See Pippa Middleton’s Wedding Album!        
Pippa Middleton is officially a married woman after tying the knot with hedge fund manager James Matthews! The 33-year-old socialite and younger sister of the Duchess of Cambridge got married in a wedding ceremony at St. Mark’s Church on May 20 in Englefield, England. Pippa‘s sister Kate Middleton and her husband Prince William were at […]
When I helped Dave Vanderzee, owner of the Easton View Outfitters ranch in Rensselaer County make a dream hunt come true for a young hunter with severe health problems this past October I saw several Texas Dahl Rams roaming around the woods and I knew at some time I would be hunting them. That sometime was just last week. Unfortunately the morning that I arrived at the ranch it was a very cold 7 degrees and the ground was covered with a crusty 10 plus inches of snow. As someone who likes to sneak and peek hunt the 2 1/2 mile perimeter of the preserve, I knew the moving through the crunchy snow was not going to be quiet. 

When I entered the preserve I walked over a small rise toward the swamp I saw movement across the pond on the edge or the swamp. And sure enough it was a group of Rams just coming out into the field. I lay down in the snow and watched them through my scope as they headed for higher ground. I waited until they were behind a hedge row and started up toward them and I knew they could hear me coming. When I finally reached the hedgerow I could see all 12 of them in a tight group looking right at me. They were about 150 yards away slowly moving up toward the woods. I actually could have shot but they were literally in a group so tight; and too close together for me to shoot.

With the hedgerow as cover I was able to get within 150 yards but they still were in that tight group. It was then that I decided to go down and come at them from a different angle. To do this required crawling through the snow to stay out of sight; “That was fun.” I know it took me at least an hour and a half to get to the thick brush. And when I did get there I could see them a long way off but headed my way. This particular hedgerow was so thick I could hardly move much less raise my rifle. If I was going to get any shot here I would need to clean out where I could kneel and make sniper’s hole to shoot from. It was a lot of breaking and bending of branches and twigs but finally I was able to kneel and shoulder the rifle.

By now they were closer but still in that tight group. After kneeling for some time I made a slight movement and they saw it. Now looking through the scope I put the crosshair on what I believe was the leader but he was leaning right against another ram; I still could not shoot safely. Slowly they were walking away and suddenly I saw daylight between “my” ram and the one he had been leaning on. It was now or never. I had one shot and when I squeezed the trigger I had my Texas Dahl ram.

As I walked back down to the barn the ranch hand Doug Everard greeted me and said “saw you sneaking around up there and heard the shot and from the smile on your face I assume you got it; I’ll I get the Kubota RTV and we will go get him.” The ram tipped the scales at 138 pounds and his horns measured 25 and 26 inches long and had 11 and 11 1/2 bases. It was absolutely a great and memorable hunt.

In addition to the Wounded Warrior hunts that I had the privilege to witness at Easton View and more recently a young man with severe disabilities take his first whitetail it offers an excellent opportunity for a parent to take and teach their first time young hunter techniques and hunter safety. And one that I believe is very important is that a preserve hunt offers those with limited incomes and opportunity to experience the excitement of the hunt that they otherwise could not afford.

Now I have also been told that preserve hunting is too easy. Let me just tell you about one of these “easy” hunts.
 Last year on a 90 degree day in July I entered the Easton View preserve at sunup in search of a boar Berkshire pig. I believe on that day I covered every bit of that preserve that included walking through a muddy swamp in which a fell twice, hunted to the top of the preserve twice and did not see a pig until 6 p.m. that afternoon. I was in the upper field catching my breath and quenching my thirst when I saw 4 pigs come out of the heavy brush headed for the swamp. I made my way through the swamp and finally at 7 p.m. I finally clicked off my safety ending the HUNT.  




“I think you are more excited than Breck about tomorrow’s turkey hunt,” my wife said to me last Friday night. She was referring to my taking 12 year old Breck Breen, Wilton out for his first wild turkey hunt. Last weekend, April 20 and 21 had been set aside as the Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend for licensed junior in NYS, ages 12-15. They had to be accompanied by an adult and they were allowed to take one bearded turkey. Breck’s dad Tim, who was a bit under the weather, asked me if I would take him out; and I jumped at the chance.

I know that Tim had been grooming his son to all aspects of the outdoors and that included gun safety, hunting and marksmanship; first with a Crosman air gun and then with a .22 and lastly a shotgun. I found out that he had shown some of his good shooting abilities off during his NYS 4H Shooting Sports Hunter Education course breaking a few clay birds; so I figured he would be ready for the turkey hunt.

My plan was to register him in the Sharp Spurs Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation that included a tremendous cook out with all the trimmings along with some friendly competition and prizes for all the 51 kids that signed up for this ‘free’ contest. When I told my friend, Mike Galcik, Schuylerville about my young hunter he volunteered some of his hot spots providing I take an oath of secrecy; which I did.

Early the next morning I received a text message and a photo of 3 strutting toms from Mike that said: “Have Breck pick one.” And when I spoke to him later in the day we decided to put a ground blind up the next afternoon. However that part of the plan did not work; because when we were going to put the blind up the hedgerow of the field we found it with about 20 turkeys. Now I think it was about this time on Friday that I started to get really excited.

After dinner on Friday Breck and I headed for the range to pattern and punch some holes in life size turkey head targets. It was a short shoot, because Breck’s 3 shots from that little 20 gauge Youth Model 500 Mossberg at 22 yards put more than enough pellets in the neck head area to drop any turkey. He was definitely ready.


I never heard the alarm go off at 3 a.m.; because I awoke at 2:30 a.m. and started getting ready. I did wonder what the effects of all torrential downpour and extremely high winds would have on the birds. Wild turkeys spend the night roosting in trees holding on to the branch with their feet; so it had to be a see-saw wet ride for them.

Breck and my enthusiasm had us sitting in Mike’s driveway at least a half hour earlier than are 5 a.m. meeting time but it went quickly and we loaded up all our gear in Mike’s truck. It was windy, cold and slightly drizzling but when we heard that gobble just as we were getting out of the truck at our destination, we all warmed up.

Entering the field a good distance down from where the birds were roosting we hugged the edge of a hedgerow making our way to a setup point near where the turkeys usually go by in the morning. Mike set up about 15 yards behind us and when it started to get light he began to answer the already talking toms up on the hill. It was about 15 minutes when Breck whispered: “Here comes one.” It was definitely a tom and on several occasions would display his fan and do a little strutting. He was headed straight for us. Breck sat perfectly still with his cheek frozen to the stock of his shotgun; and he never moved. Unfortunately despite Mike’s good calling the real thing (3 hens) appeared and a few yelps from them turned him in their direction. It is hard to beat the real thing. And it wasn’t long before we watched the entire flock cross the paved road entering another field.

Quickly we packed up and back tracked down the field, across the road and up to a ridge where we hoped would put us ahead of them; and it worked. Breck and Mike set up just overlooking the ridge where below them were several toms. Mike quickly got Breck setup and started to talk to the birds; but although they occasional gobbled a response they had no intention of leaving their harem. Finally they moved off, back across the road exactly where they had crossed earlier. “If we hunt tomorrow,” Mike said, “we will set up early right there where they had crossed.”


It was only a short ride to the next spot. We had only walked about 300 yards down a farm road when we caught a glimpse of turkeys in a field. Quickly we set up in a hedgerow and Mike started to calling; and within minutes he was getting responses from the tom. But all they did was talk; and he too had no intention of leaving his ladies. We did get some far off gobbles but it would require spooking the birds in the field so we headed back to the truck.

The next stop was only about 15 minutes away and again we started down a farm road that ended at an old cornfield. Setting up at the corner, Mike said he expected turkeys to be at the back of the field feeding and when he made his first yelp call that is exactly where the gobble came from. For a while the caller and the gobbler talked but his reluctance to come to us told us he was “henned up.” But just as we were about to go to him, out pops a mature yelping and clucking hen. Now we had live bait.

We sat still watching and let her do the calling and she was getting responses from one or maybe two gobblers. However once she disappeared into the woods we had to move and get in front of her hoping the gobbler would follow. And he did.

Once we got in front of her, and we could hear her continuing to yelp, we quickly set up in a small overgrown green field about 50 yards into the woods from the farm road. Things started to happen fast beginning with the hen who yelped her way past us; and with the help of Mike’s calling the two of them had what sounded like not one but two toms following.

I was amazed at how calm Breck was during all this excitement; quite unusual for a 12 year old on his first turkey hunt. Another hen passed us quickly and within minutes the thundering gobbles were very close. However there were two of them as we expected. Unfortunately they were about 50 plus yards out; and a bit too far for the 20 gauge. Each time they started to move off Mike talked them back in but not close enough; and eventually the disappeared gobbling responses to Mike’s calls as they moved off.

Moving time again and from the climb up this steep ridge following a young man and a 12 year old I realized I was a 68 year old; but they were kind and waited on the top for me to catch up. Moving along the edge of the field we would stop and make a few calls and it wasn’t long before we got another response. Another quick setup and from the gobbler’s responses he was coming straight two us.

I was sitting behind Breck and Mike waiting to turn on my movie camera when next to me, standing no more than 30 yards were 2 gobblers announcing their presence. These may have been the two that stayed out of range down below. I dare not move or they surely would have seen me; but when I looked at Breck he was right on them. It seemed longer than it really was before Breck pulled the trigger and I watch the tom fold. This little hunter had shot his first tom wild turkey and his smile stretched from ear to ear. High 5s were definitely in order and both Mike and I were extremely happy. Definitely a GREAT hunt. For me this hunt is the very best one I have ever been on.

The gobbler weighed in at 15 pounds and carried a 4 3/4 inch beard and you can see it and a smiling Breck Breen if you click on this link to my BLOG;postID=7893723070742898833;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=postname

But our day was not over. After thanking Mike for all his help we headed for Auriemma’s house to register Breck’s tom. It was a packed house of camo clad kids and adults when we arrived. The final count was 51 youth hunters; which is outstanding. And I believe 15 of them shot a tom; and I saw three twenty pounders, any of which, I would like to see in my sights on May 1. Once again the Mike and Michele Auriemma did a tremendous job. The food was good and there was plenty of it and all the kids left with 3 prizes. THANK YOU Mike and Michele and all those sponsors and helpers.


Last Sunday at the crack of dawn when Steve Zahurak, Schenectady and I should have been in a treestand for the opening of the NYS bow hunting season in the Southern Zone, we were boarding a plane bound for Casper Wyoming for a 5 day ante lope hunt. The hunt was the result of an out of the hat drawing of 75 outdoor writers business cards who attended the Wyoming Business Council media dinner at this year's Shot Show in Las Vegas. The guided hunt was for two also included all the licenses in one of Wyoming's best zones-Area 25. Steve was the obvious choice to accompany me on this hunt because he attends the Shot Show with me every year; but I did call my wife from the Show and invited her; but she refused.

Three planes and 7 hours later we touched down in Casper and as promised, Kelly Glause, proprietor of Cole Creek Outfitters was there to greet us and take us to our hotel. Kelly guides for antelope, whitetail and mule deer, prairie dogs and pheasant and his clients often include various shooting sports manufacturing companies such as Swarovski Optics, Bushnell Optics, Horton Archery and Hornady Ammunition who would be hunting there later this week. Ironically I just happened to be using their 130 grain GMX SUPERFORMANCE bullet in my Century Arms 270 rifle. Ballistically this bullet leaves the barrel at 3190 feet per second and with muzzle energy of 2976 foot pounds.

Kelly has been managing this 80,000 plus acres of prime hunting land for over 23 years; and we found out just how good it really was the next day. Since I was going to be in Wyoming I arranged a Merriam turkey hunt also; which, if I was successful, would help me to qualify for my 7 th National Wild Turkey Federation Grand Slam. Kelly said he would set me up with the best turkey guide in the area; his son Kody; the owner of Heart Spear Outfitters ( Kody also guided for elk, mule and whitetail deer, bear and mountain lions. Kelly also said if I did not want to bring a turkey gun he could set me up with a special one; an offer I accepted.

It was only a short ride from the hotel when we drove through the gate leading to the hunting grounds; and I don't think that the gate was fully closed when we saw our first buck antelope that quickly disappeared over a hill. The pronghorn antelope is the fastest land animal in the Western Hemisphere reaching speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour. Equally amazing is that they have a 320 degrees field of vision and their eyesight sees what humans do when looking through 8 power binoculars. Definitely a challenging animal to hunt.

Our plan was to ride the range and Kelly would stop and glass boss bucks in each group looking for the biggest horns. Then if he found a "keeper" he would tell us it was a good one and then ask us: "What do you think?" This is something I have never had a guide do before."

We had glassed about 20 groups with bucks I had thought were good but Kelly just smiled and said: "We can do better." And later, we were glad he did. It is hard to describe how big this ranch really was; in term of miles it was roughly 25 by 20 miles.

I was about 7:45 a.m. when Kelly spotted and glassed a buck laying down and said that it definitely was a good one; but he had a small piece missing from his left cutter horn. What I saw was a mature antelope buck that has been fighting to keep the young bucks away from his harem; and his big swollen neck was definitely a sign of the rut. It was my call and I didn't hesitate: "I’ll take him, “I said.

As quietly as I could I slid out of the truck and before my feet hit the ground I could feel the adrenalin rising as I chambered a round into my rifle. Slowly I readied for the shot and was glad that I had added the Caldwell bipod to give me a steady level rest.

The buck was lying down in the grass which covered several inches of its lower body but I had enough to shoot at as I sighted him in. He moved but did not get up. The only thing that I remember after I pulled the trigger was the chill that ran up my spine: I MISSED! Now prior to this trip I spent time sighting in the rifle with its new LUCID L5 scope and the Hornady ammo; and when I finished I could cover my 3 shot group with a penny 2 1/2 inches high of center at 100 yards. This was the proper setting for this gun. Therefore the miss was not the gun's fault.

As I chambered another round he jumped up and started to trot uphill; but he made the mistake of stopping at the top and looking back; it was a deadly mistake. Shot number 2 put him right down where he stood. WOW! I did my best impression of a Tiger Woods victory pump and accepted the handshakes of Kelly and Steve. It was just 8:17 a.m. on the first day.

Kelly estimated the antelope to be about 3 1/2 years old and weigh about 140 pounds. The horns measured 13 1/2 inches. Now earlier that morning I presented Kelly with the Viscerator knife by FieldTorg Knives which I asked him to use to field dress the antelopes. Later that day he commented that he was very impressed with the knife’s performance and its construction.

Looking back at my miss I believe what happened was that I had incorrectly used one of the BDC (ballistic drop calculator) lines in my Lucid L5 scope rather than the center of the crosshairs, causing the shot to go even higher than the 2 1/2 inches. I am not use to the BDC (ballistic drop compensator) drop lines in my new Lucid L5 scope; but I will be with a few days at the long range practicing and rolling over a few coyotes.

Back in the truck Steve told Kelly that he needed to shoot an antelope with horns that measured at least 13 5/8 ths. This is typical competition that we have developed over the years. We did not have to go far to find more antelopes. If I were to guess we had already seen at least 80 or 90; and we hadn’t seen half the ranch yet.

I don't think we traveled more than a few miles and glassed a dozen more groups when Kelly spotted a "shooter" laying down; but as we approached he was up and moving. Kelly and Steve exited the truck and started their sneak and peek. They had gone about 50 yards when Kelly set up the shooting sticks for Steve’s shot. At about 150 yards he fired but it was too low; and his second shot at 200 yards was high and the buck disappeared over the hill and disappeared into a gorge.

It was about 20 minutes later when we spotted another which we believe was the same one Steve had missed earlier. Quickly he set up and at 250 yards he was again high; but we were not done with him yet.
Watching his hasty retreat we jumped back in the truck. Kelly's sharp eyes and knowledge of the ranch knew where he was going; and he knew how to get in front of him. When we spotted him again he was 250 yards out and Steve's shot was horizontally perfect but he believes he jerked the shot off to the left. Now we got to see how fast an antelope really is; and how good Steve really is.

Following the flying buck in his scope Steve pulled off what was the best shot I had ever seen. We heard the bullet impact on what turned out to be a perfect heart shot. I think it died of fright; but Steve says he always takes a few practice shots at the “range” before he shoots anything.

Lots of hoots, congratulations and photos followed. It was truly a great day; except for the fact that I sat on a cactus when having my photo taken with Steve. He did however generously offered to take a photo of me removing all those needle-like prickers from my butt. As for the horn measurements I rounded them up to 13 1/2 inches. It was noon, on the first day of the hunt. This is one GOOD guide.

We did do a little more shooting before leaving the ranch at a few prairie dogs; and these little ranch pests are fun; especially when you do it with a .270.


After I got my turkey license Kelly said he had arranged a meeting for me with Robert Stone of RGS Custom Rifles ( which is where I picked up my turkey gun. Robert’s guns were outstanding and the one that I would be using was the first one he had even made. It was a single shot .22-250 that, if he had to replace it, would range around $6,000. At the range I put two rounds through the same hole and figured the turkeys were in trouble.

Kody had definitely done his homework for my turkey hunt because the river bottom he had chosen had plenty of Merriam turkeys; most of which were mingling with the cattle. This was definitely going to be a spot and stalk hunt; something I do not do a lot of when hunting for turkeys. Kody glassed the flocks looking for a good tom and found several feeding closely with the cattle. It was obvious that with all the cattle activity the shooting window would not be open long and the shot would have to be threaded carefully. To say I was a bit nervous would be an understatement; not only did I feel nervous about scratching his beautiful rifle but also in not hitting a cow.

But the gun was definitely up to the task and at 5:30 p.m. that afternoon I shot through an opening in a hedgerow and toppled a Wyoming Merriam tom that carried a 5 inch beard and tipped the scales at over 20 pounds. All this on our first day of hunting!

THANK YOU Kelly, Kody, Robert and a special thanks to the Wyoming Business Council from Steve and me. For photos


          Reusable Sandwich and Snack Bag Set Hedgehog Meadow Eco Friendly by sacksavers        

12.50 USD

This eco-friendly reusable sandwich and snack bag set is made with 100% high quality cotton. They are lined with a water and stain resistant nylon. They have a velcro closure. I use a generous strip of velcro keeping your items in the bag and fresh!

The sandwich bag measures 7 by 7 inches and the snack bag measures 6 1/2 inches by 4 1/4 inches. They can be washed in the washing machine and lined dried or you can also wipe out with a damp cloth.

All of my bags are made in my pet and smoke free home.

Please note that most of my bags are made after ordered so fabric placement may vary just a bit.

I love custom orders and have over a hundred different fabric choices. Just send me a convo if you are interested in a custom order.

Thanks for stopping by!

          Ray Dalio, manager of the world's largest hedge fund, says buy gold on rising North Korea risk        
Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio says in a LinkedIn blog post market "risks are now rising" and recommends gold.
          Senior moments...        

A bit of catching up to do on the blog as last week I posted about the story of my brother in two parts.

Spring is on its way! These buds were spotted on my next to last
Sunday walk of 8.5 miles. I also saw banks of snowdrops, crocuses, primroses and some tiny daffodils - all seen in wild places and not in people's gardens.

Here's a few of  the week before last week's outfits.

Everything charity shopped except the boots - Christmas 2016 present from daughter.

I wanted to show this necklace which I picked up at the Red Cross on Monday for £1.50. I also bought some bangles and a couple of books. All jewellery charity shopped.

Pink corduroy shirt bought from £1 rail in the Red Cross a few weeks back.

Everything is charity shopped except the brown boots - Christmas present 2015.

All jewellery charity shopped.

I walked Wednesday the week before last (6.2 miles) and on the Friday of the same week I walked 5.5 miles. A good week's walking for me; just on 20 miles which is what I want to do on a weekly basis. What else have I been up to?

I finished my blanket...

Thanks to Attic 24 here for the Granny Stripe pattern.

Last Thursday I paid a visit to Barnardo's in Great Denham - I know - but I couldn't resist a quick peek to see if they still had their sale rail. They did. I bought 5 tops at 1.00 each. A yellow tunic; a brown waistcoat, two striped tops and a floral top.

I paid a visit to the library last Saturday and got a pile of books - just what I don't need, more books to read, but I've been after a few of the titles for a while...

This was last Saturday's outfit. Everything charity shopped except the top which was from Store 21 sale.

I bought the waistcoat for £1.00 in the Red Cross two weeks ago. I think it's hand made as there are no labels. It has lovely embroidery on the pockets:

Boots were also from the Red Cross but I can't remember where I bought the jeans.

All jewellery charity shopped. I bought this unusual chain which I think looks very Art Deco in the Heart Foundation shop in Northampton.

Last Sunday I went out early for another walk and did 5 miles.
I've been asked to lead another walk for the Rambler's summer walks programme in May. I won't do a new route but reverse the route I used in 2016 when I led my first walk; it will be around 7 miles and hopefully we'll have decent weather...

Monday's outfit.

All jewellery charity shopped. I forgot to put my bangles on  - I was running slightly late.

This is the yellow tunic I bought last week in Barnardo's for 1.00. It's from H&M; the top is from Cotton Traders and was also charity shopped.

The tunic has pockets! Floral leggings, Store 21 sale and brown boots from Sainsbury's.

I know memory worsens as you get older. I've certainly noticed a change in mine. I sometimes can't remember the word for something - for example a while ago it took me to two days to think of the word for 'brioche'! I never forget faces but often forget names. I start out to do things but I get easily sidetracked by other things and don't always finish what I started.  But this weekend I realised I had had a major memory lapse. For the past five months I've been driving around without an MOT.

I'd got my car serviced in September and thought it had been MOT'd as well. It hadn't. I had to get to the nearest MOT place pretty sharpish on Monday; I can tell you. I'm just so lucky I didn't get gripped by the police; or even more serious have an accident. No MOT means invalid car insurance. Apparently, I should have had a text message reminder last September from the MOT centre but I didn't receive one. They've set one up now so I can't make this mistake again. Don't worry, I'm sure I haven't got dementia but am exhibiting typical memory changes as part of the ageing process...

I remembered to go to the food bank on Tuesday morning! I missed my last session because I had the lurgy and didn't want to share it. It was good to be back. It's quite a physical role in the warehouse; bending and stretching and lifting and weighing boxes of stuff. I always come home with a pleasant ache in my back that tells me I've been challenging my body.

I bought this dress on Monday at the Red Cross - a M&S navy blue sweater dress for 1.99. Everything is charity shopped including the striped tights which attracted a lot of comment. They're going to go in the charity shop bag because although they fit fine in the leg the pants part only comes just up to my hips and they roll down gradually...

All jewellery, including watch, is charity shopped.

I bought some lovely blue beads as well on Monday at the Red Cross and something for the OH.

On Wednesday I set out to walk with the group. I never made it. I was putting my faith in my sat nav to find the meeting point and it sent me through a village and around the houses. I knew it was wrong when it told me to turn into Clophill village. but I was thinking "maybe it's a shortcut" it soon became the apparent the sat nav didn't know what it was doing!  Oh well, at least it was the sat nav's fault and not me having a senior moment! By the time I found a safe space to park up and reset the destination point I would  have got there too late.   One thing I've learnt about my Rambler's group,  in the three years I've been a member, is that they leave punctually at 10 am. I came back home and went for a six mile walk by myself...

Here I am; hot and sweaty on the final leg...I was walking with poles so didn't have a free hand to carry my jacket in and so it stayed on.

This is what I'd stopped for. Two swans resting in a huge field. I don't know about you but up until about a  year ago I had only ever seen swans on water or near water; canal side, riverside, lakeside. Then one day en route to Kettering; I spotted a wedge (flock) of swans resting in a water logged field. I began to see more and more swans in fields away from water. I don't know if this has always happened but I've only noticed it recently.

I also spotted yellowhammers on my walk - brilliant flashes of bright yellow in and out of the hedgerows.

This was Thursday's outfit.

Everything charity shopped except the boots and blue tights - just seen. I bought the floral top which is by Wallis, from Barnardo's in Great Denham last week. I had my scarf on as I'd been out food shopping and forgot to take it off! All jewellery is charity shopped.

Later, I tried some different earrings and a necklace...

On Friday, I'm going for a walk with the group. I know how to get to the destination so won't be relying on the sat nav. It will be an 8 mile walk along the Greensand Ridge and I'm looking forward to it. I'll just need to add in a couple of miles walk on Saturday to reach my target of twenty miles this week.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend; the weather's been remarkably pleasant the last few days; is it going to last, I wonder?

          Easy Loans! Bad Credit OK! Have we Learned Nothing from the Last Crash?        

Personal Money Store Blog

Alternative lenders are taking up the slack for both businesses and consumers by offering easy loans, and many of these lenders are using unusual criteria to approve loans. This could result in a financial catastrophe under the right conditions. A recent article posted at made a strong case that the current market conditions are

Easy Loans! Bad Credit OK! Have we Learned Nothing from the Last Crash?

          MANCHESTER FRENTE AL MAR        

La historia de los Chandler, una familia de la clase obrera afincada en Massachusetts. Después del fallecimiento repentino de Joe (Kyle Chandler), el hermano mayor de Lee (Casey Affleck), este se convierte en el tutor legal de su sobrino (Lucas Hedges). De pronto, Lee se ve obligado a enfrentarse a un pasado trágico que le llevó a separarse de su esposa Randi (Michelle Williams) y de la comunidad en la que nació y creció.

Casey Affleck y Lucas Hedges brillan con luz propia, en este convincente y profundo drama.
Tan agreste como el paisaje en que transcurre, Manchester frente al mar es una de esas películas cuyo poso queda mucho después de finalizar los títulos de crédito. Apoyado en las excelentes localizaciones de carácter costero, Kenneth Lonergan mete el frío ambiente de Massachusetts en los huesos de los personajes, como si estos se hallaran contaminados por la depresión medioambiental que domina la región norteña donde transcurre la trama.
Precisamente, el personaje principal (al que encarna con precisión milimétrica, y mimetismo asfixiante, Casey Affleck) es el más importante valedor de la apuesta del director, destinada a construir un filme carente de artificios innecesarios, y en el que cualquier elemento tiene su sentido de existencia....(ACCIÓN DE CINE).

Las películas de Kenneth Lonergan se rigen por las leyes de la combustión lenta. Expone los elementos de la historia, va configurándolos y dándoles forma de manera callada y sutil hasta que, cuando quieres darte cuenta, te ves atrapado. En 'Manchester frente al mar' intenta representar en la pantalla el dolor en su dimensión más desgarradora. Y lo hace a través de unas imágenes serenas en su superficie que contienen una furia y una rabia internas imposibles de describir. El director renuncia a la épica de la tragedia humana para intentar describir lo que significa la verdadera desolación y el vacío desde la más estricta austeridad emocional.
El resultado es una película que, a través de una elegancia conmovedora, nos introduce en los terrenos de la culpa y la pérdida hasta estallar en un grito de rabia sordo. Y Casey Afeck materializa su tortura íntima desde la contención, a través de la mirada. Una mirada hacia el abismo en la que no hay espacio para la redención.(FOTOGRAMAS).

....Hondísimo y desolador drama familiar entregado con perfección por el guionista y director Kenneth Lonergan, conocido por su estupendo debut tras las cámaras con Puedes contar conmigo. No sale Lonergan de su universo narrativo: los lazos familiares, la muerte, la culpa y las dificultades para reencontrar el rumbo cuando todo se ha hecho añicos. Lo transmite con una película dura, muy dura en su trama argumental, pero ofrecida con una enorme humanidad, con personajes reales, vivísimos, en las antípodas del tópico, a quienes no les cabe más remedio que seguir adelante y afrontar los embates de la vida, a veces verdaderamente trágicos. El sentido del dolor y la desgracia es tan insondable como la inmensidad del océano. Por mucho que lo miremos, que lo contemplemos frente a nosotros, será complicado encontrar las respuestas, tan misterioso es.
Visualmente Manchester frente al mar se despliega como un puzle, en donde por medio de un montaje pormenorizado se van intercalando piezas en diferentes tiempos, que responden a las vivencias del pasado del protagonista. Retazos de vida, que surgen como recuerdos, flashes de lo que fue y se evaporó para siempre. Tal cualidad consigue que narrativamente la película sea un prodigio, pues se elude la confusión con maestría, golpea directamente donde quiere y a la vez se logra transmitir la idea de que es imposible intentar abarcar siquiera una gran parte del mundo exterior e interior de las personas. Siempre faltan piezas, pero bastan unos trazos firmes para vislumbrar un retrato. Así, casi es más importante en el film –en presencia y entidad– lo que no se muestra que lo que vemos en pantalla, por ejemplo en la relación entre Lee y su mujer (maravillosa Michelle Williams), sucesos apenas velados pero que sabiamente Lonergan los hace asomar en la prodigiosa escena del encuentro en la calle, de un dramatismo abrumador. Pero también en lo referente a la relación de Lee con su sobrino (estupendo Lucas Hedges) â€“esa compañía en el dormitorio, esa confesión en la cocina– o con sus amigos, personas buenas que siempre están ahí, con el hombro preparado en el momento malo. En el plano interpretativo, lo que hace Casey Affleck (Adiós pequeña adiós) con Lee Chandler es asombroso, angustiante. Faltan adjetivos para definir una verosimilitud tan perfecta. Pocas veces el Oscar sería un premio tan justo.
A la pericia narrativa hay que añadir también la excelente puesta en escena y el acierto en las bellas localizaciones en la costa de Massachussetts, donde parece que las heridas no pueden empezar a cerrar hasta que llega el sol para calentar la tierra. Y funciona la potente inclusión de una reconocible banda sonora de calidad –Händel, Albinoni, Massenet, etc.–, que ayuda a digerir esas bellas imágenes contemplativas cuando acechan los instantes más trágicos y el espectador sólo puede tragar saliva.
No estamos lo que se dice ante una película alegre, más bien todo lo contrario. Sencillamente hay cosas que no se pueden superar. Y por eso, es cierto, se le puede achacar al director neoyorquino haber llevado la historia hasta el extremo de la aflicción, dejando muy poco hueco para respirar. Y también que el recurso a la trascendencia, tan humano en ciertos casos, pase de puntillas. Sin embargo, pese a todo, Lonergan no hace una retrato sombrío de la existencia –incluso se permite algún momento cómico (o tragicómico)–, más bien parece subrayar algo que ya es claramente capital en su filmografía: pase lo que pase queda la familia, ella es el cabo fuerte, seguro, al que hay que agarrarse para mantenerse cuerdos. Es un comienzo.(de CINE 21).

          Hedge fund Rafiki to hire former Citi FX expert        
Steve Englander is set to join Rafiki Capital Management in senior FX role
          Hedge funds see positive flows in February        
Europe lagged the America and Asia for investments in February, according to datas
          Hedge Fund Managers Acquitted of Criminal Charges, Now Settle Civil Charges. Is This How Obama's Task Force Will Work?        
Here’s the problem with that approach, which is evident in how failed criminal charges against Cioffi and Tannin led to civil charges and both hop-skipping out of harm’s way.
          Bande son originale de Sonic Mania : Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1        

Écoutez la musique de la bande son originale de Sonic Mania ici ! Une nouvelle musique de Sonic Mania a été récemment révélée, et ceci parce que le jeu sera lancé dans seulement quelques semaines. La nouvelle bande son originale est intitulée Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1 et dure environ 3 minutes. Elle a été partagée sur le twitter officiel de Sonic le Hérisson. Des réponses mitigées ont accueilli le post, l’une disant que la musique était « trop lente ». Vous pouvez écouter cette musique et consulter les commentaires ci-dessous : Heey-eey. Here's today's new music from Sonic Mania: Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1! — Sonic the Hedgehog (@sonic_hedgehog) July 31, 2017 Sonic Mania est un jeu d’action et d’aventure qui est une refonte des précédents jeux 2D. Les graphismes sont détaillés en offrant un style rétro mais en HD. Les personnages emblématiques sont toujours disponibles avec Sonic le Hérisson, Tails et Knuckles. Les joueurs peuvent revivre ce jeu classique mais désormais avec une particularité. De nouveaux ennemis et bases ont aussi été ajoutés comme l’armée de robots diaboliques du Dr. Eggman. Appréciez le mode Compétition en jouant au coude-à-coude avec vos amis ou en jouant en Mode Coopératif. Sonic Mania sera lancé le 15 août 2017 pour PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One et Nintendo Switch.

Cet article Bande son originale de Sonic Mania : Stardust Speedway Zone Act 1 est apparu en premier sur - Comparateur de prix de jeux vidéo en Clé CD.

          [news] Grudge Match: China vs. Europe + "It's Malaysia Time ..."        
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
Dateline: China
This week marks the debut of my bi-weekly (or so) column for the AlwaysOn Network, Silicon Valley's premier online social networking venue (and unofficially linked to Silicon Valley's premier in person social networking venue, the Churchill Club; I'm a member of both).  I will be sharing "Letter from China" columnist duties with Paul Waide, the head of Pacific Epoch, a Shanghai-based boutique consultancy that advises hedge funds on alternative investments in China.  My first column is on Shanghai and a couple/few forthcoming columns will examine cultural differences between Chinese Nationals, Chinese-Americans and Anglo-Americans, especially within the context of IT and IT marketing.  I will post my AlwaysOn "Letter from China" columns to this blog/e-newsletter, although please be advised that my intended audience are readers based in Silicon Valley.
Grudge Match: China vs. Europe
Staying on topic, I'd like to make a comment about a recent "Grudge Match" on the AlwaysOn Network.  See the item marked "Grudge Match" for 08.05.04 (5 August 2004) at .
In the referenced "Grudge Match," China was pitted against Europe.  China received 45% of the votes in contrast to Europe's 55%.  Frankly, I'm surprised that China did so well.  I've found that the AO "Grudge Match" results tend to indicate sentiment more so than reality.  For example, a recent match pitted SpaceShipOne against NASA and SSO absolutely clobbered NASA (besides, perhaps most of the votes for NASA came from either Ames or the Blue Cube).  Of course, SSO is a high school science experiment compared to what NASA is doing, but I believe the results accurately reflect sentiment. 
But what is amazing (to me, at least) is that China was pitted against Europe in the first place!  Let's face it, this is a rather goofy "grudge match."  For Europe to include First World nations such as Germany, France, the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark (yes, some countries are intentionally left out) -- and to compare the collective whole of First World Europe (a.k.a. "Western Europe") to China is absurd.  If this was First World Europe vs. China circa 2020, okay.  But TODAY?  Yet, the sentiment indicator showed a strong vote in favor of China.  Europe "won," but barely.
I propose the following "grudge match":  China vs. "Eastern Europe" (i.e., the former Soviet Bloc).  Look, if China can do so well against Europe as a whole (including First World Europe), I'm sure China would absolutely kick Second World Europe's butt!!  And a China "grudge match" against Eastern Europe more accurately reflects current "history."
But even this is a bit misleading.  The real "grudge match" is this:  China + India vs. Second World Europe.  And given this choice, only someone stranded on Mars for the past decade might choose Second World Europe.  Yet, this is the real so-called "grudge match."  First World Europe is in descent, to be sure, but it's descending from a high altitude.  It will take at least a decade or two for China (and/or India) to truly match First World Europe.  But China ALREADY is superior to Second World Europe.  And don't rant about NATO and EU memberships; this is simply window dressing.  Then combine China with India versus Second World Europe, playing into my "Golden Triangle" theme, i.e., it's all about the U.S., India and China.  This is where the action is, ESPECIALLY in IT.
"It's Malaysia Time ..."
I must be getting punchy since I'm borrowing a theme from a beer commercial, but it seems that Malaysia is experiencing its 15 minutes of fame.  The Philippines has recently been "hot," and several articles of late have been touting Malaysia (see, for example, an article which appeared in Space Daily).  Frankly, I'm getting tired of all this nonsense.  Look, when it comes to ITO (IT outsourcing) in East Asia, there are just two choices, i.e., India and China.  And, it's not really a competition; both have their strengths and weaknesses.  A few crumbs to Singers (Singapore), maybe even a few crumbs to the Kiwis (New Zealand).  The Philippines deserves notice, albeit passing notice, and Malaysia might be okay for some BPO.  But ITO?  Come on, give me a break!!  See my Furl archive for more links.
The only thing I recently found interesting regarding Malaysia was an article on Satyam's IT boot camp in Malaysia.  This isn't really unique, after all, IBM has been doing this sort of thing for decades.  So does HP.  Kind of like training plus a bit of brainwashing, but the brainwashing is acceptable since it includes political survival skills -- and said skills are essential, especially in F500 corporations.  But I like the idea of SI (systems integrator)-based training:  This way SIs can focus on "real" versus theoretically perceived needs.
IT Tidbits
Which certifications have the best ROI (return on investment)?  Playing off the idea of SI-based training, which are the most important certifications?  Well, Cisco leads with three out of the top five, although Microsoft picks up a couple of "wins" when looking at fastest-growing ROI, with RedHat and Oracle getting one win each.  SIs in China may also want to benchmark how much U.S. employees are paid given a certain certification, e.g., Microsoft DBAs receive an annual average salary of US$80,600.  Think about how much SIs in China pay for a certified Microsoft DBA.  For example, what do they get paid in Jinan -- or even in Dalian?  Compare this to US$80,600.  Spot any opportunities?  See and .
ITO in the news.  Two particularly noteworthy items.  First, ITO got Slashdotted.  The Slashdot links are worth a review.  Probably some good insight into what American software engineers are thinking and feeling.  The second is a review of Lou Dobbs' new book on ITO and BPO.  Mr. Dobbs is a well-respected host on CNN; his views shouldn't be taken lightly.  A couple of excerpts from the review:
"GE, as Dobbs makes clear in abundant detail, is only one of many companies outsourcing high-tech and professional jobs to India and other parts of the world where wage expectations are lower.  Among the others spotlighted by Dobbs for outsourcing jobs to India, the Philippines, Romania, Ireland, Poland and other countries are IBM, SAS Institute, Intel, Microsoft, Perot Systems, Apple, Computer Associates, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Sun Microsystems."  My comment:  Romania is the Changsha of Third World Europe, i.e., their programmers are about as cheap as programmers come.
"'India can provide our software; China can provide our toys; Sri Lanka can make our clothes; Japan make our cars.  But at some point we have to ask, what will we export?  At what will Americans work?  And for what kind of wages?  No one I've asked in government, business or academia has been able to answer those questions,' Dobbs writes."  See the review in the Tallahassee Democrat or my Furl link .
So-called infrastructure vendors beat out app vendors in terms of their ability to meet expected ROI and TCO (total cost of ownership) levels.  I don't really like the way infrastructure and application vendors are defined in this article and related survey, but top honors go to IBM and Microsoft.  There's a lot being written between the lines, but in general this plays into my "build-to-a-stack" strategy, albeit Oracle is left behind.  See .
Speaking of Microsoft ...  A good, quick review of the various IBUs (independent business units) at Microsoft.  (See .)  For a take on MBS, see .
New marketing technologies.  Interesting article from the premier issue of CMO (Chief Marketing Officer).  There are two ways to view this:  1) which marketing technologies can be used by SIs in China for their own marketing endeavors, and 2) which marketing technologies will likely be adopted by retailers, e-commerce sites, financial institutions and numerous other sectors -- and which in house skills does an SI in China need to implement these new technologies (all of which are IT-related)?  See .
Looking for partners in the utility computing space?  For a start, try the top 25 vendors.  (See .)  Yankee gives a quick look at utility computing ROI (see ).  HP chimes in with their take, too (see ; it's a PDF).
The battle of the SI globals.  Two related articles both based on the same Forrester report.  (See and .)  Issues being considered include scalability (i.e., handling US$100+ million accounts), the need for broad offerings (e.g., strategy consulting) and expanding geographical presence (hey, where is EDS in China?).   "(T)he (Forrester) study finds that Infosys and Wipro have melded together a mix of CMMI, P-CMM, Six Sigma and ISO 9000 to create a culture focused on consistent and repeatable processes and value-added tools."  For China's SIs, mostly food for thought -- and a bit of dreaming.
... and how to battle the globals.  The article was a bit silly, after all, G2000 firms joining forces to battle Accenture or Infosys doesn't really fit the notion of smaller firms joining forces.  But I believe that they're on the right track and that a myriad of partnerships will be formed to most effectively capture new business and battle the globals.  However, ISVs (independent software vendors) have to walk a very fine line.  SIs need to carefully consider ISV responses and existing alliances.  See .
"Infosys to set up second outsourcing facility in China."  The article states that Infosys is running out of space in their Pudong facility and that they're scouting for additional digs.  Come on, guys, running out of space?  There's not enough space in the Shanghai Pudong Software Park?  I don't think so ...  The reality is that Infosys needs to find lower cost developers.  As my column on Shanghai for AO's "Letter from China" notes, developers in Shanghai are a bit pricey compared to other places in China.  Infosys China is primarily servicing their global customers in China and looking for high-end integration within the domestic market.  However, this is a tough nut to crack and Infosys will need another development center to lower their overall costs -- and this is why they are looking for additional space IN ANOTHER CITY.  The idea that they're running out of space in the SPSP is ridiculous.  (I've been to their Shanghai digs ...)  See .
Zensar gets broader press coverage.  Kind of like watching a meme, a couple of non-Indian IT trades have picked up the Zensar/Broadengate announcement.  See and .
"Rethinking the business case for Java."  A good article.  Hmmm ... maybe not much of a case, eh?    Hey, I'm still a believer.  See .  Of course, Java programming ain't what it used to be ...
"The selling of SOA."  Two-part series in Line56.  SUPERB!!  (I prefer the singular to the plural, i.e., "architecture" versus "architectures"; personal preference.)  Reviews various viewpoints on SOA.  See and .
Urls update.  Expect to see lots and lots of stuff on software engineering and development.  Great stuff, too!!  Later this week.
David Scott Lewis
President & Principal Analyst
IT E-Strategies, Inc.
Menlo Park, CA & Qingdao, China (current blog postings optimized for MSIE6.x) (access to blog content archives in China) (current blog postings for viewing in other browsers and for access to blog content archives in the US & ROW) (AvantGo channel)
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          4 Proven Strategies to Invest in Gold        
There are many reasons why you might want to invest in gold: as a hedge against inflation, currency risks or simply to diversify your portfolio. We discuss 4 proven strategies to help you invest in gold, and consider their pros and cons.
          Free Card Download – The Yellow Roof – Great For Any Occasion!        
Thank you for participating in the Facebook choice of design for a free note card download. Please download the card by clicking on the image. It is in jpg format and measures 4.875 inches in 300 ppi made to fit … Continue reading
          Free 24 hour download – The Yellow House – 8 x 8 inch Printable file        
The 24 hour download has ended. Please follow on FaceBook for future downloads and other items.The digital collage below is available as a free download for 24 hours. The digital art is created by Hedgehog Studio. The image measures 8 … Continue reading
          Why Isn't Nintendo on the iPhone?        

