Monday, May 30, 2011

Retirement at 65? Not for Dick Mays

A hero of mine is Dick Mays. A man in his late 80s, a Sunday School teacher of mine when I was in junior high, Dick retired from Eastern Air Lines at 65 years of age, right on schedule in that then union run, government enabled airline. It was probably mandatory for him to retire, but if not, it was certainly expected. For many at Eastern that was part of the "point" of their 40 hour work week, with plenty of over-time, generous wages that enabled many of them to live in comfortable homes in Miami Springs, great health and pension benefits, paid vacations, and, of course, free flight-privileges not only on EAL but also other air carriers and not only for themselves, but also family members.

Dick said that when he went into the personnel office at Eastern to sign his retirement papers, the lady in charge of retiree processing told him this: Most of the men that she saw for that final, active connection with company were dead within 5 years.

Because, I would suggest, there was no more "point" to it all.

Dick, instead, built collector quality, small airplanes in his garage and sold them for at least the next fifteen years to very wealthy private pilots all over the world. He started teaching Bible Study classes at the prison west of Miami Springs a few miles, and still does. He became very big in "Celebrate Recovery," the overtly Christian version of AA, although I don't think he was an alcholic. (I wouldn't have thought to ask him about that, because, frankly, it was unthinkable. With Dick, you automatically know that he is either building airplanes or helping others.)

I'm reading Chuchill's account of WWII right now. He became the war-time PM of Great Britain at age 65. He had nothing on Dick.

Germany to Go Nuclear Energy-Free by 2022?

The federal cabinet is expected to make a final decision about the future of nuclear energy at a meeting on June 6.

* * *

In 2010 around 23% of German electricity output was produced in nuclear plants.

-from today's WSJ.

Hard for me to believe that this would happen.

UC Berkeley Courses on Line; Cosmolearning

Spring 2011 courses.

But after looking those over, go up to the homepage and work back into the richness of this site. For example, read the "About" page. This is access to one of the world's greatest universities!

A sort of aggregating website for on-line learning is

Maybe if I were under 40, I would think that this is simply how the universe works, this sort of access to knowledge. But I'm not, and this continues to amaze me.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mas Libros

From the guys at our Friday Morning breakfast:

Veith, God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life. (Juan)

Orr, The Last of the Horse Soldiers. (Can't remember who recommended this one.)

Etheridge, Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul. (Mike)

Zaffron and Logan, The Three Laws of Performance: Rewriting the Future of Your Organization and Your Life. (Will)

Cloud, Necessary Endings: the Employees, Businesses, and Relationships that All of Us Have to Give Up to Move Forward. (Will, again)

From the WSJ's Five Best Column (I think the Weekend issue of May 14-15): in this one entitled "Essential Reading on WW II," Richard Snow, a former editor of American Heritage magazine, and author of A Measureless Peril: America in the Fight for the Atlantic, the Longest Battle of World War II gives his choices:

Lukacs, The Duel: the Eighty Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler.

Wouk, The Caine Mutiny: a Novel. I wasn't yet a teenager when I read this one in the 50s. I saw the movie with Juanita when I was five or six years old, and still remember scenes in it vividly. Herman Wouk is a hugely successful and respected author of fiction, and I read a number of his other books growing up.

Cawthon, Other Clay: A Remembrance of the World War II Infantry.

Weinberg, A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II. According to Snow, this "is still the best single-volume history of the war and likely to remain so for a long time."

From the same WSJ issue, another review, this one by James A. Ceaser, professor of politics at UVA:

Wood, The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States. Ceaser writes, "Mr. [Gordan] Wood is our premier student of the Founding Era. He has been writing history for about a half-century, roughly a fifth of the days since the origin of the republic. He has scrupulously avoided appropriating his subject for modern-day political purposes and instead tried to understand it on its own terms and as a whole." Sounds good to me.

OK, so that takes care of the first month of summer reading.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

David McCullough has a New Book!

