Monday, May 31, 2010

Benjamin Britten's War Requiem Conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich








For Memorial Day, excerpts from the Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. The War Requiem "was not meant to be a pro-British piece or a glorification of British soldiers, but a public statement of Britten's anti-war convictions" and "a denunciation of the wickedness of war, not of other men."

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Memorial Day Reads

  • "The war in Iraq is in its seventh year[; t]he war in Afghanistan, in its ninth year, is the longest war in our history, [with] the latest installment of 30,000 new troops is readying for new battles with Taliban fighters in Kandahar," reminds Nora Eisenberg — 10 Things We Must Remember on Memorial Day.

  • "While hiding the death and destruction and certainly blotting out any graphic images of it, our poor excuse for journalism is awash with feel-good stories about the wars," notes John V. Walsh — The Prettification of War.

  • Linda Schrock Taylor on "the oversold, eternal, ineffaceable, World War II" and how "much of [her] entire life has been defined, dictated – and distressed – by the War that served as a finishing school, as well as a continuing way of life, for [her] father's generation" — My War Memorials.
  • Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light (1994) Soundtrack to Carl Theodor Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)


    Above, The Final Walk, The Burning, and The Fire of the Dove from Carl Theodor Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) with Richard Einhorn's Sonic Youth-influenced 1994 Voices of Light soundtrack, in honor of yesterday's Feast Day of Joan of Arc.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "Gutless" and "Clueless"

    Dilip Hiro and Ted Galen Carpenter respectively — Obama’s Gutless Foreign Policy and Obama’s Security Strategy is Clueless.

    "By now," concludes the former, "from Afghanistan to Honduras, Brazil to China, global leaders large and small increasingly sense that the Obama administration’s bark is worse than its bite, and though the U.S. remains a major power, it is no longer the determinative one. The waning of the truncated American Century is by now irreversible.

    Summarizes the latter, "Given the current incentive structure and the clueless U.S. policy that makes it possible, President Obama’s search for willing and capable security partners will prove even more futile than the famous search by Diogenes for an honest man in Ancient Greece."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    All Quiet on the Northern Front

    Shin Joo Hyun of Daily NK, a media outlet of North Korean defectors in the South, reports that "sources whom The Daily NK interviewed on Sunday said that they have not heard anything about war scenarios whatsoever" — North Koreans Say Nation Is Not on War Footing.

    All that's happened has been a "Pyongyang Citizens’ Rally to Criticize the Anti-Republic Confrontational Maneuvers of the American Imperialists and Betrayer Factions" and other "lectures and meetings for cadres criticizing the South." Mr. Shin concludes that "based on this firsthand evidence, the crisis of an impending war, which has been suggested by those parts of the South Korean media inclined to the North Korean regime and in the international media, appears groundless."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    J.S. Bach's Herz und Mund und Tat and Leben Performed by the Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Concentus Musicus Wien, and Nikolaus Harnoncourt


    Today we celebrate the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the feast for which the Lutheran composed the above cantata:
      Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben
      Muß von Christo Zeugnis geben
      Ohne Furcht und Heuchelei,
      Daß er Gott und Heiland sei.


      Heart and mouth and deed and life
      must bear witness to Christ
      without fear and hypocrisy
      that he is God and Saviour.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    B.R. Myers on the Sinking of the Ch'ŏnan

    A reader sends along an op-ed by the noted expert on North Korean propaganda, suggesting, "It would be counterproductive if Washington were to look more interested in punishing North Korea than the injured party is" — South Korea’s Collective Shrug.

    Noting that a "lack of indignation is mainstream here" in South Korea, the author notes that while "[m]ost people now accept North Korea’s responsibility for the sinking" there is "[a] small but sizable minority suspect an elaborate government conspiracy of some sort." Importantly, he says, "What almost all seem to share is the desire that South Korea put this unfortunate business behind it as soon as possible."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Doubts Remain Over the Sinking of the Ch'ŏnan

    "Remember the Maine," cautioned one colleague, to which I added a mention of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident; historian Robert Neff examines the "uncertainty of whether or not we are getting the full story" — Are we being told the truth about the Cheonan? Some email messages to my LewRockwell.com article — Hillary, Go Home! Leave the Koreas to the Koreans! — also expressed uncertainty:
      It remains uncertain that North Korea had anything to do with the sinking of the Cheonan. There are plenty of reasons to believe the whole 'North Korea did it' story is a concoction. The evidence presented so far is certainly unconvincing.

      But Hillary wants a war. Apparently, she doesn't care millions may die as a result. I agree: Hillary go home--but she would be happier in Israel.

      [....]

      As much as I agree with the sentiments you expressed in your recent article about Korea, I must ask whether or not you are certain that North Korea sunk that South Korean vessel? The investigation was done in secret as far as I know and the results were vaguely worded, something about some pieces of metal that were recovered from the wreckage were similar to the parts found in a North Korean torpedo that the South Koreans had gotten hold of some years ago. Forgive me if I am skeptical that identifiable bomb parts can be so easily found under the sea after an explosion.

      I also read that the North Koreans asked to examine the evidence and were denied access under ANY circumstances. Why is the evidence being kept secret?

      The evidence that North Korea is responsible, coming from a close friend of the US regime that lied about the satellite photos of Iraq in order to start that war, is very much in question as far as I am concerned. After all, the Obama regime has benefited from this conveniently timed incident to scare/threaten the new Japanese government into accepting a new US Marine base in Okinawa. Plus, it is much easier for the South Koreans to blame the North rather than to admit that a negligently maintained vessel caused the deaths of their sailors.

      I look to see who benefits from an increase in hostilities, and it is not primarily Kim Jong Il as far as I can see. Are you confident that there really is evidence that the North Koreans are to blame and that they have, in fact, committed some unacceptable provocation?

      [....]

      Thank you for writing this "Hillary, Go Home!. . . " article! I so wish that Japanese would learn to say that loudly as well. Especially when the sinking of Cheonan may have been caused by the USA rising (bottom) mine, a friendly-fire accident, it is truly a travesty to see H Clinton shaking her fingers at North Korea and citing that incident to coerce Japan to capitulate on the Okinawa base demands.

      I also do believe in the power of prayer for peace and reconciliation for personal, national and international matters. The wisdom of the Church's teaching on cardinal virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity, as the basis for the most enduring and effective mode of human endeavors is astounding. Power corrupts, but with Eucharist to keep our perspective refreshed, we may be spared of the overbearing corruption of hubris.
    The last emailer links to an article by one Yoichi Shimatsu — Did an American Mine Sink South Korean Ship? This seems to me a reasonable approach — China proposes UN Military Armistice Commission convene for reinvestigation into Cheonan.

    Labels: , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Play Doctor, Get Convicted of Attempted Rape

    That "we try ten-year-old boys, too young to be capable of the sex act, for a supposed rape for which there was no physical evidence," argues Peter Hitchens, is a sign of "our sex-obsessed culture, which combines an almost total neglect of children with a sickly sentimentalisation of them," and "the conventional wisdom that James Bulger and Baby Peter were the victims of failed state intervention, rather than of unrestrained, fearless human evil" — This is the law, not teddy-hugging time at the local nursery.

    Rod Dreher earlier linked to Frank Furedi's piece about the same "conviction... in London of a 10-year-old boy and an 11-year-old boy for attempted rape... despite the fact that the eight-year-old defendant admitted in court that she had made up the story" — A showtrial of children for being naughty. Calling the case "the very public exploitation of these three children for the purposes of working out adult fantasies," Mr. Furedi writes:
      British society has become so morally disoriented about childhood that it has lost the ability to make a moral distinction between childhood and adulthood. It looks upon adults as simply biologically mature children, and children as physically underdeveloped grown-ups. This leads to a tragic state of affairs where children’s behaviour is continually interpreted through the prism of adult imaginations. At its worst, contemporary British culture attributes adult motives to children’s behaviour. Consequently, even infants in nurseries are told off for their ‘harassment’ of other kids or for their ‘racist’ behaviour.

