10.31.2016

The Johnson Controls (JCI) - Adient (ADNT) spin off



Johnson Controls (JCI) Stock Climbs, Completes Adient Spinoff

Excerpt:

Shares of Johnson Controls (JCI) were advancing on heavy trading volume early-afternoon Monday as the Cork, Ireland-based company said it completed the separation of Adient (ADNT), its automotive seating business. Earlier this year, Johnson Controls announced that it would spin Adient off into a new publicly traded company as a result of its merger with Princeton, NJ-based security systems provider Tyco Int'l. Additionally, Goldman Sachs today started coverage of Johnson Controls stock with a "buy" rating and a $46 price target.
Adient starts trading in tough market for auto stocks

Excerpt:

Adient, the automotive seating and interiors company spun off from Johnson Controls International Inc., started trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday and ran into the downdraft buffeting other automotive stocks, despite an optimistic outlook. Adient CEO Bruce McDonald and executive vice president Byron Foster told Reuters on Monday they expect continued growth in global vehicle sales, and expressed confidence the company can expand sales and profit margins for its automotive seat and and interiors businesses. Adient is the largest player in automotive seats, with a 34 percent global share of a business dominated by just five companies. Despite renewed cost-cutting pressure from automakers, "We think we have a couple hundred basis points of margin expansion we can deliver, based on things we have 100 percent control of," McDonald said.

Comments: Screen snap from here.   We are long time JCI stockholders in IRAs


The Simple, the Fool, and the Scoffer / Scorner

The Simple
To receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, judgment, and equity; To give prudence to the simple - To the young man knowledge and discretion; A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel (Proverbs 1:3-5)
“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge. (Proverbs 1:22)
For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them (Proverbs 1:32)
O you simple ones, understand prudence, And you fools, be of an understanding heart (Proverbs 8:5)
A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished (Proverbs 22:3)
The Fool
The wise in heart will receive commands, But a prating fool will fall (Proverbs 10:8)
To do evil is like sport to a fool, But a man of understanding has wisdom (Proverbs 10:23)
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise. (Proverbs 12:15)
A wise man fears and departs from evil, But a fool rages and is self-confident. (Proverbs 14:16)
A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart. (Proverbs 18:2)
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words. (Proverbs 23:9)
Wisdom is too lofty for a fool (Proverbs 24:7)
The Scoffer / Scorner
How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge (Proverbs 1:22)
If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, And if you scoff, you will bear it alone (Proverbs 9:12)
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke (Proverbs 13:1)
A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, But knowledge is easy to him who understands (Proverbs 14:6)
A scoffer does not love one who corrects him, Nor will he go to the wise. (Proverbs 15:12)
A proud and haughty man— “Scoffer” is his name; He acts with arrogant pride (Proverbs 21:24)
Scoffers set a city aflame, But wise men turn away wrath. (Proverbs 29:8)
The Gradient

Simple
Fool
Scoffer / Scorner

Possibly corresponds to:







Elizabeth Layhew-Kyle obituary

Elizabeth Layhew-Kyle, Walworth County, WI

November 20, 1944 - October 27, 2016

Elizabeth (Reynolds) Layhew-Kyle, age 71, of the Walworth County area, went Home to be with her Lord on October 27, 2016. She was born in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, on November 20, 1944. At age three her parents brought her to the Hobart, IN, area where she grew up. She graduated from Hobart High School, and attended Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, Baptist Bible College of Scranton, PA, and Gateway Technical College in Elkhorn. She was married to David E. Layhew for 30 years, and to Brian L. Kyle for 17 years. She worked as a Secretary for 28 years; after which she studied to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. She lived in Wisconsin since 1989, and was a member of Geneva Lakes Church. Her greatest joys were her Lord, her children, and her grandchildren.

She is survived by her children, Denise (James) Vietti of MI, and David (Liane) Layhew II of Williams Bay; her grandchildren: Jacob, Sophia, and Ethan Vietti, Terrance, Tristan, Tirzah, Magdeliene, Truth, Matthew, Theodore, Mercy, Trust, Treasure, Trinity, and another grandbaby due in May of 2017; her sisters, Eva (Harry) Bradley, and Debbie Reynolds; and her brother, Jim (Margaret) Ludington.

