Friday, December 07, 2012
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Doing Away With Ceiling DramaPeter Schiff
Euro Pacific Capital, Inc.
Posted Dec 4, 2012
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made news last week by proposing to transfer the Congressional prerogative to raise the debt ceiling to the President. The change would essentially do away with the meaningless debt ceiling debates that have become ritual kabuki in Washington over the past few generations. Most Republicans have dismissed the proposal as a blatant executive power grab that will significantly weaken both the Congress and the minority party. While this is certainly true, Congress will only lose a power that it has never shown the slightest courage to actually use. But in truth, the proposal has the merit of refreshing honesty. By telling U.S. taxpayers, and the world in general, that the U.S. government has no intention of ever balancing its budget or limiting its accumulation of unsustainable debt, then perhaps we can begin to have an honest discussion about our economic future.
Congress has always decided how much money the U.S. government will spend and how it will tax the citizenry to meet those obligations. Geithner's proposal will change none of that. The debt ceiling debates have been simply to authorize the U.S. Treasury to issue debt to cover the ever widening gap between what Congress spends and what it taxes. As a result, these debates have become nothing more than exercises in feigned outrage. If Congress wants to control the debt, let them do so. If they don't care, just continue on the current path. Dropping the pretense is at least more honest.
The move will also help blunt the ridiculous assertions made by those in favor of lifting the debt ceiling that doing so somehow means that the United States is taking the prudent and moral step of "paying its bills." In a press conference this week, Obama Administration Press Secretary Jay Carney claimed that by raising the ceiling, U.S. creditors will know that our government will meet its obligations. That is taking Orwellian doublethink to new heights of absurdity.
It is impossible to "pay" one's bills by borrowing more. Taking out new loans to retire existing debt may replace old creditors with newer, larger, creditors, but it can never be described as a real pay down. It's like paying off your Visa card with a Master Card. Paying one's bills requires that outstanding debt be diminished. In direct opposition to Carney's and Geithner's statements, the only way to force the government to actually pay its bills is to not raise the debt ceiling. But a fictitious debt limit is worse because it allows Congress to pretend that its atrocious budgeting decisions are not to blame.
Both Congress and the President readily admit that without an increase in the debt ceiling, the government will default on its obligations. This is tantamount to an admission that we lack the capacity or political will to actually repay what we have borrowed. Yet despite this, our creditors continue to loan us more money. As existing treasury bonds mature, we not only borrow the money necessary to redeem them, but we borrow it from the very people cashing them in. So it's not really like paying our Visa bill with our Master Card, it's like paying our Visa with our Visa.
The debt ceiling itself is both an ill-conceived compromise and a relic of past governmental integrity. For its first 128 years as a republic, the United States was able to function without a debt ceiling. This was possible for the simple reason that U.S. government had no central bank and could not borrow beyond its ability to repay through taxation. And since the ability to tax is always limited by taxpayers' assets (and their extreme hostility to those who want to take them), legal gimmicks were not needed to prevent Congress from spending too freely. But the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 gave the Federal Government a potential means to borrow indefinitely by having the new bank buy its debt. Sensing this danger, the original Federal Reserve Act of 1913 prohibited the Fed from buying or holding government debt.
But just four years later the United States needed a means to raise money quickly to pay for its efforts in the First World War. The government passed an amendment to the charter to allow the Fed to purchase Treasury Bonds. Fearing (correctly) that this would create a mechanism for perpetual debt expansion, conservative lawmakers insisted that the amendment include a "debt ceiling" provision that would cap the amount that the government could borrow.
What these otherwise forward looking politicians somehow failed to grasp was that such a statutory limit was wholly meaningless, as it could be perpetually raised by future legislative action. This is exactly what has happened. The debt ceiling has been raised, with varying degrees of fanfare, every time it has been hit. This renders the law completely meaningless.
Now of course, under the pretense of fiscal responsibility, the President wants to do the most fiscally irresponsible thing imaginable -- eliminate the ceiling entirely. He hopes that doing so will send a clear and unequivocal message that America will never default on its debts. However, the message may not resonate the way the President hopes. What our creditors may actually hear is that nothing will stand in the way of America's accumulation of more debt. Such a development may be the shock therapy our creditors need to finally cut us off for good. If that occurs, interest rates in the United States could finally rise to more rational levels. A significant increase in the cost of borrowing will create the mother of all fiscal cliffs.
It's too bad that Tim Geithner can't see that one coming.
Monday, December 03, 2012
To live is Christ, to die is gain. Paul
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Angus T. Jones, 19, bashes the show, asks viewers not to watch. He is making a reported $350k per episode (some have it much higher), bound by contract, but his new Christian faith (Seventh Day Adventist, no less) has catalyzed a crisis of conscience.
When the star of the show Charlie Sheen bashed the producer, he was terminated. Will Jones face the same fate? Will he care? CBS has declined comment --- for now.
and still more .....
Friday, November 16, 2012
In a sprawling, 52-minute speech to the House chamber, Paul lambasted U.S. government, politicians and special interests, declaring that the U.S. people must return to virtue before the government allows them to be free, and that the Constitution has failed to limit the scope of an authoritarian bureaucracy.
“Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed,” Paul said. “The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.”
For the retiring Republican, 77, the “current crisis” isn’t quite what it is for other members of Congress, who routinely use that word to describe the economic recession that followed the 2008 financial crash. To the Texas Republican, that’s part of it, but the causes are deeper, and it’s also a crisis of governmental authoritarianism and the vanishing of personal liberty.
