Thursday, May 27, 2010
My intent is to make a squirrel confit, and possibly turn that into a crunchy spring roll of some kind. Today, however, I found a recipe at Offal Good for Braised Rabbit in Hay. It is a standard-looking braised rabbit recipe, with the addition of hay, placed underneath the bunny in the stew pot. I will need to consult Smallholder about the best grasses/legumes/etc to be used.
The smell of hay is something that reminds me of my childhood - helping to load the bales into into my grandparent's barn, and then playing in the hay loft in the fall and winter. The grass here in Virginia has a wonderful sweet smell that is intoxicating when I cut it, so I am sure some of this aroma would be delicious with a braised rabbit. I look forward to this experiment
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The main sticking point is pay increases. The hospitals want a merit-based 0% to 2% increase. The Nursing Union wants 3%.
The kicker is that nurses who strike may not be able to return to work for as much as a month, because the hospitals will have to contract with replacements, usually hired from a "traveling nurse" service.
The Minnesota Nurses Association looks like every other left-wing labor group. That is because they are just like every other left-wing labor group. Here is a PDF which outlines their policy on taxation. It reads, in part:
A fair tax must take into account a person’s income and other circumstance such as number of dependents or disability. An equitable tax Is a progressive tax based on ability to pay. With a progressive tax, wealthier people pay a greater percentage of their income to taxes than those with less income. In contrast, with a regressive tax, lower income people pay a greater percentage of their income to taxes.From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
Here is their statement on National health care legislation, which begins with the preposterous claim:
Health care is a basic right of all people. The Task Force believes there should be a health care system for all, everyone should have a right to enter an available system and receive the services that are necessary for him.In other words, anyone has the right to demand services from anyone else, regardless of their ability to pay, and therefore, those who have greater means are under moral obligation to pay for the delivery of the services. (NB - check out the masculine as generic! The editor needs to remember the proper usage is "he/she/it," not to mention the disjointed plural/singular combination)
The SEIU (the purple shirt goons) have been involved in many hospital issues, notably their "safe needle" campaign - more expensive needles with a small retracting sleeve over the business end, supposedly to protect nurses from accidental sticks. Mrs. Polymath, a RN, says with good nursing practice needle sticks are highly unlikely. And one can still get stuck with a "safe" SEIU needle.
I recently read a report (I believe it was from Moody's) which stated that smaller hospitals, especially non-profits, would eventually and inevitably be absorbed by larger hospitals and corporations (the bastards!). With labor unions, collective bargaining, and now nationalized health care, we shall soon have the equivalent of General Motors: A tormented and bankrupted industry, propped up by tax dollars, run by incompetent fools.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
An expected revaluation of the yuan would make gold more appealing to Chinese investors by reducing its price for holders of the currency and potentially fueling concern about inflation, UBS AG said.
“First and foremost, gold will become cheaper in yuan terms, and this should stoke additional interest in the yellow metal,” Edel Tully, London-based analyst at the bank, wrote in a report. “And if the yuan revaluation is interpreted as a signal of government confirmation that inflation is indeed a problem, this would likely boost gold’s appeal.”
China may allow the yuan to appreciate by June 30 to curb inflation while avoiding a one-time jump in value that might slow exports, a survey of analysts showed. Gold consumption in China may double within the next 10 years as the nation’s economy continues to expand and increase national wealth, the World Gold Council said on March 29.
In a related story, also from Bloomberg:
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told Bloomberg Television in an interview that he’s “as confident as I’ve ever been” that China has a growing incentive to let the yuan gain against the dollar. Revaluing the yuan is “absolutely” in China’s long-term economic interest, Geithner said.
China is committed to preserving stability in the northeast Asian region, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today in Beijing, at the end of the Strategic & Economic Dialogue.
What about our nation's long term economic interests? Weakened U.S. dollar + massive U.S. spending + increased gold mining production in China + regional Asian instability = A position of extreme weakness for the United States. How long will China continue to buy our debt, at least without demanding a higher rate of return?
Monday, May 24, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Looking through the images, I wish that I had used the one below, a detail from a larger illustration by Botticelli.
Mohammed with entrails, Ali with his head cut in half. I like this one because the guts are actually dragging on the ground. (Image from DanteWorlds, via Mohammed Image Archive)
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Here is a partial transcript of Citizens United v. FEC, which Kagan lost:
ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLEE GENERAL KAGAN: Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court:
I have three very quick points to make about the government position. The first is that this issue has a long history. For over 100 years Congress has made a judgment that corporations must be subject to special rules when they participate in elections and this Court has never questioned that judgment.
