... gave a long, hilarious monologue about how ultra-wealthy, black Hollywood secular progs were suffering racism at the hands of ultra-wealthy, white Hollywood secular progs. I'm sure it was a laugh-a-minute for impoverished, single mom Taniqua Jackson in Camden, NJ who no doubt was wondering how following the Hollywood secular prog handbook for a happy life - lots of sex outside of marriage - wasn't working out so well.
Meanwhile, a buddy and I were at the Toby Mac concert here in San Diego. There, Christian artists were playing great music, the crowd was rocking and the songs were intermingled with testimonials about the importance of placing your marriage ahead of your own desires, the need for us to look beyond race and see each other as fellow children of God and how rewarding it was to sacrifice luxuries and indulgences to be able to support children in Africa.
Man, are we Christians out of touch. We need to be more like Chris Rock if we want to be cool. If only we weren't so judgmental, bigoted and narrow-minded, we'd spend our time talking about the need for black this and white that.
I guess we'll have to be content with great music and a good time.
This morning, I got my coffee, wandered over to my computer, plopped down in the chair and clicked and read. As I walked, I thought about how I was looking forward to seeing what was new and realized that nothing was going to be new, particularly on the political sites that I can't seem to quit.
Doesn't that make politics a narcotic? Isn't it the same high over and over again? When was the last time you read something that surprised you or changed your perspective? I realized that my Politics list on Twitter was going to yield only slight variations on what it had given me yesterday, last week, last month and on off into the past.
I've had this thought before, but to be honest, I'm finding most everything else boring. Yes, I could learn Python, I could groom some of my PHP code and learn how to write tighter MySQL queries, but why? There's not much of an endorphin rush to those compared to reading a particularly clever take down of Donald Trump by Jonah Goldberg.
It's all empty calories and like a fat man who cheats on his diet, I'm burning an irreplaceable resource, time, on the repetitive pleasures of politics.
As I understand it, the best way to break an addiction is to replace it with something (more?) enjoyable. Unfortunately, indulging in polemics is like eating oreos or potato chips. It's incredibly easy to do and very easy to do. While the payoff of coding in the morning might be higher than politics, the cost is higher as well. Further, the payoff for the coding comes tomorrow whereas the pleasure of reading Instapundit is today.
OK, OK. I'll go do something productive. Right after I watch this blistering attack on Trump by Marco Rubio.
It's because American culture has dispensed with objective truth. Substantive conversations rely on objective truth in order to characterize positions. Without it, in the world of subjective truth, everyone having their own truth, you end up with Trump and the Black Lives Matter movement. Shoddy insults and incoherent yelling.
Similarly, this is why attacks on Trump's boorish behavior haven't worked. Since we also dispensed with objective morality ("You mustn't judge, dear. It's not right."), there's no standard against which one can judge Trump's behavior. He made fun of a handicapped guy? So what? Who are you to judge?
The funny thing is that this is the world the progressives hath made. This is what they've wanted since the late 1960s at least. As they own academia, the arts and most levers of the popular culture in which all of us, conservative and liberal alike, marinate, it's no wonder that a very great many of us have adopted this underlying mental model.
So Trump is a liar, a fraud and a huckster. His supporters, having dispensed with objective measures of judgment as the progressives insisted we should, don't care because they now lack the tools to define those terms in any meaningful sense.
Once in a while I make the mistake of listening to the news. Lately, there's been talk about the Senate being "obstructionist" when it comes to Obama's pending nomination for the Supreme Court. "The Senate is obstructionist!" people will cry, somewhat cryptically. I guess I'm supposed to infer from this that the Senate is obstructing things in an obstructory fashion.
I think I got enough mileage out of that one. Time to move on.
In point of fact, it's not the Senate that's obstructionist, it's the voters, the citizens. Senators, a majority of them anyway. were elected by people who want Obama's choice obstructed. So it's not the Senate that should be receiving criticism, it's the people.
Wouldn't it be great to hear politicians and pundits yelling at the voters about this? How about a town hall meeting where politicians from, say, Massachusetts went down to, say, Alabama to yell at those people for having the temerity to oppose an Obama nomination?
