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
Thursday, February 25. 2016
If you can't see the caption, it is View from School House on 42nd St Between 2nd and 3rd Ave, looking North to Dutch Hill (c. 1863)
Image above from Affordable Housing Starts From the Bottom Up
"My plumbing was installed by Helen Keller and maintained for a century by the Shirk Brothers."
There are more female teachers sleeping with their students than you thought
Can't keep their hands off those young studs
In Biggest Victory For Saudi Arabia, North Dakota's Largest Oil Producer Suspends All Fracking
Saudis will not decrease output
They are back in control of oil prices, and they want to keep them low
Is There a Better Way to Diagnose Psychosis? A new study opens a door to more biologically based categories of major mental illness
Leftist piety as status signaling
Against the Sticker Chart - Priming kids to expect rewards for good behavior can harm their social skills in the long term.
Brooklyn College Faculty Pushed Into Israel Wars
Flow of Illegal Immigrant Children Into U.S. Expected to Rise in 2016
Identity politics and the new segregation
Z-man on politicians as Turd Sandwich Salesmen
Pols are by nature fraudulent salesmen
The Blaze explains why you are stupid to like Trump
The Republican Establishment Needs to Stop Worrying and Love the Donald
Donald Trump's Record of Business Failures and Bluster
All entrepreneurs have lists of failures
Iran pledges thousands of dollars for Palestinian terrorists
How The Iran-Russia-Syria Alliance Is The Middle East’s ‘Number One Problem’
Nope. Maybe our problem, but not their problem.
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Tell it Z-man. From the Althouse blog, here is Shouting Thomas putting it just as crudely.
"You incredibly intellectual, high IQ guys all just missed her(refers to Ann Althouse) sensible point, then proceeded to illustrate it in spades.
We're all tired of jackasses braying about their incredible intellects and telling us they deserve to rule us.
We've seen what rule by Goldman Sachs and Simpson Thatcher looks like. It looks like a lot of high IQ jackasses stealing everything they can get their hands on. While simultaneously lecturing us on our stupidity and racism.
This seems to supercede ideology, look at Bernie. Any of the other candidates could have run with this. Why Trump got the traction, I don't know. I suppose it is possible, he is playing the voter, but I am not convinced either way.
From Douglas Adams' "So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish":
“It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."
"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"
"No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."
"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."
"I did," said Ford. "It is."
"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't people get rid of the lizards?"
"It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."
"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"
"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."
"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"
"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?"
"I said," said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?"
"I'll look. Tell me about the lizards."
Ford shrugged again.
"Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them," he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it."
"But that's terrible," said Arthur.
"Listen, bud," said Ford, "if I had one Altairian dollar for every time I heard one bit of the Universe look at another bit of the Universe and say 'That's terrible' I wouldn't be sitting here like a lemon looking for a gin.”
They built some "affordable" housing in the small town I live in. The city sold bonds to build them and gave the money to a semi-public entity who built them and managed them. They don't pay property taxes but ironically my property taxes went up to pay for the bonds. They charge a "reasonable" rent but in the end most of the tenants don't pay that reasonable rent but instead pay little to nothing and are subsidized by a federal program. I tried to get information from the city when they were building them but it seems that it was a secret and they resented citizens asking/questioning them. I got a little information from the managers/builders but I had to lie and make believe I was a section 8 welfare bum to get any information. It seems that "affordable" housing isn't affordable at all. Each unit of what is essentially an apartment building costs about $150,000 to build. Let me put that in perspective because prices for homes are lower here than most places. My home costs $200,000. If I bought the same home in most large North East cities it would cost about $450,000 and if I bought it in greater LA it would go for $750,000. So $150,000 for a 750 sq/ft 2 bedroom apartment is a lot of money. As near as I can figure out people pay about $200 a month to live there while the taxpayer picks up the rest of the cost which is about $700 a month. This includes a very nice management fee to that semi-government entity. Apartments like this around here are about $700 a month. So this is NOT "affordable" housing it is heavily subsidized expensive housing.
Why Closing Gitmo Is Still a Terrible Idea... Does anyone really believe that the French are worried about Guantanamo Bay when they have suspended their own civil-liberties protections to deal with the prospect of more mass-murder attacks?
There's a significant difference between the French emergency power to put someone under temporary house arrest, and putting them in a cage for decades and subjecting them to "enhanced interrogation" at Guantanamo.
