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
Tuesday, December 24. 2019
Pavarotti from Notre Dame. Place is closed this year for the first time in centuries.
Moore is buried uptown. We almost got to that cemetary on our last urban hike.
Somewhat related, The story of the Christmas tree is one of resistance, breakthrough, and change. From the NY Times, 1883:
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 14:57 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
To add to the jollity are the cheerful crowds in midtown. These people, opposite the Tree, are watching the stunning light show on the walls of Saks. Literally nobody had shopping bags - people just loving the vitality and fun. Secular or religious, it's not about shopping. Love this place for vitality, the country for serenity and manual labor.
'Twas a late night for us - but your Editor made it to the gym this morning before work. Like y'all did.
University Rejects Animal-Rights Club Over ‘Emotional Risk’ Concerns
U.S. Prefers Mass Hysteria to Sound Policy on Vaping - Saving the lives of millions of smokers isn’t a priority. Protecting kids from nicotine seems to matter more.
Boston: Renaming Dudley Square
"I don’t want to die!" Climate Exploitation of Children
Trump is Right, Windmills are Terrible
The demand for white supremacists vastly exceeds the supply
Lots of Europeans want to live without chemicals
No education, I spose. Including dihydrogen monoxide?
Transgender Contractor Sues Nike, Citing Personal Pronoun Abuses
Issues 2020: A Fracking Ban Would Trigger Global Recession
Voters Love the Trump Economy
CNBC Reporter Thinks Journalists Are Being Too Fair To Republicans
SHOCK: Inspector General Report Reveals FBI Had Informants Inside The Trump Campaign
Crossfire Hurricane Investigation May Have Been a Joint Operation Between the FBI and CIA
Sure smells like it
The indelible mark of impeachment. - I kept seeing that word — "indelible."
Trump learned from President Nixon's mishandling of the press: "it is not paranoia when they really are out to kill you"
The Hague vs. Israel: Everything you need to know about the ICC Palestine probe
Turkey Can't Handle New Refugee Explosion & Greece Will Be First To Feel Impact: Erdogan
Monday, December 23. 2019
He and his cousin Arthur McBride had an exciting Christmas Day walk. Dylan did a good cover of this Irish song but it's not on youtube. This is much better anyway.
A useful essay. I learned that Lincoln was the first to routinely use the word "nation" instead of "union".
Microsoft Removes Santa Hat Icon After a Single User Complained It Was 'Pushing Religion'
You Think You Know What Hanukkah Is All About? Think Again
How Social Work Became the Pit of Despair It Is Today
Derailing Australia’s Campus Rape Panic
Seeing the Light about the Pending Climate Apocalypse
Boeing Starliner Spaceship Fails Critical Flight Test After Malfunction
Save Me from My Defenders! A protest against me, and its aftermath, at Bard College by Ruth R. Wisse
Jobs in Joe Biden's gunsights are America's highest paid
12 Stories The Media Got Horribly Wrong In 2019 - As the year comes to a close, here are a dozen of the top stories the media majorly messed up.
The Horowitz Report: Yes, It Gets Worse
BARR VERSUS COMEY
Lindsey Graham Promises to Call in EVERY PERSON Who Signed Bogus Carter Page FISA Warrants …Comey, McCabe, Yates, Rosenstein…
Schiff: ‘It’s Hard to Be Sympathetic’ Towards Carter Page Even Though He Was a Victim of FISA Abuse
Judicial Watch Files A Lawsuit Against Adam Schiff And The House Intelligence Committee Over Phone Records
Sunday, December 22. 2019
If you're a Christian, when do you go to church on Christmas week?
It comes up because we "went to church" this morning with my father-in-law. We did indeed go, but they had canceled the early service today so we went to the diner instead and gave the waitress a big Christmas tip. We missed the memo. Mrs. BD and her Dad had 2 eggs benedicts; I had scrambled eggs and bacon.
When I was growing up (Congregationalist), we would often go on Christmas morning, sometimes to the candlelight service on Christmas Eve. Doing both is a real job for pastors, but they signed up for it. Our Congo church now only does Christmas Eve - 3 services. Pastor has a bunch of young kids.
