Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday: At McLean Bible Church, A Christian's Humble, Imperfect Walk Towards Authenticity


THE HYPOCRITICAL PHARISEES: WHEN WHAT'S ON THE INSIDE DOESN'T LINE UP WITH WHAT'S ON THE OUTSIDE

LAST SUNDAY in between trips to New York, I was back in D.C. attending McLean Bible Church. When pastor-in-chief Lon Solomon talks about what Jesus teaches, I listen. This sermon is from Luke 11: 37-44, teaching about the outward image of piety in the Pharisees in contrast to the true dark, hypocritical reality of their hearts. Woe to the Pharisees' inauthenticity, is the message. Jesus dealt with these religious leaders in the harshest of terms, calling them white-washed tombs, snakes and vipers, because it impugned God's reputation with the people the Pharisees purported to teach and lead.

The church is sadly filled with hypocrites and false, inauthentic teachers and believers. This message is for all of us. True authenticity starts in the heart, only by the transforming empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Walking in the Spirit, relying on the Spirit every day is the only way we have a chance of succeeding in attaining some degree of integrity and authenticity in Jesus Christ.

In this sermon, Lon tells why he always roots against the Dallas Cowboys after the way owner Jerry Jones treated Tom Landry. And also tells about his inner struggle when he received a huge refund check from the IRS that he knew was a mistake but the agency insisted was due him.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Snowstorm Etc.

HAD PLANNED ON BLOGGING THE GREAT NYC/EAST COAST BLIZZARD which began Thursday, picked up steam over night and went on through Friday, however I got bogged down, sick and sidelined with a sinus infection. This is too much information, except to say, when this rarely happens to me---often due to freezing cold weather---I feel too bad to do much of anything but rest. I'll be back Sunday for a post and then hope to be back to my self by Monday. At this point, don't think I can bear to post anymore pics of snow this winter either. I'll be looking to photograph crocus---any crocus will do!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lessons in Style and Substance: Two Presidents Go to Grammar School

FIRST, THE ONE. THE STIFF, FORMAL, GUARDED, TELEPROMPTED ONE. GRADE C-

THEN, THE ONE WHO CAME BEFORE, below. Inspiring, casual, fun, approachable. Yes, I miss his Texas swagger and LL Bean tartan shirts with khakis. Don't they look like they're having fun!? Grade A.

So here's a little school yard quiz: Do you know what the last four letters of American spell? I CAN. Now the last four letters of Republican? I CAN. I won't go into the word Democrats.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reason TV On Healthcare: Treating Us Like Dogs May Soon Be Better, Safer, Cheaper, Quicker Than Treating Us Like Humans



SEE FOR YOURSELF. Human healthcare will only get worse if Obama and government legislators/bureaucrats get their way with us.

Meanwhile, Sen. Greg Judd tells Financial Times the U.S.is heading for a financial meltdown in the next 5-7 years.

The Storm That Never Was In New York City

FRIDAY UPDATE: I MAY HAVE SPOKEN A BIT TOO SOON. A SMALL BLIZZARD ARRIVED IN NYC DURING THE NIGHT, HOWEVER STILL NO WHERE BAD AS PREDICTED

HAVE DECIDED ACCU-WEATHER IS FIRST COUSIN TO AL GORE when it comes to scary weather/climate hysteria.

This was the 'storm' that simply amounted to almost nothing---so far.

No doubt it came ashore somewhere along the Northeast coastline and is playing havoc in many areas inland from Maine to West Virginia for which my heart goes out except they've got cross-country skis and can have lots of fun with it all once the storm has passed. However, from my perspective in the City, this was a slushy non-event. It's been rain mixed with snow all day as temperatures hovered right above freezing all day and winds---which were predicted to be hurricane-like---have been calm, unlike night-before-last when it was miserable to the n'th degree.

I realize we may still have a rough night ahead and all hell could break loose in the next eight hours. But, honestly, I just don't see it happening.

Meanwhile, us womenfolk spent the day playing with babies, Skyping with relatives in England and making lentil soup and casseroles for the next few days. It was great fun and relaxing!

Still, if the weather doesn't get too nasty in the next 12-24, or AMTRAK doesn't get stopped for weather, I just might wind my way back down to D.C. soon and who knows, back to Tennessee to regroup before the second baby arrives, hopefully in mid-April....when the tulips are blooming on Park Avenue and I can wet a line on the Delaware River with the guys in between burpings.

I don't take anything for granted and give thanks for this wonder time with family. But I'm learning to be flexible.

Obama, Clinton, Democrats Who Vehemently Opposed Nuclear Option in 2005 Now Want to Use It To Ram Obamacare Down Our Throats



HYPOCRISY. THE WAY DEMOCRACY ENDS IS WITH A GAVEL. We cannot let this happen to our country. Neither the product of government-run healthcare nor the process are acceptable to the vast majority of our people.

Listen my children and you will hear of the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New York Weather Miserable, Nor' Easter On the Way?

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: THINK THE WORST OF THIS STORM WILL SKIRT MANHATTAN AND THE COAST

THE WINTER THAT WON'T END

GOSH, JUST WHEN WE THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO use our the umbrellas and put away the snow boots, I come back to my Manhattan hideaway on the East side tonight to see the small headline on Drudge: Hurricane-force monster blizzard coming to the upper Atlantic on Thursday/Friday with winds up to 74 mph and snow up to 18 inches.