That doesn't mean some of the provisions of the French emergency law aren't worrying, especially the lack of judicial review.
It's like the affordable care act.
They didn't mean it's 'affordable' for those paying for it.
When that semi-government entity pays to clean up and renovate a trashed unit that goes vacant, that very nice management fee probably gets whittled down some.
Z-man on politicians as Turd Sandwich Salesmen
It's the Turd Sandwich Republicans made with a thick slab of truthiness between two slices of rage topped with a healthy smear of bile and allowed to fester.
Sure, Obama is a Kenyan usurper bent on setting up the Caliphate. Sure, the Democrats want to destroy the United States and turn it over to the Mexicans. Sure, there's death panels in ObamaCare. Sure, Saddam was going to arm al Qaeda with WMD. Sure, Obama's not a real president (wink, wink, you know what it means).
IMHO, Trump is doing well because he is the un-politician. Even Cruz who has been willing to call members of the establishment liars on the Senate floor and who is hated by the establishment isn't a beneficiary of the dystopia that pervades the conservative side of things.
I think Z-man's analogy is weak when describing Trump because Trump doesn't have a whole lot of filing to his sandwich. He has a few tasty morsels but not enough to call a filling, but filling isn't required this time.
Guantanamo has generally been outside of U.S. law and outside of international law. Nonetheless, there's still a significant difference between temporary house arrest and endless imprisonment and enhanced interrogation. France struggles with these issues as well, but that doesn't mean they aren't concerned about events outside their country. Indeed, their own history may make them more sensitive to abusive government, just as American citizens tend to be sensitive about racial issues, having had to confront those issues in the past.
Dang. Matt Walsh seems about ready to collapse weeping against Donald Trumps chest.
For me, its simple.
Tump turns out to be a leftist? What we would've gotten anyway-no one else is going to touch Hillary or Bernie.
Trump turns out to just be a run of the mill Republican? Hows he gonna do worse than the last ones?
Trump actually does whst he says: great day in the morning!
We could've handled immigration 4 years ago with an amnesty/border plan. But Obama, snd leftists in general, want, in so many words., to replace the American population. So you get nationalism. Nothing else worked.
And trump isnt going to renege. His entire life is based on the idea that he is the best and most successful. To cap off a lifetime of handshake deals, towers, success, snd a name that means quality and luxury with treachery would be literally unthinkable to the sort of guy that writes his name in two story high letters on the side of skyscrapers.
No, the biggest problem in the Middle East is NOT Russia, Iran and Assad's Syria. It IS the U.S. policy designed by CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrators in the administration bent on overthrowing the governments there and in northern Africa so they can install a caliphate run by the Muslim Brotherhood just as Erdogen wishes. How's Libya working for ya, Hillary?
Odd, isn't it, that transcripts of phone calls finally prove our ally Turkey is supporting ISIS?
Libya? Hillary? Works for her, she continues to much on Huma's carpet! And dodge prosecution that would land lesser mortals in jail for the rest of their lives.
Oh, and just how badly have our intelligence agencies been hurt, their agents compromised or killed even, by Hillary's horrific and deliberate use of an easily-hacked server, put in place to cover her influence-peddling through the Clinton's Foundation, a/k/a. the Clinton Crime Family??
I find it interesting that Saudi Arabia thinks they have saved themselves by keeping oil prices low. They don't understand what America is like. Guess what Saudi Arabia? We are an innovative, wealthy and economically diverse nation. Doesn't bother us very much if frackers go out of business if oil prices are low! That benefits the American consumer. No big deal.
If oil prices go back up, the fracking returns. That oil doesn't disappear. It lies in wait for the next moment when it is needed.
Also, since we are innovators, we are always looking for ways to recover oil more cheaply. Eventually fracking will be more affordable.
So go for it, Saudi Arabia, hurt your own bottom line (for your whole economy is built around oil...you have no back up plan). We will buy your cheap oil as long as you want to keep it that way.
The issue of "enhanced interrogation" has been overblown by the left. THere were very few instances of it, it was generally effective, and it isn't anything that isn't done to many of our own soldiers during training. I will note that I met a guy who was caught undercover and beat up by his captors and was also waterboarded. He said he'd prefer to be beat up.
