Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Predictions: How did we do?

We made predictions this time last year for 2015, and here is a recap, with scores for how we did.  In everyone else's defense, I did stake out all the easy predictions, leaving nothing but wild speculation to the rest of the editorial staff.

Finn and Hugh's numbers look bad, but their only problem is they are ahead of their time.  Their predictions will come to pass sometime.

Gotta give Viburnum credit, he was much closer about the Chicago Cubs than anyone could have imagined...

The Winners, in a Tie:  Silverfiddle and Ducky, both with 46%

Rob O'Daniel was a close third with 44% and some very smart predictions.  Jersey and Beakerin put in a respectable performance and had some great predictions of their own.

Results below.  Failed predictions have strikethroughs.  Successful prediction gets one point, 1/2 point for partials.  My assessment, if needed, is below each prediction in italics.

Silverfiddle's Predictions - (5.5 /12), 46%

* Denver Broncos are defeated in the playoffs, Peyton Manning retires.
- 1/2 point.  Broncos defeated in Playoffs, but Manning stayed on

* Jeb Bush announces he is running for president, the GOP establishment gets behind him, and some rightwing loonies spin off a shaky, farcical third party with someone like a Bachmann or Palin at the helm.
- I am tempted to give myself half a point, but we all knew Bush would run, and there is some funny, farcical antics going on, but not what I predicted.

* Jim Webb launches his run for the Democratic party presidential nomination.
- 1 point

* Hillary Clinton bows out.

* A Supreme Court vacancy will occur, and due to political intransigence on both sides, will remain vacant. 

* Race relations continue to deteriorate, with more violence and more provocative incidents than 2014.
- Tough to quantify, but I'm giving myself a point for this one

* Immigration wave on our southern border larger than last year. Obama asks for more money.

* GOP will reestablish a normalized budget process, President Obama will sign their spending bill, and conservatives will be furious because it increases spending even though Ryan, Boehner, et al claim it contains deficit reduction measures.
- 1 point.  I nailed this so hard I should get bonus points

* ISIS state collapses back into marauding terrorist bands as Kurds and a marginally-improved Iraqi army regain lost territory. Iraqi sectarian in-fighting continues, US reestablishes a small, semi-permanent presence.
- We have reestablished a small US presence in Iraq, but the bulk of my prediction did not come to pass

* Obama negotiates with the Taliban, even as they gobble up the Pashtun belt and Kabul totters. Police and Army defections increase along with rumors of an imminent government collapse.

* Bashar Assad strengthens his grip on Syria, rebels in retreat.
- 1 point, thanks to a Putin assist.

* China causes some kind of provocation/crisis ala Russia/Ukraine. US and world dithers.

Finntann's Predictions - (1 /7), 14%

* Gasoline drops below $1.50

* Ruble continues its downward spiral and despite continued popularity there is a coup or assassination attempt on Putin. Putin survives, blames the West, and amid soaring popularity makes a move somewhere in the Baltics , most likely in the Ida-Viru region of Estonia (70% Russian) or the Daugavpils region of Latvia (53.6% Russian).

* The government of Syria falls after Bashar al-Assad flees to Belarus for medical care after a nearly successful suicide bombing, he never returns. The West diddles as ISIS consolidates territorial gains in western Iraq and Syria.
- 1/2 point, thanks to Western diddling

* Raul Castro dies suddenly, Miguel Diaz-Canel takes over and makes moves a la China to implement limited capitalism. Sheldon Adelson announces a planned Sands Casino Resort on the Malecón.
- We're getting closer to this.  Maybe 2016?  "Opening up Cuba" will be a big regret for the Cubans. After Obama's Vampire Crony Crapitalists move in and gobble everything up, Cubans will be waxing nostalgic about the Castro regime...

* Street protests dubbed the Latin American Spring in major Venezuelan cities leads to a crackdown by the Maduro government. A military coup in late summer or early fall will install Diosdado Cabello as head of government.
- 1/2 point.  

* After a series of police shootings public backlash will dampen down protests.

* Personal Computers running on Intel's new Skylake chip architecture will be available in time for Christmas.

Hugh Farnham's Predictions - 0.0%

There will be an increase of 10th Amendment-based state nullification efforts of federal laws

The Obama Administration will take actions to continue the nationalization of local, county and state police.

The FBI will quietly admit they were wrong about North Korea being the source of the Sony hack

There will be cyberattacks against the US, and our government will blame them on Russia

Viburnum's Predictions - 0.0%

The American people finally comprehend the significance of being 18 trillion dollars in debt and take to the streets to demand a fiscally responsible government enforced by a balanced budget amendment. Frustrated by the indifference of the Beltway crowd they hang a politician, bureaucrat, or lobbyist from every available lamppost in the District of Columbia. The survivors are grateful for the dearth of suitable trees.

Warren Buffet, after a severe attack of conscience over paying less in taxes than his secretary, donates his entire fortune of 73 billions to pay down the national debt. It covers 0.4%.

Medea Benjamin converts to Islam, moves to Baghdad, and organizes a group: "Not In Allah's Name", to protest the depraved atrocities committed in the name of the religion of peace. The organization is short lived. So is she.

One person, one vote returns to Cook County Illinois, disenfranchising innumerable cadavers. Democrats/Progressives protest the injustice.

The Democratic Party finally decides to come out of the closet and renames itself the Democrat/Socialist Party. As is usually the case, this is news to no one.

The Philadelphia 76ers go undefeated for the rest of the season and win the NBA Championship ( Don't bet the farm on that one. )

The Chicago Cubs win the World Series. (ROFLMAO)

Reader Predictions

Rob O'Daniel's Predictions - (3.5 /8) 44%

* Romo will continue to be benched for injury after injury, yet somehow keep on earning millions.
- 1 point

* Obamacare will limp along for another year, kneecapping established healthcare in its wake, until we finally get within spitting distance of the next election.
- 1 point

* Rampant gang violence will continue to escalate in Mexico and spill over even more into Texas and the southwestern states causing clueless officials to be shocked and double up on their pointless handwringing. No one will wake up and see that Sheriff Arpaiao is actually a hero.
- Hard to quantify.  It hasn't gotten scarily worse, so I can't award a point

* Hillary ramps up her presidential bid to the squealing delight of low information voters across the land.
- 1 point

* Not a single worthwhile Republican candidate will surface, probably not even a Bush.

* Several more states will legalize pot, making enough for a true tipping point and a (needless) hot button topic in the next election.
- 1/2 point "Tipping point" may come in 2016.  Hold on to that prediction

* Star Wars 7 will arrive - and sorely disappoint, but in a dazzling, lens-flary kinda way, leaving most Gen Yers to say, "That didn't suck nearly as bad as I thought it might. Plus it had cool CGI and Princess Leia's daughter had nice tits!"

* A torrential tablet backlash will begin with users finally realizing that if you're gonna do any real work - not just consume media - ya hafta have a boring PC with unexciting keyboard & mouse. Users will yawn their way back to productivity.

Beakerkin's Predictions - (3.5 /10) 35%

1) Yet another year will pass and Jersey will not make an original comment
- 1 point

2) More states will legalize pot.
- 1 point

3) More casinos will close in Jersey and elsewhere.

4) The market tanks. More companies move abroad to dodge taxes.
- 1/2 point - It slumped, but didn't tank, and some companies did move abroad

5) Hillary gets knocked out of the race by fauxahontas Warren. Col. Bernie Sanders runs for President and divides the left.

6) Ducky comes out of the closet as a LiberterIan so he can support a Zombified version of Ron Paul.

7) Ron Paul drafts Rupaul as his VP. Paul gets sent to a mental health facility after he hits a reporter for Asking if his wife is still making fish sticks.

8) Bill DeBlassio gets caught doing drugs. He claims it is an NYPD conspiracy.

9) Riots break out in Caracas.
- 1 point

10) ISIS beats back Syria and Iraq

Jersey McJones 
- (3 /10) 30%

1. The Russian continues to collapse, the Russian people begin to wake up and realize its not the fault of everyone else in the world, by the end of the year Putin is planning his exit from stage failure.

2. Cuba and America actually start talking. By the end of the year, things between us are far better.
- 1 point

3. The 2016 Grand Old Party Clown Car Race sets it's positions with Jeb Bush at the pole. Clowns are unhappy. The investment class has a win.

4. Americans get a queasy deja vu as the race now seems to come down to Clinton and Bush. The investment class has a win-win.
- 1/2.  Half right, and Bush could still pull it off

5. Dow hits 20,000. The vast majority of Americans are unaffected.
- Close, but no cigar

6. SCOTUS strikes a seeming blow to the War on Drugs, ruling on standing, in interstate pot case. Pot arrests go up nationally.

7. More riots, more police shootings, more police shot, as things gets tenser and tenser between police and inner city youth. Louder calls for reining in the police state go unheeded by Washington and state governments, politically mobilizing the young for 2016. Clinton and Bush try to co-opt sentiment taking surprising but still cautious positions on the issue. Police unions get nervous and push a fear campaign to keep them relevant.
- 1/2.  The situation is worsening.  Hold on to the rest of your prediction for 2016!

8. North Korea actually executes someone for watching a Seth Rogen film, though to be fair, after watching the movie the poor soul was already dead inside.

