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, April 16. 2016
A Debate Over the Shape of the Invisible Universe - The more astronomers learn about dark matter, the more intriguing it becomes.
Artificial Intelligence Can Now Design Realistic Video and Game Imagery
‘Tiger Whisperer’ mauled to death by tiger
Like the grizzly guy. These people are deluded
‘Life After College’ Author Jeff Selingo: ’50 Percent Of Recent College Graduates Are Under-Employed’
In their humble opinion
Helping to level the AP playing field: Why eighth grade math matters more than you think
The Poverty Excuse for School System Failure is Nonsense
Ohio University students demand police investigation after peers mock safe-spaces
Some at Rhodes College see racist messages in ‘prank’
Racism must be invented to keep that narrative going
Artificial Intelligence Can Now Design Realistic Video and Game Imagery
Unhinged Leftist of the Week
Thousands of teachers flock to ‘White Privilege Conference’
"...ObamaCare was always meant to collapse the private insurance industry
How the GOP Made Obama One of America’s Most Powerful Presidents - By stonewalling new laws and new budgets, Congress handed control to the White House.
Budget cuts leaving Marine Corps aircraft grounded
Germany's Merkel criticized for allowing prosecution of comedian who mocked Erdogan
Germany has strange laws
Aggressive UN Pushing High-Risk Birth Control on African Women Who Don't Want It
Hate Hoax: Syrian Refugee in Bingen am Rhein Spray-Paints Swastikas, Sets Fire to Shelter
The BDS Movement: On The Inside
Hoax: Syrian Refugee in Bingen am Rhein Spray-Paints Swastikas, Sets
Fire to Shelter - See more at:
Tracked: Apr 17, 09:24
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I don't think subway is losing money because of the healthy conscious or not enough choices or any of those variables.
It's the economy.
Where I live there are few limited choices to grab lunch fast and they all look like they are hurting. The lines used to snake around the McD's from 11- 1:30, I didn't bother to even try to pull in there.
And subway's prices rose when the mandatory calorie listing become enforced. Not that I think, by the looks of anyone that they even care about that.
McD's is a turn-off because it takes so long, if someone is ordering one of those iced crappucino's or shakes (non- fat or full fat? Cherry, no cherry?) add another 5 minutes between ordering and preparing.
You're food is cold by then. I'm not even in a particular hurry because I'm self employed and not run by the clock.
An old blog comment from someone named Jane: Let's see, the electronic manufacturing jobs went to Japan decades ago, then all the labor intensive manufacturing jobs went to Asia, the rest were automated; half of our IT jobs went to India. Agriculture, construction, landscaping, housekeeping, restaurant jobs went to illegals.
When manufacturing jobs started to disappear, people went into construction, distribution, transportation, retail, or back to school for IT and Finance. Then the dotcom bust and outsourcing killed off job prospects for IT grads, leaving Finance and Real Estate. Now that Wall Street and Real Estate have imploded, dragging with it Retail, distribution, and what's left of manufacturing, construction...What is left, if you don’t think handouts, subsidies, and fake, make work jobs are a solution?
The government(includes medicine now)!Punditry and activism! To the extent that they even grasp these dynamics, pols don’t address these issues because they don’t have any solutions. Maybe we can all be landscapers?
I’m not sure that in terms of employability, college matters for the masses. It used to be the ticket to a decent job and the chance to avoid stoop labor and dead end service jobs. Labor specialists have reported the following for some time. The new jobs that are being created are more likely to fall into the low skilled category or they require highly creative or abstract skill sets. It is not that mid level skilled jobs aren’t being created too, but they are not being created as fast as they disappear.
College for all seems to be putting the cart before the horse, unless its purpose is just to delay or postpone the entry of millions into the workforce. We need to be asking what are the wealth generating jobs that people can go back to? Or, just address the basic question of what are the jobs of the future going to look like? In the 70s & 80s, the conversations on these issues were more robust and substantive. It was already becoming clear that workers would have to reinvent themselves a couple of times in their lifetime, hence the explosion of affordable technical and community colleges.