“If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis, we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties,” said Paul, an obstetrician-gynecologist by training.
The problem isn’t just government’s size, but its use of force, both in starting preemptive wars and as it coerces U.S. citizens with police power. To Paul, this is the fault of Americans who no longer prioritize liberty, and it will lead to the unraveling of orderly society unless people change.
“Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society,” Paul said. “We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc., numbering over 100,000 civil society.”
More than coercive, to Paul the government is also corrupt: “All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state-and frequently their own wealth and power,” he said.
Throughout his speech, Paul questioned not only the fundamental health of America’s social compact, but specifics like fiat money, the power of the Federal Reserve, the PATRIOT Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act modifications, undeclared war, the illegalization of medical marijuana, mandatory sentencing requirements for drug crimes, the illegalization of hemp, TSA searches, federal debt and borrowing, the White House’s authority to assassinate those it declares terrorists, the legalization of detaining U.S. citizens for national-security purposes, the political power of AIPAC, and the regulation of light bulbs and toilets in people’s homes.
For Paul, the list of grievances is long, and he might not have accomplished much in Congress: “In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little,” he said. “No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways, thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. Wars are constant and pursued without congressional declaration.”
In thinking about the champions of liberty, his lesson is a bitter one: “History has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled,” but his prescription is hopeful.
Paul left the podium, for the last time, offering an “answer” to all of these problems: that people should choose liberty and limit government, and seek change within themselves.
“The number one responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow,” Paul said, urging an end to two motives that have hindered U.S. society: envy and intolerance.
“I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out the plain truth of things. The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people worldwide, is to pursue the cause of liberty. If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.”
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
When I went to the polls here, early this a.m., there was a long line. I cannot remember the last time I saw that. Was there "change" afoot, as we saw in 2008? Or does Obama have the race locked up as the pollsters seem to indicate?
As a nation, we continue to spend more than we take in. We continue to pass our debts to our children; this is unspeakably immoral. A vote for Obama says, in effect, that's fine with me, keep it going at least another four years. A French king once said the same, apres moi, le deluge. And those words lived in ignominy ever since.
Someday, the markets will intervene and we will regret it. Could Americans be waking up to this proactively? Or did the voters in my precinct hustle out early to line up for more free money......?
Friday, November 02, 2012
Consider the turn of events that Carol and Paul Kurland endured, as reported in AARP Bulletin. In their late 80s, the Levittown, PA, couple added their 56-year-old daughter to their bank accounts, figuring the arrangement would come in handy if they became ill. They trusted her; and one day she would inherit all their assets anyway. But it was the daughter who fell ill. She died and the Kurland’s got socked with a tax bill.
Under Pennsylvania law, when the daughter’s name was placed on the Kurlands’ accounts she became a one-third owner of the assets. So on her death, mom and dad “inherited” that share of their own money. Some states specifically exempt parents of descendants from inheritance tax, and only six states levy such a tax anyway. But it’s a wake-up call to the costs of convenience.
According to Senior Citizens Law Office, the risks of adding a child’s name to your bank accounts include:
- Your child could withdraw all of the money in the account and use it for personal purposes (such as a trip to Las Vegas).
- Your child’s creditors could come after the money in the account to settle their debts.
- If the child were sued, the courts might award money from your account to pay damages.
- If your child is married and later divorces, the child’s spouse might claim a community property interest in the account.
- A child co-signor might defeat your estate plan. The co-signor becomes the owner of the assets upon your death, no matter what it says in your will.
With a durable power of attorney, your child can still mismanage your financial affairs. But your child’s creditors and spouse will have no claim on your assets, which will be divided as you prescribe in your will. And you’ll never have to worry about compounding the loss of a child with a tax on what’s already yours.
From Dan Kadlec
Read more: http://moneyland.time.com/2012/10/16/6-ways-adding-a-trusted-child-to-your-bank-account-backfires/#ixzz29wvwnFa3
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Former Reagan OMB Director David Stockman was 'allowed' on CNBC recently - much to their chagrin now we suspect - and espoused his own brand of truthiness, starting with this epic tirade:
In this environment, he goes on, everyone is being given the wrong signal - i.e. the Ryan/Romney campaign is about restoring vibrant capitalism; how can you do that when the financial markets are dead - the lifeblood of a capitalist system. And that is the problem today."Ron Paul is the only one who is right about the Fed, and the Fed is the heart of the problem. They have destroyed the capital markets and the money markets; interest rates mean nothing; everything is trading off the Fed and Wall Street isn't even home - as it's now a bunch of computers trading word-clouds emitted by this central banker and that"
An excellent discussion ensues diving into the lack of fiscal discipline (that is enabled by a Fed ZIRP) as "[politicians] will never do it when you can keep borrowing free-money forever" and summed up nicely with this subtle sentence:
"The Fed (and the lunatics that run it) are telling the whole world untruths about the cost of money and the price of risk."
From zerohedge.com, Tyler Durden
May we add:
The entire Romney vs. Obama is a Pontiac vs. Buick situation. Both are (were) GM (RIP Pontiac 2009, Oldsmobile 2004). There is little difference, they are all built on the same chassis, the sheet metal bends slightly differently to extrapolate our metaphor a bit more,---- and the election process serves to distract citizens from the debt crisis, since neither candidate is truly serious about solving it. One day the markets will solve it for us, and we'll all wish we had done it ourselves because the consequences will be startling. And the ramifications worse. Worldwide depressions spawn World Wars.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Support Eurozone and avert crisis, he advises.....
