Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Little Bird, Passenger, Flowers, Venn Diagram, O Sleep, A Sail, Paper House, Teeth, Lille, What'll I Do, Tonight You Belong To Me, Knots


... performed by Lisa Hannigan, whom I leave you in my absence; see you at the end of the first week of June.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Claudio Monteverdi's Beatus Vir, Confitebor and Laudate Dominum Performed by Vox Scaniensis

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How George W. Bush Won Five Nobel Peace Prizes

... for other people; just one of the interesting insights in Jay Nordlinger's article — Peace Prize Follies. The exceprt:
    When announcing the award for Jimmy Carter in 2002, the Nobel chairman made a noteworthy statement to the press. He said that the award “should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current Administration has taken. It’s a kick in the leg to all who follow the same line as the United States.” The Administration was that of George W. Bush. And the chairman was referring to Bush’s “line” in the War on Terror. “Kick in the leg” is a Norwegian way of saying “poke in the eye” or “slap in the face.” There would be other awards that involved a kick in the leg to the 43rd President.

    In fact, you could say there were as many as five: the Nobel in 2001 (announced shortly after 9/11) to the United Nations and its then-Secretary General, Kofi Annan; the 2002 award to Carter; the 2005 award to the International Atomic Energy Agency and its then-Director General, Mohamed ElBaradei; the 2007 award to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, along with Al Gore; and the 2009 award to the new President, Barack Obama. These were not strictly anti-Bush Nobels. But they were Nobels that contained a reaction to Bush.

    Why did Obama win? In brief, because he was an American President after the committee’s own heart, a man who apparently shared their worldview. If George W. Bush was their nightmare President—and he was—Obama was their dream President. If they could design an American President from scratch, he would turn out much like Barack Obama. Their Nobel to him blessed a new day. But what did the committee think of Obama’s Nobel lecture, in which some saw Reinhold Niebuhr’s Christian realism? This is not necessarily a committee point of view.

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When the West Was Young

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Non-Hate Crimes

"It was a tough week for racial witch hunters," writes Gavin McInnes — My 10 Favorite Hate-Crime Hoaxesy. He continues:
    In fact, it’s been a tough quarter-century for them. Reality keeps knocking the liberal media off its high horse. When they picked up the Trayvon Martin case, hordes of TV dupes donned hoods and said they, too, were all young black kids being murdered by racist vigilantes. Then we find out Zimmerman is some kind of Peruvian Jew and may have had his ass kicked by Trayvon before the shooting, so they drop it. They wanted Dharun Ravi to go jail for ten years for the hate crime of pranking his roommate, but the evidence left him serving 30 days for “colossal insensitivity.” When blacks are randomly assassinated in Oklahoma, the left quickly goes mute when they discover one of the shooters is Cherokee.

    When a white couple is raped and dismembered in Knoxville, the media is suddenly deaf, dumb, and blind. When children get gang-raped but the bad guys are Muslim, even the police won’t touch it.

    This kind of naiveté would be laughable if it wasn’t so deadly. In Louisiana, the Jena 6 were duped into pulverizing a kid based on a noose incident the media wrongly determined was about race. This fake story had a domino effect and years later we’re left with jail time and lawsuits. Countless violent attacks were committed on behalf of Trayvon, at least two of which left their victims (Dallas Watts and Matthew Owens) comatose.
Click on the link for the links to the stories and to "ten examples of fabricated 'hate crimes' that fuck it up for those of us living in the real world."

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Love, Marriage, Sex, Children

"A world in which sexual intimacy could not produce children would never have come up with the idea of marriage," argues Prof. Stephen J. Heaney — A thought experiment about marriage.

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Federal Agents Provacatuers

Brian LaSorsa reminds us that the "phenomenon of government agents aggressively egging on violent ideas is an increasingly frequent tactic used to turn useful idiots into national headlines" — The Federal Bureau of Entrapment.

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Groping With the Best of Them

From cryptogon.com comes this news of a new position for "a Catholic priest who was removed from the ministry over sex abuse allegations" — Defrocked Priest Now TSA Supervisor at Philadelphia International Airport. Who'd have thought such skills would be so transferable?

