Friday, December 31, 2010

C. Monteverdi's Ave Maris Stella Performed by the Monteverdi Choir, et al.


The high point of the greatest piece of music posted on this blog in the last twelve months, not to mention the greatest piece of music in human history, a piece which celebrates its quadicentennial this year, and which serves as a fitting last post of the year and to welcome the new year which begins with tomorrow's Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

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Top Musical Posts of Two-Thousand Ten

First, the not-so-serious and semi-serious musical posts:Now, the serious stuff:

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Franz Schmidt's Das Buch mit 7 Siegeln's "Water Fugue" Performed by the Monteverdi Choir Würzburg, Directed by Matthias Beckert


One of the XXth Century composers mentioned in this piece by Robert R. Reilly — 2010 in Music. The apocalyptic nature of the work may not be appropriate for the season, but it may be for the last day of the year.

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Religion and the Founding of Our Republic

Ordered Liberty has a series of enlightening posts on the topic:Also recently, a quote from the great Nicolás Gómez Dávila on the topic: "The separation of Church and State can suit the Church, but it is disastrous for the State because it delivers it over to pure Machiavellianism" — #2,497 of Don Colacho’s Aphorisms.

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Kids These Days

A study reports "that college students’ self-reported empathy has declined since 1980, with an especially steep drop in the past 10 years," and that "during this same period students’ self-reported narcissism has reached new heights"— Empathy Declining: ‘The American Personality Is Shifting In An Ominous Direction’.

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Does Anybody Here Remember Johnny Lindh?

"Clemency for John Walker Lindh would open up to public scrutiny an outrageous injustice that high officials in the Bush administration deliberately perpetrated on an American citizen after the 9/11 attacks," argues Michael Teitelman — Obama and the Boy in the Metal Box.

"Lindh was locked away and forgotten, but he is a critical figure in the degradation of the rule of law after 9/11," the author wirtes. "As the very first detainee in Bush’s wars, he was a sign, little understood at the time, of what was to come, and a pristine example of how constitutional rights fare in the hands of cynical political leadership amidst societal hysteria and paranoia."

Mr. Teitelman condedes, however, "Clemency for Lindh would be a bold, controversial act, which may not be in Obama’s chemistry."

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Not Living in a Police State?

Read this — Almost Everything Is A Crime In America Now: 14 Of The Most Ridiculous Things That Americans Are Being Arrested For.

Most horrifyingly, many of the "crimes" — e.g. a man "reading his wife's email," "a 12-year-old boy in South Carolina... arrested by police for opening up a Christmas present early against his family's wishes," a girl the same age "arrested earlier this year and taken out of her school in handcuffs for writing... on her desk," "a 13-year-old boy in Florida... arrested by police for farting in class," "25 students between the ages of 11 and 15 at a school in Chicago... taken into custody by police for being involved in a huge food fight in the school cafeteria" — involve families and and schools outsourcing discipline to the police. We are the authors of our own subjugation.

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Paul Craig Roberts on Faux News

"Anyone who doesn’t believe that the US is an incipient fascist state needs only to consult the latest assault on civil liberty by Fox News (sic)," says Paul Craig Roberts, noting, "Instead of informing citizens, Fox News (sic) informs on citizens" — America Has Gone Away.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

J.S. Bach's Weihnachtsoratorium Performed by Münchener Bach-Chor, Bach-Collegium München, Directed by Peter Schreier

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Multi-Death Corporation

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"Great Men Are Almost Always Bad Men"

The oft-ignored coda to Lord Acton's famous "power corrupts" dictum comes to mind with Jeff Taylor's article on the worst presidents, in which he notes that "it’s the Lincolns and FDRs who rank at the top while relatively peaceful and socially-well-adjusted men are at the bottom" — Bottom of the Barrel.

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Francis Shaeffer on What the Hippies Got Right

"They were right in fighting the plastic culture, and the church should have been fighting it too" — Back to the earth, getting it partly right. "More than this, they were right in the fact that the plastic culture - modern man, the mechanistic worldview in university textbooks and in practice, the total threat of the machine, the establishment technology, the bourgeois upper middle class - is poor in its sensitivity to nature..." Click on the link for more.

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G.F. Händel's "For Unto Us a Child Is Born" Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra & the Tenebrae Choir, Directed by Sir Colin Davis

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hanggai Perform Four Seasons, Batubagan, Borulai's Lullaby

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"You Can't Go Home Again"

Thomas Wolfe's observation may, much to my regret, be true of me, literally. You may have garnered from recent posts that I have been looking for work at a university back home, and had one promising lead. (Thus, the Latinization of my name on the sidebar.)

The Skype interview went well, save for one interviewer's doubts as to whether I could adapt to working with American students after a decade-and-a-half overseas. It was a fair question, and interesting that it came from the only "diverse" member of the hiring committee, as one might think my overseas experience might add some "diversity" to the team.

To be fair, it was 5:15 AM and I did not answer the question as best I could. This prompted a follow-up interview, in which I was asked of all things if I knew who Snooki was. I answered that I did, alluding to the fact that it was the great Gerald Celente's comment that "America has become Snooki stupid" that informed me of the existence of this entity, who apparently caused a sensation among the students at the university to which I had been seeking to work.

The interviewer was satisfied by my answer, but she also forwarded me some additional questiones to be answered in writing by the above-mentioned "diverse" member of the hiring committee:
    What are some major issues US college students are facing today? How would you help them deal with these issues? What has caused these issues? How are students reacting to these issues?
I can, and will, give a good and honest answer to these questions. In brief: The major issue college students are facing today is the complete breakdown of social, moral, and ethical norms. I would help them deal with these issues by providing counter-cultural examples of right living from humanity's diverse traditional belief systems. Modernity itself has caused these issues. Students are reacting to these issues by engaging in behavior that risks their souls to eternal damnation. Such an answer would probably get me rejected at most Catholic schools, let alone a state one. (I have no problem with the several states being involved in education, just the Feds.)

The university in question is located in my home state, in Rod Serling's hometown, which I think would be an ideal place for me to resettle with my family. However, another issue, a potential dealbreaker, is that the position is funded by an unconstitutional federal grant through a department (and a government perhaps) that I would rather see abolished. While it might be ethical to "bleed the beast" and divert funds from war and empire, at then end of the day, I'd have to go to sleep knowing that I was living off the expropriated wages of my fellow citizens. I wouldn't be happy with that.

So, if any of you can recommend a good small university or college, preferably in Upstate New York or Vermont, that might be in need of a fellow with some international experience who can teach English and speak Spanish and Korean and a smattering of other languages, please let me know. Otherwise, I might be stuck at the world's top 28th university (Top 200 - The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010-2011) for years come.

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Alexander Agricola's In Myne Zyn Performed by Capilla Flamenca

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American Educational Excellence

Patrick J. Buchanan looks at the results of the "Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests of the reading, math and science skills of 15-year-olds in developing and developed countries," which Education Secretary Arne Duncan called "an absolute wake-up call for America" — Who Owns the Future?

"Steve Sailer of VDARE.com got the full list of 65 nations, broke down U.S. reading scores by race, then measured Americans with the countries and continents whence their families originated," explains Mr. Buchanan. "What he found was surprising." Surprising indeed:
    Asian-Americans outperform all Asian students except for Shanghai-Chinese. White Americans outperform students from all 37 predominantly white nations except Finns, and U.S. Hispanics outperformed the students of all eight Latin American countries that participated in the tests.

    African-American kids would have outscored the students of any sub-Saharan African country that took the test (none did) and did outperform the only black country to participate, Trinidad and Tobago, by 25 points.

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Oppose KAFTA!

About the so-called "KORUS FTA," Conservative Heriage Times asks, "Could it be that supporters of the deal don’t want it referred to as KAFTA because that would clearly evoke images of NAFTA which is viewed unfavorably by many?" — Korea – US “Free Trade” Agreement: What’s in a Name?

Noting that "two can play at that game," the author writes, "If supporters of the deal believe they get to name the deal favorably, I don’t see why we have to oblige them by using it."

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An Insight Into North Korean Strategy

From James Church's Bamboo and Blood: An Inspector O Novel, set in 1997:
    "They must be made to believe that we are about to collapse, that they will inherit more maggots than they can count, more bodies than they can bury, more disease than they can cure, more chaos than they can stomach. They are convinced that we are weak, on our last legs, about to collapse? Let them; let them worry every night when they go into their warm beds that we are about to hold our breaths until our wasted bodies fall across their doorstep. That's good. We want them to think that, because it is the last thing they want. Do you imagine for one moment that they look forward to caring for us? Do you think they want the responsibility for twenty million beggars? Of course they don't. It would interfere with their shopping, their specialty foods, their imported blouses and ties. The last thing our southern brothers want is for us to crawl into their fat lives, and so they will pay to prop us up. Believe me, Inspector, they will pay whatever it takes, and we will not let them get off cheap."

    "So, ... we show the Americans we are weak?"

    "No! ... Haven't you been listening? Not weak. Crazy. We show the Americans we are crazy, crazy enough to pull the trigger. Still strong enough for that, and plenty crazy. If they think we're weak and rational, we're finished... [W]e will survive by looking like we can't survive."
Again, the series cannot be recommended highly enough:

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Love the Girls, Love the Blog

One of this blog's best and most prolific commenters has a blog of his own — Catholic Culture and Society. He's "a flower child [who] graduated from a traditionalist Catholic college" and who "do[es]n't live in a wool yurt or two, but would be glad to spend a dozen years doing so."

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Pagan Monotheism

Arguing that "the religion of Abraham and his fellow Hebrews was not, strictly speaking, monotheistic at all, but 'monolatrous,'" Boston University Provost Colin Wells suggests that "as any student of ancient philosophy can tell you, we see the first appearance of a unitary God not in Jewish scripture, but in the thought of the Greek philosopher Plato" — How Did God Get Started?

The author calls the meme that "[t]he Greek tradition of pure reason has always clashed with the monotheistic tradition of pure faith" a "tidy tale" that is "nearly all wrong" and calls for "a new narrative explanation to take its place," noting also that "we gain something with the advent of reason, but we also leave something behind." He also reminds us, "New atheist rants notwithstanding, the historical record shows that faith and reason stand equally ready to be invoked by the peaceful and the violent, the tolerant and the intolerant, alike."

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Adeste Fideles Performed by Andrea Bocelli & the Orchestra and Choir of Santa Cecilia National Academy, Myung-Whun Chung

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Let It Snow" Performed by Jamie Cullum


In honor of the first real snow of the year this evening, our first white Christmas (yes, it's still Christmas) in memory, although it has been snowier and snowier each year over the past decade, as a result of global warming no doubt. Walking home through the winter wonderland, it was a pleasure to hear the shouts of joy from the housing wherein dwell the overseas graduate students and researchers, many of them from India and Vietnam and probably experiencing their first snow.

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Samuel Scheidt's Suite für Blechbläser Performed by German Brass




'Tis the season... for brass! Or, for all you heavy metallurgists, für Blechbläser.

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Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at Jigok Catholic Church

After eight years as Catholics, we are at our third parish, not because we have moved but because, due to Church growth in South Korea, our original parish has already split twice. (No news of parish mergers here.) The pictures below of our new parish, Jigok Catholic Church (지곡성당), were taken less than a week after the first Mass was celebrated in her sanctuary. (Click on the images to enlarge them.)

Parishes in the Orient are named after their neighborhood, not their patron saint.

Impossible to see here, we are situated on a hill on the outskirts of town, with a fine command of the hills to the northeast, as this daytime view, taken a few weeks ago when she was still under construction, attests — My New Parish.

As you can see above, traditional forms are the new trend in church architecture here.

At center, our first little angel.

The procession, with Mary and Joseph carried by a couple wearing hanbok.

On the far left bottom corner, our other angel. (If you look close enough, you can find my wife and me.)

Yes, smells and bells are permissible in the Novus Ordo, even versus populum.

Our pastor sharing the peace with our angel, who did not get her two front teeth for Christmas. (Yeah, that's me behind her, next to my wife, obscured by the mantilla of the woman next to her.)

Our pastor sharing the peace with an angel next to ours, both sleeping in heavenly peace.

Our first angel fighting off sleep.

Our second angel surrendered to it.

Our pastor with the Infant Jesus and ten little angels, and our auxiliary pastor hiding in the back. (No shortage of vocations here; parishes don't share pastors, pastors share parishes.)

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Looking Ahead

Paul Craig Roberts writes, "The year 2011 will bring Americans a larger and more intrusive police state, more unemployment and home foreclosures, no economic recovery, more disregard by the U.S. government of U.S. law, international law, the Constitution, and truth, more suspicion and distrust from allies, more hostility from the rest of the world, and new heights of media sycophancy" — 2011.

