Saturday, July 2, 2022

Can I get an Amen..................................?

 more fun here

vague and blurred.................

       But it was the intellect that brought Calhoun down.  Or maybe it was the ambition, disguised as intellect.  Calhoun's political strength was his base in South Carolina, yet his strength was also his weakness.  Other states insisted on what they considered their sovereign rights vis-a-vis the national government, but none were so vigilant and quick to take offense as South Carolina.  The founders had left deliberately vague where the boundary lay between state and national authority; similarly blurred was who would determine the boundary and how it would be enforced.  They knew that any explicit answer might wreck their experiment in self-government before it got fairly started; they left to their heirs to find a solution the country could live with.  The task had been the work of Calhoun's—and Clay's—lifetime.

H. W. Brands, Heirs of the Founders:  The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster

On listening...........................

      It all starts with the universally applicable premise that people want to be understood and accepted.  Listening is the cheapest, yet most effective concession we can make to get there.  By listening intensely, a negotiator demonstrates empathy and shows a sincere desire to better understand what the other side is experiencing.

     Psychotherapy research shows that when individuals feel listened to, they tend to listen to themselves more carefully and to openly evaluate and clarify their own thoughts and feelings.  In addition, they tend to become less defensive and oppositional and more willing to listen to other points of view, which gets them to the calm and logical place where they can be good Getting to Yes problem solvers.

-Chris Voss, Never Split The Difference:  Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

Fifty years ago.....................

At the Movies..............................Woody Allen and Friends             Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (* But Were Afraid To Ask)


Hey, that's Ohio he is talking about................

 Heartland Manufacturing Renaissance | City Journal (

Joel Kotkin points to good things (from an economic development point of view) happening in Ohio.  The Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority gets a nod:

The Buckeye State, notes Rick Platt, president and CEO of the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority, “never skipped a beat on funding development.” More than 60 such authorities in Ohio work to attract industry with capital financing, infrastructure investment, land preparation, and speculative building development. Such efforts often tend to be largely expensive money-wasters, but in Ohio they have proved more successful. For the past quarter-century, Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority has transformed the former Newark Air Force Base into a hotbed of more than 20 companies with a total of 1,650 jobs. The companies operate in fields as diverse as aerospace, medical products, automotive and energy-related products, and even the world’s first organic baby food company, located in the industrial city of Heath (population 10,000), one of four plant-based food firms in the area. Licking County’s manufacturing workforce has expanded by 10,000 this decade.

On re-teaching old dogs old tricks...................

     The big question that we all face, as we look towards the second half of the year, is whether the pullback in risk capital is temporary, as it was in 2020, or whether it is more long term, as it was after the dot-com bust in 2000 and the market crisis in 2008. If it is the former, there is hope of not just a recovery, but a strong rebound in risky asset prices, and if it is the latter, stocks may stabilize, but the riskiest assets will see depressed prices for much longer. I don't have a crystal ball or any special macro forecasting abilities, but if I had to guess, it would be that it is the latter. Unlike a virus, where a vaccine may provide at least the semblance of a quick cure (real or imagined), inflation, once unleashed, has no quick fix. Moreover, now that inflation has reared its head, neither central banks nor governments can provide the boosts that they were able to in 2020 and may even have to take actions that make things worse, rather than better, for risk capital. Finally, at the risk of sounding callous, I do think that a return of fear and a longer term pullback in risk capital is healthy for markets and the economy, since risk capital providers, spoiled by a decade or more of easy returns, have become lazy and sloppy in their pricing and trading decisions, and have, in the process, skewed capital allocation in the economy. If a long-term slowdown is in the cards, it is almost certain that the investment strategies that delivered high returns in the last decade will no longer work in this new environment, and that old lessons, dismissed as outdated just a few years go, may need to be relearned. 

-Aswath Damodaran, as culled from here

True this...............................

 If there is one thing we learned from social science over the last century is that we may produce unintended consequences, even the opposite effect of what we desire, if we react simplistically to situations and don’t consider human psychology.

-Steven Novella, as cut-and-pasted from here

Checking in......................

 ........with our friends at Gaping Void:

Friday, July 1, 2022

Here is a string of words.................

 .........we haven't seen in over a decade:

And housing inventory is increasing quickly.

Lifetime learning................

      By not giving in to your emotions, you were able to delay your reactions and think.  That is important.  We will always have emotions of fear and greed.  From here on in, it's imperative for you to use those emotions to your advantage, and for the long term to not let your emotions control your thinking.  Most people use fear and greed against themselves.  That's the start of ignorance. . . . Learn to use your emotions to think, not think with your emotions.

-Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad

Checking in.........................

........with the always interesting Martin Gurri:

 But the beginning of any human structure is an uncertain affair. The present is always a tangle of contradictory visions and conflicting interests. What appears to be of all-consuming importance today is forgotten tomorrow—and even the supposed clarity of hindsight is mostly an illusion.  We know exactly when and how Rome fell, but why such a backwater of a city became one of history’s greatest empires remains a mystery. . . .

Mir insists that the disappearance of the newspaper must mean the end of journalism. I agree. A model formed to exploit scarcity can’t be expected to function in an era of overabundance. The facts of the world, it turns out, are virtually infinite in number and incoherent in pattern. The digital age resembles the Tower of Babel—an uproar of mutually unintelligible voices. The New York Times and CNN merely contribute to the din. In such an environment, conspiracy theories can become plausible explanations for the behavior of scientists. The more information we absorb, the less we understand.

-two excerpts from his essay, The Fall and Rise of the Mediators



 for science . . . commits suicide when it adopts a creed.

-Thomas Huxley


 But somewhere along the way between her epoch and ours, as the world became more and more unsteady, humanity was sold on the expensive dream of living certain rather than bewildered, the dream of choosing — or being chosen for — the islanded certitudes of power over the open horizons of truth. The “dark ocean of space” lost its stardusted luster as we grew more and more unwilling to remain uncertain about the nature of reality and the open-endedness of the future.

-Maria Popova

The mystery.................................

 Knowledge destroys wonder, destroys the capacity to feel awe. It makes you capable of explaining away everything. It takes away all poetry from life. It takes away all meaning from life. The knowledgeable person is never surprised by anything because he can explain everything. But no explanation is true for they don’t explain anything at all. The mystery remains. The mystery is infinite.

The knowledgeable person becomes so burdened by his knowledge that he loses the mirror-like quality of reflecting the beauty, the benediction, the dance, the ecstasy of existence. Knowledge is not going to help as far as life is concerned. The knowledgeable person is almost a dead person; he lives in his grave.


Thursday, June 30, 2022

On true art.............


Claude Monet    oil on canvass   Haystacks     1890

The deepest mystery of all, I think, is the one to which biblical faith points, which is the idea that we are made not only of matter that comes from the earth and stars, but we are made in the image of God.  Whatever that means.  I don't know what it means altogether, but I think it means that we bear his mark upon us.  Deep within us.  The face of Christ is within us, his thumbprint is upon us.  The world adds all sorts of things to that holy self that God made, but it still is there, and though we lose track of it in a million ways, I think it remains, if we are lucky at all, as a source of goodness, of flashes of insight, good dreams, good prayers that somehow pray themselves, of healing.

     I think that this is the place from which all true art comes, and by true art I mean art that doesn't just entertain—perfectly alright to do that—but true art that nourishes the spirit, that illuminates the mind, that deepens understanding, that deepens our humanity.  I think that what true art, and true religion, does at its best is to put each one of us in touch with that holy part of ourselves, with that source from which art and love comes, and from which all good, wise things come, so that we—by virtue of this painting, this poem, this ballet, this piece of music, this Scripture—become finally, truly, human at last.

-Frederick Buechner, The Remarkable Ordinary

Fifty years ago..........................

Santana.........................Just In Time To See The Sun


On fanaticism........................

       All this is to say that we should not ignore the fanaticisms and the appeal of fanaticisms within the West, even in the (so far) victoriously defended Anglo-American sphere.  Some of this fanaticism is little more than a comfortable anti-Americanism or anti-plural society attitude, which it would be overprecise to call adolescent, as with the teenage appeal of posters, beret at a becoming angle, of Che Guevara.  It might be suggested that as one section of the human brain grows, this diverts nutrients from other sections, which are therefore stunted, and perhaps that in adolescence, under a different physiological mechanism, toxins are produced from which recovery is slow and sometimes never takes place.

      In much of the supposed liberal world, there was, and is, alas, a sympathy for such critics of the consensual, manifested at its worst in toleration of student-activist actions that silence free speech, disrupt universities, and so on.  There are examples almost daily, as informed readers know.

      Clearly, one of the mental conditions we can discourage is righteousness.  This may afflict left and right wing alike, as we all know.  It is fair to point out that in some cases it emerges only on a particular issue or two—though in others almost the whole mental approach seems warped that way.  In certain types of public oratory this is more or less acceptable.  But when it is presented as an argument, moderate or mature minds simply switch themselves off.

-Robert Conquest,  The Dragons of Expectations (2005)

The hopeful birth.......................

 ....................of a sub-division:  Episode 24

Oops.......  Not every day is perfect and works exactly the way you want it to.  While preparing to install the laterals from the main sanitary sewer line to the individual building lots, we broke the main line.  The system just won't work with a broken main.  Repairs are in order—now completed.  

I shudder to think.....................


arguably the most important battle....... the history of the United States.

On the trajectory....................

 Money buys happiness in the same way drugs bring pleasure: Incredible if done right, dangerous if used to mask a weakness, and disastrous when no amount is ever enough.

Morgan Housel, from here