Number two -
JUSTICE SCALIA: Wait, wait, wait, wait. We never questioned it, but we never approved it, either. And we gave some really weird interpretations to the Taft-Hartley Act in order to avoid confronting the question.
GENERAL KAGAN: I will repeat what I said, Justice Scalia: For 100 years this Court, faced with many opportunities to do so, left standing the legislation that is at issue in this case — first the contribution limits, then the expenditure limits that came in by way of Taft-Hartley — and then of course in Austin specifically approved those limits.
JUSTICE SCALIA: I don’t understand what you are saying. I mean, we are not a self — self-starting institution here. We only disapprove of something when somebody asks us to. And if there was no occasion for us to approve or disapprove, it proves nothing whatever that we didn’t disapprove it.
GENERAL KAGAN: Well, you are not a self-starting institution. But many litigants brought many cases to you in 1907 and onwards and in each case this Court turns down, declined the opportunity, to invalidate or otherwise interfere with this legislation.
JUSTICE KENNEDY: But that judgment was validated by Buckley’s contribution-expenditure line. And you’re correct if you look at contributions, but this is an expenditure case. And I think that it doesn’t clarify the situation to say that for 100 years — to suggest that for 100 years we would have allowed expenditure limitations, which in order to work at all have to have a speaker-based distinction, exemption from media, content-based distinction, time-based distinction. We’ve never allowed that.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
“I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever “fixed” at the Philadelphia Convention….Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government the devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. They could not have imagined, nor would they have accepted, that the document they were drafting would one day be construed by a Supreme Court to which had been appointed a woman and the descendant of an African slave. “We the people” no longer enslave, but the credit does not belong to the framers. It belongs to those who refused to acquiesce in outdated notions of “liberty,” “justice” and “equality,” and who strived to better them.”From the beginning of these comments, Justice Marshall was wrong. The meaning of the Constitution was fixed, as it is a contract between the People and the form of government they chose. The terms of a contract do not change by whim or expediency of the moment. The wisdom of the framers was profound, because for the first time in the history of mankind a people chose to be ruled by just laws that protected the individual and his right to his own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. For the first time, the person, property, and mind of man was to be respected, and not subordinated to the collective or the ruling class by the use of brute force. Deficiencies in our government were, and are, a result of human imperfection. There have always been, and there always will be, men who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of others through force and abuse of the law. The federal government, through the Supreme Court, upheld slavery. The federal government, through the Supreme Court, upheld segregation. That slavery and segregation took so long to be removed from our society is not a deficiency in our founding, but rather a result of an elitist mind-set of those who would presume to rule.
Marshall’s statement: “’We the people’ no longer enslave, but the credit does not belong to the framers. It belongs to those who refused to acquiesce in outdated notions of “liberty,” “justice” and “equality,” and who strived to better them” is troubling. What did Justice Marshall mean, exactly? What is outdated about these terms? Words have specific and ordinary meanings. To suggest that the founders’ intent of the words they used in the Declaration and Constitution are somehow outdated, and therefore invalid, is fallacious. The men who refused to accept slavery were not, and are not, men of the left, regardless of what Justice Marshall thought of himself and those of his political persuasion. They were men who upheld the Declaration and the Constitution, and who held the framers and their original intent in the highest place of honor.
Should there be any doubt about Marshall’s (and by extraction, Kagan’s) position on original intent, racism, fairness, liberty, justice, equality, etc. etc., one only need examine a quote attributed to him by Justice William O. Douglas: “You guys have been practicing discrimination for years. Now it is our turn.”
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Thompson will not be speaking to you tonight. His time is up. I have taken it over. You were to hear a report on the world crisis. That is exactly what you are going to hear.
For twelve years you've been asking "Who is John Galt?" This is John Galt speaking. I am the man who has taken away your victims and thus destroyed your world. You've heard it said that this is an age of moral crisis and that Man's sins are destroying the world. But your chief virtue has been sacrifice, and you've demanded more sacrifices at every disaster. You've sacrificed justice to mercy and happiness to duty. So why should you be afraid of the world around you?
Your world is only the product of your sacrifices. While you were dragging the men who made your happiness possible to your sacrificial altars, I beat you to it. I reached them first and told them about the game you were playing and where it would take them. I explained the consequences of your 'brother-love' morality, which they had been too innocently generous to understand. You won't find them now, when you need them more than ever.