I believe Roman Catholics still do a midnight Mass and a Christmas Day Mass.
A note at our favorite diner made it clear that they have planned a special Christmas Day meal, all day. That's really nice, especially for lonely people. Sweet friendly people work there. Greeks, mostly.
He is back to feeding on the sparrows at my bird feeder. Quite a sight to see him trying to swoop in low under the radar from his perch, then chasing a bird through the bushes with much thrashing around.
Most of his attacks fail, but clearly enough succeed to keep him around. I sometimes term my bird-feeder a Sharpie-feeding station. Somebody should call PETA, because if I did these sorts of things to little songbirds, I'd end up in jail.
Each raptor genus is readily identifiable by profile, regardless of size, maturity, or species.
People over 35 tend to prefer experiences over material stuff unless it's a fun new sports car. A few ideas:
- A rocky Mountain or European guided hiking trip. All sorts of good ones for all levels of fitness on the internet.
- A charitable donation to something good, in their name.
- 7 weeks of 3 day/week sessions with a trainer at a local gym. That's enough time to get the fundamentals of calis and weights, so the spouse can do it on his or her own daily, afterwards. Make sure trainer knows enough about nutrition to handle either muscle-toning or fat loss/weight gain, and is not a musclehead. A skinny friend gained 13 rock-hard lbs from lifting over 10 months.
- 6 months of weekly T injections for the male spouse. It might make the female spouse happier in an animal sense, and the male spouse stronger.
- Tickets for the NYC Ballet always makes the female spouse happy. Happy wife, happy life. If remote, grab a hotel room. Fun. Just not the darn Nutcracker.
- A firearms class of any sort, whether for handgun permit, clays, whatever. Good fun. Guns are fun for guys and gals. My girls get a kick out of shooting (but this year they need/want more musical instruments). I heartily approve of home-made music. Ability without talent is good enough to make a house a home. Mrs. BD and my daughters have ability. My son, not so much it seems, to his sorrow. Vocally, all of us are zeros but that's what instruments are for. Just takes brains.
- Give a gift of a year of Maggie's Farm. It's free, all it takes is the gift of a link to us.
Scott Adams runs through the list at about the 30 minute point on yesterday's podcast.
It's quite a list. Remember, news hoaxes appear when there is not enough Real Bad to report. They have to make fake news to sell it.
1:18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
1:19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.
1:20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
1:21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
1:22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
1:23 "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us."
1:24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife,
1:25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus
Differing Chanukah Stories Still Argued--Repost from 2012 and 2014 with 2019 additions at top and end re: during Holocaust
Dec. 22, 2019: My son is in Rome, en route to Jerusalem for a course during last week of month. Jews filled a large plaza in Rome for first night Chanukah menorah lighting by Chabad, with dancing in the street after.
The earlier written narrative of the Maccabean revolt against Hellenization and outlawing Jewish worship differs in emphasis from the later “official” Jewish take on the result.
The portion of the Apocrypha (biblical era writings not included in the Jewish Bible) dealing with the events does not mention a miracle of one day’s sanctified oil for the Menorah lasting 8 days. The Book of Maccabees speaks, instead, of eight days of rejoicing the victory to substitute for the eight days of the Torah requirement to celebrate Sukkot, which were missed due to the fighting. The eight days celebration of Chanukah (i.e., rededication) became a custom for every year.
Several centuries later, in the Babylonian Talmud (finalized approx. 5th century, Common Era) interpreting Jewish law and customs, the narrative takes on a new twist, emphasis on G-d’s “miracle” of the oil, which downplays the emphasis on the accomplishment of mens’ arms to retrieve the Temple and Judaism from Hellenistic extinction.
What had happened?: The fall of the Temple and the dispersal (Diaspora) of surviving Jews. No longer having a state, Jews had to survive through craft or accommodation (different than assimilation) to the religion and politics of the states they lived within and not by emphasizing their abilities to fight, not to mention win, when persecuted.
The rise of Zionism in the late 1800s and early 1900s emphasized Jews’ ability to fight and win, and to deserve and have a state to protect Jews from thousands of years of oppression, persecution, and murder, based on thousands of years of roots, presence, worship, investment, hard work, and unceasing yearning for Israel. The more secular Zionists’ pragmatic emphasis stood in stark contrast to the more pacifist or accomodationist teachings that had dominated for almost two millennia.