      Adult obsessions with sex are recycled through the discussion of children. As a result, society tends to sexualise children through interpreting youngsters’ behaviour as if it is driven by adult motives. The adult world – including many child experts and policymakers – often see sexual motives behind normal children’s behaviour. We live in a world where six-year-old children are expelled from school for inappropriate sexual behaviour, where a 10-year-old boy is put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for touching a girl, and where playing ‘doctors and nurses’ is increasingly interpreted as the precursor to an act of sexual violence.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Grid

    " I don't care about what they're saying in D.C. because they don't represent me hardly more than Pyongyang" — Unplugged Christians living off the grid.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Two from Catholica Coreana on Vatican II and the Korean Church

  • "My question is if the use of 'Heaven' is banned for Chinese Catholics, a practice they follow to this day, how are Korean Catholics allowed to use the term '하느님' (Haneunim), which is merely the combination of the Korean word for 'heaven' (하늘, Haneul) and a honorary postfix (님, nim), to address God?" — An Inquiry on the Addressing of God as "하느님" by Korean Catholics.

  • Making reference to the "the Baltimore Catechism, the de facto textbook for Catholicism for American Catholics up until the 1970s (we do not need expound what happened then)," our blogger notes, "The Church in Korea likewise had the Cheonjugyo Yorimundap (天主敎要理問答, 천주교 요리문답), literally 'The Questions and Answers Essential to the Understanding of Catholicism,' which too was jettisoned in the 1970s (the "Spirit of the Council" was there too)," and posts his "translation of the first few questions" — A Useful Catechism Text.
  • Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Chapelle du Rosaire at Vence

    "The Other Modern" is how the folks at The New Liturgical Movement would describe the work under question in this moving and beautiful video clip posted by Abbey Roads' Terry Nelson — The Matisse Chapel.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Kyrie Eleison Performed by The Electric Prunes From Easy Rider (1969)


    Above, something in memory of the "actor and director whose low-budget biker movie 'Easy Rider' made an unexpected fortune by exploring the late 1960s counterculture and who changed Hollywood by helping open doors to younger directors including Steven Spielberg and George Lucas" — Dennis Hopper dies; actor, director's 'Easy Rider' became a generational marker.

    Previous posts — A Reactionary Film, The Traditionalism of Easy Rider, Easy Rider, Mediæval Morality Play, We Blew It.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Drones

    In order "to counter rising public anger over civilian deaths," those "responsible for a missile strike that killed 23 Afghan civilians in February" have "received career-damaging reprimands" — US Drone Crew Blamed For Afghan Civilian Deaths.

    Now imagine this "scenario in which a drone pilot and helicopter gunship both mis-target apparent 'militants' in Los Angeles, 'cut[ting] to ribbons a group of Los Angeles commuters in one location and destroy[ing] a hospital at another site'" — Over the top?

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Coming War on Pakistan

    "The U.S. military is reviewing options for a unilateral strike in Pakistan in the event that a successful attack on American soil is traced to the country's tribal areas, according to senior military officials," salivates The Warshington Post's Greg Miller — Options studied for a possible Pakistan strike. None of us them should be surprised when the next "successful attack on American soil is traced to the country's tribal areas."

    Zotlan Grossman's observation that "within all five countries [in which we are currently at war], the main targets of the wars are predominantly 'tribal regions,' and the old frontier language of Indian-fighting is becoming the lexicon of 21st-century counterinsurgency" comes to mind — The Global War on Tribes.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Pope on the Original Western Confucian

    "Fr. Ricci went to China not to bring science and Western culture, but to bring the Gospel to make God known" — Pope: Matteo Ricci brought the Gospel to China and therefore dialogue between cultures.

    "And as he proclaimed the Gospel, Fr. Ricci found in his interlocutors the desire for a wider confrontation, so that a encounter motivated by faith, became a dialogue between cultures, a disinterested dialogue free from the ambitions of economic or political power, lived in friendship, which makes the work of Fr. Ricci and his disciples one of the highest and happiest points in the relationship between China and the West."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Saturday, May 29, 2010

    John Taverner's In Nomine Domini From His Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas Performed by Concordia


    Above, something for the ancient solemnity celebrated tomorrow — Trinity Sunday.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    O.J. Was Not Guilty of Murder

    I thought so at the time (the presence of EDTA in the blood taken from the crime scene having convinced me of police foul play), but this "fascinating video that makes a case for someone else committing the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman (though O.J. was involved in his own way, after the fact)" posted by David Kramer puts all the missing pieces together — O.J. Simpson: Guilty, But Not of Murder?

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Pauleo-Libertarianism

    "The platforms of both Pauls often come under fire, but their underlying libertarian philosophy is bulletproof," reads the The American Conservative blurb introducing Michael Cromley's article — Paulitical Principles.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    What Would Hitler Have Had to Say About President Obama?

    An article with such a title would unthinkable on any conservative website (Hitler was of the Left), yet Danny Schechter is able to pen a piece with this title on a major "progressive" website — Is The President The Kind of Leader Chairman Mao Warned Us About?

    "We now know that it was the Obama Administration led by the President himself who used techniques well understood and denounced decades earlier by none other than Mao TseTung," this clown writes. "Mao had no use for those who talked left to move right."

    Well, thinking people on the Left or Right have no use for anyone who approvingly cites history's greatest mass-murderer.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Grandpa Wen to the Dear Leader

    "In Seoul, the Chinese prime minister says China 'will not protect' those who undermine the stability of the Korean Peninsula' ... referring to North Korea, which is increasingly isolated after the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel" — China condemns “any act against peace” on the Korean Peninsula, Wen Jiabao says. That's four syllables for you, Mr. Kim: "事大主義" (Sadaejuui).

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Friday, May 28, 2010

    Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Stabat Mater Performed by Le Concert des Nations, Directed by Jordi Savall

    Bookmark and Share

    The Overthrow of the Church and the Rise of Witchcraft

    For those us of who rely on sources other than The Da Vinci Code for our history, knowing as we do that witch hunts were an early modern, i.e. Protestant, phenomenon rather than medieval, i.e. Catholic, one, Maria Elena Vidal's post on "a novel which shows how the rise of witchcraft of sixteenth and seventeenth century England coincided with the dearth of the Catholic religion and doctrine, liturgy and mysticism which it provided," will be of interest — The Rise of Witchcraft.

    "At times, the historian would have been almost willing to maintain that the man had overthrown the Church chiefly because it was feminine," wrote America's greatest man of letters — The Education of Henry Adams. "After the overthrow of the Church, the woman had no refuge." Except, it seems, in witchcraft.

    "Mary's treatment of respectable and law-abiding people who had no favours to ask, and were reasonably confident of getting to heaven by the regular judgment, without expense, rankled so deeply that three hundred years later the Puritan reformers were not satisfied with abolishing her, but sought to abolish the woman altogether as the cause of all evil in heaven and on earth," he also wrote — Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres by Henry Adams. "The Puritans abandoned the New Testament and the Virgin in order to go back to the beginning, and renew the quarrel with Eve."

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Korea Tension Round-Up

  • Noticing something I've seen for the first time in my thirteen years in country, Blaine Harden reports on "the fears of many young people in this rich, wired and achievement-obsessed country" as "never before in their lives has North Korea loomed so large -- as a potential threat to personal safety and as an irksome complication in career planning" — Young South Koreans worry about rising tensions with North Korea.

  • "In the duel between North and South Korea, the question now is who will pull the trigger first?" says Donald Kirk, observing that "just as this society is basking at all-time economic heights, the peninsula could plunge again into deadly chaos with thousands if not millions of lives at stake" — Deadly silence at the DMZ

  • Reporting from China, Francesco Sisci says "the crisis in the North is in fact deeper today than perhaps ever before in its history - and leads one to think that this time things could be different" — Tough love for an unstable neighbor. "Pyongyang, feeling its back to the wall and having nothing to lose, might want to tempt fate, betting that Seoul is too afraid of the collapse of North Korea to not give Pyongyang credibility and send money its way."

  • Two local reports on the summit between the South Korean president and the Chinese premier in Seoul today — Lee, Wen discuss Cheonan sinking, regional issues and Beijing vows not to ‘protect’ anyone over Cheonan sinking.