A Debate Over the Shape of the Invisible Universe - The more astronomers learn about dark matter, the more intriguing it becomes.
Heh. Not learn; project.
Invisible "dark matter" is a temporary ad hoc fudge factor to patch the obsessive relativist's King Gravity standard cosmological model. There is no such thing. Dark matter is an 80 year old placeholder to "explain" galactic rotation.
NASA itself recently finds, for example, that the Milky Way alone is surrounded by a 300,000 light year diameter ball of hidden-in-plain-sight, half-a-million degree plasma, the mass of which is as much as said galaxy with field forces many orders of magnitude greater than the strictly gravitational model allows home neighborhood. Entire nebulas roll through space comprised of little more than vast masses of hydrogen exerting enormous forces, few stars and no magical invisible dark matter needed.
Not that The Atlantic would ever publish a pop potboiler, or that readers would adopt DM with the same unscientific zeal they do big bangerism, but things are somewhat more complicated - and more explainable once you ditch the dogma - than the status quo allows. Along with half a dozen other artifacts of the standard model, so-called dark matter is today's signpost that beyond here lie dragons, or that man will never fly.
Americans have been reinventing themselves for decades, at least up until 2008. But, in fairness to Williamson, we do know that the economic rationale for the Rustbelt, based on the proximity to Great Lakes transportation, iron ore, and coal, ain't what it used to be. Detroit is just the most glaring example. For example, Chicago exists where it is because it is on a Continental Divide, then was able to pivot to timber, iron ore, coal, in short, steel and heavy industry, and, with the coming of rail, agriculture, distribution, and later finance. Southern rural electrification, the Interstate Hghwy, and Air Conditioning, in tandem with Globalization, slashed into the advantage of being in the Great Lakes basin.
People have been leaving for decades. I don’t know how I feel about the depopulation of the Heartland into major urban centers or the South. I am not convinced they will be better off, since I think, long term, the Great Leveling will spread everywhere in America, except for a few Industries and a dynamic pockets here and there.
I don’t get Williamsons claim that the rural meth heads of rural America are Trump supporters. These are the folks looking for handouts and subsidies. Why would they look to Trump for that, or did I miss something?
RE ‘Tiger Whisperer’ mauled to death by tiger
“I kind of referred to her as a tiger whisperer,” she added. “They spoke to each other in a language that
that is how the blurb ends, which is suitable.
large animal whisperers are passe. I want to see an ebola whisperer, albeit from a distance.
Williamson: My longstanding advice to ambitious people trapped in stagnant communities — move, for God’s sake!
While it's typical advice in nice neat libertarian theory, when theory meets reality it generates economic friction. Relocation takes money, which may not be available. Finding work in a new city can be difficult without the connections that come from living in a community. One spouse may still have a decent job. The kids may still be in school and uprooting children can be very stressful. Maybe the family needs to stay near an elderly parent. Over time, people do move, especially the young in search of new opportunities, but that transition can take a generation or more.
"Like the grizzly guy. These people are deluded..."
Yes indeed. People can really get delusional about Mother Nature. We've just had a raccoon evicted from our attic and let me tell you, those guys are as feisty as hell with the claws and teeth to hurt you pretty badly.
If you wouldn't want to go all cutesy and cuddly with a wild animal the size of a small dog, why the hell would you want to do it with a bear or a tiger?
Message to the Earth-huggers: Mother Nature just doesn't care.
That's why sentimentalists and romanticists who wander starry-eyed through the Great Outdoors often end up as lunch for powerful mammals (and the odd reptile).
Didn't take a generation for the flood of Okies to move to California or the flood of blacks to move from the old, Un-Reconstructed South to the northern factory states, so your basic premise is false. (But then, that's to be expected from you.)
"Germany has strange laws"
The laws of countries in continental Europe reflect an entirely different constitutional tradition.
In this regard, the US and the Commonwealth - my country (Canada), the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the like - share a common heritage of jurisprudence that makes us culturally and philosophically alien to the European legal mindset.
I lived in the UK for many a year and in that country's relationship with EU it was rarely the purely economic discussions that created a schism; it was usually the incompatibility of British law vice the statist laws of other EU countries.
Well, there was a helluva lot of relocating going on in the 18th and 19th centuries, without all that sanctimonious hand wringing if the history books are right. [Last phrase provides opportunity for Z to smear history books.]
"Germany's Merkel criticized for allowing prosecution of comedian who mocked Erdogan"
How about 17 American states' Attorney Generals collaborating to attempt to make critique of the false climate change narrative a criminal offense?
Come on BD and Barrister, you're attorneys, where's the outrage against that? Or is withholding that just a matter of "professional courtesy"?
you people love excuses.
would another handout help?
B48: Didn't take a generation for the flood of Okies to move to California
That actually makes the point. People were literally starving, and often left elderly parents behind who suffered immensely.
B48: or the flood of blacks to move from the old, Un-Reconstructed South to the northern factory states
Again, making the point. The Great Migration did take generations, from 1910 to 1970. Also, the oppressive conditions were much worse than current urban problems.
Funny, my parents and their siblings, who grew up in the Depression, figured out what to do despite a lack of money that would put any current whimpering to shame.
BillH: Well, there was a helluva lot of relocating going on in the 18th and 19th centuries, without all that sanctimonious hand wringing if the history books are right.
Sure, some due to persecution (e.g. Pilgrims), some due to starvation (e.g. Irish), some military (e.g. Hessians), some for economic opportunity.
Notably, you pointed to a period of two centuries. We granted that people do migrate over time. However, there is significant friction involved, and a facile "move, for God’s sake!" oversimplifies the struggle it often represents to the migrant.
Texan99: Funny, my parents and their siblings, who grew up in the Depression, figured out what to do despite a lack of money that would put any current whimpering to shame.
Which makes the point. Migration in the Great Depression entailed a great deal of dislocation. It often meant children leaving school to work in the fields. It often meant leaving the elderly behind to fend for themselves. Fortunately, the situation today isn't nearly so dire, and social support means that when people move, their parents have a minimum sustenance.
one of those cats noshed on Roy a few years ago.
which reminds me to ask ... in a Vegas cardroom, what poker hand is called a "Siegfried and Roy"?
It isn't so much about the dying mill towns or aid for them, it is about what they are telling us. The mill towns are dying from various reasons but number one is they were destroyed by politicians and special interests. We should be making steel here in the U.S. but we buy it from China because China has slave labor and we have unions. We buy cars from Japan again because we have unions. When Detroit was a bustling city full of auto workers who owned two homes and took long vacations every year and earned $100,000 a year including overtime, Japan was busy seducing auto buyers. Now that Detroit is worse than a ghost town and half or more of those lucrative auto industry jobs are gone forever the unions have learned nothing (or it is their intent to destroy the country) and now the rest of the auto industry is moving to Mexico (didn't someone warn us about that giant sucking sound).
A union is a wonderful thing... for the union members and politicians. But unions really really suck for everyone else. Our congress and judges have given unions extra-constitutional powers that politicians can only dream about. With those powers they have gotten rich, bought entire political parties, made a few union members happy and destroyed entire industries. Now they are pushing for the $15 minimum wage, NOT for the minimum wage workers, but for the unions who tie their wages on base wages of all workers. This is a backdoor attempt to get even more pay and benefits and destroy even more towns in this country.
GoneWithTheWind: we buy it from China because China has slave labor and we have unions
So the U.S. should have slave labor?
GoneWithTheWind: We buy cars from Japan again because we have unions.
Japan has labor unions.
I don't see any problem with an MRS degree; send your daughter to the right college, have her join the right sorority, and she's set.
I don't blame the underachievers who were told a degree in ethnic studies was a ticket to middle class life because they were told this as stupid teenagers by their even more stupid parents. that, aggravated by available-to-any-student loans not tied to market rates or even the type of degree as an indicator for whether the loans could be repaid, and we've got the current disaster. well, for some, but not for me.
I grew up in an iron mining town in Michigan. When I was in high school all the mines closed so people moved...many to Minnesota where the mines were still open. At 18 I went to college and never went back. I did work in mines all over the world, but not in my hometown. Had the mines still been open I probably would have gone back. Things change. It was a good place to be from.
