Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Arvo Pärt's Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra Directed by Edward Gardner


Two composers mentioned in Alex Ross's manifesto against "the notion of classical music as a reliable conduit for consoling beauty – a kind of spa treatment for tired souls" — Why do we hate modern classical music? An excerpt:
    When I was young, I loved the 18th- and 19th-century repertory to the exclusion of 20th-century music, both classical and pop. Then, once I acknowledged the force of dissonance, I went from Schoenberg to Messiaen to Xenakis, and, following the path of noise, moved on to the post-punk sound of Sonic Youth. Some of my contemporaries found classical music by proceeding in the opposite direction: they began not with Mozart but with Steve Reich or Arvo Pärt. To build the audience of the future, classical institutions should make more of unexpected bridges between genres.
I started out with Steve Reich and Sonic Youth, because they were both on my favorite label at the time, SST Records.

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"The Most Complete Human Being of Our Age"

Jean-Paul Sartre may have thought so, but Humberto Fontova exposes the "cold-blooded murderer who thought nothing of firing a gun into the stomach of a woman six months pregnant," who "longed to destroy New York City with nuclear missiles," who "promoted book burning and signed death warrants for authors who disagreed with him," who "made amazingly racist sentiments about blacks," and who "persecuted homosexuals, long-haired rock and roll fans, and religious people" — Hollywood idolizes him. Campus liberals worship him. Now, meet the real Che Guevara: murderer, torturer, terrorist.

(Come to think of it, Mr. Sartre was absolutely right, given how disgusting and inhuman our age has been; who could represent it but a pop-culture fanatical mass-murderer?)

[link via Time Out of Joint]

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Laissez-faire Antiracism

Roderick Long on the libertarian heroine who once wrote for the country's "leading black newspaper and a prominent voice for racial equality" — Lane’s Forgotten Writings on Race.

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The Great Mosque of Xi'an


Mentioned at the beginning of this interesting article on the Hui people of China — China: Islam infused with aspects of the dragon. This blogger is only personally familiar with the Niu Jie Mosque, Beijing, and the Tianjin Great Mosque, both nearwhich great Chinese Muslim food can be found.

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Asia Bibi Update

News of a pardon, reported on this blog, for the Christian woman "sentenced to death after falling foul of the country's blasphemy law," appears to have been greatly exaggerated — Pakistan mother denied presidential pardon for 'insulting Islam. On a hopeful note, this appears to be a technicality, in that the "pardon was illegal as the court was already hearing an appeal against her sentence."

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WikiLeaks Dump Link Dump

  • Asia Times Online's Pepe Escobar says that "far from being a security risk, these leaked cables mostly just reveal the world of international politics as a tawdry reality show" — The naked emperor — but Madame Secretary of Statism is upset that the "tawdry reality show" has been exposed for what it is — Clinton accuses WikiLeaks of ‘attack’ on the world.

  • Lots of news from this corner of the world, some of it interesting — Kim Jong-il an unhealthy US obsession, WikiLeaks cables show / Leaked cables discuss Kim’s health, N.K.’s future / `SK mulled economic incentives to China for reunification` / Unhappy China Seeking "Not to Drive Kim Mad" / WikiLeaks: China, North Korea Not As Cooperative As Presumed.

  • Re: Iran, David Lindsay says, "I hope that the Israelis and the American neocons are very proud of the company that they are keeping: several of the most repressive, backward, misogynistic, Jew-hating and anti-Christian regimes on earth, with which they have lined up to demand the nuking of an emerging democracy with a high culture, with more women than men at university, and with reserved parliamentary representation for Jews, for Armenians (how different from NATO, and putatively EU, Turkey) and for Assyrians (how different from 'liberated' Iraq)" — The Circling Hawks.

  • Finally, Mark Shea notes "that the Wikileaks dump shows the US was blindsided by the election of Ratzinger" — Minor historical footnotes that tell me a lot...
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    J.S. Bach's Wachet Auf, Ruft Uns Die Stimme (Excerpts) Performed by the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir Directed by Ton Koopman

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    It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like the Collapse of Keynesianism

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    American Presidents and the Korean Conundrum

    "When the current Korean crisis emerged, I immediately contacted the wisest person I know on the subject," says Matthew Rothschild of Gene Matthews, who "spent decades in South Korea as a missionary who was active in the pro-democracy movement" — Keeping Perspective on North Korea.

    "A strong case could be made for saying that Carter's visit to the north prevented war from breaking out," says Mr. Matthews, noting that "President Clinton even began to speak of a possible visit to the north." He goes on to say, "Without being totally naive about the situation I cannot help but feel that North and South Korea could be thrashing out the final clauses of some kind of positive détente had George W. Bush not been appointed U.S. president by the Supreme Court." He also blames "President Obama's abysmal approach to the Korean situation, who, "as president he has almost wholeheartedly embraced Bush's policies."

    The Carter-Clinton approach may have been less terrible than the Bush-Obama approach, but a better approach would have been benign neglect, and to have let the Koreas work the problem out amongst themselves.

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    God's Rottweiler Still Has His Growl

    "Flawed as the contemporary post-Vatican II church may be, its leader still makes our cultural Marxist rulers sweat, quake in their birkenstocks, and foam at the mouth like rabid poodles," observes Andy Nowicki — Rubber Souls.

    Earlier in the article, the author notes that "the permissive-ists still seem to live in constant fear of a coming sanctimonious crackdown, ushered in by all those mean and scheming Religious Right-types," and that "among this feared and hated group, none is more loathed than the Roman Catholic Church, with its celibate all-male priesthood, its inflexible moral laws, and its still-widespread power and relevance in an increasingly secularized West."

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    Deconstructing the War Between the States

    "If Tocqueville was right about the tyranny of opinion in the United States, it is certainly in the area of Civil War interpretation," writes Stephen M. Klugewicz, Ph.D. — “A Primer for Reconstructed Yankees”. Tolle, lege.

    "It is not an easy thing for a patriot to examine critically one’s dearest beliefs about one’s country and its history, and it is even harder to accept inconvenient, shattering truths when one finally sees them—to find that one’s civic religion is a sham, one’s gods really villains."

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    Scary North Korean Army Photo of the Day

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    Is China Readying Herself For a Unified Korea?

    The Asia Times Online's Francesco Sisci argues that "the bombardment proves that Pyongyang does not trust Beijing," as it occurred "while US special envoy Stephen Bosworth was traveling to Beijing to discuss with China the conditions necessary for a return to the six-party talks," and was "therefore a policy statement toward China and the US" — Neighborly love running out.

    "The shelling has caused Beijing to lose face," the author notes. "In light of the threat an unchecked North Korea poses, there are mounting calls for its elimination," and "the Americans or the South Koreans may want to go to war with North Korea regardless of the costs." The author argues that "[i]f Hu presents Pyongyang's scalp to America, bilateral relations could take a turn for the better," and that such "scenarios are no longer fantasies."

    "In the coming days, if there is no resounding reverse from the North - which is not impossible - those people in Beijing who are tired of their pesky neighbor or those in Washington who are fed up with Pyongyang's unending blackmail might get their way," writes Mr. Sisci, concluding, "Perhaps, then, we are on the verge of a breakthrough over the fate of North Korea and with it the entire status quo in Asia."

