Correction: In trying for brevity, I made the third paragraph of the blog post below misleading, as Dave pointed out and as is clear from some of the many reader comments. Dave is NOT de-emphasizing politics in the magazine or on the website in general.
What he actually said was that the overabundance of politics on our Facebook page does not reflect what the content of BHM is about and that it made BHM look like a political magazine, which we are not. As a result, he wanted to stop posting politically-oriented blog updates on Facebook. Clearly, I should have said, “de-emphasize politics on Facebook.”
Further, his decision was in no way responsible for my ending this blog. It was merely something I chose to interpret as a coincidental message that reinforced what I was already thinking.
My apologies to Dave and to any readers who were misled.
It’s strange how things happen.
For a few weeks now, I’ve been thinking that the hour or two I devote each day to reading for and writing my blog post could really be better spent on other things.
Then yesterday, Dave called and said he’s decided to de-emphasize politics and since politics and current events are what I most enjoy writing about, it seemed like the universe, through Dave, was telling me to listen to myself and call it quits, so that’s what I’m going to do.
I think I’ll use those hours to do a bit of non-political writing, get things done around the house, and to spend time with my new grandson. After all, someone has to teach him the really important English words like liberty, freedom, rights, libertarian, honor, justice, commitment, character, and responsibility and what they really mean.
Thank you to everyone who has stopped by to read my various scribblings, especially those of you who visited daily. I very much appreciate the time you gave me and the many comments you left, even the ones that disagreed with me or took me to task.
Some final thoughts, or rather, quotes I hope you’ll think about:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
I predict future happiness for Americans, if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. ~Thomas Jefferson
The first duty of a man is to think for himself. ~José Martí
When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty. ~Thomas Jefferson
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. ~Oscar Wilde
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~Benjamin Franklin
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. ~Thomas A. Edison
Revolution is just another word for “nothing left to lose.” ~Me
It is never too late to be what you might have been. ~George Eliot
And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love, you make. ~Paul McCartney
I’ve been taking a fair amount of heat lately because I can’t find it in my heart to support Our Dear Leader…I mean, The Greatest President Ever®… I mean Barack H. Obama as he runs for reelection.
Apparently, all I ever do is lie about him and make up stuff and be mean and disrespectful. I’ve even had the racist card played on me a couple of times.
I will freely admit to being disrespectful, primarily because I’m one of those curmudgeonly folks who believe respect should be earned and not come automatically with being elected to something. The rest of the charges, well, I imagine they come from folks who live by sound bites and pretty much want to believe that “Yes, we can” move “Forward” and build castles in the sky but really don’t like it when folks point out things like gravity, so they lash out. But that’s okay. I have a pretty thick skin.
Still, I do feel a little bit bad that I made them feel bad. So today, I’m not going to say anything bad about Barack H. Obama. I’m not even going to point out any uncomfortable truths. I’m just going to offer this short music video by two folks who apparently were card-carrying Obots hopeful, thoughtful supporters in 2008.
I’ll leave it to you, kind readers, to comment on the video.
Congratulations to this week’s Comment Contest winner — janice m.
Over the years, stories and studies have sometimes praised coffee drinking and other times condemned it.
I’ve always believed that pretty much everything can be good or bad for you depending on how much you consume, how often you consume it, and probably a host of other factors I never cared enough to discover. I figure that if I spend all my time worrying about everything, I’ll be wasting a whole lot of my life that could be better spent enjoying the many and varied things the world has to offer. So when it comes to liquid refreshment, for example, I enjoy my morning coffee without worrying that it might be raising my “bad” cholesterol or blood pressure. I also drink tea — green, white, all kinds — though mostly during the winter. And if I lived there, I’d be one of the folks getting New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg’s panties in a bunch over the evil and hated sugar drinks, which I very occasionally consume.
I just don’t worry about it. One day, I’m going to die of something so I might as well enjoy what time I have as best I can.
What does that have to do with coffee? Well, it turns out, according to a recent study, that my coffee drinking might actually be buying me a little more time to enjoy the other things in life.
Study finds java drinkers live longer
One of life’s simple pleasures just got a little sweeter. After years of waffling research on coffee and health, even some fear that java might raise the risk of heart disease, a big study finds the opposite: Coffee drinkers are a little more likely to live longer. Regular or decaf doesn’t matter.
The study of 400,000 people is the largest ever done on the issue, and the results should reassure any coffee lovers who think it’s a guilty pleasure that may do harm.