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
The girlfriend of former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon is one of the subjects of next week's Sports Illustrated cover article that is titled: "The Women Behind The Retired NFL Men Who Suffer From Brain Trauma."
Laurie Navon tells the magazine she started noticing changes in McMahon’s behavior in early 2007 before tests revealed early onset dementia. Navon and McMahon appear on the cover of the Sept. 10 issue of the magazine.
McMahon first disclosed to the Tribune in November 2010 that he was experiencing short-term memory loss when the Bears observed their 25-year anniversary of Super Bowl XX in Chicago.
from: Ex-Bears QB McMahon in SI article about brain trauma
What will happen to football. We heard someone opine not long ago on NPR that the game would have to go away due to the inability of schools to field the lawsuits that would come their way from brain injuries. Yet the season started up as grand and glorious as ever.
Time will tell. It always does....the sport is a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood for many, and we love football as much as anyone, having played it at the playground and high school level, and having attended one of its greatest temples, Ohio State, but at what cost? Meanwhile, the price of fame and glory for some of the game's proudest gladiators is weighed in the public square....
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Speech to Hungarian chamber of magnates
April 22, 1840
Ex-Bear Chris Zorich agrees to pay back charity funds that remain unaccounted for - chicagotribune.com
Former Chicago Bear Chris Zorich, who was named a Pro Bowl alternate in 1993, retired from the NFL in 1997. He went on to receive a law degree from Notre Dame, never passed the bar and worked for a few years in the school's athletic department. He is currently unemployed, Lydon said.
The full story:
Ex-Bear Chris Zorich agrees to pay back charity funds that remain unaccounted for - chicagotribune.com
Monday, August 20, 2012
Fortunately for us, Mr. Stern used this as fuel to work even harder, the result being that he did indeed enter that "lofty realm of the artist".
From The Violinist blog
Stern would go on to become on of the violin greats, and in his "spare" time, save Carnegie Hall from the wrecking ball. How much richer we all are because he didn't quit when his initial reviews were unkind....
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Absolutely unbelievable ---- but there it is....
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Again we predict: Obama wins it. Race is as "over" as all the ones in London last 2 weeks.......
This is not "conservatism."
This will backfire. Obama is now assured a win.....there will be QE to infinity, until the markets take U.S. down, as they did with Greece. It will take longer, but the outcome will be the same. Profligate spending is always punished, sooner or later.
Thursday, August 09, 2012
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Let us pretend that I'm happy,
Sad thought, for a while;
You may actually persuade me
but I know otherwise
(alt.) Feign we that I am happy
Sad thought, a little while,
For, though ‘twere but dissembling,
Would thou couldst me beguile.
In feeling apprehension
They say the trouble lies:
If you’ll only feel you’re happy,
You needn’t be otherwise.
(alt.) Yet since but in our terrors
They say our miseries grow,
If joy we can imagine,
The less will seem our woe.
Let my intelligence serve,
For once, as a source of comfort.
Must wit forever be
The enemy of profit?
(alt.) Must our intelligences
Some time of quiet find
Not always may our genius
With profit rule the mind.
The world is full of opinions
Of what is or is not true;
Whatever is black for one
Will be white in another’s view.
(alt.) The world’s full of opinions,
And these so different quite,
That what to one black seemeth
Another proves is white.
What one man finds attractive
Will make another recoil.
What is relief for one.
Another rejects as toil.
(alt.) To some appears attractive
What many deem a bore:
And that which thee delighted
Thy fellow labors o’er
The man who is sad condemns
The cheerful man as inane.
While the cheerful are greatly amused
When they hear the sad complain.
(alt.) He who is sad condemneth
They gay one’s gleeful tones;
He who is merry jests
Whenever the sad one groans
The two Greek philosophers (Democritus and Heraclitus)
Were always of opposite cheer:
What split the one with laughter
Reduced the other to tears.
(alt.) By two old Greek wiseacres
This truth well proved appears
Since what in one caused laughter,
The other moved to tears.
Renowned has been this contest
For ages, without fruit,
And what one age asserted
Till now is in dispute.
Into two lists divided
The world’s opinions stand,
And as his humor leads him
Follows each one his band.
One says the world is worthy
Only of merriment;
Another, its distresses
Call for our loud lament.
For all opinions various
Some proof or reason’s brought,
And for so much there’s reason
That reason is for naught.
All, all are equal judges,
And all of different view,
And none can make decision
Of what is best or true.
Then since can none determine,
Think you, whose reason strays,
To you God has committed
The judgment of the case?
O why to yourself cruel,
Do you your peace reject?
Between the sweet and bitter,
The bitter you elect?
If its mine my understanding,
Why always must it be
So dull and slow to pleasure,
So keen for injury?
A sharp blade is our learning
Which serves us at both ends:
Death by the point it gives
By the handle, it defends.
And if, aware of peril,
Its point you will demand,
How do you blame the weapon
For the folly of your hand?
Not is true wisdom knowing
Most subtle speech and vain;
Best knowledge is in choosing
That which is safe and sane.
To speculate disaster,
To seek for presages,
Serves to increase affliction,
In the troubles of the future
The anxious mind is lost,
And more than any danger
Does danger’s menace cost
Of him the unschooled wise man
How happy is the chance!
He finds from suffering refuge
In simple ignorance
Not always safe aspire
The wings that genius bears;
Which seek a throne in fire,
And find a grave in tears.
