“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chinese show US construction industry who’s daddy.


  1. It only took 15 months to build the Empire State Building.

    The Architectural Firm drew up the plans in Two Weeks.

    It cost $24 Million.

  2. Replies
    1. That's probably about $500.00 more than that Chinese building, huh?

    2. Yeah but is there any take by the Party? Permit fee maybe?

  3. Wheat was 4 bits. (50 cents for you young bucks)

  4. Has Curiosity made an 'Earth-shaking' discovery?

    November 21, 2012 by Nancy Atkinson, Universe Today

    Has Curiosity made an ‘Earth-shaking’ discovery?

    Caltech The Mars Science Laboratory team has hinted that they might have some big news to share soon. But like good scientists, they are waiting until they verify their results before saying anything definitive. In an interview on NPR today, MSL Principal Investigator John Grotzinger said a recent soil sample test in the SAM instrument (Sample Analysis at Mars) shows something 'earthshaking.' "This data is gonna be one for the history books," he said. "It's looking really good." What could it be? SAM is designed to investigate the chemical and isotopic composition of the Martian atmosphere and soil. In particular, SAM is looking for organic molecules, which is important in the search for life on Mars. Life as we know it cannot exist without organic molecules; however, they can exist without life. SAM will be able to detect lower concentrations of a wider variety of organic molecules than any other instrument yet sent to Mars.

    Organic molecules?!

    1. But something 'Earthshaking' or "really good" probably wouldn't be a nil result. Already, the team has found evidence for huge amounts of flowing water in Gale Crater. If SAM does find organic material, the next step would be to determine the origin and the nature of preservation of the molecules. But the team is going to wait until they verify whatever it is they found.

      Read more at:

    2. .

      I heard rumors it might be a bottle cap.


  5. . . . The explanation out of the DNI’s office is total horseshit. The “intel community” does not make changes. There is a manager or an analyst who physically typed the words. If that was done in the DNI office then they will know who did it. These people need to be put under oath.

    But don’t get distracted by this nonsense. Obama and his entire National Security team knew the night of 9-11 that the United States had been hit by a group tied to Al Qaeda. No doubt about that. They wanted to cover up their covert op that was shipping weapons to jihadists in Syria and did not want to disrupt Obama’s meme about having Al Qaeda on the run. comment

    Green Room
    The Million Dollar Question On Benghazi No One Is Asking
    posted at 7:35 am on November 21, 2012 by Duane Patterson

    On Hugh Hewitt’s show Tuesday, we had the pleasure of speaking with Vince Flynn, America’s preeminent thriller writer. His latest in the Mitch Rapp series, The Last Man, deals extensively with the relationship in remote parts of the world between the dipomatic corps and CIA operators. And while you would think since they’re isolated and technically on the same side, those relationships are often times strained at best.

    During Hugh’s interview, the parallel between the book and the 9/11 attack on our consuate, and the CIA annex buiding in Benghazi, came up, and here’s what Flynn had to say:

    VF: These people, most of them, almost, exclusively have Special Forces or special operations training – Navy SEAL, Delta Force, Rangers, Marine Recon. And the CIA recruits them for a reason. And what you saw happening in Benghazi is one of those reasons. They are brave enough to run to the sound of gunfire. And you know, on the Benghazi note, there’s been a lot of people, and this actually figures into the Petraeus story as well, there were, you know how Washington works, Hugh. These various groups love to try to spin it. And the truth of the matter is this is 100% the State Department’s fault that this happened. And they were trying to spin their way out of it, and they were loving that the CIA was getting beat up on, and Defense was getting beat up on. Well, guess what? The CIA never has and never will be in charge of protecting diplomatic missions overseas. In fact, if you went and talked to the State Department prior to 9/11, and asked them do you think it would be a good idea to have the CIA protect your diplomatic mission, they’d tell you you were crazy.

    HH: Right, right.

    VF: They don’t, there is, now every outpost is different, but there is often an extremely tense relationship between the diplomatic corps and the clandestine service at the CIA at these various outposts. And I’ve witnessed it in countries where you’d think they’d be getting along. So it’s a serious problem. The Benghazi deal? Oh, man, I just…nobody’s asking the million dollar question, which is why on 9/11 does an ambassador who has already written in his journal that he’s feared for his life, has already reached out to Foggy Bottom back in Washington, D.C., State Department headquarters, and said I need more security. Why on 9/11 does he leave our fortress-like embassy in Tripoli and go down to Benghazi with a light detail? Why? Nobody’s asking that question, and it blows my mind away that I haven’t heard anybody push the State Department on that issue or the White House.

    It really is an interesting question, isn’t it? If the Libyan government warned something bad was coming, and security there had asked for for help multiple times before 9/11, and Ambassador Stevens was concerned enough to journal his fears about the situation falling apart, what in the world was he doing on that day going there with no security?

  6. Intuitively, you would expect the laws of physics and chemistry to be the same throughout the universe.

    The understanding of physics explains the chemical sequence of the elements and then the compounds. Both physics and chemistry are precursors of biology and the biological process. The biological process and the evolvement of living cells growing into greater complexity, coming to compromise with the physical environment enhanced their survival and ability to reproduce, a trial and error process through the maze of time and life, gradually producing levels of intelligence and then the ability to share and store that intelligence led to the luxury of thought and contemplation.

    Observation dictated the apparent necessity for a beginning and an end. The process implied a plan and a meaning and then man created god. Man created god as a perfection and mystery and assigned him a place exactly within the culture of man’ s experience, lord and vassal, master and serf, shepherd and sheep. The god creation of man was so magnificent that man surrendered everything to the offspring of human thought and capitulated to the reign of the terrible eternal monarch.

    I wonder how they did it on other worlds? Did they too surrender the only freedom that they would ever know and experience?

  7. Thanksgiving Dinner $29.00 and change. Up $0.28 from last year (1%.)

    1. We got a free gift card from a realtor to a resort. It is fat city for us.

  8. Turkey's up $0.04 lb from last year, but Down from two years ago.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.



    Intuitively, you would expect the laws of physics and chemistry to be the same throughout the universe.

    yup, far as we know, and gives forth life, which is a rise of consciousness, and a drive towards God, and the dove flies through the darkness, and the darkness always recedes and that darkness is the mystery of God. No end.

    Observation dictated the apparent necessity for a beginning and an end.

    I don't see it. Observation has established according to our current understanding a big bang, or big sigh, or big inflation or something way back when. What is the big bang? I have heard it described as a quantum fluctuation from a black, velvety background filled with potential. What is that? It doesn't seem to be nothing. I don't know what it is. But I can't understand how something can come from nothing. So there must always be Something.

    The One breaks into the Many and the myths try to deal with the inexplicable.

    I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the beginning and the end,
    But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

    There was never any more inception than there is now,
    Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
    And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
    Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

    Urge and urge and urge,
    Always the procreant urge of the world.
    Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and increase, always sex,
    Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of life.

    To elaborate is no avail, learned and unlearned feel that it is so.

    Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well entreatied, braced in the beams,
    Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
    I and this mystery here we stand.

    Our nation's poet.

    Man created god as a perfection and mystery and assigned him a place exactly within the culture of man’ s experience, lord and vassal, master and serf, shepherd and sheep. The god creation of man was so magnificent that man surrendered everything to the offspring of human thought and capitulated to the reign of the terrible eternal monarch.

    Good grief. Maybe in islam but the Bible is a story of liberation and the creation of a community. Somewhat rough around the edges at first. I recall Abraham trying to talk Yahweh down a bit concerning Sodom and Gemorrah. Abraham came off the better there. He brokered the terrible eternal monarch down.

    1. Genesis 18:23-32

      King James Version (KJV)

      23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

      24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?

      25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

      26 And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

      27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:

      28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.

      29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake.

      30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.

      31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake.

      32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.

      Did they too surrender the only freedom that they would ever know and experience?

      Religion when it is working anyway tries to tame the inner rage, greed, fear, anger and desire etc. so's we can live together. Freedom is tough. Not to be given to children.

    2. Cockamamie stories meant to fleece the ignorant.

    3. Rufus you are the densest most earthy most unimaginative person I have ever met.

    4. One could bang on the head of old dunderhead all Thanksgiving Day with a frozen turkey leg and it would just be a waste of a good turkey leg.

      If a fool looks into a great book you can't expect a genius to look back out.

    5. You're right; I'm not "imaginative" enough to take silly children's stories, seriously.

    6. .

      Nonsense, Ruf, you bought the administration's story on Benghazi hook, line, and sinker.


    7. .

      Keep reading the Catholic Knight and it will draw you to the Light.


    8. Rufus worships liberalism. Sillier than any children's story.

  11. I think "Morning Joe" had it wrong. I keep seeing $49.48 as the cost of Thanksgiving Dinner. The $0.28 seems to be correct. That would make the "increase" about 1/2 of 1%.

  12. PETA has filed a petition to stop the Turkey Pardon. 'One does not forgive the innocent...'

  13. There you have Abraham dealing with the Lord of the Universe, trying to stay his hand, talk him down a bit. It is humorous, delightful, humanizing, playful, mythy.

    It may be the reason that Israel doesn't just wipe Gaza off the map, make it a parking lot.

    There may be 10 righteous there, somewhere in a corner of Gaza.

  14. They brought him out and set him outside the city: In Genesis 18 Abraham asked God to spare the cities of Sodom and Gommorrah if there were ten righteous found there. Because there were not ten righteous people, God will not spare the city. But He will still answer the heart of Abraham’s prayer by bringing Lot and his family out of Sodom, even if it is practically against Lot’s will.

    B. The angels’ deliverance of Lot.

    1. (12-14) The angels warn Lot; Lot warns his family.

    Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city; take them out of this place! For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.” So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!” But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.

    a. To his sons-in-law: Lot’s daughter were unmarried and had not known a man (Genesis 19:8). These men were sons-in-law by the ancient practice of binding betrothal, not by marriage yet.

    b. He seemed to be joking: The effect of Lot’s life of compromise is clearly seen. When he spoke with utmost seriousness to his sons-in-law about the judgment of God, they did not believe him. Not even they will be saved from the judgment to come.

    i. The life of Lot shows us that it is possible to have a saved soul and a wasted life. Lot will be saved, but his life will accomplish nothing, as in 1 Corinthians 3:15: If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.


      See here Rufus! -

      The life of Lot shows us that it is possible to have a saved soul and a wasted life.


      Rufus Wainwright just for Rufus

    2. Hallejujah - lyrics

      I've heard there was a secret chord
      That David played and it pleased the Lord
      But you don't really care for music, do you?

      It goes like this...the fourth, the fifth
      The minor fall
      The major lift,
      The baffled King composing Hallelujah

      Hallelujah, Hallelujah
      Hallelujah, Hallelujah

      Your faith was strong but you needed proof
      You saw her bathing on the roof
      Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you.

      She tied you to a kitchen chair
      She broke your throne
      She cut your hair
      And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

      Hallelujah, Hallelujah
      Hallelujah, Hallelujah

      be I have been here before
      I know this room, I've walked this floor
      I used to live alone before I knew you.

      I've seen your flag on the marble arch
      Love is not a victory march
      It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

      Hallelujah, Hallelujah
      Hallelujah, Hallelujah

      There was a time you let me know
      What's real and going on below
      But now you never show it to me, do you?

      And remember when I moved in you
      The holy dark was moving too
      And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

      Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
      Hallelujah, Hallelujah

      Maybe there's a God above
      And all I ever learned from love
      Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.

      And it's not a cry you can hear at night
      it's not somebody who's seen the light
      it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

      Hallelujah, Hallelujah
      Hallelujah, Hallelujah

      Hallelujah, Hallelujah
      Hallelujah, Hallelujah

    3. You have finally flipped your freakin' wig.

    4. heh :) Ah Ruf, you're funny.

      Here's a list Amazon sent my account today -

      Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story
      by Jim Holt

      List Price: $27.95
      Price: $17.04
      You Save: $10.91 (39%)

      Learn more
      Add to wishlist
      Edge of the Universe: A Voyage to the Cosmic Horizon and Beyond Edge of the Universe: A Voyage to the Cosmic Horizon and Beyond
      by Paul Halpern

      List Price: $27.95
      Price: $17.11
      You Save: $10.84 (39%)

      Learn more
      Add to wishlist
      Infinite Minds: A Philosophical Cosmology Infinite Minds: A Philosophical Cosmology
      by John Leslie

      List Price: $127.50
      Price: $113.94
      You Save: $13.56 (11%)

      Learn more
      Add to wishlist
      A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing
      by Lawrence M. Krauss, Richard Dawkins

      List Price: $24.99
      Price: $14.36
      You Save: $10.63 (43%)

      Learn more
      Add to wishlist
      Gravity's Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos Gravity's Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos
      by Caleb Scharf

      List Price: $26.00
      Price: $14.94
      You Save: $11.06 (43%)

      They kind of track what you like from what you have bought before. I had read the first one - Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story
      by Jim Holt - and this very intelligent fellow had done his research about thinkers in the past and current day philosophers. There are a variety of opinions. At the end of his exploration he told the tale of the death of his mother. I see a book by Dawkins on the list. I might read it if I find it at the library but I am not spending money to get it.

      This one sounds like it might be worth the time -
      Infinite Minds: A Philosophical Cosmology
      by John Leslie - though I've never heard of the guy.

    5. Jewish heroes are often seriously flawed, like David, but it is possible to have a saved soul and a wasted life, so to speak.

  15. Regarding the previous post:

    A friend will help you hide.

    A real friend will help you hide a body :-)

  16. Re-electing Obama is akin to backing up the Titanic and ramming the iceburg again.

  17. The U.S. today----Ineptocracy

    A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are awarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

  18. .

    One columnist that shares my decidely pessimistic views on the Palistinean/Israeli conflict. The only difference being that he holds out a small albeit long-shot possibility for some type of settlement down the road, a view I don't share.

    Goldberg on the Gaza Conflict


    1. "If the West Bank were to gain real freedom" my hunch is they'd join Hamas and start lobbing stuff into Israel.

  19. Yes, there’s video of that kid scoring 138 points in an NCAA game
    posted at 9:09 am on November 21, 2012 by Allahpundit

    A Division III game, but still. Click here and choose the “On Demand” tab. It’s Grinnell vs. Faith Baptist Bible. Remember Loyola Marymount in the late 80s and early 90s? Picture that but with an even heavier emphasis on threes. That’s what you’re about to see.

