Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The World's First Acid Trip
- I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with slight dizziness.
At home, I lay down and sank into a not-unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours, this condition faded away.
- The Central Intelligence Agency investigated LSD as a potential agent for mind control, and the British government studied it as a truth drug. In both cases, the drug was administered to subjects who were not informed of its nature, leading to scandals and changes in regulations about informed consent.
Say No to the Protestant Work Ethic
Righteous Atheist Nat Hentoff on "Abortion Extremist" Barack Obama
[link via Pewsitter.com]
Second Horseman Looms Over North Korea
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Flannery O'Connor, en español
- Ahora, ante la falta de fe, nos gobernamos por la ternura. Es una ternura que, apartada hace tiempo de la persona de Cristo, está envuelta en teorías. Cuando se separa la ternura de su fuente, el único resultado lógico es el terror. Desemboca en los campos de trabajos forzados y en la chimenea de la cámara de gas.
In the absence of this faith now, we govern by tenderness. It is a tenderness which, long since cut off from the person of Christ, is wrapped in theory. When tenderness is detached from the source of tenderness, its logical outcome is terror. It ends in forced labor camps and in the fumes of the gas chamber.
A Tale of Two Anti-Torch Protests
I caught a lot of slack for these earlier posts of mine, which to some may have been seen as pro-China — The Face of Humanitarian Interventionism and A Tale of Two Race Riots. I confess to being a Sinophile, but my posts were not pro-China; they were anti-protester. The idea of clueless Westerners getting up-in-arms over the Chinese response to a race riot did not sit well with me.
Rioting in a foreign country does not sit well with me either, and I share the disgust of my Korean hosts on this one, as exemplified by these headlines from the local English-language press — Video Clips Inflame Anger at Chinese Violence in Korea, Criticism Grows Over Chinese Demonstrators in Seoul, Anger at Chinese protesters escalating. I cannot imagine behaving that way in a foreign country; they should be rounded up and deported.
The anti-torch protests in Seoul were also entirely different from those in San Francisco. Their motive was to protest the Chinese repatriation of North Korean refugees back to the Stalinist Gulag State. The protesters were, mostly, Korean, and they were defending the particular lives of their suffering compatriots in the North. The San Franciscans were defending some abstract humanitarian notion and had very little knowledge of the issues involved. Would they have marched on the streets had they known that the Chinese had responded to the god-like Tibetans' burning of Chinese shopkeepers to death?
The Chinese counter-demonstrators comported themselves with dignity in San Francisco; in Seoul, they ran amok.
Let us remember the quote from the giant Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn that begins this post. The Yellow Peril myth lingers, and too many, on the right and left, are all too willing to see China, and even the Chinese, as some evil nation. What we have, instead, is a people enthralled with that outdated modernist European kool-aid, Nationalism.
"People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?" — Rodney King.
Ulsan's Mugeo Catholic Parish
I was not a Catholic at the time, and it was the second Catholic Mass I had ever witnessed. I was taken by one of my first Korean friends. A Korean Baptist friend later led me to a Methodist fellowship, and later some street preachers led me to a Presbyterian church, but I soon settled in at the city's sole Anglican parish, whose liturgy was closest to the High Church Lutheranism in which I had been raised. Once I came across Anglo-Catholicism, I was a goner.
Is Ron Paul Set to Endorse Chuck Baldwin?
- People have joined us and they’ve joined Ron Paul and the candidate I favor by the way is a very strong supporter of Ron Paul. The neocon candidate who challenges Chuck Baldwin regularly denounced Ron Paul and the policies which he advocated. He often sounded like Rudy Guiliani in his denunciation of Ron Paul’s position that we should get out of Iraq. And, of course, Ron Paul was with the principles of this platform and let me—and let me say, Ron is someone with whom I’ve worked since he first came to Congress. I’ve worked closely with his congressional staff, his campaign staff, and let me tell you that Chuck Baldwin is a hero to those folks because Chuck Baldwin was out there on the front lines for Ron Paul.
Bob Barr is a friend of mine as Alan Keyes has been in years gone by. And Bob Barr spoke with Ron Paul on three occasions, begging him for his support as he seeks the Libertarian Party nomination. But, Ron Paul will not do that because in his heart Ron Paul knows that Chuck Baldwin is right and that if the Paul people are to support anyone it’s Chuck Baldwin they should be supporting. And this is something we can look to. Ron Paul has attracted scores of thousands of supporters. He’s got an estimated thirty-five million dollars in the bank and those supporters and those resources can become an asset to this party if we nominate a candidate who has been a friend of Ron Paul not an enemy of Ron Paul.
How "Parenting" and "Education" Are Destroying America
The Korea National Oil Corporation Was Dead Wrong
Reporting that, "US light crude hit a high of $119.93" today, this link from EnergyBulletin.net paints a different picture of the foreseeable future — Opec warns oil could reach $200.
St. Nicholas of Japan Orthodox Church in Brixton, Johannesburg, described by its deacon — Xenophilia versus xenophobia. He describes "a truly multi-ethnic Orthodox Church, and that vision was being realised right now: the priest, from Kenya, read the gospel in Swahili. A Congolese student read it in Latin. An student Angolan read it in Portuguese. A Greek read it in Turkish."
Just the Beginning
"Either Less War or More Warriors"
Does American Consumerism Fuel China's Culture of Death?
This reaction, however, is meaningless — Seoul Raps China Envoy Over Torch Relay Violence. The protesters were mere students; arrest and deport them.
UPDATE: Maybe the above reaction is not so meaningless — Chinese Embassy Organized Student Hooligans?
Monday, April 28, 2008
Congratulations Chuck Baldwin!
Thomas DiLorenzo offers a telling anecdote about the carpetbagger — re: Chuck Baldwin Defeats Alan Keyes:
- Shortly after the publication of The Real Lincoln in 2002 Howard Phillips had me on his local cable TV show in Virginia to discuss the book. During one of the breaks he mentioned that he had asked Keyes to join the Constitution Party and he declined, saying that he agreed with just about everything the Party stood for except for its criticisms, mostly from Howard, of Lincoln. Lincoln idolatry is, of course, the defining characteristic of a Straussian Neocon Warmonger like Keyes, for The Legend of Father Abraham is what "justifies" the American empire and its expansion.
War Clouds Over the Persian Gulf
Jeff Huber on what the war could look like, applying the "Clausewitzean concepts of fog and friction" — Running a Risk with Iran.
St. Clement's in Cambridge
Wendell Berry and Michael Pollan on the Pages of LRC
Republic, Not Empire!
"The Capitalists Will Sell Us the Rope With Which We Will Hang Them"
"How Many Divisions Does the Pope Have?"
The De-fifthcolumnization of South Korea's Unification Ministry
♪ One Good Thing About Music, When It Hits You Feel No Pain ♪
The Axis of Nukes?
- Why now? Why is the White House going public more than seven months after Israel's attack?
Administration officials offered an explanation yesterday -- saying that they were initially worried about provoking Syrian retaliation, and that the disclosure could actually help the ongoing nuclear negotiations with North Korea.
But there are still some who suspect the announcement is the work of Vice President Cheney and other administration neocons who are trying to upset those negotiations -- and further ratchet up tensions with Iran. The White House statement about the Syrian installation insisted that "this development . . . underscores that the international community is right to be very concerned about the nuclear activities of Iran and the risks those activities pose to the stability of the Middle East."
The timing outraged even Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, who had this to say after his meeting with CIA briefers yesterday: "I think many people believe that we were used today by the administration because - not because they felt they had to inform Congress because it was their legal obligation to do that, but because they had other agendas in mind. . . . I think what we saw in the committee today, I think the chairman would agree that the relationship that we need to get international issues done, foreign policy issues done, a trusting environment between the administration and Congress, does not exist."
[link via The Marmot's Hole]
One of Three Socialists
Dr. M Speaks
Nuclear Power Is Anti-Market
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Money Can't Buy the Chinese Happiness
As an anti-egalitarian, I was inclined to reject the first explanation, but then I reflected on my Korean hosts. The Korean word for "envy" is used much more freely than its English counterpart. When Americans say they are "jealous" of a friend's success, they usually mean it as a compliment. When Koreans say the same, the tone of resentment cannot be missed. I'm not sure how much of this is true of Chinese, but Kiasu comes to mind.
[link via EnergyBulletin.net]
The Saving Grace of the GNP
Consumerism or Confucianism?
- A journalist friend who attended some recent meetings of green and environmental lobbyists described a strange scene in the gents toilet. No, not anyone adopting an extra-wide stance in the stalls, but rather the significant use of paper towels to dry hands. In the middle of a meeting on the environment, this behavior struck my friend as particularly stupid, but it also highlighted the deep cultural traits that have to be reversed in Europe and the US before any meaningful progress can be made.
"Environmentalism" is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of The Austrian School, but might not the attitude of the American above be an illustration of The Broken Window Fallacy of Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850), which it often cites?
The God of Genocide?
Admittedly, this has always been the most troubling passage of the Bible for me. However, I came to understand that God, being omniscient and outside of time, saw this as being necessary to later bring forth His Son into the world, to redeem us. Evangelical apologist Dr. William Lane Craig does a pretty good job addressing the question here:
- Did God Commit Atrocities in the Old Testament? - Pt 1 of 3
Did God Commit Atrocities in the Old Testament? - Pt 2 of 3
Did God Commit Atrocities in the Old Testament? - Pt 3 of 3
Friday, April 25, 2008
Today's DVD Purchases
John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band: Sweet Toronto — Curiosity wouldn't let me pass up this concert from 1969, especially since Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Chuck Berry all appear. John has not been my favorite Beatle for many years, but still.
Chung Hing sam lam (1994) — I saw this shortly after it was released, back when I thought style was all a movie needed. Through this film, I became, for a time, a fan of the music of Faye Wong.
Buffalo '66 (1998) — What can I say? For those who are from Buffalo, no explanation is necessary; for those who are not from Buffalo, no explanation is possible.
Shocking News from Texas
"The President's Executioner"
A Warning from The Wall Street Journal
[link via Crunchy Con]
Korea's Unique Culture of Death
Fallon's Fall Was Ominous Enough
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The Man Who Led Me to the Catholic Church
"Bleeding the Beast"
The Way Out of the Grain Crisis?
He says that "the solution to the food crisis will not be found in some miracle new technology" and identifies the "need to reconsider many traditional crops and methods for maintaining soil fertility and coping with drought." He says we will go "full circle from modern high-tech agriculture back to traditional practices that used animal manure and human 'night soil.'" He mentions "a practice used by an ancient civilization that occupied the Amazon before Columbus" known a "biochar," and suggests it may be "a final gift from the peoples who brought us tomatoes, maize, manioc, and a thousand different ways of being human."
The article's main weakness is that it "indicts markets with failing to eradicate hunger and poverty." But there is no reason to think that the invisible hand will not be part of the solution. The author notes that "it takes about seven pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef." As meat prices rise, people will eat less and less of it and demand will drop dramatically. My family recently switched from an occasional Korean-style beef dinner at home to an occasional Korean-style pork dinner at home, and even the cost of the latter just last night was nearly prohibitive and may have been our last for a while, at least for us parents. Ten bucks for a family of four may not seem like much, but we try to save two-thirds of my income.
[link via The New Beginning]
The "Underlying Story" Behind the Credit Crisis
- But what if that isn't the whole story? What if, for the better part of a decade, the United States had been living way beyond its means, consuming more than it produced and investing more than it saved? What if China and Taiwan and Saudi Arabia and even Japan were willing to finance that trade deficit on easy terms because it allowed them to peg their currencies to the dollar in a way that generated higher job creation and economic growth in their home markets? And what if this mutually advantageous imbalance in trade and investment flows wound up creating a huge supply of cheap dollar-denominated credit that virtually invited the bankers and brokers and rating agencies and private-equity firms in U.S. markets to throw caution to the wind and make ill-advised lending and investing decisions?
Less Food, More Girls
Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice vs. Republic of Samsung
A Non-Conspiracy Conspiracy Theory
- Take a subject which everyone concerned with American foreign affairs knows about : the construction in Iraq of several huge, fortified, self-sufficient but vulnerable United States bases which the Pentagon prefers to describe as “enduring camps,” but are meant to be permanent, serving a Pentagon strategy of regional military control that antedates the Bush administration.
Hundreds of thousands of American servicemen and women know about these bases, have served on them, and see perfectly well what they are for. Journalists infrequently visit them because they know that what they write is unlikely to be published, will make waves, and will identify them in a manner unlikely to help their careers.
Return to Abnormalcy?
- This was why ancient Rome and imperial China, both of which had a solid understanding of mechanical principles and sophisticated technical traditions, never had industrial revolutions of their own. Lacking massive energy supplies of the sort that made modern industrial society possible, it simply made more economic sense to invest the available resources into the labor force. The Romans did this the cheap, crude, and ultimately ineffective way, by expanding a slave economy to the breaking point; the Chinese did it far more sustainably and effectively by evolving an extraordinarily robust system of small-scale capitalism, on the one hand, and equally durable traditions of specialized craftsmanship on the other. [emphases mine]
Sorcery in Kinshasa
Donald Rumsfeld Arrested in Italy, Sent to The Hague!
- It’s early October 2008, and Democratic nominee Barack Obama maintains a steady lead in the presidential race, although Republican standard-bearer John McCain, the most dogged campaigner in American politics, remains within striking range.
Suddenly, something happens overseas that throws the presidential campaigns off the TV screens entirely: Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, on vacation in Italy, is arrested and brought to The Hague to face war crimes charges.
[link via these Comments]
At the societal level, I can see the damage done by looking around me, even if Korea no longer practices polygamy per se. Prostitution in South Korea "is big business, accounting for $20 billion, or 4.1 percent of the nation's total gross domestic product in 2002, just behind agriculture at 4.4 percent." It is also one of the country's most rewarded professions (see Room Salon Girls’ Salaries Investigated), and many young ladies forego marriage to reap its financial benefits, this exacerbating a bride dearth, whose correlation to these disturbing trends should not be dismissed ─ South Korea: Lowest Birthrate in the World and Seemingly Overheated International Marriages in East Asia. At the geopolitical level, the link between Polygamy and Terrorism cannot be lightly dismissed.
The "Real Winner" in Pennsylvania
In Defense of Patriarchy
The former's first paragraph:
- “Patriarchy” is a word that has almost ceased to communicate a definable meaning in contemporary discourse. Feminist theory deploys the term so loosely that it may be applied to any institution or instance in which men dominate women or are perceived to do so. “Most feminist criticism,” Heather Jones avers, “tends to represent the family as the main legacy of this male advantage and therefore as patriarchy’s primary model and institution. Consequently patriarchy has been defined in this context as a general organizing structure apparent in most social, cultural, and economic practices world-wide, a structure that is considered to promote and perpetuate, in all facets of human existence, the empowerment of men and the disempowerment of women.” Patriarchy, according to this familiar view, is thus “the rule of the Law-of-the-Father(s),” which brings about the existence of the family, which is in turn the model for every oppressive masculine structure in all facets of human existence. Nevertheless, although patriarchy arises in “prehistory” and pervades every niche of society throughout the world, “Much Anglo-American feminist criticism . . . attempts to make patriarchal strategies visible, to reveal that they are neither natural nor necessary, and thus to enable women and other ‘feminized’ groups to empower themselves.” “Patriarchy” thus becomes, like “fascism,” merely a term of abuse, applied to almost anything that certain fashionable intellectuals and academics find reprehensible according to the goals of their political agenda. This loss of meaning is regrettable, because an accurate understanding of patriarchy as a specific cultural institution provides genuine insight into the history of the interaction of family and society and the crisis now confronting Western civilization.
- Aspiring patriarchs would seem to have little to cheer about in recent decades. Equal pay statutes have destroyed the “family wage” regime that once rewarded the breadwinning father as “head of household.” The real hourly wages of blue collar men are lower today than they were in 1973. Title IX rules have forcibly turned much of the male dominated athletic world over to the women. Aggressive little boys are tamed by Ritalin. School textbooks fervently promote the feminist worldview, celebrating female steelworkers and male daycare workers. The same ideology dominates the vast majority of American colleges and universities; turgid women’s studies programs are ubiquitous. The military places the quest for androgyny above the goal of victory. Prestige professions such as medical doctor and lawyer are rapidly being feminized. Marriage rates and marital birthrates are low. Child support orders turn many remaining fathers into the indentured servants of their ex-wives. Church liturgies sound like Ms. magazine articles. Language police crush the generic “he.”
- So much for the Christian doctrine about the permanence of marriage. Something else, even more unpopular, remains to be dealt with. Christian wives promise to obey their husbands. In Christian marriage the man is said to be the `head'. Two questions obviously arise here. (1) Why should there be a head at all - why not equality? (2) Why should it be the man?
(1) The need for some head follows from the idea that marriage is permanent. Of course, as long as the husband and wife are agreed, no question of a head need arise; and we may hope that this will be the normal state of affairs in a Christian marriage. But when there is a real disagreement, what is to happen? Talk it over, of course; but I am assuming they have done that and still failed to reach agreement. What do they do next? They cannot decide by a majority vote, for in a council of two there can be no majority. Surely, only one or other of two things can happen: either they must separate and go their own ways or else one or other of them must have a casting vote. If marriage is permanent, one or other party must, in the last resort, have the power of deciding the family policy. You cannot have a permanent association without a constitution.
(2) If there must be a head, why the man? Well, firstly, is there any very serious wish that it should be the woman? As I have said, I am not married myself, but as far as I can see, even a woman who wants to be the head of her own house does not usually admire the same state of things when she finds it going on next door. She is much more likely to say 'Poor Mr X! Why he allows that appalling woman to boss him about the way she does is more than I can imagine.' I do not think she is even very flattered if anyone mentions the fact of her own 'headship'. There must be something unnatural about the rule of wives over husbands, because the wives themselves are half ashamed of it and despise the husbands whom they rule. But there is also another reason; and here I speak quite frankly as a bachelor, because it is a reason you can see from outside even better than from inside. The relations of the family to the outer world -what might be called its foreign policy -must depend, in the last resort, upon the man, because he always ought to be, and usually is, much more just to the outsiders. A woman is primarily fighting for her own children and husband against the rest of the world. Naturally, almost, in a sense, rightly, their claims override, for her, all other claims. She is the special trustee of their interests. The function of the husband is to see that this natural preference of hers is not given its head. He has the last word in order to protect other people from the intense family patriotism of the wife. If anyone doubts this, let me ask a simple question. If your dog has bitten the child next door, or if your child has hurt the dog next door, which would you sooner have to deal with, the master of that house or the mistress? Or, if you are a married woman, let me ask you this question. Much as you admire your husband, would you not say that his chief failing is his tendency not to stick up for his rights and yours against the neighbours as vigorously as you would like? A bit of an Appeaser?
More on the Mass Kidnapping of Fundamentalist Mormon Children
There are few religious groups in the United States with whom we Catholics disagree more on theological grounds, but that does not mean we should not come to their defense.
"Integer" on Neoconnerie
- Clearly there is an attempt, after the culture/counterculture split of the 60s, and the culture wars begining in the 80s, to rebuild a consensus society in which something like what is defined as "neoconservativism" defines the legitimate range of political discourse. Hence Clinton, Obama, and McCain are "decent" while Paul is of course "out." Fortunately the only people who buy this are that declining segment of the American population that get all their information from the 6:OO and 11:OO evening news.
"The Young Fogey" on "Liberal" Catholics
- Liberal RCs are usually just culturally non-Anglo-Saxon mainline Protestants. They've assimilated into the mainstream around them but culturally on their terms (which is why they don't become Episcopalians for example). Sort of the worst of all worlds: Modernism, cultural philistinism as a class statement (none of that artsy-fartsy old-fashioned stuff the Episcopalians like) and Notre Dame Fighting Irish/'you're not from this neighbourhood/parish, are you?' parochialism. (As much as I like Christian particularism I don't like this version nor it me.)
Labels: The Catholic Faith
Sainte Thérèse in the Driver's Seat
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Old Rugged Cross Played by George Lewis in 1962
News Flash! Neoconservatives Not Conservative!
I made note of the fact that he approvingly quoted Robert Kagan as admitting, "The first thing that could be said about this neoconservative worldview is that there is nothing very conservative about it." But I failed to mention this passage, because its significance did not dawn on me until this morning:
- I largely agree with Kagan on all of these points. But I have a problem too. Kagan embraces and celebrates the definition of neoconservatism as a doctrine of democracy promotion abroad, moralism in foreign policy and unilateralism toward these ends when necessary. But the original neoconservatism of the late '60s and early '70s wasn't about any of these things.
It was about domestic affairs, primarily the dangers of overreach. Less an ideology than a branch of skepticism about the ability of government to achieve anything like utopian goals, neoconservatism was the school for former liberals -- they'd famously been "mugged by reality," in Irving Kristol's words.
The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis and Chuang Tzu
Wards of the State of Texas
- The children suffer behind an iron curtain of corrupt secrecy. That curtain was lifted a few years ago, long enough to get a brief but terrifying glimpse of what was being done by people who had placed themselves beyond accountability.
Scores of children were killed, poisoned, beaten, and otherwise abused each year. Child rape was terrifyingly common: The largest group of victims were between 12 and 15 years of age, but thirteen percent of the victims were three years old or younger.
An official investigation of this secretive system was undertaken, but soon foundered over obstructions thrown up by those who had the most to lose if the full truth were revealed. But before the portcullis was slammed shut, the investigator learned that a child being raised in that system was four times more likely to die of criminal violence than a child in the general population.
The obvious course of action would be to mount an armed raid to liberate those children, by whatever necessary means, from the abusive system in which they’re being held.
Unfortunately, the entity that would carry out such an operation also presides over the systematic abuse.
New Urbanism's Old Ideas
- Perhaps the New Urbanists should cherish their outsider status. A gifted crew of architects and planners, they have changed the conversation about urban planning in the United States. They reject conventional postwar developers’ essentially quantitative, two-dimensional, single-use-oriented blueprints for residential subdivisions and office parks in favor of a qualitative, three-dimensional, mixed-use approach to designing neighborhoods and towns that generally involves reliance on traditional architectural styles. In many ways it’s a conservative approach to building communities, which probably accounts for its not being in fashion.
[link via The New Beginning]
The Marmot Visits My Archdiocese
Wendell Berry in Harpers
You're Either With the War, or Against Us
- One thing I did suspect, however, was that the war would quickly eclipse other issues among conservatives, as wars always do. The deep-seated, anthropological instinct to rally behind the troops kicked in among most Americans, and this White House is skilled, if in nothing else, in manipulating primal instincts--turning wholesome responses into political pathologies. Soon, any leftist hack (like Christopher Hitchens) who jumped onto a tank and waved a flag was christened a comrade, while long-time conservative, patriotic stalwarts like Pat Buchanan were tarred as saboteurs.
Mercury and Mitochondria
More Canaries in the Coal Mine
Confessions of a Fellow Coca Leaf User
To the Docks With Yoo!
$2 Billion to a Monster in Exchange for a Nobel Peace Prize
- Kim Ki-sam, [a 42-year-old former National Intelligence Service agent] who quit Korea’s main spy agency in 2000, was granted political asylum in the United States last week. “Many reporters contacted me after I was granted asylum,” Kim was quoted as saying. “Instead of talking to them one by one, I thought it would be better to meet them together.”
In 2003 Kim made his first accusation that illegal activities helped then-President Kim win the prize. He claimed the former president gave 2 trillion won ($2 billion) to Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader, in return for an unprecedented inter-Korean summit.
Slow Grind or Fast Crash?
- In early 2008, the world’s food and energy train came off the rails. What was startling was that it didn’t happen either gradually or in a linear way - instead, things simply fell apart at an astounding rate, faster than anyone could have predicted without being accused of lunacy.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
First, They Came for the Polygamists
- Why are these people presumed guilty until proven innocent? Yes, there were pregnant teenage girls on the FLDS ranch. There are pregnant teenage girls in every city, but their families - if they have any - are not ripped apart by the state in this way. Maybe the difference is that ordinary teenage mothers don’t have enough family to matter. Maybe the difference is that the FLDS teens are “married”, and the state of Texas prefers its teenage mothers free and single. Unless Texas comes up with some evidence of real abuse, this is proving to be nothing but raw persecution of a religious group because they dare to shelter their children from the degradations of modern culture.
This of course calls for a removal of welfare benefits, not children, but there is no way to accomplish that under "the rule of law," is there?
The "Seoul Searcher" Visits Kaesong
It seems that most people who comment on the Council, favorably or unfavorably, have never read the Documents of the II Vatican Council; neither have I, but it seems that most of the abuses are a result of an appeal to "The Spirit of Vatican II" rather than to any specific document.
Labels: The Catholic Faith
Famine in Japan
Blessed Are the Peacemakers
At the age of ten, I felt moved to write President Carter a letter of condolence on his losing the election to Ronald Reagan. I've since come to learn that he was a failed president, not for the reasons self-styled "conservatives" tend to think, but because he carried on the decades-old treacherous interventionist policies in Central America and the Middle East. As an ex-president, however, it cannot be denied that he is moved by his Christian faith to atone for his sins and to do what he can to help promote peace in the Holy Land. God bless him.
Apologia Pro Vita Neocon
Of course, he knows that the easiest way to silence an opponent in modern American political discourse is to accuse him of anti-Semitism, and that's how he spends his first two paragraphs. Some truths, however, slip through. He quotes Robert Kagan as admitting, "The first thing that could be said about this neoconservative worldview is that there is nothing very conservative about it." His appeal to tradition goes back as far "William Henry Seward, a founder of the Republican Party and Lincoln's secretary of State." (If that doesn't make you laugh, read The American Lenin or The American Indian And The "Great Emancipator".) He also notes that "both Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama conceded the core neoconservative principle of the Bush doctrine," which is precisely why 2008 is such a bleak year.
Malta, Hope for Europe and the World
Monday, April 21, 2008
Where You Can Find Us
"The Sage of Batavia" Debates
Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the State Monopoly on Arms
- The people of the various provinces are strictly forbidden to have in their possession any swords, short swords, bows, spears, firearms, or other types of arms. The possession of unnecessary implements makes difficult the collection of taxes and dues and tends to foment uprisings. — Quotes on the Right to Bear Arms
A Catholic Pacifist Comes Around
- I have been repeating over and over again that he who cannot protect himself or his nearest and dearest or their honour by nonviolently facing death may and ought to do so by violently dealing with the oppressor. He who can do neither of the two is a burden. He has no business to be the head of a family. He must either hide himself, or must rest content to live for ever in helplessness and be prepared to crawl like a worm at the bidding of a bully.
Biofuels and the Grain Crisis
- Government-funded conversion to “biofuels” such as ethanol is scarcely helping with energy efficiency and is exacerbating a global food crisis.... Around the world, governments have enthusiastically embraced ethanol and other biofuels in recent years... Skeptics have long warned that ethanol is no miracle cure, offering slight energy gains at best. But in country after country, powerful farm lobbies have encouraged government subsidies for ethanol.... The enormous investment in biofuels in the U.S., the European Union, Canada and elsewhere, we are coming to see, is fuelling a food crisis in poor countries.
The End of the Republic of Samsung?
Saturday, April 19, 2008
A Georgist Solution?
The City of Good Neighbors?
- THINGS THAT ARE DIFFICULT TO SAY WHEN DRUNK:
THINGS THAT ARE VERY DIFFICULT TO SAY WHEN DRUNK:
3. Passive-aggressive disorder
THINGS THAT ARE DOWNRIGHT IMPOSSIBLE TO SAY WHEN DRUNK:
1. Nope, no more booze for me!
2. Sorry, but you’re not really my type.
3. Taco Bell ? No thanks, I’m not hungry.
4. Good evening, officer. Isn’t it lovely out tonight?
5. Oh, I couldn’t! No one wants to hear me sing karaoke.
6. I’m not interested in fighting you.
7. Thank you, but I won’t make any attempt to dance, I have no coordination. I’d hate to look like a fool.
8. Where is the nearest bathroom? I refuse to go in this parking lot or on the side of the road.
9. I must be going home now. I have to work in the morning.
Ben Stein's Anti-Darwin Movie
The New Asian Hemisphere by Kishore Mahbubani
From Feudal Monarchy to People's Republic
It's a Sad Day When You Can't Trust Pravda
Friday, April 18, 2008
The Indispensible Antiwar.com
Neither SoCon Nor NeoCon
I'm socially conservative but not a social conservative; to quote "The Young Fogey" of A conservative blog for peace, "As I like to say, in a neutral, constitutional system I can vote for a partnered gay atheist, no problem" — What does ‘moral values’ mean?
Natural Law Against Incest
"God willing, we can save Europe from total destruction.”
Peter, Rock of Ages
- There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilisation. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin, and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendency extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn, countries which a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty millions; and it will be difficult to show that all other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's.
Putin, hijo de puta
UPDATE: Putin denies tabloid report that plans to marry former champion gymnast (Thanks, Josh).
The Future of Air Travel
- "The place where airline use will actually decline is in North America where we have turned flying into 'buses with wings' mass transportation," says Anthony Perl, an Simon Fraser University urban studies professor who, along with Gilbert, authored the recently published Transport Revolutions.
Their book explores the effect peak oil is likely to have on global transport.
Perl believes air travel in the future will be reserved for the rich, many of whom will use "micro jets." Others will pay big bucks to be transported in larger, fuel efficient aircraft that ply high volume, long-range routes.
He foresees a new type of passenger aircraft, designed for fuel efficiency -- one that's bat-shaped, resembling a B-52 bomber, with 20-seat rows.
Governments and transit authorities need to recognize, given the energy crunch, they're wasting tax dollars by plowing cash into airport and road expansion projects.
Globally, no more than 25 airports will be functional by 2025, Perl predicts, only one of them in the Pacific Northwest.
The Lily of the Mohawks
Chinese Troops Backing Up the Monster Mugabe!
The rules are:
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about himself.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.
What was I doing 10 years ago:
Surviving what Koreans rightly call The IMF Crisis. (See my article, I Survived the IMF.)
Five things on my To Do List today:
1. Print my midterm exams.
2. Have a lunch-date with the hot chick to whom I'm married.
3. Stock up on rice before the grain crisis hits Korea.
4. Take my daughter to physical therapy.
5. Read stories to my daughter and son.
Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
* Donate to various Catholic charities.
* Convert the money to gold.
* Buy a farm.
* Build a chapel dedicated the the Virgin on said farm.
* Build a camp for handicapped kids on said farm.
* Buy Naxos.
Three of my bad habits:
Five places I’ve lived:
2. Western New York
3. Santiago, Chile
4. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
5. Ulsan, South Korea
Five jobs I’ve had:
4. Construction worker
5. Food co-op clerk
Five books I’ve recently read:
1. Chong Yagyong: Korea's Challenge to Orthodox Neo-Confucianism
2. Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran
3. A Life of Jesus
4. Whose Bible Is It?: A Short History of the Scriptures
5. Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy
The five I tagged:
1. Antes de la caída
3. The New Beginning
4. Notes from underground
5. Nouspraktikon’s Weblog
Thursday, April 17, 2008
The Popes and Peace
- The war itself marked a failure of months of high-energy Vatican diplomacy between Europe, Baghdad, and Washington. On the eve of the war in 2003, Pope John Paul II lost his temper in a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. And the pontiff, by one account, "used words and gestures bordering on a diplomatic incident." A few days later, in a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the pope "raised his voice, pointed an accusing finger... and even banged his fist on the table," according to a Catholic newspaper.
From Sex Symbol to Thought Criminal
A Socialist Calls for [Somewhat] Free[r] Trade
The great song comes to mind reading these stories — Bat 'die-off' raises alarms and Where are the salmon? Some analysis — First It Was Bees, Now It's Bats That Are Dying and Die-offs: The Biggest News That Isn't News.
Pelosi Locuta Est, Causa Finita Est?
Grain Crisis Heading This Way
Peak Fiat Currency
John Zmirak Quotes the Dead Kennedys
The Politics of Rootlessness
- What's wrong with electing competent but rootless people to public office? Because just as one cannot love the "human race" before one loves particular human beings, neither can one love "the world" unless he first achieves a deep understanding of his own little piece of that world. America is not, as the neoconservatives like to say, an idea: it is a place, or rather the sum of a thousand and one little, individuated places, each with its own history and accent and stories. A politician who understands this will act in ways that protect and preserve these real places. A rootless politico will babble on about "the homeland"--a creepily totalitarian phrase that, pre-Bush, was not applied to our country.
Reclaiming the American Right
Victory in Vietnam
The Pontiff on America's Founding
- From the dawn of the Republic, America’s quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation’s founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the ‘self-evident truth’ that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature’s God.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Trotskyites and Stalinists Finally Make Peace
Lady Day Sings Fine and Mellow (1957)
The End of the World as We Know It
- Oil at $110 a barrel. Gasoline at $3.35 (or more) per gallon. Diesel fuel at $4 per gallon. Independent truckers forced off the road. Home heating oil rising to unconscionable price levels. Jet fuel so expensive that three low-cost airlines stopped flying in the past few weeks.
Bodhisattva, not Messiah
- Obviously, you are all terribly wrong, but I am such a good guy that I am going to indulge you in your false notions out of compassion for your suffering. You cling to your delusions, but I am here to teach you a path of liberation from all such attachments.
This case is perhaps the most plausible, if it weren't for the fact that he seems to be sinking his own ship — Obama as Antichrist. People are mistaken when they think the Antichrist will appear to be a monster. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his colleagues determined Hitler could not be the Antichrist because he was too glaringly Evil. He'll be slick and seduce many, just as I was almost seduced when I wrote this reporting on others who've been seduced — Make Way for the Obamacons!
Educating Targets and Educating Priests
The good father committed no sin in his remarks, but if feels the need for penance, I might humbly suggest reading the latest from "The Sage of Batavia" — Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism. Tough talk is fun and even necessary in this age of almost universal effeminacy, but I can think of nothing tougher and more truly manly than "Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism."