"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Saturday, December 31, 2011

When New Years Eve falls on Caturday


Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm not exactly a Ron Paul supporter . . . .

. . . . although I do admire his fundamental political and philosophical outlook. (Letting Murray Rothbard and his crew write newsletters in his name? Not so much.)

But there's a lot about him that makes me point and yell, "Yes! Yes! THAT's the kind of guy I want as president."

Which brings us to this story from the National Journal:
DES MOINES -- So I am eating the free breakfast buffet at the downtown Embassy Suites and who should stroll in but Ron Paul. By himself.

This may not seem strange to the average voter, but anyone who writes about politics or makes their living off it knows that a presidential candidate -- especially one who could win the nation's first nominating contest in five days -- never ever goes anywhere without an entourage of some sort. One of the main reasons for the entourage is to keep pesky reporters away and fetch things so that said candidate can eat breakfast before another long day on the campaign trail.

But Paul doesn't need a sidekick to fill his plate at the breakfast buffet, fetch his coffee, whisper talking points into his ear, or get rid of pesky reporters -- he does that all himself, thank you very much. Asked if he's concerned that if he doesn't win his followers will not rally behind the GOP nominee, he looks up from his plate of cantaloupe, honeydew, eggs, sausage and biscuit and says brusquely, "Right now, the only thing that bothers me is people who don't respect my privacy enough to leave me alone for five minutes when I'm eating breakfast." And then he goes back to reading his USA Today.

Charming. (By the way, if this were to happen to Romney, which it wouldn't, a SWAT team would immediately surround the reporter to oversee damage control.)

Exactly. No entourage. No staffer whispering in his ear that, since this is Iowa, piling on pork products is a good idea.

Just a guy. Just a cranky old man who thinks it's sort of basic that you ought to stay the Hell off his lawn.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Old Video of Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Our intrepid researchers have unearthed this previously unseen video of Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D - Fla.), Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, railing about the patriarchy.


Newsweek Gets Page Number Wrong


When something can't go on forever . . .

. . . it won't.

Robert Samuelson writes:
We are shifting from "give away politics" to "take away politics." Since World War II, presidents and Congresses have been in the enviable position of distributing more benefits to more people without requiring ever-steeper taxes. Now, this governing formula no longer works, and politicians face the opposite: taking away -- reducing benefits or raising taxes significantly -- to prevent government deficits from destabilizing the economy. It is not clear that either Democrats or Republicans can navigate the change.


For years, there has been a "something for nothing" aspect to our politics. More people became dependent on government. From 1960 to 2010, the share of federal spending going for "payments to individuals" (Social Security, food stamps, Medicare and the like) climbed from 26 percent to 66 percent. Meanwhile, the tax burden barely budged. In 1960, federal taxes were 17.8 percent of national income (gross domestic product). In 2007, they were 18.5 percent of GDP.

This good fortune reflected falling military spending -- from 52 percent of federal outlays in 1960 to 20 percent today -- and solid economic growth that produced ample tax revenues. Generally modest budget deficits bridged any gap. But now this favorable arithmetic has collapsed under the weight of slower economic growth (even after a recovery from the recession), an aging population (increasing the number of recipients) and high health costs (already 26 percent of federal spending). Present and prospective deficits are gargantuan.

The trouble is that, while the economics of give away policies have changed, the politics haven't. Liberals still want more spending, conservatives more tax cuts.
Samuelson's theme is that the political class, and the political structure, may not be capable of resolving the crisis. He cites three three historical instances of similar impasse:
Our political system has failed before. Conflicts that could not be resolved through debate, compromise and legislation were settled in more primitive and violent ways. The Civil War was the greatest and most tragic failure; leaders couldn't end slavery peacefully. In our time, the social protests and disorders of the 1960s -- the civil rights and anti-war movements and urban riots -- almost overwhelmed the political process. So did double-digit inflation, peaking at 13 percent in 1979 and 1980, which for years defied efforts to control it.
These examples strike us as uncomfortably inapt. While the national political system was unable to resolve the conflict over slavery, regional political majorities existed to support coherent action. It was these irreconcilably regional majorities that resulted in the Civil War. The upheavals of the 1960s were resolved by the emergence of a political majority broadly in favor of ending the Viet Nam War. And the double-digit inflation of 1979-80 was seen as destructive and intolerable to wage-earners, pensioners, and businesses alike, leading to Ronald Reagan's landslide election in 1980, with a broad mandate to fix it by any means necessary.