    Jack Taylor’s line: 52 of 108 (yes, 108 shots) for 138 points. He was 27 for 71 behind the arc. If he had shot 100% from the field, he would have finished with upwards of 300 points. And he did it … in just 36 minutes on the court. He didn’t even play the whole game.

    That is called being hot.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. The Hostess Was Killed

    Trumka has a long and sordid history of selling out union workers for his personal political power and career advancement. Clarice Feldman described for our readers his sell-out of the mine workers when he headed the United Mine Workers of America, allying with President Obama, who has made clear his intent to close down coal mines and destroy mining jobs, sacrificing his members' livelihood, while his political sway earned him a promotion from his own union to head up the entire AFL-CIO and emerge as one of Obama's key allies.

    It is time for conservatives to start employing some of the tactics of the left, and hound Trumka and Gephardt for their disgraceful roles in selling out the workers. Allowing the media and labor bosses to spin Hostess as the fault of Mitt Romney is simply ridiculous.

  21. Tomorrow, in my recliner while watching an NFL game right before nodding off in a tryptophan induced stupor, I will give thanks for the random event and the subsequent billions and billions of evolutionary miracles which, over the eons, have culminated in the rich diversity of life and the glorious ecosystem of our beloved and very fortuitous planet.

  22. Well, it'll soon be time to start working on those tax returns, Again. Gag, Rat, and I will be paying for healthcare for some poor folks that have never had it before. But not for poor, and sick folks in Mississippi, Texas, and Arizona.

    We're going to be paying for healthcare for poor/sick folks in New York, California, and Connecticut.

    Meanwhile, we'll be paying more for insurance in our own states. We've been had.

    1. That's why they call us the United Statws.

    2. Well, United States, or not, if we didn't have an idiot for a Governor in Mississippi, my tax money could, at least, be going to my own friends, and neighbors, and not to someone in Chicago.

    3. Damn Rufus, you are starting to sound conservative.

    4. Your a flaming liberal except at tax time. That's funny. If you want to help those around you, there is something called a charitable donation. I know that is foreign to liberals.

      I bet you prayed in a fox hole.

    5. Everyone prays in the foxhole.

      I just think it's cuckoo that My Governor is putting us into the situation of "taking the pain," (paying the taxes) but giving us "none of the gain." It's just really, really dumb.

    6. Damn Rufus, you are starting to sound conservative.

      Only when it is his own money that is being spent.

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. I see where Hillary, and the Muslim Brotherhood guy in Egypt were able to put together a Cease-Fire in the Israel/Gaza mess.

  24. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Written by the man who would not, when facing his deathbed, Free his own Son from Slavery.

    I always think of this when someone waves a book (written by men) in my face, and rails at me to "Worship" the "Good Book."

    1. Yeah yeah blah blah we know you are an idiot. And again shows your commitment to not think about the Bible, which has an escape from slavery written into it.

      When Israel was in Egypt's land: Let my people go,
      Oppress'd so hard they could not stand, Let my People go.

      Go down, Moses,
      Way down in Egypt's land,
      Tell old Pharaoh,
      Let my people go.

      old spiritual

    2. Again, it was the Judeo/Christian influence that gradually got rid of slavery in Europe, and in the Spanish Empire (Vallodolid Debates and aftermath) and in the British Empire (Wilberforce) and here as well after a big to-do. Without that influence who would have thought to do such a thing, the Cherokee?

  25. General Motors Co. clinched a $4.2 billion deal Wednesday to purchase Ally Financial Inc.'s European, Latin American and China operations, doubling the size of the auto maker's lending arm.


    "GM is entering the most aggressive rollout of new vehicles in its history and this acquisition will make us an even more formidable competitor...

  26. In Gaza City, the mood was one of relief. Ayman al-Assawi, 45, whose brother Rahem was one of those killed, said: "The main thing is for the fighting to stop."

    More than 150 Palestinians have been killed, 42 of them children; five Israelis have lost their lives.

    Some in the Hamas hierarchy had argued that a ceasefire deal that failed to include an end the blockade of Gaza would mean that Israel can maintain a stranglehold on the Palestinian territory. But the head of Hamas's military, Mohammed Diaf, is said to have persuaded them that the deal on offer could not be bettered for the time being.

  27. British Columbia could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue if it regulated and taxed marijuana, according to a new study.


    “Given the value of this market and the failure and harms of law enforcement efforts to control the cannabis market, policy makers should consider regulatory alternatives,” the study says.


  28. Jesus was born years earlier than thought, claims Pope

    The entire Christian calendar is based on a miscalculation, the Pope has declared, as he claims in a new book that Jesus was born several years earlier than commonly believed.
    Jesus was born years earlier than thought, claims Pope
    The Pope also weighs in on the debate over Christ's birthplace Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
    Nick Squires

    By Nick Squires, Rome

    4:02PM GMT 21 Nov 2012


    The 'mistake' was made by a sixth century monk known as Dionysius Exiguus or in English Dennis the Small, the 85-year-old pontiff claims in the book 'Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives', published on Wednesday.