We're on strike against your creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. If you want to know how I made them quit, I told them exactly what I'm telling you tonight. I taught them the morality of Reason -- that it was right to pursue one's own happiness as one's principal goal in life. I don't consider the pleasure of others my goal in life, nor do I consider my pleasure the goal of anyone else's life.
I am a trader. I earn what I get in trade for what I produce. I ask for nothing more or nothing less than what I earn. That is justice. I don't force anyone to trade with me; I only trade for mutual benefit. Force is the great evil that has no place in a rational world. One may never force another human to act against his/her judgment. If you deny a man's right to Reason, you must also deny your right to your own judgment. Yet you have allowed your world to be run by means of force, by men who claim that fear and joy are equal incentives, but that fear and force are more practical.
You've allowed such men to occupy positions of power in your world by preaching that all men are evil from the moment they're born. When men believe this, they see nothing wrong in acting in any way they please. The name of this absurdity is 'original sin'. That's impossible. That which is outside the possibility of choice is also outside the province of morality. To call sin that which is outside man's choice is a mockery of justice. To say that men are born with a free will but with a tendency toward evil is ridiculous. If the tendency is one of choice, it doesn't come at birth. If it is not a tendency of choice, then man's will is not free.
And then there's your 'brother-love' morality. Why is it moral to serve others, but not yourself? If enjoyment is a value, why is it moral when experienced by others, but not by you? Why is it immoral to produce something of value and keep it for yourself, when it is moral for others who haven't earned it to accept it? If it's virtuous to give, isn't it then selfish to take?
Your acceptance of the code of selflessness has made you fear the man who has a dollar less than you because it makes you feel that that dollar is rightfully his. You hate the man with a dollar more than you because the dollar he's keeping is rightfully yours. Your code has made it impossible to know when to give and when to grab.
You know that you can't give away everything and starve yourself. You've forced yourselves to live with undeserved, irrational guilt. Is it ever proper to help another man? No, if he demands it as his right or as a duty that you owe him. Yes, if it's your own free choice based on your judgment of the value of that person and his struggle. This country wasn't built by men who sought handouts. In its brilliant youth, this country showed the rest of the world what greatness was possible to Man and what happiness is possible on Earth.
Then it began apologizing for its greatness and began giving away its wealth, feeling guilty for having produced more than its neighbors. Twelve years ago, I saw what was wrong with the world and where the battle for Life had to be fought. I saw that the enemy was an inverted morality and that my acceptance of that morality was its only power. I was the first of the men who refused to give up the pursuit of his own happiness in order to serve others.
To those of you who retain some remnant of dignity and the will to live your lives for yourselves, you have the chance to make the same choice. Examine your values and understand that you must choose one side or the other. Any compromise between good and evil only hurts the good and helps the evil.
If you've understood what I've said, stop supporting your destroyers. Don't accept their philosophy. Your destroyers hold you by means of your endurance, your generosity, your innocence, and your love. Don't exhaust yourself to help build the kind of world that you see around you now. In the name of the best within you, don't sacrifice the world to those who will take away your happiness for it.
The world will change when you are ready to pronounce the oath that I took at the start of my battle:
I swear by my life, and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Harvard, and Harvard Law, are not required to take federal funds. At the time of Kagan's tenure, Harvard received "about 16% of its operating budget from the federal government." Here she is in an e-mail explaining why she bent over:
The Dean determined, as did all his counterparts at other law schools, that he should make an exception to the School's anti-discrimination policy in the face of this threat to the University's funding. I left this exception in force this year, once again because of the enormous adverse impact a prohibition of military recruitment would have on the research and educational missions of other parts of the University.
This action causes me deep distress, as I know it does a great many others. I abhor the military's discriminatory recruitment policy. The importance of the military to our society -- and the extraordinary service that members of the military provide to all the rest of us -- makes this discrimination more, not less, repugnant. The military's policy deprives many men and women of courage and character from having the opportunity to serve their country in the greatest way possible. This is a profound wrong -- a moral injustice of the first order. And it is a wrong that tears at the fabric of our own community, because some of our members cannot, while others can, devote their professional careers to their country.
The Law School remains committed to the principle of equal opportunity for all persons, without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. As a result, the Law School remains opposed to the military's discriminatory employment practices. No one should understand the presence of the military on campus as reflecting any change in the strength of this opposition.
The military, as taught in basic, is not Burger King. They have it their way, or you are out. That is the sacrifice of joining.
