It’s down 63% over the past year and sells at a 17% discount to its net asset value (I always prefer getting a discount than paying a premium) . . . President Obama just shone a bit of positive light on the country before leaving for his surprise visit to Iraq . . . and Leila Heckman, who specializes in these things, rates Turkey a relative bargain these days . . . so I bought a little TKF yesterday at $5.47. Then I went to a fundraiser a few hours later where I met a guy who manages a small international fund (“about a billion dollars,” he apologized). “Oh, really?” I asked. “What do you think of the Turkish Fund?” Turns out he started the Turkish Fund in 1988. I took that as a sign.*

*Of what, only time will tell.


Judging from my photo on this page I’m barely old enough to vote. It is a very old photo. But what’s my real age? According to, I am nine years younger than the Department of Motor Vehicles thinks I am. This is, apparently, because I floss. You should run through the questionnaire. It could give you information and motivation to live an even healthier, longer life. Which is good for me, because it extends the potential length of your subscription.

(To avoid being swamped with health-related emails in the months to come, I gave realage an e-address I could check for the results but that I don’t normally use.)


Cal Thomas writes of the unanimous Iowa Supreme Court decision:

. . . As Iowa and other courts continue to dismantle the foundations of our nation without the approval of its citizens (each time the public gets an opportunity to vote on marriage, it votes to uphold the male-female version), they have an obligation to say where they intend to take us. What is the new standard for human relationships? Or do we make this up as we go, bowing to whatever pressure group makes the most noise?

To those on the political and religious right who are intent on continuing the battle to preserve “traditional marriage” in a nation that is rapidly discarding its traditions, I would ask this question: What poses a greater threat to our remaining moral underpinnings? Is it two homosexuals living together, or is it the number of heterosexuals who are divorcing and the increasing number of children born to unmarried women, now at nearly 40 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?

Most of those who are disturbed about same-sex marriage are not as exercised about preserving heterosexual marriage. That’s because it doesn’t raise money and won’t get them on TV. Some preachers would rather demonize gays than oppose heterosexuals who violate their vows by divorcing, often causing harm to their children. That’s because so many in their congregations have been divorced and preaching against divorce might cause some to leave and take their contributions with them.

The battle over same-sex marriage is on the way to being lost. For conservatives who still have faith in the political system to reverse the momentum, you are—to recall Harold Hill—“closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge.”

☞ Here’s the thing. The rights of a minority should not be subject to a majority vote. It’s called the tyranny of the majority, and is something the founders designed our Constitution to prevent. So when six Iowa Supreme Court Justices – two of them appointed by Republican governors – rule discrimination unconstitutional (granted, the Iowa Constitution, not the Federal one), it should mean something, even to conservatives like Cal Thomas. And when the Vermont Legislature so heavily favors equal rights that it overrides gubernatorial veto (as happened yesterday), that should mean something, too.

Here’s how Iowa Governor Chet Culver put it yesterday, separating Church and State:


I have carefully reviewed the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous decision on civil marriage and discussed it with the Attorney General.

Let me begin by saying that I recognize that the issue of same-gender civil marriage is one that evokes strongly held beliefs and strong emotions both for and against. These beliefs and feelings need to be respected. I hope that the views of those on all sides will be treated respectfully and will not be subjected to name-calling or fear-mongering, but instead will lead to rational discussion.

At the outset, I want to emphasize that the question before the Iowa Supreme Court was one of civil marriage only – a state-recognized legal status constituting a civil contract. Civil marriage always has been, and will continue to be, separate from religious marriage that takes place in churches and places of worship.

As I have stated before, I personally believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. This is a tenet of my personal faith. The Iowa Supreme Court’s decision has, in fact, reaffirmed that churches across Iowa will continue to have the right to recognize the sanctity of religious marriage in accordance with their own traditions and church doctrines. The Supreme Court’s decision does not require that churches recognize marriages between persons of the same gender or officiate over such unions. The Court does not have, nor should any court ever have, that kind of power over our religious lives. Our churches and places of worship are free to decide for themselves, as they were before, who may enter the sacred covenant of marriage. As the Supreme Court’s decision states, ‘The sanctity of all religious marriages celebrated in the future will have the same meaning as those celebrated in the past.’

Yet, the Supreme Court of Iowa, in a unanimous decision, has clearly stated that the Constitution of our state, which guarantees equal protection of the law to all Iowans, requires the State of Iowa to recognize the civil marriage contract of two people of the same gender. The Court also concluded that the denial of this right constitutes discrimination. Therefore, after careful consideration and a thorough reading of the Court’s decision, I am reluctant to support amending the Iowa Constitution to add a provision that our Supreme Court has said is unlawful and discriminatory.

As Governor, I must respect the authority of the Iowa Supreme Court, and have a duty to uphold the Constitution of the State of Iowa. I also fully respect the right of all Iowans to live under the full protection of Iowa’s Constitution.

I urge Iowans who hold beliefs on all sides of this issue to exhibit respect and good will. Our state faces many serious challenges. We are in the midst of a serious economic recession. Tens of thousands of our fellow Iowans are without work. We have suffered the worst natural disasters and most difficult recovery our state has ever faced. We must join together and redouble our efforts to work toward solutions that will help Iowans in this time of uncertainty. That is where, I believe, my focus and energies should lie.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that we are all Iowans, all neighbors, united in the promise and faith of a brighter future for our state. Let us all work together toward that common goal.

☞ Well said, no?


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