January 31, 2016

Overnight Open Thread (1-31-2016)
— Maetenloch

Quote of the Day

In the last ten thousand years - an instant in our long history - we've abandoned the nomadic life. We've domesticated the plants and animals. Why chase the food when you can make it come to you?For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven't forgotten. The open road still softly calls, like a nearly forgotten song of childhood. We invest far-off places with a certain romance. This appeal, I suspect, has been meticulously crafted by natural selection as an essential element in our survival. Long summers, mild winters, rich harvests, plentiful game - none of them lasts forever. It is beyond our powers to predict the future. Catastrophic events have a way of sneaking up on us, of catching us unaware. Your own life, or your band's, or even your species' might be owed to a restless few-drawn, by a craving they can hardly articulate or understand, to undiscovered lands and new worlds.

Herman Melville, in Moby Dick, spoke for wanderers in all epochs and meridians: "I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas..."

Maybe it's a little early. Maybe the time is not quite yet. But those other worlds - promising untold opportunities - beckon. Silently, they orbit the Sun, waiting.

-- Carl Sagan

European Refugee Roundup:

EU Leaders Insist There is 'NO LINK' Between the Migrant Crisis and New Year Sex Attacks in Cologne

Minutes state: 'As far as the crimes in Cologne were concerned, he [Timmermans] said that these were a matter of public order and were not related to the refugee crisis.'

They also suggest officials want 'the unconditional rejection of false associations between certain criminal acts, such as the attacks on women in Cologne on New Year's Eve, and the mass influx of refugees'.

But the officials simultaneously do not want to 'downplay' the problems.

Move along citizen - nothing to see here.

Dutch Authorities Attack the Real Problem: Dutch Citizens Complaining About Immigrants on Social Media

Daily Mail Articles on Migrant Murder of Alexandra Mezher Being Censored in Sweden

Swedish Police Reveal They Have Dealt With 5,000 Incidents Involving Migrants Since October

6' Tall, Bearded, 14 Year Old "Unaccompanied Minor" Refugee in Sweden Raises Questions

Mass Migration Will Give Sweden a Male Gender Imbalance Worse Than China

Hundred-Strong Group of Masked Men Rampage Through Stockholm, Beating Up Refugees and Handing Out Anti-Refugee Leaflets


No doubt that they're part of some unsavory group but this is exactly what you get when political leaders abdicate their most basic responsibility: protecting the people they claim to represent. Based on the paths of other countries if these legitimate safety concerns are left unaddressed, you will eventually start seeing the appearance of death squads either with the tacit approval of local police or drawn from the police themselves. Note that this is all foreseeable. And avoidable.

The Naked Truth: On Nude Statues and Civilization

Renaissance thinkers blended Classical ideas with Christian thinking: man could be seen not as just a fallen creature in a vale of tears but as the foremost of God's creations, whose good in this life was important to the Almighty.

Art helps make these otherwise high-minded notions into something publicly accessible. When the Florentines put Michelangelo's monumental, nude David in the center of their city in 1504, it said something important in a way that even an illiterate manual laborer could understand. Later, the Florentine sculptor would design the buildings of the modern Capitoline to house a collection that Pope Sixtus IV had donated to the people of Rome;in 1734, Pope Clementine XII would declare the Capitoline open to the general populace, making it the world's first public art museum.

Humanism, moderation, an appreciation for our common humanity, and the humane treatment of even those we disagree with on matters of the highest import-so much of what separates us from Iran's brutal regime is on display to anyone walking through the Capitoline museum.

Note that as a married man of nearly 50 years and a former member of the military Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is no doubt quite familiar with the naked female and male forms.

nakedstat1 nakedstat2

Posted by: Maetenloch at 06:16 PM | Comments (337)
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Pre-Super-Bowl Football Thread (CBD)
— Open Blogger


What? She's not A Panthers or Broncos cheerleader?

I'll punch your TS ticket.....

Talk amongst yourselves until the real content arrives: ONT!

Posted by: Open Blogger at 04:14 PM | Comments (206)
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Food Thread: Fermentation; It's What All The Cool Kids Are Doing [CBD]
— Open Blogger

Yeah....I got nothing.

7 day fermentation.jpg

This is a little experiment I tried. My standard pizza dough recipe with an 18 hour, 57° rise. I made one, and it was quite good, but then put the rest of the dough into the refrigerator for six more days. Why? I have no idea. Maybe because I am reading a book called Proof: The Science of Booze, which discusses in great detail the science of fermentation.

Anyway, after that long, cold fermentation, when I opened the container i got the expected whiff of sourdough, but also an interesting aroma of booze and maybe some other things....the byproducts of fermentation (besides CO2 and alcohol) that add complexity to whatever happens to be fermenting; booze, bread, salami, etc. more...

Posted by: Open Blogger at 11:00 AM | Comments (473)
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An Interesting Idea: Free Tuition At Elite Schools, Paid By Their Massive Endowments (CBD)
— Open Blogger

Meritocracy: Will Harvard Become Free and Fair? is an interesting article with some even more interesting links. My favorite is to another article by the author, ""Paying Tuition to a Giant Hedge Fund," which is exactly what paying Harvard tuition is!

As so many of us know, higher education has become something rather different than what it was intended to be. Clearly it is a moneymaker, non-profit status be damned. And of course the indoctrination of our youth is funded by this seemingly unending and ever expanding source of money.

And for an interesting take on the current fascist impulse of feminism and the SJWs, as manifested on campus, here is Glenn Reynolds: Turning tide in war on college men?

And don't miss our very own tsrblke's take on the origins of the War On Men. A Thought on @instapundit's USA Today Editorial

Posted by: Open Blogger at 07:13 AM | Comments (263)
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Sunday Morning Book Thread 01-31-2016: Around the Edges of the Gospel [OregonMuse]
— Open Blogger

Cincinnatti public library - 500.jpg
Cincinnati Public Library, c. 1927

Good morning to all of you morons and moronettes and bartenders everywhere and all the ships at sea. Welcome to AoSHQ's stately, prestigious, internationally acclaimed and high-class Sunday Morning Book Thread. The Sunday Morning Book Thread is the only AoSHQ thread that is so hoity-toity, pants are required. And when I type up the book thread, my pinkies remain elevated the whole time, that's how classy it is. And don't forget your pants!

One is never lonely when one has a book.
-Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

Stories From Sacred History

So in a thread earlier this week, the landlord opined that he thought the upcoming movie Risen might be a clever bit of filmmaking:

The trick here is that the movie actually begins (I imagine) like a pretty secular affair -- we've got a political problem with this uprising of Jews and these silly claims, so we're sending in a detective to find the body.

I don't think, in this movie, the centurion is going to find the body.

So what begins as a secular detective mystery (with odd historical trappings) winds up as a conversion piece.

I grew up Roman Catholic, went to Catholic primary school for 8 years, and am old enough to have witnessed the "modernization" of the RCC that happened as a result of Vatican II. I wasn't fooled one bit. Instead of an old priest wearing a cassock, which identified him as obviously a priest, these youngish guys with long hair and guitars kept showing up at school and church. But I remember thinking, "Yeah, this is just the same old boring religion that the nuns have been trying to beat into me for years, only it's now some clown pretending to be a hippie. Screw you." That was my attitude. I hated both, but if I had to have one or the other, I think that even back then I would have chosen the old one.

So ace is saying that Risen is kind of like that. Although it wouldn't be fair to call it "bait and switch" -- if the trailer doesn't make it completely obvious what you're getting, note that one of the production companies is a division of Sony called AffirmFilms which is also responsible for The Remaining ("After the Rapture, There Are Fates Worse Than Death") and Miracles From Heaven ("based on the incredible true story"). Given this, it seems unlikely that Risen is going to end with "Oh look, we found the stinking corpse. Hey everybody, it's all a big fake."

You really ought to take a look at those trailers I linked to. I don't know how they are from an artistic standpoint, but they certainly look good. Sony is obviously dropping a lot of money into them. And obviously, the suits believe these religiousChristian-themed films are going to make them a metric boatload of money.

But I'm getting off track. This is the book thread, not the movie thread. The point is, and this was pointed out in the comments, there are books which take this same approach, such Ben Hur, which is probably the most famous one, and also, The Robe:

A Roman soldier, Marcellus, wins Christ's robe as a gambling prize. He then sets forth on a quest to find the truth about the Nazarene's robe-a quest that reaches to the very roots and heart of Christianity and is set against the vividly limned background of ancient Rome. Here is a timeless story of adventure, faith, and romance, a tale of spiritual longing and ultimate redemption.

I've heard that the movie version wasn't very good. I wonder if the book is any better?

Another one is The Silver Chalice by Thomas Costain, which

takes place shortly after Christ's death and resurrection. Basil is called to design the case which will hold the silver cup that Christ and His disciples drank from at the Last Supper, and plans to sculpt their likenesses upon it. As he seeks out these followers of Christ, he encounters grave danger.

And I can't go on without also mentioning. Dear and Glorious Physician, Taylor Caldwell's novel about St. Luke.

So there's any number of these novels written "around the edges of the Gospel", in boulder terlit hobo's apt words.

Now here's something interesting that I learned from the comments. Remember Barry Sadler, the guy who did "The Ballad of the Green Berets" ("Put silver wings on my son's chest/Make him one of America's best...")? Well, he wass an author, too. In fact, he wrote a series of books featuring the character Casca Rufio Longinus, who was a Roman soldier, stationed in Judea, and who was assigned to stab Jesus' side with his spear as He hung on the cross. For doing that that he was cursed to not die, but to roam the earth until the Second Coming. Of course this is a variation of the old Wandering Jew myth. But Casca is condemned to a soldier's life wherever he goes, and the book series has him fighting in various historical times and places such as Rome, Byzantium, Germany, France, America (Civil War), Vietnam, Japan, etc. There are a great number of these Casca novels, like over 40 of them. Sadler is credited with writing 22 of them. And then the task was handed off to various ghost writers.

I guess they're pretty pulpy. Whoever's writing them can crank them out pretty fast.

There's also an official Casca web site.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 03:55 AM | Comments (422)
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EMT 1/31/16 [krakatoa]
— Open Blogger

Here comes the Iowa caucuses. First and consequently most influential for no apparent reason.

Looks like after flirting with sanity, Iowa is poised to deliver Trump his first primary victory because Cruz is a Canadian hatey McHaterson or something.

I wish I could get worked up about elections. That would mean I wasn't full on pessimistic about the trajectory of our nation.

But I just can't shake the conviction that once the majority of people discover they can vote that other people's money will be transferred to them, the die is well and truly cast.

We're about to elect either a reality show barker, an out and proud Socialist, or the person who has without a shadow of a doubt broken federal laws, and goes unindicted because: Girl/Clinton/Democrat.

Good and hard, people.

Good and hard.

Sorry for so much pessimism on a Sunday morning.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 02:50 AM | Comments (247)
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January 30, 2016

Overnight Open Thread (30 Jan 2016)

Ruling class blues.

I'll note that an integral part of Progressive mythology is the struggle. Despite being in charge for close to a century, Progressives still think of themselves as an insurgent minority at war with their oppressive overlords. Elizabeth Warren is worth millions, yet she spends her time in the Senate ranting about the one percent. Her neighbors in the one percent cheer her on. It's false consciousness.

Posted by: CDR M at 05:01 PM | Comments (812)
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Final Iowa Polls Thread
— Ace

Information coming soon.

Write up here.

On the Democrats' side, it's Hilary 45%, Sanders 42%. Too close to call.

However, Ann Selzer (who did the poll) says this is somewhat deceptive, and Hillary is stronger than her three point lead would suggest.

Only one in three likely Democratic voters in the survey are first-time caucus-goers, who break decidedly toward Sanders. That compares with 60 percent in the final pre-caucus survey of 2008, when a wave of young voters and new participants helped Barack Obama overpower Clinton in Iowa.

Sanders needs a surge of new voters to win, I guess.

Where will O'Malley's voters go? Looks like an even split between Sanders and Hillary.

Posted by: Ace at 01:45 PM | Comments (700)
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Physics: It's A Marvelous Thing (CBD)
— Open Blogger

Did anyone have a physics instructor who would climb a ladder where a pendulum with a heavy weight was secured, then allow the pendulum to swing away....and back toward him?

I have heard rumors, but nobody ever claimed to have seen it.

And Physics/Chemistry Open Thread.....

Posted by: Open Blogger at 11:50 AM | Comments (222)
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Saturday Gardening Thread: Not DRAFT Edition [Y-not and KT]
— Open Blogger

Greetings gardeners!

I hope you all survived the storm without major incident. Here at the vast half acre Y-not Estate we lost one Eastern cedar to the ice and snow. Most of our cedars did fine, however, and resisted damage from the elements as they were designed.

The golf course behind us saw quite a bit of damage, mostly to the white pines. I'm not sure how many trees were downed, but there were a lot of large branches that fell. Apparently quite a few magnolias were also damaged in our area. (Here's an article about how they fared after last year's heavy snows.)

We'll be looking to replace the Eastern cedar we lost and add to our collection of evergreens, so I've started reading up on the best varieties to choose, here and here. I even found a blogger in Kentucky who has researched the best tall trees to plant in our area.

I may be too late for this year, but I plan on learning all I can about how to ensure my trees survive the NEXT big storm, here and here.

In the meantime, my lovely cedar has been converted into bedding for the world's largest hamster!

(Actually, don't do this. It's bad for your hamsters!)

Now, here's something warm and pleasant from KT:

Posted by: Open Blogger at 10:05 AM | Comments (131)
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Animal Planet: Snoop Dogg Style - Niedermeyer's Dead Horse
— Open Blogger

Whilst we await the gardening post, how about a little furry entertainment?

Doing it as only he could, Snoop Dogg narrates Animal Planet. It's even better than Gin 'N Juice.

There is now a petition to have Snoop Dogg narrate Planet Earth.

I'm not kidding.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 07:15 AM | Comments (232)
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A Textbook "Community Organization" (CBD)
— Open Blogger

Shocking as it may seem, here is some interesting evidence that Black Lives Matter might not be the grassroots organization that they would like America to think.

And judging by the carnage in Chicago, there might be a missing comma in their name.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 05:17 AM | Comments (214)
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EMT 1/30/16 About Last Night edition [krakatoa]
— Open Blogger

This makes me want to rip my own lips off with a wolverine. I can only imagine it was worse for them.

Posted by: Open Blogger at 01:00 AM | Comments (365)
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January 29, 2016

Overnight Open Thread (29 Jan 2016)

Alright you guys have been punished enough from the last post.

Undue influence from this administration once again. more...

Posted by: CDR M at 05:10 PM | Comments (692)
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No Words
— Ace


Posted by: Ace at 04:20 PM | Comments (350)
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Norwegian Woman Claims to be Trans-Species, a Cat Trapped In a Human Body
— Ace

From @rdbrewer, meow-she says meow-she is the victim of a "genetic defect" which makes meow-her a transcat.

The more civilized a society is -- or the more decadent; I am beginning to wonder if Conan of Cimmeria wasn't right that they're essentially the same -- the more time and space people have to indulge in play and fantasy.

Of course, this is, in the main, a good thing. Having to find food and water for oneself every single day might have the admirable effect of focusing one's mind on practical, tangible reality, but daydreaming, play, fantasy, storytelling, art and oral sex are nice luxuries to be able to indulge in.

Decadence is wonderful, really -- for as long you can afford it.

But, of course, when a society becomes so insulated from reality -- due to its wealth and domination over the environment -- it might lose itself dreaming.

The thing is, this can only go on for a short period, because reality will, ultimately, reimpose itself. A society that begins forgetting about the exacting rules of reality will soon lose its wealth and its soft cushions against the fundamental hardness of the world.