Surely this is joke, was my first reaction. And a very, very unfunny one at that. But it's not nearly April Fool's Day and the rain and wind tonight are howling like I've never seen or heard before. A Nor'Easter could surely be coming. It's not fair, I said to my computer, I left Wyoming in winter to get away from this nonsense.

But no. I re-read the news report:

A powerful storm of historical proportions is aiming at much of the Northeast Thursday into Friday and will follow up to a foot and a half of snow through Wednesday over upstate New York and western New England.This second storm will be nothing short of a monster. Even in light of the blizzards earlier this winter that targeted the southern mid-Atlantic, this may be the one that people remember the most this winter in parts of New England and the northern mid-Atlantic.At its peak, the storm will deliver near hurricane-force wind gusts (74 mph) blinding snow falling at the rate of over an inch per hour. For some people in upstate New York and eastern and northern Pennsylvania, this may seem more like a "snow hurricane" rather than a blizzard.Cities likely to be impacted by heavy snow for all or at least part of the storm include: New York City, Albany, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, Scranton, Allentown, Reading, Williamsport and Burlington.

Historical proportions doesn't sound too good to me. Then I went into my Wyoming wilderness woman mode and called my children who were totally unaware of the impending crisis weather event.

You'll need to start provisioning now, as in tonight, I said. Got plenty of milk for the baby? Baby food, food? Batteries? Blankets? Prayers?

This could be serious. I'll try to blog it if I have power and will take some photos. But it sounds so ominous, who knows what will happen over the next few days.....Whatever happens, I'm not leaving my children and family, I do know that.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Goldman Sachs Goes To Rehab

FRIDAY: Goldman in Greece prob

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: FOLLOWING TRANSPARENCY SPEECH, GOLDMAN REFUSES TO REVEAL GREEK CDS HOLDINGS

FOR CREDIT DEFAULT SWAP/CURRENCY HEDGE ADDICTIONS

DON'T YOU LOVE IT. For the first time in its 140-year history, Masters of the Universe Goldman Sachs wants to go to rehab and clean up its image which has been badly tarnished of late. Matt Taibbi's shocking Rolling Stone expose last summer was only the first salvo. In it, Taibbi took apart every major investing mania over the past 100 years and showed how Goldman played the roller coaster for obscene profits on the way up, and then again on the way down. He laid out in excruciating detail how smart money Goldman has positioned itself ahead of every mega-global financial curve. In the process, Goldman has often left investors and taxpayers in the red for billions, if not trillions, of small unmarked bills. Think the fall of Goldman insurer AIG which we the taxpayers underwrote so Goldman didn't lose a dime. We can thank former Goldman CEO-turned-Treasury-Secretary Hank Paulson for that. Then think lavish bonuses during the financial meltdown and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, Goldman's competitor. But don't think too hard, and if you do, think again:

For the first 139 years it wasn't that relevant to us to explain ourselves," Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein told Fortune recently. " And now it became very relevant and the press did an important thing for us, they pointed out to us that that was a deficiency in our strategy, not to reveal ourselves . . . I'm just trying to take pains, which we should have done all along, to make sure that people understand what we do in the world.

In other words, expect Goldman Sachs soon to come out smelling like a rose. It's hired Dallas Public Strategies, headed by Dan Bartlett, a confidant of George W. Bush and Karl Rove, is already on the case. Earlier this month, Goldman clients and Wall Street analysts starting filling out an exhaustive, online questionnaire seeking to pinpoint exactly what people thought of Blankfein's firm.

One question wanted survey participants to compare Goldman to other Wall Street banks -- and names rivals JPMorgan Chase, UBS, Bank of America, Citigroup and Barclays. Respondents were asked to fill in blanks from least favorable to most favorable.


Taibbi concluded his landmark piece on Goldman writing: “It’s a gangster state, running on gangster economics, and even prices can’t be trusted anymore; there are hidden taxes in every buck you pay. And maybe we can’t stop it, but at least we know where it’s all going.”

The latest fly in the ointment of Goldman's once sterling reputation is in it's shenanigans in Greece starting in the early 2000s:

In recent weeks, Goldman has faced accusations that in 2001 it helped Greece engineer sophisticated securities deals -- akin to those that destroyed energy outfit Enron -- encouraging it to gorge on debt and inflate its budget deficit, and imperil the fragile Euro zone economy.

While Goldman may soon own Greece and cause the fall of the economic dominoes in Europe, what's more important to this big investment firm is how it looks to the public.

For the first time in its history, Goldman's activities are becoming more transparent to the public. Whatever the upcoming public relations gimmicks, one things for sure, taxpayers, shareholders, bondholders and other investors are now on to it and watching like a hawk. So is the media great.

Read more: Here. Here. And here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Some Sober Thoughts On Repentance



AFTER TIGER WOOD'S PUBLIC APOLOGY this week, there's been a raft of commentary and often sarcastic, cynical derision over what he said and theso-called effects he hoped to achieve. Some see his mea culpa as an unmanly show of sissyhood. This says more about the writer and his own insecurities than anything else. True, in recovery as in life, some make it and some don't; some are sincere, some aren't. Some are fortunate enough to hit true bottom and see the light and some manage to keep bottom at bay. None of us can really judge a person's sincerity after a mea culpa like Tiger's this week. It's his spiritual walk and the fruits of it may be known to only a few others and never publicly. When a person truly starts recovering, it's what God thinks, what we think rather than what others think.

