6.29.2018

Another crushing defeat for Black


Note: Black has more "material": 2 Rooks & Queen & 7 Pawns. White (me): Queen and Knight / equal on Pawns. Had I not checkmated on this final move, Black would have cleaned me out!

6.26.2018

On having a "Bucket List"





You only live once: 5 ways to avoid retirement FOMO: How the ‘fear of missing out’ can keep you from enjoying retirement

Excerpt:

In your various social media feeds, you see your friends and acquaintances visiting family, traveling to exotic locals, eating tantalizing food, driving their new car, attending a coveted cultural event, enjoying their new retirement home.

It is human to succumb to FOMO — the fear of missing out. Here are five ways you can keep FOMO and its financial repercussions at bay.

You still have 24 hours in the day, but now you have to make new choices about what to do with it. When you see what everyone else is spending their money on it becomes increasingly difficult to manage the financial tensions of what you need and desire for today as opposed to down the road.

The financial services and pharmaceutical industries only expound the problem. Media portrays retirement happiness as mature couples walking on the beach or sitting on a flower-covered hillside in matching bathtubs. It leaves you feeling like you are not enough and lacking in various facets of this new season of life.

FOMO is the updated terminology for “keeping up with the Joneses”. It is alive and well at every age but needs to be recognized and intentionally battled as you live a life of no regrets.
Comments:

  • Things I have heard:
    • You've got the money ... why not spend it?
    • Do you care how your heirs spend your money?
  • Firstly: I don't have a bucket list! 
    • There is nothing undone in life in terms of "life experiences"
    • I don't want to go to Israel! I will in the Millennium!
    • Ditto Europe. I do have a cousin in England I wouldn't mind visiting. I've thought about paying for his airfare to visit me!  
    • I don't believe that "I only live once!"
  • Job had this confidence:  "I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth" (Job 19:25). I have that same confidence. Christ will be here (the culmination of the Davidic line of Kings ... to rule and reign on the earth. AND I will be  here with Him! 
  • On money:
    • I don' t want to spend as much as I can! 
    • I don't want  to be a miser!
    • I want to be generous!
    • I want to use it for God's glory!
    • And at the end: "A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children" (Proverbs 13:22) (That's Amelia and Sullivan!)
  • I'm surprised by:
  • But on the "Fear of Missing Out" (FOMO) ... I'm not missing out on anything! And about the "You only live once" ... Nope ! I've got eternal life

6.24.2018

Crushing defeat for Black

Comment: One must play absolutely error free and wait patiently for opportunity to pounce. I can win now probably 20% of the time

Two different takes on James Hansen



NYTimes: A Prophet of Doom Was Right About the Climate

Excerpt:

With the perspective of three decades, it is fair to ask: How right was his forecast?

The question defies a simple answer. In 1988, Dr. Hansen had to offer a prognostication not just about how the Earth would respond to greenhouse gases, but also about how much of those gases humans would choose to inject into the air.

He did what any cautious forecaster would do: He offered low, medium and high scenarios. The warming over the past 30 years has indeed fallen well within his upper and lower bounds.

One of Dr. Hansen’s scenarios, Scenario B, has turned out to be a reasonably close match for fossil-fuel emissions as they actually occurred. Yet we now know Scenario B predicted too much global warming, by something like 30 percent.

Two reasons for that stand out. One is that Dr. Hansen had assumed a continued increase in certain refrigerant gases that warm the climate. Those gases were ultimately brought under control by a global treaty, the Montreal Protocol — proof that scientific warnings, if taken seriously, can be acted upon at a worldwide scale. 

The bigger problem was that the computers he was using in the 1980s could not operate fast enough to give a realistic picture of the upper atmosphere; as a result, his model was most likely overestimating the Earth’s sensitivity to emissions. In the years since, computer modeling of the climate, though hardly perfect, has improved.

So while his temperature forecast was not flawless, in a larger sense, Dr. Hansen’s 1988 warning has turned out to be entirely on target. As emissions have soared, the planet has warmed relentlessly, just as he said it would; 1988 is not even in the top 20 warmest years now. Every year of this century has been hotter.

