Thursday, June 30, 2011

Claudio Monteverdi's Selva Morale e Spirituale, Performed by Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc & Ensemble Elyma, Directed by Gabriel Garrido

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How the U.S. Imposed Sterilization and Abortion on its Korean "Ally"

Foreign Policy's Mara Hvistendahl's much-discussed piece about how "Western money and advice really did help fuel the explosion of sex selection in Asia" — Where Have All the Girls Gone? — got The Marmot Hole's Robert Koehler's attention — US role in Korea’s gender imbalance? "Frankly, this is quite shocking," he says of this excerpt:
    In South Korea, Western money enabled the creation of a fleet of mobile clinics — reconditioned U.S. Army ambulances donated by USAID and staffed by poorly trained workers and volunteers. Fieldworkers employed by the health ministry’s Bureau of Public Health were paid based on how many people they brought in for sterilizations and intrauterine device insertions, and some allege Korea’s mobile clinics later became the site of abortions as well. By the 1970s, recalls gynecologist Cho Young-youl, who was a medical student at the time, “there were agents going around the countryside to small towns and bringing women into the [mobile] clinics. That counted toward their pay. They brought the women regardless of whether they were pregnant.” Non-pregnant women were sterilized. A pregnant woman met a worse fate, Cho says: “The agent would have her abort and then undergo tubal ligation.” As Korea’s abortion rate skyrocketed, Sung-bong Hong and Christopher Tietze detailed its rise in the Population Council journal Studies in Family Planning. By 1977, they determined, doctors in Seoul were performing 2.75 abortions for every birth — the highest documented abortion rate in human history. Were it not for this history, Korean sociologist Heeran Chun recently told me, “I don’t think sex-selective abortion would have become so popular.”
Reductio ad Hitlerum though it may be, the Einsatzgruppen come immediately to mind.

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John Adams, Catholics, Baptists, Anabaptists, Libertarians, and Localists on the Idea of a "Christian Nation"

  • Quoting our second president's reminder that "the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion," LewRockwell.com's Lew Rockwell says he "like[s] what the Mennonite pastor Jacob Huebert quoted had to say, that he 'recognized only one Christian nation, the church, the holy nation that is bound together by a living faith in Jesus rather than by man-made, blood-soaked borders'" — The Proper US Attitude Towards Muslims.

  • Laurence Vance, also of LewRockwell.com, responds, "Aside from all the wars the U.S. has started lately and the hundreds of thousands of foreigners that our military has killed (people that talk about the U.S. being a Christian nation have no problem with that), the U.S. is the porn and drug capital of the world, and perhaps even the abortion capital of the world" — Some Christian Nation. The Baptist oversteps things a bit, saying, "The idea that a nation can be 'Christian' is foreign to the New Testament. Only people can be Christians."

  • Speaking of Baptists, over at Front Porch Republic, Jerry Salyer takes on "the Southern Baptist Convention’s recent endorsement of citizenship for illegal immigrants" — Reconquista and the Gospel. He argues that "the right attitude toward the exotic lie between two extremes to be avoided — somewhere between xenophobia and xenophilia" and correctly states that "no opponent of mass immigration that I know of – Christian or otherwise – comes remotely close to asserting the xenophobic strawman that immigration and diversity are evil as such."
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    Getting Our Marital House in Order

    "How dare we tell same-sex couples that they have no right to wed, when we barely trouble to teach our own congregations which kinds of sex it’s a sin to have?" writes John Zmirak, quoted by Bonald — How can we fight back on marriage?

    Prof. Zmirak reminds us that "in the 1990s some Evangelical activists proposed laws (one passed in Louisiana and two other states) allowing couples the option of contracting 'covenant marriage,'" which "amount[ed] in essence to marriage as it had been defined before the onslaught of lax divorce laws." He continues, "It is time for us to revive this idea and encode still stricter provisions that mirror Canon Law, eschewing divorce and remarriage, in a standard prenuptial covenant that must be signed by Roman Catholics if they wish to be married in the Church."

    Of course, none of this will help protest the freedom of conscience of religious believers and institutions, so, for example, Catholic adoption agencies will have to give up their work and religious universities will have to open up their married dormitories to couples whose marriages they do not recognize. Still, the approach acknowledges that this question is not one that can be resolved by electoral politics and also recognizes that same-sex "marriage" is not the problem, but a symptom of the greater problem.

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    Mongping Parish

    The humble yet exquisite "church in Mongping town where Father Clement Visnara is buried," from this article on the recently beatified missionary — Patriarch of Myanmar remembered. I guess I'm the type who's edified more by a beautiful and quirky church building than by a beautiful and quirky tale of missionary heroics.

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    Writing on the Wall

    "Park Chung Hee and Kim Jong Il are both dictators; Park Chung Hee a dictator who developed his country’s economy, Kim Jong Il a dictator who starved people to death;" so read the words "found on the wall of Pyongyang Railroad College on the 24th," reported on by Park Jun Hyeong — Anti-Kim Graffiti Found in Pyongyang.

    This has "caus[ed] the authorities to launch a crackdown to uncover the culprit" and now "[n]obody can come or go from Pyongyang." Mr. Park also notes, "Despite the authorities’ efforts to block the spread of the news, people as far away as Pyongsung and even North Hamkyung Province know about it."

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    Is the Whole Language Approach Behind Dyslexia?

    The New American's Sam Blumenfeld thinks so — Dr. Seuss and Dyslexia. The author quotes a researcher whom he says "discovered that when preschoolers memorize as sight words the entire texts of such popular books as Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham, they develop a block against seeing the words phonetically and thus become 'dyslexic,'" continuing,
      They become sight readers with a holistic reflex rather than phonetic readers with a phonetic reflex. A holistic reader looks at each word as a little picture, a configuration, much like a Chinese ideograph, and tries to think of the word it represents. A phonetic reader associates letters with sounds and can sound out the syllabic units that blend into an articulated word.

      What this means is that parents should teach their children to read phonetically before giving them the Dr. Seuss books to read. They should avoid having their children memorize words by their configurations alone, because once that mode of viewing words becomes an automatic reflex, it will create a block against phonics.

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    Military Schools

    "One consequence of the increasing militarization of American society can be seen in changes that have taken place in public and higher education," details CounterPunch's Henry A. Giroux — War Colleges.

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    The Miracle of the Market

    The Freeman's Jim Fedako takes on the popular "belief that the market is a zero-sum game," explaining in simple terms how "the market, and the desire of entrepreneurs to turn a profit, show free exchange to be mutually beneficial, even when individual interests are at apparent odds" — Cheering on My Rival.

    Henry George put it this way, "Both the jayhawk and the man eat chickens; but the more jayhawks, the fewer chickens, while the more men, the more chickens," quoted here by Jim Davies — Malthus' Mistakes.

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    Technopope and Technophobe

    I may be more Catholic than the Pope, but he's more of a technophile than me — Pope Tweets for the First Time. Sorry, I draw the line at tweeting.

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    State-Sponsored Terror

    "This reminded me of comments about America as the deceiver of the nations, written in another context," writes a reader — Hillary: State Dept. ‘Instrumental in Sealing Deal’ For Lady Gaga’s Gay Pride Gig. At least State could have used American tax dollars to promote some decent American music, such as I have on this blog — The Orange County Gay Men's Chorus Performs Morten Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium and Ave Dulcissima Maria.

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    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    J.S. Bach's "Coffee Cantata," Performed by Kristen Hahn, Steven Moore, Alex Guerrero and the American Classical Orchestra, Directed by Thomas Crawford

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    Cantatas, Sacred and Secular

  • "There were no precedents, no earlier attempts to perform all Bach's surviving church cantatas on the appointed feast day and all within a single year, for us to draw on or to guide us" — Bach Cantata Pilgrimage - Gardiner.

  • "The Gonzales Cantata, as the name suggests, is a large-scale choral work about the fall of former attorney general Alberto Gonzales, with text taken directly from his hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007" — Complete Performance: The Gonzales Cantata at the 2009 Philadelphia Fringe Festival.
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    Peace In Our Time?

