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Homily: The Superbowl and the Stock Market (plus Tweets)

Most of the tweets in this post are from yesterday or the day before. So at this stage I just need to get this post out before they get any older.

I’ve been planning all sorts of profound homilies, but my writing isn’t up to executing them at the moment. Thus all you’re getting are a few comments on the latest news.

THE SUPERBOWL

I’m glad the Eagles won the Super Bowl. I voted for them in the poll on WEIT. I don’t actually know anything about American Football, but I remember stories about Tom Brady cheating and deflate-gate. And I didn’t want a cheat to win.

However, the behaviour of the Eagles fans following the win is pretty appalling. Why is it that a certain segment of US society writes off the Eagles fans’ actions as understandable exuberance, but (rightfully) condemns authoritarian leftists for damaging property during protests?

I watched some of the game, but I missed Justin Timberlake. There were highlights of his performance on New Zealand’s six 0’clock news that night though. They went on about him finally coming back following Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” way back when. Our news even showed that again!

(Before I go any further, I have to point out that most of New Zealand could never understand why most of the USA had a collective fit of the vapours at the sight of boob. But then you still have places where breastfeeding in public is a disgrace. We, otoh, have babies in parliament and a pregnant prime minister.)

So Justin Timberlake rips off Janet Jackson’s top, and he’s back, but she’s still out in the cold. It’s back to the same old story where the single pregnant woman is a whore and the man is a stud.

THE STOCK MARKET

This morning the first thing I heard about on the news was the plummeting of the Dow by 1175 points, wiping out all this year’s gains. The S & P has gone negative for 2018. No one seems to be quite sure why. I was expecting it, but not this big, this soon, or this suddenly.

The thing is, the stock market was overvalued. When interest rates are low and property prices are high, it’s one of the few places to put your money where you can still make a decent interest rate reasonably safely. That makes it rise more, and more quickly than it should. A strong stock market is not necessarily a sign of a strong economy.

Trump’s tax cuts have made a big change to market conditions. The deficit will increase. Therefore the era of cheap money is over, and interest rates will go up. Also Trump is replacing the chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen. She has done an outstanding job and a lot of the good things about the economy are down to her. Her (male, of course) replacement will likely try to keep interest rates down like her, but it may not be possible.

But Trump cares more about whether someone voted for him than whether they’re good at their job, so she’s out the door. Yellen’s mere presence was enough to stabilize the market when there were doubts. Trump does not have a good record in making appointments to top jobs. Their ability to do the job seems to be a matter of good luck rather than good management. Having said that, her replacement isn’t bad, just not as good as her.

Hopefully today’s crash will be a lesson to Trump. Focus on the underlying strengths of the economy rather than talking about the stock market all the time. Otherwise you will be burned. When I turn on CNN later, I’m expecting a mocking montage of Trump going on about the stock market over the last year.

The things he should be talking about and focusing on are different to what he does talk about. (He would know this if he understood anything about macroeconomics.) The unemployment rate, down to the industry level is important, as is the economic growth rate, for example. However, Trump shows his lack of understanding there because, despite the urging of many of his Republicans colleagues, he wants to cut immigration.

The US, like many Western countries, has too many old people and not enough young people. The country hasn’t suffered the effects of that as much as many others because of the level of illegal immigration. Those immigrants are mostly young and are making up for the low birthrate amongst USians.

I don’t have a problem with Trump tightening border security (though I don’t like the way he talks about it), but his proposed policy is wrong. Or partly wrong anyway. He talks of only allowing highly skilled immigrants into the country, and stopping all other immigration.

It is true that the US needs more highly skilled immigrants, but it also needs immigrants at the other end of the spectrum. All the “illegals” that he has such a problem with are mostly employed in jobs where there just aren’t enough USians available to do them. He seems to think “low-skilled and uneducated” equals “worthless, dishonest, criminal, drug-addicted, loser.” It doesn’t of course, and he needs to recognize that before he stalls the real economic growth that is happening.

There are going to be higher than usual growth rates in the US because of recovery from the weather events of 2017 anyway. That will mask any failure to achieve economic growth elsewhere in the country to some extent. The US could be in for a tough time, and Trump won’t even realize it’s happening if he doesn’t educate himself.

 

Political Tweets

For the sake of Britain, I keep hoping that Brexit won’t happen. It’s not just that it’s the wrong thing to do. It’s the fact that those who are doing it don’t seem to know what they’re doing.
(Via Ann German.)

 

I’ve got about 4,000 words of notes on The Memo story. I really should write it up!
(All via Ann German.)

 

 

 

 

True.
(Via Ann German.)

 

Mueller Time Tweets

Just for fun.
(Via Ann German.)

 

Religion Tweets

Perhaps this church is surreptitiously reminding everyone that Easter is really a pagan holiday?!
(Via Ann German.)

 

The guy who calls himself “God” in social media has put up a sign for Michele Bachman …

 

Human Rights Tweets

To David Brooks, who wrote the opinion piece in this tweet, I say:

Just shut up. You’re talking a load of $hit. You’re just another a$$ho£€ who doesn’t care when it’s women who will suffer.

(Via Ann German.)

 

Some other responses:

 

 

 

 

Environment Tweets

And people trust Trump’s judgement that pulling out of the Paris Accord was the right thing to do? FFS!
(Via Ann German.)

Stuff I Don’t Know Where to Put Tweets

Weird.
(Via Ann German.)

 

Space Tweets

Stream bed in the foreground, pastures on the other side giving way to rolling hills with mountains in the distance. Except it’s Mars! Very cool indeed!
(Via Ann German.)

 

Marine Tweets

Otters, like octopuses, are cool!

 

Freshwater Tweets

I’m actually just assuming this is a freshwater creature, so if I’ve got it wrong let me know. I didn’t even know soft-shell turtles existed!
(Via Ann German.)

 

Other Animals Tweets

Especially for Linda Calhoun. Aren’t they sweet?!

 

Animal predation trigger warning!

 

Bird Tweets

Cute and beautiful!

 

Dog Tweets

Oh dear!
(Via Ann German.)

TRIGGER WARNING: Gross punch line to the story. Read this tweet at your peril!

 

Cat Tweets

And no one doubts that cat would use it if it could!

 

The next few wonderful tweets about big cats are all via Ann German.

 

 

 


 

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37 Responses to “Homily: The Superbowl and the Stock Market (plus Tweets)”

  1. j.a.m. says:

    Brooks: ‘”In 1971, Ted Kennedy could declare, “Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized — the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old.”’

    Call me nostalgic, but time was when liberals actually believed what they claim to believe — about vindicating the rights and dignity of the vulnerable, and about protecting civil liberties in the face of domestic surveillance, secret courts, abuse of power, and politically-motivated misconduct.

    • rickflick says:

      “Although he was a staunch pro-choice advocate for the past 30 years, Kennedy adopted this position only after the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.”

    • nicky says:

      Chappaquiddick Ted? I know he’s from a Catholic background. Wonder? It’s earliest stages? A blob of cells? Why should we not extend the same right to your prostate cancer: human life and growing? Admittedly your prostate cancer is not a ‘potential human being’, but then, your sperm (or egg) cells are!
      The ‘vulnerable’ here are mostly young and poor women that got stuck with an unwanted pregnancy.

    • Linda Calhoun says:

      “…time was when liberals actually believed what they claim to believe…”

      You mean, unlike conservatives, who have never in their lives believed what they claim to believe.

      Just one quick example, from only yesterday – Trump declared the Democrats in Congress “treasonous” because THEY DIDN’T CLAP!!! OMFG, THEY DIDN’T CLAP.

      And, WE paid for his damn trip to Ohio. His staff declared that the trip was not political, so the taxpayers, all of us, had to foot the bill.

      Last I heard, he swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. Hmmm….

      BTW, I continue to notice that you have not answered my direct question of what it is that you are hoping to accomplish with your endless derogatory comments here.

      So, I’m left to my imagination, which speculates that the reason you don’t answer the question is that even you find the answer less than complimentary to yourself.

      The possibilities that I’ve come up with:

      “I’m addicted to needling people I don’t like, and I’m not giving it up.”