And vicious is the knowledge
That seeking swift its end
Is all the more unwary
Of the woe that does impend.
And if its flight it stops not
In pampered, strange deceits,
Then for the curious searching
The needful it defeats.
If culture’s hand doesn’t prune
The leaves of the tree
Takes from the fruit’s sustainment
The rank, wild greenery.
If all its ballast heavy
Yon light ship not prevents,
Will it help the flight of pionions
From nature’s battlements?
In verdant beauty useless,
What profits the fair field
If the blooming growths of springtime
No autumn fruitage yields?
And of what use is gen;ius
With all its work of might,
If are its toils rewarded
By failure and despite?
And perforce to this misfortune
Must that despair succeed,
Which, if its arrows kills not,
Must make the bosom bleed.
Like to a fire does genius
In thankless matter grow;
The more that it consumes
It boasts the brighter glow.
It is of it own master
So rebellious a slave,
That to offence it turns
The weapons that should save
Such exercise distressful,
Such hard anxiety
To all the sad world’s children
God gave their souls to try
What mad ambition takes us
From self-forgetful state,
If it’s to live so little
We make our knowledge great?
Oh! If we must have knowledge,
I would there were some school
Where to teach not knowing
Life’s woes, should be the rule.
Happy shall be his living
Whose life no rashness mars;
He shall laugh at all the threatenings
Of the magic of the stars!
Learn we the wise unknowing,
Since it so well appears
That what to learning’s added
Is taken from our years.
Friday, July 27, 2012
July 27th, 2012
Over the last year, I have watched Syria and occasionally reported on the crisis there. However, it seems that even though much has transpired there -- as many as 19,000 have been killed in the violence -- nothing really changed. The unrest in Syria began in the early days of the "Arab Spring," which erupted in February, 2011. Yet today, 17 months later, Bashar al-Assad's regime is still in control and maintains that control via a military that remains essentially intact.
Now it appears that the Assad dynasty may be nearing its end. Whether Bashar al-Assad is assassinated, hands over power peacefully, or makes his escape a few steps ahead of the pursuing rebel forces, it seems to be just a matter of time before Syria becomes a radically different nation. And that prospect is causing more than a few sleepless nights throughout the neighborhood.
As I look at the Middle East this week, one word springs to mind: "confusion." The civil war in Syria is no ordinary civil war. The nation of Syria is critical to several different players -- all of whom figure prominently in the end-times scenario:
-- The Iranians don't want Assad to fall because they don't want to lose their closest ally and proxy or access to Lebanon and the Mediterranean.
-- Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia want Assad to go because they want to see Iran's influence in the region diminished.
-- Russia doesn't want to lose a major arms client, access to its warm-water naval base at Tartus, or see Turkey's regional influence strengthened.
-- Egypt's new Muslim Brotherhood leadership wants to see him gone so their compadres, the Syrian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, can get a shot at the power.
-- Lebanon's Hezbollah doesn't want to lose its weapons pipeline from Iran.
-- And, paradoxically, Israel and Jordan aren't too excited about Assad's impending departure, either, because they know how to deal with him. But who's to say the nature of the Muslim nation that will replace him? (Egypt is a perfect example of this dilemma.)
But these competing agendas are not the only elements that complicate the crisis. Syria has major stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons -- many of which they received from Saddam Hussein shortly before the Coalition invasion of Iraq. They also have the missiles to deliver the bio/chem warheads.
The Syrian government has threatened to use these weapons of mass destruction if they are attacked by foreign forces. A Foreign Ministry spokesman reiterated this week that Syria reserves the right to use these weapons in the face of "external aggression." And, coincidentally, they will decide the definition of "external aggression!"
Recently, Syrian security forces have been observed moving these bio/chem weapons to various staging areas around the country. Of course, the main fear is that they will use them to suppress the rebellion. But it's not inconceivable that Assad may launch these weapons against Israel to draw other Muslim nations into the fray (and establish his legacy among Muslim leaders).
Of course, Israel has let it be known that any bio/chem attack against Israel will be answered swiftly and decisively. And the Prophet Isaiah's yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecy that Damascus will be destroyed overnight looms large at a critical moment like this.
As if this weren't enough intrigue for one week, the 2012 London Olympics begin today. The International Olympic Committee refuses to observe a moment of silence in memory of the Israeli athletes who died in the Munich Massacre 40 years ago. The London Sunday Times is reporting that Scotland Yard and Britain's intelligence service, MI5, have warned Israel that they've uncovered a potential threat to the Israeli delegation from an Iranian hit squad. And the BBC got into the act by refusing to identify Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on its official Olympics website. Israel is the only nation among the competitors that has a "seat of government," not a "capital." I suppose anti-Semitic bigotry can extend even to the pettiest gestures.
Finally, just to light the candles on the cake, last week Iran's Supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Kahmenei delivered a major address to the nation through the state media. In it, he reminded followers worldwide that we are now living in the "end of times." He didn't mince words when he notified the world of his and Iran's intentions. He said, "The issue of Imam Mahdi is of utmost importance, and his reappearance has been clearly stated in our holy religion of Islam.... We must prepare the environment for the coming so that the great leader will come."
If you recall, Imam Mahdi is Islam's messiah figure. He has been dead for centuries, but is predicted to reappear on earth amid an apocalyptic and catastrophic war. He will defeat Islam's enemies and subdue the world for Islam. Many Muslims -- including Ayatollah Khamenei and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- believe it is their duty to create the conditions that will usher in the Mahdi. That means they feel it's their responsibility to start an apocalyptic war. And they say so publicly, even from the podium of the United Nations!
