7.13.2019

On the modern Judenhass

 
Caricature on the front page of ร‰douard Drumont's anti-Semitic magazine La Libre Parole (1893). Shown is a Jew, hands and feet full of money clinging to the globe. The caption is "Leur patrie" - her homeland . Source

The New Anti-Semitism: In Europe and the U.S., rising political forces on both the right and the left have revived old patterns that scapegoat Jews for society’s ills Excerpt:

When France’s Yellow Vests began to protest weekly last November, it was about President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to raise fuel taxes. Within a few months, it also started to be about the Jews.

Signs that labeled Mr. Macron as a “whore of the Jews” and a slave of the Rothschilds, a reference to the president’s past employment with the investment bank, became a fixture of the demonstrations. In February, several Yellow Vest protesters—since disavowed by the movement—assaulted the Jewish philosopher Alain Finkielkraut on the doorstep of his Paris home, yelling, “You will die,” “Zionist turd” and “France is for us.”

“When there is a world-wide economic and social malaise, people look for scapegoats—and the Jews have always served as scapegoats,” said Francis Kalifat, the president of CRIF, the council uniting France’s Jewish institutions. “Anti-Semitism creates bridges between the far right and the far left: They have such a hatred in common that they come together.”

... “Latent anti-Semitism is being activated,” said David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism at Birkbeck, University of London. “Populist politics is not inherently anti-Semitic, conspiracy theories are not inherently anti-Semitic, but both very easily lend themselves to an anti-Semitic turn and easily become anti-Semitic.”

This change comes after an unusual, postwar golden age that Jewish communities enjoyed across Western Europe and the U.S. over the past several decades. After the horrors of the Holocaust, a commitment to minority rights, religious freedom, an inclusive vision of nationhood and a human-rights-based liberalism seemed to be the bedrock of political life in Western democracies. While anti-Semitic prejudice persisted in some areas, overt anti-Semitism seemed taboo. ...

Until the past few years, the biggest threat came from Islamists and disaffected Muslim youths, particularly in the troubled banlieues at the edges of French cities. France, home to Europe’s biggest Jewish community, has suffered a string of killings of Jews, including the deadly 2015 assault on a Paris kosher supermarket claimed by Islamic State. Anti-Jewish harassment remains commonplace in distressed neighborhoods where working-class Muslims and Jews live side by side.

“The Jews who lived in the banlieue have been leaving. Daily life has become impossible there,” said French Sen. Esther Benbassa, who represents many suburbs of Paris.

The West’s new wave of anti-Semitism, however, is increasingly coming from new quarters: from the nativist far right, with its fear of “the other” and dreams of racial purity, and from the extreme left, which often identifies Jews with the capitalist elites it seeks to destroy and glorifies Palestinian militants. ...

A critical difference between today’s anti-Semitism and its pre-World War II iterations is the existence of Israel—a prosperous democracy and an undeclared nuclear power that is nearing the historic threshold of being home to the majority of the world’s Jews. On one level, Israel represents a guarantee of security should things get dramatically worse—a “life insurance policy” for diaspora Jews, as Mr. Kalifat of CRIF puts it. Already, tens of thousands of French Jews have invested in property in Israel or acquired Israeli passports.

But on another level, Jews in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere are regularly blamed for Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians—a minority within one country being held accountable for the policy decisions of the government of another. Sometimes this dynamic can take on softer forms, such as when Jewish students on American college campuses—where the movement to boycott Israel is strong—face pressure to repudiate any connection to the Jewish state. Sometimes, it can become violent. During the 2014 Gaza war, some pro-Palestinian protesters in France—unable to attack Israeli interests—burned down several Jewish-owned businesses instead. “When you diabolize the state of Israel, you end up diabolizing the Jews,” Mr. Kalifat said.

... In the U.S. Democratic Party—which attracted 72% of the American Jewish vote in last year’s midterms—rising criticism of Israel’s policies has also sometimes spilled into anti-Semitic language. In February, Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted, “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” suggesting that money from a pro-Israel group helps dictate U.S. foreign policy; she apologized after condemnation by her fellow Democrats in Congress.
Can Ilhan Omar Overcome Her Prejudice?



