Sunday, January 31, 2010

Icon of the Mother of God of Fátima


Abbey Roads links to the above and the story of "the ecumenical vocation of the Icon, which has been written uniting the efforts of a [C]atholic priest and an [O]rthodox iconographer, trying to create an image before which [C]atholic and [O]rthodox faithful could pray together" and which "wants to be, in this sense, a service to the unity of the Church, in the person of Maria under Fátima's devotion" — The Icon of the Mother of God of Fatima.

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The Warshington Post

This is not a post about my mother's pronunciation of our first president's surname and our nation's capital, but about the liberal interventionist rag's latest call for more liberal interventionism, expressing "hope" as "administration officials continue to express optimism that they will be able to bring tough new sanctions to bear" — The key to dealing with Iran: Press ties with opposition.

Our first president would be especially appalled that a newspaper that bears his name would argue in favor of "the possibility that the United States would help to sponsor a popular 'color revolution.'" George Washington's Farewell Address instructs us:
    Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

    The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible.

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Catholic, Conservative, Gallic Thought of the Day

    I don't want to stigmatize at all, but I think the Protestant, liberal, Anglo-Saxon character means you are very pragmatic. There has to be a cause for everything, a gene for everything.
So said French gynecologist and researcher Odile Buisson, in part of the "international G-spot debate of 2010" ignited after "British researchers decided that the spot was either completely fictitious or completely subjective" — New research snub of G spot leaves many hot and bothered.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Maestro Myung-Whun Chung Conducts the Orchestra and Choir of Santa Cecilia National Academy Through Gioachino Antonio Rossini's "Amen"


Above, some musical accompaniment to this article — Chung Still Searching for World of Infinite Challenges, Possibilities. An excerpt:
    He gladly ventures into the insufferable realm of music, wherein lies "the perfect joy" of striving for an unattainable goal. Reaching into a bottomless well presents infinite challenges, but also infinite possibilities.

    Chung vividly recalled the moment this life philosophy dawned upon him, a year ago while conducting Messiaen's opera "St. Francois d'Assise" in Paris.

    St. Francois, after much deliberation, defines "perfect joy" as, ironically, suffering. But more importantly, in the end, all will be forgiven if one has loved enough. "When I look at music, my family, it has been a lifetime experience of why that is true," he said.

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alt.porn

Gavin McInnes has a disturbing but enlightening piece — The Problem With Hipster Porn. An excerpt:
    The very nature of the business has always kept the innocent away. Until now. Until hipster porn: Also called alt porn, it’s a genre of pornography that is mostly pictures on websites but also includes actual pornographic videos. Hipster porn stars tend to be middle-class punk girls who come from pretty stable backgrounds and have been convinced what they’re doing isn’t porn at all and therefore doesn’t deserve a lot of money. These girls haven’t been molested as kids and are in way over their heads.

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Sun Tzu and President Obama

"When the wisdom of Sun Tzu's gold standard is compared to the crude domestic political machinations used to steamroller President Obama into escalating the war in Afghanistan, a horrifying picture emerges at the most basic of level decision making," argues Franklin C. Spinney — Turning Sun Tzu on His Head.

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Kirk and Taft

"In an era when radio-shouters, vulgar hucksters, and out-and-out charlatans have taken the spotlight on the American Right, conservatives need to remember their past—to get back in touch with their roots," concludes Justin Raimondo — Mr. Antiwar Republican. "While the conservative movement is cut adrift, looking for an anchor, what could be better than the principled prudence of these two nearly forgotten giants, Kirk and Taft?"

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Voluntary Manslaughter

The only problem with the idea that this defendant "acted with an honest but unreasonable belief that he used deadly force to stop imminent, unlawful harm" is the word "unreasonable" — Abortion foe Scott Roeder tells jury of killing Dr. George Tiller.

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Holden Caulfield and Me

As an adolescent, I stomached four chapters of J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye before I could take no more, and instead took up something by Albert Camus, Hermann Hesse, or Kurt Vonnegut, all of whom I could stomach at that age. I've heard that Franny and Zooey makes reference to the Jesus Prayer, but have never bothered to give it a shot.

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Franz Schubert's Die Schöne Müllerin, Performed by Thomas Quasthoff and Emanuel Ax

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The Seven Deadly Sins and Nations

"While America is dominated by gluttony and greed, South Africa by wrath, and Japan and South Korea by their lustful natures, Australians take the prize for envy," concludes this report — Australia is "most sinful" nation on earth.

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All White People Look the Same

That has been this white person's surprising experience living in the Far East for close to a decade-and-a-half, regardless of what this report might say — Study: recognition of facial expressions not universal.

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"I Wish He Were Blacker"

That's my response to this latest stupid brouhaha — 'I Forgot He Was Black': Chris Matthews Under Fire for Comment About Obama.

I really wish that our sixth black president — Obama Won't Be First Black President — were blacker, someone like President Beck (not, God forbid, the Mormon convert Glenn Beck), portrayed by Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact (1998), or , more realistically, Al Sharpton. Instead, we have a man who, according to Bill Kauffman, "is a 'cosmopolitan,' which by some lights means a sophisticate but which a character in Henry James's Portrait of Lady defined as 'a little of everything and not much of any'" — The Candidates from Nowhere.

Our current ruler, half-Kenyan, half-Kansan, has less to do with Malcolm X than he does with the Bilderberg Group, no matter what Stuff White People Like types will tell you.

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Coeduation and Austrianism

The New Beginning asks a pointed question — Do Catholic schools remember Divini Illius Magistri? "False also and harmful to Christian education is the so-called method of 'coeducation,'" instructed Pope Blessed Pius IX in his encyclical. Says our blogger, "This is clearly not being observed by 'orthodox' Catholic colleges and universities such as Steubenville, Christendom, Thomas Aquinas College, Wyoming Catholic College, Benedictine College, or Ave Maria University (and so on)."

This very public "dissent" will go unnoticed, even by the staunchest defenders of Catholic orthodoxy, not that it should be otherwise. The Magisterium, that "living, teaching office of the Church," is just that, living. As the blogger notes, even the Pontifical Universities in Rome are co-educational, and only the adherents of Sedevacantism are charging the Vicar of Christ with heterodoxy. Yet, there are those who hold that Catholic writers at LewRockwell.com and the Ludwig von Mises Institute are heterodox for merely questioning this or that economic statement in this or that encyclical. 'Twould be good that Catholics be a bit more catholic.

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The Last American Liberal

Jeffrey Tucker on a man who "died in 1910, [when] liberalism was on the verge of transformation," and why "[b]iographers and critics have had difficulty figuring out how the same person could champion the interests of Newport capitalist class while founding the Anti-Imperialist League" — Twain's Classical Liberalism. Two of my most pleasurable publishing experiences here in Korea:

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stefan Jackiw and Richard O'Neill Perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's String Duo No. 1 in G Major for Violin and Viola






"A quarter of a millennium and four years ago today, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born," reminds J.K. Baltzersen — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

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Pete Seeger Performs "Skip To My Lou" in Australia, 1963


A version of the above has become my kids' favorite song lately.

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Austro-Distributivism

Joe Hargrave "submit[s] two propositions: 1) that the philosophical dispute between libertarianism, CST, and distributism has obscured practical ways in which Catholics of different philosophical persuasions might collaborate, and 2) that the philosophical dispute itself does not need to end in the total destruction of one of the contending philosophies" — Middle Ground Between Storck and Sirico? In the comments, I posted these thoughts from a reader "Araglin" — The Austrian School and Distributivism:
    I think that the foregoing reconcilation of Austro-libertarianism with distributivism is, indeed, an extremely important project (not only from a theoretical standpoint, but also as a means of keeping otherwise well-intentioned believers in each of these schools of thought from killing each other).

