Music

This page has several hours of YouTube videos of peaceful and serene music distributed over several playlists. Click on “continue reading” to show all playlists. Single click on a playlist to start playing. After that, double click on the playlist to make it full screen. Double click again to change it back. Several of the Continue reading »

Viewing Russia From the Inside

 

By George Friedman

Last week I flew into Moscow, arriving at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 8. It gets dark in Moscow around that time, and the sun doesn’t rise until about 10 a.m. at this time of the year — the so-called Black Days versus White Nights. For anyone used to life closer to the equator, this is unsettling. It is the first sign that you are not only in a foreign country, which I am used to, but also in a foreign environment. Yet as we drove toward downtown Moscow, well over an hour away, the traffic, the road work, were all commonplace. Moscow has three airports, and we flew into the farthest one from downtown, Domodedovo — the primary international airport. There is endless renovation going on in Moscow, and while it holds up traffic, it indicates that prosperity continues, at least in the capital.

The U.S. South-West Drought Revisited

We initially looked at the California drought in February of this year in our essay, Another Dry Essay. Since no one is currently writing about it we thought we would review the situation.

The current drought map for California in Figure 1, we see a small improvement in the upper north-west corner of the state.

Figure 1. U.S. Drought Map for California, Dec. 2014

U.S. Drought Monitor forCalifornia
Another source of information on drought conditions in the South-West is the level of Lake Mead that we referenced in Jeopardy Question: This Body of Water Determines the Fate of the Modern Day Anasazi. Looking at water levels published by U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, the level was 1084.5 feet on Dec. 8, 2014. This is about 2.5 feet above when we published the original essay and about 4 feet above record lows set in the summer.
Overall there appears to be some improvement in the drought situation. Further research should determine if this recovery is normal, above normal or below normal. Also, we can revisit the situation on July 1 next year to get a comparison that would have seasonal influences minimized.

Late Link

Hours after we finished this note, our friend JR sent us a link to  the following report: Researchers offer new insights into predicting future droughts in California. A brief introduction states (emphasis added):

According to a new NOAA-sponsored study, natural oceanic and atmospheric patterns are the primary drivers behind California’s ongoing drought. A high pressure ridge off the West Coast (typical of historic droughts) prevailed for three winters, blocking important wet season storms, with ocean surface temperature patterns making such a ridge much more likely.

Seeking the Future of Europe in the Ancient Hanseatic League

Tuesday, December 9, 2014 – 03:04 Print Text Size

By Mark Fleming-Williams

A bargain, forged in the fires of 2012’s economic emergency, has defined the European Union for the past two years. It was an agreement made between two sides that can be defined in several terms — the center and the periphery, the north and the south, the producers and the consumers — but essentially one side, led by Germany, provided finance, while the other, fronted by Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece, promised change. In order to gauge this arrangement’s chances of ultimately succeeding, it is important to understand what Germany was hoping to achieve with its conditional financing. The answer to that question lies in Germany’s own history.

Quote of the Day: 20141207

The cult of egalitarianism demands equal treatment of unequal circumstances, a model that can lead only to tyranny and oppression.

Logan Albright via Mises Canada

The Ontario Employment Picture: November, 2014

Overall, the Canadian labour market lost 58,400 jobs in November, more than half in Ontario. The only growth was in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In this report we present our analysis of the Ontario labour market component of the total Canadian market using two sources of data from Statistics Canada: CANSIM Table 282-0087, Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by sex and age group, seasonally adjusted and unadjusted monthly, and CANSIM Table 282-0088, Labour force survey estimates (LFS), employment by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), seasonally adjusted and unadjusted. Data selection methodology is in the Appendix. The data we use is not seasonally adjusted. Presentation and discussion of the data follows.

Making Sense of “Palestine Politics”

Herein Paul analyses the complexity of Palestinian politics.  We present this essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

The “ChickensXXt Moment” in U.S-Israel Relations.

Scarcely had the ceasefire settled upon the latest Gaza war than President Obama and his State Department began bad-mouthing the Netanyahu government for its “illegal” building in the “West Bank” and its refusal to renew negotiations with the Palestine Authority that might lead to Peace Forever in the Middle East.

Sam Collins – December 2014

  • Short-term:
    • correction
  • Midterm:
    • look for a correction
  • Long-term:
    • the long-term trend is bullish

So How Much Do We Owe?

The Ontario Government recently released its annual mid-term economic report 2014 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review. We review the provincial debt situation in light of this report.

Blowin’ In The Wind

Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

– Bob Dylan, Blowin’ in the Wind

Yesterday Ontario ‘s Energy Minister, Bob Chiarelli was blowing in the wind again when he said:

“Businesses will come and go in Ontario … The reality is that there are more coming in than are leaving — very significant.”

– Bob Chiarelli (Toronto SUN: ‘Businesses will come and go in Ontario': Energy minister)

Although an apparently simple claim at face value, it bears some careful examination. The phrase are more coming in than are leaving would focus on number of companies whereas the real issue is the number of jobs and the relative value of those jobs. To examine Chiarelli’s claim we will look at overall employment numbers and average wages in two industry sectors, goods-producing industries that include manufacturing, construction and natural resource extraction, and service-producing industries.

The Accomplishment of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, A Soldier of Allah

This essay by Paul contains his reflections on the recent Gaza war.  We present this essay reprinted by permission of Paul and from The Bayview Review. See the links at the end for direct access to the rest of Paul’s work.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s Gift to Canada.

Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain (Psalm 76:10 (KJV.)

Islam is becoming more dangerous for everybody every day. In a typical evening broadcast on any of the major global news-networks at least one in three leading items brings to our ears and eyes the horrific effects of the command of Muhammad to “slay the unbeliever.” Typically, there will be stories about this day’s work by suicide-bombers: scores of people who had been going about their daily lives, removed from the earth in the blink of an eye because of the need of dedicated individuals and groups to make theological statements. As I was writing these words the emergency services were cleaning up the human muck left by such incidents in several Arab countries from Mali to Pakistan, in Indonesia and in Muslim parts of Africa as well as in parts of Africa being newly-won for Allah from nominally Christian regimes, such as that in Nigeria. Not always at the top of the news but always going on somewhere are similar events in the Muslim parts of China, Central Asia and the South Pacific – everywhere, in short.

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