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    • Spring of a Down, by Stirling Newberry, Chapters 1-3
      я знаю місце1 (Read the Prolog) She looked out over the land coming spring. Rather than domes and spires of Kyiv, here there were roofs to keep the hearth warm. But was forward to the eye was the fuzziness of the trees because the buds were forming across a flat plain. Life bloomed, over and above the plains north of the capital the river flow in.2 She turns […]
  • Top Posts

Your Halloween Afternoon Read

Happy Halloween

For the first time ever, my daughter will spend Halloween in a foreign country. I can fully sympathize with the author of this piece.
Trick or treat: Is Halloween another tacky American import or a bit of harmless fun that boosts the economy?

As urban legends go, the one about unsuspecting trick-or-treaters having their Halloween loot spiked with razor blades is pretty chilling. Spookier still is the “fact” that the only records of serious injury resulting from poisoned booty involved children booby-trapping the items themselves, or parents poisoning their own offspring. I suspect those rumours, like the one about hospitals offering to X-ray trick-or-treat sweets, are also the stuff of legend – but none the less it’s enough to put us paranoid parents off altogether. And yet my children have been at near coma-inducing levels of excitement about their plans for weeks.

Hallowe’en is the devil’s work, Catholic church warns parents

When Victoria Romero, 6, dressed up as a witch for a Hallowe’en party this week she could hardly have imagined that she was provoking the wrath of God by attending a celebration akin to a Black Mass — at least in the eyes of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church in Spain.

Wearing skeleton suits, dressing up as vampires, witches or goblins or slapping on fake blood is not far removed from communing with the Devil, according to the country’s bishops.

However, the bishops, with Vatican backing, have reserved their venom for the millions of parents who allowed their children to celebrate this “pagan” festival.

Health-insurance Reform

Dems change focus in health debate

For days, Republicans believed they were making headway by ripping Majority Leader Harry Reid for negotiating the health care bill in private.

But when Reid announced Monday that he planned to include a public insurance option in the bill, it instantly changed the complexion of the debate – even though the meat of the bill is still being negotiated, tweaked and drafted in private and in the powerful Democrat’s auspices.

Democrats challenged on cost of health bill

Republicans on Capitol Hill are challenging an assertion by House leaders that their new health-care package comes in under President Obama’s spending limit of $900 billion over the next decade. The true cost of the measure, the GOP argues, is more than $1 trillion.

Health care: Some agreement, then there’s the public option

Congress is poised to begin a historic debate on the future of the nation’s health care system, but while most Democrats agree a new public plan is needed, its fate is far from certain.

Economy Watch

    Evaluating the stimulus

Schools Are Where Stimulus Saved Jobs, New Data Show

The best symbol of the $787 billion federal stimulus program turns out not to be a construction worker in a hard hat, but rather a classroom teacher saved from a layoff.
On Friday, the Obama administration released the most detailed information yet on the jobs created by the stimulus. Of the 640,239 jobs recipients claimed to have created or saved so far, officials said, more than half — 325,000 — were in education. Most were teachers’ jobs that states said were saved when stimulus money averted a need for layoffs.

Stimulus: The Good News, and the Bad

If this is the best a stimulus can do, we’re in real trouble, says BusinessWeek’s Peter Coy. Much more federal help may be needed to spark a real recovery

With big government boost, U.S. economy grew in 3rd quarter


The U.S. economy roared to life this summer, as an array of government actions led to the strongest quarter of growth in two years.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the nation’s gross domestic product rose at a 3.5 percent annual rate in the July-through-September quarter, the clearest evidence yet that the country has begun to emerge from the deepest downturn in decades.

    Financial (cough…cough) Reform

Financial bill under attack over loopholes

As Representative Barney Frank nears his goal of pushing a massive financial regulation package through the House Financial Services Committee, parts of the legislation are coming under blistering assault from consumer groups as well as key Democrats, who say it contains loopholes that could set the stage for another financial meltdown.

Senator Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat, is among those who said they have watched with dismay as Frank’s committee has passed provisions that they say would enable much of the controversial trading in derivatives to continue without adequate oversight.

Doubts greet Obama’s financial oversight plan

The Obama administration on Thursday ran into skepticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as well as a key regulator, as it pushed for broad new powers to monitor risks throughout the financial system and to wind down large, troubled financial firms whose failure could endanger the economy.

The criticisms included how the proposals would be funded, whether the Federal Reserve stood to gain too much influence and if the government would end up with the ability to continually bail out big financial firms without congressional approval.

An Object Lesson in Governmental Failure: Derivatives reform

If you want to understand why Congress seems completely incapable of checking the power of Wall Street, look back to a hearing on the Hill last October 7, and the subsequent events surrounding it. On that day, the House Financial Services Committee hosted a panel on reform of the market for derivatives, the financial instrument which played such a notable role in the country’s economic meltdown.

Around The Nation

White House Visitor Log Lists Stars and C.E.O.’s

Among the White House guests was a boldface-names list of chief executives, including Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Vikram Pandit of Citigroup Inc., Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Rex W. Tillerson of the Exxon Mobil Corporation, David J. O’Reilly of the Chevron Corporation and Jeffrey R. Immelt of the General Electric Company The men, who met with Mr. Obama, his advisers or both, were among nearly 500 entries in logs from Jan. 20 to July 31.

Ethics inquiry looks into several House panel members

Seven lawmakers on the defense appropriations subcommittee got donations from PMA Group clients while sponsoring spending on beneficial projects. The investigation was revealed in a ‘data breach.’

Around The World

The Quiet Power of Europe

EU members have become some of the planet’s most adroit globalizers, opening themselves to the world while keeping in place their extensive social services—Germany alone exports as much as China. The continent has also fared better than expected in the downturn. Europe’s unemployment rate now bests America’s, and France and Germany managed to escape the recession faster than the United States.

Things look almost as good on the political front. In the years since communism ended, the EU has doubled in size, and its population will pass 500 million next year. The Union, often decried as dysfunctional, has reached another important milestone: the Lisbon Treaty, a quasi constitution that streamlines decision making, has just been approved by the last of the 27 members.

Iran’s Nuclear Response Creates a Quandary for Obama

If the Obama Administration had hoped to get the bulk of Iran’s current stockpile of enriched uranium out of the country under a new agreement for reprocessing abroad, those hopes are fading fast. The counter-proposal offered by Iran on Thursday contained such substantive revisions that Western officials are interpreting it as a rejection — at least of the aspect of the deal most important to the Western powers. More worrisome, perhaps, for the future of President Obama’s engagement strategy may be the fact that although the deal contained some important concessions to Tehran, the possibility that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might embrace it sparked a storm of criticism from across the Iranian political spectrum.

Clinton makes personal bid to resume Mideast talks

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and aides in the Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi on Saturday before flying to Israel, where she is expected to meet senior Israeli officials in a push to restart peace negotiations.

Jacques Chirac ordered to stand trial on corruption charges

Jacques Chirac, the former French president, has been ordered to stand trial on embezzlement charges over accusations he rewarded cronies with payments for non-existent jobs while mayor of Paris.

If the case goes ahead it will make Chirac the first holder of France’s highest office to face a corruption trial.

Odds & Ends

15 most explosive videos on the internet

From science experiments to building demolitions to nuclear tests, there are few things in life more visually impressive than explosions. Here are 15 of the most dramatic.

digg!!! tweet!!! share!!!

happy halloween!!!


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80 Responses

  1. Cute candy corn costume. 🙂

  2. Hi MABlue! That photo is a riot!

    • Oh my, it appears that someone attached those eyes to the Cheerios.

    • I love that pic too.

      Halloween here was just a nightmare for me. My daughter refused to understand that Halloween is not as big everywhere as it is at home. She simply didn’t want to give it up this time.

      I had to come up with some sort of satisfying program and we just got home.

      • What did you end up doing? I can understand how she feels. Halloween is so much fun for kids.

        • I took her and her classmate to the Berlin Zoo where there was some sort of Halloween for kids.

          After that we went to her friend’s neighborhood to do some trick-or-treating. We can’t do it where we live because it’s in the middle of the city, in fact our district is called Berlin-Mitte.

          • It sounds like fun.

          • mablue2 — OT — Five years after the Berlin Wall went up (August 13, ’66), I went over into East Berlin with my Experiment in International Living group. It was eerie. We were cued to to tell the German guards at the border crossing our destination, a museum, I believe. We were alerted that any one of us college students could be taken out of the group and interrogated. The no man’s land had barbed wire and barriers. A guardsman pushed a mirror on wheels around the parked cars looking for whatever. East Berlin looked dreary. I can almost re-create the crossing experience, but don’t remember the name of the museum or any of its art work. But I’ve spooked myself recalling it now!

  3. Great line up – loved the picture and that little candy corn is just precious. Thanks! 🙂

  4. I always laugh when I hear about halloween being a pagan holiday, so is christmas and easter ..the catholic church just stole them all and morphed them into something they could use way back then …

    not one of the so-called ‘christian’ holidays have a christian basis

    • Yeah. The whole “righteous” rage over “taking Christ out of Christmas” and “Merry Christmas” vs “happy holidays” is annoying

      • yup, it was chosen because they were already used to celebrating Mithras’ the bull gods’ birthday… and they do Sundays because the head of the Sun God Cult was its chief priest, Constantine. All you have to do is read a the history of the First Council of Nicaea and you sure learn about what is what … Jesus almost lost the divinity vote several times.

        • Yes. The early Christians were afraid of becoming lion food and so thay aligned their holidays with Roman pagan festivals so that they could celebrate their “Christian” holiday and pretend to be celebrating the Roman ones.

          Now they want to rewrite history to cover up the truth when in fact, it was just a matter of survival not “cowardice.”. Geez, can’t destroy the myth of the courageous Christians openly professing their faith and accepting their fate as an offering to God.

        • Mithras was not a bull god, at least not in the sense of Serapis. He killed the bull as a divine or semi-divine sacrifice, but never took the form of the bull himself.

          By the way, most of the argument out there that J.C. is based on Mitrhas is–uhm–do I dare?–I dare–bullshit.

          • I only ever heard the arguments that Christians co-opted Mithras’ festival dates. However, Joseph Campbell made some good arguments about the connection between the mythology of Christ and the mythology of Zoraster.

          • nah, the only thing I heard was they were used to celebrations on that date so they adopted the birth date. The Roman clergy were really good at take some god’s birthday and switching to their own brand

          • they co-opted a lot of buddha’ stuff too. Every single one of the Jesus parables have the same counterpart in Buddha’s teachings written down like 500 years before that … right down to the details like the sower and throwing seeds on rocks, etc.

          • Any number of faiths have winter solstice festivals, including Judaism, which celebrates the return of light to the Jerusalem Temple after the overthrow of the Seleucids by the Maccabees. This would seem to me to be an obvious influence for Jewish Christians, but Jewish Christianity was obliterated along with Jerusalem itself by Titus in 70 CE, leaving the field clear for Paul and his Greco-Roman church. If we’re to understand, though, that the gospels reflected early Christian practice, remember that Luke has “shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night.” That means that J. C.’s birthday must originally have been celebrated in late spring or summer because winter in Palestine can be flat-out nasty and neither sheep nor humans would be out in the fields at night if they could help it.

            I suspect that Christmas was moved to December precisely because of the perception of the winter solstice as turning point of the year, when the sun’s light grows stronger, as well as to compete with the Roman Saturnalia.

            The BS I was referring to is the musings (or mewlings) of pseudo-scholars who claim that J. C. was a completely fictional character based on Mithras, Horus, Dionysos–any or all, take your pick–and feature asertions that Mithras was born of a virgin–he was born of a rock, actually–or that Horus was “crucified between two thieves,” a concept unknown to Egyptian literature or scholarship.

          • The history of these mythologies is indeed fascinating. Love Campbell’s analysis. But remember everyone, for gods sake, don’t get any of the made up stuff mixed up with other made up stuff. /snark

    • Ayup.

  5. Just saw this at TENNESSEE GUERILLA WOMEN :
    Basketball Star Nancy Lieberman Challenges Obama to a Game


    • Oh, I’d love to see that, but he’ll never do it.

      • He would only do it if he was guaranteed he would win.

        Can you imagine how he would react if (when) he started losing in an honest game to a girl?

      • Oh, I don’t know, how good can she play wearing a burka?
        Also while that girl was being raped do you think that some of the by-standers might have been listening to 99 Problems?

  6. Here’s an example of a good old viking song that’s been transformed into a Christmas theme.

  7. There are other religious sects besides the R C’s that eschew Halloween as a pagan festival. The same ones that try to ban Harry Potter.
    I was going to make a comment that the Catholic clergy didn’t like Halloween because there was an extra layer of costume to rip thru to molest a child but I don’t want to be banned.

    • I don’t think anyone here would ban you for that.

      When I was kid we had to go to church on All Saints Day, Nov. 1. Halloween is “All Hallows Eve.” I don’t know why the church would be against it. It’s the eve of a holy day of obligation–like Christmas eve.

      • It’s a Puritan thing.

        Having too much fun is a sin.

        • Catholics aren’t Puritans though. We even have “the blessing of the beer” once a year.

      • You have my sympathy as Boston seems to be the epicenter of Pedophile Priests.
        I’m lucky that I never crossed paths with one until Catholic high school.

        • I don’t need any sympathy. I haven’t been to church since I was about 16 years old. Boston isn’t the epicenter. It’s just one place that got a lot of publicity. The problem is generational within the church and it’s everywhere. New Orleans had a huge scandal before Boston did. There have been cases in Chicago, LA, all over. But it doesn’t have anything to do with me personally other than that I disapprove of hurting children in any way.

          • problems in Omaha, NE too … and they JUST settled a big one in New Orleans.

          • Well, I meant that in that Boston Catholics got a lot of negative publicity.
            As a boy growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s I used to have a model rail road train set, so did a lot of classmates. One of them used to catch tree toads (no, I didn’t see this but heard about it from another kid) and tie them to the tracks and run them over. He went into the seminary after high school.
            To me, he was the epitome of what a priest is like.

      • they purposefully did that in Ireland to try to take the Halloween celebrations down … way back when

        • The Catholic Church and by extention other Christian churches have tried for a long time to disassociate with the historical realities of their connections to pagan practices. As I mentioned above, the reality erodes the myth of the courageous Christian. It’s bad for business.

        • Bad for business.
          That’s the bottom line, it’s all about market share and attracting new customers to put money in the collection plate.

      • Almost all my friends growing up were Catholic (went to a Catholic girls’ school), and we all went trick-or-treating together up through grade school and had Halloween parties when we hit the teens. Lots of fun, no scolding by the cergy. (Now the Baptists, they got hot under the collars they didn’t wear over all the witches and skeletons and red devils with pitchforks and such.)

    • Banned for being anti-Catholic, you gotta be kidding. This is TC, the more anti-Catholic the better.

  8. So many of our holidays have Druid origins.
    Even Groundhog Day was St. Brigid’s Day in Ireland and Brigid was a Druid long before she was a saint.

    • yup, and celt too. If only the Romans would have stayed on the mainland, can you imagine what kind of cool things there would still be in the world ?

  9. speaking of that pic, the eyes on the butter inbetween the eyes are the toast are just wrong

  10. Obama administration: Toss wiretap lawsuit

    Kevin Bankston, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group in San Francisco that is pursuing a similar lawsuit against the government, called Holder’s decision “incredibly disappointing.”

    “The Obama administration has essentially adopted the position of the Bush administration in these cases, even though candidate Obama was incredibly critical of both the warrantless wiretapping program and the Bush administration’s abuse of the state secrets privilege,” said Bankston.


    p.s. Night of the Living Dead is running all night on AMC if anyone wants some good B&W Halloween camp.

  11. No rapping at McDonalds allowed:


  12. This is an interesting article in this month’s “Scientific American Mind.”

    Traditional IQ tests miss some of the most important aspects of real-world intelligence. It is possible to test high in IQ yet to suffer from the logical-thought defect known as dysrationalia.

    One cause of dysrationalia is that people tend to be cognitive misers, meaning that they take the easy way out when trying to solve problems, often leading to solutions that are illogical and wrong.

    Sound familiar? Dysrationalia…great name for the condition
    (BTW, the online version is only a partial. I have a subscription and the entire article is fascinating).

    • Like taking short cuts, cheating. Sounds like hedge fund types, and they encourage others to follow their lead. It’s a kind of pathology.

    • Interesting, but I always sigh loud when I read one of these arguments about the IQ test. IQ tests are meant to do one thing and that is to measure your capacity to learn information. It measures brain power, nothing else. So IQ tests really are missing nothing.
      However there are some IQ tests that are better than others.

  13. Holloween
    Full Moon
    Set clocks back so that it lasts 1 hour longer

    Oh Oh the ghosts and goblins will howl tonight.



  14. Of course Europe is doing better! They actually regulated their market instead of feed it tax payers money.

    • its increasingly rudderless posts read like talking points from the Democratic National Committee.

      Lol! In other words = Bot talking points.

    • A perfect description of what DK has become.

    • war-crazed administration suppressed all dissent as unpatriotic and treasonous

      These are humorous words from a blog who kicks off people or downrates them out of existence for disagreeing with the blog’s mission.

      What a crock the cheeto is.

  15. my keyboard died … i am so screwed

    • I had that happen on my laptop once. Fortunately, I had a spare keyboard that I could plug in until the part for the new keyboard arrived. There’s a very helpless feeling when you can’t type.

  16. Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich can’t see past the river views from their Manhattan condos. Self righteous dweebs. They can both kiss my liberal ass.

    • I think MoDo recognizes herself in Obama. They both have serious issues that need to be worked out in a therapist’s office, but they insist on inflicting them on the public instead.

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