Friday, September 30, 2011

Antonio Vivaldi's Nulla in Mundo Pax Sincero and In Furore Justissimae Irae Performed by Ensemble Amarillis and Sandrine Piau

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And Then They Came For Justin Raimondo

"The mighty American Empire has turned its Evil Eye on me," writes the Antiwar.com editor — Am I a Threat to National Security? He has been declared an "agent of a foreign power" for having "written in too much detail about the possibility that agents of a foreign power (Israel) had some degree of foreknowledge of what happened on September 11, 2001."

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Jürgen Habermas Stumbles Across the Obvious

And "credits Biblical religion, Judaism and Christianity, for having driven out magical thinking (here there is an echo of Max Weber’s idea of 'the disenchantment of the world'), and for having laid the foundations of individual autonomy and rights" — What Happens when a Leftist Philosopher Discovers God? He also "gives credit to Christianity for being the purveyor of a universal egalitarianism and for an openness to reason, thus continuing to provide moral substance for democracy."

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

J.S. Bach's Magnificat Performed by Collegium 1704, Directed by Václav Luks

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Life Before Medicare and Medicaid

Tom Woods cites a historian "who is no libertarian or conservative" as demonstrating, "The poor had not fared all that badly prior to Medicaid, thanks to the willingness of doctors and hospitals to dispense charity medicine" — Charity, Health Care, and the Free Market.

"Most of the government’s medical payments on behalf of the poor compensated doctors and hospitals for services once rendered free of charge or at reduced prices," concludes said historian. "Medicare-Medicaid, then, primarily transferred income from middle-class taxpayers to middle-class health-care professionals."

The Law of Unintended Consequences was unsurprisingly at play as well, as "medical price inflation fueled by Medicare itself helped erode much of Medicare’s benefits."

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Deconstructing Postmodernism

Hong Kyung-Jin, with the help of Lin Yu-han, both of whom The Western Confucian would have loved, does an able job of it — Postmodernism and the “New Left”.

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President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Contra Al-Qaeda

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Greensleeves" Performed by Jordi Savall and Rolf Lisveland

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My Favorite Order

Fellow New Yorkers whose publishing arm, Orbis Books, first planted the seeds of Catholicism in me, reported on here— The church's Marines: Maryknollers older, fewer, but still going strong. "We come, perhaps, when we're needed and not wanted, because we're unknown. We leave when we are wanted, but not needed."

Their charism is "seeing and affirming the value and individual worth of all people and all cultures" yet they "still limit their membership to U.S. citizens." Why?
    Because of their focus on building the local church in countries around the world, the Maryknoll priests and brothers decided from the beginning not to take vocations from the countries where they worked. If a young man in one of their mission parishes felt called to the priesthood, they encouraged him to become a diocesan priest.

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The Vicar of Christ Speaks Truth to Powers and Principalities

"On March 5, 2003, Pope John Paul II sent the Italian Cardinal, Pio Laghi, to intervene with President George W. Bush and ask him not to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein, but the US leader rejected the appeal claiming he was 'convinced it was God’s will'" — When Bush put John Paul II's letter on the side table without opening it.

"Cardinal Laghi told Bush that three things would happen if the United States went to war, the source recalled. First, it would cause many deaths and injuries on both sides. Secondly, it would result in civil war. And, thirdly, the United States might know how to get into a war, but it would have great difficulty getting out of one."

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"Today’s Most Exciting New Political Dynamic"

Old Right Nader uses those word to describe the "emergent left-libertarian alliance" reports The American Conservative's Michael Tracey — Ralph Nader’s Grand Alliance. The man who earned my vote in '08 says the two sides,
    could get together on corporate entitlements, subsidies, handouts, giveaways, bailouts. Ron Paul is dead set against all that. So are a lot of libertarian-conservatives. In fact, it’s almost a mark of being a libertarian-conservative—in contrast to being a corporatist-conservative.

    Do you read all these right-wing theoreticians? Almost every one of them warned about excessive corporate concentration. Hayek did, [Frank] Meyer did, even Adam Smith did in his own way.

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The National Security Surveillance State at Work

That it "pumps out some 50,000 intelligence reports every day into the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database (which contains over a million names, including aliases)" might help explain the Saudi student of ours who just recently returned home mid-semester after two frightening midnight knocks on the door by men claiming to be FBI — Documents Reveal that FBI Openly Targets the Innocent.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Charles Ives' "Songs My Mother Taught Me" Sung by Nan Hughes

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Anti-Business Propagandists

"The business of America may be business, but the business of American literature in the past century has been largely to insist that the nation is, in pursuing business, wasting itself on unworthy objects," reminds National Affairs' Algis Valiunas — Business and the Literati. The author continues,
    In the eyes of most novelists and playwrights who deal with the subject, business is not an honorable vocation, but rather an obsessive scramble for lucre and status. Tycoons are plunderers. Salesmen are poor slobs truckling to their bosses, though most of them aspire to be cormorants and highwaymen, too. The mass desire to strike it rich has launched a forced march to nowhere. In short, American literature hates American business for what it has done to the souls of the rich, the poor, and the middling alike.

    Right-thinking people now take it for granted that, in criticizing business, American literature has saved (or at least elevated) the nation's soul. But after a century of slander, that assumption needs revisiting. In so doing, it is worth examining the process through which our literati have framed the way we think about capitalism, and especially those who practice it. How did our culture come to hold the image of the businessman that it now does? Which literary works and authors have had done the most to shape that (mostly negative) image? And in this casting of the entrepreneur as villain in America's morality tale, which culture has been exposed as more corrupt — that of American business, or American letters?

