Monday, November 30, 2009

The Syracuse University Brass Ensemble and the Hendricks Chapel Choir Perform James Spencer's Arrangement of Veni, Veni Emmanel

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Mr. Obama's Surge

  • "Obama is signing on to a nation-birthing strategy, one that is in part about maintaining a reason to exist for NATO and the U.S. Army, which would otherwise have trouble justifying their bloated budgets," suggests Jeff Huber — Obama’s Big Speech. "Our wars, even though they’re destroying our economy, are making a lot of people rich," Mr. Huber concludes. "War is our only export, and counterinsurgency is the perfect tool of the Long War mafia, because counterinsurgency wars are unwinnable."


  • "The sheer arrogance of American policymakers and military theoreticians blocks them from recognizing the simple reality of the insurgents’ motivation, which is nothing more nor less than aversion to the conditions of military occupation," writes Justin Raimondo — The Galula Doctrine. "Short of withdrawing all U.S. forces from Afghanistan, there is no way to satisfy the central demand of the Afghan insurgents – who resist the American-NATO occupation not because they are ignorant savages who hate us for our freedoms, but because they seek their own version of freedom – which, understandably, does not involve kowtowing to an American viceroy."
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    Money Notes

  • "The gold story – essentially – is that the rising economic powers of Asia, the Middle East, and the commodity bloc are rejecting Western fiat currencies," explains Ambrose Evans-Pritchard — China, Gold, and the Civilization Shift. "China, India, and Russia have all been buying gold on a large scale over recent months," reports Mr. Evans-Pritchard.


  • Bill Sardi ponders "what happens if the public increases its demand for gold to the point where it fast becomes the most valued medium of exchange" resulting in "a gold-currency of sorts without government decree" — The Accidental American Patriot: About to Fire His First Shot at Overthrowing the Reigning Bankster Party From Office By Buying Gold.


  • Alf Field looks at what we can learn from "a country without a functioning Central Bank and without a local currency that can be produced at will at the behest of politicians" — Zimbabwe: A Fresh Start. "Since February 2009 there has been no lender of last resort in Zimbabwe, causing banks to be ultra cautious in their lending policies," reports Mr. Field. "Super market shelves, bare in January, are now bursting with products."
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    Health Tip o' the Day

    Rod Dreher "gained 15 pounds, but [his] cholesterol levels are excellent" — Oatmeal, flax seed and cholesterol.

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    Blessed are the Peacemakers

    Three reports on "the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Argentina and Chile, which was mediated by the Holy See between 1979 and 1984:"

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    Judge Napolitano on Military Tribunals

    "It's a violation of the Constitution to use the panels without a declaration of war -- and just calling it a 'war' on terror doesn't count" — The case against military tribunals.

    He reminds us that "the rules of war apply only to those involved in a lawfully declared war, and not to something that the government merely calls a war" anbd concludes, "If the president could declare war on any person or entity or group simply by calling his pursuit of them a 'war,' there would be no limit to the government's ability to use the tools of war to achieve its ends."

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    South Korea's Nascent Pro-Life Movement

    The LA Times' John M. Glionna reports on it — In South Korea, abortion foes gain ground. The man who started it:
      For nearly two decades, obstetrician Shim Sang-duk aborted as many babies as he delivered -- on average, one a day, month after month.

      "Over time, I became emotionless," the physician said. "I came to see the results of my work as just a chunk of blood. During the operation, I felt the same as though I was treating scars or curing diseases."

      Shim, 42, eventually came to despise himself, despite the money he earned from the procedures. So, two months ago, he founded an activist group of physicians who refuse to perform abortions and advocate prosecution for doctors who continue to do so.

      [....]

      Unlike in America, where doctors have been threatened and even killed for performing abortions, Shim says he's received death threats for deciding to stop performing them.
    A sign at his clinic reads, "Abortions, which abandon the valuable life of a fetus, are the very misery for the nation and society as well as pregnant women, families and ob-gyn doctors."

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    Tridentine and Gregorian Happenings in Seoul

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    The Dear Leaders



    Click on this link for more such images of world "leaders" — 김정일에서 오바마까지, 얼굴 화장한 세계의 권력가들? I can't remember who said it, but whoever suggested that the best policy toward tyrants was laughter and mockery was on to something.

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    Where Are You, Sam Adams?

    "Forget about kicking back and enjoying an American beer; a massive wave of consolidation is transforming the industry," begins Don Monkerud — Big Beer Takes Over. "Americans are discovering that companies that once served their interest now determine their lives," he concludes. "Although some continue to support unregulated 'free enterprise,' others find that powerful monopolies now determine government policy."

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    Capital Punishment in North Korea

    Two reports, from defectors and Catholics respectively, on the worsening situation there — Execution Legal for Minor Offences in North Korea and Pyongyang tightens grip: death even for those who steal rice.

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    American Nukes in Japan

    "The people of Japan was deceived for decades, this according to declassified documents that are only now coming to light about secret deals between Washington and Tokyo with regards to the presence of nuclear weapons on Japanese soil," begins this report — Secret nuclear deals between Tokyo and Washington.

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    The Original Western Confucian's Impact

    His model was "mutual respect, mutual appreciation, sharing of his Western knowledge and acceptance of Chinese knowledge," we are reminded in this article about "a symposium was held in Macao to assess the educative impact of the Jesuits in the life of the people of Asia, especially on religious and ethical issues" — Jesuits and education, today and at the time of Matteo Ricci.

    "Dozens of academics and educators from China, Taiwan, Singapore, Korea, Vietnam and Western countries gathered for three days, November 25 to 27 for this conference, entitled 'Revisiting the pedagogical models in the Jesuit tradition,'" the article informs us. It notes that "He Jianming, a professor at Renmin University in Beijing, sent a study that was read during the symposium" in which "he analyzes the Jesuit education in China up to before 1950." Said "study concludes that the goals of education offered by the Jesuits could also be used for education in China today," making note of "humanistic values, the study of languages, scientific studies and their impact on culture," as well as "the friendly relations between professors and students."

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    Mary and Manliness

    Elena Maria Vidal posts the thoughts of Father Angelo Mary Geiger F.I. that men, being "hardwired to take risks[, ...] must face their fears, confront evil and defend the weak" — Marian Chivalry. "Otherwise, they either naturally lose interest in the spiritual life or unnaturally consent to be emasculated."

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    Saint Andrew's Memorial and Novena

    Today, we remember my patron, the "fisherman from Bethsaida and brother of Simon Peter... said to have spread Christianity in Russia and Asia minor after Pentecost in the first century" — Church to honor St. Andrew, apostle and martyr.

    "He was crucified by the Romans in Greece on an X-shaped cross, which is now his distinctive symbol as well as the symbol of Scotland, of which he is the patron." The article informs us that "[s]ome of St. Andrew's remains were brought to Scotland in the fourth century though parts of his skeleton lie in the crypt of the cathedral in Amalfi, Italy, where they are removed twice a year and produce a clear, water like substance... called 'manna' is said to have miraculous attributes."

    Last year, I wrote, "My Protestant parents gave me the middle name of Andrew when I was born, and I took that name upon being received into the Catholic Church, with my wife, on this day six years ago — My Name Day. Now seven. Click on that link for "various flags incorporating St. Andrew's Cross."

    Pentimento informs us that she "will be praying the Saint Andrew novena this Advent season," which "involves saying the following prayer fifteen times a day, from Saint Andrew's feast day (which is tomorrow, November 30) until December 24" — Advent Novena:
      Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin in a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that hour, vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires (mention your intentions here). Through Jesus Christ and His Most Blessed Mother.
    "I love the way this prayer descends from the universality of the birth of Christ to the particularity of the details," she writes, "especially the description of 'the piercing cold,' mirroring in language the phenomenon of Christ's coming down to earth." Click on the link for her intentions and the opportunity to unite your own to hers, as I have done.