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lisa Hannigan Performs "Lille"

    He went to sea for the day
    He wanted to know what to say
    When he's asked what he'd done
    In the past to someone
    That he loves endlessly
    Now she's gone, so is he

    I went to war every morning
    I lost my way but now I'm following
    What you said in my arms
    What I read in the charms
    That I love durably
    Now it's dead and gone and I am free
    I went to sleep for the daytime
    I shut my eyes to the sunshine
    Turned my head away from the noise
    Bruise and drip decay of childish toys
    That I loved arguably
    All our labouring gone to seed

    Went out to play for the evening
    We wanted to hold onto the feeling
    On the stretch in the sun
    And our breathlessness as we run
    To the beach endlessly
    As the sun creeps up on the sea

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"Manufacturing Consent"

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Remember Desi Arnaz?

Steve Sailer reminds us that "the all encompassing, prevalent, institutional, personal racism of the Anglo (non Latino white) majority" spoken of by Matthew Yglesias is "what caused the tragic lynching of Desi Arnaz in 1951 during the attempted filming of the first episode of the never-aired 'I Love Lucy' series" — The Lynching of Desi Arnaz (1917-1951). Mr. Sailer retells the ugly, but largely forgotten story:
    As fans of Noel Ignatiev no doubt recall, a mob of furious whites in the studio audience, enraged at Arnaz laying his Spanish Cuban hands on the fair Lucille Ball, spontaneously tore the bandleader limb from limb. Historians sometimes speculate that if it weren't for the virulent white prejudice against Spanish Cubans miscegenating with whites, "I Love Lucy" might even have become something of a hit.
Commenters remind us that "Lucille Ball was part Irish-so she wasn't really white" and "that Hispanics weren't invented until the Nixon Administration, so ol' Desi made it in under the wire."

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Paul Gottfried on Neoconservatives

"These chaps have no more right to be producing defenses of 'conservatism' than Nero had to present himself as a defender of Christian teachings" — Is Modern Conservatism a Mental Illness?

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Ron Paul, Reactionary Radical

The American Conservative's Timothy Stanley writes that "the most interesting thing that a Ron Paul biography could do is to unravel that paradox and explain how it fits into the grand history of American conservatism" and finds it in the book reviewed — Ron Paul’s Paradoxes. Mr. Stanley writes:
    The great Ron Paul paradox is that he sells himself as the most conservative Republican alive because he wants to take America back to a golden age of low taxes, no bureaucracy, and the sovereignty of the states. Yet his campaign has been anything but conservative. His supporters seem more like revolutionaries than activists, while his small-government philosophy signs him up to positions that can seem more libertine than libertarian—guns on planes, surrender in the War on Drugs, gay marriage on tap.
An important observation:
    September 11 turned Paul from a local curiosity into a national phenomenon. Strangely, the American left failed throughout the noughties to develop a consistent, compelling response to the Iraq War. It didn’t even feature as a front and center issue for the Democrats in 2008, when instead they debated the rather more trite question of who it would be more historic/cool to see as president: a woman or an African-American. Only Ron Paul—identified erroneously as a right-wing Republican—astutely and passionately articulated the case against the military-industrial complex.

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Noam Chomsky on English Orthography

While lesser minds derided it as "the world’s most awesome mess" or "an insult to human intelligence," the great linguist and dissident rightly hailed it as "close to an optimal system," notes Tom Shippey — The myth of English as a global language.

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The Facebook Façade

"Is making money by building airplanes and cars and computers on the way out, while getting paid for the generation of click fees from viewing a Facebook ad the new economy?" asks LewRockwell.com's Bill Sardi, pointing out that "if there were a true industrial breakthrough, let’s say some new technology to transmit electricity across the energy grid in a more efficient manner, America wouldn’t be hyping an IPO based upon click fees" — Facebook Saves Face, But Did America?.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bob Dylan's "Ring Them Bells" Performed by Sarah Jarosz with Jerry Douglas and the Transatlantic Sessions House Band


Ring them bells, ye heathen
From the city that dreams
Ring them bells from the sanctuaries
’Cross the valleys and streams
For they’re deep and they’re wide
And the world’s on its side
And time is running backwards
And so is the bride

Ring them bells St. Peter
Where the four winds blow
Ring them bells with an iron hand
So the people will know
Oh it’s rush hour now
On the wheel and the plow
And the sun is going down
Upon the sacred cow

Ring them bells Sweet Martha
For the poor man’s son
Ring them bells so the world will know
That God is one
Oh the shepherd is asleep
Where the willows weep
And the mountains are filled
With lost sheep

Ring them bells for the blind and the deaf
Ring them bells for all of us who are left
Ring them bells for the chosen few
Who will judge the many when the game is through
Ring them bells, for the time that flies
For the child that cries
When innocence dies

Ring them bells St. Catherine
From the top of the room
Ring them from the fortress
For the lilies that bloom
Oh the lines are long
And the fighting is strong
And they’re breaking down the distance
Between right and wrong

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Cultural Marxism Exposed

The LewRockwell.com Blog's Charles Burris posts a "2010 James Jaeger Film featuring RON PAUL, Congressman/Presidential Candidate; PAT BUCHANAN, Author/Political Analyst; G. EDWARD GRIFFIN, Author/Producer; EDWIN VIEIRA, Author/Constitutional Attorney, and TED BAEHR, Founder of MovieGuide and Christian Film & TV Commission" — Cultural Marxism: The Corruption of America.

"While many viewers will interpret the film as decidedly 'right-wing' in tone," Mr. Burris notes, "it takes a very unorthodox critical stance toward sociocultural, academic, and political power elites." He continues:
    Find out how the Frankfurt School, a Marxist splinter group, established itself at Columbia University and began "the long march through the institutions." The idea was, and still is, to infiltrate every corner of Western culture and pervert traditional Christian values with "political correctness" and Marxist ideologies. The ultimate goal is to destroy American free-enterprise capitalism by undermining its economic engine, the Middle Class, and the basic building block of society: the Family Unit.

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The Conquest of the United States by Spain, 113 Years Later

"The ideological origins of the military-industrial-media complex," explains Justin Raimondo, "started with the Spanish-American war, and was exemplified by the windbag and warmonger Theodore Roosevelt, who saw military conflict as the road to the moral regeneration of the nation" — Interventionism and the Elites.

Coming to mind is the 1899 essay, "The Conquest of the United States by Spain," in which William Graham Sumner explains:
    Spain was the first, for a long time the greatest, of the modern imperialistic states. The United States, by its historical origin, its traditions, and its principles, is the chief representative of the revolt and reaction against that kind of a state. I intend to show that, by the line of action now proposed to us, which we call expansion and imperialism, we are throwing away some of the most important elements of the American symbol and are adopting some of the most important elements of the Spanish symbol.

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Falluja and Depleted Uranium

From cryptogon.com comes this link from folks who "don't usually start articles with warnings, but some of the pictures in the gallery are incredibly distressing" — Kids of "The Iraqi Hiroshima".

Catholic Traditionalist Paul Likoudis exposed these satanic weapons soon after they were first deployed — Depleted Uranium, from Nov. 2004.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Chieftains Perform "Pretty Little Girl With a Blue Dress On"

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Father Gabriele Amorth on What Happened to Emanuela Orlandi


The cleric "appointed by the late John Paul II as the Vatican’s chief exorcist" and who serves as "the honorary president of the International Association of Exorcists" has a somewhat surprising claim — Priest Claims Missing Teenage Girl Had Been Kidnapped ‘For Sex Parties by a Gang Involving Vatican Police and Foreign Diplomats’.

The first commenter notes, "Under the laws of the Vatican State, the age of consent is 12 years — and nobody is making a fuss about it." The age of consent law comes from Italian civil law, which the Holy See follows for convenience sake, and this blogger does not think such laws in foreign countries are something to fly into a moral panic about. (Finding out one's own daughter is giving consent at that age, however, certainly would be.) It does not follow that every sinful activity must be criminalized.

Kidnapping, of course, is a serious matter. However, its definition can be a bit fluid; Laura María Agustín was recently quoted on these pages as noting that '"child sex trafficking' surely constitutes the most vibrant panic of the last few years, despite a lack of evidence that it actually exists (what does exist are teens who leave home)" — Sex Panic and the Punitive State.

Whatever the case, may this poor girl's soul find rest and may justice be done.

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Natural Law and the Chinese Sages

The ancient Chinese idea that "Man has received from heaven a nature innately good, to guide him in all his movements," says MercatorNet's Zac Alstin, "rather neatly parallel the Judeo-Christian perspective in which human beings were created good by God, but have gone awry from the created order through disobedience to God’s will" — It’s only natural.

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A Small Victory Over the National Security State?

The New American, the John Birch Society's paper, reports that "the TSA’s attempt to implement different procedures is indicative that some of the oppositional efforts against the overreaching federal agency may be working" — TSA Looks for Alternatives to Enhanced Pat-Downs.

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$1,000,000,000,000

"The national-security state’s real budget is almost twice what you’ve been told," reports The American Conservative amid the "flurry of headlines about cuts (often called 'threats') to the U.S. defense budget" — $1 Trillion for Defense.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Sharon Van Etten Performs "Peace Signs," "Save Yourself," "One Day," and "For You"

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American Veterans Return Medals to NATO

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Sister Kathleen Desautels

"At 74, the 5-foot-2 Catholic nun is a powerhouse" — At NATO protest, it's clear Catholic nun is a powerhouse in the peace movement. In a habit, she'd be more of one.

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War Trash

Last night I started reading Ha Jin's 2004 novel of that title. Several years ago, I was quite impressed his 1996 collection of short stories about life in the Chinese army, Ocean of Words.

The novel's prologue contains these moving words from protagonist Yu Yuan:
    They probably think I'm greedy, eager to see my grandson wallow in wealth. But my wish has nothing to do with money. From the depths of my heart I believe medicine is a noble, humane profession. If I were born again, I would study medical science devotedly. The thought has been rooted in my mind for five decades. I cannot explain in detail to my son and daughter-in-law why I often urge Bobby to think of becoming a doctor, because the story would involve too much horror and pain. In brief, this desire of mine had been bred by my memories of the wasted lives I saw in Korea and China. Doctors and nurses follow a different set of ethics, which enables them to transcend political nonsense and man-made enmity and to act with compassion and human decency.

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"Operation Pope Kill"

    Fun fact about Hitler: In the 1930s, he ordered Catholic schools to replace their classroom crucifixes with pictures of him. If ever there was a piece of trivia that encapsulated how Adolf saw himself in the larger world, that was probably it. In hindsight, it's kind of easy to blast the papacy for not doing enough to help European Jews during the Holocaust, just so long as you remember that they were dealing with a guy who was only steps away from abolishing all religions and setting himself up as Germany's lord and savior.
A conservative blog for peace links to Jacopo della Quercia's Cracked.com piece — 5 Nazi Plans That Prove They Were Dumber Than You Think.

"Step one in that plan: Seize the Vatican. Step two: Kidnap the Pope. Step three: Hitler ... is declared God, we guess?" Tolle, lege.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Friedrich Wilhelm Zachow's Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele Performed by Accademia Amsterdam, Directed by Ludger Remy

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Exorcising Georgetown

News of "an effort to file a canon lawsuit against Georgetown University for failures to live up to the demands of the school’s Catholic identity" — ‘Exorcist’ author prepares canon lawsuit against Georgetown.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Del McCoury Band Performs "1952 Vincent Black Lightning"


A man whom we learn heroically "decided to do away with modern concert amplification and go back to the basics: three microphones."

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America's Love Affair With the Automobile

Rather, America's love affair in the automobile — Sex and the Automobile in the Jazz Age.

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Economics 101

Jared Diamond admits, "Among the good economic institutions that motivate people to become productive are the protection of their private property rights, predictable enforcement of their contracts, opportunities to invest and retain control of their money, control of inflation, and open exchange of currency" — What Makes Countries Rich or Poor?

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Arvo Pärt's De Profundis Performed by Coro Polifonico di Ruda, Directed by Fabiana Noro

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Ron Paul, Anti-Imperialist

While many of his followers "specialize in domestic policy issues" like "the Federal Reserve, tax policy, the preservation of civil liberties," Justin Raimondo reminds us "that Paul himself emphasizes his anti-interventionist foreign policy views at every opportunity" — What Does Ron Paul Want? The Antiwar.com editor writes:
    One of the charming things about watching him in action is his penchant for going off on a riff about the costs of war in Afghanistan when he’s asked how we solve the debt crisis. Paul’s answer is invariably: get rid of the Empire! It’s fun to watch the Washington pundits look nonplussed whenever he refers to "the Empire." Yes, you can hear the capitalization in his ironic tone of voice.

    Paul has made an important concession for a libertarian, and that is his pledge to refrain from cutting domestic welfare programs on which the most vulnerable members of our society have come to depend. His budget proposal – cutting $1 trillion in the first year – depends heavily on cuts in the military, "foreign aid," and other instruments of our hegemonic foreign policy.

    The reason is not just tactical: it is ideological. Because Paul — like his friend and mentor Murray Rothbard, the libertarian economist and theorist who died in 1995 — understands that war is the motor that runs the turbine of growing government power. It is in wartime that the power of the State takes a "great leap forward," and, in the holy name of "national security," overpowers the private sector and the realm of freedom.

