I pretty much agree with this - but it's also possible that what I (and this writer) find boorish actually helps him move his agenda along.
My son Mark, whose mind is more capacious, objective and generous than mine, nicely formulated the Donald Trump problem for thoughtful conservatives. “I approve of almost everything he has done,” my son remarked, “and I disapprove of almost everything he has said.”
Second the motion. I approve of the Neil Gorsuch appointment, the moving of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the removal of often-strangling regulations from much commerce, the opening of the Keystone pipeline, the tax-reform law, and more.
I disapprove of the bragging tweets, the touchiness, the crude put-downs of anyone who disagrees with him (“Little Marco, ” “insecure Oprah, ” “Sloppy Steve, ” and the rest), the unrestrained vulgarity. America has had ignorant, corrupt, vain, lazy presidents before, but in Donald Trump we have the first president who is a genuine boor.
In many realms of life, a boor’s rude, unmannerly nature can be forgivable. ... Even a boorish friend is possible, if he is also loyal, generous and honorable. But a boorish president of the United States presents a problem.
The presidency, like the monarchy in England, has a symbolic along with a practical aspect. The president is meant to represent the nation at its best....
The presidency, I can hear critics claiming, is not a charm contest. If President Trump is a boor, that may be regrettable, but better a boor with sound policies than a gentleman with unsound ones. True enough, yet this does not, as the philosophers say, exhaust all cases. A man likes to think that one day we may again have a president with both sound policies and dignified behavior.
What is to be done? I wonder if we might start with journalism. What if American reporters began by ignoring Mr. Trump’s tweets, treating them as no more than the belches and embarrassing flatulence of an incurably dyspeptic man? Heavy media coverage of his tweets only encourages the old boy. What if journalists also ceased searching out the rest homes for aging hookers, porn queens, Mmes. America and Universe who, many moons ago, may or may not have lain with the current leader of the free world? With these two steps alone, the nature of current-day political life would be radically improved.
As things stand, with television punditi awaiting each morning’s fresh batch of presidential tweets, and with journalists sniffing out possible sex scandals like so many truffle dogs, the coverage of our politics seems rarely to rise above the intellectual level of the New York Post’s gossip-filled Page Six. Gossip is amusing in its place, but when that place is the White House it tends to lose its allure. In fact, it makes politics in the United States dreary beyond reckoning.
Nice work if you can get it. FULL DISCLOSURE: We have Amazon Prime and use it extensively.
Jeff Bezos is the richest person in the world, with a personal net worth of $108 billion. In 2017, Bezos’ company, the internet retail giant Amazon, reportedly took in $5.6 billion in U.S. profits. So, how much did Amazon pay in income tax on that bounty? Hang on, we’re getting some news...what? What’s this? Amazon effectively paid zero dollars in federal income taxes in 2017? Oh.
You may be asking: How is this legal? Isn’t Amazon an American company? Aren’t companies required to pay federal income tax? Hello?
Amazon’s global headquarters is not in Seattle, but in the tiny landlocked nation of Luxembourg (Amazon employs more than 40,000 people in Seattle, compared to 1,500 people in Luxembourg.). The European Union has accused Luxembourg of giving illegal tax breaks to Amazon and has ordered the country to recover $295 million in back taxes from Amazon.
As Matthew Gardner at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy writes, Amazon was able to effectively zero out its federal income tax burden by leveraging various tax benefits.
Hit the link for the rest of the story including founder Jeff Bezos and his (non) charitable endeavors. He's even put out tweets asking for advice on how to do charity.
We post, you decide. They don't take long to read.
The Republican one is here - Memo on FBI surveillance
This can get you to a pdf. for the Republican one. - https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4365340/Read-the-GOP-memo.pdf
And the Democrat - Correcting the record - the Russian Investigations
No pdf yet.
From my friend Graham; a former Jamaica buddy and retired engineer. He says "Spring is blooming in TN daffodils are blooming."
Baby conceived naturally . Scientists stumped.
Couple petitions court to reinstate heterosexual marriage.
Iran still closed off; physicists estimate it will take at least 10 more years before radioactivity decreases to safe levels.
France pleads for global help after being taken over by Jamaica! Yea man wine and weed go well together.
Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking.
George Z. Bush says he will run for President in 2036.
Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesdays only.
Average weight of Americans drops to 250 lbs.
Japanese scientists have created a camera with such a fast shutter speed, they now can photograph a woman with her mouth shut.
Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative.
Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their civil rights.
Average height of NBA players now nine feet, seven inches.
New federal law requires that all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters and rolled-up newspapers must be registered by January 2036.
Congress authorizes direct deposit of formerly illegal political contributions to campaign accounts.
Capitol Hill intern indicted for refusing to have sex with congressman.
IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75 percent.
Florida voters still having trouble with voting machines
This is a wonderful column. I've excerpted most of it below the link.
