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silly little country

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Home April 2012
April 2012

I Hope I Live so Long (Mad Men Season 5)

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... as to see Kiernan Shipka as an adult actress.

It seems to me she is carrying the season and certainly last night's episode, which got all the characters down to some basics. She is learning from Megan how to act (not that she needs a lot of help), and certainly how to stick knives into Mom and Dad, always fun in a Mother's Day episode.

I have seen complaints that the writers are being too transparent about their themes this season. Hmmm. When I watch an episode for the second time and don't slap my forehead saying "How did I miss that?" I will buy in.

There is much I wonder about as this season progresses but it remains well worth an hour of falling-asleep time on a Sunday.

 I suppose I should bow down and thank my government that this is on basic cable, but the whole concept sickens me.


A ThankYou Callout to Dean Winters

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He surely has had some of the most thankless acting jobs in the world.

He, on Law and Order, made the mistake of having sex with Olivia Benson, and wanting to have a relationship (I suspect I might have). And so goodbye Dean.

Recently, as graduate school after that experience, he has been one of Liz Lemon's ex-boyfriends on 30 Rock, really not something you want Liz Lemon writing about!

But really - he is now in his prime. Those AllState ads are just too much! I just love him as the dog who gets thrown a bone.

This is one of those great actors we will likely see forever and many will not notice.


There are Great Moments in the Law and Order Franchise

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Yeah, the episode I am watching has of course the obligatory fatuous and ignorant reference to the Trayvon Martin shooting but Richard Belzer does get to say, wonderfully:

That, right there, is why I stopped marrying Italian women.

Perfect line for Belzer, delivered perfectly, and made a lot of the normal stupidity worth suffering through. That short sentence could be analyzed a great deal.

I linked to Belzer's IMDB profile above and I recommend following the link - it is funny and I suspect he wrote much of it. I think his character Munch is quite unusual in appearing in so many different shows.

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 April 2012 17:03

Almost a Year Into Harper's Majority

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I found this.

It is a great comment at Kate McMillan's site on the tightrope Harper walks with a lovely analogy I find close to home.

I was talking to somebody yesterday about this. Harper is in the unenviable position of a guy trying to do an operating system re-write on a mission-critical mainframe. He can't shut it off and he can't re-boot it, it has to keep working the whole time.

So he's going slow, doing one thing at a time, making sure each change works before moving on.

Oh, and guys are trying to hit him with clubs while he's doing it.

Nice job. He can have it.

Go read it and follow the links to the originator's own blog.

I find Rob Ford in a somewhat similar situation, though even worse because of the idiots who elect our City Council.


Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head

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Hmmm. Maybe it is not raindrops!

The picture is of a part of the very moving Irish Famine Memorial around the corner from my hotel in Boston.

The pigeons are a contingent part of the statues.

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 April 2012 11:48

Ben Franklin's Parents

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Ben Franklin created a small headstone with this moving message for his parents in the graveyard across the street. It's a bit hard to read but this site featuring suggested wedding readings includes it.

In the end it wore down and now this obelisk dominates the graveyard.

Be encouraged to diligence in thy calling.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 April 2012 12:04

Also Just Across the Street!

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Paul Revere! This is just amazing.

I cannot find a horse to be nice to to honor him. Maybe I should get something engraved.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 21:35

Walked Across the Street Yesterday

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Across the street there is a church graveyard. It stunned me.

John Hancock lies there.


First signature on the Declaration of Independence!

And then even more wow!

I knew how to honor that revolutionary of 1776 so I crossed the street to the Beantown Pub and had a Sam Adams.

I am still working on Hancock. Do I have to buy some insurance?

Last Updated on Friday, 27 April 2012 08:44

I Love Goofy Design

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This phone sits outside the elevators in my current hotel.

It is touch-tone!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 21:01

It's A Good Thing I am No Political Consultant

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The ad that I thought was stupid appears, judging from final polling results, to have had an impact!

What a Night of Bluegrass!

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I figured on my first night in Boston it would be fun to attend a concert called "The Music of Bill Monroe", featuring Peter Rowan, the Travelin' McCourys, and Tony Rice.

Of the band, I had heard of Peter Rowan from a friend in Texas, who introduced me to the Free Mexican Air Force (you can Google it), but I had heard of NONE of the others.

And what a concert! There was even one more McCoury than planned, because the bass player needed to be replaced for the night, as it turned out by the uncle of the McCoury kids.

Bluegrass is one of the greatest forms of theme and variations ever invented, and it made for a two-hour concert that was an utter joy. THe combination of individual virtuosity and such relaxed and easy ensemble play is amazing.