The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris

From the WSJ: "Clinical Trial Deals Setback to 'Good Cholesterol' Drugs"

In a blow to the pharmaceutical industry's efforts to harness so-called good cholesterol as a weapon against heart disease, federal health officials halted a clinical trial involving an HDL-boosting drug from Abbott Laboratories, saying it failed to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

The news was a setback for Abbott's cholesterol franchise, especially the drug in the trial— Abbott's extended-release form of niacin called Niaspan, which recorded $927 million in sales last year.

-From yesterday's WSJ.

Dr. McDougall

“Good” HDL-Cholesterol Is Meaningless
(April 2004)

The Real Issues: HDL-cholesterol as measured on common laboratory tests fails to help predict your risk of suffering from coronary artery (heart) disease.

Importance to You: HDL-cholesterol can lead to 2 dangerous consequences: 1) Your total cholesterol is high, but your doctor reassures you that there is nothing to worry about because your “good” HDL-cholesterol is also high – as a result, you miss an opportunity to correct the real indicators of trouble (total and LDL-cholesterol) by being falsely reassured. 2) After following a healthy diet (plant-food based) your total cholesterol falls and so does your HDL (a fraction of total cholesterol). Your doctor tells you that you are now unhealthy because of your low-HDL, or worse yet he tells you to eat more meat (cholesterol) in order to raise your HDL-cholesterol.

Action to Take: Strive to get your total cholesterol below 150 mg/dl (and LDL-cholesterol below 80 mg/dl) with a healthy diet (and in some cases, judicious use of medications). Ignore your HDL-cholesterol values – they are largely irrelevant and misleading.

Introduction to Cosmology

Free lectures from UC Irvine. Wow.

Red China Picks our Pocket

Most recently, the pocket known as "Microsoft."

The Mainland China government is not our friend.

That Paragon of Civic Virtue, the Miami Herald, Sells Out to an Asian Casino

The Miami Herald owns 14 acres of prime downtown Miami, bayfront land. Its lead article on the frontpage today announces that it sold that land to "the Asian gaming giant" Genting Malaysia.

(It wouldn't be so bad except that for my entire life the Miami Herald, in a most condescending and pseudo-Enlightenment way, has lectured the community on "doing good" and "doing better." But now that we are all post-Moderns, I know it must feel good to the Herald's owners to get such a good price for the property. And feeling good is what counts these days.)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Miami Among the Most "Well Read" Cities

According to Amazon.

I am astonished. But, then again, we do have the Heat.

I know these two train wrecks are coming, but what will they actually look like?

I refer to the break-down of Social Security and Medicare, discussed here. (Thanks, Instapundit.)

One scenario is less a train wreck than a gradual slowing down of the train to the point that its momentum is nationally sustainable. (This could well cause thousands of train wrecks among individual citizens who decided to depend on the present system for their futures.) What happens will depend in large part on generations younger than the Boomers assuming power and exercising it more responsibly than my generation has done so.

For some reason, this reminds me of two grown-up women I know, one recently divorced and the other recently a widow. In each case, they received a fund, either as a divorce settlement or a legacy. Neither had a career to sustain her economically. On the other hand, each had her respective fund. If the divorcee and the widow kept their life styles in check and prudently managed their wealth, the funds would probably see them through. But each rewarded (consoled?) themselves within a year or so after the event with very, very expensive overseas vacations. They otherwise do not appear to be readjusting their consumption levels. This doesn't seem to auger well to me. It seems like a form of denial.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Private Sector Markets to the Pharmacy Needs of Customers: Everybody Wins

A 14 day supply of these antibiotics is available without charge at the Publix grocery store pharmacies:

•Cephalexin (capsules and suspension only)
•Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim (SMZ-TMP)
•Ciprofloxacin (excluding Ciprofloxacin XR)
•Penicillin VK
•Doxycycline Hyclate (capsules only)

Wegman's grocery stores have pharmacies with an even wider range of free antibiotics. (Here's Wegman's press release on its program.)