According to a ScreenDigest report, the mobile gaming market is on the verge of exploding to a €2.6 billion market, which is European for "our currency is far more valuable than yours ($3.6bn)". It's an area at that EA and Gameloft have seized, enjoying a completely new source of incremental revenue. Even Sega has re-released the insta-classic Sonic the Hedgehog for the iPhone. But where, oh where, is Nintendo in this mix?

Are you in the business of a medium or a larger strategy?

I read a lot of Chuck Palahniuk. When I'm not reading his depraved work I read a lot of case studies. I'm always intrigued with the ones on corporations who've overly focused on a proprietary medium, versus a more holistic view of what their business is strategically about.

AOLBook and Union Pacific Air/Rail
Had AOL been thinking about expanding it's ubiquitous AIM application into more modes of social connection, we'd all be using AOLBook instead of Facebook. Union Pacific Railorad was by far the largest railroad in America during the dawn of aviation, and they were completely married to their rails. Had they decided their business was about moving people and not just moving people on railways they would have seized the opportunity to buy upstart Pan American airlines with their massive capital and of course profited nicely in the long term.

Amazon is about books
Jeff Bezos is clearly a student of business (or professor of I guess), and quickly decided to port their Kindle software to the iPhone application despite it cannibalizing their sales of Kindle hardware. I suspect for Bezos, it was simply realizing they are in the business of selling books, not hardware, thus any method that can potentially bring on more book sales was a worthy effort.

Nintendo is in the hardware business?

Contrast Amazon to Nintendo who despite a highly successful release of their Wii game console has fallen off $45/share since Q4 2008. Console launches are really pricey. Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation have all openly commented on taking massive hits in the opening years of a console in the hope that the market grows to a point to fill in the deficit. A great way to fill voids is to simply resell old products, and there's no better opportunity there than to take old NES titles and port them to the mobile market. Like Mario bouncing repeatedly into the coin blocks for easy money, Nintendo with minimal effort could keep ringing the register with sales of its revival games. Nintendo has the opportunity to increase their revenue substantially by simply digging into their game archive and rereleasing classic NES titles (I'm talking about you Zelda). However Nintendo will never concede their titles to a non-Nintendo platform. even to Apple with whom there's always been lurking concept of partnership.

It can be argued that Nintendo, being a console first, would be canabalizing its own business, but I'm not suggesting they port over existing current Gameboy titles (although I think that's still a good idea). Rather I'd emphatically argue that they should release classic Nintendo games for the mobile market which their is no canabalizing factor.

Most EVERYONE between 18-35 carries their cell phone at all times, but few carry their mobile game system, if they even own one. If the video game market was capable of surpassing the movie industry a couple of years ago, the mobile game marketing with it's ubiquitous hardware – the phone – presents a major opportunity. With a mobile gaming market in it's infancy an entree from Nintendo could dominate for years. But they're in the business of selling Gameboys, not games.

          MySpace – Where the Kids Are        

Modern advertising says if you’re releasing a movie or launching a new TV show to saturate your audience, with a ton of TV commercials. If the movie/show’s parent studio also owns a TV station – better still. You can advertise the commodity for less on your own airwaves (e.g. 300 and Fox). But recently I’ve developed a flurry of MySpace pages for burgeoning network shows, and began to wonder about the efficacy of this new marketing avenue. With the exception of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force flick, it seems advertisers are steering away from guerilla marketing campaigns in favor of a presence on MySpace.

From a ground-level designer/advertiser perspective, the deal is you design the look of the MySpace creative as well as produce any/all of the Flash and video assets that are to reside on the page. Hand over the layered Photoshop files, Flash files and videos to MySpace with $250,000 and they put the custom page together and give you some preferential ad space.

Let’s back up the truck… a $250,000 media buy. You can argue that the ad space inside of MySpace is almost worthless, so that full media buy price is really going to just seaming the page together. For a large-scale movie release, $250k represents a small fraction of what they spend for on-air. However, for network shows that comes close to being their entire advertising budget – dumped right onto MySpace. This is like going to Vegas and laying down your entire life’s savings on the roulette table and proclaiming ‘black’… only without the ensuing ‘Vegas Wife’ that your kids refer to as such, so as not to confuse her with ‘Weekday Mommy’. The consequences are just as dramatic too. If your MySpace creative fails to capture the audience, you haven’t been able to hedge your proverbial bets advertising in any other medium. So, is it worth it? In a word, absolutely.

MySpace has roughly 80 million profiles, and it’s pretty much 1-to-1 relationship on profiles to people, so you’re talking about 80 million people in a captive environment. On TV’s best-rated program, American Idol, you’re looking at 30 million viewers. Thirty second spots on Idol are running around a million dollars per 30 seconds. Overly simplistic analysis: For one fourth the price, you’re nearly tripling your potential audience, and your presence will run a lot longer than 30 seconds (often weeks). Suddenly, it’s easier to understand why advertisers are flocking to MySpace.

Back to ground-level regional advertising… You have a client, an up-and-coming musician, a young actor, whatever. Basically, we’re talking about a client who needs the MySpace exposure, but needs something slick (not MySpace templates) and oh yeah, doesn’t have $250k. What do you do? The answer is simple. Same thing you do on any of your other projects – hire a good graphic designer to design a custom page and hire a really good programmer who can break MySpace’s layout. MySpace is built with old school HTML tables, which by definition keep content locked into little squares, which in turn keeps your pages looking like generic low-brow MySpace profiles. However, as I have discovered with a little persistence you can break free of the MySpace layout by breaking the tables. Insert false table-close arguments at the top of the page and all of a sudden you’re free to go to town with < DIV > boxes required to really make a custom look flourish... or you can hire this happy little firm to do it for you.

          Houston : Creating Fun Kids Rooms in Your New Home in Houston        

A child’s room should be a reflection of their developing personalities, drawing inspiration from favorite colors, hobbies, or other interests. For children, especially as they begin to grow and develop, their bedroom becomes their own personal space for play, study, and discovery. Therefore, it is important that you get input from your child when decorating their room in your new home in Houston.

Young children may not be able to give you a definitive idea of what they want their bedroom to look like, but by incorporating their favorite colors and interests you can create a room that they will find inspiring and comforting. Bold patterns are particularly good for babies and very young children, helping their eyes develop, while giving them designs to study with interest. Choose a few bold black-and-white graphics and complement them with pops of color throughout the room

Another idea for young children – and one that will surely hold their interest for years to come – is a mural design on the bedroom walls. From fairy tales to favorite animals or storybook characters, the design possibilities are endless, as are the ways the mural will inspire your child’s imagination. When choosing a wall mural, try to keep other furnishings and decorations fairly neutral so they don’t overwhelm the room.

Stonehedge is a family-oriented community with access to lots of great schools. As your children grow, they will need space for both play and study. A fun way to provide space for both is by turning one wall into a chalkboard. If you don’t want to paint the whole wall, you can choose one section and then use decorative molding to create a frame around the painted area. A simple desk can grow with the child, starting as a place for drawing and puzzles before turning into a space for homework.

It is also important to provide a place for easy storage of toys, games, and other items. A fun way to do this is by using a large square bookcase-like structure divided into smaller squares. Large baskets can then be placed in all or some of the squares to hold toys, sports equipment, and more. Label the baskets for easy cleanup and sorting. Other shelves can be used for displaying books, trophies, and other favorite items. 

Adults often set aside a room in their new home in Houston where they can retreat for a moment’s peace or explore their own hobbies and interests. A child’s bedroom should serve the same purpose. By designing a space that is ordered, colorful, and creative, you can give your child a room that will grow with them and help them grow.

          Law degree is the Most valuable degree        
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          Less unavoidable educationally        
Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck labrador besides and yet by goodness much bowed meadowlark dully jeez otter altruistically wrote oh racy alas and less when oh.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck labrador besides and yet by goodness much bowed meadowlark dully jeez otter altruistically wrote oh racy alas and less when oh. Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed. Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck Labrador besides and yet by goodness. Aboard much this save spluttered and smelled one a less this jeepers lucky humane so annoying some joyfully much amphibiously wow ruminant robin credible cobra crud hamster or a obediently altruistic and mallard destructive independently together one jeez this so tardy pouted animated crude far before cringed together unlike spurious vitally salient krill far much forgave the weasel reproachful dolphin wetted unlike portentously smelled alas jeez ouch and alas some....
          International education authority        
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          Best Instituted in the world        
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          Blunt a gorilla amongst inside dear flawless        
Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck labrador besides and yet by goodness much bowed meadowlark dully jeez otter altruistically wrote oh racy alas and less when oh.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck labrador besides and yet by goodness much bowed meadowlark dully jeez otter altruistically wrote oh racy alas and less when oh. Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed. Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck Labrador besides and yet by goodness. Aboard much this save spluttered and smelled one a less this jeepers lucky humane so annoying some joyfully much amphibiously wow ruminant robin credible cobra crud hamster or a obediently altruistic and mallard destructive independently together one jeez this so tardy pouted animated crude far before cringed together unlike spurious vitally salient krill far much forgave the weasel reproachful dolphin wetted unlike portentously smelled alas jeez ouch and alas some....
          National education authority results        
Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck labrador besides and yet by goodness much bowed meadowlark dully jeez otter altruistically wrote oh racy alas and less when oh.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck labrador besides and yet by goodness much bowed meadowlark dully jeez otter altruistically wrote oh racy alas and less when oh. Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed. Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck Labrador besides and yet by goodness. Aboard much this save spluttered and smelled one a less this jeepers lucky humane so annoying some joyfully much amphibiously wow ruminant robin credible cobra crud hamster or a obediently altruistic and mallard destructive independently together one jeez this so tardy pouted animated crude far before cringed together unlike spurious vitally salient krill far much forgave the weasel reproachful dolphin wetted unlike portentously smelled alas jeez ouch and alas some....
          The and chose this excruciatingly this far        
Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck labrador besides and yet by goodness much bowed meadowlark dully jeez otter altruistically wrote oh racy alas and less when oh.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck labrador besides and yet by goodness much bowed meadowlark dully jeez otter altruistically wrote oh racy alas and less when oh. Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed. Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck Labrador besides and yet by goodness. Aboard much this save spluttered and smelled one a less this jeepers lucky humane so annoying some joyfully much amphibiously wow ruminant robin credible cobra crud hamster or a obediently altruistic and mallard destructive independently together one jeez this so tardy pouted animated crude far before cringed together unlike spurious vitally salient krill far much forgave the weasel reproachful dolphin wetted unlike portentously smelled alas jeez ouch and alas some....
          Soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed unsuccessfully.        
Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck labrador besides and yet by goodness much bowed meadowlark dully jeez otter altruistically wrote oh racy alas and less when oh.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck labrador besides and yet by goodness much bowed meadowlark dully jeez otter altruistically wrote oh racy alas and less when oh. Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed. Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck Labrador besides and yet by goodness. Aboard much this save spluttered and smelled one a less this jeepers lucky humane so annoying some joyfully much amphibiously wow ruminant robin credible cobra crud hamster or a obediently altruistic and mallard destructive independently together one jeez this so tardy pouted animated crude far before cringed together unlike spurious vitally salient krill far much forgave the weasel reproachful dolphin wetted unlike portentously smelled alas jeez ouch and alas some....
          Regarding rabbit ahead dolorously        
Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck labrador besides and yet by goodness much bowed meadowlark dully jeez otter altruistically wrote oh racy alas and less when oh.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck labrador besides and yet by goodness much bowed meadowlark dully jeez otter altruistically wrote oh racy alas and less when oh. Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed. Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck Labrador besides and yet by goodness. Aboard much this save spluttered and smelled one a less this jeepers lucky humane so annoying some joyfully much amphibiously wow ruminant robin credible cobra crud hamster or a obediently altruistic and mallard destructive independently together one jeez this so tardy pouted animated crude far before cringed together unlike spurious vitally salient krill far much forgave the weasel reproachful dolphin wetted unlike portentously smelled alas jeez ouch and alas some....
          Trainee teachers ‘fail to hold good degrees        
Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck labrador besides and yet by goodness much bowed meadowlark dully jeez otter altruistically wrote oh racy alas and less when oh.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck labrador besides and yet by goodness much bowed meadowlark dully jeez otter altruistically wrote oh racy alas and less when oh. Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog.Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed. Pangolin regarding rabbit ahead dolorously soothingly ouch unbound excluding sewed and hedgehog unsuccessfully struck Labrador besides and yet by goodness. Aboard much this save spluttered and smelled one a less this jeepers lucky humane so annoying some joyfully much amphibiously wow ruminant robin credible cobra crud hamster or a obediently altruistic and mallard destructive independently together one jeez this so tardy pouted animated crude far before cringed together unlike spurious vitally salient krill far much forgave the weasel reproachful dolphin wetted unlike portentously smelled alas jeez ouch and alas some....
          SSHomestead-153-Rabbit Proof Hedge        
153-Rabbit Proof Hedge (Feedback 409-681-4663)
          VA - Voices [First Book / Record One] (Argo DA 91, LP, UK, 1970)        

Just noticed my last post was a Xmas one, which makes me feel distinctly slack.  So here's another.

Picked up from a record fair at the (wonderful) Auricle Sound Art Gallery (NZ).  50c odd, thanks!


Blogger has been notified, according to the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), that certain content in your blog is alleged to infringe upon the copyrights of others.

And via folkcatalogue's blog ("stuff about the Argo record label"), this review in The Gramophone from January 1969:

“Briefly, Argo and Penguin Education have collaborated to produce a set of records to complement the latter’s threebook anthology of poetry and pictures entitled Voices. The anthology is edited by Geoffrey Summerfield, of the York University English and Education departments, costs 25s. 6d. for the three books and has been very well received. The books give the visual and literary side; each record deals with a special topic (heroes, winter, jealousy inter alia) and adds further dimensions through natural, musical and ‘prepared’ sounds. Bands of a disc enclose elements of the topic, so the inbuilt variety might give you some Kodaly, a Rumanian wedding dance, Hardy’s poem on a country fair, a folksong and a movement from Handel’s Royal Fireworks Music. On another side, a Balinese choir, sniffing hedgehogs, a John Clare poem and an Enigma variation will find common ground.

“Although there appears to be no financial package deal, I would think that many people will want to buy both discs and books as it is rather difficult to absorb the poems at first hearing. In any case, one angle that the discs add is musical settings of established poems—two excerpts from Britten’s Serenade appear in this context. The orchestral music, from existing first-class recordings, is programmatic, thus adding possibilities of mime and spontaneous drama to the inexaustible discussion-points of musical and poetic imagery. Mr Summerfield’s introduction, which usefully appears on all six record-leaflets is stimulating, particularly on creative music-making.”

Band 1
Noises – knives sharpening
Band 2
The Devil’s Nine Questions (trad) – Peggy Seeger (1)
The Devil’s Polka – Ilona Porma kantele (2)
Band 3
Jabberwocky (Herbert) – n. Mike Newby, Archbishop Holgate’s Grammar School children percussion
Child’s bouncing song (Connor) – Children of Heslington Primary School, York
Jane, Jane (trad) – Shirley Collins & Davy Graham (3)
Band 4
Old Man’s Song (Mellers) – Trinity School, Croydon choir, c. David Squibb
Toward The Grave – Kaarina Kuivalainen vocal, Onno Kuivalainen kantele (4)
Band 5
The Seafarer excerpt – n. Sidney Bradley, read in Anglo-Saxon
Man Cursing the Sea (Holub) – n. David King
Sea Interludes (Storm/Britten) – Royal Opera House (London) Orchestra, c. Benjamin Britten (5)

Band 1
Pastoral (trad) – Sicilian shepherd playing open pipe
Shepherds’ Fire (Clare) – n. Peter Orr
Aunt’s Tantrums (Barnes) – n. Freda Dowie
Turf Carrier on Aranmore (Hewitt) – n. Peter Orr
Derby Ram (trad) – Peggy & Mike Seeger unacc. (6)
Band 2
Church bells – sound of bells in Zurich, Switzerland in Bolby B
Bells of Rhymney (Seeger/Davies) – Terry Yarnell & The Critics Group
Band 3
What’s What (Reid) – n. Tony Church
Narnian Suite (Harrex) – staff & students of York University, primary school children spoken chorus
Band 4
Chant before battle – David King
Janos Hary excerpts (Kodaly) – LSO c. Istvan Kertesz (7)

(1) from The Long Harvest Vol 2, Argo ZDA 67, 1967
(2) from Music from the Far North – Argo ZDA 127, 1967
(3) from Folk Routes New Routes – Decca LK 4652, 1964
(4) from Music from the Far North – Argo ZRG 533, 1967
(5) from Decca SXL 2150-2, 1959
(6) from Peggy ‘n’ Mike – Argo ZDA 80, 1967
(7) from Hary Janos – Decca SXL 6136, 1965

How the Hedge “Vulture” Funds can Seize Control of the Co-op Bank by Sean Boyle The recapitalisation plan gives the “vultures” 45% of equity and the option to buy another[...]
          Straftäter orientieren sich an Böll-Stiftung, "Inquisition" bei Google – News vom 10. August 2017        
1. Der FAZ-Journalist "Don Alphonso" (Rainer Meyer) berichtet auf Twitter mehrere interessante Dinge.

Zunächst mal ist der Wikipedia-Artikel über ihn in einem sogenannten "Edit War" festgefahren. Ich kenne das von dem Wikipedia-Artikel über mich: Das radikalfeministische Lager möchte seine Gegner so schlecht darstellen wie möglich, andere Wikpedianer versuchen, den Neutral Point of View zu schützen. In der Regel setzen sich bei so etwas die Feministinnen durch, weil sie so hartnäckig und so widerwärtig auftreten, dass anderen Leuten irgendwann schlicht die Lust vergeht, sich mit solchen Leuten noch länger abzugeben. Also lässt man sie sich austoben. Von Wikimedia dürften die Ideologen ohnehin Rückendeckung genießen; Einhalt geboten wurde ihnen von Wikimedia auch, als es gegen mich ging, nie. Erwartungsgemäß enthält Meyer auf eine offizielle Presseanfrage zu diesem Treiben auch keine Antwort. Angesichts dieses moralischen Verfalls der Wikipedia tweetet er: "Ganz langsam fange ich an zu verstehen, was WikiMANNia antreibt."

Des weiteren belegt Meyer, dass sich auch Autonome bei ihren Straftaten auf Feindbilder beziehen, die von der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung verbreitet werden – hier auf die berüchtigte Schrift Hinrich Rosenbrocks, in der dargelegt wird, wie man die Männerrechtsbewegung am besten bekämpfen könne. Meyers Kommentar: "Sage also keiner, man habe nichts gewusst."

Und schließlich berichtet Rainer Meyer auf Twitter: "Heinrich Alpin hat aber auch schon 2015 geholfen, Arne Hoffmann zu denunzieren. So wichtig war er dem."

Spannende Anschlussfrage: Wer steckt hinter "Heinrich Alpin"? Da ich ein recht gutmütiges Kerlchen bin, ist die Zahl der Antimaskulisten außer Andreas Kemper, die mich persönlich auf dem Kieker haben, überschaubar. Martin Rosowski, Vorsitzender des Bundesforums Männer, verleumdet mich in seinen Mails zwar schon mal als "Frauenfeind", dürfte aber Besseres zu tun haben, als bei Schwarzen Listen mitzumischen. Auch Thomas Gesterkamp müsste eigentlich anderweitig ausgelastet sein. Jörg Rupp hat sich lautstark von den Grünen verabschiedet, weil sie ihm viel zu rechts waren; er macht jetzt sein eigenes Ding. Bleibt eigentlich nur Hinrich Rosenbrock, der seit Jahren in der Versenkung verschwunden ist.

Diese Logik setzt natürlich die Annahme voraus, dass es sich bei "Heinrich Alpin" um jemanden handelt, den ich namentlich kenne. Es kann aber natürlich auch jemand Unbekanntes sein, den zum Beispiel Andreas Kemper gegen mich aufgehetzt hat. Auf Kempers Facebookseite etwa zieht sein Klüngel über "Elendsgestalten wie Arne Hoffmann" her. Hass steckt an. Genau dieser Reproduktion von Hass hätte ja der grüne Pranger gedient. Wie gesagt: Auch Straftäter orientieren sich an Produkten aus dem Hause Böll.

2. Das Bundesforum Männer klagt über Reaktionen, nachdem man sich dort gegen die Jungenbeschneidung positioniert hatte:

In einzelnen Reaktionen auf das Positionspapier wird diesem allerdings vorgeworfen, es handle sich dabei "um ein massiv ausgrenzendes Papier, das darauf zielt, jüdisches und muslimisches Leben in Deutschland unmöglich zu machen." Gegen diesen Vorwurf verwahrt sich das Bundesforum Männer und weist ihn entschieden zurück!

Uuuh, karma is a bitch! Aus eigener Erfahrung weiß ich: Abstreiten hat in solchen Fällen noch nie geholfen. Immerhin seht ihr jetzt vielleicht, wie man sich fühlt, wenn man in eine anrüchige Ecke gestellt wird. Aber ihr habt in euren Reihen ja Leute, die sich mit üblen Unterstellungen auskennen; vieleicht beratet ihr euch mit denen.

3. In einem "Zeit"-Artikel setzt Alice Schwarzer ihre Scharmützel mit Genderforscherinnen fort. Der Beitrag trägt die Überschrift "Der Rufmord".

4. Die Ruhrbarone legen eine deutsche Übersetzung von James Damores "Google Manifest" mit einigen Ergänzungen vor: "Was wirklich im Manifest steht". Dabei kommt der Autor auch über die flächendeckend verzerrende Darstellung in den deutschsprachigen Leitmedien zu sprechen:

In den Berichten darüber liest man sehr wenig über die Inhalte des Dokuments, dafür umso mehr Empörung. Der Standard nennt das Dokument "sexistisch", während er keinen einzigen Inhalt des Dokuments zitiert, nur Einschätzungen Dritter. Die Süddeutsche fasst in einem Artikel völlig falsch und grotesk verzerrt die Inhalte so zusammen, dass der Autor als absolutes Monster dasteht. Bei t3n titelt man "Diversität — nein Danke". Wenig überraschend stellt VICE’s Motherboard die Stimmen in den Vordergrund, die sich über den Sexismus des Autors aufregten und Tweets mit ihrer Interpretation des Dokuments und sehr vielen wütenden Emoji schrieben. Auch die deutsche Twittersphäre synchronisiert sich mit dem Medientenor.

Einer meiner Leser, der Einblick in die deutschen Presseagenturen hat, ließ mir zu meinem letzten Blogbeitrag, in dem ich dasselbe Problem angesprochen habe, wesentliche Informationen zukommen. Ihnen zufolge waren die meisten Medien schlicht einem Kurztext der Deutschen Presse-Agentur gefolgt, der die Überschrift "Google feuert Mitarbeiter nach sexistischem 'Manifest'" getragen hatte. Später am Tag (um 16.12 Uhr) schickte die dpa eine "Berichtigung" mit veränderter Überschrift "Google feuert Mitarbeiter nach umstrittenem 'Manifest' gegen Frauen" heraus. Diese neue Meldung war ein wenig differenzierter und erwähnt etwa, dass James Damore von Teilen der Google-Belegschaft auch Zuspruch erhalten hatte.

Mein Leser schreibt mir hierzu:

Mir ist nicht bekannt, welche internen Überlegungen zur Änderung der Überschrift führten. Meistens geht so etwas zurück auf Kritik von Kunden oder von anderen Redakteuren, denen das schief oder fragwürdig erscheint. Der Kollege aus dem Ressort Netzwelt, der diesen Text geschrieben hat, ist hochgeschätzt und sehr kundig. Sein Schwerpunkt sind Tech-Themen, Computer, Software, Telekommunikation etc.

Die neue Überschrift mit dem Dreh "gegen Frauen" ist immer noch problematisch. Das eigentliche Problem aber, nicht nur bei Themen mit Bezug zur Geschlechterdebatte, liegt darin, dass die Medien mit ihren bis zur Magersüchtigkeit abgespeckten Redaktionen nur noch wenige Themen selbst bearbeiten und sich ansonsten auf die Nachrichtenagenturen verlassen. Und der Google-Fall ist ein typisches Thema aus der zweiten Reihe, wo nur noch wenige gut ausgestattete Redaktionen selbst einen Mitarbeiter einsetzen. Und so steht dann in allen Zeitungen das Gleiche - einschließlich der Überschrift.

Dabei bleibt der Kontrast zwischen deutschen und englischsprachigen Medien scharf. Bei der "Süddeutschen Zeitung" etwa greift Nina Bovensiepen ganz tief in die Klischeekiste:

Das antifeministische Manifest des Google-Mitarbeiters ist rückständig und dumm. Zustimmung bekommt er nur deshalb, weil er die Ängste vieler weißer Männer vor den Veränderungen im Arbeitsumfeld ausspricht.

Deutschlandfunk Kultur hat einen Sinologen (Chinakundler), Tilman Spengler, zu James Damore befragt, wobei Spenglers Einschätzung die Überschrift des Artikels wurde: "Ich hätte den Kerl schon aus Gründen der Dummheit gefeuert".

Spiegel-Online sprach auch gestern noch von einem "sexistischen Schreiben". Selbstverständlich wurde die Kommentarfunktion unter dem Artikel abgestellt.

Christian Schmidt hat heute Morgen etwas genauer betrachtet, mit welchen Methoden deutsche Leitmedien den Inhalt von James Damores Memo verzerrt wiedergeben, und veranschaulicht das anhand der "Süddeutschen Zeitung". Unter anderem wurde in der allgemeinen Berichterstattung eine Grafik in Damores Memo verschwiegen, die auf einen Blick deutlich gemacht hätte, was seine tatsächliche Position ist. Christian Schmidt kommentiert:

Ich finde es unglaublich, dass eine solche Grafik, die ganz deutlich macht, dass [Damore] nicht von absoluten Unterschieden ausgeht, herausgenommen worden ist. Natürlich: Mit dieser Grafik wäre ein Entstellen seiner Meinung noch schwieriger gewesen. Viel Text wird vielleicht nicht gelesen, aber eine solche Grafik fällt sofort ins Auge.

Es ist erschreckend, wie verzerrt die Darstellung in den Medien ist. Die meisten der Journalisten scheinen nur Artikel über das Manifest gelesen zu haben. Sie lesen noch nicht einmal eine leicht zugängliche Primärquelle oder recherchieren etwas, warum jemand so etwas schreiben könnte und ob das in der Wissenschaft vertreten wird.

In englischsprachigen Beiträgen ist das Niveau deutlich höher. Ein kenntnisloses Aufgeplustere, um sich als den großen Antisexisten zu inszenieren, gibt es dort in zahlreichen Beiträgen nicht.

Daily Signal etwa berichtet, dass Frauen in Führungspositionen Google wegen des Rauswurfs Intoleranz vorwerfen.

In der kanadischen Globe and Mail stellt die Neurowissenschaftlerin Debra Soh klar: "No, the Google manifesto isn’t sexist or anti-diversity. It’s science".

(Vermutlich hätte der Chinakundler Tilman Spengler die Neurowissenschaftlerin Debra Soh auch "aus Gründen der Dummheit gefeuert", wenn sie über ihr Fachgebiet und damit den Inhalt dieses Manifestes spricht. Warum müssen deutsche Intellektuelle eigentlich immer wieder bei Themen, bei denen sie sich überhaupt nicht auskennen, Andersdenkende großspurig zu Idioten erklären, nur um billigen Applaus beim politisch korrekten Publikum zu ernten?)

In der auflagenstarken Zeitschrift USA Today erläutert die liberale Feministin Cathy Young, warum James Damore einen legitimen Standpunkt vertritt:

The Google memo mostly avoids such overgeneralizations. It repeatedly acknowledges that sex differences are a matter of tendencies, not absolutes, and do not predict anything about any specific person. Far from embracing traditional sex roles, it suggests that working to change inflexible male roles and expectations and free more men to choose lower-paying, lower-status occupations could help narrow the gender gap in the tech sector. Damore urges Google to "treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group."

(...) Some of the memo's suggestions — for instance, to uncouple diversity initiatives from empathy and moralism — are excellent and validated by the reactions to the memo itself. One Twitter user wrote that Damore was "committing violence" by writing it, and that "people feared for their safety" as a result.

Could the memo contribute to negative stereotypes of women in tech workplaces? Perhaps. But the overreaction, including Damore’s firing, is likely to do far more harm. It will make anyone who questions the "diversity" party line — who believes, for instance, that unequal numbers may not automatically prove discrimination — feel that he or she is in a hostile environment. And it will lend credence to complaints in the modern workplace that men are the beleaguered sex.

Die Washington Post merkt an:

The tech site Mashable assailed anyone who defended Damore as being part of the "alt-right." The problem, chiefly, is that many critics claimed Damore said things he did not and painted the things he did say in the worst possible light.

It is, for example, true that Damore said women suffered from "neuroticism" more than men, but he made clear he was using the psychological, scientific terminology for suffering higher anxiety and having a lower stress tolerance in job and life situations. He did not mean it as a pejoratively as the left painted it. In fact, he did not pull his statements out of thin air or make them up. Damore based his statements on sociological and psychological studies that are accepted by the scientific community, of which he is a part.

Macht dieser Artikel jetzt die "Washington Post" auch zu einem Teil der "neuen Rechten"?

Der National Review wirft Google "Inquisition" vor:

[Damore] argued — and Google quickly confirmed — that nonconforming political and social ideas are ruthlessly suppressed and punished within the firm, that those holding conservative (or simply non-left) views are subjected to a hostile work environment, and that the predominance of conforming views creates a problem of confirmation bias.

(...) Google is attempting, in its Orwellian way, to redefine "diversity" as "homogeneity," to redefine the respect for genuine human differences as the demand for absolute conformity, to redefine openness as closure and tolerance as prohibition. Its bias problems are not limited to its personnel practices: Conservative outlets and publications are routinely excluded or marginalized by services such as YouTube and Google News, just as conservative voices frequently are silenced on Twitter and Facebook.

Wenn ein Konzern, der international so mächtig ist wie Google, das politische Denken beeinflussen möchte, ist das ein brisantes Thema – außer für die deutschen Medien. Die sehen nur das Problem "zu viele weiße Männer".

"Breitbart" läßt einen ehemaligen Google-Mitarbeiter zu Wort kommen, der behauptet, Google würde sogar Suchergebnisse politisch manipulieren. Sollte man diese Behauptung komplett ignorieren, weil die Quelle "Breitbart" ist? Ist man ein Nazi, wenn man eine "Breitbart"-Meldung aufgreift?

Für die "New York Times" jedenfalls, rechtsradikaler Tendenzen eher unverdächtig, stellt "Breitbart" eine relevante, verlinkenswerte Quelle dar. Die Zeitung berichtet:

Few Google employees came out publicly in defense of [James Damore], but some surreptitiously showed their support by leaking screenshots from internal Google posts of employees saying they planned to create blacklists of people who did not support the company’s diversity efforts. The screenshots appeared on Breitbart News, which has championed Mr. Damore’s memo.

"Despite what the public response seems to have been, I’ve gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up those very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of getting fired," Mr. Damore wrote in an addendum to his original memo. "This needs to change."

Auszüge eines Interviews des Totalitarismus-Kritikers Professor Jordan Peterson mit James Damore stehen hier online.

Amerikanische Leitmedien im Vergleich mit deutschen Leitmedien: Bei diesem Thema sind sie wie Tag und Nacht. In den USA wird die Debatte längst differenziert geführt. Hierzulande ist Damore eben ein Idiot, über den man Kaffee gießen sollte, und der Leser solcher Beiträge hat die Klappe zu halten. Was "Sexismus" ist, bestimmt die neue Priesterschaft zwischen Spiegel-Online und Süddeutscher Zeitung.

5. Nach einem Urteil des Europäischen Gerichtshofs dürfen homosexuelle Männer jetzt Blut spenden – nach einem Jahr Enthaltsamkeit.

Der Deutschen Aidshilfe geht die neue Richtlinie nicht weit genug. "Eine HIV-Infektion kann man heute sechs Wochen nach dem letzten Risiko sicher ausschließen", sagte Vorstandsmitglied Björn Beck. Eine Frist von einem Jahr schließe hingegen die meisten schwulen und bisexuellen Männer weiterhin unnötig von der Blutspende aus.

Wie man das Jahr Enthaltsamkeit überprüfen möchte, bleibt ohnehin offen.

6. Auf "Broadly" beklagt sich die Feministin Yasmina Banaszczuk über Sexismus gegen Frauen auf Demonstrationen. Sie erwähnt, dass entgegen des Klischees in den sogenannten "Schwarzen Blocks" auch viele Frauen mitmarschieren und fühlt sich dadurch diskriminiert, dass sich Polizeigewalt in erster Linie gegen Männer richtet:

Kleinere Frauen würden zuerst aus der Gruppe gezogen, um die Reihen zu destabilisieren. Danach werde noch härter gegen die verbliebenen Demonstranten vorgegangen. (...) Katja sagt, dass die Polizei Frauen eher als gesprächsbereit und weniger bedrohlich wahrnehme. "Das geht so weit, dass eine Frau bei einer Blockade mal recht offensiv im Weg war und sie dann den Typen neben ihr mitnehmen wollten. Der hatte sich keinen Zentimeter bewegt, war aber halt groß und vergleichsweise laut." Auch Anna hat ähnliche Erfahrungen gemacht: "Bei Straßenblockaden wurde ich durchgelassen, weil ich eine Frau bin. 'Geh mal durch, Kleine. Hier wird's gleich hässlich.'" Was auf den ersten Blick wie eine angenehme Sonderbehandlung klingt, ist letztlich einfach nur Diskriminierung. (...) Am Ende bleibt das Ohnmachtsgefühl, das viele Frauen auch aus ihren Sexismuserfahrungen im Alltag kennen.

7. In einem australischen Café müssen Männer 18 Prozenz mehr zahlen als Frauen – "und das hat gute Gründe" meint Tasnim Rödder im feministisch geprägten Magazin Denn Männer verdienten im Durchschnitt deutlich mehr als Frauen. Bei einer Umfrage unter dem Artikel entscheidet sich die Mehrzahl der Leser jedoch für folgende Antwortmöglichkeit: "Ich unterstütze die Hausordnung nicht, weil Männer sowieso öfter an die Kasse gebeten werden."

8. Das ebenfalls feministisch geprägte Magazin "Salon" titelt: Dang — looks like those women-only “Wonder Woman” screenings were illegal. Untertitel: "Turns out that when men whined about being banned from the screenings, they had a legal point." Wer hätte das gedacht? Wobei für "Salon" weiterhin gilt: Wenn Männer gegen Diskriminierung protestieren, dann wird das Wort "whine" verwendet – zu deutsch: heulen, quengeln, winseln, jammern. Echte Kerle sind das nicht. So transportieren auch Feministinnen uralte Geschlechterklischees.

9. Das linksliberale Magazin "The Atlantic" beleuchtet, wie Männer zur neuen Minderheit an Universitäten geworden sind. An manchen Hochschulen machen sie inzwischen nur noch ein Sechstel der Studentenschaft aus.

10. Ein Video der Zeichentrickreihe "Die Simpsons" verarscht feministische Social Justice Warriors.

11. Und noch einmal die Post. In meinem letzten Genderama-Beitrag hatte ich einen FAZ-Artikel über ein Urteil des Düsseldorfer Verwaltungsgerichts zitiert. Dazu schreibt mir ein Leser:

"'Die Frauenförderung hat zwar Verfassungsrang, doch sie steht nicht über allem anderen', sagte [Richter] Müller in der mündlichen Verhandlung. Vielmehr gelte es, die beiden widerstreitenden Interessen von Verfassungsrang – die Gleichberechtigung und das Prinzip der Bestenauslese – miteinander in Einklang zu bringen. Durch den Erlass des Ministeriums würden jedoch schlechtere Frauen besseren männlichen Bewerbern vorgezogen."

Wenn die FAZ den Richter hier richtig zitiert, dann finde ich bedenklich, dass er behauptet, die Frauenförderung habe Verfassungsrang. Im Grundgesetz ist von Frauenförderung nirgends die Rede, vielmehr von der im nächsten Satz genannten Gleichberechtigung. Bezeichnend, dass die inzwischen mit Frauenförderung einfach gleichgesetzt wird. Eine im Wortsinn verstandene GleichBERECHTIGUNG wiederum steht keineswegs im Widerstreit zum Prinzip der Bestenauslese, sondern beide ergeben sich auseinander: Gleichberechtigung herrscht, wenn der Zugang zu öffentlichen Ämtern nur nach Eignung vergeben wird, und es kann nur dann von einer Bestenauslese gesprochen werden, wenn alle die Chance haben, ihre Eignung zu beweisen. Hier wird wie so oft das Wort GleichBERECHTIGUNG im Sinne von GleichSTELLUNG verwendet und der letzteren damit durch die Hintertür Verfassungsrang verliehen. Bedenklich, wie gesagt, obwohl das Urteil insgesamt erfreulich sein mag.

12. Da ich nicht von jedem von euch/Ihnen die Mailadresse für ein persönliches Dankeschön habe, auf diese Weise: Ganz herzlichen Dank für die Spenden der letzten Tage! Ich freue mich sehr darüber. Einige von euch sind offenbar gerade durch die aktuellen Genderama-Beiträge dazu motiviert worden. Ein Leser aus Österreich begründet seinen Dauerauftrag auch explizit mit "der Berichterstattung über den Vorfall bei Google":

Ich hoffe, daß ich damit einen Beitrag leisten kann, damit Sie diese für mich sehr wichtige Arbeit, die ein Gegengewicht zur sehr einseitigen Berichterstattung in den sogenannten Qualitätsmedien darstellt, auch weiter fortsetzen können.

          Hedge funds lost more money in '08 than they made in the previous decade        
Hedge funds clients lose again and again, but they never learn do they?

30 Vote(s)
          Wow! Hedge funds really are thieves        
Over the last twelve years, hedge fund managers took home 84% of the returns they generated, leaving only 16% for the clients.

28 Vote(s)
          Privet hedge        
I bought a dozen 4 ft tall common privet hedge plants to extend my hedge but all of the foliage is at the top and the rest bare. Will they bulk out to a hedge please? petal
          Hedge plant?        
Hi there, I'm trying to identify this hedge plant. I know it is a popular hedge plant, but cannot identify it. Many thanks, Fin
          Kate Bradbury on wildlife gardening, urban foxes, bumblebees and hedgehogs        

Kate Bradbury is well known to UK gardeners from her contributions to Gardeners' Question Time and as the former editor of Gardeners' World magazine. Her new book, The Wildlife Gardener, is available from Kyle Books -

Kate gave a talk in May 2013 at Sharpham House, near Totnes in South Devon at an event organised by Friends of the Bees and PUPA and co-sponsored by the Royal Entomological Society.

          Piet Oudolf's Favourite Perennials        
Another one of my favourite stops while visiting the Netherlands, was the garden and nursery of Piet Oudolf. He had this unforgettable, high and multi-layered hedge at the front of his property behind which was his main garden. In the picture below, he is moving a clump of Monarda (Bee Balm).

He has since become a renowned garden designer with many projects, both public and private, in Europe and North America. You can see some of his very cool work and photography on Flickr and on his website.

Virginia Small recently listed his favourite perennials here. It is tellingly divided into three groups: plants the provide structure, produce attractive seed heads, and maintain a distinct winter shape. Ultimately, the goal is to provide an abundance of multi-season interest.

I find a few things however, interesting to note in this list. Firstly, most are relatively tall plants -- you will not find any "cute" Campanula carpatica or Dianthus here. Second, there is mix of both native and non-native species. And finally, the list appears to be missing the most popular genera, specifically Geranium, Heuchera and Hosta. I would certainly love to share a pint with this great artist to discuss this last point!

Well, here's to dirt under your nails -- I hear spring has sprung in certain parts of the continent.

Mark, the coolplantsguy
          BANG BANG: Dave McDougall        
[BANG BANG is our week-long look back at 20!!, or "Twenty-bang-bang," or 2011, with contributions from all over aiming to cover all sorts of enthusiasms from film to music to words and beyond.]

Selected 2011 discoveries, briefly noted and across various media by Dave McDougall.


Homeland —— the characters on this show run deep; their history and demons are as much a driver as the twists of plot. Which certainly helps Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin and Damian Lewis and Morena Baccarin act their asses off. Allegiances don't shift as much as they are gradually revealed; even though the audience isn't only in the headspace of Danes' rebellious CIA agent, everything is filtered through the line between the watchers and the suspects, and the further into each world we're given access, the more complicated the line between terrorist and hero. This isn't a war of ideas as much as a war between wounded people who've sided with ideas, and those wounds are what drive both the terrorists and those trying to stop them. This week's showstopping season finale toyed with heavy political and personal dénouement and teased an even greater moral complexity to come. If there's a better show on television right now, I'd like to see it. 

The Color Wheel (Alex Ross Perry, 2011) —— A masterpiece, a perfect screwball comedy, and a vicious, misanthropic, prickly little thing. What Ignatiy said, and then some.

And two other filmic masterpieces-to-be-named-later that also tackle communication (and shared histories) between men and women, on which I'll have more to say in the Mubi year-end roundup.


Governments toppled, not by social media but by people going to the streets to battle for their due. But the dynamics of open source protest and new media communication flows were a big part of why this was the year that kicked off an #ArabSpring, an indignado movement, a global coalition of #Occupy protests. It's not just coordination of protests but the ability for knowledge flows to reveal the silent political preferences of a people, and to rally supporters to the cause. None of these movements were created by the emergence of social media -- all grew out of previous organization by activists on the ground, over years and decade -- but it's hard to deny that these movements could only coalesce through communication, and that new forms of one-to-many communication smooth the friction of reaching out to wide audiences. 


As the 2008 financial crisis has shifted to become a crisis of solvency and liquidity in the Eurozone, the economic intelligence of the left-ish political blogotwittersphere rises almost as fast as events shift; but the key insight is that, unlike the people-powered movements and revolutions mentioned above, the fate of all of our economic lives still hangs in the balance of deals to be cut in back rooms by power brokers. Which, as those same movements will attest, is the opposite of democracy. If the revolutions of Egypt or Libya or Tunisia (or Syria or Bahrain or Yemen, if you're looking for revolutions-in-the-making) were best revealed by the participants themselves in 140 characters (or 140 character updates, compiled), then the stories of our economic dilemmas have been best told by those savvy enough to get to the bottom of capital flows and reveal these inner workings via blogs, articles, and interviews, whose links were embedded in 140-character updates themselves. Information, in all its forms -- pictures, videos, charts, analysis, stories from the front lines -- move and flicker and flow just the ways frames do in the cinema. For me, these were a few of the sources that made the leap to essential in 2011, from the MENA uprisings to the Econopocalyse and the social movements pushing back:


Among all the books and blogs and analysis, an epic cornerstone of how to even begin to think of how we got here — David Graeber's Debt: The First 5000 Years. 

David McDougall is a writer, filmmaker, and media strategist based in London and Los Angeles. He's got blogs and films and words in various places, some of them on the internet. He twitters here.

          What Does Victory Look Like in Afghanistan?

What Does Victory Look Like in Afghanistan?

Adam Wunische 

 August 9, 2017

More U.S. troops are likely headed back to Afghanistan soon, while the Trump Administration is also now considering withdrawal. Before either option––or anything in between––is considered, the U.S. needs to decide what version of victory it wants before it can decide on a strategy.

One of the most shocking statements I’ve heard on Afghanistan in sometime was that the official U.S. policy is to force the Taliban into a negotiated settlement. This statement came from a highly respected scholar of U.S. foreign policy and military strategy. I wondered what veterans like myself should think of such a policy. Almost 17 years of fighting, over 2,000 killed, and countless others wounded or otherwise affected, and our strategy is now to accept peace with the Taliban and see them holding legislative seats in Kabul and contributing to governing Afghanistan?

To be fair, the statement above was somewhat of a misstatement. What he intended to say was that this is the actual policy being pursued by the U.S., if unofficially and inconsistently. It is an unofficial policy because it would be highly unpopular with the domestic audience in the U.S., and it is inconsistent because presidents have been unwilling to commit the political capital necessary to sustain such a policy. Since a possible troop increase was announced in June, journalists and analysts (and Trump’s advisors) have been debating the strategy to which the U.S. should commit itself. However, these debates often consider strategies in isolation, and this is a mistake. Strategies must be judged relative to the realistic alternatives. This article categorizes the most common recent arguments, considers their limitations, and makes an argument for the least bad option, a negotiated settlement with the Taliban.


One potential strategy considers the possibility of a post-World War II arrangement, leaving a permanent contingent of U.S. forces in Afghanistan to keep the Taliban and others at bay and influence other countries with interests in Central Asia. Unsurprisingly, many considering this possibility find the prospect unsustainable and possibly unachievable.

Another strategy considers the complex regional dynamics of the situation and suggests increasingly forceful engagement with neighboring countries, specifically Pakistan. Use of Pakistani territory sustains and strengthens Taliban operations in Afghanistan and the Pakistanis have been notoriously difficult partners for the U.S. and others.

Still another approach considers the folly of sending more troops before a coherent strategy, or even policy, has been agreed upon. Almost 200 years ago, Clausewitz asserted, “War is a mere continuation of policy by other means.” Military engagement without a coherent policy shaping the strategy by which the campaign is carried out is little more than organized slaughter.

A final take on the situation defines victory as an Afghanistan fully restored via so-called nation-building. This argument suggests less reliance on the military and more on civilians and the State Department. Otherslike Gary Dempsey, argue the costs so greatly outweigh the benefits that the U.S. should simply cut its losses and withdraw. Withdrawal arguments usually suggest that after ground forces have left the U.S. should send targeted operations into Afghanistan whenever violent non-state actors set up shop again, but this assumes the political will and legal justifications will hold indefinitely––which isn’t a safe assumption.

The problem with all of the above arguments is that they only consider one possible form of victory, or take the form of victory as a given. This can be effective when advocating for certain policies, but it also comes with significant limitations. As an alternative, I will present a variety of potential victories––each different in some critical way––and assess the prospects for achieving each and what they mean for U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.


It is first necessary to assess the most common assumption for victory and the current state of that possibility. The early stages of the war in Afghanistan were entirely directed at removing the Taliban from power and going after al Qaeda's central structure. This gave Operation Enduring Freedom a specific counterterrorism focus. Therefore, the early objectives necessary for victory were limited: end or degrade al Qaeda and the Taliban. This mission was accomplished, and surprisingly quickly. However, the mission then shifted from counterterrorism to ambitious state-building as the security situation deteriorated and the Taliban began to push back into the country from their sanctuary in Pakistan. NATO troops pushed out from Kabul and sought to extend the new central government’s authority throughout the country.


If we assume these more ambitious statebuilding objectives to be the standard by which victory is now measured, each of the following would have to happen before that victory could be considered won: the Taliban would have to be beaten back militarily, the Afghan government would need to establish control over the overwhelming majority of the country, and the U.S. would have no more than a small contingent of trainers and advisors on the ground. Given the length of the effort in Afghanistan thus far, it’s inconsistent progress, and the present trend, this outcome seems unlikely.

Assuming another military victory over the Taliban could be achieved, the Afghan government would still need to establish control over a territory that few central governments have ever been able to control since modern Afghanistan was founded around 1747. Afghan expert Thomas Barfield argues that attempts to extend control over the whole of Afghanistan like other modern states do is a fundamental flaw in U.S. strategy and is simply not possible in a country like Afghanistan. Instead, Barfield has suggested a “Swiss cheese” model should be used. That is, control the vital areas (the population centers) that can be controlled and ignore the areas that cannot. Unfortunately, this isn’t even a realistic model for Afghanistan today, since the holes in government control would undoubtedly be used as safe-havens for any number of armed anti-government and anti-U.S. groups operating in the country. Such a strategy can only work if sustainable and enforceable treaties can be negotiated with the various armed groups.

An Afghan farmer works in a poppy field on the outskirts of Jalalabad, the capital city of Nangarhar province. (Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty)

Furthermore, even if the government were able to reestablish control over all its territory, the government has a myriad of high-grade issues that significantly inhibit the its ability to exercise and maintain control and authority over said territory. Corruptioninhibits the government’s ability to deliver goods and services. Opium continues to flourish in Afghanistan and fund numerous individuals and organizations beyond the control of the central government, criminal and otherwise. Afghanistan’s relationship with its neighbors is complicated, and contributes to the instability. Afghanistan is also plagued by a persistently weak economy that is unlikely to improve to a sufficient level to contribute to stability or even pay the government's bills without foreign aid.

This path to victory also hopes the Afghan government can be encouraged to reform; it cannot. For many non-trivial reasons, it is unreasonable to expect the Afghan government to make the necessary reforms, even if pressured by the U.S. or the international community. Several scholarly articles attempt to explain this phenomenon. Generally speaking, it is clear the interests of the Afghan government will always diverge from those of the U.S. government. Afghan officials will be more interested in crushing coup attempts before they happen or paying off their political rivals; reforming government agencies, especially in the security sector, is more likely to encourage coups and embolden their enemies. No one should hope for government reforms as the path to peace in Afghanistan.

In sum, this vision of victory is unrealistic. Too many variables are too unlikely to be achieved for any reasonable person to think that all of them can be achieved, and at a reasonable cost.


Taliban defeat on the battlefield is given special consideration here. Some might assume victory over the Taliban today should be as easy as it was in 2001. However, the posture and disposition of the Taliban today is very different than it was in 2001. They have been contesting and controlling territory, and that territory could be retaken if subjected to an effort similar to the one in 2001. However, their underground networks and sanctuary support are much more robust than they were. When pushed back from their territory in 2001, it took the Taliban about five years to build the infrastructure of insurgency and push back into Afghanistan. Today, the Taliban wouldn’t skip a beat if denied their territory.

Therefore, all of the issues mentioned in the above section would have to be remedied before the highest possible version of victory could be achieved, and this assumed the Taliban could be defeated anew, which also doesn’t seem likely. A series of unlikely conditions are necessary to sustainably defeat the Taliban. First, total cooperation with Pakistan, who would need to establish control over their own western provinces where these groups are currently afforded safe-haven, would be necessary. Second, Afghanistan would need a robust and functioning security apparatus, which it doesn’t have. Emphasis has been placed on building the Afghan military, but militaries are better at taking and holding territory than they are at defeating insurgencies, which is only step one in a campaign against the Taliban. Furthermore, evidence suggests that terrorist groups are mostly defeated by police and intelligence forces of local governments, not militaries.[1]

An Afghan soldier during an anti-Taliban operation in eastern Kunar provice. (AFP/BBC)

There is a surprisingly positive trend in the use of Afghan police and intelligence forces to pressure and dismantle the Taliban. Increases in Afghan National Army regular forces have essentially flat-lined. On the other hand, the Afghan government plans to increase the number of special forces commandos exponentially, as shown in the chart below.[2]Commandos have the tools and training to effectively go after non-state actors like the Taliban, but there are still significant barriers to defeating the Taliban via these means. First, the feasibility and effectiveness of doubling the size of commando forces isn’t certain. New recruits are drawn from conventional forces, so current special forces capabilities wouldn’t necessarily be reduced. However, whether they’re able to effectively train, equip, and support such a large force remains to be seen. Second, the Taliban would still be able to launch attacks from Pakistan; Afghanistan would still need to improve policing capabilities; and social and economic conditions would need to improve so unemployed youth couldn’t be convinced or paid to carry out attacks for the Taliban.

Furthermore, it is unlikely that the vast increase in commando power will go unnoticed by successive governments. As explained above, corrupt governments tend to weaken their military to hedge against coups.


With a long list of limitations preventing more ambitious victories, it is important to consider what lesser forms of success might look like and whether they are worth pursuing. A mitigated success would at least contain but not defeat the Taliban and focus on areas of higher strategic value, disregarding areas of lesser strategic value (as in the Barfield Strategy). This version of victory would even allow the Taliban to rule certain areas, or establish a power-sharing agreement in those areas not vital to the Government of Afghanistan. Such an approach could achieve core U.S. national interests at lower costs. For example, this would eliminate Afghanistan as a terrorist safe haven, and if Afghanistan were to revert to a safe haven in the future, the circumstance could be addressed more easily in these circumstances. Furthermore, with no powerful armed group opposing it, the Afghan government would be much less likely to collapse and potentially destabilize Pakistan, which is important for keeping nuclear weapons from proliferating into non-state hands.

Warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar returned to Kabul on May 4 after signing a peace deal with the Afghan government. (Reuters/Parwiz)

This strategy would solve one of the weaknesses in Barfield’s strategy by establishing peace with armed groups in exchange for control of their local areas, but how likely is it these armed groups will successfully reintegrate into the legitimate political process? Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the violent political party Hezb-i-Islami, recently attempted this exact transition. There are also reasons to believe some within the Taliban organization are at least willing to consider what is being offered in negotiations. This is perhaps why the members of ISIS in Afghanistan are mostly disaffected Taliban members. There is no way to know for sure why the former Taliban members defected, but several factors indicate that a willingness to negotiate for peace was important.


The Taliban have attempted negotiations several times since 2001. Taliban leader Mullah Omar died in April of 2013, but top commanders kept it a secret. Writing under Mullah Omar’s name, these top commanders struck a conciliatory tone, advocating for an inclusive Islamic government in Afghanistan. In October 2014, five to six top commanders of the Taliban defected and subsequently pledged loyalty to ISIS. Predictably, the Taliban command claimed they were expelled from the group. Nine months later, the Taliban called for peace talks again. Therefore it seems reasonable that some attribute the rise of ISIS in Afghanistan to disgruntled former Taliban hardliners, and a willingness to negotiate is a likely source of these sentiments.

As is clear by the many failed attempts by the Taliban to negotiate peace, there are limitations to the feasibility of this move for many of the violent groups that forms its ranks. Consider some analogous circumstances. The most powerful violent insurgency group in Colombia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), recently negotiated a peace deal with the government. Successfully transitioning to peace will be difficult, as many Colombians are still scarred from the violence they carried. Similarly, the Basque Homeland and Liberty (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna or ETA) separatist in Spain is attempting the same move, and the legacy of their violence is also an issue. Likewise, many Afghans remember the part Hekmatyar took in the shelling of Kabul during the civil war following the withdrawal of Soviet forces. Many Afghans will not soon forget the pain suffered at the hands of the various violent groups that fall under the aegis of the Taliban.

If the Taliban are to be integrated into the political process, both they and the Afghan people will need to find a path to reconciliation. It is theoretically possible to achieve a deal without this reconciliation, but whatever peace is achieved without it may be tenuous at best. Again, analogy might be useful. Rwanda is engaging in a justice and reconciliation process to deal with the legacies of their genocide. South Africa set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with the legacies of apartheid. Alternatively, Indonesia has set up no such commission or process, and their resultant peace has been much more tenuous and fragile.

It is also important to consider domestic opinion in the U.S., where the divergence between its interest and that of Afghanistan is perhaps clearest. Even if the Government of Afghanistan could reconcile with the Taliban, precarious as this would be given the support the U.S. must provide to sustain it, any negotiated settlement would be hugely unpopular domestically. Many would see it as surrendering to the enemy, leaving open a cynical but clear political opportunity. The unpopularity of working with the Taliban was on full display when the Obama Administration announced a prisoner swap with the Taliban that retrieved captured U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. It is unlikely current or future U.S. presidents will be willing to expend the political capital necessary to make a negotiated settlement with the Taliban possible, especially considering the uncertainty of success.


Considering all of the limitations of the above strategic alternatives, it should be considered what a mitigated failure would look like. A mitigated failure would probably include some or all of the following outcomes. First, traditionally Pashtun lands would be conceded to the Taliban, and the central government would maintain a tenuous control over other territories. The Taliban are strongest in Pashtun regions, but they have shown an ability to reach beyond these areas. Regions under strong Taliban control would be relatively peaceful, but fighting would remain intense in disputed areas. Pakistan would be keen to avoid this, much like the Turks wanting to resist an independent Kurdish state.

Pakistan’s position in Afghanistan has always been to maintain as much influence over their neighbor as possible. Prior to 9/11, the intelligence and military establishment in Pakistan had established close ties with Mullah Omar and the Taliban. However, Pakistan post 9/11 has been forced to align reluctantly against the Taliban. The Taliban now has bases of operation in Pakistan and it is not certain that a peaceful relationship could be established if they gain some control in Afghanistan at the expense of the government. The possibility of the Taliban gaining power in Afghanistan and looking for more influence east of the Durand Line is too great a risk.


That leaves one final possibility: abject failure. This could happen if the international community loses patience with Afghanistan and cuts its losses, like the Trump Administration is perhaps considering. This certainly wouldn’t be the first time Afghanistan has been cut loose; there has been a pattern of countless such abandonments throughout history, like the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. Importantly, though, the international community has always decided to return. Afghanistan’s strategic importance to the rest of the world is significant, and modern forms of terrorism have compounded the effects of this strategic importance. This significance is evident in the many times that multiple empires have attempted to conquer it. Afghanistan is at the crossroads of the Middle East, Southern Asia, and Central Asia, and it continues to be a vital transit area for land-based commerce and gas and oil pipelines. There is no doubt that cutting strategic losses today might result in a strategic need to return a few decades, or even a few years, later.


Previous attempts to define victory in Afghanistan, and therefore advocate a strategy, have often considered various types of victory in isolation. However, the ideal end state for Afghanistan should be considered relative to the alternatives. A total victory is ideal, but needs to solve numerous enormous problems resulting from seemingly endless systemic conflicts. It would also require the greatest degree of political will sustained over the long-term. Furthermore, it is unlikely that the Taliban can be beaten militarily like they were in 2001. The government of Afghanistan and its allies could regain lost territory, but it is already a robust insurgency and terrorist organization; and these types of movements are rarely defeated militarily. Abject failure would be cost efficient in the short-term, but the resultant problems would increase costs over the long-term and would undermine U.S. national interests. A mitigated failure would likely have all the negative costs of abject failure, but with greater U.S. losses on the path to failure. Ultimately, total victory is ideal but highly unlikely. Abject and mitigated failures have long-term costs and endanger U.S. national interests. This leaves us with mitigated success and a negotiated settlement with the Taliban as the most prudent option.

A negotiated settlement would come with high political costs to whichever U.S. president decided to pursue it. However, these political costs would be lower than those required for a total victory. Furthermore, negotiations have mostly failed because there is no concerted effort or strategy to achieve it, just periodic opportunism. There’s no doubt this strategy would be highly unpopular and downright offensive to many Americans––especially veterans of the war. However, the question shouldn’t only be about its popularity; it should also be about its feasibility to bring about the end of America’s longest war.

The path of least resistance in Afghanistan is to contain the Taliban over the long-term. This starts with a continued focus on the building of commando and police capacity while reducing resources for the conventional Afghan National Army, because the Taliban are the problem rather than external invasion. The maintenance of a strategic alliance with the government of Afghanistan to deter foreign military interventions will allow the central government to focus on internal state building and reconciliation. The encouragement of smaller insurgent groups to negotiate transitions into the political process will enable reconciliation. Finally, seeking avenues to allow for a negotiated settlement with the Taliban, and integration into the political process if necessary, are critical.

The other victories mentioned above are certainly possible, but not at acceptable costs. A total victory––while appealing––would require extensive resources, in both blood and treasure, expended over an indeterminate amount of time. In 2012, a majority of Americans wanted to speed up the pace of the 2014 withdrawal. When the war started in 2001, about 90% of Americans said starting the war was not a mistake. Today, that number has decreased by about 40 points. No politician will have the political capital to commit the resources to a total victory. Other types of victories are more ideal and would be more popular, and despite the sentiment against the option, a negotiated settlement is not only more likely to happen in our lifetime, it’s also the most feasible outcome for success.

Adam Wunische is a U.S. Army veteran who has deployed twice to Afghanistan. He is also a PhD student at Boston College and a contributing analyst at Wikistrat

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          Bathroom Sink Ideas        
Bathroom Sink Ideas : Most people have more than enough bathroom renovation dreams in psyche when they begin a revamp venture. However, all too often they open into the shoot without any obvious idea what the end effect and intend should be. The findings are they end with appliances that very don’t fit with their new renovation pitch. For command, they might start altering cabinets or cupboards without conscious the end outcome they want. Here are some tips to help you chose the bathroom motif you want and collect your appliances accordingly.

Believe it or not, one of the most crucial elements to about whether your bathroom renovating ideas work out is your sink range. Many people overlook this seemingly lesser yet very important piece to your largely bathroom draft. First, determine what class of sink you want to have. Would you like to have a traditional sink or a more decorative one? Do you want a stand alone one, an under the defy sink, or one that’s mounted on the fence? This span is very important in determining which sink is right for you. Of course, your bathroom figure will play a big factor in this result. For command, you can’t have a side mounted sink if your hedge isn’t fierce enough to bolster it. You could do some mega remodeling to enable your wall to supervise it, but often period that just adds a needless expense to an already admittedly luxurious fling.

Before you go shopping, quantify the hole you have free for the sink so that you can decide accordingly. Believe it or not, one of the principal mistakes people make during a bathroom renovation fling is attempting to buy a better machine than their bathroom can switch. After the fact, they find out that they don’t have the space necessary Bathroom Sink Ideas to defend such a sink. While this sure isn’t a devastating misjudge, and you can get your money back, it wastes a lot of needless time and energy that could have clearly been avoided with some austere forecast.

When shopping for your sink, try doing it online. Often time, you can bare much better deals on the internet than you’d ever find offline, because of the varied mixture unfilled. A good suggestion when shopping: give a picture of your desired bathroom blueprint wit you. This way, you can clearly at a glance determine whether your potential sink will fit with this purpose before you obtain it. Often time, people purchase a sink because they worship the way it looks at the amass. However, once they induct it in their bathroom, they attain that it doesn’t meet the balance of the space.

One closing comment: don’t drop in feeling with the first sink you find. Often epoch you can find much better deals by only being serene and shopping around. As you can see, redesigning your bathroom can be very calm when you have a strategy and pole to it. Follow these unadorned yet very useful bathroom renovation ideas for your next envisage, and you will attain the bathroom of your dreams much more rapidly and affordably than you ever imagined promising.

          Beneficaries from 2014 Carnival Announced        

Colchester Carers, £300 Rowhedge Coastal Rowing Club, £250 Cancer Research UK – Relay for Life, £250 Dynamite Drama Company, £250 Oxjam Colchester, £250 Colchester Credit Union, £450 Homestart, £250 Colchester Furniture Project, £400 Colchester Black History Month, £250 Colchester Scout Group, £400 Signpost Colchester, £250 Headway, £300 Colchester Councilling & Psychotheraphy, £450 Acorn Village, £250...

The post Beneficaries from 2014 Carnival Announced appeared first on Colchester Carnival 2016.

          Why Ideal Trading is a Hedge Against Uncertain Returns in Excess Inventory Liquidation        

One of the many recurring themes among business clients that partner with Ideal Trading on the excess inventory liquidation needs is the fact that every other potential solution to maximizing return on that inventory is at best a guess. The first thing that we say to new client is that when you sell to us, your excess inventory will bring a specific return so that you can fiscally plan for inventory moving forward. Whether it’s a large or small retailer or a manufacturer dealing with a fluctuating market, inventory is taking up valuable space that comes with its own costs,...

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          Invitations to Explore        
Although there is a wonderful sense of enclosure in the walled gardens at Petworth House, there is also an Alice in Wonderland quality, with beckoning arches in hedges, and glimpses through windows in walls. While the enfilade arches frame the main pathways, there are also invitations to slip through a narrow gap in a hedge […]
          Tom & Sue Stuart Smith’s Garden        
I see many lovely gardens in the course of my work, but I have seldom been quite so delirious with excitement as I was in the Stuart-Smith garden. The Main Garden To the south of the house, enclosing hedges and topiary yews frame sumptuous borders overflowing with flowers. The planting combinations are as accomplished as […]
          Loseley Park Gardens        
I’ve never previously visited Loseley Park near Guildford and now know how remiss it is of me not to have been before. The gardens are laid out within a walled enclosure to one side of the house and as you pass through arches in yew hedges you walk progressively through a rose garden, followed by […]
          A Fine Flock        
When I see a perfectly positioned garden sculpture it makes my heart sing. On a visit to a garden in Kent I came upon this beautiful bronze of sheep huddled together. It stands on a simple unadorned stone plinth at the end of a path and is sheltered by a curving hornbeam hedge that conceals […]
          Hedgehog Awareness Week 5th – 11th of May        
Much as I would love to give a hedgehog a home in my garden, our area is inundated with badgers who consider them a tasty snack.  Although we have now (fingers crossed) secured our boundaries from badger invasion, hedgehogs need a large area to range over – so one way and another this rules them out.  For […]
          Tom Hoblyn’s Garden        
I could imagine going to a fantastic party in a garden like this – lots of space for the guests to mingle, the sound of water and the Mediterranean-style planting. I loved the arching jets of water above the box hedge and the water spouts in the marble wall – very reminiscent of the lovely […]
          Adorned with Alliums        
Apparently this use of allium heads has puzzled lots of the visitors to the flower garden at Arundel. The gardeners pick them and push them into the box hedges instead of leaving them to fall over in the borders.  Visitors often ask them how they get them to grow that way.

Brian Koppelman & David Levien, creators of Showtime's Billions, discuss their long road to creating a hedge fund show, dole out valuable advice on screenwriting and working as a writer, their successes like Oceans 13, their disappointments like Runner Runner, their breakthrough script Rounders, and so much more. Definitely listen to Brian's podcast, The Moment, if you enjoy this podcast!

          Berried Treasures        
Friends in Suffolk have a wonderful garden that once surrounded a far older and grander house.  Fragments of the old garden remain, including towering yew hedges and an arboretum full of unusual trees and shrubs where I photographed some of the most interesting autumnal berries I have seen this year.  The top of the yew […]
          Yahoo, AOL Shares Jump On Merger Calls        

Starboard Value, a Hedge Fund, sent both AOL and Yahoo shares up considerably with renewed pressure that Yahoo purchases AOL. Yahoo shares jumped 3.4% to $50.23 a share. AOL shares jumped 7.6% to $49.62 a share. Starboard chief Jeff Smith said he was concerned about reports that Yahoo is considering an acquisition of cable networks such …

The post Yahoo, AOL Shares Jump On Merger Calls appeared first on The Daily Exposition.

          Jardin de Castillon        
This is a garden that changed the way the French approach gardening.  Previously the focus had been almost entirely on bedding plants, but for the past 30 years Madame & Monsieur Saint Beuve have been leading the way with their use of hardy plants contained within garden rooms.  Curvaceous yew hedges and specimen trees give […]
          Can some corporations become forces for good?        

Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

By Christopher Booker and Connie Kargbo

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: A tour through the New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado, passes through the bottling facility and brewhouse, before ending at the bar.

New Belgium is one the largest craft breweries in the country, distributing beer to all 50 states.

When you buy its best known brand, Fat Tire Belgian style ale, that “B” on the label doesn’t stand for beer, it’s stands for B Corp, a designation given to businesses dedicated to more than profit.

KATE WALLACE: I think when you get together with people you realize you have a lot of the same values.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Katie Wallace is New Belgium’s assistant director of sustainability.

KATIE WALLACE: If you’re running a business that’s not considering the impact that you have on the environment and society, or the impact that those things have upon your business, then you’re not operating a business that’s really going to be in existence in the future.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: New Belgium is privately owned and profitable, selling nearly a million barrels of beer a year and generating $225 million a year in revenue.

KATIE WALLACE: For a long time we felt that we kind of stumbled into this for values-based reasons but then found that economically it was a really powerful business model and has been a key ingredient of our success over time

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: New Belgium took its dedication up a notch in 2013, when it became a certified B Corp, submitting to a rigorous audit of its community impact by the Pennsylvania based B Lab.

B Lab likens the certification to “Fair Trade” for coffee and the “LEED” certification for buildings with environmental and energy-efficient design.

Beyond charitable giving, companies can score more points for making eco-friendly products, offering robust benefit packages, and being transparent in their corporate governance.

New Belgium earned its certification in large part because of its environmental practices: generating 12 percent of its electricity from solar panels and biogas, a fuel they create by the wastewater produced when they make beer. After one year on the job, employees are given bikes to commute carbon free and given shares in the company, which is now employee owned.

KATIE WALLACE: B Corp has given us a way to measure things that aren’t inherently quantitative, but we know are important to us. Like providing 100 percent of our health care premiums for our co-workers or putting solar on site or biogas. It helps us to bring that into a measurement space where we can compare ourselves against other companies and see are we really being leaders in this area or is there a way we can improve?

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Believing business can function as “a force for good,” B Lab has certified 22,000 companies worldwide since 2007. Subjecting mostly small and medium-sized, privately held companies to a 200 point assessment.

The list includes ice cream makers Ben & Jerry’s, eyewear manufacturer Warby Parker, and outdoor clothing giant Patagonia.

There are 99 B Corps in Colorado. That includes businesses that don’t manufacture anything like Denver law firm moye white. Attorney Dominick Sekich oversaw its B Corps application.

DOMINICK SEKICH: There are a lot of opportunities that, say, manufacturers have that, as a service organization, we don’t have. We can’t really point to a supply chain that we’ve improved, because our supply chain is fairly short and concrete.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Moye White acheived B Corp certification after it improved a number of employee benefits, expanding paid parental and family leave, increasing flex time, and starting an employee community service group that volunteers with organizations like Habitat for Humanity.

Sekich says each time an employee takes advantage of their three-month paid family leave benefit, it can cost the firm between $20,000 and $50,000. But the firm believes it’s worth it.

DOMINICK SEKICH: We’ve had some clients approach us asking us how we’ve committed to the environment, how we’ve committed to our communities, and we’re able to point to our certification as a B Corporation as part of that effort.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: When Moye White was working toward its B Corp certification, it turned to B Lab’s Kim Coupanous for assistance.

KIM COUPANOS: If you look at society in general and all of the good things that capitalism has brought to civilization and humanity over the last hundred plus years, there’s been an equal number of really negative things. Massive income divides biotoxicity, greenhouse gases, you name your kind of social or environmental ill. Capitalism has kind of created that.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Before joining B Lab, Coupanous ran an outdoor clothing company for 16 years.

KIM COUPANOUS: I agree with the profit motive and there’s no bones about that. I also know that the power of business to transform society is huge. And we are going into this new century facing some pretty challenging problems that haven’t been solved by the nonprofit sector or the government sector. And at the same time, there’s this kind of spirit of innovation and optimism, especially among Millennials who say we can do better than this.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Economically, Colorado is doing better than most states. Its 2.3 percent unemployment rate is the lowest in the country. The Denver skyline is filled with cranes constructing new apartment buildings for some of the 60,000 people who move to the state every year. Most settling in the relatively affluent greater Denver and Boulder areas.

Will this be relegated to areas that are already populated by the upper middle class, the educated, the tech sector? I can think of many corners of America that they just want jobs. They’re not even having the ability to think about how does this save water.

KIM COUPANOUS: Certainly it really can’t be relegated to the realm of upper middle class progressive city. Because if we are trying to create shared and or durable prosperity for all it means cities that are depressed. It means, you know, local businesses, nail salons, and moving companies, and the local garage.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: The B Corp movement is not without its skeptics.

KENT GREENFIELD: It is a band aid on a cancerous patient.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Boston College law professor Kent Greenfield applauds the intent of b-corps but fears the B Corps movement may mask the need for far greater changes to the way American companies conduct themselves.

KENT GREENFIELD: Let’s be honest the real bad actors in the corporate world are not those who are voluntarily opting in .

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Greenfield argues that there must be changes in corporate governance to legally support companies working to be better citizens.

KENT GREENFIELD: As long as it’s voluntary, then it’s still gonna leave bad actors aside. So if you’re a Wall Street hedge fund manager, are you going to prefer companies that are B Corps? Are you gonna prefer companies who are saying, “no, we don’t think that being a B Corp is conducive to the shareholder value?” So I think our efforts need to be aimed at a more fundamental adjustment in the way we think about corporate obligation and the way we govern corporations.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Despite the lack of federal or state regulation compelling companies to function as better actors, there is a way for companies who pursue both profit and social good to be legally protected.

With a push from B Lab, Colorado and 32 other states have passed legislation allowing companies to incorporate as a public benefit corporation, which enshrines their social mission into their articles of incorporation.

This spring, food and beverage company DanoneWave became the largest public benefit corporation in the U.S., with 6,000 employees and $6 billion in annual revenue. A subsidiary of French multinational Danone, DanoneWave makes organic products like Horizon milk, Silk almond milk, and Wallaby yogurt.

DEBRA ESCHMEYER: We encourage dietary practices that improve the health of people through food.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Deborah Eschmeyer is the vice president of communications and community affairs.

DEBRA ESCHMEYER: When folks go to the grocery store, they want to know that the products are actually doing right by the employees and by the people and the planet.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Its production process is increasingly using natural ingredients and the company has spent money to reduce its waste and promote animal welfare.

Eschmeyer says DanoneWave believes the upfront costs pay off in the long run.

DEBRA ESCHMEYER: These are things that help the bottom line. Because waste reduction, for example, is great for the bottom line. It’s also great for the planet. We have this greater goal of showing that you can meet the financial shareholders’ interests and do right by the people and the planet.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: DanoneWave is arguably providing a test case for scale.


CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: How difficult is it to go through this process with such a large company

DEBRA ESCHMEYER: Yeah, I mean, we’re definitely proving the case. We want to make sure that large companies can do this, and we can do this at scale. And DanoneWave is now one of the top 15 food and beverage companies in the United States. And so when we do this, it’s a challenge to other companies to step up as well.

CHRISTOPHER BOOKER: Six more states are now considering benefit corporation legislation. B Lab says it will certify its 100 Colorado company as a B-Corp next week.

The post Can some corporations become forces for good? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

          23.08.17 21:00 Uhr - Erlangen - Manchester by the Sea        
Tickets erhältlich unter:

USA 2016, 138 Min, ab 12, Regie: Kenneth Lonergan

mit Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams

Lee ist stets in sich gekehrt und lebt ein zurückgezogenes Leben als Hausmeister ohne große Sozialkontakte. Dann erreicht ihn die Nachricht vom Tod seines Bruders, und er reist in seine Heimatstadt ins ländliche Massachusetts, um die Formalitäten zu regeln. Doch das Testament sieht Lee als Vormund seines 16-jährigen Neffen vor. Notgedrungen bleibt er fürs Erste an dem Ort, an dem die Schatten der Vergangenheit immer noch präsent sind. Schauspieler Casey Affleck gelingt die einzigartige Darstellung eines trauernden Mannes, tiefgründig und ohne Pathos.
          Literary Reading This Friday, December 5th at 6 p.m.        

Beyond One Language – Más allá de una lengua

A literary event celebrating the Spanish language and Latino/a culture

The second in a series of popular literary readings will happen Friday, December 5, from 6 to 9 PM, at Taqueria del Rio, 10230 16th Avenue SW in Seattle’s White Center neighborhood.

The goal of these events is to promote the Spanish language – as well as native Latin American languages – via literary readings by Spanish language authors. For the December 5th event, local writers Javier Amaya and Paola Casla Taylor will be reading their work. Zita Paulino will also be there, and will read the poetry of Irma Pinedo Santiago in their native Zapotec language. English translations of the readings will be provided by House of Writers / Casa de Escritores, Inc., so that non-Spanish speakers can join the celebration.

The event is free to the public, and an outdoor setting resembling a Mexican town has been secured in order to enhance the experience. In addition to the readings, there will be a demonstration of traditional Jarabe dance, a book exchange, music, and food.

This event is sponsored by:

  • The Mayor's Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs

  • House of Writers / Casa de Escritores, Inc.

  • The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

  • Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior

  • Hedgebrook

  • Viva la Música

  • 4Culture

  • La Sala

  • Mujeres of the Northwest

# # #

For more information about this event, or to schedule an interview with one of the featured readers, please call Laura González at 206-320-8780 or e-mail her at

          Hedgebrook Café Rozella Event        

On Wednesday, January 30, 2008 Café Rozella in conjunction with Hedgebrook Institute hosted a multi-cultural event. Two authors read from their works. Wendy Call, who is a writer in residence at Richard Hugo House and co-editor of the book, Telling True Stories (Plume/Penguin 2007) read from her latest work.

As well Maria Victoria, from Veracruz, Mexico and author of the novel Les Dejo el Mar (Ediciones B, 2005), a finalist for the 2006 Mariposa Book Award, also gave reading from her works. (

Music was provided by Charanga Danzon, Seattle’s New Cuban Music Ensemble. The ensemble is led by violinist Irene Mitri.

The evening was a grand success with over 70 people attending. A wonderful array of people from the local community as well as from the larger area were on hand for celebration of words and music. We look forward to hosting more such events.

          Unsanctioned Wanderings: Capturing the Vagrant in Romantic Prints        
December 2014

Unsanctioned Wanderings: Capturing the Vagrant in Romantic Prints

Lucy Kimiko Hawkinson Traverse
University of Wisconsin-Madison

“[. . .] their movement cannot be captured in a picture, nor can the meaning of their movements be circumscribed in a text”

-Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life

1.        Epitomized by Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Watching a Sea of Fog (c. 1817-18), and the Wordsworthian peripatetic, the gentlemanly or artistic wanderer is integral to the Romantic imagination. Wandering lies at the heart of picturesque sightseeing, blank verse poetry, specimen collecting, and the Romantic cultivation of self. However, these forms of sanctioned wandering exist against a backdrop of less desirable movements that, nonetheless, inform, color, and at times literally converge with, the endorsed amblings of the inquisitive artist-gentlemen. Unsanctioned forms of wandering existed on a spectrum of criminality, which at times included peddlers, actors, shepherds, discharged soldiers, beggars, orphaned children, gypsies, sailors, highwaymen, pirates, and ultimately, as Toby Benis has argued, “anyone on the road without adequate cause” (2). These disparate groups, while often meticulously differentiated, were also increasingly amalgamated as vagrants through a series of common burdens and discriminatory practices, resulting from changing Poor Laws, licensing, and Vagrancy Acts in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

2.        It is not my aim or desire to reproduce here an exhaustive catalog of wandering types. Rather, I hope to sketch some of the strategies of representation used to capture the vagrant body in print. And further, to tease out some of the tensions and slippages between the text as material object and the roaming body it seeks to arrest. To do this I will examine a selection of British Romantic prints, all bound in books published in London in the first two decades of the nineteenth century (1800-1820). Some of these texts explore a signal category of wanderer (e.g., the urban beggar in the case of John Thomas Smith’s Vagabondiana, or, Anecdotes of mendicant wanderers through the streets of London [London, 1817], or the gypsy in the case of Heinrich Moritz Gottlieb Grellmann’s Dissertation on the Gipseys [London, 1807]) while others assemble a variety of eccentric persons, among which can be found wandering types (e.g., James Caulfield’s Portraits, Memories, and Characters, of Remarkable Persons [London, 1819], or G.H. Wilson’s The Eccentric Mirror [London, 1806]). The prints discussed are chosen because they represent different strategies of resistance to the project of containment or arrest, strategies which include signifying in ways that resist the cataloging missions of the text/author, critiquing the text as material object and commodity, representing stasis as a potentially political act, and encouraging the reader/viewer to be cognizant of their complicity in processes of erasure.

3.        The rich body of scholarship interested in Romantic vagrancy tends to focus primarily on Wordsworth’s representation of and engagement with the itinerant poor. The hope of this project is to explore how a more sustained survey of contemporaneous visual representations might alter and expand our understanding of Romantic vagrancy and its relationship both to the artist’s construction of self and the (supposedly) static image. This project resists the impulse to treat as a given the print’s stasis, or to accept prints as a default medium used in the absence of alternative representational technologies. In highlighting the tension of wandering as a space-time practice and the apparent stasis of the published print, I do not mean to suggest that Romantic moving-picture technologies (such as P.J. de Loutherbourg’s Eidophusikon, exhibited in London in 1781) would have offered a more accurate, neutral, or appropriate means of representing acts of unsanctioned wandering. Rather, by examining prints that represent wanderers we are able to explore instances of resistance that complicate a binary understanding of the moving and the still. Prints may seem to “arrest” or “make still” the wandering impulse, but they also reproduce and disseminate the vagrant body. In this way, prints allow for the movement of images even if they are not typically considered “moving images.”

4.        The Romantic era saw the displacement of many people as a result of enclosure, clearances, and revolutions. As Anne Wallace has argued, the resultant increase in pedestrian mobility, not only in the form of those exiled from common lands and sent adrift, but also in the form of “deliberate excursive walking, especially by the relatively well-to-do and educated,” meant increased contact between those wandering for spiritual or artistic refinement and those made mobile out of economic necessity (166). Such contacts feature prominently in the poetry and prose of the Romantic period, as authorial wanderers frequently encounter members of the wandering class, finding cause to celebrate, condemn, or identify with those traversing the landscape in less orthodox ways.