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The Imperial President

"The president’s parents were supporters, not opponents, of American hegemony," reminds Reason's Thaddeus Russell — Empire of the Son. To those who were paying attention, this is nothing new:
    Many of the candidate’s most loyal supporters were veterans of the movements against U.S. interventions in Southeast Asia and Central America, but Obama himself flatly asserted that the United States “has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known” and therefore “must lead the world, by deed and example.” Before audiences who somehow saw him as a peace candidate, he lauded Franklin Roosevelt for building “the most formidable military the world has ever seen” and promised to continue the tradition. As lifelong peaceniks plastered his face on their cars and homes and made their children march in parades for him, the candidate made it clear, in speeches, articles, and the 2008 Democratic National Platform, that if elected he would seek to enlarge the Army and Marine Corps, increase military spending, and escalate the war in Afghanistan.

    Similarly, 10 months after taking office, Obama used the Nobel Peace Prize to declare war on potentially most of the world. In his October 2009 acceptance speech, the president pledged to go “beyond self-defense”—with armed intervention when necessary—anywhere “the inherent rights and dignity of every individual” are denied. Moreover, he ominously asserted that economic development “rarely takes root without security” and that “military leaders in my own country” believe that “our common security hangs in the balance” so long as climate change is not swiftly and forcefully addressed. Seldom has a political leader delivered such a strident and comprehensive call for American hegemony.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

"Beasts of No Nation" Performed by Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Egypt 80

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AmChurch Communion

    Christmas with my family in Upstate New York: It is likely as near to Currier and Ives as one can be these days. At the local Catholic church, I am reminded that Americans are nice. There’s no doubt about it. In fact, you’d better be nice with Americans. Or else they will feel uncomfortable around you. So at the Holy Eucharist, I am amazed as the number of well-dressed middle-aged couples, no doubt all very nice, confidently march to the altar and proceed to take charge of the Eucharist on the al­tar, all standing in a circle, all smiling. I, a priest of God, shrivel, wither, disappear in my chair against the backboard of the sanctuary. Who needs the agony of a priestly vocation, I wonder, when one need but feel good about oneself, walk confidently up an aisle, and “help yourself”?
So wrote Father Raymond T. Gawronski back in '92 — An Exile from America Returns for the Holidays. This is something I cannot get used to at my new local parish, which is why I applaud Bishop Thomas James Olmsted's recent ruling "unifying of the practice of the reception of Holy Communion around the whole world" — Wine dropped from Catholic Mass in Phoenix.

On a personal note, my parents have expressed the desire to become Catholic, and we have been attending mass together. I have to pray each time that some liturgical abuse doesn't scare them away. Yesterday, however, they went to a Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and received communion on their knees at an altar rail. Theology aside, it's hard to compete with that.

Externals are important. The five o'clock "high mass" with its Broadway-like rendition of the Eucharistic prayers was just plain embarrassing. I guess it's high time to go whole hog and assist the Traditional Latin Mass at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Guillaume de Machaut's Messe de Nostre Dame Sung by the Ensemble Gilles Binchois, Directed by Dominique Vellard

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The Greatness of George Orwell

    On very few specific issues do I find myself agreeing with Orwell. On virtually every topic, I find myself on the opposite side. But on the big issues of human life, Orwell is usually spot-on: the centrality of the human person, the inherently corrupt nature of totalitarianism, the need for freedom of thought, the centrality of the quest for truth. Orwell's brilliance -- and his power -- is in seeing that some things are more important than politics. And that politics must be in the service of human values.
So writes Mark in Spokane, commenting on a quote from "Christopher Hitchens' younger and wiser brother" — Peter Hitchens on George Orwell.

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"Now giants were upon the earth in those days..."

The Nephilim spoken about in the Book of Genesis Chapter 6 come to mind reading Steve Sailer's recent post — Denisovans. Mr. Sailer begins,
    For the last couple of decades, there has been a popular theological concept that every living human being was 100% descended from modern humans who came Out of Africa about 50,000 years ago, so therefore there hasn't been enough time for evolution to cause any changes among people, so, therefore, Science Proves the complete genetic equality of all human racial groups.
He is in a sense right to call this concept "theological" because it is an article of faith held by some on the left, but he is wrong to dismiss the idea of Monogenesis, if that is indeed what he is doing, for which there is both a scientific and theological case.

He is also right to ask, "So, what happened to the not-so-modern humans who were around back then, like the Neanderthals?" So also is he right to be fascinated by the "new paper that came out today [which] finds evidence of Denisovan ancestry in various islands off the southeast coast of Asia, such as the Mamanwa negritos of the Philippines and Australian Aborigines."

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"The Greatest Fraud Ever Perpetrated Upon Long-Suffering Mankind"

"The government/financial complex is using the Global Warming / Climate change baloney to embark on a deadly path of land grabs and neo-colonialsm to ensure 'exhalation permits' to transnational corporations, which will then pass the 'breathing penalty' to their customers" — Global Warming Has a Death Count...

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The Young Fogey's Pithy Response to a Distributivist Colleague

    Some things are wrong or impossible, like aiming bombs at civilians, artificial birth control and the ordination of women. Other non-negotiables are the goals of mercy and justice. The means to those ends – the form of government – are not doctrine. You can be a free-marketeer, monarchist, Francoist fascist, democratic socialist or theistic communist. You can be dead wrong. It’s all good.
After that very catholic statement, he pointedly concludes, "When distributists make products millions of people want to buy and that improve millions’ lives, we’ll talk" — Reply to Daniel Nichols’ reply to George Weigel.

To Weigel's eternal discredit, he has shown himself to be dead wrong about "aiming bombs at civilians," and I agree with Mr. Nichols in principle, as any decent person would, "that property should be widely distributed, not held by the few, whether in the name of the State or the Corporation," commenter Jim C. makes a valid point here:
    Property must be widely distributed? This is de-fide Catholic social doctrine? What about the Catholic Middle Ages? Property was NOT widely distributed.