You know the miraculous life of Louis Zamperini, whose story was told in Laura Hillenbrand’s epic, lovely book, “Unbroken.” Louis was the delinquent, knockabout son of Italian immigrants in Torrance, Calif., who went on to run for America in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, then joined the Army Air Corps before Pearl Harbor. He crashed in the Pacific, drifted in a raft on open sea for 47 days, came near death—shark attacks, storms, strafing by Japanese bombers—and survived, only to be captured by enemy troops. He spent two years in Japanese prison camps—beaten, tortured, brutalized as much as a person can be and still live.
He came back a hero, shocked to be alive. But his life went from rise to descent—rage, alcoholism, destruction. He couldn’t focus enough to make a living, couldn’t stop the downhill slide. His wife, Cynthia, announced she was leaving. One day a neighbor told them of something going on in town, in L.A. An evangelist named Billy Graham had set up a tent and invited the public. Cynthia grabbed at the straw, but Louie refused. He wasn’t going to watch some con man screaming. Cynthia argued for days and finally fibbed. Billy Graham, she said, talks a lot about science. Louie liked science. So he went, grudgingly, and they sat in the back. The following quotes are from “Unbroken.”
This is what Billy Graham looked like: “His remarkably tall blond hair fluttered on the summit of a remarkably tall head, which in turn topped a remarkably tall body. He had a direct gaze” and “a southern sway in his voice.” Studio chiefs saw a leading man and offered him a movie contract. Graham laughed and said he wouldn’t do it for a million a month. He was 31 and had been traveling the world for years.
This is what he hid: He was wearing out. “For many hours a day, seven days a week, he preached to vast throngs, and each sermon was a workout, delivered in a booming voice, punctuated with broad gestures of the hands, arms, body. He got up as early as five, and he stayed in the tent late into the night, counseling troubled souls.” His weight dropped and there were circles under his eyes. “At times he felt that if he stopped moving his legs would buckle, so he took to pacing his pulpit to keep himself from keeling over.”
It cost him to be Billy Graham. He wanted to end his crusades, but their success convinced him “Providence had other wishes.”
This is what Billy Graham was not like: Elmer Gantry. Louie expected “the sort of frothy, holy-rolling charlatan that he’d seen preaching near Torrance when he was a boy. What he saw instead was a brisk, neatly groomed man two years younger than himself.” This man was . . . serious. “He asked his listeners to open their Bibles to the eighth chapter of John. ”
This is what Billy Graham said: “Here tonight, there’s a drowning man, a drowning woman . . . a drowning boy, a drowning girl that is lost in the sea of life.”
He spoke of the Pharisees surrounding Jesus that day in the temple and presenting the woman taken in adultery. Moses in the law commanded us, they said, that she should be stoned. What say you? Jesus stooped down and wrote with his finger on the ground, as if he hadn’t heard. They pressed; he wrote. He lifted himself and said: “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” They were convicted by their own conscience and left. Jesus, alone with the woman, asked: “Has no one condemned thee?” No man, she said. He said, “Neither do I condemn thee. Go now and sin no more.”
But what was Jesus writing on the ground? Graham suggested Christ was enacting the writing of the facts of our individual lives: “God takes down your life from the time you were born to the time you die.” He will see the truth. “You’re going to say, ‘Lord, I wasn’t such a bad fellow.’ ”
Louie felt something tighten. He felt “a lurking, nameless uneasiness,” like “the shudder of sharks rasping their backs along the bottom of the raft.”
And so began his conversion. He went on to a life of greatness, helping boys as lost as he’d once been.
That is the importance of Billy Graham. We talk about the “friend of presidents” who “moved among the powerful,” but he was a man who wanted to help you save your soul whoever you were, in whatever circumstance. And there would have been millions.
“Louis wasn’t the only one in the tent,” Laura Hillenbrand said this week, by phone: “Without Rev. Graham, Louie would not have lived.”
“What reached into Louis’s soul,” she added, “was Graham’s ability to reach into the individual, the person in front of him—of God being interested in him personally.” Louis had to come to terms with two huge things, the mystery of his suffering (why did this injustice happen?) and the mystery of his survival (so many others are gone). But you didn’t have to float on a raft and be tortured to suffer: “Everyone suffers. Louis was no different from anyone else in the tent that night.”
He’s still no different from anyone else in the tent.
Here I want to say: I think there was something different and special going on between Catholics and Billy Graham. They saw, as Louis Zamperini, raised Catholic, saw, his earnestness, his confidence in his message. They saw him swimming against the modern tide, as they often felt they were. And maybe they looked and imagined the cost.
I asked the archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, if he saw this also. He emailed back: “When I was growing up, back in the 1950s, relations between Catholics and Protestants were still wary.” But Catholic families “felt that Billy Graham was the Protestant preacher they could feel a real kinship with. He had the ability to reach across all the fractures in Christianity and speak to the common believing heart.” Archbishop Chaput compared him to C.S. Lewis. “In a sense, he spoke the same kind of ‘mere’ Christianity that Lewis did so well, but with an American accent.”