Predeceasing her were parents, David and Felicita Reynolds; their infant son, Gary Lee Reynolds; and her first husband, David E. Layhew.

A Memorial Service is to be held at East Delavan Baptist Church on October 31, 2016. Visitation will be at 1 p.m., followed by the Memorial Service at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts to the family are greatly appreciated to offset the funeral expenses and to make charitable contributions as requested by Elizabeth. Thank you to Steinke Funeral Home for all their assistance.

Comment: Obit of her first husband Dave who passed in 2007. She was a dear friend of ours - we've known her for almost 40 years

10.30.2016

Answering Atheism


From time to time, I post something on atheism on this blog. This week was a case to point. While few comment on my blog, I welcome comments and rarely censor them. I do read most of the comments and I did read this comment from anonymous. I do not consider myself a scholar nor a philosopher. I am just about an average man in thought and intelligence. 

I am not going to argue against atheism, but rather my case (others could easily do a better job) for theism.

In my own life's journey I cannot recollect a time when I did not believe in God's existence. From a Biblical perspective I attribute this to "God ha[ving] put eternity into man's heart" (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

My case "for God" is as follows:
  • The argument from design. I see intelligent design in the universe. When I see a watch, I understand there is a watchmaker.






    • In the tiny hands of babies

  • In morality:  "all people recognize some moral code (that some things are right, and some things are wrong). Every time we argue over right and wrong, we appeal to a higher law that we assume everyone is aware of, holds to, and is not free to arbitrarily change. Right and wrong imply a higher standard or law, and law requires a lawgiver. Because the Moral Law transcends humanity, this universal law requires a universal lawgiver. This, it is argued, is God."
  • That men "conceive God": "than which a greater cannot be imagined cannot be in the understanding alone. For if it is at least in the understanding alone, it can be imagined to be in reality too, which is greater. Therefore if that than which a greater cannot be imagined is in the understanding alone, that very thing than which a greater cannot be imagined is something than which a greater can be imagined. But certainly this cannot be. There exists, therefore, beyond doubt something than which a greater cannot be imagined, both in the understanding and in reality"
  • Jesus (the argument of the man from heaven): John 1:18

Jesus is for me the trump card. C.S. Lewis called him "Either God or a bad man". If he indeed did rise from the grave, He is very God. And thus God exists.





10.29.2016

Real-Life Ghostbusters




Some psychics and paranormal investigators charge hundreds of dollars to clear homes of unwanted spirits

 Excerpt:

There’s a cottage industry of people who advertise themselves as psychics, ghostbusters and paranormal investigators. Some charge hundreds of dollars to visit “haunted” properties—either in person, or via astral travel—and “clear” them of unwanted spirits. Others are volunteer ghostbusters who comb homes with high-tech gear to suss out paranormal activity. ... Jobs require [them] to remove “energetic things,” that can include ghosts but can also be portals—energetic holes connected to planets—as well as what she calls dark energies, which are “energies from other dimensions,”

Comment:  Image is of Tangina Barrons [Zelda Rubinstein] from Poltergeist. My thoughts: For real?! More:
Joe Nickell, senior research fellow at the Center for Inquiry, an Amherst, N.Y.-based think tank focused on science and secularism, has investigated hundreds of claims of paranormal activity over the past 40 years. “I have never found evidence of an actual haunting,” said Mr. Nickell, 71. “Ghosts must be believed to be seen.”

The Falls Church Anglican



It Happened to George Washington’s Church - The Falls Church Anglican—A Story of Gospel Awakening

Excerpt:

Stories about losing rarely reach the front page, but our countercultural faith is different. We believe to live is Christ and to die is gain. Daily news of victories—in sports, in politics—obscures this truth. That’s why we need more stories of gaining through loss. Such stories are bound to continue for the faithful in today’s America.

