Monday, May 02, 2016

Weeping Icons: trouble ahead?

GetReligion links to a story about an Orthodox church icon weeping, or extruding oil, in Chicago.

Visions are a dime a dozen: most are imagination, hysteria, psychosis, or drug induced paranoia, but a few have preceeded bad in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Mosul, and Egypt.
There is a long academic discussion of the phenomenum in this book...

sensitive people pick up ideas that "something is coming": nut cases, pious people, but also artists, writers, and even film makers. And of course, there are charlatans who fake these things for monetary value.

But icons weeping oil are either objective miracles or frauds. Which one is this?

The last time I heard about the holy oil phenomenum was in Damascus...Uh Oh: war going on there now too.

With Christians in the US having the choice between a Hillary, who will continue the Obama war against traditional religion and morals, and enable a Supreme court to legalize euthanasia (similar to Baby Trudeau in Canada) and a charlatan, who will probably not recognize these things are important but encourage discrimination against America's newest immigrants, there are plenty of reasons to think that something "bad" might be coming, and it doesn't take a weeping icon to make people worry about it...

Sunday, May 01, 2016

The history of Freedom

No, not a weirdo podcast. Its a series from Professor J Rufus Fears of the Univ of Oklahoma

go here and then watch the entire series.

the Panama papers

Miami Herald has a summary of Trump's involvement with others who got their names in the Panama papers, which included legal and non legal financial shennanigans.


they have lots of links about the complicated connections,

and to be fair, an article on the Clintons.

and you thought that this stuff only goes on in the Philippines?

don't ask me: I'm a doctor not a bank clerk...


update: UKGuardian link

Family news

Ruby is teaching Vacation bible school, and today they give out goodies. My comment: rice Christians. But never mind.

Anything to keep the kids away from the fiesta.

Going to church, the town is full of people...even though I went early I couldn't get into church, and indeed we were standing in the parking lot with lots of folk. The streets are full of vendors, with all sorts of stuff: clothes, shoes, baloons and toys and baby chicks for the kids.

So after the sermon I headed home...and back to bed.

Chano is having farmers over for food for the fiesta.

Presumably the relatives will also hold a feast for family members.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Audiobooks of the week

If you ever saw the TBS movie "Gettysburg", you probably know it was based on this book: the Killer  Angels

the back story is the theme of how things changed: Pickett's charge for example is a precursor of the killings of World War I, where brave soldiers going "over the top" faced modern weapons...

and the personalities behind the battle...


and quick: Before the copyright cops find it's there:

He Said WHAT?

So great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right to one’s own body can justify a decision to terminate that life, which is an end in itself and which can never be considered the “property” of another human being. The family protects human life in all its stages, including its last. Consequently, “those who work in healthcare facilities are reminded of the moral duty of conscientious objection. Similarly, the Church not only feels the urgency to assert the right to a natural death, without aggressive treatment and euthanasia”, but likewise “firmly rejects the death penalty”.

DaTech Guy has more controversial statements defending traditional marriage, home schooling, and other controversial subjects by that right wing narrowmided bigot, Pope Francis.

oh look: Footnote! that depending on it's punctuation might be interpreted as destroying not just the rest of the 360 page document released by the pope but 2000 years of Christian tradition and 5000 years of natural law...

but then, guess who blasts the media?

84. The Synod Fathers also wished to emphasize that “one of the fundamental challenges facing families today is undoubtedly that of raising children, made all the more difficult and complex by today’s cultural reality and the powerful influence of the media”.

Weasel wars

Hadron collider shut down by Weasel

The Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator at Cern is offline after a short circuit - caused by a weasel.
The unfortunate creature did not survive the encounter with a high-voltage transformer at the site near Geneva in Switzerland...

headup DaveBarry

Friday, April 29, 2016

Audiobook of the week


quick, before the copyright cops find it's there

Family news

It's hot again so I am staying inside most of the time with the airconditioner on.

The good news: The monsoon should arrives soon, and indeed, we are seeing cloudiness in the afternoon which helps with the heat. Right now, it has started thundering, which is a good sign.

We are now having a huge thunderstorm, with lots of rain.

Ruby is teaching 10 year olds in her church's vacation bible school. Joy is going to meetings.

Chano is fixing the fish tank/fountain  so we don't lose more fish from hypoxia in the heat (from algae overgrowth).

Here is Lolo sitting on the fountain/pond/fishtank.

I wrote a few days ago that most of the politician's posters (we are having an election next month) were for Trillianes for VP and Duterte.

Well, now one neighbor, a strict 7th day Adventist, has a poster up for Poe, with her mom (a famous actress who adopted her) smiling at her daughter saying" My heart".

Downtown at the square, the fence is now covered with Binay stickers... I think he will be giving campaign speech for the fiesta.

Yes, it is the weekend of the town's fiesta.

When I first married my husband, he would fly to town yearly for the fiesta, and he and his friends who fought in WWII would march at the front of the parade.

He would carry a couple bottles of expensive whiskey with him from the US and they' sit around drinking and playing cards for the weekend...

But alas, slowly one after another died, or got too sick to come. Now I doubt any of them are left. Sigh.

The family usually gets together and has a big party, including the traditional lechon (barbecued young piglet) and lots of food.

But with Lolo dead, his son resents the rest of the family so we probably won't be invited, although I might sneak over with the cook after supper.

Usually there are parades (held yesterday lots of photos on the local news facebook page) and a special mass for Maria Divina Pastora: Mary the Holy shepherdess.  A Spanish madonna. Someone gave a family who lived here a statue, and voila lots of miracles, so a shrine spontaneously grew up in thet area. Which was ironic since no one had sheep back then. But the idea was pretty easy to grasp, and here Mary is "mother" and Jesus is an older brother, and God is the father. Not quite theological but God cares more that you love each other and don't steal too much than strict theology.

However, things have changed and we now have a neighbor's sheep and goats who graze on the local vacan lots.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

how ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm?

WIkipedia explanation here...I figure a lot of people under the age of 50 never heard of the song.

The Ghosts in the story

So a gay got hacked to death by Islamicists in Bangladesh.

But are you aware that one was promoting a gay magazine in that country, using US taxpayer money?

USAID, an American government agency for poverty prevention, identified one victim as Xulhaz Mannan. Mannan worked at the organization but also served as editor of the country's first LGBT magazine. "Today, USAID lost one of our own," the statement said.

translation: Either he was "double dipping", or the US gov't was behind a pornographic magazine in a conservative Muslim country.


Saudi discusses reform plans for "social change" and runs against the danger of their religious conservatives.

Very vague article.

Uhm, what about the OFW there? No, not mentioned. There has been a push to get rid of OFW and hire locals, but like the US, the OFW are doing the work locals don't want to do, i.e. "dirty jobs" not clean office work where you drink tea  all day and get good pay.

and that part about the "religious police": remember, no churches in that country, even though the Vatican estimates one million Catholics in that country (again OFW's).

nor mentioned that they might ban cinemas etc but that DVDs, cellphones and satellite dishes have been around for quite awhile, and I suspect that if these things can be found in rural Africa and Asia, that they are all over the place in Saudi too.

Again, how can you keep the kids down on the farm after they've see Paree MTV?

The famine that never was

Wikipedia on the Green Revolution.

includes a section on why some oppose it (it feeds people and encourages huge factory farms in areas that had only recently had socialist revolutions that had land reform, so the poor peasants could each have their own plots_)

Actually it is more complicated than that.

We had land reform here in the Philippines, and are allowed by law to own a limited amount of land per person.

And most of our ancestral lands were given to the families who grew on the plots for generations.... but after a generation, a lot of these farmers want to sell their plots back to us.

You see, the "wealth" of keeping their full harvest  allowed them to educate their kids, so the kids became OFW or went to Manila. So why do all that hard work and live in poverty when you can have a easier job elsewhere?

Another factor is not just more modern crops etc. but mechanizing small plots. Again, this is hard for farmers with small plots. We no longer have a lot of land, but we subcontract local farmers to grow for us.

The handplow instead of the water buffalo is now widespread (don't mourn the waterbuffalo...there is a growing industry for using them instead of cows for milk products), and we use a thresher instead of beating the seed off the rice.

Most local farmers can afford the handplow, and will rent/borrow our thresher at harvest time.

In recent years, we also bought a rice drier. Traditionally, rice here in the Philippines is spread on a road or on a tarp and the sun dries it. You have to watch driving when you travel in rural areas

But then we we had a typhoon at harvest time, we thought we were okay since most of our rice had just been cut...alas, we couldn't dry it, and had to wait in line for it to be dried at the local rice mill... as a result much of the rice was deteriorated and had to be sold as animal feed instead of gourmet organic rice.

Many local farmers had the harvest destroyed, however. So again the kids migrate to get work.

Ironically, many of the farmers who now plant the fields we still own are from Joy's home island in the Visayas, where life is poorer. (an island that I once saw touted on a green ecotourism video that showed the  happy natives who were happy in their traditional lifestyle. Uh, I don't think so... notice the NPA (communist rebels) around? And did you ask them how do you keep the kids down on the farm after they've seen Paree Manila, i.e. all that easy life with stuff on TV?

Well, anyway, the latest is the harvester/thresher, which means no back breaking cutting of the rice by hand. Problem is mud.
So on certain fields we still cut by hand and pull our older small thresher into the fields with a water buffalo, since the Jeep thresher would get stuck.

Ironically, the gov't here is pushing organic (see Wikipedia part on the Philippines).

But after getting whacked by the typhoon, having our chicken farm destroyed (meaning no 'free" chicken manure for fertilizer), the bugs that drifted in from neighboring fields, and a lot of weeds thanks to the typhoon damage, my step son is now planting some fields with non organic fertilizer and pesticides. His wife still supervises the the pure organic grown rice etc.

I have no problem with this: diversity is good.

If I criticize the "Green" types, it is because a lot of them are fundamentalists who hate those nasty corporations who get rich by keeping starvation at bay.

But organic is a big thing here, partly because the SJW in the Catholic church are "Green" and pressure the gov't.

Luckily, the businesses are run by Chinoys and Protestants and Catholics who love making money.

Get more of them, and we will continue to pull the country out of poverty.

The Philippines is now a lot richer than when I first visited here, and the growing middle class will pay extra for organic.

But if you want to feed the 10 million people of Manila, it means encouraging the green revolution here, or else having enough manufacturing base to pay for importing rice from VietNam etc.

Related links: Remembering Norman Bourlaug

the man who saved a billion lives.

Now if they only could get it to Africa: Lack of infrastructure and corruption are a big reason why they still have poverty there.

But note the part about green SJW preventing the green revolution in Africa in the article.

To return to our original question: Why isn't Borlaug better known and why is his work so endangered? For one, he has chosen to work outside the media spotlight, engaged in the rather unglamorous enterprise of improving crop yields in parts of the world that receive little attention in the Western media, except to report sensational disasters or scandals.
But, an even more significant and disturbing reason is identified by Gregg Easterbrook, when he writes: "Borlaug's mission -- to cause the environment to produce significantly more food -- has come to be seen, at least by some securely affluent commentators, as perhaps better left undone. More food sustains human population growth, which they see as antithetical to the natural world."
According to David Seckler, the director of the International Irrigation Management Institute, "The environmental community in the 1980s went crazy pressuring the donor countries and the big foundations not to support ideas like inorganic fertilizers for Africa." As a result, high-profile yet 'image-sensitive' organizations such as The Ford and Rockefeller Foundations and the World Bank, once sponsors of Borlaug's work, have begun disassociating themselves from it.
Support for the International Maize and Wheat Center -- where Borlaug helped to develop the high-yield, low-pesticide dwarf wheat upon which a substantial portion of the world's population now depends for sustenance -- has also dwindled. The net result, according to Easterbrook, is that "although Borlaug's achievements are arguably the greatest that Ford or Rockefeller has ever funded, both foundations have retreated from the last effort of Borlaug's long life: the attempt to bring high-yield agriculture to Africa."

Yes, again a lot of green types are running church and secular NGOs.

It is sort of like the Pope or like those in the US who think Chomsky knows what he is talking about: not because their criticisms are wrong, but because they don't see that the alternative to what they criticize is worse.

Think Zimbabwe, which is again facing starvation after a poor harvest, when anyone who lived there 30 years ago knows that irrigation and fertilizer and proper seeds, planted by educated farmers, could make Zimbabwe another Kansas. But of course, the communist gov't kicked out the rich farmers in favor of "land reform", including a lot of land going to the friends of the corrupt president who knew nothing about running a large complicated farm, but hey, it looks good on paper that "locals" own everything now. As for starvation: Well they oppose food donations if there might be GM food in the donation (again green propaganda wins over starving kids), so what keeps the country afloat is that a lot of their kids now work in South Africa or Europe.

So Yes, Mr. Francis:  yes there is poverty in the world. And there is a big gap between poor and rich people. But I don't think socialism is the way to go, unless of course you convince those running "socialist" governments to get rid of corruption. You know: preaching Thou Shalt not Steal and pushing fire and brimstone instead of "mercy"? Nah, Never mind.
"who am I to judge" makes you popular, and condemning sin only would get you crucified, like that asty Jewish carpenter who not only told the sex worker to stop sinning but threw out the crooked vendors who everyone outside of modern theology schools know were giving kickbacks to the temple priests so they could overcharge their customers.

But the dirty little secret is that the poor are not worse off than they were in 1950. And if there are a lot of "poor people", maybe it is because they didn't starve to death as they did in the past. But as a percentage of the population, there are a lot fewer of them now thanks to capitalism.


In response to the sustained campaign against his work, Borlaug has said:

 Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things

which, of course, is why China not only has a lot of pollution, but has a lot fewer people in poverty. And if Africa is lucky, they, not the benevolent west, will be the ones to bring south Saharan Africa into the modern world.

Audiobook of the week


When you get to 8:50 or so, they start discussing how artificial nitrogen fertilizer was invented (by Germans in WWI) and then they start discussing the Green revolution that started in Mexico, of all places.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Stuff that makes you go WTF

via Toxel: A bicycle washing machine.

uh, fellah, it is small, will leak all over the floor when you open the door, and you still will have to wring the wet clothes out after you remove them.


CO2 rising, earth getting warmer, and the earth is getting greener?


Why buy cheap sprinkles for 40 cents an oz when you can pay fnacy gourmet sprinkles for $1.10 an ounce?

Stories behind the headlines

Heh. Lots of stuff on the Catholic blogosphere debating Pope Francis' emphasis on "love love love". Sentimentality over those old fashioned rules (which were put there to defend the weak from being destroyed by the strong).

Old leftie bishop Cruz has several short essays explaining Francis' writings, but then he posts this essay on anti social personality disorder and how it manipulates others.

Ya think?

Hmm...maybe the Pope needs to read the DSM-IV.

Jesus offered mercy to all, but I seem to remember him telling off certain SOB's using quite colourful language...

Or maybe the Pope should read Niebuhr's essay the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness... on how those with a sentimental idea of humanity don't see how "self interest" might see this as weakness and use this against them.


StrategyPage has a book review on the first Sino Japanese War. More here. and HERE.

book marked for later reading. I was aware of the very repressive Japanese takeover of Korea in the early 20th century but don't know much about this. right now, I'm trying to beef up on East Asian history.

This is also a background for Chinese expansion into Japanese held Islands that is causing tension today, and like most of the very bloody wars of Asia, are almost unknown to the west (including all the clueless bozos commenting on the internet and TV who claim all wars are caused by religion. DUH. Talk about European bias...).

Related item: StrategyPage on China's sea grab from the Philippines and other nearby countries.

This is going on over the complaints by half a dozen countries here, but only token resistance from the Obama administration.

No one takes Obama seriously in Asia... and the trust in the US is down, which is why Duterte says he will try to compromise with China if elected.

This, and the fact he is the front runner, has the powers that be upset, so I was not surprised to see several almost idential articles calling him as Trump-like (he isn't, he is Mayor Guillani lite) and calling him a bigot for making a "rape" joke.

Uh, he was discussing a serious incident, and tried to lighten the discussion by making a joke (a cultural trait here is defuse emotional or stressful situations by making a joke).

But three major articles doing hit jobs in one week suggest someone doesn't want him President of the Philippines...presumably the "American girl" or the corrupt former VP are preferable to the NWO.


Remember the song: From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.

well Professor Bob has a bunch of podcasts on the Mexican American war.

StrategyPage again puts ISIS and terrorism into the perspective of the Middle East and Islam as a religion.

The shores of Tripoli were the Barbary pirates who were stole people into slavery and stole goods from merchants, but were simply paid off by Europe for centuries until Thomas Jefferson got mad...


Suicides are soaring.

No, it's not poverty or joblessness: It's societal breakdown, and often drugs.

And the press/MSM/Hollywood is making things worse: psychologists have known for years about the tendency of copycat suicide, and even warned the press that sympathetic and often sentimental coverage of suicide would lead to more suicides.

Of course, the cutting edge argument in medicine is assisted suicide, to be passed by the Supreme court as soon as Obama or Clinton can get appoint the deciding vote there.

But of course, the plans for these policies (often with plans for medical rationing for untermensch, not for themselves) have been openly written about in the "bioethics" literature since the mid 1980's...and it is simply Orwellian that the UK medical rationing board is called "NICE"....

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bedbug news of the day

according to the BBC

According to the work in the Journal of Medical Entomology, the blood-sucking insects love black and red but hate yellow and green.
This information could help make better traps to lure and catch the bugs.
But it is too soon to say if yellow sheets can stop them nesting in your bed, say the US researchers.

The Etruscan mystery

A new inscription in an Etruscan temple might spar more debate on who were the Etruscans.

Wikipedia article.

If they were immigrants from southern Turkey, as their non Indoeuropean language suggests, then why does their mDNA suggest they were related to the Villanovan culture of Europe?

or did a few immigrants come and intermarry with locals?

the migrant theory goes back to Herodatus.

Supporting this theory is the language, which is "agglutinating", like Turkish/ Hungarian etc. But it is considered a language isolate right now.
The debate goes on.

unfortunately, the language has not yet been deciphered, and although it is known that Rome was a mixture of a lot of different peoples, they did include Etruscans influences. Unfortunately a lot of their records were destroyed when the Celts invaded and burned down Rome.

BBC InOurTime podcast discusses the problem: