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One of my friends (JCV) inserted a little slip of paper into the gift envelope with this inscription:

illi non minus ac tibi
pectore uritur intimo
flamma, sed penite magis.

Catullus, Wedding Song

I must admit, my Latin was nowhere near up to the task. But here is a translation:

A flame burns no less ardently in his innermost heart than in yours, but secretly, even more so.

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Some very interesting musings about free speech, a topic dear to me, too, and a segment about Trump and transgender people in the military. Nice post!

athicketofmusings

If you haven’t yet read about the Google employee who was fired for questioning the company’s diversity policy, then you need to do so immediately.  I couldn’t care less what your opinion is on this man’s statements (they’re actually pretty mild in my opinion), but it’s obvious to me that the company’s reaction to this was way out of proportion to the “crime” committed.  It’s already been proven that Google has far Left political leanings & isn’t afraid to exploit its power to try to sway public opinion.  This was evidenced when analyses found that Google’s suggested searches on Hillary Clinton were largely positive while its suggested searches on Donald Trump were largely negative.  But that’s a story for another day.  voltaire quote

The heart of the matter here is that free speech is under attack in this country like never before in our history.  The Left has so brainwashed…

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Trump, his bankruptcies, and 35% of the population rooting for him and not caring that he is taking money right out of their pockets. Making America great!

Ends and Beginnings

Gold Platted

“Stop saying I went bankrupt. I never went bankrupt but like many great business people have used the laws to corporate advantage—smart!” – Donald Trump 9:30 AM – 19 Jun 2015

It is a well-known and documented fact that Donald Trump companies have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection six times. For those of you unfamiliar with this process, a company can remain in business while wiping away most if not all of its debts. A bankruptcy court approves a corporate budget and a plan to repay any remaining debt while shareholders and or investors lose all if not most of their equity. Think of Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a pardon, past sins are erased, the slate is clean and in the case of Trump’s Taj Mahal Atlantic City casino ready for another bankruptcy one year later.

If you want to know what this Russia, fake news thing is really all about these…

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The Latin Corner – a reblog. Before Wolfgang’s Latin contributions, I had this 2012 entry, which gets occasional hits from Internet searches. Worth a reblog.

Norbert Haupt

On the way home from Home Depot a bumper sticker on the car in front of me caught my eye:

Cogito Ergo Deus Non Est

I venture to say that 99% of Americans cannot read Latin. I only know one other American I know who can, and I know more than 100 people. I might have missed one or two of you that are clandestine Latin readers, if so, please correct me.

No matter how small the percentage actually is, the efficacy of this bumper sticker is severely limited.

Here is what it says:

I think, therefore there is no God

.

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Hiking Mt. Marcy

Even though this post is over 7 years old, I still get nice comments from readers from all over the country. I was planning on going back to the Adirondacks this week after a conference in Saratoga, but didn’t make it this year. Things got too busy at work. I miss the Adirondacks, and here’s to share some of its adventure!

Norbert Haupt

I finally hiked Mt. Marcy, with 5,344 feet the highest peak in New York, and an adventure it was. I am a West Coast hiker. I am used to blue sky, heat in the day, cold at night, the need for sunscreen, high altitude trailheads and even higher peaks. And I am used to switchbacks.

The Adirondacks are a whole different beast. Mt. Marcy has a number of reasonable trails reaching it, the shortest of which starts at the Adirondack Loj (spelling intentional by its builder, Melvil Dewey, who was an advocate of “simplified spelling”) at Heart Lake. The trail is 7.2 miles long. Marcy is therefore a fairly remote hike. I can do 7.2 miles one way, no problem. But the trail up Marcy is not different from the trail up Algonquin and Ampersand. Straight up, all the time.

You can click to enlarge the map above. The trail starts…

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Source: Cosmic Quote #80

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Oh, yes, let him talk and tweet. Like the old saying goes: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt. Trump is removing all doubt, every time he opens his mouth. The embarrassment-in-chief.

Ends and Beginnings

“James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” – Donald Trump tweet 5-12-17

“First obstruction of an investigation. Now witness intimidation from the Highest Office. A sad moment for even this White House. Unhinged?” – Rep. Gerry Connolly tweet 5-12-17

I started working on a post yesterday about what a Circus this White House is but then I watched the head Bozo’s interview with Lester Holt and stopped writing. Our President wanted to talk so Mr. Holt handed him a shovel and let him talk.

“First of all, when you’re under investigation you’re given all sorts of documents and everything.” – Donald Trump to Lester Holt

Yes The Donald did what he does best talk, and then start a fire, multiple fires.

“I just sent a letter to Lindsey Graham from one of the most prestigious law firms in the country that…

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None of us elected 36-year-old Jared Kushner for any position, but Trump has just elevated him to what I’d call co-president. At inauguration night he told him that if “you can’t bring about peace in the Middle East, nobody can.” Aha, a 36-year-old smartypants with no government experience who may have met a Muslim or two is going to do what Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama could not do in two generations. Easy! Why didn’t we bring in Kushner long ago?

According to Bloomberg:

Kushner is chipper about his new assignment, and, given that his entire experience in public administration can be counted on two calendar pages, a wee bit precious as he dispenses advice.

“We should have excellence in government,” he allowed. “The government should be run like a great American company.”

Kushner and his father-in-law haven’t run the White House like even an average American company thus far, but with the Trumps, hope springs eternal.

