Thursday, September 30, 2010

J.S. Bach's Laudamus Te Performed by Magdalena Kožená and Musica Florea Directed by Marek Štryncl

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Bembeya Jazz National Perform Tama Tama, N'gnamakoro & Petit Sekou

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"Red Clay Halo" & "Caleb Meyer" Performed by Gillian Welch & David Rawlings

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The Man Who Led Me Back Toward Christ


Charlotte Alston on the giant whose tome, The Kingdom of God Is Within You, I stumbled upon at the 1988 Anarchist Survival Gathering in Toronto, after which I was never quite the same — Tolstoy's Guiding Light:
    The philosophy that became known as ‘Tolstoyism’ was outlined in the body of work the writer produced from the late 1870s onwards. It was essentially a form of Christian anarchism based on the doctrine of non-resistance. Tolstoy rejected the state (because it could only exist on the basis of physical force) and all institutions derived from it: the police, law courts, the army and the Russian Orthodox Church. He condemned private property and money and advocated living by one’s own physical labour. He also came to believe in vegetarianism, complete chastity and abstinence from tobacco and alcohol.
The last two sentences may be taking things a bit too far, and if the state "could only exist on the basis of physical force," it is due to our fallen nature; I can imagine a participatory New England-style minarchical state in which "the police, law courts, [and] the army" are representative. Furthermore Catholicism, transcending the nation-state in a way that Eastern Orthodoxy does not, allows for the Anarcho-Catholicism of Servant of God Dorothy Day.

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"Midwife at Auschwitz"

"[Stanislawa] Leszczynska refused to carry out the Germans’ order to kill the babies – even opposing the infamous Dr. Mengele – and, amazingly, was allowed to carry on unimpeded" — Midwife Who Saved Hundreds of Newborn Babies from Nazis to be Honored. "The cause for Leszczynska’s beatification in the Catholic Church is underway."

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That Iranian Adulteress

"The woman is a murderer, having killed her husband with the aid of her lover and stoning is no longer a punishment in Iran," clarifies Philip Giraldi — Babies in Incubators Redux? This blogger put two and two together and reached the same conclusion a few weeks ago — Faux News on That "Stoning" Case in Iran.

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Debunking M-Theory

"Famed mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose, who worked alongside Stephen Hawking for many years developing Big Bang theory, has debunked Hawking's 'no-God-needed' theory of the universe as 'hardly science' and 'not even a theory'" — Scientist debunks Hawking's 'no God needed' theory. "It's a collection of ideas, hopes, aspirations," he said. "The book is a bit misleading. It gives you this impression of a theory that is going to explain everything; it's nothing of the sort. It's not even a theory."

"What's interesting is that Penrose's criticisms of Hawking are not driven by any faith position," commented Premier Christian Radio's Justin Brierley. "Instead he simply recognises that the science does not justify making statements about God's non-existence, which is a much more honest position than other well-known scientists, such as Dawkins, who want to equate science with atheism."

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"Los Angeles" Performed by X


Bringing this classic back to mind is the post immediately prior of a composition of the same title — Arvo Pärt's Symphony No. 4, Los Angeles, Performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra Directed by Esa-Pekka Salonen. Did you know Exene Cervenka was two years older than Esa-Pekka Salonen and that John Doe is two years older still?

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Arvo Pärt's Symphony No. 4, Los Angeles, Performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra Directed by Esa-Pekka Salonen

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Runnymede, June 15, 1215


Andrew Roberts on how the document signed there and then "has grown from a thirteenth-century peace-making document to a foundation for, and influence on, modern liberty, the supremacy of law, habeas corpus, and the common law" — Magna Carta's Lasting Significance for American Freedom.

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BHL Defends B16

"The Pope’s voice is extremely important," says Bernard-Henri Lévy, "and we are very unjust to this Pope" — French atheist defends Catholicism.

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U.S. War on Potential Filipinos

"I’m certain that the US government influenced President Aquino’s abrupt decision to support population control," said the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines' Father Melvin Castro — US meddled in condom issue, priest alleges.

After all, Washington has been trying to de-Catholicize the country since William McKinley's disastrous régime. His opponent, William Jennings Bryan, and his predecessor, Grover Cleveland, both ardent anti-imperialists, would have set the precedent of letting Filipinos be Filipinos.

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Seoul Denies Korean Citizenship to "Anchor Babies" Born in America

Very interesting news that those "who have foreign citizenship because their mothers deliberately gave birth in the U.S. or other countries where birthright nationality is recognized... will not be given dual citizenship in Korea" — No Dual Citizenship for 'Anchor Babies'.

These new rules would have applied to a good proportion of the kids in my neighborhood (it's a unique neighborhood). There are a lot of a little "Americans" running around who are in no way, shape, or form American, and neither they or their parents would disagree with that statement. If citizenship is nothing but a piece of paper it's not worth much. Hats off to the Korean government for recognizing that fact.

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How Catholics Confront Abortion... in Fargo


With monstrances, holy water, vestments, strangely medieval uniforms, banners, and reasonNorth Dakota bishop leads procession at abortion clinic amid protests: "Even reason and science would point to the truth that life begins at the moment of conception," said His Excellency Bishop Samuel Joseph Aquila. "For those who are unbelievers, they can come to know the truth of the dignity of human life through both reason and science."

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Cold-Shouldering Persia

Ismael Hossein-zadeh and Karla Hansen remind us "that during the past decade or so, Iran has offered a number of times to negotiate with the US without ever getting a positive response" — Why the US doesn't talk to Iran. "The repeated refusal of Iranian offers of dialogue by successive United States administrations suggests that US foreign policy in the Middle East has been driven not by national interest but by the military-industrial complex's need for a constant, external threat to justify its huge share of the treasury."

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"Maria Solinha" Performed by Luar Na Lubre


I heard a version of the above song on Korean radio while driving with my daughter and thought it was Irish (at 1:55 it starts sounding Irish), until I heard the singing which I thought was Castilian, but since I couldn't quite understand it, I put two and two together and guessed correctly it was Galician, spoken by the Celtiberians in their part of the peninsula.

Hearing "María" I thought it might be a Marian folksong, but my daughter, 7, rightly said it sounded sad, and how could a Marian folksong be sad? To my disappointment, I found it was about a woman "[a]cusada de practicar bruxería pola Inquisición."