On the night, it was Tony Rice who completely amazed me - just stunning guitar play.  You can get a sense from the video included on this ad for one of the Music of Bill Monroe Concerts.  (Hey wait! Tony Rice is not there. Try this instead)

In the hotel elevator today I met a couple escorting a bunch of instruments down to the lobby and mentioned the concert I had been at. They did two things. Explode with admiration at the name of Tony Rice. Indeed! And the other was to kick themselves for not realizing in advance what a great concert they had missed.

Not that I felt bad about attending that concert, but they made me feel even better!

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 April 2012 16:57

Obama is Not Always Wrong - Discovery Version

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I think I buy into Rand Simberg's view that Obama's vision for the space program is sensible.

Nostalgia is sweet in ways and NASA did achieve in the '60s what it was asked to achieve. The Space Shuttle also had its attractions but really had become bloated in cost and the case for continuing that program evaporated.

Some Congresspeople, very influenced by their local constituencies, love the idea of pissing away money on NASA:

What the agency needs is not more money, but the ability to spend the money it has on actual space exploration and technology development instead of prestige rockets.

Sounds right to me and in ten years I am guessing we will be totally accustomed to private companies leading all space efforts.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 April 2012 19:08

I Just Love the Internet

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"I have a yard full of tennis balls, left to gather dust".

Obama clearly cannot use the Seamus rooftop story to discredit Willard.

This IS pretty funny:

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Unbelievable Part 2

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One of WildRose's positions is to move the human rights racket back into the court system.

I am starting to see why a lot of people should vote Wild Rose.

Here is Ezra's description of a ridiculous human rights shakedown.

Complete parasitic behaviour! Annan puts is perfectly.



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Good lord the Alberta PCs are desperate! I can see why when I see Danielle Smith beside Alison Redford.

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Perhaps WildRose created this ad.


Riverdance Company 2

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I loved my first actual exposure to Riverdance last summer in Dublin at the Gaiety Theatre.

For some reason I signed up to see it at the John Labatt Centre in London Ontaro last night.

It turns out it was for good reason. It's because it is so much fun watching the show!

This was an utterly different company from the one I saw in the summer; I believe there are three separate companies touring in various places.

I love my favorite sequence - the street dancing competition from early in the second act; and last night I enjoyed it much more than in the summer. That may be because I knew what was coming this time.

Another point in favor of seeing it twice. In Dublin I saw it from the orchestra in a small theatre so the front line of dancers obscured those in back. In London we were in the nosebleed seats and the geometry was so much more clear from up above, and was also very impressive.

And wow! I love that magic synchronization!

Thanks Michael Flatley, and thanks Eurovision Song Contest.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 21:23

Red Admirals!

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On Monday, as we were driving on the back roads between Kitchener and London on the way to London, I noted to SillyWife first that a lot of insects were flying up in the path of the car and then that they seemed to be butterflies.

Later, at her apartment building I noticed a beautiful butterfly wing on the ground in her apartment parking lot.

I have to give CBC Radio One, in fact Ontario Morning the next morning, for explaining what had happened to us.

This article on the Red Admirals appearing in Buffalo describes perfectly what happened.

Since then I have been seeing Red Admirals everywhere, perhaps never having seen them before (I have no recollection and they are beautiful).

There is some worry that they are now stuck in a place where it can get pretty cold, and they are not good at that. I cheer for them, but cannot think of much more to do.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 13:40

The Great Windbag Blows it Again, This Time Hilariously

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PowerLine has a nice description of Obama's inability to distinguish the Malvinas from the Maldives, typical of his ignorance.

John Hinderaker's post has another point - the possible opening of the foreign press to the awareness of how ignorant this pipsqueak mind and his even more pipsqueak staff are.

He cites the Telegraph, still harking back to Bush's occasional gaffes (far less frequent and significant than Obama's howlers), even as Obama:

both offended the British and made himself a laughingstock with the Latin Americans. Here in the U.S., we are used to such embarrassing errors by our president, but the international press hasn’t quite caught up.

As Hinderaker observes:

When did Mr. Bush ever display such geographic ignorance? It is Obama, not Bush, who is prone to putting his foot in his mouth in a matter that causes diplomatic embarrassment. Can we finally, after well over three years, leave his predecessor out of it and let Obama own his many gaffes and blunders?

I fear the answer is'No', if 'we' means a press corps still largely invested in the notion that this ignorant clown is actually smart, or as he himself thinks, always the smartest guy in the room, which may be true in a press conference if Jake Tapper does not show up.