Kushner’s new Office of American Innovation will reportedly showcase a number of corporate titans, including Apple’s Tim Cook and Microsoft’s Bill Gates, all of whom, among other things, will make recommendations about how to make government more tech-savvy and more data-centric.

It’s hard not to get behind any plan that makes government more effective and tries to use data instead of, say, raw ideology to help craft better policy decisions. So let’s wish the White House success.

Ah, there it is again, the government should be run like a great American company, like Trump Airlines, perhaps, that went bankrupt, or Trump Wine, or… And I keep saying it, these guys really believe a government is a company. A company is an autocratic institution where the CEO can do anything, as long as it’s legal. And if the CEO doesn’t know what he’s doing, the company goes under. That’s not how a democracy works. Democracy means “governed by the people.” Not by the CEO! These guys don’t seem to get that. I am looking forward to seeing what happens when Kushner makes a mistake, but Trump can’t very well fire the father of his grandchildren.

And then there is the matter of making government data-centric. Ah, like studying the data about climate change and making decisions based on that data, rather than what fossil fuel company has paid off what stooge recently? Like building a statistical model to represent the safety of our citizenry, which will show that it’s more likely to be killed by lightning than by a radical Islamist terrorist, or worse, it’s more likely to be killed by a redneck American ideologue than by a Muslim terrorist?

Oh, I am looking so forward to the models that Bill Gates and Tim Cook will show Kushner. Then Kushner will show them to his science-illiterate dad-in-law who will then simply tweet:

Fake News! Nobody knows science better than I do! Sad.

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One of my readers (RC) from Australia just shared with me the list of books he has read or will read based on my reviews. He and I have exchanged book recommendations from time to time, and I have never been disappointed. He had recently read City of Dreams based on my recommendation – see the full review below, and reminded me that it was part of a quadrilogy. I didn’t know, Ray, and now I have three more books to read. But for those of you who are interested in New York and its history (you might have guessed that I love New York), here is a book to read.

Norbert Haupt

City of DreamsIn the 1660s, Nieuw Amsterdam was a rough and primitive settlement of a fort and a few houses on the southern tip of Manhattan Island.

Here is what the settlement looked like in 1664, a view looking north toward the tip of Manhattan.

Nieuw Amsterdam 1664 Gezicht op Nieuw Amsterdam by Johannes Vingboons (1664) This is an early picture of Nieuw Amsterdam made in the year when it was conquered by the English under Richard Nicolls. [click to enlarge] In 1625, when the town was founded, there were only 270 people who lived there. The population may have grown to a couple of thousand by 1661, when our story starts with Lucas and Sally Turner, who stumbled off their small wooden ship onto the island. They had spent eleven brutal and utterly exhausting weeks at sea. Peter Stuyvesant, the colony’s director-general, ruled the settlement with an iron fist.

Lucas Turner was a barber and a surgeon. As luck would have…

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I wrote this article a year ago about the comparative sizes of the U.S. Military, and in broad strokes the numbers are still good today. Trump just said that we need to add another $50 billion a year to our military spending. Seriously?

Norbert Haupt

In January of 2013, I wrote this post about U.S. Military spending. Most of the numbers and basic facts, as well as my suggestions on what to cut still stand today, three years later (the numbers used here are for 2014). However, there are some developments that I should point out:

Print [IISS – click for image credit] The U.S. military spending has gone down from $711 billion to $581 billion, if I can take the two different sources as valid and make an apples-to-apples comparison. China’s has gone down a bit, also. Russia is about the same, and so are most of the other nations. Interestingly, Saudi Arabia has doubled its spending during those years and risen to slot number 3 with $80 billion.

I put these numbers in a chart ranking the top ten military spenders in the world.

military spending 2014-1

The U.S. still spends more than the next NINE COUNTRIES…

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Absurdities and Atrocities

Still more true than ever. Thanks, Voltaire.

Norbert Haupt

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

— Voltaire

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Scientists at Harvard are working on to resurrect the woolly mammoth from extinction through an ambitious feat of genetic engineering. According to the scientist leading the ‘de-extinction’ effort, the team could be just two years away from creating a hybrid elephant-mammoth embryo, in which the genes extracted from the frozen remains of woolly mammoth would…

via Harvard Scientists Claim They Could Resurrect Woolly Mammoth From Extinction Within Two Years — Sparkonit

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In the wake of the Flynn resignation, it’s more important than ever for every concerned American to read Red Notice to fully understand Putin’s Russia and how it operates. Very frightening, particularly if the Trump people subscribe to this method of operation. I say you should RUN to the bookstore and pick up Red Notice.

Norbert Haupt

red-notice

Bill Browder started his career on Wall Street and was drawn first to Eastern Europe and then to Russia shortly after the Soviet Union broke apart. He started an investment fund and eventually became the largest foreign investor in Russia. In the process of privatizing, Russia ended up with twenty-two oligarchs owning 39 percent of the economy, while everyone else lives in poverty. In that environment, by investing in Russian businesses, Browder made a fortune for himself and his clients.

Then he noticed some anomalies within the companies he had invested in. Big chunks of the companies were stolen, leaving the investors diluted. As he drilled down into the complex schemes underway, he discovered massive fraud involving investors, regulatory agencies, law enforcement, the judicial system, and government in general, up to the highest level. He found that Russia was basically a criminal enterprise designed to suck the resources out of the country…

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Presidential Raccoon Tan

racoon-tan

Check out this article by Laura Beck in the Cosmopolitan.

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