Sunday, July 31, 2011

Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Te Deum, Performed by The RTL Orchestra Luxembourg and The Südfunk Chorus Stuttgart, Directed by Leopold Hager

Bookmark and Share

Acoustic and Analog

"Nothing has ever sounded as beautiful as acoustic instruments on analog tape, and when you record everything at once, you capture our favorite sound, the sound of the instruments and the voices combining in the air, as opposed to the more common process of combining them electronically or digitally later" — Gillian Welch Pulls No Punches On Conan With “That’s The Way It Goes”.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

President Ron Paul and the Welfare State

From the Left, John V. Walsh looks at programs "like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security which the libertarian Paul wants to phase out, albeit gradually," reminding us, "Paul, the country doc, knows full well how people of little means rely on these programs and he proposes no sudden termination of them" — Social Democrats for Ron Paul.

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Loyola and Luther

Philip Endean, S.J. compares the contemporaries — Ignatius in Lutheran light.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Friday, July 29, 2011

M.-A. Charpentier's Miserere, K. Isshiki, C. Santon, G. Lesne, J.-F. Novelli, M. El Bushra, A. Buet, Il Seminario Musicale, G. Lesne

Bookmark and Share

English Only

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Costanzo Festa's Jesu Nazarene Performed by Cantica Symphonia

Bookmark and Share

Rome and Peking

  • Calling himself "an old brother who is almost ashamed of living in freedom," His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun blasts the "[n]on-believing authorities [who] want to lead evangelization and pastoral care" and "want to create a schism" and "find a Luther or Henry VIII" — Cardinal Zen: the absurdity of an atheist government that wants to lead the Catholic Church.

  • "China's Bureau of Religion reacted as stung by the Vatican's threat to excommunicate bishops ordained without the permission of the Holy See," writes Francesco Sisci, "but nevertheless indicated for the first time that China's government has no desire to rule the religious affairs of the Catholic Church" — Reading between the lines of the Vatican rift. He begins, "The rift between China and the Holy See is deepening as it enters the rutted territory where Rome and Beijing historically have something in common: convoluted political procedure."

  • "All this is the independent, prideful nationalism of China, which many Chinese people can easily fall into – even Catholic bishops, I suppose," says Nathan Faries, author of The Inscrutably Chinese Church, who makes note of the "the more complex situation that is going on, on the ground, that doesn't always come out in our Western consciousness" — Author laments Chinese response to recent excommunications. Arguing that "Chinese Catholics' strong sense of cultural and national identity can benefit the universal Church in the long run," Dr. Faries says, "Once it's blended back in with some sort of relationship with the Vatican, as in the late 70s and 80s, you perhaps have a healthy mix of national, Catholic and Christian identity, that can do interesting and important things theologically and for the nation."

  • UCA News notes the confusion on the ground — Mixed reception for Vatican’s view.
  • Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Christians in the Caliphate

      Consider St. John of Damascus who served the Islamic caliphate as a government official and translator. He was able along with the monks of the Palestinian desert to actually write apologetics against Islam under an Islamic regime! He wasn’t executed. Others like Anthony of Baghdad were able to do the same.
    So writes reader Gneisenau in response to a controversial idea put forth by Throne and Altar's Bonald — Should Muslims lead European conservatism? The reader asks, "Could a Christian get away with that today?"

    There is Father Zakaria (Zakaria Botros) of Al hayat TV in Egypt. Of course, he faces much opposition and Gneisenau is right "that many Muslims are just as throughly modern" and "share more in common with 20th ideologies than with early Islam."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Jean-Claude Carriere vs. Umberto Eco

      I also notice that when a banality or an outright piece of misinformation pops up, it always comes from Carriere. You would never have Eco stating, for example, that the Gnostic Gospel According to Thomas is “a verbatim account of the words of Jesus,” or repeating an even hoarier canard, that St. Paul was “the real inventor of Christianity.”
    So Philip Marchand writes in his review of a joint project carried out by the "two hardy veterans of the cultural industry" — Open Book: This is Not the End of the Book. Also in Eco's favor is this passage:
      Eco’s collection is more focused than Carriere’s. It is a “collection dedicated to the occult and mistaken sciences.” It contains works, for example, by the misinformed astronomer Ptolemy but not by the rightly informed astronomer Galileo. “I am fascinated by error, by bad faith and idiocy,” Eco tells us. He loves the man who wrote a book about the dangers of toothpicks, and another author who produced a volume “about the value of being beaten with a stick, providing a list of famous artists and writers who had benefitted from this practice, from Boileau to Voltaire to Mozart.” He adores the hygienist who recommended, in his treatise, the practice of walking backwards.
    Interestingly, "the practice of walking backwards" is widely held as beneficial in Oriental medicine. Go to any park in China or Korea and you can see older folks walking backwards.

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Twice Nuked

    "Washington targeted the city's residents with pro-nuclear propaganda in the mid-1950s after deciding a swing in their opinions was vital to promoting the use of civil nuclear power in Japan and across the world" — U.S. used Hiroshima to bolster support for nuclear power.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Am I My Brother's Keeper?

    "We know we should not help the regime, but as Catholics and human beings, we cannot stand by and see our brothers on the other side of the border die of hunger" — Caritas Korea sending tonnes of flour to starving Northerners.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Hey, Facebookers!

    Something for fellow-travelers among you — Catholics for Ron Paul.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    Franz Liszt's Les Préludes, Performed by the West Eastern Divan Orchestra, Directed by Daniel Barenboim




    Above, my favorite symphonic poem to accompany this review of a biography about "the Romantic heart-throb, piano virtuoso, composer and cad" — A Book of Liszts by John Spurling: review

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "Better Eurabia Than Brave New World"

    Something I've often said comes to mind reading Throne and Altar's latest, in which Bonald confesses to being "more convinced than ever that a traditionalist movement in Europe will have to be Muslim-led" — Should Muslims lead European conservatism?

    Arguing that "that Christianity and Islam are rivals but not opposites," Bonald continues,
      One can advance Christianity and Islam at the same time. Their morals and ours are mostly compatible (far more so than are Christian and liberal morals), and in a broad sense, Christians and Muslims would like to push Europe in the same direction (less public blasphemy, less pornography, less usury). The particularities of our own traditions can be pursued at the local level, since Christians and Muslims usually live in different places, so a robust localism can serve us both. What’s more, this is the means of coexistence endorsed by both our traditions. Muhammad himself said that Christians should be unmolested in our own enclaves, while we Christians are obliged to promote subsidiarity when possible. Both Christians and Muslims accommodated religious minorities through ghetto arrangements in the Middle Ages; it’s the sensible thing to do. The liberals, by contrast, think they have a right to indoctrinate other people’s children.

      Let’s also not loose sight of the contemporary reality. A Muslim-dominated conservative Europe may not be the ideal, but at this point I think it’s by far the most viable alternative to a completely Leftist Europe. Christianity is toxic in the public mind. Europeans think we’re all a bunch of bigots and mass-murderers. And let’s not forget that half of those European Christians are Roman Catholics, who in the public mind are all child molesters. No one would ever vote for us. On the other hand, Islam, as they’ve been told ad nausium, is the religion of peace. Also, while the genetic differences between us and Turks or Arabs is small, they are regarded as non-white for some reason, which automatically gives them higher status in the European mind. Finally, they are a more formidable force because of their self-confidence. They really know that they’re right, and they don’t care what the New York Times says. Christians conservatives, on the other hand, are use to defeat. We’ve known nothing else for two centuries. We’ve come to expect it. We go into every fight demoralized, worried more about how to avoid social ostracism for what we know will turn out to be an unpopular cause than about how to make it a popular cause. The Muslims are psychologically better equipped to fight than we are.

      Most importantly, between Islam and hedonistic nihilism, I’d choose Islam hands down.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Religious Tolerance

    This is not at all surprising — UK survey finds: churchgoing teenagers show greatest support for Muslim peers. "Young people from different religious backgrounds clearly show respect for each other," said a researcher of the survey's results. "But the challenge facing schools today is to enable those young people who do not come from a religious background themselves to gain insight into how their peers from religious homes feel about things."