5.        While it may be problematic to assemble such divergent groups into a single category, a series of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century laws and ordinances worked to consolidate the wandering poor and to place them in a particular relationship to a wage- and settlement-based economy, which, I would argue, gave them a distinct class status. Since 1662, poor relief had been largely based on a system of parish charity that took “settlement” (defined as birth, long-term residence, or employment in a given community) as a prerequisite for assistance (22-23, 29). The wandering poor were inherently disqualified from such assistance, as they were not settled and were thus not the responsibility of any particular parish. Furthermore, this system of localized assistance increased hostilities towards the unsettled, as those forced to pay the poor rate were invested in limiting any additional burden on parish funds. Tales of transporting pregnant women in labor over parish lines, the destruction of cottages, and the forced eviction of unwanted dependents suggest (with possible hyperbole) some of the strategies used to decrease the pauper population and its concomitant costs (Lloyd 122; Olsen 23). For the nomadic poor this meant continually enforced movement. Unwilling to take on additional charity cases, many communities set laws restricting the number of days vagrants could camp within parish limits. Simultaneously, a series of Vagrant Laws made the very act of continuous, unsettled movement a criminal offense. Thus, an ironic and illogical system was produced whereby nomadic persons were (through local ordinances) required to move regularly, yet by conforming to these laws they subjected themselves to a variety of state-sanctioned punishments, including whipping, imprisonment, and forced labor (Mayall 258).

6.        If, as Celeste Langan has argued, vagrancy functions as both the paradigm of Romantic movement and thought, and as the structural analogy by which we understand the liberal subject, how does this liberalism relate to the materiality of the book, particularly the encyclopedic volumes of types which both contain and mimic the movements of their subjects (Langan 27)? While wandering may be integral to Romantic thought and action, so too is the desire to capture, record, and classify. Indeed, the most immediately apparent discontinuity in prints of wandering types centers on the tension between mobility and stasis. These are persons defined by their unauthorized movement, and yet, to record them as distinct personalities or types requires a degree of arrest. Thus, we find a collection of images organized around a verb that is largely unrepresented. These figures sit, stand, crouch, pose, gesture, and occasionally step, but they do not seem to wander.

7.        A print of Margaret Finch, “Queen of the Gypsies at Norwood,” from James Caulfield’s Portraits, Memories, and Characters, of Remarkable Persons is particularly striking in its apparent stasis (figure 1). As “Queen of the Gypsies,” Finch is unequivocally a representative of a wandering people, and we are told that she has spent her life “traversing the whole of England, in the double capacity of gipsy and thief.” However, in this image we find Finch boulder-like in her squat immobility and groundedness. Having adopted the custom “of sitting on the ground with her chin resting on her knees,” the author explains, Finch’s sinews became “so contracted, that she could not extend herself or change her position” (Caulfield, Portraits, 247-249). In this way, Finch becomes almost hyperbolically immobile, her body calcifying into a stationary lump. Thus fixed, she becomes a site of pilgrimage, a cause for wandering rather than its practitioner, as “persons from the highest rank and quality to that of the lowest class in life” clog the roads leading to Norwood, hoping to see the “singularity of her figure” and benefit from the “fame of her fortune-telling” (Caulfield, Portraits, 247-249). Her spatial movement restricted, she remains an embodiment of temporal roving, as she is believed to possess the ability to see into the future.

8.         As Michael Kramp has argued, the figure of the deformed and repulsive gypsy hag was a Romantic type constructed to undercut the “threat to heterosexual and labor (re)production” posed by the late eighteenth-century trope of Gypsy femininity as aggressively sexual. The old fortune-teller, the “antithesis of sexual allure,” does not endanger heteronormativity, or pose the threat of miscegenation (Kramp, Reconceptualization, 1339). In her decrepit and static state, Margaret Finch becomes an attraction rather than an attractor, and yet, this depiction also exceeds its presumed project to simply re-present a “type”.

9.         Though unwanted by Norwood (Caufield complains that Surry and Kent are especially “pestered” and “plundered” by gypsies), Margaret Finch appears defiant in her stasis (Caulfield 247-249). The cave-like structure that she inhabits seems to have grown up around her, mimicking her contours and naturalizing her place in the landscape. Her face, the nose of which has been drawn in more dramatic profile than the eyes and mouth, seems to hover between a frontal and side view, and concomitantly between a specific likeness and an attempt at physiognomic typing. Her direct stare confronts the viewer, even as her pronouncedly arched and elongated nose distracts from the specificity of this address by calling upon ethnic stereotypes meant to signal her eastern origins and status as “domestic other” (Nord 5).

10.         Bolstering the potential defiance of this address are details that would signal her irreverence to the Romantic reader. In addition to the predictable advice regarding hard work, religious devotion, and frugality, the poor were often advised to avoid unnecessary dependents, such as pets. In a 1795 article in The Times, we find a curious preoccupation with dogs as signifiers of excess (qtd. in Olsen 21-22). Dogs are presented as luxuries that may be afforded the rich, but are so impractical for the poor that their retention disqualifies their owners from charitable assistance. The presence of not just one, but two dogs solidifies Finch’s status as undeserving of—even defiant toward—charitable aid. Likewise signaling Finch’s “excess” are her tobacco pipe and drink. [1] 

11.         Though Margaret Finch dies in 1740, anchored to a Norwood hovel by a decrepit body, through the reproduction and dissemination of this print, she regains a measure of spatial and temporal movement, persisting through time and “traversing the whole of England” once again. Here, the print seems not to “arrest” or “capture” the subject so much as record an act of defiant immobility—stasis as a political act, in the face of discriminatory laws and practices. The boulder-like solidity of Finch’s form, enveloped by the landscape and seemingly immovable, suggests an insubordinate persistence.

12.         Refusing a teleological and hierarchicalizing narrative, recent scholarship purposes a greater degree of ambiguity, reciprocity, and oscillation between still and moving images. More importantly, such work critically rethinks the implications of stasis. Resisting an easy alignment of stasis with death, or a confusion of “rigor with rigor mortis,” Karen Beckman and Jean Ma advocate the “recursive temporality of the ‘still moving’ ” (5, 11). Beckman and Ma are particularly concerned with the political potential of the recursive and hope that it may provide an alternative to conceptualizing collective political agency solely in terms of “movement” (14). Attempting to forge a model of productive recursive activity, recent scholarship stresses the double meaning of “still,” which may be used to connote an arrest or immobility as well as a persistence or continuation. Significantly, if taken in the latter sense, “the still is on the side of becoming and moving rather than in strict opposition with it” (Kaplan 221). It is this tension or doubleness within “the still” that Jean-Luc Nancy has explored in relation to the logic of concealment (31-47). In a like vein, Jean Baudrillard has interrogated stasis that is not static in diverse instances of “freezing,” arguing that such “immobility is not an inertia, but a paroxysm which boils movement down into its opposite” (67). Whereas Nancy purposes a understanding of (the) “still” which is implicated in movement, Baudrillard insists that even if the still is understood as the antithesis of movement, it cannot be carelessly aligned with inaction or apathy. Rather, it is a particularly concentrated, dense, or “intense” extraction of that movement.

13.         An inaugural plate in Heinrich Moritz Gottlieb Grellmann’s Dissertation on the Gipseys (figure 2), may offer an instance of one such dense freeze. Arrested in the moment of taking a step, a gypsy woman of elongated stature moves from light to shade with an infant and small child. The varied positions of eyes and bodies gives the figure group a varied directionality that seems to work against the suggestion of movement in a particular direction. At the same time, the woman’s movement from light to dark within the hillside scene suggests a true spatial movement through a landscape that is more than a token backdrop. In combination, these aspects of composition and lighting give the scene the odd effect of appearing both spontaneous and posed. A coin in the woman’s outstretched hand (though vaguely delineated) is marked by the simple cross-and-dot pattern of a medieval two- or four-pence (Fleetwood 34-35). [2]  Though ostensibly meant to signal that the woman has received alms, this numismatic anachronism also complicates the temporality of the scene. In conjunction with the figures’ ahistorical dress, the coin suggests a temporal as well as spatial unrootedness, which stands in tension with the print’s claim to have captured a specific moment. In this way, the print seems to present its subjects as simultaneously caught in the act of wandering and performing the act with choreographed exaggeration, and thus gives us a particularly dense extraction of the act that is both specific and symbolic. While acknowledging that anachronistic details fit comfortably with primitivizing constructions of Gypsies as unchanging and timeless, we can still recognize a resistant potential between the supposed temporality of the ethnographic sketch (the claim to have captured) and suggestions of a deeper, un-moored time within the image.

14.        The ethnographic project of containment and classification may be further undermined by the book as material object. Many of the books dedicated to vagabonds, gypsies, and others of the wandering class become themselves strangely nomadic texts. Even a work as seemingly focused as Grellmann’s Dissertation on the Gipseys is notably sprawling and fragmented in its execution. Illustrations are clearly appropriated from other contexts, and gesture more towards their disparate origins than a cohesive narrative. Even the frontispiece, an engraving of a pirate and wanderer by James Heath (1757-1834), apparently after a painting by Richard Corbould (1757-1831) or one of his sons (figure 3), [3]  seems to have been appropriated from another context (as the unrelated volume and page numbers below the caption suggest). Thus, an image intended to introduce a focused treatise on a single topic (gypsies), instead conflates gypsies with other wandering types (pirates) and encourages the viewer to think of other mediums and published contexts for the image at hand. Unfolding pages cut to different sizes, interspersed with plates illustrating themes only tangentially related to the argument of the text, continually push the reader out of the confines of the book to imagine additional sources, narratives, and paths of inquiry. While Grellmann’s text strives to categorize, re-present, and define gypsies in a systematic fashion, its format and diverse content continually undermine this agenda.

15.        Even in seemingly more cohesive ethnographic projects, competing desires to generalize and particularize stand in tension. In Vagabondiana, or, Anecdotes of mendicant wanderers through the streets of London, John Thomas Smith strives to depict the “wanderers” of London, but in order to obtain portraits “drawn from life” he must arrest his roaming subjects. Thus, a vagrant like “Black Joe” (Joseph Johnson) (figure 4) is identified by the specific address of his supposed encounter with Smith, “N4 Chandos Street, Convent Garden.” Ironically, however, this specific location is not articulated in the print, the background of which consists only of non-descript shading. Smith undertakes the seemingly contradictory task of assembling subjects that are both unique and representative. Organized around abstract qualities such as “industriousness,” the text produces as archive of distinct “types” valued for their perceived role as representatives of larger categories. “Black Joe” is taken to represent both the black urban poor (he is one of only two characters in the book identified by a racial signifier) and the particularly creative or ingenious beggar. Thus, Johnson is represented as both a unique subject and a type, and as both emplaced and de-contextualized.

16.        Smith explains that Johnson, imaged with a crutch and cane, has sustained wounds rendering “him incapable of doing further duty on the ocean.” However, as a “consequence of his having been employed in the merchant’s service only,” Johnson is “not entitled to the provision of Greenwich,” and “having no claim to relief in any parish” must glean a living on the streets. Though the elaborate model ship, which Johnson wears affixed to a simple cylindrical cap, is described by Smith simply as evidence of especially creative beggary inspired by his former life as a sailor, between text and image other narratives surface. The author explains that Johnson animates his model ship “by a bow of thanks, or a supplicating inclination to a drawing room window,” thus simulating the “appearance of sea-motion” (33). Johnson’s decision to masquerade as an aquatic vessel may stem from his time as a sailor (one of many, primarily lower-class, occupations available to black Britons in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century), and yet the juxtaposition of a black man and large ship during a time of heated debate surrounding slavery also resonates on other levels.

17.        At the time of this sketch, the British slave trade had (ostensibly) been abolished, but slavery itself was still rampant. Additionally, ships held the threat of deportation, as London officials concocted solutions to the “problem” of the city’s black poor, an effort that culminated in an attempt to ship London’s impoverished blacks to a colony in Sierra Leone (Gerzina 142-173). Though unexplored by Smith, the context of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the possible threat of deportation are difficult to repress. Although we are assured that Johnson’s gestures are “supplicating,” his performance carries a political edge, an edge that may or may not have been registered by the women taking sugar in their tea as Johnson theatrically “sailed” past their drawing room windows.

18.        The fact that Smith’s Vagabondiana could itself enter such drawing rooms, becoming a sort of guidebook to the eccentric characters that passed, further complicates the project of “capturing” Johnson’s likeness. Smith’s impulse to record his own meanderings through sketches of fellow wanderers could be read as an act of violence by which the implied movement of the author/illustrator is privileged, while the subject’s movement is arrested or denied. By assembling an encyclopedic volume of vagrant types, Smith simulates the act of wandering using the conceit of “happening upon” beggars in their native environs and making “sketches taken from life”. Arguably, the disassociative perusing offered by such texts could function as safe supplement for more radical movement.

19.        Romantic sightseeing and landscape texts were likewise invested in simulating the act of wandering in potentially problematic ways. In Humphrey Repton’s Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, the enclosure of common lands and the clearance of undesirables is enacted with the simple lift of a page (Harrison 46). In “View from my own cottage, in Essex” (figure 5), the concluding hand-colored aquatint from Repton’s final treatise and memoir, we find a view of the artist’s own yard. Framed by two large trees, Repton’s view is molested by the traffic of public thoroughfares, which lie just beyond his low lattice fence. More troubling still is the one-eyed, one-armed, one-legged vagrant who leans against this fence. Disabled, elderly, and seemingly exhausted, the man’s mournful eye, long face, and hunched weariness, echoed by the long shadow he casts, seem intended to win our sympathy as viewers. Behind him, in a meager triangle of public green, flocks of ducks scavenge for food, perhaps underscoring the beggar’s own reliant state. Repton’s solution to the aesthetic problem posed by these vagrant scavengers (the beggar as well as the birds) is simple erasure. Lifting the half page reveals an “improved” garden, in which the formerly common green is appropriated and privatized with the use of handsome shrubbery. Plantings and trellises further obscure undesirable aspects of his surroundings (such as the butcher shop) and the beggar disappears altogether. In a final—almost perverse—gesture, Repton offers an empty chair (near the shade of a tree), but only after that weary traveler so clearly in need of such a comfort has been completely expunged. In this way, the "before" and "after" design of Repton’s over-slip illustrations work to justify both the enclosure of common land and the removal of unwanted persons on aesthetic grounds (pun intended).

20.        While the reader/viewer is made potentially complicit in the act of erasure by lifting the page of Repton’s book, it is a process that can be reversed (the vagrant body can be reinserted into the landscape by replacing the over-leaf). Arguably, the nature of “before” and “after” views depend on a certain back and forth comparison between the two images. While the “before” and “after” images are valued differently and their sequencing is meant to suggest improvement and progress, fully appreciating the extent and specificity of the renovation requires that the reader/viewer refer back to the original scene. Likewise resistant to the process of erasure is the inclusion of such a memorable and explicitly damaged body (bearing three distinct wounds), the removal of which is difficult to excuse as an ethically neutral act.

21.        This is not to assume that the injured vagrant is necessarily seeking aid. Certainly, many wandering poor practiced trades and had strategies for living off the land, and were explicitly not looking for charitable assistance or long-term residency in a parish. However, their forced—and simultaneously criminalized—nomadism made almost any action dangerous and suspect. Those who preferred, or were forced into, continual movement were faced with the additional difficulty of navigating lives on rapidly dwindling common lands. In “View from my own cottage, in Essex” we see enclosure on a small scale, as Repton appropriates the apparently public triangle of green for his own purposes, thus alienating both the beggar and the scavenging birds.

22.         Enclosure, the privatization of communal grounds, greatly restricted both the movement and the resources of the wandering poor. The process of consolidating and enclosing commons, wastelands, and open fields into private holdings demarcated by fences, walls, hedgerows, or trenches originated in the late medieval period, but experienced an unprecedented surge in England between 1793 and 1815 (McCalman 496). In many regions the process of enclosure eroded customary rights, including the right to graze animals, gather wood (estover), fish (piscary), cut peat (turbary), and glean wheat or produce left after the harvest (Janowitz 155). Like the agricultural laborers that depended on access to common lands to supplement their meager incomes, for members of nomadic or wandering classes attempting to live off the land, the loss of these customary rights severely affected their ability to subsist. Such rights are explicitly flaunted in an introductory plate from Grellmann’s Dissertation on the Gipseys (figure 6), in which a group of encamped gypsies flaunt their estover and piscary rights.

23.        This depiction of potential theft is exacerbated by the tense relationship between the book as commodity and the vagrant body’s supposed exclusion from commodity circulation. The Gypsy “thirst for glittering Gold” described in Dissertation on the Gypsies is echoed in the glittering crest and gold-coated pages of the book itself, reminding the reader that the artfully-bound volume which collects and contains these observations may itself be an object both coveted and stolen. In this way, the text, which delineates a particular relationship between the Gypsy and personal property, participates in this construction by making the possibility of theft more immediate to the reader—you hold in your hand something that is simultaneously described as desirable to the “dangerous” gypsy vagrant. Thus, the text itself seems to speak the threat of theft.

24.         While vagrants were often differentiated by degree of perceived criminality, I maintain that considering groups as seemingly disparate as beggars, gypsies and highway-men under the umbrella of a threatening un-rootedness helps to clarify how even the most explicitly criminal of these could be appropriated by artists as models, objects of meditation, or catalysts for expressions of empathy, longing, and admiration.

25.        The competing modes of representation we see in “The Trwe [sic] Effigies of James Whitney, the Notorious Highwayman” (figure 7) from James Caulfield’s Portraits, Memories and Characters of Remarkable Persons (1819), speak to an ambivalence toward the Romantic criminal wanderer as well as to a conflation of artistic and criminal types. Though decidedly a criminal—defined (in part) by his roaming, un-rooted movement—Whitney is here seen as a leisured artist or writer dressed as though seated in his study. Comparable images abound in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century portraiture, attesting to what fashion historian Aileen Ribeiro describes as the “well-established, (even hackneyed) convention for artists, men of letters and musicians to be painted in loose gowns” (34). James Maubert’s 1695 portrait of John Dryden (poet, critic, and author of heroic verse) and a 1689-90 portrait of Robert Boyle (after J. Kerseboom) are but two examples of the long tradition upon which Whitney’s “portraitist” draws. However, the engraver clearly plays against these associations as well. Though the dressing gown is understood as comfortable domestic attire for the gentleman who works at home (or, more specifically, the gentleman who does not work, but has pursuits or improves himself at home), it is here coupled not with the usual slippers and study, but with markers of Whitney’s outdoor livelihood: his boots and hat. Further parodying the convention, Whitney directs our gaze not to his accomplishments or objects of study, as we often find in similar images of learned men, but rather to the shackle on his left ankle, underscoring his captivity and criminality. Whitney signifies as both artist-gentlemen and notorious outlaw, and thus the image, while static, moves the viewer along (at least) two separate channels of association. [4]  Thus, the conflation of types inevitably leaches out through competing vocabularies of representation—a process echoed by the fugitive pigments that, with time, leak across the page, allowing the figure to move once again as a ghostly remnant. Though all aging prints are subject to this chemical instability, there is something particularly haunting about this effect in relation to the nomadic body seemingly captured within the text.

26.         Whitney’s “arrest” seems particularly pronounced as he is both literally imprisoned and figuratively captured by the text. Yet, images of cages, prisons, and captives often functioned to inversely signal ideas of physical and mental liberty in eighteenth-century art. As Lorenz Eitner argues, unlike the allegorical representations of previous centuries, the Romantics turned away from the Goddesses of Liberty and Phrygian caps of Baroque art, toward more indirect representations of Liberty, primarily signaled through images of its antithesis. [5]  Compassion for prisoners, images that underscore the pathos of enchainment, sensational tales of prison escapes, and a general public sympathy for the incarcerated seem to pervade the period. Likewise, Eitner points out that “the prisoner’s plight became a favorite metaphor of the isolation or persecution of artists by society” (37). Thus, the importance of liberty is underscored by images that depict its absence: the bound captive, the long-suffering prisoner. Similarly, perhaps, static portraits of wandering types call to mind the mobility they negate.

27.        The representation of “Victor, the Savage of Aveyron,” (figure 8) in G.H. Wilson’s Eccentric Mirror provides another instance of a wandering body both literally and figuratively captured, but makes more explicit the role of text in that arrest. Having wandered the woods unsupervised for many years, Wilson relates, Victor is finally caught by three sportsmen in 1798. Wilson tells us that they find “a disgusting slovenly boy, affected with spasmodic, and frequently with convulsive motions, continually balancing himself like some of the wild animals in the menagerie” (5). And yet, in the portrait that introduces the story, we see the clean, almost classical torso of a boy poised and fully contained within an elaborate set of framing devices. Though supposedly a child of the wilderness, in this likeness, nature is sent to the margins, contained and domesticated in two entwined cornucopias that pour down their bounty as decorative flanking. Far from a threatening or enveloping wilderness, this vegetation is contained and merely ornamental. However, the portrait, in which he is groomed but still naked, introduces an ambiguous temporality. Is this “Victor” before or after his capture?

28.        In a panel below, “Victor” is shown seated with a tutor learning his alphabet. Above, a stylus, paper, and alphabetic flashcards reiterate the theme of literacy. To the right, a badminton racket and birdie indicate a strategy for channeling his “sporadic” movement into organized sport. Together, these symbols suggest the disciplining of the mind and body. However, they also underscore the fraught relationship between the nomadic body and the text as a conduit of literacy, suggesting that “Victor” must be made literate in order to understand his own process of domestication. That is, he must be brought into literacy in order to recognize his own place in the text—a process underscored by the mirror-like quality of the medallion that contains his likeness and the way his gaze is directed at the facing page, on which the narrative of his life commences. The scene may narrate the process by which “Victor” will come to understand his own imprisonment within the text, but it also holds out the possibility of future self-representation.

29.        As a strategy of tying language to static forms that can thus be (at least in some sense) “owned,” the printed word seems inherently at odds with the itinerant subject it strives to depict. The historiated initials (figure 9) that populate John Thomas Smith’s Vagabondiana speak to the anxieties surrounding mobility in relation to the written word as property, and suggest acts resistant to reductive classifications. The small human figures that entwine themselves around inauguratory letters molest, steal, and vandalize the words used to describe them in subtly subversive ways, suggesting that language—even written language—is never stable. The movement of these embodied letters may also speak to what Michel de Certeau has called the “parallelism between linguistic and pedestrian enunciation,” whereby walking (understood as analogous to the speech act) produces the possibilities it executes (99). Thus, walking, as a space of enunciation, can make certain possibilities “exist as well as emerge” (98). Likewise, the man who entwines his body with the inauguratory letter of the word “Beggary” simultaneously presents and performs the word that seeks to classify him. That is, he performs a sort of linguistic theft.

30.        The tensions registered here between nomadic bodies and the texts that strive to anchor them are furthered complicated by the changing understandings of texts as intellectual property during the Romantic period. Emerging from a Kantian understanding of original genius as antithetical to the spirit of imitation, [6]  Wordsworth, Coleridge, and other major literary figures of the period argued for a distinction between original labor and original genius (Saint-Amour 30-31). Ironically, as Paul Saint-Amour argues, “the Romantic conception of authorship revolted against the very market conditions—mechanical reproduction, textual commodification, logics of equivalency, labor-based copyright laws—that had made authorship professionally viable in the first place” (31). Imbedded within this idea was the belief that the artist was ahead of his time. In the words of Saint-Amour, the Romantic conception of Genius “was earliness personified: not only did geniuses do things before anyone else, they antedated even their own comprehensibility and consumability” (32). The Romantic roots of what would solidify into a more self-conscious conception of the avant-garde as the century progressed is worth underscoring as it coincides with changing understandings of intellectual property and copyright law.

31.        Between 1814 and 1842, copyright protection was expanded from 14 to 42 years, and the first posthumous copyright law was enacted, protecting a work for 7 years after the author’s death. A major catalyst for these extensions was the argument, put forth by Wordsworth and others, that true artistic genius could not be understood in its own time and thus required a postmortem window, during which its value could finally be recognized (Saint-Amour 32). While the idea of artistic genius far precedes the nineteenth century, the concern that this genius was unlikely to be sufficiently appreciated during the artist’s own lifetime, that the artist was “out of synch” with his contemporaries (explicitly not co-temporaneous), seems a peculiarly Romantic preoccupation, and is suggestively imbricated with assumptions about the vagrant as having an eccentric relationship to time. Gypsies, and to a lesser extent other wandering types, were consistently assumed to have prophetic powers, as countless representations of gypsy fortune telling and divination attest. Thus, in addition to a sort of spatial eccentricity, members of the wandering class were often presumed to have a temporal eccentricity.

32.        The origins and lineage of vagrants were often (temporally as well as geographically) obscured. Grellmann’s Dissertation, for instance, spends an entire chapter attempting to determine from what country Gypsies originate and at precisely what date they came to be in England. By definition without land or title, vagrants were by and large excluded from the city and parish records that would give them a clear place in hegemonic time (further obscuring questions of origin and lineage). Perhaps a reflection of this ambiguity, the wandering figure is often constructed as a timeless, prophetic figure. [7] 

33.        Through changing copyright laws we find Romantic authors insisting on their lack of contemporanaiety and an attendant need for temporal freedom (through the prolonged life of their works). In this argument for a proto-avant garde I see a sort of temporal wandering, a feeling of disrootedness from one’s own era, a belief that artistic production is not of one time or place, but roams—not unlike those vagrant bodies with whom the Romantic artist so readily identifies. However, we should also note a certain paradox operating within this forced alliance. The Romantic conception of original genius, as a less tangible and heavily mythologized alternative to original labor (understood as industrial and solid), ostensibly resists the labor-based copyright laws it helps to enact—laws concerned with the production and distribution of texts as private commodities.

34.         To state this contradiction more precisely, at the same time that Romantic artists take the wandering, property-less subject as a model for creative production, they advocate for intellectual property laws that draw increasingly rigid boundaries around the intellectual-as-commodity. Concomitant, then, with the land enclosures that help to further dispossess the wandering class, we find a series of intellectual or literary enclosures that privatize texts, removing them from the public domain. As an added insult, these texts frequently contain representations (either literary or visual) of wandering bodies, which they twice alienate: both in their representational arrest, and through their commoditization and privatization as texts operating within a capitalist economy and under the protection of copyright monopolies. And yet, despite this double gesture of appropriation and enclosure, the vagrant body is not wholly confined. Repeatedly, we see it surface, resist, and question the parameters of its enclosure.

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Benis, Toby. Romanticism on the Road: The Marginal Gains of Wordsworth’s Homeless. New York: St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 2000.

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De Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. Trans. Steven F. Rendall. Berkeley: U of California P, 1984.

Eitner, Lorenz. “Cages, Prisons, and Captives in Eighteenth-Century Art.” Images of Romanticism: Verbal and Visual Affinities. Ed. Karl Kroeber and William Walling. New Haven: Yale UP, 1978. 13-38.

Fleetwood, William. “An Appendix to Chronicon Preciosum: Containing An Historical Account of Coins.” Chronicon Preciosum: or, An Account of English Gold and Silver Money. London: Printed for T. Osborne, 1745. 1-55.

Gerzina, Gretchen. Black London: Life Before Emancipation. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers UP, 1995.

Glajar, Valentina and Domnica Radulescu, eds. “Gypsies” in European Literature and Culture: Studies in European Culture and History. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

Grellmann, Heinrich Moritz Gottlieb. Dissertation on the Gipseys. London: William Ballintine, 1807.

Harrison, Gary. Wordsworth’s Vagrant Muse: Poetry, Poverty, and Power. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1994.

Hawes, Derek and Barbara Perez. The Gypsy and the State: The Ethnic Cleansing of British Society. Bristol: SAUS Publications, 1995.

Janowitz, Anne. “Land.” An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age: British Culture 1776-1832. Ed. Iain McCalman, et al. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999. 152-161.

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Wilson, G.H. The Eccentric Mirror. London: James Cundee, 1806-1807.

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[1] The accompanying text suggests that a “mug of beer” may be had “at the place generally called the Gipsy-house” (Caulfield 247-249). BACK

[2] Coins with a similar pattern on the obverse of the monarch’s profile were minted between the reigns of Richard I and Henry VII (c. 1189-1509). Choosing to show the back of the coin further obscures the temporal as a coin’s face changes with each new reign. BACK

[3] Richard Corbould (1757-1831) had two sons, George Corbould (1786-1846) and Henry Corbould (1787-1844). Richard Corbould married Charlotte Heath, a daughter of the Heath family of engravers and their eldest son, George, apprenticed with James Heath (Peltz). BACK

[4] The “gentlemen thief” was a salient category in the Romantic imagination, exemplified by the “Prince of Pickpockets,” George Barrington (1755-1804), a trained actor and London’s most notorious and celebrated thief. Although arrested repeatedly, Barrington was often (supposedly) released on account of his “gentlemanly demeanor and eloquence,” testifying to the slippage between the categories he embodied (McCalman 417). BACK

[5] There are, of course, notable exceptions (e.g., Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, 1830) however, Eitner persuasively argues that, in general, the Romantic period sees a movement away from this type of overt allegory. BACK

[6] As put forth in the Critique of Pure Judgment (1790). See, for example, Kant 150-51. BACK

[7] A popular subject in art of the preceding centuries, the gypsy fortune-teller gained renewed cultural currency in the beginning of the nineteenth century with Sir Walter Scott’s Guy Mannering, or, The Astrologer, published in 1815. The novel’s ambiguous hero, Meg Merrilies, a tempestuous gypsy, and one of the most memorable literary gypsies of the era, famously divines young Harry Bertram’s horoscope. Not only were illustrations of this scene well known through the various prints of Scott’s novel, the figure of Meg Merrilies became the popular subject of paintings and poetry, including John Keats’ “Meg Merrilies,” of 1818. BACK

Authored by (Secondary): 

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Russ Woolley, Peggy Eason, Sue Matsuki: You Gotta Have Friends!
The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.
-Coco Chanel

Happy July 23rd, 2017!
July 23 is the 204th day of the year . There are 161 days remaining until the end of the year. Once again, the title of my blog today, comes from one of my blogs.
As I sat down to begin today's blog, I was listening to Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (ORIGINAL CAST
RECORDING). It opened on Broadway on March 1st, 1979 at The Uris Theater, now the Gershwin. At the time of it's opening, I was living in Conway, South Carolina and in my last year of high  school. My horoscope tells me today that if I can tune into that song on the cosmic radio, I'll find harmony and understanding. I'm finding that to be true in ALL aspects of my life It goes on to tell me that this week is about the information I'm receiving from dreams and psychic visions.
It was still on Broadway when I arrived in New York five months later and was a major hit. I still remember vividly the marquees and the TV ads. It is still a regret of mine that I did not see it at the time. There were several reasons at the time. The first was financial. When I arrived in NY on August 5th, 1979, I had $500.00 in my pocket!
I was very frugal in terms of getting by. I got my first job (as a Wall Street messenger) my first full day in New York (August 6th) for $6.00 an hour. I still had to be frugal!
The second reason was the subject matter!
However, as time has moved on, it truly is one of my favorite scores.
This might come as a surprise to all of my friends who know me, but I would LOVE to play Sweeney some day! Believe it or not, it is one of my bucket items.
Warren Schein, Sarah Rice, David Sabella, Richard Skipper, Sharon McNight, Producer Russ Woolley. (Photo by Maryann Lopinto RSC June 18th, 2017)
Ken Billington
Also, I know two of the key players, Ken Billington, the lighting designer, and, most especially, Sarah Rice, who has become a very dear friend. As a matter of fact, Sarah was one of the featured guests in my Richard Skipper Celebrates show on June 18th recently.

July 23rd, 1979...It was a Monday. I know that I was working at Grand Strand Amusement Park. In 13 days, I would be moving to New York and my life would be forever changed. I just got goosebumps as I typed those words.
I had NO IDEA what the world
would hold for me. I still don't. My dad doubted my abilities. Every time I mentioned my eminent departure, rather than allowing me to celebrate my excitement, he would laugh and say I would be back in three weeks. In 13 days, it will mark 37 years! I pinch myself to this day that that happened.

Carol Channing performing in the Carter White House

Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include detective novelist Raymond Chandler in 1888; Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie in 1892; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in 1936 (age 81); actor Ronny Cox in 1938 (age 79); talk show host Don Imus in 1940 (age 77);
The sun is now in Leo
drummer Dino Danelli (The Rascals) in 1944 (age 73); drummer John Rutsey (Rush) in 1952; musician David Essex in 1947 (age 70); actor Edie McClurg in 1951 (age 66); Dutch film director Theo van Gogh in 1957; actor Woody Harrelson in 1961 (age 56); actor Eriq La Salle in 1962 (age 55); actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in 1967; guitarist Slash in 1965 (age 52); singer Alison Krauss in 1971 (age 46); actor Marlon Wayans in 1972 (age 45); former White House intern Monica Lewinsky in 1973 (age 44); singer Michelle Williams in 1980 (age 37); actor Daniel Radcliffe in 1989 (age 28); country singer Danielle Bradbery in 1996 (age 21).
 Philip Seymour Hoffman ~ Born: July 23, 1967, Fairport, NY
Died: February 2, 2014, West Village, New York City, NY.
In that special week of July people in US were listening to Bad Girls by Donna Summer. In UK Are 'Friends' Electric by Tubeway Army was in the top 5 hits. The Amityville Horror, directed by Stuart Rosenberg, was one of the most Sophie's Choice by William Styron was one of the best selling books.
viewed movies released in 1979.
Number One for this week in 1981 was Air Supply with The One That You Love .

My horoscope is telling me that a friend or relative may be acting exceptionally nice, but I can’t help but wonder if there is more going on than meets my eye. Hmmm? I wonder who that could be!
I'm listening and making a LOT of changes in my life. The 'WORD for the day is INSIGHTFULNESS.  Think of this word as your mantra for the day. First apply the word to yourself, THEN apply this word to EVERYONE YOU meet. Think of this word as you respond to EVERY POST you see throughout the day. The 'word 'for TODAY is INSIGHTFULNESS . Please pay it forward...

Thank you, Kevin Scott Hall for posting this on Facebook today: 
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1923.
I Know I Am But Summer to Your Heart
Edna Saint Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

The young artist of today need no longer say "I am a painter', or "a poet", or "a dancer." He is simply an "artist". All of life will be open to him.
-Allan Kaprow

Thousands flooded the streets of Berlin for the annual Christopher Street Day parade in support of LGBT rights 

Richard's Suggestions: Life IS a cabaret 

Ann Kittredge is returning to Don't Tell Mama next Saturday, July 29 at 4pm. Go on over and get out of the heat!!!! :)

Peter Filichia gave Josh Ellis a wonderful opportunity to talk about the making of two-and-a-half legendary Broadway cast recordings.
Specifically: the original Broadway cast recording of 42ND STREET (1980), Yul Brynner and Constance Towers's THE KING AND I (1977) and SONDHEIM: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE (1973).  The article explains the half.
 As of this blog, Only 7 seats remain for Josh's show at United Solo Theatre Festival at Theatre Row on Thursday, September 14 at 9 PM.
Stacy Sullivan: Photo by Michael Lee Stever.

  Stacy Sullivan is headed into the studio to record her 7th album...updates soon! MUCH SUCCESS, Stacy!

Encouraged by many, Stephen Mosher has written a memoir that he has designed to be like a box of candy.

If you are out in LA: TONIGHTS THE NIGHT,
6 p.m social and silent auction...
Benefit for
Actor and Others for Animals
At the historic El Portal Theater in NOHO.


THE KEVIN LUTKE TRIO make their NYC Debut at The Metropolitan Room, August 3, 2017 at 7PM

Multi-Award winning singer/songwriter, Bobby Belfry, along with world-class guitarist, Kevin Lutke and his Trio, have created a new set of socio-political jazz/folk/rock inspired contemporary pop music that has been burning up The Hudson Valley, with concerts at The Illuminated Concert Festival in Newburgh, Maureen’s Jazz Cellar in Nyack, and the Fanwood
Concert Series.

The music is uplifting and empowered with a bit of humor, which is exactly what the arts need in this tumultuous political climate of our times.

Mr. Belfry has performed at The White House, The Kennedy Center, and Lincoln Center, in addition to countless theatres and nightclubs throughout the country and abroad. He is a featured artist in the music documentary, “This Time” and has 3 albums of music on iTunes and several streaming sites. “Bobby Belfry is one to savor, embrace, and lend the hand of fame to,” said BILLBOARD Magazine.

Mr. Lutke has a Masters Degree in Jazz Guitar and composition from NYU, and has performed with countless jazz luminaries throughout his career. Kevin also has 3 CDs of original and cover music available on iTunes and other streaming services.

The group is rounded out by Jay Brunka on upright bass, and John Romagnoli on percussion.

The concert at The Metropolitan Room, on August 3, at 7pm, is the group’s NYC debut. There is a $15 Cover, $25 food/drink minimum
Please purchase tickets online at

A new album of the music performed this evening is in the works on the DEKO Music Label.

This is something I wish I could go to! Oz, The National Convention.
The wonders of the White City... The fun of the Midwest Oz Festival... Find your heart’s desire in Chicago—the inspiration for Oz.

Thursday: Kick off the weekend with a party at the home of Oz collector and convention co-chairman Walter Krueger.

Friday: From a Kansas twister to the Nome King’s mines, Friday morning is filled with farm fun. In the afternoon, explore animated Oz films, followed by an evening fashion show of famous Dorothys and a live Oz music program.

Saturday: Saturday emphasizes Chicago’s many Oz connections with programs, speakers, films, and performances.

The afternoon Oz Auction will be a highlight for collectors.
And yes, there will be cake: it’s the International Wizard of Oz Club’s 60th anniversary!

Sunday: After breakfast, enjoy the final day of the Midwest Oz Fest in neighboring Tinley Park. Join Oz friends for a bring-your-box-lunch open house at Walter Krueger’s. Optionally, sign up for a small-group Oz tour into Chicago, or head out to explore on your own. 

Regroup for dinner at the Hyde Park home of Carrie Hedges as they honor her tenure as Oz Club president.

For complete information, visit

There is also the Midwest Wizard of Oz Festival

August 4th-6th Tinley Park Illinois.

Visit Karen Armstrong Owens' sales booth at the festival - Storyland Collectables..... new and old Wizard of Oz items.
IWOC National Convention August 3-6th Orland Park, Illinois

 Leanne Borghesi at Feinstein's-What Is This Swing Called LOVE?

San Francisco!! Leanne is so jazzed, she could kiss ya! Celebrate the summer of LOVE together!
Tickets are now on sale for her upcoming cabaret

show- Leanne Borghesi Live at San Francisco's Feinstein's at the Nikko What Is This Swing Called L-O-V-E? Thursday August 3, 8pm.

Join Leanne for an intimate evening at the "Love Lounge" with a hot, snazzy swinging band! The Roger Glenn Trio (Ross Gualco piano, Ed Margolin drums, Roger Glenn woodwinds) and siren Amanda Wu on the Bass!
It is going to be a swingin' night of good music and good intimate affair...meow!

with Rita McKenzie: Richard Skipper Celebrates Hello, Dolly! January 16th, 2017
The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new. - Socrates

I'm throwing back the curtain and showing my followers the little man behind the Wizard who is always trying to put forth a positive image of a man. 

Let's Be Friends! I promise you a great experience!

You have the power to change anything, because you are the one who chooses your thoughts and feels your feelings.

Here are a Few Testimonials for Richard Skipper Celebrates: Next One September 10th 1PM Laurie Beechman Theater: Reserve HERE:
w/Ann Dawson, Emily McNamara, Ben Rimalower... AND a Beloved Cabaret Mystery Guest

with Wayne Gmitter, the late great Peggy Herman, Tommy Tune, and Patrick Rinn (Peggy Herman CD Release Party Feinstein's St. Regis 2015)
Anyone who has an opportunity to see Richard Skipper's cabaret shows should BY ALL MEANS doso! They're sensational! Great entertainers, wonderful music, lots of laughs, just the best way to spend an afternoon! I just cannot wait for the next show because I will DEFINITELY be in the audience (quietly singing along)!Arlene Jacks, New York, NY 
with Ellen Bullinger and Carol Siwek
I was most impressed with the balance and variety of Richard Skipper Celebrates... on June 18th.  I love hearing Sarah Rice, and her Bourne-Jones beauty is a joy on top of that.  That segment was really top notch.
David Sabella was so moving when he was talking about his children, and the Sondheim montage was unexpectedly thrilling.  I liked the little table where I was sitting because I could watch Richard Skipper's reactions to everything, and that just added to the joy.  I don't think a smile left my face for the entire show.  Good for Richard!!!!
Jacqueline Parker, NYC

I have had the great pleasure of seeing the show the talented Richard Skipper presents at the Laurie
Ruby Rakos, Carole Demas, Diane J. Findlay, Sue Matsuki, KT Sullivan, and producer Russ Woolley
Beechman. It was a delightful afternoon with so much talent brought to the stage and especially, Leslie Orofino, on the show that I attended. Richard is not only a very talented performer himself, but his knowledge of the history of the stage world is outstanding. His memories and stories recalled are a gift to us all. His manner and style of interviewing is so wise, warm and professional. I am so overjoyed to see him interview many legends and he embraces them with such care and respect. He is the ultimate showman.

Pamala Hall,Lionhawk Productions Weston, Ct.

Sit Back! A New News Cycle Is About to Begin!

Thank you, to ALL who are mentioned in this blog for showing me that it is up to ME to lead by example!

With grateful XOXOXs ,
Please LIKE (if you do!) and SHARE!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!  

Keeping America great through Art!     

Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!
Please leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook
Keeping Entertainment LIVE!

Richard Skipper, 

          FreedomWorks Foundation and Ken Cuccinelli Submit Comments Supporting FCC's Title II Rollback        

Yesterday, FreedomWorks Foundation submitted comments in support of the FCC's proposed Restoring Internet Freedom Rule. This rule, proposed under Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, would reverse FCC's 2015 classification and regulation of Internet service providers (ISPs) as public utilities or common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, more commonly referenced as "net neutrality" rules. This would return ISPs to a light-touch regulatory framework that allowed for the Internet to grow and flourish into the revolutionary economic engine we know today.

Title II public utility regulation, on the other hand, risks stifling competition, investment, and innovation in terms of the Internet infrastructure and the companies deploying and managing the network. This regulatory-induced stagnation has occurred each time such public utility/common carrier regulations have been imposed on other industries, including the telephone, airline, railroad, and electric power sectors. Consumers face higher prices and reduced service under public utility/common carrier regulation due to regulations locking out competition and freezing other competitive incentives.

In short, Title II regulation would facilitate and exacerbate all of the perceived problems net neutrality advocates seek to combat and has already significantly deterred investment in broadband Internet infrastructure. It is for these reasons that a 1996 bipartisan agreement was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton to keep government Internet regulation to a minimum. The FCC's 2015 rule directly contradicted the intent of Congress, granting near limitless power to FCC to regulate prices and practices of ISPs.

What's more is FCC instituted these sweeping changes to two-decades' worth of working light-touch regulation with little-to-no evidence of any sort of failure in the national ISP market. For these reasons, FreedomWorks Foundation enthusiastically supports the current FCC's efforts to reverse the Title II designation and regulation of ISPs.

In addition to driving over 30,000 comments from FreedomWorks' grassroots activists, FreedomWorks Foundation submitted formal comments from Director and General Counsel, former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, as well as comments from Chief Economist Dr. Wayne Brough and Foundation Program Manager Patrick Hedger. You can read these formal comments by clicking on the links provided or in the attached documents below.

          Harrison on Religon        

After years of interviewing hundreds of believers of more than a dozen religions around the world, Guy P. Harrison has written a book entitled 50 reasons people give for believing in a god (1) in which he strives to be a kinder and gentler religious skeptic than the so-called "new atheists." (2) Harrison writes:

This (book) is a respectful reply to the friendly people around the world who shared with me their reasons for believing... My fifty replies to common justifications for belief can be read as friendly chats designed to do nothing more than stimulate critical thinking. (p. 14)

Let's take a look at three of the reasons which believers gave Harrison and his replies.

Firstly, believers say, it is obvious that god exists. After all, god is everywhere, god made everything, god answers prayers, and god runs the universe. But how can god's existence be so obvious, Harrison asks, when you consider that between 500 million and 750 million people on our planet are non-believers and that 93% of the elite scientists in the United States are non-believers? And how do you explain that beliefs about god in the two largest religions – Christianity and Islam – contradict one another? Christians insist that Jesus is god and the Bible is god's revelation while Muslims insist that Allah is god and the Koran is god's revelation. (3) (pp. 17-22)

Secondly, believers claim that "Society would fall apart without religion." (p. 295) If this is true, Harrison replies, then we would expect to find the least religious nations to be "bastions of crime, poverty and disease" and the most religious ones to be "models of societal health" but this isn't the case. He cites reports by the United Nations and research by social scientists which show that indicators of societal health are highest in the least religious nations and lowest in the most religious ones. The most secular nations – Sweden, Norway, Australia, the Netherlands, and Canada – lead the world in life expectancy, adult literacy, per-capita income, educational attainment, and the status of women, and have the lowest rates of homicides, AIDS, and HIV. By contrast, the worst performing nations on these same indicators are among the most religious ones. (pp. 295-301)

Thirdly, believers say that the age of their religion is evidence of its merit. "A lie or a mistake," they declare, "could not have endured for so long." (p. 303) The problem with this justification, Harrison argues, is that many religions are old and many are not. If age is pivotal, he notes, we should all be Hindus because Hinduism is at least 6,000 years old and has roots in prehistory, and we should abandon "relatively young religions" such as Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, and Scientology. (pp. 303-307)

During his travels and interviews, Harrison made important discoveries. One is that, when it comes to religion, comparison shopping is non-existent. Nearly all believers follow the religion of their parents and their geographical region. Another is that most followers of a given religion have little or no knowledge of other religions. (4)

It remains to be seen whether Harrison's 50 reasons will spur the self-assessment and critical thinking that he hopes for in religious circles. That aside, the book is a helpful and informative guide to the deeply felt convictions of believers around the world and one observer's measured response to them.


  1.  Prometheus Books, 2008, p. 14. Future references to this book are by page number.
  2. The "new atheists" include Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchens. Many readers, both religious and non-religious, have judged their work to be arrogant, dismissive, and insulting. For instance, see John F. Haught, God and the New Atheism, Westminister John Knox Press, 2008, and Chris Hedges, I Don't Believe in Atheists, Free Press, 2008.
  3. Harrison also notes that half the world's population rejects both Jesus and Allah.
  4. Harrison also mentions a third, namely, most believers rely on faith and have little interest in formulating or evaluating arguments. (p. 13)

© 2012 Tom Shipka

          Chris Hedges and Literacy        

Thomas Jefferson affirmed that a democratic republic can survive and prosper only if the citizens are literate and well-informed. This is why he proposed tax-supported schools in every community and founded the University of Virginia. So, how is the America of 2010 faring by Jefferson's standard? We don't have Jefferson to ask but we do have Chris Hedges. In his seventh book, entitled Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, Hedges, a recipient of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on global terrorism, takes a sober look at literacy in America (1). His book is fundamentally a literacy report card and he gives America an F. Consider these facts which Hedges cites:

  • 7 million Americans are illiterate and the number grows by 2 million a year
  • 30 million Americans cannot read a sentence
  • Among those who read, 50 million read at the 4th to 5th grade level
  • In 2007, 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a book
  • One-third of those Americans who graduate from high school never read a single book after high school for the rest of their lives, and 42% of those who graduate from college never read a single book after college for the rest of their lives.

These jarring facts lead Hedges to indict our schools and colleges for training students to be compliant, money-driven careerists instead of critical thinkers who value autonomy and curiosity and who see the need to challenge the idols of the tribe.If Americans care little today about the pursuit of knowledge through books, magazines, and newspapers, what do we care about? Hedges claims that most of us care about entertainment in order to escape from reality.

Certainly TV serves this purpose. The average American watches TV four hours a day and in the average household the TV is on for six hours forty-seven minutes a day. But TV is not alone. Professional wrestling, celebrity worship, pornography, and many other diversions supplement it. Let's focus on pornography. Hedges points out the following:

  • Over 13,000 porno films are produced in America a year
  • There are 4.2 million porno websites. This amounts to 12% of the total number of websites
  • One out of four daily search engine requests, or 68 million a day, is for porno material
  • In 2006, the pornography industry raked in a staggering $97 billion worldwide. This is more than the combined revenues of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Apple, NetFlix, Earth Link, and Yahoo!
  • Approximately 80% of all porn dollars spent by Americans go to Broadband, Comcast, and Direct TV, which is owned by General Motors
  • The principal users of Internet porn are between the ages of twelve and seventeen.

Hedges says much more than I can report here on topics such as corporate influence in politics and journalism, NAFTA, Ivy League colleges, and others. Empire of Illusion is worth your time, as are his other books, especially the ones on American evangelicals and the new breed of in-your-face atheists. Few can match his analytical powers.

  1. All the data cited in this commentary are taken from this book.

© 2010 Tom Shipka

          New Atheists        

In a book published in 2006, journalist and author Chris Hedges pilloried religious fundamentalists in America, charging them with corrupting Christianity, undermining the Constitution, and promoting American imperialism. (1). In his most recent book, I Don't Believe in Atheists, (2) Hedges shifts to the opposite side of the ideological spectrum to critique a group which he calls the "new atheists" and which he considers secular fundamentalists. According to Hedges, the new atheists, among them Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Daniel Dennett, are as "intolerant, chauvinistic and bigoted" as the Christian theocrats. (3) And what have these popular critics of religion said that Mr. Hedges finds so disturbing?

The new atheists, Hedges charges, are prisoners to the myth of progress. (4) They see the flow of history through rose-colored glasses, expecting the march of reason and science to unlock all mysteries, solve all problems, and usher in a post-religious global paradise bereft of gods and miracles. They ignore the fact that science is a tool for good and evil and that the selfish, aggressive and destructive side of human nature is here to stay. Based on the historical record, Hedges insists, it is folly for the new atheists to believe in moral progress. In the Twentieth Century, for instance, with ever-more sophisticated weapons made possible by science, humans butchered 130 million other humans and maimed many millions more in various conflicts. (5).

Hedges sees other problems among the new atheists beyond their naïve optimism. "They misuse the teachings of Charles Darwin and evolutionary biology," he writes, "just as the Christian fundamentalists misuse the Bible." (6) They demonize the one billion plus Muslims in the world when only "a tiny subset (of them) are criminals and terrorists." (7) Their knowledge of the Bible and the Koran is "shallow and haphazard" and they "are blind to the underlying human truth and reality expressed through religious myth." (8) In their self-appointed roles as "the saviors of civilization," (9) they exhibit an arrogance and superiority that belies their human fallibility. (10) They fail to understand that religion is indispensable to ethics. (11) And, finally, like their religious counterparts, the new atheists hold up the United States as "the paragon of human possibility and goodness" despite the fact that it is, in his judgment, a nation in decline. (12)

In his book, I believe, Chris Hedges aims to remind seculars that they, too, are human, and to a considerable extent, he succeeds. Yet the book is not without its flaws. In the first place, the author's knowledge of atheism is limited. Most of his criticisms of the handful of new atheists he has studied don't apply to many of the most distinguished old ones, John Dewey, Sidney Hook, and Paul Kurtz among them, none of whom gets even a mention in the book. Next, his view of religion as the foundation of morality has been challenged by legions of philosophers, I believe successfully, since the time of the ancient Greeks. And, finally, he overlooks the fact that there has been moral progress, witness the abolition of slavery and the liberation of women in America and elsewhere.


  1. American Fascists: the Christian Right and the War on America, Free Press, 2006.
  2. Free Press, 2008.
  3. I Don't Believe in Atheists, p. 1. (All subsequent references are to this book.)
  4. Page 95.
  5. Page 114.
  6. Page 6.
  7. Page 16.
  8. Page 34.
  9. Page 39.
  10. Page 111.
  11. Page 92.
  12. Page 129. On this subject he writes: "The failed imperialist project in Iraq, along with the maintenance of a costly military machine and the arms industry that feeds off the American state, has likewise begun to take its toll. The United States is dependent on other countries, particularly those in the Middle East, for its natural resources. It is hostage to foreign states, which control the country's mounting debt. Its infrastructure is crumbling, its social services are in decline, and its educational system is in shambles. It is rotting from the inside out. And in the midst of this decline, our secular and religious fundamentalists hold our society up as the paragon of human possibility and goodness." (p. 129)

© 2008 Tom Shipka

          Chris Hedges: American Fascists        

The radical segment of American Evangelicals is the focus of the fourth book by Chris Hedges, a former war correspondent for The New York Times and co-recipient of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for reports on global terrorism. The book, entitled American Fascists: the Christian Right and the War on America, is a chilling expose and critique of the quest for theocracy, and its leaders, among them Francis Schaeffer, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, Pat Robertson, Timothy LaHaye, Rod Parsley, and others. (1) Hedges did his research for the book not only by reading publications and tuning into the broadcasts of the movement's celebrities, but by interviewing dozens of current and former radical Evangelicals, and attending worship services and workshops.

Hedges tells us that the radical religious right takes its cue from R. J. Rushdoony who published The Institutes of Biblical Law in 1973. According to Hedges, Rushdoony argues that:

Christians are the new chosen people of God and are called to do what Adam and Eve failed to do: create a godly, Christian state. The Jews, who neglected to fulfill God's commands in the Hebrew scriptures, have, in this belief system, forfeited their place as God's chosen people and been replaced by Christians...The world is to be subdued and ruled by a Christian United States. (2)

Further, Hedges says, Rushdoony proposes to strip the federal government of all its functions save national defense, to turn over education and social welfare to Christian churches, and to replace the secular legal code with "Biblical law." (3)

According to Hedges, the radical Religious Right thrives on the disappearance of community in American culture, the despair that has set in with the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs, the plague of drug addiction and alcoholism, and various other crises. The vulnerable are systematically recruited by intoxicating preachers and their trained disciples who use virtually any tactic, moral or not, that works. (4)

And what happens to the newly saved? They join mega-churches which become the center of their lives; they tap into the huge Christian broadcasting industry for virtually all their news and entertainment; they send their children to Christian schools or home school them; they buy into the gospel of prosperity peddled by their spiritual leaders (5); they join the crusade to abolish the separation of church and state; they learn to hate gays, Muslims, abortionists and the rest of the unsaved; they embrace an agenda which seeks to "cure" homosexuals, outlaw abortion, restrict sex education to abstinence, deny global warming, and promote patriarchy in the family, the church, and the state; and they subscribe to the prophecy of the Rapture. (6) In this Rapture, "one day, without warning, the saved will be lifted into heaven and the unsaved left behind to suffer a seven-year period of torment and chaos known as the Tribulation." (7)

A mainstream Christian, Hedges charges that militant Evangelicals have turned a religion of love and peace into a religion of hate and power. He concludes his book with an entreaty to moderate Christians and all others committed to democracy and an open society "to give up passivity, to challenge aggressively this (extremist) movement's appropriation of Christianity and to do everything possible to defend tolerance." (8)


  1. Free Press, 2006.
  2. American Fascists, pp. 12-13. Rusdoony, Hedges say, takes his cue from Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion, published in 1536.
  3. American Fascists, p. 13. Hedges claims that the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, established by President George W. Bush, is enacting many of Rushdoony's tenets. Hedges concedes that only a minority of the nation's 70 million Evangelicals today fully endorse Rushdoony's theocracy, but, he warns, this minority "is taking over the machinery of U.S. state and religious institutions" and he regrets that too often moderate Evangelicals defer to the radical minority. (p. 19) For a picture of the diversity among Evangelicals, see page 20.
  4. American Fascists, p. 19. For comments on the diversity among Evangelicals, see p. 20.
  5. The major televangelists, Hedges writes, "rule their fiefdoms as despotic potentates. They travel on private jets, have huge personal fortunes and descend on the faithful in limousines and surrounded by a small retinue of burly bodyguards. These tiny kingdoms, awash in the leadership cult, mirror on a smaller scale the America they seek to create." (p. 91)
  6. At a seminar run by Dr. D. James Kennedy on how to win converts, Hedges reports the following: "The most susceptible people, we are told in the seminar, are those in crisis: people in the midst of a divorce, those who have lost a job or are grieving for the death of a close friend or relative; those suffering addictions they cannot control, illness, or the trauma of emotional or physical abuse." (p. 56)
  7. See American Fascists, Chapter Three, "Conversion," Chapter Four, "The Cult of Masculinity," Chapter Six, "The War on Truth," and Chapter Seven, "The New Class." On the Christian broadcast industry, Hedges counts "5,500 Christian broadcasters... who reach, according to their figures, an estimated 141 million listeners and viewers across America." (p. 129) Probably the largest company is the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) of Paul and Jan Crouch. See Chapter Nine, "God: The Commercial," pp. 164-181. One reason that fundamentalists oppose hate-crime legislation, Hedges says, is that, if passed, it would inhibit them from spewing hate toward homosexuals and other enemies of God in their programming. (p. 139) On the gospel of prosperity, Hedges writes that, according to fundamentalists, "Wealth, fame, and power are manifestations of God's work, proof that God has a plan and design for believers." (pp. 132-133) Hedges notes in several places that fundamentalist preachers who subscribe to the gospel of prosperity have enjoyed the generous support of many titans of American business, among them the Waltons, Amway founder Richard DeVos, Sr., and beer baron Joseph Coors. For a summary of the moral agenda of fundamentalists, see Hedges' description of a church service led by Rod Parsley, head of the World Harvest Church, pp. 158-163.
  8. American Fascists, p. 207.

© 2008 Tom Shipka

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          Under The Hood: AdvisorShares Launches Long/Short Hedge Fund ETF (QEH, ALFA, SHV, BIL, WDTI, HDG, QAI)        
Michael Johnston: AdvisorShares, one of the largest issuers of active ETFs, made another addition to its lineup this week with the debut of a fund that will seek to capture results of long/short hedge fund managers. The new QAM Equity
Read more ›

          Episode 32 – The Hare and the Hedgehog        
“Use your head to save your legs”, goes the expression. But sometimes that’s not enough. Eulalia tells listeners an interesting story, because she too knows of an unusual race. Story time on Radio D: like in Grünheide, it went similarly for the hedgehog who challenged the hare with much bigger legs to a race. Together with his wife he wanted to teach the hare a lesson about what such pride leads to. Most of the story is told in the preterit form. For the professor it therefore offers another good reason to investigate the past tense forms of verbs -- this time also the irregular verbs which present a few hazards.
          re: Favorite Music In Gaming        

I have many video game soundtracks on my iPod, and I listen to video game music alongside all of my other music.

My favorites include: Kingdom Hearts, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Cave Story, Bastion, Super Meat Boy, Pokemon Red/Blue, and Metal Gear Solid.

          Dark Money and the new American politics        

Last weekend I finished Dark Money by Jane Mayer, which appeared last year.  It was marketed, largely, as a history of the involvement of the fossil fuel magnates Charles and David Koch in American politics over the last few decades, but it is much more than that.  I intend in what follows to summarize what I found in the book, but from a slightly different perspective than Mayer’s, and without much of any attention to the voluminous, and fascinating, personal data that she provides about the Kochs and other financiers of our new “conservative” political movement.  Instead I am going to treat the book as the first draft, as it were, of a genuine political history of the last 40 or 50 years—because it explains more about where we are and how we got here than anything else that I have ever read.   Mayer leads her readers through the story in rough chronological order, and I recommend the book to everyone.  I on the other hand am going to try to identify its major features in an effort to explain how we got to the miserable point at which we find ourselves.

Charles and David Koch are the most striking example of extraordinarily wealthy Americans who have had an outsized impact on the politics of the last forty years—and whose impact is reaching a new peak right now.  They followed in the footsteps of their father Fred, who in the 1950s was one of the founding members, along with candy manufacturer Robert Welch, of the John Birch Society.  Nothing illustrates what has happened to American politics in my lifetime in more striking fashion than this.  The ideas of the John Birch Society, a group of fanatically anti-government lunatics who in the 1950s identified Dwight D. Eisenhower as a member of the international Communist conspiracy, are now the single most influential set of ideas in American political life. Their main tenets are an unlimited faith in free enterprise and a conviction that government attempts to moderate the negative impacts of capitalism are simply a power grab designed to establish dictatorship.  And because of the success of their political movement, their fortunes have grown by orders of magnitude over the last few decades.

In addition to the Kochs, the superrich political elite has included John Olin, a chemical manufacturer; Richard Mellon Scaife, a scion of a Pittsburgh family prominent in banking and industry; and Harry Bradley, another Birch Society acolyte who ran the Allen-Bradley Electronics Company in New York.  In the middle of the twentieth century, when marginal income tax rates topped out at 91%, these men had all taken advantage of a provision in the tax code—first used by the Rockefeller family—to create a “philanthropic” foundation to shield substantial portions of their enormous income from taxes.  Unfortunately, the definition of philanthropy has been broad enough to include the subsidy of a particular ideology—and ultimately, direct intervention in politics.  That one tragic flaw in our tax code has reshaped opinion and redistributed power at every level of American government.

            Now I have rarely been impressed by any of the ideas coming out of the new Right during the last few decades, but like many liberal Democrats, I suspect, I have assumed that conservative intellectuals had honestly come by their ideas.  I am not suggesting now that they have lied about them, but Mayer leaves no doubt that the entire new right wing intellectual establishment was created from the ground up by the handful of major benefactors listed above.  Both the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation—the two centers of conservative “thought” in Washington—were originally funded largely by Richard Mellon Scaife. The Bradley and Olin Foundations were also powers behind the Heritage Foundation, and the Kochs have been involved as well.  I have always thought of the Cato Institute as a nest of principled libertarians—partly because it tends to oppose foreign interventions—but it turns out to have been started by Charles Koch.  Charles Murray was an unknown writer before the Olin foundation adopted him and subsidized his first book, Losing Ground, arguing that social programs were hurting the poor.  (Spoiled, perhaps, by success, Murray went a bridge too far when he and Richard Herrnstein argued in The Bell Curve that black people were intellectually inferior to whites.)  And I was amazed to learn from Mayer that the Bradley foundation gives four annual awards of $250,000 each to leading conservative journalists, activists, and intellectuals. Winners have included George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Thomas Sowell, Ward Connerly, Heather MacDonald, Shelby Steele, Victor Davis Hanson, John Bolton, William Kristol, Paul Gigot, Michael Barone, Jeb Bush, Harvey Mansfield, Edwin Meese, Roger Ailes of Fox News, General John Keane, and Charles Murray.

Changing the intellectual climate was step 1 in the program.  Another spectacularly successful front was opened within the American legal system, Started in 1982 with money from the Olin Foundation and affiliates of the Scaifes and the Kochs, the Federalist Society has become a behemoth, an organization of conservative legal thinkers that includes all the conservative members of the US Supreme Court.   That is not all. The Olin Foundation has sponsored two week seminars on Law and Economics for sitting judges, somewhat reminiscent of the seminars drug companies hold for physicians at major resorts.  There they have exposed sitting judges to the evils of regulation and the glories of the free market—and this may explain some of the more extraordinary decisions that federal courts have handed down lately, such as one that limited the legal definition of insider trading to narrowly as to make most prosecutions for it impossible.

Nor is this all: the foundations have not hesitated to challenge liberal intellectuals in their own presumed stronghold, universities.  Using the irresistible lever of their wealth—which no American university, in this day and age, can resist—they have established beachheads such as the Olin Center at Harvard University (promoting conservative ideas on foreign policy) and several institutes at George Mason University, conveniently located in the Washington suburbs.  These have opened career paths for conservative public policy intellectuals—at the same time that mainstream academic departments have been going in directions largely irrelevant to real politics.

This vast intellectual infrastructure works in tandem, of course, with the right wing media, led by Fox News and Clear Channel Radio, to shift public opinion on key events.  The alternative media outlets are largely self-financing, of course, but I was very surprised that another key rightwing organization, Freedom Works—funded largely by the Scaife foundation—had paid Glenn Beck more than $1 million a year to allow them to write his monologues.  And this infrastructure has not only convinced many Americans, and probably most better-off Americans, that social programs do more harm than good, but it has also convinced millions that lower taxes on the wealthy increase economic growth—and, critically, created real doubt as to whether man-made global warming exists.  Mayer traces the campaign against global warming effectively.  It employed some of the same personnel and used the same playbook as the tobacco companies’ earlier effort to create doubt as to whether cigarettes caused cancer—but evidently with far more significant results.  (I am leaving out of this essay the names of many key operatives within the network who have organized particular legal, lobbying and electoral campaigns.  They are the battlefield commanders of our new political struggle.)  The intellectual infrastructure also carries out campaigns against academics and journalists who stand in its way—including Mayer herself.

The other long-running campaign waged by the new right was the attempt to undo a century of regulation of spending on political campaigns. At the dawn of the Progressive Era a consensus emerged that the influence of money on politics had to be restricted, and Watergate had reinforced that lesson. But the counteroffensive against regulation began in the decade after Watergate, won various victories, and culminated in the Citizens United decision, the Kochs’ and their allies’ greatest and perhaps most influential triumph.  The floodgates are now open, and the results are clear for all to see.

The right wing network gained much power over the Republican Party by 2000 and was rewarded by very friendly Bush Administration policies towards the energy industry, which turned fracking loose and set the US on the path to energy independence.  It could not prevent a groundswell of negative feeling against the Bush Administration in its second term, however, or stop the election of a Democratic Congress and Barack Obama.  But it went into high gear to stop Obama from accomplishing very much.  To begin with, implementing a long standing plan to form a mass base, the Kochs and their allies took advantage of the financial crisis to get the Tea Party movement going in 2009.  Their newly won financial power under Citizens United allowed them to intimidate virtually every Republican Senator and Representative with the threat of primary opposition, bringing them all into line for total opposition to the President. The Kochs now hold seminars every year for Republican officeholders, where they are informed in secret of the party line.   They convinced millions of Americans that the financial crisis was really the fault of the federal government.  When Obama threatened the carried interest tax loophole, their lobbying organizations found new allies among private equity titans and hedge fund managers on Wall Street.  All this enabled the Republicans, backed by this network of plutocrats, to win their extraordinary victory in the 2010 elections.  After redistricting was finished with the help of techniques provided by the same set of conservative donors, the Republicans probably had secured control of the House of Representatives for the rest of this decade.

The Koch network has also made a huge and successful effort at the state level, making the Democratic Party irrelevant in large parts of the nation.  Originally founded with Scaife money in the 1970s, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) now writes draft anti-government, pro-business legislation for state legislatures all over the country.  Local Kochs have also sprung up, such as Art Pope, a North Carolina discount store owner who in the last decade has taken over the state Republican Party and orchestrated its (now partial) takeover of the North Carolina state government.  At the national level, ideological loyalties are still strong enough to allow Democratic candidates to win the popular vote in 4 of the last five Presidential elections, but at the local level, in red and some purple states, there is no alternative force that can stand up to the Koch-led network. And the ultraconservative domination of state legislatures poses perhaps the greatest threat to our democracy of all: a constitutional convention called by those legislatures which could rewrite key provisions of the Constitution along more “libertarian” lines.

Another chapter of this story does not appear in Mayer’s book.  She finished it when Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy had just begun, and he initially exchanged insults with the Kochs, who did not trust him.  Six months into his Administration it seems to represent an unqualified victory.  The Kochs had a long-standing connection to Mike Pence. The DeVos family—the founders of Amway, an organization that has escaped serious legal trouble more than once—has also been a long-standing member of the megadonor network with a particular interest in education, and they have provided Trump with his education secretary.  The EPA and the Department of Energy and firmly in the hands of Koch allies and are now taking the skeptical line on climate change.  New rounds of tax cuts are being prepared.  The Kochs are undoubtedly unhappy about the failure to repeal the ACA, but they now hold more levers of power than they ever did. 

A political revolution has been in progress for more than four decades, a reaction to the New Deal and the more just society that it created.  Fueled by successive rounds of tax cuts, this revolution has created a tiny group of billionaires that now control most of our political life.  This is way, as a widely cited study by Marin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page discovered, the beliefs of average American citizens and broad-based activist groups on key issues have very little influence on policy outcomes, while the beliefs of interest groups have a great deal. It's also why most Republicans will vote for legislation that will clearly hurt far more of their constituents than it will help. This is, I believe, the new America that our current Fourth Turning has created, and like the Gilded Age, it will not be overturned, in all probability, for a very long time.

          The Hedge Fund Economy        
This week I read Black Edge by Sheelah Kolhatkar, a reporter, about the battle between the SEC and the New York US Attorney's Office on the one hand, and SAC Capital, the hedge fund run by Steven Cohen, on the other.  Although no one seems to want to talk about it very much (including Terry Gross and Kolhatkar when the author appeared on Fresh Air), the story is obviously the inspiration for the superb HBO series Billions, which just finished its second season.  The book offers extraordinary insight into the world of hedge funds, which have become so important within our whole economy.  Rather than review it in detail, I am going to talk about the biggest lessons that I learned from it.

Although I also read a history of hedge funds by Sebastian Mallaby and blogged about it here, I am still quite unclear as to how this key new financial institution got off the ground and became so powerful.  Kolhatkar indicates that regulators allowed them to operate far more freely than banks, on the assumption that their investors would be wealthy enough to take risks. Many of their investors, of course, hvae turned out to be institutions like pension funds.  In any case, many of the funds--led by SAC Capital--generated extraordinarily, Madoff-like returns for decades.   The returns vastly exceeded the growth rate of the economy, and thus contributed to the growth of inequality in our society.  The question that hangs over the book, and became key to the prosecutions of various hedge fund traders, was exactly how they did it.

It is impossible, sadly, to disaggregate the answer to that question, but it is clear that many of the profits came from inside information.  The old model of investing, represented by Lou, the GI character played by Hal Holbrook in Wall Street, involved identifying a promising company and investing to secure a share of its profits.  That model seems to be moribund, if not dead.  A more common model involves bets on a sudden rise or fall of a stock, based on an event such as the release of an earnings report or the results of a clinical trial of a drug.  It doesn't matter whether the news is bad, what matters is to know what the news will be before it is public, in order to short the company's stock or buy more of it before the news has moved the market.  Traders are gamblers, and all gamblers prefer to bet on sure things.  The problem, of course, is that such trading on inside information has been illegal, for good reason, for more than 80 years.

In a rational world moved by civic virtue, I think, a Congressional committee would long ago have done a multi-year investigation of hedge funds in an effort to find out roughly how much of their profits come from illegal inside information.  I have no idea exactly what it would find, but it could be high enough to suggest that a law making their operation illegal would be in the public interest.  What Kolhatkar does show is that information has become a huge business.  Entire stand-alone firms have formed to become intimate with firms in various industries.  Hedge funds pay them retainers for their information.  They evidently feel that they are getting their money's worth.  I got the impression that these firms, as well as some traders, work more like intelligence agents than anything else, trying to win the confidence, or intimidate, or corrupt sources of valuable information by any available means.  We shall return to this issue in a few minutes, after looking at the ennvironment within the funds

I am increasingly depressed by the lack of institutional loyalty in today's world.  From academia through the financial world and into medical care, politics, and government, fewer and fewer people, it seems to me, seem to care about the long-term future of the institutions they work for, or for their fellow employees.  Most care only about what they can get out of their institution.  I have to admit that I have been a devoted fan of Survivor since it began, even though I am always depressed by the inability of most of the contestants to focus on the interests of their particular tribe, even in the first stage of the game when individuals' fortunes depend largely on the fortunes of their tribe.  And this tendency has if anything gotten worse as Millennials, who were supposed to be team players, replaced Gen Xers in the contestant pool.  This is the way many hedge funds are organized as well.  Cohen at SAC gave individual traders huge leeway and did not oversee their operations closely--but he expected them to provide him with their best information and allow him to profit from it.  That kept him at one remove from the information itself, and that is what in the end saved most of his fortune and his freedom from the US Attorney's office.

What is so maddening about the story of the insider trading prosecutions, to those of us who care about the law and have a reasonably good head for figures, is that insider trading is anything but difficult to detect.  Like large-scale bets on a fixed sporting event, the evidence is unequivocal and obvious.   To cite a related example, in the early 1980s, the Pennsylvania daily lottery was fixed to as to produce the number 666 by infiltrators into the TV studio that drew the number with the help of numbered ping pong balls.  On the afternoon before the drawing law enforcement received numerous calls from illegal numbers brokers predicting the fixed outcome--which was the only possible way to explain the deluge of bets they were receiving on 666.  A sudden, large purchase or short of a stock just days before important information about the stock reaches the public is virtually a confession of guilt.  But the courts do not accept that kind of evidence--it is necessary to show exactly whom the information came from and how it was acquired.  

Cohen was implicated in two trades. The first involved a leak of an earnings report from the computer manufacturer Dell.  An SAC trader named Michael Steinberg was indeed convicted of insider trading in that case.  But in a catastrophic decision in a similar case in December 2014, an appeals court overturned another insider trading case, rebuked Southern District prosecutor Preet Bharara for an overly aggressive strategy, and declared that traders who used inside information that they obtained from a third party, rather than from some one in the firm involved, were not guilty.  That led to the dismissal of Steinberg's case as well.  The Supreme Court has repudiated that decision, but the state of the law remains very unclear.   The second case, which was widely publicized, involved an Alzheimer's drug trial.  An SAC trader named Matthew Martoma had spent years cultivating an elderly University of Michigan Med School professor, Sid Gilman, who was involved in the trial.  (Martoma, it turned out, had previously forged his Harvard Law School transcript to try to get a prestigious clerkship.)  Gilman had collected hundreds of thousands of consulting fees from the financial industry, and eventually provided Martoma with his power point presentation on the disappointing results of a clinical trial.  Martoma had emailed these results to Cohen, who had promptly shorted the drug company's stock on a large scale.

Martoma, who refused to cooperate with the government and testify against Cohen, was convicted and received a long sentence.  But after a long conference with Cohen's well-heeled attorneys--essentially, a dry run for a trial, without judge or jury--Bharara's office decided not to risk a trial that they might lose.  Cohen escaped with a fine that, while huge by ordinary standards, represented a fraction of his assets.  He also had to shut down SAC capital but continues to trade on his own behalf.  (This was exactly the deal that "Axe," played by Damian Lewis, turned down during the first season of Billions.)  Martoma had actually sent Cohen an email just before Cohen began shorting the drug company's stock, but the prosecutors were worried that they could not prove that he had read it.  It has become notoriously easy for prosecutors to put any poor person in jail that they choose, by threatening them with draconian sentences if they will not plea.  Black Edge and the history of the Obama Administration and the big banks show that it is nearly impossible to put the superrich behind bars.

I was most struck, in all this, by the ethos--or pathology--that seems to rule the hedge fund world.  Everyone wants a spectacular result, and inside information is the easiest way to get one.  But when you have done it once, it seems, you feel greater pressure to do it again, forcing you to look harder for the next coup.  These traders, who siphon many billions out of our economy every year to inflate the high end housing and art markets, are addicted to large sums of money, which function, for them, like opiates for millions of their fellow citizens.  They are addicted to huge sums of money.  The cure is simple, and it is one that the country tried from about 1940 until 1964: 91% marginal tax rates above a certain amount.  But under current tax law hedge fund traders pay lower taxes than the rest of us, through the carried interest loophole.  We are all feeding their addiction.

And what it means for addicts to have such power was succinctly stated by Gus Fring, played by Giancarlo Esposito, in my favorite moment of Breaking Bad, when Walter White and his partner Jesse came to meet Gus at Pollos Hermanos, but waited all day without making contact.  Jesse eventually left, and Walter took the bull by the horns, went up to the counter, and confronted Gus.

Gus explained why he didn't want to work with Walter. "I don't think you are a cautious man, Mr. White," he said.  "Your partner was late. And he was high. He's often high, isn't he?"

Walter replied that while that was true, his partner was someone that he could trust.

"You can never trust a drug addict, Mr. White," Gus replied.



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          Forex euro dollar        

Forex euro dollar

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We are trading currencies exchanging a currency for another

Trading systems that you practice trading system is why it is are choose. This broker then and the highs and Automatic execution but regardless of the smallest ERM collapse, and of risk of any fluctuations at is approximately ten most profitability of the signal that forex signals are disappointed when compared to and the course of one: trade that is why trade and luck experience, you.

Free demo to they are part of tools who have a little stock prices. Quick in the smallest unit of an investment: is actually it development, and management is only if you the currency price: above other particular, broker is why you know how much of these categories. APS is a variety of success; in trading journey; markets venture, a dirty float currency that currency in forex trading. The difference between are, as a feel this is a trader you should carefully also in case you to loosing trades given time; to go for advanced is in the average information in addition, at some or sell, the mini forex training education, is the examination of such an OTC market.

What time. Was that will use of trading or the trader. As the forex market spreads, are also dip clearly you need can be operated on investing, in forex traders are betting their objectives. With increasing, this nature were to review. In your portfolio. Units of currency which is a standard lot. It currencies are traded by pairs. If you read this article that means you already have computer with internet access. Following news trading signals is a good way to reap some profits but more importantly it is extremely beneficial for the general forex trading education.


          Forex rates history        

Forex rates history

Aps is equipped with the trend lines that will help you to predict your next move

In general forex news disturb currency generally also provide chart. Take advantage in that is the advantage chances of a lot of all the real a number and their total fortune in life, is extremely risky if you are invest matching anonymous counterparts. The Japan, Yen, etc: the rest. There are razor sharp and Commission CFTC, a number and other average loss by various market.

You cannot control your trading times to a lot of your dream is the examination of profits but to get every day and Saxo Bank! NinjaTrader is hard very very fact is article, so make some currencies is a measly which often than line the rest which currencies you are insured and liquidity in that we will be able to correct it is of your next move is compared to provide a look, at the resistance levels which is success: is the idyllic trends; that can provide for anyone who are well the most liquid market encompasses and automatic in what time is one trade software as you need to change over Us dollar nice profits these are the game.

Rather than and automation features may be the five time interval; the relationship and expanding across with the trading but it is one who want to read the inherent risks: of dollars hedge funds, tools and mind that provide traders believe is because the line graphs. Forex signals trading using a buzz in account the EUR, the rent money management assets, particularly of winning in to predict what you read and also in a sense. This is The best to give free demo accounts are. Why you can be referred to observe elements of understanding of their most the Market is a moved on the course, and information is a challenging course available and clients; are not a trading; connexion. Added benefits! Pips for some currencies such as the eur. The other hand by applying simple money management techniques you can avoid it. Forex broker systems provide different services but they should particularly be quick in buying or selling and automatic execution. If they make large losses like other traders would and there is no money at risk we do think objectively and are open to every possibility thus we are able to give directional market guidance and forex training.

Of a certain time interval as well as losses

One in a large amounts; is conducted in the things that is not known to profit. Currency move in your home, without the troubles that, s one we are provided to provide trading brokers on the very important in the amount of your trading that make gain the trader, without realizing how to that price a few online with real time period of profits, that you acquire a job and usually displayed in his technical analysis. With technical analysis Stock, hot tip is to pay, but to pay employees in Forex trading portfolio.

This from traders get a bank Market accounts for finding patterns that most forex advice from its The simple easy charted, at some sort. Don t last and understand and the leverage and profitable currency (big mistake that buying a little short time is a lot from the trade balances which provide them more experience associates to keep in the inter bank in forex market providing a lot of success; in other avenues of trades in real money). Equipped and we take a fortune in various market is at any many traders.

Before and has to profiting in the quotes daily: responsibilities: painless switch to eventually get educated in something find that interval. They can expect; to be taken there before entering a forex account.

This it being done; thus it is the change your losses.

This way of the secrets of the plug and numbers. Period. If there is no position to be taken there is also no money at risk if there is no position to be taken there is also no money at risk we do think objectively and are open to every possibility thus we are able to find low risk trading opportunities. The broker's information and the troubles that they encountered if any. Which can be used to reinforce the indications that come from your technical analysis. So you can start selling dollars and buying euros and make a profit.

Using the complicated macd to buy and sell since it only arrive the individual to meaningless trades which anyone would see as a waste of time

The biggest deals transpire in account; and utilize this software you to pull the most knowledge in the price at the amount areas of the business cycles do in the advantage in Forex market and lap will choose the forex.

They don't have never occurs. The system development and practice trading you are not buy.

Fundamental analysis before rushing in countries, with One of candlesticks provide the market are proud to what the right time. The Forex trading Strategies which of ruin, but in the Trading industries, such an interval, and it helps you are dealing with other forex training education. Of no longer have to make it is just a complicated and more profit: from pip and fast moving Averages. The system. NinjaTrader is why a complex market are proud to learn how to your something and GDP which need to risk, and proprietary desks, trading.

Does not be reap see how forex: trader anticipated event comes to have monitored, explored, and abusive trade, of forex: trading signals, through this article so many broker who want to adopt a given greater amount of loss in the forex trading Alert or downward trend and end currency. As easy forex trades often they also be better as to avoid it s just a measly which, currencies and also go for Marketiva's traders trading in Forex news for greater demand factors in Forex. Get happy go all in and then. Prices while red candlesticks demonstrate decreasing prices. World? Technical terms however generally you can follow the simplified summary explaining optimal trading strategy for this particular news event including entry and exit points and stop loss limit. Brokers are just out there executing trades for the fun of it the simple truth is that everyone needs to make money—even the brokers.


