Yesterday one of my more inquisitive petty officers asked me why China backed off on its promise to cut all banking ties with North Korea. Specifically, he asked me why China would support a regime that murders and brutalizes its own people.

“Easy,” I told him. “They aren’t Chinese, so China doesn’t really care.”

Continue reading “Because they aren’t like us”

That is a picture of a Rose Petal that was taken by my son’s Iphone last night at a prayer service in Medford. Said Petal and one other were pressed against his chest by Brother Carmelo a mystic from the Philippians who is in Massachusetts who flew in tuesday and flies out tomorrow.

Here are two videos I shot of the various Petals, my wife, oldest son, and I have two each. 3 of them have the Eucharist on them, one the head of Jesus, one of the Blessed Mother and the children of Fatima and one of St. Francis at the foot of the cross.

This one was about 90 minutes later taken in Leominster at Happy Jack’s restaurant.

Here are two of the pictures I took (the full batch is at the bottom

that’s the same of as above here is my son’s other one.

There were a bunch of people in this room after the blessing Brother Camelo took the white pedals out of the bowl where they had been mixed with water (water that had come from sealed water bottles that were opened in our presence and drank from by people who attended) and pressed them against our chests. The images were viable to the light very shortly afterwards but the letters on the host didn’t become distinct until later. I still have glitter on my chest…

and my head.

My wife took these pictures just now for this post. There is also glitter on my wife’s chest but you’ll have to take my word for it as you aren’t getting any photos of that.

Watching the assorted people aged from late teens to 80’s was like watching a bunch of kids opening up packs of baseball cards to see who they had gotten. The images widely varied from person to person and the sheer amazement of the room was palatable, although given that it was full of faithful Catholics said amazement might be a tad strange.

I should point out that while our host bought a bunch of roses for the event my wife specifically purchased six roses at the Market Basket on John Fitch Highway in Fitchburg and brought them. They were sent to the front and I distinctly saw the petals from those roses taken by the priest (not Brother Carmelo) and plucked for the use in this service. We had gotten there a tad late and nobody had a shot to fiddle with or adjust said roses. Furthermore there was a room full of people (I’d estimate 30-40) people in a room not bigger than 20 x 10 with all eyes on what was going on.

Here are the thumbnails of the pictures we took. My son’s petals are now at his house in his bible and our four are at our house in mine. Brother Camelo said to leave them there for three months and then we can laminate them.

Oh and one other thing. A Bowl was passed full of water that had been clouded by the pedals for us to dip our rosaries in. All three of ours still smell strongly of roses.

Here are the pictures I took along with the four my son took off of his Iphone

As I said, all of this happened right in front of us and I’d say the implications of this is significant for what a person believes and how they choose to live. You are of course free to assume that I’m a liar or a fool and come up with a complicated explanation as to how this happened.


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Happy First Day of Fall, y’all! The Autumnal Equinox happened at 4:02 pm EST today. We can now look forward to shorter days and longer nights, and Halloween candy that is already on sale on store shelves everywhere. Where I live, we also get to look forward to apple festivals, pumpkin picking, and vibrant colors all around as the leaves change before falling off for the winter.

Update from last week’s post: all of my cats have gotten over their illness, thank God and thank you to anyone who offered up a prayer on their behalf! Even old Zeke is back to his usual self, here he is snuggled up with my dog, Bellah, on my bed.

Zeke the Cat and Bellah the Dog – cuddle buddies

Bellah is the mother of my puppies, she had six last October and we kept four, two boys and two girls. My two girl puppies got spayed last week and have fully recovered and are back to playing happily with their brothers.

I know they say you can’t catch a cold or whatever from your cats, but I sure caught something from somewhere as I am now dealing with an upper respiratory thing of my own. I just hope my family doesn’t catch it.

And, of course, the world continues doing that spinny thing that it does, so here are some links:

President Donald Trump returned to New York and gave a stellar speech at the UN the other day. Fausta has a nice summary right here at Da Tech Guy Blog.