    "Harmonious relations between the West (led by the U.S.) and Islamic countries and states are achievable," writes my alma mater's Michael S. Rozeff, arguing that "[w]here peace exists, and much peace does exist, it can be deepened and widened" — Western-Islamic Rapprochement. "The rapprochement that I envision gives rise to a higher degree of independence in the Islamic states," he writes, continuing,
      Extending rapprochement involves several elements like the following. One, the West withdraws its forces from Islamic countries, especially Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Two, the West stops pressuring Islamic countries and attempting to manipulate them into choosing one form of government or another or one particular set of leaders or another. The goal is that the Islamic peoples gain a greater degree of independence in shaping their own political forms. Three, Islamic countries with oil agree to sell it to all comers and not use it as a political weapon. This is to assuage Western fears so that Western countries are more willing to step back. Four, Russia agrees not to step into a power vacuum in Islamic countries. Five, in return, Russia needs to be given access to European and Islamic markets. Six, the parties concerned resolve the Palestinian-Israeli problem. This is largely a U.S. problem. The U.S. has to go against a number of Israel’s positions in order to make any headway on this, and it has to do so very strongly and sternly.

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    A Return to Normalcy?

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    Chosŏn Dynasty Computer


    Steampunk with a Confucian twist — 조선 컴퓨터.

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    Before the Vernacular Mass

    The Young Fogey hints at the existence of a "super-rare 1949 Decree of the Holy Office allowing the translation of the Missale Romanum into literary Chinese" — From FB.

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    Objectivist Humanism

    The Atlas Society's Edward Hudgins dismantles "the morally twisted beliefs of many environmentalists imply[ing] that humans are pollution and that the Earth would be better without us" — Al Gore's War on Children. The author concludes:
      Let’s thank Al Gore for clarifying the nature of a crucial struggle in the world today. There are those who value the environment separate from its value to humans and thus in conflict with the life of humans. And there are those who value their own lives, families, friends, and everything they gain from this world. If you choose the latter, don’t miss opportunities to call to task those who advocate the former, to point out the implications for their anti-human philosophy, and to reject that philosophy wherever it rears its ugly head.

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    Slippery Slope?

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    Miscarriage of Justice

    Elena Maria Vidal is rightly "shocked to read that many women who lose their babies through accidents are being prosecuted" — Pregnant Women under Attack? One has to wonder, are these laws a misguided backdoor attempt by social conservatives to criminalize abortion?

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    Heinrirch Schütz's Deutsches Magnificat Performed by Lavinia Dames, Jolanta Sosnowska, Katja Katanova, Konda Födényi, and Ricardo Luna


    A far different arrangement than what we heard yesterday.

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    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    Heinrich Schütz's Deutsches Magnificat Sung by Knabenkantorei Luzern


    On Tuesdays, the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary invites us to contemplate the Annunciation of Blessed Virgin, and I invite you to contemplate the first great light of High Church Lutheranism.

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    Militant Secularist Anti-Semitism

    First, the proposed San Francisco circumcision ban, now, my ancestral homeland has introduced a "bill that would ban kosher slaughter on supposed humanitarian grounds" — Poisoning the well of animal welfare.

    Spengler, with whom I seldom agree, rightly says, "Given that kosher slaughter is mandated in order to prevent animal suffering, the entire proceeding is grotesque." Whenever I read about the horrors of factory farming, the first thought that comes to mind is, "I should really start buying kosher (or halal) meats," not, of course, for religious reasons, but for the sake of animal welfare.

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    Renegade History of the United States

    "The cities of colonial and early republican America teemed with whores, homosexual pirates, and illegitimate children; slaves frequently labored less and enjoyed leisure more than free whites in the antebellum era; and the mob is responsible for far more of the freedoms that modern Americans enjoy than are the prudish leaders of the civil rights movement," argues Thaddeus Russell, author of a new history reviewed by The American Conservative's John Payne — View From the Gutter.

    The book "defends the bad people of our history—prostitutes, juvenile delinquents, drunks, etc.—by showing how their refusal to conform to the expectations of mainstream citizens has enhanced the sphere of personal liberty over the years," the reviewer writes. "Social conservatives who look to the origins of the United States as a moral and political Eden will be shocked by the happily libertine portrait of colonial America that Russell paints."

    Move (or roll) over, Howard Zinn, 1922-2010 (and rest in peace). This puts the "rum" into Rum, Romanism, & Rebellion, I say, which is to be the tagline to my next blogging endeavor — The Bourbon Democrat — should I return to America, which as of today has turned out to be within my reach, Deo gratias.

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    Re-defining Civilization

    Same-sex marriage, Wikipedia informs us, has been with us "[s]ince 2001, [when] ten countries and various other jurisdictions [began] legally formalizing same-sex marriages," so according to this Pierre Tristam human civilization is a mere decade old — When Florida, Like New York State, Joins the Ranks of the Civilized on Gay Marriage. A commenter agrees, saying that "the NY Senate [has] voted to come out of the dark ages and give equal rights to same sex couples."

    To this, one barbarian suggests, "Marriage itself originated not as a legal right, but as a religious sacrament, recognized by just about every brand of religion out there." This savage goes on to argue that "the vast majority of opposition from the average American who does oppose gay marriage, comes from the concern that it will eventually permit government intrusion into the religious sacrament of marriage, rather than the civil contract aspects of marriage, by way of discrimination law suits against churches who refuse to perform gay marriage ceremonies." Such neanderthal bile!

    I had no idea that human civilization was so young, nor that it had nothing to do with metallurgy, monumental public architecture, division of labor, writing systems, etc. I has no idea that the dark ages had lasted so long, and that so much of humanity remains in the grip of darkest throws of barbarism and savagery. According to Mr. Tristam, civilization only extends to Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, six states in our country and Mexico City. France, most of Europe and the United States, almost all of Africa and Latin America, and all of the Caribbean, the Islamic World and Asia are, then barbaric if not downright savage.

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    The Great Game


    歸源 (Kuiwon) reports that David Lai, a professor at the Army War College (in the US), is suggesting that the game whose object is "balancing the need to expand with the need to build protected clusters" "holds the key to understanding how the Chinese really think" — WSJ – US Strategists Learning From Go.

    My kindergartner son has been learning the game, called Baduk, for a few weeks now, on his own volition, and loves it. We had him enrolled in a Taekwondo, with the hope that he could some day defend himself and his big sister against potential enemies, but he hated. It was too much like dancing, he complained. Then, one day, out of the blue with no prompting from us, he suggested he wanted to learn the 2000-year-old game this post describes. We laughed, and found him a school.

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    Two From Kuiwon on Redeeming Sino-Korean

  • "Korea in its efforts to modernize unfortunately discarded many traditional elements of its culture and society," and "[o]ne victim of modernization was Sino-Korean, viewed as outmoded and a remnant stain of imperialism by the blind Nationalists and those English-crazed dilettantes who follow every fading fad," begins a fascinating post for the linguistically inclined — Against Hangul Supremacy – Exonyms Versus Endonyms.

  • "Though North Korea was the first to implement a Hangul-exclusionary policy, it seems Classical Chinese poetry is still revered there" — Kim Ilsung – Mount Baekdu.
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    Non-Statist, Personalist Interventionism vs. the Lord's Resistance Army

    "How the people of Obo have guarded their town, and the role American humanitarians played in their success, represents a possible vision for grassroots security in a region that has long defied large-scale armed intervention" — African Village Uses Tech to Fight Off Rape Cult.

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    Marking the USFK's Seventh Decade

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    Gregorian Novus Ordo, Versus Populum Mass in Korea

    Yumi posts a very interesting video clip — The Latin Mass in Korea.

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    Monday, June 27, 2011

    Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's Tu Es Petrus, Sung by the Augsburger Domsingknaben, Directed by Reinhardt Kammler

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    The Empire State's Bishops Speak

      The passage by the Legislature of a bill to alter radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage leaves us deeply disappointed and troubled.

      We strongly uphold the Catholic Church’s clear teaching that we always treat our homosexual brothers and sisters with respect, dignity and love. But we just as strongly affirm that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, loving union that is open to children, ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves. This definition cannot change, though we realize that our beliefs about the nature of marriage will continue to be ridiculed, and that some will even now attempt to enact government sanctions against churches and religious organizations that preach these timeless truths.