Today, although a small minority within Israel still cling to illusions of a “miracle” of Palestinians and Muslims transforming their hate into peace, a larger proportion of Jews in the US and Europe – less existentially threatened – cling to such illusions. In Israel and elsewhere, Jews light the eight lights of the Menorah with the extra “helper” light, but the emphasized meaning behind the ritual differs. Adherence to G-d may have given Jews the internal strength to fight and survive, but it was not (as during the Exodus) G-d who directly intervened.
Regardless of this difference, the overriding and more important thing that unites Jews is that regardless of how to get there, either way requires faith and hope. Without faith and hope, necessary for resilience, Jews would not have had reason, cohesion or the internal strength to survive the depredations and challenges to existence of the past two-thousand years since the fall of the Temple to the Romans. Hatikva, Israel's national anthem, means The Hope.
As long as the heart within
Our hope is not yet missing,
Chanukah starts tonight. Come celebrate the miracle of endurance and survival.
The Credo, by Zionist poet Saul Tchernichovsky:
Laugh at all my silly dreams!
For the most part, Hanukkah is a minor festival, with few specific obligations about what Jews can or cannot do over these eight days. But this story of tenacity and hope took on special significance for Jewish people during the Holocaust.
s Found Ways to Mark Hanukkah
Amid the Holocaust's Horrors, Many Jews Found Ways to Mark Hanukkah
Amid the Holocaust's Horrors, Many Je
Saturday, December 21. 2019
Photo from Family shocked by “moving ornament” in Christmas tree
A memorable tree for them. Poor bird is far from home, though.
CNN Anchor: Trump Should Listen When Women Tell Him We Have ’12 Years’ Until the World Ends
Shouldn't the media report how bad previous climate change predictions have been instead of participating in the indoctrination?
History’s Largest Mining Operation Is About to Begin - It’s underwater
Bipartisan Congress showers health care industry with multi-billion victory after wagging finger at it for much of 2019
Bottom line: Don't eat or drink
British Academic Wants To Ban The Insults "Nerd" And "Geek" As Hate Crimes
As an ex-nerd, or current nerd, can I call her an idiot a-hole, or is that hate crime too?
Bill Gates' educational plans don't work
NAS Commends President Trump’s Executive Orders: No More Law by Dear Colleague Letter
The Fracking Decade
Economic Inequality—Populism’s Rallying Cry
Make the wealthy poorer - statistical problem solved. If you have more than one house, let the gummint take the others. Then your IRA. Why not, if equality is sacred?
Chris Hayes’ Mini-Rant About Whiteness of House GOP Ends Badly After People Point to MSNBC’s Lineup
The Vindication of Sean Hannity - A relentless pursuit of the truth.
CA Dem Gov. Newsom Lashes Out At Trump, GOP For Not Helping Solve California’s Homeless Crisis
That's the feds' problem? I don't think so. It's local.
AG Barr: James Comey is a Serial Liar
Wow. Saint Comey?
" The Horowitz report makes clear that multiple news cycles over the past few years were dominated by reports that were either incorrect or lacking factual foundation."
True, only chumps believe the news
Trump-branded properties lost value since the 2016 election, study shows
Predictable. Honey Badger don't care.
When Hate Becomes an Agenda - Trump so infuriated his opponents that, rather than find arguments to convince a majority of Americans that the president’s policies were flawed, his enemies instead sought to destroy him.
Haters gotta hate on something
Will Washington media expose the liars who spun the Trump-Russia hoax?
6 Reasons Pelosi’s Senate Obstruction Gambit On Impeachment Articles Is A Disaster
How Trump Won 2019 - Column: Thank his opponents
Democrats are making a farce of impeachment
Merry Impeachmas’ — Washington Post Reporters Appear To Celebrate Impeachment
Trump-Obsessed German Media Cheer Impeachment: ‘Huge Success for the Democratic Party’
In Haiti, UN Peacekeepers Fathered Hundreds of Children and Abandoned the Mothers
They always do that
Friday, December 20. 2019
"I wanted Trump impeached on Day One and I'm not sorry. He was unfit from the start."