Walmart has a $4 prescription program.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Austin Titles

Returned yesterday evening from a great trip to Austin. Lots of good things about that trip. One of them was collecting book titles that came up during conversations. I tried to write them down, and here's my list:

Fehrenback, Lone Star: a History of Texas and Texans

De Vaca, The Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca

Bell, Love Wins: a Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Everyone Who Ever Lived

Wright, Paul for Everyone; The Prison Letters: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossions, Philemon

Lehman, Nine Years Among the Indians, 1870-1879: the Story and Life of the Captivity and Life of a Texan Among the Indians

Eckert, The Frontiersmen.

Kirkegaard, Training in Christianity

Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry

Merton, Opening the Bible

And speaking of the Bible, I had along with me Wright's The Last Word: Scripture and the Authority of God - Getting Beyond the Bible Wars. What a refreshing book to read amidst the disintegration of the PC(USA).

Reynolds' "Higher Education Bubble" Meme

Over a lifetime, the earnings of workers who have majored in engineering, computer science or business are as much as 50 percent higher than the earnings of those who major in the humanities, the arts, education and psychology, according to an analysis by researchers at Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

-from a post on Instapundit

I think the problem with this "research" is probably that no distinctions are made between, say, sociology majors and Classics majors, between an English major at Miami-Dade College and one at Davidson.

A contemporary of mine told me about majoring in physics at UM years ago. He did so spectacularly well during his first two years that he transferred to the University of Chicago, where he majored in nuclear physics. During his senior year at UChi, his professors in that department counseled him to drop the physics track and please go somewhere like law school, which he did. In other words, whatever the case might be now, there was then hardly a comparison between a UM student majoring in nuclear physics and one at the University of Chicago.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Selling Out Miami-Dade (Updated)

The Herald reports that the family that owns Cafe Bustelo and Cafe Pilon, Miami icons, is selling out to Smuckers.

Smucker said it plans to close the Miami production facility within the next three years and relocate all production to a New Orleans plant that will be handling roasting and production for all its coffee brands, which include Folgers and Dunkin’ Donuts. The publicly-traded company also plans to consolidate distribution and marketing operations.

Some employees are expected to remain in Miami to service restaurants and other food-service operators, said company spokeswoman Maribeth Badertscher. Employees not offered continued employment will receive severance packages, ranging from 12 weeks to one year.

So much for the sad employment picture in Miami-Dade. So much for community loyalty. So much for Dad's hard work. (Dad is gone. The "family" consists of his three sons.)

This deserves a Despair poster or t-shirt of some sort. How about this

The image is the can, as indicated, but the label is retouched to say "CAFE BETRAYAL"

The legend: "Selling out Calle Ocho for the big bucks."

My critique: Crude, and clearly not up to Despair quality. But that's the message

Hollywood (FL) Declares "Financial Urgency"

The [City] Commission unanimously voted to declare the city under “financial urgency,’’ which will allow it to enter into discussions with city labor unions to renegotiate pensions and collective bargaining agreements.

Matthew Lalla, the city’s director of financial services, said the problem’s largest source is a legacy of prior pension and collective bargaining agreements with city employees including fire and police.

-From this morning's Miami Herald

Credit the city's leaders with leaving the back door open to renegotiate those union obligations. Will the courts uphold that escape clause?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Some Ob-Gyn Doctors Refuse to Treat Overweight Patients

Here. (Thanks, Drudge.)

Fifteen obstetrics-gynecology practices out of 105 polled by the [Orlando] Sun Sentinel said they have set weight limits for new patients. Some of the doctors said the main reason was their exam tables or other equipment can't handle people over a certain weight, but at least six said heavy women run a higher risk of complications.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mary's Garden

All the colors in this photo from Mary's blog reminds me that she is Juanita's granddaughter.

Blogger Cracking?

Ann Alhouse is having trouble with Blogger and thinking of migrating away from this member of Google's family (empire?). Kith & Kin is on Blogger too, of course.

I noticed several months ago that the "search" function now goes back only a year or so, which I believe is the same problem (or one of the problems) that Althouse mentions. I will have to consult the brain trust, Macon, Walter, Mary, and Sean.

The Gifts in Romans 12

I’m sure that, at some point, I had read in Romans 12 of “gifts” and perhaps heard someone preach or teach from chapter 12 about "the gifts." However, I certainly would not have thought of Romans 12 when Christian conversation turned to “spiritual gifts.” 1 Corinthians 12 would always come to mind when the subject of gifts came up, or even Ephesians 4:11. But here we are in Romans 12 right now in our Sunday School class, and there they are: the gifts.

Is there something different about the Romans 12 gifts, in substance or at least in emphasis? I think there is. When Paul writes of God’s gracious gifting in Romans 12, he focuses on putting those gifts to work and not simply on the idea of our being gifted.

Here are verses 6 through 8 in the NIV (2011)

6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

This is no mere list of gifts; this is a call to them to put them to work in a way that will be effective. If I may, by way of example, paraphrase the reference to leadership in 8b, Paul writes this: “If it is your gift is to lead, then for God’s sake start leading!” Gifts, then, are not about status, as in “the young man is so gifted,” gifts are about putting them to immediate and effective use to build up the people of God.

Maybe Paul had run out of patience with people who claimed that their status entitled them to do essentially nothing except congratulate others who shared that status and dispute with those who did not. “I am a Jew, therefore I am chosen of God [and you are not], therefore treat me accordingly.” Or “I am a Roman Citizen [and you are not, you are a conquered people], therefore I have these special and exclusive rights and privileges.” But Paul is not about status or being when it comes to the people of God, he is about functioning or doing.

I began to think of the ways that we tend to gravitate toward status and away from function. This reflects a law of our fallen world, and that is inertia. We tend to run down and come to a stop. An illustration that comes to mind is the complaints of a young couple in counseling. There, before the counselor, the young man complains that his wife is not a wife in the bedroom any more. To which she responds that he is not a husband outside the bedroom, that is, he does not function in that capacity in their marriage and the main locus of that functioning, to her mind at least, is not in the bed. It is in taking care of the family.

“Husband” is a good word to illustrate the point, because “husband” is a very strong, though much less used, verb. It is not just a noun. To “husband” is to care for, to nurture, to cultivate. No man is worth marrying if he won’t do those things for his wife and family. By the same token, the writer does not say in Genesis 2:20 that Adam needed a wife, Adam, who was hard at work "naming" the animals, that is cataloging them and learning about them to the end of being God's own agent of nurture. Adam needed someone to help him. In Adam's situation, Scripture observes, “there was not found an help meet for him.” (KJV. “Helpmate” is a corruption of “help meet”.) There immediately follows God’s creation of Eve, the divinely appropriate helper. At the risk of having my feminist credentials revoked, the Scripture says that being a good wife is about helping, as it says that being a good husband is about nurturing. Both of which, I would finally argue, amount to about the same thing.

So when Paul writes about gifts in Romans 12, he writes about what God gives each of his people so that they can nurture, help, and serve the needs of others. These others are those already in the body of Christ and and also those outside of that body's thoroughly unifying, defining but always and often mysteriously permeable and beckoning cell wall.

Teeing off on Romans 12, I brainstormed this idea of nouns versus verbs. Here’s my list:

Being vs. doing

Status vs. function

Feeling vs. acting

Transformed vs. Transforming (that is, in transforming the world)

Saved vs. saving (same idea as transforming – evangelizing)

Redeemed vs. redeeming (same idea again – as in “we are involved in God’s redemptive work through Jesus Christ")

Gifted vs. gifting (same idea again - as in "gifting to or generously sharing our gifts with others"

Leader vs. leading

Servant vs. serving

Lover vs. loving

Hoarding vs. investing

Potential vs. realization

Husband vs. husbanding

Helpmeet vs. helping

Getting a degree vs. Preparing for service

Punching a clock vs. accomplishing a task

Billing by the hour vs. value billing

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Forks over Knives" Opened Last Night

Carol and I left work yesterday evening and headed for South Beach and Lincoln Road. We stopped at Whole Foods for supper (of course) and then over to the cineplex at the west end of the Lincoln Road Mall. There we attended a showing of "Forks over Knives."

