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Fed mistakes could spark 'unusually fast' bear market, 'lost decade' for stocks

File this under, "We warned you, deplorables!"

Source: Market Watch, by Ryan Vlastelica


Barry Bannister, head of institutional equity strategy at Stifel, said it was a concern that the Fed’s view for 2019 and 2020 had grown more hawkish, which raised the risk of the central bank making a policy mistake.


Bannister argued the new Fed, under Powell, “wishes to fade the ‘Fed put,’” or the idea that the central bank would step in to prop up falling equity prices. “The cost may be a 16% P/E drop,” he wrote, referring to price-to-earnings, a popular measure of equity valuation.


These moves have come at a time when investors are heavily exposed to the equity market. TD Ameritrade recently reported that its retail clients ended 2017 with record levels of market exposure, while cash balances for Charles Schwab clients were at record lows in December, according to Morgan Stanley. Meanwhile, the AAII stock allocation index is above 70%, near its highest level since 2000.

The high level of ownership “points to a 0% total return” between 2017 and 2028, he wrote, adding, “After the central bank bubble of recent years the model now points to a rapid 20% drop ahead.”

Read it all at: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-mistakes-could-spark-unusually-fast-bear-market-lost-decade-for-stocks-2018-03-28

So you want to be a politician? *NSFW*

The Roseanne revival is incredibly honest about life in Trump's America

Source: Vox, by Todd VanDerWerff


What makes Roseanne Conner’s Trump support such an interesting idea to build an episode of television around is the way it blissfully wanders into one of 2018 pop culture’s demilitarized zones: Entertainment can be for Trump supporters or for those who don’t like Trump, but it’s not supposed to be for both.

And for both white progressives and white conservatives who share a family (yes, there are people of color struggling with these political divides in their own families, but this is overwhelmingly an issue for white families), this is a constant fact of life in 2018 America: Can we still love each other? Can we work this out? Should we work this out? The answers are as varied as these families are, but Roseanne takes the simple idea of living in 2018 without killing your family members — or even just dying yourself — and builds a whole season of a TV show around it.


has always been about the big gap between the American dream and the American reality for too many people. When I cite the original series’ “vague progressivism,” I don’t really mean that it had a coherent political framework so much as it believed in the idea that the American dream was too often hoarded by those who least needed access to it, who then parceled it out in little chunks to those further down the ladders of economic, racial, and social privilege. It called, week after week, not for revolution but for understanding that people like the Conners were out there and just trying their best.


That makes Roseanne sound like some sort of dark elegy for a forgotten America, I realize, and maybe it is that. But it’s also funny and vibrant and warm. It takes a little while to rediscover its rhythms, but once it does, it feels tuned in to its world and its country in a way few sitcoms are anymore. There are punchlines in these episodes that don’t land because the audience seems scared to laugh at how raw they are. Good, I think. This show has always been better when the humor comes peppered with fear.

Read it all at: https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/3/27/17165928/roseanne-review-revival-abc-trump

Twenty years later - none of us are the same.

How a forbidden religion swept the world

by Bart Ehrman, Acts of Faith Newsletter, WaPo

I am not a Christian, yet I see the triumph of Christianity over the Roman world as one of the most awe-inspiring conquests of all time — not just in terms of religion but also in terms of politics, society and culture.

Christianity began as a tiny group of Jewish followers of Jesus — some 20 of them according to the New Testament — around 30 CE. Three hundred years later, the Christian church counted over 3 million adherents, and included among their number the Roman Emperor Constantine. Before another century passed, well over 30 million claimed the name of Christ – half the Empire, and their new faith was declared the official religion of Rome.

From there, Christians took over the West. Nothing was ever the same again. The church became the most powerful political institution of western civilization, and all facets of society and culture came to be radically affected. Many of the institutions that we take for granted as a civilized society were newcomers on the sociopolitical scene. They were ultimately driven by the Christian message that it is love and sympathy rather than power and dominance that should direct human life, in both the political and personal realms. Many Christians did not fully implement this ideal, but without it, the West would almost certainly not have developed governmental programs to care for the needy, public institutions to care for the poor, and hospitals to care for the sick.

Even more, the Christian tradition shaped our entire cultural heritage, from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance to the Reformation to modernity as we know it. Without this Christian heritage, we never would have had Michelangelo or Caravaggio; Milton or Shakespeare; Mozart or Handel. To be sure, had the world remained pagan, there would have been other Michelangelos, Miltons and Mozarts in their place. But they would have been incalculably different.

Today, there are 2 billion Christians in the world — a fantastic gain on that original 20 lower class peasants in Galilee. The church’s 300-year conquest of Rome led to its dominance over all things — social, political and cultural — in the West. All of us, whether Christian or not, are heirs of this history.

Sign up for Acts of Faith newslwtter at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/

The spiritual message hidden in 'Star Wars'

Source: CNN, by Daniel Bourke

George Lucas, the creator of "Star Wars," says he wanted to do more than entertain the masses. He wanted to introduce young Americans to spiritual teachings though "new myths" for our globalized, pluralistic millennium.

"I see 'Star Wars' as taking all the issues that religion represents and trying to distill them down into a more modern and accessible construct," Lucas has said. "I wanted to make it so that young people would begin to ask questions about the mystery."

In this, Lucas sounds a lot like his mentor, Joseph Campbell, a scholar who studied world myths. Campbell argued that all cultures impart their values to the next generation through archetypal stories. He believed the same about organized religion, but said it must "catch up" to the "moral necessities of the here and now."

A new study of young former Catholics, conducted by St. Mary's Press Catholic Research Group and Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, found that more blamed their family for the decision to leave the church than the church institution itself. Only 11% said they quit Catholicism because they oppose the church or religious institutions in general.

The study also found that nearly half had joined other religious communities, including other Christian ones. So is organized religion really the issue here?

It's no secret that we're living during a time of seismic shifts, from technology to politics to spirituality. It's not so much an "era of changes," Pope Francis has said, as a "change of eras."

So what's the leader of a 2,000-year-old church to do?

The answer is not resurrecting "obsolete practices and forms," Francis says. Some Catholic customs, while beautiful, "no longer serve as means of communicating the Gospel."

Which brings us back to the spiritual message encoded in "The Last Jedi."

As Luke prepares to torch the tree containing the sacred Jedi texts, Yoda appears out of nowhere and does the deed himself, cackling all the while.

"Time it is," Yoda says, "for you to look past a pile of old books."

Read it all at: https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/26/us/star-wars-religion/index.html

Alice Cooper saved by religion

Source: BANG Showbiz

Alice Cooper credits his religion for saving him from alcoholism.

The 70-year-old rocker was warned by doctors to quit drinking or die 37 years ago, when he woke up throwing up blood and was taken to hospital.

He recalled: "Everything that could go wrong was shutting down inside of me.

"I was drinking with Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix and trying to keep up with Keith Moon and they all died at 27."

He told the New York Daily News newspaper's Confidential column: "My wife and I are both Christian. My father was a pastor, my grandfather was an evangelist. I grew up in the church, went as far away as I could from it -- almost died -- and then came back to the church."

The shock rocker insists his faith is compatible with his career.

He said: "There's nothing in Christianity that says I can't be a rock star. People have a very warped view of Christianity. They think it's all very precise and we never do wrong and we're praying all day and we're right-wing. It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with a one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ."

Meanwhile, Alice can be seen as King Herod in the live action version of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' alongside John Legend in the lead role on NBC next weekend.

And the musician has taken inspiration from late actor Alan Rickman for his performance.

He explained: "When I first heard about it, I thought Alan Rickman -- that condescending sort of arrogant character, and I kind of fashioned what I would do after what I thought Alan Rickman would do if he were alive."

Read it all at: https://www.msn.com/en-us/entertainment/celebrity/alice-cooper-saved-by-religion/ar-BBKI4d0

"Live Jesus Christ Superstar" -- NBC, Easter Sunday!

"You can be a winner, too!"

Love him or hate him, an Alabama icon has passed on.

Milton McGregor, Alabama gambling magnate, dies at 78

Milton McGregor -- the Alabama gambling magnate who owned the Birmingham Race Course and VictoryLand casino -- has died, according to his public relations firm.

"Milton E. McGregor, 78, Montgomery entrepreneur and developer of VictoryLand and the Birmingham Race Course, died peacefully at his home Sunday, March 25, 2018," read the statement from Direct Communications.

"Mr. McGregor is survived by his wife of 50 years, Patricia Turner McGregor, daughter Kim McGregor and husband Dan Hix, daughter Cindy and husband Lewis Benefield and seven grandchildren. Further details of funeral arrangements will be announced."


"One Strange Rock," NatGeo Channel, Monday, March 26, 10-9 CT

Huffington Post

10-episode series.

Why Christian Theology Needs (Former) Atheists

A lot of prominent 20th century Christian thinkers used to be skeptics.

Source: Christianity Today, by John Woodbridge

Walter Hooper, C. S. Lewis’s personal secretary, once commented to the great Christian writer about a clever inscription engraved on an atheist’s tombstone: “Here lies an atheist. All dressed up with no place to go.” Not bemused, Lewis quipped: “That atheist probably wishes now that were true.”

Impertinent as Lewis’s one-liner might first appear, it was not a malicious verbal barb. Lewis was deadly serious. After all, he viewed atheism as having deadly serious consequences. Rather he sought to woo and warn atheists they faced a desperate future apart from Christ.

Lewis’s specific apologetic endeavor to thwart atheism possesses an intriguing backstory: Lewis had been a convinced atheist himself. He knew very well of what he spoke. He had “been there, done that” credibility. In Surprised by Joy, Lewis recounts his conversion to theism, a sinuous path from childhood belief to atheism to theism and finally to Christian faith.

My personal “surprise” in reading the book was caused by the discovery that Lewis’s account contained experiences with which I could loosely identify. The simple reason—one for which I am not proud—is that as a young person I, too, had rejected the Christian faith. It was reassuring to learn that Lewis had experienced an unconventional journey of faith similar to the one I had experienced. Not everyone becomes a Christian by going forward at an evangelistic altar call in a church or camp. God sometimes chases people down in very surprising ways.


Read the rest at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/february-web-only/why-christian-theology-needs-former-atheists.html

"Palm Sunday"

Nothing can stifle the joy of the Gospel, Pope says on Palm Sunday

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