by baldilocks

On August 25, 2008, I wrote this post at my original blog. It was a comparison of the contemporaneous Russia-baldilocksGeorgia War with a possible future event between the US and Mexico. Fascinating, in light of what’s going right now. There is a huge factor which I failed to imagine, however: an enemy-infiltrated White House.

Anyway, see what you think of my “prophecy.” Continue reading “Flashback”

By Pastor George Kelly

The citizens of the United States of America historically have prided themselves in the principle of E Pluribus Unum (out of the many ONE) as opposed to the concept of  “Ex Uno Plures” (out of one becomes Many).

The United States of America is a nation that has accomplished what many countries have failed to realize and that is a unity of its people amidst great diversity.

Last week, this journalist, cited two significant works by two different scholars who possessed divergent political views – the Economist /Professor Thomas Sowell author of “Ethnic America” (1983) and the late Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. the author of “The Disuniting of America” (1991).

Professor Sowell is a Libertarian / 19th century liberal and Mr. Schlesinger was a “New Deal” liberal of impeccable credentials.  Nevertheless, despite the deep difference of philosophical opinion of these two gentlemen on many different fronts – the root causes of The Great Depression would be a case in point – they both loved America and believed in the “genius” of America’s ability to absorb so many people of different faiths, races, ethnicities, nationalities.

Perhaps we have flourished with regards to “assimilating” so many different peoples  from all over the world for such a long time that we forgot the causes that make for national harmony / unity?

Political Scientists employ a term known as “political socialization” to describe a nation’s process of successfully assimilating people of different nationalities.

What does political socialization entail?

First and foremost, immigrants who arrive within a nation must adopt the dominant narrative of their new nation’s history.  This is why significant days such as July 4th (Independence Day) are vitally important.  July 4, 1776 reminds Americans why they came into existence in the first place.

Secondly, there must be a “common language.”  In the past, various nations had to adopt what was known as a “lingua franca” – a language of commerce before they could engage in business or trade with one another.  In the United States, English is the dominant language – and has been since the first colonists arrived at James Bay in 1607.

Without a common language, America would experience anarchy similar to what is best captured and described by the Biblical narrative known as “The Tower of Babel” which is recorded in the 11th chapter of the book of Genesis.  Oddly enough the word “Babel” means confuse or confusion…

Thirdly, new immigrant arrivals must “buy-in” to common traditions and implicit rules of engagement that are not always expressed, but clearly understood by the dominant population.  In America we refer to “the rules of the game” and “fair play” and that we are “a nation of laws and not men.”  We respect a soft “separation of Church and State” without resulting in violence towards others who disagree with us.

Finally, political socialization means that a nation helps their new arrivals to understand the prevailing “worldview” which undergirds their institutions of Law, Government, Ethics and Morality.

In the current volatility that takes place during the midst of our fierce and vociferous debates on Immigration policy, it is so easy to forget the ideas, factors, and principles that made us what we are and what are essential to our continued survival and flourishing as a nation.

Americas must take a few minutes to breathe and to take stock of who we are and what we wish to remain as we march forward into the future.

Change must come, but how do we successfully change?

The old adage is that there are only two constants in life and they are death and taxes.

Nevertheless, the United States has managed to negotiate tremendous change and upheaval because at its very core the principles of her founding have remained constant and inviolable.

In a work of fiction that this author read not too long entitled “Deadlock” by James Scott Bell, one of his characters – a former associate justice of the Supreme Court speaks to the current Chief Justice in the story – and proclaims that the founding of America was based on an outlook of reality derived from “Biblical Metaphysics” (the associate justice was referring to “The Declaration of Independence”).

Perhaps it might be a good exercise to read and re-read our founding documents.

Perhaps we could start by repeating “The Pledge of Allegiance” in our minds and hearts each day during the course of our day:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of The United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All.”

Some food for thought?

by baldilocks

I learned a new word today: syncretism.