Yet western leaders and the media refuse to take them at their word. Instead, they insist that evangelical Christians who believe in the Rapture of the church and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ are the ones who want to start Armageddon so Jesus will return!
Oh, well, that's just the sort of upside-down thinking (and blindness) the Bible prophets predicted for these days -- the "end of times."
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
from the Chicago Tribune
.........Rather than remove the statue (Paterno), it should have been kept intact, and three other statues should have been commissioned. Statues of former President Graham B. Spanier, former Senior Vice President-Finance and Business Gary C. Schultz and Athletic Director Timothy M. Curley.
The four statues could stand silent watch outside the empty football stadium. Passers-by could wonder what kind of men they were, before reading the words carved into stone underneath each one:
Protecting a college football program was more important to him than protecting children from a rapist.
The idea of statues of disgrace isn't mine. It comes from the Olympic Games, which open this week in England. The idea comes not from the modern games, the games of performance-enhancing drug tests and athletes selling athletic gear and sugared soft drinks and TV ratings, but from the ancient Games.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Friday, July 13, 2012
Friday, July 06, 2012
"And she said, 'I've been having a good time.' "
"Wow," Ramirez recalls saying. "What do you do, at 90 years old, to have a good time?
"She says, 'Oh son, I have been going to funerals.' "
Ramirez then asked his grandmother if that meant what it seemed: that she'd been having a good time at funerals.
"'Oh yes," Ramirez recalls his grandmother answering. "Yes, we drink coffee, we tell stories, we meet old friends — it's wonderful. We have a great time.' "
"I said, 'Grandma, how can you have a good time when somebody dies?'
"She looked at me, straight into my eyes. And she was serious, almost scolding me. And she said, 'Son, haven't you learned yet, that it is a privilege to die?'
"In all my years of study, in theology and listening to sermons, I had never quite heard it that way."
Only weeks later, Panchita died.
"She was in the hospital, recovering from a heart attack, but we knew she probably wouldn't make it, at her age," Ramirez says. "And she kept repeating, like a mantra, 'Solo quiero ver a Dios' — I just want to see the face of God.'
Stories, Old Friends, A Good Time 'Til The End | WYPR
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
“The next step will be for every central bank in the world to keep printing money. Ultimately this will bring on a higher level of inflation, but I think the world is ready to accept that. World leaders will agree that growth should be their objective and inflation will be the price they will have to pay for it. This may result in some instability among currencies. Before this happens there will have to be more suffering. Spain and Greece will default. There won’t be outright financial disaster because by the time the defaults take place the banks will have sold most of the troubled sovereign debt on their balance sheets to the European Central Bank. France’s deficit will get worse as Hollande implements some of the programs he talked about in his campaign. Human beings and governments have an unlimited imagination and they will use it to delay the day of reckoning. In the longer term the crisis may turn out to be a good thing because the pain of what we are about to go through will prevent it from ever happening again."
“So what am I doing with my money? It is hard to hide in stocks. Even Danone is reporting disappointing earnings; people are so worried they aren’t even buying yogurt. The French auto companies are in trouble. I think gold is going much higher. I am buying energy stocks because I want to own something real. Preserving capital is my focus now, not making money, but I like IBM and Apple. Also some Swiss multi-nationals. If Obama wins in November the market will go down. A Romney victory will create a rally, but once he gets into office he will find there is not much he can do to make things better.”
Monday, July 02, 2012
In a word, Hulbert says 'no,' but also, do not become a perma-bull, worth reading...
Friday, June 29, 2012
He loses in the first round of the Wimbledon qualifiers each year for the past 5 years, not Wimbledon, the tournament to win a wild card into Wimbledon.
He comes back to defeat legend Rafael Nadal, in 5 sets. He had never played in the tournament before, he had never been on Centre Court. He went out to get the "feel" of it before his match. He was hoping just not to lose 0, 1 and 1, he said.
He had "the eye of the tiger," though, a powerful hunger to win, and an insane self-confidence, and went all out on his shots. Taken together, it was enough for the no. 100 player to defeat the no. 2 player.
A stunning comeback to the site of his former defeats. We saw it 'live,' unforgettable.
Monday, June 25, 2012
St. Anthony arrives for his Sermon and finds the church empty. He goes to the rivers to preach to the fishes; They flick their tails, which glisten in the sunshine. The carp with roe have all come here, their mouths wide open, listening attentively. No sermon ever pleased the carp so. Sharp-mouthed pike that are always fighting, have come here, swimming hurriedly to hear this pious one; No sermon ever pleased the pike so. Also, those fantastic creatures that are always fasting - the stockfish, I mean - they also appeared for the sermon; No sermon ever pleased the stockfish so. Good eels and sturgeons, that banquet so elegantly - even they took the trouble to hear the sermon: No sermon ever pleased the eels so. Crabs too, and turtles, usually such slowpokes, rise quickly from the bottom, to hear this voice. No sermon ever pleased the crabs so. Big fish, little fish, noble fish, common fish, all lift their heads like sentient creatures: At God's behest they listen to the sermon. The sermon having ended, each turns himself around; the pikes remain thieves, the eels, great lovers. The sermon was pleasing, they all stay the same! The crabs still walk backwards, the stockfish stay rotund, the carps still stuff themselves, the sermon is forgotten! The sermon was pleasing, they all stay the same!
