Monday, November 19, 2018

A Thanksgiving Feast

Getting ready for the big day! From Victoria:
At the root of joy is gratitude, and both abound in this annual autumn repast. From far and wide, loved ones gather to share a simple banquet with those they hold dear. The centerpiece of any holiday menu, our succulent Glazed Roasted Turkey rises to the occasion with festive presentation and delectable taste. Preparation begins the night before with a brown sugar–sweetened brine that includes garlic, chiles, bay leaves, and juniper berries. Stuffed afterward with thyme, rosemary, onion, and celery, the bird is then coated with a teriyaki glaze and cooked to a deep golden finish. (Read more.)

Trump and the Judges

From The National Review:
The restrictions come in the form of a rule promulgated jointly by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and a proclamation issued by President Trump. In conjunction, they assert that an alien who wishes to apply for asylum in the United States must act lawfully: An alien who is physically present here and wishes to apply must be in the country legally; an alien outside the country who wishes to apply must present himself at a lawful port of entry — not attempt to smuggle his way in or force his way in as part of a horde (i.e., no invasions by caravan). (Read more.)

From Zero Hedge:
 During the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation hearings we witnessed the transformation of Donald J. Turmp from “I think I can” to full blown “I’m in charge of the United States – I’m the President, President Donald J. Trump.” This was reaffirmed during the 60 Minutes interview with Leslie Stahl when he actually told her that he was the President and she was not.

The past couple of months have been interesting to watch President Trump morph into a true alpha male, in charge of each situation he is involved. It will be interesting to see, now that the midterms are over, how President Trump conducts himself on the global stage. Dealing with a bunch of low IQ reporters who only use the talking points they are provided is one thing, dealing with President Xi Jinping and President Putin is a whole other situation. These men, like Trump, are educated, calculating and know how the game works.

I sat down with geopolitical analyst, Tom Luongo, Gold, Goats and Guns, to discuss what has transpired over the past few months. The conversation covered an enormous amount of ground in a compressed timeframe. Tom’s depth of knowledge is on full display and I can assure you, there is a not a minute you will want to miss. (Read more.)

5 Final Years Conversations to Begin Now

From Caregiver Stress:
Who wants to think about a time without their loved ones? Or that moment when you take one long, last look into your mother’s eyes. Someday, your own children will be facing that heartache. “It’s a very sad thing,” noted Harriet Warshaw, executive director of the Conversation Project. “No one seems to want to talk about it so the topic is easy to avoid. In fact, every culture has their own taboos around death,” she said. For example, in modern-day European-based folklore, death is known as the "Grim Reaper" or "The grim spectre of death.” This form typically wields a scythe, and is sometimes portrayed riding a white horse.

And yet, at an individual level, people do want to talk, Warshaw has found. University of Nebraska at Omaha Gerontologist Dr. Julie Masters agrees, and finds that telling others about her profession often opens the door to interesting dialogues about death. As a result, many times people share their own preferences for the end of their lives.  “In the book ‘Being Mortal,’ author Atul Gawande writes, ‘Death, of course, is not a failure. Death may be the enemy, but it is also the natural order of things,’” Masters explains.

Research corroborates the desire that individuals have to discuss these issues. In a survey conducted by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network, nearly three in four seniors who have made plans for their final years have discussed them with their adult children, and half of those did so to let them know everything will be OK. (Read more.) Share

Sunday, November 18, 2018

4 Ways Kale Benefits Your Body

 From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
Kale  is also high in vitamin A, which can improve your skin, vision, and bone  health. In addition, kale has a lot of vitamin C, which further boosts  the immune system while improving the bones, skin, and blood vessels.  Vitamin K is featured in this superfood, too, which is good because it  reduces bone loss and helps transport calcium through the body. Finally,  kale has folate and magnesium, which help with bone marrow, fetal  development, energy levels, heart health, and more. (Read more.)

Irish Doctors

From Life News:
A majority of Irish GPs are not willing, for either moral or practical reasons, to perform abortions when the new law comes into force, new polling has revealed. In an online survey with over 3,500 members of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) 43% responded to say that they weren’t prepared to participate in abortion “due to concerns regarding capacity, resources or conscientious objection, but are willing to refer to another colleague”. Most significantly, 25% said they would not provide abortion and would prefer not to refer a woman to another doctor. 32% said they will provide “termination-of-pregnancy services”. (Read more.)

 Meanwhile, Ireland is going forward with sex selection abortions. From Life Site:
The Irish people may not have realized just how radically pro-abortion their leaders’ plans were when they voted to repeal their pro-life Eighth Amendment in May. Discriminatory sex-selection abortions are illegal in the UK, but they may not be in Ireland soon. On Wednesday, the Oireachtas Health Committee rejected an amendment that would have prohibited sex-selection abortions in Ireland, Breaking News Ireland reports. Health Minister Simon Harris, who has been pushing the pro-abortion legislation, claimed the anti-discrimination amendment is “unnecessary.”