The ocean is rising, as Dr. Hansen predicted, and the pace seems to be accelerating. The great ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are dumping ever-rising volumes of water into the sea. Coastal flooding is increasing rapidly in the United States. The Arctic Ocean ice cap has shrunk drastically.
WSJ: Thirty Years On, How Well Do Global Warming Predictions Stand Up? James Hansen issued dire warnings in the summer of 1988. Today earth is only modestly warmer.

Excerpt:

Mr. Hansen’s testimony described three possible scenarios for the future of carbon dioxide emissions. He called Scenario A “business as usual,” as it maintained the accelerating emissions growth typical of the 1970s and ’80s. This scenario predicted the earth would warm 1 degree Celsius by 2018. Scenario B set emissions lower, rising at the same rate today as in 1988. Mr. Hansen called this outcome the “most plausible,” and predicted it would lead to about 0.7 degree of warming by this year. He added a final projection, Scenario C, which he deemed highly unlikely: constant emissions beginning in 2000. In that forecast, temperatures would rise a few tenths of a degree before flatlining after 2000.

Thirty years of data have been collected since Mr. Hansen outlined his scenarios—enough to determine which was closest to reality. And the winner is Scenario C. Global surface temperature has not increased significantly since 2000, discounting the larger-than-usual El NiƱo of 2015-16. Assessed by Mr. Hansen’s model, surface temperatures are behaving as if we had capped 18 years ago the carbon-dioxide emissions responsible for the enhanced greenhouse effect. But we didn’t. And it isn’t just Mr. Hansen who got it wrong. Models devised by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have, on average, predicted about twice as much warming as has been observed since global satellite temperature monitoring began 40 years ago. 

What about Mr. Hansen’s other claims? Outside the warming models, his only explicit claim in the testimony was that the late ’80s and ’90s would see “greater than average warming in the southeast U.S. and the Midwest.” No such spike has been measured in these regions.

As observed temperatures diverged over the years from his predictions, Mr. Hansen doubled down. In a 2007 case on auto emissions, he stated in his deposition that most of Greenland’s ice would soon melt, raising sea levels 23 feet over the course of 100 years. Subsequent research published in Nature magazine on the history of Greenland’s ice cap demonstrated this to be impossible. Much of Greenland’s surface melts every summer, meaning rapid melting might reasonably be expected to occur in a dramatically warming world. But not in the one we live in. The Nature study found only modest ice loss after 6,000 years of much warmer temperatures than human activity could ever sustain.

Several more of Mr. Hansen’s predictions can now be judged by history. Have hurricanes gotten stronger, as Mr. Hansen predicted in a 2016 study? No. Satellite data from 1970 onward shows no evidence of this in relation to global surface temperature. Have storms caused increasing amounts of damage in the U.S.? Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show no such increase in damage, measured as a percentage of gross domestic product. How about stronger tornadoes? The opposite may be true, as NOAA data offers some evidence of a decline. The list of what didn’t happen is long and tedious.
Comment: Why reading the NYTimes is worth the price ... just for the comedy value alone! Text of his testimony


Added: Another view

6.23.2018

Latitude and Longitude of Kathee's parent's gravesite



45.0498 -89.0163 / 45°02'59.3"N 89°00'58.7"W
Our son, Roger, visited the site today and recorded the coordinates.

6.22.2018

A Magnum Research 50cal at arm's length ... #DarwinAwards

Boyfriend urged on woman in fatal YouTube stunt, new videos and transcripts show

Excerpt:

He said he wanted to be “crazier” than famous stunt stars like the men behind MTV’s hit series, “Jackass.” “I may fail, but if I fail I want to die trying,” Ruiz said. “We’re all going to die anyways. It’s just a matter of how and when.” The couple bantered back and forth lightly at first in the videos, laughing and directing each other for what was supposed to be the first video on Ruiz’s YouTube channel. Perez already had her own channel, which included pranks and family-oriented videos. “So, my channel is gonna be all the crazy stuff that Pedro does,” Ruiz said in one video. “…Who’s Pedro? I’m Pedro, the crazy Pedro, the Pedro that makes you say, ‘Damn it, boy.’” Wearing a white V-neck T-shirt and white shorts, Ruiz promised antics that would balance out Perez’s “family vlogs.” The couple have a 3-year-old child and were expecting their second at the time.
Acting under Ruiz’s instructions, Perez presented the camera with a black-and-gold .50-caliber Desert Eagle pistol nestled on a red pillow.

Comment: He died trying. ‘Damn it, boy.’

Case to Point on Liberal Media Distortion - the Crying Child #NothingBurger







Migrant families separation poster girl not taken from mum

Excerpt:

A little girl who became the public face of US migrant family separations was not taken away from her mother at the US border, says her father. A photograph of the Honduran toddler sobbing in a pink jacket was snapped at the scene of a border detention. Time magazine has used the image for its latest cover, depicting President Donald Trump looming over the girl with the caption: "Welcome to America".
Comment: After all the falderal, hysteria, and Rachel Maddow tears & Time cover ... a #nothingburger. The Fourth Estate is out to get Trump! Elected by no one! And the average person who watches CNN, MSNBC or the mindless Today Show is none the wiser! See Yes, Obama separated families at the border, too
President Barack Obama separated parents from their children at the border. Obama prosecuted mothers for coming to the United States illegally. He fast tracked deportations. And yes, he housed unaccompanied children in tent cities. For much of the country — and President Donald Trump — the prevailing belief is that Obama was the president who went easier on immigrants.





Facts don't matter:



Apple Watch

How to Use Your Apple Watch
Yup I bought one! Why? Well this is a bit personal, but I fall from time to time. Three times this year. Kathee is going to San Francisco for a long weekend in late August and she (and I) want me to be safe in the house if I fall. The watch has a SOS function kind of like Life Alert.



I'm just on day two figuring it out. What I've tried so far:
  • Turn by turn directions (to find and buy dresser mentioned yesterday)
  • Sending and receiving texts
  • Receiving a phone call
  • The heart rate and activity monitor
  • I chose the Mickey Mouse face

Update: Adding these images at my brother's suggestion:





Related:



This watchband

GM Right Notes - Another Investing Option

GM Right Notes

Excerpt (from SEC Filing):

Whether you’re an investment pro or just starting out, it’s important to consider the best place to invest your money. GM Financial Right NotesSM are a new option for you to consider. Right Notes are more than just an investment for you — they are an investment in us. They offer a tiered rate of return, and unlike some investments, you have access to your money at any time with no additional fees. “GM Financial Right Notes is an investment program that functions similar to a money market fund,” said Dan Berce, President and CEO. “Your investment will earn daily interest at a rate higher than many savings accounts, and your interest is automatically reinvested monthly.”
Comment: Rates below. I think my TBill strategy is better ... but this is an option



6.21.2018

Park Furniture - Rushville Indiana



 
When making furniture was king

Excerpt:

I have fond memories of Rushville when it had three lumber yard/coal yards, four railroads went through town, the city owned the electric utility and the phone company was user owned and operated. The main industry was furniture, with three large manufacturers in town. International was the biggest by far and finally had over 300 employees before it left town. Rushville Furniture was a Lee Endres owned and operated plant on 11th and George in front of International’s office complex. Park Furniture was on 11th and Oliver by the railroad and made cherry bed room furniture basically.

The high school Vocational Department had one of the best wood working vocational programs I have ever seen. I remember many items coming out of that wood working class that were beautiful and wonderfully made. Those young men would in later years work for the local furniture industry. My family even had a cotton processing plant on 7th and Oliver that was basically started because of the furniture industry in town. My brother Gene was hired on after World War II by Carl Niessen and eventually became President of Schnadig Corporation, the latter day owners of International Furniture. The vocational program at the high school was basically directed toward the furniture industry or farming.
Comment: We bought a nice dresser, found on Craigslist, to be used in our master bedroom closet. Guessing 100 years old. Solid but ... nicked up a bit ... about 100 years a bit! Details: Measures 37 inches wide, 21 inches deep, and 47 inches tall. The top drawer measures 33 inches wide and 5 1/2 inches tall. The second drawer measures 33 inches wide and 6 1/2 inches tall. The third drawer measures 33 inches wide and 7 inches tall. The fourth drawer measures 33 inches wide and 7 1/2 inches tall. The bottom drawer measures 33 inches wide and 8 1/2 inches tall. All 5 drawers glide easily and quietly.

----------------------------------------
Update on 7/19 from the Rush County Historical Society:
Dear James,

The Park Furniture Factory was in business until 1954, but was sold to an out-of-town company in the mid-1940’s. Your dresser was probably made before that sale date. Hope this helps. Enjoy the dresser.

Sincerely, Libby Smith, museum volunteer

The Age of Abundance








Economic Growth from Octavian to Modern Times

Excerpt:

According to the researchers at GGDC, real or inflation adjusted income per person around the time of Octavian (63 BC – AD 14) varied from $1,546 in Italy to $973 in Spain. That amounts to between $4.2 and $2.7 per person per day. It is a testament to the unevenness of economic development that, over two millennia later, some countries are still stuck at those (and even lower) levels. In 2016, GDP per person in Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Malawi and Niger was $692, $619, $836, $764, $950 and $906 respectively.

Those African countries are outliers, of course. In most of the world, GDP per capita has risen dramatically, especially over the last two centuries. To get a sense of how recent and unprecedented the Age of Abundance is, consider France. In AD 1, GDP per person in the Roman province of Gaul was $1,050 – and that’s where it remained for the next 13 (yes, thirteen) centuries. During the first half of the 14th century, however, French incomes rose by some 50 percent, reaching a high of $1,553 in 1355. Why?

The end of the Medieval Warm Period in the late 13th century led to cooler weather and higher rainfall. Harvests shrunk and famines proliferated (e.g., 1304, 1305, 1310, 1315–1317, 1330–34 and 1349–51). To make matters much worse, the Black Plague (1347-1351) wiped out between 75 and 80 percent of those French who survived the climate change. Curiously, the two catastrophes had a salutary effect on both the economic and institutional developments in Western Europe. Abundance of land and agricultural tools seemed to have increased productivity of the surviving peasants, while labor shortages encouraged the lower classes to demand better treatment from their feudal overlords. As a consequence, serfdom gradually disappeared from the region, although it continued to persist in Eastern Europe, where the Black Plague was, due to lower population density, much less deadly.

As the population of Western Europe recovered, incomes waxed and waned, neither falling to their pre-plague levels, nor rising above their mid-14th century maximum. Thus, as late as 1831, the average GDP per person in France was only $1,534. Put differently, in the 18 centuries that separated the reigns of the first Roman Emperor and the last French king (Louis Phillipe), incomes rose by a paltry 50 percent. The Industrial Revolution, a British import, changed French fortunes considerably. Between 1831 and 1881, incomes rose by 100 percent ($3,067). As such, France made twice as much economic progress in 50 years as it did in the previous 1,800 years. In 2016, French GDP per capita stood at $38,758, meaning that a modern Frenchman is roughly-speaking 24 times better off (in real terms) than his ancestor 200 years ago. Remarkable.
Comment: Helpful reminders below:




6.19.2018

My SCANA - Dominion Energy play



Georgia Commission Approves Dominion-SCANA Merger

Excerpt:

The Georgia Public Service Commission has unanimously approved the merger of Dominion Energy, Inc. and SCANA Corp. In doing so, the Georgia PSC became the first state regulatory agency to act on the proposed combination.