The Falls Church Anglican has lived through such a story. In 2012, this historic church in Northern Virginia took a stand for their faith and lost everything to the Episcopal Church. After crushing defeats in the courts, the church moved out of the property George Washington had graced centuries before. They walked away from their colonial building and history. They left the soaring sanctuary they built, one that had hosted hundreds (if not thousands) of weddings and baptisms. They left the prayer books, the sound equipment, and the $2.8 million in cash that members had donated to church accounts specifically designated not to go to the Episcopal Church.

Everything exterior about the church had to change—the worship space, the offices, the website, even the name. Now there was the The Falls Church Episcopal at the historic property, and The Falls Church Anglican without a place to call its own.

But the church didn’t fade. They’d simply been pruned of material things. They were ready to grow and thrive as never before, planting new churches and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. God had long prepared The Falls Church Anglican for this journey.
Comment: Image source. Earlier article

The Christ-numerator churches and the dangers thereof



How Long Will Your Church Survive Under a Clinton Presidency?

Excerpt:

Just how long will it take for the church that you currently attend to either knuckle under to the new way of conducting “church business” or face punishment in Hillary’s America?

That all depends on the type of church you now attend. The way I see it, there are presently two types of Christian churches in our country: a church where Jesus Christ is in the denominator or one where Christ is in the numerator.

As in mathematics, the denominator and the numerator have two very different meanings. The denominator affects every number above the line. For purposes of this demonstration, the numerator can be a lot of different numbers, but the denominator is a constant.

However, if that denominator changes, all the different numbers above the line in the numerator are affected. A Christ-denominator church preaches that Jesus is Lord and what He says through Holy Scripture dictates how you and the church conducts itself privately and in public. Your personal feelings are trumped by Bible doctrines. Cultural fashions may change but what’s written in the Bible doesn’t.

A Christ-denominator church preaches biblical principles in season and out of season – it does not matter which way the cultural wind is blowing.

A Christ-numerator church may also preach that Jesus is Lord. But what’s going on in the world is given full consideration as to how the message of the Bible is delivered. In other words, “the world” is in the denominator.

A Christ-numerator church will talk about “social justice” and “saving the planet from man-made climate change,” for example. In a Christ-denominator church, everything in a person’s life is affected by following Christ: how he thinks, who he dates or marries, what job he will take, and on and on. All these things are part of that person’s numerator, since following Jesus is in his denominator.

However, in a Christ-numerator church, making the world a better place is in the denominator. That means, faith in Christ (even personal salvation) is just one of a number of other important things that are in the numerator. All things that a person believes are affected by the foundational question: “How can I make the world a better place?”

To people on the outside of the Christian religion altogether, members of a Christ-denominator church might appear narrow-minded, exclusive, self-righteous, and uncaring about the world and its problems. That certainly can be a pitfall of a Christ-denominator believer.

However, since Christ came to “set the captives free” and “make all things new again,” Christ-denominator believers follow His lead. They don’t make things up because “it feels right” or to “go along to get along.” Under a Clinton presidency, as under the Obama administration, believers in Christ-denominator churches will continue to be pressured and punished – with an acceleration and intensity not yet experienced.

By the end of Hillary’s first four years, Christ-denominators may very well be completely marginalized and “silenced.” And what about the Christ-numerator churches? Right now, they’re playing Hillary and Obama’s game.

In fact, if it wasn’t for these kind of churches, Obama would never have been elected. Christians, whether Protestant or Catholic, make a formidable, even overwhelming, voting bloc. And Christ-numerators are about to hand Clinton the presidency, as they did Obama in 2008 and 2012.

But, the tide will eventually turn against Christ-numerators -- it has to. The state will not tolerate dissenters; the Christ-numerator churches will become dissenters by default simply because Christ has at least a fraction of influence. In eight years, when Hillary’s second term grinds to an end, Christ-numerators will either join the already vilified Christ-denominators in retreat, or drop out of the ranks of church membership altogether.

Comment: Be a Christ-as-Denominator Christian!

Updated with the image below: Taxes (or more specifically the tax-advantaged privileges that churches enjoy) will separate the wheat from the chaff.