Opera Atelier's "Armide"

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Wow! That was fun!

SillyWife and I are just home from watching the OA production of "Armide".

Talk about eye candy and ear candy!

As SillyWife noted, or more accurately asked, how do they manage to always have all those perfect bodies and beautiful costumes? (And I'd add ingeniously decorated sets.)

This is an interesting opera. It features a LOT more dancing than I am accustomed to seeing in an opera, and that made it a lot of fun! I especially like it when Jeanette Lajeunesse-Zingg has her squad clicking castanets and ringing bells as they dance, and that was featured in Act 4. I also loved the dancing during the Passacaille in the fifth act. The dancers' costumes were terrific throughout - colorful at times, revealing at others; I had a good giggle when Hate bought his team of demons out onto the floor.

The two leads were excellent. It was great to see Colin Ainsworth again, after a very long absence from OA productions (what happened?). The audience made it clear in the final applause how glad they were to see him again as well.

Even more clear from the audience reaction was the recognition that this was Peggy Kriha Dye's show; after it all it is called 'Armide', and she played Armide. She was superb, and credible as the magical vamp she is supposed to be. I have to give credit to the costuming team - with all the gesturing she had to do in her emotional highs and lows, I was waiting for her to pop out of her bodice, and as far as I can tell (from up front in the orchestra) she never did. Her singing was terrific, and her acting was superb (this is a standard OA feature). In fact, I doubt a standard opera education gets you a job at OA; you need to go somewhere that works on acting and has a fitness center.

This goes for supporting roles as well; all were relatively minor compared to the lead, but all done slyly and very well.

It goes without saying that Lully's music is enjoyable and that Tafelmusik performs it superbly. Another OA standard.

It's running this week. Go see it if you can.

Side comment: OA produced the same opera in 2005 and my review of the 2005 Armide is here. As I watched this year's I detected NO real reflection on stage of the plot being set in the Crusades. I seem to have been more insightful seven years ago.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 April 2012 17:59

CBC News Likes Innuendo and a Lying Headline

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What an appalling piece of work, this article at CBC News on Harper's vacation weekend in New York.

The headline is at best very very misleading and I consider it a simple lie. The article tries to lead one to outrage at the expense, and buries the lede deep in the article; at least the author of the article allows one to figure this story out.

Fact one, quoted from a thid party:

As the prime minister is prohibited from flying commercial for security reasons,

OK, so we the people have determined that if the PM wants a simple vacation he HAS to use the Challenger jet; we impose that on him.

Fact two:

he also compensates the government for the cost of an equivalent commercial flight. In this case, he compensated for the flight for himself, his daughter, and guests at the cost of a commercial fare for each.

So he refunded to the government what this would have cost him had he been allowed to have a normal vacation.

All the rest of that stupid article is innuendo and an attempt to make Harper look bad.

Nice job, CBC. It should have been way more than 20%. Certainly you can fire that headline writer tomorrow for cause, I think. And really, teh reporter did not need to bury the key facts. What a piece of sleaze.

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 April 2012 09:48

The Flirtation of the Finches

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Every year, about this time of year, as far back as I can recall, we have had a pair of house finches check out our front porch as a possible nesting site. They fly in and out; there is a perfect little platform on one of the posts supporting the top of the porch, and they study it every year. And every year they finally give up and go elsewhere, maybe at some point having detected the presence of cats.

This year was different. After a due inspection, the female began assembling nesting material on the platform. After a day's work she had a pretty workable nest in place. We began looking out the window to try to avoid going out the front door onto the porch if they were present. The next day when I looked out the nest was hanging on its side off the platform, but she was busy working on another nest. Here she is at work then (shot through a screen):

She completed a second nest, re-using the old one's materials, and we started getting excited about the prospect of watching the whole process through the spring.

The next morning the nest was gone, as were all the nesting materials. Clearly she was recycling them to build elsewhere.

It was fun watching her work. The male, meanwhile, took the role of sitting in the spiraea bush in front of the porch and singing like crazy. Sully himself with nest-building? No chance. Mind you, all that singing must have been pretty hard work too.

Here he is carrying out his important role (also shot through a screen):

Yesterday I heard him singing and wondered where they were. It turns out they were on the symmetric porch of the other half of this semi-detached home, and building furiously there. I am guessing the neighbors are away, for otherwise a dog would be in the window barking madly at them.

UPDATE:  (April 15) THey have abandoned the neighboring porch as well.