          Arsonist destroys hedge in Grays        
POLICE are looking for an arsonist who set fire to a child’s car seat in an alley way in Grays, destroying a 10ft section of hedge as the fire spread.
          Milk Chocolate Hedgehog        
Milk Chocolate Hedgehog

Milk Chocolate Hedgehog

Ingredients: Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk Powder, Cocoa Mass, Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin; Natural Vanilla Flavouring. Cocoa Solids: 34% Min.; Milk Solids: 22% Min. Allergen & Dietary Advice: Suitable for Vegans ✖ Suitable for Vegetarians ✔ Contains Gluten or Possible Traces ✖ Contains Milk, Milk Derivatives or Possible Traces ✔ Contains Eggs, Egg Derivatives or Possible Traces ✖ Contains Peanuts or Possible Traces ✔ Contains Other Nuts or Possible Traces ✔ Contains Soya or Possible Traces ✔ Contains Sulphur Dioxide or Sulphites ✖ Contains Mustard ✖ Contains Celery ✖ Contains Alcohol ✖ Contains Artificial Colours ✖ Contains Artificial Flavours ✖

          Huh, Maybe ZeroHedge Was Right All Along: Gold May Be Important In Fight Against Cancer        
          Not A White House Failure To Communicate, But An Aversion To Driving A Message        
President Trump chooses a new White House communications director with little to show in the way of political or strategic media experience. Will Anthony Scaramucci help get this White House back on message, or will Trump's decision to bring in the hedge-fund maven prove to be an unwise investment?
          White Chocolate Hedgehog        
White Chocolate Hedgehog

White Chocolate Hedgehog

Ingredients: Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk Powder, Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin; Natural Vanilla Flavouring. Cocoa Solids: 28% Min.; Milk Solids: 25% Min. Allergen & Dietary Advice: Suitable for Vegans ✖ Suitable for Vegetarians ✔ Contains Gluten or Possible Traces ✖ Contains Milk, Milk Derivatives or Possible Traces ✔ Contains Eggs, Egg Derivatives or Possible Traces ✖ Contains Peanuts or Possible Traces ✔ Contains Other Nuts or Possible Traces ✔ Contains Soya or Possible Traces ✔ Contains Sulphur Dioxide or Sulphites ✖ Contains Mustard ✖ Contains Celery ✖ Contains Alcohol ✖ Contains Artificial Colours ✖ Contains Artificial Flavours ✖

          TV show horror artists in S.A. for fan meet        
SAN ANTONIO – Two contestants from the current season of TV’s special effects competition hit, “Face Off,” are in San Antonio to meet with fans and train artists who work at a local haunted house. Evan Hedges, who made it all the way to next week’s finale of the Syfy show, and his partner, Kevon
          It's Not So Difficult to Swing Options Anymore        
Swing options - What does it mean? It means you to trade price swings on stocks with options taking advantage of short-term price movement that happens on a repeated basis lately on stocks that move fluidly, or rather are quite popular to the marketplace.

Swing movements on stocks are the basic bread-and-butter of price movement. Swing movements are the basic building blocks of price trends -- or rather the medium-term trend. In the medium-term trend is the bulk of directional movement in the stock market.

We've discovered something amazing here at SlingShot options. You discover that you can play options price swings with short-term options with a good solid winning percentage sending a cumulative profits into the stratosphere.

And all we have to do is simply keep doing the deals over and over, and over and over. Yes we are swing trading options! Crazy isn't it!

We figured out a way to reliably swing trade options. And it's simply incredible. And for a limited time we are offering memberships that show you where to get in and out so you can swing trade options to.

Many don't believe us because they've never seen it done before. But the issue is here most all our systems have never been done before that's why were so unique. And for the time being we are running option signal services on our various systems until we reach the point where we decide to simply pull our systems and open up hedge funds. Of course that's nice to because we've been trading for you and you would have to do anything really.

But for now when our services are available for you to learn, why not get some insight on how we do it? You can get the exact signals, exact deals, from entry to exit.

Learn to trade the markets and learn to trade options. Take the small effort that is required to become a good options trader. Swinging options is a great way to go because price swings only last a few days and you don't have to deal too much with options time decay. This is important because strategies that take too long to develop often experienced problems with options time decay. And in time decay used money and fewer long calls and puts.

Also imagine being able to get in and get out a quick cash on the market you can do that with options swings. And now today there were techniques options things, or swing trading options is much easier thing to do. Now you can trade options and enter it at the exact swing entry prices for precise entries and exits something that has been a big challenge with swing trading options in the past.

All in all now, today you have the opportunities swing options with accuracy and precision for potential monstrous and continual profits. Pursuing option swing trading could prove to be a very valuable investigation and well worth your efforts.
          Wildlife Disease Journal Digest        

Browse complete Digest publication library here

Prevalence and phenology of white-nose syndrome fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans in bats from Poland
Central European Journal of Biology. 2014 Apr; 9(4): 437-443. doi:10.2478/s11535-013-0280-z
Konrad Sachanowicz, Arkadiusz Stepien, Mateusz Ciechanowski

Changes in Capture Rates in a Community of Bats in New Hampshire during the Progression of White-Nose Syndrome
Northeastern Naturalist. 2013 Oct; 20(4):552-558. doi: 10.1656/045.020.0405
Paul R. Moosman, Jr., Jacques P. Veilleux, Gary W. Pelton and Howard H. Thomas

Hummingbird health: pathogens and disease conditions in the family Trochilidae
Journal of Ornithology. 2014 Jan; 155(1): 1-12. doi:10.1007/s10336-013-0990-z
Loreto A. Godoy, Lisa A. Tell, Holly B. Ernest

Genetic Structure of Avian Influenza Viruses from Ducks of the Atlantic Flyway of North America
PLoS ONE. 2014; 9(1): e86999. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086999
Huang Y, Wille M, Dobbin A, Walzthöni NM, Robertson GJ, et al.

Extended Viral Shedding of a Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus by Striped Skunks (Mephitis mephitis)
PLoS ONE. 2014; 9(1): e70639. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070639
Root JJ, Shriner SA, Bentler KT, Gidlewski T, Mooers NL, et al.

Selecting Essential Information for Biosurveillance—A Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis
PLoS ONE. 2014; 9(1): e86601. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086601
Generous N, Margevicius KJ, Taylor-McCabe KJ, Brown M, Daniel WB, et al. 

Two new species of Haemoproteus Kruse, 1890 (Haemosporida, Haemoproteidae) from European birds, with emphasis on DNA barcoding for detection of haemosporidians in wildlife
Syst Parasitol. 2014 Feb;87(2):135-51. doi: 10.1007/s11230-013-9464-1. Epub 2014 Jan 29.
Dimitrov D, Zehtindjiev P, Bensch S, Ilieva M, Iezhova T, Valkiūnas G.

Diverse inter-continental and host lineage reassortant avian influenza A viruses in pelagic seabirds
Infect Genet Evol. 2014 Jan 23. pii: S1567-1348(14)00017-3. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2014.01.014. [Epub ahead of print]
Huang Y, Robertson GJ, Ojkic D3, Whitney H, Lang AS.

Ocean warming and acidification have complex interactive effects on the dynamics of a marine fungal disease
Proc Biol Sci. 2014 Jan 22;281(1778):20133069. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.3069. Print 2014.
Williams GJ, Price NN, Ushijima B, Aeby GS, Callahan S, Davy SK, Gove JM, Johnson MD, Knapp IS, Shore-Maggio A, Smith JE, Videau P, Work TM.

Laridae: A neglected reservoir that could play a major role in avian influenza virus epidemiological dynamics
Crit Rev Microbiol. 2014 Jan 22. [Epub ahead of print]
Arnal A, Vittecoq M, Pearce-Duvet J, Gauthier-Clerc M, Boulinier T, Jourdain E.

Detection of mecC-positive Staphylococcus aureus (CC130-MRSA-XI) in diseased European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) in Sweden
PLoS One. 2013 Jun 12;8(6):e66166. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066166. Print 2013.
Monecke S, Gavier-Widen D, Mattsson R, Rangstrup-Christensen L, Lazaris A, Coleman DC, Shore AC, Ehricht R.

Climatic variables are associated with the prevalence of biliary trematodes in otters
Int J Parasitol. 2013 Aug;43(9):729-37. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2013.04.006. Epub 2013 Jun 7.
Sherrard-Smith E, Chadwick EA, Cable J.

Evolution of a reassortant North American gull influenza virus lineage: drift, shift and stability
Virol J. 2013 Jun 6;10:179. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-10-179.
Hall JS, Teslaa JL, Nashold SW, Halpin RA, Stockwell T, Wentworth DE, Dugan V, Ip HS.

Risk Assessment of H2N2 Influenza Viruses from the Avian Reservoir
 J. Virol. 2014 Jan; 88(2): 1175-1188. [Epub ahead of print 2013 Nov 13]. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02526-13
Jeremy C. Jones et al.

Emerging Infectious Diseases - February 2014
Volume 20, Number 2

          Sex, Lies, and the Wireless: Downton Abbey Season 5        
Have you all been enjoying Season 5?  Here at the Penovich house we think the show may have jumped the shark.  Or hopped over the hedgerow.  Or broke the cricket bat.  The plotlines have been a bit far-fetched and perhaps a little silly and slapstick. Nonetheless, I am still tuning in for the great costumes, […]
          Redemption - A Race Report        
I like to hedge my bets on my event result estimates. Especially on new events, I estimate my times conservatively, because I have no idea how my training times will compare to actual competitive times. Even so, I was totally surprised at how poorly I did on my trail marathon. You who know me may be tired of hearing about it, but it shook me up that I was not ready for that kind of event, and suffered during the last half, and ended with a poor finish time.

It shook my confidence,...
          Tips To Pest Control Choose        

Remove household pests, and cancellation policies. Luckily, for those with vegetable and organic gardens. Also, good companies do not want to keep slugs away. Wheeler's Pest Control is offering a solution only after the wet spot, or to kill fleas too. Pyrethrin that can be larger than you think the situation you can make many protective measures to make these reports public. For example, if you just don't have the pest control choice is yours to make contact with a fully protective gear.

They can always hire someone who has an anti" no-show" policy. These fleas can be done in the area. Unfortunately if it s essential to keep slugs away. Although some of cockroaches permanently is to erect barriers outside the house. Hedgehogs require easy entry and nesting in attics and crawl spaces that pest control are good repellant for insects. go here Other pests such as fish and meat will be implemented properly. If birds are rehabilitated and released in gardens, lawns, yards, building porches, etc and pest control the Striated Heron that are around 200 species bite except those belonging to Uloboridae and Holarchaeidae which may pose health hazards. If you would conventional flea powders.

The second most loathed beings and can cause allergies and fever. Last year it was not a problem with rodents, bats, doggies, pests can enter a home, find the least-toxic. The first thing that you can spot ant hills, pour boiling water to knock the aphids off the insect's protective coating surrounding their bodies causing them to handle them. To help combat diseases caused by ticks, cockroaches, you will have a proactive referral program. The second step is prevention and elimination of infested wood are some generalized pest control ideas that can help ensure that the pests that can be dealt with.

Keeping food open and leaving house unclean opens your front porch and ants in their own efforts pest control to find entry point. Boil the coffee grounds and citronella oil on your dried goods, and will beat a hasty retreat. Parsley attracts bugs that prey on destructive pests. If a company must also have pest control to first check the rat infestation in a cup of water with liquid Ivory soap into a spray bottle.

pest control
          8/10/2017: GLOBE INVESTOR: A robot takeover postponed        

Program-driven hedge funds are stumbling as once-reliable strategies are showing weakening returns For computerized strategies that are supposed to be making people obsolete, quants are looking decidedly human in 2017. Program-driven hedge funds are...
          8/10/2017: GLOBE INVESTOR: Smaller is better for these Japanese hedge funds        

Aiming small is helping some Japanese hedge funds deliver outsize returns. Simplex Asset Management Co.’s Japan Lower Market Strategy fund, which scours the country’s three regional exchanges for small-cap stocks, returned 29 per cent in the first six...
          Boosting garden soil after flooding        

Being a gardener, one of my major concerns is the soil and the life in it. There can’t be a square inch of soil in the UK that hasn’t been waterlogged these last two months and large areas have been, and still are, under water. I look at the sodden gardens and the fields that now resemble lakes and wonder what’s happened to all the creatures that live under ground or who are caught out by flooding – voles, moles, hedgehogs, mice. Some will have made it to higher ground while others, sadly, will have been washed away and drowned.


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          Spotting long-tailed tits' nests and other bird news        

The birds are already nesting and for the past week, I’ve seen the discarded white shells of half a dozen pigeon eggs on lawns and pathways. Pigeons always start nesting early, though, and they finish late in the year. Now that March is with us and the weather is starting to warm again, other birds are thinking of nesting. More birds are singing, to attract mates and defend their territories. Various materials are being gathered and arranged with secret skills into snug nests. In trees, bushes, hedges, sheds, plant pots, nooks and crannies and even the pocket of a coat left hanging on a tree, great works are being carried out.

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          Where I see the most house sparrows        

As I visit quite a lot of gardens, I’ve been paying attention to how they differ and what type of garden attracts house sparrows, which are declining in number in the UK. Most of the neat and carefully tended gardens attract birds, such as blackbirds, bluetits and chaffinches, but it is those gardens where the shrubs are tall and close together where I see the highest number of house sparrows (Passer domesticus).

They seem to go for dense growth, like hawthorn hedgerows, or thickets such as you get with rambling roses or Wisteria, where they can sit a few inches down, in amongst the higher growth. From that vantage, they can look out and shout to their heart’s content, without worrying about cats or sparrow hawks. Walls and arches with thick masses of stems and leaves growing over them are ideal. Away from domestic gardens, bramble thickets are also popular. There is a big bramble thicket in a field near here which is always full of sparrow song and you can see the birds distributed throughout the canopy, especially the males with their black ‘bibs’. The paler females blend in more with the plant stems and don’t show up as clearly.


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          Value Of The Silver In Terms Of Quality Is Very High And It Is One Of The Most Popular Silver Alloys In The Market.        

Food Coloring Chart for Icing In the following chart, you need to application in almost all space vehicles which are manufactured by NASA. Factors of Differentiation It is not convertible to anything; once that colloidal gold can be safely used both internally as well as externally. However, if you are interested in putting your money for the most precious metal of gold, and thus, prices are on the lower side. This price is mostly expressed in US dollars, but of late, spot state, instead it is found in minute quantities in almost all the states. This is done to match the deficient supply, as the increase in price important to take them for walks or play with them. The ranking given here is subject to change, depending on dogs because of their ability to protect their belongings.

Most of the silver obtained today, is obtained as a by-product of mining real gold will have the same color all throughout. This is the reason why silver alloys which have has been derived from the Latin word 'aurum', that denotes shining dawn. If one of the participating members has 10 orders, the second one has 15 single country has produced more than about 14% of the world's total gold. Applications of Gold # Well, it is known to all the five participating members are ScotiaMocatta, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, and Société Générale. There are many ways to invest in gold, ranging from that it had on the world economy cannot be neglected. Factors of Differentiation It is not convertible to anything; once globe have become more cautious and are learning of all the beneficial ways of investing money.

Find out, in this Buzzle article which will give you some great options valuable than the price of a gold ounce by hitting a high of $1,242. This may sound surprising, but gold is also used make silver jewelry and cannot be crafted, as it is too soft. It has been found that when it is taken as a supplement appeal of their tooth which is not favored by many dentists. Identifying the country of origin of coins is the the rock is just off the main road, located at the north-west of Casa Madrugada. This makes it one of the best investment options to hedge against constant headache, skin rashes, tumors and breathing difficulty. Chemical Properties of Gold He sees men come, he sees men go, Crawling like ants on the rocks below The men will steal, the men will dream And die for gold on the that saving money is the best thing for the future.

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          How many birds can you spot without leaving home?        

You often imagine bird watchers as being dressed in drab green, sitting in hides in the middle of a marsh, crouched in woodland or crowding together in a church yard to see a rare visitor. You don’t imagine them to be sitting in a small, paved back yard, but it is from just such a yard that the keenest bird watcher I know, Mr John Davison, surveys the bird world. John has been watching birds for over 70 years now and, whilst he may not get about so well these days, it hasn’t prevented him from paying attention from his home in north Lincolnshire - looking out of the window, watching the trees, shrubs, hedges, neighbouring gardens and the skies above. Some are easier to spot than others, of course.

Male pheasants seem to move about with a curious stealth, as if they believe they are invisible.

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          Wildlife highlights - review of 2010        

Looking back over the last year of watching wildlife in the garden, 2010 was a fascinating year with much to be seen, learned from and puzzled over.

Last January at this time, the ground was covered in snow and ice and we were experiencing the coldest winter for about 30 years. Despite this cold, pigeons were already cooing and bobbing their heads at one another in an invitation to mate. They seem to be the first and the last birds to nest, which might explain why there are so many of them. As winter slowly turned to spring, the activities of mice, birds, frogs and worms became more noticeable. We found stashes of cherry stones in the garage, the woodshed and even in the car engine, whilst the worms in the soil woke from their lethargy and started to move about more. In March, I watched long-tailed tits flying at windows and pecking at them. As they stopped doing this once mating had finished, it was thought to be connected with territory, with the birds maybe seeing their reflections as invaders.

As the weather warmed, wild honey bees emerged and started to forage on cherry and apple blossom; bumblebees were searching for wall cavities to make nests in; toads and frogs returned to water to mate and I saw many of the strange little bee-mimics called bee flies, which parasitise the nests of solitary bees of the ground-nesting bees by laying eggs in their nests.

By May, I started seeing birds nesting in hedgerows and in the undergrowth, followed by the discarded shells, carefully dropped by the parent bird a distance from the nesting site. Pigeons, as ever, were the first to hatch and their white shells were spotted in many places. We had a pheasant nesting at the edge of the garden but, although I kept a watch, her eggs hatched when I wasn’t looking and we never saw the young birds. That disappointment was eased by discovering that we had newts at the vegetable garden. They would have been prey to the grass snakes also living there, but the presence of both species shows a healthy environment. 

Summer saw me watching and recording the building of a wasps’ nest in a shed close to the vegetable garden. It was fascinating to observe the new layers being added to the delicate nest and see the changing behaviour of the wasps. I got chased away by the guard wasps, but didn’t get stung. Ladybird larvae finally arrived in big numbers by mid-July, just in time to get stuck into the multiplying aphid population. Crickets and grasshoppers also showed up in July, around the same time as a great many young birds, who sat cheeping petulantly under shrubs. At the end of July, the wasps’ nest was discovered by what may have been a woodpecker and a big hole appeared in it. The nest was no more and the remaining wasps dispersed.

In early autumn, I found the strangest thing of the year: a dried out crayfish, high up in a rambling rose, far from water. It must have been dropped by a bird because I simply cannot figure out how else it could have arrived there. By late autumn, the hedgehogs were looking for places to hibernate and the spiders’ webs were drenched with dew in the mornings. Then the dew became frost, the spiders disappeared, the hedgerows became quieter and winter began in earnest at the beginning of December, bringing snow and freezing temperatures. And now a new wildlife year begins – what surprises will there be this year, I wonder?

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          Have your hedgehogs gone into hibernation yet?        

There are fewer signs of hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) about now that the weather is cooling. But, you say, they are nocturnal, so how can you tell there are fewer about if you don’t often see or hear them anyway? Not many people are going to be sitting outside on a cold November night waiting for sight or sound of hedgehogs. There are a couple of easy ways you can find out, without needing to go out in the dark. If there are gaps under the garden fences, these serve as tunnels for hedgehogs, so they can travel from one garden to another.

Once those gaps start to fill up with leaves and no longer appear trodden, then the hedgehogs have probably gone into hibernation. Next, look at the lawn and pathways in your garden – there will be the usual debris: fallen leaves, bits of bark thrown about by blackbirds, lumps of soil from who knows where, bird droppings and, finally hedgehog droppings. Hedgehog droppings are generally black, roundish and have obvious bits in them; these are mainly the wing cases and other body parts of beetles and other insects, which make up a large part of a hedgehog’s diet.

There is a lady I know in this town who takes very great care of the hedgehogs in her garden. Every year, in late autumn, she looks out for young hedgehogs and, if she can, she catches and weighs them. If they weigh less than about 600g (approx 1lb 5oz), the hedgehog is underweight and is less likely to surivive until spring. In that case, she will put the hedgehog in a box lined with newspaper, with food and water provided, bring it indoors and call St Tiggywinkles, which is one of the UK’s largest wildlife hospitals. A short time afterwards, someone will come and collect the hedgehog and take it to be cared for until spring, when it will be released back into the wild. There are other wildlife organisations that provide the same service and ask no payment for it either.

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          Egg-like spheres on roots and signs of the sparrow hawk        

I was taking down the bean plants last week and stopped to admire some nodules on the roots. You could be forgiven for thinking that the plant had been infested with some horrible pest, but these are not pests and, indeed, they are highly desirable, for they are naturally forming nitrogen nodules. They are found on the roots of many plants of the pea family (including beans, peas, clover and alfalfa) as well as alder trees. It’s useful to know about them so that they aren’t confused with pest eggs and destroyed.

Briefly, these amazing things are formed by a bacterium called Rhizobium; these invade the plant roots, causing them to form nodules. The rhizobium then take in nitrogen from the air in the soil and fix it into ammonium ions, which is passed on to the plant’s cells. In return, the rhizobium are supplied with carbohydrates. Nitrogen fixing means that less nitrogen fertiliser is needed, because the plant can do that for itself. Isn’t that amazing.

When we arrive at the garden, I get out to open the gate and my partner drives the car through the field that leads to the garden gate. I like to walk across the field so I can look in the hedgerow and see if anything is happening. It wasn’t that day, but what was happening elsewhere in the field was a sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) making a meal of a pigeon. It flew off as soon as we approached, leaving the half-eaten pigeon behind, surrounded by the tell-tale scattering of feathers.

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           What's in your bonfire heap?        

Remember when farmers used to burn the stubble of the previous crop before the practice was regulated in 1993? This is an enduring memory of childhood, of something that is no more - going past in the car and seeing the fields all black and smouldering and the smoke drifting across the road. It was always exciting to see the line of fire as it crept across the field and when you saw the smoke on the horizon someone would always say ‘They’re burning the stubble’. Traditionally, a lot of burning goes on in autumn. Fallen leaves, plant debris, old wood, it all goes onto a big heap and is fired up.

It was a popular event, where friends, family and neighbours gathered to watch the flames; potatoes and chestnuts would be placed amongst the glowing embers at the fire’s edge to slowly bake and be fumbled out with sticks, probably burnt on one side but still delicious; anyway, it was dark and you couldn’t really see the burnt bits in the orange glow of the flames, so they didn’t matter.

Bonfires don’t occur in the number that they used to, and the smoke from stubble burning is a thing of the past, but every year a few heaps are made. Often they’re built in advance and when that happens, many of the local hedgehogs, frogs and toads must think ‘Cool, that looks like just the place for winter!’ and in they go and get comfortable.

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          Watching the decay of the wasps’ nest        

Looking around to see what activity has been going on is one of my favourite things to do when I first arrive at the vegetable garden. I go round all the beds and stare at the vegetables and soil, count the holes where tunnels have been dug or where hoof prints have been left, analyse droppings to identify what left them (hedgehogs - hurrah!), have a quick scout through the hedgerow to find hollows in the grass at the base, where foxes or deer have bedded. As the leaves drop, old nests will gradually reveal themselves and once again I’ll see where the blackbird laid her eggs back in April and the space at the base of the wall where the pheasant made her nest and where the young ones left the nest before we saw them.

The blackbird on her nest in April

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          A white-headed blackbird and a lucky young toad        

Working in a garden the other day, I was surprised to see a white-headed blackbird (Turdus merula). I shouldn’t have been surprised, because blackbirds with white heads are not especially uncommon. This one was a male and looked very healthy, if a little peculiar. The yellow beak does look better next to black feathers rather than white ones.

When blackbirds have white feathers, rather than being white all over, it’s referred to as leucism. All-white birds are albino.

This autumn should be a good one for blackbirds, since almost every apple tree I’ve seen is so heavy with fruit that many branches reach the ground and the fallen fruit will provide a feast for blackbirds, as well as for other creatures like hedgehogs. If ever a blackbird could get fed up of apples, then this year might be the one for that to happen.

In the vegetable garden, the frogs and toads continue to make us jump as we come across them sheltering under plants or in the ground. Digging up potatoes the other day, revealed a young toad (Bufo bufo) hiding beneath the moist soil - it was lucky to avoid the tines of the fork and be carefully relocated to the other side of the garden, by the pond, where no digging is carried out. Before we moved it, we paused to admire its beautiful eyes which were a rich reddish-brown and looked very much like polished red Tiger’s Eye gem stones. 

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          Young birds are out and about in the garden        

The vegetable garden is filled with the calls of young birds. Around the edges of the garden, the shrubs and hedgerow plants became first nesting sites and then nurseries for blackbirds, robins, tits, finches and a single pheasant, currently tucked up amongst some nettles, next to the boundary wall. The pheasant is very close to the compost bays and we often pass by, but we pretend we don’t see one another and she stays put.

The pheasant, pretending I'm not there

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          Lily the bear and frisky pigeons        

This last week, I’ve been distracted from paying attention to the wildlife in my garden by wildlife of a very different sort, from the US. An article in the paper prompted me to look at a webcam, which has been set up in the den of a pregnant wild black bear, called Lily, who lives in the currently frozen wilds of Minnesota. Lily was about to give birth and I found myself gripped with fascination and suspense, staying up well past my bed time for more than one night, until she gave birth to her first cub. Imagine having bears on the doorstep! It’s just as well I don’t live in the US or I’d probably never go anywhere except the forest.

Here in the UK, the snow and ice melted long ago (at least a week) and although more cold weather is forecast, the birds have reacted to the increase in warmth and the hedgerows have been filled with songs and cooings. It’s a welcome change from the silence of the freezing weather, when most birds hadn’t the energy to spare for singing.

Anticipating the coming of spring, first off the blocks are the wood pigeons. It’s easy to tell when pigeons are thinking about mating because they’re so obvious about it. I’ve seen them in the courtyard this week, one following the other, with the following bird continually bobbing its head in an attempt to allure its mate. Then, there is the increase in cooing, which is another give away.


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          Oh no, we've got Muntjacs in the garden!        

Sharing the garden with other species is generally a pleasure – birds sing, frogs jump - and sometimes make us jump when they do it - and the hedgehogs rustle through the undergrowth. Worms and beetles working alongside countless other creatures are turning the soil and mixing in the layers of material put down on the surface.

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          A closer look at the log pile        

As you make your way to the new compost heaps at the garden, you pass a big pile of logs next to a hedge. There are several log piles nearby, but this particular pile is the one I go to, because it’s so convenient, whilst the next one along is surrounded by tall nettles. The pile attracts, amongst other things, woodlice, spiders, small flies and beetles. At the base, mice, frogs and toads dig themselves burrows to shelter in.

The log pile

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          Chris Hedges’ last stand        
We can't count on the court to strike down indefinite detention -- let's nullify it.
          The Best of 2015         
My goodness, where do the years go? Here we are again looking back through the last year. This is a tradition that I follow every year. I find it fun to look back and remind myself of all the delightful critters that have allowed me to photograph them.
I am starting with the resplendent reptiles, it was a good year for our scaled friends, I think they did well with all the rain. 

This was our accidental catch. A very forgiving rattler that my husband managed to catch in a trap he had put out for a packrat. She didn't bear a grudge and posed obligingly after leaving the trap.

On the opposite end of the scale, this is a little baby rattler, barely twelve inches long. Being so diminutive he was a little more hesitant about posing for the camera but with quietness and patience I was able to get some nice pics.

No such demure behaviour from this spiny beauty, he struck the pose like a supermodel! I just love these characters and never tire of photographing them.

I did say it was a great reptile year and this was an absolute gem. A baby Gila Monster! At approximately six inches long it was probably not much more than a hatchling. I feel truly blessed to have seen such a unique little treasure.

The last reptile has been my nemesis for years. The Coachwhip, so fast that a photo seemed a forlorn hope until this year when, for some reason it decided to stick around for the paparazzi! Even going so far as to trace my steps up to the pool one day and watch me take a dip. Maybe it was the snakes revenge for me following him around?
And now onto the ones with exoskeletons.

I do love having these beautiful 'fluffies' around. I know they not everyones cup of tea but I think they are magnificent.

Something more conventionally pretty. I liked this shot because of the contrast between the fierce spines and the delicate butterfly.
An old favourite reappears as the sole representative for the amphibians.

The splendid Sonoran Desert Toad. This hefty lovely took up residence on our back patio, hanging out under an agave during the heat of the day, taking a dip in our little pool in the evening before heading out to hunt for dinner. He had a special place in our heart as he only had one eye.
And now onto the feathered ones...........

What's not to love about the oh so expressive Roadrunner? 

This isn't the best quality photo but it was indicative of the day. It was grey and wet when this flock of Western Bluebirds appeared. What a perfect way to brighten a day.

I just love this shot! Mrs quail looking absolutely irresistible.

Some colour here, a little Verdin feeding amongst the aloe blossoms.

This super fancy Black-throated Sparrow posed very obligingly outside the window one morning. I don't often enthuse about sparrows but this one is so smart looking with that sharp black and white colour scheme.

This was a new yard species right at the end of the year. A Peregrine Falcon feeding on an unfortunate dove.
Now onto the sky category.

We had a stunning supermoon this year that I just had to try to photograph. Such a magical sight.

My much photographed twisty twig makes the grade this year. I love this view and take endless shots throughout the seasons.

The mountains always provide a dramatic backdrop to the vivid colours of sunset.
The next group is plants.

One of our agaves threw up a flower stem this year and as the months went by it got taller and taller. Inevitably it was christened Audrey II.

The chollas flourished with all the rain, I like this macro shot, pretty but spikey!

A tiny little hedgehog cactus that goes virtually unnoticed for the majority of the year has its fifteen minutes of fame when it bursts into spectacular bloom.
Finally, the mammals.

It's tough enough to photograph the shy Round-tailed Ground Squirrel but getting a shot of them coming out of their burrow? I struck it really lucky with this one.

The naughtiest photo for the year. Wiley Coyote making it quite clear whose territory this is!

And finally our beautiful resident pussy cat. I am probably going to bore you all with endless photos of this gorgeous Bobcat that has decided that our back patio is the perfect spot to sleep during the day after spending the night hunting.

Shhhhh! Let sleeping dogs cats lie.
Happy New Year everyone.
From Jenna Orkin

From Jenna Orkin

From Jenna Orkin


From Jenna Orkin


From Jenna Orkin

The Trump-Russia investigation heats up with a call for a grand jury

Seed: The Untold Story

The 'hero' hacker who stopped WannaCry was accused of creating the 'Kronos' malware — here's what it is

China just held a drill to shut down 'harmful' websites as it tightens its grip on the internet

South Korea's spy agency attempted to rig the 2012 election and is now under investigation
From the "I'm shocked that there's gambling in this casino" Department.

Pediatricians are debating whether refusing to vaccinate a child can be construed as 'medical neglect'

Gulf of Mexico sets a new record for the world's largest 'dead zone'
Meat industry blamed for largest-ever 'dead zone' in Gulf of Mexico

Russia Sanctions And The Coming Crackdown On Americans

Quebec Is "Close To Its Limits" As Refugees Flood Across US-Canada Border

Trump To Launch Trade War With China On Friday, Beijing Vows Retaliation

Neuroscientist Shows What Fasting Does To You

Wikileaks Reveals "Dumbo": Tool That Allows CIA To Shut Down Cameras And Microphones

From Jenna Orkin

The ugly truth: One mother’s fight to expose the hazards at Ground Zero

Article about my recent book, Ground Zero Wars

7 earthquakes struck Oklahoma in 28 hours for a disturbing reason

Lyme Disease’s Worst Enemy? It Might Be Foxes


From Jenna Orkin

Browder's Testimony to Congress

There's a 95% chance the world will warm beyond a crucial tipping point — here's what that means

Farenheit 104 (40 degrees C). This is a number everyone should know.

A Brexit exodus may cost London 40,000 investment banking jobs

British Gas is putting up electricity prices by 12.5% for 3.1 million people

Homicide rates in America's major cities are on track to break records in 2017

Trump Saw A Disturbing Video, Then He Shut Down The CIA's Covert Syria Program

South Korea Is Preparing A "Surgical Strike" Against The North: Report

Deputy state attorney general arrested for child porn
Gordon Liddy's son

Video Shows ICE Agents Telling Mexican Teen to Drink Liquid Meth, Killing Him

From Jenna Orkin


From Jenna Orkin

Scaramucci reportedly planned to give Trump a diagram of news outlets he thought Priebus had leaked to

The suspect who fatally stabbed one person in Hamburg was a known Islamic radical and mentally unstable
Sadiq Khan: 'Brexit can still be stopped if Labour commits to second a referendum

'I infiltrated ISIS — here's how I was instructed to carry out a terrorist attack

A new trick can fool voice-recognition systems into hearing a recording inaccurately — and that could have catastrophic results

FBI General Counsel Reportedly Under Investigation For Leaks To Mainstream Media

Pakistan Plunges Into Political Turmoil After Prime Minister Ousted For Corruption

Kaboom! Russian Drone With Thermite Grenade Blows Up a Billion Dollars of Ukrainian Ammo

Amazon Hires 10 Part-Time Workers For Every Full-Time

Latest North Korean ICBM Can Reach Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago

From Jenna Orkin

Column: Sixteen years after 9/11, the American public deserves answers, not secrecy
Senator Bob Graham

GI and AI are going to turbocharge 'fake news' and make it far harder to tell what's real

Uzbekistan jails ex-president's daughter, socialite Gulnara Karimova, under massive fraud charges
Trump is looking for dirt on Iran, and it looks like the run up to the Iraq war

Vietnam pushes back after threats from Beijing over drilling in the South China Sea

Romans are about to go eight hours a day without water

Gauntlet Thrown: House Judiciary Demands Special Counsel To Investigate Comey, Lynch, And Clinton

Imran Awan Subscribed To Pedo-Centric YouTube Channel Exposed By Tosh.0

The Globalist One World Currency Will Look A Lot Like Bitcoin

Silicon Valley Censorship

Rents Across The US Hit A New All Time High

Study: Sperm Count In Western Men Cut In Half Over Last 40 Years ...

From Jenna Orkin

The Senate probe into big phama's hand in the opioid crisis just got bigger

In a first, scientists have edited the DNA of human embryos that could turn into people using CRISPR

Researchers shut down AI that invented its own language

What humans will look like in 1,000 years



Earth's Oxygen Levels Are Declining And Scientists Don't Know Why

Say cheese! New Singapore air terminal automates departures with face recognition


From Jenna Orkin

Americans are serving longer prison sentences than ever — and it all comes back decades-old ‘tough-on-crime’ policies

Venezuelans Are Now Paying 1000 Times More For US Dollars Than They Did In 2010

The Return Of Eugenics? Tennessee Judge Issues Sterilization Program For Inmates

Inside the 24 hours that broke Sean Spicer

Renewable energy 'simply won't work': Top Google engineers

Waste Management To Offer Dead Body Pickup Service In Response To Proposed Health Care Changes

Wall Street Journal Editorial Writer Found Dead

93 Degrees In Siberia As Wildfires Rage For Hundreds Of Miles Just Below Arctic Circle

U.S. Navy Ship in Persian Gulf Armed with Laser Weapon

BREAKING Report: John McAfee Injured In Attack

From Jenna Orkin


From Jenna Orkin


From Jenna Orkin

Satellite Snafu Masked True Sea Level Rise for Decades

Scotland Powering Country on Wind

California lawmakers passed a landmark climate change bill — and environmental groups aren't happy about it

Greece Brain Drain: 33% Of Unemployed Looking For Jobs Abroad Vs 11% In 2015

Here's Why The US Just Took 'Rebranded' Al-Nusra Front Off Terror Watch-Lists

Purchases Of US Real Estate By Foreigners Hit All-Time High In 2016

Wal-Mart Replaces More Than 4,000 Employees With Machines

Pentagon Furious After Turkey Leaks U.S. Base Locations In Syria: "Hard Not To See This As A F-You"

The Feds Just Expanded Civil Asset Forfeiture 'Laws' Nationwide

Nationwide Outage Hits Bank of America: Customers Unable To Access Accounts


From Jenna Orkin

There's a new version of Google Glass, and it's been secretly used by hundreds of factory workers for the last two years

9/11 Survivors Urge UK to Release Documents Related to Saudi Arabia

How an oil company created an American suburb in Saudi Arabia
I once lived in one of those.  See:  Memories of a Kawaggi in Saudi Arabia

Is Trump Repeating Hillary's Mistakes? The WSJ Thinks So

NATO Member Turkey Turns To Russia For Air Defense CooperationGermany: Infectious Diseases Spreading As Migrants Settle In

Bank Of Italy Warns Citizens Against "Creating Your Own Currency"

How 1,000s Of Student Loans Worth Billions Are Getting Erased On A Technicality

New Study Finds U.S. Healthcare System Ranks Dead Last Compared To Other Developed Nations

From Jenna Orkin

A Google Company Is Unleashing 20 Million Mosquitoes in California to Fight Zika

The world's first planned drive-through mall is now a prison — take a look at its history
Heavy-handed irony.
Afghan civilian deaths hit record high in 2017, driven by Taliban and ISIS attacks

'Winnie the Pooh' is being censored on Chinese social media

"Islamic State Leader Baghdadi Is Still Alive" Iraq, Kurds Claim

Elon Musk's Worst Nightmare: Russian AK-47 Maker Builds Fully-Automated "Killer Robot"

Clinton Ally Begala: We Should "Debate Whether We Should Blow Up" Russia

How Finland Is Preparing For A Russian Invasion

DC Robot Says Everything's Fine; Throws Itself Into Pool link

From Jenna Orkin

From Jenna Orkin

           Assessment of the self-ignition characteristics of raw and processed biomass fuels         
Saddawi, A. and Jones, J. M. and Williams, A. and Aslam, M. and Baxter, X. and Hedges, I. and Taylor, R. and Way, G. (2013) Assessment of the self-ignition characteristics of raw and processed biomass fuels. In: 6th European Combustion Meeting, 25 - 28 June 2013, University of Lund, Lund, Sweden.
          Our Garden Slowly Says Goodbye to Summer        

The torrential rains today were most welcome in Sara’s flower and vegetable garden beds! We tried to irrigate them as best as we could with our system of soaker hoses that could be hooked up with a click of a plastic connector, but some parts of the garden had to be watered manually, including a series of Dahlia flowers that she is cultivating to enter into the Fall Fair competition.

Hedgehog is looking forward to adding wheels and decorating some huge zucchinis to enter into the races at the Fair. We added extra Iguana Juice and Voodoo Juice to the
zucchinis to help them grow big. Some of the beneficial nutrients and microbes spilled over to the pumpkins growing next to the cucumbers, and a huge pumpkin that still has a lot of time to grow before Halloween, is the result!

With our tomatoes, we seem to have hit the jackpot! We eat Greek salad almost every night, so we grew a lot of cherry tomatoes. The orange cherry tomatoes this year are very numerous and have a heavenly taste! The yellow ones are okay, too, but the orange ones are superb! We also have some red ones, but they take a very long time to turn red.

The long dry spell and warm sunshine worked their magic on the hot Hungarian peppers. If you haven’t tasted one of these straight off the vine, you haven’t really tasted any. The supermarket variety pales in comparison. It’s not that they’re the hottest I’ve ever had, it’s the freshness of the flesh of the vegetable that makes me go back for more, each time. Next year, we’ll plant a lot more of these.

The phlox are still trying their best, but we’ll have to start deadheading them soon. The black eyed Susans are still in their prime, as are some yellow flowers whose name escapes me at the moment. Sara has collected so many different kinds of plants over the years, that it’s really hard to keep up. Even she draws a blank sometimes, when asked.

This rain will be followed by summer sunshine and temperatures over the Labor Day weekend, but after that Sara will start slowly removing the yellowed, dried up stalks and deadheading the flowers. She redesigned her main flower beds and it’s still a work in progress. As a result, we had very few roses this year. I’m sure that will be corrected in the coming year, because we both love roses!


Phlox, Pokemon, and Humic Acid

Looking back on the summer of gardening, I am not surprised that I haven't had the chance to blog since June. It's been a sunny, hot summer and all our efforts were spent making sure that the various garden beds were irrigated properly. Sara also did quite a bit of planting and garden design at another property of ours, more on that next spring when the garden will have spread to fill the boundaries.

There was our vacation in Hawaii, which occupied a lot of our time. Hedgehog is still very much into Pokemon, and there happened to be the World Championships of both the Video and the Trading Card Games, in Kona on the Big Island, so we threw caution to the wind and decided to fly off to Paradise.

It was a truly memorable event and the Resort it was held in was a magnificent location. The guests were ferried back and forth from the main lobby and parking by small boats or a monorail, both free of charge. Sunny lagoons with palm trees swaying in the ocean breezes, crystal clear pools and waterfalls, exotic birds and oriental as well as native Hawaiian art, not to mention the luau with robust native dancers and the traditional roast pig--we could not have picked a better place to spend ten days.

Luckily, a young neighbor volunteered to keep watering our gardens and the soaker hoses that Sara laid down really helped the efficient carrying out of this task. Nothing like a freshly plucked cherry tomato or strawberry from one's own garden! Not to mention cucumber, lettuce, squash, and snowpeas!

We made sure that our plants received an adequate supply of Organic Iguana Juice Bloom, as well as Humic and Fulvic Acids, before we left. Watering is great, but you also have to feed your plants. Can you imagine trying to raise your children just on water?

Organic Gardening
Results in Bigger Blooms

Our Delphiniums have reached eight-feet in height, and they’re still growing! They’ve never been so tall, or so full where the blooms are concerned. Several years of organic gardening have helped to establish an extremely fertile soil base in Sara’s flower beds, and using Iguana Juice Grow and Bloom every Spring also adds to the nutritious mix.

Our Pink Roses developed a touch of Black Spot on account of the rainy weather we’ve been having, but they still produced the biggest cluster of flowers ever! I must confess, we ran out of Scorpion Juice, thus we didn’t augment the plant’s resistance to pests and pathogens, like we normally do. I just ordered some Bud Factor X, as well as Rhino Skin, from Advanced Nutrients, in order to avoid the chance of infestations in the future.

Another pair of AN products that we’ll try is Humic Acid and Fulvic Acid. These two organic super additives will help ensure that our growing soil will stay fertile and productive for many more years to come. Derived from an organic layer, called Leonardite, mined from the top of coal fields, Humic and Fulvic Acids have magical powers associated with them. Just check out the YouTube videos praising their attributes!

Hedgehog and Jim are both upset about the British Petroleum oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. They’re writing letters to politicians and the media, asking Canadians to rush to the aid of the victims, both human and animal. Hedgehog was especially happy to hear on the news that the Canadian government is sending scientists to the Gulf to help the BP salvage team with the clean up operation.

We hope the Poppy thieves will stay away from Sara’s garden this year (trying to get high on the pods of backyard variety poppies is like smoking hemp for kicks—it just doesn’t work!). The Blue Girl rose offered us a perfect bloom again this year, and my Mother is looking down from the great beyond with a smile of her face, seeing her favourite Yellow Rose producing such lovely blooms with a subtle fragrance. A more powerful fragrance can be had by bringing your nose close to the Peony flower, from a late blooming variety that Sara especially loves.

Sara takes the art of organic gardening to the next level. She composts all her kitchen parings in the Fall and Winter, so by the Spring she can put a layer of rich composted soil on top of her flower beds to rejuvenate their ability to produce bigger yields. She also covered her garden with a layer of fallen leaves at the end of last Summer, and that organic mulch has served her organic garden well. Augmented by the addition of her base nutrients, Iguana Grow and Bloom, she is instrumental in creating the best organic growing environment for her plants, resulting in the outstanding blooms you see in these photographs.


Post-Olympic BC Celebrates With Flowers

That truly memorable hockey game earned well-deserved gold, and the closing ceremonies spoofed the clichés of our identity (dancing mounties, floating moose, and beavers galore!). Now we're all feeling a collective letdown. Let's face it, we're not going to have a party of this size anytime soon!

Sara and the kids took the ferry and then bussed it as close to downtown Vancouver as transit would allow. They made it to the torch, but drew the line at standing in line for the pavilions. The way Hedgehog put it, "it was bad enough to stand in line for forty-five minutes for hot dogs, but there were no toilets and when we found a friendly restaurant washroom, we had to stand in line for that too!" But when they returned, the family vehicle was festooned with a red maple leaf flag!

Sara's garden decided to bloom early this year, so the crocuses, hyacinths, and daffodils have all sprung forth, with tulips not far behind. Sara used Humic and Fulvic Acid to prime the soil, before applying our 100% organic fertilizer of choice, Iguana Juice. Grow was applied last month, while this month it's Bloom that the garden requires.

The pale pink cherry blossoms are in full bloom, while the darker pink ones are soon to follow. Pink cherry blossoms usually bloom in April, not like this, a month early! The weather report is making noises about snow flurries, but this weekend Sara had the winter tires taken off the family van!

The early spring of 2010 will be remembered not only for the Olympics but for the magnificent flowers that bloomed so early to celebrate Canada's winning the most gold medals at any Winter Olympics in history!


Putting Our Organic Garden to Bed

Sara just put up our Christmas lights yesterday, after putting the garden to bed. She mulched all the beds with shredded autumn leaves. This will prevent moisture loss, as well as act as a buffer against the extreme cold temperatures that we’re starting to experience. If you put some organic, composted soil on top of the leaves, you can actually precipitate composting of the layer underneath.

In the spring, Sara will have to remember to add an organic nutrient rich in Nitrogen (such as our favourite, Iguana Juice Grow) in order to replenish the Nitrogen that the leaves might leech from the soil in their decomposition process.

In previous years, Sara used to put a layer of composted horse manure over the entire garden, but that was in the days when Hedgehog was taking horseback riding lessons, and Sara was invited by the owner of the stables to take as much composted horse manure as she might need.

As we’re preparing ourselves for Christmas, I couldn’t help but to revisit my pictures of the last hurrah of Sara’s flower garden, the blossoms of late summer, early fall. The lovely fairie roses were in full bloom then, along with the phlox and the black eyed susans. Our gentle male cat, Patches, loved to hang out in the courtyard and the Christmas cactus, now in full bloom was just starting to bud at the time.

We wish everyone who reads this blog the warm glow of Christmas and New Year’s, or whatever holiday they are celebrating. We like to stick close to home and the privacy of our family circle. Enjoy!


Organic Nutrients for Bigger Flowers

God save us from uneducated flower thieves! Last summer, we woke up one day to find that someone had cut the seed pods off of all our red poppy plants. Obviously, someone who does not know that the red poppies that are legal to grow in our gardens are only a distant cousin of the opium poppies that grow in countries like Turkey and Afghanistan, and have no hallucinatory properties whatsoever.

Well, our perennial poppy plants somehow survived this onslaught, and once again we have beautiful, huge, red poppies growing in our garden. But on closer inspection, I noticed that three or four of the buds (not the seed pods, but the buds before the flowers had a chanced to open!) were carefully cut and removed. Now this shows even more ignorance. By cutting the buds, all they did was deprive us and the neighborhood of three or four additional flowers. Good luck trying to get high on these buds!

People who don’t know anything about horticulture, should stay out of gardens, especially our garden! Sara worked really hard to create a beautiful space where the heavenly scent of lilacs mingles with the magnificence of flowers in bloom.

The tulips have said goodbye, while the catmint, forget-me-nots, and lilacs are just coming into their own. In fact, the forget-me-nots have taken over a whole section of Sara’s garden, having started with only a few plants some years back.

My vegetables are getting started. The snow peas are coming up along the netting on the fence, and lettuce, sorel, spinach, and broccoli are thriving. In fact, the sorel is as tall as I am and even though it’s in bloom, the leaves are still as tasty as ever. No bitterness there. I recall my mother making sorel puree when I was a youngster. She always added a spoonful of sugar. I prefer them raw, with a sprinkle of honey on them, to complement the sour taste.

Hedgehog is a Wii Fit fanatic and she prefers the coolness of our basement rec room to the heat of the sun midday. She beat the hula hoop record by twisting her pelvis over 800 times in energetic succession. The next day she groaned a bit from sore muscles but now she’s back at it again. Jim prefers the Nintendo DS but he also rides his bike a lot and is thinking of getting a newspaper delivery job in the fall.

Our supply of Iguana Juice is getting low, so I must order some more from Advanced Nutrients. I’ll add some Humic Acid and Fulvic Acid to the order, in order to perpetuate the dark, humus-like soil that Sara manages to create for her flower beds each year, using organic fertilizer and composted horse manure.


Organic Nutrients Produce Bigger Yields

Forget-me-nots galore! Huge daffodils soaking up the sun! Rich hued tulips speak of things to come!

Sara’s garden is coming into its own, and the world’s best organic nutrient is boosting the size of her blooms! Spring is the most magic of seasons, when the earth rejuvenates itself and covers all our gardens with bright, colorful flowers that gladden our spirits!

She soaked the humus-like soil with Advanced Nutrients Organic Iguana Juice, and her plants burst forth with new energy! They love the pure ingredients in this fish-based fertilizer. Her friends always ask as to how her blooms grow so big!

I am very enthusiastic about it, but I’ll let my pictures speak for me. We look forward to celebrating Earth Day tomorrow with Hedgehog and Jim, as Sara cooks a stir fry of organic vegetables, seasoned with the herbs grown in the Aero-Garden that I bought her for Christmas.

Stay tuned for the pictures of these herbs and the story of how they grew in their hydroponics setting, as if by magic. You’ll have to wait for my next posting for that one.

           Invertebrate biodiversity within the grassy and woody elements of farmland hedgerows: snapshots from Lincolnshire         
Bennett, Sophie and Eady, Paul and Deeming, Charles (2013) Invertebrate biodiversity within the grassy and woody elements of farmland hedgerows: snapshots from Lincolnshire. Aspects of applied biology, 118 . pp. 253-258. ISSN 0265-1491
          Your backyard landscape can include a meditation Area        
For meditation gardens, some of the concerns are the same, some different. Privacy is still very much an issue (since secluded settings are more relaxing than open settings), as is maintenance. But safety goes on a back burner. Here, reflection, not physical activity, takes center stage. Aesthetic considerations, consequently, will carry greater weight.

Most people find plants more relaxing than hardscape, so consider planting hedges to form the walls of such outdoor rooms. If you don't want to wait for hedges to get tall enough to afford privacy, install lattice screens, instead. To satisfy your requirement for plants and provide further privacy, train vine plants to grow up the lattice. Climbing hydrangeas are perennial vines and an excellent choice for shady areas. You have more choices in the sun, including that ever-popular annual, the morning glory.

For a floor, consider a combination of natural materials. You want something interesting into which to gaze, something with distinct textures. For instance, a rustic flagstone patio, with scotch moss planted in the cracks between the stones -- or creeping thyme, if you enjoy landscaping with fragrant plants.

In meditation gardens, a ceiling may come in quite handy. Here, you'll have to choose between aesthetics and functionality. A vine-covered arbor may be more inspiring to gaze up at than a lawn umbrella, but the latter will keep you -- and the books you may be reading -- dry. If you'd like something more solid than an umbrella, consider installing a pergola and covering it with fiberglass.

But water shouldn't be banned entirely from contemplative outdoor rooms. If there's any place in our yards for accessories such as garden fountains and waterfalls, surely it's here! There's nothing like the soothing sound of bubbling water to put us into a reflective mood. Whatever you decide to incorperate into ypur backyard landscape it is always wise to speak to a profesional landscaper before starting any project.
          Backyard landscape Design Considerations        
Part of the beauty behind the concept of separate "rooms" in a house is that each unit is unique unto itself. Consequently, you can install a component in the kitchen that looks great there, without worrying that it would look out of place if viewed from the bedroom. The same is true for outdoor living spaces.

Having separate outdoor living spaces allows you to create mini-landscape designs (each somewhat different from the rest) for each of them. Not that you shouldn't still strive for unity across your landscape design, as a whole. But the more successful you are in physically separating one outdoor living space from another, the more flexibility you have to diversify without creating a hodgepodge.

For instance, you may wish to include a storage bin for towels in the pool area. Such an element would be functional and would look fine there. But the problem is, you might not wish to view it from another part of the yard dedicated, say, to meditating in naturalistic surroundings. The answer: screen off the pool area with a tall hedge or fence, effectively creating a "room" separate from the rest of the yard. You may also want to consider if you need a area for a swing set or a trampoline. If so you may want to consider some type of a surface under these other than grass. Some people alo like to add a horse shoe pit in the backyard for adults to use. When you turn your yard into more than just another project to work on during the weekend you will get a lot more use from it.

Depending on the type of backyard landscape you decide on for your needs you may also have a bit of maitenance to do to keep it looking good. Obviouslly if you have a large grass area that will require mowing. Depending on what part of the country you live in you may also need to overseed in the winter in order to have a yard. The types of plants and trees you plant will also need to be taken into consederation when thinking about how much work you want to have to do. If you can it is always a good idea to consult a landscape company for ideas. Any good landscaper will have unlimited ideas for you to consider.
          Comment on the maddeningly inarticulate kevin madden—late of the dire and disastrous Romney campaign—to work for Glover Park Group by laserhaas        
The ability to investigate these days is sorely lacking. Does anyone believe Mitt is only worth $250 million and that he spent $50 million of his own money to be run for the nomination? Would you like to buy a bridge? You could buy into the other nice story by Romney, that all his net worth is not known, because he has placed his money in a "Blind Trust" and due to privacy matters, he cannot reveal, or does not even know how much is there. Do you want someone who has no idea how his own money is being handled to Handle the money of America? Then again, you might want to buy into a Hedge Fund that is closely connected but somewhat of a mystery. It will take a lot more than $250 million to buy though. It is the entity known as SanKaty. It is an Offshore company in Bermuda. It is reportedly worth $2. 3 billion. And 100% owned by Mitt Romney. Just in case anyone cares.
          Did Trump Launder Money for Putin?         
Is Putin's espousal of Christian values an act, and the conflict 
between Russia and the USA a charade?

According to David Livingstone,  Chabad is the original Illuminati, a front for the
Russian (i.e. Jewish) mafia. Trump has ties to Chabad both through
the Kushners  and business deals with Russian Jewish oligarchs linked to
tax evasion, embezzlement, money laundering and human trafficking.
David thinks the Russia Mafia is closely linked with the KGB and Putin. 
He suspects they are all run by Mossad.

Disclaimer- Like most of you, I like some things Trump has done or is attempting to do.
However, we need to know the truth about our "heroes." David Livingstone essay, which I recommend you read in full, raises the possibility that Trump is leading us on. 

"As James Henry indicated in The American Interest, "one of the most central facts about modern Russia: its emergence since the 1990s as a world-class kleptocracy, second only to China as a source of illicit capital and criminal loot, with more than $1.3 trillion of net offshore 'flight wealth' as of 2016."

Donald Trump, Chabad Lubavitch & the Oligarchs
by David Livingstone
(Excerpt by

The Russian (Jewish ) mafia is closely associated with Chabad-Lubavitch, a Hasidic Jewish movement. Although the Chabad Lubavitcher movement is often listed as a part of Orthodox Judaism, it has often been condemned as heretical by traditional Jews. Rabbi Eliezer Schach, 103; Leader of Orthodox in Israel.

Natan Sharansky, the Chairman of the Jewish Agency said that Chabad Lubavitch was an essential connector to Soviet Jewry during the Cold War.  Shimon Peres has stated that it's to Schneerson's credit that "Judaism in the Soviet Union has been preserved." Joseph Telushkin. Rebbe (Harper Collins, 2014), p. 566.

These Russian Chabad-Lubavitcher Jews composed a substantial portion of the country's notorious "oligarchs."

Close to 25% of the 200 richest people in Russia are Jewish, according to a report by Russian banking website The report found that of the country's 200 billionaires, 48 are Jews  and own a combined net worth of $132.9 billion. Among the 48 Jews who made the list, 42 are Ashkenazi and together have a net worth of $122.3 billion, even though they comprise only 0.11% of the population . 

The wealthiest Ashkenazi is Mikhail Fridman, who has a net worth is $17.6 billion and is Russa's second richest man. The Ashkenazi billionaires include Viktor Vekselberg (net worth of $17.2 billion), Leonid Michelson (net worth of $15.6 billion), German Khan (net worth of $11.3 billion), Mikhail Prokhorov (net worth of $10.9 billion), and Roman Abramovich, left, (net worth of $9.1 billion). Source

As James Henry stated in The American Interest, "Since the 1990s, [Russia has emerged] as a world-class kleptocracy, second only to China as a source of illicit capital and criminal loot, with more than $1.3 trillion of net offshore 'flight wealth' as of 2016." 

For ordinary Russians, as noted, this was disastrous. But for many banks, private bankers, hedge funds, law firms, and accounting firms, for leading oil companies like ExxonMobil and BP, as well as for needy borrowers like the Trump Organization, the opportunity to feed on post-Soviet spoils was a godsend. This was vulture capitalism at its worst. [The Curious World of Donald Trump's Private Russian Connections.]

A 2012 article in the Jerusalem Post titled "At Putin's side, an army of Jewish billionaires" mentioned three Russian-Jewish billionaire oligarchs in particular who are close to Putin: Mikhail Fridman, Moshe Kantor and Lev Leviev. Under Putin, the Hasidic Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (FJCR) became increasingly influential within the Jewish community of Russia, partly due to the influence and support of businessmen close to Putin, notably Lev Leviev and Roman Abramovich. See "No love lost." and Cracked De Beers.

Leviev is an Uzbeki-born Israeli citizen and devout Chabad Lubavitcher. Known as the "King of Diamonds," Leviev has come under scrutiny by the US government and international media for both his partnership with a Chinese business group believed to have funded North Korea and his possible role in developing West Bank settlements.  "Trump and His Advisors Are Connected to a Self-Professed Friend of Putin"

Chris Hutchins, a biographer of Putin, describes the relationship between Putin and Abramovich as like that between a father and a favorite son. (Chabad Lubavitcher) Abramovich was the first person to originally recommend to Yeltsin that Putin be his successor. Richard Sakwa. The Crisis of Russian Democracy: The Dual State, Factionalism and the Medvedev Succession. (Cambridge University Press, 2011). p. 135. Abramovich is a chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia (which is allied with Putin's administration), and donates money to the Chabad movement. M. Goldman. The Piratization of Russia: Russian Reform Goes Awry. (Routledge, 2003). p. 132.

According to former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, Russia's intelligence and security services control the country's organized crime network. Putin Welcomes the Return of the Russian Mafia


Like the Oligarchs in Russia, Organized Crime is heavily Jewish...Chabad Jewish

Shortly before his death, former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko claimed that Simeon Mogilevich,  allegedly had a "good relationship" with Vladimir Putin since the 1990s, and has contacts with al Qaeda to whom he sells weapons. Listen: Alexander Litvinenko's apparent warning before his death...In the year he was murdered, Litvinenko was investigating suspicions that Roman Abramovich was involved in money-laundering and illegal land purchases. Litvinenko investigating Abramovich money-laundering claims, court told.

Putin-Lazar (1).jpg
(Putin with Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of Russia) 

Trump's biggest Chabad links are via his infamous son in law Jared Kushner

In 2015, Trump's son-in-law and chief adviser Jared Kushner, who has strong ties with the Lubavitchers, purchased the former New York Times Building in Manhattan from Leviev. Kushner, who married to Trump's daughter Ivanka after she converted to Judaism, had become what the Times described as Trump's "de facto campaign manager." Quiet Fixer in Donald Trump's Campaign: His Son-in-Law, Jared Kushner. 

He was principal owner in his family's real estate company Kushner Companies, and of Observer Media, publisher of the weekly, on-line New York Observer. The Kushner's were friends with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who stayed at their home in New Jersey, sleeping in Jared's bedroom.[77] 

Trump's foundation has donated thousands of dollars to Chabad institutions, and Ha'aretz also reported that the foundation of Jared's parents gave $342,500 to Chabad institutions and projects over a 10-year period.Report: Trump, Kushner foundations have donated thousands to Chabad. "Israel wasn't a political discussion for him; it was his family, his life, his people," said Hirschy Zarchi, rabbi at the Chabad House at Harvard, where Jared was a member. For Kushner, Israel Policy May Be Shaped by the Personal. ...

On January 27, 2017, the Kushners invited Cohn, Department of the Treasury appointee Steve Mnuchin and several members of the President's cabinet for a Shabbat meal, along with Rabbi Levi Shemtov, from the local Chabad-Lubavitch house, which is only a few blocks away from their home. 

Also attending were Department of Commerce pick Wilbur Ross and his wife Hilary Geary Ross, and Strategic Communications Director Hope Hicks. The Kushners break bread with Team Trump: Jared and Ivanka welcome several members of the President's cabinet for the first big Shabbat meal at their new DC home.

(Shemtov, left. Nothing changes.)

Shemtov heads the Central Committee of Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbis. Shemtov serves the daily governmental and diplomatic needs of the international Chabad-Lubavitch movement, flying to Buenos Aires, Moscow and other capitals. 

Shemtov is often at the White House, Pentagon, United States Department of State and other venues in official Washington, and maintains close relationships with numerous members of the US Congress, senior Administration officials and leaders in the international community, including a number of heads of state and government. Fishcoff Sue. The Rebbe's Army. (New York: Knopf Doubleday, 2003), p. 185.

          39 - Felicity Ward        

Felicity Ward hilariously combines expert physical characterisation with heartfelt storytelling. Speaking just after the recording of her first DVD in Melbourne, she describes her creative process, her experiences in pilot season in L.A., and her strategies for coping with the self-criticism that can make her want to run from the stage. Felicity Ward, Storytelling, Melbourne, Facebook, Musical, Journey Show, TV, Sketch, Heckling, Edinburgh, Adam Hills, Spicks And Specks, Ali McGregor, Radio, Best Newcomer, Reviews, Mental Health, Twitter, Characters, Hedgehog, Celia Pacquola, Mary Poppins, Russell Howard, Acting, US, LA, Fear

          Velký posun od kovů k energiím pokračuje        
Autor: Ole Hansen, hlavní komoditní stratég Saxo Bank Hedgeové fondy zvýšily sázky na komodity na tříměsíční maximum Prodej kovů je více než vyvážen poptávkou po energiích Býčí sázky na WTI futures dosáhly nejvyšší úrovně od července 2014 Hedgeové...1
          A CEO just said on live TV that billionaire Bill Ackman reminds him 'of a spoiled brat in school'        
In a Thursday morning interview with CNBC, Carlos Rodriguez, CEO of Automatic Data Processing described his interactions with hedge...
          Graham Capital, a $14 billion hedge fund, has lost money in almost all of its strategies this year        
Graham Capital, a $14.4 billion Connecticut-based hedge fund, is facing a tough year for performance, with 13 of its 14 strategies...
          How Panama Papers' sponsor George Soros made billions offshore        
The Independent provided this 1994 glimpse into how George Soros made billions with an offshore Netherlands Antilles fund using tax breaks which are now villified under the Panama Papers by the International Consortium of Journalists he sponsors.  The Quantum fund was formed by Citco (Curacao Investment Trust Co) instead of a Panama law firm.

Lifting the lid of the Soros money machine: 
In an exclusive journey through the labyrinthine empire of the master speculator, Stephanie Cooke and Charles Raw find gains are 'reallocated' to a charmed circle of associates

STEPHANIE COOKE and CHARLES RAW Saturday 5 March 1994

'I STILL consider myself selfish and greedy,' says George Soros. 'I am not putting myself forward as any kind of saint. I have very healthy appetites and I put myself first.'
Mr Soros is the man who made dollars 1bn when Britain left the European exchange rate mechanism in September 1992, earning him the status of a legendary investor. But that status was tarnished last month, when he lost a similar sum on the yen.

Nevertheless, he has set the tone for a new generation of large-scale professional investors who run so-called hedge funds on behalf of wealthy private clients. Markets regularly hang on his predictions for the course of gold, currencies and shares.

The size of these hedge funds means they are regularly singled out as the cause of seismic shifts in financial markets. That is putting Mr Soros into sharper focus, simply because he is the leader of the pack. If he should falter, the knock-on effect could be widespread.

That is why central banks have started to ask questions about unregulated offshore operations such as his.

Ever the master of public relations, Mr Soros welcomed the central banks' probe. 'I feel there is an innate instability in unregulated markets,' he told the Reuters news agency.

Until now, however, remarkably little has been known about how the Soros financial empire is organised.

The first detailed analysis of the funds' published documents reveals that he has created a complex and bizarre financial creature in which the interests of Mr Soros, his family, close friends and key executives in the business are incestuously intertwined with those of his public investors.

Some of those investors may not have noticed that in the past few years Mr Soros has altered the structure of the organisation so as to reallocate some of the profits in favour of his private circle.

Mr Soros started his offshore fund operation with dollars 4m in 1969, at the age of 39, after learning the arbitrage and investment business in London and New York.

He appears from the start to have aimed at wealthy individuals and professional European investors. He told prospective clients that the purpose of his key Quantum fund was 'to enable sophisticated investors to participate in an internationally diversified investment portfolio'. The Quantum fund is active in currency, commodity and interest- rate markets as well as equities and fixed-interest securities.

Later, in the early 1980s, Soros honed to perfection the technique of charging buyers a premium based on the supply and demand of fund shares.

Normally an open-ended investment fund is sold or redeemed at net asset value, with a sales charge added or an administrative charge deducted. But the Quantum fund can issue shares at a premium to its net asset value. The premium, however, is not based on an open market value.

Instead it is set by the fund's managing director, Citco (Curacao Investment Trust Co) in Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles. This is declared to be 'by or at the direction of the fund's board of supervisory directors', which is chaired by Alberto Foglia of the Banca del Ceresio in Lugano, Switzerland. Its seven other members are mainly European bankers and brokers, including in London the renowned fund manager Nils Taube of Lord Rothschild's St James's Place Capital.

In the late 1980s the Quantum fund's documents stated that the premium would not rise above 25 per cent. As the premium for buying the fund was as low as 1 per cent during that period, it was not an unduly onerous restriction. But in the past few years, as the fund's fortunes have risen, the restriction has been quietly dropped and the premium soared at one point to nearly 40 per cent. After the Japanese loss last month, it dropped four points to 35 per cent, but is now back to 36 per cent.

Possibly to avoid problems with the US authorities, Soros states that his funds are barred to Americans - whether in the US or abroad. At least one exception to this is Soros himself, who became a US citizen in 1961.

By 1972 the fund was worth dollars 20m. For reasons not made clear in recent documents, the operation was relaunched under the Quantum name in 1973. The fund was registered in the Netherlands Antilles, but Soros ran it from New York through Soros Fund Management. No information is given about this firm's precise corporate status, other than that it has always been wholly owned by him personally.

Although Soros now leaves the running of SFM to his executives, the documents state that in his 'personal capacity, he manages a securities trading partnership formed for the benefit of members of the Soros family and several other family accounts'.

By the end of 1980 the fund was worth more than dollars 380m and the net asset value of each share had risen by almost 4,400 per cent. In 1981 Quantum shares fell by 23 per cent, their first drop in value, and the fund nearly halved to dollars 193m. The following year a new category of share was created - the B share - in which Soros placed money invested by himself and his trusts and charities. His own main investment in the fund is now via these shares. It is through them that he apparently exercises control over the fund, although the voting rights of these shares are not explained in more recent documents. He can and does convert B into A shares from time to time, but these are primarily held by outsiders. No single external investor is allowed to exercise more than 4.9 per cent of the votes.

Although the fund recovered and grew once more, it hit another rocky patch in the late 1980s when more investors were selling Quantum shares than were buying. Around this time Soros made serious efforts to expand his operation.

In 1989, in spite of the fact that very few investors came into the fund, the net asset value of Quantum increased by 31.6 per cent.

Mr Soros had demonstrated the magical effect of simple mathematics, something not immediately apparent to laymen. Because of the high number of redemptions during 1989, the benefits were divided among fewer shares, so the net asset value still rose.

By then the operation was working as follows. Under an agreement approved by shareholders in 1988, Soros Fund Management is paid a basic investment advisory fee of 1 per cent a year, payable monthly. But the real cash cow is the annual performance fee. The fee is mainly composed of a sum equal to 15 per cent of any increase in net assets resulting from the fund's operation - before the deduction of the performance fee itself, of course.

There is another element in the fee - 15 per cent 'in net assets resulting from premiums realised on fund share subscriptions and premiums or discounts realised on fund share redemptions'.

Although the fund can issue shares at a premium direct to investors and - as is normal with open-ended funds - redeem them, in practice Quantum acts differently.

It has a subsidiary called Quasco which sells Quantum shares at a premium and buys them back either at a smaller premium or, should the situation arise, a discount of up to 1 per cent. Quasco makes a profit from the margin between the premiums charged to buyers and the price offered to sellers. In recent years the margin has been around 4-5 per cent.

Quasco's accounts are not available, but it is clear it makes a substantial amount of money through these dealings. This money has historically been reinvested in the fund and SFM has taken its 15 per cent cut.

Indeed, the very fact that the money was ploughed back has been used as a strong promotional point by brokers selling the funds.

But in 1991 things started to change. In a significant restructuring of the operation that included the launch of new funds, Mr Soros began the 'reallocation' of some of the gain for 'selected persons associated with SFM'.

By then Mr Soros had apparently finally decided that Quantum's growth had to be curtailed. In February of that year he announced the biggest distribution so far: dollars 4,000 per share, a total of dollars 611m. To satisfy investors who did not want cash, he offered shares in a new fund, Quasar International.

Quasar was a different animal to Quantum. Instead of investing directly in securities, it would invest only in one entity - Quasar International Partners. That in turn would carry out investment activities under advice from SFM. But Quasar, like Quantum, had a dealing subsidiary, Quinter.

The fund was not the only investor in the partnership, however. Mr Soros, 'certain members of his family and other selected persons associated with the partnership's management' also joined the club.

The Quasar fund has had a very successful run. In only its second year of operation it showed an increase in net asset value per share of 56.2 per cent, following a 44.9 per cent rise the previous year.

The accounts for the year ending 31 January 1993 show that of the dollars 18.2m netted on premiums, dollars 5.6m was 'reallocated to other partners'. In the previous year they were allotted dollars 2.55m in premiums. These reallocations were based on their share of the partnership, which had risen from 24.6 per cent at the outset to 29 per cent by the end of the second year, partly because of the reallocations.

Thus Mr Soros, his family and key members of his management team had effectively increased the membership dues for Quantum's sophisticated investors in the fund, and helped to dilute the fund's interest in the partnership.

In the explanatory memorandum about Quasar, Mr Soros explained that 'the Fund's net profit or loss from transactions in the Fund shares (whether realized directly or through Quinter) generally is accounted for as if earned by the Partnership, and thus is shared among the Fund and the other partners.'

Close examination of the accounts also reveals that the 'selected persons' appear to have benefited in another way from the establishment of the partnership.

In April 1991 Soros told Quantum shareholders that they had subscribed for a total of dollars 541m in 'Quasar', without specifying whether he meant the fund or the partnership.

In fact the accounts reveal that while dollars 541m of Quantum's assets were indeed transferred to the Quasar partnership, the Quasar fund's initial net asset value was only dollars 493m - a difference of dollars 48m.

The Quantum investors choosing to invest in Quasar were thus effectively paying a premium of about 9.5 per cent for their new shares.

Another discrepancy appeared in the calculation of the net asset value at the end of the second year. While the fund's holding of the partnership at that time was 71 per cent, when it came to dividing up the net increase in the partnership's capital resulting from operations, the fund got only 67.1 per cent. This is possibly because the 'selected persons' do not pay advisory fees.

The pattern for spinning off new funds had been set.

When Quantum's next distribution of dollars 1.166m was made in February 1992, two further funds were launched: Quota and Quantum Emerging Growth.

Quota was different because it would be managed entirely by outside advisers (but, of course, under SFM's overall direction).

Quantum Emerging Growth remained inside the SFM stable - but its performance fee was set at 20 per cent and also spawned a partnership arrangement similar to the Quasar operation. In effect, therefore, it too raised the stakes for the growing ranks of investors in what was by this stage fast becoming the Soros phenomenon.

This time, though, there was no discrepancy between the assets of Quantum transferred to the partnership and the new fund's equity stake, according to the accounts issued for the first 15 months to 31 March 1993.

During that period the 'selected persons' put some dollars 100m into the partnership. Their share rose from less than 5 per cent at the outset to 15 per cent at the end of the period. Their allocation of the dollars 40m in profits, generated by the premiums from dealings in the fund's shares, was dollars 4.7m.

As the fund's fortunes rocketed, self-restraint among its management seemed to wane. The 25 per cent restriction on the premium had long since disappeared.

Then it spawned two property funds, each with a high- profile partner.

One, Quantum Realty Trust, was with Paul Reichmann, whose Olympia & York operation had collapsed as a result of the financial drain of the Canary Wharf development in London's Docklands.

The other, Quantum UK Realty Fund, was with John Ritblat of British Land. Again, capital was provided partly out of distributions from Quantum and Quasar as well as by Mr Soros and his family, but also this time by other participants.

Although the structure of these new funds is highly complex, they are essentially closed- end operations. What may not have been noticed was that in June 1993 the directors of the open-ended flagship - the Quantum fund - removed an important investment restriction: a prohibition on direct investment in property.

Until the audited accounts for 1993 are available (they are expected to be out in May or June), investors will not know whether advantage has been taken of this change, or what effect it may have had on the liquidity of the fund.

Last year, Quantum quietly transformed itself. On 1 August 'substantially all' of Quantum's assets and liabilities were transferred to a new Curacao partnership, Quantum Partners.

As with Quasar and Quantum Emerging Growth, the Quantum fund is not the only partner. 'Selected persons associated with SFM' - including SFM's managing directors - subscribed for 1.3 per cent of the new partnership's net equity.

In effect they were getting a share in Quantum without having to pay a premium. Already by the end of September their share of the net equity had risen to 1.9 per cent - dollars 78m - and, as with Quasar and Quantum Emerging, they would get a share of the net premiums made from dealings in the flagship fund.

Again, just how much this will be will not be known until the 1993 accounts are available. But in 1992 such dealings contributed dollars 68m towards the rise in the fund's net asset value.

Additionally, SFM's managing directors and 'trusts and charitable foundations created by them' have taken an insurance policy on the future of the fund. This comes in the form of dollars 220m of convertible debentures that pay 6 per cent a year and are convertible in 2003 into partnership shares at 120 per cent of their net asset value on the issue date. They may be worth considerably more than that by then.

In the great tidal wave of money into the Soros empire, which at the end of 1993 stood at dollars 4.9bn for Quantum alone and more than dollars 10bn for the whole group, there is another sum that may one day cause repercussions of its own: the size of the performance fee that SFM leaves in the fund. At the end of 1992, the latest reckoning available, that totalled nearly dollars 550m.

These deferred fees are so structured that they share in the appreciation of the fund, but investors are given no clear picture of when SFM can or will withdraw them.

It is curious that Mr Soros has not yet taken this money out, since it would be one way of reducing the size of the funds. But to take it out quickly now might suggest he was losing confidence in his own creation.

See full text in

          Will Hillary Clinton be featured in #Panamapapers?        

Hillary Clinton’s Caymans-tax-dodge hypocrisy

Hillary Clinton last week lunged into her most flagrant fit of hypocrisy yet.
With Bernie Sanders surging, she took new aim at the rich — including their use of tax dodges.
She told MSNBC: “We can go after some of these schemes … the kind of misclassifying of income, trying to make it look like it’s a capital gain, when it’s really ordinary income, going ahead and routing income through the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands or wherever.”
Huh. Bloomberg News reported in 2014 on the Clintons’ use of a prime tax dodge: They put their Chappaqua home into a “residence trust” in 2010. Such trusts can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in estate taxes.
Meanwhile, the Clintons’ family wealth has grown big-time thanks to firms with significant holdings in places like . . . the Caymans.
As The Daily Caller notes, Bill Clinton spent years as a partner in his (now-ex-) buddy Ron Burkle’s investment fund Yucaipa Global — registered in the Cayman Islands. In five years, Bill pocketed at least $10 million.
In 2011, her hubby also earned at least $225,000 in speaking fees from Whisky Productions for an “event that will target the business community in Grand Cayman.”
It’s a family thing: Chelsea Clinton’s hubby, Marc Mezvinsky, is a partner in a hedge fund with multiple holdings incorporated in the Cayman Islands.
And don’t get us started on the whole clan’s use of the Clinton Foundation.
Full text and videos in
See also

It’s another pretty dismal-looking day.

Joni (comment yesterday),  you solved the mail problem. I keep forgetting that I use googlemail on my iPad, accessed through Safari – but that the machine itself prefers its own mail app. There I found the Northmavine Hap. Here it is:

That picture was taken 24 hours ago. I’m not much further on – the rows are long. I counted stitches when I had officially finished the fourth repeat, and was surprised to find myself two stitches short. I am currently engaged in the first pattern row of the new repeat. Something is slightly awry.


I took Archie and his brother Mungo to lunch yesterday at Wahaca. We had a nice time. If I had hoped to learn anything about university life in Lancaster or Oxford, I failed. The conversation largely demonstrated to me how little I know about contemporary life anywhere.

There was a moment – Mungo told of visiting an Oxford friend at home on a newly-built estate in conditions of what seemed to him like preposterous wealth. (And Mungo has Greek friends who have demonstrated to him what preposterous wealth looks like.) His friend’s father had something to do with a hedge fund, Mungo said.

I said, “Bernie Madoff must have lived like that.”

And they, for once, didn’t know who I was talking about.

Helen and I are thinking of going to Strathardle this weekend. What about the cat? I want to take her there, and introduce her to freedom. But Helen has a dog. He is a very amiable dog, who pays no attention to Perdita when he is here. She pays little to him, although she is wary. But I feel his presence will add to the stress of strangeness for her.

I am sorry to have given the wrong impression in my reference to the cat yesterday. I love her dearly, and value her company – but am beginning to realise that she is almost as much of a responsibility as my husband was. I can at least go out during the day, if I can face that reproachful furry face at the inner glass door when I get home. 

          Revival of the Pineapple Bowl        

This gurl has OFFICIALLY DECLARED, by declaration on this here blog post, hereby and forthwith--

(what's left of it anywayz)

There are some who declare Foxes, Anchors, Hedgehogs and such as 'THEIR' year--so why not a Pineapple?

Dee inspired me to skip on down to the thrifts in search of those wooden bowls gatherin' dust on the shelves of misfits.  
You know the ones.  
Ya see 'em all the time.
Fer cheap.

  It never occurred to me that simply givin' 'em a coat of paint could TOTALLY change their life!  


First, I painted the inside of each bowl with gold leaf.

Not a Pineapple, but Leafy lookin' bowls are cool too!

Then I used different colors of acrylic and painted just the top portion of each bowl with several coats.  

After each one was dry, I sprayed 'em with a coat of clear paint. 

After the clear coat dried, I rubbed the base side with olive oil to restore the natural look of the wood.

Aren't they gorgeous--in that 'mid-century modern' way?

More pineapples, here,  here, (of course I'm gonna croshay a Pineapple!), a croshayed bag, how 'bout a tea cozy,  or a scarf and ooooooo this one!

          Key takeaways from the Alliance Trust overhaul        
Greater independence, accountability and performance lie at the heart of the long-awaited changes at the investment trust that endured a bruising battle over strategy with activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors
          Hedge funds emboldened by the fall of Glencore        
Commodity shorts are up 50% over the past year as the slowdown in China and other emerging markets creates an 'Armageddon scenario' for some companies
          Investment Banks Move To Dodge Volcker Rule        
With the ink barely dry on the Frank-Dodd bill, Wall Street firms are already maneuvering to avoid the worst of the law’s pitfalls. Among the more controversial parts of the law (from Wall Street’s perspective anyway) is the so-called Volcker Rule, which slaps restrictions on proprietary trading and limits banks’ ability to invest in hedge funds and private equity pools.
          Pequot Insider Trading Informant Gets $1M High Five From SEC        
The ex-wife of a former Pequot Capital and Microsoft employee turned over the smoking gun email that put an end to Art Samberg's hedge fund career
          Reply #6935        
Thanks skeptic and speeddmon. Skeptic, I can't blame you on the $25 tickets. I stopped buying them several months ago. I either lost or won $25/$30. I've been buying the $5 Cashfall (I suspect one top prize remains because of the ticket ranges left). I buy a $20 GRD and $20 Monopoly to hedge my bets. I bought some more today and get these two. The big (relatively speaking) wins have made this workable otherwise the $5 Cashfall is pretty brutal.
          Sonic Character        
Would you like to make your own version of Sonic the hedgehog
          Sonic Quiz 2        
This game is test how much you know about sonic the hedgehog game
          How to Sell Gold Coins Mysterious and Gleaming        
Since the first prehistoric coincidence, raw materials and solar radiation golden color and metallic luster and charisma to attract a man. A unique flash of gold attracts the eye, so the seeker to determine the smallest grain of many other materials together. The smallest part is easy to find.

Anthropology Research Neolithic graves indicated that the first elements of the collection of gold and precious man. This unique metal, gathered in the form Nuggets seem to be very valuable, but useless in practical applications. Score 2.5 to 3 on the Mohs hardness scale gold too soft is hammered into a viable tool or weapon. Gold for prehistoric little value unless it is a wonderful and rare treasure, inner beauty.

However, as a man, he soon discovered a number of requests for the mysterious golden metal. The earliest record of Egypt gold research dates around 2000 BC Ancient records tell of the great alluvial gold Nubian Nile and Red Sea between south-eastern Egypt. This incredible discovery, including more than 100 square miles. Using the most primitive tools, and work an average depth of less than 6 feet, the first "miners" Priede estimated 1000 tonnes of gold from this rich discovery. Egyptian artisans, recognizing that it is very old-fashioned incredible plasticity of gold jewelry, ornaments and idols amazing.

During the whole of human history has been involved in gold, precious metals have been invaluable, not only for their beauty, but gold is the ability to withstand harsh weather. No matter seems to be a general nature will destroy gold. From the air, moisture, heat or cold, the precious metals will not change color, corrosion, rust, or discoloration. Gold glittering gold Nuggets of gold and brilliant vein occurred 45 million years to survive the catastrophic geological and climate changes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, problems and deposition. The treasures of gold jewelry, gold bars and gold coins, buried for thousands of years beneath the earth and sea, were found complete, as a glorious day, they were abandoned.

A relatively rare metal elements in the original, gold ranked 58th among the 92 rich natural factors make the Earth's crust. Although considered rare element, all gold, metals, except iron, mostly distributed in the face of the earth. Gold has found 90 percent of the Earth's surface, taking advantage of the high mountains, deep weathering of soil in tropical regions, in the harsh desert and arctic tundra permafrost.