10.27.2016

The GOP's “missing five million” white men



Trump Bets on the ‘Missing Five Million’ - Some say Republicans can win by turning out disaffected whites—but is it working?

Excerpt:

Mr. Trump and his managers assume that victory depends on turning out whites who did not vote for Mitt Romney in 2012. This theory holds that President Obama won re-election by 4.9 million votes only because five million whites stayed home, unenthused by Mr. Romney, who didn’t connect with them or wasn’t harsh enough on Mr. Obama.

On the surface, the “missing five million” sounds plausible. Although 129 million Americans—55% of the voting-age population—cast ballots in the 2012 presidential election, 106 million people didn’t. Among them, according to the website FiveThirtyEight, were 47 million whites without a college degree, including 24 million men.

Exit polls from 2012 show that Mr. Romney won 59% of white voters, and that whites constituted 72% of the turnout. The Trumpers say their man can win by boosting those figures only slightly. Increase the GOP’s share of the white vote a few points, say to 62%. Raise the white turnout to 74% or 75%. VoilĂ , President Trump.

Sen. Cruz and Mr. Trump hurled almost as much abuse at what they said were pusillanimous Republican leaders as they threw at Mr. Obama. Mr. Trump won the nomination by arguing that the “missing five million” would turn out for hard-line immigration policies, anti-trade rhetoric and a neo-isolationist foreign policy that put “America First.”

How’s that working out so far? The Trump camp’s first strategic premise—that he can do better among whites than Mr. Romney did—isn’t being borne out. The Oct. 17 poll from Fox News is representative: Among registered voters, Mr. Trump drew 49% of whites and Mrs. Clinton 38%. Other polls also show Mr. Trump lagging Mr. Romney’s performance among whites. Perhaps he could match or exceed it on Election Day if he converts virtually every undecided white voter, but that isn’t likely.

We can’t evaluate the second strategic premise—that Mr. Trump can increase the white turnout—until after the election. But recent history doesn’t suggest a dramatic increase in the offing. Exit polls show that whites were 81% of turnout in 2000; 77% in 2004; 74% in 2008; and 72% in 2012. The country is becoming more racially diverse. It will be nearly impossible for Mr. Trump to keep the white share flat, let alone increase it.

... If the “missing five million” fail to reappear, Republicans will have to find another road to political dominance and 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Comment: Image source. Too bad that Trump has turned off white women!

Rockwell's "Which One? (Undecided; Man in Voting Booth)" to be auctioned



Sotheby's to auction Rockwell painting on 1944 election

Excerpt:

A painting by Norman Rockwell that depicts the undecided voter sentiment during the 1944 presidential election - much like the 2016 race - will be the highlight of an auction of American art in New York. "Which One? (Undecided; Man in Voting Booth)" shows a man standing in a voting booth clutching a newspaper while pondering the choice between Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Republican Thomas E. Dewey. The painting comes from the estate of horse racing executive Ogden Mills Phipps, who acquired it in 1985. Sotheby's will offer it on Nov. 21 with a pre-sale estimate of $4 million to $6 million.
Comment:  We have at least two framed Rockwell prints in  the house: Four Freedoms and Marriage License.  The museum is worth a visit. Relative to the election less  than a fortnight out, see Undecided Voters Face Grim Choice as Divisive Presidency Looms. Little did voters know, their choice for Franklin Delano Roosevelt brought Harry S. Truman to the Presidency.

Last photograph of Roosevelt, taken the day before his death (April 11, 1945)

Chiasm in Gospel of John


"I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father." (John 16:28)

Comment: Example of chiasm in Gospel of John. A suggested chiasmic structure of the whole Gospel is as follows:

A John 1:1-18
    B John 1:19-12:50
    B1 John 13:1-17:26
A1 John 18:1-21:25

Source: God the Trinity, Malcolm Yarnell III, p 110 (footnote).

Other political examples:




Another suggested chiasmic structure from John:


Obamacare - some "essentially paying something for nothing"



NYTimes: Health Law Tax Penalty? I’ll Take It, Millions Say

Excerpt:

Iris I. Burnell, the manager of a Jackson Hewitt Tax Service office on Capitol Hill, said she met this week with a client in his late 50s who has several part-time jobs and wants to buy insurance on the exchanges. But, she said, “he’s finding that the costs are prohibitive on a monthly basis, so he has resigned himself to the fact that he will have to suffer the penalty.”