The conceptual problem is simple: revenues must be increased, or expenditures cut. But the gap is so great that any increase in revenue sufficient to solve the problem would require tax increases to levels that are unprecedented, punitive, and destructive, imposed on a narrowing base. And substantial political majorities either already depend on Government support, or anticipate relying on both Social Security and other benefits, principally assistance with medical care. Thus no substantial reduction in expenditure is politically feasible.

When investors begin to balk at purchasing ever-increasing volumes of federal debt, the Government's only recourse will be monetization of further debt, by sale of Treasury securities to the Federal Reserve Bank (a process that has already begun), in return for Federal Reserve Notes, that is, cash created by the Fed.  The substantial and accelerating increase in the supply of money will result in uncontrolled inflation.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Basic Instinct, Blade Runner


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Silent Christmas


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cryin' Christmas Tears


Friday, December 23, 2011

Zeno's Advent Calendar

From xkcd.


Christmas or Politics? Politics or Christmas?

Oh, screw it: politics.

A largely unexplored aspect of the President's Troika-of-Greatness is his inclusion of Johnson. To speak plainly, Johnson pops into his head because of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This comes naturally to Mr. Obama, whose deck is stacked with 52 Race Cards.

But it ignores the fact that Johnson's out-sized ego dragged the United States into its most disastrous military adventure, while at the same time he was unable to formulate or articulate achievable military goals, or provide competent management of that war.

Mr. Obama thus suggests that he's not quite yet scaled the heights occupied by America's most megamaniacally incompetent one-term president.  But he's giving it a go.


The Reason for the Season

"Undaunted by Tuesday's dreary skies, a Druid at the United Kingdom's ancient Stonehenge monument prayerfully greets the Northern Hemisphere's summer solstice. This first day of summer and longest day of the year has long been observed by cultures worldwide."

"At Stonehenge, celebrants in the center of the standing stones can still watch the summer solstice sun rise over the Heel Stone, just outside the stone circles."

"This year British Druids celebrated the solstice for the first time as members of an officially recognized religion, following a controversial vote by the national Charity Commission for England and Wales last fall."

From National Geographic.

More than a millenium separates the ancient Druids (so loathed by Caesar) and this modern jumped-up bunch, which can trace its origins only to the Eighteenth Century, and that badly. Stonehenge long antedates the Celtic Druids, having been erected around 2200 B.C.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

I am reckless, incorrigible and lazy, most likely male, and


Noomi Rapace; Charlize Theron; Ridley Scott


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The bar was walked into by the passive voice.

Seven Bar Jokes Involving Grammar and Punctuation:

1. A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.

2. A dangling modifier walks into a bar. After finishing a drink, the bartender asks it to leave.

3. A question mark walks into a bar?

4. Two quotation marks “walk into” a bar.

5. A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to drink.

6. The bar was walked into by the passive voice.

7. Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They drink. They leave.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Chicks really dig . . .

. . . toilets. Yup. They'll bargain for 'em.

HERE'S the science.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's a Wonder

"I’m very lucky I didn’t hurt myself considering how clueless I was when I started."

Some time after his 60th year -- about the time the chaotic 19th century gave way to what was to be the murderous 20th -- Henry Adams sat down to reflect on his life. The result, The Education of Henry Adams, ostensibly asks what he has learned in the course of his life, and purports to conclude: not much.

The getting of education, the acquisition of knowledge, the accomplishment of competence, is a young person's task. Ignorance and lack of perspective is not the fault of youth, but instead the natural condition of youth. Had a young person a modicum of actual wisdom, and the wit or leisure for true reflection and rumination, withdrawal from the race that is the world would be the likely conclusion.