Syncretism[…] is the mixing of Christianity with something else such that they become a different gospel. Syncretism can take place with a positive-thinking gospel, a nationalist emphasis, or emerging culture. Syncretism happens more than we might know.

[…]oil_and_water

When anything is added to the message of the gospel, the uniqueness and sufficiency of Christ is compromised and another gospel can be created that is, well, actually not the gospel. In this, obscurantism and syncretism are closely related, each leading to the creation of a false gospel.

Syncretism can be most easily seen when two or more starkly contrasting religions are mixed. Around the world, examples are readily available where Christ has been preached in places with long and various religious traditions. In many cases, pieces and parts of the traditional religion will remain while Christ is added to the mix.

[Notes: Obscurantism is defined in the article and I spell-checked the excerpt.]

I was already familiar with the concept, but did not know it had a specific name. Of course, the practice is almost as old as the Church itself. An example: when European Christians were conquering and Christianizing the New World, Africa and Asia, they often bound up Christianity with things European. A specific example: when my father was growing up in Kenya—then known as British East Africa—native children had to have a “Christian” name–meaning a European given name–to attend schools run by the British.

These days, we see this type of heresy—this syncretism–taking on other guises: [insert ethnic group here] Liberation Theologies, Chrislam, and such. The Enemy is busy!

At any rate, I love being able to assign a word to a known concept.baldilocks

(Thanks to D.B. Harrison)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

It goes without saying that the United States of America – with the exception of Native Americans – is a nation of immigrants.

Those of us who have been blessed to be citizens of The United States of America pride ourselves in the principle of E Pluribus Unum (out of the many one).

Two significant works by two different scholars who have sharp and divergent views were written by the Economist Thomas Sowell – “Ethnic America” (1983) and by the late Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. – “The Disuniting of America” (1991).

In Ethnic America, Professor Sowell takes a close looks a 9 Ethnic Groups who constitute the bulk of the American population.  Even though this book was first released in 1983, much of what Dr. Sowell wrote is still valuable as a history of how many different racial groups came to America broke and penniless and in two to four generations these newly minted Americans brought innovation, entrepreneurship, hard work and energy and a new sense of patriotism to the body politic.

Mr. Sowell points out that the bulk of the immigrants arrived in America between the years of 1880 and 1920 when there was literally No Governmental Assistance to speak of whatsoever.  Jewish Americans had an average of $9.00 per person in their pockets in the early 1880s when they arrived at Ellis Island; by 1969, Jewish American had the highest per capita income of any ethnic group in the United States.

Accomplishments by men and women of Jewish ancestry have been breathtaking.  One simply looks at names such as George Gershwin (The Swing); Felix Frankfurter (former Supreme Court Justice); Hank Greenberg (great Baseball player with the Detroit Tigers) – and the breakthroughs brought about by Jewish brilliance in Finance goes without saying.  Our Jewish friends developed their social, political, and economic skills without much assistance from the US Government.

Black Americans were slaves for much of their history within America (1661 through 1863), yet, no other ethnic group has traveled as far as Black Americans have in order to walk alongside of their fellow Americans.  Dr. Sowell points out that in 1865 Black Americans were virtually illiterate (except for the 500,000 Free Persons of Color and the Blacks of West Indian descent who received their freedom 1 to 2 generations before most Black Americans).

However, within a 25 to 40 year period, more than half of Black Americans achieved basic literacy levels; this was a phenomenal accomplishment and one that took place without a large role of the American government.

In The Disuniting of America, the New Deal liberal historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. expressed his grave concern that the things that made America unique – the fabulous contributions of Western Civilization were being subtlety and at times not so subtlety undermined by the phenomenon known as “Multiculturalism.”

What is “Multiculturalism?”

One might argue that any attempt to define multiculturalism must end in futility.

This writer understands Mr. Schlesinger’s definition of “Multiculturalism” as more a description of what he felt was a literary coup-de-tat in an attempt to replace the literary works of the Western tradition (the works of “Dead White Males” – Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles, Virgil, et cetera…) with more modern works from disaffected groups.