"We greatly appreciate the prompt action by Chairman McDonald and the other commissioners in moving forward with our proposal," said Thomas F. Farrell, II, Dominion Energy chairman, president and chief executive officer. "This is an important step in bringing a brighter energy future to customers, communities and others served by the SCANA companies. We look forward to receiving the additional required regulatory approvals and completing our transaction by the end of this year."

The Federal Trade Commission previously granted early termination of the 30-day waiting period under the federal Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. The merger is also contingent upon approval of SCANA's shareholders; review and approval from the public service commissions of South Carolina and North Carolina; and authorization of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Under a merger agreement announced in January, the combined company would deliver energy to approximately 6.5 million regulated customer accounts and have an electric generating portfolio of about 31,400 MW and 93,600 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines. It also would have a natural gas pipeline network totaling 106,400 miles and operate one of the nation's largest natural gas storage systems with 1 trillion cubic feet of capacity
Comment: The merger deal
At the effective time of the Merger (the “Effective Time”), each share of common stock, without par value, of SCANA (each, a “SCANA Share”) issued and outstanding immediately prior to the Effective Time (other than SCANA Shares owned by Dominion Energy, Merger Sub or any wholly-owned subsidiary of Dominion Energy and SCANA Shares owned by SCANA or any wholly-owned subsidiary of SCANA) shall automatically be converted into the right to receive 0.6690 validly issued, fully paid and non-assessable shares of common stock, without par value, of Dominion Energy (each, a “Dominion Energy Share”)

Today bought shares of SCG @ $ 37.46 that will be receive .669 shares of D (trading today at $ 66.23. Hopefully will make $ 5 bucks a share b/c the deal values the SCG at $ 44.31. Should close the last day of July or 1st week of August

Update on 7/1: Looks like it could fall through: South Carolina cuts SCE&G rate 15%, imperils proposed Dominion-SCANA merger (article date = 6/28)


I think I'm screwed!

6.13.2018

Chick-Fi-A: the politically incorrect sandwich




Jack Dorsey Chickens Out - The Twitter CEO regrets eating a politically incorrect sandwich

WSJ:

We live in intolerant times, and if you don’t believe it, consider that the CEO of Twitter this weekend was assailed, and then apologized, for eating at one of America’s most popular fast-food restaurant chains.

Jack Dorsey probably didn’t think twice when he tweeted Saturday that he had used his new Cash app to pay for a meal at Chick-fil-A. Perhaps he thought a chicken sandwich is merely a meal, but now he knows it’s also a political statement.



Chick-fil-A is run by CEO Dan Cathy, who has offended America’s progressive political guardians by publicly supporting the traditional religious definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

Mr. Cathy, a Christian, was expressing his personal beliefs. His restaurants serve everyone, except on Sunday when they’re closed. But it is nonetheless now a sin against political orthodoxy to eat at Chick-fil-A, and Mr. Dorsey was immediately roasted on a Twitter spit for saying he had done so. Soledad O’Brien, the cable TV personality, tweeted that “This is an interesting company to boost during [LGBT] Pride month, @jack.” Others were nastier.

Mr. Dorsey replied to Ms. O’Brien on Twitter that, “You’re right. Completely forgot about their background.”

By the way, Mr. Dorsey says on his Twitter feed that his social-media platform is committed “to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation.”
Comment: FACT CHECK: Embiggen:



6.11.2018

Nomorobo - Stop Spam Calls

Nomorobo

I understand this is the definitive app to stop Spam calls

Related articles:

6.10.2018

Marnie - an amazing woman



Marguerite Ella 'Marnie' (Jencks) Hoeger

Excerpt:

Hoeger, Marguerite "Marnie" Ella (Jencks) formerly of Medicine Lake, died peacefully in New Brighton, MN on June 3, 2018 at the age of 106. Preceded in death by husbands, John Nelson and Frank Hoeger; son, Robert E. Nelson; parents, Louis LeRoy Jencks and Bertha May Gass; siblings, Ardith Anderson, Burdette "Bud" Jencks, and Everyl Nelson Hulet. Survived by daughter-in-law, Betty Nelson; granddaughters, Charleen (Darrel) Antilla and Yvonne (Bruce) Zimmerman; 4 great-grandchildren; 10 great-great grandchildren, and many other cherished relatives and friends. She was a dedicated individual who loved Jesus with all her heart. She was passionate about living each day God gave her with a positive attitude. She was a friend to everyone she met.
Comment: Lovely. Always hugged me at church. Now with Christ, our Hope!

