Saturday, December 31, 2011

W.A. Mozart's Sancta Maria, Mater Dei Performed by Wiener Sängerknaben, Chorus Viennensis, Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, Bertrand de Billy

Bookmark and Share

Dundee Proms Chorus Sings "Auld Lang Syne"


Claire Prentice reports on what has become "a global anthem of remembrance and fraternity" — ‘Auld Lang Syne’: New Year’s song has a convoluted history.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Band's "The Weight," Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Ray LaMontagne, Levon Helm, Nick Lowe, Richard Thompson, Larry Campbell & Allen Toussaint

Bookmark and Share

Ron Paul vs. Barack Obama

  • Writing for Chronicles Magazine, Alexander Cockburn says "that President Obama ha[s] signed into law a bill that puts the United States not immeasurably far from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in contempt of constitutional protections for its citizens or constitutional restraints upon criminal behavior sanctioned by the state" — Loom of the Jackboot: Obama Gives Military Extreme Powers.

  • That "[t]he president’s widely expanded view of his own authority to detain Americans indefinitely even on American soil is for the first time in this legislation codified in law... should chill all of us to our cores," quotes John Birch Society's news outlet — Ron Paul Calls National Defense Authorization Act "Slip Into Tyranny".

  • "Paul should garner the support of leftists, liberals, and progressives," says CounterPuncher Mike Whitney, because he "is the only antiwar candidate who has a (microscopic) chance of winning in 2012" and "also the only candidate who will make an effort to restore the Bill of Rights and reverse Congress’s decision to allow the president to 'indefinitely' imprison American citizens without due process" — Ron Paul and the Killing Machine.
  • Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Thursday, December 29, 2011

    Olivier Messiaen Improvises on Puer Natus Est

    Bookmark and Share

    A Jeffersonian Graffito

      You Can't Spell Patriot Without Riot
    I finally made out the above spray-painted words driving through Rochester's Can of Worms today, and thought instantly of then-Ambassador to France Thomas Jefferson's famous reaction to Shays' Rebellion:
      A little rebellion now and then is a good thing. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government. God forbid that we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Great State of Iowa

    Bookmark and Share

    The Kinks Perform "Apeman" and "Village Green Preservation Society"




    A contrast between left radicalism and right conservatism, or the lament that "everybody's multiplying till they're walking round like flies" on the one hand, and the celebration of "the little shops, china cups and virginity" on the other.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    Arcangelo Corelli's "Christmas Concerto" Performed by the Freiburger Barockorchester

    Bookmark and Share

    "Better Than Obama"

    "Hard Left" CounterPuncher David Lindorff looks at a man who "according to some mainstream polls... has become the front-running candidate" but is "being attacked for... being a racist, being 'anti-Israel' and being an isolationist" — Why the Establishment is Terrified of Ron Paul.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Why We Like Ike

      What we can say is that Americans are signing up for President Eisenhower’s philosophy in the aftermath of the Korean War. He insisted the nation deserved both “solvency and security” in national defense. Like Eisenhower, Americans seem to understand the nation’s vital strategic interests are only secure when the United States’ scientific-industrial base is productive and our society prospers.
    So writes Col. (ret) Douglas Macgregor — Why America Can’t Afford Its Military.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    J.S. Bach's Christmas Cantatas


    Catholic Sandro Magister on the music that "put the heart of that day's Gospel into music, and turned it into meditation and prayer, with recitatives, concerts, solo arias, polyphonic chorales" — Ecumene in Music. Bach the Lutheran on the Bishops' TV.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Johann Sebastian Bach's Weihnachtsoratorium Performed by Kantorei Speyer-Germersheim, Directed by Robert Sattelberger

    Bookmark and Share

    "Three Songs About Christmas and Distance"

    From Bill Kauffman to the "hundreds of thousands of our countrymen and women... far from their homes and families, fighting the endless wars and otherwise serving the anti-American Empire" — Tonight I Feel So Far Away From Home…

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Remembering Hitch

  • "When I first learned that Hitchens was diagnosed with an excruciating and terminal cancer, it caused me to doubt my atheism," writes ConterPuncher Norman Finkelstein of a man who "made a career of pissing on other people’s mostly innocuous beliefs" — Hitchens vs. Higher Power?

  • "He pretended to be a brave iconoclast but was careful never to offend the very rich and powerful—except those out of office, as in the case of Henry Kissinger or the saintly Paul Johnson," says the eponymous editor of Taki's Magazine, reminding us that "he kissed the rich and powerful’s asses, switched sides so he could kiss them better, and took on God thinking he was as easy as the pope to slander and libel" — The Folly of Disbelief.
  • Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Pinkwashing Imperialism

    "The announcement that the US government will henceforth push the achievement of 'gay rights' internationally, as a key element of its foreign policy, gives new meaning to the phrase 'blowback' – and cut out the snickering!" begins Justin Raimondo, with a reminder that "the best policy for the US internationally is to mind its own damned business" — Gay Rights and American Foreign Policy.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    How Medievals Read Scripture

    Harvard Magazine's Adam Kirsch explains "that our whole way of thinking about the Bible, Vulgate or otherwise, is essentially foreign to the Middle Ages," in an absolutely fascinating article that touches on many themes — Mysteries and Masterpieces.
      "The medieval reader," writes Daniel Anlezark, of the University of Sydney, "was most likely to encounter the Bible as a collection of texts used in the liturgy; the idea of the Bible as a single book was unknown."
    Those of us who pray what is called a Breviary, the Divine Office, or the Liturgy of the Hours, still read - or rather pray - scripture this way.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    Christina Georgina Rossetti and Gustav Holst's "In The Bleak Midwinter" Sung by the Choir of Kings College, Cambridge



    In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
    Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
    Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
    In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

    Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
    Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
    In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
    The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

    Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
    Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
    Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
    The ox and ass and camel which adore.

    Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
    Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
    But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
    Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

    What can I give Him, poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
    If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
    Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "Brain Dead" Ain't Dead

    Sam Schmid's near-death experience should give us all pause — Readied To Donate Organs, 21-Year-Old Emerges From Coma. The "Arizona college student believed to be brain dead and poised to be an organ donor, miraculously recovered just hours before doctors were considering taking him off life support."

    Some time ago I blogged a report noting that "[t]he Vatican City state does not use certification of brain death... because this would tend to equate the human person with brain function" and that it was "[f]orty years ago [that] a committee of the Harvard Medical School published a report recommending the adoption of brain death as the criterion for declaring a person dead," which in effect "meant the cessation of heart and lung function were no longer the only criteria for declaring someone dead" — Hearts and Lungs, Not Brains.

    "It is interesting that traditionally, both East and West, breath has been synonymous with spirit, as evidenced by the importance of breathing in Indic religions or the Greek word πνεύμα," I wrote at the time. "And the heart has traditionally been seen as the seat of emotion and even conciousness, as evidenced by the ideogram 心 which can refer to both the organ and to the concept of mind."

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Roots of the American State Militarism

    "The problem with militarism in the US is not the presence or absence of a military draft, but rather the hold that militarism and its trappings have on this society," rightly explains CounterPuncher Howard Lisnoff — Wars Without End. "Whether it’s for the purpose of nation building or the 'protection' of big business interests (including military contractors) abroad," the author reminds us, "the military is the tool of choice for this nation."

    The author shortsightedly suggests that we "have to go back to the administration of Ronald Reagan, The Great Communicator (actually, the Great Nincompoop), to find the seeds of this contemporary expression of endless war and militarism," arguing that "Reagan made war acceptable to masses of those in the US through his conduct of the policy of low-intensity warfare."

    As immoral as "policy of low-intensity warfare" was, "the Great Nincompoop" was wise enough to spare the letting of American blood and treasure, and there was a real enemy afoot with global designs. Also, whatever else you might say about Ronald Wilson Reagan, at least he had the sense to bring the boys home after the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing.

    Rather, "to find the seeds of this contemporary expression of endless war and militarism" one need go back at least to Harry S. Truman and his National Security Act of 1947, about which Gore Vidal wrote in 1997 in Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated :
      Fifty years ago, Harry Truman replaced the old republic with a national-security state whose sole purpose is to wage perpetual wars, hot, cold, and tepid. Exact date of replacement? February 27, 1947. Place: The White House Cabinet Room. Cast: Truman, Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson, a handful of congressional leaders. Republican senator Arthur Vandenberg told Truman that he could have his militarized economy only IF he first "scared the hell out of the American people" that the Russians were coming. Truman obliged. The perpetual war began. Representative government of, by, and for the people is now a faded memory. Only corporate America enjoys representation by the Congress and presidents that it pays for in an arrangement where no one is entirely accountable because those who have bought the government also own the media. Now, with the revolt of the Praetorian Guard at the Pentagon, we are entering a new and dangerous phase. Although we regularly stigmatize other societies as rogue states, we ourselves have become the largest rogue state of all. We honor no treaties. We spurn international courts. We strike unilaterally wherever we choose. We give orders to the United Nations but do not pay our dues...we bomb, invade, subvert other states. Although We the People of the United States are the sole source of legitimate authority in this land, we are no longer represented in Congress Assembled. Our Congress has been hijacked by corporate America and its enforcer, the imperial military machine..."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Disfigured for Life by a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

    "I sure feel my freedoms are safer thanks to the drone bombing of this little girl," writes The LRC Blog's David Kramer — Here's a Little Girl 'Thankful' to the Chickenhawk Republicans and O-bomb-a. In a better world she'd be the first witness called to Barack Hussein Obama's trial for war crimes.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Omnivorous Ecologists

    Mike Archer explains why "British environmental advocate George Monbiot, for example, publically converted from vegan to omnivore" — Ordering the vegetarian meal? There’s more animal blood on your hands.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    A Tragedy Down the Road...

    ... reported across the Pond in the British tabloids — Mother sends husband on errand... then 'shoots her father, 10-year-old daughter and herself in shotgun horror'. Prayers for the dead, and the grieving husband/father/son-in-law.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Antonio Lucio Vivaldi's "Winter" Performed by Midori Seiler and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Directed by Clemens Maria Nuszbaumer


    Something for tomorrow's Winter Solstice.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "Women Have Dignity" and "Children Are Special"

    Just two "powerful, if unspoken, messages... which are implicitly conveyed when we wish friends a "'Merry Christmas.'" listed by Michael Cook — 7 reasons why “Merry Christmas” will always beat “Season’s Greetings”.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "You Should Never Have Been Born"

    Denise J. Hunnell, MD, looks at the growing phenomenon of "wrongful life" and "wrongful birth" lawsuits against doctors and fertility clinics — When the Child 'Ordered' Is Not the Child Received.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Positivism, Technocracy, Utilitarianism, Relativism, Secularization

    "In its long philosophical and theological tradition, the Catholic Church has come up with very valid reflections on... human nature and dignity, the common good we all seek, our mortality and the meaning of suffering and death," but the five forces above "are serious challenges to these responses today," writes former family physician Fr. Joseph Tham — 5 Wars Raging Behind the Bioethics Debates.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Saint Kateri

    Having just visited her shrine, where among many delights there was a statue donated by an Hispanic Protestant congregation praying for her canonization, I share this feeling — 'Exuberant jubilation' greets news Blessed Kateri to be canonized. Here's the story of the miracle "clearing the way for her canonization to become the first American-Indian saint in the history of the Catholic church" — Vatican calls Whatcom boy's survival a miracle.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    Philip Lawson's Veni, Veni Emmanuel, Sung by the King's Singers


    Also sung at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass this past Sunday at Saint Michael's of Rochester, and at home up until this week while praying the Liturgy of the Hours.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    George Bush's Anti-Christian Crusade, Mission Half-Accomplished

    "As the United States finishes pulling its final troops out of Iraq, analysts say that the tragic results of the war, predicted by Pope John Paul II, are being sharply felt by Christians in the country," as "the Christian population in the country is currently less than half of what it was in 2003" — As Iraq war winds down, Christian community finds itself ‘devastated’.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Christopher Hitchens' Finest Hour

    "The Purest Neocon," as The American Conservative's Tom Piatak called him six years ago, is dead, and now "this lover of Trotsky and hater of God, this despiser of religion and tradition and devotee of 'permanent revolution,'" finds himself the subject of hagiographies even by Catholics, with Vox Nova's Kelly J Wilson hailing him — A Hero Dead.

    If there was a moment in which Hitch displayed, in his paleocon theist brother Peter's words, "courage which overcomes real fear, while actually experiencing it," it was three years ago, when, despite his sinister support of George Bush's crusade against Iraq, he "submitt[ed] to a brutal waterboarding session in an effort to understand the human cost of America’s use of harsh tactics at Guantánamo and elsewhere," concluding that "if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture" — Believe Me, It’s Torture.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "Nature and the Shaping of the American Nation"

    Front Porch Republic's D.W. Sabin reviews a book so subtitled — The Founding Gardeners. An excerpt:
      The book follows the garden-centered lives of primarily Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison but also touches upon such early American scientific innovators as the Plantsman family Bartram from outside Philadelphia along with that other classic polymath, Benjamin Franklin. We see the different personalities of the Framers–an august Washington, the diffident and cantankerous Adams, an omnivorous yet evasive Jefferson and the retiring Madison yet they all converge simpatico while standing in the rich earth of their gardens and farms. All of their correspondence was liberally filled with shared agricultural insight, requests for new seeds and the arts of manure management. Would that our current leaders might manage their manure.

      The America of the Framers was an America firmly grounded within both the productivity and the beauty of our natural world. A couple of tidbits of note from the book are the facts that Washington, in the depths of the war, sent extensive directions by dispatch to his farm manager every Sunday and that one of the more important compromises of the early government came about principally as a result of a visit to Bartram’s nursery when the Philadelphia Convention was deadlocked. Seeing the grandeur of the plants from across the colonies, side by side was an effective reminder to the early legislators that we have more in common than we might like to think and that our differences, when composed harmoniously create a remarkable tableau of formidable distinction.

      The most important produce for me however, was the news that Madison was our first Conservationist. Fifty years before the acclaim of Thoreau or Emerson, James Madison delivered one of the most groundbreaking speeches in American farming and conservation history. In May of 1818, engaged in farming pursuits like the rest of his Cincinnatus former Presidents, Madison delivered an address to the Agricultural society of Albemarle. In it, Madison covered here-to-for generally unknown notions of ecology, plant physiology, nutrient recycling, soil erosion control, soil chemistry and in a word, Conservation. The speech was enthusiastically received at the time and pamphlets detailing it were published both here and in Britain as well as France. This co-author of the Federalist Papers knew that American Liberty was deeply indebted to the long-term health of the land we live upon.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Father Ruđer Josip Bošković


    Remembering the Croatian Jesuit whose "love for science was subjugated to his love for Christ" — 16th Century Priest Hailed as Model in Faith-Science Friendship. From the report:
      Jesuit Father Anto Tustonjic, provincial superior in Croatia, said that the ever-present skepticism and relativism in a large part of the media portray the central truths of the Catholic faith as no longer being relevant. Everything is now said to be relative and reduced to what is of use to me, mere opportunism.

      "We also wish to propose this model (Father Bošković) of a man of science to young people, because these two things, science and faith, are not opposed,” he said.

      "Bošković said that whoever considers all that is created as only the result of chance cannot make a bigger mistake,” Father Tustonjic added.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Michael Prætorius' Es Ist Ein Ros' Entsprungen Sung by the Mainzer Domchor, Directed by Mathias Breitschaft


    Sung at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass yesterday at Saint Michael's of Rochester, with support from students from the renowned Eastman School of Music, and also at home this week while praying the Liturgy of the Hours.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Three Saintly Women

    Bookmark and Share

    "I Wish There Was a Hell For the Bitch To Go To"

    The lauded author of that quote who also called its target "a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud" will be the recipient of prayers the Sisters of Charity — Mother Teresa's order will pray for Hitchens' soul. The article also notes that "Hitchens was called by the Vatican to argue against her beatification, later saying he was chosen to 'represent the devil pro bono.'"

