What if everyone stops lending the U.S. government money? China has dropped 97 percent of its holdings in U.S. Treasury bills, decreasing its ownership of the short-term U.S. government securities from a peak of $210.4 billion in May 2009 to $5.69 billion in March 2011, the most recent month reported by the U.S. Treasury. Treasury bills are securities that mature in one year or less that are sold by the U.S. Treasury Department to fund the nation’s debt. Mainland Chinese… Read more

We had been discussing Lucas Cranach’s seal of the winged serpent, crowned with a ring, and what it might mean.  Thanks to Tom Hering for digging up this scholarly article by Wayne Martin, professor of philosophy of the University of Essex, who offers a reading of the artist’s “Eden” in the Courtald Gallery in England.  As a reminder, art in Cranach’s day was charged with meaning, unlike the preoccupation with abstract forms of today, but  that meaning was rendered visually. … Read more

San Francisco is considering a bill that would ban circumcision.  There would be no religious exemptions.  Voters will vote on the measure in November.  Now it turns out that the author of the bill runs an anti-semitic website: Author of SF’s Anti Circumcision Initiative Engages in Disturbing Anti Semitic Advocacy » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog. This is another attempt to use government power to suppress religion.  The target in this case, once again, is the Jews. Read more

Free market economics has a way of evening things out.  A country with low labor costs can attract lots of employers, who bid up the price of labor.  And as that country prospers, it may start looking for cheaper labor in countries that have high unemployment.  Some of that appears to be happening, as call center companies in India are opening up operations in the United States: India’s outsourcing giants — faced with rising wages at home — have looked… Read more

A food-poisoning epidemic in Europe is reportedly caused by a super-toxic strain of the E. coli bacteria: Scientists on Thursday blamed Europe’s worst recorded food-poisoning outbreak on a “super-toxic” strain of E. coli bacteria that may be brand new. But while suspicion has fallen on raw tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce as the source of the germ, researchers have been unable to pinpoint the food responsible for the frightening illness, which has killed at least 18 people, sickened more than 1,600… Read more

You know those computer-animated-and-voiced clips on YouTube that have been going around in the genre of Lutheran satire?  On subjects such as what pastors hate?  “Not that kind of Lutheran”?  “Messing with Dispensationalists”?  They are from Pastor Fiene.  He posts them and sometimes talks about them on his blog:   The High Mid Life. HT:  Pastor Douthwaite Read more

Michael Lind, at Salon, no less, explodes the conventional wisdom: Are we living at the beginning of the Age of Fossil Fuels, not its final decades? The very thought goes against everything that politicians and the educated public have been taught to believe in the past generation. According to the conventional wisdom, the U.S. and other industrial nations must undertake a rapid and expensive transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy for three reasons: The imminent depletion of fossil fuels,… Read more

Demagoguing Medicare reform proposals.  From the Washington Post fact checker: “The Republicans have a plan to end Medicare as we know it. What they would do is they would take the people who are younger than 55 years old today and tell them, ‘You know what? You’re on your own. Go and find private health insurance in the health-care insurance market. We’re going to throw you to the wolves and allow insurance companies to deny you coverage and drop you… Read more

In Sweden, all of humanity has been put on trial with a jury of Nobel Laureates. On Tuesday 17 May, humanity will be on trial as the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium brings together almost 20 Nobel Laureates, a number of leading policy makers and some of the world’s most renowned thinkers and experts on global sustainability. With Planet Earth as plaintiff and Nobel Laureates as jury members, compelling evidence will be presented showing how humanity may now be capable of… Read more

More fundamental than government, more important than politics, is the rule of law.   Not only the citizens but the rulers must follow their own laws.  Otherwise, no matter who is in power, you have rule by decree, which is nothing more than the arbitrary exercise of power; that is to say, tyranny.  Victor Davis Hanson is worried that we are losing the rule of law: The new lawlessness at the federal level. . . is predicated on “social justice”:… Read more

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