So last night, the wife and I drove up to Ontario to see Rend Collective and Hillsong United, both whiter-than-white Christian bands. Talk about dull and conservative! I fell asleep at one point and knocked the lace doily off my drink holder. Then some nasty, blue-haired matron in a hair bun so tight that it looked like she was trying to screw the top of her head off came over and whacked me with a pointer and made me pick it up.
These things are no fun at all. I don't think I'm ever going to another one. I mean, just look at this.
It would almost be worth having Trump become the Republican nominee to see the effect it would have on the Republican National Committee and the other candidates in the 2016 election. Someone else on the web pointed out one of Reince Priebus' jobs as chairman of the RNC is to help explain whatever it is the candidate says, particularly when there are gaffes. Whenever something wacky is said by the presidential nominee, the press go running to the RNC and other candidates to ask what they think of it.
Since Trump contradicts himself constantly and utters crazy things on a daily basis due to mental instability, the effect would be the same as being on the receiving end of an artillery barrage. Things around the Republican candidates and national committee would just start blowing up without warning and they'd have to do their best to survive. I would think that within a week or two, every candidate the Republicans had would be running away from Trump as fast as they could.
The only person who would enjoy it would be Trump himself. He wouldn't see anything wrong with the situation and would spend his time blaming everyone else, threatening lawsuits and calling them names. The resulting chaos would be a marvel to behold.
... the best thing to do is complain and call for more meetings. Dig this.
Greece's government warned Monday it expected a growing number of stranded migrants and asylum seekers after neighbor Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) further restricted border access at the weekend, sparking protests by Afghan nationals at a border crossing...
The action – blocking Afghans from crossing the border and generally restricting access – left thousands of migrants stranded in Greece, at the border and the port of Piraeus, near Athens, where regular private services to the border were suspended.
Hmm. They're near Athens, are they? I wonder if they've got the wherewithal to wander over to that noble city and see if they can influence things in some unspecified way.
Among the protesting Afghans was 25-year-old Shafiulahh Qaberi who traveled to Greece from the northern Afghan city of Kunduz.
"We've been here for three days, and no one knows why they have closed the border," he told the AP. "I don't need food and I don't need water. What I need is to get over the border. Why are they stopping us?"
Young male? Check. Adequate provisions? Check. Frustrated? Check. Surrounded by more like-minded comrades all the time? Check.
Turkey's plan (to take on the ever more aggressive Russkies) was based on the assumption that, in case of conflict, the country could invoke Article 5 of the NATO treaty, the collective defence clause if any member state is attacked.
But Luxembourg foreign minister Jean Asselborn told German magazine Der Spiegel that the Turkish government cannot count on NATO.
If the Turks can't rely on NATO for help, then there's really no benefit to behaving like a NATO member. It's every country for itself down there now. That's going to leave the lazy, corrupt, Bernie Sanders socailist Greeks in a world of hurt.
Earlier this month, Greek farmers rioted, protesting cuts in government pensions. The country is bankrupt and insolvent and these guys are upset that their handouts are dwindling. I wonder which side the Koran supports.
Everybody is building walls and fences these days. It's all so chic and European. The Austrians are doing it, the Slovenians are doing it, even the Romanians are doing it and they're hardly fashion-forward. Everyone but the Greeks.
Greece can't afford to build walls. As they are both bankrupt (unable to pay back their debts) and insolvent (unable to service normal payments to creditors), they can't afford to do much of anything. In addition to that, Greek's geography makes walls and fences nearly impossible to build. How do you build a wall around all those islands? Oh sure, you could use your Navy to spot and turn back refugee boats, but a Navy requires fuel and repairs and those require money which Greece does not have.
If you see the Muslim invasion of Europe as a pipeline, the valves have been turned off on the borders north of Greece, but Greece can't turn off the valve from Turkey. A few data points for you.
"Despite the onset of winter, more than 2,000 people are still arriving in Greece daily, mostly through the sea route from Turkey, EU figures show. Athens is under pressure to register and keep those coming in."
"Macedonia's Foreign Ministry told BIRN that the Slovenian initiative, which calls for greater EU support to reinforce the Macedonian border, was a good idea that would relieve pressure on the country, which lies right on the Western Balkan route taken by refugees and migrants."
"The Slovenian plan essentially envisages that most of the migrants who are now entering Greece would stay there."
Greece has a population of about 11,000,000
Number of Greeks aged 18-30: ~1,346,000
Number of Greek males aged 18-30: ~673,000
Assuming 75% of the invaders are young males, number of invading, young males aged 18-30: 1,500 per day in the winter, much larger as the weather warms up
Days to reach parity in young men: 448, assuming no pre-existing Muslim population either native or immigrant and no increase in flow when the weather warms up.
That parity date is wildly optimistic for several reasons. First, there was a pre-existing Muslim population before the invasion began. Second, the invasion has been going on for a while. What, about a year or so? Third, good weather will accelerate the flow. Fourth, national population statistics are nearly irrelevant.
Combat, whether it be political or physical, is a local thing. All those sturdy, young Greek men off in the hinterlands tending their flocks and pondering Plato don't do you any good when the invaders, concentrated in a few areas, decide to get restive.
So how many days to Sharia in Greece? If the exit flow to the north is cut off and the flow from the south is not, how long before native Greeks give up and flee? Dig this protest from the island of Kos.
Check out how old most of those Greeks are. Not quite combat-ready infantry, are they?
When do you leave a place? When it becomes impossible to make a living or protect your property. In this case, that happens when the tourists stop coming and crime gets out of hand. That's going to happen long before the invaders become a majority. When the government can no longer pay its bills, the Greeks dependent on tourism won't be able to look to Athens to buy their food after their business dries up.
So you'll get an exodus of Greeks to go with the influx of invaders. How long before there's Sharia in parts of Greece? Once there is, who runs it? Once there is, why wouldn't they start sending decent boats over the Turkey to start bringing more invaders en masse. Imagine the flow increase when migrants are brought over by huge ferries instead of tiny skiffs.
One last thought. Why would Turkey want to stop this? For one, Turkey is an Islamic country. Spreading Islam is what they're supposed to do. For another, the Turks have never liked the Greeks. To top it off, I'm sure Turkey is happy to get as many restive, foreign young men off their hands as possible.
Looked at in a certain way, this isn't a refugee crisis but a beachhead.
... but none around our churches*. You enter the Catholic Church through our individual churches, not the Vatican.
Look, Ma! No walls!
* - If you don't get the reference, the Pope recently chastised Donald Trump for wanting to build walls around America, but not being interested in building (metaphorical) bridges. Many pundits have responded by pointing out the huge, medieval wall around the Vatican.
In listening to Zig Ziglar's The Secrets of Closing the Sale for the nth time, I was pondering his lessons with respect to my marriage. I love my wife dearly, she's simply the best for me in so, so many ways. We almost never argue, but once in a while we disagree on things to one extent or another.
A disagreement, seen from a certain angle, is a sales pitch. You're trying to get the other side to agree, to "buy" your position.
When you actually argue or disagree with your spouse, what are you really selling? When you get angry, you're selling this: "YOU'RE WRONG!" There's not too many people who are going to buy that willingly and if they do, you can bet you're going to be paying it back in the future.
Instead, what if you keep in mind that what you really want to sell is this: "I love you and I want to have a better relationship with you." That's something that almost any spouse would be happy to buy. I would bet that your approach to disagreements would be substantially different if you were asking them to buy affection and closeness. I think we all want that outcome in the end, but it's really easy to lose track of it.
There. That's as far as my thinking takes me for today.
European officials are now emphasizing the importance of registration centers on Greek islands. In theory, these so-called "hotspots" would help slow the flow of migrants heading to the north and mitigate security risks by swiftly identifying, registering and fingerprinting all arrivals. Migrants ineligible for protection would be deported and the rest distributed across Europe...
Hotspots are supposed to be closely linked to a much advertised EU plan that envisages the distribution of a total of 66,400 asylum seekers from Greece to other EU member-states.
There are two main problems with the hotspots concept. First, only one of the five planned hotspots in Greece actually exists and is sufficiently operational...
(Second), the planned hotpots on the other four Greek islands have been hampered by opposition from local residents and mayors, red tape and a lack of funding and resources.
The Flow Equation
130 out, 30,000 in. Net gain of enemy light infantry: 29,870 during a winter month when travel conditions are harsh.
As for the flow of people northwards, nothing has changed. The migrants keep coming. On Wednesday of last week, despite snow and freezing temperatures, more than 2,000 people made the crossing to Lesbos... As for deportations, in the first two weeks of January Greece sent back 130 people to Turkey while some 30,000 came from the opposite direction...in 2015, more than 850,000 people arrived in Greece.
The Greek Army has 135,000 men, nominally. It's actual strength is less. Immigrants in 2015 alone outnumber it by more than 6-1.
Greek housing prices fell 5.1 percent in 2015, meaning residential properties are now worth 41.5 percent less than in 2008, before an enduring recession that forced the country close to bankruptcy, official data showed on Monday.
People in Important Government Positions need to hold more meetings.
Since we've done away with original intent and reading the document as it's written and since many believe that the Constitution is a living document, whoever is on the Supreme Court is effectively rewriting it as they go along. Religious liberty, gun rights, gay marriage, abortion - all of these are up for grabs or being created from whole cloth. The only protection a citizen has from waking up and finding that the nation changed dramatically overnight is this nominee.
It's not that Scalia's death puts the Supreme Court in the balance, it's that his death puts the Constitution itself in the balance. The basic rules of what the government can and can't do are more fluid than ever, so this nominee will hold ultimate power over the citizen's compact with his government.
Does that make this nominee effectively dictator for life?
... unless Ted Cruz is elected president and maybe not even then.
American culture has become too emotion-driven to ever see another Antonin Scalia. Here's one of my favorite Scalia quotes.
"The Constitution is not a living organism. It's a legal document, and it says what it says and doesn't say what it doesn't say."
“Persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and pass a law. That’s what democracy is all about. It’s not about nine superannuated judges who have been there too long, imposing these demands on society.”
Objective truth, objective morality and hard work, particularly the hard work of persuading enough people to pass an amendment to the Constitution, simply aren't popular today. Instead, we really do want 9 people, well, 5, really, to act as dictators and give us what the majority wants.
... is the message central banks have been sending to the public for quite some time as they cut interest rates more and more. It's gotten to the point that Swiss and Japanese central banks now have negative interest rates - you lose money by saving it.
Central bank rates only directly apply to commercial banks who store money there, but those rates are used as reference points for the rates you and I receive on our bank accounts. As the central banks ease, that is, lower interest rates, our deposits earn less and less.
This is deliberate. It's an attempt to force us to spend whatever money we have to pump up the economy. It also stands traditional standards of behavior on their heads. In the past, you wanted to save for a rainy day, invest in your future, postpone today's pleasures for tomorrow's security. Well screw all that, say the central banks, get out there and buy that jet ski!
This is a lot more fun then saving your money for the future. Trust us.
In essence, the central banks are joining the fight for instant gratification. Yes, sober, educated economists and bankers want us to party on like there's no tomorrow.
Thrift is out of style, man. At least until this whole thing blows up.
Note: This was something that popped into my head as I was reading about Deutsche Bank. That massive, German financial institution is getting its brains beaten out in a variety of ways and I'm trying to understand what's going on. Loans to energy companies are failing as the price of oil drops, but on top of that, there's some perverse squeeze on bank profits being caused by lower and lower central bank rates. I don't fully grasp it yet.
I love to make blackened ribeyes. I do them on a huge cast iron skillet outside on the grill so the smoke doesn't fill our house. I've used butter in the past as the substrate when I cook them, but recently I've discovered the glories of lard. This, in particular, convinced me.
When it comes to determining the stability of a fat, it’s all about chemistry. Saturated fats have single bonds between all the carbon molecules of the fatty acid chain and are therefore the most heat-stable. That’s because single bonds, when it comes to the fatty acid carbon chain, are relatively difficult to break.
