If you want to catch up on what is happening in Greece, what led to the financial debacle, and what some possible implications are, this is a pretty good piece. It is long, but then the situation is not all that straight-forward either.
One fascinating point that I often try to make about bailouts is that it is usually the lenders, not the borrowers, who are bailed out from bail-outs.
This last part is the original sin of Europe's bailouts. See, back in 2010, policymakers were petrified that the euro zone was like a line of dominoes just waiting to get knocked over by the weakest link. If Greece defaulted on its debt, the French and German banks that had lent it money might go bust, and the banks that had lent them money might, too, and, well, you get the idea.
This chart from the BBC shows who owns how much of Greece's debt.
No wonder Germans are concerned about the size of their loans to Greece and about Greece's inability to even meet the interest payments on those loans.
Repaying the loans is not the issue. So long as a borrower can obtain new financing, the loans can be rolled over in perpetuity.
But when lenders begin to suspect/fear the borrower cannot or will not be able to obtain new financing to re-fund the debt, when borrowers reach a point at which they can no longer service the debt (i.e. meet the interest payments on the debt), default is inevitable.
Now let's see if, like some major financial institutions in 2007, Greece is too big to fail. Will Greece be treated like Bear Sterns or like Lehman Brothers? My guess is Lehman Brothers. The major lenders fear that if they bail out Greece, that will create incentives for Portugal, Italy, and Spain also to resist austerity programmes.
The rosiest possible scenario is one that I tried out on Facebook last evening:
Prime Minister Tsipras will use the "No" vote as a bargaining tool. Greece will end up re-negotiating a deal that is nominally less austere but not much less. Tsipras will hail it as a new beginning for Greece, and Greek voters will hail him as a new hero. Meanwhile creditors will get most of what they offered last week.
The trouble with this scenario is that Tsipras and his gubmnt are basically and fundamentally redistributionist interventionist socialists. They will not cut pensions; they will not reform labour legislation; they will not implement supply-side reforms that will permit and encourage economic growth. And in the end, they will renege on their financial commitments.
And possibly seeing this problems, the lenders will not strike a deal with them.
I quite immodestly assert that I make some of the best burgers in the universe (see this, this, and my burger recipe is here); nevertheless, I'm willing to consider this advice. Two points from the article:
Keep It Shapely
As Berthold shaped the patties, he pressed his thumb into the center of each one, creating a divot in the beef. Since the patties constrict withheat, these divots prevent the meat from puffing upinto tennis balls. ...
Keeping the meat cool until you’re ready to cook it and salting it just before it hits the pan is also important, as this is key to retaining moisture. Berthold sprinkled a lot of kosher saltover his patties. “It should look like a light dusting of snow on your car window–just enough so that you can’t see through it,” he said.
This was perhaps the biggest take away: Season your patties and then season them again. (Then don’t forget the divot.)
I cannot imagine putting that much salt on my burgers. However, I like the ideas of:
Also, we've learned to make them a tad smaller than the 8-ouncers we used to love.
A Facebook friend recently posted a link to an article touting turmeric as a miracle drug. Fortunately my friend Jack is a scholar as well as a retired physician, and he sent me this link, which addresses the claims:
Conclusion... As with so many supplements, the hype has gone way beyond the actual evidence. There are some promising hints that it may be useful, but there are plenty of promising hints that lots of other things “may” be useful too. Since I have no rational basis for choosing one over another, I see no reason to jump on the turmeric bandwagon. On the other hand, I see no compelling reason to advise people not to use it, as long as they understand the state of the evidence well enough to provide informed consent and know that they are essentially guinea pigs in an uncontrolled experiment that makes no attempt to collect data. I will keep an open mind and stay tuned for further evidence in the form of well-designed clinical studies in humans.
My take: very little downside risk (if you like the flavour, or at least don't mind it) and some possible upside benefits.
Also see this from Wikipaedia:
Curcumin ... is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family.
A survey of the literature shows a number of potential effects under study and that daily consumption over a 3-month period of up to 12 grams were safe. However, several studies of curcumin [EE: the active ingredient in turmeric] efficacy and safety revealed poor absorption and low bioavailability.
As of June 2015, there were 116 clinical trials evaluating the possible anti-disease effect of curcumin in humans, as registered with the US National Institutes of Health, including studies on cancer, gastrointestinal diseases and cognitive disorders.