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Black Panther Bobby Seale vs. Gun-Grabber Ronald Reagan

"It was May 2, 1967, and the Black Panthers’ invasion of the California statehouse launched the modern gun-rights movement," reminds Adam Winkler, disapprovingly — The Secret History of Guns.

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Drink Locally, Eat Locally (Within Reason)


Dinner tonight was Zweigle's Hots washed down with a Genesee Beer, my beer of choice once again, as it was in high school. It doesn;t get much more local than that. Also, I was quite happy that at the delightful Asian Food Market, the Nature Soy Chinese tofu and Han Kuk Mi Korean rice we bought, while not exactly local, was at least made and grown in the U.S.A. However, the Foojoy Dim Sum Bo Nay Tea (Pu-erh tea) was, of course, imported, but still a bargain at four bucks for a hundred bags.

Whenever possible, I try to support my community and country by buying locally, but I also try not to be a jerk about it. There are some specialty items from far off that just can't be produced locally.

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Antonio Vivaldi's L'autunno Performed by Europa Galante and Fabio Biondi

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Friday, September 23, 2011

If the Einsteinian Paradigm Can Be Shattered, Why Not the Darwinian?

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Saint Flannery on the Grace of Illness

"Sickness before death is a very appropriate thing and I think those who don’t have it miss one of God’s mercies," she said, quoted by Daniel Nichols, who notes, "This runs contrary to the instincts of most people, who think dying in their sleep with no pain ideal" — The Holiness of Miss O’Connor.

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Is the Pope Responsible for the Deaths of Millions of Africans?

"If the Catholic Church's teachings against condoms are causing millions of Africans to contract AIDS, we should expect to see heavily-Catholic countries with far higher AIDS rates than their non-Catholic counterparts," notes Joe Heschmeyer, who "decided to compare the rates by region and by country" — Catholic impact on AIDS in Africa.

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Pope Ratzinger to Lutheran and Muslim Allies

  • Addressing "a new form of Christianity, which is spreading with overpowering missionary dynamism, sometimes in frightening ways, the mainstream Christian denominations often seem at a loss"— "The burning question of Martin Luther must once more become our question too". "This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability."

  • "Many Muslims attribute great importance to the religious dimension of life" — Pope's Address to Germany's Muslim Representatives - Full Text. "At times this is thought provocative in a society that tends to marginalize religion or at most to assign it a place among the individual’s personal choices."
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    Pope Ratzinger in Die Spiegel

  • "Benedict XVI is the embodiment of resistance to the idiocies of today, when the obsession with ratings and sex are more important than any article of faith," says Mathias Matussek, noting also that "he performs that role with a soft voice and the steadfastness of a deeply religious man" — The Pope's Role in the New Battle for Religion.

  • What "many Vatican observers have noted that it could end up being the most difficult trip of his six-year-old papacy... could ultimately resemble his trip to Britain last October -- a trip which began with heavy criticism of the Catholic Church and widespread protests only to become a wildly successful visit and a boon to Benedict's image," suggests Fiona Ehlers — Pope Benedict's Blunt New World.
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    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Patti Smith and Joe Brooks Perform "You Light Up My Life"


    I read the news today, oh boy — REM calls it a day after more than 30 yrs. Actually, I heard the news, on NPR at 6:00 AM when my clock radio went off, and when I heard Michael Stipe quoted as saying, "A wise man once said -'the skill in attending a party is knowing when it's time to leave," I laughed. They should have quit 20 years ago.

    I was never a fan, although I did listen to a couple of their early albums. They were about as mainstream as my tastes got as a teenager. Bad Brains and Hüsker Dü were more my speed, literally.

    Nevertheless, hearing the news, I went to the Internet to try to find video of the first time I, or just about anyone else, saw the band, on the TV show Kids Are People Too. No luck. Instead, I found the video posted above, which brought back even earlier memories.

    When I moved in to what was to become the house I grew up in, the song (not as sung by Miss Smith, of course) was all the rage. The pastor's sons next door introduced it to me, and I remember singing it in Sunday school. I hadn't though about the song for years, until a few months ago with this news — ‘You Light Up My Life’ songwriter Joseph Brooks found dead in apparent suicide.

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    "... a guide to survival in turbulent times"

      I found your blog by a random search, and it is a happy coincidence. I run my own blog, at ridingthetiger.org, along with some colleagues of mine. We are mainly Catholic and Muslim, but agree on Traditionalism as espoused by both Guenon and Evola. You are by all means invited to visit.
    So commented William van Nostrand on my old blog. Riding the Tiger is far more than a blog. It is "a site dedicated to analysis and critique of the modern world [and] predicated on the fact that the modern world has become totally corrupt and that the institutions and traditions of the ancient world that once allowed a person to fully realize his being have been lost to the forces of liberalism and modernism."

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    Blasphemic Delusions of Grandeur

      Why has Jesus Christ so far not succeeded in inducing the world to follow His teachings in these matters? It is because He taught the idea without devising any practical means of attaining it. That is why I am pursuing a practical scheme to carry out His aims.
    Tom Woods quotes the a small-a antichrist — Woodrow Wilson: I’m Like Jesus 2.0.

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    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    L'Angelus Performs "Ca C'est Bon" and "Lac Bijou"

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    Aleksandr Isayevich


    Joseph Pearce on "one of the most articulate advocates of the Christian alternative to the dead-ends of Big Government socialism and Big Business globalism, a champion of the subsidiarist principles at the heart of the Church's social doctrine" — Solzhenitsyn's Prophetic Voice. An excerpt:
      He predicted the downfall of the Soviet Union as early as the 1970s when most so-called "experts" assumed that the Soviet bloc would be part of the global political picture for many decades to come.

      Even more importantly, Solzhenitsyn prophesied the unsustainability of global consumerism and the impending catastrophe that awaited a culture hell-bent on hedonism at the expense of human community and the natural environment.