Sermon to the Fish From Mahler's The Youth's Magic Horn
Thursday, June 14, 2012
The finding adds support to a 2,000-year-old belief, dating back to Biblical times, that mental illness and self-destructiveness run in families. Epidemiological studies also back up this idea. For example, two countries that top the world's suicide rate list are Hungary and Finland, with 40 suicides per 100,000 people. Although the countries lie 1,600 kilometers apart, their people share a language group and, presumably, genes. The Finno-Ugric people lived together for thousands of years in the Ural Mountains of what is now Russia, then migrated to Finland and Hungary.
The medical literature has documented many genetic links to suicide. One such study, published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics in 1985 examined the rate of suicide among the Amish population in southern Pennsylvania. Genealogical and medical records revealed that four families accounted for 73 percent of all suicides, but represented only 16 percent of the total Amish population.
A Suicide Gene
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Arianna Huffington: Iraq and Iran: A Partnership Made in America
Learning from the Best: Inflation Lessons from Argentina
Friday, June 01, 2012
Several recent archaeological discoveries in Israel have confirmed the veracity of the Scriptures.
The journal, "International Geology Review," recently reported on an investigation of earthquake activity around the Dead Sea, just a few miles east of Jerusalem. Geophysicists studied three core samples taken from the shores of the Dead Sea that offered evidence of at least two sizable earthquakes. Their investigation narrowed the dates of those earthquakes to 31 B.C. and sometime between 26 and 36 A.D., during the time when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea.
Scientists from California-based Super Sonic Geophysical believe the second quake probably occurred around 33 A.D. When considered with other data, both historical and astronomical, the best estimate is that it occurred sometime in April of 33 A.D. This would concur with the Jewish month of Nisan, which indicates it may confirm the earthquake described in Matthew 27:51. That scripture describes the quake that happened when Jesus, from the cross, cried out in a loud voice and gave up His Spirit.
Last year, archaeologists from Tel Aviv University announced the discovery of a limestone ossuary. An ossuary is a box used for the burial of human bones. This burial box bore an unusual and detailed inscription. In short, it was positively identified as the ossuary of Miriam, the granddaughter of Caiaphas, the High Priest who presided over the trial of Jesus.
And this month, a professor from Hebrew University uncovered evidence confirming the existence of an Israelite kingdom centered in Jerusalem around the time of Kings David and Solomon. The same archaeologist also reported discovering the oldest Hebrew inscription ever found. On a shard of pottery, the inscription confirms the existence of a centralized, literate Hebrew kingdom more than 3,000 years ago. The professor announced that these discoveries prove that David was not a mythological figure or just the leader of a small tribe.
I think it's always exciting when archaeological and scientific discoveries confirm the historical record contained in the Bible. You see, Christianity is different from other world religions. Most of them can survive their sacred texts being found to contain conflicting details. What's most important to them are the broad generalities they teach, not the particulars of their founders' lives. But Christianity holds itself to such a high standard -- 100% accuracy (a standard established by God Himself) -- that the details of the life and death of Jesus Christ are critical to the validity of Christianity's entire message. In fact, if a single historical fact regarding the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is not true, the entire structure of Christianity collapses.
But the sheer fact that the people who were eyewitnesses to the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ were happily willing to sacrifice their lives rather than deny even the tiniest detail, speaks volumes. And it still serves to encourage those of us who follow Him 2,000 years later.
But we don't have to depend on the miracles of modern scientific discovery to affirm our faith in Jesus Christ. Perhaps the most powerful confirmation of all comes from the Scriptures themselves. It is absolutely amazing to me how many ways the Bible confirms its own veracity. From the New Testament writers' indirect confirmations of each other, to the accuracy of the multiple, parallel accounts of events, to the eyewitness testimony, to the deathbed testimony, to the miraculous, exact fulfillment of centuries-old prophecies concerning Christ's crucifixion, to the lack of denials from leaders of the day, to the willingness of the witnesses to die for their testimony, the Bible is its own best witness.
No body of literature in all history has been as thoroughly studied, vetted, picked apart, and argued and debated over as the Bible. Religions have sprung up to disprove it. Entire doctrines depend on there being a Bible to reject. Most atheists, rationalists, and humanists can find at least some common ground with most of the other world religions, but it's the Bible alone that raises their hackles and fires up their evangelistic fervor.
Given the weight of all the evidence pointing to both the historical accuracy and Divine inspiration of the Scriptures, it seems to me that it would be much more amazing if it WEREN'T all true. The Bible has been under constant attack by the smartest guys in every generation since it was compiled. If a single thing in the Scripture were conclusively disproved -- a named person who didn't live, a place that never existed, an event that didn't take place -- then the Word of God is broken. Of all the thinkers and philosophers who have lived during the last two thousand years, not one has been able to claim the title of the man who proved the Bible wrong. Because it isn't.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
If you think being "Republican" is a solution, please read the whole text carefully:
Recovery or Collapse? Bet on Collapse |
Monday, May 21, 2012
The space is a living diorama of the startup life cycle. The common area attracts one- and two-person companies, while more established companies rent desk space inside the glass-enclosed room just right of the welcome desk.
Full text: The Rookery - Forbes.com
Thursday, May 17, 2012
|The proverbial picture worth 1,000 words, no?|
Kevin Hickey, a long shot who fulfilled a neighborhood dream, dies at 56 - PhotoGallery - Chicago Sun-Times
Unbelievable comeback(s) story ---- more than one......