    "The calculation of the beginning of our calendar – based on the birth of Jesus – was made by Dionysius Exiguus, who made a mistake in his calculations by several years," the Pope writes in the book, which went on sale around the world with an initial print run of a million copies.

    "The actual date of Jesus's birth was several years before."

    The assertion that the Christian calendar is based on a false premise is not new – many historians believe that Christ was born sometime between 7BC and 2BC.

    But the fact that doubts over one of the keystones of Christian tradition have been raised by the leader of the world's one billion Catholics is striking.
    Related Articles

    Nativity donkeys and cattle are a myth, says Pope
    20 Nov 2012

    Pope names first Native American saint
    21 Oct 2012

    Pope Benedict XVI prays in Arabic for the first time
    10 Oct 2012

    Pope's butler was trying to protect Benedict XVI from 'wolves'
    08 Oct 2012

    Dennis the Small, who was born in Eastern Europe, is credited with being the "inventor" of the modern calendar and the concept of the Anno Domini era.

    He drew up the new system in part to distance it from the calendar in use at the time, which was based on the years since the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian.

    Pope's butler was trying to protect Benedict XVI from 'wolves'
    08 Oct 2012

    Free The Butler!


  29. Atheism in Saudi Arabia is considered an extremely sensitive taboo and a serious crime, so atheists can be hard to come by in the theocratic Middle Eastern kingdom. But, according to an interview that one professed Saudi atheist gave to William Bauer, a reporter with an outlet called Your Middle East, they do exist.


    Here are some of the fascinating quotes from the Saudi atheist, whom Bauer calls Jabir. His journey to atheism seems to have been a lonely one:

    “I found some religious teachings and rules didn’t make any sense. So, I started asking questions about small things like why music is Haram (forbidden) or why women have to cover their faces.


    Jabir explains how the smuggled books and social media allowed him to quietly and safely connect with other atheists. He expresses surprise at meeting older atheists, who credit technology with allowing them to meet one another in ways that they hadn’t been able to before.

    “I usually get a few copies of English language books that no one can understand, but I had to cover “God is not Great” with a bag as I went through customs, that was too obvious…”

    Saudi Arabia

  30. Updated: November 21, 2012 7:24PM

    Ambitious, bright and a powerful orator, Jesse Jackson Jr. was once viewed as following in the footsteps of his father and running for president.

    Instead, in a crashing end to a once promising career, it was his predecessor’s footsteps Jackson followed in Wednesday, resigning from Congress in disgrace just weeks after he won re-election.

    In a two-page letter dated Nov. 21 and tendered to U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner, Jackson acknowledged he is cooperating with a federal investigation into his “activities” and cited a continued battle with his mental health.

    “He couldn’t stop crying, so he couldn’t give a press conference,” according to a source close to Jackson. “First, he is not well. He is up and down. When he’s up, he can talk but he breaks down that’s why he couldn’t conduct the press conference.”

    The letter put an end to months of speculation about the congressman’s future and will offer a respite to a congressional district — which includes some of the most economically depressed parts of the state — that has gone without representation for five months.

    The South Shore Democrat has been absent from his congressional post since June 10, something his family has attributed to a battle with bipolar depression. He checked into the Mayo Clinic twice and checked out of the facility most recently one week ago.

    A federal investigation into alleged improprieties in Jackson’s finances was active before Jackson took that leave.

    “During this journey I have made my share of mistakes. I am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities and I am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators, and accept responsibility for my mistakes, for they are my mistakes and mine alone,” Jackson wrote in his letter.

    Special election, or does the Governor appoint an interim crook?

  31. Danica Patrick’s first season driving stock cars in was punctuated at times by jarring wrecks and verbal run-ins with other drivers. But this week, the first of the off season, provided a wild ride of a different sort.

    The former IndyCar star and up-and-coming driver in Nascar’s Nationwide and Sprint Cup series announced she and her husband, Paul Hospenthal, are divorcing after seven years of marriage. The revelation came two days after she was named the Most Popular Driver among Nationwide series competitors – an award determined by fans’ votes.


    While developing her technique in the Nationwide car, Patrick also ran a part-time schedule in the more powerful Sprint Cup machines. Next year she will drive a Cup car full-time for the Stewart-Haas team.

  32. On this day in 1995, the Dow finished above 5000 for the first time ever.

  33. The travel agency nearby was established by Wasim Mushtaha's grandfather and was in business for an uninterrupted 46 years – until yesterday. Mr Mushtaha had helped many local people chart the logistical and bureaucratic maze to travel abroad.

    "We arranged holidays, people who had to go for medical treatment, for the Haj, they have destroyed this," an angry Mr Mushtata said, waving a piece of what was once his shopfront. "We employed 20 people, each one of them had maybe six in their family.

