The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: January 26, 2018 — Frozen Edition

Above the Dam, Edinburgh IN (Jan 2019)

The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: January 26, 2018 — Frozen Edition

No season of the soul
strips clear the face of God
save cold and frozen wind
upon the frozen sod.

Jane Tyson Clement

• • •


The week ahead is forecast to have the coldest temperatures of the season across the U.S., as the polar vortex drops down from the Arctic Circle to the upper Great Lakes. As USA Today reports:

Using words such as “life-threatening,” “dangerous,” “brutal,” and “unprecedented,” the National Weather Service is preparing us for the extreme cold that’s forecast to roar into the U.S. next week.

“The coldest air of the season will plunge the upper Midwest and Great Lakes into life-threatening conditions” next week, the weather service said Friday. The cold will be most intense from Tuesday through Thursday.

And although the worst of the cold will be over the north-central region, practically the entire eastern two-thirds of the nation will see freezing temperatures, all the way down to central Florida. That’s nearly 200 million people.

In light of the coming cold blast, let us ponder a few frozen things…

Frozen Alligators

The Frozen Doomsday Clock

Known as ryūhyō in Japanese, drift ice is produced as water flows from the Amur River between China and Russia into the Sea of Okhotsk. As this fresh water freezes, it drifts towards Hokkaido while increasing in size and filling the Sea of Okhotsk. In January it breaks up, detaches from the coast and is blown south by a northerly wind, its journey ending at the Shiretoko Peninsula. From early February to early March, ice divers explore the wonders of this drift ice.

Frozen Diving

The natural wonder of Niagara Falls regularly becomes an icy spectacle when temperatures plunge to frigid depths, like they have in recent days. But the falls don’t turn to ice and stop flowing. The frozen scene surrounding the American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe falls is created by the mist coming off the falls, which is what actually freezes. That mist deposits a shimmering glaze of ice over trees, railings and the rest of what surrounds the falls. It’s beautiful to see and is something tourism officials hope to capitalize on by marketing the “frozen” falls to potential visitors.

The Falls are NOT frozen, but the mist is

A frozen facelift?

Braun Strowman’s frozen plunge to benefit Boys & Girls Clubs

Natural frozen ice sculptures along Lake Erie

And of course, the Frozen Man.

• • •


Australia is sweltering through an intense heatwave this week that’s scorching the country from coast to coast with temperatures as high as 49.3 degrees Celsius (120.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

Meanwhile, as our friends from Down Under have been telling us here at IM, Australia is suffering from a devastating heat wave. Here’s one report, from the Daily Beast:

Australia—which is in the midst of its summer—has been gripped by a heatwave since November that continues to break records across the country. According to the Guardian, the country recorded its hottest December on record;five of the ten hottest days on record are from last week. The extreme temperatures have killed bats on a “biblical scale,” as well as over a million fish in a river in the southeastern region, according to the Independent. The Australian government’s Bureau of Meteorology blamed climate change for the heatwaves in their 2018 State of the Climate report, and warned of “further increases in sea and air temperatures, with more hot days and marine heatwaves.”

The Guardian reported that humans have not been immune to the long heatwave, either, with dozens of patients checking in to hospitals with heat-related conditions. Health officials have declared the heatwave a threat to public safety, encouraging people to take precautions by limiting time outdoors as much as possible to avoid sun exposure. The extreme temperatures have also caused wildfire deaths, bush fires and an increase in hospital admissions, according to the BBC.

…The Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology said in their 2018 State of the Climate Report that the ocean surrounding Australia has warmed by one degree celsius since 1910 and continues to warm, contributing to longer and more frequent heat waves. Based on their projections, Australia will continue to have less and less cold extremes over the years, and more hot days, heatwaves and droughts.

• • •


Friday, President Trump signed a short-term spending bill to re-open the government, ending the longest partial federal government shutdown in U.S. history. Trump signed the stop-gap spending bill just hours after the measure passed the Senate and House. Here are some of the perspectives that were expressed about this:

  • President Trump: “I am very proud to announce we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government…”
  • Sen. Charles Schumer: “I hope the president has learned his lesson.”
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders: “How pathetic. On Dec. 19, the Senate unanimously passed essentially the same legislation that we will vote on today. We are back to exactly where we started. Thank you, Mr. President, for shutting down the government and holding 800,000 federal employees hostage.”
  • Conservative commentator Ann Coulter: “Good news for George Herbert Walker Bush: As of today, he is no longer the biggest wimp ever to serve as President of the United States.”
  • Right wing commentator Michael Malice: “Apparently a wall isn’t as good as a cave.”
  • Sean Hannity: “Anyone out there thinking President Trump caved today, you don’t know the Donald Trump I know. He right now holds all the cards — he will secure the border one way or another.”
  • Daniel DePetris, Washington Examiner: “Trump’s border wall drama isn’t over. This is just intermission.”
  • Anthony Powers, wild land firefighter, US Forest Service: “Our country is being run by children.”

• • •


From RNS:

Employees at the American Bible Society have until the end of this month to sign a statement promising that they will attend church and abstain from sex before marriage, which it defines as between a man and a woman.

Anyone who doesn’t sign the Affirmation of Biblical Community will be out of a job effective Feb. 1.

The new policy was introduced by the society’s board in December 2017, giving employees 13 months to decide whether to sign. While the statement essentially consists of conservative Christian beliefs, the effect of the policy will be to allow the society to terminate LGBT employees and unmarried heterosexuals who are not celibate.

…In a statement responding to questions from Religion News Service, Peterson said the affirmation policy “was introduced because we believe a staff made up of people with a deep and personal connection to the Bible will bring unity and clarity as we continue our third century of ministry.”

…The policy cements a shift that began in the 1990s for the organization — founded in 1816 to publish, distribute and translate the Bible — away from its ecumenical roots toward a narrower evangelical identity.

Christianity Today explores how the ABS became an evangelical organization.

• • •


From Discover:

The last male northern white rhinoceros — his name was Sudan — died in March, leaving only two members of the subspecies behind: his daughter and granddaughter.

In the past, those stark facts would have spelled the end. But researchers at the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research — home to a frosty menagerie known as the Frozen Zoo — are working to give northern white rhinos a second chance. Since 1975, the institute has been collecting tissues from creatures, some endangered and some not, then growing the cells in the lab and preserving them at a chilly 321 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

Zoos already use reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization for animals like gorillas, and artificial insemination for pandas. (Elsewhere, scientists are considering the merits of resurrecting extinct species such as the woolly mammoth and the passenger pigeon, though they’d have to use ancient DNA for that.) The Frozen Zoo has used its preserved sperm to create pheasant chicks, for example, and has gone as far as making embryos of cheetahs and fertilizing the eggs of southern white rhinoceroses.

Now its zookeepers hope that their dozen northern white rhino samples will become parents to a new generation in a different way: using stem-cell technology to turn preserved white rhino skin tissue into eggs and sperm.

The institute’s research goes beyond baby-making. Scientists there are working on methods to genetically identify meat from primates and duiker antelopes that have been illegally hunted. And in the future, they might use its collection to restore genetic diversity to endangered black-footed ferrets.

Broadening such efforts will take a global network of frozen zoos, write Oliver Ryder, the institute’s director of conservation genetics,  and coauthor Manabu Onuma in the Annual Review of Animal Biosciences.

• • •


Ice Stone in Lake Baikal. Photo by bfatphoto at Flickr. Creative Commons License

I hope you will take the time to watch this today or in the days to come. It is a terrific contemplation piece from a part of the world we rarely think about. These are drone shots from frozen Baikal Lake (the deepest lake in the world), Olkhon and Irkutsk city.

This is a stunning way to end our “frozen” Brunch today.

Stay warm. And to our friends in Australia, we are praying for cool, refreshing breezes soon.

138 thoughts on “The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: January 26, 2018 — Frozen Edition

  1. Let me tell you a little bit or Oral History:

    Back in the Seventies, there was a movement to take the USA metric — “METRIC NOW!”

    And (like American politics), it spawned a reaction just as fanatical — “STOP METRIC MADNESS!”

    These two funhouse-mirror reflections of each other fought each others’ One True Way to a stalemate, while everyone else looked at the freaks and kept measuring in inches, feet, and miles. The only thing it accomplished was two-liter soda bottles.

    I also remember a comedy routine of the time — take a proverb or news item that uses measurements and translate all the measurements mentioned into metric — to twelve decimal places.

    “And at the Super Bowl, the two teams are facing off on the 45.72009144-meter line.”

    “Give them 2.54 centimeters and they’ll take 1.6093472 kilometers.”

    This just impressed on an entire generation of Americans that Metric was for high-precision science geeks, not repeat NOT for everyday use.


  2. Gospel is reserved for Presidential Twitter Tweets.

    Proof-texts already chopped up into 140-character Verses of Inspired Inerrant SCRIPTURE.

    “I Know I’m Right —


  3. Rudy Guiliani who said “The President can issue a Presidential Pardon for anyone or anything”

    When I heard that, I kept thinking of an update of Doctor Strangelove where our entire nuclear arsenal gets armed and launched by a Presidential Temper Tantrum, followed by The Commander-in-Chief sitting down and writing himself a Presidential Pardon.


  4. You’re talking Nostalgia for a Simpler, Better Time.

    In 1920s Germany, this was called “Blood and Soil”, a genre of Nostalgia for a simpler rural Germany with Traditional Family Values. A German version of Little House on the Prairie, in contrast to the Post-WW1 Hard Times and Cabaret free-for-all of Weimar Berlin.


  5. I think the current president was a nuclear option resorted to by people who hold normal political wrangling, and the politicians who do it, in contempt.

    “Open your windows, lean out, and yell along with me: I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!!!!!”



  6. Susan, the Clancy poem reminds me of a song by Eric Bogle, “Australian Through and Through.”

    I was going to post some lyrics, but the guitar chords were taking up a lot of space on the only site I could find. And the links to lyrics on aren’t working. But it starts something like this:

    I’ve never been a shearer, never seen a shearin’ shed,
    And I don’t suppose I’d recognize a sheep (maa-a-a-maa-a-a).
    I’ve never been a drover drivin’ dusty cattle over,
    Never died of thirst beside a dried up creek.
    [never done this… or that…]
    But I’m bloody well Australian through and through (my oath I am),
    I’m bloody well Australian through and through!

    If he’s still doing concerts in Australia, check him out. He’s no longer coming to the States. I saw him here in Maine about 10 years ago, great fun. His sidekick John Munro might still be out there too, with guitar and mandolin.


  7. I was pulling an Arlo Guthrie on you. He was stopped at the Canadian border once (so he says) and while he was waiting he was singing David Mallett’s “‘Garden Song” (Inch by inch, row by row…) and he got harassed by the guard who wondered what language Arlo was singing. Check out the video below. At about the 2:14 mark he stops and goes off on a 4-minute rant about the metric system. Makes a lot of sense in his own way. Could be that Arlo’s influence is why the US still hasn’t adopted it.


  8. Robert F:

    Sadly it is par for the course for so many folks today. It seems to have become even more popular to demonize groups of people even by ‘christians.” particularly since 45 was voted into office. It is so wrong IMO.


  9. Radagast, although I don’t think every person who wears the MAGA slogan is racist, the implication of the slogan is racist. MAGA? By going back to the values of what era? For many
    White people wearing the slogan, the reflexive answer is an era before non-Whites had political power, civil rights, or even the right to vote unimpeded by local and state voting laws intended to suppress their right. How would a person of color take such an implication as not offensive? In defense of those who wear it without intending to convey a racist implication, I can only say that many of them haven’t thought through the implication of the slogan; but they should start thinking.


  10. Ah Ted, it is this wonderful logical unit with which we measure distance. Makes a lot of sense to adopt. That’s why it hasn’t been adopted south of the 49 th… 😉


  11. Maybe it was one of those tough old bushmen I saw walking down the street, on out hottest day so far this summer, in a full-length Drizabone and Akubra.

    For our American friends, a Drizabone is a heavy waxed waterproof coat with a cape and full skirt, traditionally worn by stockmen (Australian cowboys) in rainy weather. An Akubra is our equivalent of a cowboy hat, made of felted rabbit fur.


  12. I have been quoting Australian poetry to my grandchildren today as we escape the heat inside with the aircon.
    My uncle was a ‘bushie’ and gave me a love for poetry both Australian and English,
    a habit I have continued and expanded as I have reached old age.

    The reason for this entry are two lines from
    ‘Clancy of the Overflow.’ by Andrew Barton ‘Banjo” Paterson
    which gives an insight into the rough life of the drovers moving sheep and cattle in days past. In every kind of weather.
    I was saying to my grandchildren that riding a horse in all weathers including the heatwave of today was nothing to these men.
    My uncle used to tell me tales of the rough, hot journeys through central Queensland. He held me spell bound.
    I miss him and his influence which framed so much of my life.

    “…. and at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars”.

    I hope you might take five minutes to share ‘Banjo’s” poem with me.



  13. A few years ago we had an email from a friend in the Dominican Republic who was suffering from the cold. It was 16 degrees there, and she had heard that it is often that temperature where we live in the States, so now she could understand what our winters are like.

    She wasn’t familiar with our thermometers. 16 Celsius = 61 Fahrenheit.


  14. No, comrade, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia. It is Eastasia with which Oceania has always been at peace.

    You are an enemy of the people for saying otherwise.


  15. Obviously if they’re there with their parents, then they’re under their parents’ control and wear whatever. If on a school trip, the school rules apply, parents or not.

    You have your opinion, which is okay, and i have mine.


  16. The CT article was written by Professor John Fea, who is in the Blog Links list as “J Fea”.
    Perhaps a inquiry there might prove fruitful.


  17. And all the Christians will go “AAAAAAAAA-MENNNNNNN!!!!!”


  18. I would see DT as a joke, except that he has knowingly and willingly hurt people who were innocent. Because he could.

    And all the Christians chorused “AAAAAAAAA-MENNNNNN!!!!!”


  19. Fox never did the 24/7 slobbery love-fest over any other Republican president

    Isn’t there a “worship song” called “Sloppy Wet Kisses”?


  20. –> “…horrified at what the Rep party has become…”

    Yeah, my drift began many years ago, right around the time Obama came into power and the Republican response became more and more out-of-touch. I voted for neither of the poisons we were offered by either of the major parties last election. I’ll be curious what crop of folks the Dems prop up next go-round. Please, someone SENSIBLE, please step forward!


  21. Hannity, Rush, and Coulter are NOT journalists, they are professional provocateurs. The more outrageous the better for them, and they will constantly take something to the max just to stir people up . . . it’s how they make a living, by pandering to peoples’ fears and prejudices.

    You want journalism: try Rachel Maddow . . . . not only is she good, people on the front lines give her the heads-up on new stories all the time, so her show is a step ahead of others . . . . does she go overboard? Yep, but only occasionally. On the whole, she not only has her facts down, she lays them out in a logical fashion and has appropriate guests to support her scoops. Nine o’clock, MSNBC, I dare you to try her for a week, and you’ll be hooked. Great show!


  22. Your bare cheeks were okay after walking 2km in those temps? You must have a continuous miracle protecting your face, like Padre Pio’s hands.


  23. Hello Senecagriggs,

    if your sweet grand daughter will not wear her winter beanie, I have a solution:

    buy her a beautiful knitted pink hat, very cute with little ‘cat’ ears on it, and I bet she will love it and wear it a lot.
    These pink hats are warm and very popular with little girls, even older girls and moms wear them too

    Give it a try! Here’s a sample of one:


  24. John Barry,
    Nathan Phillips was right up in that kids face. When I watched the video the first time, I was alarmed at how close the moving drumstick was to hitting the kid’s face. I saw him flinch one time, it was so close.


  25. Eeyore,

    what happened to the evangelical Church that this is sadly true for some evangelical faith communities ??

    I’m sure no one set out for this to be the case . . . . what happened?
    And I look at the terrible incident with the Catholic school children at the monument grounds in DC . . . I don’t think the Catholic Church has escaped the venomous poison of the culture wars either, and I’ve been upset since the incident because those boys are so young and vulnerable to that poison. God have mercy.

    Surely there are some evangelical Churches that live close to the heart of Christ . . . Wade Burleson’s Church does minister to prisoners and people just out of prison, and that is something VERY close to Jesus’ teaching.


  26. I’m saying that school kids on a school sponsored trip should not, no. I say this as someone who spent six years in a private school with strict uniform rules, if the kids don’t like this, then they can go to another school.


  27. I despise the messaging implied in the MAGA motto, but: Are you saying that people should refrain from expressing their political and social opinions at a protest/rally? Such events are an exercise in First Amendment rights; people of all ages have the right to express their opinions, especially at a rally. Doing so is no more “asking for trouble” than wearing provocative clothing to a nightclub is asking to be sexually assaulted.


  28. To be fair, I find the journalist on Fox to be professionals and good at their craft. The other 80% to be pure poliitical hackery. One can only hope that the faithful watchers do, too.


  29. One more observation – you impugned the integrity of the CNN reporters covering the Stone arrest without of a shred of evidence. Would that thought have even crossed your mind had Fox News broken a similar story about the arrest of one of Nancy Pelosi’s children?


  30. Of course I know that those hucksters are not journalists. That’s exactly my point. Maybe you consider their daily diatribes as gospel, but many on the right absolutely do. What are you sources for news?


  31. Hi Christiane,
    The nights are cooler, marginally.
    I have Aircon through all the house and use fans to distribute the cooler air.
    Today will be ‘a scorcher’ again.
    We will have a quick visit to John this morning and then be home in front of the aircon for the afternoon.
    Possibly watching DVD’s with the kids playing with their transformer men on the floor.
    The nursing home is airconditioned and comfortable for the residents.
    It is a shame it is too hot for the kids to enjoy going out into my garden to play.
    The media keep reminding us to keep up our water intake.
    The weather should be cooler on Friday!
    Thanks for thinking of us.


  32. Are there people who are arguing we shouldn’t love God and our neighbors? As far as promising to do so, it is not always so cut and dry when someone is or isn’t being loving. Promising to do so may not be a bad idea, enforcing it will be more difficult.


  33. Hello Susan,
    does it cool off some at night?
    I remember the nights in California being cool when the days were hot, but times have changed since I lived there long ago.

    Hope you are able to cope and get past the worst of the heat wave. We are about to get hit with an ‘arctic blast’ and I do wish some of that cooling could be shared with you Aussies. Stay well.


  34. When Stone flips for Mueller, the president will go from tweeting about him as an innocent victim of a witch hunt, a good man being framed by the Deep State feds, to saying he is a complete liar who has never told the truth in his life. He has a lot of close former friends like that.


  35. Migrant caravans are no threat to American security. They will be processed through immigration, like the last group (most of whom are still waiting to undergo the process), who have not so far caused the downfall of our country. It’s wrong to demonize a group of whatever size that is largely composed of families, no matter how many you would like to see let in or not let in.


  36. And I will take your two cents with appreciation. I’m more ‘conservative’ than you know, but the ‘label’ has lately undergone such a change in meaning that I must not embrace it as it is lived out these days, no.

    I would see DT as a joke, except that he has knowingly and willingly hurt people who were innocent. Because he could. And I am upset because I expected a lot more of my countrymen and women to do confront him. . . . but it was not to be and I am left wondering ‘why’?

    Thanks again for responding. These are tough times for those of us who remember the Watergate era and how all that played out.


  37. Hi Christiane,

    I am not much of a conspiracy guy these days. I went through that phase during the Clinton years (dead body lists, Vince Foster and the like). If you would ask me now what I think I would say Clinton was a flawed man morally, but also did some ok things. I especially liked how he and the Bushes got along post Presidency.

    For me, Trump makes a lot of noise, has no filter and in the long run his approach in my opinion isn’t really good for the country. I do support some things he has done though (as I am a conservative). But…. the conspiracy stuff I see as a distraction. I could probably make the case for a number of things I saw under the Obama administration… but since I do not know the whole picture …. and try to get a balanced view….

    Just thought I’d give you my two cents since I enjoy your comments, even if they differ from my worldview.


  38. But would you like God’s will?

    Disclaimer: until this last election, I was a Republican. Now, I’m an independent who is horrified at what the Rep party has become, or aleays was.

    BTW, we need to talk about Maria Butina more.


  39. Another activity done in the cold – this year in Russia below -30º Centigrade (-20ºF):

    Theophany/Epiphany is January 6; the reason it’s celebrated on the 19th in Russia is that they’re still on the Julian calendar for Church feasts.

    These spots are set up in rivers and lakes, in rural areas and in cities. I like it when a cross is cut in the ice. Would I do it? Heck no!



  40. Hello senecagriggs,

    not sure about your comment ‘just political theater’ . . . . sounds too much like ‘nothing to see here, move on, move on’

    what I DO SEE is tormented children as an administrative policy . . . . that’s the worst of it, sure;
    but holding hostage honest working American people, depriving them of their just wages . . . that’s also not ‘theater’, too much real suffering going on for it to be ‘entertainment’

    time to wake up when you find out how Russian intel and Trump loyalists have been communicating in order to disrupt our American way of life

    What DOES Putin have on Trump?
    Why does Trump quote the Kremlin’s propaganda?
    Why did Trump turn over Syria to the Russians?
    Why has Trump, over years, attempted to get the USA out of NATO?

    Entertainment? I don’t think so. Much more like a prelude to conspiracy with an adversarial nation leading to their benefit and the loss of America’s strength as a world power. . . . are you not yet entertained????

    no, I bet Trump’s been compromised. He’s sent out all the signals openly.


  41. To cancel you out, maybe I should pray for Ginsburg’s quick demise.

    Maybe we should just pray for God’s will to be done.


  42. Clay C. thanks for your clarification on the Stone “live by the sword” analogy. I agree Stone thrives and want the attention and it cuts both ways.

    However do you mean my comments are exhibit A on why people have lost confidence in the news media? The political class/rulers have always had and should have s frenemy relationship with the press. An independent free press is the bulwark against the government encroaching on individual rights and freedoms. The press in my lifetime have become “advocates” more than reporters and this is across the political spectrum. That is not good.

    No one with a brain thinks Rush L. Ann Coulter, Hannity are journalist, they do not claim to be nor is R. Maddow, L O Donnell, Don Lemon etc. They are using the news as a start point to opine. They are not reporting the news they are analyzing and making their case for their point of view.

    So you now really have to be alert to get the who what, where, when and why type news. How much “news” coverage did the racist, bigoted, threatening Catholic teenagers warrant as a hard news story.

    I firmly believe the major news outlets have picked a political side that they agree with and are using all their public influence muscle to derail the American political system. The Democrats and the mainstream news have one objective from day one, delegitimize and destroy the Trump presidency.

    If the Covington bigots had on Obama hats, been from an inner city charter school there to support pro choice and were taunted by a fringe KKK group with the same hateful racial and religious slurs, then an activist of the Confederate History lovers walked into the middle of the peaceful students waiting for the bus and beat a drum and sang dixie in one of their faces what would be the “slant ” of the story. Who would be at fault. I think we all really know what the “story” would be.

    Dan Rather, lied and relied about his fake Bush news and still a hero of the left and got a movie and book deal. Truth to power if the power is Trump.

    How’s that for being leery of the fourth estate, who quote Twitter and Buzzfeed ASAP for 24 hours and then drop it. I am not See B S ing you guess that is what C did,put the BS in the news with the still promoted Dan Rather, rather lie than report to get rid of Bush. Guess they are still BS.

    How about the news disclaimer that started with the qualifier ” If this were true , it would be the endo of Trump” If this were true this would be a major story.

    “If it were true, that I had consensus sex with Raquel Welsh in 1968 that would be a major story at least to me” IF it were true but it is not but if it were it would be a major story. If it were true it would certainly be news to Ms. Welsh, if it were true which it is not. 24 hours of the cable guys going “if true” about the buzz feed story that would have never been reported as “news” in the Gabriel Heater, Edward Morrow days.


  43. Fox is just as bad. The Atlantic Monthly is better, even The is a bit better.

    Fox never did the 24/7 slobbery love-fest over any other Republican president, which to me says that Rupert Murdoch is being paid by someone. He’s already admitted to speaking with Trump each week.


  44. Hello! Sorry to go off-topic for a moment, but I’ve got a question. Usually, when I type here, if I miss-spell a word, like all the time, I could highlight the word, and a list of options would appear. Now, the options flash briefly and disappear. Is it the website or my iPad?


  45. My father from Miami said that anything below 60 was too cold. He was hot-natured though, so anything above 72 was too hot.


  46. Christiane, if only I could up-vote your comment a thousand times. Trump being under Russia’s control was crystal clear in the primaries. Meuller took down the Gambino crime family, so I pray he can this mess down too. Trumps little vanity project is his distraction from Meuller’s investigation.


  47. Would people be asking the same thing if it were Fox (the Inspired Word of God Don)?

    Every single network cultivates relationships so they can have exclusives like this. Every, single one.


  48. Yes, the adults should have stepped in and pulled the kids away. Also, allowing any item of clothing that has words other than the name of the school is just asking for trouble.


  49. Technically, they’re right, but Christ said that the most important things are to love God with all your heart, you mind, and your soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. So why aren’t people signing statements about that? Why aren’t they asking them to swear to love their neighbor as themselves? Do they know better than Christ?


  50. Clay Crouch wrote:

    “Except for the Fox “News” Channel, it is dumbed down journalism for a dumbed down audience.”

    I watch Fox News fairly regularly, but to keep my mind sharp and avoid losing IQ points due to the “dumbed down” presentation, I watch CNN occasionally. I check the CNN stories against numerous sources from across the political spectrum to see if a CNN story is true, contains half-truths, or is false. I find most of the stories to be half-truths, although they get a few stories right. One day last week, CNN reported that the sky was blue. I stepped outside to see for myself and concluded that the sky is in fact blue.


  51. Klassie, see what I mean?

    The real journalists, Sean, Rush, Coulter, et al would never stoop so low.


  52. That wasn’t my intent. The 24/7 news cycle has done great harm to journalism. More than a fair amount of it is pablum that feeds an ever increasing cynicism in our society. I believe it, and our professional political class has contributed to the eroding of our faith in the fourth estate and the siloing of news consumption on the left and right. John Barry’s comment is exhibit A.

    The sword comment was in response to the handwringing over poor Mr. Stone’s arrest.

    Sorry for the confusion.


  53. Llamas are cute, but don’t they spit? Like camels? But if they can be trained to help someone then I’m all for it.
    LOVE to all therapy animals!!!!


  54. Dems declare victory in shutdown battle with Trump

    Democratic leaders in Congress declare victory after their successful negotiation to reopen the federal government after a record five-week closure.

    Political theater


  55. Klasie and Donalbain, So CNN gives its version, so that is the end of story as they are above reproach. Even if CNN did know Mueller went to court on Thursday etc. they would also have to know that it would be good TV . Would they broadcast, two agents going to arrest Stone without all the firepower, how did they know this would be a tv worthy event?
    Stone has been under investigation for almost 2 years, the cover that he might destroy evidence is not very creditable and I did not believe they searched the house for evidence. So why the firepower? Do the rich and powerful in this country get treated differently , of course they do.

    The main fact behind all the people that have been charged is that if they had not worked for Trump they would have never been charged with anything. Even Cohen would have gotten away with his tax evasions and schemes if not for working for Trump.

    CNN if wrong , just changes the subject but at least the airports have something to show as CNN pays them to air as that is a true captive article. Miss the Darth Vader voice a lot. BTW, saw Wolf Blitzer on celebrity Jeopardy few years ago, worst, dumbest player ever. I was embarrassed for him. He is truly just a”newsreader” like the TV news guy on Mary Tyler Moore show played by Ted Knight.


  56. CNN is, with good reason, looked at with a jaundiced eye. So, they may have said it; doesn’t mean I need to accept it on face value.


  57. One of the valid explanations.

    On the other hand, you don’t think an FBI/justice department agent wouldn’t leak this if it served his purpose?


  58. My goodness Donalbain. You think he hasn’t had months to destroy evidence knowing they were coming for him? [ Of course he knew they were coming for him. ]

    Nope it was just political theater.


  59. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view) there are no Lamas in the workplace.

    We have done our children no kindness by enclosing them in cushiness and not allowing them to fall. Failure can breed wisdom or at least experience.

    What happens though, when the Lama actually becomes agitated and spits at the student? Do we have another animal that we use to deal with that trauma?

    Can’t we just use Cabbage patch kids?


  60. Stephen:

    I do not know why people are goading the Prez. He did not concede anything and it would be fake news to say otherwise. He has never lost in his life and his supporters know this. He has accomplished more in 2 years than all the previous 44 presidents. It is truly amazing!


  61. Does anybody know J G Ballard’s ‘end of the world’ SF novel. THE CRYSTAL WORLD? That’s what the video of the alligators reminded me of.


  62. AnnaA and Eeyore,

    I am actually looking forward to Cleveland giving Pittsburgh some competition in football next year. The last game of the season for Cleveland marked the first time I ever pulled for them (of course it a win would have benefitted my team)….


  63. I am going to give my two cents on this since A. I have taken kids on the March in the past and B. I have taken eighth grade and high school kids on many field trips including to DC. The kids acted as kids. The chaperones on the trip, seeing a potential altercation, should have pulled the kids away from the situation. They failed. I did not see any real disrespect from the kids, but there should have been a respect for their elders behavior going on…. meaning the chaperones should have taken control.

    The adults in the opposing groups were wrong – and no support should be given them.

    Calling the wearing of a hat racist is absolutely ridiculous. For eight years people wore Obama shirts without repercussions. I am sure there were lots of shirts that could have been taken as offensive at the Women’s March… yet that was not covered.

    We need to get over ourselves and stop walking around looking for things to be offended by.

    My thoughts….


  64. I wish everyone, friends and enemies, would stop goading the Prez about his big defeat. He has a lot of power availabl to him which he can apply more or less unilateraly, and with his swollen ego and his emotional instability he’s liable to do something foolish and dangerous to save face.


  65. That’s quite profound. Of course as a corollary the presence of heat is often mistaken for the presence of God.


  66. Adam,

    Evangelical groups have been doing this for years. Fifteen years ago my wife attempted to volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. In order for things to go forward, she was required to sign what amounted to the tenants of Protestantism, Faith alone, Scripture alone, and the promise to attend their church. They had their right to do that, she as a Catholic had her right to say no thank you.


  67. Meuller was in court on Thursday and Friday is the usual day for Meuller arrests. Stone was the most likely suspect and so it wouldn’t take a genius to put a crew watching his house. No conspiracy needed really.


  68. Clay, not sure you intended to come across like that, but your comment sounds awfully like “everyone is bad except the one that agrees with my ideas” ..


  69. “Jane Fonda spent more time in Viet Nam than Nathan Phillips.”
    I admit I laughed when I saw that comment yesterday.


  70. Oh I think Stone is guilty of a number of things; BUT, if within 12 hours of being arrested he is released on his own recognizance, that doesn’t suggest the authorities actually think he’s a grave threat to national security.

    I don’t actually know any conservatives who think “Russia is our friend.”

    Political Theater –


  71. My “take” , based on the facts are
    1. Kids were waiting for bus to pick them up at location in front of Lincoln Memorial Major crime being white, pro life, Catholic and have the gall to wear MAGA hat. Nothing worse than a bunch of Catholic high school boys out to raise hell with their Priest.
    2. Black nut job group taunted and insulted the entire group , using racial slurs and profanity
    3. 15 year old kids did their school chants and stayed at the bus pick up point.
    4. The Indian activist, who was there for the “1st” time to ride on the coattails of the Right to Life March, as was the black group , at his own choice with his supporters filming the event, walked into the middle of the student group , who had no idea what was up.
    5. The activist took his drum and chants right into the personal space of the 15 year old boy, who as NBC believes was aggressive by standing still and being passive He was not surrounded as he lied about, he made the move to wade into the group. Has his own film guy ready to pick up any thing that could be used for publicity.
    6. No reporting of his lying history of being harassed and reporting of his past that became relevant because of his statements. . Did not count on someone having over hour long film of entire event not just a snippet for propaganda.
    7. Students fault for wearing MAGA hats, like they have freedom of speech or right to political choice. What should this 15 year old kids have done?

    8. Story dies as the “press” and others realize they had been wrong but still some how it is the kids fault for wearing hats and being passive Catholic teenagers.

    Should use some of the Roger Stone SWAT force to go to Covington before the Catholic kids decide to wear a MAGA shirt with their hats, that would just be too much free speech from incest kids as the black nut group called them, which was about the least profane thing they called them Nice job of fake news again enough to give you a buzz or a feed


  72. I enjoyed the reactions to the government shutdown truce, unfortunately I don’t believe it’s over. The Anthony Powers quote is the best; the children are in charge.

    This shutdown confrontation is just a warm-up for the nastiness to come over the imminent retirement/death of 3-time cancer survivor and soon to be 86 year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are preparing for the battle for Ginsburg’s successor, but the Democrats have taken a curious step according to the most trusted source in news today, the Babylon Bee. The article states that the Democrats have obtained a funeral plot in Maine in an old Indian burial ground just past Pet Sematary.

    Republicans have responded “sometimes, dead is better”.


  73. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Roger Stone is a big boy.

    I HATE the 24 hour news cycle. Except for the Fox “News” Channel, it is dumbed down journalism for a dumbed down audience.


  74. As usual the real story , behind the story is how did CNN get the information about the SWAT team type arrest of the very dangerous Roger Stone who loves it. The televised over kill of heavily armed police gave Stone another bid of ammo to use for publicity.

    So how did CNN get the “tip” that Stone was to be arrested and with such heavy firepower? Of course the lazy , devious press let it go as a “insider tip”. Duh, of course it was but who leaked it and why? What if Stone was completely crazy, had a .50 caliber and booby traps, would that be of benefit to televise. Who put the police and all in such in position that perhaps Stone could have been tipped off by the news to enhance the story. Any way, we will never know as the “press” will not pursue the issue as they are part of the show trial mentality that is being played out.

    Again for Roger Stone , this was throw me in the briar patch time. Another process crime criminal taken off the mean streets for 12 hours until released with a no money bond.

    Seneca G. hit the nail on the head.


  75. Earlier this week, I walked to the post office about 10 in the morning- about 2km away. It felt a bit cool. My face was largely bare – and my cheeks suffered a bit. But I was ok. Later realised the windchill was below -40°C…. (that is below -40 Fahrenheit for you folks south of the 49th).



  76. Some very good comments from Adam and Robert about the way Congress has abandoned its responsibility to pass a budget though the regular rules of order. The House and Senate Appropriations Committee does not do it job any more of allocating the money that was approved to spend. This results in the continuing resolutions which means the current budget is just continued with no accountability or validation.. Congress has abandoned its oversight of fiscal responsibility.

    To show how that is no accountability , as with many hard choice issues the current three week continuing resolution was passed by a non accountable voice vote. The American citizen could not handle or work their personal finances like the US government. If the US dollar was not the world currency we would be a pitiful as many third world countries, our dollars would be worthless. China and India are working to have a new currency be the world wide benchmark as we have political theater not real making real hard choices. As the eloquent President D.J. Trump twits , sad.


  77. Back in Minnesota when the temperature would occasionally warm up to 40 in January, we would joke about going outside in T-shirts! Of course some/many did!


  78. The other day, after a day or so of temperatures in the teens, I actually described the 20’s as almost balmy.

    (Northern Ohio, near Cleveland)


  79. EXACTLY THIS. IRL, for this, I would offer to buy you a beer.

    Politics, which should start with very local roots, has two purposes:
    1.) To govern, to solve problems, the obvious part.
    2.) To ventilate – – – often legitimate, sometimes illegitimate – – – feelings of grievance, betrayal, shorting, etc… It can be a way grievance, etc… can BE USED, and paid down.

    We really suck at #2 these days. We want to take the Chaos and shove it in a barrell – and what you’ve then created is a Boiler. If you suck at #2, you will eventually suck at #1.

    In part this is because we have so very profoundly abandoned LOCAL politics, where individuals get connected – – – in a meaningful way – – – to the great system.


  80. > My personal theory on the growth of the South over the last 50 years? Air Conditioning.

    All the sociology and data nerds I know would agree with out.

    Technology has all kinds of unrelated consequences. It is part of what makes the real world so much fun.


  81. It is not about beliefs or values. I am a very boring conservative in terms of sexual ethics, etc…

    However, foisting those values upon your workforce is a different matter. That is using moral coercion. Moral coercion is bad, and should be used as sparingly as possible.


  82. Some of the kids can be heard to say, “I’m confused” and “What’s going on?”, in the videos. The adults that were “in the room” are responsible for that confusion, and the near melee that occurred.


  83. I think the current president was a nuclear option resorted to by people who hold normal political wrangling, and the politicians who do it, in contempt. That contempt for politicians and the political process is really a problem in this country, because it results in people not involving themselves in the day-to-day conflict of being actively political, but going for nuclear options when they do decide to do something political. That might be the genesis of much political radicalism today.


  84. “Georgian’s will be complaining about temperatures in the 30s and 40s.”

    My dear wife grew up in the warm, stable, Mediterranean climate of Central California. Hence, she starts to freeze solid at around 45 degrees. 🙂

    Me? I’m from Northern Ohio. This is NUTHIN. :-p


  85. “want to tame and tidy everything so very badly” – clearly not everyone wants that, or else the current President would not have been elected.


  86. As I pointed out yesterday, the irony is that, on many of these points, society is closer to the ideals Jesus taught than the “traditional” evangelicals…


  87. Hello Senecagriggs,

    I’m going to trust the FBI, Mueller, and law enforcement decisions regarding someone like Stone. In my opinion, the ‘conservative right wing’ is working overtime to denigrate our FBI, Robert Mueller, and our rule of law, in anticipation of the time when the Mueller Report is released to the public . . . .

    the only hope DT has is to get his ‘base’ to ignore that report when it comes out; but Mueller has supoena power and culprits so far have pretty much confessed up, and those who continued to lie are being prosecuted justly.

    You know, I’m surprised that many of our American patriots who are older didn’t realize AT ONCE that DT was serving his Russian masters when he proposed that the USA get out of NATO . . . . . that is Putin’s biggest dream.
    But another give-away (there are so many) is that DT, by taking troops out of Syria, has increased Putin’s geographical advantage in that region of the world greatly . . . . no wonder Matis resigned.

    I’m not buying it when the far-right bends itself into pretzels trying to sell Russia as ‘our friend’. They are not. They are an adversarial power. And DT is their patsy, either an unwitting fool OR worse, compromised and responding to threats from Putin if DT doesn’t play ball. Our older Americans KNOW Russia for what it is.
    A lot of DT’s base is being sold a bunch of mis-information about ‘Russia is our friend’.


  88. I read their two page statement and it follows traditional Christian values. A generation ago, this statement would be a non-issue. I have not issues with the statement since I hold to traditional Christian beliefs and a Christian organization should define who they are and people should be expected to follow a common set of beliefs.

    But society has changed and the tough question is this: “How much should the Christian Church change their belief based on changes in society norms?”


  89. Right. A couple brawls on the Senate floor and OMG could you imagine the righteous ink that would be spilled – and there have been plenty of brawls on the floor historically. We should let them brawl – that is the morally superior option, but we want to tame and tidy everything so very badly. And as you say: we end up with nothing but nuclear options. We are Humans, brawling is an fundamental essential part of how we work.


  90. My take on the Covington affair : kids behaved badly; adults (including the kids’ chaperones, the Black Hebrew Israelites, and Native American activist Nathan Phillips — who I heard change his story three times!) behaved worse.


  91. They use just as much potential force on other people, regularly, for far less crimes. Are you just upset that a rich white Republican was the recipient of this treatment?


  92. The USA Today article using words such as “unprecedented” is misleading, but since when did “the media” (see, I can use scare quotes!) ever embellish a story?

    I am very familiar with Minnesota’s climate and personally know those who are researchers on said topic. If model forecast temperatures next week end up panning out, it will be the coldest air mass since December 1996. Twenty-two years is a long time, but certainly not unprecedented.

    Otherwise, yes, life-threatening, dangerous, and brutal would be accurate descriptions of that kind of cold air mass. How do I know? I used to live in Minnesota, and lived there in February and December of 1996 during two very brutal arctic air-mass events.

    And yes, Georgian’s will be complaining about temperatures in the 30s and 40s.

    Above zero.


  93. I see what you’re saying, and it makes sense, as usual. America has preferred to leave only nuclear options, because it couldn’t stand the ugliness of the hand-to-hand combat that is a normal part of government by adversarial parties.


  94. “My personal theory on the growth of the South over the last 50 years? Air Conditioning.”

    There is more than a grain of truth in that. Just like the Southwest would be far less populous and far less agricultural if we weren’t damming every river and draining every aquifer in sight.


  95. He made theatricality an important, intentional, and widespread part of high profile law enforcement busts. Thanks, Rudy.


  96. They may have other tools, we have eliminated tool after tool after tool. Like what we used to call “pork” – aka horse trading. Or the Filibuster [pretty much dead]. When you strip out all the tools people have and leave them with not much but a hammer – they will use the hammer.

    The American people are children, they cry like babies because governing is messy and often uncomfortable. So they take the toys and lock them in the toy box like petulant parents. And we get the government WE ASKED TO HAVE.

    The amount of both-sides can’t-we-all-get-along blather that has been generated by all this. The answer is: NO. A thousand times NO. That’s the whole point! That is why we have government for crying out loud. We can enable people to NOT get along in more – or less – productive ways. We have CHOSEN less, we have been CHOOSING less for decades. And here we are.


  97. Thank Rudy Giuliani for perfecting heavy handed police raids and the “perp walk” when he was D.A. of New York, which then quickly became widespread — that was nearly four decades ago.


  98. Is the funding of government really such a systemically enabled politicized weapon in other developed democracies?


  99. I cannot imagine any system where deliberate failure wouldn’t be an option on the table.


  100. Much of Antarctica is technically a desert. So one can have the spiritual benefit of winter and the desert at the same time. If that’s your kind of thing.


  101. Speaking of political theater [ and it’s ALL political theater these days ] a televised pre-dawn raid by 29 agents in body armor and with guns led to the 12 hour incarceration of Roger Stone.

    Then he was released on his own recognizance later that day suggesting that perhaps the pre-dawn raid with agents, body armour and guns was political theater.

    T.V. has truly changed the world – probably not for the better.

    Nowadays, it’s ALL political theater


  102. Okay. But let’s not use public apologies, however justified they may be, to divisively vindicate the rectitude of our own predetermined moral posturing. That will not promote civility, or national peace.


  103. I question the wisdom of a system that allows members of any party to use government shutdown as a cudgel to achieve policy goals. It’s like conducting economic total war against ones own country.


  104. My 6 year old granddaughter lives in Canada. She was out playing in zero degree weather the other day, refused to keep her winter beanie on. Drives my daughter nuts. I live in a southern state. If I play golf in 50 degree weather, I’m wearing my winter beanie.

    My personal theory on the growth of the South over the last 50 years? Air Conditioning.


  105. The American Bible Society has turned itself into a combatant in the ongoing Culture War, which is also a thoroughly partisan political conflict.


  106. Jane Tyson Clement’s poem notwithstanding, in the Bible God seems to have a “preferential option” for deserts.


  107. Don’t get me started on the weather here in Aust
    I don’t have enough adjectives!!
    I have the grandchildren and their parents with me for three days
    and we are just exhausted from the heat.


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