      The current chaos in the global economy serves as a timely warning that Solzhenitsyn's prophecies are coming true before our eyes. Solzhenitsyn's socio-political vision, which harmonizes with the social teaching of the Catholic Church, is full of the sort of Christian wisdom that the modern world can scarcely afford to ignore -- or, at least, the sort of wisdom that it ignores at its peril.
    If you have not read Solzhenitsyn's Harvard Address, you should. Mr. Pearce will speak locally in a few weeks, at the 8th Annual Rochester, N.Y. Chesterton Conference.

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    Troy Davis and Lawrence Russell Brewer

    "While the imminent execution of Troy Davis by the State of Georgia has gained worldwide attention and generated a firestorm of protest, he isn’t the only American facing capital 'justice' tonight," informs Vox Nova's Mark Gordon, reminding us of the man "convicted along with two of his white supremacist pals of lynching James Byrd Jr., a black man, in 1998" — States of Death. Writes Mr. Gordon,
      From his Georgia death row cell, Troy Davis has managed to convince half the world, if not the Georgia Clemency Board, that he was wrongly convicted, and he may well have been. But no one thinks Lawrence Brewer was wrongly convicted. By the lethal logic of capital punishment, Lawrence Russell Brewer deserves every ounce of the ‘Jesus Juice’ he’ll receive sometime this evening. Such luminaries as Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, and Kim Kardashian have joined in calling for Troy Davis to be spared, but considering the nature of Lawrence Brewer’s crime, and in light of the scant national coverage his impending execution has received, one might think that no one is standing up for him.

      But in fact someone is pleading for clemency on Brewer’s behalf.
    Click on the link above to find out who.

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    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    "Attaboy" Performed by Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile


    The New Beginning again posts some great American music.

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    The Economics of Love

    John D. Mueller's Redeeming Economics: Rediscovering the Missing Element sure looks like a good read, at least according to Father John Flynn, L.C.'s review — Can Neo-Scholastics Transform Economy?

    Fr. Flynn informs us that Mr. Mueller's book argues not only that "that Adam Smith made a fundamental mistake in his economic theory, rendering it incomplete and unable to properly account for human behavior," but also that "Thomas Aquinas brought about a revolution in economics by synthesizing the ideas of Aristotle and St. Augustine"

    A summary of the book's message:
      According to Mueller the fundamental conceptual problem behind existing economic theory is that it cannot explain love and how this affects utility. By contrast the new approach will be premised on the idea that all human action is motivated by love.

      Mueller demonstrated the nature of love and how it impacts by quoting from G. K. Chesterton, who said: "A man is fortunate in marrying the woman he loves, but he is even more fortunate in loving the woman he marries." Only human persons, Mueller commented, can love in both of these ways at the same time.

      It is not egoism or altruism that explains our actions, Mueller affirmed. With love there is both love of self and along with it love for other persons. The love for another person is the source of the value of any goods used by any person.

      In our choices we select the person or persons who will be the purpose of our actions. All economic action therefore involves a gift either to oneself or to some other person. This means that in economic theory, love is not an emotion nor a pure weighing of utility, but rather a weighing of persons. So what we allocate to another person is better understood as a gift rather than an exchange.
    Could it be that this book's thesis successfully avoids the "shouldism" Distributivism while at the same time filling the lacuna at the heart of Austro-libertarianism? I guess we'll have to read it to find out.

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    Down With the Prevent All Cigarettes Trafficking Act!


    While it was the right decision, it is unfortunate that it was a "federal appeals court panel [that] on Tuesday left in place an order exempting Seneca Indian Nation mail-order businesses from complying with the taxing laws of states where they sell cigarettes" — Seneca injunction against cigarette taxes upheld.

    It's times like these that I wished I still smoked. I stumbled across an empty pack of Seneca Cigarettes in the corn maze at Wickham Farms this past weekend, and was reminded that Fall is a great season for smoking.

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    Julie Borowski Speaks

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    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Johannes Ockeghem's Deo Gratias Sung by the The Hilliard Ensemble

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    "The Buffet Plan"

    Thomas Fleming writes, "I'd be ticked pink if all the Warren Buffets of America could be taxed out of their dirty business" — Getting Real Again. "What has Mr. Buffet ever manufactured, what has he ever done worth doing?" the arch-paleoconservative asks. "He is a money-manipulator like George Soros, the sort of person our ancestors despised. Take all their money, I say, and leave real businessmen–who make, distribute, and sell things–alone."

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    Obamageddon

    Nick Turse concludes, "With Americans balking at defending arc-of-instability nations, with clear indications that military interventions don’t promote stability, and with a budget crisis of epic proportions at home, it remains to be seen what pretexts the Obama administration will rely on to continue a failed policy — one that seems certain to make the world more volatile and put American citizens at greater risk" — Obama’s Arc of Instability.

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    Early Music

    Three local ensembles to keep an eye on — Musica Spei, Pegasus Early Music, and Publick Musick — and The New Beginning's posting of a global interview to enjoy — Interview with Jordi Savall, UNESCO Artist for Peace.

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    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    Antoine Brumel's Missa Et Ecce Terrae Motus a 12 Voci Sung by the Huelgas Ensemble, Directed by Paul Van Nevel

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    The Sage of Batavia

    "Returning becomes an act of rebellion,” quotes Molly Browne in her review an early book, which I have just ordered (used), by Bill Kauffman, who notes that "just as no one sings louder than the whore in church, no regional patriotism can match that of the returning prodigal" — Dispatches From the Muckdog Gazette: A Mostly Affectionate Account of a Small Town's Fight to Survive.

    Batavia, New York, about halfway between where I grew up and where I have settled, is Mr. Kauffman's home, which was also home to "the first 'third party' in the United States," the Anti-Masonic Party.

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    "The Old Right and the New Left are Morally and Politically Coordinate"

  • Bill Kauffman, noting that "the Lions Club has yet to lie with Code Pink, but he found an old and worthy path, long neglected, and walked down it a spell," eulogizes the author of that quote — Carl Oglesby, RIP.

  • Remembering him as "one of the courageous pioneers prophetically calling for a left/right coalition challenging the corporate welfare-warfare state," Charles A. Burris informs us, "It is out of this fusion of New Left and Old Right that the modern libertarian movement was born" — Carl Oglesby, RIP.
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    Amish Resistance


    Above, "the booking photos of eight Amish men ordered jailed by a Kentucky judge after they refused to pay fines for not putting orange safety triangles on their horse-drawn buggies because their religion bans bright colors — The Swartzentruber Eight. Abby Zimet reports that "the men had to arrange for neighbors to milk their cows and harvest their tobacco, but said they would continue to 'stand up for what we believe.'"

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    The Jimi Hendrix Experience on The Dick Cavett Show


    Something groovy to accompany Jeffrey St. Clair's article on the guitar hero who "left us at the crossroads, on the verge of a revolution we can imagine but never hear" — Hendrix at the Crossroads.

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    Heath Nuts Explained

      As the world takes on a more and mre menacing appearance, life becomes a never-ending search for health and well-being through exercise, dieting, drugs, spiritual regimens of various kinds, psychic self-help, and psychiatry. For those who have withdrawn interest from the outside world except insofar as it remains a source of gratification and frustration, the state of their own health becomes an all-absorbing concern.
    So wrote Christopher Lasch, in Haven in a Heartless World.

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    Philosophia Perennis, Prisca Theologia

    The New Begining peers into a world-view as fascinating as it is ultimately frightening — An alternative traditional conservatism for a post-Christian world?

    Mentioned in a link is Nicolás Gómez Dávila, whom Martin Mosebach said understood "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."

    Likewise, 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."

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    Meteorological Mysticism

    "I myself am part of the weather and part of the climate and part of the place … It is certainly part of my life of prayer" — Thomas Merton talking about the weather.

    I remember a "praise and worship" meeting from my last years among Protestants, which, to be fair, was quite alien to the Lutheran tradition in which I was raised. Asked to contribute to a group prayer at the end, and not willing to share anything personal with a bunch of strangers, I thanked God for the rains we were experiencing, as they were surely nourishing the crops that were to feed all of us. They couple that followed me shot back with a prayer demanding that the rains cease because they were interfering with their travel plans.

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    Just a Pope

    "Catholicism," reminds Vaticanologist John L. Allen, Jr., "is a remarkably decentralised system with regard to everything other than doctrine, so the correlation between Roman instructions and application on the ground is rarely exact" — The Vatican policy myth.

    As recently as five years ago, I fell for this myth, actually getting my hopes up when I read this news item — Pope demands end to crappy church music. Turns out the Vicar of Christ has less say in such things than your local parish liturgist.

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    Fetal Science Catching Up to the Faith

    With "a new and fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight in­to the re­mark­a­ble pro­cess of fe­tal de­vel­opment" — Facial expressions reported to develop before birth. However, it may be used to justify killing of the less-than-perfect, as it "could help po­ten­tially iden­ti­fy health prob­lems in fe­tus­es, since their be­hav­ior pat­terns are linked to brain de­vel­opment."

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    The Nation on Christopher Lasch

    Norman Birnbaum's appreciation of a man who "publicly refused to attend the twenty-fifth reunion of his class, declaring Harvard to be deficient in the pursuit of the common good" — Gratitude and Forbearance: On Christopher Lasch.

    He was a man who "sought to shape the New Left into the redemptive movement he and many of the rest of us were seeking," writes Mr. Birnbaum, noting, "Decentralization, local autonomy, a distrust of doctrines of efficiency and technocratic calculation were crucial issues on the New Left." However, "the New Left succumbed to sectarianism and self-immolation and Lasch’s disappointment with it grew."

    Later, as he "described the path from the Enlightenment to modernity, he argued that secularization was not historically inevitable or self-evidently true, and found reason to attribute moral value to religion." Mr. Birnbaum observes, "Religion in his view taught gratitude for the gifts of life, forbearance of its disappointments." The author notes that "notwithstanding his lack of religious belief, [he] traded intellectually with theologians,"continuing,
      He decided that they were using concepts like being, suffering and redemption to describe the permanent structures of human existence that he had approached empirically. He was drawn to the Protestant existentialists, whose hero was the anti-Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, rather than to the Catholic visionaries, with their exalted notions of community. Perhaps that was an oblique tribute to his familial origins, and to the American past.

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    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Quirino Gasparini's Stabat Mater, Les Pages & Les Chantres du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, Olivier Schneebeli


    The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is celebrated today, and discussed here by Mark Miravalle — Why Celebrate A Sorrowful Mother? "The more suffering our contemporary society experiences, the more wisdom and consolation we obtain by bringing to the attention of the Church and the world the truth of Mary Co-redemptrix, who life says in a concrete motherly witness that all human suffering can be redemptive."

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    Bleeding Heart Libertarianism

    Non-libertarian Mark in Spokane reminds us that the debate over healthcare could well begin with the observation "that excessive government controls impair access to the insurance market by driving up costs, thus making health insurance less accessible" — A humane libertarian approach to the health insurance market.

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    Foreign Covert Operations in America

    Philip Giraldi brings to light "a number of hidden relationships with U.S. government officials and the media, as well as advocacy groups," which were "illegal or incompatible with the role of foreign diplomats in the United States" — Tapping the Israeli Embassy.

    "The focus was on Iran, with Israeli officials intent on preparing the American public for war against the mullahs," Mr. Giraldi notes. "They were spreading disinformation on Iran’s nuclear program, promoting international sanctions, and trying to obtain Washington’s support for an ultimatum on the nuclear program as a final diplomatic gesture that would be turned down by Iran, leading to war with the U.S. playing the lead role."

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    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    J.S. Bach's Der Streit Zwischen Phoebus und Pan, Performed by Les Agrémens, Directed by Leonardo García Alarcón

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    The 9/11 Debate

    "On the one hand there are credentialed experts who demonstrate problems in the official account, and on the other hand there are non-experts who denounce the experts as conspiracy kooks," says former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts, reminding us that "9/11 was a conspiracy whether a person believes that it was an inside job or that a handful of Arabs outwitted the entire intelligence apparatus of the Western world and the operational response of NORAD and the US Air Force" — The Critics of 9/11 Truth: Do They Have A Case?

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    President Clinton's Legacy

    "How currency manipulation destroyed American manufacturing," explained by Eamonn Fingleton — Dollars and Dragons. The author concludes, "The problem for the United States is that at this stage no amount of currency engineering will bring back its industrial base."

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    "... for Better, for Worse, for Richer, for Poorer, in Sickness and in Health, Until Death Do Us Part"

    Not if your wife has Alzheimer's, according to one prominent "defender of family values," dismantled by Vox Nova's Mark Gordon — Robertson’s Attack on the Family.

    Noting that "in the Evangelical milieu of my youth, this kind of make-it-up-as-you-go-along thinking was prevalent, and extended to everything from practical ethics to the most profoundly important theological questions," lacking as it does "any effective check by authoritative tradition, the reasoned arguments of theologians, or the binding statements of predecessors."

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    Catholic America

    Archbishop José Horacio Gómez is the subject of Sandro Magister's article reminding us that "well before the Anglo-Protestant pilgrim fathers arrived on the east coast, a previous evangelization, Catholic and Hispanic, had made inroads into what is now part of the United States from the south and from the west, as early as the 16th century, leaving extensive traces in the place names themselves," and what it all means — The United States Rediscovers Its Mother Tongue: Latin.

    "When we forget our country’s roots in the Hispanic-Catholic mission to the new world, we end up with distorted ideas about our national identity," says His Excellency. "We end up with an idea that Americans are descended from only white Europeans and that our culture is based only on the individualism, work ethic and rule of law that we inherited from our Anglo-Protestant forebears."

    One need not "forget our country’s roots in the Hispanic-Catholic mission to the new world" (or at least the Western part of it, which I'm not even sure I'm all that happy to recognize, being partial to the original thirteen colonies), to reject His Excellency's thesis as a gross oversimplification. My new home of Pittsford, New York, despite its being at the opposite end of the country and having only seven Hispanics (0.5% of the population), is 65.8% Catholic, almost identical to that of His Excellency's archdiocese, Los Angeles, California.

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    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy Perform "Television, The Drug Of The Nation"

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    Nobody, Like Steve Sailer

    "A simple rule of thumb is that if you don't have cable or a nice TV in contemporary America, you are a nobody," he concludes — Anybody who doesn't have cable TV is a loser. We have no TV at all. Anything worth watching quite quickly finds its way onto You Tube.

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    Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and War Criminal

    News of a welcome "death knell for the view that advocates of Obama’s impeachment are no more than right wing, racist Birthers," which "makes clear that the antiwar community regards the President as a criminal – whether that President is Bush or Obama" — Vets For Peace Votes to Impeach Obama for War Crimes.

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    Stasi vs. Ratzi

    News that "[t]he secret service of the former East Germany had numerous unofficial agents assigned to follow Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI" — Communists Spied on Pope Benedict.

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    The Dictatorship of Relativism Attacks

    Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Dominique François Joseph Mamberti reminds us that the weltanschauung which "identifies freedom with relativism or militant agnosticism, and which casts doubt on the possibility of ever knowing the truth, could be an underlying factor in the increased occurrence of those hate incidents and crimes which will be the object of our debate today" — Is Relativism Leading to Hate Crimes?

    "Religious freedom cannot be restricted to the simple freedom of worship, although the latter is obviously an important part of it," His Eminence explained. "With due respect to the rights of all, religious freedom includes, among others, the right to preach, educate, convert, contribute to the political discourse and participate fully in public activities."

    The prelate continued, "Relativism and secularism deny two fundamental aspects of the religious phenomenon, and hence of the right to religious freedom, that call for respect: the transcendental and the social dimensions of religion in which the human person seeks to be related, according to the dictates of his conscience, to the reality, so to say, above and around him."

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    Monday, September 12, 2011

    "Freight Train" Performed by Elizabeth Cotton


    One of my favorite songs these days, in homage to the train that passes over the trestle pictured in the new masthead above, especially the one at four-in-the-morning that never fails to remind me of the one that always awoke me at two-in-the-morning as a kid.

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    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings Performed by the BBC Orchestra, Directed by Leonard Slatkin


    Originally broadcast "on September 15, 2001 in honor of those who lost their lives a few days prior."

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    The Jack Rabbit


    Today, we took a trip back into local history, with our visit to Seabreeze, and a ride on its ninety-one-year-old Jack Rabbit. "At its opening in 1920, it was the fastest roller coaster in the world," and is today "the fourth oldest operating roller coaster in the world." I don't know about you, but I place more trust in the craftsmanship of that era than in the technocratic "precision" of ours.

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    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Claudio Monteverdi's Vespro per la Salute, Akadêmia, Ensemble Vocal Regional de Champagne-Ardenne, La Fenice, Jean Tubéry, Françoise Lasserre

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    Why We Should Call Ourselves Christians: The Religious Roots of Free Societies

    A book of that title by former President of the Italian Sentate Marcello Pera, "frequently referred to as an atheist in Anglophone media," reviewed here — Europe's Apostasy; Mother Knows Best. Reviewer Elizabeth Lev writes,
      The book begins with some working translations from one side of the Atlantic to the other. Many American readers will be grateful for his clear definition of liberals and liberalism in European terms versus U.S. terms. It turns out they have practically opposite meanings in Europe and America.