Yes Canada has restrictive Tariffs







Canada - Import Tariffs: Includes information on average tariff rates and types that U.S. firms should be aware of when exporting to the market.

Excerpt:

Technical Barriers to Trade

Restrictions on U.S. Seeds Exports

Canada’s Seeds Act generally prohibits the sale or advertising for sale in Canada or import into Canada of seeds of a variety that is not registered in the prescribed manner. The purpose of variety registration is to provide government oversight to ensure that seeds meet health and safety requirements and that information related to the identity of the variety is available to regulators to prevent fraud. There are concerns that the variety registration system is slow and cumbersome.

Import Policies

Agricultural Supply Management

Canada uses supply-management systems to regulate its dairy, chicken, turkey, and egg industries. The regime involves production quotas, producer marketing boards to regulate price and supply, and tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) for imports. Canada’s supply-management regime severely limits the ability of U.S. producers to increase exports to Canada above TRQ levels. Under the current system, U.S. imports above quota levels are subject to high tariffs (e.g., 245 percent for cheese, 298 percent for butter).

The United States remains concerned about potential Canadian actions that would limit U.S. exports to the Canadian dairy market. For example, the United States monitors closely any tariff reclassifications of dairy products to for possible negative effects on U.S. market access. 

Special Milk Classes

Canada provides milk components at discounted prices to domestic processors under the Special Milk Class Permit Program (SMCPP). These prices are “discounted” in the sense that they are lower than Canadian support prices and reflect U.S. or world prices. The SMCPP is designed to help Canadian processed products compete against imports and in foreign markets.

Geographical Indications

Canada and the European Union (EU) announced on August 5, 2014, that they had concluded the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The agreement contains Canadian commitments regarding geographical indications (GIs) that raise serious concerns about whether implementation will reduce access for current and future U.S. agricultural and foodstuff producers that trade with Canada. The U.S. government engages with Canada on this issue to advance transparency and due process in Canada’s geographical indications system.

Restrictions on U.S. Grain Exports

Several grain sector policies limit the ability of U.S. wheat and barley exporters to receive a premium grade (a grade that indicates use for milling purposes as opposed to grain for feed use) in Canada, including the provisions of the Canada Grain Act and Seeds Act.

Under the Canada Grain Act, the inspection certificate for grain grown outside Canada, including U.S. grain, can only state the country of origin for that grain and not issue a grade. The Canada Grain Act directs the Canadian Grain Commission to “establish grades and grade names for any kind of western grain and eastern grain and establish the specifications for those grades” by regulation. The explicit division between “eastern grain” and “western grain” in the Canada Grain Act as “grain grown in the [Eastern or Western] Division,” defined geographically within Canada, further underscores that grading is only available to Canadian grains. Under the Canada Grain Act, only grain of varieties registered under Canada’s Seeds Act may receive a grade higher than the lowest grade allowable in each class. 

U.S. wheat and barley can be sold without a grade directly to interested Canadian purchasers at prices based on contract specifications. Canadian grain elevators offer economic efficiencies by collecting and storing grain from many small-volume growers, giving them the ability to fulfill larger contracts and to demand higher prices. xxx The barriers to assigning U.S. grain a premium grade encourage both a price discounting of high-quality U.S. grain appropriate for milling use and de facto segregation at the Canadian elevator.
Comment: Much more could be said about this but frankly our G7 friends are hypocrites on "free trade". It's a one way street in many cases. See WSJ G-7 Members Condemn U.S. Trade Actions - Ministers of developed nations express ‘unanimous concern and disappointment’ with U.S. tariffs

6.08.2018

Charles Krauthammer - “This is the final verdict. My fight is over”



Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist Charles Krauthammer Says He Has Weeks to Live - The conservative writer and commentator said he is battling an aggressive form of cancer

Excerpt:

Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist whose incisive critiques made him an influential voice in Washington for decades, said Friday he is battling an aggressive form of cancer and his doctors have told him he has weeks to live. “This is the final verdict. My fight is over,” the 68-year-old wrote in a farewell note to his readers.” He added, “I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.”
Comment: Prayers! Source of atheism quote.