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Is Defending One's Country's Working Class Xenophobic?

    "Our citizens are being forced to compete with migrant workers for low-income jobs," dared state "a Seoul-based anti-foreign civic group" blasted in this report by The Korea Time's Na Jeong-ju — Xenophobic groups grow more vocal.

    The extremely disturbing lumpenization of the South Korean unskilled labor force was brought about by state-intervention in the economy in the form of the "industrial trainee" system, which allows for importation of more exploitable temporary workers from South and Southeast Asia, who are only quite naturally seeking a better life for themselves and their families back home.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    Josquin Desprez' Mille Regretz Sung by Cantica Symphonia

    Bookmark and Share

    Venerable Beads

    The New Beginning posts a link to an article by Anna Gottschall informing us that "[t]he word ‘bead’ derives from the Old English word ‘ebed’, originally meaning to pray or request, and was used to describe groups of beads which were loosely strung together" — Prayer Bead Production and use in Medieval England.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Onward Christian Terrorists?

    Pierre Tristam "argues" that "two jihadists—two right-wing reactionaries, two terrorists, two anti-government white supremacists, two Christians—have a lot in common" — The Greater Threat: Christian Extremism From Timothy McVeigh to Anders Breivik.

    One thing they certainly would have in common as that they would be highly bemused by such labels, as these articles, about the former and the latter respectively, show — McVeigh No Christian; Worshipped Himself; Said “Science Is My Religion” and Terrorist proclaimed himself 'Darwinian,' not 'Christian'. The latter link quotes the Norwegian's manifesto:
      I'm not going to pretend I'm a very religious person, as that would be a lie. I've always been very pragmatic and influenced by my secular surroundings and environment. In the past, I remember I used to think: 'Religion is a crutch for weak people. What is the point in believing in a higher power if you have confidence in yourself!? Pathetic.' Perhaps this is true for many cases. Religion is a crutch for many weak people, and many embrace religion for self-serving reasons as a source for drawing mental strength (to feed their weak emotional state [for] example during illness, death, poverty etc.).
    Nevertheless, even "journalists" whom I once respected, like Pepe Escobar, are regurgitating this "right-wing Christian fundamentalist" meme — Al-Qaeda's Christian mirror. The more respectable Jim Goad notes that this "right-wing Christian fundamentalist" was also, in his own words, "anti-racist/pro-homosexual/pro-Israel" — Between Thought and Action in Norway.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Monsignor Ha Anton Trauner


    Pictured above is the Bavarian who was "one of the first foreign Catholic missionaries to arrive here after the Korean War" profiled by The Korea Herald's Hannah Stuart-Leach — Spreading the gospel of love. “The people asked me, ‘How long will you stay?’ and I said, ‘I will stay till my death,’ and they were very happy.’”

    The article mentions that "his lifelong quest remains the reunification of Korea ― something he believes is necessary to alleviate the massive humanitarian crisis there." In fact, "he organized the first large-scale reunification meeting in 1974 at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju." Furthermore, he "was also the first to introduce the Blue Army, an American export which has its core in the defeat of communism, the Red Army, through Christianity."

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Edvard Grieg's Ave Maris Stella Sung by The Choir of St. John's College

    Bookmark and Share

    Are South Korea and Japan to Blame for the Norweigian Massacre?

    Of course not, but Anders Behring Breivik, it turns out, "wanted to see European policies on multiculturalism more similar to those of Japan and South Korea, which he said are 'not far from cultural conservatism and nationalism at its best.'"

    Interesting how what is entirely mainstream in one part of the modern world is radical and beyond the pale in another. As a libertarian-leaning Catholic, I lean towards open borders (not open citizenship), but that does not mean those who disagree are evil. (Breivik is evil for his actions.) There are plenty of reasonable reasons to restrict immigration, whether it be presevation of one's culture or of one's working class, to think of just two.

    My position is close to that of reader Dauvit Balfour, who wrote on these pages: "I see no reason why free and peaceful people shouldn't be able to move from one place to another to live, work, or study. That doesn't mean they should all be granted citizenship."

    No mention of South Korea in this context would be complete without noting that Woo Bum-kon's grim record of 57 has now been shattered.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Some Intelligent Stuff Written About Anders Behring Breivik

  • "I know a number of farmers, live off the land types, with 'similar' ideas," says commenter James to a Caelum Et Terra's Daniel Nichols post — Dark Irony. "It never occurred to me to fear them but I guess anyone can go off the deep end," says James.

  • That is the point Throne and Altar's Bonald reminds us of, namely that "Breivik is what people would call a moderate conservative" — The main point: we’re all more “extremist” than he is. He later asks, "[W]hat if he had been a run-of-the-mill social democrat?"

  • Lew Rockwell notes that he was "ardently pro-Israel" and "much influenced by such neocons as Daniel Pipes" — The Norwegian Terrorist Is a Neocon. "As to his religion, he is not exactly a follower of the Prince of Peace, though he may be some sort of Christian rightist or theocon. That is how, as a hater and a killer, he could describe himself as a Christian and a conservative, a Hageeite."

  • Steve Sailer notes that "he maintained a public persona online of being anti-Islamic but non-violent and, indeed, rather philosophical" — Norway. "In terms of personality, he seems somewhat less like the usual comparison, Timothy McVeigh..., and more like the highly intelligent, cold-blooded leftwing assassin of Pym Fortuyn, Volkert van der Graaf, whose story has disappeared down the memory hole after the European press put out a cover story that he was an animal rights nut..."

  • David Lindsay on the connection I find most interesting — Of Masonic Conspiracies.
  • Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Corporate Disloyalty

    Old Right Nader is right again to ask this question about what "is not a left-right divide" — Whatever Happened to Corporate Patriotism? "For as Pat Buchanan has said, if these U.S. corporations are not loyal to us, why should we be loyal to them?"

    Taking the word "patriotism" back to its root, I'm reminded of what Christopher Lasch said: "It is no longer an unwritten law of American capitalism that industry will attempt to maintain wages at a level that allows a single wage to support a family."

    Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Where the State Owns You

    A conservative blog for peace links to this story about what "is not an official part of Beijing’s one-child policy, but... is a consequence of rules that are a fundamental affront to the human rights of parents and would-be parents" — Illegal children will be confiscated.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Is This What Killed My Grandfather?

    "Breathing problems in soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan [have been] traced to deposits in tiny air passages of the lungs," notes this report — Something In The Air May Cause Lung Damage In Troops. My grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer, but his doctor brother-in-law insisted that it was a fungus he inhaled in WWII in Iran.

    Labels: , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Saturday, July 23, 2011

    Johannes Ockeghem's Missa Prolacionum, Sung by The Clercks' Group, Directed by Edward Wickham

    Bookmark and Share

    Homecoming

      We wanted our children to grow up in a kind of extended family, or at least with an abundance of “significant others.” A house full of people; a crowded table ranging across the generations; four-hand music at the piano; nonstop conversation and cooking; baseball games and swimming in the afternoon; long walks after dinner; a poker game or Diplomacy or charades in the evening, all these activities mixing adults and children–that was our idea of a well-ordered household and more specifically of a well-ordered education.
    Thus spake Christopher Lasch, an "invocation of moral and cultural virtues and of dozens of humble, bourgeois practices (evening meals, organized sports, family games, etc.)" quoted by Front Porch Republic's Russell Arben Fox — Defending Lasch, Left and/or Right.

    God willing, that vision, more or less, may soon be my reality, and in the very same Village of Pittsford that Prof. Lasch's called home, no less. That was the kind of home my wife and I grew up in, more or less, and we naturally want the same for our kids.