  • "Conservative Protestant leaders in the South expressed support for President Lee, who is himself a Protestant," while "a Catholic official of the Seoul Archdiocese, who has asked to be unnamed, expressed grave concerns over South Korea’s ‘tit for tat’ policy," reports Paul Hwang from Seoul — Christian leaders split over Korean dispute.
  • Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    William Byrd's Ye Sacred Muses Performed by Robin Blaze and Concordia


    William Byrd (1540-1623) composed the above as an "elegy on the death of his colleague and sometime mentor," Thomas Tallis (1505-1585):
      Ye sacred Muses, race of Jove,
      whom Music's lore delighteth,
      Come down from crystal heav'ns above
      to earth where sorrow dwelleth,
      In mourning weeds, with tears in eyes:
      Tallis is dead, and Music dies.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "Honour Thy Father and Thy Mother, That Thou Mayest Be Longlived Upon the Land Which the Lord Thy God Will Give Thee"

    Tea at Trianon links to these "insights from Monsignor Charles Pope" on that most Confucian of the Ten Commandments — Reverence or Ruin: How the 4th Commandment is Necessary for Civilization. The Sage himself would bemoan the "lack of respect of the young toward their elders" while at the same time extolling that "[p]arents and all those in authority have obligations and duties that flow from their status."

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Pier Paolo Pasolini's Passion or Mel Gibson's?

      Pasolini, whose film I recommended, was a homosexual communist, but he was, insofar as he was able, an honest man and not a bad poet. He was reaching for the truth and did not import into his film anything not in the text of the Gospel. (Note the singular.) Gibson, on the other hand, has posed as a family-values Catholic while betraying his wife. I have not seen his film and do not wish to under any circumstances. We have four Gospels and do not need a fifth. Besides, the ultra-graphic technique of modern film can only distort the text. That would be enough to condemn the production. Then there is the problem that he picks and chooses from four texts. The most famous attempt at this in the ancient world was done by a heretic, and with good reason. Each version has its own focus, its own vision, and although scholars and theologians are quite right to compare the versions, each is meant to be taken on its own terms. Then there are the things that Gibson has introduced. Where in the world did this sweet-cheeks actor get the idea he could do his own Gospel?
    Thus spake Thomas Fleming, contrasting Il vangelo secondo Matteo (1964) and The Passion of the Christ (2004), as quoted by The New Beginning's T. Chan — Dr. Fleming on art. I've seen both films and had a problem with the facial hair of Our Lord in each if them.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Colony Collapse Disorder Revisited

    "Experts now believe bees are heading for extinction and are racing to pinpoint the culprit, increasingly blaming pesticide usage," reports Naomi Starkman — Beeline to Extinction. "New parasites, pathogens, fungi, and poor nutrition stemming from intensive farming methods are also part of the equation."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Glenn Greenwald, Peace Be Upon Him

    The civil libertarian contrasts "one of the American media's most favored, reliable, and self-affirming rituals -- it's time to mock and pity Those Crazy, Primitive, Irrational, Propagandized Muslims and their Wild Conspiracy Theories, which their reckless media and extremists maliciously disseminate in order to generate unfair and unfounded hostility toward the U.S" -- with the propaganda the same American media fed to our public leading up to the War on Iraq and beyond — Those Irrational, Misled, Conspiratorial Muslims.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Bringing Together Korean and Japanese Victims of Suicide

    Extremely depressing and yet encouraging news that uniting these two historic rivals was a "Korea-Japan symposium held early this week in Seoul to support those who have suffered a suicide in the family" — Families of suicide victims share their anguish.

    The report states that in Korea "a total of 99,321 suicides have been committed over the past 10 years" but "[p]olice estimate the actual figure could reach 140,000." It informs us that "[t]hese suicides left nearly 600,000 family members behind" and that two years ago "Korea’s suicide rate of 26 per every 100,000 people was the highest among OECD member states and more than double the average." The report informs us that Japan’s "suicide rate is 25.3 per 100,000 people, slightly lower than the Korean figure of 26."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Seoul Locuta Est

    "The [South Korean] Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that embryos do not have the same legal status as people, setting a legal precedent allowing the use of those left over from fertility treatment for research purposes," reports Bae Ji-sook — Embryos are not human beings, rules court. "The court rejected a petition by a group of philosophers, doctors and university professors to stop the use of embryos, giving a green light to human stem cell researchers to use extracts from them."

    Labels: , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Why Is It That We Insist Firefighters Are Heroes?

    The story of "an ultimately futile act some have described as courageous and others have called a mere postponing of the inevitable" should have us all questioning some basic assumptions — Existentialist Firefighter Delays 3 Deaths.

    "I'm no hero," said the subject of the story. "Like any other man, I am thrown into this world, alone and terrified, to play a meaningless role in an empty life. In my case, that role happens to involve charging through towering blazes to pull helpless individuals from a sea of flames before they suffocate or are burnt alive."

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Thursday, May 27, 2010

    William Byrd's "Mass for Four Voices" Sung by the Tallis Scholars, Directed by Peter Phillips











    Above, something to accompany Jeffrey Tucker's article on "[o]ne of the leading art events of the entire year, this one is very special for anyone interested liturgy because the focus of the entire event is to experience the music of Byrd and others within its liturgical context" — The Byrd Festival and the Greatness of Byrd.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "The Long War"

    "Intellectuals and respected Afghan professionals are convinced the west is prolonging conflict to maintain influence in the region," writes Daniella Peled — Afghans Believe US is Funding Taliban. "It's near-impossible to find anyone in Afghanistan who doesn't believe the US are funding the Taliban," she writes, "and it's the highly educated Afghan professionals, those employed by ISAF, USAID, international media organisations – and even advising US diplomats – who seem the most convinced."

    Whether you reject this as another "vague prejudice or the wildly conspiratorial theories so prevalent in the Middle East" or accept it as "a highly structured if convoluted analysis," the question remains, how can we possibly win hearts and minds if our closest "allies" in the country think this way?

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    A Progressive Defends a Libertarian

    "What is so great about our bloated federal government that when a libertarian threatens to become a senator, otherwise rational and mostly liberal pundits start frothing at the mouth?" asks Robert Scheer, who "proudly remain[s] a bleeding-heart liberal" — Blame Clinton, Not Paul. He continues:
      What Rand Paul thinks about the Civil Rights Act, passed 46 years ago, hardly seems the most pressing issue of social justice before us. It's a done deal that he clearly accepts. Yet Paul's questioning the wisdom of a banking bailout that rewards those who shamelessly exploited the poor and vulnerable, many of them racial minorities, is right on target. So too questioning the enormous cost of wars that as he dared point out are conducted in violation of our Constitution and that, I would add, though he doesn't, prevent us from adequately funding needed social programs.
    Mr. Scheer has always struck me as the kind of progressive who is more interested in ending wars and corporate welfare (and yes, promoting the welfare state) rather than demonstrating how enlightened he is on social matters.

    Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Man Who Romanized Korean

    He also "shot to fame when he became John F. Kennedy’s ambassador to Japan," as Eamonn Fingleton describes in his review of a new biography — Juggernaut Japan. The McCune–Reischauer system that bears his name is still the gold standard in Korean romanization.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    You Are Not Were Forgotten


    Not by your fellow citizens, but perhaps by the government that sent you halfway around the world, as these articles by Sydney Schanberg and Ron Unz respectively suggest — McCain and the POW Cover-Up and Was Rambo Right?.

    "Hundreds of POWs may have been left to die in Vietnam, abandoned by their government—and our media," writes Mr. Unz. Don't click on either of the links unless you are fully prepared to get extremely, extremely pissed-off, because you will read "detailed evidence that hundreds of American POWs had been condemned to death at enemy hands by top American leaders, apparently because their safe return home would have constituted a major political embarrassment."

    As I wrote yesterday, "My beloved Mississippian Yellow Dog Democrat granny, who wore a P.O.W. bracelet, advised me, rather commanded me, at a very young age, never, ever, to become an government employee by joining the United States military."

    Labels: , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Soundtrack to the Violence in Jamaica (and Analysis)

    The same parties are still "fighting the nation with their guns and ammunition" some 36 years after this classic was released — Junior Murvin - Police & Thieves — and covered a year later — The Clash - Police & Thieves:
      Police and thieves in the street (oh yeah)
      Fighting the nation with their guns and ammunition
      Police and thieves in the street (oh yeah)
      Scaring the nation with their guns and ammunition

      From Genesis to Revelation yeah
      And next generation will be hear me

      All the crimes committed day by day
      No one try to stop it in any way
      All the peacemakers turn war officers
      Hear what I say
    Kingston Archbishop Donald Reece weighs in — Kingston Catholic leaders: Violence result of dependency, lawlessness.

    Labels: , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    My Latest for Lew

    Based on a couple of recent posts here — Hillary, Go Home! Leave the Koreas to the Koreans! In my next piece, to be titled "Time Preference and Teaching English in Asia," I'll relate some insights from the last third of my life spent over here and give some tips for those who might be interested in doing something similar, all springing from this post yesterday — East and West and Time Preference.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    An American, North Korean, and South Korean Soldier


    The above image posted on these pages three-and-a-half years ago, "however [obviously] staged for propaganda purposes," is bringing in lots of hits in recent days, for obvious reasons — USA, DPRK, ROK. It's laughable not only because the North Korean is so small but because those flanking him seem to think themselves so big.

    Sorry, but unlike neocons, I refuse to melt at the sight of a man in uniform. My beloved Mississippian Yellow Dog Democrat granny, who wore a P.O.W. bracelet, advised me, rather commanded me, at a very young age, never, ever, to become an government employee by joining the United States military. Thus, the fact that ours had for genereations been a "military family" ended with me, God bless her.

    Labels: , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    East and West and Time Preference

    Time preference, "the preference for present satisfaction over future satisfaction or present good over future good," is the key to understanding our economic predicament, suggests Gary North — Why Asia Will Overtake America. "How is it that Asia has had a huge trade surplus with the United States?" he asks, answering himself:
      Because its people work long hours. They are finally getting access to capital. This capital increases their productivity. The tools they need to compete are made available through thrift. Then they put capital to use in a long work week. They have little time for leisure. They are at work many hours per day.

      In contrast, Americans are losing capital through consumer debt and withdrawal from the labor force. I don't mean unemployed people. I mean underemployed people. The person who watches TV for 4 hours a day is consuming his most precious capital: time.

      When we see a society committed to work, we see a society that has the basis for economic growth. If people work hard to get ahead, they will accumulate capital. Their work will become more efficient. If they work merely to buy spare time for play, then they will not experience economic growth.

      Asia is growing economically, because of the people's future-orientation. The United States is barely growing, because of its present-orientation. We see this in the waste of time associated with entertainment. This is a culture-wide phenomenon. It has been accelerating in the West for at least 85 years. The rise of radio and the movies marked the transition. World War II delayed the advent of the entertainment culture. The 1950s produced the first teenage subculture. It had its own movies, music, and entertainment. Why? Disposable income from parents and part-time jobs. The money went into our pockets. That was my generation. We spent as children spend, but we spent more money than children ever had spent in history. We got used to entertainment. The counter-culture, 1965–70, was even more committed to entertainment. It even turned cultural revolution into entertainment....

      Once China's real estate bubble has popped, it will be time to move capital into the region that is committed to future-orientation. These people are not just hard workers. They are not merely high-return workers when given capital. They are uniquely future-oriented.
    Not to toot my own horn, but I take as much overtime work as I can find, and my American and Canadian colleagues think me crazy, without even knowing anything of the outside work I have done. While they complain about long hours, I ask for more. I do so without sacrificing time for my family, which is why I alone welcome the split shifts everyone else dreads.

    Perhaps it's the combination of my Protestant upbringing and my Korean wife that compels me. Stakhanovite though I may appear, I'm not; it's the capital, not the labor, I seek. And I don't seek stuff. I don't give a hoot about the latest electronic device. (I was recently laughed at for mistaking Wii for the first person plural pronoun.) "He who dies with the most toys wins" strikes me as the stupidest statement in all of human history, and the fact that an American likely made it a source of shame. I'm thinking about my later years, the house and small farm I'd like to own, and my kids' futures.

    Sure, this time spent blogging could be spent more profitably, but I'm enough of a Catholic to know that leisure cannot be discounted, and this blog's Newstex syndication allows me to bring in enough money for a book every couple of months, which, remembering the value that books once held, is nothing small in my opinion. Furthermore, the work I do, teaching English to Koreans, is not that taxing; I like what and whom I teach. Time preferentially, I think I may be living in the best of both worlds.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Dietrich Buxtehude's Herr, Wenn Ich Nur Dich Hab Performed by Victoria Evtodieva & Musica Antiqua Russica, Directed by Vladimir Shulyakovskiy


    High Church Lutheranism at its most devotional; Psalm 72 provides the text:
      Herr, wenn ich nur dich hab, so frag ich nichts nach Himmel und Erden, wenn mirgleich Leib und Seel‘ verschmacht. So bist du doch Gott allezeit meines Herzens Trost und mein Heil. Alleluja.

      For what have I in heaven? and besides thee what do I desire upon earth? For thee my flesh and my heart hath fainted away: thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for ever.
    From this 'blog, more from this great Danish composer — D. Buxtehude's Alles, was ihr tut mit Worten oder mit Werken Performed by Collegium Cartusianum & Kölner Kammerchor Directed by Peter Neumann, Dieterich Buxtehude's Alleluja Performed by the Ricercar Consort, Directed by Philippe Pierlot, Dieterich Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri Performed by La Venexiana, Dieterich Buxtehude's Prelude in G Minor Played by Gustav Leonhardt.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Latest Decree from Imperial Washington

    "For crimes of great arrogance and cheek, His Idiocy the White House Jester has been sentenced to a swift demise" — White House Jester Beheaded For Making Fun Of Soaring National Debt. "Let it be heard over every city and suburb of this land that the National Debt is no topic for frivolity, and the mailed hand of Obama shall smite all offenders."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Saints Matteo Ricci and Paul Hsu Kuang-ch'i?

    "It is a rare thing in Church history for a foreign missioner and his local collaborator to be proclaimed confessor saints together," said Father Louis Gendron, the American Provinicial of the Chinese province of the Society of Jesus, expressing a hope of his order — Jesuits hope for Ricci-Xu canonizations.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Patroness of the Sciences and Healing Arts

    An ancient partnership continues into the XXIst Century — Catholic Church announces adult stem cell venture with Neostem. From the report: "Neostem Inc. and the Pontifical Council for Culture will combine the efforts of their respective foundations, the Stem for Life Foundation and STOQ (Science Theology and the Ontological Quest) Foundation, to advance research and explore the use of adult stem cells in regenerative medicine."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Two English Catholics and Ecology

  • "While no Luddite, [Father Gerard Manley] Hopkins deplored the ravages of advanced industrialism, disconnecting as he believed it did humanity from its roots in the natural world, and depriving the human spirit of external correlatives for its expression," writes John Kelly of "one of the great voices of modern English poetry" — Hopkins saw God's role in fixing damaged environment. "For Hopkins, as for Blake, Wordsworth and Coleridge before him in the Romantic tradition, the Industrial Revolution's often profligate disrespect for nature diminished both nature and the soul, because of the organic relationship he accepted between matter and spirit in the human person. In God's Grandeur he laments this fatal severance: '. . . the soil is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.'"

  • "[Family life must have been different] in the days when a family had fed on the produce of the same few miles of country for six generations, and that perhaps was why they saw nymphs in the fountains and dryads in the wood – they were not mistaken for there was in a sense real (not metaphorical) connections between them and the countryside," wrote J.R.R. Tolkein, quoted by Patrick J. Deneen — The Connection Between Food and Fairies. "What had been earth and air and later corn, and later still bread, really was in them. We of course who live on a standardized international diet…are artificial beings and have no connection (save in sentiment) with any place on earth. We are synthetic men, uprooted. The strength of the hills is not ours."

    Labels: , , , ,

  • Bookmark and Share

    Buster Keatonesque Real-Life Near-Death Escapes Caught on Video

    The Useless Tree posts an amazing video clip from Chinese TV circulating as "Brother Tricycle, Brother Running and Brother Train," with a Taoist reflection — Fate.

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Hillary, Go Home! Leave the Koreas to the Koreans!

    Speaking in Seoul today, "U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the world has a duty to respond to sinking of a South Korean warship that has been blamed on North Korea" — Clinton: World must act on SKorean ship sinking. "After talks with South Korean leaders Wednesday, Clinton told reporters the attack, which killed 46 sailors, was an 'unacceptable provocation' by the North and the 'international community has a responsibility and a duty to respond.'"

    Madam Secretary is right that it was indeed an "unacceptable provocation," but wrong that the "international community has a responsibility and a duty to respond." The "unacceptable provocation" was against South Korea, which reserves the right to respond. Seoul's hands are tied by all this talk about some abstraction called "the international community," the same phantom which only emboldened Pyongyang, knowing it to be a myth, to provoke in the first place.

    This kind of boilerplate just plays into Kim Jong-il's hands. He's scored a propaganda victory, which he will use to bolster his domestic support. Nothing can be used to unite a people to its government like threats from the outside, as Americans learned in 2001.

    There will be no resumption of the Korean War, which has not yet ended, as it would spell the end of the Kimist régime and Kim Jong-il knows it. The South has two-and-a-half times the people and forty times the economic output as the North, not to mention a couple of inches in average height and a much stronger military, even without the U.S. presence.

    What's more, the South has political and, more importantly, economic freedom, one glimpse of which, which an open conflict would surely allow, would consign the Kimist régime to the trash bin of Korean history. This is not 1950, when both parts of the peninsula were equally poor and backward. (The North was actually better off back then.)

    Kim Jong-il knows this and will push only so far as to get what he wants and needs for his own personal survival. I don't know whether to declare him a genius, or to declare the Clinton, Bush, and Obama régimes (not to mention South Korea's Kim and Roh régimes) morons for cutting deal after deal with him for the past decade-and-a-half.

    South Korea was attacked, not America, much less the world. We heard this same kind of internationalist blathering sixty years ago, shortly before another Democrat president got America involved in its first undeclared, United Nations-sponsored war on this very peninsula.

    Fabiano Choi Hong-jun, chairperson of the Catholic Lay Apostolate Council of Korea, has the right approach: "With Christian faith, we view this as another ordeal on the way toward national reconciliation and we must keep hope" — Church leaders pray to ease Korean tension. He continued, "We need to pray for peace and reconciliation."

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Dickensian Thoughts

  • "Orwell wrote of Dickens as ‘a man who is always fighting against something but who fights in the open and is not frightened...a man who is generously angry...a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls,’" quotes Peter Hitchens — Smelly Little Orthodoxies.

  • "Dickens was convinced that a line of thought which elevated self-interest as the mainspring of human action was, though it paraded in the upbeat slogan of ’the greatest happiness for the greatest number,’ bound to cause suffering at some level, as in the operation of the adjusted Poor Laws, or… the inflicting of psychological and moral damage on individuals and communities," writes Vincent Newey, quoted by Stephan Hand — Dickens v. The Malthusians.
  • Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Rand Paul and the Civil Rights Act of 1964

  • "On the technical question that Rachel Maddow put to Kentucky’s Republican nominee for Senate—was the government right to desegregate lunch counters?—Paul made a plausible reply," says William Murchison; "to wit, he abhorred not only racism but the notion of telling private property owners what they may do with their property" — What Rand Paul Got Right. "The worst feature of arguments over the use of government power to enforce particular moral outcomes is the tendency of the winners to sweep away all objections by means of their claim to righteousness," he goes on to say. "Thus with some of Paul’s critics: Don’t give us that stuff about what the Constitution allows or what the prescribed powers of government should be! Give us the results that Humanity demands!"

  • "I know he grew up hearing his father blast the Civil Rights Act at the breakfast table," says Thomas Fleming; "So did my children" — Rand Paul: Unprincipled Hero. "But my children, at least, learned that there were more fundamental problems with the legislation. Among the least of them is the violation of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. More seriously," he continues, "the CRA set one race against another, cemented into stone the ludicrous theory that all the problems and pathologies experienced by black people in America are the result of slavery and discrimination. It inshrined our national hypocrisy that people are pretty much the same and should expect roughly the same success in life."

  • "The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty," said Congressman Ron Paul to his colleagues on the XLth anniversary of the bill's passage, "it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society— The Trouble With the '64 Civil Rights Act. "America has made great strides in race relations over the past forty years. However, this progress is due to changes in public attitudes and private efforts. Relations between the races have improved despite, not because of, the 1964 Civil Rights Act."
  • Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Anglo-Saxon Nuclear Family Power

    A conservative blog for peace "get[s] the feeling Steve Sailer really doesn’t like Catholic culture (which fuels his animosity to Mexicans) but [acknowledges that] he makes you think" in linking to this article of the latter's suggesting that "the key to Anglo-Saxon exceptionalism is the nuclear family structure" — David Willetts’ The Pinch: U.K. Cabinet Minister’s Discreet But Devastating Dissent On Immigration.

    "When it comes to families, England was the first nuclear power," quips the subject of Mr. Sailer's article. Mr. Willetts notes that Mother England was "not just different from Papua New Guinea or Pakistan; it is also quite different from France and Italy and most of Continental Europe." [Mr. Sailer adds, "... except for Holland and Denmark."] And this is nothing new: "this difference dates to at least 1250—and perhaps back to (or beyond) the Dark Age days of King Canute."

    "The Anglo-Saxons managed to hit the sweet spot between the kind of cut-throat individualism seen in a handful of cultures... and the more workable extended family cultures seen in, say, Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet," says Mr. Sailer, adding later, "It’s noteworthy that Shakespeare and his English audience sided with Romeo and Juliet against their kinfolk."

    Click on the link to read the fascinating and surely controversial rest to read how a "distinction between extended and nuclear family structures has profound political implications," resulting in both "the Anglo-American heritage of self-governing liberty under law" and the "advantages to extended families," which "serve as miniature welfare states."

    I suspect many readers of this 'blog might lament the "loss" of the extended family, as characterized by the lack of "specific words for particular types of uncles, grandparents, and cousins;" however, as Mr. Sailer notes that "the English apparently never needed to develop these terms," it's futile to weep over something we never had. Particularism calls us to admire what extended families give to other cultures but also to appreciate what smaller families have given to us.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Coming Soon to an Economy Near You

    Martin Hutchinson on what "we are at some point in the near future going to suffer" — The second Bernanke crash. He writes:
      As I have frequently discussed, there were a number of causes of the 2008 crash, some of them rooted as far back in the past as financial theories devised in the 1950s and housing regulation designed in the 1960s. Nevertheless, if one single cause has to be assigned, it would be the excessive money creation in the United States after 1995 and worldwide after 2002. This caused a massive asset bubble, initially in stocks and later in housing. Once the bubble had inflated, a commensurate crash was inevitable.

      Had monetary policy returned to sanity after September 2008 (and fiscal policy not itself relapsed into madness) that would have been the end of it. Banks would have been provided with unlimited funding, as Walter Bagehot recommended in his 1873 Lombard Street, but at high interest rates. The global economy would have undergone a sharp recession, steep because of the deflation of value that had become necessary, but by the middle of last year would have begun a healthy and sustained recovery.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Mistresses and Bubbles

    "In Beijing, there are reportedly so many xiaojie (mistresses) that state media claim their numbers have driven up housing prices," reports Wu Zhong — Prostitutes blamed for property bulge.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Spying on Spy Craft

    Hats off to the "dedicated band of amateur skywatchers [that] has got its cross-hairs on the spacecraft" as "the U.S. Air Force is mum about the orbital whereabouts of its X-37B mini-space plane" — Secret X-37B Space Plane Spotted by Amateur Skywatchers.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Tuesday, May 25, 2010

    Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's Ave Maria Sung by Adoremus

    Bookmark and Share

    Copernican Distortions

    Reader Steven Cornett sends along and article you may have read — Astronomer Copernicus reburied as hero — with comments that should be read:
      Nicolaus Copernicus, the Polish priest whose "On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres" was the first book to fully posit a solar cosmology of heliocentrism, was reburied in the Cathedral he had served as a "hero" (read "as an attraction").

      There are several distortions in the AP report that disturb me, and obviously are meant to feed their pet goat, the secular narrative of "Faith versus science". Therefore, several corrections and addendum.

      1). Nicolaus Copernicus was never condemned as a heretic by the Church. The most obvious evidence for this is the fact that he has been reburied in the same spot he was found in, under Frombork Cathedral. The only difference is that his resting place now notes him as the "founder of heliocentrism" and a Canon of the Church; otherwise he he remains in his resting place in hallowed ground. A heretic would not be so buried, as noted by a recent denial of burial in hallowed ground for a woman who died a few weeks after receiving a "Fauxdination" as a schismatic Priestess.

      http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/chicago-womanpriest-will-not-be-buried-in-catholic-cemetery/

      2). Heliocentrism was never condemned by the Church; though it was condemned by Protestants, especially Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon. Galileo mainly got in trouble due to his arrogance and, classically, for honking off his main patron in his work "Dialogue Concerning the Two World Systems" (where he mocked Pope Urban VIII indirectly) and demanding that the Bible be interpreted in accordance with Science in opposition to the Church.

      3). Most importantly, many of the objections to Heliocentrism at the time were scientific. There were many issues which, from a natural philosophical perspective, raised questions about the system, such a stellar parallax. Some of them were not resolved until much later. More importantly, our solar system is not heliocentric, but helio-locused, since a gravity well is the locus of an elliptical orbit, not the center, a discovery of Johannes Kepler incorporated and explained by the system of physics developed by Sir Issac Newton.
    In an addendum, Mr. Cornett adds, "They even got the position of 'Canon' wrong. It is not 'less than a priest', but simply a priest of a religious order avowed to poverty, as opposed to a 'secular' priest."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Drs. Paul, Père et Fils

  • "There is nothing conservative about spending money we don’t have simply because that spending is for defense," says the father, to his colleagues in the House — More Blank Checks to the Military-Industrial Complex. "No enemy can harm us in the way we are harming ourselves, namely, bankrupting the nation and destroying our own currency."

  • Of the son, Kelley Vlahos says that "it is not yet clear where the younger Paul’s savvy campaigning ends and his true ideological impulses begin, particularly on national security and foreign policy" — Rand Paul Drinks Tea, Turns Into Hawk? "No one is entirely sure how to reconcile his more blistering critiques of the war during his father’s campaign with his more hawkish pronouncements – particularly on Iran as 'a dangerous threat to the Middle East' and against closing the Guantanamo Bay prison – during his own campaign."
  • Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Plotinus on Ideographic Writing

      The wise men of Egypt, I think, also understood this, either by scientific or innate knowledge, and when they wished to signify something wisely, did not use the forms of letters which follow the order of words and propositions and imitate sounds and the enunciations of philosophical statements, but by drawing images and inscribing in their temples one particular image of one particular thing they manifested the non-discursiveness of the intelligible world, that is, that every image is a kind of knowledge and wisdom and is a subject of statements, all together one, and not discourse or deliberation
    The above is quoted by Arturo Vasquez — On writing. Of course, the same thing can be said of the wise men of China and their writing system.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Rand Paul and Paleodom

  • W. James Antle III reviews a new book by Thomas Pauken which he calls "a call to arms for future Rand Pauls: conservatives who were frustrated by the fact that the federal government did not shrink during the Reagan administration or the Republican Revolution and that it grew under the second Bush presidency" — Conscience of a Paleoconservative. The book "isn't simply a libertarian treatise" as its author"worries about a coarsened, post-Christian culture," and "is similarly concerned about the erosion of the U.S. manufacturing base and the bursting of our bubble economy."

  • "Rand Paul is most closely connected, of course, to his father’s views," writes Daniel "Tory Anarchist" McCarthy; "But if that makes Rand a paleolibertarian, it doesn’t mean that he subscribes to some strict body of dogma" — Rand Paul and the Paleos. "To connect Rand Paul with paleoconservative thinkers is even more of a stretch."

  • Conservative Heritage Times has two posts about folks unhappy with this candidate — “Conservatives” Attack Rand Paul and “Libertarians” Attack Rand Paul.

    Labels: , ,

  • Bookmark and Share

    Lost and M*A*S*H

    Ordered Liberty links to Megan McArdle's pondering of the significance of the facts that while the former's finale drew 13.5 million viewers, the latter's "was watched by almost 106 million viewers (including me, up late by very special dispensation)" — There is No Such Thing as Mass Culture Any More.

    I, too, received "special dispensation" that night. I've never seen the other show, but I understand that on it, too, the Korean language can sometimes be heard.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Peter Hitchens Wins the Orwell Prize for Journalism

    "This was the one prize I had always wanted, as someone who has steeped himself in Orwell since the age of 15 and regards him as the pattern of honest writing," he writes— Smelly Little Orthodoxies. "Because Orwell was of the Left (though a very troubled and troublesome member of that movement) he is regarded by many on the modern left as their perpetual property," says the recipient of the prize's namesake. "I disagree. I think Orwell belongs to the truth, not to the left."

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Pope Ratzinger's Triumph in America

    A conservative blog for peace links to this report by David van Biema suggesting that "the pontiff may have successfully mollified a good many alienated believers — and in the process, neutralized the last great rallying point for what was once a feisty and optimistic style of progressivism" — Is Liberal Catholicism Dead?

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    South Korea's Entangling Alliance with the United States

    Doug Bandow argues that "the ROK’s military alliance with America makes it more difficult for both nations to act in their respective interests" — Avoiding Pyongyang. Noting that "there is little the DPRK can do to harm the United States," Mr. Bandow reminds us, "Washington is stuck in the center of Korean affairs today only because of the U.S.-ROK alliance, which provides a security guarantee to South Korea with no corresponding benefit to America."

    "The sinking of the Cheonan was an outrage, but it was an outrage against the ROK," he says, suggesting that the incident "should not be an issue of great concern to America, which normally would offer diplomatic backing but not military support to a democratic friend." On the Korean side, he notes that "the South finds its decision-making, even on the question of its national survival, affected and directed by American policy makers half a world away." Restated, "Seoul finds its future being decided at least in part in Washington, where America’s, not South Korea’s, interests understandably are treated as paramount."

    He concludes by suggesting that "both sides should use this crisis to rethink an alliance that has outgrown its original security justification," and saying, "Neither the ROK nor the United States is well-served by a relationship where South Korea’s fate is decided in Washington."

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    How the War Party Won

    "Everyone from the Founders to George Orwell thought (and hoped) that the massive societal costs which war imposes would be a deterrent to their being fought," says Glenn Greenwald, "but most Americans who express their 'support' for these wars bear absolutely no cost whatsoever" — The Absence of Debate over War.

    "Worse, many who cheer for our wars enjoy that most intoxicating and distorting reward: cost-free benefits, in the form of vicarious feelings of strength, purpose, nobility and the like, all from a safe distance," he continues. "It's very difficult to generate attention for political issues that do not personally and tangibly affect most Americans -- that's why the failing economy receives so much attention and our various wars (and civil liberties erosions) do not."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    A Conservative Diet

    "The American way of eating affirms federal control and erodes family dynamics--things conservatives profess to care about," reads The American Conservative blurb introducing this Michael Pollan article — Food Politics.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    B.V.M. in Burma

    "Buddhists and Hindus helped cooked the rice and curries, Muslims made the decorations and Anglicans erected the pavilion for some 257 Catholics in Mary Help of Christians parish, in Sagaing, south-west of Mandalay" — Different faiths lend a hand for Marian feast.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste

    South Korean President "Lee, once seen as rather inept in handling public opinion, this time showed his Machiavellian side," suggests Andrei Lankov, noting that "it seems certain that the South Korean government either knew or strongly suspected all along that the Cheonan was sunk by a North Korean stealth attack" — Seoul plotted a course through crisis.

    "So, this time Lee and his advisers have a good chance of emerging from a difficult crisis as survivors, if not winners," the author writes. "They skillfully avoided doing something stupid and dangerous while preserving their dignity in the eyes of their voters and, perhaps, scoring a few additional percentage points in the coming elections."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    William Byrd's O Lord, Make Thy Servant Elizabeth Our Queen Performed by the Tallis Scholars, Directed by Peter Phillips


    For more examples of his work and an explanation of how a devout Catholic came to write such a beautiful piece for a very anti-Catholic monarch, see this post of mine — William Byrd, Elizabethan Catholic.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    An Austrian Analysis of the Korean Economy

    An article that's not only good for understanding the Korean economic situation, but also a handy introduction to the Austrian School, by Matthew Smith — Korea turned from saver to debtor. An excerpt:
      There is nothing wrong with low interest rates if the market has determined the low rate. A market determines an interest rate based on the relationship between the supply of money (deposits) and the demand for money (loans). In a fundamentally sound economy, lending and growth comes from savings and investment. In an unsound economy, it comes from the central bank manipulating the interest rates.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The New Evangelization of Europe

    Sandro Magister on a "great ally [that] has already united with the pope from outside of the Catholic Church" — A Holy Alliance between Rome and Moscow Is Born. "The positive relationship that has been established between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of Rome is one of the most stunning achievements of Benedict XVI's pontificate," Mr. Magister writes. "It is also stunning for its rapidity."

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    President Lee Responds

    Bookmark and Share

    Criticizing Rand Paul

  • Libertarian Thomas DiLorenzo looks at the media hysteria — The Left Can’t Stop Lying About Rand Paul. He concludes with a "[n]ote to all those Perfectly-Pure-as-the-Driven-Snow libertarians out there: Please spare me the angry emails declaring the shocking — shocking!!!!! — news that Rand Paul is not, like you, The Most Ideologically Pure Libertarian in the History of the World."

  • For left-liberal David Michael Green, his primary victory offers a chance to "finally have a serious discussion in this country about the lunacies of libertarianism" — Liberated from Libertarianism: Rand Paul Runs and Hides from... Rand Paul

  • "He's not half the man his father is," says libertarian Justin Raimondo — Rand Paul’s Problem, and Ours. "Maddow didn’t expose Rand Paul’s alleged 'racism' – what she revealed is his inability to function, like his father, as a spokesman for libertarianism."
  • Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Was John Henry Cardinal Newman a Liberal or a Conservative?

    "Burke was liberal because he was conservative," said Russell Kirk of Edmund Burke, words that come to mind reading this article about another silly debate — Liberals and conservatives war over Cardinal Newman’s legacy. Begins Juan R. Vélez, "Newman did not think in the terms 'liberal and conservative.'" Neither should we, especially in religion.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    A Birthday




    Harold Goldberg says that the fact that it "has been around for 30 years can make you feel ancient" in his article on "one of the few early games to have survived the novelty of the arcade era" — Pac-Man hits 30 without losing its way.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Womenmasons?

    "It is curious how the elites play by one set of rules, when the rest of us are made to live by another," notes Stephen Hand; "For example, for Freemasons, Women Need Not Apply" — Francis Bacon: Ancient Seer of Modern Marvels.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Saturday, May 22, 2010

    Niccolò Jommelli's Veni Creator Spiritus Performed by the Orchestra and Choir of the San Carlo Theater, Directed by Riccardo Muti


    Baroque music offers us the above for this vigil of Pentecost (Whitsunday).

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Three Quotes from Henry Adams on Woman

    The Education of Henry Adams (1907) offers these three gems, within the space of a page:
    • The idea that she was weak revolted all history; it was a palæontological falsehood that even an Eocene female monkey would have laughed at; but it was surely true that, if her force were to be diverted from its axis, it must find a new field, and the family must pay for it.

    • The Church had known more about women than science will ever know, and the historian who studied the sources of Christianity felt sometimes convinced that the Church had been made by the woman chiefly as her protest against man. At times, the historian would have been almost willing to maintain that the man had overthrown the Church chiefly because it was feminine. After the overthrow of the Church, the woman had no refuge.

    • Socialism, communism, collectivism, philosophical anarchism, which promised paradise on earth for every male, cut off the few avenues of escape which capitalism had opened to the woman, and she saw before her only the future reserved for machine-made, collectivist females.

    Labels: , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Stephen Hand Talks to John Médaille

    The New Beginning links to this interview on "the third-way economic philosophy formulated by such Roman Catholic thinkers as G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, placing great emphasis on spreading truly private property and agrarian value" — John C. Medaille on Distributism.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Christopher Lasch on the Left and Conservatives

    "Some brief insights from a key conservative progressive thinker" — Quotes of the day: on the problems with modern politics. Here's one Laschian insight: "Because it equates tradition with prejudice, the left finds itself increasingly unable to converse with ordinary people in their common language." Here's another: "Conservatives unwittingly side with the social forces that contribute to the destruction of traditional values." Click on the link for more.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Brave New Life Update

  • Fr. Thomas Berg, Director of the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person, suggests that the development "is scientifically fascinating, ethically neutral, and can be a part of something more serious" — New synthetic cell ‘fascinating’ but potentially dangerous, experts caution. Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Bishops Conference, called it a "further sign of intelligence, God's gift to understand creation and be able to better govern it."

  • "Craig Venter's feat in creating a synthetic microorganism is impressive, but not earth-shattering," cautions Michael Cook — The bacterium whose parent is a computer. Quoted is Harvard’s George Church as saying, "The semi-synthetic mycobacterium is not changed from the wild state in any fundamental sense. Printing out a copy of an ancient text isn’t the same as understanding the language."
  • Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Left, Right, and Center; America and Britain

  • "Maddow and Paul agree on probably 90 per cent of the BIG issues confronting us, from ending the drug and Afghan war, to ending bail outs & aid to Israel," says CounterPunch's Jeffrey St Clair, quoted by CounterPunch's Alexander Cockburn — The Rand and Rachel Show. "But because of their own peculiar prejudices, his doctrinaire libertarian, hers PC progressive, neither of them can talk about anything other than a non-issue such as the Civil Rights Act of 19 -- SIXTY-FOUR," continues Mr. St. Clair. "It's like a Dadaist play."

  • Glenn Greenwald, who has "written numerous times about the serious left-right coalition that had emerged in Britain -- between the Tories and Liberal Democrats -- in opposition to the Labour Government's civil liberties abuses," says, "Now that this left-right, Tory/Lib-Dem alliance has removed the Labour Party from power and is governing Britain, these commitments to restoring core liberties -- Actual Change -- show no sign of retreating" — The Brits Beat Us to It. "Rather than cynically tossing these promises of restrained government power onto the trash pile of insincere campaign rhetoric, they are implementing them into actual policy."

  • "This is so misleading and offensive that I don’t quite know where to begin," says Daniel Larison of the laughable David Brooks' laughable lament that "these days, the political center is a feckless shell" — The Poor, Suffering “Centrists”. "There is nothing more precious and absurd than the 'centrist' pretense that the political extremes dominate our politics," writes Mr,. Larison. "Please, tell progressives that they dictate the content of health care and environment policy, and tell Rand Paul’s supporters that they are the ones who influence monetary, fiscal and foreign policies."
  • Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    An Icon of Saint Paul Chŏng Hasang


    From Peter Kim's post, which has more examples — Where to Learn Painting Icons in Korea?

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Prime Minister William Gladstone Remembered

    "Disraeli may be every liberal’s favorite conservative, but his great rival, William Ewart Gladstone, is an orphan: too much the classical liberal for today’s Left, too anti-imperialist for the contemporary Right," writes Melvin L. Schut — The Virtuous Liberal. An excerpt:
      Early on, he seemed a near reactionary, but he embarked on the rarest of political odysseys, moving from right to left as he aged. The Tory became leader of a new Liberal Party that coalesced around him; he went from being a self-described “out-and-out inequalitarian” to a backer of “the masses against the classes.” His policies over four terms as prime minister and four as chancellor of the Exchequer—roughly analogous to secretary of the Treasury—were called liberal in his time, but appear conservative in ours: he was largely successful in limiting government, imposing fiscal discipline, keeping taxes low, devolving power, and expanding political and religious liberties. Friends and opponents alike admired his integrity, yet he was also loathed for his forthright Christian piety. After meeting him, Henry James noted, “Gladstone is very fascinating—his urbanity extreme—his eye that of a man of genius—and his apparent self-surrender to what he is talking of, without a flaw.”

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "Let Iran Go Nuclear"

    So suggests Larry Derfner, writing for The Jerusalem PostWe Can Live with Nuclear Iran.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    A Milestone in Iraq

    "A war-weary nation breathes a sign of relief today as the last of America’s troops finally return home from Iraq, fulfilling President Obama’s campaign pledge to have them out within 16 months of taking office," reports Jason Ditz — US Troops Finally Leave Iraq – Just Kidding.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Ithaca and Leipzig

    David Yearsley writes from one of my favorite upstate towns — How Small Towns Produce Big Music. "World-class art is proper to big cities or resort-style festivals, not to backwaters—so runs the reasoning behind this attitude," he writes. "But the logic founders in its conflation of demographics and aesthetics." He continues:
      Leipzig in the first half of the 18-century had a population of just over 30,000, which made it one of Germany’s largest and most thriving cities. This commercial and university center would be considered a “small town” by many modern Americans, especially those refugees from big cities who find themselves, as they sometimes put it, “in the middle of nowhere.” 30,000 is about the population of present day Ithaca, New York, also home to a university. Ithaca is officially a city, but it’s often referred to by residents as a “small town”.

      Small by present-day urban standards, Leipzig’s musical offerings have not been surpassed by modern cities 1,000 times larger. Services in Leipzig’s principal churches featured elaborate music by J. S. Bach performed under his direction. The orchestra and chorus were made up of students from the school where he taught and from the university. Many of these musicians would go on to become the leading musicians of the next generation. Bach’s own family was rich with musicians, who in turn enriched civic cultural life. Leipzig was also full of outstanding amateurs and enthusiasts; the local scene was visited on occasion by famous musicians from not-so-distant Dresden, where the sumptuous Electoral court had one of the greatest stable of performers and composers in the world. Dresden was even “smaller” than Leipzig.

      If one was in need of more profane fare than the unrelenting diet of guilt and piety in the churches, one could hear Bach along with members of his family and university students at Zimmerman’s coffee house in Leipzig. Imagine yourself sitting over some strong coffee and having a chat with Bach, and then, after he’d excused himself, watching him work his way through the crowded café to lead a Handel cantata and play one of his own harpsichord concertos. That’s “small” town living for you! Starbucks has nearly 20,000 outlets across the globe—almost as many as Leipzig had inhabitants—yet you’re not going to get Zimmerman’s level of culture in any of them, neither in Seattle nor in one of the ten Starbucks in Shanghai with its population of nearly twenty million.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Mr. Obama Needs a New Role Model


    The horrifying vision above seems to be coming true, as Glenn Greenwald's report suggests — Obama wins the right to detain people with no habeas review. What's next, a repeat of the War of Northern Aggression? Maybe against Arizona?

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Post-Confucian Korea

    A new twist on an ancient celebration — Young People Crowd Love Hotels for Coming-of-Age Day. "Many who turn 20 this year go to motels for their own 'coming-of-age' rituals."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise" Sung by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa


    The first piece mentioned in this report that "[a]fter years of tense relations and painstaking theological dialogue, the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church are hoping music and art can create an atmosphere more conducive to their efforts to promote Christian unity" — Musical notes: Vatican, Russian Orthodox try new path toward harmony. "Metropolitan Hilarion sat near Pope Benedict XVI at the concert, which was performed as a gift to the pope from Patriarch Kirill of Moscow."

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Islamo-Finance

    Some are saying it "could become an instrument for long-term economic stability" — Islamic finance growing, looking to non-Muslims. What it means:
      Islamic banking, a booming trillion-dollar industry, prohibits the payment and collection of interest, and bans gambling, so highly complex instruments such as derivatives and other creative accounting practices are banned.

      The sector also shuns investments in gambling, alcohol and pornography in favour of ethical and socially useful investments.

      Real assets must back transactions, whilst the customer and the institution share the risk of any investment and divide any profits between them.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Prots and Pill

    "A Gallup poll commissioned by the NAE found that 90 percent of evangelicals consider 'hormonal contraceptives' to be morally acceptable" — Evangelicals Push 'Theology of Sex,' Abortion Reduction. Said Catholic Flannery O'Connor on the subject, "The Church's stand on birth control is the most absolutely spiritual of all her stands and with all of us being materialists at heart, there is little wonder that it causes unease."

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Conceived in Rape

  • "'I am extremely grateful to and proud of Cardinal Ouellet for speaking up to defend the lives of those of us conceived in rape,' says Deborah Morlani, a wife, mother of five children, pro-life speaker, Catholic writer, registered nurse and grad student working on her Master of Theology degree" — Woman Conceived in Rape Thanks Quebec Cardinal for Abortion Statements.

  • "I was born after a rape, I cannot support abortion!" exclaimed Fatima Pelaes to her colleagues — Brazilian congresswoman whose mother was raped voices opposition to abortion. "Everyone was moved and in tears."

  • "I wish I had heard his message when I was a teen and was raped and then aborted my daughter," said Angelina Steenstra — Woman Who Suffered Rape and Abortion as Teen: Thank You Cardinal Ouellet. "I am deeply grateful to the Cardinal for proclaiming the truth that abortion, even in the case of rape, rather than helping the victim of rape, actually adds a second victim – the unborn child."

    Labels: , , , ,

  • Bookmark and Share

    H.M. Górecki's "Concerto for Harpsichord and String Orchestra," Elżbieta Chojnacka and Narodowa Orkiestra Symfoniczna Polskiego Radia, Antoni Wit


    Harpsichords didn't die with Baroque music, as Henryk Górecki's 1981 composition above shows. Holy minimalism.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Keynesian Chaos

    Chan Akya suggests "the 'new normal' isn't going to be defined by the relative economic growth of various countries or the dynamics of inflation; what will define it (as is increasingly becoming clear) is the return of absolute, gut-wrenching volatility that makes investing a permanent state of siege" — The new order is chaos.

    "The primary policy response globally since October 2008 has been Keynesian, that is, to throw good money after bad in the fervent hope that any resulting inflation would help to reduce the present value of debts while creating new asset bubbles that could encourage consumers to return to their big spending ways," the author explains, suggesting that "thanks to the counter-intuitive and eventually counter-productive actions of the Keynesians running global governments today, chaos is the new order; a constant state of crisis is the new normal."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Friday, May 21, 2010

    Iran, Brazil, Turkey, America and World Opinion

  • "To the world today, the United States appears enraged that Iran is responding to America’s own offer, that it is we who do not want a peaceful resolution, that we and the Israelis are as hell-bent on war and 'regime change' in Iran as George W. Bush was on war and regime change in Iraq," says Patrick J. Buchanan — Take Iran’s Deal, Mr. President. "If the United States were to accept Iran’s counter-offer, it would be a diplomatic coup for Ahmadinejad," he writes, continuing: "Maybe that’s the problem. The powers that be don’t really want a deal with Iran. They want Iran smashed."

  • "Who do these politically awakened upstarts such as Brazil and Turkey think they are - daring to disturb 'our' rule of the world?" asks Pepe Escobar — Iran, Sun Tzu and the dominatrix. "And then uninformed Americans keep asking themselves 'Why do they hate us?' Because, among other reasons, unilateral to the core, Washington does not hesitate to lift its middle finger even to its closest friends."

    Labels: , , , , ,

  • Bookmark and Share

    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.