His message:
have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me.

In August of last year, I underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in my abdomen. That operation was thought to have been a success, but it caused a cascade of secondary complications — which I have been fighting in hospital ever since. It was a long and hard fight with many setbacks, but I was steadily, if slowly, overcoming each obstacle along the way and gradually making my way back to health.

However, recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned. There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.

I wish to thank my doctors and caregivers, whose efforts have been magnificent. My dear friends, who have given me a lifetime of memories and whose support has sustained me through these difficult months. And all of my partners at The Washington Post, Fox News, and Crown Publishing.

Lastly, I thank my colleagues, my readers, and my viewers, who have made my career possible and given consequence to my life’s work. I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.

I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.






Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, and Anyman - the Contagion of Hopelessness



In the wake of Kate Spade's death, looking at suicide differently

Excerpt:

The list of warning factors for suicide reads, in part, like a catalog of everyday modern ills: lagging self-esteem, depression, loss of relationships or economic security, insomnia. “When you look at those lists,” says Eric Beeson, core faculty member at Northwestern University’s Counseling@Northwestern, “it almost seems like who’s not a candidate for suicide?”

Suicide risk is not as simple as a list of risk factors. “We talk about suicide as this one thing,” says Beeson, “but suicide is really this spectrum of behaviors. You always ask, ‘Are they suicidal?’ and for me that’s really a limiting question.” In assessing whether people might kill themselves, Beeson looks at “key variables that seem to be more related to death.” Those are:
  • Perceived burdensomeness, “this idea that my death is more valuable than my life.”
  • Thwarted belongingness, “meaning I try to make meaningful connections, and they just don’t work out.”
  • Hopelessness, “OK, I have this, and it’s never going to get better.”
  • Acquired capability, the ability to set aside normal psychological and physical constraints and perform an act that may be painful or horrifying.
With the first two factors, Beeson says, people begin to have ideas about suicide. Adding hopelessness can bring on planning of a suicide. But the final factor is the hardest to discern.

Clinicians like Beeson look for clues that the person might have become more inured to pain, shame or guilt. Past histories of abuse, substance abuse disorders, assaults or even professions such as medicine that make contact with death part of the everyday can constitute a slow wearing away of the mental and physical barriers to self-harm. “People work along that continuum until they start to overcome the pain, the shame and the guilt,” he says, “and then the value of suicide starts to outweigh the pain, shame and guilt.”

Suicide is not typically an impulsive act. “People talk about it being selfish; people talk about it being irrational,” says Beeson, “but actually I think a lot of suicides are very well-thought out, very well-contemplated. And generally not impulsive. Generally, this is a long process for an individual that started with a faint idea that gradually took hold as those risk factors mounted and as the capability came into their purview.” Leaving behind a note, as Kate Spade reportedly did, can be interpreted as evidence of the contemplation suicide often entails — it may be an attempt to remove the last psychological barriers to death.

“Some people might say that it’s a last way to cope with some of the guilt,” says Beeson. “The guilt can be a protective factor in a certain way, so some people might say that’s a way to reduce that. There’s something about this that the person is still not OK with, so they are trying to address that.”

The philosophical debate on suicide is more present than ever. In ancient societies, suicide was sometimes interpreted as an available and even noble choice. Today, in countries like Switzerland, where there are euthanasia clinics, assisted suicide is accepted. And five U.S. states and the District of Columbia have “Death With Dignity” laws that allow assisted suicide in cases of terminal illness. 