When Congress was writing the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010, lawmakers tried to balance carrots and sticks: subsidies to induce people to buy insurance and tax penalties “to ensure compliance,” in the words of the Senate Finance Committee.

But the requirement for people to carry insurance is one of the most unpopular provisions of the health law, and the Obama administration has been cautious in enforcing it. The I.R.S. portrays the decision to go without insurance as a permissible option, not as a violation of federal law.

The law “requires you and each member of your family to have qualifying health care coverage (called minimum essential coverage), qualify for a coverage exemption, or make an individual shared responsibility payment when you file your federal income tax return,” the tax agency says on its website.

Some consumers who buy insurance on the exchanges still feel vulnerable. Deductibles are so high, they say, that the insurance seems useless. So some think that whether they send hundreds of dollars to the I.R.S. or thousands to an insurance company, they are essentially paying something for nothing.
Truth in advertising from an insurance CEO



Excerpt:

Thinking of signing up for ObamaCare? You’re better off spending your money on beer, says Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini. “As the rates rise, the healthier people pull out because the out-of-pocket costs aren’t worth it,” Bertolini tells Bloomberg. “Young people can do the math. Gas for the car, beer on Fridays and Saturdays, health insurance.”
My MNSure search. Presuming a 26 year old male in perfect health. Point: Look at the deductibles. 



The Clueless

10.26.2016

Could McMullin win Utah?


Comment: probably little chance of impacting overall Presidential campaign but interesting

10.25.2016

Not my Dad's GOP


Senators Mike Mansfield (left) and Dirksen conversing in 1967






My Former Republican Party - The Democrats left my parents. Trump’s GOP has left me.

Excerpt:

To see how far it’s fallen, let’s remind ourselves of where it once was.
  1. Immigration: At a 1980 Republican primary debate in Houston, candidates George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan were asked whether the children of illegal immigrants should be allowed to attend public schools for free. Mr. Bush said they should. “We’re creating a whole society of really honorable, decent, family-loving people that are in violation of the law,” he lamented. Reagan agreed. Instead of “putting up a fence,” he asked, “why don’t we . . . make it possible for them to come here legally with a work permit, and then, while they’re working and earning here, they pay taxes here.” For good measure, Reagan suggested we should “open the border both ways.” Where, in the populist fervor to build a wall with Mexico and deport millions of human beings, is that Republican Party today?
  2. Trade: “It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy,” wrote Adam Smith in 1776. “If a foreign country can supply us with a commodity cheaper than we ourselves can make it, better to buy it of them.” Two centuries later, Milton Friedman noted that trade protectionism “really means exploiting the consumer” by artificially limiting choice and raising prices for the benefit of domestic producers. Adam Smith and Milton Friedman were once canonical conservative figures. Free trade was once a Republican conviction. In one of his final radio addresses as president, Reagan warned “we should beware of the demagogues who are ready to declare a trade war against our friends—weakening our economy, our national security, and the entire free world—all while cynically waving the American flag.” Where, in the tide of Tea Party opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and all those other “disastrous trade deals” that Donald Trump never fails to mention, is that Republican Party today?
  3. Foreign policy: In 1947 Harry Truman asked Arthur Vandenberg, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to support his efforts to shore up the governments in Greece and Turkey against Soviet aggression. Vandenberg agreed, marking his—and the GOP’s—turn from isolationism to internationalism. Since then, six Republican presidents have never wavered in their view that a robust system of treaty alliances such as NATO are critical for defending the international liberal order, or that the U.S. should dissuade faraway allies such as South Korea and Saudi Arabia from seeking nuclear weapons, or that states such as Russia should be kept out of regions such as the Middle East.
Comments: Images: Top, Middle, Others via Google images. Everett Dirksen was a Republican whom I admired: a champion of civil rights, fiscal and social conservative. We need to rediscover and promote conservative ideals!