Anyway, here's a commentary on real repentance---what it is and isn't--- by Bob Deffinbaugh. Faux repentance lasts about as long as a breath mint. But the real thing is a true change of heart and direction that continues the rest of one's life---albeit imperfectly. Only after a person has experienced true repentance and authentic forgiveness, can he or she graciously give and receive repentance and forgiveness with others. The true repentance process starts in our hearts---is never just for show---and over time flows out into all parts of our lives and relationships. Bitterness, cynism, darkness, mocking, arrogance and sarcasm slowly---emphasis on slowly---go away over time.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Right Live At CPAC



MEANWHILE, Ron Paul wins straw poll at CPAC. Amazing!

Another Reason to Live In Tennessee



STATES RIGHTS. Now can it pass in the Tennessee House?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger Starts To Chip Out of the Rough

LARRY KUDLOW IS IN TIGER'S CORNER CAUSE HE'S BEEN THERE. TIGER WOULD BE WISE TO HAVE FRIENDS LIKE KUDLOW.


I THINK TIGER MADE A POSITIVE FORWARD STEP towards recovering his sanity and a potential life for himself, his wife and children.Only an early step. Not a minute too soon. After coming out of a month-long treatment for sex addiction, he's publicly apologized saying he's going back for at least six more weeks. Good, because his years-long-----if not decades---sexcapades, not to mention mental machinations/rationalizations under-pinning this awful behavior will take a lifetime to repair. His work has just begun. He can't do it alone, without God's Grace and the help of strong, recovering men who've walked this grinding road ahead of him and who can help keep him accountable. Men like Larry Kudlow.

Anyone who's ever faced addictions---and I have with prescription drugs and have been walking the path for 22 years now--- knows the road back is long and wrought with land-mines everywhere. Tiger will be faced with almost unbearable temptations for a long, long time. His will not be an easy or quick road back. He can't do it alone. Isolation, arrogance and unrealistic expectations are the best friends addictions ever had.

I'm glad Elin was not standing beside him, or even in the room. She may be supporting his early recovery efforts, but he needed to mount that podium alone like a man and not make any excuses for himself or his appalling behavior. I'm glad he talked about his sense of entitlement---a national epidemic---after all the sacrifices he's made for his profession. I've come to know from my own journey that a sense of entitlement is another term for self-pity. This self-pity is the real issue Tiger now needs to address. Addiction is only the symptom, never the cause. It's always bad thinking, desperate mental loops that gets us in trouble. And a lack of responsibility for our actions--putting it off on other people.

Addictions---be it booze, pills, sex, gambling, spending or just romantic fantasy to name only a few---always have at their roots a poor me, I've been wronged, I've made such sacrifices that I deserve this indulgence, I'm above the forces of gravity attidues. But these only dig us deeper into the grave.

My hat is off to Tiger. I know he's far from being out of the rough. God bless him, his wife, his children and mother. May he continue one day at a time.

Image and full story here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Riding the Train To Manhattan


LOVE THESE DEEP WINTER LANDSCAPES of warm and cool neutrals----grays and ochres. I find them restful, simple and beautiful. I snapped the above photo from the train as we traveled through New Jersey into Manhattan. Coming up on the train from D.C. is such a treat for me. So much more low-keyed than flying these days. Gives me time to gather myself to be with G-boy below. He's walking, starting to talk and growing baby teeth now. And his Daddy gave him his first ever haircut last week. Not sure he put a bowl on his head or not. But he's adorable. Nowhere I'd rather be at the moment; nothing I'd rather be doing while his lovely mother rests in bed in the 7th, almost 8th month of her second pregnancy.

G-boy's first sentence recently: Don't over-tax me, bro.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sassy Cute


ADORABLE, FRESH and most of all fun, fun, fun, though I'm a bit concerned by what I can't see on her feet. But from what I do see, this is almost a casual 10. May be back later with more, but for now, I'm mostly in perpetual, rhythmic motion today.

Did I Say Hope and Change?

POLITICO: OBAMA ELECTORAL MAP IN RAPID RETREAT

WHAT WAS I THINKING? I really meant despair, disenchantment, disrepair and deep, deep snow. That's what I really meant. So don't go misunderstanding me again. And don't go blowing any more money in Vegas either.

Meanwhile, Kudlow: Tea Party Optimism and Skepticism; least and most religious states.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

D.C., A Gargantuan Mess

NEW LINK: LITTLE SIS, PROFILING THE POWERS THAT BE. TAKE A LOOK

GRIDLOCK THY DOMAIN IS THIGH DEEP, DOWN AND DIRTY IN THE DISTRICT

I'VE BEEN IN AND OUT OF D.C. FOR three decades at all times of the year, in every weather condition. I can remember white-knuckle flying out of the old National Airport, now Reagan, in an ice storm several months after the jet crashed into the Potomac. I've been here in heat waves, high humidity, cherry blossoms and snow storms. But honey-chile, let me tell you, I ain't never seen anything like what I sees here now!! Holy polar bear!

This place is the damnedest mess I's evah seen! It's going to be weeks, months--if ever---till all this snow melts and things get back to a semblance of 'normal.' Simply amazing.

Oh and yes, I do think this weather phenomenon is a mixed metaphor for the current distasteful, stalled low-pressure, stationary front now hovering here, stretching all the way from Pennsylvania Avenue to Capitol Hill to the Department of Treasury and to back over to the Fed.

Like I said, this place is one of the biggest messes I've seen in a long, long time. Wednesday I get to check out the improved terrain in New York City which got off easy this winter!