“Our study suggests that’s really not the case,” said lead researcher Neal Freedman of the National Cancer Institute. “There may actually be a modest benefit of coffee drinking.”
No one knows why. Coffee contains a thousand things that can affect health, from helpful antioxidants to tiny amounts of substances linked to cancer. The most widely studied ingredient — caffeine — didn’t play a role in the new study’s results.
It’s not that earlier studies were wrong. There is evidence that coffee can raise LDL, or bad cholesterol, and blood pressure at least short-term, and those in turn can raise the risk of heart disease.
Even in the new study, it first seemed that coffee drinkers were more likely to die at any given time. But they also tended to smoke, drink more alcohol, eat more red meat and exercise less than non-coffee-drinkers. Once researchers took those things into account, a clear pattern emerged: Each cup of coffee per day nudged up the chances of living longer.
I drink about two cups of coffee a day and though the study indicates drinking more could further decrease my chance of dying at any particular age, I’m going to stick with the beverage I most enjoy for the bulk of my liquid intake — plain old room temperature water.
What about you?
Are you a coffee drinker? If so, how many 8-ounce cups a day?
Will this study tempt you to drink more?
And if you don’t drink coffee, will the results of this study tempt you to give it a try?
Those who know me can tell you stories about my memory, or lack thereof. So you will understand how big a deal it is that, thirty-odd years later, I still remember the day my wife and I, as we drove from our apartment to visit my parents, noticed a new restaurant occupying a space that had sat empty for quite some time. As soon as we walked through the door, it was clear the place was not open yet, but a nice woman let us know opening day was but a few days away. Unfortunately, circumstances prevented us being there for day one, but on day two, we sat in a booth eagerly perusing a menu filled with dishes we’d never encountered before.
The restaurant was named Panda Palace and they specialized in Szechuan, Hunan, and Mandarin dishes rather than the Polynesian- and American-influenced stuff that passed for Chinese in greater Boston back then. Best of all, they cooked without using the flavor enhancer MSG, instead relying on fresh produce and meats to provide satisfying flavors. And satisfying they were.
As we learned that first day, the owners names were Sarah and Fred Lin. She was American, he Chinese. She ran the front of the house, he ran the kitchen.
The food was amazing. Seriously. The dish that stood out for me that day was Moo Shu Pork, a mixture of shredded vegetables, meat, and sauce served with four flour “pancakes.” Sarah brought the dish to our table and showed us how to wrap the filling in the pancakes. By the end of the meal, we were hooked. For the next two decades, we must have eaten there or ordered takeout from there at least once a week.
At some point, they opened a second location south of Boston. Sarah ran that one and Fred moved from the kitchen to the front of the house in “our” place. Thanks to the pictures on the front desk, we watched their three children grow from babies to teens to adults.
After my bypass operation a decade ago, our visits to the restaurant slowed, but never stopped. Chinese became a once-a-month treat instead of weekly fare. Still, every time we entered, Fred would greet us by name.
About a year ago, we stopped in and Fred was not there. Neither was he there the next time, nor, I realized, was Sonny, a waiter who’d been with the restaurant since day one. When we asked about him, we were told Fred was in Florida managing a new restaurant. Then we noticed the food was changing. The recipes seemed to be the same, but they didn’t taste quite the same. Sometimes the food was great, sometimes it was just, well, Chinese food you could get anywhere.
We eventually realized Fred was never going to return, and we felt a loss at not being able to say goodbye to him and Sarah. Still, even with the unevenness, we stuck with the place, though we noticed each time we went that it was never crowded anymore. Then, last month, our delivery was accompanied by a notice they were closing for a month to remodel and add a sushi bar.
We anticipated the reopening, which kept getting delayed thanks to the area’s famously we’ll-get-there-when-we-feel-like-it building and health inspectors. But it finally did re-open last week and last Friday, Martha and I stopped by for dinner and found some remodeling but, more important, all new faces. Clearly, the place had changed hands again.
It was Martha who thought to ask about MSG and it was a good thing she did. As we’ve aged, our intolerance for the stuff has increased to the point where eating MSG-laced food results in severe headaches. The waiter told us that, yes, all the food was cooked using MSG. To me, that meant they were using a lower quality of ingredients and relying on the MSG to boost the flavor. After being assured there was no MSG used in the sushi, we opted for that. It was okay, but these days, really good sushi is available in dozens of locations around here. What is no longer available is really good Szechuan, Hunan, and Mandarin food prepared without flavor enhancers.