      We worry that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization.

      Our society must regain what it appears to have lost – a true understanding of the meaning and the place of marriage, as revealed by God, grounded in nature, and respected by America’s foundational principles.
    Mark in Spokane quotes the statement in its entirety — Statement of the Catholic bishops of New York State on marriage.

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    The Angelic Doctor's Last Words


    "Secondly, an evident example shows that attainment of the kingdom is possible," St. Thomas Aquinas began to write in his "own concise version of the Summa Theologica," known as the Aquinas’s Shorter Summa, but he died before he could finish the thought.

    The "evident example show[ing] that attainment of the kingdom is possible" seems then to have been his own birth into eternal life. Having finished that highly recommendable book, I now turn to the Dumb Ox's thoughts on worldly matters, with The Political Ideas of St. Thomas Aquinas (Hafner Library of Classics).

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    Two From Justin Raimondo

    The great pro-American anti-imperialist hails "the popular revolt against interventionism" — The War Against ‘Isolationism’ — and proclaims that "our republic won’t perish as long as there are those willing to fight for it" — The Rise and Fall of the American Empire.

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    Rason, North Korea

    News of an "event [that] is apparently intended to encourage foreign investment" — North Korean city to host 1st int`l product exhibition — brings to mind one of the saddest and at the same time most inspiring things that I have read about the long-suffering country, about some American "investors" encountered there — Christian Missionary "Investors" in North Korea:
      They actually were missionaries, based just across the border in China. They can't preach in North Korea, of course, but they've come as "investors" to build and run an orphanage, a bread factory, and a soy-milk factory. These "businesses" don't make money; they're just there to help people. To this day, one of most popular themes in North Korean propaganda involves evil Christian missionaries who inject Korean children with deadly germs, before the revolution. They even put the story in comic books for kids. Officially, they're inhuman monsters. Unofficially, the government invites them in because they're the only people willing to extend a lifeline.

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    Post-Confucian Korea

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    Agrodiversity Lost

    Daniel Nichols posts a dramatic graphic on the "tremendous loss of diversity in the food supply in the last century, thanks to the triumph of hybrid varieties, bred often for high yields and ease in shipping rather than disease or drought resistance" — What’s Been Lost.

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    Brave New Belgium

    News of "killing patients via euthanasia in a room next to the hospital’s operating theater, and then wheeling them next door and harvesting their organs immediately after being pronounced dead" — Belgians say organs harvested from euthanized patients transplant better.

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    Chernobyl's Legacy

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    Hill Number One (1951)


    James Dean's first on-screan appearance, in Family Theatre's Hill Number One: A Story of Faith and Inspiration, produced by Fr. Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., the subject of this story — Rome to consider possible miracle of ‘Rosary Priest’. Mr. Dean stars as Saint John the Apostle, in a tale about what may have occurred between Good Friday and Easter, set in the context of the Korean War.

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    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    Wolfgang Seifen's Missa Solemnis, Tu Es Petrus, Humboldts Studentische Philharmonie & Humboldts Philharmonischer Chor, Constantin Alex

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    "Jack White and Stephen Colbert Try to Out-Catholic Each Other"

    A link to an amusing video [foul-language warning] — I'm More Catholic Than You!

    I didn't know know Mr. White from Adam until on a flight I chanced upon It Might Get Loud (2008), the "documentary on the electric guitar from the point of view of three significant rock musicians: the Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White." [Did the '80s really produce no better guitarist? The Edge sits back, obviously outclassed, while Page obviously admires the young White, who combines the intensity of punk with the virtuosity of metal.]

    The documentary informed us that Mr. White grew up in Detroit, the youngest of ten children. I thought, "Rust belt? Natalism? Gotta be Catholic." Turns out that hunch was right. Wikipedia's page on Jack White tells us, "His father and mother worked for the Archdiocese of Detroit, as the maintenance man and the Cardinal's secretary, respectively."

    It also quotes him as saying, "I'd got accepted to a seminary in Wisconsin, and I was gonna become a priest, but at the last second I thought, 'I’ll just go to public school... I had just gotten a new amplifier in my bedroom, and I didn’t think I was allowed to take it with me.'"

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    Chŏng Yagyong and Saint Thomas More


    Father Maryknoller in Korea finds similarities between the exiled Catholic Confucian scholar and the martyred English Catholic saint — Some Things are More Important than Life Itself. An article I penned on the former — Tasan, Nineteenth Century Korea's Paleo-Confucian Classical Liberal.

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    The Death of Sunny Sheu


    "The details are thin but they sure don’t smell right" — Sunny Sheu: Murdered for Investigating NY Foreclosure Judge Joseph Golia? The activist "told by policeman who specifically referred to information he had provided about Golia, and that if he didn’t drop it, he’d wind up dead. Sheu disregarded their warning and did wind up dead."

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    Anupama Bhagwat Performs Raga Tilak Kamod


    One of the musicians mentioned in this article — Indian music finds its niche in Washington area with intimate house concerts. Said one attendee, "Our music is really not a hall kind of music. The artist, when he or she performs, has to be in regular touch with the audience. There’s a constant give-and-take. They’re able to tailor their performance accordingly."

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    Saturday, June 25, 2011

    Orlando Gibbons' Te Deum, Sung by The King's Consort, Directed by Robert King


    More English Polyphony, for tomorrow, Sunday.

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    William Byrd's Ave Verum Corpus, Sung by The Tallis Scholars, Directed by Peter Phillips

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    More on Beer and Civilization

    "Patrick McGovern is resurrecting the libations that fueled civilization," reports Smithsonian.com's Abigail Tucker — The Beer Archaeologist. "He has identified the world’s oldest known barley beer (from Iran’s Zagros Mountains, dating to 3400 B.C.), the oldest grape wine (also from the Zagros, circa 5400 B.C.) and the earliest known booze of any kind, a Neolithic grog from China’s Yellow River Valley brewed some 9,000 years ago."

    The article informs us that "McGovern, in fact, believes that booze helped make us human," saying, "Fermented beverages are at the center of religions all around the world. [Alcohol] makes us who we are in a lot of ways."

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    Two Sentences

    "Paul Allen, 55, a former mortgage CEO who defrauded lenders of over $3 billion... got... a 40-month prison sentence," reports Abby Zimet, while "Roy Brown, 54, a hungry homeless man who robbed a Louisiana bank of $100 - the teller gave him more but he handed the rest back [- and who] felt bad the next day and surrendered to police... got 15 years" — Justice In America: A Tale Of Two Crimes.

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    The Destruction of Manila

    "MacArthur was to wreak a fearful vengeance on the enemy that humiliated him, except that the victim was to be the Philippines," writes Alfonso J. Aluit, author of a book reviewed by Enbrethiliel that "ties the doom of the second most devastated city at the end of WWII to the pride of one of the greatest generals of WWII," who notes that "[a]lmost 3,000 years ago, someone else wrote of another great war in exactly the same terms" — For the Love of Themes.

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    Learning Classical Chinese Through Sino-Korean

    歸源 (Kuiwon) begins "a series of posts on Classical Chinese... so that English readers, who know Korean at a basic to intermediate level, can learn how to read Classical Chinese texts, using Sino-Korean pronunciations" — Classical Chinese Primer – Introduction and Classical Chinese Primer – Characters and Tones.

    Sŏnsaengnim writes, "The advantage in learning Classical Chinese through Korean as opposed to Mandarin is that since the Korean language is somewhat removed from Classical Chinese there is little need to distinguish 'modern' versus 'classical' meanings of characters."

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    Chungjungmori, Kutgŏri and Chajinmori from Chi Yŏnghŭi's Haegŭmsanjo, Performed by Cho Hyeryŏng and Kim Yongha

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    Fukushima, Mon Amour

    "From what we can gather, this disaster is even more dangerous than Chernobyl," said Professor Menachem Luria, quoted by Asia Times Online's Victor Kotsev — Costs rise in 'worst industrial disaster'. Also quoted is Arnold Gundersen, who said, "Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind." The "former nuclear power industry executive" who "served as an expert witness in the investigation of the Three Mile Island accident" continued,
      We have 20 nuclear cores exposed, the fuel pools have several cores each, that is 20 times the potential to be released than Chernobyl ... The data I'm seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man's-land for Chernobyl. We are seeing square kilometers being found 60 to 70 kilometers away from the reactor. You can't clean all this up. [....]

      Somehow, robotically, they will have to go in there and manage to put it in a container and store it for infinity, and that technology doesn't exist. Nobody knows how to pick up the molten core from the floor, there is no solution available now for picking that up from the floor.
    After making "mention that early on in the Fukushima crisis, some observers suggested nuking the reactors," the report also mentions that the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) "also acknowledge that Fukushima has 'probably' released more radiation than Chernobyl."

    Mr. Kotsev's suggestion that "American authorities, as indeed most authorities in the world, appear to be in denial," brings us to PR Watch's Anne Landman's article noting that "[w]hile the U.S. media has been occupied with Anthony Weiner, the Republican presidential candidates and Bristol Palin's memoir, coverage of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster has practially fallen off the map" — What Happened to Media Coverage of Fukushima?

    Ms. Landman's suggestion that "[n]ews outlets in other countries have been paying attention to Fukushima," in turn brings us to a Union of Catholic Asian News report from Korea that "[a] Church foundation is urging the government and society to follow Germany’s lead in phasing out nuclear power" — Rights group urges end to nuclear power.

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    Eguchi Aimi

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    Three CounterPunches

  • Andrew Levine argues that "in key respects, the Obama administration has been worse than Bush’s – especially on environmental matters and on a host of issues pertaining to the rule of law" — Obama, Still Better Than Bush?

  • Kevin Carson, "an avowed libertarian socialist as well as a market anarchist," argues that "the military, like the large corporation, is a giant, bureaucratic, irrational, and authoritarian institution which can only survive through parasitism — enabled by the state — on the working class" — Our Corporate Military.

  • Colin Kalmbacher recalls "the purest, fastest, nastiest and most abrasive music still capable of retaining melody" — Bedtime for Punk Rock Relavancy?

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    Blessed Are the Peacemakers

    A prayer "that violence may cease and social harmony and peaceful coexistence may everywhere be restored, with respect for the rights of individuals as well as communities" — Pope urges “every possible form of mediation" for the Middle East and North Africa.

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    Another Stem-Cell Breathrough

    Of the ethical variety, which "involves extracting somatic stem cells from the patient’s own body," performed right here in Korea — World’s first cardiac stem-cell therapy to be approved

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    Friday, June 24, 2011

    G. B. Pergolesi's Stabat Mater Dolorosa, Performed by Sabina Puertolas, Vivica Genaux, & Les Talens Lyriques, Directed by Christophe Rousset

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    Demitte Nobis Debita Nostra

    "Oh Lord, we confess that we have sinned as a state and as a people in the management of the economic and monetary benefits entrusted to us," prayed His Grace Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki, quoted by The Globe and Mail's Michael Babad — Greek prelate: We sinned on debt, but who’s without sin?

    Noting that His Grace added that "no one is perfect and without sin on Earth," Mr. Babad reminds us, "Certainly not the United States, Japan, Ireland, Portugal, etc." Of course, incurring a debt is, if anything, venial, but running an economy based on debt is mortal, literally as we now know.

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    The Common Foe

    Militant secularism is yet again causing religious folk to come together, as The New American's Raven Clabough reports — Calif. Muslims, Jews File Lawsuit Against Circumcision Ban.

    Noted also is the fact that "the same anti-circumcision individuals often support a pro-choice position on abortion, arbitrarily defending a born child’s supposed 'right' not be circumcised, while supporting the 'right' of an individual parent to legally kill their unborn children as late as 36 weeks of pregnancy (approximately nine months of gestation)." So, you can "terminate" your baby boy eight days before he's born (or later), but eight days after he's born you cannot initiate him into your religious community.

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    Didn't Yasunari Kawabata Write About This?

    News of a movie about a young woman "who is put to sleep for sessions with wealthy, elderly men" who "can do anything they like with her, but are told they can’t penetrate her body" — Film review - Sleeping Beauty. No reference is made to House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories by Yasunari Kawabata on The Internet Movie Database's page for Sleeping Beauty (2011).

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    Pororo's North Korean Connection and the Absurdity of U.S. Sanctions


    News that "a new set of sanctions against the North that bans not only imports of finished goods produced there but also products made using its technology" might be applied to a "popular South Korean animated series" that was "made by North Korea-based subcontractor Samcholli General Corp. between 2002 and 2005" — Animated Penguin Could Fall Victim to U.S. Sanctions.

    Now, if South Korea, whom we are supposed to be protecting and who bears the brunt of North Korean hostility, sees in "Pororo the Little Penguin" no existential threat, why does our government, half-way around the world, see the need to get involved? The only reason there is any anti-Americanism in North Korea is that they resent our meddling in Korean affairs. Why can't we just let the Koreans sort things out?

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    "Arirang" Sung by Bian Yinghua (a.k.a. Byŏn Yŏnghwa)


    A Mandarin rendition of the Korean folk song by a singer from China's Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture to accompany this South Korean article claiming that "China has outraged patriotic Koreans by registering the folk song 'Arirang,' widely considered Korea's unofficial national anthem, as part of its own cultural heritage" — China Lays Claim to 'Arirang'.

    I, for one, take Beijing at its word when it says that "it merely registered the song as part of the culture of ethnic Koreans in China." China, of course, has never been a nation-state but rather a multi-national entity, something akin to the Holy Roman Empire, had it survived to modern times.

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    Beer and Prosperity

    Countering the "popular theories of economic growth in wealthy countries, dating back to the Protestant work ethic of Max Weber, [that] emphasize the abstemious and sober virtues of the well-to-do," Foreign Policy's Charles Kenny reports that "mounting evidence suggests that beer in particular, and the beer industry that surrounds it, may be as good for growth as excess sobriety" — Chug for Growth. The author writes, "In some of the world's toughest investment climates, beer companies today are building factories, creating jobs, and providing vital public services, all in the pursuit of new customers for a pint."

    Noting that "beer may have been a force for growth for a long time" and "that beer consumption is higher in Protestant countries," Mr. Kenny dares to ask, "What if the early success of Protestant-dominated economies wasn't about Weber's famed work ethic at all, but about the impact of breweries? Of course, it may be just as outlandish to argue that progress is driven by hops and barley as by the fear of eternal damnation -- but at least it's more fun to discuss over a pint."

    Taking it back even further, LiveScience's Charles Q. Choi last year reported on research suggesting "that Stone Age farmers were domesticating cereals not so much to fill their stomachs but to lighten their heads" — Beer Lubricated the Rise of Civilization, Study Suggests. The idea has been around for "more than 50 years, and now one archaeologist says the evidence is getting stronger." A decade ago, National Geographic's Kurt Stoppkotte discussed the "perfectly respectable academic theory that civilization began with beer" — Beer Brewing Paralleled the Rise of Civilization.

    Let us end with the final word on the subject, from Benjamin Franklin: "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

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    Hooking-Up as a Human Right

    Patrick G. Lee on a plan "to sue Catholic University" for an alleged violation of "the District of Columbia’s Human Rights Act" — Single-Sex Dorms Spark Legal Controversy in D.C.

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    Fifteen Million Missing Black Americans

    Making mention of the fact is verboten, or should be, according to some — Pro-Life “Black & Beautiful” Billboards Attacked as Racist.

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    Linh Dinh on Obama's Afghanistan Speech

    "He surges twice, pulls back once, and declares it a successful withdrawal, as promised" — Sentimental Mass Murderer. "I’m sure glad Obama’s not my accountant, or both of us would be arrested for fraud, but wait a sec, Obama is my accountant, and my banker, and my president."

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    Why Are We Still in Korea?

    "Why does the U.S. still have soldiers in Korea almost 60 years after the Korean War?" asks Laurence Vance — The Great Unanswered Korean Question. "Empire? A jobs program? A sop to the military-industrial complex? No good reason at all?" he asks. "I think it is all four."

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    Othering Japan

    Zac Alstin argues that "our failure to understand the causes and conditions of the Japanese wartime experience imparts to the Japanese people a sense of 'otherness' that substitutes for real understanding" — Forgiving Japan.

