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, May 27. 2015
Sunday, May 24. 2015
Thursday, May 14. 2015
Tuesday, May 12. 2015
We recently linked Surber on Col. John Gunby. A history buff pal emailed this comment:
Wednesday, April 15. 2015
I’m not going to paint this post with pictures or videos, but just let the words stand on their own. Today is Yom Hashoah, the day of remembrance of the millions of Jews singled out for slaughter in World War II and the heroes who fought back. Everyone says “never again”, but we all know that is a hollow pretense for almost all who say it. We have watched mass slaughters, including some specifically targeted against discrete ethnic or religious groups, and done little or nothing. As always, almost all say it’s not their business or they don’t want to get involved or similar. So, where does that really leave the Jews of Israel who are daily, openly threatened with extinction by MidEast fanatics who are gathering the means to do so, and getting closer? It leaves the Jews of Israel to do everything possible within its limited persuasion and power to protect itself. That’s the simple truth of the matter. And, the other simple truth of the matter is that the enemies of Israel have so infected this administration in Washington that it is speeding and easing the day of confrontation, in effect and in direct consequences of Washington’s weakness.
It is not surprising that some Jews in the US go along, either out of comforts or lack of ever actually feeling the wolf’s breath. There have always been such. And, although fate has not been kind to them in the past, they are an infection that is not due any excuses for their perfidy. These are simple truths. We will all face the violent outcome and consequences -- regardless of religion or national background -- either by fallout or the burning of our souls in the hell deserved for cowards. Or, we can be more forthright and outspoken and involved in doing all we can, really, to turn this administration away from utter capitulation and the prospective presidential candidates from any shadow of such policies.
Sunday, April 12. 2015
Sunday, March 29. 2015
The genius of Anglo-American law and its relationship to individual freedom, property rights, capitalism, contracts, and equality under the law.
The above is a section from Alan Macfarlane's excellent, or should I say "magisterial" book, The Invention of the Modern World.
A quote from the section:
Wednesday, March 18. 2015
A famous Cape-Codder, Lorenzo Dow Baker (scroll down a little for the story):
As the 8th & youngest child of a fisherman and his wife, Lorenzo grew up on a homestead on Bound Brook Island on the bay side of northern Wellfleet. When he was 6, his mother died and his dad married a widow with several children of her own. Needless to say, his was not an easy life. He was apprenticed to a fishing captain at age 10, became a cook on a fishing schooner at age 15 and was considered an outstanding fisherman at the age of 18. By age 20, he was captain of a fishing schooner and eventually owned his own fishing schooner, "Vineyard". He married his childhood sweetheart, Martha, when he was 21 and she was 17. They had 4 children, Lorenzo Jr., Joshua, Martha and Reuben. He was a devout Methodist and a devoted husband and family man. For nine years, he made his living as a sea captain and fisherman...
Read the rest of the story.
Friday, March 13. 2015
Saturday, March 7. 2015
Wednesday, February 25. 2015
Continue reading "New York is a Dying City"
Sunday, February 22. 2015
Saturday, February 14. 2015
Thursday, February 12. 2015
Saturday, January 31. 2015
Saturday, January 17. 2015
Thursday, January 8. 2015
I always wondered whatever happened to organ grinders. I'd never seen one in the US, except on cartoons or in old movies. I saw quite a few when I lived in London in 1983 (I have a picture of a particularly colorful one). I had no idea LaGuardia outlawed them, or his reasons for doing so. With the swipe of a pen, he outlawed a form of employment (beats the hell out of other forms of begging, if you ask me). But you can be assured, it was in the "best interest of the people" (and the monkeys!). I'm certain this is precisely how Mayor Bill feels about horse carriages. His views are the only ones that matter because nobody else really cares about those poor horses, right? It's in our best interest, of course. Below is a picture of one of the last legal organ grinders in NYC.
Tuesday, December 30. 2014
From Wikipedia, where I was doing some background research on various football teams:
In 1930, there were still many who questioned the quality of the professional game, claiming the college "amateurs" played with more intensity than professionals. In December 1930, the Giants played a team of Notre Dame All Stars at the Polo Grounds to raise money for the unemployed of New York City. It was also an opportunity to establish the skill and prestige of the pro game. Knute Rockne reassembled his Four Horsemen along with the stars of his 1924 Championship squad and told them to score early, then defend. Rockne, like much of the public, thought little of pro football and expected an easy win. But from the beginning it was a one-way contest, with Friedman running for two Giant touchdowns and Hap Moran passing for another. Notre Dame failed to score. When it was all over, Coach Rockne told his team, "That was the greatest football machine I ever saw. I am glad none of you got hurt." The game raised $100,000 for the homeless, and is often credited with establishing the legitimacy of the professional game for those who were critical.