    My parents informed me today that they sold their home after eight days rather than the eight months they expected. They're not even Catholic, yet (they have suggested they will convert once we are living together), but have chalked up the sale to St. Joseph. (For more on the custom — Burying a St. Joseph Statue and St. Joseph, Real Estate Agent?) In fact, they've received his help before.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    There Is No God But Allah

    Oddly reminiscent of an American fundagelical, Mohd Sani Badron, Director of Economic and Social Studies, has argued, "The translation of 'God' as 'Allah' is very wrong, it should be translated correctly ... we understand not only the word but the meaning and the meaning is wrong and inaccurate" — Malaysia: Christians can not use "Allah" to define God. He elaborated that "the mistranslation of the word 'God' as 'Allah' in the Malay Bible must be abandoned because it erroneously represents the two religions as equal."

    The article notes that "Christians have republished a 400 year old Latin Malay dictionary, which shows that from the beginning the word 'Allah' was used to define God in the Bible in local languages." (A previous post of mine on the subject — Dictionarium Malaicum-Latinun.) As far as I know, this has never been an issue for Arabic-speaking Christians. For the Americans Christians who fail to understand that "Allah" is how one says "God" in Arabic, I suggest taking a cue from their Pentecostalist brethren, who from what I've heard know a thing or two about speaking in tongues — Gereja Sidang-Sidang Jemaat Allah (Assemblies of God in Indonesia).

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Conservative Thrust of Political Correctness

    "Much derided 'P.C.' has succeeded in making us more mannerly and polite to each other, old-fashioned virtues, of which one would expect conservative politicians to approve," writes Ronan McDonald — The problem with jokes about Irishmen.

    'Nonetheless, one needs to be careful about being too puritanical about comedy," teh author rightly continues. "It does not lend itself to hard and fast principles, not least because it relishes transgression, puncturing social taboos and hypocrisies."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Say What You Will About Collegiality...

    Sandro Magister makes a compelling argument in favor of "that power of governance which only the pope can give" — China. On the Powers of the Bishops, the Council Saw Far Ahead.

    It was the Second Vatican Council that "established that without the papal mandate, they cannot govern the dioceses," Mr. Magister informs us. "The young Ratzinger was against it at the time, but soon changed his mind. It is thanks to that norm that today, as pope, he is disarming the illegitimate bishops. And defusing the schism."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Righteous Among the Gentiles

    The Pave the Way Foundation, an organization "founded by Jew Gary Krupp" dedicated to promoting "World Peace through appreciation of religious similarities," has "discovered a number of very important original documents in his research of the open archives of Santa Maria dell Anima Church, which is the National Church of Germany in Rome" — Documents Reveal Pius XII Saved 11,000 Roman Jews. The story:
      "Many have criticized Pius XII for remaining silent during the arrest and when trains left Rome containing 1,007 Jews who were sent to the death camp Auschwitz," Krupp stated. "The critics also do not acknowledge Pius XII's direct intervention to end the arrests of Oct. 16, 1943."

      "New discoveries prove that Pius XII acted directly behind the scenes to end the arrests at 2:00 p.m., on the very day they began, but who was powerless to stop the ill-fated train," he added.

      According to a recent study by researcher Deacon Dominiek Oversteyns, there were 12,428 Jews in Rome on Oct. 16, 1943.

      "Pope Pius XII's direct action saved the lives of over 11,400 Jews," Krupp explained. "On the morning of Oct. 16, 1943, when the Pope learned of the arrests of the Jews, he immediately ordered an official Vatican protest with the German ambassador, which he knew would no doubt be fruitless.

      "The Pope then sent his nephew, Prince Carlo Pacelli, to meet with Austrian Bishop Alois Hudal. Bishop Hudal, head of the National Church of Germany in Rome, was by some accounts, sympathetic to the Nazi's and had good relations with them. Prince Carlo Pacelli told Hudal that he was sent by the Pope, and that Hudal must write a letter to the German Governor of Rome, General Rainier Stahel, to demand that the arrests stop."

      Bishop Hudal's letter to General Stahel stated: "Just now, a high Vatican source [...] reported to me that this morning, the arrest of the Jews of Italian nationality has started. In the interest of a peaceful dialogue between the Vatican and the German military command, I ask you with urgency to give order to immediately stop these arrests in Rome and the surrounding area. The German reputation in foreign countries requires such a measure and also the danger that the Pope would openly protest against it."

      The letter was then hand-delivered to General Stahel by a close confidant to Pope Pius XII, German Father Pancratius Pfeiffer, superior general of the Society of the Divine Savior, who personally knew General Stahel.

      The following morning, General Stahel responded by telephone: "I forwarded the affair immediately to the local Gestapo and to Himmler personally, Himmler ordered that, concerning the special status of Rome, these arrests are to be stopped immediately."

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Plastic P'yŏngyang

    "South Korea media often tout North Korean women as 'natural beauties', comparing them favorably to women in the South who increasingly turn to plastic surgery," reports Sunny Lee; "However, lately North Korean women seem to be catching up in the surgery stakes, with the North seeing a boom in various operations" — Pyongyang waitresses sliced to perfection.

    And yet Koreans will proudly tell you today so great was the filial piety of their ancestors, that they did not cut their hair as it was inherited from their parents.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Nicolas Bernier's Miserere Mei Deus Quoniam, Performed by Les Agréments and Chœur de Chambre de Namur, Directed by Guy van Waas

    Bookmark and Share

    In Defense of Our American Language

    Auntie Beeb reports that a "recent piece on Americanisms entering the language in the UK prompted thousands of you to e-mail examples" — Americanisms: 50 of your most noted examples. "Some are useful, while some seem truly unnecessary," rightly says the article. Some of the criticisms, however, are puzzling, like the following.

    One reader complains of "'wait on' instead of 'wait for' when you're not a waiter." I, too, find this strange, and all the stranger since I first heard it three decades ago from a bunch of Brits — The Rolling Stones - Waiting on a Friend.

    Another reader asks, "What kind of word is 'gotten'? It makes me shudder." The reader's ignorance of historical linguistics makes me shudder. I'll tell you what kind of word it is: it is the older form of the past participle of the verb "to get." Americans have retained many of the older forms of the English language, much to our credit I'd say.

    "Pity us," says a self-hating American complaining of this perfectly profound expression: "It is what it is." Try to express the idea that five-word phrase conveys in as many words or less and get back to us. And no, ''tis what 'tis" doesn't count.

    "Touch base" makes one reader "cringe [to] no end" (I had to correct his grammar) and another feels the same way about "heads up." Don't you Brits have your own idioms from cricket? Why blame us Yanks for your borrowing of idioms from our country's pastime?

    Others complain of "leverage" when "[p]ronounced lev-er-ig rather than lee-ver-ig" and "shopping cart" instead of "shopping trolley." Don't these readers understand that there exist regional varieties in pronunciation and lexicon, even within a country? When I go to other parts of America, I have to hear "soda" instead of "pop" or "sack" instead of "bag."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    A Blue Labourite Call For Red Toryism

    Professor Patrick J. Deneen reports on Lord Glasman's "radically traditionalist... plea for rootedness, an organic rather than an atomised society, the reassertion of place and identity, and the re-creation of a society founded on stable work, or as he prefers to call it ‘vocation’ – a key word in his lexicon"— A Left Turn Worth Considering.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Christopher Lasch Lashes Consumerism

      It is advertising and the logic of consumerism that governs the depiction of reality in the mass media.

      It is the logic of consumerism that undermines the values of loyalty and permanence and promotes a different set of values that is destructive of family life.

      Make it new is the message not just of modern art but of modern consumerism, of which modern art is largely a mirror image.

      Neoclassical economics insists that advertising cannot force consumers to buy anything they don't already want to buy.

      Propaganda in the ordinary sense of the term plays a less important part in a consumer society, where people greet all official pronouncements with suspicion.

      Relentless improvement of the product and upgrading of consumer tastes are the heart of mass merchandising.

      The family wage has been eroded by the same developments that have promoted consumerism as a way of life.

      The model of ownership, in a society organized round mass consumption, is addiction.

      The same historical development that turned the citizen into a client transformed the worker from a producer into a consumer.
    From these insightful pages — Christopher Lasch Quotes.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    America's Religion

    Genevieve Walker reviews a book on the "gospel of you" whose "advice always comes with a little nudge to buy more stuff" — O Sister, What Art Thou: Kathryn Lofton on the Religion of Oprah.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Nukes in Space?