When I was in the army, I was not allowed to grow my hair out, smoke pot, and sleep until 10am. Nor was I allowed to show up at formation in nothing but helmet, LBE, and a light coating of break-free. I - like everyone else - had to do what I was told, when I was told.
Most of the service members I have met would not care if a fellow service member happened to be homosexual. I have served with homosexuals. They are not bad people, nor are they "icky." The military wants to be left alone to do its job of killing people and breaking things in the defense of the United States. The social engineers should limit their scope to the (mis)education of their students.
If accepting military recruiters on campus is a condition of accepting federal funding, so be it. Should these terms so offend the moral position of a school's administration, federal funds should be rejected. There are good schools which do not accept federal funds.
If a 16% budget cut would sink Harvard, perhaps the administration should consider why this is so, and quit complaining that their only choice is to spit or swallow.
Considering Kagan was confirmed to be Solicitor General, I would bet the Supreme Court will not be a difficult follow-up. The timing of the announcement of her nomination looks like Obama expects a quickie before the July 4th recess.
Friday, May 07, 2010
The word "metastasize" is used by the author to describe greed and lust for power. This is an appropriate term, but I would expand the description to include the unchecked growth of government. Like metastatic cancer, government will spring up in new places and at unexpected times where previously healthy tissue had been functioning normally. Like metastatic cancer, government growth must be removed or forced into remission if the body is to remain healthy. A body can only function for so long with cancer - if not treated effectively, the cancer eventually diverts all of the body's resources to feed itself, or it makes normal function as a system impossible. At that point, the body dies.
For instance, the health care bill will make hoop-jumpers out of all of us. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Only after the health care bill passed did we find out how diabolical it is. All Nancy Pelosi did was pull off the biggest con in history, with no small assist from the Fourth Estate. According to the bill, if we do not purchase health insurance, then we have broken the law. Unlike auto insurance, we can choose not to drive. However, if we breathe, we must get health insurance.
There are countless potential violations also included for both provider and insuree. The bill is so monstrously large and convoluted that there is no way the average American can keep track of what is involved, except to follow the recommendation and direction of the federal government -- exactly what the bill is designed to do.
But we should have known this was coming. Government has been chiseling at cultural institutions a little at a time, and recently in big chunks, in order to gain power. Another example is the IRS. The tax code has countless thousands of pages which we are responsible for, again under penalty of law and imprisonment. Its job is to make the tax law as confusing as possible for a purpose -- not only to maximize revenue, but also to make examples of whoever they pick and choose.
Even farmers know what it is like. The reporting requirements required by the Agriculture Department require almost a full-time employee to make sense of it all. Along with the debacle of the '70s, when the Agriculture Department encouraged farmers to leverage their own land, the paperwork requirements helped drive out the family farmer. "Get big or get out" was the motto, and they made it impossible for the family farmer to stay in.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
I did not agree with him on much. His love of spending was legendary. He failed to use the veto pen in many cases where it was warranted. And the bit about "abandoning free market principles to save the free market" was maddeningly obtuse. However, President Bush put his country's defense first, and did not attempt to weaken or discredit our military. His cabinet was not loaded with avowed communists, terrorist sympathisers, tax cheats, and other undesirable persons. His economic policies, while they favored "crony capitalism," did not seek to destroy or redistribute wealth.
...even Democratic Vice President Joe Biden now calls the war in Iraq a success.
"I am very optimistic about Iraq," Biden said recently. "You're going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government."
At the same time, Obama already has overrun and overshadowed the soaring budget deficits and record debt that Bush ran up while he was cutting taxes, launching two wars and expanding Medicare to cover prescription drugs. Gross federal debt in fiscal 2001, Bush's first year as president, was $5.7 trillion ; it was $9.9 trillion in fiscal 2008, his last full year. Obama's budget projects that the gross federal debt will be $16.3 trillion at the end of fiscal 2012, the last full year of his first term.
Still, Americans blame Bush more than they do Obama, by about 3-1, for the weak economy and the deficits, according to an ABC-Washington Post poll this week.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said his party would campaign against Bush this fall even though the former president wasn't on the ballot, blaming him for the recession that started on his watch — rather than the Democrats who controlled Congress starting in 2007 — because "presidential leadership sets the tone." [My emphasis]
One can only hope they will keep their word. I seem to remember the unemployment rate under Bush staying around 5% or so (a figure the Clinton administration was overly proud of in its day)until the end of 2008, when the Enigma was elected.