9. US and EU sign big trade deal. Most Americans have no idea it ever happened.
- I do give you props for an informed prediction.  TTIP is getting closer

10. Woody Johnson, perfect example of the conservative investment class, has finally realized he has to spend money to build a football team, this year he starts spending the money to do it. The Jets go 9-7.
- 1 point.  They exceeded your prediction

Ducky's Here - (6/13) 46%

1. Teabags will continue to fail to realize that policy governing the world's reserve currency is necessarily different than policy governing the household budget.
- 1 point.  Yes, those sane people on your right continue to criticize the sick currency manipulation game run by the US government, Federal Reserve and international banksters.  You win 1 point for crudely stating the obvious and insulting over halt the country all in one breath.

2. Oil stabilizes at around $50 but there will be serious unrest in Venezuela and Nigeria.
- 1 point

3. The cops will use the recent shooting as a propaganda piece to expand budgets and militarization.
- 1/2 point.  I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt since this is hard to quantify and aggregate municipal police budgets nationwide.  Also, much of the spending increase is due to the left's demands for body cameras.

4. The Sox will beat the snot out of the ball and realize you still need a bullpen.
- 1 point.  Boston had some of the hottest bats in the AL, and their pitching did kinds stink, so I gotta give you this one...

5. The New York Spankees will sign Max Scherzer.

6. Scherzer will need elbow surgery.

7. The new Star Wars film will be a disappointment.

8. There will be absolutely nothing interesting to people over 18 in American music.
- Sturgill Simpson?  You could be right, but adults continue to flock to live venues, mostly for indy acts, it appears...  Hard to quantify because of what streaming is doing to CD sales.  

9. We will be stuck with Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. Wall Street laughs in our collective face.
- 1/2 point

10. Interest rates will be up 25 basis points by the end of the year.
- 1 point.  Nailed that one.  Should we start calling you Carnac?

11. Gold will stage a minor rally and the suckers will pile in.

12. There will be several major school shootings and the NRA will suggest we don't have enough guns.
- 1/2 point.  This was an easy prediction

13. The Sony hack will still not be revealed as the greatest marketing campaign since New Coke.
- 1/2 point, because it may not have been a marketing campaign.

Jack Shinola:  Kim Kardashian's butt did not explode and Norad did not shoot down Santa's sleigh, but the Castros did refuse to renounce communism, and Obama pandered to them anyway

Bocopro:  The GOP did continue to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory (see Gowdy, Trey R-Buffoonville), and college children continue to turn campuses into lunatic asylums.

Stay tuned for the rules for our 2016 prediction contest!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Monday, December 28, 2015

Twelve Days of Christmas

Adoration of the Christ Child - Gerard Van Honthorst

... by one reckoning, we are on Day Four...

The big build up is over, right? Buying presents, anticipating visits to or from relatives (or dreading them)...

But for traditional Christians, the feast has just begun!

What are the 12 Days of Christmas?

1 Partridge in a pear tree = Jesus Christ, the Son of God
2 Turtledoves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French hens = the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity
4 Calling birds = the four gospels and/or the four evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)
5 Golden rings = the first five books of the Old Testament
6 Geese a-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans a-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and/or the seven sacraments
8 Maids a-milking = the Eight Beatitudes
9 Ladies dancing = the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords a-leaping = the Ten Commandments
11 Pipers piping = the 11 faithful disciples (minus Judas, who betrayed Christ)
12 Drummers drumming = the 12 points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed

The author of the article says no, the "Catechism in a Song" legend is just a myth, although it is still useful for meditation. Christmas ends with the Epiphany of the Lord on January 6th, and Catholics keep it going until the following Sunday after the Epiphany.

Do you still feel the Christmas spirit, or is it all over for you now?

Whether you had a religious Christmas, a secular one, or something in between, I pray that the good feelings of the season remain in your heart all throughout the new year.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

St Stephen's Day

Friday, December 25, 2015

Reddens Laudes Domino!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Wishing You a Microaggressive Christmas

This is why the voting age ought to be 31 ;)

So here goes...

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Yes Virginia,

You can still have a nostalgic Christmas



That last one is a chirping Christmas ornament, we had one years past only used it once... drove the cat nuts!

Any fond or funny memories of vintage Christmas decorations out there?

Monday, December 21, 2015

Well Democrats?

I didn't watch the debate, so I won't comment... but what do you Democrats and liberals out there think so far of your candidates?

Is the DNC lining up behind Hillary and picking on Bernie?  

Who do you think won the debate?

Sunday, December 20, 2015


Photo: Polymath38
Yes folks, once again our elected representatives have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar.  Don't let them fool you though, it's not a $1.14 Trillion dollar budget it is a $1.76 Trillion dollar budget that includes $622 Billion in unfunded tax breaks, once again it is the middle class that gets screwed as they redistribute our money to the entitlement and corporate teat hogs.

