Saturday, March 31, 2012

Domenico Bartolucci's Jubilate Deo, Ave Maria & Sicut Cervus, Rossini Chamber Choir, Orchestra Sinfonica G. Rossini, Simone Baiocchi

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Henry Rollins, Beta Male

A former fan, I couldn't agree more with T. R. Bennington's assessment — Henry Rollins, Please Shut Up. I do, however, strongly disagree with Mr. Bennington's assertion that "[a] number of great punk bands emerged in the early 80s, but Black Flag was not one of them."

Wrong. Black Flag was up there with the Bad Brains, Hüsker Dü, Minor Threat, and the Minutemen as the best of the genre. Mr. Bennington is also wrong in counting Mr. Rollins' suggestion that "humans can get along just fine" were it not for "governments and foreign policy getting in the way of the global fun to be had" among the "inanities about universal brotherhood."

Mr. Bennington is right, however, in ridiculing Mr. Rollin's "expressed concern, like so many of our other socially conscious celebrities, that the so-called 'War on Women' was slowing the wheels of progressive permissiveness." Mr. Bennington continues, "While you seem to think your political opinions are still perceptive and edgy, they’re mostly recognizable as the default liberal opinions of the LA set you hang with these days." The author continues, "At this point you have a lot more in common with Tori Spelling than you do with Sid Vicious." And then it gets devastating:
    Your hysteria over contraception and the fact you “feel bad for women” and worry “we’re going back in time” is a facile pose, Henry. If you respected women you might have married one instead of scribbling about your many dysfunctional relationships. You wouldn’t be 51 and still dating because it’s hard for you to be “truly close to someone” or whatever neurotic Hollywood excuse you use.

    Henry, in hindsight, it now seems clear that the supposed individualism and self-actualization you made a career out of promoting was only another form of the self-absorption that Malcolm Muggeridge called the Great Liberal Death Wish.
A few months ago, I watched again Mr. Rollin's infantile poem Family Man, and thought that if he had tried to live out his puerile fantasies in my new neighborhood, he'd end up with a 12-gauge shotgun in his face.

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Ancient Warnings

"Hundreds of so-called tsunami stones, some more than six centuries old, dot the coast of Japan, silent testimony to the past destruction that these lethal waves have frequented upon this earthquake-prone nation" — Japan’s 1,000-Year-Old Warning.

"But modern Japan, confident that advanced technology and higher seawalls would protect vulnerable areas, came to forget or ignore these ancient warnings, dooming it to repeat bitter experiences when the recent tsunami struck."

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Trayvon Martin and Abdulrahman al-Awlaki

Antiwar.com's Adam Bates explains "why President Obama’s statement [about the former] is so appalling" given his complicity in the murder of the latter, also the same age — A Tale of Two Murders.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Earl Scruggs Performs "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"


... at an antiwar rally, above, as Gary North informs us in his obituary — Earl Scruggs, R.I.P. "Scruggs was opposed to the Vietnam war, and said so in 1969," writes Mr. North. "He wanted the troops to come home. This stand was rare for Southern entertainers of the old school, including bluegrass performers."

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"The Degree of Civilization in a Society Can Be Judged by Entering Its Prisons"

One wonders what Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, the author of the above quote, would conclude from the fact that with "216,000 victims, not instances," "prison rape accounted for the majority of all rapes committed in the US in 2008, likely making the United States the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women," as reported by Christopher Glazek — Raise the Crime Rate.

"America’s prison system is a moral catastrophe," writes Mr. Glazek. "The eerie sense of security that prevails on the streets of lower Manhattan obscures, and depends upon, a system of state-sponsored suffering as vicious and widespread as any in human history. Dismantling the system of American gulags, and holding accountable those responsible for their operation, presents the most urgent humanitarian imperative of our time."

[Link from #7 of Gavin McInnes' latest — 10 Hatefacts for Those Who Hate Facts.]

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Another Nowhere Man

"What's notable about Romney's real-estate holdings, including the townhouse, is how totally they physically separate him from the rest of humanity," writes Froma Harrop of the candidate's "coast-to-coast buffer zone of luxury" — Does Romney Have a Home?

"Has he treated the state where he served as governor as merely a mailing address?" she asks. "Furthermore, does anyone who has three houses, two of them ginormous, really live anywhere? Or is he merely the globe-trolling private-equity zillionaire, happy wherever other rich people congregate?"

Localist Bill Kauffman's classic from '08 comes to mind, in which he reminded us that "just as one cannot love the 'human race' before one loves particular human beings, neither can one love 'the world' unless he first achieves a deep understanding of his own little piece of that world" — The Candidates from Nowhere.

"America is not, as the neoconservatives like to say, an idea: it is a place, or rather the sum of a thousand and one little, individuated places, each with its own history and accent and stories," he writes. "A politician who understands this will act in ways that protect and preserve these real places. A rootless politico will babble on about 'the homeland'–a creepily totalitarian phrase that, pre-Bush, was not applied to our country."

When Mr. Romney did show some humanity and placed-ness, his words were largely ridiculed by the deracinated press — Mitt Romney Repeatedly References Height Of Trees In Michigan. "Everything seems right here," said the candidate of his home state. "You know, I come back to Michigan; the trees are the right height. The grass is the right color for this time of year, kind of a brownish-greenish sort of thing. It just feels right."

I have to admit I was touched by those words when I heard them on the wireless in my horseless carriage driving through Western New York after 15 years of self-imposed exile.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bob Dylan's "Love Is Just a Four Letter Word" Performed by Joan Baez and Earl Scruggs


One of my favorite musical picks — reminding us of what might have been had we realized, as Bill Kauffman in Look Homeward America: In Search of Reactionary Radicals and Front-Porch Anarchists wrote of the "reactionary picture" Easy Rider (1969), that "[t]he hippies and the small-town southerners gathered in the diner; the small farmers and the shaggy communards... were on the same side" — to remember the "pioneering banjo player who helped create modern country music, [whose] sound is instantly recognizable and as intrinsically wrapped in the tapestry of the genre as Johnny Cash’s baritone or Hank Williams’ heartbreak" — Earl Scruggs, bluegrass pioneer, dies at 88.

"It may be impossible to overstate the importance of bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs to American music," writes Joe Edwards. Rest in peace.

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The Next Threat Facing the American Family


LewRockwell.com Blog's Karen De Coster brings the horror to our attention — Children Gone Bad.