As the big thing to be desired now is that we hold together as a nation and not split apart, Graham’s ecumenical force should be noted among his achievements.
Throughout his life Billy Graham had an air of “I’m not important, God is important.” It didn’t seem like a line but a conviction. He said once: “I am not going to Heaven because I have preached to great crowds. . . . I am going to Heaven just like the thief on the cross who said in that last moment, ‘Lord, remember me.’ ”
And Christ said: “This day you will be with me in Paradise.”
Graham’s son asked what he wanted on his gravestone. He thought and said, “Preacher.”
Since Wednesday morning one of his quotes was all over social media: “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”
On to paradise. “Flights of Angels take thee to thy rest.”
So they suggest there's nowhere to go but down. I don't agree but we will see, and it's a worthwhile read.
Writing in a note to clients on Thursday about the firm’s theme that we’re seeing “peak sentiment” in the U.S. economy, strategists James Weldon and Charles Himmelberg note that while sentiment remains near post-election highs, the risk that this trend ends is rising.
The man's body is still warm but the NYT has to give an opinion on his failings. The author is an emeritus professor at the University of California, Berkley. No doubt this column has been ready to go for a while. Says more about the NY Times than about Billy Graham.
Mr. Graham led his followers to seek comfort in versions of Christianity familiar to his core constituency, the white population of the Southern, formerly slave-holding region of the United States. He offered only weak challenges to the prejudices and injustices largely tolerated by that population.
Mr. Graham had a choice as to where he would urge his followers to come down on these issues. Consistently, he distanced himself from the efforts of ecumenists to revise Christianity in cosmopolitan directions. He encouraged his vast and devoted following to believe that God’s word was unchanging and that liberals were substituting their own ideas for those of a supernatural, unchanging deity revealed in the Bible. He dumbed down his inherited faith instead of helping it to address the challenges of modern times.
The memory of Mr. Graham is rightly honored by those who shared his values and the goals for which he mobilized evangelical Christianity. But the rest of us can surely be forgiven if we remember him differently.
More drivel if you hit the link above.
League President Bill Donohue comments -
Bill Donohue comments on the death of Rev. Billy Graham:
Growing up Catholic in New York in the 1950s, the Catholic we most identified with was Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the first televangelist. The Protestant we most clearly revered was Rev. Billy Graham. In both cases, they had no rival.
For Catholics, Graham was more than just the titular head of the Protestant community, he was a man who inspired us. He was a man of prayer, and his deep spirituality was contagious. Moreover, his ecumenical efforts were legion.
When Graham was at his peak, our culture was Christian-friendly, allowing him to follow a decidedly pastoral approach. Those ministers who came after him were forced to take a more aggressive public stance, owing to the advent of the culture war.
I have one fond remembrance of him. In the late 1990s, he contacted me about some cruel story that had circulated about him—it made him out to be an anti-Catholic bigot. The story was completely bogus. I appreciated how seriously he took this issue, and how quickly he responded.
Rev. Billy Graham will be missed. I am happy that he is with our Lord.
Wow. I remember this "spontaneous" anti-Trump rally - about the only thing the Russian facebook postings succeeded at.
A check of their November 12 coverage showed both CNN and MSNBC gave enthusiastic coverage to the Russian-organized anti-Trump rally that day, with live reports every hour. Correspondents celebrated the idea that it was “a love rally,” and repeated the marchers’ anti-Trump mantras, such as: “We reject the President-elect.”
While the two liberal anti-Trump networks offered heavy coverage of the anti-Trump rally throughout the day, a check of coverage between noon and 5:00 p.m. Eastern found that the Fox News Channel offered only a short re-cap (66 seconds) at the start of their 4:00 p.m. Eastern hour.
Of course, none of the networks were aware of who was allegedly behind the march, but CNN and MSNBC reveled in the inflammatory messages of the march. At one point, MSNBC anchor Alex Witt credulously responded to the ridiculously alarmist rhetoric: “That woman, when she’s saying she’s concerned that black people will be shot in the street....Is that a legitimate concern for her? Because, that’s scary.”
Correspondent Morgan Radford cheerfully played along: “Alex, it’s not only a legitimate concern for her, it’s a legitimate concern for a lot of people I’ve spoken to....They’re wondering if this [Trump’s election] is almost a license to carry in terms of hate.”
If the goal of the secret Russian organizers was to inject nonsense like that into the American political dialogue, then their unwitting helpers on CNN and MSNBC certainly gave them plenty of assistance that day.
Yes we met February 17th, 1978, as explained here -I met Brigid 40 years ago today
So we had a nice Wednesday, including a walk along the Hudson in front of Half Moon Bay and a great meal at Tagine.
Oddly - this was before the snow Saturday - there was a lot of ice still along the shore.