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    The Manger, First Paten for the Eucharist

    Father "Maryknoller in Korea" reminds us "that the manger we talk about in the Scriptures is... a feed box for animals" — The Beginning of the New Year-Advent. This is "for us Catholics a very telling word for it reminds us that Jesus came to be our food both in Word and Eucharist." He says, "That feed trough draws our attention to the Mass - liturgy of the Word and Eucharist: a symbol of great meaning for us during Advent."

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    Hard Truths About Messrs. Bushes' Wars

  • "He wasn't captured or tortured," says the military of Michael "Scott" Speicher, may he rest in peace — Saddam was telling truth in missing Gulf War pilot. Nevertheless, he served posthumously for propaganda purposes; "One of the more memorable images used to cement the notion that Saddam Hussein meant Americans harm was his supposed torture of POW pilot Michael Speicher—a rumor advanced from the presidential podium," read the lead-in to The American Conservative's linking to an article on the news — Michael Speicher, RIP. And Matt Barganier quotes neocon Jed Babbin on March 23, 2003, three days after the invasion of Iraq began, as having said, "He may still be alive in Iraq, rumored to have been kept as a personal torture toy for Saddam’s older son" — When Will They Apologize to the Speicher Family? Mr. Barganier asks, "How must Speicher’s widow and two children have felt when hearing such rumors, which were cynically manufactured by the likes of Bush, Rumsfeld, and Babbin to sell their war?"


  • "Osama bin Laden was unquestionably within reach of U.S. troops in the mountains of Tora Bora when American military leaders made the crucial and costly decision not to pursue the terrorist leader with massive force," begins this news of a report that "seeks to affix a measure of blame for the state of the war today on military leaders under former president George W. Bush, specifically Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary and his top military commander, Tommy Franks" — Senate report: Bin Laden was 'within our grasp'. So, we're asked to believe that "[i]nstead of a massive attack, fewer than 100 U.S. commandos, working with Afghan militias, tried to capitalize on air strikes and track down their prey" because "Rumsfeld expressed concern that a large U.S. troop presence might fuel a backlash."
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    Saturday, November 28, 2009

    Libera Sing Vaughan William's Sempiterna (Conditor Alme Siderum)


    Above, an offering for Advent, which begins tomorrow.

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    An Anti-Christian, Anti-Thoreauvian, and Anti-American Editorial

    "Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox leaders are going too far when they declare they will break laws on abortion and same-sex marriage," suggests this editorialist — Christian leaders' stance on civil disobedience is dangerous.

    However, an important point is made in citing the Manhattan Declaration that "a Methodist institution was stripped of its tax-exempt status when it declined, as a matter of religious conscience, to permit a facility it owned and operated to be used for ceremonies blessing homosexual unions." Catholic Worker foundress Servant of God Dorothy Day had the wisest approach in simply refusing tax-exempt status altogether — Anarcho-Catholicism in a Nutshell:
      We believe also that the government has no right to legislate as to who can or who are to perform the Works of Mercy. Only accredited agencies have the status of tax-exempt institutions. After their application has been filed, and after investigation and long delays, clarifications, intercession, and urgings by lawyers - often an expensive and long-drawn-out procedure - this tax-exempt status is granted.

      As personalists, as an unincorporated group, we will not apply for this "privilege." We have explained to our donors many times that they risk being taxed on the gifts they send us, and a few (I can only think of two right now) have turned away from us. God raises up for us many a Habakkuk to bring his pottage to us when we are in the lion's den, or about to be, like Daniel of old.
    The Declaration's conclusion, that "[w]e will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar's[, b]ut under no circumstances... render to Caesar what is God's," should be carried out whole hog by rejecting tax exempt status altogether.

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    R.O.K.-U.S.A. F.T.A., D.O.A. & R.I.P.

    "We are not going to offer anything to the U.S. side," said a South Korean Embassy official in Washington, quoted in this report — U.S.-South Korea free-trade pact stalls over politics. I guess that's what the U.S. gets after six decades of subsidizing South Korea's defense. Ivan Eland said it most succinctly in Ungrateful Allies:
      Despite plundering their colonies at gunpoint (for example, the Spanish Empire looted the gold from Latin America) and creating sheltered markets for their goods overseas (for example, British mercantilism), even the formal empires of old were not cost-effective, according to classical economists. The informal U.S. Empire that defends other countries abroad using alliances, military bases, the permanent stationing of U.S. troops on foreign soil, and profligate military interventions is even more cost-ineffective. U.S. forces cannot plunder, and rich allies, such as South Korea, excessively restrict their markets to U.S. goods and services.
    Of course, as Jeffrey Tucker warned us, such deals are nothing but "mercantilism in disguise" — Free Trade versus Free-trade Agreements.

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    The Fruits of South Korean Neo-Colonialism

    "The collapse of the economy after a coup and political crisis have worsened the lot of the urban poor, with children suffering the most," begins this report, without once mentioning the country responsible for it all — Madagascar's children face hunger, abuse and neglect.

    These earlier posts on this blog provide the background — South Korea's Madagascar Land Grab / Imperial Korea? [Guest Column by Taru Taylor] / Malagasy Revolt / Korea's African Neocolonial Adventure Comes to an End.

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    War and Divorce

    Bill Kauffman's observation that "the first casualty of the militarized U.S. state is the family", made in his 2003 article, George Bush, the Anti-Family President, comes to mind with this news today — Divorce rate rises in military homes.

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    Bailouts for Bankers, Not for Old Folks

    "Older Americans who were raised on stories of the Great Depression and acquired lifelong habits of thrift now find themselves crowding soup kitchens and food pantries in greater numbers for the first time after seeing retirement funds, second jobs and nest eggs wiped out by recession" — Recession sends older Americans to food pantries. "Catholic Charities USA, which has 170 agencies across the country helping the needy, issued a 2009 third-quarter report that found a 54 percent increase in requests for food and services from seniors nationwide compared to the same period last year."

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    Perry Como Sings It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas, 1958


    Secular songs like the one above are the bane of many Christians, and surprisingly even many Catholics, this time of year. I like them, though. They are an innocent reminder during Advent that Christmas is on the way, as are the lights, holly, and snowmen.

    Below are some links to posts by Catholic bloggers on the season, with some select quotes and some of my thoughts as well:
    • Like the Young Fogey, "I love Christmas including in its current form, while realizing "that this, right now, isn’t Christmas" — I love Christmas. How uncool. "So to those who grandstand about commercialism, neener," he writes. "It’s when mainstream society forgets its anti-Catholicism for a while; even hard-shell Protestants put up statues of Jesus and Mary." Ditto.


    • A few days ago, Terry Nelson offered some ways to make the "the prep time to be as much fun as the season itself - which lasts from December 25 all the way to Candlemass - February 2" — Christmas is only a month away! I like that approach; remember the real season, but enjoy the lead-up time as well.


    • "It may be 'beginning to look a lot like Christmas' where you live, especially if it's a commercial centre, but that's not the same as the liturgical slide into the Christmas season that is Advent," reminds Enbrethiliel— Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Advent. To those who grandstand about "put[ting] up the Christmas decorations on Christmas eve," as one blogger from "liturgically aware Catholic home" whom she quotes does, I say, "Good for you, but the Pope puts his up on the 17th or thereabouts."


    • Henry Karlson reminds us that yesterday was "the day of great sacrifice, the day of great salvation," when "a great multitude of people will go out and celebrate their materialistic salvation, going forth to the altar of consumer sacrifice and giving generous donations to the gods of big business" — Welcome to Black Friday. I agree, but more for the sound economic reasons Gary North outlines — The Season For Thrift.


    • Ryan W. McMaken brings to our attention "what is perhaps the first volley of the tiresome and overblown 'War on Christmas' war of words" and reminds of "the Christmas-themed culture war that the conservatives will subject us to yet again this year" — First Signs of the Yule Tide: “War on Christmas” Hysteria. "This is nonsense only Christians could come up with," says Michael J. Iafrate — ‘Tis the time to liberate, indeed! I agree, "tiresome," "overblown," and just plain "nonsense." I can hardly think of a worse way to spend the season than by getting puffed up and angry.


    • Finally, Peter Kim brings us some good news of local interest (but not for me in the provinces) — Gregorian Chant Missa Cantata in Seoul - 2nd Sunday of Advent.

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    Nowhere Men

    Franklin Spinney, former military analyst for the Pentagon, draws the same analogy this blogger did yesterday — Obama as LBJ. Of particular interest:
      Bill Moyers just produced a stunning TV show that reminds us that it was the same evolution into incoherence that led the president into the cul de sac in 1964 and 1965. He did this by going inside President Lyndon Johnson's head to examine how LBJ,s agonizing deliberations induced him to escalate in Vietnam, even though LBJ and some of his closest confidants, like Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, admitted to each other that the strategy was not likely to work. But it becomes clear that they were sucked into a cul de sac of acting against their better judgement by a fear that domestic political adversaries, particularly conservative Republican warmongers, like Senator Barry Goldwater, would accuse LBJ of cutting and running.

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    A Christmas Gift From the Pope

    Sandro Magister brings news of "a volume with the preaching of pope Ratzinger in the last liturgical year" — The Homilies of Benedict XVI: A Model for a Confused Church. "The homilies have become a distinguishing feature of the pontificate of Benedict XVI," writes Mr. Magister. "They may be the least known and understood feature, but they are certainly the most revealing. He writes many of them himself, and improvises them at times; they are the most genuine manifestation of his mind."

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    The Mandate of Heaven and Reform in China

    "Its people have plenty to draw from in their own culture to force reform," reminds Robert Louis Chianese — Change in China must come from within. The author takes issue with the ideas of "a long tradition in China of people seeing the state 'as the guardian, custodian and embodiment of their civilization'" and "that because the government is nearly synonymous with Chinese civilization, the people do not feel a natural antagonism to the state, as we do in the West." He writes:
      Our Western system of checks and balances has a built-in suspicion of government. The Chinese, on the other hand, presumably accept the legitimate authority of the state as one would an ancestral father or family.

      I think, however, that modern China will adapt this Western "antagonistic" model to reform its own system. The Chinese state will have to face more antagonisms as the whole country opens up to the world and people see that the authority of the state can be illegitimate too.
    The author could have mentioned the Mandate of Heaven, which "postulates that Tian blesses the authority of a just ruler, but is displeased with a despotic ruler and withdraws its mandate from him, leading to his overthrow and the transfer of the Mandate to whatever new ruler would rule best."

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    America's Financial Crisis Writ Small

    The story of "a woman who had never paid more than $700 a month in rent and who had relied in recent years on Section 8 housing vouchers," who claimed an "income of $163,320 a year, even though she says her 2005 income-tax earnings were less than $15,000 and she relied at times on food stamps" — The $698,000 mistake.

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    Lula Is Right

    "I don't want any gringo asking us to let an Amazon resident die of hunger under a tree," said the Brazilian president — Brazil: 'Gringos' must pay to stop Amazon razing. The "gringo" world should stop making such requests, and should only pay for Brazil for her products in the free exchange of goods.

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    Patrick Buchanan on "Our New Battling Bishops"

    "Catholicism is necessarily an adversary faith and culture in an America where a triumphant secularism has captured the heights, from Hollywood to the media, the arts and the academy, and relishes nothing more than insults to and blasphemous mockery of the Church of Rome" — Is the Church Militant Back? "Our new battling bishops may be surprised to find they have a large cheering section among a heretofore silent and sullen faithful who have been desperate to find a few clerical champions."

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    Dubai For Sale?

    AsiaNews.it is the only source I can find reporting this rather bizarre news — Emir of Abu Dhabi to buy Dubai for US$ 80 billion.

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    Friday, November 27, 2009

    The Beatles Perform Nowhere Man at the Budokan Hall, Tokyo, 1966


    The above song, written about a former occupant of the Oval Office, comes to mind with this sad news about the current one, who, we should remember, was the "peace candidate" — Obama to unveil plan to add troops in Afghanistan.

    Bill Kauffman made the same call a year-and-a-half ago (along with his other two main rivals at the time) — The Candidates from Nowhere. An excerpt:
      Barack Obama, lauded as the "world candidate," was born in Hawaii, a state that is only in the union because of its military significance. Raised also in Indonesia and at various times resident in Los Angeles, New York City, and finally Chicago, Obama is a "cosmopolitan," which by some lights means a sophisticate but which a character in Henry James's Portrait of Lady defined as "a little of everything and not much of any. I must say I think patriotism is like charity-it begins at home."

      "Isolationist!" shriek the Thought Police if confronted by a James-like opinion. And in fact Senator Obama has said that "We cannot afford to be a country of isolationists right now." Then again, cosmopolitans think we can never afford to leave other countries alone and mind our own business. Because their business is our business. Or as Obama says, American security is "inextricably linked to the security of all people."

      Obama's limitless internationalism is encapsulated in his statement that "When poor villagers in Indonesia have no choice but to send chickens to market infected with avian flu, it cannot be seen as a distant concern." This is, quite possibly, the most expansive definition ever essayed of the American national interest. It is a license for endless interventions in the affairs of other nations. It is a recipe for blundering into numberless wars-which will be fought, disproportionately, by those God & Guns small-town Americans evidently despised or pitied by Mr. Obama. It is redolent of the biblical assurance that not even a sparrow can fall to the earth unnoticed by God. The congruence of the roles of the deity and U.S. foreign policy in Obama's mind is not reassuring to those of us who desire peace and a modest role for the U.S. military.

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    Liberated Mosul

    With Saddam Hussein deposed and executed, the city is being liberated of its Christians, in what Christians call "'a Mafia warning,' a message to Christians 'to leave the city'" — Mosul: Christian buildings attacked, Church of Saint Ephrem levelled.

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    Seduction by False Marriage Promise Decriminalized in Korea

    "The Constitutional Court ruled yesterday that a clause in the country's criminal law that penalizes a man who lures a woman into sexual relations through a false promise of marriage, is unconstitutional" — Court rules seduction law invalid. No longer will men have to worry about "a maximum prison term of two years or a maximum fine of 5 million won ($4,332) for luring a chaste woman to have sex with him through false promises of marriage or other deceptions."

    The Court's curious reasoning: "(The clause) is against gender equality, and under the purpose of protecting women, it denies their right to make their own sexual decisions." That is to say, "the clause is now seen as a by-product of a male-centered patriarchal society and as unfair since it only punishes men and views women as subjects to be protected."

    It appears the fairer sex agitated for the law's scrapping: "Women activists have recently raised their voices against the clause, arguing it is outdated and biased. The Ministry of Gender Equality has also maintained that the clause is unconstitutional as it restricts the victims only to women, which could be seen as belittling women."

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    Dirge for the Burj

    "Just a year after the global downturn derailed Dubai's explosive growth, the city is now so swamped in debt that it's asking for a six-month reprieve on paying its bills — causing a drop on world markets Thursday and raising questions about Dubai's reputation as a magnet for international investment" — Dubai request for debt 'standstill' raises fear. Among the "development plans and tourism plans that had plenty of hype but few details on how they would be pulled off" is "[t]he more than 2,600-foot (800-meter) Burj Dubai... scheduled to open in January as the world's tallest building."

    Mark Thornton looks at the possibility that "skyscrapers cause business cycles" — Skyscrapers and Business Cycles. "Andrew Lawrence created the 'skyscraper index' which purported to show that the building of the tallest skyscrapers is coincidental with business cycles, in that he found that the building of world's tallest building is a good proxy for dating the onset of major economic downturns."

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    Kyŏng Namchŏl Performs Hŭimori at the People's Orchestra 100th Anniversary Memorial Kayagŭm Concert in P'yŏngyang

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    Two From the Marmot on America, Her President, and Her Army

  • Jeff Yang is right that America needs to return to "the Asian values of our parents’ generation — work hard, study, save, invest, live within your means —" but wrong that "it stands to reason that a 'Pacific president' is just who we need at the helm" — America’s First ‘Pacific President’ and Our ‘Asian Values’.


  • "They need to reintroduce dialogue as a tool of command because, although it is easy to speak to Americans face-to-face and understand each other completely, dealing with them corporately is akin to dealing with a group of Martians," said Col. J.K. Tanner, former chief of staff of Multinational Division South East, a.k.a. the British sector in Iraq — Don’t Hold Back — Tell Us What You REALLY Think of the Americans in Iraq. "If it isn’t on the PowerPoint slide, it doesn’t happen."
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    Steve Sailer on America and Goat Pasturage in the Hindu Kush

    "I don't understand why some Americans are simply unable to grasp how important these tribal struggles over the best goat pasturage in the Hindu Kush are to the American national interest" — Afghanistan.

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    A Bishop Takes on the President

    "Government-backed development projects serve the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor, Bishop Boniface Choi Ki-san of Incheon says" — Bishop slams government 'policies for the rich'. Said His Excellency, "Because of indiscreet development projects, poor people have continuously been forced out of their homes."

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    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Thanksgiving Day Reads

  • Bill Kauffman's history of "our loveliest secular holiday" explains how "unsentimental vendors petitioned President Roosevelt to move Thanksgiving to the previous Thursday, November 23, thus creating an additional week of Christmas shopping—and to the astonishment of those Americans without dollar signs in their eyes, the President did so" — The Grinch Who Moved Thanksgiving.


  • "Many early groups of colonists set up socialist states, all with the same terrible result," reminds Richard J. Maybury — The Great Thanksgiving Hoax. "Thus the real reason for Thanksgiving, deleted from the official story, is: Socialism does not work; the one and only source of abundance is free markets, and we thank God we live in a country where we can have them."


  • "We may not be quick to thank God for the adversities in life and yet that is a constant teaching of the Scriptures," writes Maryknoller in Korea — Giving Thanks for Adversity.


  • " I give thanks for Aidan and his profound disability," wrote Sinologist Sam Crane in a moving three-year-old post on his now-deceased son — A Taoist Thanksgiving.
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    Osama Closer to Total Victory

    "War may be hell, but it also doesn’t come cheap and it is time that the US taxpayer begin to question what he is getting for his money," begins Philip Giraldi — The Cost of War. He writes:
      As the Obama White House is so deep in the red that even George W. Bush appears in hindsight to have been a model of frugality, it should be assumed that Obama’s "war of necessity" will not be fully funded by Congress. That means either borrowing from the Asians or just printing the money while watching the dollar slide down the toilet. It has to be assumed that the US Treasury will do a bit of both.
    Back in 2004, the Evil One announced his "policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy" with the same "guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers" that had been employed against what was the Soviet Union — Osama Bin Laden’s Dream of US Economic Collapse. The Evil One's observation that that it was "easy for us to provoke and bait this administration" is still true today, as is his observation that "the real loser is... the American people and their economy."

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    Korea's Abortion Culture

    "Possibly three out of four pregnancies in Korea end in abortion," reports this story on the crisis that finally has people at least acknowledging the issue — Demographic Implosion Spurs Panicked South Korea to Enforce Abortion Ban.

    "There are few people who realize abortion is illegal," said Kwak Seung-jun, leader of the Presidential Council for Future and Vision. The current situation:
      Official data from the Ministry of Health indicates that doctors perform 350,000 abortions per year, while they deliver on average just 450,000 babies, meaning 43.7 percent of pregnancies end in abortion.

      However, the actual number of abortions may be at least five times the official estimate. According to the Korea Times, Rep. Chang Yoon-seok of the ruling Grand National Party said that a National Assembly inspection in October found that the number of illegal abortions in Korea exceeds 1.5 million a year or roughly 4,000 babies aborted per day.

      If the National Assembly's estimate is correct, the nation of 48 million commits approximately the same number of abortions as the United States, which has 300 million residents. Presuming the numbers of births recorded by the Health Ministry remains the same, that would mean approximately three out of four pregnancies in South Korea end in abortion.

      In most cases, the law provides that abortion can only be performed in limited circumstances during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy: incest, rape, critical threats to the life of the mother and highly fatal genetic illnesses.

      But South Korea's government has routinely left the law unenforced as only 4 percent of all abortions meet the legal criteria. Between September 2005 and September 2009, only 17 indictments for illegal abortion appeared in South Korea's criminal justice system.

      Technically, there are penalties: women who seek elective abortions face a sentence of one year in jail or a fine of 2 million won ($1736 US). Abortionists can be sentenced to two years in prison. However all abortion providers operate in the open without any fear of punishment.
    [link via Comments]

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    Catholic Teaching on Ordinary and Extraordinary Means

    "The case of a paralysed man who was misdiagnosed as comatose for 23 years, who now communicates with the aid of a computer, underlines the wisdom of Catholic teaching on continued feeding for coma patients" — Catholic teaching on feeding coma patients is "ahead of the curve".

    The Ordinary/Extraordinary Means distinction has it that "artificial nutrition and hydration" are ordinary means, and can neither be rejected nor denied, while artificial ventilation and other such measures are extraordinary means, and their withdrawal must be judged on a case by case basis.

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    Stay-at-Home Mothers, Not State Institutionalization!

  • "In Korea, the high-income segment of society produces the most children per household, followed by low-income families and then the middle class" — What’s behind the baby bust? Ask bourgeois. "The low birthrate among the middle class is tied to the fact that more women are pursuing careers in the professional world rather than just staying at home and raising kids."


  • "To fight the country’s notoriously low fertility rate, the government announced new measures yesterday, including a plan to lower the school entrance age from 6 to 5 to allow double-income couples to rely on the public education system for child rearing" — Plans unveiled to reverse country’s declining births.
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    The East Is Red, Again?

    Francesco Sisci on high-level talk of "actively encourag[ing] the building of a ruling party study model of Marxism" and "core values of socialism" — China takes a new look at Marxism. "The current economic crisis places in question the faith, previously almost blind in China, in the capitalist system."

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    Cho Okchu of the P'yŏngyang Conservatory on the Korean Zither

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    America Could Be Worse

    We could have a blasphemous Panthéon, and sacrilegious controversies like this one — Reburying Albert Camus: A Political Ploy by Sarkozy?

    Let the "author whose defense of the downtrodden and veneration of the individual over the oppressive forces of society earned him fame and respect around the globe" rest in peace, without being coöpted by the State, I say.

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    Americanism Vindicated?

    I can't but help ponder the heretical possibility reading Sandro Magister's piece on the document "endorsed by Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox leaders, united in defending life and the family" — The "Manhattan Declaration": The Manifesto That's Shaking America.

    By Americanism, we refer to that "group of related heresies which were defined as the endorsement of freedom of the press, liberalism, individualism, and complete separation of church and state... by and taught by many members of the Catholic hierarchy in the United States of America in the 1890s." Keep that in mind reading this excerpt from Mr. Magister's article:
      The issuing of the "Manhattan Declaration" has received extensive coverage in the media in the United States, without anyone protesting against this political "interference" by the Churches.

      But that's just the way it is in the United States. There has always been a rigorous separation between religion and the state there. There are no concordats, and they're not even conceivable. But this is exactly why the Churches are seen as having the freedom to speak and act in the public sphere.

      In Europe, the landscape is very different. Here "secularism" is understood and applied in conflict, either latent or explicit, with the Churches.

      This may be another reason for the silence that in Europe, in Italy, in Rome, greeted the "Manhattan Declaration." It is held to be a typically American phenomenon, foreign to the European way of thinking.

      A similar difference in approach concerns the denial of Eucharistic communion for pro-abortion Catholic politicians. In the United States, this controversy is extremely heated, while on the other side of the Atlantic it isn't. This difference in sensibilities also divides the hierarchy of the Catholic Church: in Europe and in Rome the question is practically ignored, left to the individual conscience.

      But it most be noted out that something is changing on this point, even on the Old Continent. And not only because there is a pope like Benedict XVI, who has stated that he prefers the American model of relations between Church and state.
    (I'm happy to say that as an American I don't even know what a "concordat" is, but it doesn't sound good.)

    The last sentence hints at a topic which I've taken up before — Benedict in America. If I might quote myself, I began, "Perhaps not since Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859) visited our shores have we received as a guest from Europe so illustrious a proponent of Classical Liberalism as when Pope Benedict XVI arrives on April 15th."

    And lest we be tempted to national pride, let us remember our forbears; the first article of the Magna Carta guarantees "that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired." In other words, get the State out of our Church!

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    Scratch a Liberal... Find a Censor

    "Much like the Depression-era demagogue Father Charles Coughlin, the Fox News personality is promoting a mass movement," suggests Tim Rutten, asking, "Should his bosses be pulling the plug?" — Who's watching Glenn Beck? Yikes!

    I really have little idea who this new fellow is to whom Mr. Rutten is referring, ignoring as I do anyone from whom I never heard a peep during the previous régime, but I have posted video of the old fellow, who brings up some points as valid as they were seventy-three years ago — Father Coughlin Takes on the Fed and F.D.R.:

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    Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Darwin and Sex

    "Did Darwin forget to ask how sexual reproduction evolved?" asks Dorothy Vining — Vive la différence! – but how did it begin? She argues that "the origin of sexual reproduction... is an unsolved puzzle amongst scientists."

    "Apparently Darwin did not wonder about it," she suggests. "Either it has not occurred to his followers that they have no explanation for the beginning of sexual differentiation into male and female, or they are deliberately ignoring it."

    She continues, "If we accept evolutionary theory we are required to imagine that each animal that today reproduces sexually, in the distant past was going about its business of reproducing asexually, dividing and budding away, when all of a sudden it accidentally produced an egg and at the same time, in the same locale, another animal of the same species just happened to make a sperm cell."

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    The Beauty of the Korean Zither


    Above, Miss Korea 2006, traditional musician, daughter of a "nationally recognized 'intangible cultural asset,'" and subject of this story — Lee Honey on Her Love for the Gayageum.

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    Three Pieces of Sailerian Wisdom

  • "Until I visited the Reagan Library for the first time in the late 1990s, for instance, I had simply gone along with the conventional wisdom that President Reagan was an actor reading other people's lines" — Can Obama write? "The publication a number of years ago of a book of Reagan's 1970s newspaper columns, along with photographs of his handwritten original drafts, conclusively demonstrated that Reagan, in one of his minor careers, was at least as good a newspaper columnist as the newspaper columnists who called him dumb."


  • "For most of the decade, I've been pointing out that feudalism would work better in Afghanistan than nation-building" — Afghanistan: The Future Is Feudal! "It's cheap, it doesn't require much organizational capital, it doesn't need a national language, and it doesn't require a Charlemagne," he writes. "Feudalism doesn't work particularly well, but, for minimal security needs, it does work."


  • A review of a movie that "fits into a growing cultural trope that what black children need is to be taken away from their black parents for as much of their waking hours as possible and raised right" — "The Blind Side:" A story America wants to see.
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    Three on the Scam of the Millennium

  • An absolute must-see "documentary, which contraditcs these claims [about Global Warming] and has been described by some as the most explosive film of the year and the definitive answer to Al Gore features interviews from some of the Worlds leading scientists, climatologists and former environmentalists" — The Great Global Warming Swindle. Among the interviewed: "Dr. John Christy, Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama, Dr. Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Biogeography, University of London, Dr. Paul Reiter, IPCC & Pasteur Instititue, Paris, Dr. Roy Spencer, Principle Research Scientist University of Alabama, Dr. Patrick Michaels, Department of Environmental Science, University of Virginia, Dr. Syun-lchi Akasofu, Director, International Arctic Research Center, Dr. Fredrick Singer, First Director, U.S. National Weather Satellite Service, Dr. Richard Lindzen, IPCC & Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), Dr. Tim Ball, Former Professor of Climatology, University of Winnepeg, Dr. Niz Shaviv, Professor of Physics, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr. Ian Clark, Professor Department of Earth Sciences, Univertisy of Ottawa, Dr. Patrick Moore, co-founder of Green Peace, Dr. Paul Driessen, author of Eco-Imperalism: Green Power Black Death."


  • "The man who challenged Al Gore to a debate is furious about the content of the leaked CRU emails — and says why you should be, too" — Monckton on Climategate: ‘They Are Criminals’. "This is what they did — these climate 'scientists' on whose unsupported word the world’s classe politique proposes to set up an unelected global government this December in Copenhagen, with vast and unprecedented powers to control all formerly free markets, to tax wealthy nations and all of their financial transactions, to regulate the economic and environmental affairs of all nations, and to confiscate and extinguish all patent and intellectual property rights."


  • The Gray Lady, our country's "newspaper of record," once-publisher of the Pentagon Papers has offered the weakest of excuses for not covering the story — NYTimes: We Won't Publish "Statements that Were Never Intended for the Public Eye.".
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    Our Lord's Death Certificate?

    "I think I have managed to read the burial certificate of Jesus the Nazarene, or Jesus of Nazareth," said Dr. Barbara Frale — Death certificate is imprinted on the Shroud of Turin, says Vatican scholar. The "certificate" read:
      In the year 16 of the reign of the Emperor Tiberius Jesus the Nazarene, taken down in the early evening after having been condemned to death by a Roman judge because he was found guilty by a Hebrew authority, is hereby sent for burial with the obligation of being consigned to his family only after one full year.
    The last clause is consistent with "Jewish burial practices current at the time of Christ in a Roman colony such as Palestine" in that "a body buried after a death sentence could only be returned to the family after a year in a common grave." Also, "the text could not have been written by a medieval Christian because it did not refer to Jesus as Christ but as 'the Nazarene,'" which "would have been 'heretical' in the Middle Ages since it defined Jesus as 'only a man' rather than the Son of God."

    Of course, the Shroud of Turin is not an article of faith, as the article reminds us: "The Catholic Church has never either endorsed the Turin Shroud or rejected it as inauthentic."

    [link via front-porch anarchist]

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    Are the Chinese Thwarting Global Warming?

    You've read this news by now — Climate Scientists Emails Leaked On the Internet Show Global Warming Is A Hoax. Quite embarassing, but when all else fails, you can always blame the Chinese — Is Chinese Cloud Seeding Responsible for Cold Weather?

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    Koreans Protestant Missionaries Abroad

    This headline had me a bit baffled — Deported Koreans May Not Revisit Foreign Countries. And then I read this headline and realized it's the Korean Foreign Ministry's way of targeting missionaries — Passport restrictions ‘don’t target missionaries’.

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    The Two Most Dangerous Women in America

  • Kelley B. Vlahos says that the woman who would have been president "is still a hawk at heart who may very well have ordered those requested 40,000 new troops to Afghanistan months ago – if she were in charge" — Be Thankful 2008 Was Not Hillary’s Year. She also mentions the hopeful speculation "that Clinton is being deliberately marginalized by the administration."


  • Of the woman who would be president, Rod Dreher offers "evidence that she's a Late Great Planet Earther" — Sarah Palin, Israel and the End Times. Asks Mr. Dreher, "[C]an you imagine an American president making her foreign policy based on a belief that "The Late, Great Planet Earth" is a reliable source of information about the future?
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    Reports on Vatican "Condemnation" of Vampire Movie

  • This headline is typical of the mainstream media's reporting of story — Vatican slams 'Twilight' as 'deviant'. The headline makes it sound like an ex cathedra pronouncment from the Vicar of Christ himself, rather than a mere movie review by Monsignor Franco Perazzolo, of the Pontifical Council of Culture, who, among many other things, said, "This film is nothing more than a moral vacuum with a deviant message and as such should be of concern."


  • Perhaps even more misleading is this story from the American Catholic press, which chooses to ignore the monsignor's potentially embrassing remarks and instead focus on those of reporter Silvia Guidi in the same paper — Vatican paper delves into new Twilight movie. We do not read of any "moral vacuum" or "deviant message" but instead are left with a vacuous conclusiuon: "The question is not so much why is Twilight so successful, but rather, how can a kid watch it with indifference?"
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    Twilight of the U.S.A.

  • "The latest and most popular releases from Hollywood present disturbing vignettes of where the West in general and the United States in particular are headed," says the Asia Times Online's Chan Akya — Hollywood, the macabre. "Teenage vampires in New Moon represent the age-old quest for immortality" and "a grudging acceptance, if not adulation, for unattainable elite status."


  • "Too big to kill?" asks Dean Baker — The Vampire Banks Rise Again. "There are more than 15 million people unemployed and almost 2 million people set to lose their homes to foreclosure this year," Mr. Baker reports. "But there is good news: the Wall Street banks are as profitable as ever and set to give out record bonuses this year. The taxpayer bailouts worked."


  • Monsignor Franco Perazzolo of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture has called the film's message a "moral void more dangerous than any deviant message" — Vatican sinks teeth into vampire film Twilight.
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    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    Il Giardino Armonico, Rameau's Pièces de clavecin en concert N° 3

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    Famime and Abundance in Ethiopia

    Seemingly paradoxical news that an "impoverished and chronically food-insecure Horn of Africa nation is rapidly becoming one of the world's leading destinations for the booming business of land leasing, by which relatively rich countries and investment firms are securing 40-to-99-year contracts to farm vast tracts of land" — The ultimate crop rotation.

    Paradoxical, until one considers Amartya Sen's observation "that famine occurs not only from a lack of food, but from inequalities built into mechanisms for distributing food."

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    Natural Law Victories in the Great State of Maine

    "The same day they rejected a gay marriage ballot measure, residents of Maine voted overwhelmingly to allow the sale of medical marijuana over the counter at state-licensed dispensaries," begins Karl Vick's report — Support for legalizing marijuana grows rapidly around U.S.

    Some might see a contradiction here, but there is none; legislating gay "marriage" is every bit as tyrannical as denying a naturally growing herb to patients who could use it. In fact, it is more so.

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    Taoist, Tory... and Trappist

    Sinologist Sam Crane acknowledges that "the two streams of thought - Taoism and a certain British conservatism - do share a skeptical stance" — Chuang Tzu and Oakeshott. He also "mentions Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk who penned his own rough versions of selected Chuang Tzu passages."

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    Blessed Miguel Pro Before the Firing Squad


    Liberty vs. Leviathan posts the above image among others in remembrance of the "Jesuit priest and Christian martyr, executed November 23, 1927, on the orders of Mexican President Plutarco Elías Calles" for his "refusal to submit to the laws outlawing the practice of his Catholic faith" — ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

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    Mark Shea on the G.O.P. and Abortion

    "Thirty years is about the limit of the GOP blathering that abortion is the central moral issue of our time while, you know, doing as little as they possibly can about it while still exploiting it as a vote-getting tool" — The Dude's Got a Point.

    "I think no small part of the reason they keep guys like Ron Paul marginalized as lunatics is because the GOP would have no idea what to do with a candidate who really meant to end abortion by taking actual concrete steps to do so," continues Mr. Shea. "The GOP has made it abundantly clear that they have no intention of doing anything by talk and exploit the hopes of pro-life suckers who believe they care about them and their concerns."

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    An Agrarian, Anti-war, Anti-state Chinese Film?


    Gautaman Bhaskaran reviews Mai tian (2009), which "tells the story of women left behind after their husbands are sent to war" — IFFI to Open on a Note of Visual Lyricism. A synposis:
      An interesting mix of visual lyricism, comedy and elements of Greek tragedy and popular Western, “Wheat” is set in the summer of 260 B.C., marked by wars among States that finally resulted in the unification of China under the Qin dynasty in 221 B.C.

      The story takes place on the bloody aftermath of the Battle of Changping in which Qin’s forces killed almost half a million Zhao troops. He Ping stays clear of historical details and zooms in on two deserting soldiers who plan to return to their village to help women harvest the wheat crop. Narrowly escaping being beheaded by Qin’s army, the two soldiers find themselves among the women of Zhao.

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    Vive la France!

    "We could learn from the country neoconservatives call our oldest enemy," says R.J. Stove — Tour de France. "To the rest of the world, France and America seem not... inveterate foes... but rather a pair of quarrelsome fraternal twins."

    "What sets Anglos dancing with rage is more often France’s wartime record," says Mr. Stove, offering American "Fred Reed’s verdict on French military failure" as defense:
      I note ... that the French have Germany on their borders, a condition associated with military failure for everybody enjoying the same circumstances. Americans cannot always distinguish between military prowess and the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, a great many Americans cannot find the Atlantic Ocean.

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    Desconstructing Le Corbusier

    Theodore Dalrymple on the man who "was to architecture what Pol Pot was to social reform" — Architect as Totalitarian. "By their very presence, the raw-concrete-clad rectangular towers that obsessed him canceled out centuries of architecture."

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    Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the Musical

    A new Broadway musical on the life of Fela Kuti, the phenom whose music I discovered in a used record store back in the Vinyl Age — 'Fela!' and the risks of a firebrand. One of my disappointments was not being able to see him perform at the Chautauqua Institution in the early 90's after the Nigerian government did not allow him to leave his country.

    "Fela scares the hell out of me, [he was] a sacred monster, a megalomaniac who was all razor blades and coffee," says the man behind the musical, who "just didn't think that a white middle-class audience would be interested in a story of an African pot-smoking firebrand who made music with songs that were loud, long and aggressive." Here, a "loud, long and aggressive" performance of his:

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    An Inside Look at "Persistent Vegetative State"

    One wonders what Rom Houben would have to say about Terri Schiavo's execuation by dehydration — 'I screamed, but there was nothing to hear': Man trapped in 23-year 'coma' reveals horror of being unable to tell doctors he was conscious. "The disclosure will also renew the right-to-die debate over whether people in comas are truly unconscious."

    "Anyone who bears the stamp of 'unconscious' just one time hardly ever gets rid of it again," said his doctor, "plans to use the case to highlight what he considers may be similar examples around the world." From the article:
      Supporters of euthanasia and assisted suicide argue that people who have lain in persistent vegetative states for years should be given the opportunity to have crucial medical support withdrawn because of the 'indignity' of their condition.

      But there have been several cases in which people judged to be in vegetative states or deep comas have recovered.
      Twenty years ago, Carrie Coons, an 86-year-old from New York, regained consciousness after a year, took small amounts of food by mouth and engaged in conversation.
      Only days before her recovery, a judge had granted her family's request for the removal of the feeding tube which had been keeping her alive.

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    A Reeducation Camp for Catholics

    News of a program "designed to teach educators about anti-Semitism and the history of the relationship between Jews and the church" — Catholic teachers find themselves intensely immersed in Jewish history.

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    Monday, November 23, 2009

    Frans Brüggen Plays Georg Philipp Telemann's Fantasie No. 3

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    Old Roman Chant

    A kind reader sends along a channel dedicated to "reconstruction[s] of the 'Old Roman' style," which he rightly describes as "very Greek-sounding" — Callixtinus's Channel. Said said reader, "I like it particularly as I can sing along with it (I am a very low bass), whereas most Gregorian settings put me in falsetto (the Carolingans loved their contraltos apparrently!)"

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    The American Powder Keg

    "Are we nearing a tipping point as rapacious elites push a heavily armed populace too far?" asks David DeGraw — 15 Signs American Society Is Coming Apart at the Seams. His conclusion, "We are now witnessing the critical unraveling of U.S. society."

    AlterNet, on which the above was published, is a leftist site, but, as Glenn Greenwald noted the other day, "Populist anger over elite-favoring economic policies has long been brewing on both the Right and Left (and in between)" and that "many of the most consequential political conflicts are shaped far more by an 'insider v. outsider' dichotomy than by a 'GOP v. Democrat' or 'Left v. Right' split" — Ron Paul's Victory. And it was "political atheist" Gerald Celente who first described what we may now be witnessing — The 2nd American Revolution.

    [link via Vox Nova]

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    Two Masses in Korean History

    Peter Kim reports on the arrival of Father Gregorious de Cespedes with the Japanese invaders in 1593 — The First Mass Celebrated in Korea — and a 1947 "Requiem Mass celebrating the 37th memorial of the patriot Thomas Ahn's dying for country" — Thomas Ahn's Requiem Mass in Hong Kong.

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    Defending Christian Liberty

    A report that American "Anglicans, Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, etc." have issued a joint statement on "1. the sanctity of human life," "2. the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife," and "3. the rights of conscience and religious liberty" — The Manhattan Declaration. Quoted is the document's final paragraph:
      Because we honor justice and the common good, we will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family. We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.
    Coming to mind is the first article of the Magna Carta, guaranteeing "that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired."

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    The Dark Side of the Baroque

    "No one paid a higher price for celebrity than the male soprano of the 18th-century, those greatest of European stars, whose fame in their own time was proportionally greater even than that of George Clooney, Madonna, Brittany Spears or of those opera singers’ most direct modern descendant, Michael Jackson," begins David Yearsley's accound of the — 200,000 Testicles Offered Up to the Gods of Song.

    "Castration was an officially illegal operation often carried out at the behest of poor families to preserve a promising soprano voice from the hormones that would change it and thereby prevent an operatic career," Mr. Yearsley informs us. "A fall from the horse or an attack by a goose were the usual stories told, and these were accepted, if at all, with a wink."

    Mentioned is the new recording of "fifteen classic castrato arias, eleven of which have never been recorded before," by a real soprano whose "technical command is beyond impressive, it is downright unbelievable," a taste of which can be seen in the video — Cecilia Bartoli - Sacrificium, Concert in Caserta.

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    No "Gosepl of Prosperity" in Rome

    "Benedict XVI explaines that the 'power' of Christ is different from that of 'the great of this world,' but it has 'the strength to defeat the dominion of death' and 'knows how to derive good from evil'" — Pope: choosing Christ the King does not guarantee success, but peace and joy to martyrdom.

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    Patron of the Arts

    A report on Saturday's audience with "250 artists, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, [who] responded to the Holy See's invitation to all professionals in the arts to take part" — In Sistine Chapel, Pope encourages artists to be ambassadors of beauty. Sandro Magister has the full text of the letter read — "Dear Artists, You Are the Custodians of Beauty".

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    Remember Libraries?

    "Search engines are all well and good, but sometimes the best place to find something is a library," says Diana Wagman — A Luddite in the library. She concludes, "If you have a specific destination, the Web is the place to go. If you just need to search, there is no place like the library."

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    White Slavery

    Dmitry Shlapentokh reviews a book, which, among other things, "draws the reader's attention to a little-known aspect of the emerging slave trade" — Constructing the Oriental image:
      It is accepted almost as an axiom that slaves in modern Europe were all non-European. But in the early modern era there were just as many European slaves - victims of Mediterranean pirates - in the hands of Muslims as there were blacks, if not more.

      In fact, there were several million European slaves. It is not surprising then that the image of European slaves was firmly imbedded in the European image of the Muslim Orient. It became a popular subject of artwork. One such piece, presented in this book, represents the Ottoman Turks on horseback and a European couple, a man and woman, being dragged by a rope as powerless slaves.

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    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    Hanwoori Choir Perform Gounod's Messe Solennelle de Santa Cecilia








    Tomorrow would mark the memorial of Saint Cecilia, patroness of music, if it weren't superceded by the Feast of Christ the King. (And today marks the Presentation of the Virgin Mary.)

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    False Hope at the Large Hadron Collider

    News that "nuclear physicists working on the Large Hadron Collider were surprised that they could so quickly get beams of protons whizzing near the speed of light during the restart late Friday" — Quick restart of Big Bang machine stuns scientists.

    Earlier posts explain why the project is doomed to fail— God vs. God Particle, Nature Abhors a Higgs Boson Particle, Time on that Time-Traveling Bird.

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    That Shroud

    "The Catholic Church makes no claims about the cloth's authenticity," it is quite true, but new research suggets that "faint writing on the linen proves it was the burial cloth of Jesus" — Researcher: Faint writing seen on Shroud of Turin.

    The report informs us that "the words include the name '(J)esu(s) Nazarene' — or Jesus of Nazareth — in Greek" which "proves the text could not be of medieval origin because no Christian at the time, even a forger, would have mentioned Jesus without referring to his divinity," as "[f]ailing to do so would risk being branded a heretic."

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    Ron Paul's Victory

    "Glenn Greenwald explains why Ron Paul's victory in the House Finance Committee regarding his legislation to audit the Federal Reserve was such a big deal -- and such a great thing," says Rod Dreher— Ron Paul wins a big one for the people. Mr. Greenwald:
      Our leading media outlets are capable of understanding political debates only by stuffing them into melodramatic, trite and often distracting "right v. left" storylines. While some debates fit comfortably into that framework, many do not. Anger over the Wall Street bailouts, the control by the banking industry of Congress, and the impenetrable secrecy with which the Fed conducts itself resonates across the political spectrum, as the truly bipartisan and trans-ideological vote yesterday reflects. Populist anger over elite-favoring economic policies has long been brewing on both the Right and Left (and in between), but neither political party can capitalize on it because they're both dependent upon and subservient to the same elite interests which benefit from those policies.

      For that reason, many of the most consequential political conflicts are shaped far more by an "insider v. outsider" dichotomy than by a "GOP v. Democrat" or "Left v. Right" split. The pillaging of America's economic security by financial elites, with the eager assistance of the government officials who they own and who serve them, is the prime example of such a conflict. The political system as a whole -- both parties' leadership -- is owned and controlled by a handful of key industry interests, and anger over the fact is found across the political spectrum. Yesterday's vote is a very rare example where the true nature of political power was expressed and the petty distractions and artificial fault lines overcome.

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    We Are All Global Warming Skeptics Now

    "Climatologists are puzzled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years," reports Gerald Traufetter — Climatologists Baffled by Global Warming Time-Out.

    "The Earth's average temperatures have stopped climbing since the beginning of the millennium, and it even looks as though global warming could come to a standstill this year," reads the report. "Ironically, climate change appears to have stalled in the run-up to the upcoming world summit in the Danish capital, where thousands of politicians, bureaucrats, scientists, business leaders and environmental activists plan to negotiate a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions."

    [link via Catholic and Enjoying It!]

    UPDATE: It appears the charade has been exposed once and for all — Hackers target leading climate research unit / Climategate: the final nail in the coffin of 'Anthropogenic Global Warming'? / Warmist conspiracy exposed?

    [links via Open Thread #126 The Marmot's Hole]

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    Behold! An America Firster!

    From the Antiwar.com Blog comes this welcome news — Lou Dobbs: ‘US Troops Out Now!’ Not just from Afghanistan and Iraq, but from Germany, Japan, South Korea, and everywhere else around the world; "We, the undersigned citizens of the United States of America, hereby petition the federal government to bring home all of our troops now deployed and stationed throughout the world" — Lou Dobbs: Petitions.

    I'll be among the first to endorse — Lou Dobbs Might Run for Senate, White House and Senator Lou Dobbs, or maybe President Lou Dobbs.

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    "Too Many Malthusians"

    "Despite the fact that warnings from the 1960s and 1970s about the 'population bomb' proved remarkably wrong, population control activists still sound the same alarm today," argues Brendan O'Neill — Too Many People?

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    John Lukacs and Philip Rieff

  • John Rodden and John Rossi on a man is was "a writer first, a teacher second, a follower neve" — The Lettered Reactionary. "Conservative in temperament, radical in intellect, Lukacs is that rare creature that runs against his fellow intellectuals, the 'herd of independent minds' in Harold Rosenberg’s sardonic phrase," the authors write. "He defiantly and gloriously represents an otherwise extinct species: the gadfly as man of letters."


  • Jeremy Beer on a "surprisingly conservative social thinker" who "spent his last years in his Philadelphia townhouse, venturing out rarely, seeing few visitors, fiddling with his unfinished manuscripts," when he "could easily have spent his last three decades collecting the usual emoluments and honors of academia, cultivating a school of disciples, perhaps retiring into a position as a well-heeled senior fellow at a prominent think tank" — Pieties of Silence.
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    Ban on Africa

    "Armed conflict, inadequate infrastructure, weak governance, limited financing and technological abilities, and policies that stifle entrepreneurship, limit competition and raise the cost of doing business are hindering the industrialization that Africa needs to fully join the global economy," says United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon — Industrialization will help Africa fully join world economy, says Ban.

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    "An Ecumenical Thief"

    "An ecumenical thief stole purses and wallets from four female worshippers in downtown and North Buffalo churches Sunday," informs this story from my hometown — Police warn of thefts in churches. Targeted were "St. Louis Catholic Church on Main Street, nearby Westminster Presbyterian Church on Delaware Avenue, St. George Orthodox Catholic Church on Nottingham Terrace and St. Mark Catholic Church on Woodward Avenue."

    "It is a sad reality that the criminal element will take advantage of an opportunity — even if they are in God's house," said a policeman. "I feel it's so incredibly sad that someone's so desperate," said a victim.

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    Friday, November 20, 2009

    Agnès Mellon Sings Claudio Monteverdi's Pianto della Madonna

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    Headlines Today, the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children

  • "The girl's mother, Antoinette Davis, is charged with trafficking her daughter and child abuse involving prostitution" — Man charged with raping, killing NC girl, 5.


  • "The violence claimed the lives of two men, a 4-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl" — Gunman opens fire on Pacific island Saipan; 5 dead.


  • "How did the leading killers end up at the bottom of the global health agenda?" — AIDS, malaria eclipse the biggest child-killers.
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    Gay Neocon Confirms Link Between Homexuality and AIDS

    "The U.S. sends millions of dollars in relief money to Uganda, which is considering a draconian law aimed at homosexuals," writes James Kirchick — Homophobia and AIDS funding can't coexist. So he wants to punish the people Uganda, including his fellow sodomites, by cutting the country off from "the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief," "the largest public health program in history," "[c]reated by President George W. Bush," which "has provided care for 3 million people and prevented an estimated 12 million new infections."

    Let us remember that this is the same James Kirchick who burst on the scene with a hit piece that effectively ended Congressman Ron Paul's primary bid — Intellectually dishonest James Kirchick. Let us leave aside questions about the statistics he cites as proof of the program's effectiveness and questions about its constitutionality. (Dr. Paul would argue that such programs are unconstitutional, but far less offensive than the trillions given in arms and money to prop up third world tyrannies.) Let us also leave aside the deeper questions we have about the subject — The African heterosexual AIDS myth and African "AIDS" myth is falling apart.

    Let us accept everything this "[i]ntellectually dishonest" Mr. Kirchick says as true and then ponder what he is advocating; he wants to cut off untold numbers of people from treatment and prevention because their government is not living up to his ideal of liberal democracy. What a monster!

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    Obama in Korea: "Conservatives" Cheer, "Liberals" Jeer

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    Two From Thomas DiLorenzo

  • On a disturbing case — Can’t Stop Your Child from Crying?. "Just call a government cop and ask him to electrocute her."


  • On "the Mengistu regime [which] declared total war against the Eritrean secessionists" — Ethiopia’s Abe Lincoln.
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    Peter Schiff Gets Some Company

    The man who got my presidential vote last year — A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Absentee Ballot — is, like Peter Schiff, also mulling a run against a senator who truly deserves to be ousted — Nader v. Dodd. Go, Old Right Nader, go!

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    Mississippi John Hurt on Music, Gene Logsdon On Farming

    Gene Logsdon brings up "Mississippi John Hurt’s remark that all music was about human sexual relationships" — Sexual Attitudes In Agrarian Life. "John Hurt was an early country blues singer and a real farmer whose music is now enjoying a resurgence among country music purists," explains parenthetically Mr. Logsdon. Here's a song by Mississippi John Hurt that seems to disprove his own thesis:


    That shown, read Mr. Logsdon's ideas that "agrarian societies are found to be more casual and guilt-free about sex than is presumed today" and that "that prudery, the notion that human sexuality is somehow shameful, did not originate in rural society but in the context of urban life where more crowded conditions dictated more rules."

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    Women in the Wild West

    "Pioneers in petticoats would disdain today’s oppression studies," says Roger D. McGrath — You Go West, Girl! An excerpt:
      In 1985, I presented a paper on violence in the Old West at a historical conference. I described how women, other than prostitutes, rarely suffered from violence, were treated with respect, and often displayed extraordinary courage. For this I was attacked by two women professors in the audience. I provided them with a wealth of statistics and dozens of anecdotes. That only made it worse. It was about then that I realized I was confronting the religion of political correctness and that one of the articles of faith was victimhood. These particular women were not delighted to hear of the derring-do and heroism of their frontier sisters. But history is full of such stories.

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    Albert Jay Nock Predicts Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Al Franken, et al.

    "Millions of readers create a market for mediocrity," he explained in 1934 — The Dangers of Literacy. An excerpt:
      Thomas Jefferson laid great stress on literacy as an indispensable asset to good citizenship and sound patriotism. He was all for having everybody become literate, and those who have examined his own library (it is preserved intact in the Library of Congress) may easily see why. Mutatis mutandis, if everybody read the kind of thing he did, and as he did, he would have been right. But in his laudable wish to make the benefits of literacy accessible to all, Mr. Jefferson did not see that he had the operation of two natural laws dead against him. He seems to have jumped to the conclusion that, because certain qualified persons got a definite benefit out of literacy, anybody could get the same benefit on the same terms; and here he collided with the law of diminishing returns. He seems also to have imagined that a general indiscriminate literacy would be compatible with keeping up something like the proportion that he saw existing between good literature and bad; and here the great and good old man ran hard aground on Gresham’s law.

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    Gays and Ex-Gays

    "Gay and lesbian Roman Catholics are protesting a therapy aimed at helping them become celibate" — Gays reject Catholic church's attempt to 'cure' them.

    Terry Nelson has two excellent posts on this topic and related themes. The first exposes "all sorts of lies regarding the history of same sex relationships in the early Church" — Homosexualist lies and deception. In particular, he mentions "two soldier saints, Sergius and Bacchus," who "were humiliated by being dressed as women and paraded through the streets to their torture and death." In the second, Mr. Nelson says, "If you don't like Courage or the Catholic Church, don't join - but at least try to keep the Commandments and permit others to do likewise" — Unedited notes...

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    Expel the Illegals... From Korea!


    The graphic above comes from an article on "a group calling itself Anti-English Spectrum has stirred up expats living in Korea, leading many to label the group as perpetrators of hate speech and racist activities" — Blurring line between hate, free speech. I'm one expat not "stirred up" and nor would I "label the group as perpetrators of hate speech and racist activities." I guess white people want to jump on the victim bandwagan, and coming to Korea gives them a pathetic excuse to do so.

    The article makes it clear that the group is calling merely for the "deportation of 'illegal and problem teachers'" such as "fake degree holders, drug users and HIV/AIDS-infected individuals" or "those violating the Korean moral code." I sincerely hope that Anti-English Spectrum succeeds in cleaning up Korea's English Language Education Industry.

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    Strange Bedfellows in Uganda

    "Exodus International, a group of US Evangelical Christians that asserts that homosexuality is 'not what God intended' for men or women has sent a letter to Uganda's President" opposing a new "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" that "would expand punishment for homosexual acts to include life imprisonment and in some cases would exact capital punishment" — Uganda: gay legislation generates controversy.

    "The Christian church...must be permitted to extend the love and compassion of Christ to all," said the letter, suggesting "this legislation would make this mission a difficult if not impossible task to carry out."

    I might oppose such legislation in my home country, but I don't think it is the place of foreigners to tell Ugandans how to run their country. Let Uganda be Uganda. One is reminded of "[t]he Christian resistance to Western Cultural Imperialism" that Terry Nelson wrote about the other day — Out of Africa.

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.