The Kindle version of “New Water: Twelve Stories” by Anthony Robinson has been published

And it’s only $3.95!

Buy “New Water: Twelve Stories” here.

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New Paltz: A spectacular new collection of stories from Tony Robinson

I’ve read them all in manuscript and this is a great, superb collection of short stories. I give it the highest recommendation.

New Water: Twelve Stories by Anthony Robinson

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The “long train of abuses and usurpations”

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” — T. Jefferson, DOI, 7-4-1776

The current “long train of abuses and usurpations” is so long now that it is impossible to see the end of it. Our inalienable rights have fallen into the hands of an alien government. The crooked line from the 1930s to now has left us impressed in service to a gargantuan state that hovers over and leans into us every moment of every day for our entire lives like an obese giant with foul breath. It has inflicted a culture of death on our posterity. It willfully acts against our every interest. It bankrupts us. It seeks to control every aspect of our lives. It seizes children from their parents and cultivates in them anathema and disease in the name of education.

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“Freedom’s Scion” by Francis W. Porretto

My friend Fran Porretto has a new book out in paperback, titled “Freedom’s Scion.” It is a sequel to his earlier science fiction novel, “Which Art in Hope.” (“Hope” is an “ungoverned world.”) I am pretty much not a science fiction reader, and I have not read these two. But having read several of Fran’s other novels, these are guaranteed to be exciting, unusual, compelling and brilliant, like Fran is himself. Kindle editions are available as well.

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“The hidden jobless disaster”

It’s not that hidden.

Ed Lazear explains it:

The U.S. is not getting back many of the jobs that were lost during the recession. At the present slow pace of job growth, it will require more than a decade to get back to full employment defined by prerecession standards.

Clearly it is Bush’s fault, though all of the slightest and even cosmetic improvements belong to Barack. (That’s America’s “Soviet” joke now.)

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Susan Rice to become National Security Adviser

That’s the news this morning. Tom Donilon, the current National Security Adviser, is resigning and Susan Rice is going to be named to replace him.

It has never been clear to me that Susan Rice knows anything about national security.

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“Myth” is too kind a word for it

“THE GREATEST myth in American politics today is the view, perpetrated by the Democratic Left and elements of the news media, that Barack Obama is a political moderate. In truth he represents an ideology that is barely within the American mainstream as understood over two and a quarter centuries of political experience.”

Robert Merry slides this under the door, I assume for the benefit of those who actually believe that Obama is some sort of moderate. Merry doesn’t go nearly far enough, but he gets close to my formulation that Obama cannot be grasped within the normative terms of American politics, and that to make the attempt is to cede him ground he does not hold.

This is otherwise a very conventional analysis of Obama’s place in American political history, but at least it sees him on the periphery (though he’s way beyond that) rather than hovering near the center.

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Scalia corrects USSC majority in police DNA swab case

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, compared DNA to fingerprints and mug shots. That is not a serious comparison. DNA is everything that you are genetically. It reveals diseases your are predisposed to. It tells people things you may not want to know yourself. And there are new developments coming along all the time that will tell an even fuller story about you. I haven’t checked to see whether a person can be tissue-typed for organ donation via DNA, but if that becomes available, anyone looking for an organ, with sufficient money, will be able to find one by either having the DNA database hacked or by bribing his way into it. And then he gets to come get the kidney or liver or heart. That’s not sci-fi anymore folks.

Scalia doesn’t go that far in his vigorous dissent, but the implications of this category error by Kennedy et al., about DNA as simply another means of identification, will now require either a future USSC decision overturning it or a Constitutional amendment. It’s bad enough to merit either or both.

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New Paltz: Drop it, now

A few years ago the recurring idea of getting rid of the Village of New Palltz as a municipal government resulted in a $50,000 grant to study the issue. Fairweather Consulting, a local firm, was hired to conduct the study and after much inquiry that outfit could only say that “consolidating” the (two local, village and town) governments would have marginal benefit, if any.

When you get that sort of report, you shrug your shoulders and say, “O.K., let’s move on.”

But when the handful of people in New Paltz who circulate in and out of government and general civic busybodyism get the wind of the latest civic fad in their sails, it is never over when it’s over. Ego commitments get made. A belief system arises. Evidence has no place. It’s just “let’s keep going until we make complete assholes of ourselves.”

It gets very detailed, this story, but underlying it all is an already falsified a priori assumption, an axiomatic premise, that the current arrangement of a village government and a town government is bad. There can be no looking back to that arrangement, as if it was already gone, and no right-thinking person would conceivably say, “wait, no, it’s fine, it works, and there’s nothing to be gained from changing it.”

Here’s a distinction that I often make: When the issue of getting rid of the village government came up around 2006, it was a response by more established busybodies to the Green Party annoyances who had taken charge of the village board (via the election of Jason West as mayor along with a couple of trustees, Rotzler and Walsh). No one, and I mean no one, had a greater distaste for West than I had, but my argument for keeping the village government (the “inner municipality”) rested not on the personalities but on the origin and purpose of the village government, which to me were clear, sound, and justified. The village has exclusively village work that needs to be done, and whoever sits on the village board must see that it gets done. This village work was not a good job for the town government, which would have to juggle divided interests. In other words, the village made sense when it was formed back in the 19th Century and made roughly the same kind of sense today.

Now is the time to drop this effort. Let it go. It has devolved into personal feuds veering toward local spectacle. Here’s a bottom line to consider: Does it make sense to consolidate local political power into one set of administrative hands? Or is the subsidiarity of the village government the way to keep some of that power directly accountable within the distinct concerns of the village? Conversely, why would someone in the area of the town outside the village, getting water from a well and using a septic system, want to be involved with the water mains and sewers of the village?