    "If NASA persists in using nuclear power in space, the agency’s future is threatened," writes Karl Grossman — What Could Truly End the Space Program? A Nuclear Disaster Overhead. An excerpt:
      Between November 25 and December 15 NASA plans to launch for use on Mars a rover fueled with 10.6 pounds of plutonium, more plutonium than ever used on a rover.

      The mission has a huge cost: $2.5 billion.

      But if there is an accident before the rover is well on its way to Mars, and plutonium is released on Earth, its cost stands to be yet more gargantuan.

      NASA’s Final Environmental Impact Statement for what it calls its Mars Science Laboratory Mission says that if plutonium is released on Earth, the cost could be as high as $1.5 billion to decontaminate each square mile of “mixed-use urban areas” impacted.

      What‘s the probability of an accident releasing plutonium? The NASA document says “the probability of an accident with a release of plutonium” is 1-in-220 “overall.”
      If you knew your chance of not surviving an airplane flight -- or just a drive in a car -- was 1 in 220, would you take that trip?
    That figure is all the more alarming given the information, recently quoted on these pages, disclosed by Freeman Dyson in his review of two biographies of his mentor — The ‘Dramatic Picture’ of Richard Feynman:
      [W]hen Feynman was mortally ill with cancer, he served on the NASA commission investigating the Challenger disaster of 1986... He went to Washington and found what he had expected at the heart of the tragedy: a bureaucratic hierarchy with two groups of people, the engineers and the managers, who lived in separate worlds and did not communicate with each other. The engineers lived in the world of technical facts; the managers lived in the world of political dogmas.

      He asked members of both groups to tell him their estimates of the risk of disastrous failure in each Space Shuttle mission. The engineers estimated the risk to be of the order of one disaster in a hundred missions. The managers estimated the risk to be of the order of one disaster in a hundred thousand missions. The difference, a factor of a thousand between the two estimates, was never reconciled and never openly discussed. The managers were in charge of the operations and made the decisions to fly or not to fly, based on their own estimates of the risk. But the technical facts that Feynman uncovered proved that the managers were wrong and the engineers were right.
    This also brings to mind Dead Kennedys' front-man Jello Biafra's "spoken word" (remember those?) classic — Why I'm glad the space shuttle blew up... The money quote:
      If the Challenger had made it home, things might now be much worse, if we were even still here at all. Because NASA’s plan was to send up the next space shuttle after the Challenger up with 46 lbs. of plutonium. And if that one had blown up, there’d be enough radiation in the air to cause cancer in as many as five billion people.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    P'yŏngyang and Presbyterians?

    A report that a certain "Lee Sang-myun, president of Cheonji-ilbo, an online religious daily, [had] said the North has been classified as a country to repress religious activities and in the South, the minority Protestant denominations have been repressed by the bigger denominations" — Both Koreas ‘curtail religious activities’.

    The story also mentions one "Park Gwang-seo, co-representative of the Korea Institute for Religious Freedom, [who] cited Protestant students who prayed for the destruction of a Buddhist temple, Protestants’ aggressive or threatening mission activities, and door-to-door visits to spread the word."

    Such a comparison is, of course, utter nonsense. Mr. Park "suggested the first step toward religious harmony be to acknowledge difference." I suggest he "acknowledge [the] difference" between his half of the country and the north. There is a world of difference between "door-to-door visits to spread the word" and midnight knocks on the door.

    One interesting connection is that North Korea's Eternal President of the Republic, Kim Il-sung, "claims he was raised in a Presbyterian family, that his maternal grandfather was a Protestant minister, that his father had gone to a missionary school and was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, and that his parents were very active in the religious community."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Sorry to Burst Your Bubble...

    ... but the chickens of South Korea's baby bust are coming home to roost — Low Birthrate Hits Housing Market. From the article:
      The slump in demand has led to increasing numbers of empty homes, which went up by 10 percent over the last five years, from 728,000 in 2005 to 794,000. And in newly built apartment buildings, the situation is worse. The institute's analysis of the occupation rate of apartment buildings in the Seoul metropolitan area as of February revealed that one in four apartments is empty. In Incheon, half the new apartments that were ready to let last year remain empty.
    The familiar cry for the government to save us is heard, with Nam Hee-yong of the Korea Housing Institute saying, "We urgently need mid- and long-term policies to avoid the same trouble as Japan, which is seeing more and more empty homes and a rapid decline in housing demand." How about making just more babies?

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Giovanni Gabrieli's Salvator Noster a 15 Voci, In 3 Cori, Con Sinfonia, Performed by La Fenice, Directed by J. Tubery

    Bookmark and Share

    Christopher Lasch on the Web


    While posting a video two days ago — Professor Christopher Lasch, The Pursuit of Progress — I mentioned that I would be moving, God willing, to the Village of Pittsford where the scholar called home. I have thus appointed Christopher Lasch (1932-1994) as the guide to my resettlement in America. The thinker has appeared on these pages before — Christopher Lasch on the Left and Conservatives and The Resettling of America.

    The first post quotes a man who said, "Because it equates tradition with prejudice, the left finds itself increasingly unable to converse with ordinary people in their common language," and who could also say, "Conservatives unwittingly side with the social forces that contribute to the destruction of traditional values." More such bits of wisdom can be found here — Christopher Lasch Quotes. The second post links to Front Porch Republic's Russell Arben Fox's appreciation of a man whose "criticisms remain pertinent for making a defense of his great populist/communitarian insight: that local producers and democratic egalitarians needn’t be enemies after all" — Defending Lasch, Left and/or Right.

    A Dialogue with Christopher Lasch begins with an article of his in which he argues, "Not only do conservatives have no understanding of modern capitalism, they have a distorted understanding of the 'traditional values' they claim to defend" — What’s Wrong with the Right? He is answered by one Lillian Rubin, who scoffs that "it becomes hard to tell whether we’re reading Christopher Lasch or Jerry Falwell’s latest sermon" — A Feminist Response to Lasch. The professor responds that her "stale polemics, full of moral outrage and theoretical hot air, inadvertently show why the Left has no future" — Why the Left Has No Future.

    For more Laschian wisdom online, here's a review of a book of his by Scott London, in which the reviewer hails the author as "one of those rare figures in American public life who was respected by people on both the left and the right, among scholars as well as ordinary folks, in intellectual circles as well as among those who have no patience for abstract ideas" — The Revolt of the Elites by Christopher Lasch. A think tank "dedicated to developing a new politics that recognizes the limits of technology and growth" heralds another of his books as "probably the most important response to the modernist attack on the family, which was at its height during the 1970s" — Christopher Lasch - Preservation Institute. The site also links to this "chapter from Christopher Lasch's best-selling book, The Culture of Narcissism, about the decline of education in America" — The New Illiteracy.

    The Preservation Institute laments, however, "There is very little by Christopher Lasch on the Web." Indeed, what is posted above is pretty much it, which is why I will need to add these books to my new shelves in Prof. Lasch's hometown:


    Of the above books, the great Andrew Bacevich said in a review of a biography of Prof. Lasch:"Through a series of books, chief among them Haven in a Heartless World (1977), The Culture of Narcissism (1979), and The True and Only Heaven (1991), he sought, in Miller’s words, 'to convince and persuade Americans of the true nature of their circumstance'" — Family Man: Christopher Lasch and the Populist Imperative.

    "Like some prophet from the Hebrew Bible transported to an America at the very height of its power, Lasch 'moved in the spirit of reckoning, freely casting judgment on all,'" Prof. Bacevich continues. "His countrymen could choose to listen or to turn a deaf ear: that was not his to decide. His calling was simply to speak the truth and offer it for their consideration. This he was determined to do, however harsh or unwelcome others might find the verdicts he handed down."

    Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Giovanni Gabrieli's In Ecclesiis, Performed by La Fenice, Directed by J. Tubery

    Bookmark and Share

    What Is a Patriot?