    It is very difficult for people to find jobs here. What will happen to them?

  34. The Queens Royal Corgis are delighted to see Prince Phillip back at The Palace as they will no longer be blamed for peeing on the sofa!

  35. Based on projections from the EIA May 2012 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could earn an estimated $1,154 billion of net oil export revenues in 2012 and $1,117 billion in 2013. Last year, OPEC earned $1,026 billion in net oil export revenues, a 33 percent increase from 2010.

  36. Obama went for broke, Bibi said no, and Abu Mazen was left holding the bag. Or is it more complicated than that?


    Barak Ravid received a copy of the telegram, and published it in Haaretz this evening, shortly before the 'cease fire' went into effect (you Americans can think about the timing and whether that was meant to influence or not influence events; at this point I'll assume that the timing was not purposeful and that Haaretz has not yet descended to the level of 60 Minutes). Here's some of what the telegram said, and then we'll discuss a few takeaways:

    The Palestinian ambassador said that if Israel expanded the operation in Gaza, it must work to overthrow Hamas, instead of stopping in the middle, as it did in Operation Cast Lead in 2008. “If there should be a ground operation in Gaza, this time he expects to see [Hamas prime minister] Ismail Haniyeh and [high-ranking Hamas leader] Mahmoud al-Zahar in their underwear, as he put it,” the Israeli ambassador wrote, quoting his Palestinian colleague.


    Fast forward to this evening and the 'cease fire.' Hillary Clinton met with Abu Mazen this afternoon, and according to the Hebrew tip on which my previous post was made, told Abu Mazen what Obama was demanding of Bibi in exchange for allowing a ground operation.

  37. Jacob

    I've been thinking about this latest squabble between Israel and Hamas. As usual the Palestinians fire rockets at Israel first, Israel eventually gets tired of it, responds, and then Hamas calls for a cease fire because they are either running out of rockets or because Israel's response is to effective. They agree to a cease fire and then it all starts up again.

    I think this time it may have been different. I think the sole reason for Hamas firing rockets was to test the Iron Dome. Iran is planning a war. They have said so numerous times over the years, even in front of the UN assembly. They do not want Israel to exist. I think they told Hamas to start this little squabble to test Israel's Iron Dome and defenses. I also think they got a lot of data out of the last week or so. Iran's first line of defense, or actually first line of offense in the case of an Israeli strike, will be Hamas firing rockets on Israel. I don't think this cease fire lasts that long.

    Just reflecting and processing through this weeks past events.

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.


  39. California's Shale Formation is Four Times as Large as the Bakken
    By Joao Peixe | Tue, 20 November 2012 23:27 | 0

    Benefit From the Latest Energy Trends and Investment Opportunities before the mainstream media and investing public are aware they even exist. The Free Energy Intelligence Report gives you this and much more. Click here to find out more.

    Perhaps one of the more overlooked aspects of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) recent World Energy Outlook 2012 and its detailed analysis of the US hydrocarbon potential, is the dilemma facing California.

    California has committed to renewable energy, and aims to get a third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020; and it is this ‘green’ stance which could now threaten the development of a giant shale oil field.

    According to the IEA report the Monterrey Formation in Southern California has 15.4 billion barrels of recoverable crude oil, more than four times the volume available from the Bakken formation in North Dakota.

    The IEA wrote in their report: “The idea that fossil fuels will fade from the scene seems more preposterous every day. Instead of getting left behind in this new era, the Golden State could – and should – lead the way.”

    Related Article: How Big a Role Will Shale Gas Play in America’s Energy Future?

    Business Insider claimed that the San Diego Tribune published an editorial asking California Governor Jerry Brown to help push for the development of the giant shale formation.

    An auction is planned for the 12th of December, in which more than 17,000 acres will be available for shale companies to bid on.

    By. Joao Peixe of

  40. November 22, 2012
    Pilgrims' Gifts
    By Karin McQuillan

    We possess an original first-person account by two pilgrims of their coming to America, their miraculous survival, and the first Thanksgiving. It is called Mourt's Relation, after its publisher. Edward Winslow and William Bradford wrote it in 1622 to encourage other Englishman to join them in this "goodly land." It makes perfect reading for Thanksgiving. (You can read it online here or here, or buy it here.)

    Everyone knows that the Pilgrims fled to America for freedom of religion. What's equally important and largely unknown is this: the Pilgrims came to America to protect a religion that celebrated and, indeed, required freedom. They knew that without political independence, men could have no moral independence. Men needed political freedom to practice personal responsibility before God. Personal responsibility and political freedom are one. Put them together, and you get a land of opportunity.

    So while we thank the Pilgrims for turkey and stuffing, let us pause a moment and also offer thanks to the Pilgrims for launching our country on the right path. They left civilization behind for life in the howling wilderness, risking their lives and, for most, sacrificing their lives. In their conviction that freedom is more powerful than tyranny, more important than comfort, they have given us both the greatest freedom and the greatest prosperity on the globe. From the Pilgrims' landing in 1621 until our own times, we have benefited from a country run by Puritan values we can be proud of -- self-rule through free elections, hard work, education, charity, and personal responsibility. These are the gifts of the Pilgrims to all following American generations.