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The Most Tangled-Up Entangling Alliance in American History

George Friedman writes, "While the U.S. troop presence in Korea may not make the most sense in a global U.S. military strategy, it ironically seems to fit, at least for now, the interests of the Chinese, South Koreans and Japanese, and even in some sense the North Koreans" — The US in Korea: a strategy of inertia.

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Noam Chomsky on the Limits of Science

    Take, say, physics, which restricts itself to extremely simple questions. If a molecule becomes too complex, they hand it over to the chemists. If it becomes too complex for them, they hand it to biologists. And if the system is too complex for them, they hand it to psychologists ... and so on until it ends up in the hands of historians or novelists. As you deal with more and more complex systems, it becomes harder and harder to find deep and interesting properties.
From this interview about his new book in which he suggests "that many components of human nature are just too complicated to be really researchable" — Everything Was a Problem and We Did Not Understand a Thing. Too bad he doesn't follow the line to where it ultimately leads...

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Philip Giraldi Looks Back

"Americans could go back to doing what they used to be really good at: making things, being inventive and inclusive, and living decently without having to invade anyone or tell a government or two how to behave" — Good Night, America, and Good-Bye.

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Sam Peckinpah's Granddad

    Sam’s grandfather, Denver Church, was a formative influence on the boy. Church, a four-term Democratic congressman who opposed U.S. entry into World War I, was described in John Wakeman’s World Film Directors as “an American individualist of the old school” who “opposed all kinds of government control. Though a total abstainer himself, he voted in Congress against Prohibition and later abandoned his political career because of his disapproval of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal.”
Bill Kauffman (who else?) on an auteur "sometimes caricatured as a nihilist for the balletic violence of his films," but who "was in fact 'a desperate romantic at war with his own disillusionment,' as biographer David Weddle writes" — Peckinpah Country.

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Tom Fleming and Pat Buchanan on L'Affair Trayvon Martin

Now that the facts of the case are becoming clearer, the paleocon stalwarts are proved right — Lynching George Zimmerman and Douse the Flames, Mr. President!

Mr. Fleming, the former, exposes the falsity of the narrative "that George Zimmerman, a paranoid white bigot who obsessively calls 911 to voice his suspicions, brutally murdered a harmless 'little boy' named Trayvon Martin."

"Barack Obama’s statement that the death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy that cries out for a more thorough investigation was the right and necessary thing to say," says Mr. Buchanan, asking also for "a presidential call for a halt to the rhetoric that is stirring up racial rage and inflaming the nation."

"When Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot during a rampage by a crazed gunmen, Obama stepped in with a splendid address to cool the passions and call a halt to the false and fevered accusations of moral complicity in the monstrous crime of a lone killer," Mr. Buchanan says. "Where is the Obama of Tucson now?"

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

George Dyson's Nunc Dimittis in D, Sung by the King's College Choir

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Freeman Dyson on Immanuel Velikovsky

The theoretical physicist on "the good fortune to be a personal friend of a famous dissident" — Science on the Rampage. An excerpt:
    After I came to America, I became a friend of Immanuel Velikovsky, who was my neighbor in Princeton. Velikovsky was a Russian Jew, with an intense interest in Jewish legends and ancient history. He was born into a scholarly family in 1895 and obtained a medical degree at Moscow University in 1921. During the chaos of the Bolshevik Revolution he wrote a long Russian poem with the title “Thirty Days and Nights of Diego Pirez on the Sant’Angelo Bridge.” It was published in Paris in 1935. Diego Pirez was a sixteenth-century Portuguese Jewish mystic who came to Rome and sat on the bridge near the Vatican, surrounded by beggars and thieves to whom he told his apocalyptic visions. He was condemned to death by the Inquisition, pardoned by the pope, and later burned as a heretic by the emperor Charles V.

    Velikovsky escaped from Russia and settled in Palestine with his wife and daughters. He described to me the joys of practicing medicine on the slopes of Mount Carmel above Haifa, where he rode on a donkey to visit his patients in their homes. He founded and edited a journal, Scripta Universitatis atque Bibliothecae Hierosolymitanarum, which was the official journal of the Hebrew University before the university was established. His work for the Scripta was important for the founding of the Hebrew University. But he had no wish to join the university himself. To fulfill his dreams he needed complete independence. In 1939, after sixteen years in Palestine, he moved to America, where he had no license to practice medicine. To survive in America, he needed to translate his dreams into books.

    Eleven years later, Macmillan published Worlds in Collision, and it became a best seller. Like Diego Pirez, Velikovsky told his dreams to the public in language they could understand. His dreams were mythological stories of catastrophic events, gleaned from many cultures, especially from ancient Egypt and Israel. These catastrophes were interwoven with a weird history of planetary collisions. The planets Venus and Mars were supposed to have moved out of their regular orbits and collided with the Earth a few thousand years ago. Electromagnetic forces were invoked to counteract the normal effects of gravity. The human and cosmic events were tied together in a flowing narrative. Velikovsky wrote like an Old Testament prophet, calling down fire and brimstone from heaven, in a style familiar to Americans raised on the King James Bible. More best sellers followed: Ages in Chaos in 1952, Earth in Upheaval in 1955, Oedipus and Akhnaton in 1960. Velikovsky became famous as a writer and as a public speaker.

    In 1977 Velikovsky asked me to write a blurb advertising his new book, Peoples of the Sea. I wrote a statement addressed to him personally:

    First, as a scientist, I disagree profoundly with many of the statements in your books. Second, as your friend, I disagree even more profoundly with those scientists who have tried to silence your voice. To me, you are no reincarnation of Copernicus or Galileo. You are a prophet in the tradition of William Blake, a man reviled and ridiculed by his contemporaries but now recognized as one of the greatest of English poets. A hundred and seventy years ago, Blake wrote: “The Enquiry in England is not whether a Man has Talents and Genius, but whether he is Passive and Polite and a Virtuous Ass and obedient to Noblemen’s Opinions in Art and Science. If he is, he is a Good Man. If not, he must be starved.” So you stand in good company. Blake, a buffoon to his enemies and an embarrassment to his friends, saw Earth and Heaven more clearly than any of them. Your poetic visions are as large as his and as deeply rooted in human experience. I am proud to be numbered among your friends.

    I added the emphatic instruction, “This statement to be printed in its entirety or not at all.” A quick response came from Velikovsky. He said, “How would you like it if I said you were the reincarnation of Jules Verne?” He wanted to be honored as a scientist, not as a poet. My statement was not printed, and Peoples of the Sea became a best seller without my help. We remained friends, and in that same year he gave me a copy of his Diego Pirez poem, which I treasure as the truest expression of his spirit. I hope it will one day be adequately translated into English.

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The Global War to Spread the Enlightenment

Leon Hadar remids us that "it is difficult for Americans to understand that the so-called Enlightenment Project of the 18th Century — with its rejection of the received truth of religion and faith, of church and traditional authorities and its emphasis on individual rights and the liberating power of reason — which sparked a major philosophical and political revolution in the West and provided the ideological foundations for the establishment of the United States — has never become a unified and universal undertaking" — Disseminating American Ideals.

Nevertheless, "since the end of the Cold War, members of the American political and intellectual elites have been operating under the illusion that the rest of the world should and wants to be like them."

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tomás Luis de Victoria's Ne Timeas Maria, à 4, Sung by Al Ayre Español, Directed by Eduardo López Banzo

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John Duigan's Romero (1989)


Remembered today at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was Servant of God Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdamez, assassinated 32 years ago yesterday, and the 60,000 Salvadorans killed in that country's civil war.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Paul Hébert Performs "Le Printemps" and "Tu Es la Seule"




The New Beginning again with great music, this from "one of the foremost Bluegrass artist [sic] from the Maritime Provinces (Canada)," and "one of the rare Francophone artist [sic] in that musical style."

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The Christian Humanist Resistance

Front Porch Republic's Patrick Deneen reviews "a lucid historical and philosophical roadmap tracing the anti-humanism of the modern impulse of mastery, beginning – ironically enough – with the rise of so-called 'humanism,' a view that asserts the prospect of humanity’s control over nature and his own destiny" — Birzer Against the Machine.

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"Evangelical Scientism"

The Grey Lady's Philip Kitcher reviews a book advocating the "conviction that science can resolve all questions... known as 'scientism' — a label typically used pejoratively (as by Wieseltier), but one [that author] Rosenberg seizes as a badge of honor" — Alex Rosenberg’s ‘The Atheist’s Guide to Reality’.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Rhonda Vincent & The Rage Perform "Cry Of The Whippoorwill" and "Is The Grass Any Bluer?"

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Lenten Science

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What Happened That Night in Afghanistan?

Antiwar.com's Justin Raimondo questions the "semi-official story, as related by our compliant news media, ... that a formerly model soldier went bananas under the pressure of war-related injuries, financial problems at home, and the all-purpose PTSD explanation for military misbehavior, whereupon he decided – at 3 am in the morning, after drinking with his army buddies – to walk the couple of miles to an Afghan village, shoot 16 people sleeping in their beds, pile the bodies atop a funeral pyre and set the whole thing alight" — Robert Bales – Lone Nut or Scapegoat?

Speculating that the attacks may have been part of "a program of systematic terror designed to dry up support for the Taliban by driving up the costs of collaborating with them," Mr. Raimondo offers "two possibilities," namely "a 'rogue' group of soldiers acting on their own" or "a 'night raid' gone horribly wrong."

Corroborating Mr. Raimondo's suggestion that "[a]nother suspicious aspect of this whole affair is the extraordinary aura of secrecy surrounding" is cryptogon.com's report — After Massacre, Army Tried to Delete Accused Shooter from the Internet.

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War Is Peace

"The very idea that an organization principally designed to cause humanitarian disasters — for that is what war truly is — should be used to relieve human suffering is preposterous," writes Antiwar.com's Joel Poindexter — Humanitarian Aid Is Military Intervention.

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America's Last Decent President

He warned, "To align American ideals alongside Stalin will be as great a violation of everything American as to align ourselves with Hitler" — Communism Comes to America.

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The Sexual Revolution's Victims

MercatorNet's Paul Adams reviews a book that "deploy[s] a mass of empirical findings from the social sciences as well anecdotal and confessional testimony to examine the dark side of the sexual revolution" — Adam and Eve after the Pill.

"If it was so liberating, she asks, why are its supposed beneficiaries, especially women, unhappier than before? Why did the very effects that Pope Paul VI predicted in his much despised but (in her eyes, prophetic) 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, come to pass—an increase in infidelity and divorce, the objectification and degradation of women, abandonment of women and children, cohabitation, sexual promiscuity and increased abortion rates?"

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Julie Fowlis, Jenna Reid, Donal Lunny and the Transatlantic Sessions Band Perform "Biodh an Deoch Seo 'N Làimh Mo Rùin"

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Patriotism, not Nationalism

Front Porch Republic's Mark Mitchell offers a useful primer, reminding us that "love naturally begins with the small, local, and personal and emanates outward from there" — Patriotism vs. American Exceptionalism.

The late, great Joseph Sobran penned a great essay on the topic — Patriotism or Nationalism? An excerpt:
    Patriotism is like family love. You love your family just for being your family, not for being "the greatest family on earth" (whatever that might mean) or for being "better" than other families. You don't feel threatened when other people love their families the same way. On the contrary, you respect their love, and you take comfort in knowing they respect yours. You don't feel your family is enhanced by feuding with other families.

    While patriotism is a form of affection, nationalism, it has often been said, is grounded in resentment and rivalry; it's often defined by its enemies and traitors, real or supposed. It is militant by nature, and its typical style is belligerent. Patriotism, by contrast, is peaceful until forced to fight.

    The patriot differs from the nationalist in this respect too: he can laugh at his country, the way members of a family can laugh at each other's foibles. Affection takes for granted the imperfection of those it loves; the patriotic Irishman thinks Ireland is hilarious, whereas the Irish nationalist sees nothing to laugh about.

    The nationalist has to prove his country is always right. He reduces his country to an idea, a perfect abstraction, rather than a mere home. He may even find the patriot's irreverent humor annoying.

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"Prospects for a Right-Left Alliance in the Fight Against Empire"

Antiwar.com's Kelley B. Vlahos reports back from "a panel exploring the common ground between the Right and Left" — A Turn Right at the Left Forum.

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Congressman Ron Paul vs. Attorney General Eric Holder

The former chastises the latter for "a speech earlier this month in which he demolished what was left of the rule of law in America" — Demolishing Due Process. "In what history likely will record as a turning point, Holder bluntly explained that this administration believes it has the authority to use lethal force against Americans if the president determines them to be a threat to the nation."

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"Right-Leaning Gays"

B.P. Terpstra, after declaring that "yes, they exist," explains that they "dismiss pretend marriage-equality arguments because they’re unbalanced" — Gays Against Gay Marriage.

"An opposite-sex union offers children a gender-balanced model of family (meaning one father and one mother), and we all know that even ninety-nine great moms can never replace a real father," he writes. "Designing motherless and fatherless 'marriages' is deliberate."

Speaking of "right-leaning gays" and "gays against gay marriage," some pieces penned by Justin RaimondoGay Marriage: An Oxymoron, The Libertarian Case Against Gay Marriage, , Gay Marriage Sucks!

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Kathy Shaidle's Guide to the "Manosphere"

By way of the fact that "the weirdly named Southern Poverty Law Center (or '$PLC' as one of its dogged critics prefers) have been courageously, er, browsing the Internet and have uncovered a potentially devastating threat to not only America’s females, but its national security" — Turning Cads Into Klansmen. Weird.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Gillian Welch & David Rawlings Perform "Time (The Revelator)"

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Remember the Old Republic?

  • Justin Raimondo hails the "old-fashioned liberal" Glenn Greenwald whose new "book on our two-tiered justice system... explicitly harkens back to an era in which the brazenly unequal application of justice was unthinkable" — Unequal Justice. "Greenwald’s book, in tandem with the Ron Paul campaign and the growing libertarian youth movement, is yet another sign that the fighting spirit of the Old Republic isn’t dead, even on the ostensible left."

  • Karen Joy Greenberg says "it looks like we can expect the Obama administration to continue to barrel down the path that has already taken us far from the country we used to be," detailing "five categories in the sphere of national security where 2012 is likely to prove even grimmer than 2011" — A New Age of Enemies. She laments that "the legal gray zone Washington has, over the course of a decade, plunged us into — and everything that goes with it, including punitive measures, attempts to bypass constitutional guarantees, the spread of secrecy and surveillance, a growing distrust of American citizens, and straightforward killing — isn’t something we will soon put behind us."
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    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and the Transantlantic Sessions Band Perform "Glenntáinn Ghlas' Ghaoth"

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    Thoughts on Today's Parade

    The Rochester St. Patrick's Day Parade was a smashing success, thanks in great part to the unseasonably warm weather — St. Patrick's Day Parade draws a crowd. Before the parade started, the fundagelical element was out dourly trying to spread its insidious doctrines among the largely Catholic crowd. (Rochester, New York is two-thirds Catholic.) At the same time, a good Catholic man was joyfully handing out pamphlets extolling the holiness of St. Patrick. While Christopher Hitchens would have predicted a lynching, the multitudes just laughed at the Prots, and felt a bit off-put by their shallow enthusiasm.

    Then, the parade began! Following the leprechaun who led the parade was His Excellency Bishop Matthew Harvey Clark, the Grand Marshall, an appropriate beginning to what was in essence a religious procession. Next came a contingent from the United States Coast Guard, whom I cheered as the one branch of the military that actually defends us. Then came the various Veterans of Foreign Wars, whom I saluted not as heroes but as victims of their own worst enemy, their government. There was only one WWII guy left, showing how far that conflagration is receding into history.

    With all the red-white-and-blue, I was half-expecting a Soviet-style procession of tanks and missiles to follow, but fortunately, instead we were treated to every Monroe County, New York Irish dance academy, marching band, drum and pipes corps, fife and drums corps, fire and police department. Marching also were scores of foreign nationals, Canadians to be exact, reminding me of the time I marched with South Davis Elementary's renowned marching band in Hamilton, Ontario, long before the days of enhanced driver's licences.

    If there's one bit of advice I could give to the Ancient Order of Hibernians it would be to make their corporate sponsors actually do something interesting! Who wants to see a company's minivan with a couple of shamrock stickers and some employees with green t-shirts walking and waving behind it? Give us something to look at! At least the Genesee Beer float had three gals dressed as Miss Jenny, pictured below:

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    Credo in Sanctorum Communionem... but not Rick Santorum

    Like Daniel Nichols, I'd never vote for the guy — The Anointed One: Santorum, the Subculture, and Me. But to say that "choos[ing] Rick Santorum for president is to choose Nation over Church, this world over heaven, and Mammon over God," while a great turn of phrase, is a tad hyperbolic.

    Not long ago, so-called conservative Catholics were saying similar things about voting for Barack Hussein Obama. Then, the issue was abortion, and ironically Sick Rantorum's support for the ghoulish Arlen Specter is the prime example of the G.O.P.'s lack of seriousness when it comes to abortion (save for "seamless garment" Congressman Ron Paul).

    So-called liberal Catholics (Mr. Nichols, to his credit, is a radical) tend to cite Catholic Social Teaching in their support for the Big O. (They cited Just War Doctrine until their man took up the Bush mantel.) I hate to say it, but the neocons are right that these areas, clear as they are on paper, are fuzzy when applied to real life. What if the Austrian School is right and minimum wage laws hurt the poor? What if, God forbid, Franklin D. Roosevelt was right about his war, as the vast majority of Americans believe he was? The neocons are right that abortion is simple and clear, but wrong that the Republicans would do anything to overturn it.

    One of the great things about Catholicism is that it's big enough to contain both Francisco Franco and Archbishop Oscar Romero, if I might compare a man of the sword to a man of God. The fascist and the socialist can find a home here. The aristocrat and the anarchist can sit at the same table, as once did Evelyn Waugh and Dorothy Day.

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    American Freedoms


    "[T]he liberties of the American people [are] dependent upon the ballot-box, the jury-box, and the cartridge-box; that without these no class of people could live and flourish in this country" — Frederick Douglass, at whose grave here in town I have yet to pay my respects.

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    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Nollaig Casey, Aly Bain, Sarah Jarosz, and Russ Barenberg Perform "Lios Na Banriona / The Cross Reel"

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    Why So Little Outrage in Afghanistan?

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    Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo

    The American Conservative's Noah Millman reviews a recent production — Brecht’s Galileo: Hero or Anti-Hero? An excerpt:
      Brecht wrote the first draft of his play in 1938, at a moment when Nazi ascendancy justified a deep pessimism about progressivism and rationality’s ability to triumph in the world, when the world really did seem to need heroes for the cause of reason more than cold-eyed rationalists. He wrote the American version (in collaboration with Charles Laughton) shortly after the Americans dropped the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a moment that justified apprehension at a minimum about whether the progress of science as such was good for the progress of human flourishing. In different ways, each was a moment when the themes that Galileo represented—progress, science, reason—could be questioned. Would they triumph? Should they triumph?

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    Republican Christianity and Augustinian Christianity

    The American Conservative's D.G. Hart makes the case that "the form of devotion—let’s call it 'republican Christianity'—that has been most eager to assert the relevance of faith for the affairs of this world was also the one most responsible for secularizing Protestantism, while the other form of piety—designated here 'Augustinian Christianity'—which objected least to the apparent secularization of American life, was the one that took faith in all its details most seriously" — Church Not State. "The lesson is, don’t let appearances deceive: the Americans who are the most devout may be the ones least likely to talk about their faith openly."

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    My Day at Work

    It began with the campus-wide lock-down Virginia Tech perhaps should have imposed — Umbrella mistaken as weapon on campus. It ended with a lot of laughs.

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    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars Perform "Safe & Sound"


    The New Beginning brings us more good music. Glad to see this young lass go off the reservation and make some serious music.

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    The Pogues with Katie Melua Perform "Fairytale Of New York"


    "Sean [sic] MacGowan's still alive and poor Kirsty MacColl, who did the Fairytale of New York Christmas duet with him, was run over by a Mexican billionaire's speedboat," informs Steve Sailer in his comments left on the post immediately below this one. Judging from the above-posted video, I don't know if "alive" is the word I would use to describe Shane MacGowan.

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    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    The Pogues Perform "If I Should Fall From Grace With God"

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    My New Stomping Ground


    I don't get out much, and in the two times I've been out in the seven months since moving back home from abroad, it's been to McGraw's Irish Pub, within walking distance across the border in East Rochester, NY. I'm only an Irish quadroon, and not even really a huge aficionado of Irish music (despite what a two-decade-old photo of me three sheets to the wind with Tommy Makem at his bar in NYC might suggest), but as a fan of anything acoustic and authentic, this place is definitely the most happening place I've found that I can safely walk to and from.

    The first time I went there was with the extended family on the eve of Christmas Eve. The fish 'n' chips took forever in coming, and in the meantime musicians kept pouring in until there were more than a dozen, of all ages, playing Irish folk tunes and Christmas carols. It seems Western New York, the Southern Tier, and the rest of Upstate New York is a hotbed for Irish music.

    Last weekend, I returned with a childhood friend whom I had not seen since the Second Millennium. We strolled over there and again, the music was authentic and acoustic. A smaller band, again of all ages, alternated between covers of The Pogues' greatest hits and Irish Republican Army. During the break, we chatted up the fiddle player, whose gams and fiddling we had been admiring. ("Casado pero no castrado," as a Nuyorican friend used to say.) It turned out the fiddler was married, like us, and the old singer in the band was her father (with whom we later had a fine conversation) and there were a couple of uncles and cousins in the band, too. They were visiting from Downstate.

    I asked the missus to accompany me there this Saturday on a date.

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    Run, Ron, Run... from the G.O.P.!


    "Is Ron Paul running for president in the wrong party?" asks the great Justin Raimondo, arguing rightly that " the Paulians must make a decision: either break free of the bonds of the GOP, or else face a future of dwindling political fortunes" — Ron Paul’s Hour of Decision.

    "While Paul regularly invokes the 'Old Right' and the legacy of Robert A. Taft and the Taft Republicans, this tradition has been long forgotten by Republican voters – and deliberately buried and disdained by the party’s intellectuals, such as they are, who regularly rail against 'isolationism' and hail FDR and Winston Churchill as their chosen icons"

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    Libertarian Traditionalism

  • Rod Dreher (yeah, I know) on the monarch who "has spent much of his life, and indeed his fortune, supporting, sometimes provocatively, traditionalist ideals and causes" — Philosopher Prince. Scroll down for the comments by the "libertarian traditionalist" who rightly states, "The liberty of the common man, to be free of the dominance of both state bureaucracy and of patronizing domination by the local aristocracy, goes by the same name."

  • "What if that mode of liberal abstraction becomes the legacy which our own political community, through its habits and customs, its precedents and institutions, bequeaths to us?" ponders Front Porch Republic's Mark A. Signorelli — A Burke for Our Times.
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    Americanist Myths Debunked

  • Front Porch Republic's Darryl Hart reminds us that "the American academy, like every one of its peers and predecessors, is built upon hierarchies that should have taken down the American myth of equality at least 140 years ago when the research university set the pace for higher education and elevated the Ph.D. to its esteemed rank" — Egalitarian Elites and the Academic Dilemma.

  • Paul Gottfried lambastes "non-American multiculturalists who are upset that we haven’t all swallowed our own poisons" — Three Flavors of Modern Anti-Americanism. "If we’re unhappy that anti-American foreigners take our stupidities seriously, let’s stop sending them our entertainment and leftist political tracts."

  • Steve Sailer links to "George Mason libertarian economist Bryan Caplan attack[ing] something I said over on his blog" — Bryan Caplan v. Me. Mr. Sailer in an uncharacteristic moment of muddied thinking, let loose with the canard that "if there were a big war, it would be nice to be defended by all those dreary Americans you despise," which Mr. Caplan deftly debunks.

  • "The Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers question the presumption that the U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan is necessary for American or Afghan peace" — Kandahar ‘Killing-Spree’ Militarism.
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    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Gillian Welch's "Orphan Girl" Performed by Crooked Still


    The great Gillian Welch, herself an adopted daughter, who Wikipedia tells us "attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she majored in songwriting," penned these incredibly moving lyrics:
      I am a orphan on God's highway
      but I'll share my troubles
      if you go my way
      I have no mother, no father, no sister, no brother
      I am an orphan girl

      I have had friendships pure and golden
      but the ties of kinship
      I have not known them
      I know no mother, no father, no sister, no brother
      I am an orphan girl

      But when He calls me I will be able
      to meet my family at God's table
      I'll meet my mother, my father, my sister, my brother
      no more an orphan girl

      So Blessed Savior make me willing
      and walk beside me until I'm with them
      be my mother, be my father, be my sister, be my brother
      no more an orphan girl

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    The Heroic Herbert Hoover

    "When Roosevelt put America in to help Russia as Hitler invaded Russia in June, 1941[, w]e should have let those two bastards annihilate themselves," said the great Quaker, on "what should be the first chapter" of "a book outlining the most significant blunders of statesmen" — Freedom Betrayed.

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    "War Time"

    The John Birch Society's Dennis Fuller on the "growing number of people think [who] it’s an insane practice and argue for its abolition" — Time to Repeal Daylight Saving Time?

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    Hey, Married Guys!

    Gavin McInnes of Taki's Magazine, who "thought getting married was going to be like having a live-in sex slave, but [realized] it’s just as hard picking up chicks at home as it was in the clubs," shares his very helpful "10 simple tips that can help you score with even the most out-of-your-league wife" — How to Tap the Missus.

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    El Sistema Comes to Harlem

    Out of Venezuela comes a "musical movement [that] can help overcome material poverty through the spiritual resources (goals and identity, virtues, self esteem) it opens up to children who feel deprived not only of possessions but, more importantly, of personal worth" — A musical path out of poverty.

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    Friday, March 9, 2012

    Giovanni Pergolesi's Stabat Mater Dolorosa Performed by Anna Netrebko, Marianna Pizzolato, Staatskapelle Dresden, Directed by Bertrand De Billy

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    Ecclesia Militans

  • Reminding us that "Christianity has proven time and again to be the most resilient force against totalitarianism," The John Birch Society's Bruce Walker writes about a document "[u]niquely not written in Latin but rather in ordinary German so that every German could read it... smuggled into Germany and reprinted so that it could be read from every Catholic pulpit on Palm Sunday" — Mitt brennender Sorge: 75th Anniversary of Encyclical Criticizing Nazism.

  • "The church has spent nearly two millennia crushing attempts by secular rulers to dictate the way it carries out its charitable ministries," the Young Fogey reminds us — Obama and HHS: do these people know who they’re messing with?
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    Laputan Astronomy

    Immanuel Velikovsky shows how Jonathan Swift knew of the existence of the tiny Moons of Mars a century-and-a-half before they were discovered in 1877 — On Prediction in Science. An excerpt:
      Jonathan Swift, in his Gulliver’s Travels (1726) tells of the astronomers of the imaginary land of the Laputans who asserted they had discovered that the planet Mars has “two lesser stars, or satellites, which revolve about Mars, whereof the innermost is distant from the center of the primary planet exactly three of [its] diameters, and the outermost Five; the former revolves in the space of ten hours, and the latter in twenty-one-and-a-half; so that the squares of their periodical times are very near in the same proportion with the cubes of their distance from the center of Mars, which evidently shows them to be governed by the same law of gravitation that influences the other heavenly bodies.”

      About this passage a literature of no mean number of authors grew in the years after 1877, when Asaph Hall, a New England carpenter turned astronomer, discovered the two trabants of Mars. They are between five and ten miles in diameter. They revolve on orbits close to their primary and in very short times: actually the inner one, Phobos, makes more than three revolutions in the time it takes Mars to complete one rotation on its axis; and were there intelligent beings on Mars they would need to count two different months according to the number of satellites (this is no special case – Jupiter has twelve moons and Saturn ten), and also observe one moon ending its month three times in one Martian day. It is a singular case in the solar system among the natural satellites that a moon completes one revolution before its primary finishes one rotation.

      Swift ascribed to the Laputans some amazing knowledge – actually he himself displayed, it is claimed, an unusual gift of foreknowledge. The chorus of wonderment can be heard in the evaluation of C. P. Olivier in his article “Mars” written for the Encyclopedia Americana (1943):

      “When it is noted how very close Swift came to the truth, not only in merely predicting two small moons but also the salient features of their orbits, there seems little doubt that this is the most astounding ’prophecy’ of the past thousand years as to whose full authenticity there is not a shadow of doubt.”
    And the explanation of this "prophecy" invites even more wonder:
      Swift, being an ecclesiastical dignitary and a scholar, not just a satirist, could have learned of Kepler’s passage about two satellites of Mars; he could also have learned of them in Homer and Virgil where they are described in poetic language (actually, Asaph Hall named the discovered satellites by the very names the flaming trabants of Mars were known by from Homer and Virgil); and it is also not inconceivable that Swift learned of them in some old manuscript dating from the Middle Ages and relating some ancient knowledge from Arabian, or Persian, or Hindu, or Chinese sources.

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    Thursday, March 8, 2012

    The Band's "The Weight" Performed by Emmylou Harris, Old Crow Medicine Show, Gillian Welch, Steve Earle, et al.

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    President Barack Hussein Obama's Finest Hour

    Patrick J. Buchanan rightly praises the presidential admonition that "[t]hose who are ... beating the drums of war should explain clearly to the American people what they think the costs and benefits would be" — Is the GOP Becoming a War Party?

    Mr. Buchanan also quotes Congressman Ron Paul as saying that President Obama is "closer to my position than the other candidates, because what the other Republicans are saying is reckless."

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    "The Divorce Counterrevolution"

    Eve Tushnet perceptively explains that while "young Americans typically express both fear and a moral horror at divorce," "the divorce counterrevolution has only weakened our marriage culture more" — Divorce Dilemma.

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    Modernity's Debased View of Woman's Equality

      The brouhaha, the flap, over Rush Limbaugh’s latest demented diatribe is nothing more than half a century of Republican outrage that women might be as smart and capable as men. If they are that smart, the male-dominated world—the patriarchal domain of the past—is utterly destroyed by the fact of equality between men and women. And nothing renders that equality more visibly than the issue of by women’s reproductive rights—not their education.
    So begins CounterPuncher Charles R. Larson, who claims to be "old enough to remember when contraceptive pills first became available in the early 1960s and the deadlock that immediately resulted: women felt liberated, men (especially white men, who still had all the power) felt threatened" — Women as Wallpaper.

    Leaving aside the reality that "women’s reproductive rights" had the deeper effect of liberating men from their social and moral responsibilities towards women and children, giving them licence to act like pigs, does "the fact of equality between men and women" (undisputed) really depend on recent advances in technology?

    Leaving behind the confused musings of this "Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University," let us turn to something profound and exalted written in the IVth Century of the Christian Era:
      "In Christ Jesus," says the Apostle, "there is neither male nor female." Yet Scripture says that mankind was divided that way. It follows that our nature is constructed on a twofold plan: united in the common possession of human nature, by which man is like to God; yet divided into the two sexes. There is a hint of this truth contained in the order of the expressions which Scripture uses. The first account says, "God created man, to the image of God he created him"; but when the account is repeated, something is added: "male and female he made them"; and the latter division is not one of the characteristics of God.

      In this passage Holy Scripture contains, it seems to me, a deep and profound lesson, namely, that man's nature lies midway between two extremes between the divine, incorporeal nature, and the irrational nature of the brute creation. Examine the compound which is man and you will find that he has a share in each of these opposite elements. From the divine nature we receive reason and understanding, which are not divided according to sex; from the irrational nature of the brutes, we receive our bodily structure, divided into male and female. Each of these two elements is to be found complete in every human being. From the order of the account of man's first creation we learn that in man power of understanding takes first place, while his sharing in the nature of the brute creation, his similarity to the brutes, is something super added. First we are told that "God made man to his own image and likeness," to indicate that, as the Apostle says, in God there is neither male nor female; then a special characteristic is added to human nature ­male and female he made them."

      What lesson are we to learn from this? I would ask the reader's indulgence if I go back some way to explain the point we are discussing. God is, by his very nature, all the good it is possible to conceive; or rather he surpasses in goodness all that it is possible for our minds to understand or grasp. And his reason for creating human life is simply this because he is good. Such being the nature of God, and such the one reason why he undertook the work of making man, there were to be no half measures when he set about to show forth the power of his goodness. He would not give a mere part of what was his own, and grudge to share the rest. The very utmost limit of goodness is displayed in this work of bringing man into being out of nothing, this heaping on man of all that is good. In fact, so many are the benefits bestowed on every man that it would be no easy task to list them all. And so Holy Scripture sums all up in one phrase by saying that man was created to the image of God; which is the equivalent of saying that God made human nature a sharer in all that is good.

      Now, one of these good things is freedom. Man is not subject to any overmastering yoke of necessity. We are our own masters, to choose what seems good to us. Virtue is something we choose for ourselves, not something forced upon us from outside . . . But if an image bears in every point the impress of the beauty of the Prototype, it can no longer be called an image at all, but is the very Prototype itself, since there is no means of telling the two apart. Wherein, then, lies the distinction between God and the image of God? In this: that God is uncreated, the image of God created. This difference gives rise in turn to other differences. All are agreed that the uncreated Nature is also unchangeable, while for a created nature to exist is to change. The very passage from not being to being is a kind of movement, a kind of change. By the will of God that which was not begins to be... that which came into being through change has a natural affinity to change. And so the Creator, who, as the prophet says, knows all things before they come to be, when he created man saw, or rather foresaw what human nature would incline to, following its self-determining, self‑mastering power. And as he looked upon the creature that was to be, he added to his image and likeness the division into male and female. To this division nothing corresponds in the divine archetype.

      It is borrowed as I have said, from the nature of irrational creatures. The true reason for this additional structure is something that could only be given by those who had received a view of the truth, and handed it down to us in inspired Scripture. All we can do is to give the best picture we can, based on conjecture and likelihood. We shall give it not as the last word on the subject, but as a sort of exercise, submitted to the reader's kind consideration. Our suggestion is this: when Scripture says that God created man, this indefinite expression man means universal human nature. Adam is not yet named as the new creature, as he is later on in the account. The creature is called man ‑not any particular man, but man in general. This general, term, used for the nature created, indicates that God by his foreknowledge included the whole human race in this first fashioning. We may not suppose that anything made by God is left indefinite. Every actual creature must have some definite measure of perfection assigned to it by the wisdom of its Maker and just as an individual man is made with a body of a definite size, enclosing his human nature within the limits of a definite quantity, namely, the dimensions of his body, so it seems to me the whole range of humanity was enclosed, as it were, in one body by the foreknowledge of the God of all things. This is what Scripture intends to convey by saying that God made man and made him to the image of God. The gracious gift of likeness to God was not given to a mere section of humanity, to one individual man; no, it is a perfection that finds its way in equal measure to every member of the human race. This is shown by the fact that all men possess ‑ mind. Everybody has the power to think and plan, as well as all the other powers that appear distinctively in creatures that mirror the divine nature. On this score there is no difference between the first man that ever was and the last that ever will be all bear the stamp of divinity. Thus the whole of humanity was named as one man, since for the Divine Power there is neither past nor future. What is still to come, no less than what is now, is governed by his universal sway.

      The whole of human nature, then, from the first man to the last, is but one image of him who is. The division into male and female was something super-added to the work, made, it seems to me, for the reasons I have given.
    So wrote St. Gregory of Nyssa, quoted by Henri-Marie Cardinal de Lubac in the first appendix to his Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man.

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    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Gillian Welch Performs "The Way It Goes" and "Dark Turn of Mind"

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    I'm a One Issue Voter

    And Antiwar.com's Ivan Eland identifies what that issue is and why I'm a Ron Paul supporter — America Is a Great Country, but Its Attitude Overseas Needs Work.

    Having lived a total of more than sixteen years overseas, I am not "oblivious to data that clearly show that the United States has been the most aggressive nation in the world during the postwar period" nor do I "just assume that such intervention was justified because America was (and always seems to be) 'in the right.'" Mr. Eland concludes:
      If Americans had greater exposure to all of these historical and more recent U.S. government actions against foreign peoples [which he documents] — and they rarely do — perhaps they would be more ashamed of their government’s policy and would pressure their leaders to be more restrained abroad in the future.
    We are a great country, which is why I moved back. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else (including, to be fair, anywhere else in the United States).

    Sure, we have issues and disagreements here at home, but let's work them out here at home. Let governors, senators, congressmen, mayors, and dog catchers debate the social and economic issues that seem to divide us (but would not if the localism of a President Ron Paul were allowed to take root.) Presidential politics, with the exception of Ron Paul, is about everything but the one issue which the executive branch dominates and about which there is unfortunate bipartisanship: foreign policy.

    The "foreign entanglements" George Washington's Farewell Address warned us about are not only morally wrong, they are draining our blood and treasure. The Confoederatio Helvetica successfully took inspiration from our system of government; it's high time we returned to a foreign policy similar to hers — The Original American Foreign Policy.

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    The Constitution As It Was

    The American Conservative's Thomas Woods reviews a new book that "[i]s in effect a clause-by-clause analysis of the Constitution but the only sources the author will admit are the records of the Philadelphia Convention, the records of the state ratifying conventions, The Federalist, and the essays of various Antifederalists" — How to Read the Constitution.

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    The Honorable Dennis Kucinich Loses His Primary


    And Steve Sailer, who confesses that he "never quite got his appeal," suggests that "the old dog must have had something going for him, as judging by Mrs. Kucinich [pictured above], who now has time to fulfill her rightful destiny of starring in a syndicated TV show entitled 'Boadicea, Warrior Queen'" — Mr. and Mrs. Kucinich.

    The American Conservative's Daniel McCarthy, on a more serious notes, is "sorry to see Dennis Kucinich lose his primary fight to stay in Congress... because of what he stood for, above all his strong antiwar convictions, but also because Congress will be a flatter, duller place without him, one more easily managed by the fungus-like leadership in both parties" — Missing Kucinich. Mr McCarthy begins with this insightful comment:
      America has reached the point where its politics are conformist and polarized at the same time. That’s maybe not such a paradox: when there’s little substantive disagreement between the party of Obamacare and the party of Romneycare, the party of foreign intervention and the other party of foreign intervention, what’s left to draw voters to the polls other than appeals to myth and resentment? Thus Obama, a civil-liberties wrecking corporatist of exactly the same mold as George W. Bush, has to be believed to be an Alinskyite radical, a Third World communist; while anyone who doesn’t want to pay for other people’s contraceptives must be a blazing misogynist and would-be theocrat. It’s not that the cultural differences between the gangs aren’t real — though they arguably aren’t cultural — but that the acrimony masks a fundamental consensus over the shape of the economy, the power of the state, the servility of the citizen, and hegemony over the globe.

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    Tuesday, March 6, 2012

    Sarah Jarosz, Alex Hargreaves & Nathanial Smith Perform "Tell Me True"

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    Deprogramming the New Atheist Cult

    "How did such intolerance become acceptable to rational minds?" asks Bryan Appleyard, an agnostic, in his debunking of "a tyrannical sect, content to whip up a mob mentality" — The God wars.

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    Straight Talk About Iranian Nukes

    "Fears of a bomb in Tehran’s hands are overhyped," writes Paul R. Pillar, "and a war to prevent it would be a disaste" — We Can Live with a Nuclear Iran.

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    Monday, March 5, 2012

    Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three Perform "La La Blues," "Pack It Up," and "Head To Toe"

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    A Local Treasure


    News that the "artistic treasure saved from the wrecking ball in the Ontario County village of Clifton Springs more than 40 years ago is once again in the spotlight, getting a long-overdue restoration" — Tiffany treasure rediscovered. "Repairs to a rare 6-by-16-foot colored-glass mosaic depicting the Last Supper, created by the renowned studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany, are expected to be completed by Easter Sunday."

    Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts Movement are reminders that all need not have been lost.

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    Pope Ratzinger, Libertarian

    One can almost come to that conclusion reading between the lines of Sandro Magister's latest— "Concilium" Criticizes the Pope: He's with the Capitalists.

    The criticism is that "in the past... the Church had maintained a certain balance between appreciation and criticism of the capitalist system, to the point of demonstrating 'a fondness for a socially correct market economy, with a preference for the German Rhineland model over the Anglo-Saxon type of capitalism,' [but] today this balance has broken down." While this "pro-market shift is attributed to the current pontiff," also tellingly lamented is the Magisterium itself and its "almost convulsive effort to avoid any sort of identification of Catholic social thought with social democracy or with the state that provides social assistance."

    The author counters that such criticism "appear[s] to be characterized theologically by a 'leftist conservatism,' which has not yet taken into account the collapse of the Berlin Wall and its anti-monarchical lesson, against the overweening power of the state and of politics." He boldly concludes that these partisans "reproduce in the social sphere the traditionalist rejection of religious freedom: a rejection that is also rigorously statist, motivated in defense of 'iustitia in veritate' against the free choice of the erroneous conscience in good faith."

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    The Militarization of American Society

  • "The president would like everyone to salute and obey," argues The American Conservative's Ted Galen Carpenter — Enlisting America. The author argues that "the president’s crude invocations of a military template and his call for American society to conform to that ideal do more than just underscore his authoritarian personality," but "reflect a much deeper problem since his strategy is designed to exploit a growing tendency in American culture to worship the military and martial values—especially the emphasis on unity, order, and decisive action."

  • Antiwar.com's Stephan Salisbury notes that the "homeland security state" has spawned "a bleak domestic no man’s land marked by tanks and drones, robot bomb detectors, grenade launchers, tasers, and most of all, interlinked video surveillance cameras and information databases growing quietly on unobtrusive server farms everywhere" — Weaponizing the Body Politic. "The chances of an American dying in a terrorist incident in a given year are 1 in 3.5 million. To reduce that risk, to make something minuscule even more minuscule, what has the nation spent? What has it cost us?"
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    Bibi Go Home!

    "The prime minister of Israel is angry with Barack Obama and is coming here to force a hardening of U.S. policy toward Iran," begins Pat Buchanan, who rightly noted in 1990 that "Capitol Hill is Israeli occupied territory" — Will Bibi Break Obama? Mr. Buchanan's conclusion:
      S.R. 380 points directly toward a U.S. war on Iran.

      Who wants that war? Netanyahu, his government, and his allies in U.S. politics and the press, and in a Congress that gave him 29 standing ovations the last time he spoke there.

      Who does not want a war?

      The White House, the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs, the intelligence community, the antiwar left and Old Right, and millions of Americans who believe a U.S. war on Iran could ignite a sectarian and regional war that could prove catastrophic for the Middle East, the world economy and the United States of America.

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    Sunday, March 4, 2012

    Arvo Pärt's Bogoróditse Djévo and Magnificat Sung by the Taipei Chamber Singers Directed by Chen Yun-Hung

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    Marx Was Right


    "The west wasted trillions in needless conflict with the USSR" and now is "being brainwashed into confrontation with Iran," writes The Guardian's Simon Jenkins — We are fighting Islamism from ignorance, as we did the cold war.

    Karl Marx's quip, "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce," comes to mind.

    Mr. Jenkins is right that at least it can be argued that "the cold war was a good war, a Manichean struggle between competing visions of how to order humanity." (He demonstrates how it was, in reality, "one of the great mistakes of all time, and a horrific waste of resources.") What hardly even needs to be argued is that the conflict "against political Islam... was caused by western leaders exaggerating a threat from a tiny group of terrorists to win popularity in war."

    The only thing more dumbfounding than the fact that neocons like Sick Rantorum continue to sell this nonsense is that a significant number of citizens are still buying it.

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    More Neoconnerie

    The John Birch Society's Thomas R. Eddlem, writing for the The New American, exposes the candidate who "has been among the most hawkish of the GOP presidential candidates on foreign policy" and whose "campaign website describes Iran almost in apocalyptic terms" — Rick Santorum: How Conservative Is He?

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    The Syria Narrative

    The LRC Blog's Daniel McAdams and Charles Featherstone have two must-read posts on the subject — Western Lies, Bloodlust, and Hypocrisy: The Syrian Endgame and What Happens in Homs...

    "The mainstream Western media relies for virtually all of its information regarding events in Syria on... advocacy/propaganda outlets with shadowy connections to Western governments and their self-described agenda is to bring down the Syrian government," reminds Mr. McAdams. "A normal person with normal intelligence would automatically view any information disseminated by such a group as suspicious — particularly as none of them are actually based in Syria," he writes, citing "the kind of reporting that for any student of basic journalism would throw up an ocean of red flags."

    In the second piece, this "curious question for interventionists of all stripes regarding Syria" is posed by Mr. Featherstone: "What is the difference between what the Syrian army did in Homs and what the U.S. military did in Fallujah? And why?"

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