I am revolted by it. [ht MA] Further, the denunciations are pathetically weak. I really hesitate to cite about it or quote about it, but here goes:
A Romanian public broadcaster distanced itself from a Christmas carol celebrating the Holocaust that aired on the new channel.
TVR3 Verde, a television channel for rural communities, presented the carol on December 5 during its maiden transmission.
Sung by the Dor Transilvan ensemble, it featured the lyrics: “The kikes, damn kikes, Holy God would not leave the kike alive, neither in heaven nor on earth, only in the chimney as smoke, this is what the kike is good for, to make kike smoke through the chimney on the street.”
That anyone believes any of these things, that anyone would think it remotely acceptable to write songs like this, that anyone would think it remotely acceptable to air such a song is truly despicable.
On Iran Deal, U.S. Lawmakers on Both Sides Question Administration - Anne Gearan (via the Daily Agenda)
More than two weeks after a landmark deal with Iran, House Republicans and Democrats called the Obama administration's approach to nuclear negotiations naive and signaled that they will slap more sanctions on the country. On Tuesday a bipartisan lineup of House lawmakers challenged Secretary of State John Kerry's assertion that punitive new trade measures would undermine fragile diplomacy with Iran's government.
The chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), said Tuesday that he would hold off "for now" on advancing a bill to impose new sanctions on Iran, giving the White House some elbow room. Many in Congress believe that applying further pressure on the Iranian government is the only way to ensure Iran never develops nuclear weapons.
Kerry got no public support for the argument that the interim deal, or a potential final one, makes Israel and the world safer. He allowed that his dealings with Iranian officials leave doubts about whether they are willing to make the difficult concessions that a final deal would require. (Washington Post)
No foolin'. What took 'em so long??
I grew up in Muskegon, Michigan. The beaches along the coast of western Michigan have nearly always been phenomenal -- clean (most of the time), fine sand, and not very crowded even on the hottest days. Only rarely in my travels have I encountered so many long stretches of clean, wonderful beaches as there are all along Michigan's west coast.
Swimming at the lake, running and jumping in the sand and dunes, picnicking, hiking, everything. We always loved it.
And this year, The Lonely Planet has named Michigan's West Coast as its #1 tourist destination (why Grand Rapids is included is beyond me. It's inland quite a ways and not all that special).
This designation probably could not have happened 60 years ago. Many of the cities along the west coast were factory towns with loads of pollution and weird smells. But the slow demise of Michigans' auto industry, along with continued efforts to clean up the environment, has meant that getting to the wonderful beaches, rivers, and lakes along the coast is no longer such an unpleasant trip.
I read a LOT. But most of what I read is news, opinion, essays, blogs, etc., all on the internet. I must spend at least a couple of hours each day reading things I come across or that have been sent to me by Jack, John, or Jonathan. I also spend quite a bit of time reading economics articles and blogs. And, I confess, I spend a fair amount of time on Facebook (that counts as reading, doesn't it?)
Other than the internet, I read a few ebooks now and then. Fiction. Generally spy or mystery novels. Maybe 20-30/year.
I don't like "great literature". I try to read it and find it boring. Maybe it's "great writing" or "great literature", but it puts me to sleep.
So here's my plan: I'm going to start trying to read the Wikipaedia summaries of the great literature that I cannot bring myself to read. Maybe this would be a good start: a list of short famous novels or novellas [ht Patsy]. Maybe I'll even finish a couple of the Wikipaedia entries.
So on the weekend I read the Wikipaedia entry for Camus' The Stranger. I actually read that book over 50 years ago, but I must say I had no idea then what that book was about. But back then, I wouldn't have understood the Coles Notes version either.
It looks as if this is plan might be okay.
Update: MA sent me this link to lists of books that I might consider working my way through.
I haven't read any of these, which probably accounts for my cheerful disposition most of the time. Follow this link for the explanations [ht MA]. Here's the list:
- 5. The Red Pony by John Steinbeck
- 4. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
- 3. Monster by Walter Dean Myers
- 2. His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
- 1. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
I was surprised the bizarre stuff by Maurice Sendak wasn't on the list.
[The link was omitted initially :-( ]
When books are newly published (almost always in hardcover editions), the sticker prices are quite high. Some retailers, such as Walmart, Costco, Chapters, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon discount these titles heavily, sometimes as much as 30-40%. They do this not because they love consumers, and not because they love book readers, but because they expect doing so will increase their overall profits.
In the process, these deep discounts mean that smaller bookstores with smaller volume and higher per-unit costs find it difficult to compete. Slowly the smaller bookstores that specialized in customer browsing and knowledgeable staff are being competed out of business.
Some people find this form of creative destruction sad. Others see it as a spur to innovation and new forms of growth. But simply put, the smaller bookstores are being out-competed because they are inefficient compared with the large firms that offer mega discounts. In part they are being out-competed because they offer a service (browsing and knowledge -- see this) for which they cannot effectively charge a price. But in part they just do not have the sales volume required to cover such discounting.
The gubmnt of Quebec is trying to forestall the tide of competition by prohibiting deep discounts on newly published books.
Specifically, retailers — online, digital and traditional — would not be allowed to offer discounts to Quebecers greater than 10 per cent on new books for the first nine months of their release.
Their goal is to protect the less efficient smaller bookstores. The effect, however, is to reduce the quantity demanded of new books in Quebec bookstores, large or small.
Unless Quebec can somehow interfere with the mails, people in Quebec can and will order new books from elsewhere. Also, sales of ebooks cannot easily be limited or controlled. And, of course, many people will wait out the 9-month period of the price controls and buy the book for a lower price later.
How big might these substitution effects be?
I'm expecting that sales of new books in Quebec will fall by roughly 20% during the first year after this law is imposed. Most of that drop in sales will occur at the big-box stores, of course, but I really doubt that smaller bookstores will have a noticeable increase in their own sales. Rather than leave the big-box or online retailers for the smaller, protected, stores, people will either buy the books at the big-box stores anyway, shop online, or defer their purchases.
The result will be that fewer new books will be sold in Quebec, especially to price-conscious consumers/readers. This sounds like a law designed to protect inefficient businesses, but it will not help them much, if at all, and meanwhile it will hurt consumers.
Now, let me tell you something which really, truly happened to a friend of a friend, last Christmas. Her friend is a busy advertising executive and ran out of time to buy presents for family and close friends. So instead she decided to enclose some rather generous cheques with her Christmas cards, scribbling the message: "Have a lovely Christmas but, if you don't mind, buy your own present this year!"
A little impersonal, but actually fairly practical, she thought. Except that a week or so into January, having not received the customary thank-yous from her relatives and friends, she found all the cheques in a drawer. In the rush, she had neglected to enclose them.
I really chuckle at the thought of receiving one of those cards.... so viciously insulting and so mortifying for the sender.
The older, long-time contending men's curling rinks in Canada have been eliminated from the play-down to determine who will represent Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Out of the running are the rinks skipped by
The final will be between the rinks of Brad Jacobs (last year's Brier champion) and John Morris (who recently joined the Cotter team in BC). Both teams are much younger than the ones listed above.
At the same time, however, the women's final was between long-time champion Jennifer Jones, and perpetual contender Sherry Middaugh. Both have been around a long time, and the young contenders were all eliminated in the play-down.
UWO Economics PhDs currently hold the one-two positions at The Bank of Canada. Steve Poloz is the Governor and Tiff Maclem is the Senior Deputy Governor. Most of us had expected Tiff to be appointed Governor last spring, and so it came as no surprise that when Steve received the appointment, Tiff decided to move on.
The Montreal-born economist, who spent his entire career at the bank and the federal Finance Department, is set to become dean of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. ...Macklem was the prototypical central banker – discrete, reserved, level-headed and quietly competent. His list of contacts spans the globe and reaches deep into most of the governments, central banks and financial institutions that really matter. ...
And over the past two decades, he’s been closely involved in nearly all of the bank’s major undertakings and activities, including the move to an explicit 2-per-cent inflation target in the early 1990s, the bank’s angst about lagging productivity, the push for tighter global banking standards and greater financial stability, and of course, ultra-low interest rates. Mr. Macklem also worked on the bailout of the auto makers and the rescue of the asset-backed commercial paper market.
Tiff's experience, his contacts around the world, and his calm personality mean he will likely be an excellent dean for Toronto.
I may have posted this link before, but it is so important, it must be reposted.
I must say, though, that I vehemently disagree with #21!
And given this household's preferences for scotch, we tend to spell it "whisky".
As many of you know, about a year and a half ago, Ms Eclectic and I went on a version of the Atkins diet. It is a low-carb diet that doesn't worry so much about fat or calories: just cut back on the carbs and eat lots of low-carb veggies.
We have had success with the diet. We both lost weight initially, and we have rarely been hungry. Unfortunately, my hankerings for pizza and desserts have kept me from losing any more weight, but I have found two things of importance:
It turns out that recent research has supported our move in this direction for dieting. As I wrote last month,
Here's the thing that got us onto that diet. We read a report that said the body burns more calories processing fat than it does processing the same caloric content of carbohydrates. And eating loads of fat doesn't increase your blood cholesterol. And, no, Atkins did not die of a heart attack.
And there are other studies that are moving in this direction [ht MA]:
Butter, olive oil, heavy cream, and bacon are not harmful foods. Quite the opposite. Fat is the best thing for those who want to lose weight. And there are no connections between a high fat intake and cardiovascular disease.
On Monday, SBU, the Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment, dropped a bombshell. After a two-year long inquiry, reviewing 16,000 studies, the report “Dietary Treatment for Obesity” upends the conventional dietary guidelines for obese or diabetic people.
For a long time, the health care system has given the public advice to avoid fat, saturated fat in particular, and calories. A low-carb diet (LCHF – Low Carb High Fat, is actually a Swedish “invention”) has been dismissed as harmful, a humbug and as being a fad diet lacking any scientific basis.
Instead, the health care system has urged diabetics to eat a lot of fruit (=sugar) and low-fat products with considerable amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners, the latter a dangerous trigger for the sugar-addicted person.
This report turns the current concepts upside down and advocates a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, as the most effective weapon against obesity.
The expert committee consisted of ten physicians, and several of them were skeptics to low-carbohydrate diets at the beginning of the investigation. (Source.)
A column by a former Canadian ambassador [Michael Bell] in the Globe and Mail (behind a pay wall, unfortunately, but see below) from a few days ago blames Jewish settlers for an attack on a Jewish visitor. The Elder of Ziyon summarizes and quotes the G&M article and then sets the record straight:
The only problem is that Seidemann was attacked by Arabs.
He was visiting a Palestinian friend in an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem, Sur Bahir. He admits having been targeted previously for being a Jew in Arab neighborhoods. Representatives of the Arab community visited him and expressed regret. The Jewish doctors that treated him all pretty much asked what he was doing in a neighborhood where Jews are routinely attacked if they step foot.
There are no Jews there.
As far as I know, outside of "ultra" religious idiots in Mea Shearim who hate people driving in their neighborhood on Shabbat, there have been very few instances of Jews throwing rocks at moving cars.
There are certainly no "established patterns" of Jews throwing rocks at Arab cars (or cars driven by Israeli leftists.)
However, incidents of Arabs throwing rocks at Israeli cars happen virtually daily. This rock throwing has caused serious injuries and deaths.
Jews (and Arabs who look like Jews) who accidentally enter Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem have been almost lynched and subjected to barrages of rocks thrown by dozens of Arabs, egged on by photographers.
One rock throwing was caught on video just yesterday.
Seidemann freely admits it was Arabs who threw the rock that injured him.
But Bell, a former ambassador to Israel apparently is so obtuse, so suffused in his righteous anger to blame "settlers" for everything wrong in the Middle East, that he seemingly only glanced at the news about his "friend" Seidemann and filled in the blanks in his incredibly biased professorial brain.
There is a double bias here shown by the professor. Not only is he willing to exaggerate events to blame Jews, he is willing to ignore Arab violence that happens every day in Jerusalem.
The charitable explanation is that Bell is a complete and utter moron who cannot be trusted to read simple English sentences. The alternative is that he purposely chose to twist Seidemenn's words to blame his favorite bogeyman, the "ultras."
Bell's grasp of basic facts about Israel are no more accurate:Such is the conundrum of Zionism today: The mainstream's goal being the establishment of a Jewish democratic national state; the religious nationalists' being the control of the land as the instrument of redemption, in some cases at whatever cost. The seed of defiance stems largely from the latter's drive to settle the densely Palestinian populated Samarian mountain ridge. Largely these high points but not only the ridge. [sic] Mr. Seideman has been most active respecting the Elad settlers' movement in Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood just outside the Old City's walls, beneath which the earliest foundations of Jewish Jerusalem lie.
This is barely understandable English, further proving that The Globe and Mail's editor was asleep when this came in. Still, anyone who has driven in Judea and Samaria sees that Jewish settlements are generally not near "densely Palestinian populated" areas, the Arabs generally live in valleys while the settlers usually gravitate towards hilltops, and most of the area is quite empty. Well over 95% of Arabs live in Areas A and B where there are few if any Jews.
Also, Silwan was originally a Jewish neighborhood of Yemenite Jews The Jews were driven out, attacked in 1921 and again in 1929.
Who knows who attacked the Yemenites? Maybe Professor Bell can write an article blaming the settlers. I mean, who else could have attacked Jews when Arabs and Jews lived so peacefully together before "occupation" according to morons like Bell? It makes just as much sense as what he wrote here.
The idea that such an ignorant person was an ambassador - a job that requires a tiny bit of knowledge about the host country - is nothing less than astonishing.
I've seen a lot of media bias over the past decade, but this is off the charts.
(h/t Daniel, This Ongoing War)
UPDATE: Yisrael Medad tweeted Seidemann:@ymedad Of course I didn't. I just saw the article now, and immediately notified him of his error.
— Daniel Seidemann (@DanielSeidemann) December 3, 2013@DanielSeidemann It's not "an error" if it's predicated on an entirely bogus hypothesis blaming Jews based on "established patterns"
— ymedad (@ymedad) December 3, 2013
Also, a commenter writes:I actually was a student under Professor Bell when I attended the University of Windsor, and I will attest that it is more out of bias than it is ignorance. As being, quite possibly, the only pro-Israel student in a class that had 25-30% Arabs, he certainly puts a lot of blame of the conflict upon the religious Israelis, but he's fully aware that the Palestinians are not saints either.
I have tried replacing my laptop with an iPad or phablet (and keyboard) and storing files in the cloud. Several times. It seems it should work, but it doesn't for me. Matt Yglesias says most people aren't quite there either.
One problem is that I don't like the iPad software supposed equivalents to my laptop software. E.g., I don't like the "conversation" version of gmail, but that's all that seems available in the gmail app on iPad.
Another problem is that storing and using files from the cloud will take some learning for me.
It will probably happen at some point. Just not yet.
The sitting and presiding mayor of London, Ontario, is under indictment already for other charges.
The CRA [Canada Revenue Agency] said the foundation had strayed from its charitable purpose and had become overly focused on issuing tax receipts. And an audit found $8 million raised for hungry school kids and to fight HIV/AIDS went into the pockets of Joe Fontana and fellow directors of the charity.
For more, see this.
From this site:
In October 2011, she apparently posted this photo to the social networking site Vkonttakte.
But for those who do not understand the subject line, see this.
Update: It looks as if the pressure is mounting for people to study economics with EclectEcon. There are even subliminal messages out there, like this recent graph of the number of visitors to the blog:
The news keeps getting worser and worser:
A couple of weeks back, cancer patient Bill Elliot, in a defiant appearance on Fox News, discussed the cancelation of his insurance and what he intended to do about it. He’s now being audited.
Insurance agent C Steven Tucker, who quaintly insists that the whimsies of the hyper-regulatory bureaucracy do not trump your legal rights, saw the interview and reached out to Mr Elliot to help him. And he’s now being audited.
As the Instapundit likes to remind us, Barack Obama has “joked” publicly about siccing the IRS on his enemies. With all this coincidence about, we should be grateful the President is not (yet) doing prison-rape gags.
Meanwhile, IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, in his testimony to the House Oversight Committee over the agency’s systemic corruption, answers “I don’t recall” no fewer than 80 times. Try giving that answer to Wilkins’ colleagues and see where it gets you.
As you know from this, I was in Regina, Saskatchewan last week and weekend for the Grey Cup, the championship game of CFL (Canadian Football League). I play trumpet in the Roughrider Pep Band and was there in that capacity. Here are some thoughts:
Every year my older son, David Ricardo Palmer, and I line up with the crowds outside Walmart on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas). We rarely, if ever, buy anything*, but we enjoy being with the crowds and experiencing the joys. In the past few years, people have rushed into the store looking for big-screen TVs and other electronic goods. But what will be the big-rush items this year?
*One item I bought last year just reached out to me and was totally irresistible. I laugh every time I see it:
Hanukkah begins at sundown today, and U.S. Thanksgiving begins at midnight tonight.
It is a result of a rare coincidence between the lunisolar Hebrew calendar (whose dates reflect both the moon phase and the time of the solar year, and which can have between 353 and 385 days per year) and the Gregorian calendar. Because the calendars are not calculated the same way, Chanukah appears at a different time each year on the Gregorian calendar.
Thanksgiving Day has fallen during Hanukkah at least twice between 1863 (when Thanksgiving was proclaimed a U.S. federal holiday by President Abraham Lincoln) and 2013: in 1888 Thanksgiving was the first day of Hanukkah, and in 1899 it was the fourth day. Thanksgiving occurred later in those two years than is possible under current U.S. law (as a result of changes between 1939 and 1941); as a result of this confusion, some media reports have mistakenly claimed that Thanksgivukkah has never occurred since Lincoln.
Because the Gregorian and Jewish calendars have slightly different average year lengths, over time they drift out of sync with each other. As a result of this, Thanksgiving Day will not fall entirely within Hanukkah again in the foreseeable future. (One physicist has calculated that, if the Jewish calendar is not revised, Thursday, November 28 will not fall during Chanukah again until the year 79811.)  However, since the Jewish day does not begin at midnight, but on the sunset before it, those celebrating both holidays will light the second candle of Hanukkah 2013 the evening of Thanksgiving Day, the first candle having been lit on Wednesday, November 27; there will continue to be occasional years in which Hanukkah and Thanksgiving partially overlap, with the first night of Hanukkah beginning in the evening of Thanksgiving. For example, 2070 will be one such year, when the first night of Hanukkah will be the evening of Thursday, November 27. 1918 was another such year.
Nearly two years ago I auditioned to be in a documentary series about how the War of 1812 affected Southwestern Ontario between Niagara and Detroit. I was initially offered a role of a 32-year-old, and I immediately wrote to the producers that I was flattered that they thought I could play such a role. They, of course, rescinded that offer and instead offered me the role of Governor Isaac Shelby (of Kentucky), who was a general during that war. The filming for my very minor role was done in August, 2012, and will be on TVO sometime during the winter of 2014. Here is my very brief role, in its entirety, in Episode One.
I recorded this snippet on my smartphone from a disk sent to me in advance of the TVO showing of the series.
In this scene, I am assuring the women of Amherstburg that we Kentuckians will not destroy their homes so long as they do not harbour any of their men folk, whom we would consider to be soldiers for the British. The narrative over the video suggests that I might be playing General Harrison giving these assurances, but that isn't exactly what I was told nor what the credits say (and is especially bizarre since General Harrison is played by a different actor).
Oh well, another gig, another credit.
Coincidentally, Shelby, Michigan, less than an hour north of where I was born and raised, was named for Governor Shelby:
Shelby was originally established as Churchill’s Corners in 1866, named after Walter H. Churchill who was the first postmaster. It was renamed Shelby in 1885 when it was incorporated as a village - after General Isaac Shelby, who along with his famous Kentucky Rangers, took back Detroit from the British in the War of 1812.
It's interesting that in the full narrative of the documentary, Governor Shelby's role in the War of 1812 is not mentioned even once.
And you know what? If I hadn't played this role and done lots of reading about it, I'd have had no idea who Shelby was, what he did, or why that village was named Shelby.