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, October 29. 2011
Snow and wind headed to Yankeeland. A Nor'easter. Don't be surprised if our servers go down sometime tonight or tomorrow. As it is, they are just held together with baling wire, duct tape, and hope. New England Yankees are cheap - we always just patch it up. Anyway, how soon before an early snow is blamed on global warming?
Where are the ducks?
Nekked lady hunters want to know where to find a good duck
What is a Swamp Yankee?
That would be us, more or less, I think. I have plenty of ancestors buried in Kingstown, RI.
Lee Siegel considers the weird comedy of letters between T.S. Eliot and Groucho Marx
In the Holy Land, a changed Christian world
Howard Stern talks to OWS
A college-loan scam - Schools gain, families get debt
Many retirees feel they have ‘paid’ for benefits through their payroll taxes. This is much closer to being true for Social Security than it is for Medicare
The Assad Regime’s Continuing Mass Murder of Syrians
Greed: Obama Skirts Own Fundraising Rules as Small Donors Flee
Ohio ballot measure raises Democrats’ hopes for 2012
Democrats increasingly down on ObamaCare
Can You Be Guilty of Insider Trading Without Personal Gain?
Occupy EPA, Not Wall Street
James O'Keefe Scores Another Hit On the New York Times, Jay Rosen, and Clay Shirky.
What I find most dispiriting is not the decline, which as Gardiner notes is not yet irreversible, but that over 40% of the population still approves of the job Obama is doing.
The Facts of Life Are Conservative, Even in Zuccotti Park
Scared he'll be the VP candidate
Paul Ryans' speech at the Heritage Foundation:
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The Facts of Life Are Conservative
I've been pondering this concept for a long time - years in fact. I've come to the conclusion that neither conservative or progressive politics exhibit the true nature of their respective political views.
My view is that both conservative and progressive politics are actually more alike than different being distinct from each other only in perspective. Both political views tend to use policies, regulations and laws to protect their own interest(s) without regard to the always present Law of Unintended Consequences the results of which lead to more policies, rules, regulations and laws and on and on and on to the benefit of whom ever holds the power and the purse strings.
I think it is a false premise that "life is conservative". Life has no opinion on the matter because the quality and every day functions of life are formed, at least in human terms, by those we allow to lead at any given time. Those who are best at adapting to the ebbs and flows of political change will do well in either political environment - that does not require being conservative or progressive. Life only requires that one adapt to one position or the other to be successful.
A better way to view it is that Life is A Chameleon changing all the time - at least I think so. Looking at the whole Zuccotti Park situation, it proves, at least in my opinion, that I'm right. That the lesson of Zuccotti Park will be that we're all living under the same rules using the same tools and it doesn't matter if we are conservative or progressive.
Where are the ducks?
On Lake Murray last time I checked. Must have been a couple of hundred of them last Sunday and yesterday morning when I went out North of Bomb Island they were everywhere on the water in groups of 50 or more. I did send in a report, but Orangeburg is the only one listed. Maybe I did it wrong. By the way do ducks fly as a flock or in formation? I ask only because I saw a huge flight of black ducks (I think they are black ducks - they were black) and they were sort of organized like geese - loosely and not as regimented, but still organized.
The Global Moral Hazard Dawns:
I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I could have told her that - didn't require an advanced degree in economics to understand that the "contagion" would spread to other countries in the Eurozone that aren't France or Germany.
The simple truth is that the Euro and the Eurozone is toast - done for - in it's final death throes. It will all return to national currencies, border controls, rates of exchange and what not very shortly. Europe will not become a war zone though - they won't have enough money to wage war. :>)
I hope you're right about Europe. I thought the Euro was doomed from the start, so this really isn't all this surprising to me.
But I worry about the war issue. It doesn't cost much to wage war when you have a particular goal in mind and people willing to go without when the alternative is still going without and not having a goal.
You've got Greeks calling Angela Merkel "Adolph Merkel" and posting pictures of her wearing Nazi gear. Doesn't take much to take the next step, and once you've taken that, you begin to think 'in for a penny, in for a pound'.