Lard doesn't burn and doesn't break down under heat unless you really screw things up. I've yet to burn lard the way butter burns. I had one adventure a while back where I heated the skillet and when I put the butter in, it burst into flames immediately, coating the pan with ash and giving the steaks a charred flavor even though they weren't burned themselves.
Lard doesn't have that rich, milky flavor that butter has, but you can get that effect by putting a small pat of butter on top of the steak when you serve it.
I couldn't leave that last snarkathon as my only 10th blogiversary post. I need something more positive. This sleep apnea thing is really kicking my butt, so many days I end up grumpy because it feels like a part of my body is broken for good. I always thought I'd react better to the slow entropism of age, but so far it looks like I've got some room for improvement.
On to something positive.
Last night I went to Ash Wednesday services. As a Eucharistic minister, I was one of the folks doling out the ashes. When you make the cross on the recipient's head, you're supposed to say, "Repent and believe in the Gospel." That in itself was a bit surreal as I'm always fighting plenty of my regular sins and losing one or more of the battles at any given time. Me suggesting that someone else needed to repent felt out of place.
In any case, a mom with a little baby girl, probably no more than 2 years old, came up to get ashes. I put hers on her forehead with a dutiful, "Repent and believe in the Gospel." She then turned her little girl so I could put ashes on her forehead. She was the picture of lovely innocence. I smiled and as I put the ashes on her I said, "You don't need to repent. You're beautiful just the way you are." The mom had a big smile on her face as she walked away.
Today's my tenth blogiversary. Yay for me! Ten years and nearly 7500 blog posts later, I'm as OCD about this blogging thing as I've ever been. I've blogged before about what I've learned from blogging, but the last time I did that, someone admonished me saying, "No one wants to read a blogger blogging about blogging!" That seemed like sound advice, so off we go onto another gloomy snarkfest.
En, as they say, joy.
Time and again, we're told that progressives, social justice activists, democratic governments and diversity are on the "right side of history." It's rather Marxist as it assumes that history is inexorably flowing in a given direction, carrying us on with it like some kind of river.
Funny thing about that river. It always seems to be going in the direction of military might and financial power.
The WSJ today has a bit on the Russian quagmire in Syria, or rather, the lack of said quagmire. It turns out that contrary to the Obama Administration's assertions that there's no military solution in Syria, the Russians have discovered that there may indeed be a military solution. That solution involves unrestricted bombing.
Defying U.S. predictions of a quagmire in Syria, Russia is achieving strategic victories there with this month’s Aleppo offensive. The question now is whether this is a turning point that hastens the five-year war’s end or the trigger for a counter-escalation that will drag other regional countries into the conflict.
(C)ountries such as Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have been voicing a willingness to accept the Kremlin’s role in Syria and work more closely with it. Israeli officials have said they hoped Russia could help constrain Iranian operations against Israel from Syria.
It's worth noting that our new bestest friends in Iran and the proud, sovereign people of Afghanistan who will soon be released from under the American jackboot, are joining the fight against history.
“There is no regime advance,” (a Syrian rebel leader whose soldiers are getting mauled) added. “In the air, it is Russian planes. And on the ground, there are Afghan, Hezbollah, and Iranian fighters. And in the operations room, there are Iranians.”
Iran has recruited thousands of Afghans, many of them refugees living in Iran, to fight on the government’s side in Syria. A Human Rights Watch report in January said the Afghan fighters are organized and commanded by Iranian military officials and have fought at every major battlefield in Syria, including around Damascus and Aleppo.
Meanwhile, European banks and stock markets across the globe are getting crushed despite central banks shifting their printing presses into overdrive. It's almost like there's something else at work here, something other than monetary policy.
We live in crazy times, man. Crazy times.
Rest assured, the world is largely united in agreeing that we're on the right side of history.
Central banks are either flirting with or have already instituted negative interest rates in order to force commercial banks to lend. This isn't going very well and both the Japanese stock market and European bank stocks have been getting slammed. It's no joke.
But there is more to the sector slump than just the individual bank problems, according to Garnry. The negative interest rates set by the ECB means that banks effectively have to pay to have cash on their balance sheets, while at the same time getting squeezed on their net interest margins. Debt levels are already really high on the continent, which means further loan growth is expected to be low, he said.
Think about what negative rates mean. If banks aren't lending, it's because they don't see sufficient rewards for risking their money. Banks make money by lending, so they're already predisposed to make all the loans that seem reasonable. Money kept on the sidelines by the banks is really being kept out of the hands of dangerous, risky business ventures.
In comes the central banks, punishing them for not lending to poor risks by charging them for keeping cash reserves. It's like the central banks are shouting, "Go out and play with the other children! It's a beautiful day, much too nice to stay inside." The commercial banks look outside and see this.
I recently shocked one of our sons' girlfriends when I told her I hated female movie and TV characters who engage in medieval combat. The topic came up while discussing Game of Thrones. It would have been equally applicable to the Hunger Games films or the new Star Wars movie.
I read recently that the reason the French, when fighting the English in the 1400s, didn't come up with longbow units was that they couldn't find anyone strong enough to pull the darn things. Welsh boys were brought up being trained to fire the longbow. It's such a difficult weapon and requires so much upper body strength that you can't just pick it up and start using it.
Similarly, women in armor with swords or axes fighting men is stupid. They'd last about one hit and then they'd be dead. Imagine any woman taking on an NFL linebacker. Knights were the professional athletes of their day. Heck, women can't even compete at the professional level at golf, much less MMA (Medieval Martial Arts).
In any case, the young lady was aghast. No one she knew talked like that. It was just assumed that it was perfectly normal for women to be shown physically beating up on men. I think I sprained her brain as she realized I was an unapologetic chauvinist.
But to me, it prompts the question, why are we at this point? Why is it that popular culture is full of women besting athletic men when they'd be lucky to take down an average guy? It's particularly egregious when a woman of classic beauty, slender and lovely, punches out a guy who looks like an enforcer for the mob. And yet, we see that all the time. Why?
How about this. Popular culture is trying to advance the myth that women don't need men. Equality requires replacement, maybe? It's certainly defiance of the thought that men and women are complimentary.
Something to ponder.
I'm just sure that one of these guys could have been replaced by a woman. (Sorry for the lousy video quality. It was all I could find from El Cid.)
You have to think that at some time these fantasies that men and women are interchangeable, all careers need to be equally open to all sexes and that gender is a social construct are going to collapse. If nothing else, the internal contradictions will bring it crashing down.
.@DSarna So women are perfectly capable of competing head-to-head with men for Navy SEAL slots, but not in basketball. Got it.
Critics are scrutinizing mixed martial arts (MMA) competitor Fallon Fox, after the transgender fighter gave her opponent a concussion and broke her eye socket.
Fox defeated her opponent, Tamikka Brents, by TKO at 2:17 of the first round of their match. Brent’s eye injury resulted in a damaged orbital bone that required seven staples.
In a post-fight interview this week, Brents told Whoa TV, “I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life.”
“I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not, because I’m not a doctor,” she stated. “I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right. ”
Emphasis mine to illustrate just how deeply ingrained this idiocy is in our culture. You need to be a doctor to ascertain whether or not men are stronger and more aggressive?
... or done as few as possible. She's caught in a vice.
If she goes on a lefty-moderated one, like on hosted by MSNBC, Sanders won't get any hard questions and will be able to talk endlessly about how many presents he's going to give the good little boys and girls. Hillary's one advantage, that she's slightly less loopy than Sanders, will be negated by the loopiness of the moderators.
If she goes on a centrist-moderated one, she's going to get corruption questions she can't answer.
She's never going to go on a Fox News - sponsored debate, so there's no real point in considering it.
She should be playing rope-a-dope with Bernie and instead, she keeps engaging him.
I'm about to zip over to a friend's house to watch this morning's games where about 6 men are gathering for British breakfast and (proper) football. Of the 6 of us, only 2 of us have been watching the English Premier League (EPL) for longer than a year. Out on Twitter, my man Dean has started following Manchester City. At work, my office mate now texts me regularly when the games are on.