"I’m very lucky I didn’t hurt myself considering how clueless I was when I started."

David Lottes lives, as near as we can tell, somewhere in Illinois:
I live on about four acres of wooded land that had not been maintained for many decades. Very little effort had been made to manage the forest. Long dead trees were scattered around the property. It was dangerous to walk in parts of the woods and the dead trees were damaging the live ones.

At first the goal was to clean up the woods and make it safer. After a quick survey it became clear that I had a huge job ahead of me.

We do have a fire pit we use for the occasional cookout but there was no way we would burn anywhere near this amount of wood before it turned to mud. I have always been interested in frontier and pioneer life so without a clue of what I was getting myself into I decided to try building a cabin.

I honestly didn’t believe I would end up with anything but a woodpile in the end so I didn’t want to spend much money on it. I scavenged most of the materials I couldn’t make myself.
The young man sets out to survey his world, that is the tiny corner of the world over which he might reasonably expect to exercise some control: "It was dangerous to walk in parts of the woods . . . ." Oh my, yes. In truth, it's dangerous to walk most anywhere in the woods. But for youth danger is dismissed, and for fear is substituted the illusion of understanding, ". . . it became clear that I had a huge job ahead of me."

"I’m very lucky I didn’t hurt myself considering how clueless I was when I started."

How fortunate for us all that the young dismiss the gloomy counsel of the wise: ". . . so without a clue of what I was getting myself into I decided to try building a cabin." How foolish is youth to charge into the business of life so unprepared and ill-equipped.

And in the end, is this success? This tiny, rude imperfect thing? Ahead is rain, snow, wind, freeze, termites, implacable vines, rot, destruction, chaos.  Give the world a bit of time, and your life will be erased.

But by then the young, ambitious, ignorant, foolish tree-feller and cabin builder will be gone, lost in the wisdom and reflection of age.  "Perhaps it's best if I don't try to explain it to the youngsters," he might conclude, "not that they'd listen to me anyway."

"I’m very lucky I didn’t hurt myself considering how clueless I was when I started."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pork & Beans

In the entire history of the world since the Creation, no one has ever bought a can of pork and beans and been surprised to find that it was mostly beans. No one has ever opened the can and stared in disbelief, or complained, "What the heck? What are all these beans doing in here? I was looking for a nice can of pork, and instead this is a whole can of beans, and one little tiny chunk of pork!"

Is there any question that, if pork & beans were a new product -- if it hadn't been thought up a hundred years ago -- there's just no way it would be "Pork & Beans." It would have to be "Beans (with a little piece of pork)." It's misleading. It's downright fraudulent. But today, unlike our unlucky great-grandparents, we're protected from such chicanery by the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Transportation Safety Board, and heaven alone knows how many other Government watchdogs, working tirelessly to protect us from . . . what, exactly?

Which brings us to the automobile. Frank Fleming imagines a world without the automobile, and the proposal -- here in the 21st century -- that people should be allowed to drive around in big chunks of metal, powered by internal-combustion engines:
Is there any way they’d be approved for individual use? It’s an era of bans on incandescent bulbs; if you suggested putting millions of internal-combustion engines out there, you’d get looks like you were Hitler proposing the Final Solution.

Even aside from pollution, the government wouldn’t allow the risks to safety.

“So you’re proposing that people speed around in tons of metal? You must mean only really smart, well-trained people?”

“No. Everyone. Even stupid people.”

“Won’t millions be killed?”

“Oh, no. Not that many. Just a little more than 40,000 a year.”

“And injuries?”

“Oh . . . millions.”

There’s no way that would get approved today.
Fleming suggests that this is because we've become a nation of sissies, and he's certainly right. Mothers have always screeched, "You could shoot your eye out!" But never before in human history has a society decided that a cadre of anxious, over-protective mommies should be given the power to enforce their terror-filled nightmares on the rest of us.