    This reconciliation is one to which I have given a great deal of thought in the last several years (after being convinced by the rigor of the Austrian School, but also lured by the beauty of the Distributivist vision, as well as the social thought of William Cobbett, John Ruskin, William Morris, etc.

    I am also interested in reconciling Austro-libertarianism with (a) the social, ontological, and liturgical insights of Radical Orthodox theologicans such as John Milbank and Catherine Pickstock (when ripped from its Anglican context and made fully Catholic), (b) and the permaculture of Bill Mollison and Paul Stametz (sp?), and (c) and the agrarianism of Wendell Berry and Joel Salatin.

    Here are a few points that ought to be attended to in attempting to bring about the reconcilation of Austro-libertarianism with Distibutism:

    (1) Land reform and other one-off property redestributions commended by Agrarians, such as Cobbett, and the Distributivists can be justified, but not on account of the injustice of big land holdings per se, but rather, as restitution for certain prior acts of aggression and conquest which allowed for the agglomeration of those holdings in the first place. In other words, the ground for effecting such a coercive redestribution is not some patterned theory of justice (that only small holdings can ever be legitimate), but on a historical one (that, in point of fact, the only way that such large holdings ever arose was through robbery and/or cooperation with the state in enclosure movements, the expropriating of cottagers, etc.

    (2) The well-being and virtues of the petit-bourgeosie class farmers, artisans, and shopkeepers, and of economic decentralism more generally, can and should be unabashedly promoted (as per the suggestion of John Zmirak in a recent article), and this non-coercive promotion of these and other ends such as bio-regionalism/permaculture, hospitality and almsgiving (and other concern to the poor), and a public liturgical cycle of both asceticism and festivity , should be thought of as part and parcel of our political programme (this, then would be a very thick version of libertarianism,or voluntary solidariam), and not as mere non-political preferences which are matters of indifference politically. The Church (broadly considered) ought to be considered the ultimate site of such non-coercive politics (as such non-coercive politics has been sketched out in Geoffrey Plauche's recent work). Nonetheless, we ought of course to cooperate and ally ourselves with those advancing thinner versions of libertarianism when it comes to advocating the libertarian conception of justice and condemning violations thereof. Where we will dissent is in insisting that there are virtues other than justice (such as loyalty, generosity, etc., that are also absolutely necessary for the flourishing of social life, and in fact, in there absence, justice itself cannot long be maintained).

    (3) It should be remembered that much of the criticism of "Capitalism," whether in the works of the Distributists or elsewhere is really a critique of the prevailing system of state-capitalism (or the misdoings of neo-liberalism abroad) and not of the free market as such. At this point the work of left-libertarians and mutualists (e.g. Roderick Long, Charles Johnson, and Kevin Carson) can go along way. This requires reading charitably the works of others who may advocate a "socialism" that has absolutely nothing to do with state ownership of the means of production or command economies. Furthermore, even a perfectly free market (populated by fallen men) will require prophetic denunciations of greed and preoccupations with the glittering distractions of this-wordliness.

    (4) The only thing I thing I think Roepke, the Distributists, and the Southern Agrarians missed was that that that they tended to think that the competitive market led inexorably over time to the the consolidation of industry in fewer and fewer hands. Because of this, they tended to think that (even, absent any aggression or conquest) periodic land reform would have to take place to prevent undue aggregation, or that certain industries would likely need to be either strictly-regulated or nationalized and run for the public weal. On this point, the New Left historiagraphy of Gabriel Kolko and William Appleman Williams is absolutely crucial in showing that most "anti-trust" agitation and other progressive legislation supposedly put forward to reign in the excesses of Big Business were really pushed through by those self-same Big Business interests to prevent the competition of new entrants from cutting into their profit margins. Again, the work of Kevin Carson is of huge help here.

    (5) Finally, I think that there is a problem with "political individualism" when taken to require that only natural persons can hold property, enter into binding contracts, sue and be sued etc. At this point, the work of Robert Nisbet, Otto von Gierke, and others has shown that the State has selectively used such individualism to weak and/or eradicate all other institutional and associational forms that stood intermediate between the individual and the state. This means vigorously denying the concession theory of corporations (that all non-natural legal persons are legal fictions, stemming from state privilege); and it also means, promoting the sort of Social Pluralism advocated by Robert Nisbet and illustrated in the work of legal historian Harold Berman in his masterful study Law and Revolution.

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Christopher Hitchens on Christian Orthodoxy

"I would say that if you don't believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you're really not in any meaningful sense a Christian," quoted by Rod Dreher from a rebuttal in an exchange with a Unitarian minister — Atheist pwns liberal Christian. Amen.

[link via A conservative blog for peace]

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Howard Zinn, Rest in Peace

Common Dreams, one of the leftie sites I follow, brings us news of the great revisionist historian's passing in the form of two remembrances, by Peter Rothberg and Elizabeth DiNovella — Goodbye Howard Zinn and Remembering Howard Zinn.


It took me more than a decade to finally get around to reading Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, with its cartoonish juxtaposition of the Noble savage of the Americas with the "Europe of the Renaissance, dominated as it was by the religion of popes, the government of kings, the frenzy for money" on the first page. After finally reading it, I found much of value in the book, even if I had to hold my nose from time to time.

At times he comes across, like fellow traveller Noam Chomsky, as a "big government anarchist," but, like the M.I.T. Linguistics professor, he's at his best when writing about foreign policy. He makes it clear, without chanting "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!," that he loves his country and countrymen, just not its rulers, seen and unseen.

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William Pfaff on Emperor Obama

Mr. Pfaff reminds us that "the United States now has 1.25 million service men and women on active duty, 700,000 civilians in service and supporting roles, and that it outsources guard and security duties, some combat, (and in the past, at least, some torturing of prisoners), to an unknown number of private and foreign mercenaries... on 800 to 1,000 bases scattered about the world" — A Duped President’s Wasted Foreign-Policy Year. He continues:
    What, ultimately, is this for? Barack Obama would say that it is meant to assure the security of the United States. He has been duped.

    The Americans who today are actually at risk from dangers that have a foreign origin are these hundreds of thousands of people stationed around the world, intervening in the political affairs of other societies.

    They are fighting in support of one or another internal faction or group inside foreign countries of no actual importance to American interests. They are luckless participants in America’s grand but futile effort to defeat local insurrections and radical groups, nearly all of them inspired by America’s own interventionist policies.

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The Unmentionable, Non-Interventionism

"Leon Hadar looks at the curious phenomenon of populists who take the establishment position on one very big issue -- war" — Why Aren't Tea Parties Antiwar? He reminds us that "opinion polls indicate that most Americans are growing disenchanted with American global interventionism," that "as many Americans are unhappy with Wall Street's bailout and the health care reform bill as they are with the military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan."

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Free Porn at Korean Airports!

For security staff — Korean Airports to Embrace Full-Body Scanners. The article reminds us that "the scanners produce an anatomical image of passengers' bodies, including breasts and genitals."

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Father Joseph Kim Joon-tae on the North-South Exchange of Fire

"The parish priest of Incheon diocese’s Baengnyeong Church, located on Baengnyeong-do, an island near the site of the shooting" says, "Both North and South Korea set off these stand-offs by threatening each other[, b]ut to seek a solution by military means is not desirable and only worsens the tension" — Frontline priest urges peaceful solutions.