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Senator George Frisbie Hoar to President Theodore Roosevelt

    You have sacrificed nearly ten thousand American lives—the flower of our youth. You have devastated provinces. You have slain uncounted thousands of the people you desire to benefit. You have established reconcentration camps. … You make the American flag in the eyes of a numerous people the emblem of sacrilege in Christian churches, and of the burning of human dwellings, and of the horror of the water torture.
Words spoken by the man "once considered the conscience of the Republican Party" on the Senate floor in 1902, quoted by The American Conservative's Maisie Allison — Theodore Roosevelt Builds an Empire.

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A Case of Sola Scriptura Leading to Praeter Scripturam

    In June of 2011, in the official Waldensian weekly "Riforma," Ricca wrote that by giving approval to the blessing of homosexual couples, the synod had made a decision "praeter Scripturam," outside of Scripture. And he cited Saint Paul from the letter to the Romans, the same one cited by Cardinal Biffi in the passage reproduced above.

    That of going outside of Scripture is the most scorching of accusations, for a Protestant. But the leadership of Waldensian pastors and theologians replied to Ricca that Saint Paul must not be taken literally, but interpreted in the "context" of his time, influenced by prejudices of a "patriarchal stamp" and of "ethnic-religious disdain" unacceptable today.
So writes Sandro Magister in his report on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith "reprint[ing] as-is the 1986 letter on homosexuality, precisely as various governments are legalizing gay unions" — Vatican Diary / That sin of Sodom which cries out to heaven.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Leyla McCalla Performs "Heart of Gold," "Girl," "Lonely House,"and "When I Can See the Valley"

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Leyla McCalla


The Carolina Chocolate Drops' new cellist* caught both my ear and my eye, so I had to learn more about her, and this mini-documentary does not disappoint. It's hard not to have hope for the future with what some young people are doing these days.

* Old-time music youngsters seem to be reinventing the cello as an integral part of the string-band. The Avett Brothers' Joe Kwon and Crooked Still's Tristan Clarridge are the first to come to mind. And of course there was oldster Yo-Yo Ma and The Goat Rodeo Sessions. "Cello in bluegrass?" some ask.

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The Irony of Occupy


A conservative blog for peace reminds us, "The Occupy kids six months ago got what they said they wanted: more government."

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Fukushima Reactor Four "on the Verge of Complete Collapse"

A reader relays the "unbelievable" news that "Japanese officials are currently engaging in talks with Russian diplomats about where tens of millions of Japanese refugees might relocate in the very-likely event that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility's Reactor 4 completely collapses" — Forty million Japanese in 'extreme danger' of life-threatening radiation poisoning, mass evacuations likely.

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Sterilizing Ourselves and Nature

Rebecca Oas, Ph.D., reports that the fact that "multiple international studies have documented elevated levels of natural and synthetic hormones in drinking water" might explain why "levels of prostate cancer in men are highest in geographic areas with the greatest use of oral contraceptives" — Contraceptives and the Environment. She concludes:
    Ultimately, the Catholic opposition to contraception is grounded in a fundamental understanding of the meaning of human life and the purpose of procreation as a part of God’s plan, not a pragmatic conclusion reached by painstaking scientific research. While it makes intuitive sense that humans both individually and as societies benefit by living in accordance with the wishes of their Creator, in a fallen world there are practical things that can be done to alleviate some of our suffering, including the use of medical technology and pharmacology. It should be noted that synthetic hormones are not exclusively used in contraceptives, nor are the chemical compounds marketed as contraceptives intrinsically immoral – for instance, an unmarried and abstinent woman using hormonal treatments to treat endometriosis in the hopes of safeguarding her future fertility is doing nothing sinful, regardless of the efficacy or side effects of her decision. However, in a world in which influential groups and individuals are increasingly advocating for population control, often in a manner that recalls the eugenics movement of decades past, it is necessary to insist that research be done to uncover truths regarding the long-term and unintended side effects of widespread contraceptive pill usage.

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The XIIth and XXIst Centuries Contrasted

Elena Maria Vidal posts on a woman who "asserted her authority against unjust actions by certain prelates for the sake of justice, not to rebel or put herself forward" — St. Hildegard Comes into Her Own — and on what is "pure Gnostic dualism, and a Cartesian retreat into the mind, and away from reality" — The Genderless Child?