Saying Goodbye To Commenter 'Ellen'

THE END HAS FINALLY COME. After two years of comments by Ellen, I pulling the plug. The welcome mat has been permanently withdrawn for Ellen and for all anonymous commenters. No anonymous comments are published here. But from here on, all will be deleted unread.

After spelling this out in another post below to Ellen---who has intimidated, harassed and screamed in increasingly rapid-fire, hateful harangues, most of which mercifully never get published---she's just come back in a recent anonymous comment to inform me she's a blogger herself under another name. Furthermore she says she has open comments and thinks I'm lower than a worm for not having them too. And I'm ignorant. She also says they know who I am.... me and my ilk are a dying, pathetic breed. Nice.

Well, she might be right. Then again, she might be wrong. Time will tell, won't it?

However, one thing's clear: she doesn't have anything better to do than come here. It's been her job. Until today, when she got fired and is now standing in the unemployment line of my comments section. No bailout will follow.

I'm a small-time blogger and have zero aspirations of being anything else. Still, I'm amused and baffled that Ellen is threatened enough to take the time and effort to bring out the heavy artillery day in, and day out here at Webutante. I must be doing something right.

Ellen thinks she has the truth, the only truth and nothing but the truth; that her comments here are so shattering and filled with socialistic light that I can't bear publish them. Yawn. I'm more than happy to let her go on believing that. It's her delusion; who am I to take it away?

This is not about publishing opposing views and sincere discussion. It's about her full-frontal, abusive assault of me and this blog on a constant, continuing basis which is now over. For good. I'm making it public here tonight.

Quincy Man Recalls Being Held At Gunpoint By Amy Bishop Years Ago


RIDING SHOTGUN: Thomas Pettigrew talks about being held at gunpoint at a car dealership by a woman he says was Amy Bishop, looking for a getaway car after her brother was shot dead in 1986. Read his account of his unexpected meeeting with Amy right after she killed her brother here.

What an interesting story is unfolding. Looks like she has a history of solving her problems the quick and dirty way: blowing away the areas of her life that cause her pain. And up until now, getting away with it. I don't think she's going to get off the hook anymore. In fact, I wonder if she could get capital punishment for this. Neo has a interesting piece on Amy's getting off the hook after shooting and killing her brother.

BTW, I'm starting to read that Amy is described as a fanatical Obama supporter. Think it's a cheap shot and has no bearing on this tragic story.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way to Sunny Arizona, Part 2



WENT OUT and fetched the aforementioned newspapers in snow sometimes to the top of my thighs. My host was most grateful and presented me with the book below. What a fun read on a cold winter's day!


Help! A Funny Thing Happened On My Way to Sunny Arizona This Week---Part 1




CONVERSATION THIS MORNING IN DC
WOULD YOU MIND RUNNING OUT TO GET THE NEWSPAPERS?

ME?

OUI.

YOU THINK I'M GOING OUT THERE FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES AND WASHINGTON POST?

NO?

YES, NO.

OH.

LOOK, I'LL COOK LUNCH, DINNER, WALK TO SAFEWAY FOR GROCERIES. BUT PLEASE DON'T ASK ME TO FETCH THE TIMES OR THE POST OUT IN THAT SNOWFIELD...PLEASE. THAT WOULD BE TOO CRUEL.

OH, OK.

(P.S. On my way to get dressed in my snow clothes and bring those stupid fishwrappers in for my host. He'll be pleasantly surprised. Oh and BTW, my host did not ask me to go out, he's far too much of a gentleman. But I'm going cause I saw he was going into newspaper withdrawal when I arrived a little while ago.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Some C. S. Lewis for Valentines Sunday

A CHRIST-LIKE MARRIAGE

....a mortal man is not even the Sky-Father, and cannot really wear his crown. Only a copy of it, done in tinselled paper.

As nature crowns man in that brief action, so the Christian law has crowned him in the permanent relationship of marriage, bestowing---or should I say inflicting?---a certain 'headship' on him. This is a very different coronation. And as we could easily take the natural mystery too seriously, so we might take the Christian mystery not seriously enough. Christian writers....have sometimes spoken of the husband's headship with a complacency to make the blood run cold. We must go back to our Bibles. The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as Christ love the Church---read on---and give his life for her (Eph.) This headship, then, is most fully embodied not in the husband we should all wish to be but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion, whose wife receives most and gives least. is most unworthy of him, is---in her own mere nature---least lovable. For the Church has no beauty but what the Bridegroom gives her; he does not find, but makes her lovely. The chrism of this terrible coronation is to be seen not in the joys of any man's marriage but in its sorrows, in the sickness and the sufferings of a good wife or the faults of a bad one, in his unwearying (never paraded) care or his inexhaustible forgiveness: forgiveness not acquiescence. As Christ sees in the flawed, proud, fanatical or lukewarm Church on earth the Bride who will one day be without spot or wrinkle, and labours to produce the latter, so the husband whose headship is Christ-like (and he is allowed no other sort) never despairs. He is a King Cophetua who after twenty years still hopes that the beggar-girl will one day learn to speak the truth and wash behind her ears....The sternest feminist need not grudge my sex the crown offered to it either in the Pagan or the Christian mystery. For the one is of paper and the other of thorns.

----The Four Loves


THE UNMAN

UP TILL THAT MOMENT, whenever he had thought of Hell, he had pictured the lost souls as being still human, now, as the frightful abyss which parts ghosthood from manhood yawned before him, pity was almost swallowed up in horror---in the unconquerable revulsion of the life within him from positive and self-consuming death. If the remains of Weston were, at such moments, speaking through his lips of the Un-man, then Weston was not now a man at all. The forces which had begun, perhaps years ago, to eat away his humanity had now completed their work. The intoxicated will which had been slowly poisoning the intelligence and the affections had now at last poisoned itself and the whole psychic organism had fallen to pieces. Only a ghost was left---an everlasting unrest, a crumbling, a ruin, an odour of decay.

---Perelandra


THE WISE MAN, THE WICKED MAN

"Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult;
whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse.

Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
rebuke a wise man and he will love you.

Proverbs 9:7-8

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Improv in Adversity



WSJPhotos

Our Current Economic Walk: Image Worth A Thousand Words

WOULD THAT I WERE BEATING A DEAD HORSE. But I don't think so. In fact, I believe the above drawing absolutely captures the treacherous walk to fiscal sobriety our country and the developed nations (G7) of the world would be on if we were willing to rein in spending and roll up our sleeves to tackle the gargantuan, growing deficits and feel our pain now. Tragically, the quick-fix, puerile Obama administration seems to be going backwards, away from fiscal sanity and the difficult choices it embodies. It's called 'recovery through the power of the monetary printing press' and through raising taxes. It gives us only a short-term illusion of well-being. But when spending is only increasing at exponential levels, this is a walk towards true disaster, leading to a deadly fall from such heights to such depths that none of us really want to fathom how it will unfold. So we hide our eyes and refuse to watch or listen. And live like there's no tomorrow or piper to pay.

Zero Hedge puts it this way:

For Greece, with on and off balance sheet liabilities at over 800%, it's game over. For the Eurozone, with the same ratio at about 500%, it is also game over. For the US, at 500%+, it is, you guessed it (sorry Joseph Stiglitz), game over, but since we have the printers, it will simply take a little longer. Following up on yesterday's popular post on prevailing delusions as captured by Albert Edwards' colleague Dylan Grice, we present Albert's latest outlook. Please don't read this if you want to keep believing there is any hope left for the (developed) world.

Pretty raw stuff in direct contrast to the softer, more sanguine stories in the MSM and on conservative Internet. ZH is savvy, sophisticated, blunt and we ignore its wisdom at our great peril. We don't need to panic, but we do need to prepare as best we can. I'll talk more about that over the course of coming weeks and link to what I consider good sources.

Image/Similar View, The Economist

Friday, February 12, 2010

Toyota Lawn Mower Recall Courtesy of Audi



SENT BY MY BAD INFLUENCE AGAIN WHO'S CONVENIENTLY DOWN IN MEXICO RIGHT NOW . Don't know about you, but I needed this laugh today and still do. I'm working on my taxes. Such fun.

Greek Tragedy

GREECE, DUBAI, CALIFORNIA RACE TO THE BOTTOM AS PESSIMISM INTENSIFIES
COMING TO AN ECONOMIC THEATER near you.

Indiana Jones I Presume

DON'T YOU JUST LOVE IT? Can you think of anyone you'd rather see in a rescue mission than this man. You can have Angelina Jolie. Bringing it in for a landing in his own 12-seater plane loaded with medical supplies, doctors and volunteers, Harrison swooped into Santo Domingo to assist in the awesome, ongoing relief efforts to Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. While I'm sure many celebrities rushed to Haiti and got in the way, needing more resources and attention than they gave, Ford no doubt made a real and lasting contribution to the desperate people and children who were fortunate enough to receive his team's largess and world-class smiles. More here.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rome? Greece? America? Before the Fall

THE WHITE HOUSE BUBBLEALL THE ABOVE

FIRST, to see the lurid details of this scandalous bash, click on the image and you'll be taken to the enlarged version. Enjoy this feast of decadence and redistribution of sanity because our country is teetering on the edge of an economic abyss, and this party can't go on a lot longer.

I'll be back later with more commentary that no one wants to read. It's about the bailout of the Greek economy with its credit and insolvency crisis, and how the United States is not far behind in its profligate pursuit of debt at zero interest rates, another party that simply cannot continue. While our Democratic ruling class parties on and plays at governing in Washington, the rest of us should prepare for another financial decline that will make the 2008-early 2009 crash look like a tea party (pun intended).

Which reminds me, while literally trillions of words have been written about what the Tea Party movement is about and who's leading it, I can summarize the answer in several simple sentences: It's a movement of people who have taken the time and effort to understand the extremely perilous economic condition this country is in---and hurling into deeper---and are scared to death. It's a loose association of people who are coming together with the express purpose of changing our political and fiscal direction before the foundations of our country crumble causing national bankruptcy and terminal debt and taxation, a worthless dollar, sky-rocketing commodities, ensuing chaos and breakdown of the Rule of Law. By all accounts the above party will end very badly. Anyone who does not grasp the seriousness of our present condition is simply not paying attention.

Zero Hedge has more on how our delusions may soon be about to hit a brick wall.

Image H/Ts Here and Here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's My Story And I'm Sticking to It!

WILL THIS WINTER EVER END? THE SCENE ABOVE IS WHAT I AND MILLIONS on the East coast are dreaming about tonight and tomorrow and tomorrow night. Sure I normally prefer mountains to beaches. Not today. As snow and cold continue to pound the country, what's not to like here? I'm dreamin' of a white beachmas, and there's nothing I can do about it.


.