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 April 2012 19:06

The Link will no Longer Pollute my Insomnia!

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I heard the great news last night; why I had not heard it earlier, in discussions of the CBC cuts, I do not know, but I had a brief bout of mid-morning wakefulness during last night's episode of The Link, and there they announced the forthcoming end of the show. No more self-congratulatory inanity accompanied by stupid commentary! No more pride in ignorance in reporting sports!  The tennis player Milos Forman indeed!

I rather hope Overnight can restore the African report there used to be, and maybe the Dutch one.

Sometimes budget cuts are so refreshing and clarifying!

Last Updated on Saturday, 14 April 2012 09:12

I never had a dream go this far

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One of the sweetest post-victory quotations I can recall from sports was this from Bubba Watson after he won this years Masters with an utterly amazing second shot on the second hole of his playoff.

I never had a dream go this far, so I can’t really say it’s a dream come true,

In a way, even sweeter was the following clarification:

I dreamed about it. I just never made the putt.

Typically I find athlete's post-victory comments fairly uninteresting. One other case I recall where I enjoyed a response was from Myriam Bedard after winning one of her Olympic medals, when a CBC reporter headed off in the usual idiotic direction and asked her whether she had won her medal for Canada or for her home province Quebec. Her response was perfect, and the sort of thing few athletes have the guts to say.

I didn' win it for Canada of for Quebec. I won it for me.

Memorable lines in two quite different ways.


Roger Pielke Jr. on Climate Change in Australia

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Australia seems to be wrestling more with these issues than either Canada or the USA.

This is just a simply great talk trying to get realistic about where we are.

Roger Pielke Jr. talks about climate change measures.

I especially liked his dismissal of offsets, which are utter nonsense. (Even if Al Gore is making a career as a tycoon on those.)

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 April 2012 12:03

Joanne Acoustic

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I think I like the studio version better (well estabilshed on this blog).

But this is SO sweet.

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Autism on The Agenda

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Very moving. Is there any interviewer in the world to match Steve Paikin? I know of none.

But then Mike and Jaden Lake feed much of this too.

Go see Steve's The Agenda on Autism Awareness.

I can tear up in episodes of 'Smash' so I can really tear up in this. Mike Lake is an amazing father.


How Did This get to Almost 200 Million Views ... ?

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without my having heard of it?

And to think the h/t goes to Steve Paikin's The Agenda!

But really, have a great giggle:

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This is What the NY Times Think is Reporting?

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It sure explains a lot. Roger Pielke Jr points out that the NY Times thinks climate change reporting should be advocacy.

For them's among us what care about facts and the like this is NO surprise.

But wow - to encourage a whole bunch of people not to take your newspaper seriously at all?!

From Pielke:

Both advocacy and journalism are fundamental to a healthy democracy, but when they are mixed together, especially on the news pages of the NYT, neither is served particularly well. Please count me among those who prefers to get news from plain vanilla journalism, not the yellow kind.

It amazes me that the self-styled newspaper of record is so ready to give up the ghost and let this so-called reporter embarrass himself.


How Something is Obama?

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Options - ignorant, stupid, conniving, cynical, and undoubtedly many others.

UPDATE: I thought of a new one: desperate.

THE ONE has been pronouncing lately on the Supreme Court, and as all who follow the media know, he is a constitutional scholar. There has been much discussion of his recent pronouncements but my favorite comes from Thom Lambert's discussion of Obama's rather odd current expostulations on the Supreme Court.:

Imagine if you picked up your morning paper to read that one of your astronomy professors had publicly questioned whether the earth, in fact, revolves around the sun.  Or suppose that one of your economics professors was quoted as saying that consumers would purchase more gasoline if the price would simply rise.  Or maybe your high school math teacher was publicly insisting that 2 + 2 = 5.  You’d be a little embarrassed, right?  You’d worry that your colleagues and friends might begin to question your astronomical, economic, or mathematical literacy.

Mischievous opening - where is he going?

Now you know how I felt this morning when I read in the Wall Street Journal that my own constitutional law professor had stated that it would be “an unprecedented, extraordinary step” for the Supreme Court to “overturn[] a law [i.e., the Affordable Care Act] that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”  Putting aside the “strong majority” nonsense (the deeply unpopular Affordable Care Act got through the Senate with the minimum number of votes needed to survive a filibuster and passed 219-212 in the House), saying that it would be “unprecedented” and “extraordinary” for the Supreme Court to strike down a law that violates the Constitution is like saying that Kansas City is the capital of Kansas.