"...we buy it from China because China has slave labor"
No, we buy it from China because it's less expensive.
And while I'm not one for defending the People's Republic of China, their industrial base does not in fact rely on "slave labor" as you put it.
Just cheaper labour, frequently working in less salubrious conditions than we'd accept in Europe and North America.
As for Japan, most "Japanese" cars in North America are built in, er, North America.
I remember as a kid reading a story about a tiger chasing someone around a tree, but I don't that's allowed any more.
Sadly, our country economy is now much worse off than it was during the Great Depression, and most sectors of the economy have largely ground to a halt. The illusion that the economy is still functioning is kept alive simply by the printing of trillions of dollars of fiat currency, plus keeping interest rates at zero percent. But poverty continues to grow steadily, there are fewer and fewer in the middle class, and companies that are able are fleeing the United States for other countries. Obama and the Democrats have now totally killed off the energy, manufacturing and healthcare sectors; there's not much else left. When the stock market bubble finally bursts, it is going to be very bad, much worse than what our parents and grandparents went through.
their industrial base does not in fact rely on "slave labor" as you put it.
The term slave labor is an expression commonly used to describe China. So we are quibbling over semantics. They do have slave labor too but obviously not all their labor is performed by slaves.
On unions you miss the point, perhaps intentionally. That unions have set up the conditions to drive much of our manufacturing out of this country is unarguable. Love or hate unions it's hard to argue that they aren't self destructive.
Instead of college, any practically-minded teen should be directed - should he/she not be overly academically inclined in the STEM subjects - to a good trades school (or polytechnic as we call them in Canada). Get a practical diploma in a specialty you enjoy and make a decent living. Should you then decide to pursue a university degree, you'll know what you want to do and how to get there. And you'll always have the trade fall back on. Don't see many plumbers and electricians working as baristas.
And I remember, back in the day, a certain pancake chain who served their wares with "tiger butter".
Certain benefits hold people in place, killing them with kindness. Section 8 housing is a good example. It makes the difficult moving of people from nonproductive to productive areas even more difficult.
I get your argument that things were worse with 25% unemployment, etc in the Great Depression, so such radical solutions are not as sensible or obvious now. I don't see your contention that this strengthens your argument. It works in the short run but is devastating in the long run, and the government "incentives" create that.
As a contrast, the more entrepreneurial immigrants comingnhere do not seem to be making that calculation at all, even when they come from fairly nice places.
Amen, with the caveat to anticipate that many of these trades may be swamped by immigrants and others, or they may disappear.
JIm: Sadly, our country economy is now much worse off than it was during the Great Depression
Well, that's a gross exaggeration.
JIm: there are fewer and fewer in the middle class
The middle class has been hollowed out somewhat, which results in social strains of various sorts.
JIm: and companies that are able are fleeing the United States for other countries.
Actually, the U.S. is still one of the best places for capital to be invested. In 2013 alone, $236 billion was invested in the U.S.
Assistant Village Idiot: Certain benefits hold people in place, killing them with kindness. Section 8 housing is a good example.
Section 8 only applies to about 4% of the population. As it is a federal program, there's nothing that holds people to a certain property beyond the term of the lease.
Assistant Village Idiot: I get your argument that things were worse with 25% unemployment, etc in the Great Depression, so such radical solutions are not as sensible or obvious now.
Assistant Village Idiot: It works in the short run but is devastating in the long run, and the government "incentives" create that.
You might be surprised, but we agree somewhat with that as well. There's a tension between providing a minimal safety net for families and the various incentives and disincentives involved. You don't want to let families fall into despair — despair being a real phenomenon that prevents people from achieving their potential —, but you want to make sure they are flexible enough and ambitious enough to seek opportunity.
Incentives work in both directions. For instance, Social Security tends to reduce retirement savings, but it also gives children more flexibility. Nowadays, the extended family household is the exception, not the rule, and children are free to move towards opportunity knowing their parents have a minimal sustenance.