As for "endless imprisonment", it is common to hold the enemy till the end of the conflict. This conflict may last generations so I'd prefer to find out what I could from them and then shoot them when they tried to escape. In the end, it's no different from what Obama does with drones only we don't get the benefit of what they know.
I agree. The US should stop taking these prisoners and shoot them when caught.
I don't want this islam trash on American soil.
So-called 'successful' people are people who have usually failed several times. The difference between them and most other people---so-called 'failures'---is that they keep getting back up again.
mudbug: The issue of "enhanced interrogation" has been overblown by the left... I will note that I met a guy who was caught undercover and beat up by his captors and was also waterboarded. He said he'd prefer to be beat up. [/b]
It's torture, by your own estimation, something the U.S. has promised not to engage in.
mudbug: [i]As for "endless imprisonment", it is common to hold the enemy till the end of the conflict.
Sure, in which case, they have to be accorded POW status, or charged with a crime.
mudbug: In the end, it's no different from what Obama does with drones only we don't get the benefit of what they know.
The difference is, of course, that the treatment of prisoners under your control is by a different standard than the treatment of an armed enemy.
Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz: The US should stop taking these prisoners and shoot them when caught.
Summary execution is also something the U.S. has promised not to do, is perhaps not a power you would want to give to the government, nor would it allow for the collection of information about the enemy.
The Geneva Accords are only applicable between signatories.
As far as I know, ISIS, Al Quaeda and others aren't signatories.
We may CHOOSE to abide by them - but we are not bound by them, and can choose not to abide by them.
Z: It's torture, by your own estimation, something the U.S. has promised not to engage in.
Not by my estimation. The person I referred to didn't say it was torture. The definition of torture involves pain or suffering. My understanding from another guy I know who was waterboarded is that it make you afraid but is not particularly painful or involve suffering. I do not dispute that it is possibly in a gray area, but from what I understand, it is not torture.
Z: Sure, in which case, they have to be accorded POW status, or charged with a crime.
Ok. I'll agree they should be granted POW status if they aren't already.
Z: The difference is, of course, that the treatment of prisoners under your control is by a different standard than the treatment of an armed enemy.
I agree. That's why I'd shoot them as they try to escape. When they are escaping, they are not under our control.
Would you rather hire someone for a complex, demanding job who's never done anything applicable to the job, or someone who's done a lot of applicable work and occasionally failed?
We don't need another political wonk who's spent decades towing the party line and has about as much original thought as a kumquat - we need someone who can tell when stuff doesn't work and quickly change to something that does.
But there'll be one heck of a lot of institutional inertia to fight in the process.
I've read and heard in many places that those who might be drawn to Cruz are otherwise turned off not by his prickly and absolutist defense of the Constitution but rather by something over which he has no control: his looks. That he reminds some of Sen. Joseph McCarthy appears to be a sticking point. His tone of voice can seem strident when he's laboring to prove a point, but I clearly hear the voice of a man who feels and believes deeply in the basic rights and values that our Constitution outlines, and abhors what has been done to it.
They'd rather go with soft and squishy Rubio with his boyish, 'aw shucks' demeanor which seeks to placate and massage our emotional selves instead of swallowing the bitter pill and doing what's right.
I get the Trump phenomenon; on some level I'm sympathetic to it. He's tapped into something that's been ignored and ridiculed for decades - the American peculiarity that prefers to be governed by those who have a little know-how in the private sector, and not a bunch of finger-wagging nags who want nothing but to appear to be our betters.
As a point of reference, Warren Harding's cabinet list consisted of "a cross-section of successful America: a car manufacturer, two bankers, a hotel director, a farm-journal editor, an international lawyer, a rancher, an engineer, and only two professional politicians." - cited from 'Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Nineties'.
I realize that things have changed considerably from 1920's America to now. Many of those named above would now be in bed with lobbyists and the federal government for subsidies and other handouts that didn't exist then. But those who find appeal in Trump would like it to become that again; a looser hand on the tiller and let the market be the guide.
Saboteurs are not protected by the Geneva Conventions or typical Laws of War. In earlier conflicts, a captured saboteur, after a brief hearing, was shot.
re There are more female teachers sleeping with their students than you thought
Is there a common psychological profile for teachers displaying this type of behavior?
JLawson: The Geneva Accords are only applicable between signatories.
The Convention Against Torture applies to all persons. The U.S. President signed the Convention in 1988, and the U.S. Senate ratified the Convention in 1994.
mudbug: The person I referred to didn't say it was torture.
Beating prisoners is universally considered torture. Waterboarding is worse than beatings, so waterboarding is torture. In any case, waterboarding meets the definition of torture as defined in the Convention Against Torture.
mudbug: I'll agree they should be granted POW status if they aren't already.
No. They do not have POW status, and probably wouldn't qualify as POWs under the Geneva Conventions. If they have committed terrorists acts, then they are criminals and should be treated as such. That means trial and, if guilty, punishment under the law. Turns out that the U.S. used torture a lot more than the American public would care to believe, and that's why many of the prisoners can't be given a fair trial.
Countries do have a right to self-defense, but there has to be some sort of check on government power.
mudbug: That's why I'd shoot them as they try to escape.
If you engineer their execution, then it is no different than summary execution.
NJSoldier: Saboteurs are not protected by the Geneva Conventions or typical Laws of War. In earlier conflicts, a captured saboteur, after a brief hearing, was shot.
The accused have a right to a trial, even in wartime. A military tribunal can sometimes provide a venue for the trial of war crimes, but it can't be a summary execution.
Z: Waterboarding is worse than beatings, so waterboarding is torture. In any case, waterboarding meets the definition of torture as defined in the Convention Against Torture.
Why is waterboarding worse than beatings? The Geneva Convention defines torture references pain and suffering. How does that relate to waterboarding?
Z: No. They do not have POW status...
That's right! I rescind my suggestion that they be treated as POWs. They are terrorists and as such, they are not covered by the Geneva Convention. They are not criminals either. They deserve no quarter. In the case of Islamist terrorists, I think Pershing had the right idea. Shoot a pig in front of the group of terrorists. Dip all the bullets in the blood and then shoot all but one of the terrorists. Let the last one go tell his buddies that they run a real risk of not going to heaven.
Z: If you engineer their execution, then it is no different than summary execution.
Whatever. See the previous answer.
Sticker chart article- Wow those East Coast magazines sure find stupid people to write article.
mudbug: Why is waterboarding worse than beatings?
Per your acquaintance, he said "he'd prefer to be beat up." That makes waterboarding worse.
mudbug: They are not criminals either.
Of course they're criminals if they committed terrorism.
mudbug: They deserve no quarter.
The U.S. has promised to abide by international norms with regards to prisoners.
Z: Per your acquaintance, he said "he'd prefer to be beat up." That makes waterboarding worse.
No, that means he thought it was worse. Another friend of mine didn't think it was all that big a deal. In his training exercise, he was given information that he was waterboared to get him to divulge the information. It was unsuccessful.
Z: Of course they're criminals if they committed terrorism.
Not in the traditional sense. They are combatants.
Z: The U.S. has promised to abide by international norms with regards to prisoners.
Yeah, well, when the prisoner tries to escape, he can be shot.
Six pints of bitter. And quickly, please. The world's about to end.
Institutional inertia can be dealt with in government by utilizing massive layoffs and firings. Reagan used this on the air traffic controllers. It needs to be used across all of the government agencies...even close some agencies.
"They are back in control of oil prices, and they want to keep them low."
Well - they don't WANT to keep them low, but political exigencies force them to do so. They were quite happy to have them high not even a year ago.
Mexico's ex-El Presidente Vincente Fox doesn't want to pay for the "f##king wall" -- his words. Well, the U.S. can just tack on a 4% remittance tax for all those who send money from their U.S. jobs to families and friends in Mexico (amounting to over $25 billion last year). Dah, dah! The $10 billion wall is paid for in 10 years.
I would also require hospitals to verify citizenship/insurance before treating walk in patients and if they are illegal aliens the federal government could reimburse the hospital in exchange for the personal information pertaining to the patient. The Feds could then charge back to the country of origin for the costs of their citizens.
mudbug: They are combatants.
They are accused of being unlawful combatants, war criminals.
mudbug: Yeah, well, when the prisoner tries to escape, he can be shot.
You can use reasonable force, but you can't legally engineer a situation in order to justify summary execution.
I'm not going to wring my hands raw over some islam shot before he can surrender. Or trying to surrender. Or after surrender.
And I say this in all sincerity as the greatest civil libertarian and constitutional rights advocate on this forum.