    "Someone who wants working-class American women and men to be killed in foreign military expeditions so he can feel good about being 'American' (whatever that may mean)," defines Clyde N. Wilson along with many other neo-American terms — Democracy’s Dictionary (With Apologies to Ambrose Bierce).

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Repulicrats

    "The GOP always does an impression of us libertarians when it’s not in power," says the Young Fogey; "I’m not buying it" — Reckless endangerment.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem in D Minor, Performed by the Wiener Philharmoniker and Wiener Singverein, Directed by Herbert von Karajan


    Something stunning to accompany Lew Rockwell's posting of a link to "stunning photos of the funerals of the great Catholic liberal Otto von Habsburg" — His Body Interred in Austria, His Heart in Hungary — and my alma mater's Ralph Raico's "[m]any thanks for posting the beautiful pictures of the life and funeral of the great Otto von Habsburg," and his comments: "So--the final end of Old Austria, to which the world of intellect and culture--to mention just a single name: Mozart--owes so much."

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Professor Christopher Lasch, The Pursuit of Progress










    It looks like I will be resettling in the Village of Pittsford, God willing, home to Christopher Lasch (1932-1994), who "sought to use history as a tool to awaken American society to the pervasiveness with which major institutions, public and private, were eroding the competence and independence of families and communities," and "strove to create a historically informed social criticism that could teach Americans how to deal with rampant consumerism, proletarianization, and what he famously labeled the 'culture of narcissism.'"

    We learn that "Lasch was always a critic of liberalism, and a historian of liberalism's discontents, but over time his political perspective evolved dramatically. In the 1960s, he was a neo-Marxist and acerbic critic of Cold War liberalism. During the 1970s, he began to become a far more iconoclastic figure, fusing cultural conservatism with a Marxian critique of capitalism, and drawing on Freud-influenced critical theory to diagnose the ongoing deterioration that he perceived in American culture and politics."

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Gems From Jim Goad

    The Taki's Magazine author "shun[s] binary thinking and scoff[s] at the idea that the political 'left' and the 'right' are tangible entities, much less precisely definable ideologies riven cleanly in two like Die Mauer used to divide East and West Berlin" — Finding My Personal Political Pigeonhole.

    I have my reservations on several points with the writer who "no longer believe[s] in Santa Claus, Christ’s resurrection, or equality" (two out of three ain't bad, but not when you miss the crucial one), but with these I fully agree:

    "The day when corporations acquire the power to extort a third or more of my shekels and throw me in shackles if I refuse, maybe I’ll entertain the idea that they’re as bad or worse than governments."

    "The government should stay out of everyone’s bedrooms—unless you’re into that sort of kink—but would everyone puh-leeeze reciprocate and quit dragging their brass-frame beds out into the Town Square? You’re stinking up the place. Quit letting it all hang out and start tucking it all back in."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Painter of Light™ Rises in My Opinion

    Yes, "the term is trademarked," and Arts & Letters Daily is right in saying that "Thomas Kinkade’s cloying, dew-kissed paintings are, quite unambiguously, trash," in linking to Jed Perl's review — Bullshit Heaven. Nevertheless, I was unaware that the artist, if I might use that word, was the author of a "much discussed guerilla act at Disneyland, where he urinated on a statue of Winnie the Pooh." That, I like.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Sport, Eugenics, and Population Control

    Steve Sailer on an athlete whose "6'-7" father on the Chinese men's basketball team and 6'-3" mother on the Chinese women's basketball team were repeatedly encouraged to get together by Chinese basketball officials" — Why the Chinese aren't good at basketball — and a couple who "have joined the ranks of the irresponsible" — Guardian: The Beckhams have too many children.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Two From MercatorNet

    Gudrun Kugler takes on on the "[s]ecularists who want to evict religion from the public square" — Who are the real fundamentalists? — and Denyse O'Leary questions what "[w]e've been hearing... from 'new atheists' lately about the negative things religion does to the mind" — Does religion rot your intelligence?

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Peking Locuta Est?

    Latæ sententiæ is in effect — Vatican congregation: Chinese bishops 'presumed' to be excommunicated: "There is a sufficient reason to ascertain that these bishops actually committed a grave act of indiscipline through the illegitimate episcopal ordination, and, thus, are presumed to have incurred the excommunication, unless the contrary is proved"

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    D.D.T. Trucks


    R. Elgin reminds us that the mosquito trucks (모기車) are making their rounds again, much to the delight of children across Korea — Forget That It Is Illegal — It’s Summer Fun. A quick Internet search shows that we Americans used to engage in such summer fun as well, before Rachel Carson came along to spoil the fun — Running Behind the DDT Truck. From the link:
      In all of its years of use and in subsequent studies, it has been found to be safe for humans, it doesn't cause birth defects, and there are no serious side effects. It has no odor. Called the "Atomic Bomb of Pesticides," nothing comes close to its ability to kill the mosquitoes that carry malaria and typhus. But in our infinite wisdom, we banned it in 1972. Studies show that it can be used heavily to kill off the mosquito population, and then use it very sparingly afterwards to keep the pest population down.

      One child dies every 30 seconds in Africa, India, Brazil, Mexico, and other countries because they are not using DDT, which is very inexpensive to purchase. In the year 2000, 300 million people had malaria, two million of them died from it, and one million of those were children. An infected bite can take up to four years to affect your kidney and liver. Environmentalists say that it MAY harm eagles. There is no proof at all of that.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Insooni Sings "Amazing Grace"


    Many thanks to GI Korea for posting a "really good story in the Stars & Stripes about a former USFK servicemember that was reunited with the young girl he mentored in the 1970′s who went on to bigger and better things" — Korean Music Star Insooni Reunites With Former USFK Servicemember. Here in Korea, she's as big as they get. Here's the moving story:
      Despite the decades that have passed since he was a U.S. soldier stationed in South Korea, Ronald Lewis never stopped wondering what had become of the troubled teenage girl he and a few of his Army buddies befriended while they were here.

      The girl wanted to become a nurse, but the odds were stacked against her. The child of a Korean woman and a black U.S. soldier who abandoned the family, the girl was born into a culture that shuns mixed-race people.

      “My prayers have always been that she wouldn’t end up on the street,” Lewis said. “I prayed for her continuously.”

      Then, a few months ago, the Delaware man was contacted by a 2nd Infantry Division representative who was helping the woman track down the guys she credits with helping set her life on the right course. Suspicious, Lewis did a Web search using the name by which she is now known — Insooni — and found that the girl has been a famous R&B singer here for more than 30 years, known as “the Tina Turner of South Korea.”

      She has even performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

      “I said, ‘Oh my god, it is her,’ ” Lewis said, his voice filling with pride. “I couldn’t believe it. We spent a lot of time together back then, and I never heard her sing, or even hum, anything.”

      Insooni and Lewis have since talked by telephone and regularly exchange emails, and they plan to reunite this weekend while the singer is visiting the U.S. to check out colleges with her 17-year-old daughter.

      Insooni said that Lewis and his friends “acted sort of like big brothers and surrogate fathers” to her in the early 1970s.

      “Before I met them, I had repulsion about Americans because my family background and home environment were difficult,” she said. “But, after getting along with them, I came to feel all human beings are the same, and Americans are good.”
    As the video shows, she is also proof that, despite notable exceptions like Janis Joplin, pipes like hers are largely genetic. Also genetic perhaps is the fact that she's "visiting the U.S. to check out colleges with her 17-year-old daughter."

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Taki Takes on the Rich and Powerful

    Taki Theodoracopulos, no stranger to wealth and privilege, reminds us that "the rich and powerful are seldom held accountable" — Inappropriate Touching Among the Untouchables. He first mentions "the recent case of Albert II, the Prince of Monaco, and his new wife, Charlene Wittstock," reminding us,
      Rumors that Charlene was first kidnapped, drugged, and then forced to abide by the agreement she had signed with the Principality of Monaco—or else—went almost entirely unnoticed by the media once the runaway bride had been brought back to the palace and was allegedly sedated heavily. Her father was also reportedly held hostage and threatened unless he played ball and helped palace courtiers convince Charlene to stay put.
    I heard these rumors, but ignored them. Mr. Theodoracopulos' is a voice a trust on such matters, however, as he has "known the Monegasque royal family for more than thirty years." I heard, perhaps from Mr. Theodoracopulos himself, that said royal family is pretty much shunned by other members of the European nobility, because they are descended from an usurper.

    He next brings up Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and, after noting that "the victim has lied about her background" and "is most likely a liar and out for a payday," asks, " Did you by any chance, dear readers, know that merely because a woman is a prostitute, the legal penalty for raping her is the same as if she were a virgin?"

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    I Was Wrong About Korea

    When I heard about this in other countries, I thought this could never happen here — 'Slut Walk' protest held in Seoul. That said, the protests, while misguided, are not without reason:
      The protests began after Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto police officer, said, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts” to remain safe.

      The Korean version of the Slut Walk protest was initiated by a woman who suggested the rally on her Twitter account after the alleged sexual assault by three male medical school students at Korea University on a female colleague during a school trip in May.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Janggyeong Panjeon & Tripitaka Koreana




    Two local stories on "the most comprehensive version of Buddhist scriptures in the world, at Haein Temple in South Gyeongsang," pictured above — Tripitaka Koreana up close and TV series reexamines Tripitaka Koreana.

    "A lifelong dream of monks here at the temple is to enter the Janggyeong Panjeon but most of them cannot realize that dream before they die," said Venerable Seongan, the complex’s director of preservation of the two buildings that house the 81,258 woodblocks. [In Buddhism, you can be "venerable" before you die.] "Except for rare cases such as a special visit by scholars for research, no one can enter here."

    The monk continued, "They may not be the most beautiful buildings of their time, but they are the most practical and scientific," explaining:
      The windows on the north and south sides of the two main halls have different sizes so that the outside air comes into the hall, circulates inside the hall once and goes out the opposite way. Ventilation is the most important for the preservation of wooden blocks....

      You can find no spider web or bird’s nest in the storage hall, which still remains a mystery.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Uganda's Orthodox Church

    Daniel Nichols posts about "a country with no previous connection to the Orthodox world" where "60,000 Orthodox Christians" belong to a "church [that] traces its roots to two Africans who, rebelling against colonial rule, fled to a religion they felt was pure and politically uncompromised" — Orthodoxy in Uganda.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Saturday, July 16, 2011

    Michel-Richard de Lalande's Regina Caeli, Performed by Les Agréments and Choeur de Chambre de Namur, Directed by Guy van Waas

    Bookmark and Share

    Norman Rockwell's The Connoisseur (1962)


    The above piece, perhaps the greatest possible indictment against Abstract Expressionism ever imagined, is referenced in Steve Sailer's post on "the triumph of American art during the early Cold War years over stodgy Moscow-approved socialist realism as fashion" — Abstract Expressionism and the CIA.

    Noting that the "imperial art was depersonalized (an asset in the global twilight struggle for the allegiance of peoples who all looked different), cool, enigmatic," Mr. Sailer says, "Rather than overpower the spectator, it undermined the viewer's self-confidence (as in Norman Rockwell's genial The Connoisseur)."

    Was the great Norman Rockwell, then, unwittingly or not (not that it matters), an old school American anti-imperialist, à la Mark Twain? I'd like to think so, but as Mr. Sailer's first commenter says, "This is just weird." Whatever the case, it's every bit as great a parody as is the Circle Jerks' American Heavy Metal Weekend.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Tao of Non-Aggression

      A master of the art of war has said, 'I do not dare to be the host (to commence the war); I prefer to be the guest (to act on the defensive). I do not dare to advance an inch; I prefer to retire a foot.' This is called marshalling the ranks where there are no ranks; baring the arms (to fight) where there are no arms to bare; grasping the weapon where there is no weapon to grasp; advancing against the enemy where there is no enemy.

      There is no calamity greater than lightly engaging in war. To do that is near losing (the gentleness) which is so precious. Thus it is that when opposing weapons are (actually) crossed, he who deplores (the situation) conquers.
    James Legge's translation of the Tao Teh King, Part II, 69.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Preparing Me For Home

    "There is a phenomenon here in the Northeast," begins Gavin McInnes of Taki's Magizine, "where being conservative—no, wait, being not left—is to turn everyone in the room into Donald Sutherland from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, screaming and pointing at you" — An Alien Pod Person in a Room Full of Leftists.

    "How did we get to this point?" the author asks. "The way I remember things, the left used to be the chin-scratching, idea-weighing side where dissent was encouraged."

    I will need to keep this in mind. I will be moving back to the Northeast, where most of the friends I left behind were of the Left, as was I when I left. Also, I think I will prefer their company, although I may be wrong.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    J.S. Bach's Komm, Jesu Komm, Performed by Mona Julsrud, Sarah Connolly, Mark Padmore, Peter Kooy, Collegium Vocale, Philippe Herreweghe

    Bookmark and Share

    Antichrist or Vicar of Christ?

    There are many, many reasons to oppose this candidate, but her former membership in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) is not one of them — Michele Bachmann's Church Says the Pope Is the Antichrist.

    Full disclosure, this blogger was raised in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. I was never taught that the Pope was the Antichrist, but perhaps I should have been. I mean, anyone claiming to be the Vicar of Christ either is what he says he is or is seriously evil. The only other possibility is that he is seriously deluded.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Tu Weiming and Confucius Respond to Samuel Huntington

    Andrew Cusack posts a fascinating 1999 lecture questioning "Hegel, Marx, and Max Weber['s] shared... ethos that, despite all its shortcomings, the modern West informed by the Enlightenment mentality was the only arena where the true difference for the rest of the world would be made" — Towards a Confucian Modernity.

    Reminding us that "the outstanding Enlightenment thinkers, such as Voltaire, Rousseau, and, of course, Diderot and the encyclopedists, took China as their major reference society and Confucianism as their major reference culture," Professor Tu later says,
      Enlightenment values, such as liberty, rights consciousness, due process of law, instrumental rationality, privacy, and individualism, are all universalizable modern values. But the Confucian example suggests some humanistic values, such as sympathy, distributive justice, duty consciousness, ritual, public spiritedness, and group orientation, are also universalizable modern values.
    "Since Confucianism is not strictly a religion, we often come across spiritual self-definitions and scholarly designations as Confucian Christians, Confucian Buddhists, and even Confucian Muslims," he notes, concluding with some questions: "What kind of role can Confucians play in the dialogue of civilizations? Can Confucians facilitate inter-religious dialogues as the sympathetic third party?" Tolle, lege.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Lady Gaga's Pro-Government Activism

    "Tackling issues like hunger and genocide is safe - attacking US policy is not," reminds John Feffer, suggesting, "Only if cultural icons go against the grain and risk unpopularity do they engage in an inherently noble enterprise" — Foreign policy goes Gaga.

    About the entity names in the title, Mr. Feffer writes, "She has campaigned against the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law on homosexuals in the US military and supported marriage equality." Both issues have the full backing of our government, of course. About "her project to help out the people of Japan after the March earthquake," Mr. Feffer informs,
      On her recent trip to Japan, Lady Gaga went a step further in her activism. She dressed up as a panda and drank Japanese tea on television. This might seem more like performance art or an out-take from a music video rather than a political act. But it was all part of an effort to demonstrate that Japanese food is safe, despite the spike in radioactivity after the meltdown at Fukushima.
    Then, comparing this activism to "Alice Walker's involvement in the Gaza flotilla," Mr. Feffer concludes, "Lady Gaga, like Walker, is risking her life, but inadvertently and in service of a government instead of in defiance of one."

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Empire of Abyssinia and the Republic of Korea


    "I am deeply interested in the remarkable development of South Korea, for which my grandfather fought," said an Ethiopian student to the Korean president on his recent visit to her country, who, learning that she was "getting prepared to get into the graduate school of Seoul National University," promised a "guarantee assistance for tuition and living expenditures" — To pay back Ethiopia, MB offers one student hope.