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Not Our Fight

But one we could be sucked into, such is the nature of the "entangling alliances" George Washington's Farewell Address warned us against — Seoul and Pyongyang exchange fire in Yellow Sea.

Patrick J. Buchanan said it best three years ago in More Troops—or Less Empire: "If the 60 million Koreans, North and South, were raptured up to heaven, how would America be imperiled?"

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Fear the Boom and Bust" Rapped by Billy Scafuri and Adam Lustick, as John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich August von Hayek


Thanks to Sam Crane of The Useless Tree for sending along the above. Readers of this blog will know with whom I side.

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Servant of God Dorothy Day on the State and Subsidiarity

Michael Iafrate posts absolute must-see "rare Dorothy Day interviews from the 1970s" — Dorothy Day interview videos. After hopefully noting that "it’s beginning to work from the bottom up, instead of from the top down," the great woman says:
    Everybody looks to the State, and looks to the State for funding, and looks to the State to keep our schools going—always turning to the State… and the State isn’t supposed to be functioning in this way. Martin Buber says the State should be ”a community of communities.” And, certainly, the popes have said that the State should never do what smaller bodies can do…and here, when unions, and credit unions, and cooperatives are the basis of man’s mutual aid and working together. It’s an entirely different political point of view…and, it makes for peace.

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China's One-Child Policy Doomed?

The fact "that China’s one-child family policy has been a disaster" is nothing new, but that "the nation’s top think tank – the Communist Government’s Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) -" is now saying so is — China’s Cassandra prophecy. Authoress Constance Kong notes that "even if China totally repealed the one-child family policy today, it would be too late for today’s generation of teenage boys."

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Bring Back America First

"Anti-war opposition has failed and needs to begin anew," says Kevin Zeese — Remodeling the Antiwar Movement. "The vast majority of Americans widely opposes war and wants the U.S. to focus its resources at home," he reminds us, continuing:
    Rather than anti-war opposition being broad-based, it has been a narrow. It is a leftish movement that does not include Middle America or conservatives who also see the tremendous waste of the bloated military budget and the militarism of U.S. foreign policy.
He calls for "recognizing the broad, legitimate opposition to war and the long-term anti-war views of Americans across the political spectrum" and presents some history:
    There is a long history of opposition to war among traditional conservatives. Their philosophy goes back to President Washington’s Farewell Address where he urged America to avoid “foreign entanglements.” It has showed itself throughout American history. The Anti-Imperialist League opposed the colonialism of the Philippines in the 1890s. The largest anti-war movement in history, the America First Committee, opposed World War II and had a strong middle America conservative foundation in its make-up. The strongest speech of an American president against militarism was President Eisenhower’s 1961 final speech from the White House warning America against the growing military-industrial complex.

    In recent years the militarist neo-conservative movement has become dominate of conservatism in the United States. Perhaps none decry this more than traditional conservatives who oppose massive military budgets, militarism and the American empire. Anti-war conservatives continue to exist, speak out and organize. Much of their thinking can be seen in the American Conservative magazine which has been steadfastly anti-war since its founding in 2002 where their first cover story was entitled “Iraq Folly.”

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Another Comment About Comments

About a month ago, I mentioned the reasons that from now on I "will be using Blogger.com's own service" — A Comment About Comments.

Last night, this blog's comboxes were attacked by spambots. Deleting one or two spam messages a day is no trouble, but when they start coming in by the minute, action needs to be taken. In an attempt to fix that, it appears that I required commenters to register, something I always hate. I want to make it as easy as possible for people to comment, so the registration step has been scrapped, and added instead is one of those annoying "word verification" steps. Sorry for the headaches.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thomas Quasthoff Sings Johann Sebastian Bach's Cantata, Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen

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Fred Reed's Five Questions for Abiogenesists

    (1) Do we actually know, as distinct from hope, suspect, speculate, or pray, of what the primeval seas consisted? (2) Do we actually know what sort of sea or seas would be necessary to engender life in the time believed available? (3) Has the accidental creation of life been repeated in the laboratory? (4) Can it mathematically be shown possible without making highly questionable assumptions? And (5) If the answers to the foregoing are 'no,' would it not be reasonable to regard the idea of chance abiogenesis as pure speculation?
For asking such questions he was "accused of 'trying to tear down science,' [and] of wanting 'to undo the work of tens of thousands of scientists'" — Evolutionary Psychology, Sort Of.

"A question is an admission of ignorance," he reminds us. "If the answers to all four questions were 'no,' it wouldn’t establish that the asserted abiogenesis didn’t happen, but only that we didn’t know whether it had happened. So why the blisterish sensitivity?" He concludes by reminding that "Richard Feynman said that 'science is the culture of doubt.'"

Speaking of Feynman, physicists, from my experience, are not so blisterishly sensitive as are evolutionary biologists. Life Science is the only science to which this blogger has any high-level exposure (through years of tutoring graduate students and researchers with their presentations). And let me tell you, the more you learn about protein trafficking and signal transduction and such things, the less sense it all makes. One of the wiser students I tutored admitted, "We'll never know how life functions."

The undergraduate students I teach, all science and engineering majors, tend to hate biology, unless, of course, they are that third rarest of birds, biology majors (the first and second rarest of birds are the physics and math majors). Why? "It makes no sense," they tell me. At least it makes no sense the way other sciences do. As a linguist (applied), I can relate to that. Linguistics is either the most scientific of the humanities or the most human of the sciences, and the similarities to biology are many. But linguists are known for their tolerance of ambiguity.

The rabidly angry Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers are both biologists. Perhaps a failure to come to grips with the uncertainties and ambiguities in their own field, especially when posed with the scary anthropocentric speculation posited by some interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, is at the root of their rage.

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Papal Primacy, So Close and Yet So Far

"Relations with the Orthodox Churches have never been so promising as they have since Joseph Ratzinger has been pope," reports Sandro Magister — "The Pope Is the First Among the Patriarchs." Just How Remains to Be Seen. He quotes a document "approved unanimously by both sides" that "highlights the points of agreement and disagreement" in the following
    Both sides agree that . . . that Rome, as the Church that "presides in love" according to the phrase of St Ignatius of Antioch, occupied the first place in the taxis, and that the bishop of Rome was therefore the protos among the patriarchs. They disagree, however, on the interpretation of the historical evidence from this era regarding the prerogatives of the bishop of Rome as protos, a matter that was already understood in different ways in the first millennium.

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The American Conservative, Post-Buchanan

The magazine founded by the man who wrote State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America is now under the editorship of a man who argues that "axe-grinding ideologues have fallen for a myth of immigrant lawlessness" — His-Panic.

My experiences with Puerto Ricans (who are not immigrants) and with Dominicans, Cubans, and Mexicans, have been overwhelmingly positive, but it's still sad to see the current editor take a swipe at the founder. That said, the point that "just as many on the Right succumbed to a fantastical foreign policy that makes the world much more dangerous than it needs to be, some have also accepted the myth that Hispanic immigrants and their children have high crime rates," shows that the founder's principled Isolationism, the sine qua non for inclusion in the conversation, is still respected.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Louis Armstrong Performs "When The Saints Go Marching In"


The above seems appropriate, albeit sacrilegious (against Jazz and Catholicism), but having some family down there, I can appreciate the sentiment of homeboy Rod Dreher, whose "I don't much care about pro football" stance I share — Saints to the Super Bowl! Jesus coming back soon!

Venerable Pope Pius XII was a fan, and in 1949 had a private audience with Louis Armstrong, or is that the other way around?

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Jero Sings Echigojishino Uta


The New Beginning introduces us to the surprisingly inspirational story of the above American Enka singer, which will be appreciated by anyone having grown up close to a grandma — Jero.

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S.S.P.X. Austrianism?

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Corporatist "Healthcare" Exposed

"Corporate lobbies are using their whores in Congress to shift income from physician offices to corporate labs, corporate medical service providers, and hospitals that are owned by national corporations," explains Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, "assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury in the Reagan administration, associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, Senior Research Fellow in the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and held the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University" — How Wall Street Destroyed Private Medicine. An excerpt that every American should internalize:
    The fate of the health care bill demonstrates the power of private lobbies. What was to be health care for Americans was instantly transformed into 30 million new patients for the private health insurance industry. The “solution” to tens of millions of Americans being unable to afford health care is a law that requires them to purchase a private health care policy or be annually fined. As most of these uninsured Americans cannot afford to purchase a private policy, the plan is for the federal government to use taxpayers’ money to subsidize their purchase of a policy from private companies.

    In other words, tax money is being diverted to the pockets of private businesses. This is par for the course in “capitalist” America.

    In today’s America, Karl Marx’s criticisms of capitalism are understated. Wherever one looks, the scene is one of the government using taxpayers’ money to enrich private interests. Taxes are collected from people who can barely make it, and the revenues are transferred to multi-millionaires and billionaires. The federal government piles debt on the backs of heavily burdened and dispossessed Americans in order that investment banksters can pay annual bonuses that exceed the lifetime earnings of most Americans.

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Mom and Pop Child Laundering

A look at "the secretive process that has seen tens of thousands of unwanted girls born to dirt-poor parents in the Chinese countryside growing up in the United States with names like Kelly and Emily" — A family in China made babies their business. "The lucrative trade in newborns was fueled by an adoption frenzy that saw government-run orphanages paying for children who they then made available to Westerners."

Yes, the Kellies and Emilies, some of whom have been my own children's playmates, are better off in America and their adoptive parents are most likely good people, but that does not mean that this whole child laundering industry, with its unnatural demand from Westerners and cynical encouragement from Beijing, should not be questioned.

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Nisbetian Conservatism

Susan McWilliams offers an excellent appraisal of "Robert Nisbet’s conservatism of community against the state" — Hometown Hero. An excerpt:
    It was at Berkeley, under the tutelage of the iconoclastic Frederick J. Teggart and his department of social institutions, that Nisbet found a powerful defense of intermediate institutions in the conservative thought of 19th-century Europe. Nisbet saw in thinkers like Edmund Burke and Alexis de Tocqueville—then all but unknown in American scholarship—an argument on behalf of what he called “conservative pluralism.” Against an ever-centralizing modern state, these thinkers saw small, partial, and local centers of authority as vital to human freedom and any genuine sense of community.

    [....]

    For Nisbet, conservatism is premised on protection of the social order—“family, neighborhood, local community, and region foremost”—from the politically centralizing and socially atomizing effects of the modern state. This involves more than a single-minded commitment to order or liberty—and it certainly doesn’t mean privileging one of these goods at the expense of the other. Nisbet criticized libertarians who think unfettered markets should lie at the center of conservative doctrine. “There has never been a time when a successful economic system has rested upon purely individualistic drives,” he wrote. Yet he was more trenchant about those conservatives for whom order implied militarism. Military statism, he wrote, contributes to the “brutalization of cultural standards” and a disabling “bureaucracy and regimentation.”

    Order has to be built from the ground up, nurtured and reinforced within the structures of a local community. When centralized authorities try to impose it from a distance, the result is actually disorder: individuals become increasingly isolated, cut off from participation, and convinced of the meaninglessness of the political process. Liberty, too, is realized most fully in social groups. “The individual alone is powerless,” he wrote. “Individual will and memory, apart from the reinforcement of associative tradition, are weak and ephemeral.” Even what we tend to think of as individual greatness depends on a healthy social sphere: Nisbet emphasized that the figures we call “founders” and “geniuses” were not solitary creatures but social animals embedded in communities marked by shared memory.

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Roepkeanism in India

The great Wilhelm Röpke comes to mind reading this news of a "meeting of Christian professionals and industrialists" whose "goal [is] to make the Christian community in India leaders of an economic development attentive to human needs... [i]n the footsteps of the last encyclical of the pope" — Over 300 leading Indian industrialists bring Christian values to economy.

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Orange County Gay Men's Chorus Performs Morten Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium and Ave Dulcissima Maria




Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943), Wikipedia informs us, has been hailed as "the only American composer in history who can be called a mystic, (whose) probing, serene work contains an elusive and indefinable ingredient which leaves the impression that all the questions have been answered."

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Pro-Abortion Is Anti-Science

    Although it is backed most strongly by those with an affinity for the secular, objective values of modern science, it was science that led to the creation of state laws against abortion in the nineteenth century. Advances in medical technology and knowledge led physicians to understand that life begins at conception, not at the point at which the pregnant woman can feel the baby kick (usually 18-21 weeks gestation). The point of “quickening”—referring to life—was originally a religious theory that saw God infusing the fetus with a life-bearing soul. It was thought that the baby was not yet alive until the woman felt internal flutters or kicks. Biological knowledge corrected the theory and identified the existence of human life at the point of conception. For this reason, the American Medical Association began encouraging the protection of unborn babies from the very beginning of development. Sadly, by the 1960s, the AMA joined the ABA in rejecting science and embracing injustice.
The above is but one of the "many ironies in the movement for legalized abortion," explained by Jeff Taylor — The Lost Children.

An old post of mine reminded us that "the facts have been known for more than a hundred and thirty years" — This Was Settled By a Zoologist, Not by a Pope . This truth was stumbled upon by the ancients; The Hippocratic Oath obliges doctors to "perform the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life." Any speculation that life begins at some time other than conception is subjective, and therefore unscientific.

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Catholicism, Protestantism, and Voodooism

    The Protestants tell people that voodoo is evil... They say that voodoo is responsible for this. They are taking advantage of the situation to get people into churches.... We are like good neighbors with Catholics. They just tell us to pray, they don't tell us we're evil.
Thus spake Voodoo priestess Marie Michele Louis, quoted in an interesting article — In Haiti, some see the spirit world behind the quake. This bit of history is interesting as well:
    Protestant faiths, particularly Pentecostal ones, have been gaining a stronger foothold in the country since the dictatorship of Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, who invited in U.S. missionaries and once held a reception for Oral Roberts at the National Palace.

    The missionaries didn't threaten him politically, brought money into the country and eroded the dominance of the Catholic Church he loathed.

    Still, the relationship with the Christians was strange for a man who wanted Haiti to remove European cultural influences and used voodoo himself to inspire fear. His owlish glasses and black attire, in fact, gave him the look of a gede.

    His brutal reign -- employing death squads called the Tonton Macoutes, named after a folkloric figure who took children away in a knapsack as they slept -- reinforced voodoo's dark reputation in and out of Haiti.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thomas Quasthoff Sings J.S. Bach's Cantata Herr, wie du willt, so schick's mit mir, Composed for the Third Sunday After Epiphany

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Mongolia's Austrian White Russian Khan


J.K. Baltzersen reminds us that "[a] century and two dozen years ago today, Baron Roman Nickolai Maximilian von Ungern-Sternberg was born" — Roman Ungern von Sternberg.

Wikipedia calls Roman Ungern von Sternberg "[a]n independent and brutal warlord in pursuit of pan-monarchist goals in Mongolia and territories east of Lake Baikal during the Russian Civil War that followed the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, [whose] goals included restoring the Russian monarchy under Michael Alexandrovich Romanov and the Mongolian Khanate under Bogd Khan, and [whose] opponents were mainly Communists." Of his brief rule in Mongolia, were are told the following:
    On March 13, 1921, Mongolia was proclaimed an independent monarchy, under Ungern von Sternberg as a dictator. A mystic who was fascinated by beliefs and religions of the Far East such as Buddhism and who believed himself to be a reincarnation of Genghis Khan, Ungern von Sternberg's philosophy was an exceptionally muddled mixture of Russian nationalism with Chinese and Mongol beliefs. His brief rule of Mongolia was characterised by looting and a reign of terror by his army.
"The rise and fall of Baron Ungern-Sternberg is one of the most demented, savage and grotesque stories of modern times," says Simon Sebag Montefiore, in the article whence comes the photo at the top of this post, in which the subject is called "a sadistic, mystical Russian warlord obsessed with Genghis Khan, Buddhism and anti-Semitism" — Baron Ungern-Sternberg, meteoric nutter.

Christopher Eger calls him the "psychopathic warlord of Mongolia and Military Buddhist," and a "poster child for the worst elements of the Imperial Russian Officer Corps" — 20th Century Genghis Khan. His reign is described as "a surreal existence [that] fell over Mongolia as the Baron and his army, now dubbed the Order of Military Buddhists, performed every type of atrocity imaginable including torture and cannibalism." Yet, we are reminded that "[t]oday in Mongolia he is seen as something of a liberator due to the fact that he ended hundreds of years of Chinese occupation, even if he traded it for hell on earth."

The Mad Monarchist offers a more favorable appraisal of the "Mad Baron" who "dreamed of building a monarchist bulwark in the Far East by restoring the Mongol Khanate as well as the Qing dynasty in China from which he could strike out and destroy the Communist regimes and restore traditional monarchies" — Monarchist Profile: Baron Ungern von Sternberg:
    In early 1921 the Baron invaded Mongolia and drove out the Chinese republican forces, liberating the Bogd Khan from captivity and restoring him to the throne. He then set his troops to work cleaning up Urga, installing modern lights, telephones, sanitation and so on. He sent letters to the exiled Emperor of China and to the Emperor of Japan asking for their support in his pan-monarchist coalition. He defeated several republican and communist incursions into Mongolia but was hampered by a lack of an industrial base and a steady reserve of manpower. By the summer he took his forces to attack Kiatkha which Soviet-backed Mongol communists had seized that spring. Unlike his earlier victory in Urga his forces were soundly defeated and barely managed to escape. His plan had been to rally traditionalists to his banner in Siberia, overthrow the Marxists and place the Grand Duke Michael on the throne as Tsar of Russia (he did not know the Grand Duke was already dead). That plan was dashed and while on his way to take refuge in Tibet a group of his soldiers mutinied but did not kill him. He was captured by the Soviets whose propaganda had portrayed him as the most vile criminal imaginable and after a show-trial he was executed on September 15, 1921.

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Anarchy, i.e. Spontaneaous Order, on the Streets of Port-au-Prince

Dieu merciHaiti alley tries to take matters in hand. The report follows "a founding member of the executive board of the Delmas 36 Committee, representing several blocks' worth of homeless, destitute earthquake survivors," who "has taken down in careful cursive the names of 389 residents at 36 Delmas Street, all in need of food, water and tents." From the report:
    Across Port-au-Prince, block by block, Haitians are arranging themselves into subsets within the chaos around them. Seizing upon a centuries-long tradition of the most basic grass-roots community organizing, they have set up sort of neighborhood watch committees meant to facilitate the distribution of aid and maintain security.
"Haiti is not so much a failed state as a phantom state," a Haiti scholar is quoted as saying. "Haitians are used to having very little services. They see the state never comes, so they must do it themselves."

"Anarchy is the glue that holds society together," said Roderick T. Long — Icky Sticky Anarchy.

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"It’s a Hard Time to Be a Farmer These Days"

The explanation given by a neighbor of the man who's end is told in this disturbing story from my home state — Farmer kills 51 cows then turns gun on himself.

He left "a note on the door that said not to come in and to call the police" in an effort "to save any family or friends from having to discover him." We learn that "Mr. Pierson was a well respected dairy farmer."

The response of the community was impressive, as farmers "came together and dug a large trench beside the barn to bury the bodies of the cows" and "[o]ut of respect for Pierson’s family the men said they would leave any comments on the matter to the police and Pierson’s widow."

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More Kodachrome™ Documentation of the Disastrous F.D.R. Years


A conservative blog for peace brings to our attention hundreds more photos like the ones posted yesterday — 1930s-40s in Color.

I'm struck by the clear superiority of Kodachrome imagery over that produced by most digital cameras, and the even clearer superiority of the hair and clothing styles of that era. Whig history debunked again.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Hwang Byŏnggi Performs Hŭimori on the Korean Zither, 1966

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Mr. Bush's Crusade

"Since the US invasion of Iraq, Western-style Protestant evangelical Christianity has begun to appear in that country," reports Orthodox Deacon Steve Hayes — Evangelism, or cultural imperialism. "It is not, however," he notes, "converting Muslims to the Christian faith, but proselytising among other Christians."

He cites a report that "[a] newly energized Christian evangelical activism here, supported by Western and other foreign evangelicals, is now challenging the dominance of Iraq's long-established Christian denominations [sic] and drawing complaints from Muslim and Christian religious leaders about a threat to the status quo." I side with the wise "Muslim and Christian religious leaders."

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America... In Color!

"On December 6th, a very different America prevailed," says Johnny Gunn in his "look at America before Pearl Harbor... with Kodachrome film - the first commercially viable color film available to the general public" — A Look Back in History.

Of the photo above, Mr. Gunn comments that "little do these Japanese Americans suspect - as they celebrate their culture during the World's Fair - that within two years, they will be deported to relocation camps by their own government." A few of others, which can be seen in far greater detail on the linked site:






[link via A conservative blog for peace]

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Corporations Are Not Persons

I think I agree with Old Right Nader, the man who much to my surprise got my vote in '08, that a little rectification of names is in order here — Corporate Personhood Should Be Banned, Once and For All.

Mr. Wendell Berry of Kentucky, I seem to recall, said as much, going as far to say, I seem to recall again, that such a step would solve a lot of our ills. But I'm beyond myself here. I need a lawyer. Mark in Spokane? I mean, Libertas et Memoria? What sayest thou?

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Justin Raimondo, Speaker of the House

In a just world, yes; the man himself relates his ill-fated 1996 run against Nancy Pelosi as the Republican candidate in California’s 8th congressional district — I Coulda Been A Contenda. "The genesis of my campaign was the run-up to the war in the former Yugoslavia," he writes:
    One the one side, we had the Clintonian Democrats, who were backing the President’s clear determination to bomb some of the oldest cities in Europe into submission, who justified their pro-war stance in the name of a fulsome liberal internationalism. On the other side were the Republicans, who disdained the meddlesome self-righteousness of such war-hawks as Madam Pelosi and Hillary Clinton – the latter reportedly badgered her husband unmercifully until he consented to order bombing raids over Belgrade. Only John "Boots on the Ground" McCain dissented from the emerging post-cold war Republican consensus that it ill behooved the United States to go charging off policing the world.
His goal was the "building [of] a libertarian caucus of the GOP, an 'entryist' strategy, as the Trotskyists used to say, which is precisely what the Ron Paul movement is attempting to do today." Click to read why "[t]he low point was my meeting with the Log Cabin Republicans, the local chapter of the gay GOP group," and why they refused to endorse him, which he "took... as a compliment, and ploughed onward."

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The Western Confucian, Cartographer


Above, a smaller version the map created by "visiting Italian-born Jesuit priest, Matteo Ricci, and apparently commissioned by the court of Emperor Wanli in 1602 — the year after Ricci became the first Westerner admitted to Peking and then the Forbidden City—" which is described as "partly a tribute to the land in which Ricci had lived since 1582, and in which he would die in 1610" — A Big Map That Shrank the World.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ris et Danceries Perform Henry Purcell's "Chinese Chaconne"

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Vodou or Voodoo?

Steve Sailer says that "the fad for changing the spelling of 'voodoo' to 'vodou' in news stories about Haiti is just another example of the long-running campaign to make the American public more ignorant by cutting them off from their past learning by changing names" — Haiti & Anarchism: One Cheer for Voodoo!

"The intention is to make Americans' eyes glaze over when they see the word 'vodou' instead of light up when they see 'voodoo.'" He pithily adds, "We'll know that liberals are sincere when they start referring to tax-cutting as 'vodou economics.'"

Mr. Sailer also posts a 2002 article of his arguing that with "attempts to create a new name unburdened by old prejudices, the name game can end up dissipating the goodwill built up toward the old one" — The Name Game - Inuit or Eskimo?

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Anarcho-Voodooism

Steve Sailer discusses economist Tyler Cowen's thoughts on "how well Haiti can do as an anarchistic society" — Haiti & Anarchism: One Cheer for Voodoo! "Haiti is one [an anarchistic society] right now and arguably many parts of the Haitian countryside have been quasi-anarchistic for a long time, ruled by either custom or gangs," writes the economist. "It's evidence that the Haitian social fabric is a lot stronger than many people thought."

Mr. Sailer "suspect[s] a belief in voodoo lessens criminal predation in situations without effective policing" and relates an anecdote about how "modernity ruins morals in tribal villages in Africa" and their "stable culture underpinned by fear of retribution by black magic." He notes, however, that "voodoo has its disadvantages: it has no ethical content."

To what extent does the island nation's other official religion, Catholicism, provide the "ethical content" that allows Haitian anarchism to work? Does the role of either religion compare to that played in that other example of anarchism in practice, the one Yumi Kim describes — Stateless in Somalia, and Loving It?

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The Philosopher's Confucianism

"Aristotle makes his point about actual experience by reminding us that if we are brought up in good habits, we are already prepared to recognize the principles of good action, its source in our being," reminds James V. Schall, S.J. — Aristotelian Principles.

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That Vote in Massachusetts

Leave it to the "hard left" at CounterPunch to say something interesting about the election, with editor Alexander Cockburn calling it "a richly deserved humiliation" — Coakley Loses and a Good Job Too — and John V. Walsh explaining his strategic protest vote — Why I Voted for the Republican in Massachusetts.

Of course, the man behind LewRockwell.com nails it explaining that "Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) is clearly a neocon, ostensibly opposed to big government when it is Democratic and loving it when it is Republican," and that "Martha Coakley claimed to be for the 'rule of law,' but her history as a county and state persecutor show her to be a neocon too" — Impeach Brown!

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Journalism Without Booze?

"It's easy to reduce all of what is wrong with American journalism to the near industrywide ban on booze in the newsroom," says Jack Shafer; "So I will" — No Booze at Journalism's Wake.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stefan Jackiw Plays Frédéric Chopin's Nocturne in C# Minor


Above, some music to accompany this Chosun Ilbo article about the grandson of "famed essayist Pi Chon-duk" who "has gradually established himself as a passionate and intelligent musician in his own right" and emerged as "one of the most promising young violinists in the world" — Violinist Stefan Jackiw Continues Family's Legacy in the Arts.

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The WaPo Hails O-bomb-a

The sinster nature of the "Vital Center" is revealed in this article praising the fact that "even as Obama has sought to convey an image of a deliberate leader preoccupied with the battle's human toll, he has used military power at least as aggressively as his Republican predecessor did during the waning years of his administration" — One year later: How Obama has learned to become a wartime commander in chief.

The article reminds us that "Obama has set in motion plans to triple the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan" and "expanded operations against U.S. enemies in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen." (No mention is made of why in the world we have enemies in such distant places.) We are also reminded of "a pair of seemingly incongruous speeches" in which "he planned to announce an escalation of the war in Afghanistan" and "would accept the Nobel Peace Prize." (The speeches were only "seemingly incongruous" to non-interventionists, I suppose; liberal interventionists and other neocons saw the congruity.)

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Dreaming of Pope John Paul II

An interesting story of a woman whose "husband prayed for the intercession Pope John Paul II, who reportedly appeared to him in a dream," and was told, "I can't do anything, you must pray to this other priest" — Details of possible Pius XII miracle.

Just last night, I either dreamt of Pope John Paul II or he appeared to me in a dream. I kissed his ring and asked him to pray for my daughter. Today was better than yesterday.

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The Saint of the Gutters

"She makes me a bad Marxist since she makes me believe in godliness," said "veteran Marxist leader and former West Bengal Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu," who recently died — Mother Teresa's communist soulmate dead.

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Ena Zizi's Story

"A 69-year-old ardent Roman Catholic who said she prayed constantly during her week under the rubble was among the unlikely survivors of the epic Haitian earthquake" — Crews pull more Haiti quake survivors from ruins. Her story:
    Ena Zizi had been at a church meeting at the residence of Haiti's Roman Catholic archbishop when the quake struck, trapping her in debris. On Tuesday, she was rescued by a Mexican disaster team that was created in the wake of Mexico City's 1985 earthquake.

    Zizi said that after the quake, she spoke back and forth with a vicar who also was trapped. But after a few days, he fell silent, and she spent the rest of the time praying and waiting.

    "I talked only to my boss, God," she said. "And I didn't need any more humans."
The article informs us that "[c]rews at the cathedral compound site Tuesday managed to recover the body of the archbishop, Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, who was killed in the Jan. 12 quake." Requiescat in pace. Requiescant in pace.

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The Pacific War

'Twas fought "to avenge the loathsome FDR and his pro-Soviet disciples' self-serving and cleverly premeditated 'day of infamy' and to fulfill the bloodthirsty Josef Stalin's totalitarian fantasies," explains Michael E. Kreca — The Needless US Pacific War with Japan – Courtesy of Stalin and FDR.

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A New Site

You may remember Front Porch Republic author and webmaster Stewart K. Lundy's excellent article arguing that "[i]t is precisely the formlessness of conservatism which gives it its vitality" — The Art of Living. He's part of a new project — Drunken Koudou.

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Orthodoxy in Space


The above image accompanies the happy news that "[t]he Gospels, four icons, crosses and a relic of the True Cross have been taken aboard the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS)" — Relics, icons and crosses are onboard International Space Station, cosmonaut says. The report reminds us that "U.S. astronaut Ronald Garan brought a relic of St. Therese of Lisieux with him on the space shuttle Discovery in 2008."

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The Western Confucian at the Vatican

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"Potemkin Economy"

The above phrase was "coined for the more apparently false economic recovery in the United States is the title of the e-mail above" by reader Steven Cornett. He explains:
    Like a Potemkin Village, which is the artificial shell to hide a damaging reality, the U.S. Unemployment rate hides the continuing increase in unemployment. Long term "discouraged" workers, as well as short term ones are simply "written out" of the labor force due to innovations in calculation of the official unemployment number or U3, in place since the 1980s and early 1990s. The U6 unemployment numbers actually show a rate of 17.4%, and according to Bloomberg.com, the only reason the official U3 rate didn't increase to 10.4% in December is because 661 thousand people have been written out of the total labor force that month as well.
He links to this article on the "exodus of discouraged workers from the job market" — Shrinking U.S. Labor Force Keeps Unemployment Rate From Rising — as well as this very useful site explaining "why the CPI, GDP and employment numbers run counter to your personal and business experiences" — Shadow Government Statistics.

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Confucian Conservatism

The Western Standard's Kalim Kassam sends along a post by the Secular Right's Razib Khan reminding us, among other things, that "much of human history is Chinese history" and "that China has always been characterized by export surpluses over its history" — The Confucian conservatives. Mr. Khan concludes:
    Today we in a world dominated by Whiggish technocratic sensibilities are wont to denigrate the achievements of Imperial China, and characterize it as a regime of reflexive adherence to blind protocols and exhibiting a cultural torpor. And yet what would we say if Rome and arisen multiple times and revived its ancient forms for thousands of years? One might wonder if Roman ways were robust and congenial to human flourishing. The Confucian idolatry of antiquity seems backward looking to us today, but in a Malthusian world they made the best of it, and rested their philosophy upon concrete realities of family, custom and tradition. Lived human existence and not abstractions. I suspect there is much we could learn from their long record of success, and I believe, and yes hope, that China might learn something from its own cultural past as it surges toward material affluence.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Le Cénacle du Chevalier de Saint George

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M.L.K. Day Quote of the Day

"The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government," quoted by Michael J. Iafrate — Quote of the week.

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Faith, Hope, Charity, and Haiti


"You have to question your faith, but hopefully not lose it," said a Haitian seminarian, quoted in the article whence comes the above photo — Searching among a Haitian cathedral's ruins.

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Trend Reversal in Latin America

"After years of victories by leftist candidates, market-friendly moderates are gaining ground in the region," reports Juan Forero — Chile race reflects Latin America's growing preference for free-market centrists. It seems like just yesterday we were reading the opposite.

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The Vietnamese Ly Dynasty in Korea

Robert Neff posts some very interesting links — Vietnam: The Origin of Korea?

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mater Salvatoris, Ora Pro Nobis



Mari se pou ou kontan
Ou menm ki plen farè
Granmèt la avèk ou
Li beni ou pase tout fi
E, li bemi Jezu pitit ou fè a
Mari ou sen, ou se manman Bondye
Nou se pechè
La priyè pou nou jodya
Ak lè nou prèt pou mouri. Amèn.

  • An urgent appeal to "help the people of Haiti... in the aftermath of a massive earthquake that struck near the capital of Port-au-Prince" — Donate to Catholic Relief Services. "Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and was still recovering from deadly 2008 hurricanes when the quake struck."


  • Very sad news including "unconfirmed reports of hundreds of priests dead" — Archbishop of Port-au-Prince dies in earthquake.


  • [links to articles via A conservative blog for peace]

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    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Carolina Chocolate Drops' "Genuine Negro Jig" Preview

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    President Obama and the Negro Question

    This was stupid — Reid apologizes for 'no Negro dialect' comment. This was stupider — Reid fights for political life; Republicans call on him to step down. This was right — Blagojevich: 'I'm Blacker Than Barack Obama'.

    Senator Reid only spoke an obvious truth about White America; the GOP's grandstanding was contemptuous; Governor Blagojevich was correct that the president's personal history has nothing to do with the Black American experience.

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    Our Rational Universe

    "A hith­er­to un­dis­cov­ered sym­me­try can be found in sol­id mat­ter at very small scales" that "in­volves the gold­en ra­tio fa­mous from art and ar­chi­tec­ture" — “Golden ratio” hints at hidden atomic symmetry.

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    The Catholic Faith and the Seventh Art in Korea

    The Marmot's Hole brings to our attention a report that "Waegwan Abbey, one of the oldest Catholic monasteries in Korea and home to more than 100 priests and Catholic monks, has become famous for an unusual reason - its collection of classic European films, a rarity in Korea" — Salvation through cinema.

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    God's Nuns

    Pentimento brings to our attention "a contemplative community that enables girls with Down’s syndrome to respond to a religious vocation" — Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb. My mother, a nurse, worked in a day treatment facility and always called folks with Down's "God's people."

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    Islam's Thirty Years’ War

    Patrick J. Buchanan asks a question — Why Are They at War With Us? The answer comes from "Osama bin Laden himself, in his declaration of war in 1998, published in London, who gave al-Qaida’s reasons for war," reminds Mr. Buchanan, naming "the U.S. military presence on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia," "U.S. sanctions causing terrible suffering among the Iraqi people," and "U.S. support for Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinians." Mr. Buchanan:
      Like Europe’s Thirty Years’ War—among Germans, French, Czechs, Dutch, Danes, Swedes, Scots and English, Catholics and Protestants, kings, princes and emperors—the Muslim world is roiled by conflicts between pro-Western autocrats and Islamic militants, Sunni and Shia, modernists and obscurantists, nationalities, tribes and clans. The outcome of these wars, the future of their lands—is that not their business, and not ours?

      The Muslims stayed out of our Thirty Years’ War. Perhaps we would do well to get out of theirs. But as long as we take sides in their wars, those we fight and kill over there will come to kill us over here.
    Mr. Buchanan concludes that terrorist attacks are "payback for our intervention," "the price of empire," and "the cost of the long war."

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    The Maid of Orleans

    "While it was not altogether uncommon for teenage peasant girls in the late Middle Ages to have religious visions, it was rather more unusual for them to advise kings and lead armies into battle," writes David A. Bell in his review of a new book on a member of "that select club of historical figures (Shakespeare, Napoleon, Lincoln, Churchill) who are so endlessly fascinating that new biographies appear on a virtually annual basis" — Visions.

    Below, the conclusion of Carl Theodor Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) with Richard Einhorn's Sonic Youth-inspired 1994 Voices of Light soundtrack:

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    Christopher Hitchens on Gore Vidal

    The Purest Neocon says, "After 9/11, Vidal’s writings took a graceless lurch toward the crackpot, surpassing even the wilder-eyed efforts of Michael Moore and Oliver Stone, and providing a miserable coda to his brilliant run" — Vidal Loco. Pfooey!

    Particularly, Hitch is horrified that America's greatest man of letters "suspected Franklin Roosevelt of playing a dark hand in bringing on Pearl Harbor and still nurtured an admiration in his breast for the dashing Charles Lindbergh, leader of the American isolationist right in the 1930s." (Mr. Vidal is right on both counts.) Also, the former is outraged that the latter said rightly of what has become of England, "This isn’t a country, it’s an American aircraft carrier."

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    Environmentalism in the Post-Christian West

    "Environmentalism [is] a substitute for religion," writes Stephen T. Asma, explaining, "Instead of religious sins plaguing our conscience, we now have the transgressions of leaving the water running, leaving the lights on, failing to recycle, and using plastic grocery bags instead of paper" — Green Guilt.

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    The Green Pope

    A reminder that "the protection of creation is not principally a response to an aesthetic need, but much more to a moral need, in as much as nature expresses a plan of love and truth which is prior to us and which comes from God" — True Environmentalists Are Pro-Life, Says Pope. This was a truth I found to be self-evident in my twenties, long after I had been a practicing Christian and long before I became a Catholic.

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    Archbishop Burke's Red Mass Homily

    His Eminence hints that ours is a "society which is abandoning its Judeo-Christian foundations, the fundamental obedience to God’s law which safeguards the common good, and is embracing a totalitarianism which masks itself as the 'hope,' the 'future,' of our nation" — A society that masks 'totalitarianism' with 'hope' will destroy itself, warns Archbishop Burke.

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    Peace in the East?

  • Kosuke Takahashi suggests that "the year 2010 may witness a series of epoch-making events in Asia" including "[a] grand rapprochement between Japan and China" — Hatoyama to Nanjing, Hu to Hiroshima?


  • Justin Raimondo wants us to "bring our troops, all of them, home" — End the Korean War. "Sixty years is long enough."
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    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Johann Sebastian Bach's Christ Unser Herr zum Jordan Kam Performed by Hans-André Stamm

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    On Converts and Cradles

    Convert though I may be, I find myself much more interested in what "cradle Catholics" like Arturo Vasquez of Reditus and Enbrethiliel of Sancta Sanctis have been saying of late than any of the converts who make their living in the apologetics industry. I've been reminded of a conversation I had with a Malaysian-Chinese friend in Kuala Lumpur in 1996 when I was still a Protestant.

    Mr. Wong was a Methodist, a member of the ecclesial community which baptized me, but not raised me. We were outside his parish, where I had experienced a mystical revelation of the universality of the Church. (Interesting, given William S. Lind's revelation of a response to "Benedict’s Counter-Reformation" suggesting it "may open up ways in which Methodism, whose origins were as a movement in the Church rather than a separate denomination, may find its place in future, as a Church, alongside others within the universal Church" — Come All Ye Faithful.)

    It was around Christmas, and Mr. Wong said to me that I was fortunate to have grown up in a Christian family. I responded, typically, that, no, we were all the same or whatever, but he quickly corrected me, and reminded me of the profound blessing that I had been given being raised by Christians. He had missed out on much being raised by pagans, he said.

    A very Catholic response, the Methodist Mr. Wong's! And very different from that of the evangelicals I met abroad, who always seemed hell-bent on determining if I was a "real Christian" according to their tenets, suspect as they were of anyone born into a Christian family and country.

    Of course, Christ is manifested in us as individuals, but also as families and cultures and nations. We converts are the poorer for not having been raised Catholic. 'Twould be nice if more professional Catholic converts and their followers humbly recognized this, rather than overreacted with hurt feelings and denunciations.

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    Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Sugar Grove Music Fest

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    J-Lo on IVF

      When it comes to family and relationships, I'm quite traditional. Just because of the way I was raised ... And I also believe in God and I have a lot of faith in that, so I just felt like you don't mess with things like that.
    Thus spake Mrs. Marc Anthony, proving that sometimes, even celebrities are right — Jennifer Lopez Down on In Vitro - So Why is IVF Contrary to Pro-Life Values.

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    Methland

    Susan McWilliams says the book is not "an ABC Afterschool Special for the literary set" but rather an exposé of "the many connections, subtle and apparent, among methamphetamine, immigration policy, and the mega-consolidated industries that we call Big Pharma and Big Agriculture" — The Book You Should Read This Year.

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    Justin Raimondo Has Questions About the "Undie Bomber"

    "The panty bomber mystery deepens" with a "well-dressed 'Indian' man seen accompanying Mutallab at Amsterdam’s Schnipol airport," a "'man in orange' arrested at the Detroit airport, who was on the same flight," and a "man who videotaped the entire flight" — The Weird Factor. The author confesses to having "no hypothesis... as to the meaning of the above" but suggests "that there is a lot more to the Christmas Day incident than our government is letting on."

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    "Benedict’s Counter-Reformation"

    "It is possible to visualize not only Anglicans but all Protestants, in a new Counter-Reformation, leaving behind the cultural Marxists in the husks of their denominational institutions and joining in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church," suggests William S. Lind in a must-read piece — Come All Ye Faithful.

    I don't see it happening. "It is obvious that we are talking about a big leap for the Protestants," says Mr. Lind. "Less obvious, perhaps, is the height of the wall the Roman Catholic Church would have to vault." Still, this brings to mind Soloviev's Apocalypse:
      The Antichrist will blur the edges of the apocalyptic rift between morality and the cross, between cultural progress and the resurrection of the dead. He will permit Christianity to merge into this synthesis as one positive element. 'Christ divided men in terms of good and evil; I shall unite them through the benefits of salvation, which are necessary to good and evil alike. Christ brought the sword, but I bring peace. He threatened the earth with a terrible Last judgment; but I shall be the last judge, and my judgment is one of grace.'

      Satan fills his son with his spirit; his soul is filled with a glacial abundance of enormous power, courage and effortless skill. He composes a manifesto, The Open Path to World Peace and Welfare, an all-embracing programme that unites all contradictions in itself--the highest degree of freedom of thought and a comprehension of every mystical system, unrestricted individualism and a glowing devotion to the general good.

      He establishes a European union of states, then a world monarchy, satisfies the needs of all the poor without perceptibly affecting the rich and founds an inter-confessional institute for free biblical research. He seeks to be elected by the general assembly of the churches as head of the Church (from now on ecumenically united), and receives the approval of the majority.

      But resistance comes from Pope Peter II, John the Elder, leader of the Orthodox and Professor Ernst Pauli, representing Protestantism: under the pressure of persecution the three churches in this eschatological situation at last unite. Peter's primacy is recognized, and the Pauline and Johannine churches come into the Roman fold. The spokesmen of Christianity are persecuted and killed, but they rise again; the last Christians journey to the wilderness, the Jews raise a revolt and the Christians join with them. They are slaughtered; but then Christ appears, robed in the imperial purple, his hands outspread with the marks of the nails upon them, to rule for a thousand years with those who are his own.

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    Avatar and Catholic Social Teaching

    I haven't seen the movie and won't. It's not so much for the sound reasons given by David Brooks — Offensive White Messiah fable at heart of Avatar — but for the simple fact that finding humanoids on other planets requires too much willing suspension of disbelief than I am willing to suspend. That said, David R. Henderson highlights a positive aspect of the film.

    "Do savages have rights?" he asks, calling the film "a powerful antiwar movie – and a defense of property rights" — In Defense of Avatar. He says the film is not "an attack on capitalism" but rather "about people from a high-tech civilization using technology to make war on people from a more primitive society so that they can steal their stuff" and whose "basic principle" is "people’s right to live their lives in peace." Where did we Westerners get such ideas?

    "The Origins of International Law" is the title given to the seventh chapter of Thomas E. Woods' How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, explains how in the aftermath of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, Francisco de Vitoria, noting the abuses he saw, came to the conclusion that "[t]he treatment to which all human beings were entitled... derives from their status as men rather than as members of the faithful in the state of grace." The chapter concludes with this profound statement from Peruvian libertarian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa:
      Father Las Casas was the most active, although not the only one, of those nonconformists who rebelled against abuses inflicted upon the Indians. They fought against their fellow men and against the policies of their own country in the name of the moral principle that to them was higher than any principle of nation or state. This self-determination could not have been possible among the Incas or any of the other pre-Hispanic cultures. In these cultures, as in the other great civilizations of history foreign to the West, the individual could not morally question the social organism of which he was part, because he existed only as an integral atom of that organism and because for him the dictates of the state could not be separated from morality. The first culture to interrogate and question itself, the first to break up the masses into individual beings who with time gradually gained the right to think and act for themselves, was to become, thanks to that unknown exercise, freedom, the most powerful civilization of our world.

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.