Tuesday, May 31, 2016

farm mechanization in the Philippines: The bad news

Traditionally for the main crop, you prepare your field by plowing several times so the mud kills the weeds, then plant seedlings by hand, carefully spaced. t

traditionally this was done with a water buffalo but now most people have handplows: sort of a large rototiller that does the work more easily.

You then weed a couple times, and finally, you cut the rice by hand (all the family comes in from town to help), and someone collects it for threshing, drying (often on the road) and bagging.

We have had a thresher for awhile, where the cut rice goes in the top and then spits out the straw and collects the rice. (Threshing by hand is difficult to say the least). But now there are machines that do a lot of the plowing and harvesting.

From the Inquirer: Local part time farm workers are now unemployed due to the gov't helping the farmers (not just those of us who own several plots, but also those who are often also poor but now own their land thanks to land reform). And not just the gov't: Many of the small farmers have kids overseas who send money back to build new homes and the farm equipment.

I have seen our farm area go from wooden houses, an unpaved road, no electricty, to concrete houses, electricity (small antenna for TV) and lots of small shops. One clue to how things were starting to change came when I visited in the 1990's, and saw a small wood house with a sign in the window: Cellphone here: calls available to Saudi Arabia.

but the part timers are not in luck.

CABANATUAN CITY—Like farmers who suffered heavy losses as a result of the El Niño phenomenon, farm workers in Nueva Ecija province are pleading for help, too.
The workers, mainly those who do the harvesting, are attributing their woes to a farm mechanization program of the government, which replaced manual labor with combine harvester machines.
The agriculture department promoted farm mechanization five years ago “to further increase the productivity and income of small farmers.”
But it apparently forgot about the farm workers that the machines displaced.
In the Science City of Muñoz, 133 harvester machines, which perform three separate operations—reaping, threshing and winnowing—have been fielded at the height of the harvest season.
But the toll of mechanization has been hard for farm workers like Marlon Manale, 36, and the government has yet to address their plight.

Read more:http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/788064/nueva-ecija-farmers-plead-for-help-too#ixzz4AEjz70qw
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter |inquirerdotnet on Facebook

the answer, of course is more factories for these workers...if you improve the infrastructure, we are close to Manila so we could send stuff there easily.

and it is a lot cheaper to hire people here: cheaper food and housing, especially if you have family here who will help you live with them or has a plot for you to extend a room to their house.

Well, we changed the mayor, although the last one did help some of the infrastructure, and now maybe we will have less corruption with Rudy aka DuerteHarry (a pun on Dirty Harry).

So things are changing, and the good news is fewer poor people and a growing middle class.

The bad news: the tropical paradise that I retired to is now getting malls and shops and fast food restaurants like McDonalds.

Podcast of the week

Alas, no new episodes, but the "Best of Car Talk" can still be listened to at NPR.

Sunni Shia war redux

The Saudis are refusing to let Shia from Iran go on the haj.

Both sides argument here, but essentially Iran's mullahs would like to take over the holy site, and when they refuse to sign a paper saying they won't do demonstrations etc. the Saudis say: no paper no visit.

there are real security worries, that a demonstration might lead to more deaths if pilgrims panic and try to get away, as has happened in the past.

And background: Iranians once "demonstrated" to try to take the place over, an episode that didn't end well for them. Wikipedia article gives a long history of the feud and points out that the "demonstration" (AKA riot) resulted in panic, a stampede, and quite a few deaths.

The rioting, and the resulting stampede caused a reported 402 dead (275 Iranians, 85 Saudis including policemen, and 42 pilgrims from other countries) and 649 wounded (303 Iranians, 145 Saudis and 201 other nationals).[17]
the real feud in the Middle East is the Sunni/Shiite divide: Israel is just a side show to deflect hatred, but even if you got rid of Israel, the place would still be a mess.

Of course, the Arab/Persian feuding goes back way before Islam, but that's another story.

Cat item of the day

Schrodinger's cat gets a second box

Psst: Trump needs to update his rhetoric on Mexico

Donald Trump's anti Mexican screeds ignore that more Mexicans are returning there than coming here, and that Mexico is one of America's major trade partners.

from StrategyPage:

The government and Mexico’s business community know NAFTA is vital to the Mexican economy and a major reason why unemployment in Mexico under four percent. The U.S. has benefited as well, as has the third partner, Canada. Trade between the U.S. and Mexico is now valued around $540 billion a year. 
But they then go on to notice the cartel crimes in that country, which is why a lot of people want the border to be controlled.

The article also mentions how the cartel kidnaps for ransom the Central Americans trying to get to the USA.

I had linked awhile back to an article about why priests had been murdered in Mexico: some for condemning violence, but some for helping these Central American refugees. Presumably there are new articles on what is going on with Obama's open border and who is coming into the US, but I am too tired to find a story about it.

The SP article also notes that Canada will send peacekeepers to help Colombian area where the drug insurgents of FARC are.

Michael Totten, best known as a reporter in the Middle East, has a new article on his site about the miraculous economic recovery in Colombia.

By 2015, Medellín’s crime rate dropped by as much as 95 percent. In 2013, the Wall Street Journal named it the most innovative city in the world. The Urban Land Institute described the city’s transformation this way:
Few cities have transformed the way that Medellín, Colombia’s second largest city, has in the past 20 years. Medellín’s homicide rate has plunged, nearly 80% from 1991 to 2010. The city built public libraries, parks, and schools in poor hillside neighborhoods and constructed a series of transportation links from there to its commercial and industrial centers
which is why my youngest son recently complained to me that he is disappointed after visiting  his family in Colombia because are too wrapped up in seeking material wealth. (a normal reaction in the first generation out of poverty: My Pinoy relatives here and the USA similarly love stuff)

so anyway: Throw out the old meme and update your talking points.

This also goes for the left: Their darling country Venezuela is now the pits, but don't expect them to connect the dots or notice how those socialists  running the government got rich while wrecking the economy. (Chavez' daughter is the richest person in Venezuela....where did that money come from?)

Monday, May 30, 2016

two minute hate on facebook: Memorial day edition

The two minute hate on facebook today is a vile poem ridiculing soldiers that they died for oil, and essentially saying they were stupid.

So I asked politely if my husband, who fought with his brother against the Japanese who invaded his homeland, was included in her mockery.

Presumably she is a millenial and knows nothing about history, because actually oil (and rubber) were reasons that Japan invaded the Philippines.

FDR, in response to the terrible atrocities that Japan was committing against Chinese civilians in their war there, placed an oil embargo against Japan.

So they decided to get to the oil fields south of us, and while they were at it, to the rubber plantations of Malaysia.

What stood in the way was the US fleet in Pearl Harbor, and of course the Philippines.

Hence, World War II was due to oil...

The trouble with leftists is that they clamp on a meme and repeat it. It makes life simple, and they just keep hitting their straw man and repeat their simplistic lies so they can feel superior. America bad, capitalism bad. Evil America nuked Japan. Tch tch.Don't think, don't logically look at a complicated problem. Just repeat the two minute hate, and voila, you are part of the smart people of the world.

9 million Chinese civilians killed by Japan? 100 thousand Filipinos massacred when the Japanese were forced out of Manila by MacArthur? No, nothing to see here, folks, just move along.

And if you object to being ridiculed, you are racist, fascist, or just plain stupid.

And they never imagine that anyone would disagree with them, or be hurt or angry from the obvious lies and ridicule we are confronted with every day, without a way to say: But wait a second, what about...

Hence Trump.

I am as good as anyone in repeating conspiracy theories,about evil oil but what about the alternative?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

family news

We arranged for the vet to come and give our dogs rabies shots before she opened her office.

The one half grown dog from the farm, Spot, who tends to hide under the car, is almost impossible to catch, is full of ticks and malnourished... sigh. The other farm dog died a month ago. They are usually poorly nourished, and Lolo used to buy pan de sal for them when he went up to check on things, and I would send up some high protein dog food for them.

The other dogs are in good shape, but getting old. We figure PapaDog aka "BadBrad" will be the next to go: He is half blind from catarats and sleeps much of the day on a old pillow on the floor in my bedroom.

Ruby says her father still refuses to sign permission to go to Japan with her JA group...apparantly it is a punishment because her mom put he into the contest, and also because Lolo deeded her an apartment in Manila, and she won't sign a paper for him to get title to it so he can sell it. (The apartment is rented, so is a source of income, and if she goes to college, she can either stay there or live off the income).

Me, I am fuzzy minded: I have a bad cold. I did make t through church this morning, but couldn't put two words together to pray. Luckily the service is in Tagalog, so all I usually do is say my rosary and follow along with the service after the reading/sermon is done.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cat item of the day

Killer droids

StrategyPage has two articles discussing the use of killer robots.



Family news

I apologize for so many negative posts.

Here, things are bad. Ruby won a trip to Japan with her JrAchievment team, but her father says can't go to Japan.

Full soap opera HERE.

Ich Klaga An

Germany's T4 project was promoted by children doing math problems about how much good could be done if the money "wasted" on the disabled was put to other uses.

And the movie makers went into high gear with "Ich Klaga An", to persuade people it was okay if the government killed your disabled child.

From Wikipedia:

This film was commissioned by Goebbels at the suggestion of Karl Brandt to make the public more supportive of the Reich's T4 euthanasia program, and presented simultaneously with the practice of euthanasia in Nazi Germany.
The actual victims of the Nazi euthanasia program Action T4 were in fact killed without their consent, or that of their families.

 The SS reported that the churches were uniformly negative about the movie, with Catholics expressing it more strongly but Protestants being equally negative....
 Opinions in medical circles were positive, though there were doubts... Legal professions were anxious that it be placed on a legal footing, and in the few polls that were commissioned, the general population were said to be supportive.
ah, but now we don't need a government office of propaganda. We have the MSM, with Hollywood cheering them on:

ACTION ALERT from the disability group "NotDeadYet"

“Me Before You” is the latest Hollywood blockbuster to grossly misrepresent the lived experience of the majority of disabled people.
In the film, a young man becomes disabled, falls in love with his ‘carer’ and they have an incredible 6 months together. 
Despite her opposition, however, our hero does the “honorable” thing by killing himself at the Swiss euthanasia clinic Dignitas – so she can move on and he is no longer a burden to her. 
Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, “Me Before You” is little more than a disability snuff film, giving audiences the message that if you’re a disabled person, you’re better off dead.

Sigh.Expect a lot more similar plots as you get brainwashed to accept this latest "right", which will probably come to you via the courts in the near future.

ah, but American children will never have math projects calculating how money wasted on the disabled could be better spent elsewhere.

They won't have to, because since the early 1990's, such calculations have been part of the discussion in "mainstream" bioethics.

From the Stanford University encyclopedia of Philosophy has a long article about the question from a theoretical standpoint

In the 1990s philosophers, in particular bioethicists, debated the broad question of the justice of health care resource allocation, and in particular the ethical pros and cons of the dominant rationing strategy based on cost effectiveness analysis (CEA) with benefit characterized in terms of “quality of life”. A dominant theme in this literature was whether a pre-existing health state, or resulting health outcome, should be taken into account when allocating health resources. More specifically, the debate centered on whether a person’s disability should be taken into account, or whether doing so would be discriminatory or unfair.
this is already being done in the UK, where the rationing board is named NICE...

George Orwell, call your office.

Just for nice

 CopyrightTunç Tezel (TWAN)

In this early May night skyscape, a mountain road near Bursa, Turkey seems to lead toward bright planets Mars and Saturn and the center of our Milky Way Galaxy,
link from NASA

Is the Pope Catholic?

probably, but his best friend probably is not.

The letter on the family released after the Synod was an opinion letter, not a dogmatic encyclical, of course.

But the cover story, that it was the opinion of the Synod of Bishops might not be true.

From Chiesa:

Amoris Laetitia” Has a Ghostwriter
His Name Is Víctor Manuel Fernández 
Startling resemblances between the key passages of the exhortation by Pope Francis and two texts from ten years ago by his main adviser. A double synod for a solution that had already been written

 by Sandro Magister

Another sign that TEOTWAWKI is nigh

Men who live as puppies.

no, not schizophrenic delusions...

it's a sexual fetish, mainly in gay men.

Then, of course, there is the sex. Puppy play is often part of a larger sexual practice that crosses over with leather folk, furries and BDSM. 

when I studied psychiatry, we were warned that often  when we talked to our patients, their delusions would sound logical. So we were told to apply the "taxi driver" rule: If the average taxi driver would think the person was crazy, the person probably is crazy.

but now, we are supposed to be accepting of such things.


related item: UKTelegraph lamenting abnormal sex is now the norm.

I have a countercultural idea:

Instead of "having sex" with a person you barely know, how about "making love" by marrying and being faithful to a spouse...

Hop-a-long vampire

Archeoblog links to an article about Vampires being found in numerous cultures.

Archeology of the Undead:

In folkloric sources as diverse as Babylonian literature, the shroud-eating Nachzehrer of Germanic tradition, and the Chiang-Shih “hopping vampires” of Chinese legend, notions of corpses rising from the grave have long been documented.
the first five minutes of this comedy explains the difference between European and Chinese vampires.

the classic Vampire story Bram Stocker's Dracula can be found at Librivox:

and at Mythgard academy, the Tolkien Professor Corey Olson is giving a course on the novel LINK

Dr. Heimlich, Hero

 Dr Heimlich at age 96, performs the Heimlich maneuver for the first time and saves a life.

In a video interview provided to The Enquirer, Ris said she penned a note to Heimlich.
It read, she recalled in the video: "God put me in this seat next to you."

headsup AnnAlthouse

Friday, May 27, 2016

Cuture news: The good, the bad, and the skin whiteners

Bernie is asking for a recount in Kentucky.

related item: Austria's close election might have been rigged


AustinBay (a defense analyst) discusses the IG report on email security lapses by Clinton

We docs had oodles of training about the privacy laws and protecting patient's records, so it's not like they are picking on her.

Instaupundit at USA Today: why the US needs to elect a white male Republican: so the press will notice when the government ignores the rules.
With a black Democrat in the White House, those organs have often been loath to criticize the president themselves, and swift to assume that anyone who does offer criticism is partisan, and probably a racist to boot. But with a white male Republican in the White House, all criticisms will be presumed valid.
yes, this is probably tongue in cheek...but alas true.


The nexxt front against religion? regulating faith based social service programs using government grants.

and then there is this: LINK

"The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the final rule on Obamacare’s (Affordable Care Act’s) Section 1557 Friday, stating it will “help to advance equity and reduce health disparities by protecting some of the populations that have been most vulnerable to discrimination in the health care context.”
 it is to protect the transgendered, of course...
The final rule requires that women be treated equally with men in the health care they receive and also prohibits the denial of health care or health coverage based on an individual’s sex, including discrimination based on pregnancy, gender identity, and sex stereotyping. 
this can be read as saying if you refuse to allow abortion, you are discriminating against women.

"The final rule on Section 1557 does not include a religious exemption; however, the final rule does not displace existing protections for religious freedom and conscience."

the report is a right wing site. 

But the link to the government website is  HERE.

Does the proposed rule include a religious exemption?The proposed rule requests comment on whether Section 1557 should include a specific exemption for religious organizations and, if so, what the scope of an exemption would be. Nothing in the rule would affect the application of existing protections for religious beliefs and practices, such as provider conscience laws, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, provisions in the Affordable Care Act related to abortion services, or regulations issued under the Affordable Care Act with regard to preventive health services.

Ambiguous language...

more lawsuits ahead.

well, protesters can attack the Trumpettes and gay Milo with impunity, but don't mess with Canada:

OTTAWA — Canada's ambassador to Ireland, best known for his role in shooting dead an armed assailant inside the Parliament buildings in 2014, has once again stepped into an apparent security breach.
Kevin Vickers, the former House of Commons sergeant-at-arms, tackled a protester Thursday in Dublin during a ceremony to remember British soldiers killed in the 1916 Easter Rising.


China are aghast at this "racist" ad on Chinese tv...

skin whiteners are pushed here in Asia, where pale skin and straight hair are considered beautiful.

And this local commercial winks at the trend:

Culture of death update

Mrs Gay Caswell, a metis, has a report from the indigenous areas of Canada on the dangers of being kiled by doctors.

The law pushed by Baby Trudeau is quite broad, and will require doctors nurses etc to cooperate.

Is she paranoid, exagerating, or what?

 A local teacher told us in our living room with other guests that her mother was at St. Brieux Nursing Home but her brother moved her to Watson Nursing Home. At St. Brieux they lifted her with their hands. At Watson they used a hoist. The care was inferior in Watson so she had to have her mother put down.  The care was not as good in Watson as in St. Brieux according to her daughter so the mother was murdered by the approval of her daughter. When did being moved by a piece of nursing home equipment become a justification for capital punishment to the patient?  
     Many times we have heard of patients who had to be removed from one nursing home to a Catholic home because the staff decided it was time to starve the resident. And what will happen if Catholic Nursing Homes will be deprived of medicare funds?

on the other hand, her tirades against poor medical care sound familiar: They are quite similar to those by my Lakota and Objibwe patients when I worked for the IHS in the USA.

As for starving a patient: Alas, that happens too.

But it is subtle.

Terminally ill people don't want fluid, and I once stopped IV's on a woman whose liver and kidneys were in failure, and she was lucid but kept pulling out the IV's. But she could eat and drink, so we just let her live in peace.

And my husband went into a coma and didn't eat for the last three days of his life. Taking him to the hospital would not have prolonged his life, since he had terminal cancer, so we just kept him comfortable here at home.

But starving handicapped and elderly people is de rigor in bioethics: Think the Schiavo case, where she coud respond (She was not in a coma or PVS, she was just severely brain damaged), and parents wanted to take her home to care for her, but her husband had remarried and wanted her dead. So she was made dead.

Nor is this for near comatose handicapped people:

When I worked in Minnesota, one of our patients had frontal lobe damage, which meant she cried when she saw her relative and laughed when she hurt. So she would loudly cry and flail around when watching TV or when she was fed, so we used a feeding tube since feeding her was very difficult, even though she could swallow.

So we had a neurological consult to ask if there was any new treatment for this well known syndrome.

Instead, the doctor spent the 30 minute consultation trying to persuade the family to pull the feeding tube so she would die. Without doing an exam.

The family, who as Objibwe were too polite to contradict the doctor, stayed silent during this time, but on the way out, the nurses' aid, her cousin, who accompanied the patient, told the doctor: That's the difference between you white people and us. We take care of our elders.

We had a similar distrust of "DNR" orders, and often even the terminall ill wouldn't sign them.

A similar distrust can be found in the Black community, who also often don't trust the system and won't sign "living wills".

This is usually written up in the literature as a problem  that needs to be discussed so they will be willing to sign the papers, but the real problem, distrust of the system, is not something talked about.

And if you are naive enough to think this is "compassion"for those in terminal conditions and pain, you are wrong

The slippery slope is alive and well, and since this is being pushed by the powers that be in medicine (read Hastings center and NEJM, since the early 1990's) the idea is that stealth euthanasia, including when the patient's family won't help, is very real

Thursday, May 26, 2016


the quote of the day is from ChicagoBoyz, about fracking, and why the US will have an advantage: the country has a good infrastructure and is honest.

Private capital will not put billions of dollars into an Iranian or Russian oil development in Siberia when a much smaller private investment in Texas, Oklahoma or Louisiana will get them more oil, sooner, with extremely low political risk and trivial infrastructure costs. (italics mine).

a similar problem can be found in China, which iis why  companies are quietly withdrawing from there. It's not just higher labor cost, but because the Chinese copy the product and then produce their own version.

In China, intellectual property rights are not strictly reinforced. For this reason, it is possible, that there are faked products on the market.

According to a 2013 survey report, more than half of the interviewees believed that intellectual property rights were not effective in China.
 Competition from Chinese domestic companies Chinese domestic companies have increasingly become strong competitors of foreign companies. 
ah, but an "expert" ignores the pirating, and says it's these companies own fault for not doing things as well as they locals can:
According to an industry expert, the strengths of Chinese domestic companies lie in their better understanding of consumer preference and their focus on affordability, marketing and innovation.

Chinese goods are cheap... cheaper than from other countries.

And they are able to supply the smallest palenke here with their goods, often smuggled in illegally, including food products. (here, many farmers went broke because of illegally imported Chinese onions, which are cheaper because of the high use of chemical pesticides/herbicide/fertilizers etc that are discouraged or illegal here. A problem with many foods from China, even when they are labled "organic".....

and I suspect many other industries cannot survive here, not only because of local corruption discourages investment, but also because they are underpriced by Chinese price wars, helped by deliberately manipulating the Chinese currancy to keep things cheap.

Yet, anyone in the third world knows that the shoddy goods exported from China don't last long, (and the cheap medicines don't work, and the farm products are frequently recalled for having chemicals in them)...

I'll give an example. For Blood pressure, Norvasc 5mg is about a dollar a pill. A Brand name generic is 30 cents. The cheap generic found in the "generic pharmacy" is half that, but may or may not work.

making one wonder if Chinese steel has a similar problem (which is why maybe the Chinese attempt to take over the steel market may not work).

ABC(Aust) article about safety concerns after they had a couple of small bridges fail.
ConstructionManager newsletter discusses the technical details.

Heh. This is why we avoid buying low priced items, which even when they are labled as coming from elsewhere might be counterfeit. This includes medicines.

When thing last only a few months instead of lasting for years, as they did in the USA, you understand that Brand USA (or Brand Japan or Brand Korea) has an advantage.

True, the slumdwellers are still stuck with the cheap stuff, but the growing middle class will seek quality over price, since high quality goods are cheaper in the long run.

Headines below the fold

Cattle belching and farting causes methane, and methane increases global warming, so our masters are condemning eating beef

But the latest fad is pseudo medicine is intestinal flora (aka normal germs in your gut), so now "experts" say antibiotics "could" increase methane emission.

 (note: here in the Philippines, beef is expensive, and the best beef is imported from New Zealand or Australia, although there is a small beef/milk industry here now. We usually eat chicken and fish, and our "beef" is tough overaged waterbuffalo who the owners decided to sell and replace with a handplow etc. And our milk is also from waterbuffalo).

Did Obama really go to Vietnam and tell them to stay in their life of poverty to help prevent global warming? Or am I overreading that part about "sustainable development" as meaning stay poor?

 If we’re going to ensure the health of our people and the beauty of our planet, then development has to be sustainable.  Natural wonders like Ha Long Bay and Son Doong Cave have to be preserved for our children and our grandchildren.  Rising seas threaten the coasts and waterways on which so many Vietnamese depend.  And so as partners in the fight against climate change, we need to fulfill the commitments we made in Paris, we need to help farmers and villages and people who depend on fishing to adapt and to bring more clean energy to places like the Mekong Delta -- a rice bowl of the world that we need to feed future generations.
so, is "sustainable" development introducing handplows, herbicides instead of flooding the rice paddies, using fertilizer and GM seeds, or does it mean continuing the methane producing flooded rice paddies with the methane producing water buffalo to plow the field?

A lot of the tech development in VN is from their ex pats going home, and starting companies with the help of IBM etc.

But poverty is still terrible in rural areas, which is why women there often become mail order brides voluntarily or are kidnapped for Chinese men to marry because their population control policies resulted in all those excess single men.


America and the left are turning against Israel. Lots of lamenting about those evil Israelis destroying the houses of innocent Palestinians...

Well, not exactly.

StrategyPage report on the corruption in the region, and points out how it pertains to war.

For those who lament all those houses destroyed by Israel in the last war, they point out a nasty fact:the houses were destroyed because rockets and tunnels were built in civilian areas, and the money to rebuild them (from foreign aid donors) is either going in the pockets of politicians or diverted to rebuild the war machine.

The corruption in the West Bank and Gaza is bad, but also different. Fatah leadership are traditional crooks, stealing money (most of it contributed by foreign aid donors) for themselves and their key supporters. Hamas does less of that and more diversion of aid money to build military capabilities. This means stealing a lot of foreign aid to finance the importation or local manufacture of rockets as well as rebuilding the 32 tunnels destroyed by Israel during the 2014 war.
Hamas believes its new tunnels will better survive the next war but most Gazans are not as optimistic. Civilians who know (or fear) that a new tunnel is near their home believe they will be the target of Israeli smart bombs if Hamas starts another war. This is particularly true if a tunnel entrance is nearby.
Civilians are also unhappy with the Hamas policy of storing rockets in residential neighborhoods, usually in basements or bunkers modified for that purpose. Most Gazans remember that the 2014 war destroyed 9,000 homes, mainly because Hamas stored weapons or stationed gunmen in residential areas. Few of those homes have been rebuilt while most of the tunnels have, plus additional tunnels and bunkers. 
of course, for the anti war left, truth is just something to ignore, like the massacres by their friends elsewhere.


Inconvenient fact: Yes, there is still poverty, but there is a lot less thanks to capitalism and the global economy.

someone tell the Pope...

headsup SenseofEvents

Doctors pressured to use opium based narcotics to treat pain, now are pressured to let patients hurt.

There is a big differnence between opiods for chronic pain (which keeps people functioning) and taking them to get high. And a lot of overdoses are from stolen pain pills, not by those who need them for arthritis, lupus, cancer, etc. True, some people do both, but what do you do? We used a pain contract for these patients.

and people forget that there is no good alternative: Tyelnol doesn't work well and NSAIDS have their own side effects on the liver, kidney, and cause GI Bleeds...
and chronic pain causes people not to go out and exercize/socialize, and also is associated with depression and other health problems


Gay activist speech shut down by threats of violence at "catholic" university. Rent-a-cops refuse to protect speaker.

Beer was a common in Mesopotamia and Egypt, but now a Chinese find says they drank it too.


Beer was safer than germ filled water that could kill you until recent times, and may have been the reason that hunter gatherers decided to chuck it all and farm.
How beer invented civilization.
and saved the world:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Shadow theatre

Most Americans do a type of "shadow" story telling to their kids, usually using a "duck" made with the hand.

But I became aware of the Chinese "shadow play" type theatre in a Chinese language movie (I can't remember the name) where the poor protagonist inherits the puppets and keeps his family alive telling stories with them.

More HERE.

Shadow play is an old tradition and it has a long history in Southeast Asia; especially in IndonesiaMalaysiaThailandand Cambodia. It is also considered as an ancient art in other parts of Asia such as in ChinaIndia and Nepal. It is also known in the West from TurkeyGreece to France

so I was interested when today's LATimes has a story about a Persian story using shadow theater being shown there, and a short biography of the Iranian artist behind the show.

why LA? Because of it's huge Iranian population.

(estimated 300 thousand, a diverse group).

Family news

Ruby needs one more paper to get her visa for her Japan trip. The nearest office is in the next province so I agreed to let them use my car. 

Ah, but my key is missing...and the father will not let them use "his" car. And we have been told we are staying in "his" house only as long as he allows us.

The car was bought for me by my husband, and the house was supposed to be mine, but because legally I can't own such things, they were in his name.

The will hasn't gone through, but presumably if the son adjudicates the will, it will all be taken by him.


I wonder if he will reimburse me for the tires slashed when he and his gay lover were partying in a bad area of town? I didn't think the slashes were bad until one of the tires blew out...so it cost me 800 dollars to replace the tires. 

Oh well: Joy just has to stick it out until Duterte legalizes divorce, then she can sue for half the property. Alas, she is a Christian and will probably turn the other cheek...

Stories below the fold

War? What war?
Special ops in Libya

Syria: Not all rebels are ISIL...a report on the Kurdish rebels in Syria but Assad has Iranian troops and "volunteers". ISIL is hurting because the Russians don't follow the "rules of engagement" that Obama's lawyers insisted on, and now the US has followed suit, so they no longer can stay safe by keeping civilian hostages with them.

And note Turkey is more worried about Free Kurdistan guys than Iran with nukes or ISIL. Since much of this goes back to the Versailles treaty, that denied the Kurds their own country, blame Wilson for the mess.

Mainly for later reading.

Ironically, a good summary on why Assad was a bad guy but better than the alternative, i.e. a gov't run by Islamic terrorist, can be found HERE, at 10 minutes in, when the CIA briefs Mrs. Pollifax on the back ground for her job in Syria. (published 2000).

Too bad President Obama didnt read Mrs. Pollifax...


So Trump is now into conspiracy theories, bringing up Vince Foster's suicide. Wikipedia articl on the Vast Right Wing conspiracy that questioned all those official reports here.

Younger voters probably are not aware of the many questions the case brought up, but after 15 years of CSI on TV, they might question the failure to investigate the crime scene.

However, I suspect the failure to investigate might not have been Hillary's fault: It might have been to try to protect his family because of where the suicde happened. (The obscure park where he was found was famous for being a meeting place for gays , which might explain the initial failure to investigate what the first responders saw as another gay suicide, nothing here to see, folks, in the days when homophobia was real).

But why bring it up at all? Because Foster was involved in the Rose Law firm, the firm that was rumored to be the inspiration for the best selling book and hit movie about a law firm in a hick state.

When this happened, unless you read Alamogirl, you probably couldn't get all the gossip and hard news and try to connect the dos...it wasn't pure paranoia that made some question that a coverup was going on...

but now, unlike 1996, youngsters can pull up stuff from google, like this easily found article from 1994 NYT about the shredding of documents in Foster's files by that firm.

The reason I remember this is because Rush had a hilarious commercial promoting a product called the "heavy duty Rose Law firm paper shredder".

The problem is not his suicide per se, but why all the cover up?

And Trump knows that it points to a long connection between the Clintons and monetary shenanigans (as if Trump didn't do his share of sleazy business, but never mind...his was openly known).


Duterte is quoted criticizing the Catholic bishops and promoting birth control and a "three child" rule.

That should reassure the population control folks controlling the strings for developmental aid, and make the Obama administration happy, since it is more worried about pushing abortion, divorce and gay rights than worrying that China has slowly been taking over the West Philippine sea (and the sea lanes to Japan and Korea) in plain sight.

Which is good, since Duterte will probably make nice with China (which may be why VietNam will now be provided with weapons to fight China as the US proxy...unlike the Philippines, which was part of the calphate not China, they were once part of China, and know they are on the list for takeover, as China takes over everywhere they used to own over the last 3000 years).

FYI: it's not just the oil/natural gas under the reefs: it's the sea lanes that matter:

why sea laes are important

As for Duterte's proposal of passing a three child limit: Uh, he shoots off from the mouth all the time, but we are still a democracy, and such things could get you impeached if you try to do it by fiat like Obama is doing with his bureaucratic fiats to push birth control on Catholic nuns.

However, in the corrupt Philippines, where 20 percent of deliveries are with hilots outside the medical system, one suspects this will not happen... heck, even in India, Mrs. Gandhi's attempt to do this (by coercing sterilizations) resulted in her losing the next election. And I should point out that the "fertility rate" in the Philippines is now 3.1, meaning his goal has already been reached.

He has an ongoing problem with the bishops, because his Dirty Harry style of justice is viewed as wrong by the bishops, as the old leftie retired Archbishop Cruz point out.

But his election has caused a small ripple of hope for the poor in other Asian countries, as this analysis points out.

“The people, especially the grassroots, want real change that would trickle down to the lowest human beings whose homes are the cold pavement of cities’ street,” argues Evelyn Agato, former station manager of Radyo Pilipinas and now a mass communications lecturer. “They expect that a strong leader will usher them to at least a peaceful night sleep. Thus, Duterte’s phenomenal victory was brought about by votes of disappointment and dissatisfaction.” Agato told INPS that the political culture in the Philippines could change with the election of a president from Mindanao which has faced decades of civil war between the community and the NPA, as well as Islamic groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Abu Sayyap.
“Manila-based political culture, as I see it, will now be learning to adjust to the political culture of the south, especially the style of governance by the new president,” she notes. “He is the man of the people. The way he dresses, the way he talks, and I think the way he thinks, are real for the common man. He is the man who does what he says and performs with sincerity.”

and like Trump, if that doesn't make you think of Adolf it should.


Are the white farmers thrown out by Mugabe now behind Zambia's ability to export grain and feed the starving in Zimbabwe?


Most of the grain in Zambia is grown by small farmers, who are supported by gov't programs giving them fertilzer... the similar program in Zimbabwe didn't work due to corruption....

 but the large farmers grow a lot of tobacco, which helps with foreign exchange.


My cousin, whose ship had been kamikazi'd, figured he would be killed in the battle to invade Japan. So he got drunk, fell out a second story window that he thought was a door, broke his leg, and managed to miss the invasion... which of course never happened because Truman bombed Hiroshima.

The story that is often ignored:

The Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated as many as 134,556 dead and missing Americans. A study for the office of War Secretary Henry Stimson put the figure at 400,000 to 800,000 dead GIs, with Japanese fatalities reckoned between five and 10 million military personnel and civilians. In addition to combat casualties, the more than 27,000 American POWs held by Japan were subject to immediate execution should the United States invade.
(I should add a little known fact: a lot of US POW's had been shipped to Korea or Japan via "hell ships" to work in Japanese factories, so were not liberated with the Philippines).

The same pacifists who lament Hiroshima ignore the casulaties in the "rape of Manila", or the dirty little secret that civilians in Saipan had been pressured into fighting with sticks or committing suicide...actions that suggested a similar high casualty rate if Japan had been invaded.

The pacifists cherry pick their facts, to condemn the west in the same way they ignore the genocides of atheism to condemn Christianity.

or as Instapundit remarks:

These facts are indisputably true, but the fact is that hand-wringing over Hiroshima is just so much virtue-signaling by people who probably never said a bad word about Stalin or Mao’s mass murders. 


so Zika is the problem. Send money.
MSM MEME: Evil Republicans won't increase the money.
Reality: funds in previous budget that should have been used to fight Zika were diverted for global warming.

Dirty little secret: Dengue probably kills more babies than Zika will damage, but hey, Zika will be used to push legalized late term abortion in poor Catholic countries of South America, so you will see lots of stories about poor women forced to carry their late term Zika pregnancy, not stories on how money to kill mosquitos is diverted to the pockets of politicians instead of cleaning up the environment, or how Green NGO's oppose pesticide spraying.

And as I noted in a previous post if you don't kill the mosquitoes, you may face a resurgence of yellow fever... Angola to China to the Philippines...

China has already started "vector control" where cases are reported, and in the US, mosquito control will just be pushed and will stop the epidemics, in the old fashioned way used to clean up the Panama canal yellow fever epidemic: Clean up the environment to get rid of standing stagnant water, and spray spray spray:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Forget Zika: YellowJack is back

Map showing the distribution of Aedes aegypti across Africa and the Asia-Pacific region (areas shaded pink). The red outline delineates yellow fever-endemic regions. Yellow dots represent the location of yellow fever cases related to the Angolan outbreak (source: HealthMap). Commercial flight routes with direct connections between Luanda and Beijing and indirect connections from Luanda to South and Southeast Asia via Dubai (source: FLIRT) are also represented.
Credit: International Journal of Infectious Diseases
The problem? Chinese workers in Africa who aren't vaccinate.

"The current scenario of a YF outbreak in Angola, where there is a large Chinese workforce, most of whom are unvaccinated, coupled with high volumes of air travel to an environment conducive to transmission in Asia, is unprecedented in history," warns lead author Sean Wasserman, MBChB, of the University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. "These conditions raise the alarming possibility of a YF epidemic, with a case fatality of up to 50%, in a region with a susceptible population of two billion people and where there is extremely limited infrastructure to respond effectively." The growing number of imported cases in China shows how critical it is to recognize this risk now in order to take adequate preemptive action so that a global catastrophe can be averted.

Now, I'm old enough to remember when you had to carry a yellow booklet with proof that you had been vaccinated for smallpox and (for visiting or returning from certain countries) yellow fever.

So the question is: why didn't these Chinese workers get vaccinated before going there, and why hasn't China arranged for them to get the vaccine. (update: The Chinese gov't is now arranging their workers in Angola to get the vaccine).

and again, the problem is that the mosquito eradificaation programs were weakened, partly by environmentalists who shun DDT and pesticides.

And from what I see outside my window, probably because of open sewers or lack of drainage, lack of cleaning up garbage, etc because either there is no money designated for such projects, or else the local politicians are diverting the money to their pockets.

Family news

I've been sick with the stomach flu (probably bad food stored outside too long).

So blogging will be light.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

For later reading


Why do newspapers avoid the title "little Sisters of the Poor"?

If any Republican president went to war against a group called Little Sisters of the Poor, that editorial gift would be unwrapped on every front page of every newspaper in the land. It would lead the nightly broadcast of every television news show. It would be joked about on Saturday Night Live. Comedians and virtue signalers across the land would “destroy” that Republican president every chance they got...

Their silence and covering-up on behalf of the regime is telling.

related item: Believers stuck with a choice between two evils.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Invention of the week

via Improbable Research:

An illuminated removable nipple cover (new patent)

photo here.

a new important safety device to wear when you go jogging in the dark while naked.

want to be happy?

Join a group.


Family News

Joy is still in Manila at a conference and will probably be back today.

Ruby went to Manila with her church group yesterday and should be back today.

The problem is that they no longer have a home. His majesty moved all the stuff from their 3 room apartment into one of my spare bedrooms, with the comment that he "needs" the space for "guests". I guess the next sinkhole for money will be a revival of using the dorm rooms for guests, something he started to do ten years ago but dropped as all his projects are dropped.

Full soap opera details in my bitchblog.

Friday, May 20, 2016

where is that in the constitution?

WAPO law article notes that in NYC you can be fined a quarter million dollars if you use the wrong pronoun. And notes:

Feel uncomfortable about being forced to use terms that express social status views (“Milord”) or religious views (“Your Holiness”) that you may not endorse? Well, you should feel uncomfortable about people being forced to use “ze,” which expresses a view about gender that they might not endorse. And, more broadly, I think we should all feel uncomfortable about government regulators forcing people to say things that convey and support the government’s ideology about gender.
thhere are so many absurd items about the bathroom laws that I moved the rant to my rant blog.

However, the MSM seems to be ignoring that the US Catholic bishops oppose it,  not just on modesty issues, but on constitutional ones:

Children, youth, and parents in these difficult situations deserve compassion, sensitivity, and respect. All of these can be expressed without infringing on legitimate concerns about privacy and security on the part of the other young students and parents. The federal regulatory guidance issued on May 13 does not even attempt to achieve this balance. It unfortunately does not respect the ongoing political discussion at the state and local levels and in Congress, or the broader cultural discussion, about how best to address these sensitive issues. Rather, the guidance short-circuits those discussions entirely.

this is ignored by the press, as are Muslim opinions that mandate modesty in bathrooms.

Related item:

Obama has just lost a big Supreme court case unanimously against the Little Sisters of the Poor because the SC noted the government went out of their way to prosecute instead of finding a compromise. From the WSJ:

the aim in religious-liberty cases is not accommodation but submission.
In this case for example, when the justices asked the Obama administration if there were any ways to provide women contraceptives other than hijacking the Little Sisters’ health plan against their will, the administration hemmed and hawed, first answering “no” until it conceded that maybe it could be done.
In short, the Obama administration’s goal was not just getting contraceptives to women. It was also to do so in a way designed to force religious groups such as the Little Sisters to cry “uncle.”
(italics mine).

this last part is important, because without you being told, Obama's officials have decided that hospitals will have to allow sex change operations and abortions if they receive "federal funding". Again, this was not in the law: It is a bureaucratic interpretation of a regulation in the huge Obamacare law that no body read.

This is aimed a coercing hospitals associated tihe Catholics and SeventhDay Adventists, of course.

and in the future, if this is allowed to stand, will force all hospitals and doctors to euthanize patients.

No I am not being extreme The law in Canada is trying to do this right now.


all of this sounds like culture war redux: But even if you agree with Obama's opinions, from a constitutional viewpoint, you should worry.

It is bad enough when the Supreme court over and over agains discards legal history and the common law tradition to impose the viewpoint of a small elite. But at least most Americans will obey, because they respect the constitution and see the court as part of the constitution.

But unelected bureaucratic lawmaking is not constitutional. And deciding to interpret obscure regulations to include things that were never imagined by the Congress who passed the law is now being done at many levels.

For your listening pleasure

Eric Cline lectures on the rise and fall of ancient Israel. He is an archeologist and tends to fall into the "moderate" interpretation of biblical archeology.


BBC has the Beechgrove Gardens series on their website, if you live in a country that will let you watch it.

if not, some of them are on YOUTUBE
if o

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Family news

Joy is in Manila for her cousin's operation, and also for a conference.

Ruby went to get her visa  etc. for her trip to Japan on Monday and stayed for other school related activities and should be back today.

Brownout is due today.

Monsoon has arrives, but not enough yet for low water levels to recover (hydro electric power here)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Zika and Dengue and ditches oh my.

Mom Jones has an interview discussing Zika vaccine, and how to prevent from getting it until the vaccine is available.

We've had now 500 or so travel-related cases. We've had no local transmission. It is likely that we will have restricted local transmission—small local outbreaks? My call would be that we will. Because we've had dengue and chikungunya, which are in the same regions of South and Central America and the Caribbean, and are transmitted by exactly the same mosquito....
 Having said that, the dengue and chikungunya outbreaks were well controlled by aggressive mosquito control and attention to using insect repellent, staying indoors with air conditioning, making sure you have screens in your house, and eliminating standing water in those areas. That successfully prevented dengue and chikungunya from becoming sustained and disseminated. So, I never say never, but I do not think we're going to have a widespread Zika outbreak in this country.
yes, I use all of these (mosquitoes love me).

But that doesn't help the poor...for that you need honest government that actually uses designated funds to improve the city.

we are in the midst of a long term Dengue outbreak. (and chikungunya fever, which like the milder cases of Dengue fever often is not diagnosed because poor people only see doctors when they are really really sick). They even started giving out a partially tested Dengue vaccine to see if it helps.

so far, we haven't seen the bug sprayers around, and there is lots of standing water in the open sewer ditches until the monsoon comes around.

But it was election year, meaning the mayor decides to clean things up to show "doctora cares"....presumably she hasn't cared for the last few years about such things, but hey, anything to get a vote (didn't work....she lost).

So near our house, they are making the ditches wider and covering them...the last typhoon related floods partially destroyed the ground floor of the Palenke which had been built by the mayor's family after an "accidental" fire destroyed the old one...so now we have a huge ditch...but no openings for water to enter into the ditch, so WTF?

The ground water level is only a few feet down, so often the workers have to stand in muddy water to dig, and then pour concrete, but they did use a back hoe this time...twice, since they dug it in the wrong place across the street and had to redig it five feet away, to avoid private property.

We usually give them a hundred pesos to buy snacks for their afternoon break.

since we just elected a new mayor... and will wait to see if he can do the job.

related item: The mosquito that carries Dengue and Zika also carries yellow fever...and there is an outbreak of this in Angola.

FYI: Yellow fever epidemic of 1793 in Philadelphia.

Live Not By Lies

.. in our timidity, let each of us make a choice: Whether consciously, to remain a servant of falsehood—of course, it is not out of inclination, but to feed one's family, that one raises his children in the spirit of lies—or to shrug off the lies and become an honest man worthy of respect both by one's children and contemporaries.
And from that day onward he:
  • Will not henceforth write, sign, or print in any way a single phrase which in his opinion distorts the truth.
  • Will utter such a phrase neither in private conversation not in the presence of many people, neither on his own behalf not at the prompting of someone else, either in the role of agitator, teacher, educator, not in a theatrical role.
  • Will not depict, foster or broadcast a single idea which he can only see is false or a distortion of the truth whether it be in painting, sculpture, photography, technical science, or music.
  • Will not cite out of context, either orally or written, a single quotation so as to please someone, to feather his own nest, to achieve success in his work, if he does not share completely the idea which is quoted, or if it does not accurately reflect the matter at issue.
  • Will not allow himself to be compelled to attend demonstrations or meetings if they are contrary to his desire or will, will neither take into hand not raise into the air a poster or slogan which he does not completely accept.
  • Will not raise his hand to vote for a proposal with which he does not sincerely sympathize, will vote neither openly nor secretly for a person whom he considers unworthy or of doubtful abilities.
  • Will not allow himself to be dragged to a meeting where there can be expected a forced or distorted discussion of a question. Will immediately talk out of a meeting, session, lecture, performance or film showing if he hears a speaker tell lies, or purvey ideological nonsense or shameless propaganda.
  • Will not subscribe to or buy a newspaper or magazine in which information is distorted and primary facts are concealed. Of course we have not listed all of the possible and necessary deviations from falsehood. But a person who purifies himself will easily distinguish other instances with his purified outlook.

------Alexander Solzhenitzen

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

lecture of the week

Empire of the Steppes.....


part 2 

part 3

part 4

part 5

I've only listened to number one, but it seems very desnse with facts... the early lectures have to do with China's struggles with these peoples and later ones go into the Muslim, Russian and eastern European parts of historyIt concentrates on their movement and wars

some of it overlaps the Silk Road lecture series on the Penn museum website, which emphasizes the trade and movement of ideas and stuff (including disease) through the flatlands of central Asia.

I find this fascinating, but have to listen/read these several times, because unlike ancient Greece/Bronze age, it is not something I studied in college so I have to start from scratch.

Remembering the Red Guards

When the reformers threatened to take over the gov't of China after tens of millions died in his "Great Leap forward", Mao instead arranged for an army of brainwashed youths to cause a revolution to destroy the past, and to get rid of teachers and others deemed not revolutionary enough.

David Warren's essay notes how it was not well reported, and that as a reporter he was fed lies about what was going on....

For what was destroyed, in addition to the bodies corresponding to tens of millions of human souls, was of tremendous value, not only to China but to the legacy of the planet. To my mind looking back, the Cultural Revolution may be the most sustained and thorough exercise in the cause of “progress” that men have yet performed.

I remember the propaganda at that time for both these bloodlettings, which was believed in our college. So we read about a youth sent to a rural village with three months of training as a "barefoot doctor" did medical miracles using the book of Mao. When I objected to this as nonsense, I was assured by my fellow students that it was true...

The famine of the "great leap forward" is only now being documented, but has precidents in Chinese history where famine relief was stopped for political reasons or because of corruption.

But the destruction of the past also has a precident in history, as when the first Emperor killed all the intellectuals and burned all the books.

I laugh when westerners spout schtick blaming "religion" for all of history's wars. Chinese history is worse, but since it was run by elites, it is't polite to notice all the dead peasants.

I had a Korean professor friend who went to China to teach for a year (economics I think). He came back and mentioned that the generation of the Red Guards not only killed many older people, but they themselves were left without an education: After they out did their usefulness, they were sent to rural areas to work, not back to school... and later, tried to catch up with their schooling....yet after ten plus years of not using their minds, they found it difficult.

I read an anecdote the other day, where someone mentioned to Deng Xiaoping that one person who was "reeducated" during that time said it was a valuable experience, and Deng, who had been through it himself, only replied: He lied.

More about Deng here:

After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Deng held a number of important military and civilian posts: Member of the General Staff of the PLA; Member of the Central Committee; Member of the Politburo; Secretary-General of the CCP; Vice-Premier of the State Council. However, Deng and Mao Zedong clashed when the Great Leap Forward(1957-1958) failed.
Down with Liu Shaoqi! Down with Deng Xiaoping! Hold high the great red banner of Mao Zedong Thought ..., 1967Down with Liu Shaoqi! Down with Deng Xiaoping! Hold high the great red banner of Mao Zedong Thought ..., 1967In 1966, Deng and Liu Shaoqi became the major targets of struggle during the Cultural Revolution. They and Mao basically disagreed on the course of development China ought to take. Mao, moreover, feared that Liu's and Deng's policies would tarnish his revolutionary status. Deng was prosecuted by Red Guards, lost all his positions and was sent into internal exile.

Related item: How the LATimes covered the Red Guards:

you know, I keep reading about the Trumpettes being like Nazis, yet the only violence I saw documented was an elderly man who smashed a protester who waved an obscene gesture in his face. Most of the riots have been on the other side...

Reminds me of the 1960's...when the "anti war" demonstrators cherry picked massacres to push their agenda, in the same way that the left conveniently forgot the millions killed by Saddam Hussein before his removal.

we see a similar black hole of memory in the "BLM" and other leftist insurgencies funded by Obama's friends. As I have written before: maybe Jefferson was an SOB for not freeing his slaves, but at least he didn't throw them off their land to starve when the potatoes failed.

the good thing about America's lack of memory is that, unlike the Middle East or Yugoslavia, where past wrongs are remembered for centuries, leading to terrorism and war, in contrast, few in the USA even remember what their ancestors suffered.


this lack of memory is why I get annoyed at "white" schtick that the left is pushing...

Uh, who do you mean? Do you include the Jews fleeing Pogroms, the Irish fleeing certain death from famine, or the poor English seeking religious freedom, or the Germans fleeing the "kulturkampf", or the Polish/Eastern Europeans fleeing tyranny?

 and when I read articles about the decline of the whites in the USA, I think: intermarriage? Or do we still go by the "one drop" rule?

Ironically, Chinese and Koreans are now considered white and discriminated against in college admissions, my sons had a non Hispanic hame and were discriminated against in admission to high school, and of course my grandkids are "white", even those who look Filipino...

and notice Rubio and Cruz are not "hispanic"?

In politics, you are only a "minority" if you are Democrat...