The movie "starred" Drs. Campbell and Esselstyn. Dr. McDougall had an important supporting role. Dr. Esselstyn's son, Rip, a firefighter in Austin, had a big part in one of the several stories the film wove together. (Our Texan Kith and Kin will get a kick out of the conversations among the firefighters about Texan meat eating habits. Our Cross-Fit kith and kin will find interesting the strength aspects of that story and that of another story that the film weaves, that of "Ultimate Fighter" Mac Danzig. Our Kenya people will find that country referred to positively from time to time. There is also an interesting discussion of the value of stents in fighting heart disease.) The movie was very well done and we recommend it.

My favorite line of the movie was delivered by Dr. Esselstyn, a heart surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic. He recalls that one of his colleagues said that he would not recommend a vegan diet to a heart patient because it was "extreme." Dr. Esselstyn's comment was something along the lines of "Splitting in half a patient's chest and slicing open one of his legs to remove a blood vessel to transplant to the exposed heart is not extreme?"

One of the most astonishing facts that the movie shared is that if we took the grain that we feed farm animals that we raise to eat and, then, allocated it to people, we would have enough to eliminate starvation in the world.

Yet another was that the energy costs of raising and processing food animals exceed the energy costs we devote to transportation. (Carol commented that when Al Gore goes on a vegan diet, she will start taking seriously his global warming schtick.)

The Herald review complained that "[A]ny one looking for a critique of the fast-food lifestyle and factory farming from any other perspective [other than "veganism"] is bound to be disappointed or angry." Right, I kept looking for the McDonald's spokesman to give us some real balance, but no one ever showed up. Still the reviewer gave it 3 of 4 stars, which is about as high as the Herald will go for a movie that is a wholesome one. (Actually, there were two people interviewed from the dark side: a PhD who worked for a food industry organization and an MD who worked for the Department of Agriculture and whose criticism of the vegan view bordered on incoherence.)

Roger Ebert's review, however, is very thorough, quite personal, and thoughtful.

Not a lot of people were in the viewing audience with us - not as many as we would have hoped. But it was an early show. Maybe, also, word will spread about it. The people who were there, however, seemed to be impressed. During the presentation, I heard the sort of noises one hears from people when the light-bulb goes on. At the end of the movie, there was applause. As we walked out, I overheard conversations about the points made during the movie. Many of the people were young adults.

The cineplex belongs to Regal Cinema. I found the acoustic quality there mediocre. At times the sound was so loud that the voices, especially Dr. Campbell's, were distorted and a bit hard to understand. The print quality was mediocre too. The film should transfer well to DVD, however. But don't wait for the DVD, see it now!

We were running late to the theater, and as we approached the Mall, going southbound on Alton Road, we noticed a new, sort of "pocket" hi-rise parking lot also at the west end of the Mall and across from the theater. (It cleverly has retail on the ground floor, and then goes up about 5 more stories for the cars.) So we turned into the garage entrance. We should have noticed that it would cost us $20! So avoid it, if you can, and travel further down Alton to 17th Street, turn right (east) and go down to the city garage that we usually use when we go to Lincoln Road Mall. I also noticed a $10 parking lot on the north side of 17th about a block east of Alton. Of course, this was Friday night, the weather was simply beautiful, and the Mall very lively and busy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More on the Ordination Standards Challenge in the PC(U.S.A.)

A good explanation is PFR's "Pastoral Conversation on the Passage of Amendment 10-A for Leaders of Congregations within the PC(USA)."

From this document:

"Even for those who have been following the voting, the reality of this change is a source of unspeakably deep grief."