“That gets us into the discussion of whether it is ever OK and under what circumstances,” Beeson says. “Some people would argue that if I have a chronic mental health condition that interferes with my quality of life, is that any different than a fatal medical condition? And that’s a really really hard discussion to have.”
The grim impact of celebrity suicides



Excerpt:

According to several studies, publicity surrounding a suicide has been repeatedly linked to a subsequent increase in the act, particularly among young people.

After Marilyn Monroe died in August 1962, the cause listed as probable suicide, the nation mourned — publicly. In the month that followed there was sweeping news coverage, public memorials and a 12% increase in suicides. That month saw an additional 303 suicides in comparison to the year prior, according to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. 

When Robin Williams died in 2014, the world reacted similarly. The comedian’s image was everywhere, details of his untimely passing spawned countless news articles and think pieces. His death is also similarly associated with a 10% increase in suicide across the United States in the five months after his passing, according to a study published in the journal, PLOS ONE, in February. 

The phenomenon is often referred to as “suicide contagion,” defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as an increase in suicides due to “the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors within one’s family, one’s peer group, or through media reports of suicide.” 

And the overwhelming influence of a celebrity or high-profile suicide is far from a new discovery. Following the 1774 publication of Wolfgang Goethe’s “The Sorrows of Young Werther” — a book in which a young man ends his life after a failed love affair — Europe also saw a spike in suicides, particularly in men the same age as the protagonist.

The outbreak prompted the novel to be banned in several European locations.
Comments:

I have some (albeit limited) experience on the subject of suicide. A very close friend's father committed suicide in the early hours of July 5th 1967.

I've had friends and acquaintances commit suicide and I've counseled a handful of suicidal persons. I don't credit it to my counseling skills, but none of my counselees followed through with their intents. 

I've also counseled a man who attempted suicide. He had shot himself all the way through his his head - temple to temple! He used to small of a calibre weapon to accomplish his objective, but the act left him blind in one eye, mostly blind in the other and mostly paralyzed.

I have a relative who attempted suicide with a rifle and left a hole in his home's roof.

Just this year a prominent and respected church member committed suicide.



Somewhat related, I was a kid when Superman committed suicide. I remember being told about it and how it left a mark on me.

Someone recently asked me if suicide is mentioned in the Bible. The answer is that there are Bible character who indeed kill themselves: Most obviously would be Judas, Saul,  and Samson. Here's a list of seven suicides in the Bible.

I have a family member who has told me that if he ever gets cancer he's going to commit suicide.

I've also counseled people whose parents committed suicide. Needless to say, that suicide is terribly hurtful to one's children and loved ones. A study has shown that children of parents who committed suicide are at a significantly increased risk for committing suicide themselves. The younger the child at the time of the parent's suicide, the greater the risk of his or her own suicide.

I've been asked - "have you ever considered suicide?" There was one time, briefly, when if I could have killed myself I think perhaps I might have. When I was in intensive care after I broke my neck - when I woke up and knew my condition, I prayed to die! I had a $ 100,000 life insurance policy and I deemed that my wife would be better were I dead. I think that if there were a red button that would have ended my life, I would have pushed it. 


Have I been discouraged in life? Yup! Many times. My ministry career didn't turn out the way I had hoped and frankly the last year of my career was less than fun!

Does the Bible speak directly to the ethics of suicide? Yes indeed. "Suicide" defined is "to kill oneself":

The "-cide" suffix pertains to "killing"




God is the granter and the One with authority to end life:




So to be clear - it is morally wrong to take one's life!

Hopelessness is a dangerous Suicide warning sign and the answer to hopelessness is Christ!


John 3 is the key chapter on being born again and John 3:16 is the key verse:






I have a line break above to separate the image below from the very importable Biblical teachings in this blog post. For those with immediate thoughts of suicide - please, I beg you, do not hurt yourself - reach out to someone today. This hotline is always available:










I've heard this view (below) that is is wrong to say that someone "committed suicide". I strongly disagree! It's a choice they made!









Blame it on Uber?