10.24.2016

The rise and fall of the Red Delicious



The Awful Reign of the Red Delicious

Excerpt:

At the supermarket near his home in central Virginia, Tom Burford likes to loiter by the display of Red Delicious. He waits until he spots a store manager. Then he picks up one of the glossy apples and, with a flourish, scrapes his fingernail into the wax: T-O-M. “We can’t sell that now,” the manager protests. To which Burford replies, in his soft Piedmont drawl: “That’s my point.” Burford, who is 79 years old, is disinclined to apple destruction. His ancestors scattered apple seeds in the Blue Ridge foothills as far back as 1713, and he grew up with more than 100 types of trees in his backyard orchard. He is the author of Apples of North America, an encyclopedia of heirloom varieties, and travels the country lecturing on horticulture and nursery design. But his preservationist tendencies stop short of the Red Delicious and what he calls the “ramming down the throats of American consumers this disgusting, red, beautiful fruit.”
Why the Red Delicious No Longer Is  (August 5, 2005)

Excerpt:

Consider the fate of America's favorite apple. It emerged from an Iowa orchard in 1880 as a round, blushed yellow fruit of surpassing sweetness. But like a figure in a TV makeover show, it was an apple that its handlers could not leave alone. They altered its shape. They made it firmer and more juicy. They made it so it could be stored in hermetically sealed warehouses for 12 months. Along the way, they changed its color and hence its name -- to Red Delicious. The only problem was the American consumer, whose verdict on the made-over apple has become increasingly clear: Of the two words in the Red Delicious name, one can no longer be believed. "They eventually went too far and ended up with apples the public didn't want to eat," said Lee Calhoun, an apple historian and retired orchardist in Pittsboro, N.C.
'Perfect' Apple Pushed Growers Into Debt (NOV. 4, 2000)

Excerpt:

Nearly a half-century ago, the farmers in these dun-colored valleys east of the Cascade Mountains set out to create the perfect apple. It would be lipstick red; broad-shouldered; uniform in size, color and crispness; a health food that would look as dazzling as an ornament on a Christmas tree. In time, they refined the Red Delicious apple into an American icon, fit for a teacher's desk, a child's lunch box, a dieter's dash out the door. The growers produced these apples like widgets coming off a factory line -- far more than they could ever sell. And while many people raved about the apples, other consumers complained that the fruit did not taste like the original Red Delicious. Losses piled up. And now the bill has come due. Last month, Congress approved and President Clinton signed the biggest bailout in the history of the apple industry, after the government reported that apple growers had lost $760 million in the last three years. But while apple farmers blame their woes on a variety of troubles -- unfair competition with foreign growers, oversupply, low prices paid by wholesalers -- many of them now talk openly about their own role in the collapse of one of the last sectors of American agriculture still dominated by family farms.
Comment: We like 'em. The U of Minnesota developed Honey Crisp is better but per the wife $ 4 per pound! Image source. Below looks like a Red Delicious. Source



J. Alec Motyer on the continuity between Old Testament and New Testament Saints

When J. Alec Motyer was questioned about the relationship of Old Testament Israel to the church, after saying something about the discontinuities, he insisted that we are all one people of God. Then he asked us to imagine how the Israelites under Moses would have given their ‘testimony’ to someone who had asked for it. They would have said something like this:

We were in a foreign land, in bondage, under the sentence of death. But our mediator – the one who stands between us and God – came to us with the promise of deliverance. We trusted in the promises of God, took shelter under the blood of the lamb, and he lead us out. Now we are on the way to the Promised Land. We are not there yet, of course, but we have the law to guide us, and through blood sacrifice we also have his presence in our midst. So he will stay with us until we get to our true country, our everlasting home.

Then Dr Motyer concluded: ‘Now think about it. A Christian today could say the same thing, almost word for word.’

Source: A Christian's Pocket Guide to Loving The Old Testament: One Book, One God, One Story, forward by Tim Keller, p x. Dr Motyer passed into glory this August. A tribute here.