It is a basic truth of life, perhaps the basic truth, that all things must pass. In our lives, we’ve lost family and friends, lovers, jobs, cars, clients — so many people and things. And now, Panda Palace.
I suppose we can console ourselves with the knowledge that somewhere out there must be another place that cooks great food without needing to resort to flavor enhancers. Now, we just have to find it.
Do you have a favorite restaurant or take-out place? If so, tell us about it.
You might think the Commander in Chief of a nation’s military would want to make it as easy as possible for the troops he commands to vote. You might think that, but in the case of Our Dear Leader, you’d be wrong.
President Barack Obama, along with many Democrats, likes to say that, while they may disagree with the GOP on many issues related to national security, they absolutely share their admiration and dedication to members of our armed forces. Obama, in particular, enjoys being seen visiting troops and having photos taken with members of our military. So, why is his campaign and the Democrat party suing to restrict their ability to vote in the upcoming election?
On July 17th, the Obama for America Campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the Ohio Democratic Party filed suit in OH to strike down part of that state’s law governing voting by members of the military. Their suit said that part of the law is “arbitrary” with “no discernible rational basis.”
Currently, Ohio allows the public to vote early in-person up until the Friday before the election. Members of the military are given three extra days to do so. While the Democrats may see this as “arbitrary” and having “no discernible rational basis,” I think it is entirely reasonable given the demands on servicemen and women’s time and their obligations to their sworn duty.
[f]or each of the last three years, the Department of Defense’s Federal Voting Assistance Program has reported to the President and the Congress that the number one reason for military voter disenfranchisement is inadequate time to successfully vote.
I think it’s unconscionable that we as a nation wouldn’t make it as easy as possible for members of the military to vote. They arguably have more right to vote than the rest of us, since it is their service and sacrifice that ensures we have the right to vote in the first place.
If anyone proposes legislation to combat voter fraud, Democrats will loudly scream that the proposal could “disenfranchise” some voter, somewhere. We must ensure, they argue, that voting is easy and accessible to every single voter. Every voter, that is, except the men and women of our military.
Make no mistake, the Democrat lawsuit is intended to disenfranchise some unknown number of military voters. The judge should reject it with prejudice.
How telling is it of the Obama and Democratic mindset that they would attempt something like this? Don’t they understand how bad this makes them look? Don’t they care? Or are they so desperate at this point that they will do absolutely anything to minimize the number of votes against The Smartest President Ever® when November rolls around?
I may not agree with some things the military is used for, but I absolutely agree that every service man and woman should be able to cast a vote for the person he or she wants to lead them.
Were I in charge, I’d make sure ballots were distributed to every service member at least two months in advance, collected soon after, and transported to everywhere they will be counted no later than a week before the election. I might even make it a serious felony to mess with such ballots, just to forestall anyone deciding to “forget” or lose” the ballots in states where they might well make a difference in the outcome of an election.
Obama, his campaign, the DNC, and the Ohio Democratic Party should be mightily ashamed of themselves. But then, shame is not something anyone ever associates with any of them.
What do you think?
Much ado about nothing or an open attempt to disenfranchise voters not likely to vote “the right way”?
Are some cultures inherently “better” than others?
It’s a question many have pondered and one that is in the news again thanks to the media trying to paint Mitt Romney as a racist who holds that view when he did not say that at all.
What he actually said was:
I was thinking this morning as I prepared to come into this room of a discussion I had across the country in the United States about my perceptions about differences between countries. And as you come here and you see the GDP per capita for instance in Israel which is about 21,000 dollars and you compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority which is more like 10,000 dollars per capita you notice a dramatic, stark difference in economic vitality. And that is also between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador, Mexico and the United States. I noted that part of my interest when I used to be in the world of business is I would travel to different countries was to understand why there were such enormous disparities in the economic success of various countries. I read a number of books on the topic. One, that is widely acclaimed, is by someone named Jared Diamond called ‘Guns, Germs and Steel,’ which basically says the physical characteristics of the land account for the differences in the success of the people that live there. There is iron ore on the land and so forth. And you look at Israel and you say you have a hard time suggesting that all of the natural resources on the land could account for all the accomplishment of the people here. And likewise other nations that are next door to each other have very similar, in some cases, geographic elements. But then there was a book written by a former Harvard professor named ‘The Wealth and Poverty of Nations.’ And in this book Dr. Landes describes differences that have existed—particularly among the great civilizations that grew and why they grew and why they became great and those that declined and why they declined. And after about 500 pages of this lifelong analysis—this had been his study for his entire life—and he’s in his early 70s at this point, he says this, he says, if you could learn anything from the economic history of the world it’s this: culture makes all the difference. Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.