And at 6:30, over to Tagine- with Brigid borrowing my reading glasses -
Delicious prosecco thanks to Kathy and Sal. You can bring your own wine to Tagine - $15 a cork.
It was all fish appetizer (crab cake) and main courses - really wonderful meal.
When we arrived there was about one inch of snow on the ground - when we left two hours later - at least four maybe five.
Pretty good summary - I suppose I should read the 36 page indictment.
Which I will watch when it's out on Netflix, or wherever.
The only two white actors in "Black Panther" are Martin Freeman, who played Bilbo Baggins, and Andy Serkis who played Gollum.
They're the Tolkien white guys.
The greatest day of her my life. No pictures from that day - we met at a party I was having at my flat in Mandeville, Jamaica. I had seen her a couple of times around town. Here's Brigid about a year later, and several months before we got married, at a place called "Lover's Leap" on the south coast of Jamaica.
Here's Brigid 20 years later - September '97 with a couple of young guys -
a 2014 picture - which I love -
Brigid sent this New Year's Picture around - working over her gin & tonic (thanks Mike!)
It all depends on your politics doesn't it?
Here's the NY Post - Russian indictments prove Trump won fair and square
But the NY Times - despite the indictment saying the Russians helped Bernie Sanders only headlines this - 13 Russians Indicted as Mueller Reveals Effort to Aid Trump Campaign
But what about this? Indictment reveals Russians also organized anti-Trump rallies after election
Meanwhile the intellectual bright light of cable TV - Bill Maher - says this about you know who - "He’s plainly a traitor"
Here's the true paper of record - about the only fair-minded major print paper anymore - the Wall Street Journal on the case -
The indictment alleges that the Russians duped unwitting U.S. citizens, including members of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign, into taking part in their plan. In the Democratic primaries, the Russians also sought to help Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who challenged Mrs. Clinton, the indictment alleges.
As baseball season is almost here. Opening Day for the Yanks is this Thursday on the road against Toronto. The home opener is next Monday against Tampa Bay. An afternoon game! Go here for the complete Yankee schedule.
So, "The Sultan of Swat". And a record that held until Roger Maris hit 61 (in a 162 game season; the season was 154 games in 1927) in 1961.
UPDATE: Here's the full indictment. I haven't read it.
Meddling! Off Bloomberg - Yawn...
Here's more - double yawn. "No allegation... Americans were involved."
You mean ... supply side economics works? Cutting taxes and deregulation stimulates the economy producing more revenue, not less? Who knew? Yes, I know, I know, it's only one month ...
The federal government this January ran a surplus while collecting record total tax revenues for that month of the year, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today. January was the first month under the new tax law that President Donald Trump signed in December. During January, the Treasury collected approximately $361,038,000,000 in total tax revenues and spent a total of approximately $311,802,000,000 to run a surplus of approximately $49,236,000,000. Despite the monthly surplus of $49,236,000,000, the federal government is still running a deficit of approximately $175,718,000,000 for fiscal year 2018. That is because the government entered the month with a deficit of approximately $224,955,000,000.
Full Disclosure: I am a man. Article is by a French woman radio host who conducted the survey..
Leaving aside other issues for the moment, I've always wondered why taking a hormone, that effects (as all hormones really do) your whole body, is considered a good idea. so maybe it's not a good idea?
Increasingly women in France (my homeland) are dropping the contraceptive pill and avoiding hormonal contraceptives in general. In a HuffPost article, independent journalist and French public radio host Sabrina Debusquat explains that she conducted a survey of 3,616 French women who had taken the pill and found out why 91 percent had stopped at least one time. After she published the results, the media and medical professionals responded by calling women’s reluctance a “defiance” toward the pill, suggesting that women are misled, mistaken, and guided by fear rather than reason. “When we ask them, we realize that the reality is very different,” writes Ms. Debusquat. Here are women’s main reasons for dropping the pill, as she reports them.
The top reason why women quit the pill is “side effects that are [considered] benign but problematic.” Among the respondents of the survey, 70 percent reported they experienced side effects and the full report reveals how serious and endemic these problems are: 69.6 percent reported a loss of libido, 53.6 percent weight gain, 51.9 percent mood disorders (blues, depression, irritability), 36 percent migraines, 34.2 percent vaginal dryness.
These are typical side-effects that doctors will try to correct by changing a prescription, but tend to consider a minor and acceptable part of being on contraceptives. French women are no longer OK with that. Ms Debusquat calls modern women the “no-pill generation” and writes, “they consider that beyond the risks of cancer or blood clots, experiencing reduced libido, migraines, repetitive vaginal infections and any pain that spoils a good part of their lives is not ‘benign’.”
The no-pill generation “questions the principle of medicating fertility and rejects the idea that contraception must [involve] the risk of side-effects,” writes Ms. Debusquat. More and more, a woman wants to be in touch with her natural body, to respect it just as she wants to respect the environment. Taking the pill means using doses of powerful hormones to interfere with a healthy process in her body: the cycle, ovulation, and a number of good effects achieved by a healthy hormonal balance.
Other reasons given by those in the survey to stop the pill included: “to return to my natural cycles,” “because of mistrust of the pharmaceutical industry,” “because of concern for the environment,” “to be consistent with my environmentally friendly lifestyle.”
Many of the women in the study who stopped the pill started using a copper IUD (30%), a popular alternative in France. However, 9% reported using a fertility awareness based method, most often sympto-thermal (6.2%), pointing to a remarkable new trend, which Le Monde reported already in 2014. More and more people are communicating effectively about fertility awareness to the French public – for example: Cycles Naturel , Sympto.org , Pryska DuCoeurJoly. It’s exciting to see the growing interest in family planning approaches that answer Sabrina Debusquat’s quest for a method without side-effects, truly environmentally friendly, and most egalitarian, since it works as a partnership.
Here's a pretty good great success story. (In 2006 I had a stem cell transplant [giving me back my own harvested stem cells] to rebuild my immune system after the high dose chemotherapy I received for my mantle cell lymphoma. It's 2018 and I'm still here - so far, so good.But this is a different kind of therapy.)
Here's a young woman who'd been paralyzed from the neck down -
The Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) released a new video of Laura Dominguez-Tauer, whose story they first told in 2011, showing the progress in her life since receiving ethical adult stem cell treatment. Dominguez-Tauer was in a car accident when she was 16. It paralyzed her from the neck down. She underwent an experimental procedure using her own adult stem cells and is now able to walk with the help of a walker.
The video is part of CLI’s StemCellResearchFacts.org initiative, which has published 16 video testimonials of patients who have undergone successful therapies for a variety of conditions using adult stem cells.
We in Farandaville love LL Bean. And can understand their updating the "lifetime return" policy. It's now more in line with other retailers.
L.L. Bean today announced it will no longer offer lifetime returns or exchanges on products. The brand updated its policy to give customers one year to return purchases, with a receipt.
The brand expanded on the policy change in its statement:
“Increasingly, a small but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent. Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years. Others seek refunds for products that have been purchased through third parties, such as at yard sales.”‘
L.L. Bean follows a decision five years ago by REI to update its return policy to one year on most products. Previously, both brands honored returns and exchanges on products that were sometimes decades old.
“I had people who would come in, explaining their family member had passed away, and they wanted to return all of their old camping supplies from the ’70s and ’80s,” said GearJunkie employee and former REI staffer Emily Reed. “Lifetime, right?”
L.L. Bean tightens its return policy to one year and requires proof of purchase. According to the new policy:
“If you are not 100% satisfied with one of our products, you may return it within one year of purchase for a refund. After one year, we will consider any items for return that are defective due to materials or craftsmanship.”
From NY Times health section - I believe it - excerpts below the link but worth reading the whole article.
They wound up with 49 high-quality past experiments that had studied a total of 1,863 people, including men and women, young and old, and experienced weight trainers as well as novices. The sources of the protein in the different studies had varied, as had the amounts and the times of day when people had downed them.
To answer the simplest question of whether taking in more protein during weight training led to larger increases in muscle size and strength, the researchers added all of the results together.
And the answer was a resounding yes. Men and women who ate more protein while weight training did develop larger, stronger muscles than those who did not.
The impacts of this extra protein were not enormous. Almost everyone who started or continued weight training became stronger in these studies, whether they ate more protein or not.
But those who did ramp up their protein gained an extra 10 percent or so in strength and about 25 percent in muscle mass compared to the control groups.
The researchers also looked for the sweet spot for protein intake, which turned out to be about 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. In practical terms, that would amount to about 130 grams of protein a day for a 175-pound man. (A chicken breast has about 45 grams of protein.)
Beyond that point, more protein did not result in more muscle benefits.
That number is considerably higher, however, than the protein levels called for in the current federal recommendations, which suggest about 56 grams of protein a day for men and 46 grams a day for women.
“We think that, for the purposes of maximizing muscular strength and mass with resistance training, most people need more protein” than is advised in the recommendations, says Rob Morton, a doctoral student at McMaster who led the study.
That advice holds especially true for middle-aged and older weight trainers, he says, almost none of whom were getting the ideal amount of protein in these studies and who, presumably in consequence, tended to show much smaller gains in strength and muscle size than younger people.
On the other hand and conveniently, any type of and time for protein was fine.
While I originally voted for Trump because he wasn't Hillary, after a rocky start I have been pleasantly surprised and encouraged by his policy successes. Like most people I find some of his pronouncements obnoxious and horrible - although not as bad as some of the things he said or tweeted before he became president - but policy is what counts. Without getting into social policy, I think he's been excellent on the economy and business, and done fairly well on foreign policy.
On immigration, I expect that ultimately he'll work out legalization of residence for the Dreamers and positive reform of our immigration mess.
I put a little post up this past Monday WSJ - "Stocks get cheaper" with the key point being "Relative to earnings, the S&P 500 is cheaper than it was a year ago." Below is a short video off The Business Insider website. To me, the most plausible scenario for stocks this year is that the markets will be 8-12% higher by the end of the year then they were on the 1st of the year. Could something torpedo that? Of course - some event(s) that no one has calculated for. But my suggested scenario is the most likely - that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Meanwhile the Dow Jones is down about 10.4% from it's January 26th all time high.
Here's the vid -
Just the amazing end of the game. With the changes in the "ruck" law, it's much easier for the team in possession to hold onto the ball, but this is extraordinary.
And then - BANG ...
Good column. I used to sometimes post stuff from Colbert when he was funny and not simply constantly ranting against Trump. Tedious now. Of course with the segmentation of the news and entertainment business, these people know enough to simply spew out what their particular segment wants to hear.
I found myself seated at my computer last month, watching on YouTube the comedian Bill Maher talk about Donald Trump’s marriage. If you don’t share Mr. Maher’s politics, you are likely to find him an odious, even loathsome character, for he doesn’t really exist outside politics. His standard tone is mockery, his modus operandi to lacerate his targets with obscenities, flash a nervous smile, and then bask in applause from his audience.
I was watching Mr. Maher on YouTube to see how far he would go on the subject of the Trump marriage. Would he attack the Trumps’ 11-year-old son, or perhaps attack the family for not having a dog? No surprise, he brought up the allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Trump. Stormy Daniels was mentioned. His final punch line was that Melania Trump hadn’t accompanied her husband to Davos, Switzerland, because she had spent the day having to “lay a wreath on the tomb of the unknown trophy wife.”
Donald Trump has been a great boon to late-night talk-show hosts. His baroque hairdo, his hyperbole, his general extravagance, his unabashed egotism—all these things and more are in the wheelhouse of today’s liberal comedians. Without him, Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers would be practically out of business. Jon Stewart must wake each morning filled with regret for his wretched timing at retiring just as Mr. Trump came into office.
Yet to have taken what I think of as the Trumpian option in their comedy has rendered these comedians charmless while strikingly limiting their audiences to those who share their politics. I recently wrote a book on the subject of charm, in preparation for which I asked a great many people to name five persons in public life they thought charming. No one could do it. In a political time as divisive as ours, a public figure loses roughly half his following—and hence his charm—just as soon as he announces his politics. For an entertainer to do so is perhaps even more hazardous.
Enough people must share the views of these hosts to keep the careers of Maher, Colbert, Kimmel & Co. afloat, which is to say to keep their ratings high enough to be commercially viable. Yet these insufficiently funny comedians, with their crude political humor, do little more than add to the sad divisiveness that is rending the country. Something, surely, has been lost if one can no longer turn to comedy as a relief from the general woes of life and the greater farce that has for some years now been playing out in our everyday politics.
Yes, it could happen. The NY Times editorial cited is here if you can't believe the Press Release below. - The White House Puts the Bible Before the Hippocratic Oath
From the Catholic League - MAKING CATHOLIC HOSPITALS ILLEGAL
January 29, 2018
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on a demand that Catholic hospitals be made illegal:
An editorial in today's New York Times posits a conflict between religion and healthcare, abortion being the main focus. "Freedom of religion is essential—and so is access to health care," it says. It should have stopped there.
Instead, the editorial says that "Current law tries to accommodate both, but the far right has stirred unfounded fears that religion (and Christianity in particular) is under assault, and that people of faith are in danger of being forced to do things they find morally objectionable."
The far-right has stirred unfounded fears that Christianity is under assault? First of all, the term "far-right" is usually employed to describe the Klan or some assembly of racists or terrorists. Second, one does not have to be a Brownshirt to know that organizations such as the ACLU—which the Times favorably cites—have given Christians, especially Catholics, lots to fear. Importantly, their concerns are grounded in reason, not emotion. Here's the proof.
A recently published report, "Bearing Faith: The Limits of Catholic Health Care for Women of Color," is the most anti-Catholic document assessing Catholic healthcare ever published. The authors want to effectively shut down Catholic hospitals, unless, of course, they stop being Catholic. The report is the work of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, a unit of Columbia Law School. It draws on data supplied by MergerWatch.
MergerWatch is a child of Planned Parenthood. In the 1990s, MergerWatch was a project of the Education Fund of Family Planning Advocates of New York State. Family Planning Advocates is the lobbying arm of Planned Parenthood. MergerWatch frequently teams up with such groups as the ACLU, Catholics for Choice, NARAL, and other foes of the Catholic Church.
The report goes beyond the usual criticisms of Catholic hospitals made by the pro-abortion industry: It plays the race card, trying to paint Catholic hospitals as racist.
How does it manage to do this? It claims that African American women are more likely to go to a Catholic hospital than white women, and because Catholic teachings proscribe killing in the womb, this means that African American women are more subject to abortion restrictions. Of course, no one is forced to go to a Catholic hospital, and everyone knows, or should know, that abortion is not sanctioned by the Catholic Church.
The authors are so desperate in their attempt to brand the Catholic Church as a racist institution that they include a statement about slavemasters who raped black women. So what does this have to do with the Church? Nothing. Even the authors do not attempt to pin this on the Church, but the fact that it is included in a report on Catholic healthcare makes it clear what they want readers to believe.
Unfair as this part of the report is, what is really driving the authors is an animus against Catholic teachings on life. To be specific, they cite the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services" that was issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Their major objection? The Church's teachings on abortion. They know, however, that in order to accomplish their goal, they must throw the kitchen sink at the Church, hoping something sticks.
Most Americans, including those who are not Catholic, have no problem with Catholic hospitals, but this doesn't stop the authors from trying to portray this as a myth. They claim that Catholic hospitals "provide disproportionately less charity care than do public hospitals and other religious non-profit hospitals."
The evidence the authors use to make this charge is from a report by the ACLU and MergerWatch in 2013. It found that public hospitals serve more Medicaid patients than Catholic hospitals do. So what? Why is this surprising?
Public hospitals are not likely to be located in wealthy neighborhoods: they are more likely to be in areas where the indigent live. More important, as even the report notes, Catholic hospitals have a better record of serving the poor than either secular non-profits or for-profit hospitals (the margin of difference between Catholic hospitals and religious non-profits is statistically insignificant).
The authors are so worked up over trying to stick it to Catholic hospitals that they even find fault with Catholic hospitals that don't have Catholic names. For example, they find it objectionable that there are Catholic hospitals known as Affinity and AMITA. Again so what? As if every Catholic institution should have a name like St. John's. By this logic, the founders of Stonehill College can be accused of trickery for not acknowledging its Catholic identity.
Also, it does not help the authors to cite a recent study showing that "37% of patients whose regular hospital was Catholic were unaware of its religious affiliation." If the care were substandard, they wouldn't be coming back.
Toward the end of the report, the authors critically cite several laws that protect the autonomy of religious healthcare institutions. This underscores my point: It shows that their real problem is the First Amendment. If they had it their way, the free exercise of religion provision would be excised. This is a serious charge—it demands serious evidence. Fortunately, the authors supply it.
Their first recommendation says it all: "Reform laws and policies that allow health care providers to refuse service on the basis of religious or conscience objections." They could not be more clear—do away with all exemptions for religious hospitals. In short, force Catholic hospitals to be thoroughly secularized, thus neutering their Catholic identity. In short, this means making Catholic hospitals illegal. It would be like telling Jewish restaurants they can no longer serve kosher food, but they can stay in business if they want.
This is what the Catholic haters want. Alas, there is one saving grace: at least now no one can pretend that their goal is not to shut down Catholic hospitals.
Not a big deal. Total drop from the high is 8.5%. More a return to normalcy in the capital markets (interest rates going up; borrowing more expensive). "Relative to earnings, the S&P 500 is cheaper than it was a year ago."
It happens. The Eagles winning a Super Bowl is no doubt a shocking event. It’s also possible that Americans are already sick of winning. A more plausible explanation is that finally—ten years after the financial crisis—the U.S. is returning to a real economy where markets fluctuate, private risk-taking leads to growth, interest rates don’t stay at rock-bottom levels and every bump in the financial road is not met with a federal intervention. This is progress.
Ironically, stocks are falling because the economic news is better than expected. Rising wages and estimates of faster economic growth have investors concerned that to contain inflation the Federal Reserve will feel compelled to raise interest rates faster than expected. “It’s the first time in a decade we will be seeing rising rates due to economic prosperity,” says one hedge funder. “That’s got to take a bit of adjustment.”
But it’s an adjustment that should be welcomed. Certainly savers who’ve been suffering for years can easily welcome the return of a decent return on their money. As for stock investors, the hedgie now sees less frothy markets that rose sharply in January and have now given back their gains.
And of course markets rose sharply last year, driven by rising corporate earnings and positive signals from Washington culminating in major tax reform. Now stocks are not just cheaper than they were last week. Relative to earnings, the S&P 500 is cheaper than it was a year ago.
I thought there was a good chance the memo would be a case of over-promotion and under-performance from the point of actually showing any real malfeasance. But I was wrong,; it is really quite revealing. I read the memo; it is very short and to the point - takes less than ten minutes to read. I hope the Democrat memo is released to the public, as well as the other underlying documents.
Here's the Journal editorial -
Now we know why the FBI tried so hard to block release of the House Intelligence Committee memo. And why Democrats and the media want to change the subject to Republican motivations. The four-page memo released Friday reports disturbing facts about how the FBI and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court appear to have been used to influence the 2016 election and its aftermath.
