Blue Monday

The Sketchbook

Blue Monday. The third Monday in January. Supposedly the most depressing day of the year. I assumed the concept was concocted to give radio announcers something to talk about, but Wikipedia says it originates from a press release put out by a travel company back in 2005. None of this has any connection to my day though, except that it gave me an idea for colour in my sketch. Painted on a snowy Monday in Montreal, in a Fabriano watercolour sketchbook, mostly with Cobalt Teal, Verditer Blue and Indigo.


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Norway maple

The Sketchbook

I’m trying out something new this week. It’s a pad of Arches 140 lb, cold press paper. Not a block that’s glued down on four sides, but a pad that’s only glued on the short side. I was curious to see whether the paper would warp, because I usually tape my sheets to a backing board or use the glued block. This paper surprised me. I painted on it with very wet washes and it remained relatively flat. That’s good news, because I find this format very convenient. I love the ease of throwing the pad in my bag and it’s quite a bit more economical than the blocks (although not as cheap as cutting up your own paper!). Perfect for sketch outings because it comes in both 9″ x 12″ and 10″ x 14″ sizes.


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After school

The Sketchbook

When I go out to sketch I often bring several blocks of paper with me because I never know what format will suit the scene. It took a couple of tries to get the composition I wanted on this one. First I tried a horizontal sketch but the street is so wide that the buildings on the left just seemed to go on forever. I also tried drawing it out in a vertical format but then I wasn’t able to fit in any those same nondescript buildings at all. In the end the square format suited it best. Sketched on a block of Fluid paper, 8″ x 8″.


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It Starts Once Again by Turtle Bay

Beyond the Cusp

It starts initially by Turtle Bay but in never stays there. Turtle Bay is where the launch gets announced but sometimes it is so hard to tell as the other instigations pop up blooming like tulips in the spring except these tulips have a deceptive scent that masks the first lies wrapped up in its soft petals, and lies is what is peddled. They sprout around Big Ben where Piccadilly Circus goes round and round. They tower with the Eiffel at the end of the Champs Elysées. They adorn an Arch of Titus beneath the great Colosseum. Eventually they explode onto the stage of the European Union Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium from where they fill the news world-wide gaining echoes about the presumed perfidy and deceits that Israel has used to avoid making a reasonable peace through honest negotiations. This year’s marketed Israeli unforgivable sin being paraded around the world…

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Europe, welfare migration, and hypocrisy

Taxpayers don’t like coughing up big amounts of money so other people can choose not to work. And they really get upset when welfare payments are so generous that newcomers are encouraged to climb in the wagon of government dependency.

This has an effect on the immigration debate in the United States. Most Americans presumably are sympathetic to migrants who will boost per-capita GDP, but there is legitimate concern about those who might become wards of the state.

Welfare migration also has become a big issue in Europe.

Reuters has a report on efforts by the U.K. government to limit and restrict the degree to which migrants from other E.U. nations can take advantage of redistribution programs.

“Cameron says he needs a pact to curb benefits for new migrant workers from EU countries… Proposals to allow British authorities to withhold in-work benefits for up to four years from EU citizens moving to work in Britain are under intense scrutiny.”

You can understand why Cameron feels pressure to address this issue when you read horror stories about foreigners coming to England and living comfortable lives at taxpayer expense. This isn’t just a controversy in Britain.


Christian Migrants Attacked by Muslim “Refugees”

999999A brief selection of news items that the biased media does not widely circulate:

In Germany:

Christian migrants in German asylum centres are living under persistent threat, with many fearing for their lives as the hardline Sunni majority within the migrant population attempts to enforce Sharia law in their new host nation. The situation is so bad that Christians claim they live like “prisoners” in Germany, and some have even returned to Middle East.


Throwing Christians overboard:

Rome (CNN)Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 fellow passengers overboard — killing them — because the 12 were Christians, Italian police said Thursday.Italian authorities have arrested 15 people on suspicion of murdering the Christians at sea, police in Palermo, Sicily, said.


In the UK::

UK Turning Its Back on Christian Refugees? British Policy to Give 20K Muslims Asylum,

Persecution Groups Say.
Anglican leader Justin Welby, as well as Christian persecution watchdog groups, have warned that U.K. government policies on granting asylum are discriminating against Christians who are avoiding entering formal refugee camps populated by Sunni Muslims amid fears of attacks by Islamic radicals.
“As countries like the U.K. debate how to deal with the refugee crisis, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said that their policy will discriminate against Christians. The policy takes those who are in camps, but many Christians fearing discriminant, violence, and intimidation have not been willing to enter formal camps that are largely populated by Sunni Muslims,” International Christian Concern said in a statement shared with The Christian Post.


Dry Bones- Israel’s Political Comic Strip Since 1973

Morning Briefing – The Telegraph

Good morning.

Junior doctors may be striking today, but they must be relieved by how David Cameron’s renegotiation has been diluted over the coming months. Plans were drawn up in the summer to opt-out of the Working Time Directive, an issue of totemic importance to Tory MPs, which senior medics claimed would help patient care by letting junior doctors opt out of the 48 hour working week and get enough training. But the idea drew a cool response from the BMA, which warned of doctors having to work “dangerously long hours”, a similar refrain we’re hearing about today’s strike action. Has the Prime Minister gone too far in trying not to offend anyone with his renegotiation? EU sources, we report this morning, now say he could have got that British opt-out or a six-year (not four) ban on migrants’ benefit claims but “pitched too low”, as well as some sort of measure to cut the cost of the EU.

This latest analysis will bolster Conservative Eurosceptics, who have already denounced what Cameron has been thrashed out as “thin gruel”. Dominic Grieve’s dismissal of Cameron’s plans to make Parliament sovereign as “pointless” will be grist to their mill. On top of this, the gloss could be taken off further from Cameron’s deal by a Polish plan to introduce a new £87-a-month child benefit payment – as it could mean Britain will have to pay more in benefits under the terms of what he has negotiated. This is because of an ambiguity over whether the right Brussels has granted the UK to pay child benefit at “local rates” to EU migrant workers means indexing the payments to the cost of living in those countries, or paying the child benefit at the rate it is paid to locals. Meanwhile, former European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told Newsnight that what Cameron has negotiated as a benefits curb will not put people off wanting to move to the UK.

We may well be nearing the end of Cameron’s renegotiation. Diplomats from the 28 EU states will be meeting on Thursday for a second and probably final round of talks over the finer points of Donald Tusk’s draft proposal, ahead of a final deal being agreed at a summit in Brussels a week later. How much of a struggle has it been? Publicly, EU politicians have stressed the toughness of the proposals. German MP Gunther Krichbaum, an ally of Angela Merkel, said the plans “go right up to the pain threshold”. However, one EU source told the Telegraph that the talks were not “difficult”, adding: “There were no major stumbling blocks that suggest the deal is in danger… Everybody is happy”.

Debate in the EU referendum campaign will no doubt be fierce, with Britain’s biggest companies required to set out the costs of Britain leaving the EU in the weeks before the likely date of the referendum. Cameron is also under increasing pressure to debate the issues on TV, with David Dimbleby telling the Telegraph that it is what voters would “expect” to see. What should Conservative MPs do? Nick Herbert, leader of the main Tory “Remain” group, urged colleagues to listen to their local party associations before they make up their minds – in contrast to David Cameron’s instruction to “do what’s in your heart”. William Hague says in today’s paper that every good Conservative should feel torn on the EU referendum, writing that “a division on this issue should not be a cause for surprise, and nor is it something of which to be ashamed.” “They will not find the answer in what Margaret Thatcher thought, because I can join those who testify that her views varied according to whether she was in or out of office,” he warns, “They will have an interesting time if they consult thousands of constituents, but they will generally find the same division of instincts they feel themselves.”

“Division on this issue should not be a cause for surprise, and nor is it something of which to be ashamed” William Hague

Doctors Backlash Builds
New figures suggest a growing public backlash against planned doctors’ strikes, with a doubling in the numbers “strongly opposed” to industrial action. Almost 3,000 operations have been cancelled ahead of today’s 24 hour strike by junior doctors, with thousands more routine appointments postponed.

Trump And Sanders Triumph
Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, two maverick candidates from opposite ends of the spectrum, turned the political world on its head by winning key votes in the US presidential race. Both men rode a wave of anger against traditional politicians and the Washington establishment to record decisive victories in New Hampshire. The pair have “blown up political correctness”, says Tim Stanley.

Anti-Putin Force
British troops could be deployed along Russia’s border with eastern Europe, under Nato plans to deter an incursion by Moscow. Defence ministers meeting in Brussels today will discuss a significant new plan to reinforce the Baltics, central and southern Europe against a destabilising “hybrid” attack or full-blown occupaton by Russian forces. Meanwhile, Con Coughlin asks in today’s paper – why has Britain abandoned Syrian moderates to the bombs of Putin and Assad?

No Regrets From Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn has failed to apologise for past links to Hamas and Hezbollah in his first meeting with Jewish community representatives since becoming Labour leader. Mr Corbyn’s meeting with the Board of Deputies on Tuesday was hailed as the “beginning of a conversation” and led to shared pledges to tackle anti-Semitism in Britain. However it is understood the Labour leader fell short of expressing regret over previous links with controversial “extremist” figures despite being pressed to behind closed doors. It came as Emily Thornberry Labour’s shadow defence secretary, was put under renewed attack over Trident from Lord Hutton, the party’s former defence secretary.

Bye Bye Vellum
The thousand year old tradition of printing Britain’s laws on vellum has been scrapped to save just £80,000 a year despite concerns from MPs about ending the historic practice. The House of Lords have confirmed that from April all legislation will printed on simple archive paper instead of the traditional calfskin vellum. All of Parliament’s legislation and some of the country’s most important historical documents have been printed on vellum, including the Domesday Book of 1086, Magna Carta and the Lindisfarne Gospels.

Gibb Vs Lily Allen
A government minister has hit out at the popstar Lily Allen after she questioned the value of children learning Pythagoras’s theorem and using bunsen burners in schools. The outspoken star attacked Nick Gibb, the Education Minister, after he said that learning historical facts and dates must be made a priority in schools. In response, the schools Minister was forced to reply: “Not everyone’s lucky enough to have a job like yours.”

Sunday Trading Defeat Looms
Ministers attempting to relax Sunday trading laws will be defeated, the Tory MP leading opposition has predicted as he vowed to form an “unholy” alliance to block the government. David Burrowes, the MP for Enfield Southgate, said the Prime Minister did not have the numbers to win a vote on the “unwanted” and “unnecessary” changes. It came as the government admitted religious groups, trade unions and some small businesses opposed the reforms in a long-awaited response to a consultation.

Who Were The Best Tossers?
A cross-party team of MPs pipped peers and journalists to victory in an annual parliamentary pancake race. The race was held in Victoria Tower Gardens next to the Houses of Parliament to raise money for disability charity Rehab. Journalists, who were last year crowned the winners, went home empty handed. Broadcaster Alistair Stewart, who at one point appeared to accuse peers of cheating in the race, said: “I’ve been in training. I can do this blindfolded. Oh hang on, my pancake’s broken”.

Is Your Open Office Making You Sick?

For as long as we’ve had open space offices, we’ve had musings on the downsides of these workplaces. Open offices, it’s told, are making us less productive, less active, and more miserable. But could they also be making us sick?

A review of studies on the subject and a chat with an expert on how common viruses spread reveals that yes, open offices put us at a greater risk of getting sick. It also reveals that humans are disgusting, walking germ-factories, that every office is a person-sized petri dish of infection, and that we should probably all just work from home.

Despite all the public discussion on the topic, there hasn’t been a huge wealth of scientific study on the effects of the open concept office on employee health. However, the handful of published studies all shows a similar trend: Open office plans are associated with employees getting sick more often.


Islam and Islamism in America in 2015: Part I

Representative André Carson (D-Indiana), a convert to Islam, was appointed to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Carson has extensive ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Officials at the Rocky Heights Middle School in Littleton, Colorado, ignited controversy when they told female students to dress according to Sharia law while visiting a mosque during a field trip.

Islamic politics “advocates the world’s greatest double standard: if you come to our country, we won’t let you worship the way you want, we won’t let you say what you want to say… However, we have come to your country, therefore we have the right to do whatever we want to do, including kill you if you make us mad.” — Former US President Bill Clinton.