Not an insubstantial sum, it represented .6% of per capita government welfare spending in the New York area. Total government (federal, state, and local) spending in 1930 was $11.9bb and only $300mm was on welfare. By 1934, those totals were $12.8bb and $1.0bb. By 1940, the same figures were $20.4bb and $2.1bb.
For all the problems the NFL faces, there is still plenty to feel good about, though I don't think it would be easy to match that $1.4mm figure today, unless all the ticket receipts were just turned over.
Sunday, December 28. 2014
Wednesday, December 10. 2014
Sometime in 1996, I was scuba diving off the Outer Banks. Between dives, the boat captain and I had a conversation. His view was that in 20 years, water would be big business. I found that humorous, but as time passed, it struck me it has become a major industry. Or has it?
We spend little time considering something so basic, so essential, to life. It seems like something we don't really have to think about. Water is, after all, plentiful. But it takes considerable work to make it as plentiful as it is.
While water is handled as a public utility, the reality is there is a huge market for it and it is, as the captain suggested, big business. But it's always been big business, we just don't pay much attention to it because it's always available.
I had no idea the NY Public Library was built on the remains of the Croton Reservoir...
Walsh: Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown.
Sunday, December 7. 2014
Mrs. BD snapped this pic of one of the wonderful tiles in NYC's Astor Place subway station."In the mid-to late-19th century, the area was home to many of the wealthiest New Yorkers, including members of the Astor, Vanderbilt and Delano families"
Why beavers? Because John Jacob Astor, at one time the wealthiest man in America, made his fortune in beaver pelts (and wisely went on to invest his beaver wealth in NYC real estate).
Why the Waldorf-Astoria? Because Johann Jakob Astor was an immigrant from Waldorf, Germany.
Friday, December 5. 2014
Thursday, December 4. 2014
He then took each to the side for a personal word.
Perhaps not as meaningful as his farewell speech to the troops, but the depth of his relationships which grew from the war followed him for years to come. Many continued to visit him at Mount Vernon. For obvious reasons, he will remain the only US President elected unanimously by the Electoral College.
Wednesday, December 3. 2014
When we hear how terrible politics are today, we fail to understand just awful they were in the early 1800's. It's not so much that things are bad today, but we should consider as a nation we went through a period of relatively limited political differentiation for quite some time from the Depression until about 1980. The political turmoil we are experiencing today isn't too different from our early years as a nation, much of which was mimicked at the turn of the 19th century. Adams held office at a time of massive partisanship, bickering and outright slander, at times.
John Quincy's years in the White House were spent trying to find things to do to keep himself occupied, since nothing he would propose could ever make it through Congress, such was Andrew Jackson's chokehold on the legislative branch. He was often ridiculed in the press, and often the butt of jokes during his tenure. Yet he persevered and was the only president to ever return to the House of Representatives (Andrew Johnson returned to the Senate).
John Quincy accomplished more before, and after, his presidency than most individuals of any stripe are capable of achieving. He was a master negotiator, a magnificent statesman, and a strong believer in the rights of man. He campaigned relentlessly to free the slaves upon his return to Congress, which led to the famous "Gag Rule," named after one of his comments. Despite being gagged, Adams was an expert Parliamentarian and found ways to have his voice heard.
He was the first US ambassador to Russia, and well liked there due to his role as secretary, at the age of 14, to Francis Dana from 1780 to 1783 in St. Petersburg. He worked hard, along with his father, to gain independence from Britain.
Adams was a promoter of education and science. We can thank him for the development of the Smithsonian Institute. Adams prevented Smithson's funds from being divided for political spoils and putting them to work for the country and education.
He was the first president ever photographed (the first sitting president to be photographed was William Henry Harrison in 1841, Adams' original picture was destroyed and he had new ones taken in 1843).
We often overlook many of our presidents, for obvious reasons. Some are larger than life. It's possible John Quincy was larger than our imagination, mainly because his term in office left him as an asterisk for many schoolchildren. "The son of a founding father and first child of a president to attain that office" is how I learned about him. His lack of effectiveness in office may have led to him being overlooked after years had passed, but it doesn't diminish his impact on our nation. We owe quite a bit to him.
(Page 1 of 23, totaling 573 entries) » next page