Monday, August 31, 2009

Beauty and Truth and Chu Fang Huang

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An Alternative History of the Culture War

    When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.
I quoted "the Teddy Kennedy that could have been" with the 1971 statement above in comment to a post over at a liberal Catholic site — Ted Kennedy, Fr. Zuhlsdorf, and Jesus. Another commenter followed up:
    Many Democratic politicians in the 1970s chose to side with the Feminist wing of the left against the working class ethnic wing of the left. Not all did. Kennedy could have taken Tip O'Neill's position and not risked losing his seat.
That got me pondering what might have been had someone of the stature of a Kennedy taken up the pro-life cause, leading many of his fellow Democrats to do the same. The pro-abortion cause might have been taken up by the Rockefeller Republicans, and "the Feminist wing of the left" would have gone naturally to the that party. After all, it makes more sense that the party whose support for all things corporate, such as corporate welfare, would naturally support women in the workforce. The Democrats would have naturally taken up the anti-feminists.*

Since the "the working class ethnic wing of the left" is essentially conservative, there would have been no Reagan Democrats to lose in 1980. The party of big business, not the party of the working man, would have been found guilty of having been tied up with Hollywood decadence. After all, it makes more sense that the entertainment industry, based as it is on mindless consumption, be attached to the party more associated with corporate welfare.

Benign neglect, as proposed by fellow Catholic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and discussed in a more open political climate, might have led Sen. Kennedy to lead his party away from the disastrous War on Poverty, and Black America might today be much better off today.

Sen. Kennedy, who professed to have "cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war," might have led his party away from its XXth warmongering back to the United States non-interventionism last practiced by Grover Cleveland. His elder brother Jack, after all, had been a member of the America First Committee. And let us remember, this was a man who, to his credit, said, "My vote against this misbegotten war is the best vote I have cast in the United States Senate since I was elected in 1962" — Kennedy: Vote against Iraq war my best vote I have cast in US Senate.

Yes, this alternative history is full of many "mights" and "what ifs" and is based solely on one man following the teachings of his Church, but in some ways, it makes more sense than the real thing. After all, the party that casts itself as "fighting for the little guy" has as its main tenet the killing of the unborn, and the party of "family values" as its the support for big business and wars of aggression.

*This is not as strange as it sounds; both Mother Jones and Emma Goldman knew that having wives institutionalize their children so that they might join their husbands in wage-slavery was not "emancipation."

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"Jon Huer Columns Stopped"

That was the subject line of an email sent to me by the man himself, and since I haven't seen the story mentioned anywhere else in the Korea expat blogoshere, I'll print his message in toto below, sans commentary:
    Dear Reader:

    You are getting this message because you have written to me regarding my columns in the Korea Times, both positive and negative. I appreciate your passion and involvement in social-intellectual-cultural issues in Korea and elsewhere.

    The Korea Times has decided that the critical and negative comments are too much to bear and has "suspended" my Series. I am letting you know of this development in case you wonder why there are no more "Jon Huer Columns" appearing in the Korea Times.

    Through 55-60 articles I wrote for the Times, I have really enjoyed communicating with you, often arguing and sometimes lamenting together. I was planning a 100-article Series but whatever has appeared already is quite enough for me and I truly appreciate what the Korea Times has done.

    Wishing you the very best,

    Jon Huer

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

George Lewis Plays The Old Rugged Cross on Japanese TV, 1962


George Lewis "was one of the Jazz musicians who didn't leave New Orleans," either literally or figuratively, as the music degenerated into Bebop and Free Jazz*. Interestingly, it was the Japanese, not long after the war, who developed a love for the old-time American music, and preserved recordings that might have otherwise been lost.

*These were, perhaps ironically, my personal gateway drugs to the older, better music.

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A Nation of Non-Interventionists Ruled by Interventionists

Antiwar.com links to Mark Weisbrot's excellent article on the "gap between the average American and the foreign policy elite" — We don't want to rule the world. "The US public largely opposes America's foreign wars and economic meddling," the author begins. "They need a voice in US foreign policy." The first paragraph:
    Americans are famous for not paying much attention to the rest of the world, and it is often said that foreign wars are the way that we learn geography. But most often it is not the people who have little direct experience outside their own country that are the problem, but rather the experts.
Mr. Weisbrot explains that the "voting base of cold war liberals... has largely disappeared," but "the foreign policy establishment – including most of the media – has managed to maintain this political tendency as a very influential force." He also explains, "The gap between the public and the foreign policy elite is not due to the ignorance of the masses, as the elite would have it, but primarily to a different set of interests and values."

"For the foreign policy elite," Mr. Weisbrot notes, "the importance of running the world – as much as it is possible – is taken as given." He also places blame on "the powerful and rigid institutional arrangements of our foreign policy establishment, the sloth and weakness among the intelligentsia, as well as the corruption from the interests of military contractors." Refreshingly, he concludes, "It is not that the American people are so backward and ignorant, or bellicose."

It is high time to resurrect the America First Committee, described by Bill Kauffman in Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism with the following words:
    In pre-imperial America, conservatives objected to war and empire out of jealous regard for personal liberties, a balanced budget, the free enterprise system, and federalism. These concerns came together under the umbrella of the badly misunderstood America First Committee, the largest popular antiwar organization in U.S. history. The AFC was formed in 1940 to keep the United States out of a second European war that many Americans feared would be a repeat of the first. Numbering eight hundred thousand members who ranged from populist to patrician, from Main Street Republican to prairie socialist, America First embodied and acted upon George Washington's Farewell Address counsel to pursue a foreign policy of neutrality.
Congressman Ron Paul, of course, has been the chief voice of this traditional United States non-interventionism, as evidenced by these writings — The Original American Foreign Policy and A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship.

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How Saints Are Recognized

The Apostle of California provides a good example of the arduous process — Junipero Serra needs just one more miracle. The article begins with a list of "claims of miracles that didn't make the grade:"
    A man falls off his horse and, thanks to Junipero Serra, he gets up unscathed. A woman visits Serra's tomb in Carmel and something stirs her deeply, changing the course of her life. An alcoholic gives up drinking and credits Serra for seeing him through.

    They all believed their experiences to be miraculous -- but none was deemed the miracle needed to lift Serra into sainthood, a goal church officials announced 75 years ago today, the 225th anniversary of his death.

    Serra, the revered and reviled Franciscan priest who founded California's missions, has one officially recognized miracle to his name. A nun in St. Louis was healed of lupus after praying to him, leading to Serra's beatification in 1987.

    But sainthood requires a second miracle, defined by the church as an event that cannot be explained by science but can be attributed to the candidate's intercession from beyond the grave.

    Two years ago, Serra advocates thought they had found one. A Denver woman who had prayed to Serra delivered a healthy baby, despite a dire prognosis. The case went to Rome, but physicians for the Vatican concluded it was not a miracle.

    Now there's another possibility. Sheila E. Lichacz, a Panamanian artist, has survived 14 brain surgeries for tumors called meningiomas, after being told time and again that she was dying. One-third of her skull was removed in surgery and replaced with acrylic plates. But they too were removed after causing life-threatening infections.
"Whether her story will reach the Vatican is an open question," the article informs us. "The process of discerning miracles is grindingly meticulous and has become even more demanding as science explains once-mysterious phenomena."

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Two From MercatorNet

  • "How today’s sexual narcissists insist on propagating their dreary values," explained by Barbara Kay — All shall be poor.

  • Richard Bastien says that "soft intolerance is not the worst part of relativism" but rather the fact "that individuals are no longer required to hold consistent, coherent beliefs" — In defence of moral absolutes.
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    Joan Baez, Neo-Confederate

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    Friday, August 28, 2009

    Choi Sung-hee, a.k.a. Bada, Sings Ave Maria Païen


    Above, the Catholic former pop singer in her rôle as "the beautiful gypsy Esméralda" from the Korean production of the musical Notre-Dame de Paris. A synopsis of the scene: "In spite of her initial fear of this strange, deformed man, Esméralda is touched by his gentleness and finds herself warming towards Quasimodo. Left alone, Esméralda, who has never prayed before, prays to the Virgin Mary."

    The trilingual lyrics of Pagan Ave Maria:
      아베마리아 용서하소서
      Ave Maria, pardonne-moi
      Ave Maria, please pardon me
      당신 앞에 서 있는 저를
      Si devant toi, je me tiens debout
      If in your house I come stealing
      아베마리아 그 앞에 무릎 꿇어본 적도 없는
      Ave Maria, moi qui ne sais pas me mettre à genoux
      Ave Maria, no one ever taught me about kneeling
      아베마리아 저를 지켜주소서
      Ave Maria, protège-moi
      Ave Maria, please will you keep me
      이 세상에 가득한 죄악과
      De la misère, du mal et des fous
      From this misery madness and fools
      불행들로부터
      Qui règnent sur la terre
      Who rule this evil world

      아베마리아 비록 서로 고향은 달라도
      Ave Maria, des étrangers il en vient de partout
      Ave Maria, I'm a stranger and you're my last recourse
      아베마리아 모두 형제듯
      Ave Maria, ecoute-moi
      Ave Maria, please can't you hear me
      우리 가로막는 이 장벽을
      Fais tomber les barrières entre nous
      Please take down all these walls between us
      허물어주소서
      Qui sommes tous des frères
      We all should be as one

      아베마리아 저의 낮과 밤을 지켜 주소서
      Ave Maria, veille sur mes jours et sue mes nuits
      Ave Maria, please watch over my life night and day
      아베마리아 지켜주소서
      Ave Maria, Oh please protect me
      Ave Maria, protège-moi
      이 보잘 것 없는 사람 이 사람
      Veille sur mon amour et ma vie
      Please guard me and my love now I pray
      아베마리아
      Ave Maria
      Ave Maria

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    Meister Chung Choon-sub


    An interesting report on "the only Korean to [have] graduate[d] from the violin division of the department of musical instrument making at Westsachsischen Hochschule Zwickau (University of Applied Sciences), Markneukirchen, Germany" — From the 'Meister's' Fingertips: Art of Violin Making. His German title "mean[s] that he has inherited traditions and secrets of a craft that is usually passed on from father to son" and "comes with the added bonus of extraordinary tax reductions." A brief biograophical sketch:
      Born in Gangwon Province in 1967, Chung studied the violin. But he felt the limitations of his potential as a concert violinist and became interested in violin making. When he moved to Germany in the mid-1990s, however, it became clear that learning the craft would be almost impossible as an outsider. "In Germany, violin making is a traditional art and heritage that stays inside the family," he said, explaining that he resorted to learning on his own by buying old instruments and tearing them apart.

      However, a great stroke of luck enabled him to meet the great meister Adamick Fank. But the apprenticeship was cut short due to the meister's ill health, and Chung found himself knocking on the doors of 23 German meisters from a list given to him by his former teacher. "They all said 'nein' (no) and one even told me to go back to China," he said.

      But good fortune was on his side and Chung had the privilege of studying under another esteemed meister, Adorf Niederhauser. In the meantime, he signed on with an arts management agency and made a living as a violinist.

      After four years he finally had the prerequisites to apply to the top German university and became one of the 10 students admitted to the program each year. He was also among the few to persevere through the rigorous training ― and other hurdles such as racial discrimination ― for four years. His performance skills were a plus and he was even selected to play one of his own instruments on national television. To this day he remains the only Korean violin maker to graduate from his alma mater.

      Despite the enormous tax cuts he could enjoy in Germany, Chung returned home in 2004. The meister now produces "Made in Korea" instruments in his studio in Seocho-dong, Deutsch String (www.deutschstring.com).

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    "The Church Fathers: A Door to Rome"

    Mark Shea links to a piece by a "Fundie author warn[ing] against reading Church Fathers because they all sound so Catholic" — They Have Eyes But Do not See. The author's conclusion, summarizes Mr. Shea, is "that Fathers of the Church who heard the apostles with their own ears and/or shared their language, culture, table and trials--trials that included being burnt to death, stoned, and ripped to bits by lions--were actually secret heretics," and "were basically all heretics in the same way across a wide swath of languages, nations, tongues and tribes."

    Here's the piece itself — THE CHURCH FATHERS: A DOOR TO ROME. Of course, he's right. He correctly notes, "Many people have walked into the Roman Catholic Church through the broad door of the 'church fathers,' and this is a loud warning today when there is a widespread attraction to the 'church fathers' within evangelicalism."

    Said the Venerable John Henry Newman, "To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant."

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    The Sesquecentennial of the Oil Well

    "The 15 years from 1857 to 1872 can be considered the great age of centralization and consolidation," begins Thomas Schmidt's article, citing examples from Mexico to India to China to Japan to Europe to the United States — The Age of Centralization.

    He suggests that "the most important event of the Age of Centralization was the drilling, 150 years ago today, of Colonel Drake’s oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania, on August 27th." While it was "this bonanza of essentially unearned natural wealth that has formed the basis of much of the 20th-century improvement in human living conditions," the author reminds us that "the extraordinary profits from oil have paid for the hypertrophic governments that afflict us."

    He concludes on a hopeful note: "The era of centralization is fast ending," he announces, lookin forward to an era of "largely decentralizing energy production" that "will shift power to localities, and further undermine Leviathan."

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    Straight Talk About Swine Flu

    The South Korean "government yesterday estimated that up to 20,000 people will die if the H1N1 flu virus causes a pandemic," and a conservative daily has issued a call for calm — Prevention, Not Overreaction, of H1N1 Virus.

    The editorialist reminds us that the disease "is highly contagious but the fatality rate is lower than that of ordinary flu." With "3,500 to 4,000 patients infected... only three have died," meaning "[t]he fatality rate of the virus is just 0.05 percent in Korea, much lower than 1-1.5 percent in Mexico and 0.2 percent in the United States." (Must be all that kimchi*.)

    The article reports that "schools overreacted yesterday by taking students’ temperatures outside of school gates before classes began" and that "the flu caused 48 schools to close as of yesterday." The editorialist acknowledges "the country’s insufficient supply of both Tamiflu and vaccines" but notes that "drugs are not a cure-all for patients" and "that the drug can trigger abnormal teenage behavior." Rather than panic, the editorialist advises readers to "wash hands when returning home to help prevent the spread of the H1N1 flu virus."

    *Much mockery was made of this story five years ago — "Kimchi Prevents SARS in Korea"; however, I'd sooner place my faith in pickled cabbage than in a state-mandated shot. (Cf. Exposed: The Swine Flu Hoax.)

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    Madonna and Pravoslavophobia

    Romani quadroon though I may be, I find myself siding with the Romanians in this non-story, whose only purpose it seems to be to incite pravoslavophobia, even if Romanians aren't Slavs — Madonna Booed After Standing Up For Gypsies In Romania. Said the entertainer:
      It has been brought to my attention ... that there is a lot of discrimination against Romanies, and Gypsies in general, in Eastern Europe. It made me feel very sad.... We don't believe in discrimination. ... We believe in freedom and equal rights for everyone.
    Author Chris Harris says that "[t]he booing returned when she decried discrimination against homosexuals and other groups." He continues, "Ironically, these same fans were cheering the Gypsy performers just before her speech."

    No, Mr. Harris, there's no irony here. These people paid good money to hear bad music and see lewd dancing from one of America's most shameful exports, not to hear some Clintonian lecture about what "we" believe in and what "we" believe best for Eatsern Europeans. It was not long after the last round of such lecturing that bombs began falling on Belgrade on Orthodox Easter.

    While I sympathize with these concert-goers, I would not have been among them; rather I would have been with these protestors — Polish Catholic group crusades against Madonna concert and Church Of Bulgaria Condemns Madonna's Upcoming Show.

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    Senator Edward M. Kennedy on Abortion, 1971

    "While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life," the late senator wrote in a letter, quoted by Rod Dreher — On abortion, a once-Catholic Ted Kennedy.

    "Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized -- the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old," he continued. He wrote that "once life has begun, no matter at what stage of growth, it is my belief that termination should not be decided merely by desire."

    His conclusion: "When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception."

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    The Real Problem in Higher Education

    "The National Association of Scholars is investigating whether liberal professors are disproportionately assigning liberal texts in their classes," reports Daniel McCarthy, suggesting the "project smacks of nothing so much as attempts of left-wing grievance groups to show that there’s a bias in the canon against blacks, women, and homosexuals" — How Not to Fix Higher Education. He concludes, "Putting serious thinkers into crude categories and then demanding some ratio of every group be taught amounts to just another kind of political correctness."

    In a follow-up post, he argues that "the bigger problem for conservatives and libertarians in higher education today is not political bias but methodology" — Methodenstreit. An example:
      In economics, for example, while there are Keynesians who seek to impose their views upon everyone else, even many non-Keynesians would object to teaching Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard, not for partisan reasons but because they consider the Austrian approach to economics to be unscientific. If economics is a science, what kind of a science is it? The Austrians say that it is a logical science proceeding from a priori concepts — it’s akin to mathematics. The dominant schools of non-Austrian economists construe their field as an empirical science.
    He brilliantly concludes that "the battle is less between the Left and the Right than between positivists and non-positivists (or, more generally, between older, more humanistic or theoretical approaches and later scientific or pseudoscientific ones)."

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    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    The History of the Catholic Church in Korea


    From Peter Kim of Totus Tuus comes the above short documentary produced by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea.

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    The Young Barack Hussein Obama and the C.I.A.

    Steve Sailer offers us a "conspiracy theory... that's neither terribly implausible nor hugely significant," but since it is "about the President of the United States, it's certainly interesting" — My favorite conspiracy theory.

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    The Omphalos of Christianity

    Arturo Vasquez introduces us to a "neopagan scholar [for whom] Jesus Christ was just not the fulfilment of Jewish messianic promises, but also of pagan aspirations, and not just in a very general way" and who "sees the primacy of the Apostle Peter as having a symbolic foundation in [his] ancient reading of the texts" — A Pagan Apologia for Petrine Primacy.

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    Joe Eszterhas' Conversion Story

    The screenwriter behind Basic Instinct (1992) and Showgirls (1995) has a new project — Infamous Hollywood Screenwriter to Pen Film on Our Lady of Guadalupe - Patroness of the Unborn. From the report:
      In 2001, faced with throat cancer resulting from his smoking and alcohol addictions, which threatened to kill him, Eszterhas turned to God in desperation.

      "Seven years ago, I sat down on a curb near my home, sobbing, and asked God to help me," he writes in a September 2008 Washington Post article. "I cried and begged God to help me ... and He did. I hadn't prayed since I was a boy. I had made fun of God and those who loved God in my writings. And now, through my sobs, I heard myself asking God to help me ... and from the moment I asked, He did."

      God, he says, cured him of his disease, but, more than that, He gave him the strength to turn away from his worldly life and back to the Catholic faith. "Not only did He give me the strength to be able to defeat my addictions," he wrote, "He saved my life. My throat surgeon ... told me seven years after the surgery that I am 'cured.' Not that I am in remission, but that I am cured. ... My life has turned inside-out. I have stopped my excesses and replaced them with prayer and long walks. I am carrying the cross as often as they'll let me at Holy Angels Church in Bainbridge Township, Ohio. And I have written a book as a thank-you to God. Not just for saving my life, but for saving me."

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    The Permanent Things Are Here to Stay

  • James Piereson reviews a book that "argues that the conservative movement collapsed under the presidency of George W. Bush, and that Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 marked the beginning of a new liberal era in American politics" — Is conservatism dead?"Conservatism," says the reviewer, "is now a permanent and enduring aspect of American political life" and "its enduring appeal among Americans" is due to the fact that it "deploys the principles of tradition, reason, and orderly change in defense of liberal institutions—the Constitution, representative government, liberty and equal rights, the rule of law."


  • David Vincent reviews "a new book demonstrating the fallacy of the media's view that religion is in terminal decline" — Demise of religion exaggerated. The book notes that "outside a few developed nations, particularly in Europe, religious faith has not only been growing, but growing rapidly" and "challenges the assumption that many people in developed countries have been brought up with -- 'the more modern a country gets, the less religious it gets, the more secular it gets.'"
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    Chu Fang Huang Plays Domenico Scarlatti


    Above, the delightful Chu-Fang Huang records a composer David Yearsley calls "the driest of musical humorists" — Why I Chose to Play Scarlatti on Bainbridge Island.

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    Kim Su-yoen Plays Claude Debussy


    Above, an up-and-coming Geramny-based Korean violinist who won fourth place in this year's Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium who is profiled in this article — 'Winning isn't everything'.

    She was "was born while her father was studying theology in Munster" and "is currently undergoing postgraduate studies at Munich College for Music and Theater." The article says that "she is uncomfortable about ranking musicians as if they were athletes" and "said the process of preparing for a competition is more important than the results." This makes me like her: "Whereas her values differ from young Germans due to the family background she grew up in, Kim said the competitive and hasty Korean lifestyle seems quite different from her own."

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    Thomas More Kim Dae-jung, a Man of Faith

    Pino Cazzaniga eulogizes the late South Korean dissident and president — Kim Dae-jung: Catholic conscience in political action:
      Michael Breen, a columnist for The Korea Times wrote: "Kim Dae Jung, as a Catholic, believed in forgiveness and reconciliation. This is why as president he pardoned two of his predecessors convicted for their role in the brutal repression of the democratic uprising in Kwangju in 1980”. The life and activities of Kim do not reveal their true greatness if read without reference to his Christian faith.

      Kim was not born a Catholic. He was baptized at 35, in 1960, when, hurt and confused by the sudden death of his first wife, he met in Seoul John Chang Myon, a politician appointed prime minister that year, who on discovering his qualities urged Kim to continue his political career. But Kim, in turn, found in his mentor, a fervent Catholic and father of John Chang-yik, the current bishop of Ch'unch'on, the splendour of the Faith, which from then onwards illuminated and supported him on the via crucis he was to travel.

      Media have expounded on one of the milestones in the many crosses he was to bear. In 1963, intelligence agents of the South Korean dictator Park Chung-he kidnapped him in a hotel in Tokyo and loaded on a boat to throw him overboard at sea. When the kidnappers, snickering, tied his feet to cement boulders, Kim fervently prayed to Jesus' Christ to save him and then he said, he saw Him. At exactly the same moment a large American helicopter swooped down on the boat. The captors, understanding they were caught, gave up on their criminal intent. President Ronald Reagan, informed by counter spies, ordered the rescue in extremis.

      Almost like a farewell salute to the late president of the Catholic community, Bishop Peter Kang, president of the Korean Catholic bishops' conference drew up a declaration which states: "The late President Thomas More Kim Dae-jung throughout his lifetime put into practise these words of the Lord: ‘But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream’ (Amos 5:24). He travelled the journey of justice and peace without being discouraged by the many political repression and threats to his life and was committed to democracy and reconciliation of the two Koreas”.

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    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    Gabriel's Trumpet

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    Can "Thrift" Unite Distributivists and Austrianists (and Confucians)?

    Mark T. Mitchell asks, "[I]sn’t saving good? Isn’t living within one’s means financially wise?" — Thrifty Americans Threaten Recovery. Much of the rest of his article references the great E. F. Schumacher. My first thought was, does not the Austrian School of Economics view of Time Preference also promote thrift, and offer an excellent critique of Keynesian Economics' horrific Paradox of Thrift dogma?

    John Zmirak, in The Fable of the Drones, wrote, "Keynesian economics... can be boiled down to this theory: That instead of looking for investment capital to the accumulated savings of the populace (deferred consumption), clever government policies (i.e., magic) can make it possible to fuel investment without any savings." Mr. Zmirak continued:
      Of course, the people who’ll really pay for our spending spree will be our grandchildren, who’ll inherit the brain-bleeding debt we’ve run up, which both political parties are eagerly expanding as you read this. Isn’t it funny how the guy who invented this system, John Maynard Keynes, was gay? In those days before “domestic partners” could adopt, he was… immune to fears about grandchildren, and quipped once, “In the long run, we’re all dead.”
    Of course, some people have been on board for 2,500 years: "We Chinese have a tradition. We do not like to waste money" — From Confucians to Consumers?

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    The Language Police

  • In English, "everyday sayings that have been quietly dropped in a bid to stamp out racism and sexism are 'whiter than white', 'gentleman’s agreement', 'black mark' and 'right-hand man' — A Black Day for the English Language.


  • In Korean, where the concept is new, only one term has drawn ire — Use of Term 'Flesh Tone' Opposed. It is reported that even the term "'nude...' could give people the wrong impression that all people have the same skin color."
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    The Anti-Federalists Were the Conservatives

    Patrick Deneen says that "if we revisit the debates at the time that the nation was considering adoption of the Constitution*, we discover that the conservatives opposed adoption of the Constitution, while it was the 'liberals' who urged its ratification" — Constitution as Regime.

    He promises to "write more about the specific fears – and the remarkable foresight – of a number of the Anti-federalists," by focusing on "three core elements of the theory of the Anti-federalists, namely the centrality of virtue, political liberty and common sense knowledge lodged broadly in the populace."

    A recent post of mine on the theme — The Way and Virtue of Anti-Federalism.

    * A project I recently began myself with Ralph Ketcham's edition of The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates.

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    What Is Civilization?

    A review of a book whose author has identified "has four key features: it requires belonging to a society that combines aspects of 'grace, dignity, good order and security'; it needs a certain level of material development; it concerns the art of living; and -- most important of all -- it demands 'spiritual prosperity'" — What is civilization?

    While lauding the author's intent to "raise people from mass to an elite culture," the reviewer asks, "Is it possible to conduct this argument without reference to religious belief -- indeed, to Christianity, the supreme religion of love?"

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    "If I weren’t Catholic I would have blown my brains out."

    Say what you will about Apologetics, the above confession pretty much sums it up — Mickey Rourke thanks God and Catholic faith for 'second chance'. Suicide or Catholicism, both broadly understood, are, after all, the two choices we have.

    The story dovetails interestingly with one posted a few days ago on this blog about another actor who "returns often to a discussion of Catholicism, which seems to fascinate him," but "[w]hen asked if he would consider becoming a Catholic, he insists he is 'not a club man'" — Will of Irons – Inside Jeremy Irons West Cork castle.

    The Young Fogey's comment on a book that was cinematically desecrated recently — Brideshead regurgitated — comes to mind:
      ... looking at Waugh’s quotation I think the heart of the book is in Cordelia’s speech to Charles describing how Sebastian has ended up. In spite of his faults he’s the real hero not Bridey even though Bridey is literally right about everything. Bridey’s merely good; Sebastian’s potentially holy. This shows that Catholic orthodoxy is deeper than even many of its supporters think.
    A lot of Catholics were scandalized by Rourke's portrayal of Saint Francis of Assisi in Francesco (1989), but I was not among them. I thought the actor brought a certain innocence necessary to play a Holy Fool.

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    “We just can’t afford it!”

    While "every America child heard that, at one time or another, in the home in which he or she was raised," Patrick J. Buchanan asks, "How many times in the last decade have the political leaders of either party stood up and declared, 'No, we cannot afford this?'" — Spending Ourselves to Death.

    Mr. Buchanan concludes, "When a democracy reaches a point where the politicians cannot say no to the people, and both parties are competing for votes by promising even more spending or even lower taxes, or both, the experiment is about over."

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    Sinophobia as Neo-Trotskyism

    "Why are Han Chinese 'Han Chinese', but Uighur Chinese simply 'Uighurs'?" asks David Lindsay, noting that "[b]eing Chinese is a civic thing, not an ethnic one" — Xinjiang. As to "why the Han are described as Chinese yet the Uighur are not," he says, "The Trots are in charge now. For that is what hatred of China in our media is: student Trotskyism from back in the day."

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    Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jin-suk on Thomas More Kim Dae-Jung

    His Eminence called His Excelleny "a political leader who defined an epoch in Korean history and was an elder for all Koreans" — Late President Kim praised as model for Catholics and fellow Koreans. On the late president's faith, the cardinal said, "He practiced his faith in his daily life... He regularly attended Sunday Mass even during his busy presidency ... (and prayed) for peace and the reunification of Korea."

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    Remember Kosovo?

    "The ongoing de-Christianization of Kosovo continues and unlike the past frenzy of the anti-Serbian mass media in the West, we mainly have a deadly silence about the reality of Kosovo and the continuing Albanianization of this land," writes Lee Jay Walker — Kosovo and Ongoing De-Christianization.

    He notes that "it is that the same United States of America and the United Kingdom, two nations who were in the forefront of covertly manipulating the mass media," who "remain mainly silent about the destruction of Orthodox Christian churches, Serbian architecture, and of course the past killings of Serbians and other minorities in Kosovo."

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    The History of Tam Toa Church in Vietnam

    "Fr. Claude Bonin who built it in 1887, chose a hill on the shore of Nhat Le river, thinking that it was easier for Catholics to reach the church by using boats," it was "bombed by the Americans in the '60s," "last year government bulldozers had cleared a lot of ground around Tam Toa and many luxury apartments have been built for members of local government," and just days ago came "a decree [to] transform the site into a public park" — Bulldozers raze the Church of Tam Toa quashing Catholic demands.

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    Don't Take Your Guns to Town (Hall Meetings)

    Comments from reader Schultz that "it's in bad taste to show up at an event like this brandishing a firearm" have me not only agreeing but thinking of the old song by the Man in Black — Johnny Cash - Don't Take Your Guns To Town.


    I'm even coming to think that it might in bad taste, though not illegal or immoral as Schultz points out, to even own an AR-15. Assault rifles seem to me suitable only for war or revolution, neither of which I am interested in waging, at least given the current circumstances. A Remington 870 is probably sufficient for home protection.

    Lao Tzu said it better than most, when the Old Master wrote the XXXIth chapter of the Tao Te Ching:
      Now arms, however beautiful, are instruments of evil omen, hateful, it may be said, to all creatures. Therefore they who have the Tao do not like to employ them.

      The superior man ordinarily considers the left hand the most honourable place, but in time of war the right hand. Those sharp weapons are instruments of evil omen, and not the instruments of the superior man;--he uses them only on the compulsion of necessity. Calm and repose are what he prizes; victory (by force of arms) is to him undesirable. To consider this desirable would be to delight in the slaughter of men; and he who delights in the slaughter of men cannot get his will in the kingdom.

      On occasions of festivity to be on the left hand is the prized position; on occasions of mourning, the right hand. The second in command of the army has his place on the left; the general commanding in chief has his on the right;--his place, that is, is assigned to him as in the rites of mourning. He who has killed multitudes of men should weep for them with the bitterest grief; and the victor in battle has his place (rightly) according to those rites.

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    Luis Posada Carriles and Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi

      In a dramatic announcement made yesterday shortly after the president’s arrival on Martha’s Vineyard, the administration declared its intention to hand over Luis Posada Carriles, the widely acknowledged mastermind of the bombing of Cubana Airlines Flight 455 that killed 73 people in 1976, to the Venezuelan government for prosecution. According to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, Obama’s change of heart on the long-requested extradition of Posada, who was a citizen of Venezuela when he allegedly planned the crime, came after watching Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the convicted planner of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing in 1988, return home to a hero’s welcome in Libya.
    So begins Thomas Harrington's biting satire about a man who "despite his public admission of guilt in this and numerous other cases of terrorism, Posada lived a relatively unfettered life in the U.S.... despite having been caught entering the country illegally, under an assumed name" — Lockerbie Outrage Moves Obama to Extradite Long-Wanted Terrorist.

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    One Death Is a Tragedy; 376 Is a Statistic

    This story — Girl Killed by Wave in Maine Had Been Adopted From China — struck me more than this one — Typhoon Morakot death toll in Taiwan rises to 376.

    The Monster Joseph Stalin's observation, cynical as it was, was correct about human nature: "One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic".

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    Tuesday, August 25, 2009

    The Preservation Hall Jazz Band Comes to Seoul

    Seoulites, one week from today, Tuesday, September 1st, make your way to the LG Arts Center for "an exciting jazz party with a venerable music institution from New Orleans" — Band Brings New Orleans Jazz to Seoul. "Throughout the years, the band's members may have changed but their joyous, soulful musical tradition continues," as these recent clips attest:



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    A Weird Korean Funeral Custom That's Not So Weird

    An American Maryknoll Father who has been in for decades describes how he went from being "annoyed with the shenanigans of the pallbearers... refusing to move until someone gave some money or some cigarettes" to seeing "the 'fooling around' on the way to the grave as a beautiful tribute to the deceased," calling it "cathartic and bringing a little humour into the very sad situation of death" — Korean Funerals and A Catholic Missioner.

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    Korean Medical Science, Then and Now

  • A report on the Donguibogam ("Principles and Practice of Eastern Medicine"), Korea’s 7th entry to the World Heritage list — Ancient encyclopedia provides insight into Eastern medical practices. The "25-volume medical encyclopedia" is "divided into five categories: internal diseases, external diseases and somatology, other diseases in gynecology and pediatrics, medicinal decoction and acupuncture. It is "still referenced by medical professionals working in Eastern medicine and by ordinary people" as it is "written so that it is easy to understand and most of the ingredients needed for the treatments can be found relatively easily."


  • News that a criminal trial awaits "cloning scientist Hwang Woo-suk for alleged embezzlement and bioethics law violations linked to fake stem cell research" — 4-Year Jail Term Sought for Stem Cell Fraud. "He fabricated research outputs to show off his performances," said a prosecutor. "He committed a grave crime in that his behavior dealt a blow to the Korean science circle and disappointed numerous citizens."
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    "Don't Trust Anyone Under Thirty"

    Sam Crane says "a Confucian would invert the old sixties saw" — Confucian Thirtysomething. Of course, he's referring to The Analects II.4:
      The Master said, "At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning.
      "At thirty, I stood firm.
      "At forty, I had no doubts.
      "At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven.
      "At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth.
      "At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right."
    Prof. Crane's exegesis:
      For Confucius, adulthood is all about moral learning and achievement. We have to cultivate our inner ethical sensibilities, teach ourselves and learn from others how to do the right thing. It is a conscious, constant effort. It begins when we are young, fifteen, and start to turn our minds to it. But we do not reach the first stage of adult moral maturity until we are thirty - it is then that we can "stand firm." Of course, moral development does not end there; it is a lifelong pursuit and performance. But notice how thirty looms large here.

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    What Do You Call a Black Guy With an AR-15 at an Obama Rally?

    A white racist.

    "MSNBC cut off the man’s face on their video, thereby obscuring the fact that he was an African-American," while its pundits pontificated about "white people showing up with guns strapped to their waists or to their legs," about "anger about a black person being president," and about these "these hate groups rising up" — Racism is the Left’s Trump Card.

    Here's more on the man known only as "Chris" — Anarchist Carries Rifle To Protests Outside Phoenix Obama Event. He said:
      I lost a lot of faith in the political process in America. I tried to get involved locally with the Arizona Republican Party, but seeing things from the inside, seeing how things operate, I realized that this whole machine, this "left-right," democrat republican machine is just a ply to put us against each-other so that the winner is always the State. The winner is always the government. I think that voting and the political process just isn't going to work anymore. I think it's time for people to just stand up and say "no" to the things they're putting upon us
    When told that his AR-15 made others uncomfortable, he responded, "Well there was a time in this country when the color of my skin made people uncomfortable." More:
      It was empowering and inspirational to realize that I could still do this in America. Here's a country where you can ride up the tyrant's front door and stand there with your weapon and not get stomped out. It's kinda inspirational.

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    Before Getting Worked Up Over the Freeing of Al Megrahi...

    ... consider whether he was railroaded in the first place — Lockerbie Doubts — and only released because his appeal would have shown that fact — CIA spook says Megrahi was freed before appeal humiliated justice system.

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    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Amália Rodrigues in Japan

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    Jeremy Irons on Catholicism, Abortion, and Marriage

    A report that one of this blogger's favorite actors not only "lives in a medieval castle keep" but has "an unconventional side to him, despite having been shoehorned into the British public school system" — Will of Irons – Inside Jeremy Irons West Cork castle.

    Among his "many, many opinions" that interviewer Martina Devlin suggests "will offend, make him look nutty or pretentious, or leak like a sieve under scrutiny," are that of the Church, he says, "I love its intransigence," of abortion, "It's evil," and of thirty years as the husband of one wife, "I take it a day at a time." More:
      He returns often to a discussion of Catholicism, which seems to fascinate him. He had the local priest in to bless the castle when work began. It’s not that he believed it was haunted, he just thought it sensible to lay to rest any uneasy spirits in view of the fact that men were on scaffolding 100 feet above ground. He has never felt any spectral aura, although a guest spoke of “a sad female presence”.

      I point out that a castle would have witnessed so much pillaging and marauding, it should be inundated with sad female — and male — presences. And he laughs along good-naturedly.

      But back to the Catholic Church. “It has gone through a difficult time, with the reputation of some of its priests in tatters, but everyone is tarred with the same brush. I’m saddened by that. The difficulty was the church held such power and absolute authority,” he says.

      “The great thing about the Catholic faith is that it’s unwavering. If you take the Pope’s stance on abortion, it’s the only one that’s been constant within western religions.

      “Others have said abortion is allowed — it’s not an evil. You only have to abort a child to see what it does to a woman’s spirit. You can never say it’s right. Sometimes abortion is the lesser of two evils, but you can never say it is not an evil.

      “If you stop saying that, where do you draw the line?” he continues. “Do you say because a family has a lot of children that there are too many and it’s all right to kill one? We have to accept that there is a difference between right and wrong.”

      When asked if he would consider becoming a Catholic, he insists he is “not a club man”. He was brought up Church of England, but regards himself less specifically as Christian.
    "Can we pray him over the top?" asks Stephen Hand in linking to the article — Will of Irons, Jeremy Irons (Climbs higher than very many...SH). Mr. Hand continues, "But already he's a long way from Hollywood..."

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    My Former Archbishop Retired Two Years Ago...

    ... and started a second career — Archbishop Working as a Hospice Worker. His unorthodox move seems to have been inspired by "his own encounter with death when he was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus; for 40 days he could not even drink water."


    May God bless Archbishop Paul Ri Moun-hi.

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    Cindy Sheehan Is a Racist Now

    "I have been called a 'racist' from the so-called left," she says — Racism is the Left’s Trump Card. "In these people’s opinion, I was totally justified in protesting Bush, but I am a racist for protesting the same policies under Obama."

    [link via A conservative blog for peace]

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    A Convicted War Criminal's Mea Culpa


    News of a soldier's "extraordinary public apology while speaking to a small group near the military base where he was court-martialed" — William Calley apologizes for My Lai. Words spoken in "a soft, sometimes labored voice:"
      There is not a day that goes by that I do not feel remorse for what happened that day in My Lai. I feel remorse for the Vietnamese who were killed, for their families, for the American soldiers involved and their families. I am very sorry.
    "Is the apology too little, too late?" asks the milblogger poster. Only God knows the answer to that question, but the Catholic welcomes any display of repentance and contrition.

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    Lew Rockwell on the Freeing of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi

      [I]n the US today, most people seemed to freak out, right along with cable TV, at Scotland’s freeing of a dying prisoner. Even if he blew up that jetliner–a horrific crime–what is to be served by keeping him in jail? Many Libyans and others think he was a patsy at worst, and therefore cheered his freeing. If they thought he was guilty, they were wrong to cheer, as Cuban-Americans were wrong to cheer the man who blew up a Cuban airliner, as Americans were wrong to cheer the men who dropped firebombs and atombombs from a great height on unresisting cities. But is prison the answer for elderly or terminally ill bombers? For anyone? Why isn’t restitution, on the old Germanic pattern, a possibility, rather than taxing the victims to pay off the prison keepers?
    Above, the first voice of reason on the subject I've yet heard — Prisons of Evil. (Another interesting point: "Historian Martin Van Creveld shows that public executions were not ended in Europe for 'humanitarian' reasons (as if!), but because the people assumed that anyone being ceremonially killed by the government was a good guy.")

    I understand that the release of this man is nothing to celebrate, but it's also nothing to get puffed up with moral indignation about. He'll soon be dead and making an account for his life, or is it that we no longer believe that?

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    The Real Indocumentados

    Sad that there are native-born Americans who have "less ability to navigate through society than an illegal immigrant" — No papers -- and little hope of advancement.

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    A Little Light on Managed Care

    An AP report that admits we do not have a free market healthcare system — Competition lacking among private health insurers. The article quotes a Republican governor as admitting that "a serious problem with the lack of competition among insurers" and a liberal economist suggesting that "there's no incentive for insurers or big hospital groups to negotiate with each other, because they can pass higher payments on through premiums."

    Dr. Ron Paul explained how it works in a 2001 commencement address to medical school graduates — The State vs. Doctors:
      Managed care is not market-driven; it’s government-mandated. It has driven charity out of the system. No more church-financed hospitals and free care for the indigent. Everyone is charged the maximum, and no test is left undone for fear attorneys will be ridiculing us in court alleging our negligence. And if it’s not the attorneys, it’s the HCFA [Health Care Finance Administration] agents threatening us with fines and prison if we misinterpret any of the 132,000 pages of regulations. This system artificially pushes costs up, bringing calls for price controls, which only mean rationing and shortages.

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    Saturday, August 22, 2009

    Musica Intima & the Pacific Baroque Orchestra Play Vivaldi's Gloria

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    The Anti-Imperialist Buffalonian and the Kingdom of Hawai'i

    "We want to show how U.S. imperialism has spread across the Pacific and across the world," says an organizer — Protests planned for Hawaii's 50th anniversary.

    In 1893, the President confirmed the above, telling Congress "that Hawaii was taken possession of by the United States forces without the consent or wish of the government of the islands, or of anybody else so far as shown, except the United States Minister" — Grover Cleveland Opposes the Annexation of Hawaii.

    He went on to say that "the military occupation of Honolulu by the United States... was wholly without justification, either as an occupation by consent or as an occupation necessitated by dangers threatening American life and property." He said, "Our country was in danger of occupying the position of having actually set up a temporary government on foreign soil for the purpose of acquiring through that agency territory which we had wrongfully put in its possession." More:
      I believe that a candid and thorough examination of the facts will force the conviction that the provisional government owes its existence to an armed invasion by the United States. Fair-minded people with the evidence before them will hardly claim that the Hawaiian Government was overthrown by the people of the islands or that the provisional government had ever existed with their consent. I do not understand that any member of this government claims that the people would uphold it by their suffrages if they were allowed to vote on the question.

      While naturally sympathizing with every effort to establish a republican form of government, it has been the settled policy of the United States to concede to people of foreign countries the same freedom and independence in the management of their domestic affairs that we have always claimed for ourselves.
    This greatest of presidents went on to speak of "the landing of the United States forces upon false pretexts" as "the lawless landing of the United States forces at Honolulu," words that would be unimaginable today.

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    The Rape of New Orleans?

    Thomas DiLorenzo reports on an atrocity committed by "Lincoln’s army during the War to Prevent Southern Independence" — ‘Thousands of Southern Women Were Raped’.

    "When General Benjamin 'Beast' Butler issued an order declaring all the women of New Orleans to be prostitutes because they refused to genuflect to his occupying soldiers on the streets, Lincoln refused to rescind the order despite international pressure to do so," Prof. DiLorenzo explains. "The order was a license to rape."

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    Colony Collapse Disorder

    While "it is no longer a breaking story," Katherine Dalton reminds us that "[t]he problems continue, though, whether we think about them or not" — Beewilderment.

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    Friday, August 21, 2009

    Philippe Jaroussky & Véronique Gens Sing Pergolesi's Stabat Mater

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    Republic, Not Empire

  • "The U.S. traditionally pursued a foreign policy and maintained a force structure appropriate for a republic," reminds Doug Bandow, suggesting that "America's business should be defense, not offense," and that "at a time of economic crisis and budget stringency, the U.S. should bring its military establishment into alignment with its defense needs" — How Many Enemies, How Much Military Spending?

  • Robert D. Stacey reviews a book that provides "a rousing dose of profound, genuine conservative insight" and "a refreshingly unashamed conservative critique of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy, especially with regard to war and the use of force" — War, Ideas, and the New Conservative Dilemma. The book's author "identifies three specific schools of thought which he maintains have misled American foreign policy since the presidency of Woodrow Wilson," suggesting that "'our statesmen'—consumed by Liberal Internationalism, Neoconservatism, and Realism—have steered the American ship of state away from its traditional, commonsensical course."
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    Big Pharma Is Drugging You

    Eugenia Tsao dissects a "campaign to pathologize entirely natural emotional responses to hunger, humiliation, financial insecurity, racism, sexism, overwork and isolation" as "a mercenary tactic, designed to create markets, maximize profits and minimize dissidence" — The Drug Barons' Campaign to Make Us All Crazy.

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    Blessed Are the Peacemakers

    A report on "19 Korean and 11 Japanese Catholic university students who took part in the program organized by the Youth Pastoral Department of Daejeon diocese and sponsored by the Korean bishops’ Committee for Youth Ministry" — Japanese, Korean youths try to come to terms with painful past. Said one participant:
      I used to harbor a lot of anti-Japanese sentiment as that was what Korean society had taught me... [but] I realized that the Japanese also suffered during World War Two. A small number of militarists brought about the war leaving lots of people victims.... I made some Japanese friends during this exchange... They are friendly, young and Catholic like me, and are troubled by the same issues.

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    Thomas More Kim Dae-Jung's Funerals

    The Church has bid farewell — Kim’s Body Laid in Coffin in Catholic Ritual — and the people will do the same — Largest State Funeral Planned for DJ Sunday. Also, "[o]n Saturday, a day before the funeral, a mass will be held at Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul at 7 p.m., with Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk officiating."

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    Ad Orientem in Oklahoma

    Bishop Edward James Slattery "has announced a return to the practice of celebrating the Eucharistic liturgy ad orientem in his cathedral" — Tradition wins over "personality" in Oklahoma.

    His Excellency explains that the postconciliar volte-face "had a number of unforeseen and largely negative effects," in that "it was a serious rupture with the Church's ancient tradition," "it can give the appearance that the priest and the people were engaged in a conversation about God, rather than the worship of God," and "it places an inordinate importance on the personality of the celebrant by placing him on a kind of liturgical stage."

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    The Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Company

    It "continues to operate under police protection" — Chinese smelter that poisoned children still in operation. From the report:
      Medical reports issued by county authorities read like war bulletins. In the village of Gaozuitou at least 236 out of 285 children under the age of 14 tested positive for heavy metal poisoning. High lead concentrations were also found in at least 615 children in Sunjianantou and Madaokou villages.

      However, County officials have rejected claims by Gaozuitou residents that their children’s illness was caused by the factory because it is located around 5 kilometres away. Locals have countered that their children show the same symptoms as the children living close to the plant; they have also demanded free medical tests.

      Hospitals in the area have decided however to treat only patients with more than 250 mg per litre of blood even if anything above 100 is considered unsafe.
    The report informs us that "more than 200 residents took to the streets blocking the main road linking Baoji and the smelting plan" and "the residents are pledging they will fight the authorities for ruining their lives when they let the smelter go up and now for doing nothing to stop the pollution."

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    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    J. S. Bach's Cantata Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott

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    The Rust Belt's Future

    "The collapse of America’s industrial heartland into the Rust Belt was part of the price... of the economic shift that turned America from an industrial economy that produced most of its own goods and services at home to a global power that imported most of its manufactured goods from overseas," reminds John Michael Greer — Betting on the Rust Belt. Now, "America is learning the hard way, as Britain did a century ago and Spain a century and a half before that," Mr. Greer writes, "that the sheer economic burden of maintaining a global military presence is quite capable of pushing even the richest nation into bankruptcy."

    Given the above, he makes "a gamble, and a distinctly contrarian gamble at that:" "Among the likely beneficiaries of these changes are the towns that thrived best in an earlier, more regional economy -- those that are well served by rail and water transport, surrounded by farming regions that don’t depend on irrigation, not too far from major markets, and provided with ample and inexpensive real estate for the factories and warehouses of a downscaled and relocalizing industrial economy."

    Mr. Greer's earlier thoughts on the subject were summarized in this earlier post of mine — A Rust Belt Renaissance?

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    The Father of Reaganomics on Obamanomics

    Paul Craig Roberts reminds us that "economic policy... is being run for the benefit of large financial concerns, such as Goldman Sachs," and that "this is occurring during a Democratic administration headed by America’s first black president, with a Democratic majority in the House and Senate" — Americans: Serfs Ruled by Oligarchs.

    "Is there a government anywhere that less represents its citizens than the US government?" he asks. Some more questions:
      Will Americans, smashed and destroyed by “their” government’s policy, which always puts Americans last, ever understand who their real enemies are?

      Will Americans realize that they are not ruled by elected representatives but by an oligarchy that owns the Washington whorehouse?

      Will Americans ever understand that they are impotent serfs?

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    Nat Hentoff Fears the Obama Administration

      I was not intimidated during J. Edgar Hoover's FBI hunt for reporters like me who criticized him. I railed against the Bush-Cheney war on the Bill of Rights without blinking. But now I am finally scared of a White House administration. President Obama's desired health care reform intends that a federal board (similar to the British model) — as in the Center for Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation in a current Democratic bill — decides whether your quality of life, regardless of your political party, merits government-controlled funds to keep you alive.
    So wrote the Jewist atheist pro-life civil libertarian — I am finally scared of a White House administration.

    [link via Mark in Spokane]

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    Act of God?

    Just as "the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America was scheduled to vote on a 34-page document that reportedly would establish a theological framework for differing views of homosexuality, that critics say would liberalize the ELCA and possibly open the door to the ordination of lesbians and gays in homosexual relationships," reports Terry Nelson, "a freak tornado came out of nowhere amidst a heavy rainstorm - no warnings, no prediction of severe weather" — Minneapolis tornado interrupts Lutheran synod.

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    John H. McWhorter on Zora Neale Hurston

    "Zora Neale Hurston’s writing challenged black people as well as white," says the linguist of the "fervent Republican who would be at home today on Fox News and whose racial pride led her to some unorthodox conclusions" — Thus Spake Zora.

    Prof. McWhorter says that "Hurston held a fiercely asserted black conservative politics akin to Clarence Thomas’s" and that she "would likely irk many today with skepticism about the black community’s pride in Barack Obama’s election." He continues, "Still, in combining a commitment to the 'blackest' of folkways with a politics not far from Shelby Steele’s, Hurston explodes the myth that the black conservative is a grim opportunist, parroting the right-wing line while privately haunted by a disdain for his* own people."

    (These posts of mine indicate that she was, if anything, to the libertarian right of the neoconnish figures mentioned in the above paragraph — Zora Neale Hurston's Politics and America's Great Black Paleoconservative Woman of Letters.)

    Prof. McWhorter concludes, "We have much to learn from someone who is—as quiet as the secret is kept—America’s favorite black conservative."

    *Prof. McWhorter's brave use of the generic masculine possessive pronoun instead of the unaesthetic "his/her" or the ungrammatical "their" makes me think that this is a man of whom I should read more.

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    The Origins of Cultural Marxism in America

    A non-critical look at Critical Theory, who immigrant founders, "in addition to being radicals and Marxists," "were almost all Jewish" — Frankfurt on the Hudson.

    For a critical look at the Frankfurt School, and the deadly Cultural Marxism it espoused, read Charles A. Morse's article — The Four Horsemen of the Frankfort School. A student is quoted as describing his school's theory as an "essentially destructive criticism of all the main elements of Western culture, including Christianity, capitalism, authority, the family, patriarchy, hierarchy, morality, tradition, sexual restraint, loyalty, patriotism, nationalism, heredity, ethnocentrism, convention, and conservatism."

    Sound familiar?

    Mr. Morse begins where I first learned of the destructive nature of this school, with Patrick Buchanan's The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization. He concludes with the text of a 1943 diktat of the Moscow Central Committee: "When obstructionists become too irritating, label them as fascist, or Nazi or anti-Semitic...The association will, after enough repetition, become 'fact' in the public mind."

    Sound familiar?

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    Whither Minor League Baseball?

    "For decades, minor-league rosters seemed the essence of the American heartland," reports Tom Piatak, quoting the WSJOur National Pastime? "But thanks to growing numbers of foreign players . . . the minors are fast turning into a veritable United Nations." Blame lies on a law signed by the previous president with "a name only George Orwell could love, the Creating Opportunities for Minor League Professionals, Entertainers and Teams Act."

    Bill Kauffman would be appalled. I had hoped upon moving back to America to become a Minor League Baseball fan; it looks like I'll have to settle for Little League. There's always NCAA College Football.

    (In Malaysia, I was friends with an elderly English gentleman who longed for the days when a city's football club consisted of the best local players. Nowadays, a given player can be from anywhere in the world.)

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    President Kim Dae-Jung's Legacy

    I see the late South Korean president much as I do Thomas Jefferson: a figure whose legacy outside the presidential office far outweighs his tenure as head-of-state. In fact, both men violated the very principles they stood for once corrupted by power. Here is what some others say:

  • Robert Koehler says that "that unlike the passing of Roh — which a friend of mine likened to a Greek tragedy — DJ’s passing is more a celebration of his time on Earth" — DJ Editorials and Some Words of My Own. He offers this quote from his 1998 inauguration speech: "Democracy and the market economy are two sides of a coin or two wheels of a cart. Every nation that has embraced both democracy and a market economy has been successful."


  • "His was not the perfect political career," writes Sam Crane, who goes on to say, "Kim demonstrated with his life's work, which ultimately succeeded in promoting the democratization of South Korea, that apparently authoritarian cultures can hold within them democratic possibilities, nurtured from deep indigenous cultural springs" — Kim Dae-jung, Confucian Democrat.


  • Donald Kirk says that he "leaves a legacy of controversy over his 'Sunshine' policy towards North Korea that is likely to go on dividing Americans and South Koreans as surely as it did during his presidency" — Kim Dae-jung fought for an elusive dream.
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    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Gabrieli Consort & Players Perform J. Desprez' Praeter Rerum Seriem

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    The Catholic Faith and Witness of Thomas More Kim Dae-jung


    "[W]ith fear and trembling work out your salvation," instructed the Apostle — Epistle Of Saint Paul To The Philippians. The recently departed Kim Dae-jung appears to have done just that.

    "I used to believe until now that I have a certain amount of faith," wrote the Catholic human rights activist (and future president) to his family after having been sentenced to death, continuing, "But now in a situation where I am close to death, I experience everyday how fragile my existence is... I get angry about my lack of faith" — South Korea mourns death of Kim Dae-jung.

    One can hear him from his cell, praying, as did the father of the sick child, "I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief" — Gospel According to Saint Mark.

    Later in 1993, he would say, "[A]ll my hard trials in the past -- imprisonment, frequent detentions, torture and forced exiles -- happened in the process of God's redemptive work, and in this sense, I have also participated in God's salvation" — First Catholic president, Kim Dae-jung, dies.

    He would also say, "With the knowledge that Jesus was crucified for humanity, I could overcome all hardships and trials" — Thomas More Kim Dae-Jung, first Catholic president of South Korea, dies at 85. "I have lived, and continue to live, in the belief that God is always with me," he would say in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 2000 — Some memorable quotes from Kim Dae-jung. "I know this from experience"

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    Huckabee, Schmuckabee

    On his "three-day tour of Israel, hosted by a far-right group of religious nationalists," he stated that "there should be no Palestinian state in the West Bank and endorsed Israeli settlements there" — Huckabee says 2 states in Holy Land 'unrealistic'. From the article:
      Huckabee's opposition to a Palestinian state puts him at odds with the accepted wisdom of both Democrats and Republicans — and to some degree even with conservative Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has come out in favor of some form of Palestinian independence.
    This should come as no suprise, given that during the debates he "stated that he supports creating a Palestinian state, but believes that it should be formed outside of Israel — Gov. Huckabee, Christian Über-Zionist.

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    Robert Novak, Requiem æternam...

    "A son of Jewish parents, he converted to Catholicism at age 67 after attending Catholic services for several years" — Political columnist Robert Novak dies at 78. This loss represents the halving of mainstream paleoconservative punditry, the other half being Patrick Buchanan.

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    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Thomas More Kim Dae-jung, Requiem æternam...


    The "towering figure in South Korea's struggle for democracy who won the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize for seeking rapprochement with the communist North" has died — Former South Korean leader Kim Dae-jung dies.

    He "was elected South Korea's president in December 1997, a victory that marked the first time in South Korea that power had shifted from a ruling party president to a president from the opposition," but "it was Kim's life-long struggle against South Korea's early repressive authoritarian leaders that defined him and made his name a household word and inspiration for generations."

    "Kim was a devout Catholic," the article reminds us. He converted to the True Faith in 1957 and took Saint Thomas More as his baptismal patron.

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    Thomas Tallis' Spem in Alium Sung by The King's Singers

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    The Novel That Debunks the Anthropogenic Global Warming Myth

    Last night, I finished Michael Crichton's State of Fear, which I mentioned in this post — Cool Summer Reading.

    Publishers Weekly dismissed the book as "half anti-global warming screed and half adventure yarn." Yet it was the screed that interested me and the yarn that made me yawn. I've never read a novel before with footnotes to peer-reviewed articles from scientific journals. The author spent years researching the novel and makes a convincing case.

    The plot, however, has as many holes as the hypothesis it aims to discredit. It has been years since I read a bestseller, and I forgot how uninspiring the writing can be. That said, it was easy and somewhat entertaining, like an action movie, although it required a great deal of willing suspension of disbelief. The dialogue was not as stlited and clichéd as, say, Stephen King, but, the characters were as weakly drawn and as utterly unconvincing. My advice: read the screed and skim the story.

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    South Korean Golfer Y.E. Yang


    Steve Sailor notes that he beat a man "who is a quarter Chinese and a quarter Thai" — First full-blooded East Asian to win a major golf championship.

    Mr. Sailor writes, "South Korean women, like Swedish women, have done very well in ladies' golf, but that's mostly because those two countries invested a lot in training girl golfers." I'm not sure about the money; my hypothesis was that Korean women have more free time to dabble in things like golf, given the twin facts that their fertility rates and workforce participation rates are the lowest in the world.

    Mr. Sailer, suggests that "there's no particular pattern of any race being better or worse at golf." Rather, he says, "Success largely depends upon starting intensive practice at a young age."

    Gi Korea explains that Yang was "[j]ust an average son of a farmer from the city of Seogwipo on Korea’s Cheju Island until he picked up a golf club at age 19" — Who Is Y.E. Yang? In fact, "he first picked up an iron at the country club where he had a low-wage job shagging golf balls" and "practiced late into the night after the paying customers had gone until he became good enough to turn pro."

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    Down With the Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Company!

    A report that "[h]undreds of Chinese villagers have broken into a factory that poisoned more than 600 children" — China villagers storm lead plant. They "tore down fencing and smashed coal trucks" after "medical tests revealed that at least 600 children under 14 from two villages near the plant have excessive amounts of lead in their blood."

    In the absence of civil society and rule of law, what other choice do the people have?

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    Monday, August 17, 2009

    Chinese Classical Music in the Golden Hall of Vienna

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    Three History Lessons

  • Uri Avnery "on the omission of centuries" — Abridged Histories of the Holy Land. "Jewish history," he says, "ignores not only all that happened in the country before the Israelite era, but also everything that happened during the 1747 years between the Bar Kokhba uprising in 135 A.D. and the start of the pre-Zionist settlement in 1882." "On the Arab side, things are no better," with an "historical picture starts in the Arab peninsula with the advent of the Prophet Mohammed, mentioning the era of Jahiliyah ('ignorance') before that, and comes to Palestine with the Muslim conquerors."


  • The "Principles of ’98" are "ideas that nationalists of left and right alike detest," says Thomas E. Woods, Jr., debunking the official narrative that "the only reason anyone might wish to vindicate the cause of states’ rights is for the purpose of defending slavery or upholding some lesser form of local oppression" — The States’ Rights Tradition Nobody Knows. Their co-author, the Sage of Monticello, once wrote, "When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated."


  • Laurence M. Vance reminds us that on August 14th, 1945, "after the two atomic bombs had been dropped on Japan, and after Emperor Hirohito had agreed to surrender," "the largest bombing raid in history" was committed and "[y]et, many timelines of World War II do not even list this event as having occurred" — Bombings Worse than Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
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    Decentralism in Europe and America

    "The coming peak energy will," among other things, "cause states to radically decentralize as they become less and less able to keep a complex bureaucracy," suggests Damien Perrotin — Peak energy and cultural fragmentation. The author, a Breton, makes this interesting comparison:
      As the nation-state become less and less adapted to a world of increasingly scarce resources, it will be replaced by more local forms of governance. These structures, whatever they may call themselves will need some kind of legitimacy, however. Americans look very fond of talking about secession despite being quite homogeneous culturally speaking. European, on the other hand, are very wary of it. A Free Vermont movement, for instance, would be unthinkable in France, and even in areas where independence could have some legitimacy, it is rarely claimed.
    [link via The New Beginning]

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    Internet Tyranny Crumbling in South Korea

    An excellent report that after "several new policies have been put in place that are designed to restrict freedom of speech in cyberspace... savvy internet users are responding by moving their blogs, e-mail accounts, and other online activities to foreign websites — to the chagrin of domestic web portals already burdened by the poor economy" — Exodus in Cyberspace. "Although the printed press and television networks in South Korea are tightly controlled by the government, the Internet keeps escaping the would-be dictatorship’s grip."

    [link via The Hub of Sparkle!]

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.