Preliminary research has found that curcuminoid binds to amyloid proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease. Because curcumin increases fluorescent activity after it binds to amyloid protein, curcumin is being studied as a possible identifier. Tests have detected amyloid proteins in human eyes, offering the possibility that simple eye exams could provide early detection of the disease.
Also, it is likely that if there are health benefits from consuming turmeric, they are more likely present in pure turmeric, not curry powders. See this. Excerpts from the abstract:
Curcumin, derived from the rhizome curcuma longa, is one of the primary ingredients in turmeric and curry powders that are used as spices in Middle Eastern and Asian countries, especially on the Indian subcontinent. More recently, laboratory studies have demonstrated that dietary curcumin exhibits various biological activities and significantly inhibits colon tumorigenesis and tumor size in animals. Curcumin displays both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, giving it the potential to be considered in the development of cancer preventive strategies and applications in clinical research. Experimental studies have shown the biological activities of the compound, but much more information on pharmacokinetics, bioavailability, and food content are needed. ... Pure turmeric powder had the highest curcumin concentration, averaging 3.14% by weight. The curry powder samples, with one exception, had relatively small amounts of curcumin present, and the variability in content was great. ... [emphasis added]
And, finally, Andrew Weil's advice concerning Turmeric and curcumin, posted four years ago.
Other studies of turmeric and curcumin have shown the following benefits:
- Turmeric extract worked as well as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee in a study published in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
- Laboratory studies suggest that curcumin acts as a weak phytoestrogen and seems to have cancer protective effects.
- Lab studies have also shown that curcumin induces programmed death of colon cancer cells, and clinical trials are investigating the use of curcumin in treatment of colon cancer.
- Curcumin suppresses microinflammation in the GI tract associated with inflammatory bowel disease.
I frequently recommend turmeric supplements, and I believe whole turmeric is more effective than isolated curcumin for inflammatory disorders, including arthritis, tendonitis, and autoimmune conditions. Take 400 to 600 milligrams of turmeric extracts (available in tablets or capsules) three times per day or as directed on the product label. Look for products standardized for 95% curcuminoids. Neither curcumin nor turmeric taken orally is well absorbed unless taken with black pepper or piperine, a constituent of black pepper responsible for its pungency. When shopping for supplements, make sure that the one you choose contains black pepper extract or piperine. (If you're cooking with turmeric, be sure to add some black pepper to the food.). Be patient when taking turmeric supplements: the full benefits may not be apparent for eight weeks.
In social media I had seen this photo of a German who refused to give a Nazi salute, but I had never bothered to read the background story.
After his engagement to a Jewish woman was discovered, Landmesser was expelled from the Nazi Party.
Landmesser and Eckler decided to file a marriage application in Hamburg, but the union was denied under the newly enacted Nuremberg Laws.
The couple welcomed their first daughter, Ingrid, in October 1935.
And then on June 13, 1936, Landmesser gave a crossed-arm stance during Hitler's christening of a new German navy vessel. ...
In 1937, fed up, Landmesser attempted to flee Nazi Germany to Denmark with his family. But he was detained at the border and charged with "dishonoring the race," or "racial infamy," under the Nuremberg Laws.
A year later, Landmesser was acquitted for a lack of evidence and was instructed to not have a relationship with Eckler.
Refusing to abandon the mother of his child, Landmesser ignored Nazi wishes and was arrested again in 1938 and sentenced to nearly three years in a concentration camp.
He would never see the woman he loved or his child again.
The secret state police also arrested Eckler, who was several months pregnant with the couple's second daughter. She gave birth to Irene in prison and was sent to an all-women's concentration camp soon after her delivery.
Eckler is believed to have been transferred to what the Nazi's called a "euthanasia center" in 1942, where she died with 14,000 others.
For more on August Landmesser, check out the Wikipaedia page on him. What a tragic, disgusting, amazing story.
Bankruptcy doesn't "Loom" as The Washington Post alleges. It isn't just "a real possibility". It has happened, and it happened some time ago.
The negotiations for the past several months, or years really, have been about how to handle the bankruptcy.
Greece has been unable to pay its debts for years, and so they did what happens in many bankruptcies -- they negotiated a repayment scheme that would allow the creditors to receive some fraction of what is owed them.