A traditional, festive punch for holiday season and for winter days: Mulled Wine
If it comes to a boil, the alcohol will boil off. Best just to warm it up for 20 minutes or so.
Lots more images from Liberty Arms here - gun store wisdom
Robot can make 300 pizzas an hour
"One huge drawback of nuclear energy is that it doesn't dismantle systems of oppression - it only produces clean energy."
America Has World’s Highest Rate Of Single-Parent Households
The UK: A charity worker was fired because she expressed the illegal opinion that biological sex is real and not just a fantasy.
The casual misandry that masquerades as ciriticism of men
‘Social Justice’ Ideology Is Damaging American Values
Three years in prison seems like an awfully light sentence for an action that could have killed a planeload of people.
California Energy Situation Bad and Getting Worse
2020 census: Surge in immigrants to take 24 House seats from Trump states
Jacobin: Bernie can win
Trump Gets Massive Post-Impeachment Victory As USMCA Passes House
Winning for America
US Economy in Longest Expansion Ever
Winning for America
As House votes to impeach Trump, McConnell pushes 13 judge nominations through Senate
Winning for America
Trump Signs ‘Groundbreaking’ Legislation Supporting Historically Black Colleges And Universities
Winning for America
Did anyone really think the Democrats were serious when they put on those long faces for the nightly news and cast their impeachment votes?
Democrats impeach. America yawns
Tucker on Democrats’ Impeachment Vote: “It Is Kind of a Jonestown Dynamic Where They All Know It’s Going to End Badly”
Kimball: The real impeachment scandal. The Democrats are always guilty of what they accuse Trump of
Get The Hell Out Of Afghanistan Now
Margaret Thatcher's Amazing Prophecy On The EU
Thursday, December 19. 2019
Trump is going bolder in Obama's direction: The Age of Great-Power Competition - How the Trump Administration Refashioned American Strategy However, Obama was reactive, and tentative about everything. Trump never heard of that word.
Obama saw that Europe and the EU were the past, not the future.
Per Scott Adams, he has changed the meaning of impeachment to "a stern note of reprimand."
Related, Trump frames the impeachment: "In reality/They're not after me/They're after you."
Related, Honest Democrat Jonathan Turley: “You Could Impeach Every Living President” on These Type of Allegations
Related, McConnell: Sure Looks Like House Dems Getting “Cold Feet In Front Of The Entire Country”; Update: “Throw Me Into That Briar Patch”
Related, Impeachment Is Hurting The GOP So Badly That They Just Broke A Fundraising Record
Related, Trump Laughs At Impeachment At Rally
What a circus! Holiday fun!
Photo of holly on ice. We had a nice minor ice storm the other day
‘Christmas With Your Jewish Boyfriend’: A Jewish jazz guitarist recorded a dozen famous Christmas songs written by Jews
The Highest-Paid YouTube Stars of 2019: The Kids Are Killing It
NYU students say ‘Join Us if You Hate NYU’
Holy Cross dean defends protestors who disrupted Heather Mac Donald lecture
I guess he didn't want to hear what Heather had to say either
Louis Meyers: Bending the cost curve on higher education
Northeastern States Look To Implement Transportation Climate Initiative
We like horses
How Marxists Invented “Hispanics”
Black Nationalist Hate Group Praised by Media Shot Up Kosher Market
Establishment Journalists Call For Big Tech To Censor Everyone Else
Facing a 2020 drubbing, the left begins lining up its excuses
Not "failures" - moral and maybe legal lapses
Trump approval rating on impeachment day hits highest point since March 2017
Re the Russia hoax: WE NOW KNOW: THE CASE OF JANE MAYER
Dershowitz on Impeachment
Disheveled California Democrat Rep. Admits Impeachment is About Smearing Trump – ‘Impeachment Will Be a Stain on His Record Forever’
The Empire Strikes Back - What the effort to impeach President Trump is really about.
Bartiromo on FISA abuse: The lies are real, people will be prosecuted…
Wednesday, December 18. 2019