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Three World Science Stories That Shed Light on How Scientists Think

"Weeks af­ter two stud­ies cast doubt on a the­o­ry that a strange 'dark mat­ter' ac­counts for vast amounts of ma­te­ri­al in the uni­verse that’s mis­sing, an­oth­er study pro­poses a rad­i­cal new so­lu­tion" — Instead of “dark matter,” rogue planets? Like dark matter, there is absolutely no evidence of these "free-float­ing, and pos­sibly life-bearing plan­ets."

"Spir­i­tual­ity," it turns out, "is a much more dy­nam­ic con­cept that uses many parts of the brain" — No single “God spot” in brain, scientists find. Back to the drawing board.

At least one scientist has the humility to have "ex­pressed pes­si­mism that a de­fin­i­tive rea­son can be iden­ti­fied" for the results of his comparatively modest study, suggesting that "[t]he sheer num­ber of changes that have swept Amer­i­can life make that an 'end­lessly com­pli­cat­ed' prop­o­si­tion" — American head shapes have been changing, but why?

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That Joshua Bell in the D.C. Metro Story

CounterPuncher Kathleen Peine retells it — Joshua Bell in the DC Metro Station. Her retelling:
    A guy in jeans and a baseball cap shows up to play violin music for cash. It’s a busy Washington DC Metro station, and he plays about 45 minutes of Bach. A couple thousand people go by, but only 6 stop for a passing moment. When the music ends, there is no visible response from anyone. Children passing had tried to stop and listen, but their parents, without fail, shoved them past, hurrying them to their destinations. That’s really not a very remarkable story at this point, is it?

    But the rest of the tale becomes a little unbelievable so I did some due diligence to verify that it really happened–and it did. Here are the details, many found in an old Washington Post article, not just from that email that sparked this.

    The man playing the violin was Joshua Bell. I don’t know much about these things, but evidently people who like to categorize think he is among the best classical musicians in America. Just okay seats at his concerts go for $100, and they sell out.

    The violin itself is part of the story. Handcrafted in 1713 by Antonio Stradivari, it is reported to be of almost supernatural acoustic beauty. The original varnish is something of a mystery, but it’s thought to contribute to the perfection of the sound. That and the amazing wood that is imbued with the clarity of a glacier–an unintentional gift from the Little Ice Age.

    From the cold mists that made that violin possible to ethereal fingers flying- unimaginably rare treasures combined to serenade those individuals hurrying to places like cubicles. And overwhelmingly, they did not stop.

    This brings to mind how little value we place on something of exquisite beauty if there isn’t a corresponding high price to go along with it. You can bet those individuals who purchased pricey tickets to Bell’s concerts bragged at work about them. Yet only the children really seemed to want to stay and enjoy him in the DC Metro.
My first question is, what are the acoustics like down there? My second question is, what if he had played in a location more conducive to stopping and listening?

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My Old Blog's Namesake Remembered


The Western Confucian would have certainly celebrated this news that "China’s first exhibition center dedicated to Father Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) has opened in Zhaoqing, the place where the Italian missionary first set foot on the mainland" — First Ricci exhibition center opens. From the story:
    The new Matteo Ricci Cultural Exchange Exhibition Center details the life of the Jesuit priest, known as Li Madou to Chinese people, through an array of exhibits and written accounts.

    The center is located near the ruins of the first church and Jesuit house that Fr Ricci and his confrere Fr Michele Ruggieri were allowed to build after they arrived in China in 1583. The church, called “Xianhua Temple” out of respect for Buddhist custom, was dedicated to the Blessed Mother.

    At that time Zhaoqing was the capital of Guangdong province.

    The location of the church was next to a 500-year-old Buddhist pagoda on the banks of the Xijiang (West) River, from where the two missioners arrived by boat.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Carolina Chocolate Drops Perform "Country Girl"


The defiant chorus: "I am a country girl / I've been around the world / and every place I've been / ain't quite nothing like living in the South / oh, honey, shut your mouth / I am a country girl."

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H. Con. Res. 107

"Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution" — Rep. Walter Jones Seeks to Limit the President's War Power.

A post of mine last year about the Catholic convert who was "among the majority in Congress who voted in October 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq" but who "now maintains that the Iraq invasion was pursued under the guise of deceit, fed by misinformation and the manipulation of intelligence by key leaders of the Bush administration" — The Honorable Congressman Walter B. Jones.