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Friday, May 04, 2012
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Thursday, April 05, 2012
In a sharp political -and for some even “shocking” - tone the man who committed suicide just a couple of meters away from the Greek Parliament in the heart of Athens on Wednesday morning explained the motives for his desperate act. In a hand-written note, retired pharmacist D.X., 77, spoke of loss of dignity due to harsh austerity and wished that some day the youth of the country would take the arms and hang those politicians who brought the country and its people to this stage. He had left a similar not to his daughter.
Daily Proto Thema exclusively published the shattering hand-note of D. Ch.:
“The occupation government of Tsolakoglou* literally annihilated any possibility for my survival that was depended on a decent pension which only I personally paid for 35 years (without any state support).
Because my age does not give me the possibility for a dynamic reaction (without meaning that if a Greek would grab the kalashnikov, I wouldn’t be the second one [to grab one], I see no other solution than the decent end before I start searching in the garbage for food.
I believe that one day the youth without future will take the arms and hang upside down at Syntagma Square the national traitors as the Italians did with Mussolini in 1945 Piazza Poreto in Milan)”
Sunday, April 01, 2012
Yet another reason to teach your children the premier language of the 21th century, not Spanish, not Chinese ---- software coding.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Roger A. Keats
Former state senator, Illinois
Illinois is Obama’s model for America. I lived in Illinois for 60 years and want to be sure voters understand what living in Obama's America for a second term, when he will be immune from public pressure, will be like.
Now jailed Governor Blagojevich made up new state programs with no authorization from the legislature and spent money not appropriated. When Obama was a State Senator he supported ignoring the constitution and supported Governor Blagojevich’s shenanigans. Sound familiar in the Obama administration? By the way, 4 of Illinois’ last 7 governors have gone to jail.
Illinois hasn’t had a balanced budget since the last century. That is unconstitutional, but in Illinois, they don’t care about the constitution. Illinois is buried in debt! The budget increases many times faster than the rate of inflation and huge new programs with no real source of funding are added on a regular basis. The state, with no legal authorization, covers health care for families making almost $90,000/ year. Past insolvent, not one penny has been trimmed from the budget since the last century. Sound familiar in the Obama Administration?
Illinois is #1 in unfunded pension liabilities, failing schools, jailed judges, jailed aldermen and jailed government workers. Illinois has one of the highest unemployment rates in America and it is going up, not down. There were more jobs in Illinois in 2000 than today and their solution was to raise the income tax 67% to go with the nation’s highest sales tax. Like Greece and America Illinois borrows money to fund day to day operating expenses. Illinois buried itself in more debt to pay for massive stimulus spending on public infrastructure. Taxes and regulations are unbearable so the Democrats give special tax breaks to their friends but let small business folks hang. Crony capitalism any one? Sound familiar in the Obama’s administration?
Education reform? Chicago brags the dropout rate from its schools is down to 50%!!! Big city public schools across America, all of them run by hard core liberals are the face of institutional racism as they force minority kids into failed systems that will guarantee the kids are not employable. The Obama administration has lowered educational standards in over 20 states already to make the failure of many public school systems dominated by Obama’s allies, the teachers unions, less obvious. Sound familiar in the Obama administration?
In the corruption capitol of America, Illinois’ Attorney General is a hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil state embarrassment who refuses to investigate or prosecute public corruption! There has been no investigation of the massive mortgage fraud involving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in Illinois or the crony capitalism. Obama allies Rahm Emanuel and the state’s former Democrat Attorney General, Neal Hartigan, were board members of Freddie Mac during the worst of the accounting fraud. No investigation. Sound familiar in the Obama administration?
The Chicago Transit Authority, once a model for the nation, is now continually bankrupt and is getting deeper into debt daily. There is no attempt to control the rapidly escalating costs. The unions have free rein. The governor and the state legislature continue to support an obscenely expensive proposed high speed rail line. Everyone admits it will never come close to breaking even, but who cares? There will always be a federal subsidy, right? Sound familiar in the Obama administration?
Unions go unchallenged at all levels. Government employees either pay union dues or they are fired! In Chicago government there are three union locals with only 1 member! Union officials are allowed into the public pension funds even though they don’t work for the public! Government union members can retire at age 50 with full pensions and health care! Sound familiar in the Obama administration?
Chicago remains the nation’s most segregated city and Democrat politicians regularly split ethnic and racial groups apart regardless of how it affects the city and state as a whole. There are no elected Republicans in the city. Yet White Democrats accuse the Republicans of racism and the Black Wards vote 95% Democrat! Any opposition is bitterly attacked, usually with lies and even complete fabrications to try to destroy them. Sound familiar in the Obama administration?
Chicago has the toughest anti gun laws in America. The U. S. Supreme Court overturned them in a land mark case but it had no effect on how Chicago deals with guns. Similar to Obama’s DOJ Fast & Furious program to sell Mexican drug cartels modern American guns to undermine private ownership.
Radical leftists and domestic terrorists like Bill Ayres and his wife Bernardine Dohrn are high society in Chicago. Despite their alleged criminal past, both were granted tenure at major Chicago universities. Dohrn’s law license was forfeited yet she is a faculty member of Northwestern’s law school! The public schools are dominated by radical leftists protected by the all powerful teachers unions. Sound like the Obama administration?
This is the model Barack Obama politically “grew up” in. Michelle Obama’s father was a Democrat patronage workers in the legendarily corrupt Chicago Machine. Obama was a loyal member of that machine. Democrat’s use their own racism as a political tool. Illinois is a basket case and getting worse. Is this what you want for 4 more years?
