even applies to progressive types too. Some examples:
- People demand that their own kids go to school every day and learn things.
I guess I could go on and on, but it's interesting how our conservative, bourgeois expectations can dissipate the further people are from us.
Tuesday, March 26. 2019
Fake image via Powerline
Instapundit has this meme: "If you consider reporters as Democrat operatives with bylines, a lot of things make sense."
Has it become a new normal that "journalists" have come to view themselves as advocates rather than as reporters? In some ways, Trump has removed the veil. I recall how the press protected Obama and Hillary from all of their errors and misdoings, while anything Trump does is wrong.
Maybe you can say that "journalists" see their role as "to make the world better" - by shaping opinion to fit their own. That is fake news, not reporting. Historically, we view it as propaganda.
The arrogance is mind-boggling. My suspicion is that journalists suffer from inferiority feelings because their role is essentially to be observers of things rather than actors, but if you can see yourself on a noble mission to fix the world in your own image, you can feel heroic instead of passive. You not only have the power to frame reality - you have the power to shape it. Bringing down a President would be a great coup.
Trump's public life will never be free of a Russia taint regardless of reality.
Journalism Dies In Self-Importance
An answer, from The Week:
Glenn Greenwald re MSNBC:
Thursday, March 14. 2019
Friday, January 18. 2019
As I mentioned in an earlier post today, Chris Christie spoke at my conference. He was part of a panel talking about news, and of course everyone wanted to know about 'Russia'.
Christie was my governor for 8 years. I never felt he was a good governor, but he was better than his predecessor, Jon Corzine, by a long shot. He did a few good things in his first few years, then got a little full of himself. I never believed he would work on the national stage, and he didn't.
However, he fills in on sports talk on WFAN and I listen to him there. He's a good commentator. Lots to say, good insight. He's never afraid to talk. As he spoke to us, he was on a panel with 3 others, and he spoke for 90% of the session. All of it was good.
The one takeaway I really liked was his view on Trump. Most of you know I am not a Trump fan, but I'm in absolutely no way a hater of Trump. I just don't agree with some of his policies and I can't stand his attitude or behavior.
That said, I've never felt there's anything 'there' on 'Russia'. Guess what? Christie didn't either, and as he said, it's more likely to turn out that the Mueller investigation shows that the Trump campaign was dysfunctional, that portions were a mess, that some people were engaging in questionable behaviors, but nobody knew what anyone else was doing. He said that's how he felt while he worked on it. It was clear to him Trump loves a chaotic atmosphere because it produces disruption. Christie pointed out that at no point, so far, has Trump 'failed' in any meaningful way. Every time people count him out, he comes through with a victory. Christie believes this, in part, is related to Trump's management style.
This style, he says, is drawn from the Mike Tyson school of boxing. Don't have a strategy. People with strategies tend to overwhelmingly lean on them even as they fail. As you may or may not know, Mike Tyson made his statement, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Tyson later explained this saying, "How much can you endure, buddy?" Trump pushes everything and everyone to their limit. Christie said he loves to see how much they can take, because invariably he can outlast them and that's how he wins most of the time, when he wins.
Christie pointed out that Trump loses quite a bit, too, but he's also good at turning that around, or portraying it in a way to make people see him as a winner regardless of his failure.
That said, his final point is that Trump does face some strong headwinds with the Cohen situation. It's becoming clear he engaged in very questionable behavior. Christie, however, does not feel the Democrats have the will, the capability, or the desire, to impeach Trump. It's his view, if they do, they will create a platform for Trump to ride to victory easily in 2020. He said it's better PR and better theater to talk about it and drive emotion, but actually doing anything will certainly work against them heavily.
Friday, January 11. 2019
Sunday, December 30. 2018
Williamson, from an excellent brief interview:
Saturday, December 15. 2018
Sunday, November 11. 2018
Friday, November 9. 2018
I'll be heading out to Iceland this evening.
Looking forward to getting away from the madness of the last few months. Huffpo is now assuring me that the Dem's minor victory was a massive rebuke of Trump. I still don't see how outspending the Republicans by about 15% and only gaining a slim House margin while losing seats in the Senate is a massive rebuke. Democrats seem to live in a dream world. I know they felt a lot of pain on Wednesday and now they are just trying to rearrange chairs on the deck of the Titanic. Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Occasional Cortex are the new face of their party, and it's sure to cause them problems nationwide. I don't expect much to change for the Democrats.
In NYC, the self-righteous and self-assured were absolutely certain the 'blue wave' was coming. The only blue wave I'm looking for is in a thermal pool in the next few days. I'll simply take in some fjords, the Aurora Borealis, see Glacier Bay, lava fields, etc.
It was supposed to be a relaxing trip with me and the Mrs. Once we'd booked (cheap - $320 per seat R/T all in) flights and our AirBnb, we added our sons. Sticker shock upon arrival with food and drink, I've heard. The boys follow "Game of Thrones", filmed in Iceland, so that will be an enjoyable portion of the trip for them.
Maybe I'll even learn to pronounce some of their words.
Thursday, November 8. 2018
"Tucker Carlson, Fox News host and author of "Ship of Fools", joins Ben to discuss the social impact of rapid technological advances, what role government should or shouldn't play in the economy, and how both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are able to appeal to the same voters..."
Carlson is too humble. How is diversity a strength? Tucker's brain runs on high octane. Enjoyable interview by the annoying but smart-as-heck Shapiro:
Tuesday, November 6. 2018
Just voted. Took me 45 minutes. Longest it's ever taken, midterm or otherwise. Lots of older people, but it's midday so younger people may vote later. Still, given the rain, I was shocked at so many people who were there. It's pouring, and typically that keeps older people at home. Not this year.
The time it took was due to several factors. New machines were confusing. More people than expected showed up. Rain meant some poll workers were cleaning up rather than assisting people. Too much going on. My son came home to vote, and he took over an hour.
I don't care who he votes for, as long as he doesn't vote for Menendez. I've never liked that corrupt jerk. I told my son this, then told him the letter-writing battles I had with that fool back in the 90s when he was my Representative. Back then, he was a Gephardt-style protectionist. Today, he pretends to be a free-trader. He's not. He just wants money shoveled into his pocket for his support down in DC. Corrupt as can be. Hopefully my son will not vote for him.
It's my view the high turnout is better for Republicans than Democrats. While some will say that's counter-intuitive, due to new registrations and younger people not being apathetic as they usually are, I have a different view. National elections with high voter turnouts usually indicate a desire for change.
Either way, one party is going to have some soul-searching to do. If the Republicans suffer a "Blue Wave", there will need to be some work done on what they stand for and represent. I don't believe this outcome is likely at all.
I do think that the Dems will get a small House majority. Very slim. But this will force them to re-think what they stand for, because they are looking for a referendum. I do not think they will get one.
If the Republicans (which I don't think will happen) manage to hold or extend both the houses, that will be a very clear message to the Dems that they need to be retooled in a major way. Frankly, I'd prefer this because it's the best chance to extend the addition of Constitutionalists into the Supreme Court. With Breyer and Ginsburg nearing the end of their useful tenures, it will be important to maintain this position.
2 of the 3 outcomes, and the one I believe is most likely, don't really favor the Democrats in the long run. But anything can happen, and polling has been notoriously awful. From the extremely small sample size I've seen, though, I don't think the Democrats are going to have their 'blue wave'.
We shall see.
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