The Great BlizzardBomb of 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. this morning. Everything buried, everyone has taken cover. Nothing to do but wait it out. This second storm bringing tropical storm force winds, snow and ice is being aptly described by the Weather Service as life-threatening.

Those same winds blasted threw Tennessee yesterday and, believe me, they were freezing cold and very wicked.

IBD Gently Chides Sarah Palin Today

NOBODY DRAWS IT BETTER THAN MICHAEL RAMIREZ at Investors Business Daily. Day in and day out he speaks truth to power, political correctness and idiocy though his fine hit-the-nail-on-the-head editorial drawings. Today, he says elegantly what needs to be said nicely to Sarah Palin: Honey, get your act together and stop coming across like some neophyte politician. We don't need another inexperienced president.....An adult writing on her hand is disconcerting....Buy a notepad. I couldn't agree more with him and the editors at IBD. Sarah can be charming and come across as from outside the beltway without lapsing into sophomoric unprofessionalism. It only gives ammo to her myriad detractors. So I hope she gives up her silly need for this kind of attention-baiting sooner rather than later, if she aspires to be anything other than a short-lived conservative publicity-manipulating celebrity without a notebook. Or a brain. Cause when she pulls stunts like this---as my parents used to chide me---she might win some battles, but will surely lose the WAR.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Intrade, Don't Bet Against 35'' of Snow In Central Park This Winter

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: BLIZZARD WARNING FOR NYC
IT'S GETTING TO WHERE I CHECK this site daily. Don't look now but the odds for at least 35'' of snow falling in Central Park and Manhattan by April 30 just went up to 60% on INTRADE. With another foot of fresh snow falling this week it looks like a sure bet. Or, at this point, I certainly wouldn't bet against the trend of historic snowfall in the East...... Nor, from the looks of it would I bet against Tiger Woods playing in the Masters this spring. The dust seems to be settling at the Woods home for now, and maybe their lives can go forward. Together. I sure hope so. They have children to raise and owe it to them and each other to really make a go of their marriage......Then there's the matter of that pesky Obamacare enslavement bill that's still undead but looks nonetheless to be moribund for now as odds hover at 39%. Let's hope this spring sees the end of this unamusing and revolution-insighting folly...... Meanwhile, the prisoners at Gitmo prison are begging U.S. officials not to bring them here this winter, or anytime in the near or distant future. They're now saying they really, really, really enjoy the balmy Caribbean weather and dig the specially prepared dishes of mutton and eggplant made for their culinary delight by the chef that was just flown in from the White House......And the beat goes on as the snow just keeps falling, falling, falling in the upper 48 and Central Park.....

Monday, February 8, 2010

Looks I Like

MAYBE I'M BIASED after seeing Emily as the female lead in The Young Victoria. And maybe I'm just starved to put on a dress---any dress--- after the past 40 days and nights of rain, snow and gray. In any event, I sorta like this one and the vampy shoes even though I'd find them hard to walk in. Think the only thing I might change are the long sleeves---making them into 3/4 length. Then again, I might not. In any event, she's got the figure to make it all work. In the end, think I like the stark and sparse simplicity here in the dead of winter....like a closet that's been cleaned out of its junky clutter and fussiness.

G7 Finance Ministers Quietly Jet To the Arctic Last Weekend

YOU GOTTA HAND IT TO THOSE UNAMUSED G7 FINANCE ministers for finding a brand new location for last weekend's winter meeting after tiring of trendy venues around the world. Venues that had become increasingly laborious and boisterous. Sure they could get good lattes in Rome, Washington and Madrid, but the protesters, police and the press became overbearing and distracting to say the least. And loud. And expensive. So they decided to take a break from the circus atmospheres of old and go where the sun doesn't shine---in winter at least---to a far away place called IQALUIT, Nunavut, Canada near the Arctic Circle. Brilliant, I'd say. So far away and expensive to get to that not one protester and only a handfull of the MSM could be found for hundreds of miles in every icy direction.

So while our attention in the lower 48 was riveted on epic snowstorms, Tea Party conventions and the Super Bowl, our publicity averse global finance ministers were quietly sipping brandy and smoking stogies in their wool socks and mufflers in the Very Far Northern reaches of Canada. In peace. And quiet, perhaps with a few Arctic seals clapping far off in the distance. There were some hurt feelings however. Still they're my kind of guys, really. I loath big flesh-piles of people where you can't hear yourself think or have a civilized conversation. Where people are grandstanding for the press, other grand standers and the fashion police. There was none of this last weekend. No coats and ties either. Just good old fashioned chats about difficult stuff that matters to all of us like defaults, currencies, interest rates, bailouts, solvency, bankruptcies and the financial meltdown in Greece. Here are some rudimentary highlights and failed assurances from the meeting in case you might want to know. But with all that's going on in the global financial markets, I for one am glad these men have taken a quieter tact so they can do their work out of the limelight. They couldn't have found a more remote location.

Pam and Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad From Focus on the Family

MORE ON THE TIMMY TEBOW STORY



CONTROVERSIAL? IT'S VERY HARD FOR ME TO IMAGINE how this ad could be considered the least bit controversial by any stretch of my wildest imagination. Or how it could have evoked such heated vitriol from the pro-choice camps over the past few weeks. Simply stated, it's an ad that says Pam Tebow had a high-risk pregnancy at age 39 with Timmy and as a result had the perfect excuse to abort that pregnancy if she had wanted to. But Pam and her husband Bob had already made the choice before the fact that no matter what the outcome, she would continue to carry this child full-term to delivery and let the chips fall where they may. Those chips fell in extraordinary places by the Grace of God as we all know. However, even if they hadn't, the Tebows would no doubt have handled the outcome of this pregnancy in the same life-giving, life-enhancing ways. What a brilliant time to air this sweet and touching commercial---life-honoring, mother-honoring--- before millions of people at this rough-and-tumble Super Bowl event. And how courageous of Focus On the Family to raise the funds to get this simple little ad produced. There's no coercion here, just one family's simple truth that can now be an encouragement to others going through the same struggle. All things work for good to those who love and obey God. Thank you Tebows, and Focus on the Family. It was done with understatement, brevity and in quiet, good taste.

Congratulations to both the New Orleans Saints and the powers of Light and Life which all won the Super Bowl last night.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday: Christ Will Not Break the Bruised Reed

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY
SUPER SUNDAY SHORT FILM AND SERMON: JOE GIBBS, GAME PLAN FOR LIFE
CHRIST WILL NOT BREAK THE BRUISED REED. Physicians, though they may put their patients through pain, do so not to destroy them, but to raise them up by degrees. A mother that has a sick child will not cast it away, and shall there be more mercy in the lower streams than there are in the very spring? Shall we think there is more mercy in ourselves than in God, who planted the very affection of mercy in us? But to see Christ’s mercy to bruised reeds, consider his borrowed names, from the mildest creatures, as Lamb, or Hen (Luke 13:34). Consider that Jesus will heal the broken-hearted (Is 61:1), that at his baptism, the Holy Spirit sat on him in the shape of a dove, to show that he should be a dove-like gentle mediator. Hear his invitation to "Come unto me, all ye who are weary and heavy laden" (Matt 11:28.) He is a physician good at all diseases. He died that he might heal our souls with the medicine of his own blood. Never fear to go to God, since we have such a mediator with him, that is not only our friend, but our brother and husband.

Let this keep us when we feel ourselves bruised. Think—‘if Christ be so merciful as to not break me, I will not break myself by despair, nor yield myself over to the roaring lion Satan to break me in pieces.’

— Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) from The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax

Friday, February 5, 2010

When Nations Go To Fiat Currency

TEA PARTY FORMS A PAC


ROBERT KIYOSAKI REPRESENTS SMART MONEY. He made millions early on in the housing boom, then got out as it peaked. Today as a financial educator, he's prescient again on commodities, especially investment in silver which is falling on all exchanges this week. Soon it will bottom and start back up (again) because we are living in a time of increasingly devalued currency. And devalued dollars doesn't cause inflation, it is inflation. Let those with ears to hear, heed what Kiyosaki has to say, and act accordingly. This interview was made last November, but never more salient than today.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Toyota's Steel Chip Replacement Surgery

BILLIONS AT STAKE: TOYODA APOLOGIZES, SAYS TOYOTA FACING A CRISIS
TOYOTA is sending dealers a piece of steel, displayed at left at a dealership in Southfield, Mich., Wednesday, which will be put in accelerator pedals to fix an acceleration problem. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press) WSJPhotos

Cartoon Classic of the Day

ECONOMIC BLACK HOLE: 20 REASONS THE ECONOMY IS DYING AND NOT COMING BACK

Abstinence, Discipline, Hardwork, Grit 2

AS T PAID DOWN THE DEBTS SHE'D INCURRED with her erstwhile live-in boyfriend and chose platonic roommates who could share living expenses and keep her costs down, her self-respect grew. Mine for her did too. She would call me every month or so, wherever I was, to check in and tell me of her progress or lack thereof. She enjoyed having someone, along with her and my beloved Helen who was genuinely interested in her. I sincerely enjoy the unexpected opportunity to encourage this young woman who wanted---and still does-- so desperately to forge another, better life path for herself.

As I witnessed T's dedication to hard work and school and got to know her better over our occasional lunch meetings along the Interstate, I decided to offer her a little challenge: I would pay her a sum of $250 for every A she earned, $150 for every B and nothing, zilch, for anything lower. She jumped at my offer.

I'd like to say her path in college was a straight line, but it hasn't been. She transferred schools and ever majors as she struggled to find a major that intersected with her talents and interests. Some semesters I got off with giving her a bonus of only $350. There were one or two D's and F's. But she never let herself be dismayed for long as she picked herself up and were forward. The faith conveyed to her through Helen and me too, has been an additional help in times of discouragement. And while she has dated some and has a boyfriend she says she loves, because he's moved to Louisiana with his family, she understands the benefits of delaying gratification more than ever. And she admits her energy has been freed up to accomplish the tasks at hand.

Earlier this week I received a breathless call from T. She was brimming over with enthusiasm. I have so much to tell you! she began. I got my grades from last semester and made four, FOUR A's! And I'm doing this practicum at an adoption agency here in Murfreesboro that I absolutely love, love, love. They really like me too. I never knew how interesting working with children who need good parents could be! And just think! I only have one more semester after this one before I graduate! I feel so blessed!

WOW! That's wonderful, I said. FOUR A's. What are you trying to do, break me?! That's a lotta money I owe you....I may have to go for a loan to pay you off!

T's story is far from over. Yet what I've seen of her over the past three+ years leads me to strongly believe she has turned a corner in her life and life's path, by the Grace of God.