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    CBCK on the DPRK

    "We hope that the Lord gives light and strength to the North Korean brothers so that there is a return (to) a policy focused on dialogue, peace, reconciliation," said His Excellency Bishop Peter Kang U-il, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea in this statement — Catholic leaders hope Kim Jong Il’s death opens way to reunification.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Pentagon Mourns Loss of Dependable Bogeyman


    WARSHINGTON -- The Military-Industrial Complex is today discreetly mourning the loss of North Korean "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il, whose fiery rhetoric, biannual threats of nuclear holocausts, and general Asiatic scariness helped the Pentagon maintain a large US troop presence in South Korea, one of the world's wealthiest countries, at great American taxpayer expense.

    Great hope is being placed on son Kim Jong-un to carry on his father's legacy, despite his having a girl's name. As of yet, there have been no calls for the US to reexamine its six-decade-old military commitment in the region, except from isolationist traitors. The mainstream media is dutifully regurgitating phrases like "instability" and "nuclear arsenal" juxtaposed with images of goose-stepping female soldiers, whose purpose it is to make any thoughts of withdrawal unimaginable.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    J.S. Bach's Herz und Mund und Tat and Leben Performed by the Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Concentus Musicus Wien, and Nikolaus Harnoncourt

    Bookmark and Share

    Alex Jones's End Game


    "For the New World Order, a world government is just the beginning," the description reads. "Once in place they can engage their plan to exterminate 80% of the world's population, while enabling the 'elites' to live forever with the aid of advanced technology..." (Transhumanism is "international intellectual and cultural movement that affirms the possibility and desirability of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to eliminate aging and to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.") More:
      Jones chronicles the history of the global elite's bloody rise to power and reveals how they have funded dictators and financed the bloodiest wars—creating order out of chaos to pave the way for the first true world empire. * Watch as Jones and his team track the elusive Bilderberg Group to Ottawa and Istanbul to document their secret summits, allowing you to witness global kingpins setting the world's agenda and instigating World War III. * Learn about the formation of the North America transportation control grid, which will end U.S. sovereignty forever. * Discover how the practitioners of the pseudo-science eugenics have taken control of governments worldwide as a means to carry out depopulation. * View the progress of the coming collapse of the United States and the formation of the North American Union.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    J.S. Bach's Clavier-Übung III Performed by Jean Gillou


    "Sacred texts exist to be reprinted, repackaged, translated again and again," says CounterPuncher David Yearsley of "the Bachian bible of organ music" — This is Johann – Get me Rewrite. The author mostly reflects on "his first published volume of organ music, which was to appear as the third installment of his Clavier-Übung—Keyboard Practice—series," noting that "Bach’s ambitions for his first public book of organ works grew even while the project was in production at the engravers," and expounding:
      The collection as it was initially conceived was stridently Lutheran: it began with austere, antique settings of the German-texted versions of the Kyrie and Gloria of the Reformer’s German Mass, and then proceeded to monumental settings of Lutheranism’s founding chorales underpinning the Catechism: the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, Baptism and Holy Communion. Thrown in for good measure would be a six-part treatment with double pedal of Luther’s austere setting of Psalm 130. Almost all of these melodies are archaic in profile, their modal character hearkening back not only to Luther’s 16th century, but to the Catholic past. Bach demonstrated not only his brilliance at subjecting these hymn tunes to renaissance-style contrapuntal manipulation, but also to fitting them into the most up-to-date musical styles—clothing the Lutheran body not only in the academic robes of evangelical doctrine but in the fine fabrics of the French court or even Venetian carnival. The modal by turns revered and made modish. Yet, as Bach’s followers were at pains to argue, this concession to fashion was itself rendered timeless by the great man’s recourse to strict counterpoint, as when Bach treats the chorale in canon against itself in long notes while the other contrapuntal voices in feet and hands comment with graceful gestures.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Cullmann, Pannenberg, Zizioulas

    "The first two are Protestant, the third Orthodox," notes Sandro Magister, but "they are among the closest to the vision of Benedict XVI," according to "an authoritative theologian, himself a non-Catholic" — Theologians of the 1900's. The Three on the Winners' Platform.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Gilded Age or Gelded Age?

    CounterPuncher David Rosen reminds us that while "the notion of race purification is associated with Nazi Germany..., the theory of race improvement was originally put forth in 1893 by the noted British scientist Francis Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin" — Eugenics in America. He writes:
      Eugenics is an ideology of the Gilded Age and its aftermath. This was a period when the American elite championed a belief in Social Darwinism, a self-serving misreading of Darwin’s biological “survival of the fittest” hypothesis onto social relations, hierarchy. They believed that biology was destiny and that the white race sat atop the thrown of human evolution, civilization.

      Not surprisingly, many of the Gilded Age elite also believed that those least “developed” were doomed by heredity to be not merely biological inferior but socially unfit. Eugenics was espoused as the science of breeding (Galton wanted it to be a religion), of race improvement for the betterment of civilization.
    The author "notes the strong support among notable progressives like Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Margaret Sanger," continuing:
      Sanger had opened America’s first birth control clinic for Brooklyn immigrants in October 1916. With backing from the Carnegie, Rockefeller and Harriman fortunes, eugenics was legitimized and used to justify the draconian Immigration Restriction Acts of 1921 and 1924. Their efforts culminated in the 1927 Supreme Court decision approving forced sterilization.
    The case in question was Buck v. Bell, and the lone dissent was the heroic Catholic Pierce Butler.Mr. Rosen goes on to suggest that "America [has] succumb[ed] to a second Gilded Age," mentioning not only the "racist and anti-immigrant groups [that] raise the specter of the end of 'white America'" (calls for cultural heterogeneity are not necessarily sinister, as any thinking person with experience outside his own country should know), but also, and far more seriously, "the increased use of pre-natal testing and genetic engineering... leading to growing incidents of fetal abortions."

    He rightly warns that "the policing of sex 'predators' may involve the discovery of a new predator gene that both expands the category of those classified as predators and increases the number of those suffering indeterminate prison sentences. And who knows, perhaps other, more old-fashioned, Social Darwinian efforts will be proposed by Republican presidential candidates to control sexual excess; why not the forceful sterilization of teen girls who get pregnant?" As far-fetched as that sounds, he is right in concluding, "Moral rectitude knows no limit."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Steve Sailer on Christopher Hitchens' Support for the Iraq War

    "For an 'iconoclast,' he seems awfully popular with everybody who is anybody," says Steve Sailer, who asks to "be forgiven for offering a more critical assessment of the critic and pundit" — Christopher Hitchens, RIP:
      Hitchens getting the Iraq War catastrophically wrong evidently had minimal impact on his celebrity. Of course, it's fair to ask: has anybody's career suffered from getting Iraq wrong? Has anybody's career prospered from getting Iraq right, other than maybe Obama for giving a single speech against it? On the other hand, as a long-time Trotskyite critic of American imperialism, Hitchens' accomplishment in getting Iraq wrong was a singularly epic own-goal.

      It's almost as ridiculous as if Noam Chomsky had suddenly decided in the early 2000s that the single American foreign policy effort he would support in his lifetime would be stupidest one of all. Of course, Chomsky didn't get Iraq wrong, and he is deeply resented in the Washington Post-owned media for finally being clearly right. Hitchens did get Iraq wrong, and is a saint to the mainstream media.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Peter Hitchens' Loss

    "How odd it is to hear of your own brother’s death on an early morning radio bulletin," begins the younger, wiser brother — In Memoriam, my courageous brother Christopher, 1949-2011. An excerpt:
      People sometimes tell me that I have been ‘courageous’ to say something moderately controversial in a public place. Not a bit of it. This is not courage. Courage is deliberately taking a known risk, sometimes physical, sometimes to your livelihood, because you think it is too important not to.

      My brother possessed this virtue to the very end, and if I often disagreed with the purposes for which he used it, I never doubted the quality or ceased to admire it. I’ve mentioned here before C.S.Lewis’s statement that courage is the supreme virtue, making all the others possible. It should be praised and celebrated, and is the thing I‘d most wish to remember.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," Thy Phan & Milbert Tumaliuan


    Looks like three generations of my family might be having one, with the IRS recognizing my personhood as a repatriated expat, and us now being able to "close" and begin the "counter-cultural experiment in communal and intentional living" I described in yesterday's last post.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Three-cornered Hats Off to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan!

    The American Conservative's Gary L. Gregg exposes "a stealthy and disciplined state-by-state campaign" to overturn "the most maligned and least appreciated aspect of America’s constitutional order" — Unpopular Vote. "The modern Electoral College may not be exactly what the Founders intended," writes Mr Gregg, "but it fits the spirit of their decentralized federal system, which treats states as more than just administrative arms of a national majority."

    The author explains how this "simplification of the system would radicalize our politics, undermine the rule of law, lengthen the political process, render small states irrelevant, and enthrone urban areas as undisputed kingmakers. Most importantly, there is no guarantee, or even likelihood, that it would result in what should be the key goal of any electoral reform—selecting better people for office."

    To bolster his defense of the American order, Mr. Gregg, invokes one of this state's legendary politicos, a Democrat, interning for whom Bill Kauffman called an "anarchist-making experience:"
      Opponents of the Electoral College came closest to prevailing in Congress during the 1970s. In that debate, New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan passionately recounted how he had once sat in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations and stared at a board containing the names of the 143 nations then part of that assembly. He wondered how many of them had existed before 1914 and how many had not had their governments changed by force since then. Only seven, he discovered. Among the nations of the world, what could account for America’s remarkable political stability? The answer, Moynihan said, was the genius of the American Constitution—and at the heart of that document’s success he found the lowly Electoral College. He called the proposal to abolish the college “the most radical transformation in our political system that has ever been considered.” He added that it was “so radical and so ominous” as to require from the Senate “the most solemn, prolonged, and prayerful consideration, and in particular a consideration that will reach back to our beginnings, to learn how we built and how it came about that we built better than we knew.”

      The Electoral College is “the basic institution that has given structure to American politics,” Moynihan said, and expresses the core American principle “that power is never installed, save when it is consented to by more than one majority.” This idea is seen everywhere in our system: federalism, the bicameralism of Congress, and the majority vote on the Supreme Court exercising judicial review. The establishment of a simple national plebiscite at the center of the constitutional order would undermine the delicate system of concurrent majorities, he ominously warned, and would leave us vulnerable to “the ever-present threat of an overwhelming issue, an over-powering person, and the end of liberty.”
    The Electoral College System needs your active defense, fellow citizens! Benign neglect must not be the fate of this venerable bulwark of our liberties.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    From Mount Ararat to the World Wide Web

    Here's an entertaining and edifying site where you can (1) "learn about the DNA trail to Noah, not Adam, and to Eve and how that happened," (2) read "thoroughly documented with exact quotes from Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary from 20th century apparitions approved by the Roman Catholic Church for over one billion believers, and others who choose to believe," not to mention "30 articles for nourishing the souls of mankind," and (3) be reminded that now is "a time for prayer, confession of sins, penance and repentance" — Noah's Ark Found. The site's main draw:
      The Ark piece is located just 350 feet from the summit of Mt. Ararat, a 17,000-foot mountain, volcanic with no trees on it, with 17-square miles of glacial ice near the top.

      Nobody has ever said there are two Arks on this mountain—just one. For thousands of years, there have been many reports of sightings of the Ark, long before photography and science could be utilized.

      Ground penetrating radar has discovered the large piece at 16,600 feet high on Mt. Ararat. Another large piece has been reported in glacial ice nearby. A third large piece we call the Air Force One site was seen from President Jimmy Carter’s plane, and often during World War II by U.S. and Allies flying over the mountain. Read how it was intentionally covered up.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    At Least Valley Girls Tried to Sound Feminine

    A conservative blog for peace links to this story on "creaky, rough and guttural sound" that "appear[s] to be the new craze among young women," which under normal circumstances "is considered a speech disorder" and when feigned "could put them at a risk of future vocal cord damage" — 'Vocal fry': The new craze in talking inspired by Britney Spears, Ke$ha and Kim Kardashian.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "No More Chassidic Reggae Superstar"

    I'm neither a fan nor a Jew, but this is sad news — Matisyahu shaves beard, leaves fans confused. The musician "explained that he once thought he needed rules 'to become a good person,' but said he is now 'reclaiming myself. Trusting my goodness and my divine mission.'"

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "... Bulgarian Greens, Swedish Housewives, Beer-swilling Englishmen..."

    Judging from that bit from the subtitle alone, Danial Nichols' assessment seems right — Allan Carlson’s New Book Looks Good. Of course, looks can be deceiving, as the history of certain Third Position movements tells us.

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    "I'll Be Home For Christmas" Performed by Thy Phan & Milbert Tumaliuan


    I hope to be home for Christmas, or rather have a house for Christmas as a first-time "home-buyer." I have a home, with my wife and kids, but we're looking for something bigger, yet smaller, a place for three generations to live together, something fellow Pittsford, NY resident Christopher Lasch described in The True and Only Heaven: Progress and Its Critics:
      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.
    That vision will come into reality this Friday, as long as the IRS acknowledges that I am, indeed, a person. If not, I may face the threat of legal action. Such is life in America. I'm not sweating this small stuff. Everything has gone down to the wire on this move back home: getting a job, getting my wife's visa, my parents' selling their house to move back. Makes it seem all the more providential when it works out in the end.

    Interestingly, certain people, especially professional women, greet our decision to establish a three-generational household, especially given that my parents are quite healthy, with reactions ranging from amusement to thinly-veiled disgust. But my mother says of our counter-cultural experiment in communal and intentional living, "More and more people are going to have to do it in the future."

    Fortunately, it is not a matter of having to do it but wanting to do it. We'll be pooling our resources and getting a far better place than we could have done on our own, and we'll have each other to depend on. There will always be someone home for the kids. I grew up in a three-generation home, come to think of it the only one I knew besides my cousins, and see nothing but benefits for everyone involved.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Máxima Culpa

    "I am old enough to remember the threefold striking of the breast in pre-Conciliar days, but wonder if this practice has been maintained elsewhere in the Church by the other language groups that use the Roman Missal," asks a reader noting that "the new translation of Mass according to the English-language Roman Missal... indicates that those reciting the prayer are to strike their breast at the point where they say, 'through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault' — Breast-Beating During the Confiteor.

    Father McNamara interestingly explains "slight but noticeable change in translating this rubric" and mentions "the practice in Spanish- and Italian-language countries, which have always maintained the triple form in the 'I Confess.'" This was also the case in Korea, where I converted nine years ago. "내탓이오, 내탓이오, 내 큰 탓이로소이다."

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Drink Locally... Here's a Toast to Senator Charles Schumer

    The normally sinister Senator Charles E. Schumer proves the adage that "a stopped clock is right twice a day" by having "announced a plan today to promote the state's 77 breweries and brewpubs to get businesses to sell more local beer" — "I Love NY Brew" promotion starts today. He even mentioned my two favorites by name: "Schumer pointed to popular beers such as Saranac and Genesee as New York success stories." More:
      "Frankly, the growth of small breweries means the growth of jobs and that's good for everybody," said Nick Matt, the president of Saranac Brewery, based in Utica. "This is a real make-sense campaign."

      Matt said the growth in popularity of craft and microbrews was a reflection of consumers' increased focus on local products.

      "You taste these beers, they're just great and they're different," Schumer said. "I think that helps explain it too. People are getting more sophisticated in their beer drinking, and the local breweries and brewpubs become popular places."

      Rich Lozyniak, CEO of North American Breweries, the Rochester-based parent company of Genesee Brewing Co., said the company has the benefit of a tradition that dates back to 1878. But he said greater promotion of its products across the state would be beneficial. For example, he said that Genesee Cream Ale, one of its trademark products that was started in 1960, has one of its largest markets in Brooklyn.

      “What’s great about New York, we are a very big state from a consumption perspective of beer and the heritage here is really great,” Lozyniak said. “I think getting people aware of the amount of brewing that goes on in the state is all good news.”

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Happy Birthday, Shirley Jackson


    The Writer's Almanac today reminded us that the author best-known for the above story about "a yearly ritual in which townspeople select one of their number and stone him or her to death, believing that the sacrifice ensures a bountiful harvest," would be ninety-five today. Shirley Jackson, who reminds me of a faithless Flannery O'Connor, lived in the town next door, Brighton, NY, which is apparently far more savage than our Town of Pittsford.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Christmas in Iraq

    "In Baghdad I was in Catholic school from kindergarten until high school," remembers Nesreen Melek, in Iraqi exile living in Canada, saying, "It took me a few years after I attended the school to realize I was a Muslim and not a Christian" — Xmas in Baghdad. Some exerpts:
      I remember going to the small church we had at school, I was told that the Virgin Mary would listen to our prayers. I used to kneel in front of her statue and ask her for the impossible. I thought all the time that she acknowledged my presence and always looked at me with a loving smile. I kept wondering if she was hearing me or laughing at my nonsense. The smell of the old wooden pews is still in my nose. Wherever I travelled, I used to go to churches to light candles but the smell of the churches wasn’t the same. Is it because the smell of the earth in Iraq was different?

      [....]

      I wish I could be able to move the time backward so that I could sit on the floor of my old school’s church, look at the Virgin Mary’s face and speak to her again “You are a mother, how did you allow this to happen to the Iraqi children and why do they have to suffer from poverty, cancer, literacy and wars, Why .. Why?”

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Credit Where Credit Is Due For Getting Our Boys Home for Christmas

    The American president and his media are absurdly trying give him credit — Obama Has Declared An End To The Iraq War Since The Start Of His Term — because already down the memory hole is the fact that not two months ago it was the Iraqi prime minister who "made clear that it was Iraq who refused to let the U.S. military remain under the Americans’ terms" — Iraq Rejected U.S. Demands For Troop Immunity.


    Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    The Clash Perform "English Civil War (Johnny Comes Marching Home)"

    Bookmark and Share

    America's First Step to Militarism


    "Today is the 375th birthday of the United States Army National Guard, formed in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1636," informed Garrison Kiellor in today's edition of The Writer's Almanac. Mr. Kiellor continued:
      It's the oldest branch of the country's military: 139 years older than the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps; and 311 years older than the Air Force. Individual towns in other colonies had formed their own militias, but the Massachusetts Bay was the only region whose population density was great enough to warrant the formation of more than one regiment. Towns around Boston were grouped into the North, South, and East regiments. Because the Massachusetts Bay Colony still considered itself British, the General Court ordered the formation of a traditional English militia: all able-bodied men were obligated to own arms and participate in the defense of the colony, whether by upholding its laws or defending against attack. Militiamen took turns serving in nightly guard details, and drilled weekly. The Army National Guard has participated in every American war or conflict since the Pequot War of 1637.
    Mr. Kiellor fails to mention that most of those wars, and all of them since 1898, had nothing to do with guarding the nation but rather with expanding the empire. Wikipedia's article on National Guard of the United States reminds us, "The early United States distrusted a standing army, and kept the number of professional soldiers small."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Is It Just Me, Or Are Waitresses Getting Hotter?


    The Hot Waitress Economic Index is one of the indices numbered in this link from the Young Fogey — Seven bizarre trends that predict an economic collapse. The "incredibly reliable, vaguely sexist indication of how the economy is faring... goes like this:"
      In our often unfair society, really attractive women are unlikely to work as waitresses, as they have an easier time finding other, better-paying jobs (we're not saying it's right, we're saying it's a statistical truth). When the economy goes belly-up, attractiveness isn't as valuable as actual skill, and attractive people get laid off just like everyone else -- so they temporarily drift back to a job that doesn't require schooling but offers great tips if you have a nice smile. When the economy picks up again, they return to higher-paying jobs.
    [The image comes from Peggy Sue's American Diner in Madrid, Spain, of all places.]

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "Swatting"

    News that a local man "was the victim of an alarming new prank... "n which where callers phone 911 to report violent, fake emergencies" — Irondequoit man victim of alarming hoax that sets SWAT team on him. The story informs us that this "prank with the goal of luring police to mobilize their swat teams [is] becoming a growing problem nationwide." Left unexplained is why SWAT teams have become first responders.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Graham Greene on Guadalupe

      The legend, Mexican politicians say, was invented by the Church to enslave the Indian mind, but if indeed it had been invented at that period, the purpose would have been very different. The Virgin claimed a church from which she might guard her Indians — from the Spanish conquerors. The legend gave the Indians self-respect: it gave him a hold over his conqueror; it was a liberating legend.
    So wrote the great writer of The Power and the Glory, a novel of revolutionary Mexico's persecution of the Church, quoted in an edifying essay by Kelly Wilson — Graham Greene & Guadalupe.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Heinrich Schütz's Deutsches Magnificat Sung by Knabenkantorei Luzern

    Bookmark and Share

    The Marriage Equation

    "The Complexity Horizon," a term coined by mathematician John Allen Paulos to humbly refer to that which is simply beyond scientific understanding, didn't stop these mathematicians from authoring this silly study, "which at­tempts to de­scribe mar­i­tal rela­t­ion­ships with math­e­mat­ics as it might apply to a strat­e­gy game" — Was blackmail essential for marriage to evolve?

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Running Against the Government

    The WaPo's Dan Balz reports that "one Republican presidential candidate is clearly exceeding expectations" — The surprising candidacy of Ron Paul. "He represents a constituency that’s part of the Republican Party," said a former Bush adviser. "Despite his stands on certain issues, he’s got their support because of his anti-government views."

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Hope For Holland

    Finally, my ancestral homeland is moving in the right direction on something — Dutch smoking ban reversed for small pubs.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    J.S. Bach's Magnificat Performed by Academie für Alta Musik Berlin and Cappella Amsterdam, Directed by Daniel Reuss

    Bookmark and Share

    The Code of Handsome Lake


    On an odyssey of sorts that took me through Lima, Geneva, Waterloo, Interlaken, and finally to Ithaca, along with a bunch of places with names from Iroquoian languages around three Finger Lakes, I purchased, along with The Jefferson Bible (more on that later), a book entitled The Death and Rebirth of the Seneca. The book tells the story of the "Old Way" of Handsome Lake, pictured above, who was born not at all far from where this blogger lives, and whose "religion was more successful than most religions during that time, apparently because his code combined traditional Iroquois religion with white Christian values."

    Wikipedia tells us that he "preached a message that combined traditional Haudenosaunee religious beliefs with a revised code meant to bring consciousness to the Haudenosaunee after a long period of cultural disintegration following colonization... and [which] is still practiced today." This prophet brought "a message of Gaiwiio (the 'Good Word') to his people," which "outlawed drunkenness, witchcraft, sexual promiscuity, wife beating, quarreling, abortion, gay marriage, single parents and gambling, ... along with a threat that fire would destroy the world if this Code was not obeyed."

    None of this was I taught in the fifth grade when New York State mandates that local Indian history be instructed, for obvious reasons. For further edification, consult these links — The Code of Handsome Lake, the Seneca Prophet, A New Religion for the Seneca, Iroqouis Traditions. And here's a remarkable contemporary document addressed to the subject of this post — Jefferson's Indian Addresses. The president asks the prophet to
      [p]ersuade our red brethren then to be sober, and to cultivate their lands; and their women to spin and weave for their families. You will soon see your women and children well fed and clothed, your men living happily in peace and plenty, and your numbers increasing from year to year. It will be a great glory to you to have been the instrument of so happy a change, and your children's children, from generation to generation, will repeat your name with love and gratitude forever. In all your enterprises for the good of your people, you may count with confidence on the aid and protection of the United States, and on the sincerity and zeal with which I am myself animated in the furthering of this humane work. You are our brethren of the same land; we wish your prosperity as brethren should do. Farewell.

    Labels: , , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Vietnamese Martyrs Catholic Church in Arlington, Texas






    "Immigrants sacrifice to provide quality materials ," says New Oxford Review in linking to the story — Huge Vietnamese Catholic church to be dedicated in Arlington. (It reminds me a lot of the newly-built parish I left behind in Korea — 천주교 대구대교구 지곡성당. Here are some images of the parish's first mass — Christmas Eve Midnight Mass at Jigok Catholic Church.)

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    President Paul's Foreign Policy

    In his words it "requires no money and no weapons industry, or other special interests demanding huge war profits or other advantages," but "simply tolerance of others’ cultures and their social and religious values, and the giving up of all use of force to occupy or control other countries and their national resources" — Mutually Assured Destruction vs Mutually Assured Respect.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Times They Ain't A-Changing

    Kurt Andersen argues that "these days, even as technological and scientific leaps have continued to revolutionize life, popular style has been stuck on repeat, consuming the past instead of creating the new" — You Say You Want a Devolution?

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Friday, December 9, 2011

    "Winter Wonderland" Performed by Jane Monheit and Mark O'Connor


    We happily woke up to one this morning, but the white stuff, although it looked like it would, didn't stick. It started snowing steadily again a few hours ago, but there's only a light dusting, because it's too darn warm. Western New York weather has grown soft in my fifteen year absence. A proud survivor of the Blizzard of '77, I can't help but say I'm a bit disappointed.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Kurt Vonnegut, Reactionary Radical

    Bill Kauffman is reading a biography of the novelist that argues "there is much about tradition and free enterprise that is admirable to Vonnegut" — Vonnegut Laid(?) to Rest. The biographer writes:
      He was proud to be descended from enterprising and civic-minded German American merchants and professionals. In addition to their workaday responsibilities, three generations of Vonneguts had served on boards and committees whose overlapping purpose was strengthening the network of business, social, and intellectual ties serving Indianapolis. He regretted the diaspora of his family from the city after World War II, convinced that families with generational roots in a region were emotionally invested in where they lived. Within their own families, relatives in close proximity also filled the important function of caring for their members—not only taking in the old or dispossessed, but also helping children grow into healthy adults under the watchful eyes of elders
    Noting that the novelist's "criticism of the status quo... created the impression that he must be a leftist," the biorapher continues:
      The country was so polarized politically that anyone who disparaged the war or the government sounded like he was on the side of hippies and antiwar protesters. In fact, Vonnegut was less a radical than a reactionary. He yearned for an old-fashioned America populated by Eliot Rosewaters and Uncle Alexes, for extended families, for a nation reluctant to go to war, for decency, and yes—even for businesses like General Electric at its enlightened best. But only a close reading of his works would reveal that.
    Tolle, lege. The Sage of Batavia's thoughts on the writer are a must-read for any one-time fan.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    None Dare Call It Desecration

    Little could be more symbolic of the Pentagram's "support [of] the troops" than this — Air Force dumped ashes of more troops’ remains in Va. landfill than acknowledged. "The landfill dumping was concealed from families who had authorized the military to dispose of the remains in a dignified and respectful manner."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    A Coptic Priest Walks Into My Office With His Niece For English Classes

    Not a joke, but something that happened the other day that serves as a way to introduce this story — Brothers of Egypt. But the Copts Are More and More Isolated. The priest had just two days before been in Cleveland to visit Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria, for whose health we should pray — Pope Shenouda III travels to the US for medical treatment. He asked about the small image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on my wall.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Old Church Slavonic and Black English Vernacular

    The Young Fogey looks ay "the aspective, the difference between one time only and a state of being," in Russian grammar, and notes that "Black American English has it too: he workin’, ‘he’s at work’, and he be workin’, ‘he has a job’" — Learning church Latin and Russian. (The heroic linguist William Labov showed us that Black English Vernacular—the term Ebonics is laughable, sorry—was not "bad English" but a rule-based system like any other dialect.)

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Thursday, December 8, 2011

    George Seaton's "The Song of Bernadette" (1943)


    "Qué soï era immaculado councepcioũ," said the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady, Immaculate Conception, Mother of God, in the Gascon dialect of the Occitan language, in the events depicted in the above film, in English, posted for today's Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

    The film, one of my favorites, is perhaps the prime example of the time "when one could say of Hollywood that it was a Jewish-owned business selling Catholic theology to Protestant America" — Enbrethiliel on the Golden Age of Hollywood. Here's an old inspirational six-and-a-half year old story from my old blog about this movie and our then two-year-old — My Daughter and St. Bernadette.

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Pope Ratzinger's Immaculate Conception Homily

    The Vicar of Christ explains the "woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars" — Pope highlights Mary's role as 'woman of the apocalypse' — and instructs that "[t]he only danger the church can and should fear is the sin of her members" — Church should fear sin of members more than persecution, pope says.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Henry Adams on the Virgin Mary


    "[T]he Virgin still remained and remains the most intensely and the most widely and the most personally felt, of all characters, divine or human or imaginary, that ever existed among men."

    So wrote America's greatest man of letters, born in 1838 "with Heaven knew how many Puritans and Patriots behind him," the grandson and great-grandson of presidents whose religion was heretical Unitarianism, in Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres by Henry Adams. Mr. Adams had much more to say of the piety of the Age of Faith:
      Men were, after all, not wholly inconsequent; their attachment to Mary rested on an instinct of self-preservation. They knew their own peril. If there was to be a future life, Mary was their only hope. She alone represented Love. The Trinity were, or was, One, and could, by the nature of its essence, administer justice alone. Only childlike illusion could expect a personal favour from Christ. Turn the dogma as one would, to this it must logically come. Call the three Godheads by what names one liked, still they must remain One; must administer one justice; must admit only one law. In that law, no human weakness or error could exist; by its essence it was infinite, eternal, immutable. There was no crack and no cranny in the system, through which human frailty could hope for escape. One was forced from corner to corner by a remorseless logic until one fell helpless at Mary's feet.

      Without Mary, man had no hope except in atheism, and for atheism the world was not ready. Hemmed back on that side, men rushed like sheep to escape the butcher, and were driven to Mary; only too happy in finding protection and hope in a being who could understand the language they talked, and the excuses they had to offer.
    One can imagine the Protestant convert devotee of this or that apologetics guru being scandalized by the above passage, but the non-Catholic self-described "conservative Christian anarchist" was writing psychology, not theology. For those of us well aware of our own peril, and interested more in saving our own souls than in theology, the passage makes perfect sense.

    Mr. Adams quotes Saint Bernard of Clairvaux: "After the Trinity, you are our ONLY hope... you are placed there as our advocate; all of us who fear the wrath of the Judge, fly to the Judge's mother, who is logically compelled to sue for us, and stands in the place of a mother to the guilty." The author describes "Mary as the ONLY court in equity capable of overruling strict law."