These disaffected groups are members in the Academy – namely Feminist Activists, African-American Writers, and Latin-American Academicians along with other Ethnic groups – who feel that their contributions to America have been minimized, overlooked or slighted in the past.

Mr. Schlesinger feared that America was in grave danger of losing her soul as her nation’s history, literary works, and traditions were being usurped and redefined.

One might see the irony in Professor Schlesinger’s concern with the dangers posed by multiculturalism as he constantly railed against Conservatives who sought to preserve the cultural norms of American society as they were being transformed in the period of 1932 through 1964.

In The Disuniting of America, Mr. Schlesinger paid homage to the British Statesman Sir Edmund Burke by acknowledging the fact that liberals of his pedigree strayed too far away from Burke’s warnings in their efforts of political-social accommodation to American minorities who suffered discrimination and displacement in the past.

Why is this so important today?

As our nation, looks to handle the current Immigration crisis in the Southwestern United States along The Mexican border along with a broken and disastrous Immigration policy we would do well to consider the observations and concerns of both Professors Sowell and Schlesinger.

The citizens of The United States must determine if they wish to remain a nation based upon the concept of “E Pluribus Unum” (out of the many becomes ONE) or a nation which it is described as  “Ex Uno Plures” (out of One becomes Many).

Latino Leftists go all in on the “ethnic” “justice”:

The “Tequila Party,” a Latino group formed in opposition to the Tea Party, wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director JamesComey on Monday torequest that the Tea Party and several officials be investigated for their role in protesting and blocking the transfer of illegal aliens captured in Texas toMurrieta, California. The protests on July 1 turned back three busloads of aliens, though more are scheduled to arrive.

In their letter–signed by California attorney Ruben Salazar, pro-amnesty activist Dee Dee Garcia Blase, and Nebraska attorney Shirl Mora James–the group, writing on the letterhead of a new organization called “Somos Independents,” called on Holder and Comey to launch an “outside investigation” of Murrieta city councilwoman Diana Serafin; U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents Steven Golda and Gabe Pacheo; Murrieta mayor Alan Long, protest leader Patrice Lynes; the Murrieta Police Department, and local resident Joseph Culberson.josecuervogold

In other words, these people are looking to have Holder’s DOJ facilitate the detention of real and perceived Tea Party members–and to have the FBI arrest them as domestic terrorists. Oh the irony of that!

Tequila’s well-earned nickname is Ta Kill Ya. We all know that this is the ultimate intent of the Organized Left–to purge the world of “non believers.” Bill Ayers told us so. All of the lawlessness perpetrated by the government is intended to goad enough of the citizenry to violence, so that the purge will have the appearance of justification.

And, guess what, my Latino friends of all nationalities and political persuasions: when your usefulness comes to an end, you’ll be purged also. The Left has always styled itself as the champion of the brown and the poor–until we become inconvenient and too mouthy. Same as it ever was; ta-kill-ya, indeed.

Solution? This, too, is the same as it has always been: beseeching the Almighty and trusting in Him.

Steve Graham outlines how simple it all really is.

Drink the Living Water–or the poison brown water. Your choice.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

baldilocks

by  baldilocksBaldilocks mini

290,000. That’s how many illegal aliens the Obama Administration has inserted into this country. It did this boldly and without any camouflage—in the same manner in which it commits the dozens (hundreds) of other crimes against the citizenry.

In particular, however, this destruction of our southern border is a bold and contemptuous slap in the face to black American Democrats—the majority of black Americans.  While all Americans have suffered under Obama’s economic attacks on this country—euphemistically called economic policy—blacks have suffered proportionately more than other subgroups, especially in the unemployment sphere.  (This is due to our own political and economic short-sightedness and illiteracy as a group—our inability to see past our own pride at having someone in the White House who may look like one of our relatives.)