    "When the Korean War broke out, Emperor Haile Selassie sent thousands of soldiers to fight for South Korea," the article reminds us. The picture shows members of the Kagnew Battalion.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Jacques Mauduit's Requiem à 5, Les Pages, Les Chantres, et Les Symphonistes du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, Olivier Schneebeli


    Something by which to mark the end of the ancien régime.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "A Dumbed-Down, Morally-Bankrupt, Completely Broken Society"

    Thursday's Notes notes, "We let the Republic become the Banana Republic, and let our nation be 'deconstructed' while we slept" — To Everyone...The Madness of a Lost Society. "Will we continue to sleep, or wake up?"

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Managers vs. Engineers

    "Two new books now raise the question of whether Richard Feynman is rising to the status of superstar," says Freeman Dyson of his mentor in this review — The ‘Dramatic Picture’ of Richard Feynman. He has long held the "status of superstar" among the nerds I teach here in Korea.

    Among the many fascinating episodes recounted in the review, this one stands out:
      [W]hen Feynman was mortally ill with cancer, he served on the NASA commission investigating the Challenger disaster of 1986. He undertook this job reluctantly, knowing that it would use up most of the time and strength that he had left. He undertook it because he felt an obligation to find the root causes of the disaster and to speak plainly to the public about his findings. He went to Washington and found what he had expected at the heart of the tragedy: a bureaucratic hierarchy with two groups of people, the engineers and the managers, who lived in separate worlds and did not communicate with each other. The engineers lived in the world of technical facts; the managers lived in the world of political dogmas.

      He asked members of both groups to tell him their estimates of the risk of disastrous failure in each Space Shuttle mission. The engineers estimated the risk to be of the order of one disaster in a hundred missions. The managers estimated the risk to be of the order of one disaster in a hundred thousand missions. The difference, a factor of a thousand between the two estimates, was never reconciled and never openly discussed. The managers were in charge of the operations and made the decisions to fly or not to fly, based on their own estimates of the risk. But the technical facts that Feynman uncovered proved that the managers were wrong and the engineers were right.
    This is reminiscent of one of the shockers I took away from my recent reading of Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago Volume 1: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, that thousands upon thousands of engineers were sent to the camps by the "managers" of the Soviet economy, accused as they were of the crime of "wrecking," which in reality meant being realistic about production quotas and whatnot.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    An Interview With Iris Chang's Mother


    The author of the The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang Before and Beyond the Rape of Nanking- A Memoir, about her daughter, the author of The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, is interviewed by Asia Times Online's Victor Fic — Like daughter, like mother. "Anyone whose child dies, especially from suicide, will never recover," says the mother. "The sorrow overwhelmed me. I was numb." Upon hearing of her daughter's suicide, she recalls:
      I felt as if in the eye of a violent storm. The thunder was deafening. The lightning blinded me. The earth seemed to shake.

      Shau-Jin her father and I collapsed onto the carpet and I found myself falling into an endless black tunnel. I heard my voice echoing, "Iris, Iris, how could you desert Christopher your son, me and your father? How could you do such a thing to me? How can I live my life without you?"
    Asked whether she was "a 'Chinese Tiger Mom' like the strict Amy Chua," she responds, " Definitely not. We let our children follow their interests." Elaborating that theirs was "a democratic family," she contines,
      We had good dinner conversations. Iris wondered about our lives at her age in China. We described our parents' suffering during the civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists and how my parents were almost separated during the 1937 Japanese invasion of Nanking - it stuck in her mind.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Dieterich Buxtehude's Alles, Was Ihr Tut Mit Worten Oder Mit Werken, Performed by Collegium Cartusianum, Directed by Peter Neumann

    Bookmark and Share

    God Bless Richard Dawkins

    Any thinking man would side with him in this controversy reported on by Scott Locklin — Twilight of the Skeptics. "What was Dawkins’s blasphemy—that the world doesn’t revolve around some creepy attention-whoring nerd girl’s mild social discomforts? Apparently it does."

    The author notes that "his rhetorical skills were not up to the task of arguing with fellow atheists" and that a leading coreligionist now "figures Dawkins is kaput unless he repents and begs forgiveness." Mr. Locklin notes, "The fact that Dawkins is being undermined by fellow hater-atheists is delicately ironic." And really funny, too.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    South Korean Ingrates? Or American Dupes?

    Townhallista Dennis Prager is livid that "South Korea has joined with only two other countries in the world in dropping the name of the forthcoming film 'Captain America' and using the subtitle, 'The First Avenger'" — Ingratitude, Thy Name Is South Korea. "For years now, I have intended to write a column about the most glaring case of international ingratitude of which I am aware," the neocon writes. "The 'Captain America' story has finally pushed me over the edge." Ooooooo! Tough guy!

    Mr. Prager asks, "Whenever I confront someone who claims that America's wars abroad were fought for economic gain or to extend its alleged imperialist empire, I ask the person about the Korean War: What imperialist or economic reasons were there to fight in that country?"

    The neocon is absolutely right that there was no "economic gain" from Mr. Truman's War, at least not for the American people. And it's not so much about an "imperialist empire" in the traditional sense of the word but about Military Keynesianism, as this "police action" set the stage for NSC-68 and the six decades of undeclared wars that followed, allowing the National Security State to suck the blood and treasure from the American people.

    The neocon mentions "the two-thirds of South Koreans who, according to a 2002 Gallup-Korea poll, view[ed] the United States unfavorably" (without mentioning any context, of course) and argues that "[t]he South Korean government should conduct a national plebiscite on whether America should withdraw its troops from that country." That sounds like a good idea, but Koreans, who have their own interests, not those of Americans, in mind, would likely vote to keep us here.

    The question is not whether Koreans are sufficiently grateful, but whether stationing our troops here for six decades is good for the American people. I have never once read any argument even attempting to say that it is. That is why I view "those anti-American demonstrators" Mr. Prager also mentions as allies of the American people.

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Government by the Tao

      The government that seems the most unwise,
      Oft goodness to the people best supplies;

      That which is meddling, touching everything,
      Will work but ill, and disappointment bring.
    James Legge's translation of the Tao Teh King, Part II, 58.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The End of an Era, Or the Beginning of a New One?

      History will record the legislative record of Ron Paul as an extraordinary one – perhaps unparalleled. There probably has never been a more consistent believer in limited government in Congress. America deserves a statesman like Ron Paul as her president, a man I am proud to call my father.
    Conservative Heritage Times quotes — Rand Paul on his Father’s Retirement from Congress.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The First Shots Against Us

    Watch this video; we're doomed as a species — `AK 총기사고` 군인들 원숭이에 당해 줄행랑.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Franz Liszt's Ave Maria Sung by the Kosova Pilharmonic Choir, Directed by R. Rudi

    Bookmark and Share

    P.S.V. B.S.

    Kathleen Gilbert reports that "more experts are beginning to question the validity of the 'persistent vegetative state' (PVS) diagnostic label" — Cracks start to show in ‘vegetative state’ diagnosis. "The implications of their work are haunting. It suggests that many of the estimated 250,000 to 300,000 or more people in this country languishing in bedrooms and nursing homes with disorders of consciousness are probably still ‘in there’ - still have some capacity to think and to feel and might, in a limited way, be able to rejoin the world."

    This is nothing new to readers of this blog — An Inside Look at "Persistent Vegetative State" and Science Too Late For Terri Schiavo.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Sobering Indeed

      In 2007, best year of the Bush era, white households had a median net worth of $134,280, compared with $13,450 for black households.

      By 2009, the median net worth for white households had fallen 24 percent to $97,860. For black households, it had plummeted 83 percent to $2,170, a near wipeout.
    Patrick J. Buchanan rightly says that the above "statistics from the Economic Policy Institute were indeed sobering" — Black America vs. Obama?

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Fallout From Fukushima

    Gerald Pollet of the Heart of America Northwest has some disturbing "data from EPA" and the disturbing news that "that EPA's claim of 'near real-time data' is belied by EPA taking a week to post data" — Radiated Rain: Radiation Levels in Northwest Rain Were Up to 130 Times Safe Drinking Water Standards Following Fukushima.