The White House declassified the memo Friday, and you don’t have to be a civil libertarian to be shocked by the details....
The memo says an “essential” part of the FISA application was the “dossier” assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele and the research firm Fusion GPS that was hired by a law firm attached to the Clinton campaign. The memo adds that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told the committee in December 2017 that “no surveillance warrant would have been sought” without the dossier.
This is troubling enough, but the memo also discloses that the FBI failed to inform the FISA court that the Clinton campaign had funded the dossier. The memo says the FBI supported its FISA application by “extensively” citing a September 2016 article in Yahoo News that contained allegations against Mr. Page. But the FBI failed to tell the court that Mr. Steele and Fusion were the main sources for that Yahoo article. In essence the FBI was citing Mr. Steele to corroborate Mr. Steele.
Unlike a normal court, FISA doesn’t have competing pleaders. The FBI and Justice appear ex parte as applicants, and thus the judges depend on candor from both. Yet the FBI never informed the court that Mr. Steele was in effect working for the Clinton campaign. The FBI retained Mr. Steele as a source, and in October 2016 he talked to Mother Jones magazine without authorization about the FBI investigation and his dossier alleging collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. The FBI then fired Mr. Steele, but it never told the FISA judges about that either. Nor did it tell the court any of this as it sought three subsequent renewals of the order on Mr. Page.
We don’t know the political motives of the FBI and Justice officials, but the facts are damaging enough. The FBI in essence let itself and the FISA court be used to promote a major theme of the Clinton campaign. Mr. Steele and Fusion then leaked the fact of the investigation to friendly reporters to try to defeat Mr. Trump before the election. And afterward they continued to leak all this to the press to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Mr. Trump’s victory.
No matter its motives, the FBI became a tool of anti-Trump political actors....
We also know the FBI wasn’t straight with Congress, as it hid most of these facts from investigators in a briefing on the dossier in January 2017. The FBI did not tell Congress about Mr. Steele’s connection to the Clinton campaign, and the House had to issue subpoenas for Fusion bank records to discover the truth. Nor did the FBI tell investigators that it continued receiving information from Mr. Steele and Fusion even after it had terminated him. The memo says the bureau’s intermediary was Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, whose wife, incredibly, worked for Fusion.
Democrats are howling that the memo, produced by Republican staff, is misleading and leaves out essential details. They are producing their own summary of the evidence, and by all means let’s see that too....
The details of Friday’s memo also rebut most of the criticisms of its release. The details betray no intelligence sources and methods. As to the claim that the release tarnishes the FBI and FISA court, exposing abuses is the essence of accountability in a democracy.
Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes is doing a service by forcing these facts into the public domain where the American people can examine them, hold people accountable, and then Congress can determine how to prevent them in the future. The U.S. has weathered institutional crises before—Iran-Contra, the 9/11 intelligence failure, even Senator Dianne Feinstein’s campaign against the CIA and enhanced interrogation.
The other political misdirection is that the memo is designed to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible Trump collusion with Russia. We doubt Mr. Mueller will be deterred by any of this. The question of FISA abuse is independent of Mr. Mueller’s work, and one that Congress takes up amid a larger debate about surveillance and national security. Mr. Trump would do well to knock off the tweets lambasting the Mueller probe, and let House and Senate Republicans focus public attention on these FISA abuses.
If all of this is damaging to the reputation of the FBI and Justice Department, then that damage is self-inflicted. We recognize the need for the FBI to sometimes spy on Americans to keep the country safe, but this is a power that should never be abused. Its apparent misuse during the presidential campaign needs to be fully investigated.
Toward that end, the public should see more of the documents that are behind the competing intelligence memos to judge who is telling the truth. Mr. Trump and the White House should consider the remedy of radical transparency.
The good ol' line "We are the Church". Abortion on demand exists in the United States because of the complicity of Catholics. This was sent to me - Excerpts below the link.
...shocking is the fact that fourteen senators who identify as Catholics voted against the bill–in effect giving the nod to late term abortions. Even worse is the realization that if these men and women had voted for the bill it would have passed. Therefore, these fourteen have ensured that this barbaric procedure is still legal in America.
Today is the day for the fourteen men and women to be named. They need to be named, and those who are active in Catholic media must publish their names. This needs to be a nationwide, total Catholic publicity effort. It doesn’t matter if you are a “liberal” or a “conservative”.
If you have any voice, publish their names and publish the horror that they have enabled by their vote.
Their names are:
And of course the Bishops will mutter under their breath - and do nothing.
Horrible. The three women are now 36, 35, and 25 years old. The oldest, Jamie Dantzscher, won a bronze medal in the 2000 Olympics - so this has been going on for decades.The three of them first came forward in 2017 on 60 Minutes. The number of sexually abused young women is now over 300.
Two part interview -
Here's part 2