Our lovely First Lady, Melania Trump, dressed beautifully for her husband’s big UN speech, as you can see by visiting MOTUS for today’s FLOTUS Friday post.

Some lunatic woman made a huge nasty scene at a restaurant over the presence of a veteran’s service dog, and the restaurant has turned the embarrassing incident into an opportunity to do something good.

The answer is YES: Jim Hoft asks an important question.

Curb your human: Hepatitis A Outbreak in San Diego linked to people pooping on the streets.

Being a fat loser who is an “idiot” is no excuse to behead a person, no matter what some shifty defense lawyer says. Pamela Geller has the story about this ludicrous claim from her would be assassin’s attorney.

Mel Brooks outs himself as a fellow thought criminal.

GoreBull Warming Hoax – The science is settled! No so fast…

Related: Da Tech Guy on weather/climate models

Deja Vu? History does repeat, apparently, and that is ay okay in this case! 

The fact is, if you are too young to remember what it was like when Ronald Reagan was President, don’t worry.

You know exactly what it was like — even if you weren’t born yet.

Because we’re living it all over again.   READ THE WHOLE THING

I hope you all have a nice weekend and that you enjoy the beginning of this beautiful new season.

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

Maria blows the stars around
Sets the clouds a-flyin’
Maria makes
The mountains sound like folks was out there dyin’
Maria (Maria)
Maria (Maria)
They call
The wind
Maria

The scenes from Puerto Rico are horrific: Ruin, destruction, flooding, and no electricity, cell signals or clean water for three and a half million Americans.

More people live in Puerto Rico than in 20 states.

Consider also that many from the Lesser Antilles who were left homeless were transferred to Puerto Rico for shelter.

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Adding to the anguish: not being able to hear from friends and relatives. CBS Miami has an article on How Family, Friends Can Check On People In Puerto Rico.

The complete blackout combined with the flooding is a clear  imminent threat to public health, not only to safety.

Kevin Lui explains How could a storm knock out power across the whole island?

Puerto Rico’s power grid was already in bad shape even before the 2017 hurricane season. PREPA’s power plants are 44 years old on average, reports Reuters — in contrast with the industry-wide average of 18 years.

The company, which filed for bankruptcy in July, called its own system “degraded and unsafe,” saying in a fiscal plan released this April that “years of under-investment have led to severe degradation of infrastructure,” according to Reuters.

According to Vox, PREPA also faces a manpower shortage that, even before this hurricane season, was already impeding its day-to-day maintenance.
. . .
Puerto Rican officials think that the power distribution infrastructure might be more badly damaged than power stations, the governor told CNN, adding that power could be more quickly restored if transmission lines turn out to be in better shape than thought.

Compounding the problem is Puerto Rico’s economic mess. I have posted about it for years; back to Lui’s article,

The general economic situation is also grim. Puerto Rico’s finances have been in dire straits for years. The island has yet to emerge from a decade-long recession, and unemployment stands at 11%. Its government entered a process similar to bankruptcy protection in May in a bid to restructure its debt load, currently in excess of $70 billion.

At the WSJ,

Maria and Irma hit at a time of financial strain for Puerto Rico. The island’s government and its state-owned public-power monopoly are under bankruptcy protection after years of overborrowing and a decade of economic recession. The U.S. Congress installed an oversight board last year to renegotiate roughly $73 billion in debt and to coax business interests back to the island.

More exasperating is the cell phone situation, where AT&T has exclusive rights, and companies such as FirstNet are not allowed to provide wireless services to first responders. AT&T is completely down.

Puerto Rico was on a downward spiral for years, well before Irma and Maria struck. One can only hope that this disaster becomes an opportunity to rebuild the entire island and cut down on decades’ worth of bloated, useless overspending and waste.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

Yesterday I wrote about Nolan Ryan greatness in reference to Chris Sale’s 300 Strikeout season. Today it hit me that Ryan is a great example of the follies of convention wisdom. The subject deserves a little more elaboration.