    Also writing for the Asia Times Online, Sunny Lee writes, "In the court of international opinion, whenever North Korea creates a problem, China - as Pyongyang's major backer and economic benefactor - is held responsible," going on to suggest, "To some scholars, that is a too simplistic reading of the provocations that have brought the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war" — Fall guys in Beijing need better PR. She quotes Professor B.Z. Myers, an American professor of international studies at Dongseo University:
      There is going to be a conflict [between North Korea] with South Korea and the US, I would say, in the near future. And North Korea is going to lose and collapse. China is going to have a unified Korea on its border anyway. China needs to realize the fact and needs to allow North Korea to collapse sooner, rather than later. Because the later North Korea collapses the greater the conflict is going to be, the greater the damage is going to be in the entire region. So, China really needs to be turning off the aid to North Korea.
    Finally and most tellingly, The Guardian's Simon Tisdall reports, "Leaked dispatches show Beijing is frustrated with military actions of 'spoiled child' and increasingly favours reunified Korea" — Wikileaks cables reveal China 'ready to abandon North Korea'.

    Specifically, "South Korea's vice-foreign minister said he was told by two named senior Chinese officials that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul's control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing." Also, "Chinese officials assessed that it could cope with an influx of 300,000 North Koreans in the event of serious instability, according to a representative of an international agency, but might need to use the military to seal the border."

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    Archbishop Charles Chaput on Dorothy Day

    "Like Francis of Assisi, Dorothy Day sought to live the Gospel sine glossa – without ‘glosses,’ caveats or exceptions," said His Excellency, continuing, "She was radical in the truest sense of the word, committed to the root of the Christian vocation" — Catholics remember Dorothy Day on 30th anniversary of her death. "Most importantly, she loved the Church as her mother and teacher, and she refused to ignore or downplay those Catholic teachings that might be inconvenient."


    Servant of God Dorothy Day, Pray For Us

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    Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh Speaks

    "The Hajj sermon delivered by the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia... has raised interest levels among specialists because of its harsh condemnation of terrorism" — Grand Mufti condemns extremism and violence in sermon, experts discuss it.

    "Experts note that the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has never been regarded as a progressive thinker" and "because he is rooted in Wahhabism, Islam’s most rigid and inflexible tradition, which is not very open to progress and change, his call for moderation and condemnation of extremism is of particular significance" and "has the potential of reaching the more radical intransigent elements in Muslim societies."

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    Monday, November 29, 2010

    Jan-Åke Hillerud's Veni, Veni Emanuel Sung by Paderborner Domchor Directed by Thomas Berning


    "They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again," read yesterday's first reading, reminds our friend in New York City who sends along his prayers for this peninsula — Advent: Day 1 - "Study War No more".

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    Todays' "Dispatch from the Front-line of World War Three"

  • The Marmot's Hole informs us that that's how a renowned British newspaper is describing things here — South Korea: despatch from the frontline of World War Three — and reports that for some time "the United States and South Korea have been discussing a world without North Korea" — WikiLeaks and Korea.

  • "A mass exodus of North Korean workers from the Far East of Russia is under way," reports another renowned British newspaper, suggesting "it appears that the workers in Russia have been called back to aid potential military operations" — North Korea Recalls Expats.

  • "Launching a military attack on civilians is a crime against humanity, even during wartime" — S. Korean president takes responsibility for failing to protect country, signals hardened military stance toward North. (Truer words have seldom been spoken by a politician.)
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    Airplane and the T.S.A.

    With this sad news — 'Naked Gun,' 'Airplane' actor Leslie Nielsen dies — it might be appropriate to post a link to this video reminder of "[h]ow prescient the filmmakers of the Airplane! movie comedies were" — Talk About Life Imitating Art (Unfortunately).

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    Monarchism Today

    Peter Hitchens on "a reassuringly wise figure, whose thoughts on many things are a good deal less weird than the Prime Minister’s" — He may chat to parsnips, but Charles MUST be King — and Charles of front-porch anarchist with a fascinating interview with His Serene Highness Hans-Adam II, Prince of Liechtenstein (a must-listen) — Tolkien's anarcho-monarchism at work.

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    The Grand Inquisitor, Prophylaxis, and Prophylactics

    "What Benedict actually said is much more interesting than what is being wrongly reported by the media," says Deal W. Hudson, suggesting that "[t]he Holy Father was probing into an imagined individual's moral psychology, rather than rehearsing a new item in the next edition of the Catechism" — On Condoms: More Dostoevsky, Less Catechesis. "The pope is reminding all of us that, regardless of how far we fall or how much we fail, we remain God's children, and our desire for Him can never be extinguished."

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    Leticia Velasquez on Her Daughter

    "Christina has trisomy 21, but socially she makes her extra chromosome count," writes the proud mother — Count me in. Also, on news that "President Barack Obama signed a law decreeing that federal statutes must no longer use the term 'mental retardation,'" she writes, "I would prefer my daughter to be called a retard' and know that abortion of babies with Down syndrome had ceased" — No more “mental retardation”. So?

    My mother worked with such folk as a nurse at a day treatment center for decades and always called them "God's people," since they were always so loving. Some posts of mine — God's Nuns / Save the Down's Babies, Not the Whales / Anne de Gualle / The Slaughter of God's People / Why Do They Hate God's People? / Final Solution for Down Syndrome / A Cameroonian Father and His Daughter.

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    Behind the Scenes

  • "America’s relations with the rest of the world will never be the same," says Justin Raimondo of "[t]he secret history of US diplomacy revealed by WikiLeaks" — The Big Dump. He says "the smokiest gun to come out of all this material appears to be held by Hillary Clinton," whose "intelligence-gathering diktat to our embassies worldwide, uncovered by WikiLeaks, has shocked the international community with its weird insistence on collecting biometric data – including DNA samples, iris scans and fingerprints – on foreign officials."

  • "The FBI is obviously quite pleased with itself over its arrest of a 19-year-old Somali-American, Mohamed Osman Mohamud," writes Glenn Greenwald, "who -- with months of encouragement, support and money from the FBI's own undercover agents -- allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb at a crowded Christmas event in Portland, Oregon" — The FBI Successfully Thwarts Its Own Terrorist Plot. The author suggests that it may well "be the case that the FBI -- as they've done many times in the past -- found some very young, impressionable, disaffected, hapless, aimless, inept loner; created a plot it then persuaded/manipulated/entrapped him to join, essentially turning him into a Terrorist; and then patted itself on the back once it arrested him for having thwarted a 'Terrorist plot' which, from start to finish, was entirely the FBI's own concoction."

  • "Sometimes a story brings an era into focus, and that story now is the saga of fake Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour," says Charles Glass of the man "was ostensibly a senior Taliban official [with whom] American bureaucrats thought they were negotiating" — U.S. Intelligence Falls for Make-Believe Mullah. "It is not clear whether the U.S. officials pulled the hoaxer’s beard to make sure it was real. No one has said he had the full-body scan that American travelers endure."
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    Three From Alternative Right

  • Keith Preston explains that "common opposition to leftism, particularly in its present day 'cultural Marxist' manifestations, would explain why the alternative Right includes, on religious matters, Catholic traditionalists, proponents of Orthodoxy, Protestants, atheists, pagans, Nietzscheans, and Evolans," and "why our ranks include both proponents (e.g. Austrians) and critics (e.g. Catholic distributists or the European New Right) of capitalism, and proponents of political systems ranging from authoritarianism to anarchism to monarchy to theocracy to constitutionalism to ethno-states" — First Principles: Right and Left.

  • "Development is a byproduct of the Western liberal ideology, which is founded on doctrines of equality and progress, the former of which implies a totalitarian mindset while the latter implies a linear conception of history," argues Alex Kurtagic, asking "why do sub-Saharan Africans need to be 'developed'" — Africa Must Deindustrialize. "The nation states created there by the European powers must be allowed to disintegrate, and Africa as a whole must be allowed to re-organise along traditional, tribal lines."

  • "A [British] white extremist organisation is forging links with Jewish, Sikh and gay communities to fuel prejudice and fear and hatred of the Muslim community," reports Keith Preston, suggesting that the group "appears to be less concerned with developing a serious and reasonable defense of Western cultural heritage than in crude, philistine Islamophobia resembling that of American neocons, combined with the hoary leftist habit of denouncing everything to the right of Leon Trotsky as racist, fascist, sexist, and homophobic" — Nativism Goes Left.
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    "Mar Azul" Sung by Cesária Évora


    A second Portuguese-language music video today, this one inspired by a review of a "vigorous 'biography' of the body of water known at different times as the Ethiopian Ocean, the Mare Glaciale, and (oddly enough) the Ocean Sea" — Atlantic. Not long ago, accompanying a different review of the same book, was a live performance of the same song with one of Brazil's legendary singers — "Mar Azul" Sung by Cesária Évora & Marisa Monte.

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    "Alagados" Performed by Os Paralamas Do Sucesso


    The hit from '86 is brought to mind by the news from Brazil— Police take control of Rio slum. The scene of the military assault, Complexo do Alemão, is not named in the song's chorus, as are the legendary slums of Rio de Janeiro, Kingston, Jamaica, and Salvador, Bahia: "Alagados, Trenchtown, Favela da Maré..."

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    Ayn Rand and Confucius

    Ayn Rand's "pretensions of originality, her claim to stand within no pre-existing tradition whatsoever," were completely demolished by Justin Raimondo in his tome, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, and even went so far as to accuse her of plagiarism.

    Compare her attitude to that of the most influential philosopher in all of human history, Confucius, who said, "I transmit but do not innovate; I am truthful in what I say and devoted to antiquity." Such an attitude was true of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, was it not, as the Greeks looked back to their Golden Age?

    Even those seen as innovators of new doctrines in the past were wary of "pretensions of originality" and would never "claim to stand within no pre-existing tradition whatsoever." Jesus Christ did "not come to destroy, but to fulfill" and Muhammad was "the messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets." Even Karl Marx built on the thought of those ranging from Epicurus to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

    Ayn Rand seems to be a symptom of something new. Today, those with "pretensions of originality" who "claim to stand within no pre-existing tradition whatsoever" are all too common. This thought came to mind with some recent discussions, both real and virtual, that in turn reminded me of several more over the years, with interlocutors whose pedestrian and rather common modernist ideas they thought to be entirely original.

    To these, arguing a position from within some tradition, be it Catholicism or Marxism, is seen as "not thinking for one's self" and there for not a valid form of argumentation. To these, phrases like "I think..." or "in my opinion..." carry more weight that referring to a great thinker of the past.

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    What Would George Washington Say About the U.S.S. George Washington Being Sent to the Yellow Sea for War Games With South Korea?


    "Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other," spake the Founder, in George Washington's Farewell Address, as if anticipating this news ten score and fourteen years later — USS George Washington in Yellow Sea. "Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests."

    He continued in his 1796 address, "The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible." What would he have thought of our six decade "political connexion" with South Korea? "Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground?"

    (A note about the portrait: it's "[a] reverse painting on glass, 1800-5, attributed to the Chinese artist Foeiqua, ... an unauthorized copy of Gilbert Stuart's portrait of Washington," commissioned at a time when there was "a mania for Washingtoniana" and "a considerable demand for the Chinese Washington portraits" — Wa Shing Ton Tzu.)

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    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    Gustav Mahler's "Symphony of a Thousand" Performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra Directed by Jiří Bělohlávek...








    ... and "supported by over 400 adult and childrens voices of which are; Mardi Byers (soprano), Twyla Robinson (soprano), Malin Christensson (soprano), Stephanie Blythe (mezzo-soprano), Kelley O'Connor (mezzo-soprano), Stefan Vinke (tenor), Hanno Müller-Brachmann (bass-baritone), Tomasz Konieczny (bass), Choristers of St Paul's Cathedral, Choristers of Westminster Abbey, Choristers of Westminster Cathedral, BBC Symphony Chorus, Crouch End Festival Chorus, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs."

    Gustav Mahler's Eighth Symphony begins with the ancient hymn Veni Creator Spiritus and ends with the final scene of Goethe's Faust.

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    Yet Another Ethical Stem Cell Triumph Goes Unheralded

    An amazing turnaround for "a four-year-old girl whose chemotherapy treatment had failed and who had a prognosis of only three months to live" — Amazing first: leukemia patient completely cured with cord blood stem cells. "The new treatment is the latest in a long string of hundreds of successes in the science of stem cell treatments that use mature cells rather than embryonic stem cells." Why don't we hear about these stories?

    "People aren’t talking about cord blood because it’s not controversial," said stem cell pioneer Dr. Colin McGuckin. "Consequently, it does not make headlines and therefore researchers who want to use the cells from cord blood do not receive funding."

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    Against Public Health

    "We may be nearing a point where institutions of public health and the commercial interests that surround it, including the media, do more harm than good to the nation's health," argues Richard Klein — The Case Against Health.

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    No Special Treatment at the Catholic University of Korea

    Cathy Rose A. Garcia and Kang Shin-who report on a graduate student who "is on the brink of expulsion... because of his sexual orientation" — Catholic Univ. to expel gay Filipino.

    But the authors later quote a school official as saying, "Many students are inconvenienced and are feeling unpleasant with the student, who has been trying to use the ladies’ restroom. We never treated him unfairly because of his sexual orientation but he just caused a problem, which troubles our school students."

    The school official explained that as the "student’s scholarship is tied to his work as assistant staff at the English-dormitory, the scholarship is also being revoked." Thus, "the student cannot study at CUK if he has to leave the dormitory and the school cannot give him any special treatment."

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    Thomistic Questions About Stephen Hawking's Understanding of Reality


  • "Is Hawking right to claim that reality is dependent on the model used to describe it?" asks Skeptic magazine editor Michael Shermer — Stephen Hawking’s Radical Philosophy of Science.

  • Jesuit astrophysicist Father Manuel Carreira says that "reducing human reality to the four forces of matter is a totally unscientific claim that goes against our experience" — Jesuit astrophysicist: Hawking’s theory on origin of universe is unscientific.
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    Daniel Hannan's New Book

    Robert Badger has an informative post on the Conservative Member of the European Parliament's "heartfelt appeal to Americans not to let the Obama administration Europeanize our country" — The New Road to Serfdom. Writes Mr. Badger, "Hannan is a great believer in our constitution, which he calls 'the most sublime consitution devised by human intelligence' as well as our political tradition of having primary elections and elected sheriffs."

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    The Temptation of Saint Anthony and Ode to Decadence




    Some more sculptures by Kris Kuksi, whose "work is about a new wilderness, refined and elevated, visualized as a cultivation emerging from the corrupt and demoralized fall of modern-day society," can be seen here — 크리스 쿡시의 기괴한 상상력 작품들.

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    Next WikiLeaks Dump

  • A Canadian report that it "could result in the expulsion of U.S. diplomats from foreign postings" and "probably will erode trust in the United States as a diplomatic partner" — Upcoming WikiLeaks Release Could Damage International Relations Between U.S. and Allies.

  • A British report that "world leaders [are] being briefed by the US state department about what American diplomats fear will be contained in the expected leak of thousands of sensitive diplomatic cables sent to Washington by US ambassadors around the world" — Britain: D-Notice Issued for Upcoming WikiLeaks Diplomatic Documents Dump.
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    Today's Korean Tensions Update

  • Theresa Kim Hwa-young reports that the Most Reverend Bishop Francis Xavier Yu Soo-il, O.F.M., of the Military Ordinariate, has "urged everyone to pray for peace in the Korea Peninsula, for the families of the four people killed as well as for the 15 people who were wounded in the attack, including four Catholics" — Korean Church to pray for peace on the peninsula.

  • Local reports on the increasing tensions — Yellow Sea sees high tension ahead of joint drill and North sets off more guns ahead of joint drill — and on the public reaction — Anger grows as citizens flee other nearby islands and Anti-Chinese sentiment boiling under surface.

  • Speaking of China — China Warns U.S. On Naval Exercises as North Korea Promises Retaliation Attack.
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    Francis Poulenc's Petites Preyeres Performed by Coro Polifonico di Ruda Directed by Fabiana Noro


    Twentieth Century composer Francis Poulenc was said to be "half monk, half delinquent."

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    Friday, November 26, 2010

    Arvo Pärt's De Profundis Performed by Coro Polifonico di Ruda Directed by Fabiana Noro

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    Ancient Travelers

    Two fascinating stories in the news today, from two- and one-thousand years ago respectively, brought to light because of advances in genetic science — Chinese Villagers 'Descended From Roman Soldiers' and American Indian Sailed to Europe With Vikings?

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    War Criminal and Peace President

    Ralph Raico and Andrew Gavin Marshall on the 33rd and 35th presidents, the former a Freemason, the latter a Catholic, respectively — Harry Truman and the Atomic Bomb and The National Security State and the Assassination of JFK.

    "Today, self-styled conservatives slander as 'anti-American' anyone who is in the least troubled by Truman's massacre of so many tens of thousands of Japanese innocents from the air," reminds Mr. Raico, concluding, "If Harry Truman was not a war criminal, then no one ever was."

    "Kennedy, for his part, 'was more viscerally antiwar than has been recognized in some quarters,' as he once stated, 'I am almost a “peace-at-any-price' president," says Mr. Marshall, suggesting his killing "marked the turning of the American National Security State apparatus against its own leadership" and calling it "a political lynching on a grand scale."

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    Korea Tensions Update

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    Arvo Pärt's Da Pacem Domine from "In Principio" Performed by Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Estonian Philarmonic Chamber Choir & Tõnu Kaljuste

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    The Council on American-Islamic Relations Stands Up For Your Rights

    Clarification that "the CAIR advisory was based on TSA guidelines for all passengers, regardless of faith," [emphasis added] in a statement on the "travel advisory that was distorted by Islamophobes who falsely claimed the advisory said there was a special TSA exemption for Muslim passengers" quoted here — Muslim group suggests travellers pat themselves down at airport.

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    “Home by Christmas!”

    Patrick J. Buchanan reminds us that that was what they were saying sixty years agoWhy Are We Still in Korea? Asking "why, 60 years after the first Korean War, should Americans be the first to die in a second Korean War?" he continues:
      Unlike 1950, South Korea is not an impoverished ex-colony of Japan. She is the largest of all the “Asian tigers,” a nation with twice the population and 40 times the economy of the North.

      Seoul just hosted the G-20. And there is no Maoist China or Stalinist Soviet Union equipping Pyongyang’s armies. The planes, guns, tanks and ships of the South are far superior in quality.

      Why, then, are we still in South Korea? Why is this quarrel our quarrel? Why is this war, should it come, America’s war?
    Later, he notes: "We borrow from Europe to defend Europe. We borrow from Japan and China to defend Japan from China. We borrow from the Gulf Arabs to defend the Gulf Arabs." Of course, we also borrow from South Korea to defend South Korea.

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    Oremus Pro Pace

      Let us pray that the situation does not get any worse and does not become an open conflict. We pray that the Lord gives to all leaders and all of us the strength and light to overcome this crisis. Today we live in a time of great confusion and also of fear.
    So prays His Excellency Bishop Peter Kang U-il of Cheju, president of the South Korean bishops’ conference — South Korean bishops call for peace after deadly artillery attack from North. "The bishops expect prayers for peace from the Universal Church," the article informs us. "We ask the Holy Father to pray for us, for peace and for the good of the Korean people," said Bishop Kang, who noted, "we continue to trust in God’s providence."

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    Franz Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 22 "The Philosopher" Performed by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra Directed by Marc Minkowski

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    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    A Chestertonian Thanksgiving

      The Americans have established a Thanksgiving Day to celebrate the fact that the Pilgrim Fathers reached America. The English might very well establish another Thanksgiving Day; to celebrate the happy fact that the Pilgrim Fathers left England. I know that this is still regarded as a historical heresy, by those who have long ceased to worry about a religious heresy. For while these persons still insist that the Pilgrim Fathers were champions of religious liberty, nothing is more certain than the fact that an ordinary modern liberal, sailing with them, would have found no liberty, and would have intensely disliked all that he found of religion. Even Thanksgiving Day itself, though it is now kept in a most kindly and charming fashion by numbers of quite liberal and large-minded Americans, was originally intended, I believe, as a sort of iconoclastic expedient for destroying the celebration of Christmas. The Puritans everywhere had a curious and rabid dislike of Christmas; which does not encourage me, for one, to develop a special and spiritual fervour for Puritanism. Oddly enough, however, the Puritan tradition in America has often celebrated Thanksgiving Day by often eliminating the Christmas Pudding, but preserving the Christmas Turkey. I do not know why, unless the name of Turkey reminded them of the Prophet of Islam, who was also the first Prophet of Prohibition.
    Thus spake G. K. Chesterton, quoted by Matthew Palardy, who also explains that "Squanto was Catholic" — Thanksgiving for Catholics. (Elena Maria Vidal has more on this, with a link noting that "[t]he religious 'persecution' they came here to flee consisted mostly of their determination to purge the remnants of Catholicism from the established Church of England" — The True Story of Thanksgiving.) Despite what is quoted and linked to above, I confess to loving the holiday.

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    The Pope, Condoms, Thailand, and the Philippines

    On the one hand, we read that "Thai Catholics have greeted the pope’s comments on condoms as a sign that the Church is stepping into the modern debate to fight against HIV/AIDS" — Thai Catholics welcome pope’s condom view.

    On the other hand, we read a report that Filipino "bishops have condemned the Filipino government’s 'opportunistic misuse' of the Pope’s comments on condoms to promote the highly-controversial bill heavily backed by local and international population control forces" — Confusion over Pope’s comments threatens campaign against Philippines repro health bill.

    Then, we remember the Catholic Association of Doctors, Nurses and Health Professionals in Asia last year stating, "If we are promoting truthful public information then tell the people that using condoms is dangerous" — Tell truth about the dangers of condoms, Catholic health workers say. The group's secretary said that "about 10 years after the implementation of the World Health Organization's (WHO) '100 percent condom use program' in Thailand," the country "had the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in Asia with 570,000 sufferers compared to 9,000 in the Philippines."

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    What'd da Pope Say?

  • "In the great condom debate, no change in the Church’s beautiful but difficult teaching," says Fr. Joseph Fessio — Pope's publisher defends Benedict XVI's condom remarks. "But, Fr. Fessio, that’s impossible. This is some Jesuit trick. You Jesuits have always been defenders of the popes, even the worst of them. You even take a vow to say what looks white is black if the pope says so. We know your game. You’re not fooling us." (You said it, Father.)

  • "I've been tempted to comment, like everyone else on earth with functioning fingers and Internet access, on the unfolding story of Pope Benedict XVI's comments regarding condoms," says John Zmirak, continuing, "But for once I don't know exactly what I think" and "I am so sure I could be wrong, even I'm not all that interested in my opinion" — The Ghetto Is the Future.

  • "It is crazy to believe that Benedict XVI can decide the fate of millions of Africans with one comment about condoms," says Tim Black, noting that "some of the Catholic Church’s biggest critics have at last found cause to sing the pope’s praises" — Praising the pope, patronising Africans.

  • "[W]hen thinking about any particular problem, the first thing that one should not ask oneself is, 'what does the Pope say?'" rightly says Arturo Vasquez, continuing, "That’s just Jesuitical crap" — Sh*# my Pope says.
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    Homosexual Ephebophilia Priest Scandal and the Spirit of Vatican II

    "The prevailing mentality was that the Church must not be a Church of laws but, rather a Church of love: she must not punish . . . This led to an odd darkening of the mind, even in very good people" — Pope links failure to tackle abuse with 1960s reform.

    [link via A conservative blog for peace]

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    Atheists' Real Target

    "In reality, the target of the atheists is not so much God but the Church, the Pope and the Vatican," spake His Eminence Walter Cardinal Brandmüller, former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences — Cardinal: Atheism Is Irrational.

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    Yŏnpyŏngdo Round-up

  • "Many residents have evacuated, while some have remained behind to tend to their homes or because they lack financial resources to leave," reports The Hankyoreh, South Korea's main leftist organ — Yeonpyeong Island residents chronicle attack and aftermath.

  • The conservative JoongAng Daily reports on local anger — Conservatives vent fury over Lee’s soft response to attack and Amid the grief, families angry over pace of probe.

  • GI Korea on "one of the possibilities that STRATFOR believes the North Koreans may try to attempt to further raise tensions on the peninsula" — Is North Korea Planning to Invade A South Korean Island?
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    Hŭimori Performed by P'yŏngyang Conservatory's Cho Okchu


    The above is one of the most astonishing and intimate displays of virtuosity I have ever seen on the Internet, reposted as a simple reminder that people are not their government during this time of crisis — Obama Sends Carrier, Vows to Support South Korea After Attack.

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    Quit Korea

    "The best way to deal with the problem is for the United States to withdraw all its troops from the Korean peninsula and let those most affected by Pyongyang’s behavior—South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia—deal with Kim as they deem fit," suggests Srdja Trifkovic — Time To Leave Korea.

    "The U.S. withdrawal from the Korean peninsula should be accompanied by a quiet nod to Seoul to go ahead and develop its own nuclear deterrent," he continues. "Back in the 1970s the Ford Administration induced South Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program in return for not withdrawing American soldiers. Now is the time to reverse the sequence: Washington should grant a free nuclear hand to Seoul in return for the U.S. withdrawal."

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    Dante, Orwell, Hitler, and the T.S.A.

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    Backpackers

    Rolf Potts and Kristin Van Tassel review a slew of novels whose "fictionalized backpackers ultimately function as ironic agents of mass culture," and whose "actions hint at the dull inevitability of consumer culture, as well as latent anxieties about the uncertainty of status and authenticity in an increasingly globalized world" — Sons of ‘The Beach’. An excerpt:
      Contemporary sociological and anthropological tourist-behavior studies underscore how these backpacker protagonists are influenced less by their exotic surroundings than the social dynamics of home. In a 2002 study of independent travel communities for the journal Ethnography and Social Anthropology, tourist scholar Christina Anderskov identifies independence, frugality, and acceptance of the locals as central tenets of backpacker culture. But as novels like The Beach illustrate, these values are largely a self-directed rhetoric within the insular confines of indie-travel social circles. As Anderskov acknowledges, backpackers seek each other out, and the travel communities themselves—not the host cultures—ultimately become the focus of travel. Instead of looking for nuances and complexities within the host culture, independent travelers frequently cling to signs of subcultural authenticity in each other.

      Researchers have noted, for example, that within backpacker enclaves there is a clear hierarchy based on shorthand status cues curiously similar to those of home. Whereas back home income and influence might lend to status, backpackers fixate upon travel experience and fashion. Anderskov’s research subjects assert that “real backpackers” travel at least three months, and they demonstrate their credibility through their clothing, spending, and storytelling. Backpacker novels confirm this ideology, frequently using such markers to communicate experience and travel savvy.
    I backpacked but once, from Buffalo to Guatemala by land, in 1991. La Ruta Maya, I found, was clogged with young Europeans wearing fake Indian garb. I stood out like a sore thumb as an American sharply dressed with short-sleeved shorts and slacks from Goodwill and Salvation Army, which was how Mexicans, Belizeans, and Guatemalans really dressed. These Europeans for the most part weren't bad people, just really silly. Many Europeans commented on how few Americans they found among the backpackers. In my experience, Americans tend to go abroad for the longterm, and actually try to learn a thing or two about, and from, the host cultures.

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    Politically Incorrect Truths From Germany

    "The first British review of the publishing sensation that trashes the pieties of the 1968 generation," by David Goodhart — The challenge to German liberalism. "The message of the book, in headline form, is that Germany is becoming smaller (thanks to the familiar story of a falling birthrate among native Germans) and stupider (thanks to the fact that educated Germans are having fewer children and the fastest growing part of the population are poorly-integrated Muslim immigrants)."

  • "It’s not often senior European political leaders make politically-incorrect statements, but Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has recently made a habit of it," says Smauel Gregg of the woman who has "upset the European political class (especially the Left and the Greens) by saying what everyone knows—that multiculturalism has 'utterly failed'—but [who] also argued that the issue was not 'too much Islam' but 'too little Christianity'" — Europe, Immigration, and Merkel’s Christian Values.

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    Roepke Lives

    "With its Jimmy Stewart localism, Germany is running rings around America," writes Harold Meyerson — How Germany got it right on the economy. On the " economy that American and British bankers and economists derided for years as the sick man of Europe," Mr Meyerson writes:
      German banks, they insisted, were too cautious and locally focused, while the German economy needed to slim down its manufacturing sector and beef up finance.

      Wisely, the Germans declined the advice. Manufacturing still accounts for nearly a quarter of the German economy; it is just 11 percent of the British and U.S. economies (one reason the United States and Britain are struggling to boost their exports). Nor have German firms been slashing wages and off-shoring - the American way of keeping competitive - to maintain profits.

      One key to Germany's miracle is the mittelstand, as the family-owned small and mid-size manufacturing firms that dominate the economy are known.
    Wilhelm Röpke, anyone?

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    Yŏnpyŏngdo Parish


    Above, from its webiste, a pre-attack picture of the only Catholic church on the island — North Korea artillery attack damages church.

    "All Catholics including Father Joseph Kim Tae-heon, the parish priest, are safe as they evacuated to a bomb shelter as soon as the island came under North Korean shelling on Nov. 23.," John Choi reports. "Two shells fell on the church premises. Windows of the main church building were damaged. The old rectory was partly demolished and a van was destroyed, said Father Johannes Kim Yong-hwan, chancellor of Incheon diocese.

    "The tiny South Korean island near the maritime border with North Korea on the Yellow Sea has one Catholic Church. There are about 450 Catholics among the 1,700 local residents."

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    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Antonio Vivaldi's In Furore Giustissimae Irae Performed by Camerata Antiqua Seoul & Daejeon Philharmonic Choir Directed by Winfried Toll

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    Freedom Fondles?

    "America truly is a nation of whiners," whines Townhall.com's Debra Saunders, whose title alone shows why there's never a need to parody neocons — Not TSA Pat-Downs, But Freedom Fondles.

    She particularly targets "Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who introduced the 'American Traveler Dignity Act' to 'protect Americans from physical and emotional abuse,'" and "[t]he conservative RedState blog [that] likened TSA searches to 'sexual assault, humiliation, and pedophilia,'" as well as those "on the right [who] argue that if the TSA engaged in profiling, agents would not have to bother granny and the kids." It's never "physical and emotional abuse" or "sexual assault, humiliation, and pedophilia" when carried out by the State, but "profiling" is evil.

    Fortunately, fellow Townhaller Thomas Sowell is far wiser, arguing in the same issue, "'Security' may be the excuse being offered for the outrageous things being done to American air travelers, but the heavy-handed arrogance and contempt for ordinary people that is the hallmark of this administration in other areas is all too painfully apparent in these new and invasive airport procedures" — Airport "Security"?

    I guess if you think they hate us for our freedoms, the one way to make them stop hating us is to take away those freedoms. But "freedom fondles"? Using the adjective "Orwellian" to describe such an idiotic phrase would be an insult to Big Brother.

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    Holy Martyrs of Iraq, Pray For Us!

    "We ask that the martyrs of Iraq be canonized, because the example of their lives and their sacrifice is an inspiration to us all as Christians, Arabs and non-(Arabs) alike, living in the Middle East" — ‘Martyrs’ of Iraq should be recognized as saints, Arab Christian group’s petition exhorts.

    "In the tradition of the early Church, we ask that those who died as martyrs be honoured as saints," reads the petition, which I have signed and encourage you to do so as well — Christian martyrs of Iraq. "What better way of showing the holiness of God’s Church than by returning to the ancient practice of declaring the martyrs to be saints?"

    I have already been praying for the intercessions of at least one of those mentioned for some time — Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho and the Martyrs of 2008.

    While not calling for their canonization, the petition "remember[s] brothers from other churches who died for their faith," mentioning "several Orthodox Christian priests and a Protestant minister." (If I'm not mistaken, several Montanists were canonized by popular devotion in the second and third centuries.)

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    Militant Gay Militarism

    "Dan Choi [is] once again chaining himself in uniform to the White House’s fence making an absolute fool of himself," writes GI Korea, with photographic evidence — Dan Choi Arrested Once Again In Front of the White House.

    About such protests, the heroic gay anti-militarist Justin Raimondo recently wrote, "If only people were chaining themselves to the White House fence to protest our outrageously extravagant military budget instead of demanding the right to join the armed forces of a country that spends more on 'defense' than all other nations of the world combined" — A ‘Sustainable’ Empire?

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    Who Prokoved Whom in Yŏnpyŏngdo?



    Justin Raimondo, echoing the above RT story posted at the Lewrockwell.com Blog, calls the "[l]atest incident a provocation – but by whom?" — Korean Conundrum: Is There a Way Out? He notes, rightly, that "the South Koreans were conducting military 'exercises' near the disputed island, which North Korea claims as its territory, and South Korean ships had opened fire, albeit – they claim – not in the direction of the North Korean mainland."

    Mr. Raimondo also suggests that "the military exercises, code-named 'Hoguk,' involving all four branches of the South Korean armed forces and some 70,000 troops, simulated an attack on North Korea, and were meant to provoke the North Koreans, who responded as might be expected." He continues, "US troops were supposed to have participated in the exercises, but apparently the Americans thought better of it and pulled back at the last moment – perhaps because they knew a provocation was in the making."

    He goes on to argue, even more pointedly, "For the South Koreans to conduct military exercises in this explosive region, never mind firing off rounds, is nothing but a naked provocation of the sort the West routinely ascribes to Pyongyang. In the context of North Korea’s recent revelation that it is increasing its nuclear capacity, the South Korean military maneuvers were meant to elicit a violent response – and succeeded in doing so."

    "The chief obstacle to peace in the Korean peninsula hasn’t been North Korean intransigence, or South Korea’s enmity, but the intervention of the superpowers," he says, suggesting, "There is but one solution to the Korean conundrum: the complete withdrawal of US troops, who are being held hostage, in any event, by the prospect of a North Korean nuclear strike." He concludes, "Then and only then will peace blossom on the Korean peninsula."

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    Civilians Killed in Yŏnpyŏngdo Attack


    My brother-in-law, I've just learned, is among "the coastguards [who] searched the ruins of homes destroyed by the shelling" and made this grim discovery — More bodies found on South Korean island.

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    The Left's Favorite Arch-Conservative Authoritarian Would-Be Theocrat

    While he "cannot retire from his religious responsibilities, he will gradually step away from his current political role" — Dalai Lama to retire in six months. This humorous video might scandalize progressives, a good thing in itself, but it also reminds us that "right thought" is part of the Noble Eightfold Path:

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    Catholic Truths

  • "The chasm between science and Catholic culture is a problem not only for Catholic scientists, but also for the wider Catholic community," writes Murray S. Daw, R.A. Bowen Professor of Physics at Clemson University and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Physical Society — Is Scientism Winning? "It is necessary that we Catholics realize that the solution can be found within the Church" [emphasis in original].

  • A debunking of a "particularly scurrilous urban legend of the day [that] involves Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman and the particularities of his burial" — Cardinal Newman: The Urban Legend.

  • "When citizens are free to say what they want, they'll sometimes use that freedom to say some pretty silly things," and "while the proponents of these errors are free to promote them, we as Catholics have a duty to respond" — 12 Myths Every Catholic Should Be Able to Answer.
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    Gay T.S.A.

  • "How can you live with yourself, feeling up strange men all day long?" asked America's paladin of liberty, "after four very hard jabs to his genitals" — TSA Gropes Ron Paul.

  • "It is not comfortable to come to work knowing full well that my hands will be feeling another man’s private parts, their butt, their inner thigh," said one TSO — Now 'abused' TSA staff vent their anger at security patdown searches. "I just want to tell these people that I feel disgusted feeling other people's private parts," said another.

  • About "a man [who] pleaded guilty in federal court in Chattanooga to downloading child pornography on his computer," Bill Anderson notes that "had he been working for the TSA he not only could have downloaded naked images of children (now 13 and above), but he could also have had the opportunity to molest boys and men" — He Should Have Been a TSA Goon.

  • Robert Freeman calls it all "part of a sustained campaign to condition the American public to being humiliated by government officials in the name of national security" — What the TSA Patdown Searches Are Really About: "Physical humiliation of the subject is the first act that an interrogator performs on a victim. You can see this in the pictures from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The prisoners were made to perform all manner of humiliating acts: wear women’s underwear on their heads; masturbate in front of female guards; pile onto one another naked; submit to rape by their guards; etc."

  • "Homeland Security insiders report that if Napolitano’s own privacy were examined closely, her lesbian relationships would be all over the news media," suggests Wayne Madsen — Napolitano tells public to be patient with privacy invasions at airports but her private life has remained obscure. About "reports from across the nation of invasive pat down searches involving male TSA screeners forcing their hands into the crotches of male passengers, fondling their penises and testicles, and even putting their fingers in rectums" and that "female screeners have fondled the breasts of women and placed their fingers into the vaginas of passengers," one insider is quoted as saying, "Forget Napolitano being outraged by such behavior. She and her partners do that kind of stuff to each other every night."
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    The Sorrows of War and Empire

  • "If you take the word of our Afghan War commander, the secretary of defense, and top officials of the Obama administration and NATO," says Tom Engelhardt, "we’re not leaving any time soon," — How to Schedule a War. Mr Englehardt says that "one thing is certain: Afghans will once again pay with their homes, farms, livelihoods, and lives, while Americans, Europeans, and Canadians will pay with lives and treasure invested in a war that couldn’t be more bizarre, a war with no end in sight."

  • John Nichols remembers "a true son of the wisest and best of the founding generation, [who] spoke the language of James Madison, when he argued that a republic could not maintain more than 700 military bases on foreign soil and retain its own freedom" — Chalmers Johnson and the Patriotic Struggle Against Empire. Mr. Nichols concludes with Chalmers Johnson's dire warning that "as militarism, the arrogance of power, and the euphemisms required to justify imperialism inevitably conflict with America's democratic structure of government and distort its culture and basic values, I fear that we will lose our country."
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    L’Osservatore Romano Under Fire

    Phil Lawler and Hilary White on the "truly disastrous gaffe" that "created this weekend’s media maelstrom over Pope Benedict’s comments on condom use for AIDS prevention" — The Vatican newspaper has betrayed the Pope and Catholics and journalists call for heads to roll at L’Osservatore Romano.

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    The Day After the Yŏnpyŏngdo Attack

  • "Aiming at civilians and civil houses is inhumane and it can cause further tragedy in the Korean peninsula," said Father Baptist John Kim Hun-il, executive secretary of the Subcommittee for Aid to North Korea — Church condemns North Korea’s artillery fire. "The relationship between the North and the South worsened under the current South Korean government…the South Korean government should introduce dialogue and embrace the North,” appealed Father Johannes Kim Yong-hwan, chancellor of Incheon, who also "expressed concern for the island’s residents, 452 of whom are Catholics."

  • Asia Times Online's Donald Kirk and Sunny Lee offer their analyses, respectively — North Korean shells aim to shock and Bang! Now let's talk. "What is more troubling, the specter of North Korea as a growing nuclear power with a brand new uranium-enrichment facility almost ready to go into operation, or a nasty assault by 'conventional' weapons on land?" asks Mr. Kirk.

  • DailyNK, staffed by defectors from North Korea living in the south, has several analyses. "Experts on North Korea have painted this afternoon’s North Korean attack on Yeonpyeong Island as a drastic attempt to generate dialogue with the U.S.," says Kim Yong Hun, noting that "another analysis has it that North Korea wants to lead the South towards an appeasement policy by raising inter-Korean and military conflict" — Twin Aims of Yeonpyeong Island Assault. Namgung Min reports that "opposition and ruling parties have unanimously criticized the North Korean attack on Yeonpyeong Island" and that a spokesperson for the minority Liberty Forward Party "criticized the South’s military reaction to the North Korean artillery barrage" — NK Attack and SK Response Both Under Fire.

  • South Korea's three main conservative dailies, The Chosun Ilbo, The Dong-A Ilbo, The Joong Ang Daily, have their reactions — Seoul Warns of 'Severe Punishment' Over N.Korean Attack, NK attack was a war crime, Fury over the attack: ‘I can’t bear this anymore’. From the last article comes this photo of "Korean citizens with grave and startled faces watch[ing] breaking news at Seoul Station yesterday afternoon after North Korea’s artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island":

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    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Georg Friedrich Händel's Dixit Dominus Performed by Camerata Antiqua Seoul & Daejeon Philharmonic Choir Directed by Winfried Toll

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    Antonio Lotti's Credo in Fmajor Performed by Camerata Antiqua Seoul & Daejeon Philharmonic Choir Directed by Winfried Toll

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    Blessed Are the Blessed Peacemakers

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    J.R.R. Tolkien's Politics

    David B. Hart explains how "he was drawn simultaneously towards anarchism and monarchism" — Anarcho-Monarchism. Said the great author:
      My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning the abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs)—or to ‘unconstitutional’ Monarchy.... Grant me a king whose chief interest in life is stamps, railways, or race-horses; and who has the power to sack his Vizier (or whatever you dare call him) if he does not like the cut of his trousers...

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    Real Homeland Security

    "If we are serious about stopping Middle Eastern zealots from attacking us, instead of blowing up our own Fourth Amendment right to be secure in our persons, let's stop blowing up Middle Eastern countries," argues Thom Hartmann — Michael Chertoff, Bend Over, Please…

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    Now, I'm Starting to Care

    BREAKING NEWS: We just got a call from my sister-in-law, whose husband has been sent to the front — North Korea Fires Rockets at South Korean Island.

    We're watching the events as they unfold on YTN. Houses have been hit, there are reports of serious injuries, and people are fleeing. This appears to be the worst inter-Korean incident in my thirteen years here, and my wife tells me it's the worst in her lifetime.

    UPDATE: "Seoul's YTN television quoted a witness as saying 60 to 70 houses were on fire after the shelling" — North Korea artillery fire hits South island. Also, I can verify that "television pictures reportedly showed plumes of smoke rising above the island," as Auntie Beeb reports — Artillery fire on Korean border.

    It appears that South Koreans are unable to respond, as the country's "entangling alliance" with the United States is preventing her from taking decisive action.

    UPDATE 2: What I'm seeing on TV now — [사진]화염에 휩싸인 연평도:


    UPDATE 3: Thus far, one ROK Marine has been reported killed and three seriously injured — [속보] 연평도 포탄공격 해병대 1명 사망·3명 중상. It has been reported that the shells are still falling.

    UPDATE 4: The only image I've yet seen to have emerged from the island comes from this article and is pictured below — North Korea fires artillery into sea near western border:


    The caption reads: "Houses on Yeonpyeong Island are shrouded in billowing smoke after North Korea bombarded the area with dozens of artillery shells on Tuesday, sending a high alert across South Korea."

    UPDATE 5: A thank you for the prayers and welcome to visitors sent here by Mark Shea and Stephen Hand — Prayers for Korea and Time Out Of Joint. I'm about as far from North Korea as one can get on this peninsula, unlike the folks seen in this dramatic video:


    UPDATE 6: I will end this post linking to a follow-up — The Day After the Yŏnpyŏngdo Attack — and noting that I will be following these developments here at The Western Confucian.

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    LRC on JFK

  • "It now seems clear that Kennedy died in a classic military triangulation hit, that, as Parkland Memorial autopsy pathologist Dr. Charles Crenshaw has very recently affirmed, the fatal shots were fired from in front, from the grassy knoll, and that the conspirators were, at the very least, the right-wing of the CIA, joined by its long-time associates and employees, the Mafia," wrote Murray N. Rothbard in 1992 — The J.F.K. Flap.

  • Jacob G. Hornberger, setting the question as to whether "Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, a lone-nut assassin," aside to question why "Kennedy’s body was actually delivered to the Bethesda morgue twice, at separate times and in separate caskets" — The Kennedy Casket Conspiracy.
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    Confucian China

    Professor Sam Crane argues that "since Legalism was actually the more fundamental governing principle, China has never really been a Confucian society" — The Impossibility of a Confucian Society — but suggests that a remarkable act of "spontaneous reverence" shows "what Confucius worked to achieve: an attention to proper behavior so consistent and intense that it eventually produces a near automatic moral response" — Humanity in Shanghai.

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    TSA, NSFW

    "Some videos on the latest controversy" brought to us by J.K. Baltzersen — The TSA.

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    North Korea's Advanced Uranium Enrichment Program

    Robert Koehler says it all — Nope… still don’t care. "So, just how jaded does one become about North Korea when you live in Seoul?" Answer: Not as jaded as one becomes when you live in Pohang, five hours to the south. If Koreans and Americans living in Korea don't care, why should Americans living in America care?

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    Kṣitigarbha


    Ksitigarbha, "the bodhisattva of hell beings, as well as the guardian of children and patron deity of deceased children and aborted fetuses," comes to mind with Robert Badger's post about a recent trip to a temple quite close to where I live — Manbulsa. Of the image at the top of this post, he writes:
      One of the sets of memorials are the child monks. These are for children who were aborted. They wear knitted caps and hold little offerings of candy. According to the temple website, parents who have had their child aborted can offset the negative karma by purchasing one of these small statues.
    I've posted about this temple and this particular East Asian Buddhist devotion, which I find quite moving, before — Pure Land Buddhism and Atonement for Abortion, "Baby Souls Mourning", Water Baby Offering Rites.

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    Hey, Sports Fans!


    A "White House 'insider'" on a president who "watches a lot of television – ESPN mainly" — How Smart is Obama? More:
      I’ll tell you this – if you want to see President Obama get excited about a conversation, turn it to sports. That gets him interested. You start talking about Congress, or some policy, and he just kinda turns off. It’s really very strange. I mean, we were all led to believe that this guy was some kind of intellectual giant, right? Ivy League and all that. Well, that is not what I saw. Barack Obama doesn’t have a whole lot of intellectual curiosity.
    That was one of the main critiques of his predecessor, that he "doesn’t have a whole lot of intellectual curiosity," was it not? Mr. Obama is no dummy, and neither was Mr. Bush. They're both just mediocre, "sports fans" like most Americans.

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    "Whence Involved Evolution?"

    "Our high school science teacher told us that matter was born of absolute chance and evolved by incalculable multiplications of accident to the formation of galaxies, planets, fish, mammals, minds, and high school science tests," said Joel Agee in 1989, continuing, "This always seemed to me more fantastical than any of the creation myths science was here to supplant," quoted by John Martin to introduce his article, arguing that "to believe in godless evolution as the producer, author, and artistic director of the universe requires that we believe in a thing more extraordinary than the greatest miracles — the capacity of nothing to turn itself into something" — The Impossible Wonderland.

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    "Don’t Blame the Gay Lobby for the Decline of Marriage"

    "Defenders of marriage must face some hard facts or they are going to lose their fight—and with it, quite possibly, their religious freedom as well," begins Stephen Baskerville — Divorced From Reality. The first and most important of the "hard facts" he presents:
      Marriage exists primarily to cement the father to the family. This fact is politically incorrect but undeniable. The breakdown of marriage produces widespread fatherlessness, not motherlessness. As Margaret Mead pointed out long ago—yes, leftist Margaret Mead was correct about this—motherhood is a biological certainty whereas fatherhood is socially constructed. The father is the weakest link in the family bond, and without the institution of marriage he is easily discarded.

      The consequences of failing to link men to their offspring are apparent the world over. From our inner cities and Native American reservations to the north of England, the banlieues of Paris, and much of Africa, fatherlessness—not poverty or race—is the leading predictor of virtually every social pathology among the young. Without fathers, adolescents run wild, and society descends into chaos.

      The notion that marriage exists for love or “to express and safeguard an emotional union of adults,” as one proponent puts it, is cant. Many loving and emotional human relationships do not involve marriage. Even the conservative argument that marriage exists to rear children is too imprecise: marriage creates fatherhood. No marriage, no fathers.
    "Once this principle is recognized, same-sex marriage makes no sense," he says, before going on to argue that "homosexuals did not destroy marriage, heterosexuals did," that "divorce is a political problem, ... not a private matter, and it does not come from impersonal forces of moral and cultural decay," and, finally, that "marriage is not entirely a public institution that government may legitimately define and regulate." Tolle, lege.

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    My New Parish


    Click on the image for more. This is my third parish in eight years as a Catholic, such is the growth of the Church here in Korea.

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    More Masonic Frescoes of the New World Order

    First, there were the Denver Airport murals, now this — "Creepy" Prophetic Art in Bank of America. Whether you agree or disagree with the interpretations offered, you'll have to agree with the second commenter: "This is a strange thing to put in a bank. I wonder what the people of Charlotte think of this art?"

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    Asia Bibi Pardoned

    By His Excellency President Asif Ali Zardari — Pakistan: Christian woman facing death for blasphemy is freed. "This is the only acceptable outcome to what has been a travesty of justice from the outset," said Nasir Saeed of the the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement.

    "Asia Bibi should never have been charged with blasphemy, let alone found guilty and sentenced to death," he continued. "The ordeal faced by her and her family is unimaginable to most people outside of Pakistan who are largely unaware of the abuse and discrimination faced by the tiny Christian minority there

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.