Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thomanerchor Leipzig Perform J.S. Bach's Jauchzet Frohlocket

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"We're All Alone and We Ain't Gonna Colonize the Universe"

Mark Shea discusses "an articulate defense" of the above "that throws a much needed bucket of cold water in the face of the Rampant Secularist Eschatology that vaunts itself in the face of actual Christian eschatology" — Yesssss!

"ET will not be phoning home," he writes. "We will not form a Federation with the Vulcans. No octopoid Enemy will menace us from the stars. And if we get a toehold on the Moon or Mars, we'll have exhausted our colonizing capabilities off-world."

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Anthropogenic Global Warming and the Laws of Thermodynamics

John O’Sullivan on a paper that "debunks AGW and shows that the IPCC 'consensus' atmospheric physics model tying CO2 to global warming is not only unverifiable, but actually violates basic laws of physics, i.e. the First and Second Law of Thermodynamics" — German Physicists Trash Global Warming 'Theory'. The author also reminds us that "it’s worth bearing in mind that no climatologist ever completed any university course in climatology–that’s how new this branch of science really is."

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Empire or America?

Conservative Heritage Times on "something the pro-war, any war crowd doesn’t want to face up to" — Terrorism Is a Cost of Empire. "The Empire is an enemy of both American security and American freedom."

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Ben Shlomo Bernanke, Hyperinflation, and World Government

"Time Magazine has made a premature choice," says Maurizio d'Orlando — As the world waits for hyperinflation and a world government, Bernanke becomes "Person of the Year."

The author suggests "that financial markets are expecting and anticipating hyperinflation" and that "a period of double, triple and even quadruple digit inflation is likely to follow the current phase of great depression." Reminding us that hyperinflation is "one of the most destructive social phenomena," he says that "this is no unwarranted gloom-and-doom scenario, but rather a way to interpret rationally the rise of the stock market, which cannot be explained by company profits." He concudes:
    The current crisis is not only worse than that of 1929-33, but if it leads to hyperinflation, it will wipe out public debt and private savings. More importantly, it will undermine existing institutional structures. Perhaps, this is the real secret goal Federal Reserve chairmen, including Bernanke, have pursued in the past 20 years. Perhaps, they sought all along to lay the ground for hyperinflation, in the bipolar world when the USSR still existed, and later unilaterally in order to secretly impose a world central bank and create a world government.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Cast of Les Misérables Sing "Ding Dong! Merrily on High"

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Child Laundering

Don't ask, don't tell, better yet, don't adopt — Adoptive families' quests to trace Chinese roots often meet dead ends. There are reasons those ends are dead, and they ain't pretty.

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LRC in the ROK

Interesting that South Korea should top this "anti-war, anti-state, pro-market" list — Foreign Countries Where LRC Is Most Popular. I'd like to think I'm a small part of it. For this blog, the stats are as follows, according to eXTReMe Tracking: (1) United States, (2) Republic of Korea, (3) Canada, (4) United Kingdom, (5) Australia, (6) Philippines, (7) Singapore, (8) Japan, (9) Germany, and (10) Switzerland.

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Jeffersonian Advice on Exercise

    A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of ­exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks. Never think of taking a book with you. The object of walking is to relax the mind. You should therefore not permit yourself even to think while you walk. But divert your attention by the objects surrounding you. Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far. The Europeans value themselves on ­having ­subdued the horse to the uses of man. But I doubt whether we have not lost more than we have gained by the use of this animal. No one has occasioned so much the degeneracy of the human body. An Indian goes on foot nearly as far in a day, for a long journey, as an enfeebled white does on his horse, and he will tire the best horses.
Thus spake our third president, quoted in an article that sadly notes, "Against Jefferson's wishes, Americans soon became both a commercial and a ball-playing people" — America at the Bat. Coming to mind is Jason Peters' observation that "it can come as no surprise to anyone with Thoreau coursing through his veins that the discipline of walking turns out to be yet another thing that separates Walden’s sage from the mass of men who lead lives of quiet desperation" — A Saunter With Thoreau, Walker Errant.

The American Lenin, in contrast, was of a different mind when it came to ball sports: "Whereas Thomas Jefferson counseled against ball games, Abraham Lincoln had a baseball diamond built behind the White House and often joined his sons and their friends in playing ball."

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Patrick J. Buchanan Looks Back at the Oughts

"Who did this to us? We did it to ourselves" — America’s Decade of Decline.

"We sold ourselves a lot of snake oil about the Global Economy, interdependence, free trade and 'it doesn’t make any difference where goods are produced,'" he writes. I'm less of a protectionist than Mr. Buchanan; I'd settle for a federal government that doesn't promote deindustrialization at home while subsidizing industrialization abroad in exchange for a guaranteed American rôle as "global security exporter."

This brings us to Mr. Buchanan's next point, that "we took Osama bin Laden’s bait and plunged into a war in Iraq that bled and divided us, alienated Europe and the Arab world, and destroyed the Republican Party’s reputation as the reliable custodian of national security and foreign policy." Yep. "We believed all that hubristic blather about our being the 'greatest empire since Rome,' the 'indispensable nation' and 'unipolar power' advancing to 'benevolent global hegemony' in a series of 'cakewalk' wars to 'end tyranny in our world.'"

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How a "Righteous Gentile" Became "Hitler's Pope"

"Tell a lie big enough…" — Venerable Pius XII. All that is missing from David Lindsay's account is the Soviet origin of the smear — The Black Legend of "Hitler's Pope" a Red Character Assassination.

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"The Song of Li Madou"

This blog's namesake is the subject of a pastoral letter issued by His Excellency Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian of Shanghai — Shanghai Catholics should walk on the footsteps of Matteo Ricci, Msgr Jin Luxian says. The letter indicts "the arrogance and prejudices" of both "the leaders of the Church and Chinese authorities then" with "four suppositions on Ricci’s work," as follows:
    If Ricci had not learnt Chinese, Ricci might have been expelled from China; and if Ricci had not made friends with Xu Guangqi, Ricci might not have translated and introduced western technology and cultures to Chinese; if the Controversy of Rites did not happen, Catholicism might have flourished in China; and if the Chinese emperor had accepted to adopt western technology, China might be stronger to resist foreign invasions.

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A Comment About Comments

HaloScan.com, which provided this blog and its predecessor, Katolik Shinja, six-and-a-half years of free service and 17,116 comments, is "upgrading" to a pay service. This blogger has decided to decline the offer and will be using Blogger.com's own service instead.

This means that six-and-a-half years' worth of comments will be lost to the public. I will export and store them, and try to figure out a way to make them public. If there is a comment a reader recalls (comments tend to me more valuable than what is posted here), I will do my best to locate it.

I'm not happy about this, but am less happy with the idea of paying for service that was from time immemorial free. There is something to be said for the new comment system, however, and I encourage all to use it, as some already have.

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Childermas


Today, we remember the massacre of the Holy Innocents, depicted above by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

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A to the K

"So next May Day, assuming you remember it at all, take a moment to honor the memory of the millions slaughtered over the lethally stupid idea of communism, but give a nod to God’s great mercy, to His mysterious way that willed that very same idea to birth the AK-47," writes C.J. Maloney — Automatic for the People: The AK-47.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tom Jones Sings "Good King Wenceslas"

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Hot Springs in Cold Winter


The Chosun Ilbo offers some good advice — How to Make the Most of Hot Spring Baths. "The widespread belief is that water over 42 degrees Celsius is better," we learn, "but to relieve fatigue it is actually better when water is only just above the body temperature, at about 38 degrees." Also, "[s]pending more than 20 minutes at a time in hot water is not a good idea." Furthermore, "[c]old baths stimulates [sic] circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid, and general metabolism."

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MSM vs. LRC

The pro-state, pro-war, anti-market spin — Passenger Tries to Blow Up Jet Arriving in Detroit — and the "anti-state, anti-war, pro-market" truth — Al Qaeda “Operative” Tries to Blow Up Plane With Firecracker Device. Notice the URL of the former contains the phrase "fireworks-set-off-aboard-commercial-flight."

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From Arts & Letters Daily

  • Roger Scruton suggests that "bad architecture presents us with the loud gestures of people who want to seize our attention but give nothing in return" — The High Cost of Ignoring Beauty.


  • Stefan Kanfer reminds us that Louis Armstrong was "an artist of Flaubertian purity" as well as "one of the nicest human beings ever to walk the earth" — All That Jazz.


  • "Handel’s music makes you want to live," says Algis Valiunas, and "[t]here is no greater gift an artist can offer" — 'Messiah' Man.
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    Patrick J. Buchanan on Barack H. Obama and Just War

    "To his credit, President Obama reintroduced, in his address at Oslo on accepting the Nobel Prize for Peace, the Christian concept of a just war," says the pundit of the president — Of Christmas, War, and Peace. "We are," however, "no longer fighting a war of necessity to root out terrorists so they cannot replicate an act of mass murder," says Mr. Buchanan. "We are fighting a preventive war — to prevent their return, from Pakistan, to Afghanistan."

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    The Papal Christmas Mass and Korea


    Above, "Pope Benedict XVI blesses children in traditional Korean costume while presiding over Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peters Basilica in Vatican City" — Pope Blesses Children. "It is a longstanding tradition that children in the traditional costumes of different countries attend Mass giving flowers to the statue of the baby Jesus every year." It also seems to be a "longstanding tradition that children in the traditional costume" of Korea are blessed.

    The Holy Father's message — "God’s sign is that he makes himself small, he becomes a child" — was echoed by the Korea episcopacy's "invitation to overcome the culture of death and the quest for material goods" — Korean bishops: the light of Christmas overcomes the darkness of materialism .

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    Friday, December 25, 2009

    A Very Blessed Christmas to All!


    Glory to God by Kim Ki-Chang, a.k.a. Woonbo (1914 ~ 2001); image from World's Great Madonnas

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    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    Collin Raye Sings "It Could Happen Again"


    Leave it to American Country Music to capture, and Johnny Cash to narrate, that most glorious Christmas truce, referring to the "several brief unofficial cessations of hostilities that occurred on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day between German and British or French troops in World War I" during 1914.

    [link via Wilson Revolution Unplugged]

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    The Animals of Christmas Eve

  • "The ass may be a lowly and laughable beast, but he has had his moments of glory," begins Carolyn Moynihan — A donkey ride to Bethlehem.


  • "Although it is not recorded in the Bible, the story of how the lesser beasts behaved at the birth of the Infant Jesus has been handed down through generation upon generation in the animal kingdom, and the stories have varied little no matter what country one finds oneself in," begins Terry Nelson — How the creatures served the Lady St. Mary and the Baby Jesus on Christmas Eve...
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    Rabid Anti-Semite Repents

    Sorry, but this "apology" pretty much erases any good his former statments may have done — Ex-President Carter offers apology to Jews.

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    Crypto-Catholic Exposed

    Wonderful news about "Gulielmus Clerkue Stratfordiensis" — Further "proof" on Shakespeare's Catholicism.

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    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    Bing Crosby Sings "White Christmas"

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    Hey, So-Cons!

    "Forced abortion and contraception in the military?" asks Elena Maria Vidal — Pregnancy ban.

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    The Life of Ivan Illich

    "Ivan Illich understood the dangers of trying to save the world," says Chase Madar in his appreciation of the thinker who, "[e]ven defrocked, ... maintained, to the bafflement of his many free-thinking readers, an untroubled religious worldview" and "continued to analyze society and politics with concepts and Latin terms taken from the patristic writings and the early Church" — The People’s Priest.

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    Koreans Have Their Priorities Straight

    Welcome news that "Koreans lead a life that revolves too much around close family and friends, and have much less interest in social movements or issues than people in other advanced countries" — Korea still a Hermit Kingdom, says study.

    The report happily notes that "Koreans' participation rate for peaceful public rallies, 11 percent, and in social boycotts, 6 percent, were also much lower than those for people in other countries," and that "58.5 percent of Koreans thought marriage brings more happiness than being single."

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    Korean Nukes

    "Iran never enriched uranium at a level that could only represent an interest in nuclear weapons - but South Korea did," reports Gareth Porter — South Korea let off for nuclear deceptions.

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    Moonie Archbishop Defrocked

    It is a testament to Catholic liberality and tolerance that this headline comes at such a late date — Vatican defrocks maverick Archbishop Milingo. A brief biography:
      The 79-year-old cleric was ordained in 1958. A gifted priest, in 1969 Pope Paul VI consecrated him as Bishop of the archdioceses of Lusaka, as one of Africa's youngest bishops. He served there for 14 years. During the 1970's Milingo became famous as an exorcist and spiritual healer. In 1983 he was recalled to Rome because of controversy over his 'non-conventional' healing ministry. Pope John Paul II appointed him to the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. During this time Milingo appeared on Italian TV and radio shows, and conducted healing Masses which attracted thousands of people.

      Archbishop Milingo hit the headlines in 1997 when he married Maria Sung, a 43 year-old South Korean acupuncturist, in a multiple wedding ceremony held by the Reverend Moon's Unification Church, in New York. Within days he had left his wife, had a personal meeting with Pope John Paul II, and renounced the marriage. Maria Sung staged a hunger strike outside the Vatican, claiming the Church was holding her husband against his will. After apologising to Ms Sung and the Church, Archbishop Milingo spent a year in spiritual retreat in Argentina and had a short reconciliation with the Church but later rejoined his wife. After a long silence, Milingo announced in 2002 that his new mission was to persuade the Church to allow priests to marry. In 2006 he ordained four married men as bishops, without the approval of the Holy See, thus incurring automatic excommunication. In recent months Milingo has continued ordaining bishops in illicit ceremonies.
    Click on the link for the full statement.

    "The Korean Catholic Church has backed the Vatican's decision to dismiss excommunicated Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo from the priesthood," begins another report — Local Church backs married archbishop's dismissal.

    "Despite many difficulties, he has committed himself to the ideals of true love, family and a peaceful nation through married life, as proclaimed by Reverend Moon," said Kim Jin-choon, president of the Cheongshim Graduate School of Theology run by the Unification Church. "That is a truth all religions admit to, so it contributes to building peace among religions." Such words condemn him, and Moonism.

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    The Green Pope

    "The ecology of man comes before the ecology of nature, says the pope," begins Sandro Magister's report — "Cultivate Creation": Benedict's Green Revolution.

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    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    A Quieter Winter Ahead


    Posting will be sporadic at best beginning this last week of Advent, through Christmastide, and until Candlemas, after which a normal blogging schedule will resume. I have been blessed with an opportunity to spend an extended time away from the office and with my family.

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    African Women Used as Guinea Pigs

    "It's Tuskegee II," says reader Steven Cornett, who sends along the most disgusting story I've read in some time — most unfortunate.

    It never occurs to Auntie Beeb that there is anything unethical about a British "trial involving 9,385 women in four African countries" of a "vaginal microbicide.... intended for use before sexual intercourse to help reduce HIV infection." The result: "The risk of HIV infection was not significantly different among women supplied with the gel than in women given a placebo gel." The commenter:
      Got that? In order to gauge the effectiveness of the trial microbicide some of the "participants" were given a substance with no medicinal properties whatsover -- a placebo -- with the instruction to begin or resume sexual relations in a population with a notoriously high incidence of HIV infection.

      To put it bluntly, the "lab rats" in this experiment were human beings with human hopes, loves, fears, responsibilities. Keep in mind that the participants necessarily had to be uninfected women at the outset of the trial. It is undeniable that the researchers wanted the women to be inseminated by men infected with a lethal disease agent. The trial would be pointless otherwise.

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    Fairy Tales, Old and New

    A review of a new edition of a 1697 work that "shows how the gruesome worlds of fairy tales actually give us a glimpse into the harsh realities of another era" — 'The Complete Fairy Tales' by Charles Perrault.

    "Parents who read fairy tales to their children know how terrifying they are," says the reviewer. Most fairy tales have a happy ending, but it usually comes only after one or more characters have died a horrible death or spent a long time in durance vile. People who haven't read them since they were children themselves will scarcely believe that such shocking, gruesome stories are permitted in the hands of the young."

    Far scarier, but for a different reason, are the attempts to "update" the classics that I have come across, in which, to mention two examples, the bears welcome Goldilocks after she broke into their home and the boy who cried wolf was wronged by parents who ignored him (the wolf, of course, was his friend). Such moral-less stories are literally amoral.

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    The Road to Pell Is Paved With Good Intentions

    "Pell Grants are the quintessential progressive policy, dedicated to helping low-income students cross into the promised land of opportunity and higher education," writes Kevin Carey, who quickly notes that "his grants have been, in all the ways that matter most, a failure" — That Old College Lie.

    "As any parent can tell you," the author continues, "colleges are increasingly unaffordable. Students are borrowing at record levels and loan default rates are rising. More and more low-income students are getting priced out of higher education altogether."

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    The Bishop of Rome Invokes John of Salisbury

    The "English theologian and philosopher who served as bishop of Chartres, France, from 1176 until he died in 1180" "has a lesson for today on what makes for fair and equal treatment in law" — Pope: 12th Century Lesson on Natural Law Needed.

    "In our times, in fact, above all in certain countries, we witness a worrying separation between reason, which has the task of discovering the ethical values linked to the dignity of the human person, and liberty, which has the responsibility of welcoming and promoting these values," said the Pontiff. "Perhaps John of Salisbury would remind us today that only those laws are equitable that protect the sanctity of human life and reject the legalization of abortion, euthanasia and limitless genetic experimentation, those laws that respect the dignity of matrimony between a man and a woman, that are inspired in a correct secularity of state -- secularity that always includes the protection of religious liberty -- and that pursue subsidiarity and solidarity at the national and international level."

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    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    A Bishop's Letter to His Flock Before Martyrdom


    Saint Bishop Marie Nicholas Antoine Daveluy (1818-1866)

    Maryknoller in Korea reports on an important archaeological find for the Korean Church — Letter Written to Christians Before Dying. Noting that it is "considered to have been censored by those guarding him" and is thus "disjointed and brief," he quotes it in full:
      My beloved brothers and sisters!

      I am leaving you now, I ask you to receive with a good heart these words of our Lord in admonition and carry them out earnestly.

      Although I am leaving you I will be thinking of you and miss you dearly, and continually pray for you, be concerned for your spiritual good. Even at a distance I will be with you like a grace in your midst, think of me and do what duty calls for.

      After these misfortunes have passed it will be easy to forget, in the midst of these difficulties do not be frightened don't give up hope, do not trust in human help but only trust and plead to God. What you are suffering is for God, God knows it, wait and believe only in his benevolence.

      From of old, misfortunes were the spread of Holy Church.

      Also Jesus has left us with many words if we think of those words how can it be that we are overcome with worry?

      Also in the words to St. Peter, if we for the name of Jesus are abused he told us we will be blessed.

      Raise up your hearts, accept all with a sweet a disposition, do not separate from each other, with wise words in action with the virtue of love for God and all persons, even those who are punishing us, let us pray to God for their forgiveness. Do not carry a grudge against the King and his attendants rather accept and serve them. If we do this we will be Jesus' true disciples.

      I hope that you will accept these admonitions as given, I will give you all my blessing.

      Assistant Bishop

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    Sanctions on Iran

    Congressman Ron Paul "rise[s] in strongest opposition to this new round of sanctions on Iran, which is another significant step toward a U.S. war on that country" — Sanctioning Iran a Dangerous, Illegal Move. Eleven join him — Only 12 House Members Vote Against Iran Sanctions. "What happened to the “antiwar” members of Congress?" asks Eric Garris.

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    'Tis the Season...

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    The Present and Future of the South Korean Economy

    I'm living in "the only country that, despite last year’s serious financial crisis, was able to expand its industrial output" — South Korea as the world’s newest world market. "However," cautions author Joseph Yun Li-sun, "abortion and reunification with the north are a threat to the future."

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    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Nikolaus Harnoncourt, J.S. Bach's Jesus Bleibet Meine Freude

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    Proofs of God's Existence

    A week ago, Sandro Magister reported on "an international conference of philosophers, scientists, and artists, all aimed at putting God back at the center of a culture that denies him" — "There Is a God." How the Italian Church Is Preparing for Christmas. In his follow-up article, "a few of the salient moments are highlighted" — All the Evidence for God. An Inquiry.

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    John Zmirak on an Immigration Moratorium

    The author begins his 2003 piece with a conversation with two neocons — America the Abstraction:
      I sat at a bachelor friend’s birthday party, which he had thrown for himself, with several six packs of industrial-grade beer and a foil tray of take-out lasagna. A grim affair. But this was no ordinary night in Staten Island. Two of the guests were regular editorial writers for the Wall Street Journal. One, a brilliant young import from Eastern Europe, brought up the question of immigration. (He had heard that I hold unorthodox views.) Like his colleague, he supports the Journal’s proposed constitutional amendment: “There shall be open borders,” and he wanted to know if I agreed.

      So I explained that I thought the U.S. needed to accept reduced numbers of immigrants for a decade at least to encourage those who are already here to assimilate, as my grandparents had, and to reduce the downward pressure on the wages of the working poor. It is hard for people to leave the welfare rolls, I suggested, when they face an onslaught of competition for low-skill jobs from legal and illegal immigrants.

      He snorted. His native-born colleague smirked. Then they took turns explaining to me how superior Latino and Asian immigrants are to native-born American poor folk, especially blacks. They did not shrink from mentioning IQ, but their main focus was on the “mentality” of people who grew up inside the welfare system compared to that of recent arrivals from the developing world. They freely cracked jokes about the “shiftlessness” and resentful attitudes they had encountered with black Americans contrasted to the earnest, dutiful, eager-to-please behavior of domestic servants, busboys, and cooks from Latin America. As if to expiate the apparent racism of what they had said, they assured me that they also cherished Jamaican nannies and Haitian fruit-vendors, whose attitudes were ever so much more “co-operative” than the sullen, unionized minorities they found working at the Post Office.

      “Even if all that were true,” I said carefully, “we can’t just leave people on the welfare rolls to rot.” How, I asked, do you re-introduce the work ethic in sectors of society where it has been lost, while supporting an immigration policy that pushes wages so low that they barely exceed welfare benefits? What will happen to those native-born Americans?”

      They shrugged. The question did not interest them. They knew they would never live anywhere near “those people,” so what did it matter?
    Read the rest to learn how "[t]he neoconservative attempt to package the American ideal for export betrays our citizens at home and foments chaos abroad."

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    "The Hockey Stick vs. Ice Core Data"


    "Next time you’re in an argument with someone who is totally convinced that global warming is a) man made and b) unprecedented, why not show them this brief video from Watts Up With That?" says James Delingpole — Climategate: The Video Everyone Should See.

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    Korea's Miniskirt Index and America's Hemline Effect

    Choi Soon-hwa, a senior researcher at the Samsung Economic Research Institute, suggests something I've heard several time here; "in a time of economic recession, consumers tend to want to satisfy their desires by spending money on more bold items like miniskirts" — Miniskirts tell tale of rough economy.

    The Hemline Effect, "reputed to be an economic indicator created by U.S. economist George Taylor in the 1920s," tells us the opposite; "when hemlines go up, the economy is likely to improve." More — Shorter the skirts, better the economy.

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    D.P.R.K. & U.S.S.A.

  • News that "North Korean authorities are apparently trying to placate people outraged at a shock currency reform announced on Dec. 1, raising the maximum amount of old bills that can be exchanged into new ones" — N.Korea Backtracks as Currency Reform Sparks Riots. Instead of "shock currency reform" the Dear Leader might better have followed the Bernankean approach of printing more money; the Inflation Tax is hardly noticed by most, and results not in riots but in pesky Tea Party protests, which can easily be dismissed as "racist."


  • News that "North Korea’s latest foiled attempt to export weapons has drawn attention to its 'military economy,' also dubbed its 'second economy'" — Desperate NK Relying on `Military Economy` for Funds. The Songun "Military First" Policy is not that different from Military Keynesianism, and every "foiled attempt to export weapons" means business for the "global security exporter" that the militarized American state claims to be.
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    The Christian Peace Tradition

    "Just as professing Christians cannot follow Christ while serving Mammon, they are not being faithful to the Prince of Peace while glorifying Mars," begins Jeff Taylor — Christmas Wish ’09: Repelling the Martian Invasion. His article aims to help us "discern the testimony for peace by theologically conservative Christianity."

    After mentioning "the Amish, Mennonites, Hutterites, Schwenkfelders, Quakers, Moravians, and German Baptist Brethren," he reminds us that "Roman Catholicism places some limits on the martial spirit with its doctrine of just war, derived from Augustine and Aquinas," and "Dispensationalism—one of two main sources for fundamentalism—was traditionally apolitical and encouraged neutrality in fallen, worldly activities such as warfare." Of note is this historical tidbit of which I was unaware:
      The Christian statesman William Jennings Bryan was directly influenced by the great writer Leo Tolstoy*. The two talked for twelve straight hours at Tolstoy’s home during Bryan’s international trip in 1903. As a result of this visit, and earlier writings, Tolstoy’s nonviolent views were spread to American Christians who were far more culturally provincial, theologically conservative, and politically mainstream than the Russian anarcho-pacifist himself.
    Also noteworthy is this tidbit: "On the eve of U.S. entry into World War II, in 1940, the Southern Baptist Convention issued a resolution expressing its 'utter abhorrence of war as an instrument of International policy.'" Comments Mr. Taylor, "The bold 1940 resolution can be found even today on the SBC website but the Southern Baptists have changed their tune . . . and their lyrics . . . perhaps even their hymnal."

    The article falters, as expected, when it comes to Catholicism:
      To their credit, Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI) condemned the Iraq War as unjust in 2002-03. Unfortunately, there was no teeth to their pronouncements. I am not a Roman Catholic, but if I were, I would want my pope armed with anathemas and bulls of excommunication. What is the point of having an episcopal form of government headed by the vicar of Christ if he does not wield at least one of the two swords of Gelasius?

      The supreme pontiff ought to have disciplined disobedient children like Senators Tom Daschle, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Pete Dominici, Susan Collins, and Sam Brownback. When it comes to peace, the Catholic hierarchy if often politely correct, but it is no Erasmus of Rotterdam, Dorothy Day, or Thomas Merton in denouncing militarism and the perfidy of its practitioners. Too much diffidence and compromise. That’s one of the fruit of the spirit of Constantine and a corollary of cultural synthesis. A huge bureaucracy enmeshed with worldly wealth and power is not in a position to be too radical in its opposition to the world, even when the opposition is sincere.
    It is humorous when non-Catholics call for "anathemas and bulls of excommunication." Holy Mother Church is very tolerant and liberal, allowing all kinds of sinners in her midst, including warmongers (and me); "anathemas and bulls of excommunication" are reserved for those teaching heresy, not mere sinners. I believe that during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, about 25 people were excommunicated, less than one a year out of a billion. Also, the idea of a "huge bureaucracy enmeshed with worldly wealth and power" falls apart when given even a cursory glance. The Catholic Just War Doctrine is the gold standard when it comes to determining issues of war and peace, and is there in the open, for all to see and use.

    *It was Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy's heretical magnum opus, The Kingdom of God Is Within You, which put an end my brief juvenile flirtation with atheism.

    **Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton were instrumental in my conversion from vague Tolstoyan Christian beliefs to Catholicism.

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    Manufacturing a Pro-War Majority


    The above image comes immediately to mind reading Glenn Greenwald's observation that "when you combine (a) GOP support for any American war (especially one begun by George Bush) with (b) the support of many Democrats for anything and everything Barack Obama endorses, you get a majority" — War and Public Opinion.

    Mr. Greenwald notes that "as former Navy Commander Jeff Huber and former Marine Scott Ritter, among others, have both recently pointed out -- Dwight Eisenhower's warning has come true: the military has become its own branch of government, uncontrolled by anyone and almost entirely unaccountable."

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    The Abbeville Institute

    A report on a "group [that] does not endorse secession but does say the idea has moral and political validity" whose "members study the South in search of a history of piety, humility, and manners" — Scholars Nostalgic for the Old South Study the Virtues of Secession, Quietly.

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    Immigration Moratorium

  • "Why, then, are we still bringing immigrants into the United States at a rate of 125,000 a month to take jobs from fellow Americans and compete with our unemployed for the jobs that open up?" asks Patrick J. Buchanan — Why Import Workers Now?


  • "It is pure madness to continue to keep flooding our country with millions of foreign workers when our own citizens cannot find jobs," Virgil Goode — Importing Unemployment.
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    Vocations in Korea

    "Seoul archdiocese's Dongsung High School will start... a class for 29 teenaged boys... who want to be priests starting next year" — School to run special classes for future seminarians. "he students will learn Latin and Greek, and take introductory courses on theology and spirituality to help them prepare for the seminary."

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    Monday, December 14, 2009

    The Esterhazy Ensemble & Trío Baryton de Madrid Perform Movements From J. Haydn's Baryton Trios




    The instrument for which the above music was composed "is a bowed string instrument in the viol family, in regular use in Europe up until the end of the 18th century" and which "most likely fell out of favor due to its immense difficulty to play" — Baryton. "[I]t has seven or sometimes six bowed strings of gut, plus from nine to twenty-four sympathetic wire strings (most often twelve)," and [t]he gut strings are bowed while the wire strings are plucked by the thumb of the performer in order to create a contrasting tonal quality."

    Barytonist John Hsu said of the compositions above, "Throughout the trios, there is a feeling of intimacy. This is the most private of chamber music, written especially in response to the wishes and needs of one person. We can easily imagine the satisfaction and inspiration which Prince Esterházy experienced while playing these trios."

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    Stumbling Across Pat Buchanan in Korea

    Yesterday, in a parking lot of all places, I stumbled across a fellow selling books, and picked one up for the equivalent of five bucks — State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America. It's not a book I would have sought out, although I learned much from The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization. But at that price, this book seemed to seeking me out.



    Call me a "xenophobe" or "nativist," but I've been warming to the Buchananite position on this issue in recent years. The big losers in illegal immigration are working class Americans, especially Blacks, who not only lose jobs but lose income as wages are driven down. (Call me a "racist," but I think we owe a little loyalty to our fellow citizens whose ancestors literally slaved away to build this country.) The winners are the businesses who get an exploitable workforce and lower payroll expenses, and liberals, whose guilt about employing blacks is assuaged. It would be nice if the Left, including our bishops, acknowledged these facts.

    That said, being from a Quaker-founded Northeast town perhaps, I have to honestly admit to not being that moved by the "plight" of the Southwest, given that it once belonged to Mexico. Manifest Destiny holds little water for me; had we remained under the Articles of Confederation, as we should have, the westward expansion would have been far more organic. Mr. Buchanan's argument goes beyond "we stole it fair and square," though; he argues that the Mexicans made a fatal mistake by letting culturally dissimilar aliens settle within their borders.

    Another interesting point is that while Mr. Buchanan at times disparages Asian immigration along with that from south of the border, at other times he heaps praise upon Asian immigrants, especially Koreans.

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    Conspiracy Analyses

  • Jon Basil Utley suggests "the old socialists [are] looking for a new justification for government takeover of the economy, for a 'planned' economy which they would plan and manage" and offers some disturbing quotes that "provide much hard evidence about the hoax" — Why the Global Warming Hoax?


  • Justin Raimondo reports that "a key source of claims for the existence of Iraq’s fabled 'weapons of mass destruction' was the 'intelligence' provided by an Iraqi taxi driver who said he overheard a conversation between two Iraqi military officers" — The Taxi Driver Who Drove Us to War. "One can imagine the mindset that gave credibility to the taxi driver’s recollections over the testimony of Scott Ritter and Hans Blix."


  • Robert P. Murphy suggests that "it is entirely plausible that before Obama leaves office, Americans will be using a new currency" — Killing the Currency. "Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke are destroying the dollar – and perhaps ushering in the amero."


  • Robert Higgs provides data showing "the federal bureaucracy has flourished during the current recession," a "development [that] would be remarkable at any time, but it seems even more remarkable when it coincides with a more-than-doubling of the unemployment rate, a 4 percent decline in real GDP, and the evaporation of trillions of dollars of private wealth in the markets for corporate shares, other financial securities, and real estate" — The Federal Bureaucracy-Plutocracy.


  • "Reading or re-reading Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited will open your eyes to our plight," writes James Quinn — Brave New World – 2009. "Our civilization has fused the worst of both novels."
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    Seasonal Music From the Korea Brass Choir

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    An Interview With Dr. Shim Sang-duk

    His "courageous decision... to stop doing abortions and to lobby the government for a dramatic reduction" is receiving international attention, as with this interview by MercatorNet editor Michael Cook — Terminating Korea’s abortion culture. "Although I do not have any religious convictions, I feel that we must restore our own personal legal and ethical validity before we take a stand and ask the government and the society to improve."

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    A Global One-Child Policy?

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    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    All Hail the Queen of Mexico and Empress of the Americas!


    Today is the memorial of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a good day to read Jim Coop's remarkable account of the historic events — In 1531, Mary Intervened to Prevent a Clash of Civilizations. I visited the Shrine of Guadalupe twice, both times as a pre-Catholic. She was instrumental in my conversion. ¡Guadalupano soy yo!

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    El Coro Sinfónico de la Universidad de Chile Sing Ave María Guaraní


    Of course, she spoke Classical Nahuatl, not Guaraní, that day four-hundred and seventy-eight years ago today, but the above aria from Ennio Morricone's score for The Mission (1986) seems appropriate.

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    Mariachi Imperial Villa Hidalgo Perform "La Guadalupana"

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    Old Rightist Reads

  • "The decades-long campaign of Ron Paul to have the Government Accountability Office do a full audit of the Federal Reserve now has 313 sponsors in the House," begins Patrick J. Buchanan's latest — Ron Paul’s Moment. "Sometimes perseverance does pay off."


  • "We cannot afford to maintain this empire and our occupation of these foreign lands is not making us any safer," concludes Congressman Ron Paul's latest lecture to his fellows — It’s Time to Leave Afghanistan.


  • "For eight long years under George W. Bush, conservatives endorsed a don’t ask, don’t tell foreign policy–they did not really ask why their country was at war and Republican leaders did not tell, or bother, Americans with any of the gory details," begins Jack "Southern Avenger" Hunter, noting that "some Republicans are finally asking" — Return of the Antiwar Right.


  • "Russian Military Analysts are reporting to Prime Minister Putin that US President Barack Obama has issued an order to his Northern Command's (USNORTHCOM) top leader, US Air Force General Gene Renuart, to 'begin immediately' increasing his military forces to 1 million troops by January 30, 2010," reports the Rev. Dr. Chuck Baldwin, "in what these reports warn is an expected outbreak of civil war within the United States before the end of winter" — Is Obama Really Preparing for Civil War?
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    Szászvárosi Sándor, Nagy Tamás, and Lachegyi Anna Perform J. Haydn's Baryton Trio in A




    While not the recording mentioned by David Yearsley, the piece above is — Haydn, Hsu and the Baryton: a Feast for a Prince. "Slightly larger than a cello, the baryton is a combination of the harp and viola di gamba, a bowed-string instrument with six or seven strings and frets," says Mr. Yearsley of the "instrument parked at the end of a weedy drive off of an out-of-the-way cul-de-sac."

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    Our Ancient Anglo-Saxon Liberties

  • "The founding texts of the English Constitution – charter, petition, bill of rights – have one theme in common: they create nothing," writes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard — Shredding Magna Carta. "They assert old freedoms; they restore lost harmony. In this they guided America’s Revolution, itself a codification of early colonial liberties."


  • "Once Bush proclaimed that freedom was his goal, then all opponents automatically became enemies of freedom," notes James Bovard — How Bush Redefined Freedom. "But for President Bush, freedom had little or nothing to do with limits on government power... Bush freedom was based on boundless trust in the righteousness of the rulers and all their actions."
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    Buddhist Tolerance

    "I still can hear their shouts in my ears, 'Cut him to pieces, kill him,'" recalls Father Jude Denzil Lakshman, pastor of Our Lady of the Mystical Rose — Buddhist extremists brutally attack Catholic church in Sri Lanka. "More than 1,000 Buddhist extremists armed with clubs, swords and stones ferociously attacked a Catholic church in the town of Crooswatta, Sri Lanka on December 6, destroying the altar, statues and pews."

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    A Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness

    A story from "one of the countries with the highest rate of abortions and suicides in the world, where the average age of the population continues to grow, creating various social and economic problems" — Japanese Church on abortion and suicide: respecting life to improve the world.

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    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Han-Na Chang Performs Shostakovich's 1st Cello Concerto










    "The power, drive and idealism that his music exudes are truly astounding in a century so dominated by musical experiments that didn’t work," says Arturo Vasquez, inspiring this post with his — On art and commitment. The first composer I truly appreciated was Dmitri Shostakovich.

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    The Prettiest Little Church You Ever Did See

    Robert Koehler posts photos of "an unusually designed Irish-built church [here in Korea] that was registered as a cultural property a couple of years ago" and just renovated — Soyangno St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

    Don't let the word "renovated" scare you; this church was not "wreckovated;" Mr. Koehler says, "Gone is the ugly 1970s stuff — everything from the floor to the altar has been restored to its original state," and offers this old post as proof (scroll down) — Chuncheon: Following the Irish Legacy in Korea.

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    Korea, Japan, the Faith, and Peace

    Peter Kim reminds us that "the early Korean and Japanese Catholics shared their strong brotherhood in testifying Catholic faith," even amidst invasion and captivity — Early Korean and Japanese Catholics' Unity in Catholic Faith.

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    Conservatives Who Read Howard Zinn

    Michelle Malkin's latest hissy fit indicates that she is not one of them — Hollywood and Howard Zinn's Marxist Education.

    I am one of them, though, and found his "capitalism-bashing, America-dissing, grievance-mongering history textbook, 'A People's History of the United States'" a good read, taken with several grains of salt, of course, and much more "conservative" than anything Ms. Malkin has written, because Prof. Zinn is interesting in "conserving" things like our ancient liberties.

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    "A Holy Alliance in Defense of the Christian Tradition"

    Sandro Magister uses those words to describe the objective of the recent book "published by the patriarchate of Moscow and containing the main speeches about Europe made over the past ten years by Joseph Ratzinger, as cardinal and pope" — For Rome and Moscow, It's Spring Again.

    "Those who expect an Orthodox Church removed from time, made up only of remote traditions and archaic liturgies, will come away shaken from reading the introduction to this book," says Mr. Magister, including an extract written by Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk and described as "a text that is also striking for its frank, politically incorrect language, unusual for the pen of a high Church authority."

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    California Recognizes That Killing Children in the Womb Is Murder

    "Peering into the window of his neighbor, a 38-year-old woman who was four months pregnant with twins, he saw a man raping her as she screamed for help" — Venice landlord describes attack on victim of rape-slaying. The rest of the story:
      A few minutes later, LAPD officers arrived and found Eun Kang stabbed to death, and the alleged attacker, a 22-year-old man, standing in her apartment.

      Prosecutors on Thursday charged Boneetio Kentro Washington with three counts of capital murder with the special circumstances of multiple murders, murder during a rape and murder during a burglary. He also is charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual penetration.

      Detectives are still trying to piece together what happened, but they believe that it was a random attack and that Kang did not know Washington. Court documents show that Washington had served time in a state mental facility earlier this year.
    Yes, that's "three counts of capital murder with the special circumstances of multiple murders."

    "Nearby stood a makeshift memorial replete with a Buddha figurine, flowering succulents and a printed note promising 'we will always remember Eun Kang.'" May God rest her soul.

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    Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Pearl Harbor

    Robert Koehler discusses "an op-ed in the NYT blaming Teddy Roosevelt’s secret diplomacy... for emboldening the Japanese and putting the world on the express train to the Pacific War" — James Bradley on Teddy Roosevelt’s Responsibility for the Pacific War (i.e. Taft-Katsura).

    While Mr. Koehler "think[s] it’s absurd to argue that Taft-Katsura... put the world on the path to the Pacific War," he rightly susgests that "if you’re going to condemn Roosevelt, you’re going to have to condemn his fellow Nobel laureate, Woodrow Wilson."

    United States non-interventionism, as advocated by the Founders, should be our true policy, not the disastrous liberal interventionism of Messrs. Roosevelt, Wilson, and Obama.

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    Yesterday's News

  • Terry Nelson reminds us that yesterday was the memorial of "the miraculous translation of the Holy House of Our Lady from the Holy Land to Italy" — Our Lady of Loreto.


  • J.K. Baltzersen reminds us the yesterday marked the anniversary of "a part of the modernist narrative, a narrative that tells us that people had no rights before, in a world of absolute governments, whereas now – with the United Nations having decreed rights – these governments are no longer absolute" — The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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    Local Liberty

    It is "neither conservative nor liberal nor radical, though in the genuine meaning of those terms it is all three combined" according to the thinker who, Joseph R. Stromberg informs us, "took his republicanism as he found it—liberal, American, and insurgent—and worked to bring it back to life" — Walter Karp: Jeffersonian Republican.

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    The Art of John James Audubon


    "So how did this semiliterate, bloodthirsty man end up producing The Birds of America, one of the great American wildlife books?" asks Harry Mount — Strange Bird:
      The answer is, of course, his 435 pictures, published in 87 sections between 1827 and 1838. It was their beauty, yes, but, most originally, their size—life size—that did it. Audubon insisted on printing in the punishingly expensive Double Elephant folio format, with its 39 x 26 inch pages. Original subscribers paid an elephantine $1,000 for The Birds of America, the equivalent of about $17,000 now. A later miniature edition was a bestseller, too, but it was still drawing on the success of its mammoth predecessor. The full-size book was perhaps the finest picture book ever made—a copy in good condition was sold at Christie’s in 2000 for $8,802,500, a world record for any printed book.

      Surpassingly beautiful as Audubon’s bird pictures are, his skills as an artist were limited. His human portraits—his principal source of income after he went bankrupt and was sent to prison in Louisville, Kentucky for debt in 1819—are awkward and ill-proportioned. His birds, though, are far more accomplished and much more lifelike than the cold, stuffed still lifes—or still deaths—painted by earlier artists, including his chief rival, Alexander Wilson, the Scot who compiled the nine-volume American Ornithology between 1808 and 1814.

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    Over There So We're Over There

    "The U.S. went in to deprive al-Qaeda and the Taliban of a base -- now we stay lest we be deprived of one," suggests John J. Mearsheimer — Good War No More.

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    That Protestant Work Ethic

    "Has a young Harvard graduate student in economics dealt a deadly blow to Max Weber’s theory that Protestantism favours economic development?" asks Damian Thompson — Debunking Weber. "Davide Cantoni has just produced a brilliantly argued paper which takes economic data from Catholic and Protestant cities in Germany from 1300 to 1900, subjects them to meticulous multivariate analysis, and finds no evidence that Protestantism per se made people richer."

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    "Why Climate Change Malthusians Are Wrong"

    I hardly agree with retired anthropologist James Faris' anti-capitalism nor his belief in "climate change," but it is refreshing to read a man of the left debunk the "unsustainable human population growth" myth, even if he calls the notion "reactionary" — On Population.

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    Hard Truths From a Korean Family Counselor

      The level of sexual promiscuity in Korean society these days has risen beyond acceptable levels. The end result of carnal pleasure is destruction. People have to protect their families. Both men and women need to feel more responsible.
    Thus spake Kim Young-hee, who "has the highest successful divorce mediation rate, earning her the title 'the master of mediation'" — Counselor Finds Sex the Fundamental Cause of Most Divorces. I can hardly imagine such a statement coming from the post-sexual revolutionary West.

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    That Nobel Peace Prize

  • Comments from J.K. Baltzersen inform us that "[t]he [l]and of the Nobel Peace Prize supports the only true candidate for peace at the 2008 United States Presidential Election," who "has shown through a life of consistency and conviction that he supports the true formula for peace – non-intervention at home and abroad" — The Peace Prize Nation for Ron Paul."


  • Björn Kumm notes that "Norwegian elite soldiers work side by side with US Special operations forces in 'cleaning-up operations,'" that "the left-wing Socialist Venstreparti... supports the US war," and that "Norwegian arms exports are doing fine" — Welcome to Norway.


  • "President Obama accepted the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize while delivering -- to the world as it is -- a pro-war speech," an Orwellian irony noted by Norman Solomon — War is Not Peace.


  • The Sarah Palins and Newt Gingriches, however, are hailing "the 'Obama Doctrine' – a notion that foreign policy is a struggle of good and evil, that American exceptionalism has blunted the force of tyranny in the world, and that U.S. military can be a force for good and even harnessed to humanitarian ends" — Conservative [sic] praise for Nobel speech.
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    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Defensive War, Si; Liberal Interventionism, No

    Oh, the irony — Obama defends US wars as he accepts peace prize. My fisking follows:

    "President Barack Obama entered the pantheon of Nobel Peace Prize winners with humble words Thursday, acknowledging his own few accomplishments while delivering a robust defense of war and promising to use the prestigious prize to 'reach for the world that ought to be.'" Well, he's right about "his own few accomplishments" and he's not the first war criminal to have "entered the pantheon of Nobel Peace Prize winners," but I'm not sure how many have done so "delivering a robust defense of war."

    "Obama refused to renounce war for his nation or under his leadership, saying defiantly that 'I face the world as it is' and that he is obliged to protect and defend the United States." Indeed, but neither of his wars serve to "protect and defend the United States." Instead, they make us more vulnerable as they expend our blood and treasure.

    "The president laid out the circumstances where war is justified — in self-defense, to come to the aid of an invaded nation and on humanitarian grounds, such as when civilians are slaughtered by their own government or a civil war threatens to engulf an entire region." Right on point one. On point two, would the Russkies or Chi-coms have been justified in intervening after MOVE or the Waco Siege? And has not Bush-Obama interventionism created "civil war[s] threaten[ing] to engulf an entire region?"

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    File Under "Unintended Consequences"

    "Cigarette pack warnings that remind smokers of the fatal consequences of their habit may actually make them smoke more as a way to cope with the inevitability of death, according to researchers" — Cigarettes kill, but don't tell smokers?

    Perhaps we need warning labels on government regulations. But seriously, the article suggests that "warnings unrelated to death, such as 'smoking makes you unattractive' or 'smoking brings you and the people around you severe damage,' were more effective in changing smokers' attitudes toward their habit." I was an on-and-off smoker until I met my future wife, and the idea of pitching woo while reeking of smoke was decidedly "unattractive." (As a freshman in high school, I had been called into the principal's office on suspicion of smoking, but it was my four-pack-a-day smoking father who had left the scent on my clothes.)

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    Your Fathers Were Not Monsters; Their Leaders Were

    "WWII babies fathered by German soldiers in occupied Europe coming to terms with past" — 'We were the children of monsters'. "I was a bastard by my mother, and what's more, I was the bastard of a kraut," said Jean-Jacques Delorme, whose doomed parents are pictured below:


    You are a bastard (in the literal sense), but that does not make your father a monster, unless, of course, he raped your mother, then he really is a monster, and I'm not sure if you could be called a bastard, but that does not appear to be the case, given the photo. If your father left your mother of his own accord, then he was a bastard (in the figurative sense), not a monster, but we learn your father was one "Hans Hoffmann, a baker from Mainz*" who "played the cello in a Wehrmacht orchestra dispatched to entertain occupied Paris, where he took a French woman as his mistress," and "was killed in a Bavarian village on April 25, 1945, resisting an onslaught by U.S. tanks." He was neither a bastard nor a monster, it seems. May God rest his soul.

    He is no more a monster than the fathers of the thousands upon thousands of Amerasians born in the American occupied Asia, including the lonely fellow my own age I often see weekly at Mass here in Pohang, with whom I have a strange non-verbal rapport. In Bill Kauffman's Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle-American Anti-Imperialism, one of the many patriots profiled is a Mrs. Cecil Norton Broy, who, representing a ladies' study group from Arlington, Virginia, testified before the Senate in 1945 against universal military training and an interventionist foreign policy by saying, "We would be working on the principle of scattering the most virile of our men over the face of the globe." Mr. Kauffman added, "Tens of thousands of abandoned Amerasians who grew up without fathers shake their heads in assent."

    The real monsters were and are in Berlin and Washington, "scattering the most virile of our men over the face of the globe."

    *"Hans Hoffmann, a baker from Mainz:" my favorite neighborhood bakery here in Pohang bears the name of that city, and even invited a German master baker for a month.

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    Con Piacere Sing Veni, Veni Emmanuel

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    Some Needed Intelligence for Mr. Obama's War

    "If bin Laden is dead and al-Qaeda is shadow of what it once was then the whole justification for maintaining 100,000 soldiers and a nearly equal number of contractors in Afghanistan at ruinous expense becomes a fiction," says former CIA analyst Philip Giraldi — No-sama bin Laden.

    The author reminds us of this week's "revelation from Defense Secretary Robert Gates that 'I think it has been years' since the US government has had any solid information about Osama bin Laden," and notes that "the redoubtable General Stanley McChrystal... has estimated that there are likely fewer than 100 al-Qaeda in Afghanistan."

    "So Secretary Gates has inadvertently let the cat out of the bag even though the mainstream media apparently has not yet figured it out." Mr. Giraldi continues, "He has revealed that the war on terror is dead, or at least it should be."

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    Martin Luther King and Barack Hussein Obama

    A letter contrasting the two peace prize laureates — An Open Letter to The Norwegian Nobel Committee. "We regret that he [President Obama] could not be guided by the example of a previous Nobel Peace Laureate, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who identified his peace prize as 'profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time — the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.'" An excerpt:
      We assume that the Nobel Committee chose to award President Obama the peace prize in full awareness of the vision offered by Dr. King’s acceptance speech. We also understand that the Nobel Committee may now regret that decision in light of recent developments, as we believe that the committee should be reluctant to present an Orwellian message equating peace with war. When introducing the President, the Committee should, at the very least, exhibit a level of compassion and humility by drawing attention to this distressing ambiguity.

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    The Pope Wept

    The Novus Ordo Missae, a.k.a. the Mass of Paul VI, once made Pope Paul VI "break down in tears," the Grey Lady informs us, quoted by Elena Maria Vidal — Latin Mass Appeal. The story:
      Many of Bugnini’s reforms were aimed at appeasing non-Catholics, and changes emulating Protestant services were made, including placing altars to face the people instead of a sacrifice toward the liturgical east. As he put it, “We must strip from our ... Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is, for the Protestants.” (Paradoxically, the Anglicans who will join the Catholic Church as a result of the current pope’s outreach will use a liturgy that often features the priest facing in the same direction as the congregation.)

      How was Bugnini able to make such sweeping changes? In part because none of the popes he served were liturgists. Bugnini changed so many things that John’s successor, Paul VI, sometimes did not know the latest directives. The pope once questioned the vestments set out for him by his staff, saying they were the wrong color, only to be told he had eliminated the week-long celebration of Pentecost and could not wear the corresponding red garments for Mass. The pope’s master of ceremonies then witnessed Paul VI break down in tears....
    The good news: "Bugnini may have finally met his match in Benedict XVI, a noted liturgist himself who is no fan of the past 40 years of change." Said then-Cardinal Ratzinger several years ago, "The turning of the priest toward the people has turned the community into a self-enclosed circle. In its outward form, it no longer opens out on what lies ahead and above, but is closed in on itself."

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    Maryknoller in Korea offers some Taoist reflections — Meditation on water.

    Let me add to those thoughts those of science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer, author of Calculating God, suggesting that "the facts do seem to point to some very careful tweaking of the fundamental parameters of the universe" — Science and God:
      And what about water? It's so common, most of us aren't conscious of just how remarkable a substance it is. If you take almost any other liquid and freeze it, it becomes more dense: a gold brick will sink to the bottom of a vat of liquid gold. But if you freeze water, it expands, which is why ice floats on the surface of lakes. If water didn't have this unique property, lakes and oceans would freeze from the bottom up, obliterating delicate sea-floor ecologies. Indeed, once they'd started freezing, bodies of water would freeze solid and likely remain so forever.

      Nor does water's unique nature end with its thermal properties. Of all substances, only liquid selenium has a higher surface tension. And it is water's high surface tension that draws it deeply into cracks in rocks, and, as I said, water does the incredible and actually expands as it freezes, breaking those rocks apart. If water had lower surface tension, the process by which soil is formed would not occur.

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    Mother of Europe


    "When secularists parade with the European Union flag they are unwittingly honouring the Immaculate Conception," writes Angelo Stagnaro — Why the sign of Our Lady reigns over Europe. An excerpt:
      Arsène Heitz, the flag’s designer, acknowledged in a 2008 interview that he derived the design of a circle of 12 golden stars from the Book of Revelation. As Heitz was considering a design to submit for the EU, he was reading the history of the Blessed Virgin’s apparitions in Paris’ Rue du Bac, known today as the Virgin of the Miraculous Medal. In fact, he belonged to the Order of the Miraculous Medal, which would explain his intimate acquaintanceship with the symbol.

      Thus the symbol recognised worldwide as to the European Union and of Europe in general even by atheists, secularists and Muslims, is a symbol of the Immaculate Conception herself. It warms the cockles of an old Catholic’s heart. European atheists running around in the streets waving the European Union flag over their heads have no idea, or choose to ignore, the true meaning behind the EU’s symbol. And, they are apparently stuck with it as the design isn’t going to change as long as the European Union exists.

      In celebration of the adoption of the symbol the Council of Europe commissioned and installed a magnificent stained-glass window in Strasbourg Cathedral which depicts the Blessed Virgin Mother standing beneath an oversized circle of 12 stars on deep blue field. In addition, the European flag was adopted by the then European Economic Community on December 8 1955, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Coincidence? I think not.
    [link via Catholic and Enjoying It!]

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    Winter Zen in Seoul


    "Freshly fallen snow blankets the courtyard of the Ahnkook Zen Center" in the picture above — Finding 'Sangha' Within the Bustling City’s Heart.

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    "I Like Arabic"


    As do "42.3 percent" of Korean high school seniors who "chose the language, which no high schools teach," for "the optional section of the College Scholastic Ability Test" — Arabic as an easy option for exam. It seems the test-takers have outsmarted the test-makers.

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    Keynesianism Debunked

    "Bernanke's policies come out of the same Keynesian bag of tricks that turned the 1930 contraction into a decade-long Great Depression, and that gave us the stagflation and malaise of the Carter years," notes Jonathan Witt — Bernanke Versus the Austrians. "Two planks in Bernanke's recovery strategy: Expand the money supply like a banana republic dictator and throw sackfuls of cash at failed companies with a proven track record of mismanaging their assets." More:
      Bernanke's prescription is designed to get people to borrow and consume more in the short term. But the way an economy gets richer is by producing more goods and services that people value. The Fed can print money. It cannot print cars and groceries and doctors. The math is pretty straightforward: More money chasing the same number of goods doesn't magically generate more goods. Nor do artificially cheap interest rates magically generate more loanable goods and labor for starting, expanding and modernizing businesses.

      Bernanke's enthusiasm for bailouts is equally misguided. Bailing out failed companies allows these broken businesses to go right on mismanaging resources, instead of selling off their assets to well-managed companies. And since the failed company can assume the government will bail it out again if need be, its now a mismanaged company that doesn't even have to worry about the consequences of its own stupid decisions -- the spoiled, unproductive rich kid whose daddy owns the town.

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    "The Unity Pope"

    "Pope Benedict XVI may very well go down in history as 'the Unity Pope,'" suggests this New Oxford Review editorial on the "apostolic constitution that will create a new canonical structure that will pave the way for large groups of Anglicans — parishes and possibly entire dioceses — to return to the Catholic Church while retaining their unique customs and tradition" — Lifeboats on the Tiber . An excerpt:
      When first elected to the papal throne in 2005, Benedict assured us that his "primary commitment" as Successor to Peter would be "that of working tirelessly towards the reconstitution of the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers." This is, he said, his "ambition," his "compelling duty." But he is aware that "expressions of good feelings are not enough." Rather, "concrete gestures are required to penetrate souls and move consciences, encouraging everyone to that interior conversion which is the basis for all progress on the road of ecumenism." This, dear readers, is authentic ecumenism — ecumenism the leads to conversion.

      We've got to tip our hats yet again to Pope Benedict XVI. He has not strayed from the goal he set forth at the nascent stages of his pontificate. Rather, he has made phenomenal progress toward fulfilling his vision of a unified, solidly traditional Catholic Church.

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    What Need, Exactly?

    "Approval of United States President Barack Obama's handling of the war in Afghanistan has soared since he announced a surge of 30,000 additional US troops there," reports Eli Clifton, "proving that Americans rally around their presidents in times of military need" — 'Surge' sends Obama soaring. Military need? You'd think the Taliban navy was threatening our shores. "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public," said H. L. Mencken.

    Yes, the military needs this surge, not the men (and shamefully women) in uniform. More precisely, it is the military-industrial complex Old Ike warned us about that needs this stupid surge; bankrupt America needs it like another hole in the head from which to shed more blood and treasure. We need to go back to the time when Americans didn't melt at the sight of a man in uniform, or rather, The Man in uniform.

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    Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    Kathleen Battle & Christopher Parkening, Bach/Gounod's Ave Maria

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    Joyeux Noël (2005)

    A bit early, but Gary G. Kohls reminds us of "a profoundly important and very moving film that deserves to be annual holiday fare, alongside Dickens’ A Christmas Carol" — The Christmas Truce of 1914. A summary of the remarkable events that prompted the film:
      And then a spontaneous event happened at various spots on the 700-mile-long trench line that stretched between Belgium and France. The singing of Christmas carols started a chain of events that resulted in an event that was never to be repeated in the history of warfare after that night.

      The tradition that has emerged from this famous and true story was that the Germans started singing Stille Nacht (Silent Night) and the British responded with another carol. And the French and Scots joined in and all sides sang together in their own tongues, the Scots with their bagpipes, accompanying the German singing.

      And the sense of their common humanity, which had been driven out of them in the schools and in basic training, broke through to consciousness. Homesickness may have set in or perhaps the futility of the slaughter became clear or perhaps the realization that they would have had things if they had met in different circumstances. Or perhaps their sheer exhaustion took the fight out of them.

      However it started, the soldiers disobeyed the orders to kill (their commanding officers were, after all, celebrating Christmas eve back where it was safe from the killing), dropped their guns and came out of their trenches to meet one another. The former enemies shared pictures from home, chocolate candy, wine – and soccer games were played. Friendships were made and every soldier who experienced the events was forever changed. The motivation to blindly kill a person who had never done them wrong suddenly vanished, never to return.

      So powerful was the experience, that most of the affected men had to be withdrawn from the front lines, replaced with fresh troops who had never had the life-changing experience.

      Fraternization in time of war was an act of treason that was punishable by summary execution. Unexpectedly, the commanding officers, not wanting to draw public attention to this aberrant but potentially contagious episode, and knowing that such actions would threaten the war effort if it somehow became widely known, ordered no executions. There were punishments, however, with many of the German soldiers who refused to fight being transferred to the eastern front to kill and die in the war with Russia.
    Last year, a clip from the film was posted on these pages — The Western Front, Christmas Eve, 1914.

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    Reclaiming the American Right

    Justin Raimondo, author of a 1993 tome of that title, suggests the hour may be at hand — The Antiwar Right: Our Time Is Near. "The neocons are worried – and with good reason." He concludes with a lesson from history:
      The group that came together to oppose the Rooseveltian program of war abroad and a highly-centralized, semi-socialist state at home – those we call, in retrospect, the Old Right – came from very disparate points on the political spectrum: the Hooverites, Liberty Leaguers, and Taft Republicans on the right, and on the left disillusioned old-fashioned liberals like the journalist John T. Flynn, and anti-war, anti-Washington Midwestern progressives, such as Senator Burton K. Wheeler, of Montana. Together, they built the biggest antiwar movement in American history, the America First Committee, which, at its height, had 800,000 dues-paying members, and a large activist contingent.

      This is the model we should emulate when building a contemporary movement against our policy of perpetual warfare. It will take a broad-based coalition, one that spans the political spectrum and allows for a high degree of variety, to stand against the Empire. But if we’re going to have our old Republic back, it will be a battle worth fighting.
    The book mentioned in the title — Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.

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    Dorothy Day, Servant of God and Enemy of the State

    "J. Edgar Hoover had no doubts about Dorothy Day," begin Mark and Louise Zwick, quoted by Stephen Hand — The Catholic Worker and the FBI. The authors continue, "Even before World War II he insisted that she be placed in custodial detention (jail) in the event of a national emergency."

    The authors "conjecture that FBI officers who were frequently Irish Catholics and even ex-seminarians could not bring themselves to arrest someone opposed to war because she was a daily communicant" and because she "had the protection of Cardinal Spellman, who never opposed or condemned her." (This dispite the fact that the two had locked horns over a labor dispute involving the archdiocese.)


    In a related post, Mr. Hand reminds us that "Dorothy Day and so many others... reject[ed] the 'Left-Right paradigm' (that Anthony Sutton and Noam Chomsky warned against) and paying the price in jail for it" — Catholics Were On The Front Lines Against Imperialism While "Patriots" Were Still in Diapers or Yelling, "Commie!"

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    Divorce and Military Interventionism Abroad and in the Home

    GI Korea offers a very interesting post and discussion — Why the Military Divorce Rate Continues to Grow. After mentioning "the juicy girl factor" and spouses growing "tired of the military lifestyle of moving around all the time and being away from their extended family back home," he suggests that "both of these issues are smaller compared to the deployment issue."

    Coming to mind is 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. But the enlightening discussion that follows GI Korea's post shows the problems go further, hinting at interventionism not only overseas but within the family itself.

    The first commenter notes that "the USFSPA has always kept the military divorce rate high because it makes any other grounds for divorce a win-win situation for the wife after 10 years of marriage" and "also makes the husband of less than 10 years more likely to divorce if his marriage is on the rocks because he doesn’t want to lose 50% of his retirement pay." Conversely, the second commenter notes "the incentive for... soldiers to get married while stationed in Korea is huge," which "may lead to a premature decision to marry, leading to an eventual divorce."

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.