And this Saturday morning, weather and God permitting, T and I will have a sawmill breakfast at Cracker Barrel off I-24 near Murfreesboro and a face-to-face catch-up where I will present her with her bonus for her hard word and dedication. It's going to be fun to see where this young woman goes from here. May God bless her, our beloved Helen and the rest of her family.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Abstinence

RELATED

A FEW YEARS AGO, I HAD the distinct good fortune and wonderful opportunity to be in a position of mentoring a young black woman in her early 20s who's now finishing up a college degree in nursing at MTSU. Her crack-addict mother had died of an over-dose in Arizona ten years ago, and her father---whom she's met only twice---has been in federal prison in California most of her life. For all intense and purposes, she's had most of life's cards stacked against her. The whole deck, in fact, except for one miraculous thing: A loving grandmother who stepped in to raise her when there was no one else to do the job. I'm convinced this relationship is by the Grace of God. It is through her grandmother, Helen, that I've become acquainted with the young woman I'll henceforth refer to as T.

T's younger sister is not so fortunate. A high school dropout, welfare recipient and part-time waitress, she began a life of sexual acting out with immature, irresponsible black 'men' in the town where she lives in her early teenage years. She now has a couple of children that have no real father, no money and an estranged, unstable lifestyle. Her bitterness and desperation are palpable to her family whom she has kicked out of her life. T's younger sister's future looks bleak. Short of a miracle, her life will probably follow the trajectory of her late drug-addicted mother.

When I first met T over three years ago, she too was waitressing, but she was also struggling in her first semester of college. She was tangled up and living with a young, irresponsible black man whom she was supporting both financially and sexually. Together they had run up a huge satellite TV bill---over a thousand dollars---after signing a scam contract with a very disreputable, unscrupulous salesman who had taken advantage of them through the fine print. As the bill collectors closed in, T's boyfriend fled home to mama leaving T in horrible emotional turmoil and dire financial straits. T couldn't pay her bills but was responsible enough to commit herself to getting through this and doing the right thing--whaevert the right thing was, she wasn't sure of yet---with or without the boyfriend.

Sometime during this emotional mayhem, I entered T's life after hearing the sordid details from Helen. T began to call me on my cell phone regaling me with the details of her drama. I listened as best I could and when asked what I thought, I told her in no uncertain terms.

T, I said, you're at a very important crossroad in your life, do you know that? And what you do with this crisis will determine your course for a long time to come. Are you aware of that, my dear?

She said she emphatically understood the answer to both my questions was YES! She further assured me she was now willing to do whatever it would take to free herself from the bondage she felt was closing in on her. I liked this woman. She appeared to have spunk and determination, but I hadn't known her long enough to know whether she was willing to put her determination into sustained actions. To put her money where her mouth was.

T, I said, are you pregnant? And do you know what will happen if you do get pregnant?

T assured me she was not pregnant, thank goodness! and that she wanted to break-up with her live-in. We started talking about the two main problems of her life: her sexual problem and her financial problem and how they were inexorably linked. She agreed if she wasn't willing to give up her boyfriend who she described as 'draining her' and 'going nowhere in life,' she too would end up going no where even faster, because she would be the one who would end up supporting herself and whatever children would inevitably come if she stayed in a sexual relationship with him. While she said she was afraid of giving him up, even as she admitted she was afraid for her life at times, T actually broke up with him over the next few months. It wasn't easy, but as she began to get free of him, she embraced a life of abstinence for the first time in a very long time.

T began to see how this thing call abstinence freed up her energy to confront her other looming financial problems. She began to experience first-hand that she was still a somebody even though she wasn't sleeping with her boyfriend anymore. As she focused on paying off her bills, she began working two jobs and slowly paying down her balances. It took a few months of total focus and dedication to do this, but as she did, T became encouraged by how well she felt about herself and her new-found financial responsibility. Though I wouldn't step in to bail this young woman out---and she did ask--I did throw in a little money in the end. She later thanked me for not bailing her out quickly so she could struggle with the consequences of her various choices.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tale of Three Outfits At the Grammys: The Best, The Statuesque and Undead Worst


WHERE HAS THIS DAY GONE? Promised myself I'd be back at the computer much sooner but the day ran away with me. Anyway, I'm back and fading fast into dreamland. Still, I've looked at a few of last night's Grammys fashions and want to post several pics with comments. Honestly I didn't see much of anything I liked. In fact from Beyonce to Slave-driver Mary Blige, I was left cold and uninspired with the exception of three outfits below which I'll briefly comment on:

HANDS-DOWN BEST DRESS of the Night: Lea-Michele shows off a drop-dead peacock blue feather and silk kicky-pooh dress. She's brings in all the all the right stuff to go with it---beautiful hair, great gams, skin and shoes to make her the cutest female of the show. The best part is this dress is kicky pooh fun to wear. Adorable! Now go out and tango in it! Letsomeof those feathers fly ever whicha way!
Compared to Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift looks like the Queen of England. But an icy queen. She's beautifully coiffed and handsomely put together. I like the dress, almost love it but don't as well as I'd like to and don't quite know why. Still in a large field of duds, Taylor comes off a nice second to Lea, above.

When I see someone like Brittany arrive in a get up like this for a fairly formal occasion, I go swiftly into my Words Fail Me mode. Because when you haven't anything nice to say, isn't it better not to? Still, I'll just whisper a few parting shots under my breath: Under-dressed, over-exposed, unappealing, underwhelming, immodest, ill-begotten and highly distasteful. Next time, my dear, how bout looking like a lady rather than a trollop? Or like you're on the way to the beach? At least try. Is that too much to ask?