This is the same thing that happens with many bankrupt firms that have some promise for "reorganizing" and "restructuring" their debt. This is what happens if the firms have some promise for the future. Otherwise they go into liquidation.
I don't see liquidation as a viable option for Greece ;-) , but something akin to it might well happen as the major powers vie to see who can win and buy favour with the Greek voters.
More importantly, people both inside and outside Greece must accept the fact that Greece is bankrupt and has been for a long time. They are merely arguing about what to do for the future.
The outcome will determine not whether, but how the residents of Greece will have to deal with austerity. They cannot continue to live beyond their means.
Look for Greece to repudiate its debt and go off the Euro. That might not happen, but it seems the most likely possible outcome. Look for the Greek gubmnt to print more drachmas, then, to finance itself as lenders shy away from buying Greek debt.
And if it doesn't get pensions, tax evasion, and other fiscal problems solved domestically, Greece's printing of more and more drachmas will create ever-increasing inflation.
What is even more worrying for me, though, is that if the inflationary scenario unfolds, the gubmnt in Greece could then impose price controls, leading to Soviet-Union-Venezuelan-type shortages, massive queuing, and even more social unrest.
Whether through austerity required by the creditors through restructured loans, or through an inflation and devaluation implicit tax, Greece's residents will have to tighten their belts.
When I was in gradskool, I tutored football players in economics to earn some extra cash from the athletic department. The two that I remember taught me a great deal about teaching, learning, and the goals of education.
1. A young quarterback
The first player I tutored was the team's backup quarterback who was destined to be the starter in the next year or two. He was clearly a bright young man, and he went on to great things later in life. And yet he was struggling with economics.
I invited him to our apartment, where we met for hours. I laid out the essence of introductory macroeconomics for him. I wrote out clear, lucid notes for him to work from. I knew it was a superb set of notes, and he seemed to follow everything I wrote for him.
He failed anyway.
2. The struggling middle linebacker
The next tutee I dealt with completely differently. He was the star "monster-man," and the educational advisor/coach for the athletic department said to me, "John, we have a big investment in this man. If you get him to pass the course, we'll give you a bonus."
I took that as an implied invitation to get the exams in advance and give the player the answers. Of course I didn't do that.
Instead, I met with the player once a week. I dragged him through the multiple-choice questions in the study guide for the textbook. For each question, I got him to explain why the correct choice was correct and why the incorrect choices were incorrect. He did the work between sessions, and so the sessions were productive.
He got a "C" in the course and I received, in addition to my hourly pay, a $40 bonus (the equivalent of about $400 today).
I generalized from these experiences. On the basis of just these two examples, I concluded that learning-by-doing was more important than lecture-chalkboard education (despite loving to present and pontificate and have a captive audience for my "performances").
In the case of standard, university-level introductory economics, the learning that was being tested was the ability to take economics multiple-choice exams. And the way to prepare for them was to do, study, and explain lots of economics multiple-choice questions.
I told this story to my students nearly every year that I taught introductory economics, encouraging them to use the study guides that were published along with the textbooks. Some did, but many didn't bother because the study guide took a lot of time to work through and wasn't required work for the course.
Another thing I learned from this experience was that there are so many different levels of knowledge, ability, and understanding that are tested with multiple-choice questions. I tried to make sure that my exams had a reasonable mix of questions, testing the different components of economics knowledge and understanding. [some of my old exams are here, for your perusal.] I refused to give exams comprising only barf-back questions.
About a decade ago, major publishers began marketing online study guides or quiz programmes. These textbook supplements allowed instructors to incorporate doing something like the study guides of old into the required coursework. Keeping in mind my experience with the two tutees, and because I had done some other work to help develop online learning tools, I embraced the new products, making sure they had a heavy learning component (in addition to just being weekly quizzes) by giving students explanations and by giving students a chance to redo the quizzes (albeit with different questions on the same material) several times. I also made the online quizzes count for 10% of the students' grades.
The result was astounding. In one year, using the same final exam, the average grade improved by five percentage points with the class using the online quizzes (compared with a class the previous year; and no, the final exams had not been allowed out of the exam room the first year and had not been circulated).
The conclusion, of course, is that people respond to incentives. But the incentives must be clear and short-term. Just telling the students my stories of the tutees, had far less impact than making the online quizzes count.
And given this conclusion, it has become clear as well that the online quizzes need to be more clearly based on what we want the students to remember ten or twenty years from now --- opportunity costs, trade-offs, downward-sloping demand curves, gubmnt failure as well as market failure --- and not just definitions and line-pushing. It is hard to write good quizzes and good exam questions that go in this direction. The late Paul Heyne did as a good a job as I have ever seen in The Economic Way of Thinking (which I had the privilege to adapt for the Canadian market). But more needs to be done along these lines.
From Conrad Black, a noted historian (among other things).
However humdrum it may seem at times, this system has served us well and there have been fewer than 100 deaths in that time from political disputes, an astonishingly peaceable history. No countries with a population the size of Canada’s have more durable political institutions except the United Kingdom and the United States. In my lifetime, and although I was born in the last year of the Second World War I am not ancient, France has had five different systems including foreign military occupation and a government in exile that regained the country with the allied armies. Germany has had four systems, moving vertiginously upwards in quality of government from the Third Reich.
Most people remember the Soviet Union and many remember pre-Communist China, colonial India, the Palestine Mandate, the Iron Curtain satellites and Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Tito’s Yugoslavia, Peron’s Argentina, the Shah of Iran, Sukarno’s Indonesia and the era when most of the world’s present countries were part of European empires. These recollections take us less than half-way backwards into the history of Confederation, which began when the leaders of the British and American governments were the Earl of Derby and President Andrew Johnson, Napoleon III was the French emperor, Germany and Italy had not been united as countries and Japan was a pre-Meiji hermit kingdom. ...
With regret I respond, briefly, to the urgings of many readers who have asked me to return to the vexed subject of the treatment of the native peoples. In general, that treatment has been shabby, though increasingly well-intentioned and well-funded. There is much to apologize for and I believe in the value of confession, repentance and trying to make amends. But conditions are aggravated and not ameliorated by exaggeration and by putting on the airs, on behalf of Canada, of a criminal nationality that has been guilty of crimes against humanity. ...
Canada is fundamentally a comparatively liberal state and almost always has been, since it became a chiefly European and especially English country. Let no faults be hidden or unrepented, and there were many, but anyone who implicitly assimilates Canada’s leadership as an autonomous jurisdiction to the world’s genocidists and champions of slavery traduces and defames this country and all of its occupants, including the native people. No great weight attaches to the frothings of Bernie Farber, especially on Confederation Day, but the chief justice should fire her speech writer and be more judicious.
Based on articles like this, I predict Greece will default and will go off or be forced off the Euro.
When that happens, their new/(old?) currency will depreciate dramatically in comparison with the terms of trade they had under the Euro.
The Gubmnt will not be able to borrow except at very high interest rates, especially not until lenders have a better idea of what the current and future exchange rates will be. Forward markets will be fun, to say the very least.
Local businesses will actually (eventually) find that borrowing becomes slightly less costly because the international currency markets will allow better predictions (and hedging about) future currency movements.
Consumers in Greece will be nailed as imports become considerably more expensive.
Exporters will at first experience unsettled conditions as they and others try to figure out where the currency will move and how fast, but eventually exporters will benefit from the de facto devaluation of the Greek currency.
Other big gainers: tourists who visit Greece (my guess is that the devaluation will continue over the next year, so wait to book your holidays).
Other gainers: scammers and con artists preying on the econ-ignorant and naive tourists.
There will be considerable turmoil for several months, but eventually Greece will be forced to deal with its fiscal problems by itself as the EU, ECB, and IMF no longer bail them out. If they didn't want austerity under the Euro, they'll have it in spades after leaving the Euro. Meanwhile, they'll have to deal with their tax-evasion, pension, and cronyism problems internally.
At the same time, the Greek gubmnt will likely be forced to print more money and will monetize their debt, leading to even more inflation than they would otherwise experience. And given the left-leaning gubmnt in power, there is a strong likelihood of price controls, more currency controls, etc., a la Venezuela.
Greece will be tempted to have closer ties with Putin's Russia and possibly Iran. And threats of this realignment might lead the US to support some sort of propping up of Greece's economy.
My friend, co-author, and colleague, Jason Childs wrote this in a comment/reply on Facebook. I'm stealing it exercising copyright exemptions to reproduce it here:
Greece has been running massive deficits to pay for program spending in excess of their tax take. Their borrowing costs were really, really low after joining the Euro as everybody figured Germany had their back. The Greek economy has seen really low growth due to rigid labour markets, tonnes of regulation, cronyism, and outright corruption. Result - Greece is broke. The deal on offer right now involves (among other things) reductions in pension spending and reforms to the labour market regulations and privatization of poorly government run businesses - intended to make it more likely that the Greek government will be able to make future payments. The leftwing government of Greece has said it will close the budget gap by increasing corporate taxes instead (not great for job creation) and basically told the IMF, ECB, and EU to shut up and give them more money. Merkel (Germany) didn't take kindly to that (the Germans are getting grumpy with sending their tax dollars to Greece). Now the Greek PM has closed banks and stock markets to prevent everyone from trying to take all their savings out in Euro cash and destroying the banks. They vote on the conditions of the last offer from the trioka this weekend I believe. Looks likely that they will reject the deal. If that happens, Greece will default on many of its loans (particularly to the IMF) be unable to make pension payments in Euros (the Greek government basically doesn't have any), and will probably get kicked out (or leave just before getting kicked out) of the Euro.
If they accept the package, there will be lots of spending cuts which will hurt local demand in the short run,but will likely help in the long run. The hard work that they've refused to do so far (reining in corruption and cronyism) will still have to be done and will cause a lot of chaos and upset relatively rich people (who got rich by being cronies - including many government employees).
There's no easy way out for Greece as they refused to do the hard work done by Ireland and others early on in this mess. Yes, they've done some of spending cuts (austerity) but none of the real reforms that are likely to make things better because that would hurt vested interests. But you can't spend money you don't have forever without your creditors getting pissed off.
In short --- they're screwed.
From Buzzfeed, via Jack:
The secret is in the stem. More specifically, the color of the stem. If you peel away the nub covering the end of the avocado, the tone of the circle of skin beneath will tell you everything you need to know.
A green circle indicates that the avocado is underripe. If it’s dark brown, it’s overripe.
The color to look for is a yellowish tone, which will indicate that your avocado has reached ideal ripeness.
I don't much like having to sit through videos, but the picture at the end of this video might be helpful, showing the colours.
When people are bad credit risks,
So why have investment banks, hedge funds, etc. been willing to lend money to Greece and Puerto Rico (and California and Illinois, for that matter)? These entities have nothing to pledge as collateral for the loans, and so it must be related to co-signers or some expectation of a bailout (which is, de facto, what having a co-signer for a loan provides).
During the various Latin American debt crises of the early 1980s, I asked Grant Reuber, then COO of the Bank of Montreal (and former Dean of Social Sciences and Academic VP at UWO), about BoM's apparently perilous exposure to that debt. His response then was, "All they have to do is service the debt." What he meant was that so long as the countries could make the interest payments on the debt, the Bank of Montreal and many others were perfectly happy to keep re-funding the debt.
The big debt crises arise when major lenders become concerned about whether
Three or four years ago, I'd have been willing to consider taking a flyer on some short-term Greek debt. I figured something would work out for repayment of the Greek gubmnt debt. I might have done ok if I had -- then. During the last year or two, I wouldn't have paid more than ten cents on the dollar (so to speak) for Greek bonds.
Nevertheless, during the past year, why have people been buying the Greek (and other) debt? In general it must be because they expect someone to bail them out, whether it be the IMF, the ECB, or the US gubmnt. In other words, buyers of the debt of these debt-ridden political entities are speculating that somehow those entities will be bailed out.
And so, in the end, who is being bailed out? In far too many instances it is the lenders, not the borrowers, who are being bailed out. It is the owners of the bonds who get bailed out if some other entities pony up the money to repay the debt. The present situation is not unlike the farm "crisis" of last decade in which farmers were ostensibly being bailed out, but it was really their creditors who were the beneficiaries of the bail-outs (at least in large measure, usually [There -- did I hedge that assertion enough?]).
In the case of Greece, that isn't likely to happen. They have already made it clear that lenders must provide concessions (i.e. seek less than full repayment of their loans). Similar noises are being made by Puerto Rico. When a borrow seeks "concessions", they are in fact negotiating what to do about impending bankruptcy.
At this point, Puerto Rico (and California and Illinois) can probably count on US gubmnt aid, which means that buyers of their debt can probably count on being bailed out. But one wonders how long this situation can persist.