Do you see racism there? I don’t. I see someone pointing out that more freedom generally produces better economic results than less freedom. The simple fact is that Israel’s economy is much better than that of the Palestinians. And yes, perhaps some of that is due to travel and shipping restrictions, which liberal reporters are quick to point out. But they never seem to mention why those restrictions are in place. If they did, then they’d have to call attention to the many decades of Palestinian and Arab aggression that caused Israel to impose the restrictions, thus belying their original contention of racism.
The fact is, some cultures are superior to others in fostering innovation, risk-taking, and economic advancement for all. Does that make them “better?” I guess it depends on how you define “better.”
I think an easy way to settle such an argument is to look at the number of people who want to go live in a nation. Do you see hoards clamoring to get into Mexico, China, North Korea, or the Palestinian-controlled territories? Or do you see them heading to America, nations in Europe, Australia, and, yes, Israel?
No nation is perfect, especially America. But all-around, it’s still a damn sight better than Mexico or China or lots of other places on the planet, including the Palestinian territories. And all this media baloney aimed at Mitt Romney is little more than an attempt to steer the election conversation away from the horrendous job performance of Barack Obama.
I’m no fan of Romney, as you know if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile. But I’d much rather have a president who believes in American exceptionalism than I would one who goes around the world apologizing for our success and then comes home and tries to turn us into bankrupt Euro-weenies.
What about you?
Do you think some nations “better” than others? If so, in what way(s)?
And which kind of president will you prefer to have come 2013?
When our children were born three decades ago, we took a lot of pictures. Not of the birth, mind you, but forever after. Those were the dark ages, before digital photos, when film and processing was involved unless you used a Polaroid, which we never did. We still have all those photos in a box, a big box, that resides in my dear wife’s closet.
New parents today have it much easier. They can whip out their digital camera, or smartphone, and click away to their heart’s content since it costs them nothing to take the pictures and relatively little to store them on a computer or thumb drive.
When our first grandson, Christopher, entered the world four weeks ago, Martha was armed with a brand new, easy-to-use, point and shoot digital camera when we visited the proud parents and their offspring in the hospital twelve hours after he was born. The picture taking began then and has not stopped.
Of course, we’re not the only ones taking photos of the lad. There are the other grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives, and many friends of the parents.
Given the overabundance of photos available to the the parents, one might think they would have no difficulty finding some to have printed and framed. But it seems amateur photos, no matter how good, are no longer good enough. Apparently one now needs a professional photographer to take photos that will be hung on a wall for all the world, or that part of the world who visits their home, to see. We looked at all the photos the pro took and, frankly, most were so-so, at best. But there were four both Martha and I liked a lot.
Which brings me to the point of this blog post.
When your children were born, did you have a professional take photos like the ones below?
If your kids are now parents, did they go the professional route?
Finally, which of the four photos below would you choose if you could only choose one to print and frame?
(And yes, this blog post is partly a shameless excuse to show off my grandson.)
Congratulations to this week’s Comment Contest winner — Susan.
I’ve maintained for many decades that whenever government sticks it’s collective nose into something, costs go up while quality goes down. I’m hard-pressed to think of even one exception.
When Romneycare passed here in Massachusetts, we saw costs go through the roof, even though they’d previously been driven up by government mandating that insurers must cover a host of things most people did not need or want, would never use, but were forced to pay for anyway.
All went swimmingly, from government’s perspective, while federal money flowed in to keep down the cost of providing insurance to those who could not afford to pay for it. But even federal funds are not unlimited and as more and more people became “insured,” costs began to spiral out of control.
Now, a thoughtful person might wonder if getting government out of the health care business entirely might be the best solution. Repeal all the mandates and let the free market offer insurance products people want and can afford, for those who want insurance. Those who don’t want to buy insurance can pay cash or set up payment plans should they need health care. And the truly needy will still be cared for, as they always were before government decided to play doctor.
But thoughtfulness is not generally a trait one finds in the liberal politicians who run Massachusetts. They pass a health care bill requiring universal coverage, promising it will reduce costs for everyone once everyone is insured, then scratch their heads in confusion when all those newly insured folks, especially the ones who get “free” insurance, suddenly begin flocking to emergency rooms and doctor’s offices, driving up costs across the board. So they try a tweak here and a tweak there but expenditures continue to escalate until there is only one thing left to do — clamp down on costs by legislating spending limits.