Excerpt:

In my experience it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to unlearn hate without coming to terms with how you learned to hate. Most Americans are familiar with the classic Western flavors of anti-Semitism: the Christian, European, white-supremacist and Communist types. But little attention has been paid to the special case of Muslim anti-Semitism. That is a pity because today it is anti-Semitism’s most zealous, most potent and most underestimated form.

I never heard the term “anti-Semitism” until I moved to the Netherlands in my 20s. But I had firsthand familiarity with its Muslim variety. As a child in Somalia, I was a passive consumer of anti-Semitism. Things would break, conflicts would arise, shortages would occur—and adults would blame it all on the Jews.

When I was a little girl, my mom often lost her temper with my brother, with the grocer or with a neighbor. She would scream or curse under her breath “Yahud!” followed by a description of the hostility, ignominy or despicable behavior of the subject of her wrath. It wasn’t just my mother; grown-ups around me exclaimed “Yahud!” the way Americans use the F-word. I was made to understand that Jews—Yahud—were all bad. No one took any trouble to build a rational framework around the idea—hardly necessary, since there were no Jews around. But it set the necessary foundation for the next phase of my development.

At 15 I became an Islamist by joining the Muslim Brotherhood. I began attending religious and civil-society events, where I received an education in the depth and breadth of Jewish villainy. This was done in two ways.

The first was theological. We were taught that the Jews betrayed our prophet Muhammad. Through Quranic verses (such as 7:166, 2:65 and 5:60), we learned that Allah had eternally condemned them, that they were not human but descendants of pigs and monkeys, that we should aspire to kill them wherever we found them. We were taught to pray: “Dear God, please destroy the Jews, the Zionists, the state of Israel. Amen.”

We were taught that the Jews occupied the Holy Land of Palestine. We were shown pictures of mutilated bodies, dead children, wailing widows and weeping orphans. Standing over them in military uniform were Israeli soldiers with large guns. We were told their killing of Palestinians was wanton, unprovoked and an expression of their hatred for Muslims.

The theological and the political stories were woven together, as in the Hamas charter: “The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: ‘The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The Stones and trees will say, “O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill me.” ’ . . . There is no solution for the Palestine question except through Jihad.”

That combination of narratives is the essence of Muslim anti-Semitism. Mohammed Morsi, the longtime Muslim Brotherhood leader who died June 17 but was president of Egypt for a year beginning in 2012, urged in 2010: “We must never forget, brothers, to nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred for them: for Zionists, for Jews”—two categories that tend to merge along with allegations of world domination.

European anti-Semitism is also a mixture. Medieval Christian antipathy toward “Christ killers” blended with radical critiques of capitalism in the 19th century and racial pseudoscience in the 20th. But before the Depression, anti-Semitic parties were not mass parties. Nor have they been since World War II. Muslim anti-Semitism has a broader base, and its propagators have had the time and resources to spread it widely.

To see how, begin at the top. Most men (and the odd woman) in power in Muslim-majority countries are autocrats. Even where there are elections, corrupt rulers play an intricate game to stay in power. Their signature move is the promise to “free” the Holy Land—that is, to eliminate the Jewish state. The rulers of Iran are explicit about this goal. Other Muslim leaders may pay lip service to the peace process and the two-state solution, but government anti-Semitism is frequently on display at the United Nations, where Israel is repeatedly compared to apartheid South Africa, accused of genocide and demonized as racist.

Media also play their part. There is very little freedom of expression in Muslim-majority countries, and state-owned media churn out anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda daily—as do even media groups that style themselves as critical of Muslim autocracies, such as Al Jazeera and Al-Manar.

Then there are the mosques, madrassas and other religious institutions. Schools in general, especially college campuses, have been an Islamist stronghold for generations in Muslim-majority countries. That matters because graduates go on to leadership positions in the professions, media, government and other institutions. ...

Perhaps—I do not know—this is what happened to Ms. Omar in the four years she spent in a refugee camp in Kenya as a child. Or perhaps she became acquainted with Islamist anti-Semitism in Minnesota, where her family settled when she was 12. In any case, her preoccupation with the Jews and Israel would otherwise be hard to explain.