After Colorado legalized possession, sale, etc. of marijuana, it was clear that both the supply curve and the demand curve would shift to the right.
But which would shift farther? Would the influx of visitors, coupled with increased purchases by domestic buyers lead to such a massive increase in demand that prices would rise? Or would the relatively easy production lead to a large increase in supply, causing the price to drop?
It turns out supply increased more than demand, despite "marijuana tourism" (see this).
[P]rices are declining faster than some had expected, while the number of people visiting the stores has increased. ...
Since last June, the average price of an 1/8th ounce of recreational cannabis has dropped from $50-$70 to $30-$45 currently; an ounce now sells for between $250 and $300 on average compared to $300-$400 last year. [emphasis in the original] More competition and expansion of grow facilities contributed to this price decline ...
According to the note, sales increased by 98 percent year-over-year in April....
Meanwhile, the popularity of legal weed has sparked a fast-growing industry that ... compares to Silicon Valley.
In honour of today's twin announcements of likely financial defaults by Greece and Puerto Rico, Ms Eclectic and I have decided to get take-out gyros from a food truck.
Brilliant advice from Margaret Wente:
“Do what you love,” we urge our children, as if there’s a dream job out there just for them. But “do what you love” is probably the worst career advice in the world. It implants the notion that doing what you love can produce a sustainable livelihood – which isn’t always the case, alas. It also sends the message that if you don’t wind up doing what you love, then you’re a flop. That’s how you get freelance writers who are still living in a basement apartment at age 35 and wondering why things haven’t worked out the way they were supposed to.
Sometimes you have to compromise in life, but we don’t want to break this crushing news to our children. Personally, I’ve met far too many young adults who graduate from university with plans to work in development/save the world/find a career in environmental sustainability. There’s nothing wrong with these noble aspirations. What’s amazing is that no adults have ever levelled with them.
Reality will bite soon enough, of course. The idea that your job should be your passion is a misguided romantic notion that only the upper-middle-class can afford to entertain. In fact, most people wind up in areas that nobody ever talks about. “Insurance is a very interesting field,” Mr. Laurie assured me. “But no one says ‘I want to go into insurance.’ ” ...
I’m afraid they could be in for a hard landing.
It sounds curmudgeonly to say things like this. But when you read some of the stories in Wente's article and when you know so many people who have experienced these things in person (as many of us do when we work with younger people), it seems important that this advice be given now and then.
Some of us have been lucky. I love economics and I love teaching, so I got to do what I love. I have a number of friends who love computer work and gaming who have found lucrative employment doing those things.
At the same time, I have loads of other friends who haven't been so lucky and who seem uneagre to face their own reality. Sometimes the things people love just don't pay very well, if at all.
For some reason, I'm reminded of the t-shirt that people on rec.theatre used to laugh about back in the old days of usenet:
So, you're an actor!
Yes, the clocks are going to be reset Tuesday night to realign our clocks with sun time. This reset, which occurs now and then, according to this article, is called a "leap second".
But will the clocks be set ahead by one second? or will they be set back by one second?
The CBC headline reads,
Leap seconds: Why our clocks are being set ever-so-slightly ahead
But the subheadline and the article imply the clocks will be set back by one second:
Leap second being added around the world on June 30
and from the article,
Just before midnight Greenwich mean time on June 30, official timekeeping bodies around the world will add a single second — the so-called leap second — to the clock.
While the time-shift seems too infinitesimal to matter to the average person, there are very good reasons for it.
A leap second is an extra second that is added to an agreed-upon day every few years in order to keep Co-ordinated Universal Time (or UTC, the modern replacement for Greenwich mean time), the world standard for regulating clocks, in sync with Mean Solar Time, which marks the passage of time based on the sun's position in the sky.
It means that the last minute UTC of June 30 will actually be 61 seconds long.
Wouldn't setting the clock ahead subtract a second from our time? And wouldn't adding a second require that the clocks be set back, not forward, by one second?
My take on this is that to get 61 seconds into that minute, when the clock hits midnight, it will have to be set back one second so that it will strike midnight again one second later.
I confess to having some confusion, and the aphorism, "spring forward, fall back" doesn't help here.
CBC: our tax dollars at work. The other media seem to understand this (see links below).
Update: CBC has changed the headline to read "back" now.
Yes, I am scheduled to have another colonoscopy. Here's the help I need:
What should I write on my butt cheeks as a message for the physician?
One grand has suggested "Kiss this". Another possibility might be "Will you respect me in the morning?" But likely neither of these will do. Both are too long.
Please keep in mind that I will probably have to write this myself (Ms Eclectic has made it very clear that she will not help), so it will have to be short, and it will have to be easy to write sideways using a mirror.
Maybe I'll put a message on a post-it and tape it on my butt cheek. How about "Open Here"? or "Lift Tab to Open"?
And, no, I will not be posting photos.
Maybe I'll take a voice recorder with me to protect myself from this.
I love this statement, quoted in part by Steve Horwitz on Facebook with his introductory sentence:
Hey other traditionalist religious groups, this is how you do it in a pluralist liberal democracy (it's also why I'd never be an Orthodox Jew, but...):
"“In response to the decisions announced today by the United States Supreme Court with reference to the issue of legal recognition of same sex marriage, we reiterate the historical position of the Jewish faith, enunciated unequivocally in our Bible, Talmud and Codes, which forbids homosexual relationships and condemns the institutionalization of such relationships as marriages. Our religion is emphatic in defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. Our beliefs in this regard are unalterable. At the same time, we note that Judaism teaches respect for others and we condemn discrimination against individuals.
We are grateful that we live in a democratic society, in which all religions are free to express their opinions about social issues and to advocate vigorously for those opinions. The reason we opt to express our viewpoint in a public forum is because we believe that our Divine system of law not only dictates our beliefs and behaviors, but also represents a system of universal morality, and therefore can stake a claim in the national discourse. That morality, expressed in what has broadly been labeled Judeo-Christian ethics, has long had a place in American law and jurisprudence.
We also recognize that no religion has the right to dictate its beliefs to the entire body politic and we do not expect that secular law will always align with our viewpoint. Ultimately, decisions on social policy remain with the democratic process, and today the process has spoken and we accord the process and its result the utmost respect." [EE: emphasis added]
Now let's hope the processes they have given so much respect to give that respect back and allow them to have, in their words "appropriate accommodations and exemptions for institutions and individuals who abide by religious teachings that limit their ability to support same-sex relationships."
I do have some difficulties with the last paragraph, however. If a religious organization had discrimination against blacks or Jews as one of its tenets, on the one hand I would argue the state should dominate; on the other I would favour freedom of association. And that leaves me in a state of limbo. I expect the same might well be true in the case of religions that discriminate against LGBTs, or religious orders that admit only one sex into membership, etc.
Apparently the US will no longer prosecute families who negotiate with hostage takers to retrieve a hostage. [see this]
I have given my family instructions that they should keep their money and not negotiate with any hostage-taker-kidnappers. I'm old; I've had a good life; and I'd rather they have the money to enjoy the rest of their lives. In fact, if I were a hostage, I'd be obnoxious, maybe try to escape, and even seriously consider suicide to keep my family from paying a ransom.
I detest the practice of rewarding hostage-taker-kidnappers. After all, people respond to incentives. Paying a ransom creates an incentive for people to kidnap.
I understand why families pay ransoms. If it were a family member of mine, I would do whatever I could to retrieve them. And since kidnapper/terrorists know families will feel this way, they don't hesitate to kidnap people.
I had a friend who worked in Afghanistan a decade ago for an aid agency. The entire time he was there, he was accompanied by armed guards. When I asked him about it, he emphasized that the major threat to him and to his co-workers was not that the Taliban would kill them; rather, it was that terrorists would kidnap them and hold them for ransom.
If kidnapper/terrorists believe families will not pay off (either because they are poor or because they fear gubmnt prosecution if they do), they will be less likely to kidnap someone. This announcement of a change in US policy makes it slightly (?) more likely, in some probabilistic sense, that the relatives of hostages will pay off the kidnappers, which is why this de facto policy was not made public for so long.
So here's a strategy: If hostage-taker-kidnappers are less likely to kidnap (take hostages) for whom ransoms are less likely to be paid [go ahead behead me. I'll laugh at you!], then if I announce that my family have all agreed that we're not paying ransoms for each other, we'll be less likely to be kidnapped.
If you were a hostage-taker-kidnapper, would you think "I won't pay" is a credible threat? Probably not. But there's a chance it is a credible, and so you might go after someone else.
And I expect this is what underlay the former US policy.