Government leaders are pushing a radical pro-abortion bill that would legalize abortion for any reason up to 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to six months in a wide variety of circumstances in Ireland. It would force taxpayers to pay for abortions and force Catholic hospitals to provide them. The bill also strictly limits conscience protections for medical professionals. Right now, the Health Committee is debating a series of amendments to the bill. One that it voted down Wednesday would have prohibited discriminatory abortions based on the unborn baby’s sex, race or disability. (Read more.)

The Mass Exodus of Confederates to Brazil after the Civil War

From The Vintage News:
At the time, the Empire of Brazil spanned the territory of today’s Brazil and Uruguay, and the Emperor, Dom Pedro II was interested in creating his own cotton and sugar-cane industry. He had the land, but he lacked skilled farmers. Unable to adapt to the newly formed situation, many southern émigrés from Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina used the opportunity and moved to Brazil. Their whole life was organized around agriculture on their farms, so they were welcomed by the Brazilian Emperor. He made the southerners a great deal by offering financial help with travel expenses, subsidizing the price of the land, and letting them build plantations tax-free. Those wealthy Confederates who had too much land in the US couldn’t leave it, which left more opportunities for many farmers to gain large tracts of land at a cheap price. Some of them recognized the appeal in the developing urban areas of Sao Paolo and Rio De Janeiro, while others tried their luck in the inhabited regions of the northern and southern Amazon. There were some 20,000 émigrés (according to some sources the figure was around 10,000) who moved to Brazil between 1865 and 1885, a time during which slavery was still legal in the country. The first generations of newcomers remained as cloistered communities marrying exclusively among themselves and refusing to learn Portuguese. (Read more.)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Madame de la Motte

I have never seen the above picture identified as Madame de la Motte, the adventuress who precipitated the Diamond Necklace Scandal. But the following article identifies it as being Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Rémy. If anyone knows differently, then please let me know. From Headstuff:
 Nobility in pre-Revolutionary France was something of a double-edged sword. Of course it came with great privilege, and the nobles of France were permitted behaviour that was unthinkable for those of lower orders. But it also came with obligations, and one of the most notable of these was that it was unthinkable for a noble to earn their living at a trade. As such there were many people who were rich in name but poor in cash, forced to rely on the charity of the more influential to provide them with official positions and largesse. In that atmosphere of desperation many were prepared to go to great lengths to get what they felt they were owed; but few went quite as far as Jeanne de la Motte.

She was born as Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Rémy in 1756, a name that was derived directly from her noble lineage. Her father Jacques was descended from King Henry II of France (of the House of Valois) and his mistress Nicole de Savigny. Even two hundred years old and from the “wrong side of the blanket”, royal blood was more than enough to grant one the status of nobility. Their illegitimate son had been granted the title of Comte de Saint-Rémy, a title Jacques still claimed. Jeanne’s mother Marie came from far less noble stock; she was a maidservant who Jacques got pregnant. This wasn’t uncommon; what was uncommon was that Jacques insisted on marrying her despite his father’s protestations. This argument delayed their marriage until 1755, by which time they had already had two children. Jeanne (born a year later) was their first legitimate child.

Though Jacques inherited an estate from his father near Bar-sur-Aubein the northeast of France, he did not really inherit enough money to maintain it; at least not combined with his constant drunkenness and Marie’s spendthrift nature. Jeanne would later in her autobiography blame her mother for squandering the inheritance, but this may have been to cover up how little there was to squander. Visitors to the estate noted how the children had to do farmyard chores, and do them barefoot. It was only thanks to the charity of the locals that they survived.

When Jeanne was young, Jacques decided to move the family to Paris where he hoped to find opportunities for a noble like himself. It was a vain hope, and he was reduced to literally begging on the street. He died in 1762, when Jeanne was only six years old. Her mother soon took on a new lover and abandoned her three surviving children into the care of a charitable local, the Marquise de Boulainvilliers.

This proved to be a fortunate occurrence for the children, as the Marquise’s wife took a liking to her new foster children. Jeanne would later describe her as her “true mother”. Luckily for them, one of the things that the nobles of France had and the rest of the country did not was a social safety net. Once Madame de Boulainvilliers was able to prove their royal lineage they were entitled to a small annual stipend from the crown; enough for Jeanne’s brother Jacques to go to a military academy and for Jeanne and her sister Marie-Anne to attend a boarding school. When they completed their schooling they were sent into a convent, but Jeanne turned out not to have “the monastic temperament”. In 1776 she ran away from the convent (taking her little sister with her) and returned back to her childhood home in Bar-sur-Aube.

There she was taken in by the Surmont family, landed gentry with their own distant link to the nobility. After four years in their household, she married a nephew of the household by the name of Nicolas de la Motte, an officer in the gendarmerie (a local militia that was a precursor to the police). It was a whirlwind romance, necessitated by the fact that Jeanne was heavily pregnant when she was married.

She herself gives very little details about how she and Nicolas came to get married; scandalous later rumours implied that she fell pregnant from a lover she could not marry and swiftly ensnared Nicholas as a marriageable prospect and convinced him the children were his. Why could she not marry her lover? Because, said the rumours, the father was actually the man who officiated at her wedding: the Bishop of Langres. Whether this was true or not is impossible to say; she gave birth to twins shortly after the wedding but they only survived a few days. Infant mortality like that was a cruel fact of life back in those days. (Read more.)

The Deadly California Fires

From Investor's Business Daily:
As reported by PJ Media's Bridget Johnson, Brown calls the devastating conflagration now roaring through the northern part of the state "the new normal." The fires have killed at least six people, including two firefighters, torched more than a thousand homes, and burnt close to 130,000 acres. The fires are horrible. Cal Fire, the state fire agency, blamed "steep terrain, erratic winds, and previously unburned fuels" for fueling the fires.

Brown had a different culprit: global warming. "We're fighting nature with the amount of material we're putting in the environment, and that material traps heat, and the heat fosters fires, and the fires keep burning," he said. He called on dramatic, extremely costly steps to "shift the weather back to where it historically was," claiming current weather conditions hadn't been so hot "since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago."

Succinct, and very wrong. In fact, a look at global temperatures for the last 10,000 years shows that temperatures have been much warmer than they are today for much if not most of the time during that period. Indeed, many historians and anthropologists attribute the rise of civilization to global warming following the last Ice Age. And, no, despite Brown's claims, we're not having more fires. A study in the journal Science determined that the global burnt area from fires, rather than growing, had declined by roughly 25% from 1999 to 2017.

Another paper, this one appearing in 2016 in the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, concluded: "Many consider wildfire an accelerating problem, with widely held perceptions both in the media and scientific papers of increasing fire occurrence, severity and resulting losses. However, important exceptions aside, the quantitative evidence available does not support these perceived trends."

But what about California? No question, the state is going through a hot spell and big fires. But a study released last year showed that, since 1970, the number of big fires — those of 300 acres or more — have steadily declined. The past year has seen some unusually hot months, no question, drying things out. But that's weather — not climate change.

That's not to say there aren't problems.  There are. But it doesn't lie with California Gov. Brown's white whale, global warming, on which he is truly an Ahab-like fanatic. He should instead point the finger of blame at two major reasons for destructive fires: One, in recent decades we've built homes and expanded towns in remote areas where previously there were few people or none. But even more seriously is the federal government's foolish policies related to fire control.

"One of the biggest problems is the overcrowding of Western forests with dead trees, and the areas beween stand with dry, flammable grasses," noted a recent analysis in the Washington Examiner. "Part of the problem is that logging and grazing have been discontinued or discouraged in too many places."

Worse, the federal government's policy of wildfire suppression has, perhaps paradoxically, contributed to the problem. Before humans lived here in enormous numbers, the landscape had many small fires that suddenly erupted from lightning strikes and other causes, and then burnt themselves out. But in recent decades, the policy has been to stop fires immediately. This leaves huge areas of accumulating dry brush that catches fire fast and burns hot, with the fire traveling quickly once lit. That's where we are today. (Read more.)

From The Washington Times:
 “It’s time to rise above political posturing and recognize that active forest management — including logging, thinning, grazing and controlled burning — are tools that can and must be used to reduce fire risks and help mitigate the impacts to landscapes,” Mr. Dructor said in a statement. According to the council, some 60 million to 80 million acres of national forest are at “high, to very high, risk of catastrophic wildfire.” Citing research from the U.S. Forest Service, the council backs such methods as thinning stressed trees and prescribed burns to reduce wildfires but said “only a small fraction of high-risk acres are being treated.”

Mr. Dructor advised the Trump administration and Congress to expand public-private partnerships to manage the problem. “The federal government does not have resources to treat every forest by itself. Yet America’s forest sector has the infrastructure to manage and improve the health of our federal forests. The raw excess material from overgrown forests can provide renewable energy and a number of American-made products and provide thousands of family-wage jobs,” Mr. Dructor said. “Loggers are America’s ‘boots on the ground’ to conserve our forests and reduce the risks of wildfire,” council president Chris Potts said in a statement.

“We work in the woods every day, we understand forestry and see the dangers every day, and we know what needs to be done. Without forests, we are out of business. That’s why we’ll continue to work with Republicans and Democrats on needed reforms that will help to sustain our forests and protect our forests and communities from wildfire,” he said. (Read more.)

And a major climate study has been revealed to be flawed. To quote:
The error was first discovered by Nic Lewis, a retired British man who holds a bachelors degree in math from the University of Cambridge and who reads science papers for fun. He has also written a couple of published papers of his own on climate science. “I've always liked to understand the world and to check whether people's research makes sense to me. Once I find something that seems wrong to me, I like to get to the bottom of it,” Lewis told Fox News. Lewis said the incident should serve as a cautionary tale. (Read more.)