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    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet № 3 Performed by Ensemble Ditto and Béla Bartók's String Quartet № 1 Performed by the Parker Quartet




    "Some of the best-looking classical musicians are in town to perform at the third Ditto Festival to be held at various venues around Seoul, starting today," reports the Korea Times' Kwaak Je-yup — Ditto evolves with new talent and repertoire.

    Noting that "[t]he festival marks its third year of a nauseating mix of in-your-face commercialism and classical music," Mr. Kwaak notes that the first of the above ensembles is "[p]opularly known for playing to a sold-out audience full of Korean female fans in their 20s with little knowledge of classical music."

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    Hillary Lectures China

    "We don't want to see a new colonialism in Africa," said Mrs. Clinton, adding "that Washington was concerned that China's foreign assistance and investment practices in Africa have not always been consistent with generally accepted international norms of transparency and good governance," quoted by Michael S. Rozeff of my alma materSome Stunning Quotations.

    As far as I can tell, this "new colonialism" involves having businesses, not troops on the ground, so it does seem to be something new. As to the second preposterous claim, Prof. Rozeff rightly counters, "China should have all its banks carry their assets at fictitious values as in the U.S."

    Does she not realize that Washington's moral authority has been entirely squandered? If hers is the alternative, I, for one, welcome our new Chinese overlords, and Africans would be wise to do so as well.

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    Are You a Psychopath?

    While "only about one in 100 people are psychopaths (there is a higher proportion in prisons and corporate boardrooms)" [and oval offices, cabinets, and pentagrams], the Grey Lady's Paul Bloom, in a review of a new book that "approvingly quotes experts who argue that psychopaths make 'the world go around,'" reminds us, "Despite their small numbers, they cause such chaos that they remold society — though not necessarily for the better" — I’m O.K., You’re a Psychopath.

    And you or I may well be among them. But there's an easy way to find out:
      If you aren’t sure whether you are a psychopath, Ronson can help. He lists all the items on the standard diagnostic checklist, developed by the psychologist Robert Hare. You can score yourself on traits like “glibness/superficial charm,” “lack of remorse or guilt,” “promiscuous sexual behavior” and 17 other traits. As one psychologist tells Ronson, if you are bothered at the thought of scoring high, then don’t worry. You’re not a psychopath.
    Also reviewed is a book which "offers an ambitious theory grounded in the concept of empathy, which [the author] defines as 'our ability to identify what someone else is thinking or feeling and to respond to their thoughts and feelings with an appropriate emotion.'" Our Aspie friends need not worry:
      For Baron-Cohen, psychopaths are just one population lacking in empathy. There are also narcissists, who care only about themselves, and borderlines — individuals cursed with impulsivity, an inability to control their anger and an extreme fear of abandonment. Baron-Cohen calls these three groups “Zero-Negative” because there is “nothing positive to recommend them” and they are “unequivocally bad for the sufferer and those around them.” He provides a thoughtful discussion of the usual sad tangle of bad genes and bad environments that lead to the creation of these Zero-Negative individuals.

      People with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, Baron-Cohen argues, are also empathy-deficient, though he calls them “Zero-Positive.” They differ from psychopaths and the like because they possess a special gift for systemizing; they can “set aside the temporal dimension in order to see — in stark relief — the eternal repeating patterns in nature.” This capacity, he says, can lead to special abilities in domains like music, science and art. More controversially, he suggests, this systemizing impulse provides an alternative route for the development of a moral code — a strong desire to follow the rules and ensure they are applied fairly. Such individuals can thereby be moral without empathy, “through brute logic alone.”

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    Two From Thomas H. Naylor

    The founder of the Second Vermont Republic looks at two states, the one from which he "seceded in 1957" — Farewell to Mississippi With Love and Anger — and one that "would still be an independent, sovereign nation today," "had [it] not been illegally overthrown in 1893 by the U.S. Marines through a classic act of Manifest Destiny and American-style gunboat diplomacy" — Why Hawai'i is Not a Legitimate State.

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    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Sŏmjip Agi (Island House Baby) Performed by Cho Hyeryŏng, Chu Hyŏnmi, and the KBS Pop Orchestra


    The most poignant of Korean lullabies, too onomatopoeic to translate, it recants a mother's words as she leaves her baby to sleep alone at home to diving for abalone, asking that the waves of the sea lull the baby to sleep.

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    Two Worldviews

    Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago Volume 1: An Experiment in Literary Investigation quotes St. Patriarch Tikhon's 1918 letter to the Council of People's Commissars, which after noting that "many courageous priests have already paid for their preaching with the blood of martyrdom," protested, "You have laid your hands on church property collected by generations of believers, and you have not hesitated to violate their posthumous intent."

    Mr. Solzhenitsyn suggests parenthetically, "The People's Commissars did not, of course, read the message, but the members of their administrative staff must have had a good laugh: Now they've really got something to reproach us with — posthumous intent! We sh-t on your ancestors! We are only interested in descendants."

    Of course, the same conflict has played out and continues to be played out the world over between traditionalists and progressivists. What the latter fail to understand is that the former are interested in both ancestors and descendants. In fact, it is impossible to separate the two.

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    Would President Paul Put the Poor Out on the Streets?

    Lew Rockwell reminds us that "the wise libertarian statesman... understands that government is based on the consent of the governed, even in a regime as bad as the US's" — Ron Paul's Spending Plan: "First and foremost, for moral, constitutional, and economic reasons: cut the empire! Let young people opt out of the welfare state. Stop the Fed, and more. Don't target the poor."

    That last point is one that knee-jerk anti-libertarians often miss, but that Dr. Paul has reiterated over the years. He understands that one of the most sinister aspects of the welfare state is that it is designed to foster dependency, and it would be immoral to the leave these unfortunates to their own devices after generations on the reservation, so to speak.

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    War Is Peace

    Congressman Ron Paul on why he "joined six Republican and three Democratic colleagues to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its illegal war against Libya" — Strange Definitions of War and Peace. "Polls show that the American people increasingly favor a truly conservative foreign policy: one that rejects the leftist, utopian doctrines of nation-building and preemptive war, and one that is NOT funded by debt."

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    The "Come Home America" Conference

    Antiwar.com's Kelly Vlahos "talk[s] Pat Buchanan in a room in which every liberal peace and civil rights icon—from Gandhi to Rosa Parks to the Dalai Lama—is looking down like the immortals in a sort of benign judgment from a giant mural on the wall," and lives to tell about it — Left, Right on a Date in DC.

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    The Inglory That Was Rome

    The Mystique Of The Manual tells us that Simone Weil "equated the Roman Empire with Nazi Germany and Hitler with Caesar," which comes to mind with this news — Roman Gladiator's Gravestone Describes Fatal Foul.

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    Rape Rooms

    Patrick Cockburn takes apart the claim that "Gaddafi is feeding his troops Viagra and ordering them to rape the womenfolk of the rebels" — Lies, damn lies, and reports of battlefield atrocities — while reminds us that "sexual violence behind bars is still widespread in the United States" and "most of the perpetrators were not other prisoners but staff members—corrections officials whose job it is to keep inmates safe" — Rape Factories.

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    Church Takes on Big Government and Big Business

    News that "1,500 Catholics in South Korea asked the government to stop the highly controversial four rivers project" — Church holds Mass against river project — and "[a] Church group yesterday urged President Benigno Aquino to look into what it calls serious flouting of safety laws by a Korean multinational and which it says has resulted in at least 26 deaths" — Church group urges Korean firm probe.

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    God Spelled Backwards Is Dog

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    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Antonio Vivaldi's L'estate, Peformed by Mari Silje Samuelsen and the Trondheim Soloists, Directed by Øyvind Gimse


    A composition by a Catholic priest with which to celebrate the day Common Dreams' James Carroll remembers — A Solstice Approaches, Unnoticed. "Once, humans were intimate with the cycles of nature, and never more than on the summer solstice," the author notes, rightly lamenting the facts that "contemporary people take little notice of the sun reaching its far point on the horizon" and that "we are apt to miss this phenomenon of Earth’s axial tilt, as we miss so much of what the natural world does in our surrounds."

    In the West, we can place the blame for this disconnection with nature on the abandonment by her children of Holy Mother Church, and, to be fair, her misguided but generous response to this unfiliality by abandoning much of the Catholic Calendar, or at least failing to place proper emphasis on it.

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    Another "Little Ice Age" Coming?

    "It’s no secret that many scientists have long had inconvenient misgivings about global-warming data," writes The New American's Beverly K. Eakmanand, and "now it appears that doomsayers like Al Gore could come across as fools" — Scientists Try to Have It Both Ways on Global-warming.

    Noting "that scientists are now fairly sure that around 2020, sunspot activity is going to lessen significantly," she observes, "science organizations that are responsible for grants and government contracts to scientists don’t know exactly how to spin these latest findings (much less their ramifications) in view of the politically correct necessity of maintaining man-made global-warming dogma to justify various legislative schemes of wealth redistribution now on the table — carbon footprints, cap-and-trade, etc. — all of which have become essential to the liberal establishment that holds the purse strings of research and development (R&D)."

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    Simone Weil and Marshall McLuhan

    Arts & Letters Daily links to two articles on the pair of Catholic intellectual giants.

    "Like early medieval mystics, Saint Teresa of Avila or Saint John of the Cross, she prayed that her individuality be obliterated by the necessities of toil, that her intelligence might be extinguished through punishing physical fatigue," says the Lapham's Quaterly's Peter Foges of the amazing woman who "drew close to the Catholic Church in her later years, but resisted the final baptismal step" — The Mystique Of The Manual.

    "How Catholicism made Marshall McLuhan one of the twentieth century’s freest and finest thinkers," explained by The Walrus's Jeet Heer, who notes that "although he joined the Church as a refuge, his faith gave him a framework for becoming more hopeful and engaged with modernity" — Divine Inspiration.

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    Family in Asia Under Attack

    A report on the recently concluded conference of the Service and Research Institute on Family and Children, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture, held in Bangkok — Globalization ‘destroying Asian family’:
      Catherine Bernard, founder-president-director of SERFAC, observes that the traditional family of the 1960s has evolved into what she has termed the ‘networked family’ of today.

      According to a SERFAC report: “The networked family destroys the identities of Asian people in terms of respect for seniority, eating behavior, traditions and religious values.”

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    The Most Serene Republic of San Marino

    Reports on the papal visit to "the world's oldest republic, founded by St. Marin, who sought refuge on Mount Titan (one of the seven mountains of present-day San Marino) fleeing the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian" — San Marino's Wealth Is Its Faith, Says Pope and Pontiff Warns San Marino of Losing Values.

    Imagine a world where countries the size of San Marino were the norm, not the excpection!

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    "Neoconservative Foreign Policy is Dead"

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    Know-Nothings

    "Muslims worship a 'moon-god'" and "Catholics are 'idolaters ... Bible rejecters...and worshippers of wafer god,'" according to signs at this protest in Dearborn — Christian missionaries take on Muslims, Catholics at Arab International Festival.

    "No Catholics go to Heaven," read anther sign. I have found it helpful to respond to such "Christians" in language they can understand: "Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus."

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    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Yi Chunho's Kŭ Chŏnyŏk Muryŏpputŏ Saebyŏgi Ogikkachi ("From the End of the Evening Until Dawn") Performed by Cho Hyeryŏng

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    The Neocons Are Losing It

  • "Nearly ten years after seizing control of Republican foreign policy, neoconservatives and other hawks appear to be losing it," says Jim Lobe, reporting on "the tentative conclusion of a number of political analysts following Monday’s first nationally televised debate of the party’s declared Republican candidates — none of whom defended the current U.S. engagement in Libya, while several suggested it was time to pare down Washington’s global military engagements, including in Afghanistan" — Neocons Losing Hold Over Republican Foreign Policy.

  • "While the neocons are hoping 'American leadership' exercised in Libya (and possibly Syria) will co-opt the Arab Spring," writes Justin Raimondo, "what they really fear is an American Spring" — The American Spring. "And just as they never foresaw the Arab awakening and the overthrow of US-supported dictators in Egypt and Tunisia, so they are blind to the coming American awakening – a massive grassroots rebellion against the political status quo right here in this country."
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    Perennial Liberty

    From across the Pond, The Telegraph's Tim Stanley says of the man dimissed as a "perennial candidate" that "the reason why he keeps on running – this is his third shot at the presidency – is because his constituency is just as perennial as he is" — Republican Maverick Ron Paul Wins a Second Straw Poll and Reminds the Critics Why He Matters.

    The author, "a research fellow in American History at Royal Holloway College... working on a biography of Pat Buchanan," reminds us,
      It is often forgotten that neoconservativism is the recent innovation within the Republican ranks – not Ron Paul. On the contrary, Paul’s anti-statism harks back to a pre-Cold War GOP that was isolationist and laissez-faire in its outlook. Paul’s people can argue, with some validity, that his candidacy is an effort to return to root principles.
    Noting that "Ron Paul’s candidacy remains quirky and idiosyncratic," Stanley explains,
      The blame for that rests with the man himself. What elevates Dr Paul above the other candidates deflates him in the polls. At the podium he speaks without notes on whatever subject seems to come into his head. To see him in person is to experience the apocalyptic magic of wild prophecy. His rambling discourse on the moral and economic bankruptcy of America smacks of something missing in modern politics – the truth told honestly and intelligently by a mad old white guy with nothing to lose. He is so real, he’s unreal.

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    "A Line Has Been Crossed"

    The Freeman's Steven Horwitz remind us that "the biggest threat to the American people is not radical Muslim terrorists, nor deranged domestic terrorists, but the terrorists with the blue uniforms, badges, and body armor" — Yes, It Is a Police State.

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    The Bilderbergers

  • Taki's Magazine reminds us that "over a hundred of the world’s most powerful financiers and policymakers convened in Switzerland to nearly inaudible fanfare" and "have secretly convened yearly in Europe and America to ear-splitting silence and a blinding absence of media coverage" — Bilderbullshitting the Public.

  • LewRockwell.com's Andrew Gavin Marshall has more on the "secretive meeting held once a year, drawing roughly 130 of the political-financial-military-academic-media elites from North America and Western Europe as 'an informal network of influential people who could consult each other privately and confidentially'" — Bilderberg 2011.
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    Chinese Husbands and African Wives


    The Useless Tree's Sam Crane links to a chinaSMACK post with "[l]ots of photos of Chinese men marrying African women" and the suggestion that "[l]arge-scale marrying of African women can effectively solve China’s male-female sex-ratio imbalance problem" — Chinese Men with Black Women & African Wives.

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    Claudio Monteverdi's Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, Lorna Anderson, Maarten Koningsberger, Guy de Mey, and the Asko Ensemble

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    Ike Was Right

    A reminder from the Left that "western nations face less of a threat to their integrity and security than ever in history, yet their defence industries cry for ever more money and ever more things to do" — Eisenhower’s Worst Fears Came True: We Invent Enemies to Buy the Bombs.

    "The cold war strategist, George Kennan, wrote prophetically: 'Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented.'"

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    War Is Peace

    "Barack Obama has reached Orwellian dimensions in the war against Libya," says the man who got my vote in '08 — Waging Another Unconstitutional War. The author rightly argues that "in the invidious tradition of George W. Bush and his indentured confessor, Justice Department lawyer, John Yoo, now comfortably ensconced on the law faculty of the University of California Berkeley, Mr. Obama is blithely claiming as authority for taking our country into another war 'the inherent powers of the President under Article II of the Constitution,'" and more rightly counters, "This wouldn't pass the laugh test by Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Mason or even Hamilton."

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    Bishop Giovanni I. Martinelli and Congressman Dennis Kucinich

    "I hope that everyone’s good will prevails in order to stop this war because we are tired of the bombing," says the Apostolic Administrator of Tripoli — Bishop says Libyans are 'fed up' with war – and some Western officials are, too. From our own shores:
      A bipartisan group of 10 lawmakers is suing President Barack Obama over his decision to join the war without consulting Congress. House Speaker John Boehner warned the president on June 14 that he would be in violation of the War Powers Act if he continued to involve the U.S. in Libyan “hostilities” past June 19 without consulting Congress.

      The president insists he does not need Congress' approval due to the non-traditional nature of the Libyan war. A White House report released to lawmakers on June 15 noted that “U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve U.S. ground troops.”

      One of the 10 plaintiffs challenging Obama's legal authority, Representative Dennis Kucinich (D – Ohio) says he will push to defund U.S. operations in Libya.

      “This administration brought our nation to war without congressional approval or the support of the American people,” Kucinich said in a June 17 statement.

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    Russell Kirk and Kirkpatrick Sale

    "Sale’s writing about the downsides of modernity reminds me of the enthusiasm I experienced upon first discovering Russell Kirk," says Jack Hunter of the thinker whose "secessionism brings left and right together" — Radical Kirk.

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    Asia's Generation XY

    Reporting on "how the trend toward choosing boys over girls through sex-selective abortions has spread through the developing world, particularly in Asia," Ujala Sehgal focuses on Science's Mara Hvistendahl, who "lays the blame squarely on western governments and businesses that have exported technology and pro-abortion practices without considering the consequences" — Western Governments Are Blamed for Asia's Shortage of Women.

    "Hvistendahl claims western governments actively promoted abortion and sex selection in the developing world, encouraging the liberalization of abortion laws and subsidizing sales of ultrasounds as a form of population control," we learn. Ms. Hvistendahl herself writes, "It took millions of dollars in funding from US organizations for sex determination and abortion to catch on in the developing world." However, "Richard Dawkins," of all people, "takes on Hvistendahl's thesis, arguing that Western science and governments are not culpable for making sex selection possible and prevalent -- and the fault remains in cultural practices."

    As far as I'm concerned, it goes without saying that this was part of the post-West's war on what's left of the East.

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    "Safe, Effective and Ethical"

    News of an "an international congress to promote the use of adult stem cells" — Vatican, biotech firm host congress to promote adult stem-cell therapy. Noteworthy that it "will also feature speakers who support embryonic stem-cell research, to give proponents an opportunity to 'explain the reasoning behind their position.'"

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    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Zoltán Kodály's Budavári Te Deum, Performed by Debreceny Kodály Korus & Szimfonikus Zenekar, Conducted by Tamás Vásáry


    Compositions of the Te Deum, ancient and modern, will be featured here on upcoming Sundays.

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    Putting Fukushima Into Context

    Arnold Gundersen, "former nuclear industry senior vice president" and "licensed reactor operator with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the US," assesses the situation — ‘Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind’.

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    Solzhenitsyn on Churchill and Roosevelt

      In their own countries Roosevelt and Churchill are honored as embodiments of statesmanlike wisdom. To us, in our Russian prison conversations, their consistent shortsightedness and stupidity stood out as astonishingly obvious. How could they, in their decline from 1941 to 1945, fail to secure any guarantees whatever of the independence of Eastern Europe? How could they give away broad regions of Saxony and Thuringia in exchange for the preposterous toy of a four-zone Berlin, their own future Achilles' heel? And what was the military or political sense in their surrendering to destruction at Stalin's hands hundreds of thousands of armed Soviet citizens determined not to surrender? They say it was the price they paid for Stalin's agreeing to enter the war against Japan. With the atom bomb already in their hands, they paid Stalin for not refusing to occupy Manchuria, for strengthening Mao Tse-tung in China, and for giving Kim Il Sung control of half Korea! What bankruptcy of political thought! And when subsequently, the Russians pushed out Mikolajczyk, when Benes and Masaryk came to their ends, when Berlin was blockaded, and Budapest flamed and fell silent, and Korea went up in smoke, and Britain’s Conservatives fled Suez, could one really beleive that those among them with the most accurate memories did not at least recall that episode of the Cossacks?
    So Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn reminds us in The Gulag Archipelago Volume 1: An Experiment in Literary Investigation. The episode referred to, which Mr. Solzhenitsyn calls "an act of double-dealing consistent with the spirit of traditional English diplomacy," was when "Churchill... turned over to the Soviet command the Cossack corps of 90,000 men... and wagonloads of old people, women, and children who did not want to return to their native Cossack rivers." He continues, "This great hero, monuments to whom will in time cover all England, ordered that they, too, be surrendered to their deaths." No wonder this giant was as little popular in the West as he was in Soviet Russia.

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    The Yi Sŭngbok Memorial


    The highlight of my trip was an ad hoc pilgrimage to the secular shrine of the eight-year-old South Korean boy murdered in 1968 along with his mother and two younger siblings by North Korean infiltrators. Legend has it that they broke into his house while he was studying (on his birthday, no less), and interrogated him about his pencil, which they thought was of such good quality it had to have come from America. When they asked him whether he liked North Korea or South Korea, he responded, "I hate Communists!" ("나는 공상당이 싫어요!").

    The communist brutes then tore apart they boy's mouth with a knife, and proceeded to slaughter his family. An elder brother played dead and escaped to a neighbor's house. The authorities were alerted and tracked down the invaders and killed them like the dogs they were. His father, who had been away from home the fateful evening, helping his mother, and the elder brother are alive to this day.

    GI Korea has much more on this one of 100,000,000 million victims of Communism — “I Hate Communists!”; Remembering Lee Seung-bok. The shrine, and especially the movie there, scared the dickens out of my kids, but I am of the belief that they should have fear of evil.

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    Kangwŏn Arirang, Performed by Kim Yŏng-Im, the Chung-ang Traditional Orchestra and the Inchŏn Opera Chorus


    We are safely home from our travels, which took us through the town whence originates the folk song above.

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    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Kangwŏn Arirang, Performed by Ha Chun-Hwa and the Korean National Classical Orchestra


    We're heading for the hills of our neighbor to the north, mighty Kangwŏn Province, whence comes the above folk song, to see her T’aebaek Mountains. Blogging will resume in a few days, God willing.

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    Korea's Red Neon Crosses


    Perhaps the most striking feature of the Korean cityscape for the visitor, pictured above in this article reporting that "citizens [are] complain[ing] about the bright light from church crosses — Blinded by the light: Seoul’s neon pollution.

    When a friend visited and I explained to him that Protestant churches had red neon crosses but Catholics churches did not, he said, "Of course not; Catholics have taste." What I find strange is that you can find two Protestant churches of the same denomination, usually Presbyterian, right across the street from each other, something I have seen in big cities with fast food franchises.

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    Mark Shea, Catholic Perennialist

    "The Catholic faith is utterly unique—because it is so much like so many other religious and philosophical traditions," begins his excellent article — What Makes the Catholic Faith Unique? I'm reminded of what Henri-Marie Cardinal de Lubac said in Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man:
      To see in Catholicism one religion among others, one system among others, even if it be added that it is the only true religion, the only system that works, is to mistake its very nature, or at least to stop at the threshold. Catholicism is religion itself.
    And Martin Mosebach noted that Nicolás Gómez Dávila recognized this true nature of "the Catholic Church, which he did not regard as simply one of several Christian confessions, but as the great collecting tank of all religions, as the heiress of all paganism, as the still living original religion."

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    Police and Theives

  • News that "active shooter drills" are being "staged in schools across the Soyuz" in order "to habituate children to the presence of paramilitary operators in their midst" — 'You Can No Longer Think of Yourselves as Peace Officers': Militarizing 'Lockdown High'.

  • News that "the 'mob robbery' phenomenon in Chicago is spinning wildly out of control" and is "not just happening in Chicago" — 12 More Signs That Society Is Collapsing. The "very, very disturbing trend" is but one of the signs that "people are already starting to lose it and the economic collapse has only just begun."
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    Philosophers

  • Foseti "tried to read several of Nietzsche’s books several times" but "always felt unsatisfied" — Review of “Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist” by Walter A. Kaufmann. (This blogger tried reading Thus Spoke Zarathustra as a teenager; it was the only book I ever put down because I thought it was evil.)

  • Bonald writes, "I feel confirmed in my decision to stay away from the 'great' Dutch philosopher when I see that even his enthusiasts (as in the linked article) can’t give me a good reason to look into him" — Is Spinoza the most overrated philosopher in history? Fans of this "daring free-thinker who created the modern world... never share a single interesting idea this supposedly great philosopher ever had."

  • Siris with a great Schillerian quote — The Savage and the Barbarian. While the former "despises Civilization, and acknowledges Nature as his sovereign mistress," the latter "derides and dishonours Nature, but more contemptible than the savage, as often as not continues to be the slave of his slave." In contrast, "The man of Culture makes a friend of Nature, and honours her freedom whilst curbing only her caprice."
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    Brotherly Vocations

    Daniel Nichols links to the "fine article/obituary from the Times, on the twin Franciscans who died on the same day," near where I grew up — Brothers — and Father Maryknoller in Korea shares the wonderful story of the 90th birthday of Maria Lee, who "has lived for the last 65 years in the same parish" and "is descended from 8 generations of devout Catholics" — Mother of Four Sons Who Became Priests

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    PRC Pb

    Evil news — China Hiding Extent of Lead Poisoning Among Children. The report also says that officials have been accused "of blocking effective testing and treatment" and "sending sick children back to contaminated homes."

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    The Korean Script, Sino-Korean Characters, Korean Drink, Whale Meat

    Four things I love about this country discussed respectively by two blogging colleagues — Against Hangul Supremacy – 反한글우월주의 and Ulsan Whale Festival to Cater to Drunk Whales.

    The former takes on those who "believe that the Korean alphabet, known as Hangul, is superior, and often disparage the usage of Chinese characters in writing." The latter explains that the festival, in my wife's hometown, caters to "술고래 (sulgorae) which is literally 'alcohol-whale' and means 'alcoholic' or someone who 'drinks like a fish.'"

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    Vivat Germania!

    Ian Brunskill's review of a book by one Simon Winder that "sets out to counter anti-German prejudice by celebrating the quirky, often cosmopolitan aspects of German history and culture that are at odds with the caricature of a monolithic, ruthlessly efficient and aggressively Teutonic state, associated first with Prussian expansionism and then, notoriously, with the totalitarianism of the Third Reich" — Teutonic Temptations.

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    Zoltán Kodály's Psalmus Hungaricus, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra Choir, David Shallon

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    Count Richard Nikolaus Eijiro von Coudenhove-Kalergi

    Research for the post immediately preceding this one introduced us to the fascinating figure of Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi, half-Japanese progenitor of both the Paneuropean Union (whose goal was "the unity of a Christian Europe, free of 'nihilism, atheism and immoral consumerism'") and the idea of a Race of the Future (which, "similar in its appearance to the Ancient Egyptians, will replace the diversity of peoples with a diversity of individuals").


    Wikipedia lists as fellow-travelers such Catholic luminaries as Engelbert Dollfuss, Otto von Habsburg, and even our own Whittaker Chambers! Calling him "practically a Pan-European organization himself," Mr. Chambers elaborates on his family,
      The Coudenhoves were a wealthy Flemish family that fled to Austria during the French Revolution. The Kalergis were a wealthy Cretan family. The line has been further crossed with Poles, Norwegians, Balts, French and Germans, but since the families were selective as well as cosmopolite, the hybridization has been consistently successful.
    His "Pan-Europe would encompass and extend a more flexible and more competitive Austria-Hungary, with English serving as world language, spoken by everyone in addition to his native tongue." We are told that "his ambition was to create a conservative society that superseded democracy with 'the social aristocracy of the spirit'" whose "ideal political constituent was a gentleman, a person adhering to honesty, fair play, courtesy, and rational discourse." We also learn that "his Pan-Europeanism earned vivid loathing from Adolf Hitler, who excoriated its pacifism and mechanical economism and belittled its founder as 'everybody's bastard.'"

    We learn also that his father "took them to Mass every Sunday," but "[o]n every Good Friday, as the liturgy came to the exhortation 'oremus et pro perfidis Judaeis' ('Let us also pray for the faithless Jews'), the old count allegedly rose and walked out of the church in a protest against this supposed expression of antisemitism." About the Jews, the young count wrote,
      Instead of destroying European Jewry, Europe, against its own will, refined and educated this people into a future leader-nation through this artificial selection process. No wonder that this people, that escaped Ghetto-Prison, developed into a spiritual nobility of Europe. Therefore a gracious Providence provided Europe with a new race of nobility by the Grace of Spirit. This happened at the moment when Europe’s feudal aristocracy became dilapidated, and thanks to Jewish emancipation.
    It was he who "proposed the Beethoven's Ode to Joy as the music for the European Anthem" and later "urged Austria to pursue 'an active policy of peace', as a 'fight against the Cold War and its continuation, the atomic war'" and at the same time "advocated Austrian involvement in world politics in order to keep the peace, as 'active neutrality.'"

    Let us end with a quote from this great man: "We are experiencing the most dangerous revolution in the world history: the revolution of the State against the man. We are experiencing the worst idolatry of all the time: the deification of the state."

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    Ann Curry


    Townhall.com's Brent Bozell doesn't like her — Liberalism Lite with Ann Curry. "How light is Curry?" Mr. Bozell asks. "Last October, while narrating a story on how Russia implausibly unveiled a new set of inflatable weapons designed to fool spy satellites, Curry added her own touch: 'Wish all weapons were like that.'"

    Quelle horreur! She also noted that "there are some American Indians who feel that Thanksgiving should be a day of mourning, not a day of celebration because of what happened to their people." Not only is she guilty of that thought-crime, she also promoted a "people-powered blender bike" and "showed her hippie-friendly stripes by promoting a concert with activist Trudie Styler, the wife of the rock star Sting." Worst of all, "Curry does not bow and scrape before Republican officials."

    Maybe for me it's just that Ann Curry, like my kids, is of the Hapa tribe, a.k.a. the Race of the Future. Or maybe it's just that she's got such a nice pair of gams, as displayed in the photo above. Whatever it is, there are far more dangerous threats to what's left of our Republic.

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    Tolstoy on Materialists

      Only in our self-confident day of the popularization of knowledge- thanks to that most powerful engine of ignorance, the diffusion of printed matter- has the question of the freedom of will been put on a level on which the question itself cannot exist. In our time the majority of so-called advanced people- that is, the crowd of ignoramuses- have taken the work of the naturalists who deal with one side of the question for a solution of the whole problem.

      They say and write and print that the soul and freedom do not exist, for the life of man is expressed by muscular movements and muscular movements are conditioned by the activity of the nerves; the soul and free will do not exist because at an unknown period of time we sprang from the apes. They say this, not at all suspecting that thousands of years ago that same law of necessity which with such ardor they are now trying to prove by physiology and comparative zoology was not merely acknowledged by all the religions and all the thinkers, but has never been denied. They do not see that the role of the natural sciences in this matter is merely to serve as an instrument for the illumination of one side of it. For the fact that, from the point of view of observation, reason and the will are merely secretions of the brain, and that man following the general law may have developed from lower animals at some unknown period of time, only explains from a fresh side the truth admitted thousands of years ago by all the religious and philosophic theories- that from the point of view of reason man is subject to the law of necessity; but it does not advance by a hair's breadth the solution of the question, which has another, opposite, side, based on the consciousness of freedom.

      If men descended from the apes at an unknown period of time, that is as comprehensible as that they were made from a handful of earth at a certain period of time (in the first case the unknown quantity is the time, in the second case it is the origin); and the question of how man's consciousness of freedom is to be reconciled with the law of necessity to which he is subject cannot be solved by comparative physiology and zoology, for in a frog, a rabbit, or an ape, we can observe only the muscular nervous activity, but in man we observe consciousness as well as the muscular and nervous activity.

      The naturalists and their followers, thinking they can solve this question, are like plasterers set to plaster one side of the walls of a church who, availing themselves of the absence of the chief superintendent of the work, should in an access of zeal plaster over the windows, icons, woodwork, and still unbuttressed walls, and should be delighted that from their point of view as plasterers, everything is now so smooth and regular.
    So wrote Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy in the eight chapter of the second epilogue of War and Peace. A left-liberal friend thinks that such passages should be excised, and the same with those asides in Herman Melville's Moby-Dick arguing rightly (cf. Whale Meat and Friday Abstinence) that whales are fish. I would not take an iota out of either of these my two favorite novels.

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    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.