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Here’s what’s confusing about happiness: On the one hand, we can think that happiness means simply being cheerful. On the other hand, it’s supposed to be about a long-term sense of meaning and joy. Then we’re told momentary pleasures are often just habitual resignation to temptation… There are so many different notions of happiness, how do we make sense of it?

If momentary pleasure is bad, then why do we feel so good when we succeed at something, or have a wonderful time with a loved one, or have a good workout?

I’ve talked about the deeper, long-term sense of happiness that we earn over time; today I want to clarify something about the immediate feelings of happiness that will make more sense of these emotions – and make it easier to have a genuinely good time.



China has bungled its attempt to slow the economy gently and is sliding into “imminent recession”, threatening to take the world with it over coming months, Citigroup has warned.

Willem Buiter, the bank’s chief economist, said the country needs a major blast of fiscal spending financed by outright "helicopter" money from the bank to avert a deepening crisis.

Speaking on a panel at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, Mr Buiter said the dollar will ...



OjewPigIn 2008, Elliot Dorff joined Rabbis for Obama in their claim that Senator Obama would be a “leader in the fight against serious threats to Israel.”

Dorff, a Beverly Hills based clergyman, showed a deep grasp of geopolitical issues when he claimed that because of President Bush, “now the Taliban inhabit Iraq, where they never used to be.” This would have come as news to both the Taliban and Iraq. But Rabbis for Obama kept Dorff’s testimonial up because no one there seemed to know any better or know anything except how awful Israel is.

Like many of the Rabbis for Obama, Dorff was a left-wing radical who could be counted on to ...



Kathmandu, Nepal. Years ago, Joel Wade and I were here after completing a month-long expedition across the entire Tibetan Plateau and through the Himalayas. We spotted a t-shirt in the bazaar with an embroidered map of the world with the words stitched around it: What A Long Strange Trip It’s Been.

That’s the famous refrain of the Grateful Dead’s Truckin’ from 1970, and it was so appropriate for what we had just experienced that of course we each got one.

Being here now sparked that memory, causing me to reflect on how appropriate a description it is for the totally bizarre spasm of masochism America has suffered over the last seven years under Zero. The experience of being here now is, on the other hand, a surprising lesson on how to repair the incredible damage Zero has wrought upon our country.

We’ve had spasms of craziness before – the Hippie 60s come to mind – but nothing like this, where Americans en masse are acquiescing to the murder of their country, willfully placing the perp in the White House not once but twice. Here’s the lesson to learn.



Would you call yourself a “socialist”? Webster’s dictionary defines socialism as “a theory or system of social organization which advocates the vesting of ownership and control of the means of production, capital, land, etc. in the community as a whole.”

Modern-style socialism was born during the French Revolution — with the Conspiracy of Equals. In his classic work “Heaven on Earth” about the rise and fall of socialism, Joshua Muravchik, wrote: “Once empowered, socialism refused to yield its promised rewards. The more dogged the effort to achieve it, the more the outcome mocked the humane ideals it proclaimed. Yet for a century and a half, no amount of failure dampened socialism’s appeal. Then suddenly like a rocket crashing to earth, it all collapsed. Within a couple of decades, socialism was officially repealed in half the places where it had triumphed. In the other half, it continued in name only.”

It was an ideology that claimed ...


HALF-FULL REPORT 08/28/15: Comments working again

The Chinese Roller Coaster took the whole world for a ride this week, but that wasn't the only thing going on. Europe is fracturing along several important axes, with follow-on effects that will be both good and bad.

The Iran treason involves Iranian money to key American politicians. We have a quick round-up of American news, along with some implications for activists. There are good signs from the culture, if you know where to look.

Richard Feynman puts in a guest appearance. And a band of unlikely heroes showed us some very important truths. Let's roll!




Nakhchivan. All of us know the story of Noah and the Ark told in Genesis (chapters 6-9). But do you know where Noah’s grave is?

Genesis 9:28-9 says “Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years. And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years, and he died.” But it doesn’t tell us where.

Yet there is a tradition thousands of years old that he died and is buried here in the Land of Noah – Nakhchivan. “Noah” is the Anglicized spelling of the Hebrew Noach, pronounced “knock” here, spelled “nakh.” “Van” means “land,” “chi” means “of.” (And yes, the map above has the place spelled wrong but it was the best I could find.)

Nakhchivan is an isolated enclave of Azerbaijan, cut off from the rest of the country by a strip of Armenia reaching Iran. You never heard of it because it’s unknown with a strange name – but the name literally means the Land of Noah. His tomb has been built, destroyed, rebuilt, and destroyed again repeatedly over the millennia. It’s now been built yet again on the original site. Here it is:



As Jack Wheeler has been predicting for many moons, President Barack Hussein Obama has evidently given Vice President Joe Biden the green light to seek the Democrat nomination for president.

At this writing, Ms. Clinton’s sole credible opponent is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an aging Socialist crackpot who nonetheless has a charming authenticity about him, reminiscent of Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy, who shocked the political world in 1968 when he almost upset President Lyndon Johnson in the New Hampshire primary.

That prompted LBJ to drop out of the race, Robert F. Kennedy to get into it. Had Sirhan Sirhan not gunned him down, Bobby Kennedy probably would have out-muscled Vice President Hubert Humphrey for the nomination.

Joe Biden is no Bobby Kennedy. He’s a dirty old man who’s groped women in public, likes to skinny-dip in front of female Secret Service agents assigned to guard him. The news media won’t mention this, but Hillary surely shall. This is going be a lot of fun to watch.



There is so much hacking going on that it seems to have become almost boring.  But it behooves us to take hacking very seriously.  I think if the public knew more about the way hacked information is actually being used, we’d pay closer attention and defend ourselves more effectively.

Who cares about all the hacking? Take a hypothetical example: suppose American soldiers in the Middle East start receiving emails that sound something like this:

“Good morning. We thought you would like to know that we are carefully watching your daughter Rosie, the one who lives in Wichita at 1234 State Street. This is to inform you that if your tank moves 100 meters north, she will not live to see the sun rise tomorrow.”

That’s the sort of thing that can happen when personal data get into dangerous hands. American troops aren’t afraid to die in combat, but their children did not volunteer.

This sort of blackmail is credible and effective.  Threats against the kids are more powerful than those against the troops themselves. And this is only one way in which the hackers and their clients can exploit all those millions of files.



Toto the dog wasn’t needed in Mobile last Friday night (8/21) to pull the curtain from behind The Great and Mighty Trump. Trump let his own curtain flutter open, showing to much of the audience the humbug within.

In an hour-long verbal meanderthon at half-filled Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Trump allowed an atmosphere of electric excitement to dissipate, and then he split town without his promised post-show press conference. As I left the stadium, a red-hatted lady of my acquaintance spotted me and pulled me aside, saying: “Somebody needs to tell that man when to shut the you-know-what up. People were leaving in droves.”

The line of the evening belonged to Rob Holbert, a former press aide to Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi and now the co-publisher of the port city’s Lagniappe weekly. “That speech was more disjointed,” he said, “than a skeleton after tumbling down four flights of stairs.”

Sure, Trump’s speech got some bursts of enthusiastic applause. Still, compared with the remarkable buzz leading up to the tycoon’s visit, the actual performance was missed opportunity. Typical was this frustrated Facebook post by a local tea-party leader: “Substance!!!!!!!!! No substance!!!!! . . . Trump, please stop rambling. Please, do you have a plan???”


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