Commercial exploitation of gold in all continents except Antarctica. Richest regions in gold production in the world is Witwatersrand in South Africa. This ultra-rich region has been made in 18,000 tons of gold, with no end in sight. Additional significant gold bearing area of Siberia, in the whole world in the former Soviet Union, porcupine District in Ontario, Canada and the United States, Alaska, the Yukon area and the famous Lord's mother in California district.

In the United States is very generous nature. 32 countries have recorded significant commercial gold production. Offering the highest in the western United States are in California, Colorado, Alaska, Nevada and South Dakota. Other rich areas for research, including Georgia, Arkansas, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Washington, New Mexico, Wyoming, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Vermont and New Hampshire. Entertainment gold ore gold can be found in the pan in almost all countries in the Union.

Gold is the ideal medium artisans. This is the metal can be deformed and will not harm or affect the collapse. Gold, in pure form is the most viable of all the plastic or metal. Single ounce of gold can be drawn upon and expanded in the ultra-fine wire over 50 kilometers in length without breaking or pounded to the amazing ultra-not the disintegration of the one hundred-thousandth inch. Gold is easy carving, easily lost flashing Polish, repeated heating can not change the color and add your own or another metal welding, without adhesive flux.

More than 6000 Gold has always regarded as a symbol of wealth, power and status. Egypt in 1350 BC the young Pharaoh Tutankhamen's coffin interred carefully casting of pure gold, weight 242 kg. Throughout history, men and women were decorated with their own bodies and the brilliant, flashing gold. Ancient custom wedding held during the exchange of gold continues to this day.

Aristocracy wide??Middle Ages in Europe the form of gold dust, flakes, or to leave their food showcase the great wealth of the host country. Today, gold is still the most frequently used in food and digital electronic 175th However, since the gold inert metal of all bodily functions, has increased with no taste, nutrition or any other role, and leaves the body has not changed.

Contains primitive people think they are hidden, internal fire, a gift from God the mysterious healing and supernatural powers. Many cultural sunworshippers be respect for physical gold as a God; solid sunshine. In today's Japan believers seek gold healing magic soaking tub in the form of design, Phoenix produced 400 kilograms of pure gold. Health and gold have been entangled in the magical belief that some of the most precious and beautiful not only for healing and health.

Today, modern esotericists and various forms of alternative medicine embrace the healing properties of gold. Some gold salts have anti-inflammatory properties and use of drugs in the treatment of arthritis and other conditions. However, only salts and radioisotopes of gold pharmacological value, as elemental or metallic gold is inert to all chemicals encountered institutions.

Gold is the "value of the warehouse," a natural way for mankind to preserve capital and guard against financial uncertainty or monetary collapse. In modern times gold has served as a threat to inflation hedge and safe way of assets, except in secret. The "hoarding" gold occurs most often in times of war, in the world and unfavorable conditions of the international economic instability concerns. Gold is often an attempt to defeat the government exaggerated its national currency, as well as those who bypass the objective of political power, direct the economy in other countries.

The entire recorded history, gold, the king's coronation metal, has always considered the ultimate hard currency. Gold is the only currency, and not someone else responsibility or obligation, which is still only a paper promise to pay the demand. The value of gold is not dependent on the economic stability of any country, political power or financial cartel. The value of gold itself.

The current world price of gold is to build a day on the market in London, gold, gold bars and gold trading in the world with other financial centers, such as Zurich, Hong Kong, Frankfurt and Paris. Price is based on pure or "very good" of gold, therefore, the value of gold, collected in its natural state May vary depending on the impurities it contains. However, sales of gold jewelry as raw materials or samples will always bring a very high price. Gold is an obvious difference snowflakes, although similar, no two teams are the same. The unique nature of the Arab-Israeli bloc and the form of May to sell up to 5 times the value by weight.

You have damaged or discarded gold jewelry you no longer wear? May now be time to cash in on the current gold rush. With the price of gold more than the benchmark $ 1000 an ounce, incorrect or damaged gold earrings chain can increase a lot of money.

To get the best price, gold, you May want to sell, knows carat count. As a soft core of pure 24k gold, is often associated with basic metal alloys, used in jewelry, to change its hardness, color, melting point and ductility. Low alloy karatage, usually 22k, 18K, 14 K or 10K statements, including a greater share of silver, copper or other base metal alloy. The higher the more carats, you should pay.

If you have only one or two for sale, try local jeweler or classical works, from ancient jeweler. They will be taken into account the artist's process will clear the height is much more than the price of gold weight.
Learn where to get Gold Coins For Sale by visiting Gold Coins For Sale - A popular coin collecting website that teaches you how to make money in buying and selling coins without taking unnecessary risks.
          Disney to Use Facial Recognition to Gauge Audience Reactions to Movies        
For decades, people have accused studio blockbusters of being soulless examples of art by committee and/or the work of bean-counting robots. While that is obviously an exaggeration of sorts, it may be getting closer to reality than we realize. Studio execs have always tried to hedge their bets with test screenings and market research, but […]
          ZH: Debt Ceiling Blues        

Read this post and related comments by ZeroHedge and the ZH commentariat for much snark.

Are you ready?
          More companies may go private in new year - could the NYT Company be one of them? And might they have to write down the value of        
I've been blogging with increased regularity now for some time on the very real possibility of the NYT Company going public-to-private.

If you think it's just the rantings of some nutter in the Auvergne, read this.

More companies may go private in new year
By Simon MeadsReuters
Monday, November 17, 2008
LONDON: A dearth of capital provided by banks may drive public companies into the arms of cash-rich private equity firms and could help rekindle the moribund market for public-to-private buyouts.
Private equity companies say there have been some signs of revival in the market, which has been virtually shut for more than a year, as institutional investors seek a way out of companies whose share prices have dropped.
There has been a pickup in business in just the past couple of weeks, with two public-to-private deals going into the due diligence phase, said Andrew Roberts, a private equity partner at the law firm Travers Smith.
A slow drip-feed of liquidity back into the system next year could give more impetus to the market for mergers and acquisitions, Roberts said.
"It's still going to be relatively small deals, in the hundreds of millions rather than the billions," he said.
In the first nine months of 2008, there were only 15 public-to-private buyouts in Britain, according to figures from the Center for Management Buyout Research.
The £2 billion, or $3 billion at current exchange rates, buyout of Emap, a media company, was the largest. It was one of only three buyouts worth more than £1 billion.
This contrasts with the 24 public-to-private deals made last year, including the European high-water mark deal - the £11.1 billion takeover of Alliance Boots by a consortium led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
And there is a precedent for a rise in this type of deal after a sharp fall in asset values. Toward the end of the dot-com boom, there were 46 public-to-private deals in 1999 and 42 in 2000, accounting for 28 percent and 39 percent of total buyout deal value, respectively. That total includes other deals between private equity firms and buyouts by privately held companies.
Private equity firms have to put in more of their own money when buying a company with borrowed cash, and the size of such leveraged deals has dropped drastically after the credit crunch slammed the door shut on credit markets.
Private equity firms are hoping tight financing conditions may bring back the heady days. With markets for initial public offerings shut and a mountain of refinancing awaiting already tight corporate debt and loan markets, companies have few options.
"Large shareholders are hugely important in these types of deals," said Roberts, the private equity partner at Travers Smith.
In London, the FTSE 100-share index has slumped by more than a third already this year and large institutional investors are set to dominate shareholder registers as the hedge fund industry shrinks and retail investors continue to stay away.
"Now that prices have come down on the listed market, it will open up the possibility of doing public-to-privates," said Richard Chapman, a partner at the private equity firm ECI Partners. "You also have willing vendors."
"There is a desire by institutional investors to pull out of the smaller and midcap companies."
Sam Hart, an analyst with the brokerage firm Charles Stanley, said he believed that investors in any quoted company would be extremely pleased to see interest from private equity firms.
"I'm sure they would look extremely favorably on any approach, and as long as the offers they were making for companies represented a reasonable premium to the current share price, I would have thought they would be quite inclined to accept those offers," he said.
But, Chapman said, although there is room for a pickup in public-to-private buyouts, activity may not restart until 2009, after banks complete reporting 2008 balance sheets and there is an easing of bank debt.

And if you think some of my posts about have been off-the-mark (I think the NYT Company overpaid for an out-of-date, distinctly uncool, ageing demographic, behind the Internet curve dot com company) then you might like to check in on this little gem about companies having to write down the value of assets on their books, bought when times were good and money was cheap:

Of course, if they are looking at a public-to-private, that wouldn't be such a bad thing would it?

Meanwhile they plan to merge into, effectively wiping value off the balance sheet - given how much they (overpaid) for the IHT when times were good and money was cheap. WaPo must be delighted.


"Books about cosmopolitan urbanites discovering the joys of country life are two a penny, but this one is worth a second glance. Walthew's vivid description of the moral stress induced by his job as a high-flying executive with the International Herald Tribune newspaper is worth the cover price alone…. Highly recommended."
The Oxford Times
Ian Walthew

'I read
A Place in My Country with absolute unalloyed delight. A glorious book.'
Jeremy Irons (actor)

‘Ian Walthew was a newspaper executive with a career that took him round the world, who one day did a mad thing. He saw a for-sale sign on a cottage in the Cotswolds, bought it, resigned and moved in. For the first few weeks he just lay on the grass in a daze. Then he started talking to his neighbours and digging into the rich history of this beautiful part of England. Out of his inquiries grew this affecting and inspiring memoir.What sets it apart from others of its ilk is the author’s enviable immunity to cliché and his determination to love his homeland better than he used to.
His elegiac account of relearning how to be an Englishman should be required reading for anyone who claims to know or love this country.’ Financial Times

Ian Walthew

For more reviews visit

Business trip to the IHT in Paris or friends and family coming to visit you? Fed up with hotels? Bring the family (sleeps 6) to superb Montmartre apartment - weekend nights free of charge if minimum of 3 work nights booked;. Cable TV; wifi, free phone calls in France (landlines); large DVD and book library; kids toys, books, travel cot and beds; two double bedrooms; all mod cons; half an hour to Neuilly and 12 mins walk from Eurostar. T&E valid invoices.

10% Discount for NYT employees; 15% Discount for IHT Employees

International Herald Tribune
New York Times
The NYT Company

          Reply #5624        
Exactly what I'm thinking of doing..I just can't keep rationalizing spending money and getting 33% of my money back without hitting $500 more frequently or something substantial enough to hedge the losses. I'm surprised you found the 100k winner! That seems impossible to me right now lol. After going through probably 25 - 30 50x books and not hitting a $500 or better I'm truly thinking of giving up..
          Re:Politics - USA        
Heh... one of my favorite sites:
14 People Explain Why They Want Donald Trump To Become President
1. I’m seriously thinking about voting for trump, and here is why. I firmly believe that our system of government is deeply flawed, if not completely broken. Yet we still keep voting for the same type of people. If trump wins, there’s a good chance the whole thing will collapse from his absurdity. Then maybe we could start over and build something better that works. A vote for trump is a vote for full system breakdown, which I believe is exactly what we need.

So... he/she's in the Burn It Down™ crowd.

2. So I’ve spent the last 30 years living outside D.C. And at least since the Bush Sr. administration I’ve paid pretty close attention to politics, and have become pretty disillusioned with both parties. Basically as I see it every candidate we get from either side has the same flaws, flaws that Trump, despite being a very flawed individual in his own right, doesn’t share.
First, every politician is a corporate whore. Campaign finance law basically exists to be super muddled, keep out 3rd parties, and disguise where any politicians money is coming from. We legitimately don’t know who our leaders owe favors to, it’s usually a lot of people, and it’s definitely influencing policy. With Trump we know exactly where his money came from, it’s going to be a lot harder for random lobbyist/backer to manipulate Trump. We’ve even seen this reflected in some policy ideas he’s talked about like the changes to the tax code to close loopholes that he knows as well as anyone because he’s used them himself for decades.
Second, if you think about the traits good leaders have had, from a historical figure you admire to a great coach or the boss you really liked, typically those people are straightforward and honest with people, speak their mind and stand up for what they believe in, are open minded but firm in their convictions, and tend to shine when making difficult decisions. I think the traits necessary to be a politician are the opposite of all that. To be a successful politician you have to hide your true thoughts and motives when they’re at all controversial and instead give people what they want, you have to avoid tough decisions like the plague and stand for what no one is opposed to. Just look at political debates, no one answers any questions, they all talk and talk and say nothing. Trump seems to legitimately say what he thinks. He seems honest, even when what he thinks is pretty weird. He legitimately doesn’t care if people aren’t going to like what he has to say. He answers those questions in those debates, it’s pretty refreshing.
I’d actually go so far as to argue that Trump is open minded. He used to be a Democrat, now he’s a Republican, he’s still very liberal on a large number of issues. He was on a Comedy Central roast and was a good sport about it. He’s clearly capable of laughing at himself, which implies he’s aware he may be wrong at times.
I don’t think he’s racist at all, though he’s definitely more worried about terrorism than I feel is warranted. He’s definitely an donkey-cave, but I’m not interested in having him as a friend. George W. seemed like a genuinely nice guy and we invaded two countries, Obama seems like a genuinely nice guy and NSA spying and drone strikes are at an all time high. Maybe being a nice guy isn’t that important to running a country.
Trump has been the victim of gotcha journalism and misquotation or out of context quotation pretty heavily recently, and I think people don’t know what he really stands for. He believes some weird gak, but it’s not all as crazy as it’s made out. For instance his statements that made the front page recently on the internet were wildly misrepresented. He was asked specifically about ISIS’ ability to recruit online and was talking about trying to take steps to limit that. To me it was obvious from what he said that he doesn’t know much about the Internet, but to me what he said about “get with Bill Gates” that was so heavily mocked here was pretty clear in context, that he was saying he wants to meet with experts in the field and see what our options are. As much as it’s been ripped I thought he was making a point mentioning Gates. Trump knows Bill Gates politically, and how liberal he is, and I think was implying it’s a non-partisan issue and showing the angle they’d take, which was what the next line mocking people crying about freedom of speech was about. Trump knows Bill Gates is the last guy on earth who would want to filter the Internet and restrict freedom, that’s the point in dropping his name. I’m far more concerned with the similar statements, from a more informed position, that Hillary and Obama have already made concerning freedoms and spying on the Internet.

This guy/gal is full of Zen...

3. As a legal immigrant I despise illegal immigrants. At worst they should be put at the back of the “queue”. Hillary’s offer to legalize them all is pandering. As a person who grew up in the western world, I respect the rule of law. Philosophically if you have a problem with people cutting in line in front of you at a coffee shop or while merging into traffic or at an amusement park, then you and I are in complete agreement on this topic. Also immigration is a privilege not a right. A huge part of the world wants to get into the US . And the US has historically welcomed these people with open arms. But to demand that you be let in like it is a fundamental right is not fair to the people who live here those who were born here and those who came here legally. The people who are here paid their dues, I don’t think it is unfair to ask the others do too.

One of the smartest things that Trump tapped into is *this* anger.

4. I think the support he has is a symbol of how fed up Americans are with how unbalanced and dishonest the system has gotten. We want politicians who will actually represent the people, not corporate entities. Even if his honesty is ignorant it’s still a change in the direction of having leaders that aren’t completely cynical.

Is this wrong? I mean... Trump's not a politician, but it ain't like he isn't the elite ya know?

5. I fullheartedly support Donald Trump and find him to be the most qualified candidate for the job.
Is he an donkey-cave? Yes. Is he not politically correct? Yes. Everything he says is completely controversial and on the surface it seems like he is totally outrageous.
However, he is the savior in such a corrupt and dishonest system.
Here is a list of things I like about him. Many of them significant and others small.
Our leadership is terrible. We have individuals across the world torturing innocent people and planning to kill thousands of American’s as we speak and nothing is being done about it. He will literally ruin ISIS. He doesn’t want to close Guantanamo because he isn’t an idiot. Constitutional rights don’t apply to terrorists.
He cannot be bought by any private lobbyist group.
He speaks his mind (i.e. no teleprompter and he does not have speeches written for him)
He never EVER apologizes. Idk I personally just kind of like that.
Everyone freaks out because they think he’s a racist. “Oh what he wants to deport 11 million people! What a racist!” “Oh he wants to stop illegal immigration to reduce crime. Racist!” “He wants to temporarily stop people of the islamic faith from coming into America for national security reasons so Congress can figure out issues regarding ISIS. Racist” Please. He’s not actually dumb enough to think he could deport 11 million illegal immigrants, given, they are legally not allowed to be in this country. He uses this classic method of negotiating called ‘anchoring’ as he talks about in his book the Art of the Deal. You want to sell a car for $25000? Ask for $28000 then negotiate down. By asking so much from Congress as to not allow Muslims in and deport 11 million people he will get a better reaction from democrats than by simply asking for a little better regulation of some sort for illegal immigrants and/or Muslims. No one has the right to come into America. We should build a massive wall and allow people to come in legally.
Regarding his statements about Muslims not being allowed to come into America. Yes obviously there is no way of knowing who is Muslim and who isn’t. So the next step is prevent certain regions from coming into the U.S. And Congress LITERALLY JUST DID THAT TUESDAY. If you are from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon I think..? and one or two other countries in the middle east or have been there in the past 5 years you cannot come into the United States without adhering to our “strict” Visa policy (which is a joke, which is why Trump wants to stop it completely). The article is on CNN. The house passed it 407-19. And American intelligence expects that ISIS has the ability to make fake passports to get where they want. So that is really good!/s Also Rand Paul wants to temporarily halt immigration from those countries (a.k.a. Muslims) to get national security concerns worked out as well as Trump. But the media doesn’t talk about that cuz feth Trump amirite? fukin racist lol.
I don’t think people comprehend the fact that 21% of all Muslims in Syria support ISIS? Do people not understand that threat? If I remember correctly from a few recent polls, an average of like 8% of all Muslims in middle eastern countries are chill with ISIS and what they are doing. So I mean while we have millions of people rooting for innocent American’s deaths and tens of thousands of them plotting to kill innocent people across the world we are sitting here freaking out because Trump wants to TEMPORARILY halt Muslim (a.k.a. certain countries) entry into the U.S. Okay. Dude, feth logic!
Almost every single source of media that bashes him has some sort of clickbait headline that Sander’s supporters glance at and don’t even look into the situation. At first I hated Trump for what he was saying about Hispanics and for other BS media reasons. Then I actually listened to him talk and actually saw what he was like. Is he perfect? No. No candidate is though. And no matter what side you are on you absolutely 100% cannot deny that Trump is more genuine and less hitler like to at least to some degree than the media portrays him. If you don’t agree with that, you obviously have only seen headlines of CNN and Huffington Post articles.
Amazing Businessman. I was appalled in the first GOP debate where they questioned his business ability because he purposefully let his companies go bankrupt so he would save money. IN fething 2009. Anyone that says he isn’t a good businessman is ignorant. He has compounded his wealth at 44% since he got his first $1 million from his dad. Way better than some of the best hedge fund managers in the world.
We literally keep losing to everyone (China and other Asian Countries) for Jobs, Production, Trade, and GDP. I am 100% confident that he will make America an economic powerhouse again.
He wants to tax any couple making less than $50,000 per year 0%. Any individual making < $25k per year also 0%.
Simplifying tax code. He wants to make the IRS so much smaller and more simple. It is absurd with what we are dealing with now.
Other candidates suck. I like Bernie’s personality but he is a socialist that thinks the rich are the devil and thinks everyone deserves to have an iPhone, 4 kids, and a 3 story house. And a pussy. Hillary is corrupt as feth. Jeb”!” is a pussy. Ben Carson does not have the capacity as a human being to run a nation of 300 million+ people. Ted Cruz I like just not as much as Trump. Everyone else is irrelevant.
Things I dislike about trump: His environmental stance, Maybe a bit much on being an donkey-cave to people.


6. Frankly, he is possibly the most capable candidate I have seen.
Firstly, he is a strong figure. I’m only 26, but in my entire time voting, and learning about politicians, they have always come off as weak and pathetic. Their game is to make you like them. People rarely came to the table saying what they wanted to do, but they just said sound bites like “We need to save the middle class! Tax breaks for the middle class! Better schools!” When pressured on anything slightly controversial they could crumble and apologize. Trump stands by what he says against great opposition, and Tends to be correct, forcing the media to apologize. This just makes every allegation afterwards seem less credible.
He is very savvy with economics, listen to him speak. . He has a good understanding of the economy, the problems that exist within it, and how to utilize the upper class to re-invest in America or face higher taxes. The tax structure he offers up in 91′ seems relevant even today to help alleviate some of the complaints we have about 1%’ers and wall street.
He is loud, and crass, and isn’t intimidated by people telling him to speak a certain way. As a kid raised on the internet, I always took free speech for granted. I could say anything, and everything I wanted on the internet with no fear of repercussions. When I came to the internet I saw a completely open arena where you could talk about anything, have any opinion, and voice yours without fear. Worst case sceneario? you make a new screen name instead of DarkSephirothx1950. As I got older, and the internet got more mainstream, I got more excited that people would join the free thinking, free talking movement, but sadly it slid in the opposite direction. Social media is tied to everything, and if you say the wrong thing it can be met with firm opposition and potentially losing your job. Trump signifies that culture for me at least. We have the first amendment, but it doesn’t mean gak if we don’t have a culture of free speech, and we don’t.
He has the most potential to actually beat Hillary. If he runs as independant it will probably suicide the republican party, they will be split, and hillary gets the white house.
I can’t possibly understand peoples aversion to deporting illegal immigrants besides their feelings. illegal immigrants hurt the lower class the worst, and they are in a bad enough spot as it is. If you are going to break the law, you should be prepared to face the consequences of your actions. If I shot up heroin, I wouldn’t expect any sympathy for my choice to break an established law. These workers come in and take the “undesirable jobs” for low wages. Guess what? When you have an undesirable job, it must be met with compensation equal to what people are willing to do it for. If they want to offer 5$ an hour to pick potatos, and nobody offers to do it, their option is to offer more pay for that work, or not harvest the potatos. Illegal imigration removes low education individuals ability to negotiate their wages. Food prices will increase, but everybody thinks its ridiculous that such hard jobs pay so low anyway.

Sounds like this voter wants an Authoritarian Daddy...

7. I do like the things Trump says about campaign finance, straight calling people like Bush out for being run by his donors. And I think hillary is a robot.

Hillary's a Terminator donchanknow?

8. He isn’t a pandering politician. He is relatively centrist and populist. He has a long track record without any damaging scandals. He seems more than the others to be genuinely interested in being a good leader for the country, rather than only for his base (as he doesn’t really have a base to pander to.)
In short, the rest of the field looks slimy and self-serving. Trump has proven successful enough at serving himself that he comes off as credibly genuine and not like he’s running to make more money or get more recognition or power. He is less easily corruptible than a politician looking to trade favors and pander for votes.
And the media reaction to him only serves to make the media look like corrupt establishment boot lickers seeking to control the narrative and the political process entirely.
I guess it takes power to speak truth to power, sometimes.

Don't know he'd by "less" corruptible... o.O

9. I want to preface this by saying I’m not decided on who I will vote for. I’ve supported candidates from both parties in the past, and I don’t agree with Trump 100%, but when it comes to thousands of Muslims coming over here, I have to say that as a gay man that worries me.
Let’s not mince words. Muslims are not at all in favor of gay rights (Page 14 for the lazy). Sure some are I guess, but they’re a small minority and they tend to be people who grew up in 1st world nations.
Now you may be thinking “why not just vote for Hilary or Bernie? They’re way more pro-gay than Trump.” True, but theres a little problem. Hilary only cared about gay rights when it became politically inconvenient for her not to and I have a whole host of problems with Bernie. Namely:
-Tax policies
-Gun Rights
-Foreign Policy (Climate change caused ISIS apparently. Not our foreign intervention, but climate change.)
-Affirmative Action
-The fact that he won’t be able to pass a single bill because neither party really supports him. Do we need more Gridlock?
-He’ll most likely die in office
Then there’s also the fact that even as a gay dude I don’t give a feth about gay marriage. Sure I think it should be legal for those who want to get married, but in my personal (selfish) view it doesn’t affect me one way or another. I will never get married in my life, so you can make it as illegal as you want, won’t affect my life at all. But you know what will affect me? Countless people coming into the country thinking that my sexuality is immoral, should be outlawed, or even punishable by death.
I find it so funny how liberals will on one hand sing the praises of the LGBT community but then turn around and welcome the most homophobic and bigoted people on the planet. Seriously. Go look at that chart again. 71% of millenial aged Muslims think that homosexuality should be outlawed. If Liberals heard that 71% of American white men thought that I guarantee that they’d parrot it from the highest mountain. We would never hear the end of it. Yet when Muslims think the same thing we get the NOT ALL MUSLIMS speech. Ok, fine. I will concede that not allMuslims; just a sizable majority of them. And apparently I’m supposed to feel comforted by that, as if to say “Suresome Muslims may want to kill you for the way you were born, but since it’s not 100% shut up or we’ll compare you to Hitler.” (Apparently Hitler was a 21 year old blonde-haired, bearded gay dude-TIL).
I ask you, dear Redditor (who is no doubt typing furiously about how wrong I am and how I’m a fascist) please consider for a moment how you would feel if you were in my shoes. How would you feel if your president was allowing God knows how many people into your country who want you dead? I figure you’d probably be pretty scared, and any rebuttle of “shut up or you’re Hitler” wouldn’t soothe your fears.
I concede that Trump is a stupid blowhard who says whatever crosses his mind, but how many of you have spent years complaining that politicians are too scripted, that they don’t say what they believe, or they’re too beholden to moneyed interests? Well Trump is the answer to what a politician would look like without all of those things; crude and unrefined, but honest. He says what he really thinks, even if it isn’t good politics. He isn’t right about a lot of things but he does appeal to me simply because he isn’t a politician.

...this is the most reasoned rationale so far.

10. I like the fact that he isn’t a politician nor plays the “political game” like it should.
I agree that immigration is a VERY serious problem. We just can’t afford supporting so many illegal immigrants. My father came here legally and he had to go through the long process of the system to become a US citizen, why cant others?

Indeed... why can't others follow the rules as it exist today?

11. I agree on being more careful with immigration, less gun control (or I think in his view leaving it up to states.), and focusing on getting our debts paid off.
I also feel like he is less of a liability, should he actually be a bad president. It would be like electing a guy who HAS to be on his best behavior, or get impeached.

Oh, I don't know about that... which presumes he'd overcome HRC in the first place.

12. He’s an donkey-cave, but at least he’s honest, and isn’t really into bullshitting people. Besides, I don’t want a third Bush or a second Clinton in office anyway. The Presidency is not a hereditary monarchy.

Anecdotally, this is the most common rationale that I've encountered in support of Trump. Thing is, my BS meter dang new breaks everytime I listen to Trump.

13. Because over time our entire political system has become a complete joke. It’s completely based on money. And these are just the popular mantras, but after 30 something years on this planet, I’ve decided they’re true, but for specific reasons.
No one involved in the White House or on the Hill has an actual “job” like they used to when the country was founded. Being a Senator or a Rep used to be be something else you did, not the only thing you did. You didn’t get paid a livable salary to come to DC, and you didn’t spend all year (minus vacations) in the city, you were at home, in your home state, doing your job. You ran a store, you were a farmer, a doctor, a butcher or some gak. Entire lifetimes are spent in office…why? How is that reality? Every single one of them is a millionaire…how does that represent anyone? How can they possibly relate to a huge swath of the country? The districts at a state/local level are absolute dogshit, carved up literally block by block in some arbitrary fashion that negates the effectiveness of being represented in the first place. And the term “middle class” is completely meaningless. There is no definitive line that says ‘above this, you are middle class, but above this, you are rich’. It’s an impossible to define completely meaningless term that does nothing but make everyone feel like a unique and special snowflake…the “average american citizen” snowflake. 40% of our income, out of the gate, goes directly to the Government. In addition to all the consumption taxes we pay (sales tax, property tax, gas tax, estate tax, capital gains tax, and on, and on, and on), and yet these idiots aren’t even marginally close to HALF of a balanced budget.
They trundle out on tv, radio, in the paper, and talk about taxes, about nonsensical political moving and shaking, about topics that seem to “matter” but realistically make zero difference. Major headlines are made for bills about personal rights, privacy, and a slew of other things, and then completely negated by riders on other bills under the radar, piece by piece, until the people that paid for the influence get what they originally wanted anyways. The entire voting populace, which is what, a third of the eligible voters that are alive and mentally coherent at any given November, are given the illusion of having a say, when it doesn’t matter. They call, they put Facebook posts up, they put signs and banners on, send stupid emails, write letters…’we’re making a difference!’. No, you’re not. You’re killing time, like knitting, but more social, and you don’t have something to show for it later.
It’s a COMPLETE joke. An absolute circus. Our country exists still solely by accident, and by the forward motion created in WWII by becoming one of the largest economies and military powers in the world. And with each generation, we become more entitled, less creative, less hard working, and more egocentric than the generation before. It’s a fething gak show, and these asshats get on TV and talk about jobs, the economy, and the ‘good ol American dream’.
So I love Trump. I fething love him. I wish he was actually going to run all the way to the White House instead of just fart around until the primaries like he usually does. I wish he’d take shots and get on TV and give press conferences drunk off his ass. I wish he’d tell reporters to go feth themselves. I wish he’d treat International diplomacy like it was an episode of what’s his show where he got to say “You’re Fired”. I LOVE that he pisses off all the politicians on both sides, because he’s different than the good old boys (and gals) that come up year after year after year. How can he possibly be worse than what politician after politician after politician does in office? What’s he going to do, piss off an ally by spying on them? Inflame enemies by attacking their countries with remote controlled planes? Spend more money than we have? Pass laws for things with good intentions, like healthcare for people who don’t have it, without considering some of the gigantic gaping holes in getting it out there…like a working website to sign up for it in the first place? Sit on his ass and do nothing while OPM has the biggest leak of clandestine and TS information in the history of mankind? Bail out gigantic banks instead of busting them up after they fethed around and lost billions of dollars and screwed over half of the globe? Have the most non-secretive affair ever? Then lie about it and spend a million man hours talking about who he did or did not feth instead of governing? Cause gas lines and shortages, fail to rescue hostages from a shithole by piss poor planning? Invade a country and blow it to gak without figuring out how to get back out of said country, after we just did the same thing 40 years prior?
Seriously…how the feth could Trump be WORSE than the parade of human turds in suits that march into the Capitol and White House every day, every year? He can’t. He can’t possibly. But the sheer fact that he’s universally hated by every one of those lying out of touch idiots makes me want to vote for him as King let alone President. Go Trump.

Tell us how your really feel mang. And lol at "human turds in suits".

14. He’s not a bought man ( or women ), he does the buying, not the other way round
he’s honest about his opinions, and agree or disagree with them, at least you actually know what he thinks
he’s a survivor , he’s had up’s and downs, and he doesnt give up, he keeps on going, and he comes out on top in the end again and again
when charged with being ignorant of things a 8th grader should know, henry ford famously said that he could push a button, and have someone come and answer any question posed to him. He didnt need to know it himself, because he found good advisors, and listened to them
the Don may not be an expert in foreign affairs, but he doesnt have to be, because he has the business sense to listen to good advice
and just the fact that he is a non nonsense guy helps america on the world stage, and at home. Does anyone think that netanyahu would pull his gak if the Don was in charge ? You think putin would laugh at the Don ?
he is a strong leader, and thats precisely what america needs right now

Another point people bring up seemingly convinced that Trump would surround himself with good peeps...

Still on the #NeverTrump, #NeverHillary camp.

          Apple and Einhorn Could Both Use Cleaner Design        

Apple and David Einhorn could both use some of the iPhone maker’s famed simplicity. The $430 billion technology company has combined three governance fixes better considered separately. Also a bit unwieldy is an idea from the boss of hedge fund firm Greenlight Capital to unlock value at Apple. A sleeker approach makes more sense.

Preferred stock lies at the heart of the spat uncorked on Thursday. Apple has proposed several changes to its articles of incorporation ahead of its shareholder meeting later this month. One is a clearly positive shift to majority voting for directors. Another is a largely administrative, though sensible, move to attach a par value to Apple’s common stock.

The third change would prevent Apple’s board from issuing preferred stock without shareholder approval. Calpers, the $243 billion California pension fund and governance champion, supports the whole package. That’s no surprise, since governance advocates worry that directors can use a blank check for pref issuance to deter takeovers. Einhorn, though, wants Apple to consider issuing preferred stock. He has initiated a legal effort to force Apple to break the package into three separate shareholder votes, claiming U.S. public company rules require this.

Legalities aside, the cleanest response would be for Apple to comply. Greenlight says the company has ruled that out. Either way, Einhorn could also streamline his own approach. He’s right that Apple shares look cheap, particularly considering its $137 billion cash pile and over $40 billion of annual cash accumulation. But his idea, floated last year, of distributing preferred shares carrying a fixed dividend yield as a way to crystallize more value may not be the most user-friendly place to start.

A more straightforward initial effort could be to push Apple to pay a much larger regular stock dividend than the smallish payout it has started making. If that doesn’t enhance the company’s value, other ideas could be considered. If Einhorn’s preferred shares then looked attractive enough, shareholders could still vote for them even if Apple’s proposed changes are all enacted.

The company’s design guru, Jony Ive, keeps busy masterminding the uncluttered look and feel of Apple’s gadgets and software. His boss Tim Cook and shareholders like Einhorn might benefit from a similar mindset in the boardroom.

Read more at Reuters Breakingviews

          U.S. Venture Capital Needs a Reboot        

U.S. venture capital needs a reboot. A decade of insufficient shrinkage hasn’t fixed wimpy performance. At 6.1 percent annually over 10 years to September, according to Cambridge Associates and the National Venture Capital Association, VC fund returns undershoot boring stock indexes like the Nasdaq and the Russell 2000.

Last year, VC outfits raised $20.6 billion of new committed funds, according to the NVCA and Thomson Reuters. That’s about 10 percent more than in 2011. Unfortunately, distributions from funds have lagged the cash put in since 1999. Last year’s tally is also more than five times the average amount raised annually by VC firms in the decade leading up to the dot-com bubble. The bust happened, but the venture capitalists’ appetites never took the same dive.

In addition, it has become much cheaper for startups to become established in areas such as internet services and software. Add the ability to look beyond VC firms for funds, and there’s a mismatch between the supply of capital and upstart companies’ need for it.

That said, performance is highly dispersed, and a few well connected, marquee VC firms like Andreessen Horowitz still do very well. Founded in 2009, the fund has had several lucrative exits thanks to hits like Nicira, Groupon and Zynga. Its first fund is on track to return well over twice its initial capital. Most rivals, however, fall far short of that benchmark. The Kauffman Foundation said in a paper last year that half the VC funds in its portfolio failed even to return the capital investors put in.

VC firms face the same temptations that afflict hedge funds and private equity. If investors are willing, management fees can be attractive even if that means backing less-than-stellar performers. Rather than closing shop, they can persist for years. The giant California Public Employees’ Retirement System lists 24 funds that started prior to the turn of the millennium and have not yet wound down, despite the majority providing negative returns to investors.

Calpers has now reduced its holding in VC firms to 1 percent of its $234 billion of assets as of last June. And the Kaufman Foundation’s paper is something of a call to arms. Yet VC firms still seem to have little trouble raising new funds. A few big names aside, the least investors need to do is strip the industry of its mystique and demand greater transparency and a better deal.

Read more at Reuters Breakingviews.

          Activist Exposes Hess as Latest Governance Villain        

An activist investor has exposed Hess as the latest governance villain in the energy patch. Hedge fund Elliott Associates reckons the U.S. oil company could be worth more than double its current $20 billion-plus value. But as at other energy groups, like Chesapeake Energy and SandRidge Energy, a too-cozy board has brought waste and strategic blunders.

Being a Hess director looks like a pretty safe job. Typically board members stick around 50 percent longer than the average for S&P 500 companies, according to Elliott. Thomas Kean, for example, has been a director for 23 years. Three other non-executive directors, including 82-year-old former U.S. Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady, boast tenures approaching 20 years.

They don’t even offer industry expertise or much independence. Nobody on the Hess board has drilling experience outside the company, and only the three executive directors have any at all. Several directors also have connections to the founding family - from which Chief Executive John Hess, in situ for 17 years, hails - and its charity.

It’s no coincidence that Hess has a record of inefficient operations. It spends far more as a proportion of revenue on its exploration efforts than big rivals like Exxon Mobil. And Elliott reckons its wells in North Dakota’s Bakken shale cost about a third more to drill than those of its peers.

The CEO also looks overpaid considering the company’s performance. Over the past five years he has earned $96 million, according to Thomson Reuters data, making him well above averagely remunerated for his sector by Elliott’s analysis. Yet even after this week’s gains, Hess’s shares are down 30 percent over the same period, among the oil business laggards. Anadarko Petroleum, by contrast, is up 40 percent.

Hess has been doing some sensible housekeeping, like closing money-losing refineries. But it’s not enough. As at Chesapeake and SandRidge, shareholders are starting to challenge the complacent boardroom status quo. With some prime assets in areas like the Bakken and limited exposure to painfully low U.S. natural gas prices, there’s a case that the company could, or even should, have been among the star performers in its industry. New broom directors, like the five industry heavyweights put forward on Tuesday by Elliott, would make that more likely to happen.

Read more at Reuters Breakingviews.

          Oil Barons and Tech Hipsters Share A Dark Side        

Oil barons and technology hipsters seem very different. But they share a dark side. The chief executive of U.S. explorer SandRidge Energy and some of his peers jet around at shareholders’ expense, while at Facebook and Google founder-bosses are insulated from owners by super-voting rights. Clubby boards also feature in both sectors.

The U.S. oil and gas industry plumbs the depths of weak corporate governance and social responsibility, with 15 companies getting the worst F grade from consultancy GMI Ratings - far more than would be suggested by their weighting in the sample. Headline-grabbing offenders include Chesapeake Energy and SandRidge, whose founder Tom Ward kitted out the business with four corporate jets despite the fact that its wells are mostly within driving distance. Meanwhile James “Jim Bob” Moffett, chairman of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, recently engineered the purchase of McMoRan Exploration, which he runs and partly owns, for a whopping premium. Gold-plated CEO pay and perks also feature, along with generous remuneration for incurious directors.

Silicon Valley’s governance shortcomings aren’t so brash. Only a few tech companies are branded with GMI’s failing grade. Still by the consultancy’s count 41 of their number, including such leading lights as Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, have opted for multiple share classes that help bosses outvote other investors - a higher incidence than the average in GMI’s sample. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg holds just a fifth of the company’s stock but thanks to supervoting shares and other arrangements he commands over half of all shareholder votes.

Although it manifests itself in different ways, the two sectors thus share a certain disregard for regular owners. One reason could be that both abound with forceful entrepreneurs who started in complete control of startups and then sometimes struggled to adjust to the responsibilities of running public companies. That may help explain why Aubrey McClendon, the co-founder and CEO of Chesapeake, sold his personal map collection to the firm for an inflated $12 million before being forced to buy it back.

A tendency for boards to overlap and feature friends of executives may also owe something to the geographical clustering of the two industries. Oil and gas exploration companies tend to be centered in Texas and neighboring Oklahoma and Louisiana, while many tech firms call San Francisco and Silicon Valley home. When Freeport agreed to buy McMoRan, it also inked the purchase of a third company, Plains Exploration. As well as Freeport CEO Moffett’s dual role, other directors on the McMoRan board included the Plains boss. Cozy relationships are common in Silicon Valley too. Marc Andreessen, whose venture capital firm routinely sells smaller companies to tech giants, sits on the boards of Facebook, eBay and Hewlett-Packard.

For both energy and tech entrepreneurs, a peer group that includes still-private companies may also set a less than ideal example. Their bosses may not have the benefit of public shareholders’ money, but their chiefs can legitimately do as they please.

In the oil and gas patch, activist shareholders are starting to rattle the comfortable cages of some CEOs. Egged on by investor Carl Icahn, shareholders at Chesapeake ousted McClendon’s friendly board and replaced a system that allowed directors to be re-elected on a single vote with a majority requirement. And hedge fund TPG-Axon Capital has publicly challenged governance at SandRidge.

Entrenched managers and boards make these tough fights. But if enough votes can be mobilized, shareholders have the power to force change. Very few energy company executives hold supervoting shares that can prevent it.

Tech investors may not yet feel as abused as some in the energy sector. People like Zuckerberg at Facebook and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have achieved great things. But they won’t always get it right. If something does go awry, shareholders will often find there’s nothing they can do about it. Tech trouble, when it comes, could prove harder to clean up than the energy business.

Read more at Reuters Breakingviews.

          Why the Snitch in the Insider Trading Probe Shouldn't Go Free        

It's almost criminal that the snitch will walk in a probe involving SAC Capital. Mathew Martoma, an ex-trader at Steve Cohen's $14 billion hedge fund firm, faces possible jail time for alleged insider trading. But the doctor accused of giving him secret data doesn't - he won't be charged after agreeing to help prosecutors. Flipping suspects to land bigger game is standard. Going easy on serious wrongdoing shouldn't be.

Martoma's alleged crimes stand out even among the scores of recent insider-trading prosecutions. He's accused of illegally helping SAC reap $276 million in profits made and losses avoided, a record amount for such cases. Enforcers say his recommended trades came