    Now, however, these values are at risk. This November, a slim majority of Americans spurned the Pilgrims' gifts. They are gifts we must rededicate ourselves to, gifts we must teach once more in our public schools, if the great American experiment that we celebrate on Thanksgiving is to survive.

    We can begin at no better place than Thanksgiving itself. Let us familiarize ourselves with our cultural ancestors and thereby understand who we are.

    1. For ordinary people to establish their own nation was a completely unfamiliar idea in European history, but it was well-known to the Puritans, for they were a Bible-centered people. In some ways, you could say American democracy began with a book -- the Bible -- for it was the Bible that inspired the Pilgrims to come to our shores.

      The broader English Protestant movement first began with the translation of the Bible into English and the ability of people to read it and think for themselves. The very act of being able to read the word of God was electrifying and profoundly anti-authoritarian. It was ordinary people's first opportunity to read the words of Moses and Jesus and learn that God was not in favor of pomp and wealth and power of ruling elites in government or church.

      The new biblical understanding of equality was truly revolutionary. The secular classical authors, often mis-credited as the foundational thinkers for American democracy in the 18th century, taught a republican ideal retaining fixed hierarchical social orders, albeit with an elected Parliament. Almost two centuries earlier, the Pilgrims and the Puritans established different roots for our Republic. What they discovered in the Hebrew Bible introduced them to an idea of human equality that later generations call "the truths we hold self-evident."

      The Pilgrims and their grandsons, the generation of the American Revolution, based their arguments for liberty on three books of the Hebrew Bible. First is Genesis: God creates man in his image. One God, one original man. All men are equally created by God, equally have a soul, are equally in God's image, are equal.

      Second, Exodus: Jews were plucked from slavery in Egypt as God's chosen people. The Pilgrims and later the founding generation often used both these elements -- that God chooses freedom, and that God can choose one people to be the moral leaders for freedom. They identified with the ancient Jews as the chosen people, and it gave them great courage -- to come to America in 1620 and, in 1776, to defy the most powerful nation on earth to win their political independence.

    2. Lastly, in the Book of Judges, the Bible explicitly contradicts the divine right of kings, saying that God's laws are superior to the power of any tyrant.

      The Pilgrims took these ideas and applied them to religion by rejecting church authority. Each congregation had the right to choose its own minister. On the tiny Mayflower, they wrote the Mayflower Compact, in which they decided that once here, people would be self-governing. From that day to this, New England towns have elected their officials and vote as an entire town on all their laws. So by the time of the Revolution, New Englanders, and other Puritan and Presbyterian sects throughout America, had experienced 150 years of pure democracy in their churches and towns.

      They also learned the dangers of pure democracy -- that it can lead to intolerant majority rule -- which was corrected by subsequent Puritan generations and by our founding fathers when writing the United States Constitution.

      Mourt's Relation contains a letter from a Pilgrim leader advising the Pilgrims to elect their leaders, as they are not being furnished with an aristocrat to lead them. He suggests that they choose leaders that will promote the common good, not to be "like unto the foolish multitude, who more honor the gay coat, than either the virtuous mind of the man, or glorious ordinance of the Lord." This is advice we could use in every election.

      ... you are to become a body politic, using amongst yourselves civil government, and are not furnished with any persons of special eminency above the rest, to be chosen by you into office of government: let your wisdom and godliness appear ... not being like unto the foolish multitude, who more honor the gay coat, than either the virtuous mind of the man, or glorious ordinance of the Lord.

    3. We get to read the actual description in Mourt's Relation, telling us how the Pilgrims chose their leaders "by common assent," the very day they first came ashore in America. It contains the one-paragraph Mayflower Compact, the precedent for the American Constitution.

      After many difficulties in boisterous storms, at length by God's providence upon the ninth of November following, by break of the day we espied land which we deemed to be Cape Cod, and so afterward it proved. ...

      This day before we came to harbor ... it was thought good there should be an association and agreement, that we should combine together in one body, and to submit to such government and governors, as we should by common consent agree to make and choose, and set our hands to this that follows word for word.


      The same day so soon as we could we set ashore 15 or 16 men.

      The gifts of the Pilgrims, who merged into the Puritan movement in New England, did not stop with democratic elections. They also wanted national autonomy from England.

      In the Bible, nationhood -- that is, occupying the Promised Land, the Land of Israel -- is central to the covenant. The ancient Jews were not given the Promised Land, but rather had to find the courage to fight for it and earn it. The Lord directed them to take the Land of Israel and make it a Jewish state, where God would be worshiped instead of idols. The Pilgrims knew that just like the ancient Jews, without political autonomy, they would never be free to develop personal responsibility to God. The Puritans saw themselves as a living generation of Israelites.

