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                                            . . . where the skies are always blue and logic prevails

Stupid or Evil

With each petal I pluck, I ask myself, "Are they stupid? Or are they evil? Are they stupid? Or are they evil?" This morning the answer is"Evil."

I see Geithner vows U.S. will not devalue the dollar in the news, and I'm thinking, that would have made sense to say three years ago, but it's a little late now.

The crescendo of lies is really getting to me. Oh, did we say we weren't going to save body scanner images? Well, we are. Did we say we weren't going to spend Social Security funds? Oops, we did. Did we say Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac were just fine. Um, yeah they were a complete mess. Did we say we were in a recovery?

We were always at war with Oceania.
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Posted by Hannah Jordan at 10/19/2010 9:21 AM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
Solve the Problem with More of the Problem?

In talking with people about their political views, I often hear that "the free market is the best option, but we must have safeguards in place to defend the weak from exploitation by the powerful."

Actually, force and fraud (i.e. corruption) have always been illegal. The problem is that government, being comprised of imperfect people, rarely enforces laws equally and can't seem to avoid playing favorites.

But here's what I don't get: Why would we solve the problem with more of the problem? In other words, if the government has a problem playing favorites and occasionally turning a blind eye to corruption or is corrupt itself, why would our solution be to give the government MORE POWER? Keep in mind, the government by definition is the only legalized body of force. Shouldn't we be just a tad more careful than to solve this problem (of corruption) by handing yet more power to the entity that isn't using its force properly?

Am I the only one who finds this ludicrous?
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Posted by Hannah Jordan at 8/18/2010 10:19 AM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
Red Lips

What does it mean to our psyche to feel beautiful? What does it mean to our humanity? I recently came across this powerful narrative in Rob Bell's book Sex God. It's an entry from the diary of a British soldier who was among the first to liberate Bergen-Belsen, one of the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. Granted, the details are vile, but it is also rich with significance and, in that way, beautiful.
"I can give no adequate description of the Horror Camp in which my men and myself were to spend the next month of our lives. It was just a barren wilderness, as bare as a chicken run. Corpses lay everywhere, some in huge piles, sometimes they lay singly or in pairs where they had fallen.

It took a little time to get used to seeing men women and children collapse as you walked by them and to restrain oneself from going to their assistance. One had to get used early to the idea that the individual just did not count. One knew that five hundred a day were dying and that five hundred a day were going on dying for weeks before anything we could do would have the slightest effect. It was, however, not easy to watch a child choking to death from diptheria when you knew a tracheotomy and nursing could save it, one saw women drowning in their own vomit because they were too weak to turn over, and men eating worms as they clutched a half loaf of bread purely because they had had to eat worms to live and now could scarcely tell the difference.

Piles of corpses, naked and obscene, with a woman too weak to stand propping herself against them as she cooked the food we had given her over an open fire; men and women crouching down just anywhere in the open relieving themselves of the dysentery which was scouring their bowels, a woman standing stark naked washing herself with some issue soap in water from a tank in which the remains of a child floated.

It was shortly after the British Red Cross arrived, though it may have no connection, that a very large quantity of lipstick arrived. This was not at all what we men wanted, we were screaming for hundreds and thousands of other things and I don't know who asked for lipstick. I wish so much that I could discover who did it, it was the action of genius, sheer unadulterated brilliance. I believe nothing did more for those internees than the lipstick. Women lay in bed with no sheets and no nightie but with scarlet red lips, you saw them wandering about with nothing but a blanket over their shoulders, but with scarlet red lips. I saw a woman dead on the postmortem table and clutched in her hand was a piece of lipstick. At last someone had done something to make them individuals again, they were someone, no longer merely the number tattooed on the arm. At last they could take an interest in their appearance. That lipstick started to give them back their humanity."
Clearly, man does not live by bread alone.

An extract from the diary of Lieutenant Colonel Mervin Willett Gonin DSO who was amongst the first British soldiers to liberate Bergen-Belsen in 1945. Source: Imperial War Museum.


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Posted by Hannah Jordan at 1/30/2010 4:44 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
Plain Yogurt Taste Test
I've been on a yogurt kick lately since it's a great low-glycemic food. My sampling caused me to conclude that all plain yogurt is not created equal. In fact, it's amazing how different every yogurt I try is. Here is a ranking from my recent taste tests. Every yogurt I purchase is plain and high fat:

1. Cultural Revolution - the best!!! It's creamy and delectable, reminds me of yummy sour cream.
2. Seven Stars Farm - also wonderful!
3. Nancy's Organic - pretty darn good
4. Stoneyfield Farms Cream on Top
5. Trader Joe's Organic Cream Top
6. Dannon
7. Old Home

And here are the worst. Not even worthy of ranking are:

1. Trader Joe's European Style (bad)
2. Soygurt (awful!!!)
3. Goat Milk Yogurt (ick!!!)
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Posted by Hannah Jordan at 1/19/2010 5:46 PM | View Comments (1) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." George Washington
In the same way that a jealous spouse suspiciously watches his or her partner's every move for fear of misbehavior, the government puts us under surveillance. They also become the thought police out of fear. "Innocent until proven guilty" can only be practiced by a healthy government. Ours is beyond that and now treats everyone as a potential threat to security.

No one is more fearful than the power-hungry because they are worried about losing that power. That's why we must have a smaller government, to send the control freaks home where they can do less damage.
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Posted by Hannah Jordan at 11/10/2009 12:59 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
Politispeak Definitions #1

"Too big to fail" - politispeak used to justify the theft and transfer of taxpayer money to politicians' favorite businesses (i.e. corporate welfare). Generally effective when employed to persuade the public that said theft is in everyone's best interest.

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Posted by Hannah Jordan at 11/2/2009 10:01 AM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
Old-Fashioned Christmas Events in Minnesota



Before I had my own family I spent holidays at an idyllic Victorian home overlooking the St Croix River in Stillwater. Being at that beautiful home, with its warm hosts, wonderful smells and holiday trappings, I felt nearly like royalty. One-nineteen Cherry Street was to me what Tiffany & Company was to Holly Golightly: I felt nothing bad could happen there.

After Grandma Sue died and the house was sold, it became apparent that the Cherry Street holidays died with her. Since then I've been asking myself how I can best recreate that Cherry Street Christmas feeling for my family. So for my pleasure and yours I have assembled a list of old-fashioned, homey holiday events in Minnesota (suggestions welcome -I will gladly add them to this list ):

VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS AT THE HISTORIC COURTHOUSE
STILLWATER
NOV 20-22


The holidays begin at the Victorian Christmas event in the elegant 1870s Historic Courthouse in Stillwater. A beautifully decorated building, high-quality arts and fine crafts, a Tea Room, live music and costumed volunteers and vendors combine to create a vision of an elegant, old-fashioned holiday celebration. Bring your camera for pictures with a Victorian Santa and get a start on your holiday shopping with unique, handmade gifts. All proceeds from the event go to the restoration and operation of this historic site.

Price: Friday Nov 20, 6:30 - 9pm is a preview with champagne, appetizers and desserts for $25; Sat 10am - 5pm $3; Sun 11am - 4pm $3

101 West Pine Street
Stillwater, MN 55082
651-275-7075
historiccourthouse@co.washington.mn.us
 

RED WING HOLIDAY STROLL
RED WING MAIN STREET DOWNTOWN
NOV 27


Red Wing presents the quintessential hometown family holiday celebration with FREE activites! Friday Nov. 27 Red Wing is transformed with festivities beginning at 4pm-8 pm. Santa & Mrs. Claus arrive in grand style with reindeer, FREE family fun includes chili sampling,lighted parade at 6pm, live nativity, horse drawn carriage rides,roasted chestnuts & almonds, prizes, refreshments &treats,carolers, and spectacular fireworks at 7 pm.

Price: FREE

Downtown Red Wing
Red Wing, MN 55066
(651) 385-5934
visitorscenter@redwing.org


MY SWEDISH GINGERBREAD HOUSE
SWEDISH INSTITUTE
NOV 29 2-4pm


Bring your family to the American Swedish Institute to celebrate the season with the sweet smell of pepparkakor (gingerbread)! Learn about how Swedes prepare for the coming of Christmas with baking, candles and home decorating.Each family will receive one pre-assembled plain pepparkakshus (gingerbread house), along with candy decorations. You are invited to set your creativity alight! The cost is $15 ASI members,$20 nonmembers.(Just one house per family, please.) Space is limited and advance registration is required. Please call 612-871-4907 to sign up.

Price: $20 nonmembers, $15 MNHS members


Swedish Institute
2600 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55407
612-871-4907


OLD FASHIONED HOLIDAY BAZAAR
ST PAUL LANDMARK CENTER
DEC 3-5

My favorite Victorian Christmas event is the Landmark Center Old Fashioned Holiday Bazaar. It will only set you back a few dollars and it's well worth being surrounded by a feeling that is best described as Norman Rockwell. Beautiful handmade goods abound. Carolers serenade you as you are surrounded by the smell of cranberries and cider. The bazaar contains an amazing assortment of peer-reviewed (a.k.a. not junk) local products in an amazing variety. Out the windows are ice skaters in Rice Park and the white lights that decorate the courtyard. It's an aesthetic taste of heaven.

Price: $3

Landmark Center
75 W. Fifth St.
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 292-1239


VICTORIAN SANTA CLAUS
ALEXANDER RAMSEY HOUSE

DEC 12, 10:30am - 2:30pm

 
Head to the Carriage House to meet a Victorian-era Santa Claus. At the top of each hour from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. listen in as Santa Claus reads from the 1823 poem, "Twas the Night Before Christmas." Before and after the readings, children can make their own ornaments and tell Santa what they would like for Christmas. Parents are encouraged to bring a camera to take their own photos. Optional tour of the mansion included.

Price:$9 adults, $7 seniors and college students, $6 children ages 6 to17, $3children ages 5 and under; $2 discount for MHS members

Alexander Ramsey House
265 S. Exchange St.
St. Paul, MN 55102

651-296-8760
ramseyhouse@mnhs.org


CHRISTMAS DINNER AND HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
GERMAN AMERICAN INSTITUTE
DEC 12 5-9PM

The annual beloved GAI Christmas Dinner will be held on Saturday,December12th. Once again, we will be hosting the Christmas program before dinner in order for families with young children to attend. Please note, there will be fewer vendors at the Christmas Dinner this year, as they will instead be attending the Open Haus in November.

Christmas Dinner Schedule:

5:00 Christmas Program in the ballroom
6:00 Social Hour
6:30 Dinner (menu TBA)
8:30 Community sing-along

*Seats in the ballroom for the Christmas Program will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Please note, when making dinner reservations, please let the office know

  • The number of GAI members, non-members, and children in your party
  • If you would like to be seated with another party and their name
  • Where you would prefer to be seated (main floor or Ratskeller). Seating preferences subject to availability.  Make your reservation early in order to state your preference!
Price: $27 nonmembers, $10 children


ENGLISH CHRISTMAS
OUTING LODGE
DEC 12

Fireplaces,candles and other decorations surround you at this country Edwardian estate in Stillwater, Minnesota. Sleigh rides will be at 6pm, so hopefully the weather will stay above freezing.

Price: $180 per couple or $90 per single

Menu:
Consumme Celestine
Lobster and Mushroom Salad
Prime Rib with Horseradish Cream
Brussel Sprouts and Parsnips with Roast Potato
English Cheese Plate
English Trifle
Wines with dinner and Cash Bar

Outing Lodge
11661 Myeron Road N.
Stillwater, Minnesota 55082
651-439-9747
info@outinglodge.com

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Posted by Hannah Jordan at 10/9/2009 3:19 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
Greed: It's not just for the private sector
A couple nights ago Jon Stewart interviewed Ron Paul on the Daily Show. Midway through the interview Stewart asked Paul how to fight corruption and corporatism in the absence of any regulation or in the absence of any controlling entity.

It's a good question and Congressman Paul had a good answer: We prevent it. He went on to say that if a company is successful because they make a desirable product and people are willing to pay for it, that's great. However, if a company is pulling in loads of cash because they managed, through wheeling and dealing, to secure sweetheart deals with the government (ahem, Halliburton), that's corporatism and it's evil. The only way to truly prevent it is for the government to have less power. 

The flaw in assuming that more regulations can prevent corruption is that regulations are written by politicians and they are at least as greedy as business people. Worse, politicians have the "legal" ability to confiscate and/or print money. That's a super power Lex Luthor could only dream of. Put differently, Apple has to seduce us with iPods for us to give them our money, but the government simply bills us for unsolicited services and payment is demanded.

With force on their side, the only roadblocks to government corruption are the integrity of politicians and the accountability of the people. Although pocketing the money outright would be suspect by the general public, with enough savvy they are able to divert it as they see fit. Occasionally politicians cross the line and their corruption gets them in trouble. But for most of them, packaging corruption as altruism appears effortless.

One would think that watching them enjoy sweetheart deals from companies who get legislative favors, witnessing their travel expenses soar as they flit all over the world, SCUBA diving on the Great Barrier Reef, acquiring and using the finest private jets, staying in exclusive hotels and enjoying stellar cuisine, all on the taxpayer dime, would be as galling to the American public as Marie Antoinette's extravagant lifestyle was to the French. Unlike the queen, however, our politicians are savvy in packaging their excesses. Ask questions and they will say it's all for the public good - they're snorkeling and dining for the people.

So because politicians are greedy, when we plead with them to protect us from greedy business or Wall Street we often get a synergy of avarice that is more than we bargained for. Corporatism inevitably follows. Politicians come riding in on their white horses to save the day and hey, you wouldn't notice if we just sweetened things a bit for us in the process, would you? Namely, many politicians make certain that their legislation benefits them, either directly or indirectly. Cookies come in many forms: Besides the aforementioned special deals, they may get campaign cash, the benefit of monetary fines that benefit state coffers, higher stock prices for companies in which they have an interest or out and out material favors.

Here's a newsflash: Despite what so many of the WGP (World Greed Police) want us to believe, there is no magic wall between greed and the public sector. Greed has been with us since the dawn of humanity and is only exacerbated by permitting politicians the power to dole out goodies. As Thomas Sowell noted, “If you have been voting for politicians who promise to give you goodies at someone else's expense, then you have no right to complain when they take your money and give it to someone else, including themselves.”

No, the answer to corporatism is simple and it doesn't involve more regulations. Fraud has always been illegal. To fight corporatism, we need the government to stop stealing from us, stop the profligate spending and get out of the goodie business. If the favors stopped coming and the contracts dried up, corporate lobbyists would find themselves out of work. Even better, Washington DC would attract politicians with the public interest in mind, rather than their own.
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Posted by Hannah Jordan at 10/2/2009 2:40 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
If only Ron Paul had 10 Sons
Finally, a man running for high office who doesn't want to spend us into oblivion, micromanage our lives or march our military all over the
globe. :0
 
 
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Posted by Hannah Jordan at 8/7/2009 8:54 AM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)
The Great American Identity Theft
By removing the gold standard we allowed our identities to be stolen collectively as citizens. If we think that those who advocated lifting the standard were well-intentioned, check out this quote from the man for whom Keynesian economics was named, John Maynard Keynes (context below):

"By a continuous process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method, they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some."
~John Maynard Keynes [A.K.A. Evil Overlord]

Removing a gold standard is a deliberate attempt of a government to loot the savings of a nation. Ours was lifted in 1971 and since then our currency has been tied to nothing. As Alan Greenspan noted in 1966, "In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation." As long as the government isn't required to keep to some sort of anchor (be it a gold standard or other), they need only write out IOUs and US taxpayers are on the hook for payment.

It has become so egregious that recently the Federal Reserve gave out two trillion dollars in loans, and refused to disclose the recipients to us, their lender. It's cockiness to the nth degree. It's like a thief has stolen our credit cards and is racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt that we cannot pay back. Except it's legal.

The following is excerpted from: "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_standard"

1) During the 1939–1942 period, the UK depleted much of its gold stock in purchases of munitions and weaponry on a "cash and carry" basis from the U.S. and other nations.[citation needed] This depletion of the UK's reserve convinced Winston Churchill of the impracticality of returning to a pre-war style gold standard. To put it simply the war had bankrupted Britain. John Maynard Keynes, who had argued against such a gold standard, proposed to put the power to print money in the hands of the privately owned Bank of England.* Keynes himself said: "By a continuous process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method, they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some".

* Replace "Bank of England" with "Federal Reserve Bank" and that's us

2)Alan Greenspan, at that time the Chairman and President of Townsend-Greenspan & Co., Inc., an economic consulting firm in New York, argued in 1966, before the advent of monetarism, that, “…under the gold standard, a free banking system stands as the protector of an economy's stability and balanced growth… The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit… In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation.”[11]
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Posted by Hannah Jordan at 1/12/2009 1:27 PM | View Comments (0) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (0)