He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does.

Inscription on Byzantine coin during reign of Romanus III



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Gun Free

One reaction to the NRA's proposal to put armed police officers in every school:

'Their solution to resolve the issue around guns is to put more guns in the equation?' said Superintendent Hank Grishman of the Jericho, N.Y., schools on Long Island, who has been an educator for 44 years. 'If anything it would be less safe for kids. You would be putting them in the midst of potentially more gunfire.'

The empty symbolism of the unenforced gun-free zone is seen to be safer than a potential gunfight between good and evil. In a world without moral distinctions, good guys with guns should be avoided as much as bad guys with guns.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Advantages Of A Global Market





"A Thin Line"

Russia is trying to navigate a fine balance between supporting Orthodox values and tolerating different religions.



Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Supernatural

Moscow, November 1, Interfax - Forty percent of Russians, mostly women and religious people, believe in the supernatural beings, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) said, following a nationwide poll held before Halloween.

Some 22% believe in omens, 21% in horoscopes, 8% in palm reading and spells, 6% in aliens, and 2% in zombies, the center said.


Fifty-seven percent said they were not superstitious (71% of men and 46% of women).


There are more believers in supernatural elements amongst women than amongst men. Some 30% of women believe in omens, and the indicator is only 14% amongst men; while 29% of women and 12% of men believe in horoscopes.


Churchgoers believe in omens and horoscopes more than atheists (21%-22% against 7%). The belief in omens is particularly characteristic of Orthodox Russians (26%); only 13% of followers of other religions and 7% of atheists believe in that.


Halloween is an ancient Celtic holiday marked on October 31. The holiday's symbol is the Jack-o-lantern - a carved pumpkin with a lit candle inside. Halloween costumes depict witches and similar characters of films and books. It was traditionally celebrated in English-speaking countries but became popular in Europe and the CIS at the end of the 20th century.


Combating Collective Guilt

Moscow, October 31, Interfax - Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky does not believe that the blame for the killing of Russia's last Emperor Nicholas II and his family rests with the people of Russia.

  'I don't believe the people of Russia should repent for the killing of the tsar's family because the people of Russia did not kill the tsar's family. It was done by several bastards on the orders of other bastards,' the minister said at the 5th International Festival of Orthodox Media
Faith and Word, commenting on the statement made by one delegate referring to the discussion on the need for the people of Russia to repent for their sins to the tsar's family, which has been occurring on the Internet for the past few years.

Medinsky also spoke about the issue of the burial of the body of Vladimir Lenin, saying that 'the Culture Ministry will not come up with any initiatives regarding any burials and re-burials.'


'It is our official position, and there is also my private opinion as a citizen,' the minister said, adding that he would not like his private opinion on this issue, which he characterize as 'rather sharp,' to be associated with the official position of the government.

The Soldier


If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Syria, A Century Ago


Take another section through Syria, a degree lower down, between Tripoli and Beyrout. To begin with, near the coast, are Lebanon Christians, Maronites and Greeks for the most part. It is hard to disentangle the politics of the two churches. Superficially, one should be French and the other Russian, but a part of the Maronites now have been in the United States, and have developed there an Anglo-Saxon vein which is not the less vigorous for being spurious. The Greek church prides itself on being old Syrian, autocthonous, of an intense local patriotism that (with part) would rather fling it into the arms of the Turk than endure irretrievable annexation by a Roman power. The adherents of the two churches are at one in unmeasured slander of Mohammedans and their religion. They salve a consciousness of inbred inferiority by this verbal scorn. Behind and among the Christians live families of Mohammedan Sunnis, Arabic-speaking, identical in race and habit with the Christian, marked off from them by a less mincing dialect, and a distaste for emigration and its results. On the higher slopes of the hills are serried settlements of Metawala, Shia Mohammedans who came from Persia centuries ago. They are dirty, ignorant, surly, and fanatical. They will not eat or drink with an infidel (the Sunni as bad as the Christian), follow their own priests and notables, speak Arabic but disown in every way the people, not their co-sectarians, who live about them. Across the hills are villages of Christians, yeomen, living at peace with their Sunni neighbours, as though they had never heard the grumbles of their fellows in the Lebanon...