      They were practical men. Less than ten years after the first Thanksgiving, when the Puritans came to settle Massachusetts in 1630, they knew that unless they had control over their charter, they would have no religious freedom, whatever sweet promises were being made to them. They came to America to live right by God; to do this, they needed to be self-governing, and to be self-governing, they needed to be independent. Therefore, they arranged to secretly buy the controlling shares in the governing monopoly King Charles I had sold to shareholders, the Massachusetts Bay Company.

    4. For the Pilgrims, as for Americans today, freedom brings the challenge of what to do with personal responsibility. Their answers deeply marked the American spirit: egalitarianism, education, hard work, savings, honesty, temperance, charity, and community spirit. Their values are the foundational requirements for free enterprise and capitalism to flourish. They are essential to America's flourishing philanthropy and civil society.

      Many of these values were secularized and popularized by Benjamin Franklin, who grew up in a pious Puritan home. His grandfather was one of the original Pilgrims who celebrated that first Thanksgiving. Franklin is credited as the most influential American of his age, "inventing the type of society America would become."

      As religious and freedom-loving people, these first Americans did not look to the government or even the organized church to take care of people. Because of the Bible, they rejected the European ideal of a powerful centralized government, nor did they even rely on the church for charitable works. Here is the line of descent of that core American institution, voluntary charitable associations. Cotton Mather, a prominent Puritan preacher, was a family friend of the Franklins. Mather applied the biblical value of helping one's neighbor by forming voluntary neighborhood improvement groups. He wrote a book about voluntary groups, Essays to Do Good owned by the Franklins. "If I have been," Franklin wrote to Cotton Mather's son seventy years later, "a useful citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to that book."

      Franklin founded the first subscription library, an early volunteer firefighting company, the Academy of Sciences, the nation's first hospital, and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a self-improvement society for himself and his friends to read and debate the ideas of the day.

      We are taught to be grateful to Ben Franklin for these good works that started the American character on the right path. We forget to thank his Pilgrim grandfather and Puritan preacher Cotton Mather, who taught him the basic values that still shape our precious country.

      On arrival on our shores, the Pilgrims offered up Psalm 100 in praise and thanks: Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Our Pilgrim forefathers started the most wonderful country in the history of the world, through their courage, independence, freedom of thought, hard work, and charity. Let us all express our limitless thanks.

  41. Then they proceeded to steal everything in sight.

  42. Ash displays his Assness,
    Rufus follows with the truth.

    AshMon Nov 19, 09:55:00 AM EST
    "Who Started the Israel-Gaza Conflict?"

    hee hee haw haw, HEE HEE HAAA HAAA BWAHAAHAAHAA!


    Carry on.

    BobMon Nov 19, 11:10:00 AM EST
    Why that was an excellent post, Ash. Very good. I assume you are saying that since Hamas is dedicated to pushing Israel into the sea they must be the ones, but you failed to say so.

    Co-founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin stated in 1987, and the Hamas Charter affirmed in 1988, that Hamas was founded to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.[17][18]

    Maybe the Iranians started this round, in a way, providing Hamas with some new rocketry, and urging them on. That too might be a possibility. The Iranians are dedicated to wiping Israel off the map as well.

    RepliesAshMon Nov 19, 11:18:00 AM EST
    Maybe it started in 1947/48 when the refugees who fled the war were not allowed to return home?

    BobMon Nov 19, 01:48:00 PM EST
    Why stop there? You could take it back to when they picked up their muslim ways. Or back to when Mohammed attacked that Jewish group in Arabia.

    AshMon Nov 19, 02:00:00 PM EST
    You may be slow but you seem to be catching on.

    BobMon Nov 19, 02:04:00 PM EST
    Why thank you, Ash. You have been a great help.

    But my opinion is, for practical purposes, the Gazans started it.

    AshMon Nov 19, 02:11:00 PM EST
    oops, that last dropping of yours demonstrated that you aren't catching on. I guess no surprise there.

    Rufus IIMon Nov 19, 12:29:00 PM EST
    This will go on until the end of time - or until one side is dead.

    The performance of the "Iron Dome" was interesting.

    1. So, Doug, who started it? Which came first the chicken or the egg? How far back should we go to make the call - the ice age?

      I heard a law professor on the radio this morning state that 'Gaza has a population density of 9300 per mile (one of the densest on earth) while Israel has a population density of 800 per mile'. He said this 'was not a function of natural population growth and migration but rather it has occurred because of ethnic cleansing'.

    2. I heard a professor say about 50,000 arabs moved to Gaza, and have been breeding like rats ever since.

  43. Here ya go, Bob, Bus Bomb was an Israeli False Flag - They allowed it to happen!

    To support their Evil Plan for War against the Innocent Iranian Ayotollahs.

    This guy is genius, I tell you!

  44. Happy Thanksgiving. On to the next post for a little historical context.