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Korean Ladies' Fashions


I saw the above ad over at The Marmot's Hole and clicked on it, not because I have any knowledge of, or interest in, fashion, but because I find myself ogling (my uncle taught me that word when he caught me doing it at age twelve in a supermarket) pretty women as much as the next guy.

Such styles have been in fashion as long as I have lived in Korea (thirteen years, a full third of my life). There's a certain healthy timelessness to fashion here, it seems (though not as much as North Korea). Also healthy is the fact that the styles avoid the extremes of frumpiness and sluttiness. They are alluring (I've always been embarrassed by the word "sexy"), although I realize that the Catholic traditionalists who dress their women as what one renowned commenter here called "prairie muffins" will find the pictures pornagraphic.

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Originalism and Events in Dearborn

At first this appears to be a victory — Attorney: Acquitted Christian missionaries plan to sue Dearborn over arrests at Arab festival. "They spent a night in jail for doing nothing but attending an Arab festival and daring to discuss their faith," said Robert Muise of Thomas More Law Center. (Click on the link for a chilling video of the arrest of a convert from Islam for talking to Muslims.)

But what if we look at the events in light of Originalism, i.e. viewing the United States Constitution under "the principle of interpretation that tries to find out the original meaning or intent and not impose new interpretations foreign to the original intention of the authors"? The First Amendment to the United States Constitution only bound the Federal Government. Thus, it was not until the 1818 Constitution of the State of Connecticut that Congregationalism was disestablished as the state religion of the "Constitution State."

Perhaps the local authorities in Dearborn should be free to give Muslims protection from proselytization at their festivals. The local authorities in Dearborn certainly had no say in the immigration policies that made their city home to so many Muslims. Perhaps local authorities in Manhattan and Tennessee should likewise be free to decide whether or not mosques go up in their communities.

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Malaysia's Christian Sea Gypsies

Jeremy Lim reports on a victory for "one of 18 tribes collectively known as Orang Asli, the 'natural population' of that land" — A tribe of Orang Asli allowed rebuild church.

The Orang Laut (Sea Nomads) seem to be to whom the author is referring as the "People of the Straits" rather than the various Negrito peoples among the Orang Asli that inhabit the peninsula. (The Malay word "orang" means man, as in "orang utan," man of the forest.)

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Claudio Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine 1610 Performed by the Monteverdi Choir

... and the London Oratory Junior Choir, the Schola Cantorum of The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, the English Baroque Soloists, and His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, directed by Sir John Eliot Gardiner:



























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The Republic of West Florida


Two hundred-years and some days ago it was established, and was to last seventy-four days — St. Tammany marks bicentennial of West Florida Republic. "The area that is now known as the Florida Parishes, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Washington, and West Feliciana, is now part of Louisiana but for a brief period in history, this area was part of its own country, the Republic of West Florida." A brief history of the republic's brief history:
    In September 1810, settlers in the Spanish territory of West Florida, which includes what is now St. Tammany Parish, revolted against the Spanish government and proclaimed an independent republic.

    On Sept. 23, 1810, rebels stormed the Spanish fort near Baton Rouge, overwhelmed the Spanish and raised their own flag – the Bonnie Blue, a blue flag with one white star.

    The West Florida Assembly dispatched its own army, commanded by General Phiemon Thomas and forcibly annexed the territory from the Mississippi River to the Pearl River. Residents proclaimed St. Francisville as its capital and elected Fulwar Skipwirth as its president.

    However, its rule was short-lived.

    On Dec. 6, 1810, under the order of then President James Madison, West Florida was forcibly annexed by the United States and the republic ceased to exist, after a life of 74 days.

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Admiral Cheng Ho's Voyage to Africa


Antoaneta Becker on the "Muslim eunuch from the Ming Dynasty who the Chinese claim reached East Africa 80 years before the Portuguese seafarer Vasco da Gama" — China dives deep for African roots. "He is said to have reached the coast of Kenya as early as 1418 loaded with goods and gifts from the Chinese emperor."

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Proto-Protestant Protestation

This blogger's pollyannaism over the "positive advances... made towards full communion" — Healing the Great Schism of 1054 — is exposed for what it was — Moscow Patriarchate freezes ecumenical journey: pope never commanded in the East.

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, the report informs us, "says that 'no breakthrough has been made,' on the theme of the meeting, that of the role of the bishop of Rome in the first millennium, and moreover challenges the very foundation of the meeting, denying that the pope ever had jurisdiction over the Eastern Churches." This counters previous calls by Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon "[f]or the Orthodox" to "recogniz[e] that a universal Christian Church is at a higher level than their national churches and the bishop of Rome is the traditional leader" and at the same time "[f]or Catholics" a "strengthening [of] the principle of collegiality, that is the role of the synods of bishops in decision-making."

(An example of this "principle of collegiality" is mentioned in the article describing "the previous meeting of the Commission... at which the Moscow Patriarchate did not participate due to the presence of the Estonian Orthodox Church, which it does not recognize" [emphasis mine].

Said Metroplotan Hilarion, "The Bishop of Rome had no direct jurisdiction over the East, despite the fact that in some cases, the Eastern bishops have called upon him as a arbitrator in theological discussions" [emphasis mine]. Roma locuta est. Causa finita est.

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The Examined Life in Gotham

Pints in NYC, a blog in a sense conceived on this one, starts things off with a must-read discussion of "the opening lines of Plato's Republic" — ". . . down by the Pireaus . . ."

"This possibly greatest work of philosophy begins not in an ivory tower, but amongst the people" and "not with a vainglorious statement or slogan, as so many murderous modern ideologies have (i.e. 'All men are born free . . .' , 'A spectre is haunting Europe . . .' ), but rather is couched in religious liturgy and social festivity and an open-mindedness to 'something new.'"

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Alexander Mosolov's The Iron Foundry Performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra Directed by Esa-Pekka Salonen

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Victims of Totalitarianism

"Can we mourn both Soviet and Nazi victims, together?" asks Bryan P. Bradley — Mass murder memories. The author reports on the "one side accused of being indifferent to the Nazi-led Holocaust during World War II, and the other called blind to the perhaps less efficient but equally deliberate and massive Soviet slaughters spread out over decades both before and after that war" in a "debate [that] seems to focus on rivalry for attention to one's own victims, one's own tragedy, with unwillingness or inability to understand the other side's points and share the other side's pain."

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Egyptian State vs. Church

A troubling precedent — Egyptian Coptic Pope Shenouda III Fined For Stand Against Divorce. This pontiff is not backing down: "the Coptic pope has refused to pay the fine, and instead said he would defrock any priest who allows a divorced Christian to remarry, except under the allowed conditions."

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"This Cranky, Funny, Insightful, Stern, Kentucky Prophet"

Russell Arben Fox on a man for whom "the environmentalist cause and the localist cause are (or should be) one and the same" — Hearing Wendell Berry.

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Two Reasons Physicists Should Stick to Physics

  • "I would support peaceful co-existence between religion and science because they concern different domains," says the Royal Astronomer — Martin Rees: 'We shouldn't attach any weight to what Hawking says about god'. Lord Rees continued, "Anyone who takes theology seriously knows that it's not a matter of using it to explain things that scientists are mystified by."

  • "Thanks to an ever growing influx of Ph.D.s from the Ivies and an insatiable demand for an algorithmic trading edge by secretive hedge funds and proprietary trading desks at the largest firms, Wall Street has become part physics lab, part casino, part black hole," begins Pam Martens — Scientists, Secrets and Wall Street's Lost $4 Trillion.
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    Andrew Bacevich on Obama's Wars by Bob Woodward

    The antiwar conservative describes "what the court historian won't reveal in his new book," says The American Conservative blurb — Bob Woodward’s Trivial Pursuits. Skewering his subject as the "chief gossip-monger of the governing class," Prof. Bacevich offers "a series of questions to which Woodward (not to mention the rest of Washington) remains steadfastly oblivious:"
      Why fight a war that even the general in charge says can’t be won? What will the perpetuation of this conflict cost? Who will it benefit? Does the ostensibly most powerful nation in the world have no choice but to wage permanent war? Are there no alternatives? Can Obama shut down an unwinnable war now about to enter its tenth year? Or is he — along with the rest of us — a prisoner of war?

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    How Koreans See the Church

    John Choi reports on the results of "a recently published poll in a popular current affairs magazine" — Catholicism is Korea’s ‘most trusted religion’: "Asked 'to select two credible religions in Korea,' 57.6 percent of respondents selected Catholicism followed by Buddhism with 50.0 percent, Protestantism with 26.4 percent and Won Buddhism, 6.2 percent."

    Mentioned as reasons are "the Church’s high profile stance on social issues" and "the clean image of Catholic priests and Religious and the sacredness of the Church."

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    Sharia Banking in Korea

    News that an effort spearheaded "by Rhee Dong-wook, a Muslim convert, and Lee Tong-ho, a former president of Korea Development Bank," "for opening an Islamic bank, tentatively called Al Amir Bank," "is still facing many challenges" — Moves to establish a local Islamic bank face hurdles. What is an "Islamic bank," you ask? "Al Amir Bank would be based on the principles of Islamic Shariah law, which bans charging interest on financial transactions."

    What "challenges" and "hurdles" are faced? The report informs us that "the committee has had problems finding Islamic investors, preferably from the Gulf region." Why? First, we learn that "one of the most prominent banks from the Middle East in operation here is Iran’s Bank Mellat, whose operations were recently suspended as part of Korea’s sanctions against Iran for its suspected nuclear weapons program." Also, "Korea has yet to approve proposed tax changes for the issuance of Islamic Sukuk bonds by Korean companies due to opposition from local Christian [read, Protestant] groups."

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    Healing the Great Schism of 1054

    Welcome news of "positive advances... made towards full communion" — Church leaders report progress in recent Catholic-Orthodox dialogue. "There are no clouds of mistrust between our two churches," His Excellency the Most Reverend John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon is quited as saying. The Orthodox Metropolitan continued: "If we continue like that, God will find a way to overcome all the difficulties that remain."

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    Monday, September 27, 2010

    Jacob van Eyck's Preludium of Voorspel and Phantasia, Comagain, and Doen Daphne Performed by Erik Bosgraaf

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    Pure Land Buddhism and Atonement for Abortion


    A visit to a nearby temple with "child monk statues made of stone dedicated to children that [sic] were aborted, paid for by the parents that [sic] killed them" — Destination: Manbulsa (Yeongcheon city, Gyeongsangbuk-do). Linked to is the above image and this description from the temple's English-language site — Manbul Temple in Korea:
      Sutra says, "Even you committed the terrible sin like killing your fetus, you would be saved when you confess your sins sincerely through Buddha's teaching and saying." As you follow Buddha's teaching, Youjayoungga would be guided to a gentle and easy death. The reason Manbul temple at Manbul Mountain is installed Youjayoungga is for guiding young death to gentle and easy death with defending on the power of Ksitigarbaha bodhisattva and offers parents place to confess their sin. On the surface of seating altar is carved the name of builder and the statue is wearing a beanie and a bib.
    I've blogged about this before — "Baby Souls Mourning" and Water Baby Offering Rites. The temple is one of three in Korea offering such rites, and being nearby, I've visited on several occasions, and have always been profoundly moved. In contrast, Modernity tells us that "the terrible sin like killing your fetus" is merely a "choice" and that there is no need for abortive parents to "be saved" nor to "confess their sin."

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    All Hail Maestro José Antonio Abreu Anselmi

    "One of the most exciting things to happen in the classical music world in recent years happened in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela," reports Robert Badger, with video — El sistema.

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    Best Dystopian Alternative History of the Decade Made Into Film

    "Roger Ebert likes Never Let Me Go, based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro," reports The New Beginning, with a trailer. The book blew me away, and I don't think my mother has quite forgiven me for having recommended it to her.


    'Twas from Amy Welborn I first learned about the novel; here's a review of hers of "a novel suffused with a sadness that is almost unbearable at times" — Never let me go. And here's another — Book Review: Never Let Me Go – Clones in Love.

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    First, They Came for the Peaceniks

    Conservative Heritage Times has the story — FBI raids Minneapolis homes of five antiwar activists. "Does speaking out against a war constitute terrorism?" asks CHT. "There’s a precedent for accusing critics of providing material support to the enemy — and of course, Abraham Lincoln set it."

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    Sunday, September 26, 2010

    Antonio Vivaldi's L'autunno Perfomed by the Montpellier Strings Directed by Raymond Cohen

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    Inspector O, Taoist Existential Hero in a Kafkesque Dystopian Noir Set in North Korea

    With A Corpse in the Koryo, James Church, a pseudonymous "former Western intelligence officer with decades of experience in Asia," gives us not only an exciting detective story, but an unforgettable and compelling protagonist. Inspector O is an existential hero, a cynic whose is spared for his "anti-social" behaviour, such as sanding wood and forgetting to wear his pin of the Leader, only by the fact that his grandfather, from whom he inherited not only his love of woodworking but also his cynicism, was a leader in the anti-Japanese struggle and was known as the "Heartbeat of the Revolution."

    The book's setting, North Korea in 2003, would be a dystopia if it weren't for real. Still technologically and ideologically stuck in the 1950s, it is perhaps the only possible backdrop for a contemporary noir. Where else could a detective chat with a flirtatious switchboard operator? Politics, which we might expect to be at the center of a story set in North Korea, only serve as a backdrop. Inspector O's Ministry of People's Security, for reasons he only learns at the end, finds itself in a mortal struggle with Military Security.

    Things like home searches, being sent to coal mines for infractions, and midnight knocks at the door are depicted as normal parts of life, as they are for the citizens of that long-suffering country. Inspector O's boss uses the weather as a code for the political situation, "blue skies" meaning all hell is going to break loose. Political power, like the weather, cannot be altered.

    Inspector O has the "heart of a poet." His musings about sunrises and mists and leaves changing color far outweigh what he says about the case he is investigating. His approach to investigation is Taoist, as he explains to a foreign spy:
      ... knowing too much can only lead to trouble. You know what you need to know. I'm not talking about instincts. No, my instincts are fine. Sometimes they move sideways, like an ox stumbling across a muddy field, I let them move however they wish. People think instincts should be sharp, they should fly like arrows. I don't believe that. I think instincts should wander and meander, like streams coming down the mountain. An arrow can miss a target. A stream always knows where it is going, eventually.
    Later, in the same conversation, he says, "I once heard a Westerner say, 'What you see is what you get.' We laughed for days at the office about that." That gives a hint to the plot, whose ending includes a profoundly moving and humane twist.

    I will be visiting What the Book? soon for the other novels in the Inspector O series:

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    More of Bill Kauffman's (& Robert Frost's) "Insubordinate Americans"

    I had my doubts whether fellow Western New Yorker Bill Kauffman could pull it off with his latest — Bye Bye, Miss American Empire: Neighborhood Patriots, Backcountry Rebels, and their Underdog Crusades to Redraw America's Political Map. The topic, I thought, might be too narrow compared to the previous works of his I'd read. I was wrong. This is perhaps his best book to date.

    In it, we are introduced to everyone from the folks behind the Hartford Convention "during the War of 1812 in which New England's opposition to the war reached the point where secession from the United States was discussed" to the contemporary Second Vermont Republic movement. We meet the restless natives trying to restore the Kingdom of Hawaii and the culturally conservative Catholics like Pedro Albizu Campos at the founding of the Puerto Rican Independence Party, not to mention those who've attempted to liberate West Kansas from Topeka, Upstate New York from Downstate (and vice versa), and Brooklyn from New York City.

    As in all of Mr. Kauffman's books, countered is the dictum that "might makes right." The losers in political debates of the past, those relegated to the footnotes of history, deserve a hearing, and often they make more sense than the winners. (Why is California one state not three?) Also, we learn our history with belly laughs; about mutual hero Grover Cleveland he interjects: "Just another three-hundred-pound lardass from Buffalo sitting on a barstool and cursing the Bills? I don't think so."

    I'm happy to have added this great book to my Kauffman library:

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    Saturday, September 25, 2010

    M.A. Charpentier's Conserva Me, Domine Performed by Le Parlement de Musique Directed by Martin Gester

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    The Next Existential Threat

    Daniel Larison reports where it's coming from — The Burmese Are Coming.

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    Traditional Shaving

    Lew Rockwell reports, "The shaving revolution, a return to traditional tools and methods, continues to flourish" — LRC’ers Like a Retro-Shave. I've been using a traditional razor for two decades.

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    America's Invincible Ignorance

    "Americans will be the first people sent straight to Hell while thinking that they are the salt of the earth," writes Paul Craig Roberts — The Collapse of Western Morality.

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    Political Correctness

    Keith Preston argues that "such metaphors as 'cultural Marxism' or 'liberal Nazism' are not really the best characterizations of PC" — The Ideology of Totalitarian Humanism.

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    Friday, September 24, 2010

    M.A. Charpentier's Messe des Morts Performed by the Ricercar Consort Directed by Philippe Pierlot

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    The Unspeakable

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    Russell Kirk on the Great Charter

    "Nearly all of Europe, and indeed nearly all of the 'free world,' owes modern representative institutions to the English example," the Sage of Mecosta reminds us — From England to America: Magna Carta and the Supremacy of Law. An excerpt:
      For the first stirrings of representation in national politics, we turn to the Great Charter, Magna Carta, extracted from King John by the barons of his realm, in the year 1215. John, though clever and an able soldier, was so grasping and evil a monarch that no later English king took the name of John. The king had arbitrarily imprisoned barons, knights, and burgesses, to extort large sums of money from them for carrying on his wars. With most of the barons in arms against him, and the menace of a French invasion imminent, John was forced to grant a guarantee of royal good conduct, which he signed at Runnymede, between London and Windsor. This we call Magna Carta.

      Most of the many articles of the Great Charter have lost their significance with the passing of the feudal age. But a fundamental principle of Magna Carta, though not expressed in so many words in that document itself, endures to our day. This principle entered into the developing common law of the thirteenth century, and appeared in later royal charters and statutes. It became the rock upon which the English constitution was built. It is the principle of the supremacy of law: the idea that an enduring law exists, which all men must obey. The king himself is one of those men under the law. Along with this principle ran a corollary principle—that if the king breaks the law, and invades the rights of his vassals, then barons and the people may deprive him of his powers.

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    Skeptical Asians

    This "global survey of the scientifically literate public" finds that "a startling 35% of the Japanese and 49% of the Chinese respondents agreed that there is 'reason for doubt' about evolutionary theory's ability to explain the variety of species on Earth" — Science and society: A Pacific divide. Mind you, this was among the "scientifically literate public" of two of the least religious societies on the planet. (We learn that "the numbers for the rest of the world fluctuated around 10%.)

    "Japanese and Chinese respondents were also less likely than others to say that they trust scientific explanations of the origins of the Universe," we read. "And almost one-third of scientifically literate Chinese people say that scientists should not get involved in politics, compared with around 10% of respondents in most of the rest of the world."

    Why? Possible reasons mentioned are "a recognition of complexity in nature" and "a greater appreciation among east Asians for the limitations of knowledge."

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    "The Church of Spontaneous Creation"

    William Murchison on "the dogged persistence of atheists trying in the face of common sense to persuade the world as to the wisdom they see in their every utterance" — Atheism: What a Joke.

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    Papal Mission to Britain

  • "For many Englishmen, I suspect," writes Roger Scruton, "the Pope’s Westminster mass was the first inkling of what Christianity really means" — Missionary to the Multiculturalists.

  • "We have been given another vision of Britain – brighter and more interesting," writes Joanna Bogle — “I felt as if I had been given my country back”.
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    The "Recovered Memory" Racket

    A woman who "falsely accused her father of molestation" comes clean — "My Lie": Why I falsely accused my father. "That she came to believe such a thing was possible reveals what can happen when personal turmoil meets a powerful social movement, ... the 1980s feminist-inspired campaign to expose molestation, which hit feverish levels in 1988 with the book 'The Courage to Heal.'"

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    Like Ike

    Retired Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, retired Gen. James L. Jones and Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute are described as "the military's toughest, most persistent and most skeptical critics" in the Obama administration — Generals in civilian posts were toughest critics of surge, Woodward writes.

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    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Dieterich Buxtehude's Das Neugeborne Kindelein Performed by the Ricercar Consort Directed by Philippe Pierlot


    Something for Thursday, on which the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary invites us to contemplate the Nativity of Jesus.

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    A Profile in Cowardice?

    "President Obama urgently looked for a way out of the war in Afghanistan last year, repeatedly pressing his top military advisers for an exit plan that they never gave him," reports Steve Luxenberg — Bob Woodward book details Obama battles with advisers over exit plan for Afghan war.

    And here I thought the President was the commander-in-chief of the United States military. To be fair, these "military advisers" likely play a role not unlike that of those sent to the puppets that nominally serve as heads of state of various banana republics. To be even fairer, Mr. Obama has, like the rest of us I'm sure, has seen the Zapruder film.

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    Two on the Demise of Our English Tongue

    From Michael Johnson and Gene Weingarten respectively — Debasement Is Not Just a Damp Room Under Your House and Goodbye, cruel words: English. It's dead to me.

    "Just how debased can the English language become and still be called English?" asks the former. "The English language, which arose from humble Anglo-Saxon roots to become the lingua franca of 600 million people worldwide and the dominant lexicon of international discourse, is dead," answers the latter. "It is survived by an ignominiously diminished form of itself."

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    David B. Hart on the Greatest Nation

    The New Beginning links to the theologian's nominee — The Greatest Nation on Earth. My choice is far less contrarian; for all her flaws, America is the best.

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    Hey, Bibliophiles!

    Elena Maria Vidal has two posts for you — An Unusual Book Club and Great Libraries of the World.

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    Oremus...

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    Return of the Old Atheists

    Caspar Melville is "bored by New Atheism" and says, "It's time we move on and leave the years of irascible, impatient, blunt, godless discourse behind" — Beyond New Atheism? This self-described "professional godless editor" says that "it is surely false, as well as politically unwise and, well, pretty impolite, to say that 'all theology' is irrelevant (some of it is moral reasoning, isn't it?), still worse to say that 'religion poisons everything', or that without religion there would be no war, or that bringing a child up within a faith is tantamount to child abuse, or that moderate religious believers are worse than fundamentalists because they prepare the ground for extremism, or that 'all' religion is this, or that, or 'all' faith is misguided, or to suggest that those who believe in God are basically stupid, or that science, and only science, can answer our questions."

    "The picture of religion that emerges from New Atheism is a caricature and both misrepresents and underestimates its real character," Mr. Melville writes, arguing for "a mode of inquiry into religion, faith, belief and non-belief, more consistent with William than with Jesse James."

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    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" Performed by Cassandra Wilson


    Something for the celestial event marked by today's Korean holiday.

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    Free James Willie Jones!

    Defending one's daughter is not a crime — James Willie Jones Stormed Fla. School Bus to Defend Disabled Daughter, Gets Arrested. A local broadcast news story — Father Storms Onto A San Francisco School Bus And Threatens To Kill Students & Bus Driver. Mr. Jones' statement — Dad Who Stormed Bus, Threatened Kids Apologizes:
      As a dad, my No. 1 priority is providing for and protecting my children. Since the school year started, my wife and I noticed that our daughter had become increasingly distraught about school and riding the school bus, but she wouldn’t tell us exactly why.

      As the involved parent of a child who suffers from cerebral palsy, it broke my heart. When I walked my daughter to the bus that morning, she broke down in tears and finally told me about the bullies who had tormented her on the school bus. She was afraid.

      In the heat of the moment, I wanted to confront the individuals who had bullied my daughter and the authority figure who failed to protect her. I sincerely apologize for my inappropriate use of language and for the way I handled the situation. As the protector of my daughter I could not stand by and helplessly watch her suffer.

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    Terry Eagleton's Reason, Faith, and Revolution

    "A socialist thinker comes to the rescue of believers," says Andrew Lynch in his review of the new book — The new atheism: “crusades and Galileo 101”. An excerpt:
      In Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God debate -- the published and expanded version of his lectures -- Eagleton argues that the description of religion, and mainly Christian religion, offered by Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, largely consists of a 101 course on the Crusades, the persecution of Galileo, and the case of Pius XII during the Holocaust. For good measure they throw in the consequences of 9/11 -- just to show that they have some idea of the religion outside of the Christian context. Dawkins’s The God Delusion, Hitchens’s God Is Not Great, and Onfray’s The Atheist Manifesto, draw on some well worn clichés and straw men to show why we should shun religion.

      Eagleton points out that such a view of religion is biased and unfair. The importance of religion for a great many people today and throughout history is excised in a view that narrows down to the controversies in its history. These atheist writers make little or no mention of the contributions made by religion to education, health, civil planning, and to the development of such institutions as the university where Dawkins himself is gainfully employed. Eagleton is right to pull these authors up on their unsophisticated analysis of what religion actually is, and he will have struck a chord with any informed religious person who has read the work of the new atheists and grimaced at their simplistic notions of religion, faith and churches.

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    Reverse Darwinism

    "Why are the healthiest and wealthiest populations failing to reproduce?" asks Phillip Longman, concluding with someting to remember "the next time someone tells you that you’re selfish for bringing children into the world" — The Death of the Fittest.

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    Cardinal Newman's Book

    Roger Scruton calles it "the most serene and beautiful vindication that we have of the old ideal of the scholarly life" — The Idea of a University.

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    Moral Progress

    Kwame Anthony Appiah's new book arguing that "that reformulated notions of honor have played what he calls a 'central role' in the history of moral revolutions" makes reviewer Paul Berman "wonder whether something deeper and vaster hasn't ultimately been driving the grandest of the reform campaigns—something deriving from Christianity, maybe" — The Unappreciated Power of Honor.

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    "Rich Man's War and Poor Man's Fight"

    Andrew Bacevich reviews a new book that demonstrates that "when America goes to war, it is the poorer and less educated in society who are more likely to die in combat" — Unequal Sacrifice. Contra the authors' suggestion that "citizen awareness of the casualty gap can serve as a 'democratic brake,' helping to avert ill-advised or unnecessary wars," Prof. Bacevich argues, "This status quo—which includes grotesque inequality at home and perpetual war abroad—persists not because Americans are insufficiently alert to reality but because the powerful are determined to preserve arrangements that serve their own interests."

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    God's Rottweiler

    "The fabled Vatican 'Rottweiler' turned out to be a shy, warm and frail 83-year-old who perked up every time his security detail allowed him to greet people, especially youngsters and his own generation" — British press enthuse about lovable Pope.

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    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    J.S. Bach's Die Katze Läßt das Mausen Nicht Performed by Madeleine Vogt, Matthias Schubotz, Holger Krause, & Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

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    Korea and Coffee


    "This myth that coffee was first introduced to Korea through Antoinette Songtag (of the Sontag Hotel) has made its way into history books, movies and even on this blog and, to be honest, I am tired of it," begins historian Robert Neff — The Korean Coffee Myth.

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    The Korean Martyrs

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    Return to Normalcy?

    Daniel Larison identifies "several encouraging signs that a majority of Americans is taking a very sensible view of how activist and interventionist the U.S. should be in the future" — Americans Turning Against Hegemonism.

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    Fringes vs. Vital Center

    Paul Buhle on "the beginnings of a most unusual movement... to end American war and American Empire, against the evident bipartisan determination to keep both of them going" — Organizing Against Empire: Where Left and Right Meet ... Amicably.

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    "The Same Man"

    Allen Barra on two English writers who shared "a hatred of moral relativism," noting that "each believed with all his heart, brain and soul that there were such things as moral right and moral wrong, and that these were not subject to changes in fashion" — Orwell and Evelyn Waugh...An English Literary Odd Couple. An excerpt:
      Orwell defended "Brideshead Revisited" from a left-wing attack in the Times Literary Supplement by arguing that the reviewer missed the essential theme of the book, "the collision between ordinary decent behavior and the Catholic concept of good and evil." Or as Orwell put it in a final, unfinished essay, what Waugh was trying to do in his fiction was "to use the feverish, culture-less modern world as a set-off for his own conception of a good and stable way of life."

      As much could be said for "1984" or "Animal Farm," and Waugh came close to saying it.

      "I think it possible," he wrote to Orwell in 1950, "that in 1984 we shall be living in conditions rather like those you show."
    The author suggests that "the peace that Orwell and Waugh found with each other suggests a common ground for liberals and conservatives of today."

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    The Miseducation of America

    "The fundamental reason why American children are not educated properly is simply because the American people do not want their children to be educated properly," Mark Anthony Signorelli — Self-Esteem v. Standards.

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    Giving Gauguin His Due

    "A pretty village in a wooded valley in southern Brittany, Pont-Aven is about the last place you’d expect anything revolutionary to have taken place," begins Mark Hudson; "But on a riverbank just outside the village, in a spot believed sacred by the local people, Paul Gauguin can be said to have invented modern art" — Paul Gauguin at the Tate Modern: desire, death, myth. Read about the great artist "now seen as perhaps the slightest of the great Post-Impressionists."


    The Yellow Christ, pictured above, is a painting I grew up with, housed as it is at my local Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

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    ¡Viva México!

    News of a move to "change the official name of the country from the 'United Mexican States' to Mexico" — United States gradually disappear from world map. Seems an easier change than the one mentioned in this post — The United States of Allegania.

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    Blessed Father Gerhard Hirschfelder

    "The Schonstatt Fathers are welcoming another beatification for their spiritual family" — Priest-Martyr of Dachau Beatified. A bried biographical sketch:
      Gerhard Hirschfelder was born in 1907 in Glatz, Silesia, and was ordained a priest in 1932. His path to ordination was strewn with difficulties because Gerhard was an illegitimate child and, according to the rules of the day, needed special authorization to study theology and a dispensation for orders.

      Despite difficult beginnings, the young priest showed himself a dedicated and effective minster to youth. Realizing the horrors of Nazi propaganda, he tried through closeness and spiritual direction to keep his young people from the ideology.

      In his homilies, he denounced the excesses and violence of that period. The Gestapo reacted to this and arrested him in 1941, during a meeting of young people.

      While in the Glatz prison, where he was for four months, he wrote an impressive Via Crucis and reflections on the priesthood, marriage and the family.

      He was taken to Dachau on Dec. 15, 1941, where he died of hunger and acute pneumonia on Aug. 1, 1942.

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    End the "Good War"

    "Despite all the claims by U.S. officials and the media, the situation in Afghanistan after nearly nine years of U.S.-led liberation is horrendous," spake His Excellency Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala of Los Angeles — Pax Christi bishop calls for end of US-led war in Afghanistan.

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    "Durme, Durme" Performed by The Ark


    Something for all you Ladino-speaking insomniacs out there.

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    The Power of the Handshake

    In response to "an essay that has become an internet sensation" — Amazing Confession from a High-School Teacher — writes Mike K:
      I read this and have to respond. I have prayed about this and want to be as Christian as possible. I am a white man who has successfully taught in the black community for several years. My students come from an impoverished background, over 90% receive free or reduced lunch. I will state I teach in the public schools, and my students are teenagers. They are also the best students in my community on all statewide tests. I am sorry but the above piece is not an indictment of children, but an indictment of adults. First, my students are always expected to use proper English, and enter my classroom in a dignified and scholarly way. I shake each of their hands before they come in the room. I do not accepted substandard performance, anything less than their best is graded accordingly. I call parents or guardians, and have almost always seen rapid response and correction. I even had a grandmother show up five minutes after I spoke with her so she could “impress” the importance of homework on her grandchild. Students perform for teachers who care and love them. I have never once loved a student into failure, and they have always strived to meet my expectations. My classroom is silent, well behaved, and hardworking, no exceptions. I am sorry but the above reads like an administration and teaching staff that does not care, which results in apathetic and criminal behavior, and honestly it would result in the same way in a poor school anywhere, regardless of the race of the children. There is more to this story, trust me. [Emphasis mine.]
    This blogger has found the "handshake approach" works wonders with his students, admittedly from the top 1% of high school graduates here.

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    Monday, September 20, 2010

    Giuseppe Verdi's Ave Maria Performed by Renée Fleming and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Directed by Daniel Barenboim

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    Strangers in a Strange Land

    A tale of two young visitors to "strange land where stars shine at night, kids play outside and school lets out before sundown" — Korean students enjoy freedom of US teens in Carrollton exchange trip‎. (Sounds like Ray Bradbury's All Summer in a Day.) The picture below, worth at least the proverbial thousand words, shows the students "awkwardly with hands on hearts during the Pledge of Allegiance:"


    Yes, nothing speaks of American freedom more than the regimentation of the Pledge. (But seriously, someone should have told them that one is only supposed to salute one's own flag, and merely stand respectfully for those of other countries, as I once told a compatriot here who insisted on putting his hand over his heart during the Korean national anthem.)

    The students are from Guri, described accurately, if depressingly, as "a densely packed, tightly governed mass of buildings in the metropolitan area surrounding Seoul, the South Korean capital." We learn that "they snapped photos of stars, a rarity among the towers of Guri." The students were said to have "discovered a high school where even classwork felt like a vacation." Said one of them, "It's so hard [in Guri]. We have no time to rest."

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    Servant of God François Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận


    Remembering a man of faith who "spent 13 years in prison under the communist government" and whose "life is an example of faith and holiness for Catholics in Vietnam and the world" — Eighth anniversary of the death of Card. Nguyen Van Thuan marked. "The cause for his beatification [is] underway." A biographical sketch:
      He was born April 17, 1928 in the parish of Phu Cam. At a very young age he entered the minor seminary of An Ninh, then studied philosophy and theology at the seminary of Phu Xuan. Ordained priest on June 11, 1953 by Bishop. Urrutia, from 1964 to 1967 he was vicar general in the Archdiocese of Hue. On April 13, 1967 Pope Paul VI appointed him bishop of Nha Trang and on April 24, 1975 auxiliary bishop of Saigon. Six days later, on April 30 the revolutionary army of the communist government "entered Saigon".

      Some " nationalist, pro-Communist priests, spoke ill of him. Thus, the new Communist government immediately had him interned in a re-education camp, where he remained for 13 years from 1975 to 1988 without trial. While in prison, he was able to get messages to his followers, brief reflections very clear, written on scraps of paper. These messages were then hand-copied and circulated throughout the Catholic community. They were collected in the book "The Road of Hope." Another book, “Prayers of Hope, "contains the prayers he wrote in prison. He even made a small Bible on pieces of paper. Some jailers who sympathised with him, smuggled him a piece of wood and twine, for a small crucifix.

      In 1991 he was forced to leave his country and was received with pleasure by Pope John Paul II into the Roman Curia. In 1998 he became president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. On February 21, 2001 Nguyen Van Thuan was made a cardinal. A few days after Vietnam loosened its restrictions and the Cardinal was able to return to his homeland with the normal immigration procedures and was granted the facilities normally accorded to foreign nationals.

      He died September 16, 2002 of cancer, in a clinic in Rome. Before his death he had appeared in a list of possible successors to John Paul II. On September 16, 2007, on the fifth anniversary of his death, the Church opened the cause for his beatification. Benedict XVI expressed "profound joy" at the announcement. The news was also greeted with enthusiasm by the Catholics of Vietnam, who consider him "an example of holiness for the Catholics of Vietnam and the entire world."

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    "Verdi Cries" Performed by Natalie Merchant


    Some local music, at least where I grew up. One of the most memorable performances of my youth was of the 10,000 Maniacs playing at Griffis Sculpture Park in East Otto, New York. Miss Merchant, wearing a hippie dress, got off the stage and formed a big circle with the concert-goers all holding hands and led them around the park like a bunch of little kids. Reading fellow Western New Yorker Bill Kauffman's Bye Bye, Miss American Empire: Neighborhood Patriots, Backcountry Rebels, and their Underdog Crusades to Redraw America's Political Map has me thinking locally.

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    Pope Benedict XVI on Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman

    "His insights into the relationship between faith and reason, into the vital place of revealed religion in civilized society, and into the need for a broadly-based and wide-ranging approach to education were not only of profound importance for Victorian England, but continue today to inspire and enlighten many all over the world" — Excerpts from Pope Benedict’s sermon on Cardinal John Henry Newman.

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    "Buddhist Economics"

    "I might have called it 'Christian Economics' but then no one would have read it," said E. F. Schumacher of the celebrated chapter of his book which Grace Lee Boggs says "will open up both your heart and your mind" in her article — Economics as if People Mattered.

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    Eleven Score and Seven Years Ago Today


    France became "the first nation to take to the air" — The Montgolfier Baloon.

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    Dawkins' Dumb Idea Dies

    Sue Blackmore argues that "the idea of religious belief as a virus has had its day" — Why I no longer believe religion is a virus of the mind. The author is, or now was, a devotee of Richard Dawkins' idea "that religions, like viruses, are costly to those infected with them."

    What caused her to change her mind? At a conference in which she "present[ed] the view from memetics that religions begin as by-products but then evolve and spread, like viruses, using humans to propagate themselves for their own benefit and to the detriment of the people they infect," a later presenter showed her "graph after convincing graph he showed that all over the world and in many different ages, religious people have had far more children than nonreligious people," something most of us non-Brights have known all along.

    She also mentions a discussion of "whether secularists should be terrified of an impending world dominated by religion or not" and notes the "given data suggesting that religious people are happier and possibly even healthier than secularists" and "experimental data showing that religious people can be more generous, cheat less and co-operate more."

    "So it seems I was wrong and the idea of religions as 'viruses of the mind' may have had its day," she writes, the adds smugly, "This is how science (unlike religion) works: in the end it's the data that counts." All I can say is that it took a lot more than a few graphs and a couple of presentations to alter my beliefs on my fourteen-year hegira from Religious Indifferentism to Catholicism.

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    Confucian Pope

    "Every generation can learn from the experience and wisdom of the generation that preceded it," said the Supreme Pontiff — Society Owes Elderly Gratitude, Says Pope. "Indeed the provision of care for the elderly should be considered not so much an act of generosity as the repayment of a debt of gratitude."

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    Saturday, September 18, 2010

    Thomas Tallis' Spem in Alium Performed by The King's Singers

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    Pope on the Limits of the Sciences

    "They cannot satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart, they cannot fully explain to us our origin and our destiny, why and for what purpose we exist, nor indeed can they provide us with an exhaustive answer to the question, 'Why is there something rather than nothing?'" — Holy Father addresses 'question' of existence.

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    Poe on the Limits of the Sciences

    Ira Katz "eloquent libertarian and Austrian economic insights are to be found in" his writings — Edgar Allan Poe and the Purloined Social Science. A character offers "the example of morals which is a branch of praxeology as is economics" and "thus recognizes that branches of science, the so-called social sciences, which study human actions, are not susceptible to mathematical calculation."

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    Frank Furedi on the Papal Visit

    The liberal writes that "anti-Catholic prejudice is one of the main themes of today’s increasingly conformist imagination" — Crusade against the pope: an Inquisition-in-Reverse. "The current display of anti-papal prejudice is not only conformist," he elaborates. "Worse than that, it is the kind of conformism that is usually seen amongst children who, under peer pressure, compete to see who can come up with the meanest phrase to castigate the playground scapegoat."

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    "Someone is Wrong on the Internet"

    "Why has Internet discourse devolved into a 'war of every man against every man'?" asks Alan Jacobs — The Online State of Nature. The author's premise: "I have thought a lot about why people get so hostile online, and I have come to believe it is primarily because we live in a society with a hypertrophied sense of justice and an atrophied sense of humility and charity, to put the matter in terms of the classic virtues."

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    William Byrd's Vigilate Performed by the Taipei Chamber Singers Directed by Bob Chilcott

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    Friday, September 17, 2010

    William Byrd's Tristitia et Anxietas Perfromed by The Tallis Scholars


    This blog will be posting and reposting some of Britain's best music while this story develops — Pope’s visit brings out the worst in Britain.

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    How Many Children Left Behind by Universal Education?

    Read Conservative Heritage Times's post of Christopher Jackson's account and weep — Amazing Confession from a High-School Teacher. The author's experiences in "a predominantly black high school in a southeastern state" are nearly identical to those of my best college buddy's at "Rust Belt Public" recounted in his entertaining memoirs — My First Year In Purgatory. Such problems spurred the bipartisan consensus (always a warning sign) behind the No Child Left Behind Act.

    More children need to be left behind! Those Mr. Jackson describes as having "little conception of ordinary decorum" and "no interest in academic subjects" do not belong in the classroom. They are essentially robbing those who want to learn an education. Let states, local commmunities, and private groups and individuals offer the majority vocational training à la Booker T. Washington and offer W. E. B. Du Bois' "Talented Tenth" (the fraction may be greater or smaller) the classical education he wanted for them. The same goes for whites.

    Of course, vocational training requires vocations, so somehow the deindustrialization the Federal Government has forced upon the country needs to be halted and reversed. A few days ago Steve Sailer showed us how deindustrialization is tied up with education — "Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?":
      For decades, American economic sages, such as Larry Summers, Tom Friedman, and Alan Greenspan, have implied that manufacturing stuff was more or less obsolete—that the building blocks of the economy of the future would be cheap labor and expensive finance. The Chinese will make everything, while Americans will get rich selling each other ever more sophisticated financial instruments.

      You might ask: What about the 98 percent of Americans who aren’t cut out for working for Goldman Sachs?

      Well, you see, all we have to do is fix the schools. Then everybody will work for Goldman!
    We know how that worked out. We need more than just reindustrialization, though, and Mr. Jackson's students offer some insights in that regard:
      My black students had nothing but contempt for Hispanic immigrants. They would vent their feelings so crudely that our department strongly advised us never to talk about immigration in class in case the principal or some outsider might overhear.
    We also need to stop immigration, both illegal and legal, especially of unskilled laborers who rob America's poorest of jobs and drive down wages. In Up From Slavery: An Autobiography by Booker T. Washington, we read the same feelings expressed far more eloquently:
      To those of the white race who look to the incoming of those of foreign birth and strange tongue and habits of the prosperity of the South, were I permitted I would repeat what I say to my own race: "Cast down your bucket where you are." Cast it down among the eight millions of Negroes whose habits you know, whose fidelity and love you have tested in days when to have proved treacherous meant the ruin of your firesides. Cast down your bucket among these people who have, without strikes and labour wars, tilled your fields, cleared your forests, builded your railroads and cities, and brought forth treasures from the bowels of the earth, and helped make possible this magnificent representation of the progress of the South. Casting down your bucket among my people, helping and encouraging them as you are doing on these grounds, and to education of head, hand, and heart, you will find that they will buy your surplus land, make blossom the waste places in your fields, and run your factories. While doing this, you can be sure in the future, as in the past, that you and your families will be surrounded by the most patient, faithful, law-abiding, and unresentful people that the world has seen. As we have proved our loyalty to you in the past, nursing your children, watching by the sick-bed of your mothers and fathers, and often following them with tear-dimmed eyes to their graves, so in the future, in our humble way, we shall stand by you with a devotion that no foreigner can approach, ready to lay down our lives, if need be, in defence of yours, interlacing our industrial, commercial, civil, and religious life with yours in a way that shall make the interests of both races one. In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.

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    A Plug for My School

    I'd say making it to number 28 on this list in less than as many years is a rather remarkable accomplishment — Top 200 - The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010-2011.

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    James MacMillan's Christus Vincit Performed by Musica Intima


    A reposting of the piece by the contemporary Catholic composer and Scotsman to accompany this story — Mission Britannia. The Sun Shines in Glasgow.

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    The Blog's Namesake Honored in Seoul

    Song Young-bae, honorary philosophy professor of Seoul National University, hailed him as "the pioneer of exchanges between East and West" — Koreans honor Ricci’s pioneering mission. "He brought Western science, technology, philosophy and religion to Chinese," Prof. Song said. "In turn he enlightened Europe about the socio-political system, philosophies and religions of China through his letters and books."

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    Islamic Irony in India

    "A mob of Muslim radicals have tried to burn a school with a Christian name (St. Francis School), unaware that it is governed by Muslims... who use the Christian name to attract more students" — Kashmir: Muslims try to burn a Christian school (only in name).

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    "Use of Atomic Bomb Assailed by Sheen"

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.