This is the End of Heisei

One friend said today, “This is last time we will do this.” This is how Japanese talk at the end of the year. They are big on the endings. Well, it turns out that it was the end of the year. Tomorrow the calendar changes to become Reiwa. The Emperor father turns the kingdom over to his son.

To show this is real I got this in my inbox from Costco Japan. Gannen is a fancy way to say Year One.

Happy New Year All!!

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“Yellow, It’s Me….”

Why are all those people behind Biden at his minuscule Pittsburgh rally yesterday wearing yellow shirts? Yellow is most famously the colour Of cowardice. It’s the colour of sadness. It’s the colour of a urine stain. Thank you Pissburgh, we love ya!

Well, I guess he can’t drape himself in the flag graphic. Trump has really pretty much pre-empted that! Just like Clinton’s supporters had to be schooled not to chant “USA! USA!” Because that’s a Trump chant. That says it all, really.

Biden is trying to jump right under Reagan’s Stetson. After his downer of an announcement speech, he has now released a video chock full of American icons. He’s goin’ for Reagan’s Morning in America vibe.

Yeah, see, except Reagan had earned that dawn, he presided over it.

It oughta be Trump who can claim the title Reagan II. The similarities between Carter/Mondale and B. Hussein are legion. Carter was ridiculed for proposing our country as “The Adequate Society”; B. Hussein’s entire tenure was dedicated to the message that mere adequacy is almost better than we deserve: we who never built anything…

But it isn’t Trump’s style to pose as anyone’s heir. He sees himself as sui generis ! And his GOP supporters wouldn’t dare make the comparison to the Divine Reagan. We’ve got enough trouble without causing the NTs to rend their garments over what they would see as blasphemy most foul.

Nonetheless, Trump’s broader message was and is similar to Reagan’s—and now Biden is shamelessly aping Trump. But Uncle Joe, ya can’t just say “America is an idea”, you gotta articulate that idea. (Hint: greatness! )

American citizens didn’t fall for Clinton’s “inevitability” in 2016, the electoral college saved us from the tyranny which would otherwise have been imposed by non-citizen voters on the coasts. Let’s hope that holds. We Yanks ain’t yellow.

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Why Trump Will Be A One Termer

I have been kicking this thought around in my head for about a month. I have come to the conclusion that the reason why Trump won in 2016 had more to do with whom he ran against than anything else. Yes, Trump hit on issues that many Americans found important, most notably trade issues and immigration. Yes, Trump worked much harder than Hillary when it came to states like Wisconsin and Michigan. But it must also be acknowledged that his margin of victory in many states that have not gone Republican since at least 1992 was razor thin for Trump, Michigan especially.

No, the main reason why Trump won was because Hillary was hated that much by most everyone in the electorate. If the voter was a Republican, there is no need to explain that person’s vote. If the voter was a progressive, then the explanation of wanting payback for Bernie is very reasonable. The bulk of Democrat voters in these states that did not show up to vote for her, or outright voted for him, is a clear indicator.

In 2012 Barack Obama won Michigan with 2,564,569 votes. Romney got 2.1 million and some change. In 2016, Hillary received 2,268,836 votes in her loss of Michigan to Trump, whose own total was below Obama’s in 2012 and just slightly more than Hillary’s. There is a 295,730 vote difference between Obama’s and Hillary’s vote total, and adding that difference to Romney’s goes well over Trump’s total so they did not go to Trump (at least not all of it). No, the only explanation can be that they sat out. That those voters who comprised that 295K were willing to let Hillary lose to Trump than give their support to Hillary.

There is a very good possibility that if the Democrats nominate someone who progressives deem from the Democrat “establishment” there could be a replay of 2016 in these key states, although I am not inclined to think that there is just that much hatred for Joe Biden. If nothing else, he has the ability to say that he is truly the Obama third term. He is also going to run as a “blue collar” guy despite being worth $1.5 million and having been in the Washington, D.C. for the better part of three decades. However, if Trump runs a good race, he can also tie Biden to Obama’s words about those blue collar jobs never coming back.

I think the Democrats are thirsty for their own Tea Party candidate, and I also think that these same voters are not afraid of nominating that candidate. Hillary was just not liked by the American voters. Trump is not going to have the luxury of running against her again. He will have a strong economy to lean on–barring anything happening that kills that. He could have some victory in immigration to lean on, but will it be enough to convince voters that it is what he promised. And he is going to have a bevy of judicial nominees to point to, but that is only going to satisfy in the weeds law folks like myself.

I think Trump’s mission from God was to prevent that woman from ever assuming the power of the presidency–and thank God for his victory. However, I just do not see his mission extending beyond that. I do not think that the next Democrat opponent is going to be as unlikeable as she was and as he is.

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“FISA Court Says FBI Lied to Them”

Mike Huckabee wrote the following,

After being on defense –- with his hands legally tied –- for the first two years of his Presidency, President Trump is finally able to go on offense, as he can no longer be accused of “interfering with the Russia investigation.” But something else is afoot as well, according to deGenova, and here is the tremendous breaking news: The FISA court has been looking into abuses of the FISA system and has communicated with the Justice Department about its findings. Their chief judge has already determined that for more than four years before the election of Donald Trump, there was an illegal spying operation (yes, SPYING –- and, yes, ILLEGAL) going on by four FBI contractors to break the law to steal personal electronic information about American citizens and to use it against the Republican Party.

This could be a real game changer if people get indicted and start going to jail.

There will be grand juries and indictments, according to diGenova, who knows how this works because he happens to have been one of the original lawyers on the FISA court. He said, “John Brennan isn’t going to need one lawyer –- he’s going to need five.”

Read the whole thing.

I feel like Charlie Brown with the football but maybe this time the kick will be made.

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The First Time The Saints Came Marchin’ In

In connection with discussions on two threads in the last few days, I checked my recollection of events surrounding the crucifixion. But here’s sump’n I never noticed before. At the moment of Jesus’ death:
“And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and were seen by many.”
—Matthew 27:52,53.
Mark, Luke, and John don’t recount that. But my question is: I thought you could only be a saint if you had known Jesus, meaning you were alive during His ministry or you accepted the faith later. There are no Old Testament “saints”, right? Moses, David, Elijah, Isaiah, aren’t saints.
Were the saints Matthew refers to people to whom Jesus has preached and who had believed? Or did he just mean the dead walked, as part of the signs and portents surrounding the sacrifice? But then, which dead? And for that matter, did they rise when Jesus died? If so what were they doing until Sunday morning?
That’s the same question: so, where were you Saturday?— that spawned the Gospel of Nicodemus, I think from the 12th Century, which contains a fantastic account of the Harrowing of Hell over the weekend. The traditional liturgy used to say Jesus “descended into Hell” but I don’t think it does, anymore.
Protestants aren’t big on saints. I think we only routinely call the writers who made it into the canonical Bible “saints”. Even Mary and Joseph: they come out at Christmas time but then, we pack ‘em away again for another year.
Were those revenants who came marchin’ into Jerusalem really “saints”? Faithful Catholics, who can qualify as a saint?

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I’m #1! And #2!

I’m rather notorious for claiming both American and Canadian roots.  I was born in Portland as a 4th generation Oregonian but moved to Canada when I was 6 and lived there through high school before returning to the States for college.  I also received a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications so my father always accused me of having a BS in BS.

So with that background, I proudly claim positions 1 AND 2 in the following study!

https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2019/04/americans-are-famous-for-being-bs-artists-but-the-overclaiming-champion-is-actually-canada-study.html

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Let’s All Speak At Once!

“Ballot harvesting” is just the latest tactic to inflict a bad case of laryngitis upon the voice of the people.

The cliché is that a week is a long time in politics. Tru dat. And if you cast your ballot in September or October, you might very well wanna change your mind by Nov. 8. But no matter what has happened, you can’t.

Things get increasingly intense in the last few months and weeks of a campaign. The candidates’ rhetoric becomes stronger, less guarded, if only due to sheer exhaustion. Oppo research “reveals” by both, or all, sides break upon the shoals of the electorate. Every voter should weather the bracing effects of those squalls before voting.

No, no of course I’m not saying shut-ins, to take the most extreme case, Should be deprived of voting rights. But let’s just require their mail-in ballots to be postmarked no earlier than the day before Election Day.

This kind of regulation is primarily up to individual states.i haven’t heard anyone else proposing this idea, so I doubt anything can be done in time for 2020. Which is sad because the Dems will be squeeeeezing the early and in-home voting permissions for every drop of anti GOP bile they can wring out.

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Golden Week is Upon Me.

From April 29th to May 5th is the usual Golden Week in Japan. This is the linking of the following holidays.

  1. April 29th  is Showa Day. (It used to be called the Emperor’s Birthday.)
  2. May 3rd is Constitution Day
  3. May 4th is Greenery Day (This is basically a made-up holiday to connect to the next day.)
  4. May 5th is Children’s Day

This year is special because the 29th is a Monday and the 5th is a Sunday so Golden Week is 10 days long.  The three extra days come from the Saturday and Sunday before the 29th and Monday the 6th as a replacement holiday for the 5th landing on a Sunday.

In my early days of living in Japan I saw GW written on many things. My mind quickly read George Washington and that didn’t make sense. Now I know the right meaning.

I won’t get into it here but there is also a Silver Week in September. As you can guess it is not quite as good as Golden Week.

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Latin Saying: Aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem.

Aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem.

Remember to maintain a calm mind while doing difficult tasks.

Auquam= calm

memento= remember (adj)

rebus= task

in= while

arduis= difficult

servare= maintain

mentem= mind

It is good to count to 10 and exhale a few times when one is in a difficult situation. It is easy to lose it and react instead of acting from one’s beliefs and principles. The sad thing is losing it for a moment means losing jobs, relationships, and one’s reputation. John Templeton, a person I look up to I think covered this keeping calm through prayer. He would even start investors’ meetings in prayer. It is a good way for many people to calm down.

What steps do you take in difficult tasks? Are you or were you a person that panics/panicked and had to fix the broken things?

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Book Review: The Code Hunters

“The Code Hunters” by Jackson CoppleyA team of expert cavers exploring a challenging cave in New Mexico in search of a possible connection to Carlsbad Caverns tumble into a chamber deep underground containing something which just shouldn’t be there: a huge slab of metal, like titanium, twenty-four feet square and eight inches thick, set into the rock of the cave, bearing markings which resemble the pits and lands on an optical storage disc. No evidence for human presence in the cave prior to the discoverers is found, and dating confirms that the slab is at least ten thousand years old. There is no way an object that large could be brought through the cramped and twisting passages of the cave to the chamber where it was found.

Wealthy adventurer Nicholas Foxe, with degrees in archaeology and cryptography, gets wind of the discovery and pulls strings to get access to the cave, putting together a research program to try to understand the origin of the slab and decode its enigmatic inscription. But as news of the discovery reaches others, they begin to pursue their own priorities. A New Mexico senator sends his on-the-make assistant to find out what is going on and see how it might be exploited to his advantage. An ex-Army special forces operator makes stealthy plans. An MIT string theorist with a wide range of interests begins exploring unorthodox ideas about how the inscriptions might be encoded. A televangelist facing hard times sees the Tablet as the way back to the top of the heap. A wealthy Texan sees the potential in the slab for wealth beyond his abundant dreams of avarice. As the adventure unfolds, we encounter a panoply of fascinating characters: a World Health Organization scientist, an Italian violin maker with an eccentric theory of language and his autistic daughter, and a “just the facts” police inspector. As clues are teased from the enigma, we visit exotic locations and experience harrowing adventure, finally grasping the significance of a discovery that bears on the very origin of modern humans.

About now, you might be thinking “This sounds like a Dan Brown novel”, and in a sense you’d be right. But this is the kind of story Dan Brown would craft if he were a lot better author than he is: whereas Dan Brown books have become stereotypes of cardboard characters and fill-in-the-blanks plots with pseudo-scientific bafflegab stirred into the mix (see my review of Origin), this is a gripping tale filled with complex, quirky characters, unexpected plot twists, beautifully sketched locales, and a growing sense of wonder as the significance of the discovery is grasped. If anybody in Hollywood had any sense (yes, I know…) they would make this into a movie instead of doing another tedious Dan Brown sequel. This is subtitled “A Nicholas Foxe Adventure”: I sincerely hope there will be more to come.

The author kindly let me read a pre-publication manuscript of this novel. The Kindle edition is free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Coppley, Jackson. The Code Hunters. Chevy Chase, MD: Contour Press, 2019. ISBN 978-1-09-107011-0.

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This Week’s Book Review – Admiral Gorshkov

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears, I post the review here on Sunday.

Book Review

‘Admiral Gorshkov’ a biography of the Soviet Navy’s architect

By MARK LARDAS

Apr 28, 2019

Admiral Gorshkov: The Man Who Challenged the U.S. Navy,” by Norman Polmar, Thomas A. Brooks, and George E. Feederoff, Naval Institute Press, 2019, 304 pages, $39.95

Historically, Russia has been a land power, with large armies and limited mobility. Yet during the 1960s and 1970s, during the Soviet era, it built an oceangoing navy to challenge the United States at sea.

“Admiral Gorshkov: The Man Who Challenged the U.S. Navy,” by Norman Polmar, Thomas A. Brooks, and George E. Feederoff, is a biography of the architect of that Soviet challenge.

Born in 1910, Sergei G. Gorshkov grew up in the new Soviet Union. He bypassed the university to enter the Frunze Naval Academy in 1927. When a Communist Party screening committee asked why, a then-teenaged Gorshkov replied, “I will be more useful serving in the Navy than doing anything else.”

As this book shows, he proved correct, rising to be the longest-serving commander of the Soviet navy and the longest-serving admiral to command the Soviet navies since its establishment by Peter the Great.

After a brief period as a navigation officer in the Black Sea, he spent his career before World War II, from 1932 through 1939 in the Pacific, where he rose to command of a destroyer brigade. Reassigned to command of a Black Sea cruiser brigade in June 1940, he spent World War II in the Black Sea, the one theater in which the Soviet Union could significantly challenge the Axis at sea. Gorschkov amassed a remarkable record of achievement during the war years, gaining the trust and friendship of Nikita Khrushchev, then a senior political officer.

Remaining in the navy at war’s end, his career took off after Khrushchev took charge of the Soviet Union in 1956. Gorshkov was given command of the Soviet navy and the freedom to rebuild it as he saw fit. During the next decade, he created a navy that threatened the supremacy of the United States navy — then the most powerful in world history. Gorshkov did this by creating a force balanced between submarines and surface ships, one providing a serious challenge within the limitations of Soviet resources and goals.

“Admiral Gorshkov” is a fascinating portrait of a man who was the U.S. navy’s most dangerous 20th century adversary.

Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, amateur historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is marklardas.com.

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