      “I’m going to change your minds eventually with my endless stream of snark, denigration, and venom.” (Good luck with that one.)

      I’m dazzling you with my brilliance, and my single argument that we are perfect and any behavior of ours that you don’t like is really your own fault because someone you like does it, too.”

      “I really don’t believe anything, but I’m being paid to do this.” (By the RNC? The Russians? The Koch brothers?)

      See, you’d really be better off just answering the question.

      L

      PS: I have an absolutely foolproof method of ascertaining what people believe. It works every time, and I never have to ask anybody anything.

      I just observe their behavior.

    • In 1971 the women’s movement was still, after decades, still in its infancy. Married women still needed their husband’s permission to use contraception in many places, and single women weren’t allowed it at all. (A lot of doctors didn’t stick to those dreadful rules of course.) A woman’s right to choose hadn’t yet been established.

    • Pali says:

      Liberals also generally believe that the rights of one don’t trump the rights of another – and that the right of a fetus to live doesn’t allow it to use another human as a life-support machine against their will, anymore than I can demand the use of your body against your will to keep me alive now. Conservatives, on the other hand, seem to want to grant fetuses special rights that then expire upon birth.

  2. nicky says:

    Ryan: “If there are individuals who are abusing their power it’s out duty to protect Americans’ civil liberties.” (guess the ‘out’ in the quote is ‘our’)
    Yes, there have been individuals that have abused their power. Mr Mc Connell comes to mind.
    I already despised his machinations to prevent Obama to nominate the successor to Scalia, but I did not realise the enormity of it’s unconstitutionality and break with precedent.
    http://www.nyulawreview.org/sites/default/files/%20NYULawReviewOnline-91-Kar-Mazzone.pdf
    It is really scary, I think Mr Mc Connell has been destroying US democracy and getting away with it.
    Just in case you are thinking of the ‘Biden Rule’. Mr Biden proposed that in an election year (it was a completely hypothetical proposal made in June 1992, half-way through an election year), that hearings on a new nominee for Chief Justice should be postponed until after the elections, ie early November. Note, it was just a proposal, was not voted upon, and personally I think it’s constitutional standing and precedents are weak, to put it mildly. Lacking any legal grounds to put it more strongly. Just a practical matter, not even decided upon and going against historical procedure.
    The blocking of Obama’s nominee, regardless of whom it was, was a crime against the State IMMO.

    • j.a.m. says:

      Your attacks on our beloved majority leader are even nuttier than your attacks our beloved President. Thank God for patriots like Sen. McConnell willing to do such a difficult and thankless job.

      Consent is meaningless unless it means what the person or entity giving consent says it means. A President may be entitled to some deference on most executive branch appointments that won’t survive his term anyway, but court appointments must reflect consensus between the branches.

      Consensus was the norm for most of our history. That precedent was destroyed by the rise of liberal judicial activism and by the Democrats, specifically Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Biden, when they torpedoed the nomination of Judge Robert Bork. (And not coincidentally, to David Brooks’ point, they did so at the explicit command of their abortion industry masters and funders.)

      • Linda Calhoun says:

        “Beloved”???? Are you serious???

        You may like what they’re doing, but “beloved”???

        Gross.

        L

      • nicky says:

        Have you even read the link? Apparently not.

        Note that Mr Bork was heard by the full senate despite already being rejected by the Senate committee (9-5), and was rejected because of ‘lack of merit’. There was no question of ‘not hearing regardless of whom Mr Reagan proposed’, a completely different situation. Mr Bork was considered -whether so or not is not really relevant here- an extremist right winger by a large senate majority, even 6 Republicans voted against him. He also had butter on his head regarding Watergate (firing Mr Cox).
        It could just as well be said that Mr Reagan was the culprit in the Bork saga, by proposing Mr Bork, trying to replace a ‘moderate’ (Mr Powell) by an ‘extremist’. Mr Reagan then nominated Mr Anthony Kennedy -also a conservative (a ‘Rehnquist boy’), but not an extremist- as supreme court judge. Mr Kennedy was accepted unanimously.
        Nice trivia: both Bill and Hillary Clinton studied under Mr Bork.

        Mr McConnell’s despicable action was very, very different and completely unprecedented, possibly even unconstitutional.

        • nicky says:

          In other words, the Senate Comittee should have considered, heard Mr Garland, and the latter would probably, if not recommended -contrary to Bork- not even have insisted on being heard by the full Senate.
          Note, since Mr Garland was eminently qualified, and not a known partizan, the Committee should have recommended him, and probably would have. And then the Senate, the organ exercising control over the elected president’s choice (ic Mr Obama), would have confirmed or turned him down.
          The only nominations for Supreme Court judges being turned down were cases proposed by non-elected presidents (3 out of eleven cases) all before the 25th amendment, and a few cases when candidates were proposed and rejected after a new president was elected. 3 out of 5 cases (IIRC), and in one case it made no difference, since the newly elected president proposed the same candidate.
          What a great occasion for uniting the US it would have been if Mr Trump would have done the same with Mr Garland (but no, he chose a bottom-dweller).
          Mr Mc Connell ‘s action was not only completely unprecedented, ,but totally unconscionable, evil even, putting the integrity of the US democracy on the block. Not since the unconscionable decision of the Scalia SCOTUS in 2000 has the US system been shown pants down, only infinitely worse now. The present case puts the whole separation of powers, one of the main pillars of democracy, in jeopardy.

        • The idea that someone who displayed their lack of integrity and extreme partisanship during Watergate should be rewarded with a position on the Supreme Court is completely outrageous.

          • j.a.m. says:

            A judicial appointment is not a “reward”. Unlike, say, an ambassadorship, it is not political spoils. It is not meant to honor or flatter or buy off the appointee. It is supposed to be made, and customarily is made, to further the common good. That certainly was the case with Judge Bork.

            To suggest that Judge Bork ever demonstrated a lack of integrity or extreme partisanship is a scurrilous and outrageous slander. President Reagan named him to the appellate bench just a few years before his Supreme Court nomination, and at that time the Senate confirmed him by unanimous consent. Judge Bork’s character did not change in those few intervening years. What changed was the extremist special interests calling the shots and pulling the purse strings at the Democrat party.

          • nicky says:

            @jam. The appellate bench is not the Supreme Court, ther is no real equivalence.
            The whole Bork saga is a diversion from Mr McConnell’s evil machinations. A red herring.
            Bork was not nominated in an election year at all. He was heard by the Senate Committee and rejected, but was nevertheless allowed -against established use- to be heard by the full Senate.
            Mr Garland was not even heard by the Committee, let alone the full Senate. There has been no precedent in the full -more than 2 centuries- history of the US that that has ever happened. Never has a nominee been refused beforehand, before nomination, because a particular elected president was going to nominate him.
            No nominees by an elected president were ever denied being heard, sole exceptions being nominees nominated after a new president was elected (and even then about half of them were).
            The enormity of Mr McConnell’s despicable actions are difficult to estimate. After the 2018 elections, the committee could eg. decide not to hear any candidate of Mr Trump , because in the year before an election year, etc. etc.

      • darrelle says:

        McConnell and Ryan are 2 of the worst people in the US, arguably worse than Trump himself. You are such a stereotype of the ignorant religious conservative American I can’t decide if you are for real or not. But I’ll take you at your word.

        • nicky says:

          Darrelle, I beg to disagree. Mr Ryan is bad, but Mr McConnell is infinitely worse. He basically destroyed US democracy and got away with it.
          Of course ‘jam’ is not for real, just a real troll, cf my suspicions below.

          • I think McConnell is currently the worst. But if Ryan uses the likely big increase in the deficit to reduce Medicare, Medicaid etc, he will be literally destroying the lives of tens of millions. The safety net in the US is already far too small. People will die to maintain tax cuts for the rich.

          • darrelle says:

            McConnell is flat out reprehensible that’s for sure. But I don’t think Ryan is any better. His concerned eyes and boyish earnestness don’t fool me, they disgust me. Have you ever heard the saying about politicians, “When they’re not smiling and kissing babies they’re stealing their candy?” Ryan is that to the 10th power.