I almost said that President Obama has seen fit to make black Americans suffer more, but I know better. He could not give a rat’s about black Americans and why should he? After all, black liberals/ Leftists voted for him 100% and they aren’t going to do anything about his betrayal but mope silently. Or, they will blame the white man for Obama’s “failure”–for somehow forcing Obama to let the illegal aliens in–oblivious to the fact that this particular method of absolving Obama of guilt makes him in particular and black people in general appear to be weak and inferior.

“Sit down and shut up.” A few years back, Barack Obama said, basically, this to the Congressional Black Caucus when a few of their brighter members—the one with IQs in the high 90s—began to notice that the president had not become black America’s new Patron.

Well,  since the importation of a new group of slaves, the brighter black liberals in general have begun to get it as well. The rest, however, will continue to worship at their master’s feet as their lives–and this country–slide into chaos.

Not slipped into it, but pushed by their Master, Barack Obama. Thus always to rubes.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

by baldilocks

With respect to how I look at things, some observers have said that my view often gives a previously un-articulated perspective—a compliment. Others have called my views contrarian—not a compliment; the implication being that I intentionally take a side on a given topic about which few others or no others are taking.

The truth is that I can’t help my oddness. I was born this way; ask my parents. Of course, an example follows.

I’ve long been mulling over how the Civil Rights Act of 1964—its 50th anniversary is tomorrow– has adversely affected how we view the rights of American businesses owners to run their businesses as they see fit. It seems to me that the CRA’s language conflates the definitions of public and private with respect to businesses.

We’ve all read about the Bad Old Days, and some of us lived through them. The President Wilson-mandated segregation in government service lasted until President Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947, which, among other things, desegregated the U. S. Armed Forces.  However, state and locally mandated segregation stemmed from Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and, though Brown v. Board of Education (1954) signaled the end, that end did not happen immediately.

Public services—buses, trains, etc.– were segregated by law, but so were privately owned businesses—that is, businesses not “owned” by any level of government. And, while these laws were directed at black Americans, they didn’t just apply to them, but to all other Americans as well. Therefore, even if a white business owner did not want to segregate his business, he was compelled to do so under pain of prosecution. The issue was freedom and government did what it usually does: curtail it for all concerned.Civil Rights sit-in demonstration. (On Feb 9, 1960, black students protested with a sit-in at Woolworth's lunch counter. This photograph was taken during the first hour of the sit-ins. Seen here: the store manager has cl

Fast forward to the Civil Rights Act. It outlaws discrimination in public services—that is, services which are paid for by taxpayers: public transportation, public schools, public parks, etc. That’s a good thing. However, it refers to private businesses (“accommodations”) as public services. 

Outlawed discrimination in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters…

And, this is the basis for the confusion we see now for what a business owner may or may not do and his/her choices as to whom he/she is willing to provide goods and/or services. Remember the sit-ins? Brave and admirable, but the very act betrayed a dearth of education and an abundance of indoctrination.

One wonders if the conflation in the CRA language was done on purpose—to taint the document that underscored the 14th Amendment. Or, perhaps the purpose was to make government control of individuals and their money easier. (I’m sure that a few Dixiecrats used the latter reasoning to oppose the CRA. But when your enemy says something logical, it doesn’t make that thing less logical–or less true.)

I don’t know. However, there should no longer be any wonder that a Christian business owner is legally compelled to service a same–sex “marriage” ceremony.

My opinion: there should be a legal method of outlawing mandated segregation without mandating integration of any sort. But, doing that would required a politically educated populace, rather than a politically-indoctrinated, emotionally-charged one ready to scream RACIST!!! at the drop of a hat.

Besides, I think we’re almost to the point were certain types of separation will occur again. Let’s pray that these will be as painless as possible.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!baldilocks

by baldilocks

The weekend posts at Ace of Spades HQ are, for the most part, interest-specific. The guns, food, gardening threads, and my favorite, the Sunday Book Thread, are posted by Ace’s co-bloggers, giving the proprietor the weekend off. Usually.baldilocks

Today, however, there’s a people story posted by one of the co-bloggers, WeirdDave; it’s a recount of a possible attempted grift/robbery. Or, perhaps it was merely a cavalcade of incompetence from an observer’s viewpoint; Dave isn’t sure. Go read it; then come back.

In the comments, many are lamenting the decline of competence–that old can-do spirit–among Americans born later than the Baby Boomer Generation and I agree. I’m a late-born Boomer–1961–but I can’t point the finger too much, however, without pointing at myself. I’m a city girl and a bit of a BAP. However, there are many things that I learned to do in my middle age or had to do because of perceived lack of resources.

A small example: I sell items on the usual websites know for selling and when I went shopping for packing materials, I was appalled at the prices. So, I went online looking for DIY packing materials. When I found them, my response was, “of course.”  I made virtually free packing materials using things I would normally put in the recycle bin: balled-up circulars–which perennially clog my mailbox–and shredded paper stuffed and stapled into brown paper lunch bags. (The bags did cost $2 for two hundred.) I was proud of myself for finding the information, but, in hindsight, it seemed so obvious. And, therein lies another revelation.

You can do what you have to do when you are determined to do what you want to do. And, more often than not, your solution(s) will be right in front of you if you are looking for them. It’s a feature of God’s grace.

And I think that’s the issue which Dave and the commenters are observing: lack of desire to learn new skills , lack of desire to acquire new abilities, lack of desire to improvise, to adapt, and to overcome. It’s a dearth of vision and of faith.

We have become so used to convenience that, when faced with inconvenience and/or adversity, many of us panic or become angry–as if our rights have been violated. We have forgotten that this is a world of Murphy’s Law–if we ever actually learned it in the first place—and, therefore, we fail to make contingency plans for feces to happen. And when feces does happen, we give up—or throw a fit, which amounts to the same thing.

Determination is the missing element in much of 2014’s American population, and I predict that determination’s presence will be the key element of survival in the tougher times to come.

The good thing about determination, though, is this: it’s free…like God’s grace.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

The origin of Philosophy began on January 1, 465 B.C.

This is not true, but it reflects a truism that goes back more than 2 millennium.

The word philosophy is a combination of two words which are rich in meaning. The word “Philos” means beloved and loving and the word “Sophia” means wisdom. Therefore, a person who pursues an interest in philosophical subject matter is literally a “lover of wisdom, or a lover of the truth.”

The ancient Greeks are known in antiquity as the founders of philosophy as an academic discipline.

The Greeks of the ancient world gave rise to rational inquiry or what became known as “the examined life” (Socrates); the Greek thinkers of yesteryear asked themselves  questions such as: (1.) Who am I am? (2.) Where did I come from? (3.) Where am I going? (4.) Why is there life as opposed to no life? (5.) How can I get there?

Across the last 2 millennium, the discipline of philosophy has been manifested by three dominant schools of thought.

There is the classical school which is known as the “foundational discipline of inquiry” (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle). Secondly, there is the branch of philosophy known as “Analytic inquiry,” (Bertrand Russell) and finally, of somewhat recent vintage – in the middle of the 20th Century – there arose what was known as the “Existentialist school” (Albert Camus and Jean Paul-Sartre).

One might ask why knowledge of philosophy is so vitally important.

Glad that you asked… Smile!

The reason is somewhat self-evident. Our ability to exist as a nation or civilization depends upon our ability to nourish both our “minds” and our “spirits”; we must remain thinking people.

The discipline of philosophy or rational inquiry enables one to step back from his or her immediate surroundings and practice what psychologists call “self-awareness.”

Mankind unlike the animal kingdom has the ability to create separation or distance from his or her environment and evaluate his or her actions by “asking why” he or she does what she or he is doing.

We are not slaves to our appetites.

In the past, leisure time was a great asset to our cultural well-being because it afforded people a space to pause, reflect, and read classical literature that probed the nature of man in the nature of the human condition.

Do we still as a people believe in the efficacy of the great classical books?  Do we still make time to read and re-read them?

Or, are we so absorbed with social media and entertainment that we are not refreshing our minds as well as our bodies?

Today, both Socrates – and on a Spiritual plane Moses and Jesus Christ – would be profoundly disappointed that we produce scores of successful businessmen, businesswoman and scientists, yet very few people know how to truly think and apply what they learn?

The genius of Western Civilization is that it recognized over the past 2 millennium that 5 historical cities were responsible for its birth, nurture, growth, development, and cultivation.

The contributions from each one of those cities enabled people to grow and live an examined life

The ancient city of Jerusalem (1440 B.C. and 4 B.C.) gave birth to what we call our Judeo-Christian heritage.

Athens, Greece gave birth to philosophy.

Rome, Italy of the first century gave rise to Republican forms of government;

London, England of the Middle Ages was the genesis of modern democracy (Magna Carta 1215 A.D.).

And Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1776) gave birth to a unique experiment in “ordered liberty” (The Declaration of Independence).

Each one of those cities sparked interest and creativity in the hearts and minds of people. Each one of these cities made an invaluable contribution to the Spiritual, Mental, and Physical development of the world as we know it today.

Ancient Jerusalem is responsible for both the Hebrew Scriptures (Genesis through Malachi) and the development of the Christian New Testament (Matthew through Revelation).

Our ancestors of the past spent countless hours reading the Bible and imbibing its truths.’

(Even deists such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson believed that an accurate reading of the truths of The Holy Bible along with classical study was indispensable for the maintenance of a healthy culture).

In the next few weeks, this journalist wishes to share a list of books to read and meditate upon from the “ancient canon” of literature from those 5 cities that can assist us with recapturing our wonderful heritage that we call Western Civilization.

Classical literature can assist with infusing our souls with mental resiliency and setting our hearts ablaze with a positive moral imagination (C.S. Lewis ?).

The problems that we face today in what some have dubbed “the Cultural War” are not so much a matter of political party identification, but a failure on our part to remember the roots of our heritage and to fight to preserve the things in life that sustain our culture and matter the most.

Bon Appetit!

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Imagine my surprise when I opened my email this morning and found a link to Roger Kimball’s post, Deunionize the IRS.

Say what? Deunionize? As Roger asks, “The government’s tax collecting agency is unionized?” What union?

The union in question is The National Treasury Employees Union. According to the web site of the NTEU, the mission of the union is “To organize federal employees to work together to ensure that every federal employee is treated with dignity and respect.” That’s a tall order, in part because there are so very many federal employees. The NTEU’s web site includes a nifty interactive graphic that shows you just how many there are in each state: 279,622 in Texas, for example, 350,544 in California, 165,943 in New York, etc., etc. There are, in short, millions of them.

What followed was not a surprise, since, of course, the NTEU donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to political candidates who of course are Democrats, and of course, “The agency’s employees are heavily engaged in politics and lean considerably to the left.”

Just the kind of news one doesn’t like to hear first thing in the morning.

While most of us Da Tech readers know that public-sector unions are a prescription for political corruption, the politicians-the-unions-help-elect-who-in-turn-help-the-unions consider that a feature, not a bug, which only adds to our outrage.

The latest new word I learned is “spoliation of evidence“,

Spoliation “is the destruction or the significant and meaningful alteration of evidence.”

The IRS version of spoliation comes in the form of destroyed hard drives and cancelled e-mail backups for two years’ worth of records.

Allow me to remind you that the IRS insists you keep your records for seven years. It can seize your assets, garnish your wages, and throw you in jail if you don’t.

The IRS and its officials are intent on dragging on the hearings long enough, to use Roger’s words, the outrage will falter and the disgust will die down.

It is, then with great pleasure that one gets to watch Trey Gowdy explain to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, in March,

And in June,

faustaBut the bottom line is, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s scrutiny of Tea Party groups, that is, the political weaponizing of the most powerful government bureaucracy, that, is the real scandal.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.