A section a degree lower would begin with German Zionist Jews, Speaking a bastard Hebrew and German Yiddish, more intractable than the Jews of the Roman era, unable to endure near them anyone not of their race, some of them agriculturists, most of them shop-keepers, the most foreign, most uncharitable part of its whole population. Behind these Jews is their enemy, the Palestine peasant, more stupid than the peasant of North Syria, materialist and bankrupt...


Jerusalem is a dirty town which all Semitic religions have made holy. Christians and Mohammedans come there on pilgrimage; Jews look to it for the political future of their race. In it the united forces of the past are so strong that the city fails to have a present: its people, with the rarest exceptions, are characterless as hotel servants, living on the crowd of visitors passing through. Questions of Arabs and their nationality are as far from them as bimetallism from the life of Texas, though familiarity with the differences among Christians in their moment of most fervent expression has led the Mohammedans of Jerusalem to despise (and dislike) foreigners generally.



T.E. Lawrence, Syria, The Raw Material, 1915

Which Unchristian Sentiment Underlies The Welfare State?


I believe that we ought even to suppress the maxim about love for one's neighbour. Make it the duty of the state or the municipality to take care of the sick and the crippled, and leave men the illusion of living healthy in a healthy world.

Caesar in Pio Baroja's Caesar or Nothing

Ortega y Gasset On Hunting


If one were to present the sportsman with the death of the animal as a gift he would refuse it. What he is after is having to win it, to conquer the surly brute through his own effort and skill with all the extras that this carries with it: the immersion in the countryside, the healthfulness of the exercise, the distraction from his job.

In all of this, the moral problem of hunting has not been resolved. We have not reached ethical perfection in hunting. One never achieves perfection in anything, and perhaps it exists precisely so that one can never achieve it. Its purpose is to orient our conduct and to allow us to measure the progress accomplished. In this sense, the advancement achieved in the ethics of hunting is undeniable. Therefore it is necessary to oppose photographic hunting, which is not progress but rather a digression and a prudery of hideous moral style.


Every authentic refinement must leave intact the authenticity of the hunt, its essential structure, which is a matter of a confrontation between two unequal species. The real care that man must exercise is not in pretending to make the beast equal to him, because that is a stupid utopian, beatific farce, but rather in avoiding more and more the excess of his superiority. Hunting is the free play of an inferior species in the face of a superior species. That is where one must make some refinement. Man must give the animal a "handicap," in order to place him as close as possible to his own level. The essence of sportive hunting is not raising the animal to the level of man, but something much more spiritual than that: a conscious and almost religious humbling of man which limits his superiority and lowers him toward the animal.


I have said 'religious,' and the word does not seem excessive to me. A fascinating mystery of nature is manifested in the universal fact of hunting: the inexorable hierarchy among living beings. Every animal is in a relationship of superiority or inferiority with regard to every other. Strict equality is exceedingly improbable and anomalous.


Life is a terrible conflict, a grandiose and atrocious confluence. Hunting submerges man deliberately in that formidable mystery and therefore contains something of religious rite and emotion in which homage is paid to what is divine, transcendent, in the laws of nature. 

 

Jose Ortega y Gasset, Meditations on Hunting as quoted by my-hunt.com

Monday, October 29, 2012

Schumpeter On The Sophomoric Mass



The man who has gone through a college or university easily becomes psychically unemployable in manual occupations without necessarily acquiring employability in, say, professional work. His failure to do so may be due either to lack of natural ability—perfectly compatible with passing academic tests—or to inadequate teaching; and both cases will . . . occur more frequently as ever larger numbers are drafted into higher education and as the required amount of teaching increases irrespective of how many teachers and scholars nature chooses to turn out.
The results of neglecting this and of acting on the theory that schools, colleges and universities are just a matter of money, are too obvious to insist upon. Cases in which among a dozen applicants for a job, all formally qualified, there is not one who can fill it satisfactorily, are known to everyone who has anything to do with appointments . . .
All those who are unemployed or unsatisfactorily employed or unemployable drift into the vocations in which standards are least definite or in which aptitudes and acquirements of a different order count. They swell the host of intellectuals in the strict sense of the term whose numbers hence increase disproportionately. They enter it in a thoroughly discontented frame of mind. Discontent breeds resentment. And it often rationalizes itself into that social criticism which as we have seen before is in any case the intellectual spectator's typical attitude toward men, classes and institutions especially in a rationalist and utilitarian civilization.
Well, here we have numbers; a well-defined group situation of proletarian hue; and a group interest shaping a group attitude that will much more realistically account for hostility to the capitalist order than could the theory—itself a rationalization in the psychological sense—according to which the intellectual's righteous indignation about the wrongs of capitalism simply represents the logical inference from outrageous facts. . . . Moreover our theory also accounts for the fact that this hostility increases, instead of diminishing, with every achievement of capitalist evolution.

Joseph Schumpeter writing in "Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy," 1942 as quoted in the Wall Street Journal

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Your Post Office At Work

In this South Carolina town, the Post Office has refused to deliver mail because it has deemed the road unsafe. It's time to get rid of the Post Office's monopoly on first-class mail delivery.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Corporal Punishment Busybodies

Finnish Orthodox clerics stand up for woman deprived of her kids
 

Russia On Romney

Greenhouse Effect And Global Warming

National Rifle Association Endorses Romney/Ryan

Today's My Day To Be Nice

Here's the first comment to the linked letter to which the venerable Ad Orientem blog referred in the posting about the new RC Archbishop of San Francisco's alleged snubbing of California's Episcopal Bishop. I didn't give a crap about the letter, but the comment was a hoot:

I could not in good conscience work with this person who has chosen to accept the statements of his pope who has said that gay people are 'not fully developed humans' and has labeled people of same gender orientation as 'morally defective' not mention that he has equated marriage equality with mortal sin....

As some RCs have complained about my anti-RC positions, I'd like to compliment the forthright language quoted by the commenter. Heck, the language is forthright almost to the point of...Orthodoxy.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Here Comes The Garbage Man

Now, this is a novel theme:  a garbage man who complains about indifferent customers.

'My name is Richard Hayes, and I pick up Mitt Romney's trash,' the man says to the camera in the 60-second Web ad. 'We're kind of like the invisible people, you know. He doesn't realize, you know, that the service we provide, you know, if it wasn't for us, you know, it would be a big health issue, us not picking up trash.'

Richard, yes, your job is supremely valuable, but how much is it worth? Tell Mitt what your number is, and I'm sure that he'll meet your request, provided that your colleagues, union and nonunion, don't undersell you.  Ah, the sweet dignity of fair pay for fair work.

Here's the ad:






Richard, your Mom should have named you Haynes Richard instead of Richard Haynes. Maybe your name could have propelled you into becoming a customer.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More Robbers

I'm Celebrating The 70s While It Lasts

I just realized that if Romney wins the Presidential race, we'll lose the Carter-like feeling of the last four years. I have time to celebrate the 70s while it's still appropriate.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Mary

The Mary Tyler Moore Show debuted on this day in 1970.







Thanks for the reruns.

Google Never Met A Tyrant It Couldn't Appease

I was reading this article about the actress in the notoriously inflammatory "Innocence of Muslims" film who's suing YouTube (owned by Google) to remove the trailer from its site. What's most interesting about this particular article was Google's bedding with tyrants:

YouTube said it is reviewing the complaint and its lawyers will be in court on Thursday. The site is owned by search giant Google and has blocked users in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt from viewing the "Innocence of Muslims" trailer. It has also blocked the video from being viewed in Indonesia and India because it violates laws in those countries.

Why Is This Newsworthy?

This is the second article I've seen that addresses Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan's simultaneous campaign for re-election to the House. He's hedging his bets in a tight race, and he's too valuable to be out of a government job.

Here's the text of the ad:

Questioner: "What can be done to create good jobs?"

Paul Ryan: "First, we need to end the growing government-control over the economy and when we put higher tax rates on American job creators than our foreign competitors do, we push jobs overseas. We need to fix that and make our tax code fair, simple, and more competitive. We should balance the budget and eliminate ridiculous regulations that cost you money. With the right solutions, we can get this economy growing. I'm Paul Ryan and I approve this message."


Ronmey's 47%

John at Ad Orientem threw a hissy fit over Mitt Romney's much publicized 47% remark. His posting elicited some good comments, and I'd invite this blog's readers to wander over to peruse.

I'll re-post my comment here:

John, maybe you're never been invited anywhere, but when I've attended closed-door fundraisers, I've accepted a more casual mode of address. I've cut speakers more slack than when they're making a public address because of the more impromptu ambiance.

Up to this point, I was supporting Paul Ryan and accepted Romney as an unavoidable byproduct. After Romney's "gaffe", however, I'm beginning to like the man more.

Was the 47% quantitatively correct? The funny thing is that no one knows, especially the Tax Policy Center and its media lickspittles. All of these empirical studies are full of shit to some extent, filled with estimates, fudges, averages, and proxies. The point that Romney was making was that parasites vote for politicians who deliver the bacon. The current President has been ladling cheese to his supplicant voting bloc as fast as the Salvation Army ladles soup. I'm glad that Romney brought it up.

I'm further amused by the aversion to Romney's Mormonism because it isn't "Christian". Heck, my beliefs say that no heterodox are Christian. As far as I'm concerned, all of the major Presidential candidates and their running mates aren't Christian. That doesn't make them bad people. In fact, I don't think that it's an issue at all.

You know, we could always examine the Christianity of his opponent who sold his chosen spiritual advisor of twenty-something years down the river to get elected. I'm not even going to address that advisor's venom, but the fact that the relationship was long-standing suggests some underlying resonance, even if expediently disowned.

Let's assume for a moment that one of the candidates magically converted to Orthodoxy, and thereby became a Christian. Would an Orthodox Christian politician automatically possess superior "core values"? Maybe Blagojevich, Dukakis, Collins, Sarbanes, and Snow could answer that question, but somehow I don't think that being Orthodox exempts one from sleaze. From what I've seen, Romney displays Mormon core values in his personal life--attending church, helping others, evangelizing, producing children, and making money. Not bad. Pretty consistent.

What are Romney's problems? He isn't likable or magnetic. He's no intellectual. His oratory lacks the woolly loftiness of the professor who's used to addressing ass-kissing law students. Nah, Romney's strength was his effectiveness at producing results for his constituents, including ass-kicking stockholders, athletes, and Bostonians. He's a CEO, and really now, whose boss is likable? I happen to like my boss personally (although, as a boss, he's about 50% moron), but my fellow underlings unanimously think that he's an asshole.

Romney's MA health care program was a response to his constituents' concerns, but unfortunately, no focused consensus existed with respect to the funding mechanism. The Commonwealth still lacks that funding consensus.

Do you want to know the thing of which I'm most suspicious? Not Republican “fascist control freaks”, but Trojan horses, like tricky Dick Nixon. My reading of postwar history tells me that this nominal capitalist conservative ushered in a whole host of Keynesian evils with which America is still dealing. I don't see any trickiness in Romney. His latest “gaffe” consisted in his trusting the confidentiality of his closed-door meetings, unlike the “always on” phoniness of the professional huckster.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Russians In Japan

Tokyo, September 17, Interfax - Dozens of Russian expatriates accorded a warm welcome to Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who visited the Russian Orthodox Church's embassy parish in Tokyo on Sunday.

After conducting a service at the Church of St. Alexander of the Neva, Patriarch Kirill said that, 'a parishioner's last will has been fulfilled and an Orthodox church was dedicated in Tokyo four years ago after 40 years of incessant work.'

Jeffrey Tucker On Western Usury

The next and final step in the liberalization of interest was taken by Thomas De Vio, Cardinal Cajetan (1468-1534). He was the leading Catholic theologian of his day, a favorite of the Pope, and a defender of Catholicism against Martin Luther. His writings represented the most sophisticated of his time as regards economics. He completely endorsed Summenhart’s teaching and took it a step further to say that any loan contract was legitimate if both the borrower and the lender agreed to it in anticipation of some economic benefit. He carefully took apart St. Thomas’s own writings on the topic and demonstrated that it was perfectly just for the lender who is giving up use of his property to charge a service fee in exchange.

Since those times, there has been no real debate in the Church on this question. Yes, usury continues to be warned against, though no one makes the attempt any more to distinguish between interest and usury. They were once considered synonymous; today they are distinguished as a reflection of a continuing bias against lenders who would seem to display more avarice than charity in their work. But in practice, there is no clear difference. What’s more, even seemingly usurious loan rates serve a social function: the higher the rate of interest, the more saving is encouraged and borrowing discouraged.

Wilson On Liberty

The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.

Woodrow Wilson, Address to New York Press Club, September 9, 1912

Whistling Mules, "Sentimental Guy"

Mark Jungers, "Price of Progess"

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Governance Involves Tradeoffs

Yana Amelina, head of the sector for Caucasus studies at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, has suggested outlawing radical Islamists in response to the assassination of the Muslim spiritual leader in Dagestan Sheikh Said Atsayev.

"What happened in Dagestan clearly prompts the conclusion that effective resistance to radical Islam in all its manifestations is impossible without temporarily restricting certain constitutional rights and liberties through introducing a state of emergency or a counterterrorist operation (for only a certain time and in regions of the greatest Islamist threat, of course,)" she said to a correspondent of
Interfax-Religion.

She said that a situation in which extremists do not recognize the legitimacy of the Russian state but actively benefit from its constitutional freedom of speech and assembly for their own purposes "is unacceptable and leads to the loss of the side that plays according to rules, in this case Russia."

Releasing Tax Returns

"Never in modern American history has a presidential candidate tried so hard to hide himself," says Senator Harry Reid of Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Romney has agreed to release two years' of tax returns, which certainly isn't sufficient for those who attach much importance to this kind of financial gossip.

"Modern American history" began in 1952, when Vice Presidential candidate Richard Nixon challenged his Democratic opponents to release their tax information.

Social Security's 174,000 Bullets

This is a nice article explaining why the Social Security Administration ordered 174,000 handgun rounds for its criminal investigation force. The round count averages to just below 590 rounds per investigator, which implies a monthly qualification regimen. I'm interested also in their use of .357 magnum revolvers, which implies a less militarized set of opponents than more active law enforcement agencies.








Friday, August 31, 2012

Eastwood!

I didn't get the chair routine, but this performance lacks ambiguity:


I'm Endorsing The Randian, Of Course


















I guess that I'll have to accept Mitt as a side effect, but I'd be more comfortable with a Freemason as part of a balanced ticket.



Friday, August 17, 2012

Russian Punk Band Convicted

I've posted a clip of the offending incident:



Thursday, August 16, 2012

No Randianism Here





Yaron Brook, President of the Ayn Rand Institute, says that Paul Ryan is no Randian. The primary obstacle? His Christianity.

No surprise. ARI is Ayn Rand's institutional heir and the voice of orthodox Randianism.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Interesting Turns Of Events



Scrappy 71 year-old refuses to roll over.





Motel clerk demonstrates nice Weaver stance during 0:43-0:50.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Romney's Cayman Account

Mitt Romney offered an explanation about why he has a Cayman Islands account:

Well, first of all, all of my investments are managed in a blind trust. By virtue of that, the decisions made by the trustee are the decisions that determine where the investments are. Secondly, the so-called offshore account in the Cayman Islands, for instance, is an account established by a U.S. firm to allow foreign investors to invest in U.S. enterprises and not be subject to taxes outside of their own jurisdiction. So in many instances, the investments in something of that nature are brought back into the United States. The world of finance is not as simple as some would have you believe. Sometimes a foreign entity is formed to allow foreign investors to invest in the United States, which may well be the case with the entities that Democrats are describing as foreign accounts.

It makes perfect sense to me, but "experts" are still looking for crime to fit the smoking gun. You know, more Americans should own foreign bank accounts just so that politicians won't sound so moronic when they encounter someone with an international outlook.

Sheriff Joe Rides Again

Members of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's posse said in March that there was probable cause that Obama's long-form birth certificate released by the White House in April 2011 was a computer-generated forgery.

Now, Arpaio says investigators are positive it's fraudulent.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Business As Usual In Greece

Coolidge On The American Revolution

President Calvin Coolidge delivered this view of the American Revolution at his alma mater in 1894:

When history looks beyond the immediate cause of the American Revolution for the justifying principles, it is very soon brought back to the spirit of English liberty. It is the same genius for freedom that has led the race from the primeval forests of Germany to the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution.

Such an honorable antiquity of political ideas has made the race very conservative of self-government. The idea is prehistoric. It is the descendants of those very freemen described by Tacitus, who not only dictated the policy of Edward the Confessor but extorted the great charter of human rights from King John in the thirteenth century.

And during the next four hundred years, too, this spirit was not dormant, but came to the surface on three great occasions:
The confirmation of the Magna Carta by Edward I
The Petition of Right to Charles I, and
The Revolution that drove James II from his throne.

Although it is characteristic of Englishmen to have great love for a king so long as he respects the liberties of the people, yet the fact that they drove out one king, rebelled against two and executed three, shows clearly enough that there was always a strong idea of the divine right of the people as well as of kings.

Precedents, then, are by no means wanting among Englishmen for the successful resistance of arbitrary despotism whenever it encroached upon their liberties.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fed Extends Operation Twist

The Federal Reserve decided to extend its Operation Twist program whereby it buys longer-dated Treasuries in an attempt to lower longer-term yields. Longer-term Treasury yields are the basis for setting many longer-term interest rates, such as fixed-rate mortgages. Economists tend to think that lowering borrowing costs will spur business growth. A few economists have opined that Operation Twist is simply a confidence booster and has no real economic effect.

In my view, Operation Twist accomplishes a couple of things. First, it monetizes the Federal debt. Yep, this, along with the Quantitative Easing programs, is part of the monetization program that's been going on for a while. Now, some may disagree with me because the Fed is simultaneously selling short-term Treasuries while it's buying longer-term bonds--thereby creating a seemingly neutral situation. The problem with this view is that the Fed is already injecting liquidity to hold short-term interest rates near zero. If Operation Twist raised short-term interest rates because of T-bill sales, the Fed would fight the rise through normal Open Market Operations. Net effect? Net positive liquidity.

Is the Fed injecting too much? No one knows right now. Economic impacts work through human beings' earning their livelihoods. The lags and impacts in real-time can't be predicted with apodictic certainty, but can only be studied afterward when the economic historians take over. Ben Bernanke is confident in his ability to short-circuit future price inflation by using reverse repurchase agreements to suck the excess liquidity out of the system. So far he's done a good job as a central banker, and he may be able to pull it off. The market agrees and isn't forecasting a significant uptick in price inflation over the next ten years.

Second, the Fed is jumpstarting commercial lending. Commercial banks are scared to death to take on any sort of risk by lending to private enterprises. Banks are whipping boys right now, and the impact of Dodd Frank regulation on capital ratios and operations and payrolls has yet to be known. Small businesses are heavily dependent on bank credit since the credit markets (and their high costs) favor larger players. The Fed is trying to inject loanable funds into the economy, but the Fed is operating through the capital markets and therefore benefiting larger companies, rather than the smaller enterprises that fuel the lion's share of job growth during the business cycle's recovery phase. Net effect? Net job growth, but anemic job growth, since the smaller players are still stagnating.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Greece Won't Run Out Of Money

Greece voted correctly for the Eurozone bailout. The markets forecast the outcome much better than the dilettante financial journalists, which is as it should be. Profit opportunities abound outside of the talking-head consensus.

For the talking-head readership and listenership, I'd encourage you to continue to live in fear that the sky will fall. Your fear lines my pockets. I'm grateful.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

No Surprises Here

Strong personified central power has always been natural for Russia, whether they like it or no, priority in public hierarchy has always been given to state officials rather than to personified economic actors and moreover various kinds of informal centers of power, whether criminal or some self-proclaimed groups of know-it-alls.

Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin

Greece Will Vote On June 17

Greece will run out of money on June 20.

Friday, June 15, 2012

I'd Rather Not Participate In These Kinds Of Discussions

John at Ad Orientem posted something on birth control, and, against my better judgment, I commented and disputed.

Let's be clear about something. My personal life is way, way, way off the mark, and I suffer from inward embarrassment when I defend the Church's views on issues that I may or may not personally observe. Usually, I'm successful in evading such participation, but, for some reason, I had to stick my oar in this one.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Did You Just Play Your Ace?

Back when I was in the academy, the Sergeant told us something like, "When you're responding to a fight call, don't play your ace right away or else you'll end up looking stupid".

Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greece's Syriza party said that he'd repudiate Greece's debts if the Eurozone cut off further funding.

Ok, you've played your ace. Thanks for the belated warning. Now what?

Efforts have been underway for the last 18 months to prepare for an eventual Greek repudiation. I'd rate his ace more like a mean-case 5 or 6 or a worst-case 10. A Greek exit from the Eurozone would hurt Greeks more than anyone else, you know, with at least 100% inflation for those entitled public pensioners and a halving of everyone's savings, except for the prudent Euro hoarders. The Germans are better off husbanding their welfare checks for countries with genuine growth prospects, like Spain or Portugal or Italy.

Fire away, Ace.



No Worries, Stud

Desmond Hatchett, 33, of Knoxville has children with 11 different womenLink

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

RUN!

Am I hearing that the drachma won't be worth spit? Naw, the drachma could be worth as much as 0.5 euros.

I added trenchant comments over at Ad Orientem.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Despicable

Arianna Huffington, founder of the liberal leaning news site The Huffington Post, has criticized the Obama campaign for an ad suggesting that Mitt Romney wouldn’t have killed terrorism kingpin Osama bin Laden, calling the move 'despicable'.

I agree.

I'm acquainted with a SWAT Captain who, after he sledged down a suspect with 00 buck, passed around autopsy photos and loudly calculated his shotgun qualification score as if the suspect been a B-27 silhouette.

Ok, I'm entirely sympathetic with the morbid humour of those who inhabit the nuanced world of mortal peril, but I can't stomach the fake bravado of the pussycat who takes credit for the hard decisions and dirty fingernails that he leaves to others.

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey wrote of the Bin Laden decision in today's Wall Street Journal:

A recently disclosed memorandum from then-CIA Director Leon Panetta shows that the president's celebrated derring-do in authorizing the operation included a responsibility-escape clause: 'The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven's hands.'

But What Do The Shareholders Say?

The British government says that Rupert Murdoch is unfit to run his media empire.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Voice Of Reason In Russia

Moscow, April 18, Interfax - Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev believes the Russian Orthodox Church sometimes brings attacks on itself.

'A reason was given [for the attacks],' Gorbachev told reporters after being asked to comment on the statements made by Patriarch Kirill on the recent attacks on the Russian Church.

'We should not create a holy union between the authorities and the Church,' Gorbachev said.

'I was amazed when clergymen flocked to become deputies in 1989. In my view, it's unacceptable,' Gorbachev said.


The Usual Suspect Babbles Mindlessly

Moscow, April 19, Interfax - Russia could resume efforts to put the state system on foundations alternative to capitalism, said chief of the Synodal Department for Church and Society Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin.

'A lot of good things were done in the Soviet era. Russia's heroic feat in the Great Patriotic War, the nation's outstanding achievements in science and technology, and a social model based on the idea of social justice, which caused such a resonance in the world, rank among our indisputable accomplishments,' Father Vsevolod told students of the State Governance University.

Baby Glock Update

For the new Gen 4 Glock .40 Model 27, I performed a few modifications for improved handling:

1. Substituted a smooth-faced trigger for the standard target-style serrated trigger. Smooth triggers are more suitable for fast defensive shooting.

2. Substituted a NY-1 leaf-style trigger module for the standard coil trigger spring. Some folks say that the former is less prone to breakage than the latter, but breakage is irrelevant. The Glock's beauty is that it'll still cycle when the trigger spring breaks until the mag runs dry. Emergency reloads without a trigger spring should number amongst one's malfunction drills.

The NY-1 trigger spring provides a revolver-like feel and increases the pull weight by a few pounds. I'm fond of sticking guns in belly bands, and the standard Glock trigger's short travel after take-up makes me nervous. I'm probably the only person in the world who prefers the NY-1's feel over the standard set-up.

3. Substituted a magazine extension for the standard floor plate. I've tried both Glock's and Pearce's extensions, and I like Glock's better. Both work fine.


And, yes, I am qualified to perform modifications.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Colombian Hookers Weren't As Scary

The U.S. Secret Service is looking into a violent rant by 'Catch Scratch Fever' rocker Ted Nugent in which he denounced President Barack Obama and his top advisers as "evil" and urged National Rifle Association members to help 'chop their heads off in November.'

Burn-Out Priest Needs Help

The priest and his family were burned out of their home while he was serving the Liturgy. I've linked to Fr. Andrew's blog posting for details.

No matter how ardently the Welfare State continues its mission to crowd out faith-based charities, we find the means to persevere. Fr. Andrew rightly observes in his posting that whether donations are tax-deductible shouldn't matter. The problem is that tax deductions do matter, even though their importance lies only in reducing, not eliminating, the competing burden of involuntary donations to government-favored charities.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Blessed Great Lent!

I'll be refraining from posting and commenting during the Lenten season, beginning today.

So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the Lord. And they fasted that day, and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah.

1 Samuel 7:6 (NKJV)

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Next Door To Your Convenience Foods

Shippensburg University puts contraception in its vending machines. Sorta contradicts the notion of alma mater, eh?

Legendary




If you know anything about revolvers, you've heard of Jerry Miculek.

(Hint: It's full-moon clips, not speed strips.)

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Baby Sis




A Glock 27 Gen 4 would make a nice counterpoint to my 22, but the Kahr PM9 catches my eye, too.

Racial Authoritarianism

I've just returned from Memphis. I should have stuck around for the fireworks.

Mitt And The Donald

Drudge and CNN were right; AP and NYT were wrong.

Faith In Pan-Religious Demons, You Mean

'If I'm willing to give something up as somebody who's been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that's going to make economic sense,' he said. 'But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus's teaching that "for unto whom much is given, much shall be required." It mirrors the Islamic belief that those who've been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others, or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others.'

I'm still looking for Jesus' teaching about tax breaks.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Moscow's Support For Kosovo

Patriarch Kirill accused politicians of 'glaring injustice, double standards and lies, and declaration of their adherence of ideals of humanism and human rights while turning a blind eye to the hell created by extremists with support from their foreign sponsors.'

Wish In One Hand; Spit In The Other...

Fr. Vsevelod's economic generalities provide me with a steady source of entertainment.

Taking Care Of Our Own

All Orthodox churches in Russia will raise funds to help Greece mitigate the social impact of the euro zone crisis, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia announced on Thursday.

Don Cornelius, Farewell






















Don Cornelius, creator of TV's Soul Train, died today.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

If Adultery Weren't A Sin, It Wouldn't Be So Amusing

Newt Gingrich's whiny second wife revealed details about his adultery. Her complicity in his adultery blurs her moral status.

Hey Marianne, what's your game now, can anybody play?




I apologize to the Hollies.


Another Calendar Idea

Professor of the Moscow Theological Academy Protodeacon Andrey Kurayev suggests celebrating Christmas on January 1.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Blackout

In solidarity with Wikipedia, Ad Orientem (in the links), and freedom-loving folks everywhere, I'm blacking out my blog to protest a Congressional move to expand intellectual property protections.

I commented over at John's:

I'm interested in the larger issue of whether intangibles can be legitimately subject to property claims since they're amorphous to begin with. If I buy a bunch of tangible materials and fashion a machine based on another person's configuration, how can one legitimately claim that my engine doesn't belong to me?

Let's take it a step further. Does God own everything simply because He created everything? By creating free will, hasn't He deeded us to ourselves?


Monday, January 16, 2012

He Monitors The Media, But Not The State

Prime Minister, presidential candidate Vladimir Putin pledges to combat propaganda of violence, nationalism and smoking in the media, including the Internet.

Sir Elton John Got It Right

Madonna winning Best Original Song truly shows how these awards have nothing to do with merit. Her acceptance speech was embarrassing in its narcissism.

David Furnish

Friday, January 13, 2012

Third Rome, Again

"Rector of the Vatopedi Monastery Archimandrite Yefrem, who accompanied the Belt of the Mother of God from the convent to Russian cities, believes in Russia's special spiritual mission.

"'Russia won't collapse. On the contrary, it will strengthen and play the leading part in saving Orthodoxy on Earth,' the Bulletin of St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation quoted Father Yefrem as saying."

Desperate Plea For Relevance














This self-absorbed has-been can't help slobbering her way into the limelight. Gaga reminds her of...whom else?

The 80s folks who count themselves among her fans should have their heads examined.

The Vatican's Candidate Puts Principle Above Politics














I'm not a Vatican fan, but I applaud its Presidential candidate's principled stand regarding Mitt Romney's Bain Capital tenure.

My Fav Mitt Pic

Based On What?

It means that if Romney hangs on to win the Palmetto State, the market says he has a whopping 95 percent chance of grabbing the most delegates in Florida and Nevada too.

The author doesn't suffer from fuzzy probability math, but from fuzzy thinking about probability. Prediction markets are always correct until they're wrong.

War Is Heck

Poster Boy For Sleazebag Politicians




















He's in the news again.