    This could well explain the "35% spike in infant mortality in Northwest cities" reported on by Drs. Janette D. Sherman and Joseph Mangano — Is the Dramatic Increase in Baby Deaths in the US a Result of Fukushima Fallout?

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Fallout From Hiroshima


    Zac Alstin sends along the above video with the "primary source for the quotation" on this blog's sidebar, heard at 4:30, which has Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen saying,
      See how much the world has changed? Now, what made it change? I think maybe we can pinpoint a date: 8:15 in the morning, the sixth of August, 1945... It was the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima in Japan. When we flew in the American plane over this Japanese city and dropped the atomic bomb on it, we blotted out boundaries. There was no longer a boundary between the civilian and the military, ... between the living and the dead. For even the living who escaped the bomb were already half-dead. So we broke down boundaries and limits, and from that time on, the world has said, "We want no one limiting me."
    Mr. Alstin also sends along this article of his — What did Sheen know?

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Back From Sŏul and Inch'ŏn


    The U.S. Embassy, Seoul, Korea, is still surrounded by scores of conscripted Korean riot police. Neo-Americans might be proud of this as a sign of how "indispensible" we are. It had me asking again, "Why can't we just be a normal country?" Also, the staff, especially the Korean staff, is as unfriendly and unhelpful as ever.


    I have seen the future and it is "Humansia" (휴먼시아), pictured above, where my sister-in-law now lives (or in another similar such complex). I was impressed, and not in a wholly negative way.

    The twenty-five story buildings are home to thousands of families. The parking lots are all underground, above which are landscaped terraces and playgrounds. The building were brand-spanking new, and nearby churches were evangelizing all over the place. Not ideal, but livable, especially compared to the treeless urban near-squalor of the surrounding prole neighborhoods, all built probably in the '80s.

    While not Chestertonian, neither were they Huxleyan. No, this was not The Hobbit, but neither was it Blade Runner (1982). If anything, they were Randian, which is all the more surprising given their statist origin, reported on five years ago by Finnish Koreanologist Antti Leppänen — Korea Nat'l Housing Corp. becomes "Humansia".

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Le Tombeau, Performed by Il Seminario Musicale, Directed by Gérard Lesne

    Bookmark and Share

    Understanding Philosophy


    I can't say that I do, but Michael Lawrence reviews "a priceless tool in understanding the history, the meaning, and the possibilities of philosophy," which helped me in that direction — Knowing and Unknowing: Bertrand Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy. Says the reviewer,
      After the empiricists and rationalists, I’ve found, much philosophy can be dense and downright indiscernible for the amateur reader like myself. With these writers Russell does a marvelous job of crystallizing their work into a recognizable language. With him even Hegel is not insurmountable.
    I read Bertrand Russell's tome about fourteen years ago, after having been prepared by Jostein Gaarder's Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy, which I picked up in an airport. For those looking Eastward, I recommend Feng Youlan's A Short History of Chinese Philosophy.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Servant of God Fulton Sheen, a Man for All Seasons


    A conservative blog for peace and Caelum Et Terra both make mention in recent posts of Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, quoted on this blog's sidebar with these remarkably insightful words: "When, I wonder, did we in America ever get into this idea that freedom means having no boundaries and no limits? I think it began on the 6th of August 1945 at 8:15 am when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima... Somehow or other, from that day on in our American life, we say we want no limits and no boundaries."

    The Young Fogey's mentions "the first televangelist" (who "also taught doctrine") in a post — On possibly selling the Crystal Cathedral to the Diocese of Orange — to which Jim C. comments, "Rev. Schuller modeled his preaching style after Apb. Fulton J. Sheen, admired Apb. Sheen enormously, and gave Apb. Sheen the credit for inspiring him in his ministry. A very irenical gesture!" He also says, "I think Apb. Sheen may have appeared on one of Rev. S.'s televised services. I know Mother Teresa did. More ecumenism, and not inappropriate."

    Daniel Nichols notes that while "he pioneered the Catholic superstar thing," "[a]t least he preached Whole Catholicism, and at least he evidently was genuinely devout" — The Left Distributism of Fulton Sheen. He also informs us that he was "a 'biritual' priest, one who could celebrate both the Latin and Byzantine rites" (he is seen thus vested in the photo at the top of this post) and, as the title of the post suggests, called for "cooperative ownsership."

    Labels: , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Heinrich Isaac's Missa Paschale, Sung by The Tallis Scholars, Directed by Peter Phillips

    Bookmark and Share

    The Third Horseman

    The Economic Collapse blog says, "Tonight millions of American families will shovel huge piles of food into their mouths without even realizing that starvation is rapidly spreading in Africa" — Will 2012 Be the Year That We See Mass Starvation In Africa? 12 Signs That the World Is Running Out of Food. "Meanwhile, the speculators and the big Wall Street banks feel no guilt at all when they drive up the price of food in order to make a few extra bucks."

    Said the Vicar of Christ recently, "How can we remain silent before the fact that food has become the object of speculation and is tied to the movements of financial markets which, lacking clear rules and moral principles, seem fixated on the single objective of profit?" — Pope Criticizes Food Price Speculators.

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Default?

  • Pat Buchanan says that "the establishment that is resorting to extortion, saying, in effect, to the House GOP: Give us the new taxes we demand, or Obama will veto the debt ceiling and we will all blame you for the default" — An Establishment in Panic.

  • "A great default is behind us," says Gary North; "The public is unaware of this" — On the Road to Government Default. "If you read this report, you will no longer be unaware of it."

  • "As Gary North has noted, the great 21st century default of the U.S. government has already started," explains Karen Kwiatkowski, "with the raiding of federal pension funds to stay solvent a few months ago" — Metaphors for a Post-Federal America.

  • "They’ve raised the ceiling 93 times since they first imposed a debt ceiling 94 years ago," reminds Bill Bonner, suggesting "they’ll continue borrowing and spending until the nation goes broke" — Imperial Suicide.
  • Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Unreleated?

    From cryptogon.com come these two stories — Scariest Jobs Chart Ever and Why Do The Police Have Tanks? Click on the first link for "several more that will ruin your weekend" and the second for the lament, "How did we allow our law enforcement apparatus to descend into militaristic chaos?"

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Franz Liszt's "La Campanella" Performed by Son Yeol Eum

    Bookmark and Share

    Why Dorothy Day Had No Use for Emma Goldman

      You know, I had an abortion. The doctor was fat, dirty and furtive. He left hastily after it was accomplished, leaving me bleeding. The daughter of the landlords assisted me and never said a word of it. He was Emma Goldman's lover; that's why I have never had any use for Emma.
    So said Servant of God Dorothy Day, in a private conversation reported on by Fr. James Martin, S.J. — Dorothy Day and Abortion: A New Conversation Surfaces. News of the abortion is not new; she never spoke of it publicly because she didn't live long enough into America's "confessional" culture. Just as Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy could only allude indirectly to abortion in Anna Karenina, in Day's day, it was almost universally considered an abomination, and most certainly never a "right."

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Catholic Church and Secession

    Two stories — Pope sends delegation to South Sudan independence celebration and US bishop 'caught up in the excitement' in South Sudan's new capital — that remind one of this history — Pope Pius IX and the Confederacy.

    Had things turned out differently in 1865, instead of "an autographed picture of himself, along with a miniature crown of thorns, woven by the pope's own fingers," the Pope might have sent the "Honorable President of the Confederate States of America" a delegation.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Rev. Robert H. Schuller's Church to Become a Real Cathedral?

    Said Bishop Tod David Brown of the Diocese of Orange in California, "While we continue to develop plans for a cathedral in Santa Ana, it is prudent to evaluate the opportunity to engage in the pending auction of this property and to mitigate the chance that it cease to function as a place of worship, if acquired by others" — Southern California diocese considers buying Crystal Cathedral.

    This seems almost providential. A cathedral is, after all, defined as "[t]he principal church of a bishop's diocese, containing the episcopal throne." Rev. Schuller's presumption might be rectified.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.