Also from this document:

Q: What is Amendment 10-A? What does it say? What does it not say? What does it change?
A: Amendment 10-A is a change in the language of the Book of Order proposed by the 2010 General Assembly.

It calls for the removal of paragraph G-6.0106b:

"Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to re-pent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament."


and replaces it with:

"Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates."


Proponents of the changed wording will argue that the passage of Amendment 10-A, in and of itself, changes nothing for those who remain committed to upholding historic orthodox teaching. Technically they are correct. Explicit language will be removed from the Book of Order that, for the vast majority of Jesus’ followers around the globe and for many who are still within the PC(USA), remains implicit. In other words, no vote by the Assembly and presbyteries can change the truth of God’s Word, and Scripture clearly teaches that God intends the gift of sexual intimacy to be expressed only within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman. If we in the PC(USA) agreed on the clear teaching of Scripture, we would never have needed G-6.0106b. But we don’t agree, and so we defaulted to polity to find a way to live together.

Passage of this amendment does not mandate the ordination of practicing gay and lesbian deacons, elders, and ministers, although some people within the PC(USA) and the majority of people outside the denomination will read it as though it does. With the current standard eliminated, PC(USA) congregations will be free to ordain people in a variety of sexual relationships not currently affirmed for those seeking to be ordained (i.e. those living together outside wedlock as well as self-affirming, practicing gay, lesbian, bi and transsexual persons). With this change, there will be no stated sexual behavior standard for persons in church leadership. Passage of this amendment does make further attempts to redefine Christian marriage a certainty in the near future.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bringing a Tear to My Eye

“Our members will continue to fight not just for themselves, but for the public they serve, the services they provide and for good jobs, and livable communities, for all working families.”

-from Today's WSJ: State employee union leader's response to news that the governor of Connecticut will begin layoffs of state workers in order to balance the budget, because the unions and the state government could not agree on salary and benefit reductions.

This Could Be It for the PC(USA)

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is poised to abolish a celibacy requirement for gay and lesbian clergy, after decades of debate that has divided the denomination and split Protestants world-wide.

The church adopted the new policy at its national assembly last year, but needed approval from the majority of its 173 presbyteries, or regional church bodies. The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, based in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., is expected to cast the key vote in favor of the change Tuesday night.

-today's WSJ

Monday, May 09, 2011

IDF's Oketz Unit

This video is as much about the women soldiers as it is about the dogs. I find the part about the young women saddening.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

"[I]n the New Testament religion is grace and ethics is gratitude"

Thomas Erskine of Linlathen, quoted in Stott, The Message of Romans (IVP 1994). Stott, in turn, cites Bruce, The Letter of Paul to the Romans, in The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (IVP and Eerdmans 1963, 2d ed.). Bruce cites Erskine's Letters. (Whew!)

The President Met the "Really Scary SEAL Dog."


A friend on mine in our Friday morning breakfaast group is from a military family (Marines). He knows something about military dogs. He told me that some of the teeth of some dogs will be replaced with metal implants. In others, their "voice-box" is removed so they can't bark or growl.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Is There a Sofa in the Oval Office?

Obama: "You do not want to be between Michelle and a tamale . . . "

(Thanks, Drudge.)

Sir Winston on Poland

Churchill describes the "dismemberment of the Czechoslovak State in accordance with the [Munich] Agreement:"

[T]he Germans were not the only vultures upon the carcass. Immediately after the Munich Agreement on September 30, [1938], the Polish Government sent a twenty-four-hour ultimatum to the Czechs demanding the immediate handing-over of the frontier district of Teschen. There was no means of resisting this harsh demand.