For me, football in general and the EPL in particular is the best sport out there. No commercial breaks and almost every game means something. In the EPL, it's not just about placing in the top 6 spots so you can go to one of the European tournaments, it's about not placing in the bottom 3 and getting sent down to the league below. That means even the really bad teams play like mad.
And there are moments like this, where Jonas Gutierrez, cancer survivor and long-time Newcastle United favorite, saves the team from relegation by scoring a crucial goal in the last game of the season.
To feed my Keurig habit, I ordered Starbucks Sumatran K-cups from Amazon. They were delivered yesterday before we got home and the two smaller Catican Guards, both chihuahua mixes, attacked the box. One of our sons arrived at the scene before they managed to get into the coffee. He rescued the box and prevented what surely would have been one of the greatest disasters in human history as two caffeine-crazed chihuahuas would have been loosed upon the world.
I think he deserves a medal.
We came this close to the end of civilization as we know it.
San Diego recently had rain and severe winds. At a local graveyard, a big tree blew down. The most interesting thing to me was how the grass around the tree was pulled up by the tree roots like someone pulling up a blanket in bed.
I left the image quite large, so I think it's worth a click. Enjoy!
I'm pretty sure the tree is haunted now. I don't think the dead take kindly to things like this.
Submitted for your viewing pleasure, a Finnish police training video showing women how to deal with would-be rapists, which, for a reason not clearly explained, seem to be more common in Europe these days.
So there you have it. The Force. It's not just for concealing droids any more!
Update: Maybe it's not The Force after all. It could be some kind of high-tech device in the mittens.
TOKYO—Japanese bank shares fell sharply Monday despite a rise in the overall market, reflecting how the Bank of Japan’s move to negative interest rates has put the nation’s commercial bankers in a tough spot.
Many banks have more cash than they know what to do with. Last Friday’s surprise interest-rate move means that commercial banks will lose money on some of their deposits at the central bank. Meanwhile, yields are plunging on Japanese government bonds, another popular place for banks to put their money. The interest rate on the benchmark 10-year government bond fell at one point Monday to a record low of 0.05%.
The Bank of Japan’s move is intended to spur spending and demand for loans, but industry observers are skeptical that banks can find more borrowers.
The BoJ has been printing Yen like there's no tomorrow and handing it to the banks. The banks can't find anything to invest in other than magic beans, perpetual energy and self-aware sex robots, so they were taking their money and stuffing it back into the BoJ and government bonds. Those investments didn't yield much, but they were practically risk-free, unlike green energy boondoggles. Now, thanks to the BoJ, those investments will actually produce losses.
What to do with all those Yen?
Since the Japanese population is falling, there's not much new business to be had in Japan. It looks like they're going to have to start investing outside of the country if they want to avoid more losses. I'm not sure that's what the Japanese government and the BoJ had in mind. In effect, their policies will become stimulus measures for other countries.
On the other hand, they could always invest in new Pachinko parlors.
Yesterday, our Bernie Sanders priest said the Mass we attended. During his homily, he gave us his canned bit about accepting Muslims and how important it was to show them kindness and mercy. I'm fine with that up to a point, but only so long as there's proportionally lots more talk about what's happening to Christians in the Middle East.
"Bulldozers, heavy equipment, sledgehammers, possibly explosives turned those stone walls into this field of gray-white dust. They destroyed it completely," [Stephen Wood] said from his Colorado offices.
On the other side of the world, in his office in exile, in Erbil, Iraq, Catholic priest Rev. Paul Thabit Habib, 39, stared in disbelief at the before- and after- images.
"Our Christian history in Mosul is being barbarically leveled," he said in Arabic.
Sadly, our priest rarely mentions it. While he's lecturing us about how we need to open our arms unconditionally to Muslims, all the Christians in Iraq are being killed. Further, converting from Islam to anything is punishable by death.
If our side is being wiped out and their side is growing monotonically, what does the future hold?
The future holds a lot more manly men, so I guess that's a plus for the ladies.