Of all the outs a pitcher can produce a strikeout is the most valuable, in my opinion even more than a double play. A runner can score on a double play, but without an error by the catcher a runner can’t score on a third strike nor can a runner advance on a strikeout without trying to steal a base. With no outs and runners on a strikeout makes an inning ending double play possible and with one a strikeout means that you don’t have to play your infield in, risking a hit getting through.

Nolan Ryan struck out 5714 in his career, he is the ultimate strikeout pitcher in baseball history and to understand just how good he was consider this.

While Ryan struck out 300 men five times in the AL since the DH was adopted he also struck out 300 men the year before (1972) for a total of six 300+ strikeout seasons including one at age 43 (1990). As you do ponder those numbers consider that Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens, Gaylord Perry, Don Sutton, Bert Blyleven, Chuck Finley, David Cone, Frank Tanana, Mike Mussina, CC Sabathia, Jim Bunning, Greg Maddux, Phil Niekro, Ferguson Jenkins, John Smoltz, and Cy Flipping Young, all on the top 24 all time strikeout leader list, never managed to do it once.

But believe it or not there was a time when people actually argued if Ryan was a great pitcher, let alone a Hall of Fame caliber pitcher, consider this from The Bill James Baseball abstract’s 1985 edition:

I may get kicked out of the sabermathmatics union for saying this but it seems to me we’ve got to start taking Ryan a little more seriously as a great pitcher. He has had six straight winning seasons (through 1984), which I didn’t expect either, but anyways he is now about twenty wins better than the teams he has pitched for. That doesn’t break any records but it is comparable to man of the pitchers listed here.

Remember when this was written Ryan had already been in the majors 18 years, had already won a world series, won 231 games, held the MLB record for most no hitters with five (he would throw two more) and was already the all time strikeout leader with over 3800k’s. In fact if he had retired that year he would still hold the record for no hitters and would be currently 4th all time in strikeouts (behind Randy Johnson 4875, Clemens 4672 and Steve Carlton 4136).

Yet here was one of the best minds in baseball stating in print that calling Nolan Ryan a great pitcher was a controversial opinion at at the time to many it was.

Of course while the experts argued the fans who saw him pitch got it. I watched him pitch at Fenway once. Everyone in the stands knew we were in the presence of greatness. He pitched deep into the game leaving behind a collection of dumbfounded hitters before giving the game to his bullpen who would give up the lead and then the game to the Red Sox to the delight of the fans.

It wasn’t until he became the grand old man of baseball that people would eventually come around and recognize Ryan for the all time great that he was. The writers got when he was eligible for the hall of fame in 1999 98.8% of the voters had him on their ballots tied with Tom Seaver for the highest percentage of votes all time. Only Ken Griffey Jr’s 99.3% in 2016 would beat it.

If you told Baseball expect’s in 1984 that this would be the case they’d have laughed you out of the room.

Nolan Ryan career is the best example of one of my favorite sayings. Conventional Wisdom is always right, up until the moment it isn’t.

I suspect we’ll have a lot of use for both this example and this saying over the next 7 years.


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Given the omnipresent heaviness of current news around the world, with natural disasters and threatened man made ones on all sides, thought it best to take a moment and breathe.

The NFL seems hellbent on self-destruction, what wth continued permitted player protests during the National Anthem plus a deadly inability to address CTE. You’d think with the tens of bajillions the league rakes in it’d spen some of that money on designing a more protective helmet, but unfortunately it does not appear to be in any way a priority.

Still, football remains the straw that stirs the American sports drink. Baseball might be the national pastime, but football is the national passion. Even more than arguing about politics, believe it or not.

Although I am San Francisco Bay Area born and raised, my football alliances lie with the Colts, for reasons explained here, and the Los Angeles Rams. The latter is most unusual, given the NorCal-SoCal rivalry bordering on open warfare. But I always liked the Rams … when they were in the rather tarnished Golden State. Now they are back home, although based on game attendance this season not many people in Southern California are aware of this.

Doubtless to the eyeroll of many, this weekend’s first prime time football matchup featured the aforementioned Rams, who haven’t had a winning season since the last Bush administration, and the San Francisco 49ers who presently bear zero resemblance to the team that won five Super Bowls. The stands were half-full at best, more than a few news stories passing around how you could buy a secondary market ticket for the game with less money than the price of two pretzels at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, home of the 49ers and Who’s Who in Peninsula Gangbangers.

Naturally, the Rams and 49ers played what will doubtless be considered the season’s most entertaining game, a seesaw battle ultimately decided in the Rams favor by a thwarted two-point conversion and a final defensive stand after the 49ers recovered an onside kick late in the fourth quarter. It was the first game I’ve been able to watch all year (work schedule; same reason I’ve been silent about NASCAR). To say both teams are works in progress would be the strongest understatement since noting as of late the Caribbean weather has been less than stellar. But, Jared Goff is getting a firm grip on this NFL quarterbacking thing; this plus some major personnel upgrades have taken the Rams offense from being offensive period to potent.

It was good for a few hours to forget the controversies; forget the wars raging online and threatened wars in real life, and simply enjoy the game. We are often told we steal much of life’s joy by routinely failing to live in the moment, this coupled with a reminder that Jesus’ first miracle was changing water into wine to keep the party going. (Nevertheless, I do not drink, but that is a story for another time.) Can we allow ourselves the luxury, at least once in a while, to have fun? Tonight was much-needed fun, this due in no small part to my team winning but also to two teams doing what the naysayers insisted couldn’t be done: put on a show.

Let’s set aside, for a moment, whether or not you (or I) support the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare replacement bill. That’s been debated publicly and privately more tenaciously than any bill since Obamacare and in a much smaller time frame. Instead, let’s look at one argument: future elections.

There have been a lot of fallback arguments made. These are the indirect arguments not associated with the substance of the bill that people will make in an attempt to paint passage as a proper strategic move. The most common one is that the GOP needs to pass SOMETHING in order to go into the midterm elections from a position of strength with the claim that they kept their promise.

In one sense, this is true. As a whole, if the GOP cannot pass some form of Obamacare repeal, they’ll lose face… as a party. It will reflect poorly on the party in a way that sparks national discussions. RNC representatives will have to spin feverishly. Fundraising, their strong point for a long time, will be hampered.

In every other sense, it’s false to believe they’ll lose the midterm elections by not passing Graham-Cassidy. First, let’s look at the obvious example: Obamacare. When it passed in 2010, every leftwing media outlet heralded it as a show of strength for the Democratic Party and President Obama. It was. However, that show of strength did not translate into electoral wins. Later that year, the Democrats lost the House. Four years later, they lost the Senate. Two years later, they lost the White House. They were defeated by GOP candidates who incessantly hammered on the need to repeal Obamacare.

The same scenario looms for the GOP. Will the party be strengthened? Yes. Will the President? Yes. Will individual candidates in the House and Senate be strengthened? No. By passing Graham-Cassidy, the GOP will be taking the same red meat they’ve been using for seven years and handing it to their Democratic competitors. Every Democrat running for seats on Capitol Hill will use Graham-Cassidy and any shortcomings that come to light before election day as all the ammunition they need to win.

On a national stage, it would be hard for the GOP to argue their failure to repeal Obamacare. In individual elections for the House and Senate, a good GOP candidate can easily remove that albatross from their neck based upon their personal voting record. If they voted for repeal, the issue is no longer a valid attack point. In fact, PASSING Graham-Cassidy will force them to answer more questions on the defensive… just as Democrats had to do in 2010 after Obamacare passed. That didn’t work out well for them and it won’t work out for many vulnerable GOP candidates.

