Wednesday, August 31, 2011
As American as the Fortune Cookie
- n the case of chopsticks, it was a double-dose of irony that made Americus, Georgia, a center of wooden utensil production for China. The huge, fast-growing powerhouse, which seems to export the bulk of Americans' everyday consumer products, produces most of the world's chopsticks, about 63 billion pairs annually. It's a simple product that serves a huge market -- a third of the world's population uses the sticks to pluck morsels from their dishes. When China's several hundred manufacturers started running short of wood, though -- remember, that country is building furiously, and it's not heavily forested to begin with -- an opportunity arose for a US company to turn the international-trade tables. Enter Jae Lee, the Korean-born American who in November 2010 founded Georgia Chopsticks to take advantage of China's shortfall and rural Georgia's abundance of wood.
Before long, Americus (fitting name, isn't it?) was processing a few million pairs of chopsticks daily, slapping Made in the USA labels on them, and exporting China's favorite utensil to Chinese. Lee is ramping up production as fast as he can order machinery, and intends to churn out 10 million a day by year's end. At full capacity, the company plans to have around 150 hires. Not bad for a town with a 12% unemployment rate, in a country supposedly burdened by sky-high labor costs.
The Right-Wing of the War Party
Consequences, Not Effects
Would Edmund Burke Have Peddled Islamophobia?
- Edmund Burke was never more eloquent than when denouncing the Penal Laws that circumscribed the liberties of Ireland’s Catholics. That system, he wrote in 1792, was “as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement, in them, of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.” This was Burke’s opinion at a time when Catholics were synonymous with subversion—didn’t they owe highest allegiance to the pope? To fearful Englishmen, “papists” were “the apex of all evil” above “all Pagans, all Mussulmen.”
Burke demanded civil liberty—“a liberal and honourable condition”—for them anyway. He was not oblivious to minority dangers, nor indifferent to public orthodoxy. But who can imagine him alongside such Islam-baiters as Herman Cain or Pamela Geller, shouting about Sharia or boasting of plans to exclude an unpopular minority from public office?
A great imposture has taken place. Whatever else the likes of Cain or Geller may be, if Burke is a conservative, they are not.
Pat Buchanan on Inflation
- Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.... Lenin was certainly right.... There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.
"The Patron Saint of Smart Asses"
Monday, August 29, 2011
J.S. Bach's Toccata in G Major Performed by Ton Koopman
George Orwell's "A Hanging"
- ’til that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man. When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle, I saw the mystery, the unspeakable wrongness of cutting a life short while it is in full tide. He and we were a party of men walking together, seeing, hearing, feeling, understanding the same world and in two minutes, with a sudden snap, one of us would gone—one mind less, one world less.
Labels: Capital Punishment
"Don't Be So Quick to Ditch Those Hymnals"
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Carolina Chocolate Drops Perform "Trouble on Your Mind" and "Cornbread and Butterbeans"
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Antoine Brumel's Missa a 12 Voci "Et Ecce Terrae Motus" Sung by the Huelgas Ensemble, Directed by Paul Van Nevel
Finding a Parish Home
So, this Sunday, you'll find me at St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Catholic Church, not for any inclination towards the East, but merely because it coincides with St. Josaphat's Ukrainian Festival. Next week, you'll probably find me at the St. Stanislaus Kostka Church for the Traditional Latin Mass, which is more my speed.
Linh Dinh (and Wilhelm Röpke) on the Evil of Inflation
- Inflation is your dollars deflating. It’s your money going down, down, down, depreciating as the Federal Reserve injects more bucks into our banking system. And since the biggest banks own the Federal Reserve, the Fed is the banking system. Each time these banks give cash to themselves to be lent to you at interest, your dollars become a bit more worthless.
That succinct definition brings to mind this blogger's favorite economist, Wilhelm Röpke, who, the Ludwig von Mises Institute's Shawn Ritenour reminds us, identified "inflation as a primary source of social decay" — Biography of Wilhelm Röpke (1899-1966): Humane Economist. An essay by the man himself — "Repressed Inflation": The Ailment of the Modern Economy.
Labels: The Dismal Science
Friday, August 19, 2011
Stephen Foster's "Hard Times Come Again No More" Performed by Mark O'Connor, James Taylor, Yo-Yo Ma, and Edgar Meyer
Father Bourgeois Is So Bourgeois
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
"Buffalo Gals" Performed by Bruce Springsteen
Visiting my hometown today for the first time this millennium was quite an experience. My mother was with me, and she had been gone almost as long as I. My wife asked us, "Has much changed?" Our answer was, "Nothing." Unlike cities in Eastasia, which are constantly rejuvenating, prole cities in the Rust Belt only grow older.
Thank You, Readers
The Western Confucian's modest income from Newstex Content Syndication has allowed me to purchase the above books, second hand, by the late Christopher Lasch, in whose Village of Pittsford I now happily find myself living. They will certainly be of invaluable help in my reentry and resettlement to a country from which I have been absent for a third of my life.
The Young Fogey on a Country the Western Confucian Never Visited
Pat Buchanan Salutes His Honor Michael Nutter
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
"I Am Weary - Let Me Rest" Performed by the Cox Family
"Is country music's Mama, in her purity and prayer, in fact a reflection of the Virgin Mary?" asked Sam Torode — Jesus and Mama. Tolle, lege, as we anticipate the Feast of the Assumption (Marymass).
Mr. Torode's "intercessor par excellence in country music" is appealed to at the hour of death in the above song, almost as Catholics pray, "Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostræ."
"Georgia Buck" Performed by the Carolina Chocolate Drops
"The Weight" Performed by Gillian Welch & Old Crow Medicine Show
"Aberdeen Mississippi Blues" and "Poor Boy" Performed by Bukka White
"In Christ There Is No East Or West" Performed by John Fahey
"Next Go 'Round" Performed by Old Crow Medicine Show
Some American music with which to begin this blogger's "next go 'round," where we hope to continue where we left off, this time at home rather than abroad. The topics covered here will be familiar to readers of the old blog; however, I hope the general trend moving from less political to more cultural themes will continue. To protect the innocent, we will remain anonymous.