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A Scientist's Prayer

    Great is God our Lord, great is His power and there is no end to His wisdom. Praise Him you heavens, glorify Him, sun and moon and you planets. For out of Him and through Him, and in Him are all things... We know, oh, so little. To Him be the praise, the honor and the glory from eternity.
So prayed the subject of this story, who "humbly credited his genius not to himself, but to God," and who "made the claim that mankind would never be without new phenomena to explore, so great is the diversity, complexity and richness of God's creation" — Johannes Kepler: Father of Celestial Mechanics.

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He's Not Heavy...


Tertium Quid has a heartwarming holiday story — Carrying someone else...

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The Little Train That Couldn't

Robert Neff has the news that "a train filled with gifts for the young dictator-to-be derailed outside of Sinuiju" and the "speculation as to whether it’s cause was due to North Korea’s failing infrastructure or an act of terrorism" — A North Korean Christmas.

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Are You a Threshold Earner?

I'm not, but should consider becoming one — Tyler Cowen - The Inequality That Matters.

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Business As Usual

"To avoid the gritty work of fighting it out in a free market, organized private interests... lobby the government for special regulations, preferential tax treatment and laws that keep out competition," writes Veronique de Rugy — Why Businesses Can't Stand Free Markets.

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The Sykes-Picot Agreement, 1916

"The real threat to US power in the long-term is not the freedom of Julian Assange; it is the stubborn attempt to conduct foreign policy as if we still lived in the 19th century world of imperialism and great power politics," argues James Renton — The imperial precedent for Wikileaks.

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Both George Orwell and Aldous Huxley Were Right

Chris Hedges, noting that "[t]he debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was [about] who was right," perceptively argues that "Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement" and "Orwell saw the second" — 2011: A Brave New Dystopia.

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Post-Confucian Korea and the Feminist (anti-)Cultural Revolution

We all knew that after "the hoju (patriarchal family) system was abolished in 2008" all hell would break loose, and it has — Is feminism creating a revolution in surnames? "A family name itself is the product of patriarchy," said a student. "Since I’m interested in feminism, I use only my first name and not my family name in both private and public settings."

"In certain cases, people used the surnames of both parents to protest the patriarchal family system, but some criticized that using the surname itself is jus sanguinis," said a professor of women's studies. "Since Korean culture has been heavily influenced by the Confucian practice of stressing the importance of blood ties, some are trying out dropping their surnames as part of a cultural campaign."

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Monday, December 27, 2010

J.S. Bach's Jesu, Meine Freude Performed by Tölzer Knabenchor, Christian Brembeck, Directed by Gerhard Schmidt-Gaden

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Gwon Ha-ja, 71


"Dressed in a trench coat, Gwon was often seen praying, reading English newspapers, or writing her diary in English," the report informs us — '71-year-old homeless lady reads English daily'.

"Contrasting to her destitute lifestyle, her intellectual background reveals she has graduated from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, majoring in French language and literature" and "has worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 15 years.

"Although she refuses to talk about her vagabond nature, the old lady expresses dignity towards her past and explains the reason why she has remained unmarried. 'I saw no need to marry a man I was not interested in.'"

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Warren G. Harding Was Right

"Is America really in decline?" asks Paul Kennedy, countering instead "that the United States is slowly and naturally losing its abnormal status in the international system and returning to being one of the most prominent players in the small club of great powers" — Back to Normalcy.

"Americas present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality" — Warren G. Harding: "Return to Normalcy". The speech by one of the last decent men to have run for the presidency and won deserves a fresh listen.

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The Future of English

"As Anglo-American hegemony withers, the influence of English will decline; but what succeeds it will not be any other single language," argues the author of the book Deborah Cameron reviews here — "The Last Lingua Franca" by Nicholas Ostler. "Thanks to advances in computer translation," he argues, "we will see a technologically-enabled return to a state of Babel" (and I will be seeking a new line of work).

Wisely, Prof. Cameron suggests, "Here it might be objected that Ostler's argument depends on an unrealistic techno-optimism, and puts too much emphasis on the supposed primeval bond between speakers and their mother tongues, which some would say is largely an invention of 19th-century European nationalism."

Michael Skapinker, whose reviews the same book, agrees, "I am sceptical, having long regarded computer translation as one of the most reliable forms of contemporary comedy." More pointedly, he continues, "Can we really imagine a world in which people speak into their computers and their opposite numbers puzzle at what comes out the other side?"

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American Leftist Nationalism

"The authoritarian left comes out of the closet," warns Justin Raimondo, noting, "Like apologists for the previous administration, the defenders of this one are eager to equate their enemies with terrorism, and the Obama-ites are just as prone to this as the Fox News crowd" — WikiLeaks, Michael Lind, and the ‘New’ Nationalism.

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J.S. Bach's Nun Seid Ihr Wohl Gerochen Performed by the German Brass

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The Faith and Science

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Diego Velazquez' Las Meninas


Blake Gopnik "spent a whole week visiting a single work in the great Prado Museum" and is "convinced that 'Las Meninas,' the grand canvas of Spanish court life painted by Diego Velazquez in 1656, is the absolutely greatest work of art in the Western tradition" — The Velazquez painting 'Las Meninas': An encyclopedia of artistic greatness

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Monsignor Guido Marini

"The criterion is that it is beautiful," he says — Pope's master of liturgy helps Benedict restore traditions. "It's hard work. But it's beautiful."

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Christmas Stories

  • Leave it to the World Socialist Web Site to have one of the most moving stories of the season, sent along by a reader — Striking DSO musicians perform for Detroit homeless.

  • The same reader sends along this story with some surrealistic video of the struggle against Herod's heirs — 'Santas' scuffle with Israeli security forces

  • That last story is echoed by these posts from Patroon and Maria Elena Vidal respectively — War on Christmas – Israeli style and St. Nicholas in Modern Turkey.

  • Andy Nowicki reminds us that "the campaign against Christmas is a mere skirmish in the more widespread war against the West" and that "the war against the West is largely being waged by ... Westerners" — The Abolition of Christmas.

  • Charles Lewis on beings that "played key roles in the formation of Judaism, Christianity and Islam" but who "have been ripped from their Biblical and theological roots, and made palatable figures who emphasize feel-good spirituality over reliable Old Testament wrath and New Testament gallantry" — Christmas Unwrapped: How angels fell from their pedestals.

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    Saturday, December 25, 2010

    A Very Blessed Christmas to All!


    Glory to God by Kim Ki-Chang, a.k.a. Woonbo (1914 ~ 2001); image from World's Great Madonnas

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    J.S. Bach's Weihnachtsoratorium, Windsbacher Knabenchor, Münchener Bachsolisten, Trompetenensemble Läubin, Karl-Friedrich Beringer, et. al.