It is a strange thing indeed that in objectively bad economic times -- these are hard times, hustling times, scarce times -- we are simultaneously cursed with the strange dreamings of excessive wealth. I don't think that many people believed, during the Great Depression, that they were cats trapped in the bodies of humans.

I think they were more practical minded. Which is what then permitted them to rebuild and become prosperous again. And ultimately begin lapsing into dreamworlds in the seventies.

Yet here we are in objectively hard times, which should, if we are to ever scramble out of our predicament, produce hard thinking, yet we continue on this descent into indulgence and decadence.

These are hard times, but they do not produce hard thinking. They don't even produce soft thinking. They produce non-thinking. They produce psychosis.

They produce waking dreams, and not even dreams of the more interesting sort.

Where are the piles of gold we ought to be sleeping upon, if we are to dream so indulgently? We have our decadence, but where is our opulence to prop it up?

Strange days, and bad ones.


Posted by: Ace at 01:54 PM | Comments (571)
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Movie Review: "Beyond the Reach"
— Ace

I just watched this because Literally Nothing Is Ever On TV. It's a low-budget movie from 2014 by an Italian, or French, director.

It stars Michael Douglas playing an arrogant, rich corporate douchebag. Real stretch for him. He's a big game hunter, or maybe just a big game shooter, as he has lots of expensive equipment -- a $500,000 six-wheel Humvee complete with espresso maker (!), a futuristic looking Steyr rifle -- but does not have a great deal of wilderness skills. He mostly just pays guides to get him close to big trophy animal so he can shoot it.

He pays a guide, played by a guy named Jeremy Irving, I think, to get him close to bighorn sheep in the Mojave Desert. He bribes the guy to overlook the fact that he doesn't have a permit to hunt the protected animals.

The problem comes when Douglas sees a shadow on a ridgeline and fires at it... without confirming the shadow was a bighorn sheep.

In fact, it was a human being, and he nailed him in the heart. He's dead as the desert.

At this point, Douglas attempts to further bribe the guide, but the guide isn't helping covering up a killing, even if it was an accident.

So Michael Douglas begins Plan B: He forces the guide to strip to his underwear, at gun point, and marches him through the merciless sun and 120 degree heat of the Mojave. His plan is that the guide will die a natural-appearing death, and he'll claim that the guide shot the man, then ran out into the desert in despair and eventually died of exposure, sunstroke, and thirst. With no witness to contradict him, he'll get away with it.

It's a lower-budget movie, as there are just two actors, pretty much (some brief appearances by others), and much of the time, the camera is only on one of them.

The other actor is the Mojave Desert, which puts in a damn fine performance.

After all the noise of the Marvel films, I enjoyed this quiet, taut, simple drama of one man trying to kill another man, and another man trying to survive. There's little dialogue between them, even, as there really isn't much to say past the opening: Michael Douglas just wants this guy dead. Not really a lot to discuss.

It's on demand on Starz.

Here are my ratings:

Minus 1/2 Star for No Rattlesnake Fu. Come on, a desert survival movie, and no rattlesnake? Have the guy wake up from sleeping and discover a rattlesnake has snuggled up next to him for warmth.

No wildlife at all, really -- not even the bighorn sheep. Not even the sounds of their horns clashing against each other in the distance.

Lots of sand, stone, and sun, though.

Posted by: Ace at 12:25 PM | Comments (466)
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— Ace


Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Brown:

The intelligence community has now deemed some of Hillary Clinton's emails "too damaging" to national security to release under any circumstances, according to a U.S. government official close to the ongoing review. A second source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, backed up the finding.

The decision to withhold the documents in full, and not provide even a partial release with redactions, further undercuts claims by the State Department and the Clinton campaign that none of the intelligence in the emails was classified when it hit Clinton's personal server.

This all comes in the context of the State Department failing to meet a judge's orders to disclose these emails in a timely manner, with State also not even saying if they'll be able to release them with a delay.

22 emails are too top secret to release, but not too top secret, I guess, for Hillary's non-secure email system.

The Obama administration confirmed for the first time Friday that Hillary Clinton's unsecured home server contained some of the U.S. government's most closely guarded secrets, censoring 22 emails with material demanding one of the highest levels of classification. The revelation comes just three days before the Iowa presidential nominating caucuses in which Clinton is a candidate.

The State Department will release its next batch of emails from Clinton's time as secretary of state later Friday.

But The Associated Press has learned seven email chains are being withheld in full because they contain information deemed to be "top secret." The 37 pages include messages recently described by a key intelligence official as concerning so-called "special access programs" - a highly restricted subset of classified material that could point to confidential sources or clandestine programs like drone strikes or government eavesdropping.

Team Hillary's spin? "We demand you release these highly classified emails which we also know it's against the law to release."

She wants to pretend that these aren't top secret.

Ongoing interrogation of a State Department spokesman who's trying to play down all of Hillary's illegal top secret emails.

Catherine Herridge is not having this twit's weird claim that while these emails have been confirmed as SAP (higher than top secret) when they hit the server, they weren't "marked" as SAP when they hit the server. He won't say if he accepts this confirmation (for the intelligence services, which certify this information was in fact SAP when Hillary sent it out), and also won't say he disputes it. He just keeps pushing Hillary's line that they weren't "marked" as such.

"Are you saying that you do not accept the sworn declaration of the intelligence community that these emails were classified when they were sent?"

He keeps saying they accept the "upgrade" to top secret, but won't admit that the IC has said they were top secret at the moment they were sent -- that is, they weren't "upgraded" to classified, they always were classified.

He is now being grilled on this "marked" bullshit -- another reporter, a male, is pointing out that it doesn't matter if it's "marked" classified if it is classified.

The spokesman is saying "that process is ongoing" and that it will be answered by some separate process.

Let me once again say that Catherine Herridge is indispensable. She just keeps coming back on this and will not allow him to continue not answering. (But he continues to not answer.)

Let me explain her line of questioning: While the spokesman claims State accepts the "upgrade" to classified status, he refuses to admit this information was already classified. He is insisting that a separate State Department inquiry will figure out if this stuff was in fact already classified, and not just "upgraded" to classified now.

Herridge keeps pointing out that the agency which originated the intelligence gets to make that call -- and they've already made it. Hence, there is no role for the State Department to make some sort of independent investigation; the answer is already in hand. But he won't accept that; as a dilatory and evasive tactic, he's inisting that State be allowed to look into this matter.

Over and over again, she presses him: It has been looked into by the only people authorized to offer a finding on it. Do you accept that?

He keeps saying he'll wait for some other "process" at State to determine this.

He once again says the State Department will review the classification at the time the emails were sent, ignoring the fact they'd already been sworn as classified at that moment by the agency responsible for the information.

Jesus, he just stressed it wasn't "marked" classified. Again.

And again he says it's being "upgraded" to top secret -- he will not concede it was always top secret. They insist on claiming the top secret status is a new thing, or at least, they're unwilling to concede otherwise.

Posted by: Ace at 10:35 AM | Comments (638)
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Tucker Carlson: Trump Is Shocking, Vulgar, and Right
— Ace

I saw this yesterday but didn't put it up because it's so persuasive people will take my linking it as an actual endorsement.

I'm not endorsing Trump by posting this. But it's a hell of a piece.

Posted by: Ace at 09:38 AM | Comments (531)
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4th Quarter Growth Rate Falls to 0.7 Percent
— Ace

Must have been the unexpectedly mild early winter.

The U.S. economy's growth slowed sharply in the final three months of 2015 to a 0.7 percent annual rate. Consumers slowed spending, businesses cut back on investment and global problems trimmed exports.

The slowdown could renew doubts about the durability of the 6½-year-old economic expansion, though most economists expect growth to rebound in the current January-March quarter.

Obviously the question is whether this is the crash landing signalling a new recession (which itself would be confirmation that we've just been scootching along in a Depression) or if we return to the anemic less-than-inflation-plus-population-growth we've so long enjoyed under Obama.

Posted by: Ace at 07:38 AM | Comments (594)
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