the Parable of the Two Watchman

Once there was a rich man who had two watchmen for his hen houses. One was diligent and one was lazy. The rich man left for a few days to sell his produce at market. While he was gone, the lazy watchman knew the rich man wouldn’t catch him so he slept at night when he should’ve been watching his hen house. A wild animal broke in and stole eggs and ran off several hens. When the rich man returned, he discovered what had happened in the one hen house but yelled at both watchmen. While, for a few days, the lazy watchman actually stayed awake to watch his hen house, he soon returned to his old habits and began sleeping at night. Soon enough, the wild animal was back to stealing eggs and running off hens. The rich man was furious but he was afraid to fire the lazy watchman because he worried about how long it would take him to find a new watchman. And that meant he would have to be the one staying awake to watch the hen house. So the rich man decided  to have the watchmen walk around the hen house twice as often. The lazy watchman kept falling asleep while the diligent watch man tried to keep up with the extra work. The rich man didn’t pay either man much – not even enough to buy the eggs they watched. The lazy man didn’t mind because he had to sleep anyway. The diligent … Continue reading the Parable of the Two Watchman

What draws ‘lone wolves’ to the Islamic State?

The recent attack on a bike path in lower Manhattan once again compels us to ask: Why do people pledge allegiance to the Islamic State? Sayfullo Saipov, the suspect in the attack, isn’t a devout Muslim. He cursed and came late to prayers, according to acquaintances who talked to The New York Times. So why would he want to be a martyr? As a professor of modern Middle Eastern history, I have spent the majority of my professional life studying the region, its culture, society and politics. In recent years, I have researched and written about IS and its terrorist activities. While other experts and I have long looked at how radicalization occurs, some new ideas are emerging. Of lone wolves, flaming bananas and machismo Like this recent attack in New York, many IS attacks around the globe are carried out by individuals the media have dubbed “lone wolves” – that is, freelancers who act without the direct knowledge of the IS leadership. To avoid glamorizing them, the RAND Corporation prefers the term “flaming bananas.” There are two theories as to why these individuals pledge allegiance to the group. The first is that they get “radicalized.” Radicalization refers to a step-by-step process whereby individuals become increasingly susceptible to jihadi ideas. First, they cut themselves off from social networks such as family, which provide them with support and a conventional value system. They then immerse themselves in a radical religious counterculture. They might do this on their own, or a jihadi … Continue reading What draws ‘lone wolves’ to the Islamic State?

The Invisible Nation

There is an eternal ground, the divine There’s only one divine That we experience as a family of three creator, nurturer and child protector, appearer, manifested And that last was made manifest perhaps many times perhaps with many names but firstmost in Judea and Israel To begin the second age of man To free us From ourselves And our failures And show us how to live together As one People The Invisible Nation as Declared and Constitutional Established in the first century CE To be the living manifestation of the child who was manifest until the child is manifested again Zo Zeg Wijalles Share with: TwitterRedditEmailLinkedInFacebook

Site Redesign

I registered 4til7.com back on September 4, 2000 (or perhaps before… but that’s a long story). The original site was very very old school white on a black background with a very fancy (for the time) slide out menu on the left. The whole site was hand-crafted. Adding something new meant hand writing another page. Ah, ancient history. Since then, I migrated the site to WordPress (while keeping at least some of the old look). Then I migrated in lots of my old writing from various places. And then I went to a responsive theme so the site worked well on mobile. And and and… I kept avoiding a full rewrite because there were too many things buried in corners that I was worried about breaking. But, eventually, it’s time to break a few things. Yesterday, I broke everything and started rebuilding on top of the WordPress 2014 theme (aka a Theme That Always Just Works). I wanted to do a few unusual things, like the centered 4til7 graphic, and not muck up the stock theme so the site has a teeny tiny child theme to hold (basically) a couple of tweaks to the CSS style sheet that gives the site it’s look. My writing is still front and center but now you’ll only see an excerpt ending with a ‘Continue reading’ link that will take you to the full piece. The lengths of those excerpts are all over the place but I’ll be standardize them. Beyond that, there are … Continue reading Site Redesign

The Great Stock Market Crash of 2016 – part 2

The day before US markets opened this year, I was talking to my wife and I said the US Economy will crash and then Donald Trump will be elected. I’m not sure what went through her head but her face said I love you but, honey, please. Almost everyone still viewed Donald Trump’s chances candidacy as being more than one of those weird blips as crazy. Almost everyone viewed the US economy as fundamentally sound. The new day, the first day of trading for the US markets, was brutal and things stayed brutal for a while. The VIX (uncertainty index) was frighteningly high. Oil and oil companies took a beating. The news out of China was ugly. But, things seemed to settle down. The professionals kept saying, meh, it’s going to be fine. But, when you dug into the numbers things were, at best, weak. Unemployment has been low but hiring has been week and people have kept exiting the workforce. The monsters –Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google and Microsoft– have been hiring but everywhere else it’s been hold the line or let people go. Economic growth has been edging towards stagnant. And the US Markets have been shuffling sideways for about a year. I’m not the only one who’s been seeing this. For instance, Goldman Sachs announced a few days ago that investors were exiting the market in droves. The only real demand for stocks right now has been companies doing buy-backs; and even that has been dropping off. This … Continue reading The Great Stock Market Crash of 2016 – part 2

Thus it Begins: The Great Stock Market Crash of 2016

What you’re reading is the introduction to a book I knew I was supposed about where the U.S. and the world is headed. I’ve know I had to write it since the fall and to say it scared me as an understatement. By December I was at least willing to start telling people around me, including my wife key elements of the book including that the US economy will crash and that Donald Trump will be President of the United States. Neither is a guess: this is what will happen. On January 3rd, I told my wife the key elements again. The only thing that changed was that the order had reversed and finalized. I told her: This year, the US Economy will crash and then Donald Trump will be elected President. The next day, the U.S. markets opened and had their biggest initial drop on an opening day since 1932. That (1932) is the year the U.S. Great Depress began for real. And I finally went out on the line in public by tweeting the news with the hashtag #ThusItBegins. Tomorrow morning, the markets will open for the third week of the year. The press will continue to fret, wave their hands and mostly say it’s psychological and things will stabilize soon. Unemployment is down. Fundamentals are solid. Blah. Blah. Blah. Just a few things to sort out. But things won’t. We’re past that point. We’re at the beginning of the Great Stock Market Crash of 2016. The stock … Continue reading Thus it Begins: The Great Stock Market Crash of 2016

Thunk, scribble, create: micropoetry history society culture criticism g*d y mas en minder. Hashtaging #ThusItBegins #After2016 #MommyDaddy