Once you drop the a priori assumption that the current village-town arrangement is somehow no good and view it with fresh eyes, and then consider two old maxims: “First, do no harm,” and “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” you can indeed move on.

Now, let’s do something about recruiting volunteer firemen, who are the pride of New Paltz. How about getting high school students interested in volunteering, and also those at the college? That’s an important issue that we are failing at.

Minor edits on 6/3/13 at 1:34 pm.

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Syria

One does not follow Obama foreign policy. Its purpose is incoherent other than as a means to “increase the contradictions.” So Putin is helping out by making it obvious that the supposed cure in Syria is worse than the disease. He’s backing Assad, probably because he knows Islamic radicalism first hand in Russia and doesn’t want the same kind of mess so close by in Syria that the “liberation” of Libya brought on. He’s probably concerned that what Syria does to Israel via Hezbollah, an anti-Assad regime in Syria might do to Russia through a re-invigorated jihad of Chechen radicals.

Richard Fernandez at Belmont Club describes the mess.

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Who? What?

Brent Bozell:

The young man would return to Germany after the war, in 1945, and after visiting Hitler’s famous “Eagle’s Nest” mountain-top retreat, would write that, “Anyone who has visited these places can imagine how in a few years, Hitler will emerge from the hate that now surrounds him and come to be regarded as one of the most significant figures that ever lived. There is something mysterious about the way he lived and died and which will outlive him and continue to flourish. He was made of the stuff of legends.”

Hit the link to find out who wrote that.

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The TED talk that was zotzed by TED

It’s Rupert Sheldrake, raising hard questions about the dogma of science.

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New Paltz: Consolidation? Kevin Cahill is right to back away

The Daily Freeman (Kingston, N.Y.) reports that the consolidation confusion is coming to a boil:

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. — Consolidation supporters will need to wait until the new Village Board is in place on Saturday before a request is submitted to the state Legislature asking to allow both town and village boards to vote on consolidation.

Town Supervisor Susan Zimet said during a Town Board meeting last week that state Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, D-Kingston, has decided to wait before endorsing the request.

“Assemblyman Cahill refused to carry it and said he wants the new sitting … Village Board to vote,” she said.

Zimet said state Sen. John Bonacic, R-Mount Hope, was prepared to seek state Senate approval until Cahill decided to wait.

The right thing for Cahill and Bonacic to do is to say “Oops” and walk away from this monstrosity, ASAP. Zimet has no idea what she is doing, nor does Sally Rhoads of the village board. This entire project ran away with itself well over a year ago and is now just caught up in loops of process and the attending intellectual paralysis.

The best solution is to leave the current village-town arrangement alone. It works. The village is 1/17th the size of the town as a whole, yet it has half the population of the entire town. The village has a distinct infrastructure (sewers and water mains) that it manages through its Dept. of Public Works (which is a good and reliable outfit) and is the core settlement with different matters that it must attend to, largely unlike those matters that the town outside the village attends to.

On matters of common interest, the village and town are already consolidated, and have never been un-consolidated. The village is simply an inner municipality that sees to distinct interests.

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New Paltz: Jason West’s agonies

The Daily Freeman, out of Kingston, New York, reported several days back that Village of New Paltz mayor Jason West has been caught red-handed by Vici Danskin, doyenne of all that is decent in New Paltz:

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. — A village resident has asked the Village Board to remove Mayor Jason West from office, saying he’s moved outside the village boundary and violated state laws in a recent election.

Victoria Danskin, in a letter to the board, contended West listed a former address when he signed candidates’ nominating petitions this year and a polling place sign-in book when he voted in the May 7 election.

“Jason West’s actions display disregard for correct process for public business and the critical importance of valid local elections,” Danskin wrote. “… He openly shows total contempt for the very basis of representative democracy.”

I have to be impressed by the forensic detail of Vici Danskin’s sleuthing, though I am reminded of Det. Mick Belker’s immortal line while working undercover in a poultry shop in an episode of Hill Street Blues: “Lady, could you pass a test like that?

The backstory on this, holding to the side for a moment the general animus that Danskin may or may not have for West, is that Danskin is an adherent of New Paltz’s current civic fad (there’s always at least one going), which is the absolute belief that the village and town governments must be consolidated, and West, much unlike himself, resists the contagion and so casts himself as the scapegoat who must be purged.

Other than the fact that there would be no clear benefit from consolidating the two governments, and that there is good reason for the village to continue to exist as it is, the belief that they must be consolidated is a perfectly good fad to keep the usual busybodies, well, busy. Danskin’s commitment to it goes above and beyond the call of duty.

West, of course, merely had to be careful about how he handled his stay across the village line, but instead misplayed it, hence this latest tempest in his fair trade coffee mug. Not that he doesn’t deserve it.

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Compassionate deprogramming of college students

Thomas Sowell on “Undoing the Brainwashing“:

“This time of year, as college students return home for the summer, many parents may notice how many politically correct ideas they have acquired on campus. Some of those parents may wonder how they can undo some of the brainwashing that has become so common in what are supposed to be institutions of higher learning.

“The strategy used by General Douglas MacArthur so successfully in the Pacific during World War II can be useful in this very different kind of battle. General MacArthur won his victories while minimizing his casualties — something that is also desirable in clashes of ideas within the family.”

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Bystanders

To say that Mark Steyn is brilliant is to state the obvious, but this column was extraordinary even by the standards that apply to him. He is, I think, one of our greatest writers, easily in the top five.

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