The huntress illustrates the practical necessities that drove the Amazon lifestyle in a way that mere text never could. I think it would provide an excellent subject of discussion in a classroom setting.
The Foulk Minifesto is good Christian values. I have no problem with them.
But expanding them into the public sphere, into politics, I start to waver. These are values which drive individuals, not societies.
Self-reliance isn't about the guy who has to drive to the food pantry to get food for his family. Self-reliance is a mixture of others seeing those in this plight and not only helping to stock the pantry, but assisting people in getting what they need. The flip side of self-reliance is giving back.
Elizabeth Warren's commentary wasn't 'wrong' in the sense that giving back for having your good fortune is to be avoided. It was wrong because she claims it needs to be enforced, that there is not, nor should be, a choice in the matter.
Self-reliance is about knowing what you can do for yourself, then once you're taken care of, finding ways to take care of others you care about (or may not necessarily care about, but feel obliged to assist). I do this at work all the time. It's part of being on a team.
But being on the team means an individual buying into a system, not having the system forced upon you. Plenty of coaches remove players who don't fit their system, trade them, and they flourish elsewhere (or they don't). But forcing a round peg in a square hole tends to make the team worse, not better.
Self-reliance, from the other point of view, from the standpoint of having little or nothing, has more to do with figuring out what you can do with what you have. If I have to get to the pantry to feed my family, I have to investigate opportunities which may exist to get there, or at least get the gas I need.
I've not reached that point in my life, but I've been close on a few occasions after periods of unemployment. It's distressing to see the savings account dwindle, know your unemployment is about to run out, and not have a job prospect. But that doesn't mean there are no alternatives. It just means trying to think differently about how to get from point A to point B.
It's precisely this unique thinking capability which has always set America apart. One of Richard Feynman's comments about the education system in the US, compared to other countries he'd worked, was the ability of American schools to promote out of the box thinking. Many other nations removed the concept of questioning authority from their curriculums, and accept rote memorization of perceived facts as the goal.
Has our system reached a point that too few of us are able to think strategically? Are we all incapable of taking a different view of our status and devising solutions? It's possible, but I don't believe it.
What I do believe is that many of us have become complacent about how we approach our situations. We reached a point of expecting things to always get better if we just keep doing what we do. As I was taught, if get what we get because of what we do, and all we do is what we did, then why do we expect to get something different?
That's the basis of self-reliance. Some are better at it than others. But that's precisely why our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution don't say "everyone gets more stuff all the time regardless of what they do." It says something very different, and allows individuals to work for what they get. We're not promised anything.
I think the lessons of WWI and WWII are strongly ingrained within the collective consciousness of Europeans - I don't think they want a repeat of strong Germany stomping all over the rest of them again either which may be the cause of all this "Merkel/Hitler" nonsense. They will probably just bite the bullet and say "yes mam" and try to put the pieces back together.
Then again, the Euro, in part, was designed to avoid this type of situation - how'd that work out for them?
I remember the recession of '56 very well - my Dad lost his advertising position at Allis Chalmers and things were a little on the "iffy" side for our family. Dad just kept on keeping on starting a business newsletter that received some positive attention which eventually led to his permanent employment as a Business Editor for Hearst Newspapers. You get knocked down, you get back up again - how else does it work?
I've been there and so have others I suspect. I lost a business, some friends and my self-respect until I managed to get straight and begin all over again at the age of 30. Eighteen years later I was successful enough to semi-retire - admittedly it caused some health problems for me, but in the end, it was totally worth it as I had strong business contacts that kept me busy in my "dottage" and still does actually.
So on that we can agree - in the end you have to rely on yourself which is a lesson that some never learn.
chuck ... If by "the huntress" you mean the pretty naked lady with the rolled down hip boots, she's "disremembering" the instructions for staying warm. It's your head you should keep warm as well as your feet. Oh well. Don't worry. Some nice man will rush in to help her any moment now....