Mass. lawmakers pass health care cost-control bill
Lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a 350-page health care cost-control bill Tuesday afternoon, a compromise between House and Senate leaders that sets spending targets for hospitals and doctors in the state and penalizes those that exceed them.
Governor Deval Patrick said he would sign the bill. “This is more than a good bill; this is a great bill,” he told reporters after visiting a Roxbury organization that seeks to reduce youth violence. “This is a commonwealth that has shown the nation how to extend coverage to everybody and to do it in a hybrid system with an emphasis on private-sector insurance with subsidies for those who can’t afford it. And now we’re going to crack the code on cost control.”
He said he does not believe the legislation will lead to layoffs in the health care sector or hospital closures. “There are going to be changes,” Patrick said. “But if those changes mean we get lower-cost and higher-quality care because care is being delivered in different settings — in homes, for example, in neighborhoods, in communities, rather than in hospitals — then I think that’s something we all ought to strive for and will strive for.”
The plan allows health spending to grow no faster than the state economy overall through 2017. For the five years after that, spending would slow further, to half a percentage point below the growth of the state’s economy, although leaders would have the power under certain circumstances to soften that target.
Supporters believe the bill will help moderate increases in insurance premiums for consumers and businesses. While the measure does not spell out specific cuts, health providers are expected to expand efforts already underway to slow the proliferation of some medical procedures, better coordinate care to keep patients healthier and out of the hospital, and steer patients to lower-cost caregivers.
Providers and insurers that do not meet the spending targets would have to submit “performance improvement plans’’ to a new state commission. Failure to implement their plans could lead to a fine of up to $500,000.
“This is going to save us $200 billion over the next 15 years, and it’s going to provide better quality of care and better access,’’ Senate President Therese Murray said in an interview Monday night. “This is a big plus for us. We’re once again in the forefront on health care in the nation.’’
Murray said the 350-page bill will build on the state’s 2006 landmark health insurance mandate, which became the model for President Obama’s national health care legislation.
House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said in a written statement that “while this bill may seem complex, its goal is simple: to cut health care costs that burden businesses and consumers while not interfering with the high quality of health care Massachusetts residents enjoy.”
So, let me get this straight. This bill is going to save us all money by limiting the amount of money that can be spent on health care and while doing so, will provide better care for everyone.
That sounds an awful lot like what was promised when Romneycare passed and see how well that worked…or didn’t work.
What you will not hear anyone say, because the media outlets will not report it, is that simple logic dictates that if costs are capped while demand increases, either quality or quantity must be reduced to stay under the cap.
That means, your doctor might not order the expensive test that could pinpoint the cause of your pain. Instead, you get a prescription for painkillers. It means that when the guy who had a bypass operation in his fifties returns for a second procedure in his seventies, he might well be sent home with a “care and comfort” order to wait to die.
When you limit spending you must limit care. All the shuffling and dancing in the world will not get around that simple fact.
I’ve been telling all you kind readers who don’t live here in The People’s Republic to go to school on what Romneycare has done to us because the same thing is going to be done to you, eventually, thanks to Obamacare.
Watch us closely, because sooner or later, rationing will come to you, too.
Comment Contest Winners # = Repeat winner
For the week ending
1/29 Leonard Barnes2 2/5 Pat
2/12 Brogan1 2/19 Stephanie
2/26 Scott Schluter
3/5 Storm4 3/12 Donna C.
3/26 Becky Holm
4/30 Brogan1 5/7 Blue_Sky
5/14 Drill Sgt K.
6/25 Woody3 7/2 Christie
7/9 Candace Delaney
7/16 No responses!
7/23 Rob Andrews
7/30 George Deas
8/6 Vinny V
9/17 Leonard Barnes2 9/24 Kathy
11/5 Kentucky Kid
11/26 Woody3 12/3 Leanne
12/10 Gina Jackson
12/31 charles scamman
1/7/12 Gloria Meyer
1/14 Liz Gavaza
2/4 Phillip Dukes
2/11 Storm4 2/18 Leslie
3/3 Debby Rich
3/17 Carolyn McBride
3/24 Keith Hodges
3/31 Jeffrey C. Anthony
4/7 Sue Reynolds
4/14 No responses!
5/5 No responses!
5/19 Estes Mills
6/16 Chip Johnson
6/30 Elizabeth Martin
7/21 K Howe
8/4 Will you be this week's winner?