      The European idea of liberalism seeks freedom from government interference -- which many Americans would term conservatism. In a continent where government control has ranged from the padre padrone (father and master) to totalitarian regimes, there is much to fear in allowing the government excessive control.

      Pera points out however, that the freedom claimed by European liberals as a right derives from the conviction of an inherent dignity in the human person. What are the grounds for such an idea? It turns out that the European belief in human dignity is rooted in faith in the incarnation of the Son of God and the resulting value of the human being made in God's image and likeness. The Judeo-Christian history of Europe is part of its DNA, even when unacknowledged.

      Pera also offers a helpful thumbnail sketch of the history of liberal thought, starting with Plato's long-sighted observation of how easily liberty becomes license.

      A Christian current runs through all European civilizations, fertilizing their soil, and feeding their recognition of human rights. Damming off that current, argues Pera, will cause the civilization to collapse.

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    Gallop v. Cheney

    "The suit asserted that the story about a hijacked plane hitting the Pentagon 'is false,' that the defendants were 'complicit' in the attacks because they wanted to create conditions that would allow them to reassert 'U.S. military power abroad, particularly in Iraq, the Persian Gulf, and other oil-producing areas'" — After 9/11, woman who was at Pentagon remains skeptical.

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    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Claudio Monteverdi's "Vespers of 1610" Performed by Northwestern University's Baroque Music Ensemble and the Alice Millar Chapel Choir

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    "Ceremonies of Hubris"

    Tom Engelhardt reminds us that "the saddest thing is that the victims of those suicidal monstrosities have been misused here ever since under the guise of pious remembrance" — Let’s Cancel 9/11.

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    Free Filettino!

    May her 598 citizens be free — Small Italian Town Bids to Become Sovereign, Prints Its Own Currency. Their former mayor, now prince, "hopes to emulate the experience of San Marino, which is surrounded by Italy but is totally independent and boasts that it’s the oldest surviving state and constitutional republic in the world."

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    Our First Parents

    Bonald offers some links explaining "how to square monogenism with the observed genetic diversity of the human race" — Adam, Eve, and all those extra alleles.

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    New on the Bumper

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    Monday, September 5, 2011

    J.S. Bach's Wachet Auf, Ruft uns die Stimme, Lisa Larsson, Lothar Odinius, Klaus Mertens, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Ton Koopman


    It moved at least one listener to say, " I felt – not through reasoning, but in the depths of my heart – that what I had just heard had spoken truth to me, truth about the supreme composer, and it moved me to give thanks to God" — Ratzinger's Favorite Bach Cantata.

    "The Cantatas were real and proper liturgical music," writes Sandro Magister. "They filled the space between the readings of the Mass and the homily. With Luther, they were a simple hymn. But in the 1600's, the developed into the form that was later used by Bach: with organ and orchestra, choir and soloists, chorales, recitatives, duets."

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    The Art of Not Being Governed

    Another look at the controversial book of that title about that "anarchistic region in Asia," which "encompasses parts of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Burma, as well as four provinces of China," whose "100 million residents are minority peoples" "who ended up in the hills... either escaping the state or driven out by it" — The Battle Over Zomia.

    A summary of the author's thesis about what he calls "the largest remaining region of the world whose peoples have not yet been fully incorporated into nation-states" by The Chronicle of Higher Education's Ruth Hammond's review:
      Over the past two millennia, "runaway" communities have put the "friction of terrain" between themselves and the people who remained in the lowlands, he writes. The highland groups adopted a swidden agriculture system (sometimes known, pejoratively, as "slash and burn"), shifting fields from place to place, staggering harvests, and relying on root crops to hide their yields from any visiting tax collectors. They formed egalitarian societies so as not to have leaders who might sell them out to the state. And they turned their backs on literacy to avoid creating records that central governments could use to carry out onerous policies like taxation, conscription, and forced labor.
    Coming to mind is the LVVth Chapter of the Tao Te Ching:
      In a little state with a small population, I would so order it,
      that, though there were individuals with the abilities of ten or a
      hundred men, there should be no employment of them; I would make the
      people, while looking on death as a grievous thing, yet not remove
      elsewhere (to avoid it).

      Though they had boats and carriages, they should have no occasion
      to ride in them; though they had buff coats and sharp weapons, they
      should have no occasion to don or use them.

      I would make the people return to the use of knotted cords (instead
      of the written characters).

      They should think their (coarse) food sweet; their (plain) clothes
      beautiful; their (poor) dwellings places of rest; and their common
      (simple) ways sources of enjoyment.

      There should be a neighbouring state within sight, and the voices
      of the fowls and dogs should be heard all the way from it to us, but I
      would make the people to old age, even to death, not have any
      intercourse with it.

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    King of the Jews


    "Rembrandt's studio was in a section of Amsterdam with a fairly large Jewish population, and it is believed the same young Jewish man was the model for all the portraits, which look remarkably like the olive-skinned and dark-haired men you would see strolling the Galilee shore today" — Exhibit features Rembrandt paintings that changed how world saw Christ.

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    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    The Sanctus from Uģis Prauliņš' Missa Rigensis Performed by the Riga Dom Cathedral Boys Choir, Directed by Mārtiņš Klišāns


    The liner notes in Baltic Exchange inform us that the composer's "intention was to compose a work in the spirit of the great Renaissance Masses, 'without overwhelming force or volume,'" and that the excerpt above "begins with an awed hush and concludes with exultant 'swung' Hosannas and a final chord that is deliciously unexpected."