Spreading anti-Semitism through all these channels is no trivial matter—and this brings us to the question of resources. “It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Ms. Omar tweeted in February, implying that American politicians support Israel only because of Jewish financial contributions. The irony is that the resources available to propagate Islamist ideologies, with their attendant anti-Semitism, vastly exceed what pro-Israel groups spend in the U.S. Since the early 1970s the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has spent vast sums to spread Wahhabi Islam abroad. Much of this funding is opaque, but estimates of the cumulative sum run as high as $100 billion.

Thousands of schools in Pakistan, funded with Saudi money, “teach a version of Islam that leads [to] anti-Western militancy,” according to Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy—and, one might add, to an anti-Semitic militancy.

In recent years the Saudi leadership has tried to turn away from supporting this type of religious radicalism. But increasingly Qatar seems to be taking over the Saudi role. In the U.S. alone, the Qatar Foundation has given $30.6 million over the past eight years to public schools, ostensibly for teaching Arabic and promoting cultural exchange.

For years, Qatar has hosted influential radical clerics such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi and provided them with a global microphone, and the country’s school textbooks have been criticized for anti-Semitism. They present Jews as treacherous and crafty but also weak, wretched and cowardly; Islam is described as inherently superior. “The Grade 11 text discusses at length the issue of how non-Muslims should be treated,” the Middle East Media Research Institute reports. “It warns students not to form relationships with unbelievers, and emphasizes the principle of loyalty to Muslims and disavowal of unbelievers.”

The allegation that Jewish or Zionist money controls Congress is nonsensical. The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that the Israeli government has spent $34 million on lobbying in Washington since 2017. The Saudis and Qataris spent a combined $51 million during the same period. If we include foreign nongovernmental organizations, the pro-Israel lobbying figure rises to $63 million—less than the $68 million spent lobbying for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

In 2018 domestic American pro-Israeli lobbying—including but not limited to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac—totaled $5.1 million. No comparable figures are available for domestic pro-Islamist lobbying efforts. But as journalist Armin Rosen observes, Aipac’s 2018 total, at $3.5 million, was less than either the American Association of Airport Executives or the Association of American Railroads spent on lobbying. Aipac’s influence has more to do with the power of its arguments than the size of its wallet.

Now consider the demographics. Jews were a minority in Europe in the 1930s, but a substantial one, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. Today Jews are at a much greater disadvantage. For each Jew world-wide, there are 100 Muslims. In many European countries—including France, Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K.—the Muslim population far exceeds the Jewish population, and the gap is widening. American Jews still outnumber Muslims but won’t by 2050.

The problem of Muslim anti-Semitism is much bigger than Ilhan Omar. Condemning her, expelling her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, or defeating her in 2020 won’t make the problem go away.

Islamists have understood well how to couple Muslim anti-Semitism with the American left’s vague notion of “social justice.” They have succeeded in couching their agenda in the progressive framework of the oppressed versus the oppressor. Identity politics and victimhood culture also provide Islamists with the vocabulary to deflect their critics with accusations of “Islamophobia,” “white privilege” and “insensitivity.” A perfect illustration was the way Ms. Omar and her allies were able to turn a House resolution condemning her anti-Semitism into a garbled “intersectional” rant in which Muslims emerged as the most vulnerable minority in the league table of victimhood.
Comment: Sad to see this 'revival' of antisemitism! Judenhass means "Jew hatred"



7.09.2019

The hierarchy of prosperity

3 John 2

Excerpt:

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.
Comment: Obviously the most important - of infinite value is ...


7.06.2019

6.23.2019

The "Four-Square" process - savvy auto buying



Dealerships Rip You Off With The “Four-Square,” Here’s How To Beat It

Excerpt:

Former used car salesman Alan Slone grows a conscience and reveals one of the major strategies dealership use to screw you when buying a new car. At the heart of it all is the “4-square,” a sheet of paper (sample above) divided into four boxes: your trade value, the purchase price, down payment, and monthly payment. This is supposed to help you and the dealership come to an agreement, but as you’ll see, it’s really more akin to three-card monte dealer’s deck of cards. Many, but not all, dealerships use this tool. Here’s 5 tips to get you started, and then a very detailed breakdown of how the dealership manipulates buyers with the four-square.
7 tactics car salesmen hope you don’t know

Excerpt:


  1. Playing out the clock
  2. Psychological profiling
  3. The pressure of the ‘impending event’
  4. The ‘porcupine close’
  5. The ‘Ben Franklin close’
  6. The ‘alternate choice close’
  7. The trip to the back office
Comment: Image from the 2nd article. I'm not in "the market" at this time because:

  • I'm happy with my 17 year old truck (it needs a new rear bumper - someone ran into it in a parking lot and left without leaving a note
  • Our main vehicle is about 3 years old and has a lot of life left in it
My tips:
  • Separate "the trade" from the purchase
  • Either arrange financing in advance or pay with cash
  • Search for the car you want and the price on the Internet
  • Control the clock
  • Be willing to walk away 

6.21.2019

On God and Mammon



4 Dangerous Attitudes that Sway Our Hearts Toward the Love of Money
Four Common Pitfalls with Money
  1. The first is ingratitude. A grateful heart is a heart at rest. A grateful person is aware that he deserves nothing of all he possesses and enjoys. Because of this, he daily counts his blessings and is thankful for the little things that would otherwise be taken for granted. The unthankful person does just the opposite. He keeps telling himself that he deserves more than he has. Because of this, he is way more aware of what he doesn’t yet have than of all the things he has been graciously given. This causes him to live an entitled and demanding life. Never quite satisfied, he easily justifies a wasteful and selfish use of money.
  2. The second ingredient is need. This is one of the most poorly and overused words in human culture. The majority of what we are able to tell ourselves we need, we don’t actually need. We all are very skilled at loading our desires into our need category, and once we have, we think it’s our right to have these things, and therefore it’s appropriate to do what is necessary to posses them. So we waste all kinds of money satisfying needs that aren’t really needs, all the while feeling quite comfortable, because if it’s a need, it seems right to acquire it. So with closets bursting with more clothes than we can wear and refrigerators filled with more than we can eat and houses bigger than we actually occupy, we are still able to tell ourselves that we are needy. And because we have told ourselves that we are needy, we will spend more.
  3. The third thing that weakens the defenses of the heart against the love of money: discontentment. Because I am not grateful for all the things I have been given and don’t deserve, and because I have misdiagnosed need, loading many things in my need category that are not needs, I am a constantly discontented person. It is virtually impossible to be satisfied with what I have, so I am on a constant quest for more. Since I am on a constant quest for more, I tend to spend more than I should to satisfy myself, but because my discontentment is rooted in ingratitude and misunderstood need, spending more won’t solve my problem. So, I end up spending more than I have, because what I am trying to do can’t work. Contentment isn’t a money problem, a possession problem, or a location problem; it’s a problem of the heart and therefore is not solved by spending.
  4. The final ingredient that works with ingratitude, need, and discontentment to set up your heart to misappropriate money is envy. If you are unthankful and convinced that you deserve more, if you have been able to convince yourself that you need certain things that you do not have, leaving you deeply discontented, you will invariably look over the fence and envy the person who appears to have what you have not yet been able to acquire. Envious people are always taking account. Envious people are always comparing. Envious people are constantly placing things on their “she has, but I don’t” list. Envious people regularly feel that they have been given a bad deal, so it is right for them to use their resources to settle the score. Envy will cause you to be both self-oriented and foolish in your use of money.
It is ingratitude, neediness, discontent, and envy of the heart that cause us to be all too money conscious, all too self-focused in our use of it, and all too liberal in our expenditures. If we persist on that course, our life really will end up being “money, money, money,” no matter how much of it we actually have. We need to continue to remind ourselves that the problem with money is not that it exists. The problem with money is not that we have too little or too much. Money problems are always heart problems; they’re deeper than the size of our paycheck and the specificity of our budget. Money can be a blessing or a curse.
Comment: Image source

AR-15 Whac-A-Mole

Gun Makers Adjust Rifles to Skirt Bans

Excerpt:

“They all shoot the same,” said Norris Sweidan, the owner of Warrior One Guns & Ammo in Riverside, Calif., where the walls are lined with AR- and AK-style rifles modified to be legal in the state. “These people that are passing the laws, how many of them do you think have actually shot a gun?”