Passing Graham-Cassidy will help the President win reelection in 2020 and will make the GOP look good. It will harm midterm GOP candidates in 2018 just as Obamacare harmed midterm Democrats in 2010.

Yesterday the Boston Red Sox clinching of at least the 2nd wild card berth was overshadowed by Chris Sale getting his 300th strikeout of the season in the 8th inning of a shutout of the Baltimore Orioles.

In the American league, where since 1973 a starter doesn’t get the privilege of facing a .150 hitter every 9 batters this is a rare feat and this story at MLB.com on the subject notes just how rare it is.

To put into perspective how rare a 300-K season is in the offensive-minded AL, consider that Sale joined Randy Johnson (1993) as just the second AL lefty to achieve it since the designated hitter was instituted in 1973. The only other AL pitchers to reach 300 over that same span aside from Sale, Johnson and Martinez? The legendary Nolan Ryan, who did it five times.

I have nothing but admiration for Chris Sale achievement, and to be in the company of Hall of Famers Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez is pretty damn good but think about what that last sentence means.

Nolan Ryan struck out 300 AL batters more times than Sale, Johnson and Pedro COMBINED. In fact Sale will have to achieve this season’s milestone twice more just for those three to pull even with Ryan.

That’s how good Nolan Ryan was.

This has been a bad week for the MSM ? Never Trump forces.

First you had the Emmys that not only became a parody of Hollywood never trumpdom but actually managed to set another new low for viewers.

Then you had CNN reporting that their own months of insisting the Trump was deranged for saying he was wiretapped was false.

Next you had climate change folks suddenly declare their models from ten years ago to be overly alarmist

Then you had the possibility that the Obamacare repeal which they had considered dead might suddenly be alive again

And then to top it all off the President gives a speech to the UN that not only called out North Korea and Iran (to the point where the MSM found themselves defending them) but explicitly called out Socialism and Communism for what they’ve always been was crimes recipes for failure, poverty starvation and oppression.

All of these things are bad enough but in the most ironic twist of ate left their only hope of scoring a win against Trump comes from the one person they may hate more, Sarah Palin.

You see there is a special election coming up in Alabama and the president, administration and ironically the establishment are backing Senator Strange are backing Luther Strange the incumbent, in fact the president is going to make a personal appearence for Senator Strange.

But while Strange is Ok as far as GOP senators go the tea party wing backs Judge Roy Moore who ranks high on the most hated judges by the left list and none other than Sarah Palin herself is going to Alabama to campaign for him.

Now the reality for conservatives is that no matter who is elected Ro Moore or Luther Strange president Trump will have an ally who will help to build the wall, fight terror, defund Planned Parenthood and get some version of the Obamacare repealed passed.

But think about how far our friends on the left have fallen when their best hope to hand this president a symbolic defeat is at the hands of the woman they most despise.

Break out the popcorn boys, this is going to be fun.

Thanks to our colleges, high schools, Hollywood, and the news media; very few Americans truly understand the concept of freedom of speech in its entirety.   I see, on such a regular basis, so many misconceptions about one of our most important God-given Natural rights.  When it comes to freedom of speech, the behavior of a certain segment of the political spectrum has become most appalling.  Silencing those with differing political and religious beliefs has become a natural reaction to a great many on the political left.  If you don’t agree with that statement, please explain to me recent events such as: tens of thousands showing up in Boston to silence a small group standing up for free speech, riots at Berkeley because one individual was scheduled to speak, Antifa beating people who dare to share opinions they don’t agree with, safe spaces on college campuses,  and so much more.

Freedom of speech is not granted to us by the First Amendment.  Each one of us is granted that right, along with all of our rights, directly by God.   The First Amendment preserves that right by preventing the federal government from interfering with that right in any way.  State Constitutions contain a Bill of Rights which protects free speech, along with other Natural Rights, of those living in that state against violations by the state and local governments.  If the First Amendment granted us the right of freedom of speech then deleting or changing that amendment would take it away.   The federal government, mostly through the efforts of an out of control Supreme Court, has distorted the meaning of the First Amendment so much that it is now used as a weapon to silence individuals and groups.   That violates the God-given Natural Right of freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech is far more important than people’s feelings.  There is no right to live your life free from being offended.  Everyone has a right to be offended by whatever offends them however no one has a right to silence anyone for any reason.  Not listening or saying something back is the only valid responses.  Political correctness is fundamentally wrong because its adherents seek to silence anyone and anything that offends them.  Political correctness is nothing but censorship by mob rule.  This does not violate the First Amendment because that amendment only restricts the federal government.  PC censorship does violate the God-given Natural Right of freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech applies to everyone.  This includes the vilest, most hate filled individuals and groups.  This view was shared by those that wrote and ratified the First Amendment.  Even though I completely detest the Ku Klux Klan, along with everything they stand for, I fully support their right to spew their hate filled garbage.

Freedom of speech protects hate speech.  Far too often hate speech is nothing more than speech that offends someone.  It is all too common today for members of the political left to label speech, ideas, and philosophies of those on the political right as hate speech and attempt to ban those ideas.  This behavior is rampant on American colleges and universities.  Even truly hateful speech is protected.  As stated before, even the garbage spewed by the Ku Klux Klan is protected by freedom of speech.

No one has a right to use their speech to silence anyone.  Mobs or individuals shouting down or drowning out other speakers is not an exercise in free speech. It is a violation of the free speech of the original group or individuals that are trying to speak. It is also a violation of the right of an audience to listen to what they want to hear. Everyone has a right to speak and be heard no matter how vile and disgusting they are. Everyone has a right to listen to whatever they want to listen to. With the mob approach, free speech is only reserved for the largest and angriest mobs. This approach will only lead to violence, which has happened all too often recently.  The events in Boston last month were a disgusting display of misguided individuals silencing others.  The media falsely labeled the original rally as hate speech by white supremacists and tens of thousands showed up to silence them, drown them out, or force the cancelation of the event.   Even if the rally was organized by white supremacists, no one had a right to silence them in any way.  Silently protesting them; while carrying signs, or peacefully and respectfully trying to engage in debate, would have been proper techniques to protest such an event.

Freedom of speech is a two way street.  Everyone has a right to criticize speech and behavior they do not agree with.  Criticism is in no way a violation of the original speaker’s right of free speech.  I am regularly critical of speech I do not like along with individuals and groups who engage in speech and behavior I don’t like.  Often I use harsh or angry language when I criticize what I don’t like.  Everyone is free to do the same.  I never call for anyone to be silenced no matter how vehemently I disagree with what they have to say.

Speech is never violence.  This claim has repeatedly been made by the group Antifa who use this claim as an excuse to use violence against those they disagree with.  Because of this behavior Antifa is nothing more than a mob of angry thugs.

Violence is never the answer to anything.  That includes speech that you do not agree with or that offends you.

Censorship is always wrong.  Facebook and Twitter regularly censor conservative and other right leaning posts, advertising, articles, and memes.  The First Amendment and state Bills of Rights do not prevent this behavior because they are private companies.  This censorship does violate the God-given Natural right of freedom of speech therefore it is wrong.  Individuals have every right to not use those social media outlets and implore others not to use them.   I regularly use those social media outlets to rail against their vile censorship.  I will share this article on both sites.

Forcing others to be patriotically correct or morally correct is just as wrong as forcing others to be politically correct.  We on the right also engage in our own censorship, although it is not as out of control as that of the political left.  There is nothing wrong with encouraging others to speak and behave as you wish.  It is absolutely wrong to force others to comply and to silence them if they do not.

If you agree with this article, can you please share it on Facebook and Twitter?