Once again our elected representatives have voted for or against a bill without reading it. It's 2200 pages, $1.8 Trillion dollars and the majority of them don't have a clue what's in it.  If that isn't the definition of criminal incompetence I don't know what is.

Rest quietly though... our elected representatives have legislated that trans-fats won't become unsafe until at least 2018? So have some potato chips, wash them down with an ice cold glass of Chuck Schumer's Special Big Apple Cider, and kindly ignore the dull throbbing coming from your posterior!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Weihnachtsmusik - Schönberg

Arnold Schoenberg was born to a lower-class Jewish family in Vienna in 1874, converted to Lutheranism in 1898, and defiantly converted back to Judaism in 1933 with the rise of the Nazi party.  Fortunately, he moved to the United States in 1934.  The Nazis labeled his music "degenerate".

Here's a sample:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Donald Trump

Photo: Michael Vadon
The Middle Finger of America's Right Hand
Norman Lear

A multi-billionaire whose core support is blue-collar, a man seemingly immune to foot in mouth disease, dangerous demagogue or divine redemption? Accused of being everything from the reincarnation of Adolph Hitler to a False Flag Op from the Hillary Clinton campaign he continually comes out on top.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I don't like Donald Trump the Candidate, frankly I think he's the Republican version of Barrack Obama, good with a sound-bite and zero relevant experience.  I also think he's dangerous (politically)... liberals may wander in and pooh pooh this at their leisure (and own risk) but when he stops trying to woo right wing republicans and turns his talents (or staff) to the general electorate, I think he may pose a serious threat to the Democrats blue-collar base the way Reagan did to Carter.

Curiously I find more outright support for Donald Trump among the Democrats I know than Republicans. He's not Republicans first choice, he may be their second or third, most seem interested in Cruz or Rubio, with a sprinkling of Carson fans, but he is certainly a better alternative to them than either Clinton or Sanders. Now these aren't Che Guevara Democrats or even blog wandering Democrats, most are second or third generation old familial Democrats and most are all aboard with Donald Trump.  They don't see him as a politician, most don't even really see him as a "Republican", but they like that he is beholden to no one, and for the most part they like what he has to say in simple concrete terms.

I'm curious as to what your experience is... who do you see supporting Donald Trump? Do you think he can steal votes from the Democrats in a general election?  


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Trump Opens the Window

"In our age there is no such thing as "keeping out of politics." All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. [...]"
"But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought."-- George Orwell
Why Does the Left Hate Donald Trump?

Because he stands athwart the leftwing progressive long march and pisses on their heads and twists their tits.  The leftwing PC dogmatists were busy circumscribing our behavior, constructing speech codes, shrinking our language, re-purposing words, redecorating phrases, vandalizing time-tested concepts and traditions, and flushing common sense down the drain...  and then El Donaldo appeared on the scene.

David French has a much simpler theory of why the left so despises Mr. Bad Hair:
"Then along came Donald Trump. On key issues, he didn’t just move the Overton Window, he smashed it, scattered the shards, and rolled over them with a steamroller. On issues like immigration, national security, and even the manner of political debate itself, there’s no window left. Registration of Muslims? On the table. Bans on Muslims entering the country? On the table. Mass deportation? On the table. Walling off our southern border at Mexico’s expense? On the table. The current GOP front-runner is advocating policies that represent the mirror-image extremism to the Left’s race and identity-soaked politics."
I also agree with French's mixed view of Trump:
While many of Trump’s actual proposals are misguided, nonsensical, or untenable, by smashing the window, he’s begun the process of freeing the American people from the artificial and destructive constraints of Left-defined discourse.
That alone make the whole Trump freakshow worthwhile...  

Just as we have hateful racists on the right who want to blame minorities and undocumented Mexicans for all our ills, push homosexuals back into the closet, and call all Muslims terrorists; we also have scolding shushers and outraged twittering twits on the left shutting down any conversation critical of protected classes, dogpiling anyone who utters anti-progressive blasphemies, and shun-shaming the stubborn who eschew politburo-approved platitudes for reasoned questions and plain language.

The world is spilling over with historic and horrific events, and they are sloshing up to our shores. To digest it all and determine proper courses of action, we need the widest scape possible, the richest vocabulary, the bravest questions, unbridled curiosity and dispassionate critical thinking. Progressives are not up to the task. They are fit only for plonkish adherence to orthodoxy and stifling anything that disturbs the hive.

I'm not a Trump fan, but I thank him for opening the window, driving out the stale air and reviving lively debate.

Related Links:
George Orwell - Politics and the English Language
George Orwell - The Principles of Newspeak

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Abuse of Power

Look at that picture up there. What a ghoulish collection of odd-balls, delusional fools, self-important grandees and insane asylum escapees.  They're like characters out of an absurdist French comedy from the 1960's.  Obama plays the bomb-throwing radical with crazy eyes, while Hollande looks like the loony who escaped the mental hospital wearing only his boxers by scaling a second-story balcony railing and climbing down the trellis...

Can anyone who has ever taken a civics class see what is wrong with this picture?
Washington (AFP) - US House Republicans voted Tuesday to block President Barack Obama's regulations on reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- a move certain to spark his veto -- as negotiators work on a global climate deal in Paris.
The so-called disapproval resolutions, which already passed the Republican-controlled Senate, dealt a largely symbolic yet blunt rebuke to Obama, who attended the start of a major UN climate summit in the French capital.

The EPA rules incensed Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is from the coal-producing state of Kentucky, when the White House announced Obama's Clean Power Plan in August. (Yahoo News)
When the Chief Executive can unilaterally make laws and treaties and call them something else, and then put the burden on 2/3 of congress to stop him, our Democratic Republic is on its deathbed.

Liberal Democrats should contemplate a rightwingchristian president taking such actions and realize how destructive this is to our system of government.

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Connecticut Yankee in Hugo Chavez's Court

Connecticut Governor Daniel P Chavez Malloy
Connecticut Governor vows to sign executive order banning guns from people on the no-fly list.  Now I'm the last person who wants to see terrorists with guns, but there is just one problem with this concept (and the no-fly list itself), the US Constitution!

5th Amendment: 
nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;
 14th Amendment:
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
 From Time:
The problem lies with the terrorist watch lists themselves, which are both secret and routinely updated without the typical due process given to those who are accused of breaking the law, such as court proceedings. Without a trial, the government can add anyone to watch lists who it believes may be a threat to national security—and exactly how the government defines such a threat isn’t even public knowledge. TIME

From the ACLU:
As we will argue to a federal district court in Oregon this Wednesday, the standards for inclusion on the No Fly List are unconstitutionally vague, and innocent people are blacklisted without a fair process to correct government error.
Our clients, among them four U.S. military veterans, were never told why they were on the list or given a reasonable opportunity to get off it.

Separately, the government made two basic arguments in its defense of the No Fly List, both of which the court rejected. First, it argued that U.S. persons had no constitutionally protected right to fly.

Second, the government asserted that national security concerns meant the government couldn’t confirm or deny whether people were on the No Fly List, and it couldn’t give them reasons or a hearing before a neutral decision-maker. This is absurd as a practical matter and violates due process as a constitutional matter.   ACLU

Wake Up Sheeple!

Is it me? Or could he be Hugo's thin twin?

Photo: Dilma Rousseff

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Uncivil Liberties

Loring Wirbel, a boardmember of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado had the following to say:

“The thing is, we have to really reach out to those who might consider voting for Trump and say, ‘This is Goebbels. This is the final solution. If you are voting for him I will have to shoot you before Election Day.’ They’re not going to listen to reason, so when justice is gone, there’s always force…”

He is from Colorado Springs and the CSPD says they're not going to investigate... his post is covered by free speech.  Of course if he was a conservative those would be "terroristic threats".

CBS Denver

"It was intended totally as a joke," Wirbel said. "They are taking that stuff out of context. It's smear politics."

CS Gazette

Just keep digging...

“But see, most people don’t even know what reason is. They don’t use anything other than the lower brain,” Wirbel wrote, “and would no more make decisions based on logical conclusions than choose milk based on a theme song. The base of the Republican Party is unfamiliar with a cortex.”
The Blaze


In separate posts, the ACLU board member wrote that Trump is engaging in “extreme fear-mongering,” adding he’s a “hate-speech felon who should be in prison.”  Hmmm... I don't recall Trump threatening to shoot people.



Friday, December 11, 2015

Carol Symphony

Written by Victor Hely-Hutchinson in 1927.  He was born in Capetown, South Africa (Cape Colony) in 1901 and was considered a child prodigy composing music before the age of ten.  He died in 1947 of pneumonia at the age of 45, fuel being expensive and still rationed... he refused to turn on the radiators in his office. You'll undoubtedly pick up bits and pieces of familiar Christmas tunes throughout the composition:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Iubilaeum Extraordinarium Misericordiae

Fr Marko Rupnik, Fair Use: Identifying Subject of Article

On Tuesday following the mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis (and Benedict) opened the Holy Door of St Peter's Basilica kicking off the third extraordinary Jubilee in the last 700 years. A Jubilee is a year of remission of sins and universal pardon and comes from Leviticus:

And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession. 

In the Catholic Church the tradition of Jubilees dates back to Pope Boniface in the 1300's. The last Jubilee year was 2000 and since it has been only fifteen years since the last one, this is an extraordinary Jubilee in that it falls outside the standard cycle. This past Lent Pope Francis declared the following year would be a year of Jubilee, a Jubilee of Mercy.

I have decided to announce an Extraordinary Jubilee which has at its centre the mercy of God. It will be a Holy Year of Mercy. We want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (cf. Lk 6:36). And this especially applies to confessors! So much mercy!

I am confident that the whole Church, which is in such need of mercy for we are sinners, will be able to find in this Jubilee the joy of rediscovering and rendering fruitful God’s mercy, with which we are all called to give comfort to every man and every woman of our time. Do not forget that God forgives all, and God forgives always. Let us never tire of asking forgiveness. Let us henceforth entrust this Year to the Mother of Mercy, that she turn her gaze upon us and watch over our journey: our penitential journey, our year-long journey with an open heart, to receive the indulgence of God, to receive the mercy of God.
Vatican Announcement

Holy doors in Basilicas are normally sealed shut with cement and mortar and are sometimes bricked over, symbolizing the barrier of sin between man from God and are only opened during Jubilee years.

Those who pass through a Holy Door during this jubilee year will receive a plenary indulgence, which removes all of the temporal punishment for sins committed up to that time — provided the recipient also goes to confession, receives Communion, and prays for the pope.

Unusually, On Sunday, Dec. 13, five days after the opening of the jubilee, every diocese around the world is supposed to open a Holy Door. These doors can be in the local cathedral or other churches of particular relevance, such as a Marian shrine.  This will be a historical first, reflecting Pope Francis’ desire that the jubilee be celebrated on the local level and not just in Rome.


Photo: Dnalor 01
 I'm not overly religious, but I do find this kind of stuff fascinating.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Is Liberalism an Autoimmune Disorder?

To be fair, a strict and rigid Conservatism is obscurantism and leads to social rigor mortis, so this is not a gleeful, gratuitous attack on liberalism. In fact, I lament how much the term liberal has been abused over these past decades.

Is George Soros a Champion of Liberalism?
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused billionaire investor George Soros of being a prominent member of a circle of "activists" trying to undermine European nations by supporting refugees heading to the continent from the Middle East and beyond. (Bloomberg)
Why would liberals shrug off, and in many cases cheer what is going on in Europe?  Why would liberals, who rightly hold up Europe to be the world's liberal gold standard, cheer that continent's invasion of ultra-conservative, intolerant, bigoted, misogynist religious fanatics?

Why would liberals encourage the importation of people whose very conservative and doctrinaire beliefs threaten Western liberalism, our liberties, and the gains liberals in particular have made for minorities, religious libertines, pornographers, blasphemers, women and gays?

Has Old-Age Dementia set in on 60's Liberalism?

Events of the past few decades have me seriously questioning the sanity of many liberals.  I say this with trepidation and regret, because I do not wish that liberals lose their minds, and I would not rejoice in it.

Why would liberals support the illegal importation of slave labor?  Why would liberals stifle legitimate debate on immigration policy, and instead cheer on the government breaking and twisting its own laws to bring in illegal immigrants against the will of half the US citizens?

Why do liberals enjoy trolling and baiting conservatives over issues like immigration policy when the result is social turmoil where everybody hates everybody?  That's liberalism?

Spike Lee and others have denounced white gentrification of minority neighborhoods.  Why would white liberals cheer fellow white hipsters invading a black neighborhood, taking it over, and pricing the current residents out of the market?

Why do liberals cheer the destruction of our language, remodeling certain words, putting police tape around other ones as they construct American Newspeak? Does it disturb liberals that doctrinaire leftists have converted our American Universities into bastions of trigger warnings, controversy-free zones, step-by-step sex protocols, and severe speech codes? I thought liberals believed in more free speech, not less...

Why do liberals--who celebrate movies like Trumbo--cheer the firing, public dogpiling, social shitstorming and twitter fusillades against people who hold beliefs that don't conform to the progressive hive?  Why are they not upset at government bureaucrats using the power of the IRS to silence political enemies? Is there a contradiction there?  Is freedom of thought and independent thinking in danger?  From liberals?

Can Liberalism Save Itself?

I don't know.  Liberalism is being eaten by leftwing progressivism, and as the tribes accrete dogmas, construct sacred totems and add daily to their Canons of Blasphemies, they become increasingly illiberal.  Some would say reactionary, even.

Wikipedia - Traditional Conservatism
Wikipedia - Liberalism
Syrians Unwilling to Integrate

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

If you Like the War on Drugs, You'll Love the War on Guns

The error in all gun grabber thinking is this: You can close every loophole, make more laws, more in-depth background checks...

...but it still won't stop someone who acquired them legally from going off the rails and shooting someone.

All those laws won't stop criminals, either... 

There is a thriving underground firearms market. If the government were serious about keeping guns from criminals, it would focus on illegal weapons trafficking and leave law-abiding citizens alone.

The only way to stop gun violence would be to confiscate and destroy every gun in the United States outside of law enforcement and military, but that is impossible.

Even if government could confiscate all our guns, consider this: 

Tons of cocaine and hundreds of thousands of people enter this country illegally every year. Ban guns, and they would be one more illegal product crossing our borders under the incompetent noses of our stupid, too obese to tie its own shoelaces federal government.

So, now what?

Monday, December 7, 2015


This woman was vetted for a Visa and a Green Card

What makes you think this guy won't be too?

The Islamic world is both corrupt and complicit, it is impossible to weed out the terrorists from the refugees by relying on records from nations of origin.  That means that unless the person in question has had a run in with American forces, they can't be properly vetted.  A bribe here, a sympathizer there, and the next thing you have is a mass casualty event.  You may very well trust the US government... but do you trust the Saudi? Pakistani? Afghan? or Syrian ones? 

End immigration from Terrorist States NOW!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Ethnic Cleansing in the Middle East

This news item caught my eye:
The United Nations moved on Thursday to pull Burundi back from the brink of "possible genocide," adopting a resolution that called for urgent talks and laid the groundwork for peacekeepers to be sent to stop the killings. (Kenya Daily Nation)
I often criticize the UN as a dithering, corrupt, useless, ball-less organization hijacked by tyrants, global grifters and international pedophiles, but this is where the UN is useful: Calling world attention to atrocities committed in far-flung corners of the globe.

Genocide in the Middle East

The UN has also leveled the genocide charge at ISIS, and support is growing in the US Congress for a resolution declaring activities in Iraq and Syria ethnic cleansing, and perhaps even genocide.
Christian activists are making the unlikely gamble as their yearslong exodus from Syria and Iraq has turned into an outright stampede under the Islamic State (IS). They’re launching a lobbying blitz to get the United States to label their plight a genocide — and create pressure for the subsequent creation of a Christian safe haven in Iraq.
“We are forming a lobby team and trying to raise some money to hire [a] very respected diplomat so we can get more countries involved in this issue,” said Loay Mikhael, head of the Foreign Relations Committee at the Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council. (Al Monitor)
What can we do?

* Pray for Christians and all who are besieged in the Middle East

* Call and write your congressman and senators to voice support for this issue

* Tell others about the plight of religious minorities in the Middle East

* Demand the world powers and the US construct refugee camps where besieged families can live in sanitary conditions, eat good meals and receive medical care.

* Demand the world powers--NOT JUST THE US--go in and clean out the ISIS cancer.  Iraqis, Kurds, Syrians, Egyptians, Jordanians and others from that region must do the bulk of the fighting.  

It will be bloody, innocent people and civilians will die, so this also will involve not shouting in outrage every time a wedding party is bombed by allied aircraft.  Let's face if folks, ISIS needs a supportive population to stay in power.

Further Reading:

NY Times - Is this the end of Christianity in the Middle East?
HuffPo - ISIS: 15 Shocking Numbers
Daily Beast - Amnesty International: Ethnic Cleansing on Historic Scale
Amnesty International Report on Ethnic Cleansing

Friday, December 4, 2015

Vivaldi Recomposed

Max Richter, a German born British post-minimalist composer has taken a go at Antonio Vivaldi's classic The Four Seasons.  The album topped the iTunes classical chart in the UK, Germany, and here in the US.  Given the time of year, Winter is featured below:

For comparison, here is the original:

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Static Arguments about a Dynamic Earth


Republican megadonor urges talk on climate change solutions
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican businessman Jay Faison says his party should stop fighting science and start talking solutions to climate change. He has $175 million in potential political donations to help inspire them. (Yahoo News)
When a mega-millionaire starts blathering about climate change, it means he's found a way to cash in on the green gravy train.

Mother Earth swings like a pendulum do...

There have been at least five ice ages, according to geological evidence studied by scientists.
Did you know that as our climate warms, we are actually returning to a more typical weather pattern for the Earth? That's right — we are living in an ice age, which means the temperatures and ice caps we think of as "normal" are actually extreme aberrations in the history of our planet.
The end of the current ice age will occur when the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets melt. This will happen whether or not humans accelerate it. (IO9)
Five times Mother Earth has cooled and pulled hundred-foot thick sheets of ice over herself for a frigid slumber... and then she warmed. Every time. Without the aid of human beings, dinosaur farts, barbecue grills and the internal combustion engine.

Some Questions

What caused the cooling?

What caused the ice ages to end and the earth to return to a habitable temperature for mammals?

More importantly to us now, what prevented each of these warming trends from continuing upward and creating a hellish AlGorian nightmare, the earth in flames, everything under water... Water on fire!

If the earth were heading into another ice age, could we stop it?

More importantly, if we are at the end of an ice age, on an earth cycle like past ones that will end with massive ice sheets melting at the poles, could we stop it?

Related Links:
NASA Says Antarctica is actually gaining ice
Ice Ages:  What are they and what causes them?
The History of Ice on Earth
BBC - Ice Ages
Earthguide:  General Overview of the Ice Ages
Smithsonian - Here is why we are not in an ice age
Global Warming v. The Next Ice Age
Surface Temperature Data:  It's Estimated Values all the way down

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

He Said She Said

"I don't think they're gaining strength. What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them,"

"We have not contained ISIS"

One man is the nations top politician, the other its top general...  who do you believe?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Obama's New Dance Craze: The Cynical Twist!

Politics has always had a component of tweaking the opposition's noses. Reagan's operatives were good at it, as were the Clintonistas, but when did political trolling get raised to an art form?

False "Facts"

President Obama is factually incorrect when he says 99.9 percent of Muslims reject terrorism. Support for suicide bombing and extremist organizations range from 1% to almost 70%, depending on the country, the timing, and the specific question asked. Here is how a conservative puts Islamic terror into context without defaming all Muslims or insulting their religion.

President Obama is wrong when he regurgitates the panderish, well-worn and obligatory refrain: "ISIS has nothing to do with Islam.” There are pious Muslims who beg to differ. 

Here is an example of how non-political adults discuss the issue.
An overwhelming majority of Muslims oppose ISIS and its ideology. But that’s not quite the same as saying that ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, when it very clearly has something to do with it.
If you actually look at ISIS’s approach to governance, it would be difficult – impossible, really – to conclude that it is just making things up as it goes along and then giving it an Islamic luster only after the fact.
But if the goal is to understand ISIS, then I, and other analysts who happen to be Muslim, would be better served by cordoning off our personal assumptions and preferences. What Islam should be and what Islam is actually understood to be by Muslims (including extremist Muslims) are very different things.
In the face of such realities, why does the president insist on spouting such absurdities?

President Obama is Trolling

He's goading Muslim-hating reactionaries at the other end of the spectrum to throw gasoline on the fire so he can fan the flames, tar everyone to the right of him with the "all Muslims are terrorists" broad brush.  The result is the crippling of our ability to have a frank, rational dialog on such important issues.

Syrian Refugees:  False Dilemma

Scolding moralists pose a false dilemma: Either we invite in refugees, or we leave them to the predations of ISIS.

We could build safe zones. That is the excluded, reasonable alternative.

A related question:  Why aren't their Muslim brothers and sisters welcoming them in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and other safe countries?

Another related question: Would religious charities here in the US be so accepting of refugees if they had to foot the bill to clothe, house and feed them themselves instead of lapping up billions of dollars in federal contracts?

False Comparison:  Syrian Refugees 2015 = European Jews 1939

This one is such a sick and cynical crap-filled fallacy, I am surprised it got off the ground, but it has. European scapegoaters had always attacked Jews as The Other, a separate, distinct and often despised ethnic and religious group that was never completely welcomed into any European nation, despite Jews integrating into European society as scientists, doctors, scholars, businessmen and skilled craftsmen. It is absurd to argue Muslim Syrians meet the same challenges in their own nation.

Jews had nowhere to run to in 1939. Today's Syrian refugees have whole nations of Arabic-speaking Muslims in close proximity. If moral posers want to blame shame people, point the finger at Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and other nations of brother and sister Muslims.

Most importantly, America's refusal of Jewish refugees in the 1930's was motived by an unabashed anti-semitism that was quite fashionable in polite circles. This despite no Jewish acts of terror in the west, no violent groups insisting upon the supremacy of The Torah, and no Jews foaming at the mouth and swearing violence against western nations.

We can't say the same about Muslim refugees. They are not all terrorists, but there are terrorists and terrorist sympathizers among them, and western governments have displayed a horrific inability to sort them out. Also, no one can explain the frightening phenomenon of grateful, integrated Muslim immigrant parents spawning Western-born jihadis. So, unlike with 1930's Jews, we could very well be bringing in people who hate us and want to do us grave harm.

Such cynical comparisons are an insult to Jewish people, and those who make them (most especially Jews) should be ashamed of themselves.

PEW Poll 2015