In response to mass shootings, Democratic presidential candidates including former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris say they want to renew the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that was in place from 1994 to 2004. Governors from Rhode Island and Virginia are pushing them too.

But the proliferation of guns sold legally that operate nearly identically to banned models shows how difficult it can be to make firearm restrictions effective.
Comment: The lesson from the Wheellock



In 1517 and 1518, the first gun control laws banning the wheellock were proclaimed by the Emperor Maximilian I, initially in Austria and later throughout the Holy Roman Empire.

6.18.2019

Address Plaque project



Address Plaque 14" x 9" Scalloped- Cast Bronze

Replacing:


Comment: On order. The current one is 15 ½ x 5 ½


On that "content of one's character"


The troubling legacy of Martin Luther King

Excerpt:

At the Willard Hotel, King and his friends’ activities resumed the following evening as approximately 12 individuals “participated in a sex orgy” which the prudish Sullivan felt included “acts of degeneracy and depravity . . . When one of the women shied away from engaging in an unnatural act, King and several of the men discussed how she was to be taught and initiated in this respect. King told her that to perform such an act would ‘help your soul’.” Sometime later, in language that would reflect just how narrow Sullivan’s mindset was, “King announced that he preferred to perform unnatural acts on women and that he had started the ‘International Association for the Advancement of Pussy Eaters’.” Anyone familiar with King’s often-bawdy sense of humour would not doubt that quotation.

Comment: No comment needed

Worth mentioning: NYTimes: OCT. 11, 1991Boston U. Panel Finds Plagiarism by Dr. King




A committee of scholars appointed by Boston University concluded today that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. plagiarized passages in his dissertation for a doctoral degree at the university 36 years ago.

"There is no question," the committee said in a report to the university's provost, "but that Dr. King plagiarized in the dissertation by appropriating material from sources not explicitly credited in notes, or mistakenly credited, or credited generally and at some distance in the text from a close paraphrase or verbatim quotation."

Despite its finding, the committee said that "no thought should be given to the revocation of Dr. King's doctoral degree," an action that the panel said would serve no purpose.

But the committee did recommend that a letter stating its finding be placed with the official copy of Dr. King's dissertation in the university's library.

The four-member committee was appointed by the university a year ago to determine whether plagiarism charges against Dr. King that had recently surfaced were in fact true. Today the university's provost, Jon Westling, accepted the committee's recommendations and said its members had "conducted the investigation with scholarly thoroughness, scrupulous attention to detail and a determination not to be influenced by non-scholarly consideration."

The dissertation at issue is "A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman." Dr. King wrote it in 1955 as part of his requirements for a doctor of philosophy degree, which he subsequently received from the university's Division of Religious and Theological Studies.

6.15.2019

G-Kids fascinated with magnets - where to buy



Comment:Grandpa likes them too

6.14.2019

Farewell Dionn



December 18, 2017

June 14, 2019

Dear Dionn,

I remember the first day I saw you in the radiation waiting area – such a warm inviting smile! You made me feel comfortable, although inside me was fear and apprehension. I was a bit afraid to reach out to you. Would it be appropriate? Would it be welcome? Of course, you were so kind! And day by day, I would see your welcoming face that started my day! I did not know how ill you were. I did not know the rigors of treatments and surgery that lay ahead for you.

Now we find ourselves nearly a year and a half later. Thank you for inviting me to your “Peace Out Farewell.”


I’m a bit nervous even as I write this: what should I say? How might I encourage my brother? I trust this helps! Kathee and I had a little McDonald’s picnic at Medicine Lake park at lunch today. We read John chapter 3 and these verses are always an encouragement to me: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Not to be morbid, but of course having cancer I think of death daily. I wish I did not. I think about gravestones, my funeral, my burial location, and more.

A common Roman era military grave epitaph is: “fui quod es, eris quod sum”. Translated is: “I once was what you are, you will be what I am”. This is even on some modern graves:

Of course, it speaks of our common destiny – I will die!

40 years ago, a close friend John D died of Leukemia. Soon I will join him. But what awaits the Christian? I know you know! John 11:25, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live’”. Our Lord is the God of the living: Jesus: “But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” (Luke 20:37-38)

My friend, John D, though long dead (he was 26) and buried, has been alive with Jesus these 40 years! I look forward to seeing him again! What will that be like?

The Scriptures inform us in at least four passages:

There was Paul “caught up into paradise” (2 Corinthians 12) who saw “surpassing great[] …revelations” and “heard things that cannot be told” (12:1-ff)

Isaiah saw:

Ezekiel (chapter 1)saw:

John saw (Revelation 1):

Dear Dionn, I must tell your that I love this life so much that I do not want to leave. But my day will come. And I am convinced, that I will see the Lord as Paul, Isaiah, Ezekiel and John have. This is the glorious future that awaits the Christian!

With much love! Jim


5.23.2019

On "stare decisis"



Thomas and Breyer’s ‘Stare’ Contest - Their sharp disagreement about precedent reflects different worldviews that go far beyond abortion.

Excerpt:

Beginning with the Warren Court in the 1950s, bold and audacious justices began making up law out of the Constitution’s “emanations, formed by penumbras”—literally, gas and shadows. As Justice Thomas has objected, the court invented rights that sharply curtailed the traditional order-keeping authority of police and teachers, making streets, schools, and housing projects in poor neighborhoods dangerous, and depriving mostly minority citizens of the first civil right—to be safe. The justices have even trampled the Bill of Rights, sanctioning campaign-finance laws that curtail the political speech at the core of First Amendment protections.
Comment: Important read. Ask yourself - should Dred Scott v. Sandford have stood? Then consider Roe v. Wade.


5.21.2019

My USAToday '15 minutes of fame'





More baby boomers stay in their homes as they reach retirement, skipping downsizing

Excerpt:

Jim Peet, 70, of Plymouth, Minnesota, may seriously consider selling his 3,300-square-foot house but not until he’s 80. Peet, a retired information technology professional, and his wife, Kathee, flirted with downsizing several years ago, largely to reduce maintenance hassles, but found that a condo in downtown Minneapolis would cost more than their house. They also shopped for a similar-sized house in Tallahassee, Florida, but backed out after realizing they didn’t want to be so far from their family.

In fact, their kids and grandchildren generate a consistent hive of activity in their house. “It’s just so comfortable to entertain people,” Peet says. “The kids run from the living room to the kitchen – I love watching them.”

Peet, who uses a walker because of a spine-related injury, also appreciates the support of decades-long neighbors. Recently, he says, a neighbor helped him when he fell from a chair.
Comment: Nice mention. How I was contacted. Responded to this:


5.19.2019

Joenonymous in the Anthropocene Age

Rambling Through Time

Excerpt:

The world is old beyond comprehension, and our story on it is short. The conceit of the Anthropocene, the supposed new epoch we’re living in, is that humanity can already make claims to its geological legacy. But if we’re to endure as a civilization, or even as a species, for anything more than what might amount to a thin layer of odd rock in some windswept canyon of the far future, some humility is in order about our, thus far, infinitesimal part in the history of the planet.

Astronomy gets much of the credit for decentralizing the role of humans in the story of the cosmos, but just as Edwin Hubble placed our island universe in deep space, the geologist James Hutton placed us in deep time, gawking in awe in 1788 at the chasms of history that confronted him in the rocks at Siccar Point on the east coast of Scotland. mammoths and giant ground sloths. We walk past Broadway to Riverside Park, eventually hitting the Hudson River.

We’ve already put more than a thousand centuries behind us, but we’ve got a long way to go. So we march up the West Side Highway and cross the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey. Despite our sore feet, and having covered untold millenniums over several miles, we’re stupefied to learn that we’ve scarcely gone back a million years — an all but insignificant amount to geologists. In fact, we haven’t even emerged from the pulsating ice age that has waxed and waned for the past 2.6 million years.