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    Musica Sacra Across Time and Space



    At the great Borders liquidation sale, I landed upon Stile Antico's recording XVIth Century composer John Sheppard's "Catholic liturgical responds and hymns alongside simple English-texted anthems" alongside the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge's interpretation of XXIst Century Baltic composers of religious works including Uģis Prauliņš and Vytautas Miškinis. Fantastic both!

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    Margaret Mead Dismissed

      Margaret Mead's analysis of the American family belongs to that category of social criticism which attacks arrangements already on the wane, disguising as independent, somewhat cantankerous and unpopular judgments what in many ways amounts to an apology for the emerging order. Such criticism boldly defends views that have become acceptable to everyone except the most hardened reactionaries. Mead's attack on jealousy and passion gave support to one of the strongest currents in modern society. Her plea for sexual realism—for what has recently been referred to as "cool sex"—represented not so much a demand for change as the description of a change in attitudes that had already come into being. As for her indictment of Momism and of the excessive influence of parents, the collapse of parental influence has rendered such "criticism" innocuous—indeed, has created a considerable demand for it in a country where defense of an emerging status quo usually takes the form of urgent calls for sweeping reform.
    Christopher Lasch, from Haven in a Heartless World.

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    Friday, September 2, 2011

    G. B. Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, Anna Netrebko, Marianna Piazzolato, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Antonio Pappano

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    Left and Right on the Events of September 11, 2001

  • CounterPunch's Alexander Cockburn suggests "the Trade Towers f[e]ll because they were badly built as a consequence of corruption, incompetence, regulatory evasions by the Port Authority, and because they were struck by huge planes loaded with jet fuel" — The 9/11 Conspiracists: Vindicated After All These Years?

  • LewRockwell.com's Gary North argues that "the elephant in the living room" "was dropped down the memory hole" — World Trade Center Building 7 and Conspiracy Theories — and notes, among other things, the "extended debates over what happened to the non-New York City planes" — My Proposed 9-11 Research Project. From the former article:
      "If the critic then goes on to point out that there were no plane debris at the alleged crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania -- the parts were scattered for miles, indicating that the plane exploded in mid-air -- he is dismissed as a nut case. Why? Because such a scenario raises an obvious question: Did the military shoot it down? This in turn questions the "Let's roll" scenario of heroes on board Flight 93 who stormed the cabin.

      Millions of believers in the government's "Let's roll" version of the crash look at the small empty hole and do not see what is missing: debris. They see an empty hole and conclude that a plane crashed there. In their case, not seeing is believing.
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    More Buchananite Revisionism

    "Few historians now accept that Hitler had any plan or blueprint for world conquest," says a historian whose book is reviewed by the author of Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, who in turn notes that "this raises perhaps the great question of the 20th century" — Looking Back at “The Good War”.

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    Thursday, September 1, 2011

    D. Bartolucci's O Sacrum Convivium, Tantum Ergo, Veni Creator Spiritus, Christus Est, & Ubi Caritas et Amor, Sung by Coro Interuniversitario










    A performance by and of the composer/conductor/cardinal above was the occasion for these comments reminding us of "an open doorway to the infinite, toward a beauty and truth that go beyond everyday reality" — Beautiful art is an open doorway to God, pope says at audience.

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    Mat Kearney Performs "Rochester"


    "In American songwriting, when you can pop yourself into a city, that story just works," says the singer-songwriter, quoted in this local story — 'Rochester' tells story of songwriter's dad. "I was definitely channeling Springsteen, and I think he was doing his best Pete Seeger when he was writing a lot of his songs."

    Says Mr. Kearney, "I think we went there a couple of times when I was a kid, before my grandparents passed away. And my music has taken me through there a few times." He continues, "It stirs up the past a little bit. I remember there being, like, 10 feet of snow. I was, like, 4, and that was the most snow I had ever seen in my life."

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    Drink Locally...

    Matt Brewing Company's Saranac beers and Bully Hill Vineyards' wines have become this blogger's drinks of choice, I write, enjoying the latter's Maréchal Foch, a bargoon at under six bucks a bottle.

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    The Bezant

      In Marco Polo's great book of travels, he talks about a coin called the bezant circulating in Kublai Khan's Mongol Chinese empire. The emperor, like the vast majority of politicians, found the lure of paper money irresistible. In his case, however, it was money printed on pieces of mulberry tree bark. The same disastrous effects, seen everywhere else in history, followed. Prices increased, and the gold bezant took on increasing importance for the people as the government debauched the irredeemable fiat currency. Abuse of paper money helped lead, notes Antony Sutton, to the expulsion of the Mongol dynasty from China. Government demands that the people accept printed mulberry bark as equivalent to metallic money had no effect.

      The bezant, however, was minted not by the Chinese, but by the Byzantine Empire. For ten centuries Byzantine coins were accepted all over the world, and Byzantium dominated trade for thousands of miles in every direction from Constantinople. Even the royal accounts of medieval England, says Dr. Sutton, were kept in bezants. The Byzantine Empire only declined when it debased the bezant, adding more cheap alloys and removing gold.
    The above is an excerpt from Congressman Ron Paul's three-decade-old book Gold, Peace, and Prosperity, quoted in this LewRockwell.com article — Depreciation Is Nothing New.

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    Sleep of the Unjust

    A conservative blog for peace reports on something that "won’t happen even if he deserves it" — Cheney fears that ‘somebody will Pinochet’ him. Quoted is Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff when he was Secretary of State:
      He’s developed an angst and almost a protective cover, and now he fears being tried as a war criminal so he uses such terminology as ‘exploding heads all over Washington’ because that’s the way someone who’s decided he’s not going to be prosecuted acts: boldly, let’s get out in front of everybody, let’s act like we are not concerned and so forth when in fact they are covering up their own fear that somebody will Pinochet him.

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