10.23.2016

The Senate Races



WSJ: The Senate Races to Watch

The 270toWin interactive map

Comments: Not predicting more than these: McCain in AZ & Rubio in FL

The GOP Hydra after the Trump Debacle



The Three-Headed GOP After Trump - Today’s Republicans are—like Caesar’s Gaul—divided into three distinct parts

Excerpt:
  1. Establishment conservatives reflect the interests of corporate America. They favor free trade, immigration reform, and well-targeted public investment. They are broadly internationalist and mostly support the treaties and institutions through which the United States exercises global influence. They believe in climate change and can live with reasonable measures to abate it. They want corporate tax reform, but not at the expense of provisions in the current code that benefit their economic sectors. They would like individual tax reform but already can use the current code to minimize their effective tax rate. They believe in “entitlement reform” but would accept revenue increases along with it—the ever-elusive “grand bargain” at the heart of blue-ribbon commissions.
  2. Second come the small-town, small-government conservatives who channel the anxieties and antipathies of the National Federation of Independent Business and whose sentiments pervade the Paul Ryan-House Republican manifesto, “A Better Way.” They believe—passionately—that government is the principal obstacle to growth. They insist on major tax cuts, especially in the individual code through which their unincorporated businesses are taxed, and fervently reject any new taxes. They favor reductions in domestic spending (especially welfare), structural changes in Medicare and Medicaid, and an all-out assault on the regulatory state. Compared to their corporate brethren, their outlook is more nationalist. They mostly depend on the domestic market rather than exports and frown on institutions such as the Export-Import Bank, which they regard as corporate welfare. They are not invited to meetings at Davos.
  3. And lastly, we reach the populist conservatives, many of them working class, about whom so much has been written in this election cycle. They mistrust all large institutions, especially the federal government, but they do not have an ideological preference for smaller government. They depend on costly programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Disability Insurance and stand to benefit from the expanded infrastructure investments that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have proposed. They see large corporations as indifferent, even hostile, to their interests and concerns. They view the world outside the United States more as a threat than an opportunity. So they oppose trade agreements as well as large immigration flows and are suspicious of the obligations that alliances such as NATO impose on the U.S. Like Mr. Trump, they regard such arrangements, on balance, as burdens rather than benefits. For them, “America First” is more than a slogan; it is a demand. ...
  4. The religious right – who sincerely oppose abortion and homosexuality.
  5. Plus, what about another set of culture warriors – the so-called "alt-right", the Breitbart gang, who reek of racial politics, white nationalism, and conspiratorial craziness? This group used to be ignored, but emerged when Trump hired Steve Bannon and Mike Roman. Having broken into the light of the mainstream media, they are unlikely to disappear soon.
Comment: 4 and 5 are from the comment section. I'm a blend of 1,2 & 4. As to the Trump Debacle: wait 15 days (see my prediction). My take is that the Alt-Right is toxic to the GOP

Updated:

Update on 10/26:



Republicans Rode Waves of Populism Until They Crashed the Party
Long stereotyped as home to the country-club crowd, bankers and big business, the party is increasingly driven by anxious working-class voters, small-town business people and middle-aged Americans. At the same time, the cultural conservatism that attracted new voters to the Republican Party has repelled some upscale suburban voters who had long been reliable Republicans.

The upshot is a changed electoral-college landscape that in many ways favors Democrats.

Thus was the table set for Mr. Trump. He brought incomparable celebrity swagger to this year’s presidential race, and benefited from Republican distrust of longtime party leaders and positions. Speaking directly to that exasperation enabled Mr. Trump to upend a generation of conservative orthodoxy. “I’m an outsider and I won the primaries,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in June. “I competed along with a lot of establishment people. I beat them all.”

10.22.2016

The Cult of Bottled Water



How the business of bottled water went mad

Excerpt:

The global bottled water industry is in one of those strange and energetic boom phases where every week, it seems, a new product finds its way on to the shelves. Not just another bland still or sparkling, but some entirely new definition of the element. It is a case of capitalism at its most hyperactive and brazenly inventive: take a freely available substance, dress it up in countless different costumes and then sell it as something new and capable of transforming body, mind, soul. Water is no longer simply water – it has become a commercial blank slate, a word on to which any possible ingredient or fantastical, life-enhancing promise can be attached.