This enervating trend dovetails nicely with the fundamental nature of Government. Government will always expand, and will always seek more power and influence. This is not because the individuals who make up "the Government" are evil power-seekers. The shopkeeper strives for more customers, the manufacturer looks to sell more of whatever he makes, and the Government eternally looks for more things to do. Once you've decided that the Government should be able to prevent my neighbor from installing crappy electrical wiring -- because when his house burns to the ground mine will too -- it doesn't sound quite so silly for my neighbor to suggest that I shouldn't be able to paint my house pink.

What people don't seem to understand is that the more often they encourage the Government to do something they think is a good idea, or prevent something that they think is a bad idea, the more likely it is that next week that same Government will be telling them that they can't do something they think is a good idea, or that they must do something that they think is a bad idea. That's the way it works.

We're seeing this play out now with respect to the "Stop Online Piracy Act," a bill that would enormously expand the Government's power to shut down Internet sites on suspicion of copyright violations or sale of counterfeit products. If you own movie copyrights, or sell Chanel No. 5, you think this is a great idea. If, on the other hand, you know anything at all about the Internet, you know that it won't work. But, while it's not working, what it will do is create a mechanism for the Government to close down -- censor -- Internet sites that do things the Government has decided are bad things: illegal things; hateful things; things that shock me; things that offend me; things that I don't like; fraudulent things like Pork & Beans.

The irony of this has not been lost on the crazed libertarians over at Armed and Dangerous:
A government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything away from you – including your Internet freedom.

That’s the thought that keeps running through my head as I contemplate the full-scale panic going on right now about SOPA, the “Stop Internet Piracy Act”.

It’s a bad bill, all right. It’s a terrible bill – awful from start to finish, idiotic to the core, corruptly pandering to a powerful special-interest group at the cost of everyone else’s liberty.

But I can’t help noticing that a lot of the righteous panic about it is being ginned up by people who were cheerfully on board for the last seventeen or so government power grabs – cap and trade, campaign finance “reform”, the incandescent lightbulb ban, Obamacare, you name it – and I have to wonder…

Don’t these people ever learn? Anything? Do they even listen to themselves?

It’s bizarre and entertaining to hear people who yesterday were all about allegedly benign and intelligent government interventions suddenly discovering that in practice, what they get is stupid and vicious legislation that has been captured by a venal and evil interest group.

Yeah, no shit? How…how do they avoid noticing that in reality it’s like this all the time?


Tuna! There's Tuna in the Fridge!!


Friday, December 16, 2011

"One of the most terrifying rhetoricians that the world has yet seen."

Christopher Hitchens has died.

51 Things You Can't See on Google Maps

No, really. While you CAN see my old car parked in the driveway of my old house in Northwest Washington, D.C., you can't see (or can't see a clear picture of): the White House, Ramstein Air Base, or the home of Aaron and Christine Boring of Franklin Park, Pennsylvania.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Since some of you complain about cat videos . . . .

. . . here's a bearded dragon video.


The Second Amendment

Via Reddit


Monday, December 12, 2011


That's it, just OMG!


First, just watch . . . .

Then, read more.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Quote of the Day: Blind Pig, Acorns Department

That’s pretty much what the schools are like, I think: they reward discipline and obedience, and they punish independence of mind. If you happen to be a little innovative, or maybe you forgot to come to school one day because you were reading a book or something, that’s a tragedy, that’s a crime - because you’re not supposed to think, you’re supposed to obey, and just proceed through the material in whatever way they require.

- Noam Chomsky


Public Service: How to Wrap Your Cat for Christmas


Friday, December 09, 2011

Occupy Harvard!

Unless, you know, like it's cold or you have something else to do or something. You know.

More HERE.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

Alien Life Form Documented

Labels: , ,

Dare to Dream

"When he was very young, Tommy's parents had drilled into him the belief that if he just put his mind to it, there was NOTHING he couldn't do."


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Chris Christie: Always Good


December 7