Even I learned about Marbury versus Madison in high school! I find myself unsurprised that maybe Obama did not.

There is more, that makes one wonder about the claim that Obama taught constitutional law. Certainly nothing in what he is saying these days suggests he knows much about it.

This is entirely consistent with his ignorance of history in general, ceratinly of any econonmics, and pretty much anything else he opens his mouth about.

h/t Instapundit

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 April 2012 09:52

Government Motors Keeps Triumphing

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Mickey Kaus points out how awfully the 'green' cars are doing.

Of course maybe the Germans are subsidizing VW the same way, but I rather doubt it, given what I hear about how jaded Germany is about the green crap that Obama keeps praising. Germany was ahead, Obama took them as a model, and they are backpdealling like crazy. For very good reason. They cannot afford to waste money. This is a concept I think Merkel gets; Obama? Not so much.

GM’s government ownership came up as a possible factor in the company’s sudden willingness to accept mileage and emissions standards without a fight. Why not in deciding to spotlight the Malibu’s hybrid credentials? … This is the sort of issue where unsophisticated people think the company just crudely caves to what it thinks the President wants. More sophisticated people know it’s much more subtle and complex than that. And real insiders think the company crudely caves to what it thinks the President wants.

We are getting into the subtle awfulnesses of the bailouts, where the surviving companies do not make business decisions, the make political ones (there was never a clear distinction but Obama has definitely moved the balance). When management cannot act clearly to try to make profits, we're headed back to the sewers again.

I love the last comment at Kaus' post::

If the President really wanted to boost GM sales to the sort of red-blooded Heartland types who still buy American cars–people who are probably not O.F.A. members–he should have said he plans to drive a Camry when he leaves office.

Indeed. I can think of almost no area in which I would take Obama's behavior and choices as a model for mine.



Climate Skeptics are Psychos

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This really is a funny tale of the warmist alarmists overreaching and then trying to cover their tracks.

For a short while the University of Oregon was proud of their sociologist. Then whoops!!!! Let's hide her from view.

I'd say follow that link.

I'd like to follow highlights but the key points are all in screencaps so I cannot.

My summary. University of Oregon is for a moment proud of some sociology sort-of prof who claims anyone skeptical of the most extreme climate change position is somehow beyond the pale. They realize, as they get some feedback from intelligent people, that maybe their sociology sort-of-prof is the problem, not the would-be feature of press releases.

Now that they have to backtrack, they try not to do it in the honest way of saying in public "Oooppss", but rather by changing the whole history. This shows the people they have working in media are fools, as the whole history is out there, and that is what is at the link above.

They wanted to run but they cannot hide. Universities really are bad at this scientific, critical, stuff. They love their bureaucratic cover.

It did not work in this case.

Kari Norgaard is their embarrassment. They should own her. I feel sorry, very slightly, for her (she is after all an iidiot).

Nothing more Soviet it seems than those pro-climate-change-alarmist positions! No public argument, please. Let's just change history to suit our needs.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 April 2012 09:38

Mike Nesmith - Another Comment

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For many years as a grad student, I woke up in our small apartment as the alarm radio came on with this:

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Can you think of a nicer way to be wakened? Thank you, KPFA of that time.

I have never doubted his wonderful singing skills. And anyone who ever wondered about his songwriting knows this lovely:

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And I get to enjoy that great Linda Ronstadt voice!

"It's just that I'm not in the market for a boy who wants to love only me...". Ah those times have so much to answer for!


CBC - Do Not Apply your 10% cuts to Vinyl Tap!

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There is a lot of nonsense paid for by CBC government funding; as a simple example I would propose that CBC cut The Link on Radio Canada International (actually I thought the whole thing had been cut years ago); The Link now occupies a noxious space on Overnight, which I often hear as a bit of an insomniac at times. (It's noxious because they broadcast The Link). In any case The Link is silly and ignorant and unserious, and we were way better off when we had a deal with Radio South Africa and the like to do reports from other parts of the world.

BUT DO NOT cut Vinyl Tap. This is a music show, basically the playing of old songs, but hosted by an actual expert musician, Randy Bachman, who is incredibly erudite in his discipline. I look forward to insomnia Friday nights, hoping to stay awake from 11 to 1. I have never failed to learn something from one of his shows.

And right now I want to recommend that you go and listen to the podcasts from this shows on this site.  The two shows dated Mar 24 on this page which contains his shows documenting the roots of country rock, are about the two best hours of radio I can recall.

Do not touch this show!

From these episodes I knew pretty much every song, but had NO idea of some of the interconnections and origins. On the other hand, there was another song I do not recall ever having heard, Mike Nesmith's 'Joanne', which was so beautiful, and had the most stunning lyrics in the bridge in the middle ("the hold she had on me ..."), which broke me up in tears, lying in bed at 12:30 am. (The Monkees strike again.)


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(I know the video features Joanne Woodward, but Nesmith says the song is about a cow. :-) Makes sense of the meadow and the pond.)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 April 2012 16:12

THe Republican War on Women

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I am a bit late to this game. But as I recall it, a couple of weeks ago, after HHS's mandate that all Obamacare-approved insurance policies must cover contraception, opponents were labelled as 'anti-woman'. And this was the basis of the description of Republicans as waging a 'war on women'.

That was about as stupid as it can get though it was surely pretty good politically.

And the problem is that the problem was framed stupidly.

Contraception is certainly NOT a medical essential.

John Cochrane makes the point that contraception does not belong on a medical insurance policy at all. This should not be hard, gang!  The argument is clear.

Insurance is a bad idea for small, regular and predictable expenses.

How hard is this?

There are good reasons that your car insurance company doesn't add $100 per year to your premium and then cover oil changes, and that your health insurance doesn't charge $50 more per year and cover toothpaste. You'd have to fill out mountains of paperwork, the oil-change and toothpaste markets would become much less competitive, and you'd end up spending more.

Such situations just drive prices and costs up everywhere and socialize what ought to be private costs. Were oil changes included in car insurance, almost all the places I frequent for mine would be out of business, as rent-seeking would be everywhere.

As we often say, read the whole thing.

Another part of the 'War on Women' was Limbaugh's attack on Sandra Fluke, but really, $3000 for three years of contraception? What method could she be using? I would not call her a 'slut' like Limbaugh (who apologized) but I sure wonder what choices she is making and why she expects her costs to be imposed on others. (Well, knowing she is a leftie hack, I do not wonder, really.) At the very least her testimony before Pelosi's invented meeting was disingenuous.

So the 'War on Women' is actually a 'War on Nonsense', as good sense should require.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 April 2012 11:10

John Cochrane Explains Why American Medical Insurance is an Utter Mess

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In The Grumpy Economist, John Cochrane explains in detail how the government(s) has(ve) f**ked up any hope that US medical insurance could ever make sense.

Given my druthers, I think I would have purchased an insurance plan with a fairly high deductible that covered essential medical neeeds only.

Nobody in the US can buy such a plan, because of mornic regulations promoted by idiotic lawmakers. EVen if one could, the regulations would make it pretty expensive.

As Cochrane puts it:

The country can have a vibrant market for individual health insurance. Insurance proper is what pays for unplanned large expenses, not for regular, predictable expenses. Insurance policies should be "guaranteed renewable": The policy should include a right to purchase insurance in the future, no matter if you get sick. And insurance should follow you from job to job, and if you move across state lines.

Why don't we have such markets? Because the government has regulated them out of existence.

He enumerates some serious problems.

Start with the tax deduction employers can take for their contributions to group health-insurance policies—but which they cannot take for making contributions to employees for individual, portable insurance policies. This is why you have insurance only so long as you stay with one employer, and why you face pre-existing conditions exclusions if you change jobs.

So when you become unemployed, you suddenly do not have health insurance (and not all employers offer it anyway). How did such a stupid distortion occur? Government!

And you cannot really buy insurance only for essential medical cacre.

It sounds great to "make insurance companies pay" for acupuncture. But that raises the premiums, and then people choose not to buy the insurance. Instead of these mandates, at least allow people to buy insurance that only covers the big expenses.

How could anyone think it a good idea to force a policy to cover acupuncture? By being in government!

I'll cite one other example of how competition is thwarted in the medical industry.

In my home state of Illinois, every new hospital, expansion of an existing facility or major equipment purchase must obtain a "certificate of need" from the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. The board does a great job of insulating existing hospitals from competition if they are well connected politically. Imagine the joy United Airlines would feel if Southwest had to get a "certificate of need" before moving in to a new city—or the pleasure Sears would have if Wal-Mart had to do so—and all it took was a small contribution to a well-connected official.

As is typical this regulation is great for the politicians as it gives them incredible power (and a possible opportunity for some ;lucrative corruption).

Read the whole thing.

As he points out, Obamacare is simply an accretion to this revolting mess (insisting that policies cover contraception is just ludicrous in its stupidity).

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 April 2012 08:42


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