And it’s working. Over the past two decades, bottled water has become the fastest-growing drinks market in the world. The global market was valued at $157bn in 2013, and is expected to reach $280bn by 2020.

... Of water: a substance that, in developed countries, can be drunk for free from a tap without fear of contracting cholera.

...or a substance that falls out of the sky and springs from the earth of its own accord, water has always had an extraordinary commercial lure.

According to James Salzman, the author of Drinking Water: A History, monks at holy wells produced special water flasks for pilgrims to take away as proof of their visit – a medieval example of the power of branding. For centuries, wealthy Europeans travelled to spa towns to sample the water in a bid to cure specific ailments. The spa visit was a signal of health, but also of status: somewhere to be seen, an association of liquid and individual that broadcasted social elevation – a distant precursor to Kim Kardashian clutching a bottle of Fiji, if you like.

In 1740, the first commercial British bottled water was launched in Harrogate. By 1914 Harrogate Spring was, according to its website, the largest exporter of bottled water in the country, “proudly keeping the troops hydrated from England to Bombay”.

In the early 20th century, however, a water revolution nearly killed the nascent business. After early attempts in Germany and Belgium to chlorinate municipal drinking water, a typhoid epidemic in Lincoln in 1905 prompted the public health crusader Alexander Cruickshank Houston to try out the first extended chlorination of a public water supply. His experiment worked, and soon, chlorination of municipal water had spread around the world. In 1908, Jersey City became the first US city to use full-scale water chlorination, and the practice quickly spread across the country.

The bottled water industry almost collapsed as a result. In the past, buying clean water had been a necessity for the rich (the poor simply endured centuries of bad drinking water, and often died from the experience). Now it was freely available to all. Why would you continue to spend money on something that now came, miraculously, out of a tap in your kitchen?

The answer arrived in 1977, in the form of what must be one of history’s greatest pieces of television advertising narration. “Deep below the plains of southern France,” rumbled Orson Welles in a voice that sounded as if it were bubbling up from some unreachable subterranean cave, “in a mysterious process begun millions of years ago, Nature herself adds life to the icy waters of a single spring: Perrier.” As viewers watched the water descend into a glass, and admired the glistening green bottle, marketing history was made. The advert was part of a $5m campaign across America – the largest ever for a bottled water – and proved a major success. From 1975 to 1978, Perrier sales in the US increased from 2.5m bottles to more than 75m bottles.
Comment: CanO advertisement above is a screen snap of their website. We bottle our own (from our own tap) using Klean Kanteens.  See Minneapolis: Our water beats bottled water, In Praise of Tap Water; Bottled Tap Water

Not my Dad's AT&T



AT&T Is in Advanced Talks to Acquire Time Warner - Deal valuing Time Warner at more than $80 billion could happen as early as this weekend

Excerpt:

AT&T Inc. is nearing an agreement to buy Time Warner Inc., a deal that would set a milestone in the converging media and telecommunications sectors and unleash a far-reaching reordering of the industry as rivals are spurred to attempt their own deals.

A deal, which could happen as early as this weekend, would unite AT&T’s wireless, broadband and satellite TV brands with Time Warner’s entertainment empire, which includes cable networks such as TNT, TBS, CNN, the prized HBO channel, and the Warner Bros. film and TV studio.

Talks toward a cash-and-stock purchase have come together quickly and could stall or fall through, said people familiar with the matter. The companies are negotiating a deal that would value Time Warner at between $105 and $110 a share, or more than $80 billion, people familiar with the discussions said.

It is possible other bidders could emerge, including traditional media conglomerates or technology companies. Apple Inc. approached Time Warner about a merger a few months ago and while those talks are no longer active, Apple continues to monitor the situation, a person familiar with the situation said. If a Time Warner sale occurs that could encourage other telecom and media companies to pursue their own combinations.
Comment: Skeptical of value. Dad joined A.T.&T. before WWII and retired in the early 80's with over 40 years of service. Recently we inherited some T stock. Related images below: