Wednesday, December 30, 2009
"We're All Alone and We Ain't Gonna Colonize the Universe"
"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."
Anthropogenic Global Warming and the Laws of Thermodynamics
Empire or America?
Ben Shlomo Bernanke, Hyperinflation, and World Government
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.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The Cast of Les Misérables Sing "Ding Dong! Merrily on High"
LRC in the ROK
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.
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."
Patrick J. Buchanan Looks Back at the Oughts
"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.'"
How a "Righteous Gentile" Became "Hitler's Pope"
"The Song of Li Madou"
- 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.
A Comment About Comments
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.
Monday, December 28, 2009
A to the K
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Tom Jones Sings "Good King Wenceslas"
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."
MSM vs. LRC
From Arts & Letters Daily
Patrick J. Buchanan on Barack H. Obama and Just War
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 .
Friday, December 25, 2009
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]
The Animals of Christmas Eve
Rabid Anti-Semite Repents
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Bing Crosby Sings "White Christmas"
The Life of Ivan Illich
Koreans Have Their Priorities Straight
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."
Moonie Archbishop Defrocked
- 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.
"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.
The Green Pope
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.
African Women Used as Guinea Pigs
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.
Fairy Tales, Old and New
"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.
The Road to Pell Is Paved With Good Intentions
"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."
The Bishop of Rome Invokes John of Salisbury
"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."
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.
Sanctions on Iran
'Tis the Season...
The Present and Future of the South Korean Economy
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, J.S. Bach's Jesus Bleibet Meine Freude
Proofs of God's Existence
John Zmirak on an Immigration Moratorium
- 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?
"The Hockey Stick vs. Ice Core Data"
Korea's Miniskirt Index and America's Hemline Effect
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.
D.P.R.K. & U.S.S.A.
The Christian Peace Tradition
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.
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 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.
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."
The Abbeville Institute
Vocations in Korea
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."
Stumbling Across Pat Buchanan in Korea
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.
Seasonal Music From the Korea Brass Choir
An Interview With Dr. Shim Sang-duk
A Global One-Child Policy?
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!
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.
Mariachi Imperial Villa Hidalgo Perform "La Guadalupana"
Old Rightist Reads
Labels: America the Beautiful, Central Asia, Decline and Fall, Dixie, Foreign Policy, Holy Mother Russia, Paleoconservatism, Paleolibertarianism, Republic Not Empire, Ron Paul for President, The Dismal Science, War and Rumors of War
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."
Our Ancient Anglo-Saxon Liberties
A Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness
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.
The Prettiest Little Church You Ever Did See
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.
Korea, Japan, the Faith, and Peace
Conservatives Who Read Howard Zinn
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.
"A Holy Alliance in Defense of the Christian Tradition"
"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."
California Recognizes That Killing Children in the Womb Is Murder
- 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.
"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.
Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Pearl Harbor
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.
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.
Over There So We're Over There
That Protestant Work Ethic
"Why Climate Change Malthusians Are Wrong"
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.
That Nobel Peace Prize
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Defensive War, Si; Liberal Interventionism, No
"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?"
File Under "Unintended Consequences"
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.)
Your Fathers Were Not Monsters; Their Leaders Were
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.
Some Needed Intelligence for Mr. Obama's War
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."
Martin Luther King and Barack Hussein Obama
- 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.
The Pope Wept
- 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....
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.
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.
Winter Zen in Seoul
"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.
- 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.
"The Unity Pope"
- 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.
What Need, Exactly?
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.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Kathleen Battle & Christopher Parkening, Bach/Gounod's Ave Maria
Joyeux Noël (2005)
- 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.
Reclaiming the American Right
- 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.
Dorothy Day, Servant of God and Enemy of the State
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!"
Divorce and Military Interventionism Abroad and in the Home
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."