Revolt of the Rich

There is little in the way of political writing these days that I would characterize as "brilliant" - this is one such essay. Read it.

If a morally acceptable American conservatism is ever to extricate itself from a pseudo-scientific inverted Marxist economic theory, it must grasp that order, tradition, and stability are not coterminous with an uncritical worship of the Almighty Dollar, nor with obeisance to the demands of the wealthy. Conservatives need to think about the world they want: do they really desire a social Darwinist dystopia?

(link) [The American Conservative]

via Dispatches from the Culture Wars

16:39 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link


Boo, 6 Aug 2006

A good dog left Midgard today. He wasn't our dog - he was our daughter Hilary's - but he lived here for a bit over 2 years, and we became quite fond of him. An enormous beast with as gentle a disposition as any dog ever had, he will be sorely missed. He loved the farm, and Hilary tells us she'll be returning his ashes to be scattered here. In his memory, here's a poem by a favorite poet of mine, in which the poet's departed bulldog remembers ...

The House Dog's Grave
(Haig, an English bulldog)

I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the night through
I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read--and I fear often grieving for me--
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope than when you are lying

Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that's too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.

And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided...
But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.

Robinson Jeffers, 1941

20:45 /Home | 2 comments | permanent link

Bigfoot hoax ends in death

This guy's sure to be nominated for a Darwin Award...

A man trying to create a Bigfoot hoax on a highway died after being hit by two cars, officials in Montana said.

(link) [CNN]

07:33 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

George Orwell Meets a 'Call of Duty' Cityscape

Void Bill of RightsIt'll be the same scene at the Democrats get together next week. I wonder if anybody remembers this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Note the illustration.

Deep inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the impenetrable fortress where this year's Republican National Convention is being held, my colleagues and various GOP delegates assure me that the venue security I experienced is typical for events of this kind -- that it's been this way ever since 9/11. "This must be your first convention," they say. It is. As a newbie, it feels like an Orwellian police state, albeit one where the men in military fatigues carrying assault weapons are exceptionally polite. Convention veterans are inured to the layers of security checkpoints, the metal detectors, the bomb sniffing dogs, the concrete barricades, the chain link fences, and the virtual absence of protesters. I'll likely feel that way too after a few more days flashing my official credential, emblazoned with a holographic elephant raising its trunk in triumph. It's the new normal.

(link) [The Atlantic]

18:23 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Who inherits your iTunes library?

Hadn't thought of this. Just another good reason to avoid purely digital (and "protected") content.

Many of us will accumulate vast libraries of digital books and music over the course of our lifetimes. But when we die, our collections of words and music may expire with us.

(link) [MarketWatch]

18:16 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

For the record

We got another half inch of rain last night and today, making it a very wet August by Indiana standards. In our rain gauge we've logged eleven and a half inches since the fifth - the average is about three and a half inches. No more worries about drought here, at least not until this winter or next spring.

20:05 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Freyfaxi 2012

Today the Kindred of Ravenswood celebrates the Feast of Frey, marking the beginning of the harvest season. We're a bit late this year, but given that the drought has only recently broken it's strangely appropriate. So today we celebrate that breaking, the return of fruitfulness to the land, and our own persistence and discipline in holding on in hope of the Harvest.

12:04 /Asatru | 0 comments | permanent link

Researchers identify present day Turkey as origin of Indo-European languages

I have something of a background in linguistics, as well as a keen interest in Proto-Indo-European religion, and I'm a bit suspicious of this. There's more to language than words, after all - language carries cultural, social and religious context. Comparative religion and archeology both strongly support a more central Asian origin for the Indo-Europeans. I would suggest In Search of the Indo-Europeans for a thorough overview of what this article calls the "Steppe Hypothesis". I'll bet on that one as proving correct over the long haul.

By using novel methods developed for tracing the origins of virus outbreaks, researchers say they have identified present-day Turkey as the homeland of the Indo-European language family.

(link) [Washington Post]

20:07 /Asatru | 0 comments | permanent link

Romney’s Biggest Problem: He’s a Republican

No sympathy from me - after years of Wille Horton style ads and swiftboating it seems the Republican chickens are coming home to roost. I for one am going to make some popcorn and enjoy the show...

But really, what can Romney do? If he sticks by the platform then he alienates even more women and swing voters, whom he desperately needs to win the election. If, on the other hand, he sticks by his wishy-washy "pro-choice-for-life" history then he alienates the Republican base, who've had their suspicions about his conservative cred all along and they sit out the election or go for the really loony fringe and he loses.

The icing on this cake is Hurricane Issac, which could potentially land in Tampa just as the convention hits full stride. Beautiful...

Spare a sympathetic thought, if you have one in you, for the Mittster. There he is, diligently preparing for his big week down in Tampa, when along come the hapless Todd Akin and some self-styled visionary called Paul Ryan espousing views that, if the Democrats and their media allies succeed in pinning them on him, would make it a near mathematical impossibility for him to be elected President. At a moment when the G.O.P. candidate-elect is understandably eager (make that desperate) to talk about debt and jobs, the political-news media is consumed with abortion and Medicare.

(link) [The New Yorker]

20:50 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Unexpected Rainfall

We actually had a round of pop up storms last night that delivered an inch of rain - first time we'd had a summer pop up all year! I'm sure the drought is broken now, not that it will do the crops any good. It sure has helped the pasture, though. High today was 76°F.

20:26 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

For the Amish, Big Agribusiness Is Destroying a Way of Life

It seems as though big agribusiness has some help:

...when I spoke with Brent Buchanan, the county's agriculture team leader for Cornell's Cooperative Extension, he said New York's regulations slant the game against the Amish. As Buchanan explained, tax exemptions go exclusively to farms selling over $10,000 in product. And while Swartzentruber farmers might grow a qualifying amount, they preserve more of their harvest for subsistence living, thus decreasing their nominal profit. "If they can't enjoy the same taxes as Englishmen, that's inherently not a sustainable business model," said Buchanan.

Ah, yes, government is involved in playing favorites. I'm shocked, shocked I tell you! OK, well, maybe not so much...

At first glance, the Swartzentruber Amish of St. Lawrence County, New York, look to be self-reliant stewards of a bucolic and unchanging landscape. Although their daily chores demand Olympic stamina -- regiments of mugwort-weeding and hay-bailing -- the Swartzentrubers still pause and wave politely to 18-wheelers passing through the county, which stretches from the Adirondacks to the suburbs of Montreal.

(link) [The Atlantic]

Update:The St. Lawrence Co. local paper has a tale to tell on the article. They left in in a comment and since I don't allow links in there I figured I be nice and move it up here for easier access. See the writebacks section for more.

20:48 /Agriculture | 2 comments | permanent link

At Guantanamo tribunals, don't mention the T word

Horrifying - but I guess it's just more of the same change you can can't believe in.

CIA agents have written books about it. Former President George W. Bush has explained why he thought it was necessary and legal. Yet the al Qaeda suspects who were subjected to so-called harsh interrogation techniques, and the lawyers charged with defending them at the Guantanamo Bay military tribunals, are not allowed to talk about the treatment they consider torture.

(link) [Retuers]

08:13 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Chicken of the Trees

We ate squirrel when I was a kid, and I've been squirrel hunting in some of the same southern Indiana woods described in the article. I remember that it took quite a few squirrels to make a meal. It always struck me as a bit like rabbit, but even more rubbery - we always had fried squirrel, not the stews and soups described here.

At some point we stopped eating squirrels in this country. Certainly the very first Americans ate them in abundance, as did the first European settlers, who cleared the ancient forests and issued bounties on the rodent plagues that ravaged their crops; in colonial Pennsylvania authorities offered hunters three pence per squirrel killed. It was the colonists' skill in bagging them with their long-barreled rifles that gave them an edge on the Redcoats during the Revolution.

(link) [Chicago Reader]

16:11 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Finally Broken?

Another 2 inches of rain yesterday. Although we held our position of "extreme" in the latest drought monitor, I'd say that a more normal pattern has re-emerged and the drought of 2012 is broken in Boone County, Indiana. Not so in other locales, but here, we're doing much better.

No rain is forecast for the next six days, but temperatures are slated to be slightly below normal (max high in the eighties) and the weather should stay relatively comfortable for a bit. That's a very Good Thing™.

I think we can safely say that the final toll here was ten chickens, one sheep and a 33% increase in the price of hay. None of which is good, but it's not a complete catastrophe. We'll make it, for now.

11:30 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Humanities aren’t a science. Stop treating them like one.

In short, stop trying to quantify the unquantifiable. Sound advice for any endeavor.

Every softer discipline these days seems to feel inadequate unless it becomes harder, more quantifiable, more scientific, more precise. That, it seems, would confer some sort of missing legitimacy in our computerized, digitized, number-happy world. But does it really? Or is it actually undermining the very heart of each discipline that falls into the trap of data, numbers, statistics, and charts? Because here’s the truth: most of these disciplines aren’t quantifiable, scientific, or precise. They are messy and complicated. And when you try to straighten out the tangle, you may find that you lose far more than you gain.

(link) [Scientific American]

11:23 /Technology | 2 comments | permanent link