          • j.a.m. says:

            This comment has been deleted by me (Heather). It was completely unacceptable even as a joke.

      • I find the term “abortion industry” ignorant, offensive, and completely outrageous. I’m sick of hearing it. I am arbitrarily banning it from my website.

        Unfortunately, I can’t make the software comply automatically because it will just stop any comment with either of those words. However, they will be manually deleted as I find them from now on. This will be added to the Comments Guidelines later today.

        • Mark R. says:

          Thanks for banning that stupid term. Not that I mind j.a.m. continually exposing his Dunning-Kruger effected mind, conspiratorial phrases like that have no place on a civil and rational site.

        • j.a.m. says:

          It goes without saying that the content on your site is entirely your prerogative. What euphemism would you prefer that we use for these businesses?

          • There is no need to resort to euphemisms, except in your head. You might get more sympathy for your position if you made the effort to be more objective in your description.

    • The Biden Rule is a complete red herring. Iirc, he even voted for the GOP nominee in the end. The original thing was just playing politics. No one expected it to succeed. I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this at length somewhere. What McConnell did was completely outrageous, against all the norms, and everything else you said.

  3. Linda Calhoun says:

    Thanks for the goat pix, Heather.

    Pygmies may be cute, but, oh, they’re still Pygmies.

    Hope to send you some shots of our new babies that Faye took yesterday. As soon as she sends them to me, I’ll forward them.

    L

  4. Heather, I love your site. And I love the Twitters you find. Now I needn’t join 😂

  5. Mark R. says:

    I was really happy the Eagles won! Especially since Brady is a tRump bumpkin. At least 4 Eagles won’t be going to the white house if they are invited- good on them..

    That Dumb and Dumber Tweet was frickin’ hilarious. I’m making that my desktop background. Those two idiots don’t know how to get out of each other’s way. Congress voted unanimously to release the democrat rebuttal; I hope trump is stupid enough to stop its release.

    Did you hear that in Pennsylvania, where the state Supreme Court banned the republican gerrymandering, and SCOTUS upheld the decision, the legislature said they were going to impeach all 5 democratic justices who ruled to stop the gerrymandering. This is how desperate and disrespectful of the law republicans are; they truly have no shame, whether they are in state legislatures or the federal body. The “treasonous” masses are catching on though (finally).

    All soft shell turtles are fresh water critters. I used to have one when I was a kid; they are a fun and fascinating pet.

    Did you hear POTUS wants to shutdown the government since no one wants his Draconian immigration plan? As usual, he puts all the blame on dems even though many reps are opposed to it too (though for different reasons). Apparently, “the world is laughing at us” because of our immigrant policies. Yes, the world is laughing at us, but that’s not the reason.

    • No I hadn’t heard about Pennsylvania, or POTUS wanting to shut down the government. Every time I hear him say, “The world is laughing at us because …” I feel like correcting him for whatever reason he gives. The rest of the world simply doesn’t get how he got to be President, and he is an embarrassment to your country. It’s him that makes you look bad, not any of the things he says. Even when he gets it right, he presents it in such a way that he’s still a joke.

      Thanks for the confirmation on the turtle – I was hoping someone would let me know!

      • nicky says:

        The turtle question is simple : there are only seven extant sea turtles (testudinae): Green, Loggerhead, Kemp’s Ridley, Olive Ridley, Hawksbill, Fatback and Leatherback. If not one of those: fresh water.

    • I came across this cartoon on the Pennsylvania situation, so I had to tweet it: https://twitter.com/HeatherHastie/status/961031794186379264

      • Mark R. says:

        HA! That’s good.

      • nicky says:

        Indeed a Good One, but I have to admit it took me quite a while to recognise the implement on the left. Early Alzheimers?
        Apparently there is a move on the way to impeach the Pen State Supreme Court judges. Unbelievable, more so since even conservative Justice Alito simply threw the appeal out (I wanted to add ‘scornfully’, but that would not be objective).
        Don’t they stop at anything?

        • Trevor says:

          Republican politicians don’t have principles, they just have tactics. Republicans have been gaming the system for so long they are incapable of respecting the law any more.

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