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Monday Miscellany

Monday’s coming a little early. Posting this Sunday night, just after learning the Dreadful Bill has been inflicted upon us.

  • No-brainer Nostradamus: The Rs will sweep to victory in November promising to repeal the ghastly law. Then they won’t.
  • How is it possible that Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are the only three people in the world who can’t see that the Dems have toasted themselves by doing this thing to us? Along those lines, here’s an unusually good article from a usually not-so-good source, the Weekly Standard: “Dead Congress Walking.”
  • Post-passage PR. Obama plans a three-part, multi-year blitz to persuade us to love our shiny new IRS-enforced health regime and all the dollar-killing deficits and prosperity-killing taxes that go with it. Er … hasn’t he been blitzing us for a solid year already? Isn’t it just about the only thing he ever talks about? Haven’t we just gotten more disgusted every time he opens his mouth? Note that Our Dear Leaders still think the problem is that We the Peasants are merely “misinformed.”
  • Okay, enough of the damned politics. Let’s talk about something nice. Like dogs. Volunteers from an assisted living center in Missouri were divided into two groups and asked to take daily walks. One group was assigned to walk with a human companion. The other group was driven to a shelter each day to walk a dog. You probably can guess which group did best. But it was even better than that.
  • Funny thing. I was talking a few days ago to friends about the subway dogs of Moscow. Then ABC news came out with this article and related broadcast story on that very topic. When I was in Panama, I noticed all manner of roving dogs weaving in and out of traffic, particularly in one small town. Panamanian traffic can be a bit … well, anarchic. But those dogs appeared to know exactly what they could and couldn’t do around cars.
  • Speaking of Panama … here’s a Time article about Donald Trump building a hoity-toity highrise in Panama City. I knew about this mainly because every Panamanian taxista points that construction project out to every Norteamericano. The first 2/3 of the article reads like a news release from Trump Central (or the PR department of Trump’s Panamanian development partner). But toward the end, it briefly touches on the truth: Panama City’s skyline is a glorious, growing picture of gleaming high-rise apartments, condos, and construction cranes — but about 85 percent of Panama’s impressive new building space is empty. And it’s a good thing in a way, because the city’s infrastructure couldn’t even remotely support that many people. In other words … That dirty, rotten commercial real estate bubble? The one that hasn’t popped just yet? It’s worldwide.
  • I promised some “news you can use” in these Monday Miscellanys. So here’s something: “Talk Deeply, be Happy. An experiment has just shown that people who have more substantive conversations are happier than those who spend their days in casual chit-chat about weather or TV. Nobody knows yet if it’s cause-and-effect (do people become happier as they talk about deeper things, or are happy people already inclined toward deeper conversation?). Counterintuitive, isn’t it? But it might be worth giving it a try. The preliminary conclusion (really just a guess at this point) is that we’re happier when our connections to people are more substantial. That’s sure always been true for me.
  • Er … but speaking of things truly, truly NON-deep … Didn’t you think it was hysterical when Rielle Hunter, baby mama of disgraced presidential cad John Edwards, took off her pants, posed on a bed amid her daughter’s stuffed toys, then told an oh-so-credulous Barbara Walters that she wept for two hours when she saw the sexy photos in GQ — because she thought they were only going to be head shots? Yeah, sure, Rielle. (The more we see of this babe, the more obvious it is that she’s a great match for the dissembling Mr. Edwards.) Anyhow, I really liked Walters’ colleague Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s take on the situation: “If you’re going to involve Kermit, Barney, and Dora, put your pants on, okay?” LOL.
  • Finally, just want to point to a comment by John Venlet on this blog last week. He offered links and observations about people moving offshore — particularly those who do so for financial reasons. (He’s agin’ it.) He was responding to my request that people share their thoughts, questions, or experiences about Panama or other countries. Kinda surprised that topic didn’t get more play. Now that we have Obamacare you can bet your hospital scrubs that American doctors will be rushing offshore. Some already have. It would take all my fingers and toes to count the number of my smart, freedom-loving acquaintances who’ve left the U.S. I can see why some consider that to be running away. But whatcha gonna do when your government turns your country into a third-world hell and all the fight you can muster can’t prevent that fate? (I dunno. I go back and forth about the question myself. Mostly, I’ve never had enough money to even think about going, so the question’s been moot. But a few have done it on paltry budgets.)


  1. Philalethes
    Philalethes March 22, 2010 9:37 am

    Anyone who loves dogs, you owe it to yourself to read this book: “The Wolf in the Parlor: The Eternal Connection between Humans and Dogs” by Jon Franklin

    See also the author’s website:

    And you can get a taste of the book at Google Books:

    Also fascinating for anyone interested in current, pioneering brain science study — Paul McLean’s “triune brain”, etc.

  2. Pat
    Pat March 22, 2010 12:06 pm

    “Talk deeply, be happy.”

    Oh boy, is that true. I’ve talked both deeply and shallowly with friends of mine, and we invariably end up happier when the discussions reach down deep.

    Personal story: Just three days ago a friend was comparing the calendar I had put together with one made by a family member of hers (with pix of the family). She said the family calendar was lovely and personal and she couldn’t do without it, but mine held more meaning, it made her think, and she needed it to “stay real, to keep on top of what’s important.” (Her words exactly.)
    In fact she came for tea in the midst of errands, and the need for DEEP was evident when she first sat down and began to talk. We covered every subject during that visit, and parted company refreshed and more “alive” than the previous visit when we discussed recipes, work, and family relationships.

    I think we — libertarians at least — frequently use the Internet to find some deeper understanding and fellowship, because too often the people we know personally do not give us that spiritual contact that is humanness. (Which also may be why we get upset with libertarians who don’t agree with us, because it seems like a “betrayal” for why we are here.)

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