The scale of the task dimly dawning on us, we push on, trudging along the rumble strip of Interstate 80 in New Jersey, battered by gusts of passing tractor-trailers. After walking for more than 24 hours we make it clear across the state, stumbling into Pennsylvania. Morale now collapsing, we’re further gutted to learn that walking as the crow flies 300 miles across the Keystone State won’t even bring us back to the age of dinosaurs.
Comment: Image Source. I am basically a young earth creationist (I believe in the revelation of Adam and Eve). But I found the article interesting because I had never heard of the concept of the Anthropocene Age. Related is the Great Acceleration/ "Joenonymous" is a contraction of "Joe" (as in "average Joe" and "anonymous"

5.18.2019

When Turkey Destroyed Its Christians



From 1894 to 1924, a staggered campaign of genocide targeted not just the region’s Armenians but its Greek and Assyrian communities as well​

Excerpt:

Between 1894 and 1924, the number of Christians in Asia Minor fell from some 3-4 million to just tens of thousands—from 20% of the area’s population to under 2%. Turkey has long attributed this decline to wars and the general chaos of the period, which claimed many Muslim lives as well. But the descendants of Turkey’s Christians, many of them dispersed around the world since the 1920s, maintain that the Turks murdered about half of their forebears and expelled the rest.

The Christians are correct. Our research verifies their claims: Turkey’s Armenian, Greek and Assyrian (or Syriac) communities disappeared as a result of a staggered campaign of genocide beginning in 1894, perpetrated against them by their Muslim neighbors. By 1924, the Christian communities of Turkey and its adjacent territories had been destroyed.

Over the past decade, we have sifted through the Turkish, U.S., British and French archives, as well as some Greek materials and the papers of the German and Austro-Hungarian foreign ministries. This research has made it possible to document a strikingly consistent pattern of ethno-religious atrocity over three decades, perpetrated by the Turkish government, army, police and populace.

The concentrated slaughter of Turkey’s Armenians in 1915-16, commonly known as the Armenian genocide, is well documented and acknowledged (outside of Turkey, which still bitterly objects to the charge). But the Armenian genocide was only a part, albeit the centerpiece, of a larger span of elimination that lasted some 30 years. Our work provides the first detailed description and analysis of the 1894-96 massacres and the destruction of the region’s Greek and remaining Armenian communities in 1919-24 by Mustafa Kemal Atatรผrk, the founder of the Turkish republic.

The bloodshed was importantly fueled throughout by religious animus. Muslim Turks—aided by fellow Muslims, including Kurds, Circassians, Chechens and Arabs—murdered about two million Christians in bouts of slaughter immediately before, during and after World War I. These massacres were organized by three successive governments, those of the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II, the Young Turks and, finally, Atatรผrk. These governments also expelled between 1.5 and 2 million Christians, mostly to Greece.
Comment: When a country is majority Muslim - Christians die!

5.17.2019

The Vacuous Promise of Living in Outer Space





Enjoy Outer Space! I’ll Stay on Earth.
Excerpt:

Are we really all going to go live in outer space? Budding space Wonka Jeff Bezos had a big event last week to say it’s coming, that his rocket company Blue Origin will help make it possible, but—not to sound like an intergalactic wet blanket—I’m on the fence about abandoning Earth, and schlepping off to the stars. Yes, I know I may not have a choice: that overpopulation, climate change and cable news may eventually make our current planet an impossible place to live. What I’m asking is: What if it’s optional? What if living in outer space is a choice? I’m not sure I need to go.
Comment: Images: 1st, 2nd

5.15.2019

4270 Cottonwood

4270 Cottonwood

My neighbor's house goes on the market soon (I think next week)


Comments:
  • Predict that it goes on the market for $ 379K (prediction date = 5/15/19)
  • And that it sells for $ 360K

Update: On the market today (5/20) for $ 375:


5.06.2019

Heroes



Lori Kaye, 60, Who ‘Thought of Others Before Herself’ - she took bullet to save her rabbi’s life

Excerpt:

Lori Kaye loved greeting cards; she had one for nearly any occasion. Whether a birthday, anniversary or condolence, someone leaving on a trip or returning from one, Kaye pulled one out from her vast collection, wrote a message and delivered the card.

“She knew what everyone was up to, what was happening in their lives, and she cared to make them feel special,” shares her longtime friend, Teresa Lampert. “She was an incredible person.”

Kaye was killed on Shabbat morning, the last of the eight days of Passover, during the anti-Semitic shooting attack at Chabad-Lubavitch of Poway that shocked the nation. She had just stepped out into the lobby to check on the children’s group in the playground when the attacker burst into the building and shot her. Kaye, a woman remembered for her kindness, sensitivity, enthusiasm and generosity, spent her last minutes on earth in the lobby of the synagogue and community center she had done so much to see into reality.