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    Olivier Messiaen Improvises on "Puer Natus Est"

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    Friday, December 24, 2010

    Franz Xaver Gruber's "Stille Nacht" Sung by Thomanerchor

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    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Jul i Folkton Perform Det är en Ros Utsprungen

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    M. Prätorius' Es Ist ein Ros' Entsprungen Sung by Dresdner Kreuzchor

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    Peter Tosh Performs "Legalise It"


    The Rastafarian is heard by the Religious Right — Pat Robertson: Time To Legalize Marijuana.

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    "Free Trade" Opposition

    "If free trade purist Ron Paul and paleo-leaning Walter Jones are both against this monstrosity, then you know it is a mess" — Ron Paul and Walter Jones Come Out Against KORUS FTA.

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    A Christmas Classic From Paul Craig Roberts

    A salute to the "Christian culture that has held Western civilization together for 2,000 years" — The Greatest Gift For All. "All Americans have a huge stake in Christianity," he writes. "Whether or not we are individually believers in Christ, we are beneficiaries of the moral doctrine that has curbed power and protected the weak."

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    Fallout

    "A long-ago baby tooth study of fallout... can help explain why 40% of Americans will develop cancer at some point in their life" and "suggests that Americans are being harmed from the same substances produced in 104 nuclear power reactors around the country," writes Joseph Mangano, Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project — Baby Tooth Science: New Clues to Cancer Risks From Atom Bomb Tests.

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    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    The Philharmonia Orchestra Brass and Will Martin Perform "Deck the Halls," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," and "In The Bleak Mid Winter"

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    Imperial President

    "The mainstream American media, infatuated with Kim Jong-il and his marching minions in Pyongyang, seems to have overlooked Obama’s military orchestrations in Okinawa and southern Japan," writes Allen Mendenhall — Obama Out of Okinawa.

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    "Korean-Style Life Welfare"

    South Korea's other conservative leader has proposed "a lifetime social safety net by providing social services for childcare, education, job training, public health, residence, and retirement to allow all South Koreans to escape the various dangers encountered at each stage of the life cycle," saying "this would be preventive welfare that moves away from the current system focusing on cash payments to low-income groups and expenditures focused on senior citizens, such as annuity insurance, and strengthens public services for every stage of life" — Park Geun-hye’s plan furthers welfare debate.

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    Peter Lee on Lee Myung-bak

    "South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's dream is to unify the peninsula under the banner of the democratic, capitalist South, while replacing Japan as North Asia's topmost United States ally and reaching out to the sizable Korean minority in China's northeastern provinces," says Peter Lee — The most dangerous man in Korea.

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    Tine Thing Helseth, Elise Båtnes, and Birgitte Volan Håvik Perform "In the Bleak Midwinter"

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    Lectio Divina

    Brother Simeon Leiva calls it "leisurely, ruminative, cordial, contemplative, disinterested, provocative, ecclesial and mystagogical" — Ancient practice seen as way for modern Catholics to get close to Jesus.

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    An Inculturated Nativity Scene

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    The Aegibong Christmas Tree


    Pictured above, "South Korean Christians sing a hymn in front of a Christmas tree on top of the Aegibong Peak Observatory just south of the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas" — Christmas tree becomes new Korean flashpoint. This is "the first such display in six years," as "Seoul [had] agreed to stop the annual illumination ceremony in 2004 after a deal was reached to halt cross-border propaganda." The article notes, "The communist North had accused the South of displaying the Christmas lights in an effort to spread religion among its citizens and soldiers."

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    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    A. Vivaldi's L'inverno Performed by Kyung-Wha Chung & Students

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    Robert Young's "There Is No Rose of Such Virtue" Sung by The Choral Society of Durham Directed by Rodney Wynkoop

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    The Blessed Virgin Mary

    David Lindsay takes apart the "old stand-by of middlebrow, pub bore professional atheism, that the Virginal Conception has numerous mythological parallels" — Born Of A Virgin — as Tertium Quid offers some Chestertonian insights — Jesus did not spring from the head of Zeus... — and Mark Shea posts a helpful video — Protestant? Troubled by the Mary stuff?

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    Free Trade Ain't Free

    "Free trade, even in theory, is a contentious subject on the right, especially the paleo right," we read at Conservative Heritage Times, "but we should all agree, regardless of what we think about free trade in general, that this treaty ain’t it" — Labor Unions Dueling Over Korea “Free Trade” Treaty.

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    Islamic Suicide Bombers and Western Cultural Suicide

    Andy Nowicki argues that the "new study which claims that Middle Eastern suicide bombers are more sad sacks than wild-eyed fanatic" is filled with "reductive categorizations [that] wrongly assume the mores of the contemporary West to be universally normative" — Suicide of the West An excerpt:
      We live in a culture in which scantily-clad or naked women are commonly flaunted on billboards, magazine covers, and television screens; in which tight jeans, bikinis, and miniskirts are common public female apparel. Our culture indulges, where it doesn't actively encourage, teenage sexuality and premarital cohabitation; our public schools hand out condoms to sixth graders; our ruling class presses us to view religiously-informed sexual restraint as a malignant and dangerous condition, requring psychological intervention.

      A culture with values like these without question will produce a very different type of man than a culture which requires women to wear veils, forbids sexually explicit material in all media, and fiercely denounces sexual intercourse outside of wedlock, under penalty of death.

      Likewise, a secular culture which sees religious doctrine as largely irrelevant, a "whatever works for you" proposition where flexible principles are the only "must"; which views "living the good life" (however defined) as the highest possible good, while shunning talk of death as depressing, will in all probability NOT churn out a generation of men willing to blow themselves to smithereens, not even for the posthumous reward of getting to carnally enjoy seventy Mylie Cyrus or Taylor Swift clones for all eternity.
    "There is only one really serious philosophical question," said Albert Camus, "and that is suicide."

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    Patrick J. Buchanan on the Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

    "Let us hope this works out better for the Marine Corps than it did for the Catholic Church" — Christian Rout in the Culture War. "The least respected of American institutions, Congress, with an approval rating of 13 percent, is imposing its cultural and moral values on the most respected of American institutions, the U.S. military."

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    Bill Kauffman on "Freethinking Sons of the North Country"

    "The week that Wisconsin voters threw out Russ Feingold, the only step-grandson Fighting Bob La Follette had left in the U.S. Senate, I went to hear an Upper Midwesterner of similar pedigree, Bob Dylan of Hibbing, Minnesota," begins the Sage of Batavia — The Fighting Bobs.

    "When the Masters of War—'even Jesus would never forgive what you do'—requested the presence of American sons at the blood orgies of 1917, 1941, 1950, and 1964, it was the Upper Midwest, with its Non-Partisan Leagues and retro-Progressives and Sons of the Wild Jackass, that brayed, 'No!'"

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    Bill Richardson's "Private Mission"

    "Realizing that its plan to intimidate North Korea has backfired and brought the peninsula to the brink of war, the Obama administration is now looking for ways to ease tensions," begins Mike Whitney — Korea Steps Back From the Brink. On the news that "New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has been dispatched to Pyongyang along with Wolf Blitzer and a team from CNN to offer Kim Jong il inducements to back down," Mr. Whitney speculates:
      The CNN report doesn't clarify what the North gets in the negotiations, but that should be expected. After all, Blitzer was sent to construct a story that would make it look like the North was backing down. This report achieves that objective. But, in truth, the North has probably won major concessions from the US on bilateral talks as well as help building its lightwater reactors which is what they sought from the very beginning.
    "The United States has repeatedly bullied the North with sanctions, added them to the State Dept's list of terrorists, forced them from the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), disparaged them to the world as a member of the 'axis of evil', and threatened them with regime change," reminds Mr. Whitney. "But now that US is faced with the real prospect of another war on the Korean peninsula, the administration has done a quick about-face and deployed its secret envoys (and propagandists) to defuse the situation."

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    An Endorsement of American Catholic Higher Education

    "Because it is an overtly religious place, it's not strange or weird to care about your religion here, to pray and make God a priority," said one of the students profiled in this story — Enrollment of Muslim students is growing at Catholic colleges in U.S.. "I feel there is something powerful here because people are thinking about God all the time and not just about their own life or studies," said another.

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    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Robert Parson's "Ave Maria" and Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Joseph and Mary" Sung by The Choir of King's College, Cambridge




    From the XVIth and XXth Centuries respectively.

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    藏頭露尾

    "A group of [South Korean] professors believe that the government has tried to hide the truth rather than clearing suspicions" and "selected the four-letter Chinese phrase 'Jangdunomi' (藏頭露尾) as an idiom to characterize the year 2010" — 'Hidden truth' represents 2010.

    "The phrase describes an ostrich which, when being chased by an enemy, buries its head underground but still exposes its tail," explains Kim Rahn. "It also denotes that a person may try to hide the truth but the truth has already been disclosed, meanwhile he or she is in constant fear lest the truth come to light."

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    "Secularism a Bigger Threat Than Islam"

    "[S]secular enlightenment... is far more dangerous to our souls than a world religion that is devoted to worshipping the same God as Christians and Jews, albeit in a partial, somewhat primitive and distorted manner" — Peter Kreeft: Catholics Can Learn from Muslim Devotion.

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    9/11 Derangement Syndrome

    "Moments of imperial and economic decline – according to a recent poll, 65 percent of Americans now believe this country to be 'in a state of decline' – can also be periods of cultishness, even of madness incarnate," says Tom Engelhardt of Max Blumenthal's look "[i]nside the bizarre cabal of secretive donors, demagogic bloggers, pseudo-scholars, European neo-fascists, violent Israeli settlers, and Republican presidential hopefuls behind the crusade" — The Great Fear.

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    Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss Perform "The Wexford Carol"


    A conservative blog for peace has more on the "Irish carol [that] arose in the 1100s in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, and is considered the oldest Christmas carol out of Europe" — Mark Steyn on the Wexford Carol.

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    Daniel O'Donnell Sings "Christmas 1915"

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    Can Gwyneth Paltrow Sing Country?

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    Quantum Physics and Bilocation

    Robert Heinlein commented that "not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine," quoted by Ordered Liberty in linking to an article about "the scientific breakthrough of the year," which "represents the first time that scientists have demonstrated quantum effects in the motion of a human-made object" — Einstein was right, you can be in two places at once.

    "The question whether the same finite being (especially a body) can be at once in two (bilocation) or more (replication, multilocation) totally different places grew out of the Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist," begins the 1917 Catholic Encyclopedia article on Bilocation. The article on Miracle defines the term as follows: "In general, a wonderful thing, the word being so used in classical Latin; in a specific sense, the Latin Vulgate designates by miracula wonders of a peculiar kind, expressed more clearly in the Greek text by the terms terata, dynameis, semeia, i.e., wonders performed by supernatural power as signs of some special mission or gift and explicitly ascribed to God."

    That what we define as miraculous may be explained by science is scandalous to some believers, but I believe it need not be.

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    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    Richard Runciman Terry's "Myn Lyking" and Patrick Hadley's "I Sing of a Maiden" Sung by The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

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    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Boris Ord's "Adam Lay Ybounden" and John Joubert's "There Is No Rose of Such Virtue" Sung by The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

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    The Looming Chinese Bubble

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    Post-Industrial America

    "The United States is rapidly becoming the very first 'post-industrial' nation on the globe" — 19 Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America That Will Blow Your Mind — but there is hope that "in the post-Internet society that we believe is developing now, people may gradually rediscover the kind of sensible agrarian republicanism that has been deliberately destroyed in the past 200 years or so" — West's Employment Dysfunction.

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    The Father of the Constitution on War and Militarism

    "Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other," said the fourth president of our Republic, quoted by Ismael Hossein-Zadeh, who argues that "under the kleptocratic influence of the powerful interests that are vested in the military-security-financial industries the US government has turned into an ominous global force of destabilization, obstruction, retrogression and authoritarianism" — The Globalization of Militarism.

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    Non-Ideological China

    "The Middle Kingdom acts according to its national interest, not some universal ideology," and "[p]erhaps the Americans should try to borrow that part of the Chinese model," argues The American Conservative's Leon Hadar — Don’t Fear China. An excerpt that offers insight into Western error:
      The belief that values like democracy and liberalism, rather than geo-strategic and economic factors, affect the competition between global powers tends to reflect a post-Enlightenment western bias that supposes the existence of an ultimate universal truth and assumes that history is a continuous ascent towards progress. That march towards progress manifests itself through conflicts between ideals–enlightenment and freedom vs. their opponents–and the people, groups, and nation-states that represent them. That has certainly been a crucial theme in the narrative about foreign policy advanced by neoconservative and liberal ideologues.

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    More on the Sino-Vatican Chill

  • Full text of the "Vatican statement regarding eighth meeting of the representatives of Chinese Catholics, which has 'unilaterally damaged' dialogue" — Vatican's profound sorrow for Beijing’s "unacceptable and hostile acts" against the Church.

  • "The violence against bishops and opposition to the Holy See are a sign that those in power are afraid about what to do now that China is at a crossroad, faced with a choice between a path of openness and democracy or a return to the times of Mao and the red guard," suggests Fr. Bernardo Cervellera — Courage and prophecy: a Vatican David vs a Chinese Goliath.
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    Winter Bamboo by Wu Zhen (1280-1354)


    (Like) the forthrightness of Tung Hsuan and the continence of Yen Yen who do not yield to force, with a stiff neck the bamboo weathers wind and snow.

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    American and Korean Universities, Science and Religion

    An American astromer described by a hiring committee member as "breathtakingly above the other applicants" was rejected for having said that Darwinian evolution has "significant scientific problems" and includes "unwarranted atheistic assumptions and extrapolations" — Scientist alleges religious discrimination in Ky. "I think that if I had a document like this and I was advocating atheism ... I don't think it would be an issue."

    The Korean university I work for, a science and tech school, was recently ranked top in the country, third in Asia, and 28th in the world — Top 200 - The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010-2011 — while the University of Kentucky didn't even make the list. Our president is an avowed Protestant Christian, as was our last president (which sadly means no more new years' gifts of traditional Korean liquor, as in my first years years here). We have a Protestant Christian professors' association which recently hired a full-time pastor and has plans of establishing a university church.

    And this in a country where Christians make up at most a third of the population. How different from the open bigotry practiced in America.

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    Rust Belt Nation

    "The whole country is now seeing the story that Michigan has been living with for a long time," says economist Diane Swonk — Special Report: Is America the sick man of the globe? The same can be said of this blogger's native Western New York.

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    Patrick J. Buchanan Asks

    "Why are we importing a million-plus workers a year when 17 million Americans can't find work?" — Is This Our America Anymore?

    "Why do we not declare a moratorium on all immigration, until our unemployment rate falls to 6 or 5 percent? Charity begins at home. Ought we not take care of our own jobless first before we invite in strangers to take their jobs?"

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    Friday, December 17, 2010

    Arcangelo Corelli's "Christmas Concerto" Performed by Roy Goodman and Brandenburg Consort

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    "Christmas Truces Continued Throughout the War"

    "Opposing troops putting aside their differences in 1914 to share Christmas carols and exchange gifts is one of the most enduring images of World War One," and "new evidence... suggests that festive ceasefires continued to take place throughout the war but were often downplayed in official war records" — New evidence of First World War Christmas truces uncovered.

    (From last year, Johnny Cash narrating the story — Collin Raye Sings "It Could Happen Again".)

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    Thomistic Natural Law

    Howard Kainz on "traditional natural law as espoused by Cicero, Aquinas, the late-medieval Catholic scholastics, and even later Protestant spokesmen like Grotius, Cumberland, and Pufendorf" — Natural Law without Nature? Aquinas to the Rescue. An excerpt:
      The Thomistic theory of natural law has three important advantages over its avatars: 1) it is based legitimately on the realities of human nature, on the basic impulses that all humans share; 2) it is intuitively connected with natural rights, as "the other side of the coin"; and 3) it offers specific guidelines about moral behavior, whereas general guidelines about "universalization" or conforming to "basic values" do not.

      By default, the Thomistic "metaphysical" natural law has been connected historically with Catholic tradition. In this tradition, natural law has been considered a bridge toward ethical and legal unanimity with non-Catholics and even non-Christians, on the supposition that the theory defends the basic moral presuppositions for all humans.

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    Druidic and Mayan Human Sacrifice and Misanthropic Environmentalism

  • "A widely circulated photo showed Greenpeace's 'aerostatics balloon' emblazoned with the message 'Rescue the Climate' floating near the ancient Mayan pyramid temple in Chichen-Itza.... seems a fitting image for the United Nations' Climate Control Conference" — Mayan Worship. "After all, Chichen-Itza was the center of Mayan Earth religion and of human sacrifice."

  • "Druidism will now be recognized as a religion under the country's charity laws, though it seems the new Druids have exchanged the penchant for human sacrifice with a fashionable environmentalism," reports Gerald J. Russello — Back to the Woods. "Druids would still apparently prefer fewer people, just not through burning in human-sized wicker cages."

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    Around Asia

  • "A nuclear-capable Iran may be exactly what is required to destabilize the Wahhabi establishment, reduce support for extreme groups such as al-Qaeda - and usher in a new era of democracy across the Middle East," says Chan Akya — The value of a nuclear Iran.

  • Dmitry Shlapentokh reviews a book whose "chapters touch on a variety of and not always well-connected subjects, such as the philosophy of neo-conservatives, Eurasianists in Russia, and modern Turkish ideologists who can be loosely connected with Russian Eurasianists" — The driving force behind empires.

  • "China’s strange taste in Western philosophers" described by Mark Lilla, who does not see "the interest in Strauss as some sort of disturbing development" as he perhaps should — Reading Strauss in Beijing.

  • "There are few opportunities for greater acts of bravery open to the average North Korean today than to secretly film, photograph and record fellow North Koreans going about their everyday battle for survival and then smuggle the resulting material to China, where it can be taken, edited and revealed to the world," writes Chris Green — Rimjingang Finally Goes English.

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    A Korean Interreligious Pilgrimage


    "The Korean Council of Religious Leaders, comprising representatives of Buddhism, Catholicism, Confucianism and Protestantism, visited the Vatican as part of their Christian pilgrimage from Dec. 6-16 to Jerusalem and Bethlehem" — Korean religious leaders visit Vatican. "The Vatican showed keen interest in the fact that Korean religious leaders jointly went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land."

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    Pope Benedict XVI, Champion of Liberty and Reason

  • "Religious freedom is a right founded on the dignity of the person; it is not a concession by the state" — Religious freedom is the path to peace, Pope says. "He warns against the threats of fundamentalism, secularism and the politicisation of faith."

  • "In his message for World Day of Peace 2011, Benedict XVI shows solidarity with the many persecuted Christians (Iraq, the Holy Land, ...), but also highlights that persecution does not only come from Islamic terrorism, but also secular Western society that stifles the religious dimension, eliminating an important element for human life and coexistence between peoples," reports Bernardo Cervellera — Fundamentalism and relativism, enemies of religious freedom and peace. The author notes that "what is curious and a sign of great depth is his placing relativism close to fundamentalism (which everyone condemns)."
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    "Decline Effect"

    The Useless Tree ponders the Taoist implications of the "tendency for the results of scientific research to weaken as particular studies are replicated," meaning that "when what appear to be established 'truths' are subject to repeated experimental scrutiny their evidentiary support erode" — Scientific Uncertainty.

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    Was Saint Augustine of Hippo Right About Time?

    Of course he was, and Ordered Liberty has a post about research suggesting there is "[n]o evidence of time before Big Bang," referring to "a trio of papers taking aim at a recent claim that concentric rings of uniform temperature within the cosmic microwave background — the radiation left over from the Big Bang — might, in fact, be the signatures of black holes colliding in a previous cosmic 'aeon' that existed before our Universe" — Looks like the universe doesn't just cycle for eternity.

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    Getting Suited For Manhood

    Pints in NYC has a good post about the dying custom of "fathers taking their sons to get their first real suits" with reflections on "the precariousness of manhood in our society and the shabbiness of haberdashery in our midst" — Father Makes the Son, and the Clothes Make the Man.

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    Day Nine of St. Maximilian Kolbe's Novena to the Immaculate Conception

      Opening prayer to the Immaculata

      V. How fair you are, 0 Mary!
      R. How fair you are, 0 Mary!

      V. The original stain is not in you.
      R. The original stain is not in you.

      V. You are the boast of Jerusalem,
      R. You are the joy of Israel.

      V. You are the pride of our people.
      R. You are the advocate of sinners.

      V. 0 Mary!
      R. 0 Mary!

      V. You are the wisest of virgins.
      R. You are the kindest of mothers.

      V. Pray for us.
      R. Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.

      V. Holy Virgin, you were spotless from the very moment of your conception.
      R. Because you bore his Son, pray to the Father for us.

      Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, 0 God, you made ready a dwelling place worthy of your Son. In anticipation of your Son's death you preserved her from every stain. Please purify us by her intercession, so that we might find our way to you. We ask this through Christ our lord.
      R. Amen.

      Day 9: The Immaculata's Fullness of Love
      Reading: The Immaculata never knew the slightest stain; in other words, her love was always full, without flaw. She loved God with all her being, and from the first instant of her existence her love united her with God so perfectly that on the day of the Annunciation the angel could say to her, "Full of grace! the Lord is with you!" (cf. Lk 1:28). She is, then, God's creature, God's image, God's child, and in all these respects she is all this in the most perfect manner possible among the ranks of mere creatures ("Sketches for a book," 1940). Intelligent creatures love God in a conscious manner; through this love they unite themselves more and more closely with him, and so find their way back to him. The creature most completely filled with this love, filled with God himself, was the Immaculata. . . . In the Holy Spirit's union with Mary we observe more than the love of two beings; in one there is all the love of the Blessed Trinity; in the other, all of creation's love. So it is that in this union heaven and earth are joined; all of heaven with all the earth, the totality of eternal love with the totality of created love. It is truly the summit of love ("Sketches for a book," 17 February 1941).

      Meditation: To channel all our spiritual, physical, and psychological energies into their fullest human expression means simply to love God as totally as possible. May the Immaculata's flawless love of God prod each of us to channel our love in that same ultimate direction.
      Closing Prayers

      Novena Prayer to the Immaculata
      I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin, Mother of God throne of grace, miracle of almighty power! I greet you, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity and Queen of the universe, Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners! Most loving Mother, attracted by your beauty and sweetness and by your tender compassion, I confidently turn to you, and beg of you to obtain for me of your dear Son the favor I request in this novena (here mention you request).

      Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven, the most lively contrition for my many sins and the grace to imitate closely those virtues which you practiced so faithfully especially humility, purity, and obedience. Above all I beg you to be my mother and protectress, to receive me into the number of your devoted children, and to guide me from your high throne of glory. Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy! Have pity on me, and do no abandon me during life or at the moment of my death.

      Daughter of the Eternal Father, Mother of the Eternal Son, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, temple of the adorable Trinity, pray for me. Immaculate and tender Heart of Mary, refuge of the needy and hope of sinners, filled with the most lively respect, love, and gratitude, I devote myself forever to your service, and I offer you my heart with all that I am and all that belongs to me. Accept this offering, sweet Queen of Heaven and earth, and obtain for me of your dear Son, Jesus Christ, the favors I ask through your intercession in this novena. Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God, perfect submission to his adorable will, the true spirit of a Christian, and the grace of final perseverance.

      R. Amen.

      Closing Prayer of Identification with the Immaculata
      O Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother, live in me, act in me, speak in and through me. Think your thoughts in my mind, love through my heart. Give me your own dispositions and feelings. Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus. Correct, enlighten and expand my entire personality and life. Replace me with yourself. Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving; pray in and through me. Let me live in you and keep me in this union always.

      R. Amen.

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    Thursday, December 16, 2010

    Michael Prätorius' Es Ist ein Ros' Entsprungen Sung by Die Jungen Tenöre


    Today begins the Christmas Novena:
      HAIL, and blessed be the hour and moment
      At which the Son of God was born
      Of a most pure Virgin
      At a stable at midnight in Bethlehem
      In the piercing cold
      At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee,
      To hear my prayers and grant my desires
      (mention request[s] here).

      Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother.

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    Kim Yoon Ah Sings "Yasanggok"


    "I don't understand Korean, but I love her voice, and roughly half of her songs (not so much the rock...)," writes Zac Alstin of his "favourite singer, Kim Yoon Ah," sending also this article of his — Whom can you trust?

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    "Champion of War, Not Peace"

    David Lindsay links to Barry Sautman's and Yan Hairong's article noting that "Nobel prizewinner Liu Xiaobo's politics have been reduced to a story of a heroic individual who upholds human rights and democracy" while "[h]is views are largely omitted to avoid a discussion about them" — Do supporters of Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo really know what he stands for?

    "The Chinese dissident has praised the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan – and said China should be fully westernised," the authors note. "If Liu's politics were well-known, most people would not favour him for a prize, because he is a champion of war, not peace."

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    Counterrevolutionary Quote of the Day

    "For all too long, we did not want to hear or admit what cried out with the voices of those who perished, or were burned alive: that the peasants of a hard-working region, driven to the extremes of oppression and humiliation by a revolution supposedly carried out for their sake-- that these peasants had risen up against the revolution!" said the giant quoted in full by Matthew Palardy — Solzhenitsyn on the Vendée.

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    More Richard Holbrooke Anti-Eulogies

  • "It was Holbrooke, one of the chief architects of the Kosovo war, who midwifed the KLA regime in Kosovo, and created a gangster state," reminds Justin Raimondo — Holbrooke’s Legacy. "If Holbrooke meets the victims of his friend [Kosovo prime minister and mafia boss Hashim] Thaci in the afterlife, he’ll have a bit of explaining to do. Where Holbrooke is going, however, I doubt they’ll let him have many visitors."

  • "He was 'synonymous with American foreign policy,'" agrees Srdja Trifkovic; " indeed: he was a coarse, arrogant bully who understood diplomacy as the art of imposing one’s will at the point of a gun" — Richard Holbrooke: An American Diplomat. "Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke was a bad man advocating and implementing bad policies."

  • Diana Johnstone remembers the "lies and deceptions in Holbrooke’s manipulation of Balkan woes, as well as his totally cynical exploitation of the tragedies of Vietnam, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan" — Holbrooke or Milosevic: Who is the Greater Murderer? "Moral monsters do not always make a great impact on history, when they are merely the vain instruments of a bureaucratic military machine running amok."
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    The American Way of War

    The American Conservative's Brad Birzer calls Tom Englehardt's book a "soul-searching, illuminating, and often depressing look at the unholy ménage of Demos, Leviathan, and Mars" — Evil Empire.

    "How far and fast we’ve fallen since the relatively peaceful days of the Reagan era," observes the reviewer. "Four interventionist administrations later, we find ourselves as the leaders of international vice and terror. What happened, Englehardt asks, to the republic our Founders bequeathed to us? What have we done with and to our inheritance?"

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    It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas on the Demilitarized Zone

    "The South Korean government has decided to allow, for the first time in seven years, Christmas lights to be erected on a hill just three kilometers away from the border with North Korea," reports Chris Green — Christmas Comes Back to DMZ. Said a defense ministry official, "As we have resumed psychological warfare since the North's attack on the Cheonan, there is no reason to block a religious group from turning on Christmas lanterns there."

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    Sino-Vatican Cold War

  • "We are back in the 1950s," said Father Bernardo Cervellera, quoted by Alan Holdren — China trying to prove it is 'master of the Church,' missionary priest warns. "Honestly, I would say that with these [episcopal] elections we are taken back to the time of Mao Zedong and the foundation of the Patriotic Association."

  • Francesco Sisci says that the "looming schism of the Catholic Church in China after Beijing gave a green light for state-sponsored worshippers in the Chinese Patriotic Association to pull further away from the Vatican... could provoke dire international political consequences for China" — China feels tug of religious war.
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    Absurd Calls for Cardinal Cheong to Resign

  • "About twenty priests are demanding the resignation of Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-Shuk from his post as archbishop of Seoul, because of his support for the 'Four Rivers Restoration' project," reports Theresa Kym Hwa-young on what "is the first time of asking priests to a cardinal to resign from the post of archbishop" — Four Rivers controversy hits South Korean Church.

  • "It is the anti-environmental project disregarding the nature and no other opinion will follow on it," dogmatically asserted Bosco Seong Youm, quoted by John Choi — Ex-Vatican envoy says cardinal should quit. "Church’s teachings themselves do not change."
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    Day Eight of St. Maximilian Kolbe's Novena to the Immaculate Conception

      Opening prayer to the Immaculata

      V. How fair you are, 0 Mary!
      R. How fair you are, 0 Mary!

      V. The original stain is not in you.
      R. The original stain is not in you.

      V. You are the boast of Jerusalem,
      R. You are the joy of Israel.

      V. You are the pride of our people.
      R. You are the advocate of sinners.

      V. 0 Mary!
      R. 0 Mary!

      V. You are the wisest of virgins.
      R. You are the kindest of mothers.

      V. Pray for us.
      R. Intercede for us with our Lord Jesus Christ.

      V. Holy Virgin, you were spotless from the very moment of your conception.
      R. Because you bore his Son, pray to the Father for us.

      Through the spotless conception of the Virgin, 0 God, you made ready a dwelling place worthy of your Son. In anticipation of your Son's death you preserved her from every stain. Please purify us by her intercession, so that we might find our way to you. We ask this through Christ our lord.
      R. Amen.

      Day 8: The Immaculata's Fruitfulness
      Reading: God sends to us the one who personifies his love: Mary, the spouse of the Spirit—a spirit of maternal love—immaculate, all beautiful, spotless, even though she is our sister, a true daughter of the human race. God confides to her the communication of his mercy to souls. He makes of her the Mediatrix of the graces merited for us by her divine Son, for she is full of grace, the mother of all souls born of grace, reborn, and always being reborn, becoming ever more godlike (Commentary on MI "Act of Consecration," 1940).

      Meditation: Productivity is one of the chief "virtues" upheld by modern society as a measure of worldly success. May the Immaculata give witness to each of us that her (and our) ongoing spiritual fruitfulness in bearing Christ to others is a far greater achievement than material productivity.
      Closing Prayers

      Novena Prayer to the Immaculata
      I greet you, ever-blessed Virgin, Mother of God throne of grace, miracle of almighty power! I greet you, sanctuary of the most Holy Trinity and Queen of the universe, Mother of mercy and refuge of sinners! Most loving Mother, attracted by your beauty and sweetness and by your tender compassion, I confidently turn to you, and beg of you to obtain for me of your dear Son the favor I request in this novena (here mention you request).

      Obtain for me also, Queen of Heaven, the most lively contrition for my many sins and the grace to imitate closely those virtues which you practiced so faithfully especially humility, purity, and obedience. Above all I beg you to be my mother and protectress, to receive me into the number of your devoted children, and to guide me from your high throne of glory. Do not reject my petitions, Mother of mercy! Have pity on me, and do no abandon me during life or at the moment of my death.

      Daughter of the Eternal Father, Mother of the Eternal Son, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, temple of the adorable Trinity, pray for me. Immaculate and tender Heart of Mary, refuge of the needy and hope of sinners, filled with the most lively respect, love, and gratitude, I devote myself forever to your service, and I offer you my heart with all that I am and all that belongs to me. Accept this offering, sweet Queen of Heaven and earth, and obtain for me of your dear Son, Jesus Christ, the favors I ask through your intercession in this novena. Obtain for me also a tender, generous, constant love of God, perfect submission to his adorable will, the true spirit of a Christian, and the grace of final perseverance.

      R. Amen.

      Closing Prayer of Identification with the Immaculata
      O Immaculate Conception, Mary, my Mother, live in me, act in me, speak in and through me. Think your thoughts in my mind, love through my heart. Give me your own dispositions and feelings. Teach, lead and guide me to Jesus. Correct, enlighten and expand my entire personality and life. Replace me with yourself. Incline me to constant adoration and thanksgiving; pray in and through me. Let me live in you and keep me in this union always.

      R. Amen.

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    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    J.S. Bach's Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland Performed by the Arnold Schoenberg Chor & Concentus Musicus Wien Directed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.