    Mr. Adams goes on to rebuke one Gaston Paris, a cheerless contemporary, who whines about "the infantile piety of the Middle Ages," expressions of which "have revolted the most rational piety, as well as the philosophy of modern times." Our American hero dismisses "the professor's elementary morality" with these words:
      Clearly, M. Paris, the highest academic authority in the world, thought that the Virgin could hardly, in his time, say the year 1900, be received into good society in the Latin Quarter. Our own English ancestors, known as Puritans, held the same opinion, and excluded her from their society some four hundred years earlier, for the same reasons which affected M. Gaston Paris. These reasons were just, and showed the respectability of the citizens who held them. In no well-regulated community, under a proper system of police, could the Virgin feel at home, and the same thing may be said of most other saints as well as sinners.
    "In no well-regulated community, under a proper system of police, could the Virgin feel at home, and the same thing may be said of most other saints as well as sinners."

    Amen! Amen! Amen!

    Of the Virgin, Mr. Adams says, "She was imposed unanimously by all classes, because what man wanted most in the Middle Ages was not merely law or equity, but also and particularly favour." He gives us many examples of miracles in which the "general rule of favour, apart from law, or the reverse of law, was the mark of Mary's activity in human affairs." He even explains "an entire class of her miracles, applying to the discipline of the Church!" He conlcudes, "The people loved Mary because she trampled on conventions; not merely because she could do it, but because she liked to do what shocked every well-regulated authority."

    Mr. Adams details her scandalous advocacy on behalf of "an ignorant and corrupt priest" who "had taken the precaution to make himself Mary's MAN" and a "good-for-nothing clerk, vicious, proud, vain, rude, and altogether worthless, but devoted to the Virgin." Says the author, "Mary would not have been a true queen unless she had protected her own. The whole morality of the Middle Ages stood in the obligation of every master to protect his dependent." In both cases, "her order was instantly obeyed." However, we are reminded, "She was a queen, and never for an instant forgot it, but she took little thought about her divine rights."

    Mr. Adams says, "Mary filled heaven with a sort of persons little to the taste of any respectable middle-class society, which has trouble enough in making this world decent and pay its bills, without having to continue the effort in another." Of the tradition of his forebears, which lead either to Unitarianism or, perhaps uniquely with Orestes Brownson, and almost with Mr. Adams himself, back to Catholicism, the author writes:
      Mary's treatment of respectable and law-abiding people who had no favours to ask, and were reasonably confident of getting to heaven by the regular judgment, without expense, rankled so deeply that three hundred years later the Puritan reformers were not satisfied with abolishing her, but sought to abolish the woman altogether as the cause of all evil in heaven and on earth. The Puritans abandoned the New Testament and the Virgin in order to go back to the beginning, and renew the quarrel with Eve.
    [Edited version of a three-and-half-year-old post — The Blessed Virgin Mary, Anarcho-Monarchist]

    Labels: , , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Horace Translated by John Adams


    From Garrison Keillor in today's edition of The Writer's Almanac I learned that today was the Roman poet's birthday and that he could count America's second president among his translators. "The translation from Horace will show, to advantage, Mr Adams’s manner in a lighter measure," said the editor os 1829's Specimens of American Poetry, in which the above was published — Translation of an Ode of Horace by John Adams (1705–1740):
      MÆCENAS, whose ennobled veins
      The blood of ancient monarchs stains;
      My safeguard, beauty and delight.
      Some love the chariot’s rapid flight,
      To whirl along the dusty ground,
      Till with Olympic honors crown’d:
      And if their fiery coursers tend
      Beyond the goal, they shall ascend
      In merit, equal to the gods,
      Who people the sublime abodes;
      Others, if mingled shouts proclaim
      Of jarring citizens their name,
      Exalted to some higher post,
      Are in the clouds of rapture lost.
      This, if his granary contain
      In crowded heaps the ripen’d grain,
      Rejoicing his paternal field
      To plough, a future crop to yield;
      In vain his timorous soul you’d move
      Though endless sums his choice should prove,
      To leave the safety of the land,
      And trust him to the wind’s command.
      The trembling sailor, when the blue
      And boisterous deep his thoughts pursue,
      Fearful of tempests, dreads his gain
      To venture o’er the threatening main:
      But loves the shades and peaceful town
      Where joy and quiet dwell alone.
      But when impatient to be poor,
      His flying vessels leave the shore.
      Others the present hour will seize,
      And less for business are than ease;
      But flowing cups of wine desire,
      Which scatter grief, and joy inspire;
      Joyful they quaff, and spread their limbs
      Along the banks of murm’ring streams,
      While trees which shoot their tow’ring heads,
      Protect them with their cooling shades.
      Some love the camp and furious war,
      Where nations, met with nations, jar;
      The noise of victors, and the cries
      Of vanquish’d, which assault the skies,
      While at the trumpet’s piercing ring
      Their mounting spirits vigorous spring;
      When fainting matrons in a swound,
      Receive the martial music’s sound.
      The morning hunter seeks his prey,
      Though chill’d by heaven’s inclemency
      Forgets his house: with dogs pursues
      The flying stag in her purlieus.
      Or his entangling net contains
      The foaming boar in ropy chains.
      But me the ivy wreaths which spread
      Their blooming honors round the head
      Of learned bards, in raptures raise,
      And with the gods unite in praise.
      The coolness of the rural scenes,
      The smiling flowers and evergreens,
      And sportful dances, all inspire
      My soul with more than vulgar fire.
      If sweet Euterpe give her flute,
      And Polyhymnia lend her lute—
      If you the deathless bays bestow,
      And by applauses make them grow,
      Toward the stars my winged fame
      Shall fly, and strike the heavenly frame.
    (Speaking of Latins and presidents, another thing I was told on public radio today was that a candidate needs 40% of Hispanic votes to win a presidential election, which had me think of Steve Sailer's Sailer Strategy of appealing only to white voters, all of which came back to mind and came around to the beginning reading this post of his a few minutes ago — How many Hispanics listen to NPR?)

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Nazi-Occupied Holland

    News that "the Dutch Health Minister admitted in their parliament recently that her department is 'considering' setting up mobile euthanasia death squads" — Death on wheels. "Instantly, many will be reminded of the SS Einsatzgruppen death squads that moved through towns on the Eastern Front following the Nazi invasion of Russia in 1941." Exactly what I though of.

    The Hippocratic Oath, the ministrix of death should remember, had physicians "swear by Apollo the physician, Æsculapius, and Health, and All-heal, and all the gods and goddesses" to "give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and... not give a woman a pessary to produce abortion."

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Why Libertarianism?

    Antiwar.com's Jacob Huebert explains — Libertarianism Is Antiwar. The opening salvo:
      Libertarianism and war are not compatible. One reason why should be obvious: In war, governments commit legalized mass-murder. In modern warfare especially, war is not just waged among voluntary combatants, but kills, maims, and otherwise harms innocent people. Then, of course, wars must be funded through taxes, which are extracted from U.S. citizens by force — a form of legalized theft, as far as libertarians are concerned. And, historically, the U.S. has used conscription — legalized slavery — to force people to fight and die. In addition, an interventionist foreign policy makes civilians targets for retaliation, so governments indirectly cause more violence against their own people when they become involved in other countries’ affairs. Plus, war is always accompanied by many other new restrictions on liberty, many of which are sold as supposedly temporary wartime measures but then never go away.

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Messe Et Motets Pour La Vierge Performed by Le Concert des Nations, Directed by Jordi Savall

    Bookmark and Share

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Claudio Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine, 1610 Performed by the Monteverdi Choir...

    ... and the London Oratory Junior Choir, the Schola Cantorum of The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, the English Baroque Soloists, and His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, directed by Sir John Eliot Gardiner


    Something scrumptious on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Remaking the World in Our Image

    Just about every president after the heroic Buffalo anti-imperialist Grover Cleveland has had his go at it — Obama to Use Foreign Aid to Effect Gay Rights Abroad. More cynically and probably more realistically though, is this nothing more than pinkwashing in the lead-up to a war of aggression against Iran?

    (Leaving such questions behind, this not-so-new story lends credence to this popular meme — If Clinton was the first black President is Obama the first gay president? Of course, this discredits the possible racial achievement of one of the few decent post-Cleveland presidents, the man who not only liberated socialist antiwar hero Eugene V. Debs from his Wilsonian gulag but also invited him to a personal White House Christmas dinner — Was our actual first black president a Republican? It also brushes aside justified suspicions about our absolute worst president — Was Lincoln gay? That said, it goes without saying that if a gay candidate of the stature and girth of Grover Cleveland came along today he'd have my support in a second.)

    Labels: , , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Motown As Dead As Detroit Manufacturing

    "Listening to black music today is depressing," says John Blake, quoted by Steve Sailer as lamenting the fact that "we don't make love songs anymore" — Kids These Days. Cue Roger Ebert's review of the depressing 8 Mile:
      As it happens, on the same day that "8 Mile" was screened in Chicago, I also saw "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," a documentary about the studio musicians who created the Motown Sound. The contrast was instructive. On the one hand, a Detroit white boy embracing the emblems of poverty and performing in a musical genre that involves complaint, anger and alienation. On the other hand, black Detroit musicians making good money, performing joyously, having a good time and remembering those times with tears in their eyes. What has happened to our hopes, that young audiences now embrace such cheerless material, avoiding melody like the plague? At least in their puritanism they still permit rhymes.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    "Classical Liberalism in One Country"

    "Why libertarians can’t do foreign policy" explained by The American Conservative's Leon Hadar, former Libertarian Party shadow secretary of state — Freedom Means War.

    I found Mr. Hadar's title and the blurb confusing because it was foreign policy that attracted me first to libertarianism as the alternative to neoconservative expansionism and neoliberal humanitarian interventionism. But the author goes on to clearly explain how "reducing the power and size of government—not managing America’s relationship with the rest of the world—remains the top priority of self-described libertarians." He notes that there were even "libertarian thinkers [who] rationalized the U.S. drive towards global hegemony in political-economic terms, arguing that creating an international system based on classical-liberal principles required a global power that had the diplomatic influence and military means to establish governing rules and institutions—think of the British Empire in the 19th century."

    Countering this notion, Mr. Hadar reminds us of "the libertarian critique of Bush II’s military adventures: bombing and invading other countries without provocation not only runs counter to fundamental tenets of classical liberalism but also provides the state with more power to control the economy and violate the rights of citizens." He asks us to remember that "libertarians can only do foreign policy by working with other groups on the left and the right, including the members of the somewhat dormant realist wing of the Republican Party, traditional conservatives, and progressive Naderites."

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Ron Paul vs. Paul Krugman

    Walter E. Williams explains the difference — Free To Die? He takes as his starting point the "GOP presidential debate in which Rep. Ron Paul was asked what should be done if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance found himself in need of six months of intensive care [and Congressman] Paul correctly, but politically incorrectly, replied, 'That's what freedom is all about -- taking your own risks.'"

    The Good Doctor probably could have answered the question better, perhaps describing how he himself often took care of poor patients for free or for nominal charges before the days of socialized corporate medicine. Dr. Williams reminds us that "if a medically indigent person receives medical treatment" one of the "several possible methods to deliver the services" would be "for people to make voluntary contributions or for medical practitioners to simply treat medically indigent patients at no charge." The economist rightly "find[s] both methods praiseworthy, laudable and, above all, moral," as obviously did the obstetrician and does the congressman Dr. Paul.

    Dr. Williams explains how Dr. Krugmam and "most Americans are not against the principle of the forcible use of one person to serve the purposes of another under the pain of punishment" in the form of taxation. Dr. Williams ends by quoting President James Madison's wise words that "charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government."

    Dr. Williams could have bolstered his argument by noting the moment that government assumes that duty (or any other duty), the people gladly give it up. Doctors now have no opportunity to perform charity, in America at least. With the poor universally enrolled in VA-style government health care and with the "30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance" the typical uninsured person in the United States, the latter presents himself as the most probable true charity case in today's America.

    He might be able to afford the "six months of intensive care" if it were not for the astronomical rise in costs brought about by government intervention in the health care industry. Now that he can't, he can have his assets seized. About this nobody really cares, because he was not poor to begin with, at least until what wealth he had is legally confiscated, and then he can qualify for public assistance. There's no longer room at the inn for charity, thanks to the government.

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Arvo Pärt's Da Pacem Domine Performed by the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Estonian Philarmonic Chamber Choir, & Tõnu Kaljuste

    Bookmark and Share

    Forget Pearl Harbor, A Day That Will Live in Far More Infamy

    "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base" — Harry Truman. No doubt the lying 33rd degree freemason was conscious of the fact that it was Pearl Harbor that was the military base, and his chosen target a city.

    Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    A President That Should Live in Infamy

    The heroic Patrick J. Buchanan reports that "a remarkable secret history, written from 1943 to 1963, has come to light," which acts as "a searing indictment of FDR and the men around him as politicians who lied prodigiously about their desire to keep America out of war, even as they took one deliberate step after another to take us into war" — Did FDR Provoke Pearl Harbor?

    "At a Nov. 25 meeting of FDR’s war council, Secretary of War Henry Stimson’s notes speak of the prevailing consensus: 'The question was how we should maneuver them (the Japanese) into … firing the first shot without allowing too much danger to ourselves.'"

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    The Only Cocktail

    Fron Porch Republic's Jason Peters sings its praises — After All, It Almost Rhymes With Bikini. Haven't had one in ages, but soon may, God willing; the only item on my X-mas wishlist is a bottle of locally-distilled Seneca Drums Gin.

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Vox Novan Kelly Wilson Endorses

    And aptly defends his wise choice against his left-liberal colleagues' collective hissy fit — My Man Ron!

    Labels: , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    That Aggressor Iran


    "White stars in red circles denote U.S. military base" — Not a Graphic That Would Appear in the US Media. "Could this be a reason they hate us?"

    The last time Iran started a war, let us remember, was "1826 during the 4th Russo-Persian War." The Daily Paul blogger opines, "The US can't even go 2 years, let alone 200 - so which country is really the greater danger to mankind?"

    Labels: , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Monday, December 5, 2011

    Sam Chatmon Performs "Brownskin Woman" and "Who's Gonna Love You Tonight?"

    Bookmark and Share

    Now That Herman Cain Is Gone...

    ... Ishmael Reed comes to his defense — Herman Cain, the Latest Black Boogeyman. He writes:
      When Clarence Thomas, a lawyer, said that he was subjected to a high tech lynching, in the first famous trial by television, he meant that he wasn’t allowed to cross examine his accusers... [W]hy were those who are so concerned about the rights of the incarcerated Al Qaeda seem so ridden with ideology that they weren’t concerned about Thomas’s rights and oblivious to some of the contradictions in Anita Hill’s story[?] Like Thomas, Cain wasn’t given a chance to face his accusers... At least nobody died as a result of Cain’s alleged adultery.
    Unlike Clinton's substantiated adultery, I might add. Mr. Reed, however, is "glad that he’s gone" because "Cain posed a bigger threat to President Obama’s reelection than any of the people now running." He concludes, "If he’d received the nomination for vice president, all that the GOP would have had to do was to send him to black churches nationwide, have him preach, and sing the gospel with that silky voice of his. They might have gotten one third of the black vote."

    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Rome and the Church

    Ingrid D. Rowland reviews a book whose author argues that "the reasons for Rome’s staying power... have to do with the city’s eternal embrace of crassness, as intrinsic to Roman grandeur as majesty, beauty, and spiritual transcendence" — The Crass, Beautiful Eternal City.

    This blogger wonders whether the staying power of Holy Mother Church has anything to do with her children's embrace of crassness.

    Labels: ,

    Bookmark and Share

    Eat Locally, the Staff of Life Edition


    The Abbey of the Genesee, where Father Henri Nouwen wrote The Genesee Diary while reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, provides our area with her excellent Monk's Bread.

    "Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God," we read in the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, a scripture that comes to mind watching this video of the Cistercians at work:



    Labels: , , ,

    Bookmark and Share