The UNCC student who died charging a gunman received military honors




Excerpt:



The University of North Carolina at Charlotte student who died after tackling the gunman in last week's campus shooting was remembered at a memorial service with military honors on Sunday, where close friends and family recalled a humble young man who loved the outdoors and was kind to everyone he met.

Authorities have said that Riley Howell, a 21-year-old ROTC cadet at UNCC, charged the shooter after he opened fire with a pistol in a classroom last Tuesday, saving the lives of others.

Howell was killed, along with 19-year-old Reed Parlier of Midland, North Carolina. Four others were injured.

"Maybe it was God that moved the levers, that put Riley in that classroom on that day, at the exact time for the purpose of saving others," said Kevin Westmoreland, the father of Howell's girlfriend, Lauren.

"It was not out of character for him," he said, "and maybe someone in that room is here for a greater purpose, and it was Riley's destiny to sacrifice himself for them."




5.05.2019

Minesweeper - Addictive


  • I bought for my Mac when Kathee went out of town last week
  • I played it hundreds of times
  • Remember when it was in Windows 3.1?
Update on 6/10: I don't think I've ever seen an "8" before:


5.02.2019

Tactics for Atheists



Tactics for Atheists

Excerpt:

Consider this scenario. An atheist engages two Christians on a sidewalk and begins to gently and genially engage them about their beliefs. Their initial, breezy assurance begins to fade, however, as they falter in the face of carefully-worded questions about the things they think they know “by faith.” The atheist gives no evidence for atheism. He gives no evidence against Christianity. Instead, he only does one thing. He asks questions about “faith” as a way of knowing. He remains calm and friendly as the discussion closes, but by that time one of the Christians is visibly uncomfortable.
Comment: Good read

4.17.2019

Draw


  • I made a critical mistake and lost my Queen early in a Knight fork
  • At this juncture in the game, Black is up by:
    • 1 Pawn (8 to 7)
    • And the Black Queen to my White Knight (6 points)
    • 7 Points total!
    • There's no way White can win
    • But I have a very good defense. Eg 
      • The Black Bishop is locked in
      • All of the White Pawns are on Black spaces (impervious to attack)
      • My White Bishop is really mis-positioned but is protected by my Knight
    • For the last two dozen moves, I have moved my King: G1 to G2 ... G2 to G1
  • It's a draw
  • If I were Black:
    • I would have maneuvered the Black Bishop to a position to attack and exchange with the White Bishop
    • And then tried to open up the H column

4.12.2019

Lost Rook to foolish mistake - come from behind


  • Kathee out grocery shopping - played a nice game of chess
  • As the title indicates, I lost a Rook midway through the game but managed to struggle back
  • At the time I lost the Rook, Black had 2 Rooks, White 1 Rook + 2 Knights. 
  • Two Knights and King played defense while remaining Rook picked away and protected Pawn to Queen advance.
  • I didn't need two Queens to win, but sometimes I'm merciless

4.05.2019

Will never be Won


  • I play about 4-5 games of chess a day. 
  • My win rate is about 20%
  • One has to be completely error free against a computer because a computer will never make a mistake
  • (one of the joys of playing against the average human, it that they will make a mistake and one can "blow it open")
  • The above is an error free game. Tit for Tat
  • If I had a Knight ...
  • Last game of the day!

4.02.2019

On Mutual Fund Expenses


  • One might think that 1.19% is reasonable (and perhaps it is). But consider this ...
  • If one has $ 100,000 invested in this ... it's $ 1,190 every year!
  • GGBZX is a classic "fund of funds"
  • And what are the components of GGBZX?

  • For a true expense ratio of 2.02%
  • Contrast the expenses of SPY
The Oracle of Omaha made a very public bet with Protรฉgรฉ Partners on December 19, 2007, that over the following 10 years, an unmanaged S&P 500 index fund would outperform a collection of five high-profile fund-of-funds. Buffett won the bet... and it wasn’t even close. The S&P 500 returned a cumulative 125.8% (or 8.5% per year). The hedge funds delivered cumulative returns ranging from just 2.8% to 87.7% (0.3% to 6.5% per year). And remember, this time period includes the 2008 meltdown.