The heroic characteristics of the Polish race must not blind us to their record of folly and ingratitude which over centuries has led them through measureless suffering. We see them, in 1919, a people restored by the victory of the Western Allies after long generations of partition and servitude to be an independent Republic and one of the the main Powers in Europe. Now, in 1938, over a question so minor as Teschen, they sundered themselves from all those friends in France, Britain, and the United States who lifted them once again to a national, coherent life, and whom they were soon to need so sorely. We see them hurrying, while the might of Germany glowered up against them, to grasp their share of the pillage and ruin of Czechoslovakia. During the crisis the door was shut in the face of the British and French Ambassadors, who were denied even access to the Foreign Secretary of the Polish State. It is a mystery and tragedy of European history that a people capable of every heroic virtue, gifted, valiant, charming, as individuals, should repeatedly show such inveterate faults in almost every aspect of their governmental life. Glorious in revolt and ruin; squalid and shameful in triumph. The bravest of the brave, too often led by the vilest of the vile! And yet there were always two Polands; one struggling to proclaim the truth and the other grovelling in villainy.

-From Churchill, The Second World War: The Gathering Storm, (Houghton Mifflin Company 1948) pp. 322-323

Friday, May 06, 2011

Belgian Malinois

As you can see, the breed looks like a German Shepherd. But it may be comfortably smaller:

The dog is also used extensively by Unit Oketz of the Israel Defense Forces. Oketz favors the slighter build of the Malinois over that of the German Shepherd and Rottweiler which were employed formerly. Malinois are the perfect size to be picked up by their handlers, while still being able to attack their enemies and for their shorter coats and fair and neutral colors making them less prone to heatstroke, all these are advantages over the previously used dog breeds.

A Belgian Malinois is believed to be the dog which accompanied the special forces unit which killed Osama Bin Laden on May 1, 2011. [5]
from the Wiki post.

More Rin-Tin-Tin


Mazda Not Giving Up on the Gasoline Engine


Ya-Ho, Rinty!

Military dogs.

There is nothing new under the Sun.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Isn't the Market Marvelous?

WSJ Headline today:

Oil Falls Below $100 in Commodities Rout

Oil futures ended below $100 a barrel amid a broad commodity selloff, weighed by worries about falling U.S. demand amid $4-a-gallon prices at the pump.

More from the WSJ:

Some reaction on the sharp selloff in commodities. The rout is getting deeper. Crude is now down 8%. Silver down by 9%. Copper down by 3.5%. Gold falling by 2.5%, bidding adieu to $1,500 and falling under that level. Here’s what some market watchers are saying:

Tony Crescenzi, PIMCO: The ending of a tulip-mania style move in silver will put more caution into those who would speculate in commodities markets, limiting the harm commodity price increases will cause the economy. Therefore, while moderation in economic growth has occurred, it has its benefits and it will keep the game going for longer because the urgency for central bankers to move quickly has diminished somewhat now that commodity prices have hit a much needed speed bump.

Marc Chander, Brown Brothers Harriman: A disappointing US jobs number tomorrow is likely to keep the dollar firm against the “growth” sensitive currencies, as further consolidation in equities and commodities is likely accelerate their recent losses. Overall, the NOK [Norwegian Kroner] and AUD [Austrailian Dollar] are the most sensitive to changes in broad commodity baskets, although potential NOK weakness may be tempered by heightened expectations of a rate hike by the Norges Bank next week.

Michael Shaoul, Oscar Gruss: “Today is turning into one of the uglier sessions for those who have chased recent trends in commodity and currency markets.”

It's not good to chase market "trends": Investing 101.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

"Despite a booming economy and big cities full of luxury cars and glittering malls, the country is failing its girls."

This is India. If we don't abort them, then we will let them die before age 6.

A Convenient Kill (Update)

Mr. Obama's policies now differ from their Bush counterparts mainly on the issue of interrogation. As Sunday's operation put so vividly on display, Mr. Obama would rather kill al Qaeda leaders—whether by drones or special ops teams—than wade through the difficult questions raised by their detention. This may have dissuaded Mr. Obama from sending a more robust force to attempt a capture.

-John Yoo, in the WSJ today.

But maybe not. A friend speculated that BL may have indeed been taken into custody and not killed; that the story of his death and burial at sea is a convenient cover; and that he is being thoroughly emptied of his data before he will be finally executed.