I still find it hard to believe America’s voters elected a politician from Illinois. Either party! Don’t they realize what is going on in Chicago and Illinois? If this is the model of what you want, vote for another 4 years of Barack Obama.
Roger A. Keats
Former State Senator, Illinois
Thursday, March 08, 2012
The author’s hypothesis is laid out by the reviewer as follows: “Pagel’s essential point is convincing and instructive: there were revelations all over Asia Minor and the Holy Land; John’s was just one of many, and we should read it as such.”
Wasn’t special, wasn’t inspired, and barely made it into the Bible, according the author. Suppose that was true, what does one do with the entire, consistent, systemic message of the rest of the Bible regarding the future?
Were it not for the myriad of verses, Old Testament and New, salient ones listed to follow, that call for a calamitous end to earthly life as we know it, and its replacement with a divinely-led kingdom, perhaps Pagels' hypothesis (a political not prophetic catalyst for John's writings) might hold more water. Meanwhile, the fact that we even have a modern Israel, surrounded by ever more bellicose enemies, preparing for a nuclear denouement, is itself a material fulfillment of Bible prophecy and the Bible itself -- all the way from Gen. 3:15 through the end of the book she questions.
The subject could not be more important, according to writers like Merton and Baudrillard, who said: “If it were a matter of choosing between “contemplation” and “eschatology,” there is no question that I am, and would always be, committed entirely to the latter.” Thomas Merton. And: from Baudrillard: “If parapsychological or extraterrestrial phenomena were genuine, or even merely plausible, one ought to devote oneself to them entirely, wasting not a single moment.” We couldn't agree more.
With those thoughts in mind, here are just seven points that go before Revelation in the Bible to consider that would surely refute Ms. Pagels’ refutation of Revelation:
Genesis 3:15. Here we have explained the essential nature of the universe: a war between God and Satan, one that has been protracted, yes, but will not go on forever. Jesus’s heel was wounded, so to speak, at his death, but Satan’s head would be crushed – a poetic way of saying total defeat awaits him. Hasn’t happened – yet.
Isaiah 17. 1 A prophecy against Damascus: ”See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. -- 14 In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone! Hasn’t happened – yet.
Ezekiel 37. “They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever.” Hasn’t happened – yet.
Ezekiel 38. When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. 19 In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.’ Hasn’t happened – yet.
Ezekiel 40-48. The millennial temple, described in enormous detail. Ends with: “And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE.” Hasn’t happened – yet.
Matthew 24. 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
1 Corinthians 15:19. Paul said it best: If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
With war in Syria, with Iran advancing its nuclear program, both backstopped by Russia, as predicted, how far are we from the denouement which Ms. Pagels marginalizes?
We might conclude with Jesus’ own words: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
They will also be writing books, and book reviews – still knowing nothing (or believing nothing) about what would happen – right up to the end which they disparage.
Or put more simply still: prophecy is politics…
Check npr.org for an hour long interview with Ms. Pagels as well.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Thursday, March 01, 2012
Appears we have a problem with santimonious Rick S......
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Personal Best - Have a Cold? There’s No Reason to Skip a Workout, Studies Show - NYTimes.com
Maybe add some chicken soup after.......?
Monday, February 13, 2012
Whitney Houston's Death Will Earn Dolly Parton A Fortune
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Bold Alligator went into its operational phase Monday, Feb. 6, the same day as a large-scale exercise began in southern Iran opposite the Strait of Hormuz. This simultaneity attests to the preparations for a US-Iranian showdown involving Israel behind the words on Feb. 5 of US President Barack Obama ("I don't think Israel has decided whether to attack Iran") and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Feb. 3 ("The war itself will be ten times as detrimental to the US.").
Calls to mind the famous line by Dirty Harry: 'you have to ask yourself, do you feel lucky, punk, well...........do you?'
At the same time, we read of internal strife affecting Iranian administration.
Events careening towards a denouement. How will things resolve?
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
George Soros on the Coming U.S. Class War - The Daily Beast
Here's the math:
$6,000 Gold? Keep An Eye On Newt Gingrich - Seeking Alpha
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
- Mayans rise to power and institute new calendar, calling for new end of the world, 4012. So, we go to overtime.......
- Ahmadinejad renounces both Islam and little white jackets, applies to Harvard, where he is accepted as grad student and TA in nuclear physics.
- To revive her moribund TV career, Sarah Palin comes out of hiding, wins Republican nomination, defeats Obama in photo finish race after all hanging chads counted (7 weeks).
- Stock market falls 8,000 points.
- Day after inauguration, Palin resigns, joins Oprah Winfrey Network as EVP. "You betcha," she says. "Just wanted to show all you I could do it!" She further explained that "all politics is entertainment" and only saw "the White House as a stepping stone to my dream job."
- Stock market rallies 9,000 points.
- Euro money crisis fades from view. EU finance minister explains: "All money is conceptual -- we imagined we had more, much more -- and it worked!"
- Dow Jones reaches 35,000 -- predicted more than 12 years ago.
- Gold plummets to 1930s level $20 per oz. Hedge fund king John Paulson: "When we broke $35, we realized we had trouble, big trouble, right here in....." Was led away while singing medley of Broadway show tunes.
- Magyars replace Mayans as world thought leaders, suggest move U.N. headquarters to Budapest. "Only step one of many," premier says at news conference. Euro leaders demur.
Sorry to be tardy with these. More cross currents of change here than originally imagined.....