[I've often imagined there might exist a certain kinship between Upstate New Yorkers and North Carolinians, from the days the Tuscarora people were invited to join the Iroquois as the sixth nation of the "League of Peace and Power" in the 1720s to our common support of Anti-Federalism in the 1780s to the welcoming of our post-industrial economic refugees to places like Winston-Salem and Raleigh-Durham in the 1990s.]

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Whither Ron Paul?

LewRockwell.com's Ryan McMaken, remembering that "there was once a time when libertarians weren't on TV regularly talking about Austrian free-market economics and the evils of war," rightly dismisses the idea of "one presidential election as some kind of end-all-be-all of the freedom movement" — Some Historical Perspective for Ron Paul Activists.

The American Conservative's W. James Antle, III, hopes "for Paul to be able to speak about real limited government and a noninterventionist foreign policy in a meaningful convention timeslot" and suggests that "anything that keeps the momentum going in favor of the GOP’s constitutional transformation is a victory for the Texas congressman" — Is Ron Paul Really Dropping Out?

Sunshine State News' Kevin Derby reports a recent "poll shows that in a three-way race, former Massachusetts governor Romney takes 44 percent followed by President Barack Obama with 39 percent and Texas congressman Paul in third with 13 percent" — Ron Paul Would Be Major Factor if He Went Third Party.

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Srdja Trifkovic on J.P. Morgan

"The latest spectacle of disgusting posthuman monsters in expensive suits squandering other people’s billions—while displaying nothing but studied contempt for hoi polloi whose blood is their sustenance—is sickening and infuriating" — Should Speculative Bankers Be Put to Death?

Read, however, why this "all too understandable sentiment is essentially the same as that of the Red Commissars of 1917 and their heirs everywhere. As Dostoyevsky understood decades before Lenin, it is dangerous; understandable; but not justified."

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Hey, Local Lawyers!

Something for you "at 12:10 p.m. this Friday, May 18, at Our Lady of Victory/St Joseph Church in downtown Rochester, on Pleasant Street" — Lawyers’ St. Thomas More Mass is set for May 18. The article informs us that "the Mass intention is the preservation of the freedom of religious conscience."

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H.F.C.S. & I.Q.

"Eating too much sugar can eat away at your brainpower;" well, not sugar, but rather "a common ingredient in processed foods" — High-Fructose Corn Syrup Can Make You Dumb, U.S. Scientists Warn. "The average American consumes more than 40 pounds (18 kilograms) of high-fructose corn syrup per year."

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lisa Hannigan Performs "Little Bird"


    Your heart sings like a kettle
    And your words, they boil away like steam.
    And a lie burns long while the truth bites quick,
    A heart is built for both it seems.
    You are lonely as a church,
    Despite the queuing out your door.
    I am empty as a promise, no more.

    When the time comes,
    And rights have been read,
    I think of you often
    But for once I meant what I said.

    I was salted by your hunger,
    Now you've gone and lost your appetite
    And a little bird is every bit as handy in a fight.
    I am lonely as a memory
    Despite the gathering round the fire.
    Aren't you every bird on every wire?

    When the time comes,
    And rights have been read,
    I think of you often
    But for once I meant what I said.
    Here I stay, I lay me down,
    I'm dug from the rubble, and cut from the kill.
    Here I stay, I lay me down,
    In a house by the Hill.
    I'm dug from the rubble, and cut from the kill.
    I'm dug from the rubble, and cut from the kill.
    I'm dug from the rubble, and cut from the kill.

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Raped and Discharged


Pictured above are among the "number of women [to] have come forward to say they were discharged for 'personality disorders,' – which means no healthcare, no disability benefits — after they filed sexual assault charges with the chain of command against fellow servicemen," from the heroic Kelley Beaucar Vlahos' report — The Rape of Our Military Women.

[The story's not new, nor is it isolated, as this four-year-old report attests — Covered up: More than 1/3 of American woman soldiers raped. "My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41 percent of the female veterans seen there say they were victims of sexual assault while serving in the military," said former congresswoman Jane Harman, quoted in the story. (However far her jaw dropped, she went on to monger war with the best of them, "resign[ing] from Congress in February 2011 to become the head of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars," we learn.)]

Ms. Vlahos eloquently argues "that after shock-integrating women into what is still largely an obdurate, misogynistic institution, the Pentagon is ill-equipped to deal with the staggering rise of rape and assault, the predatory behavior and harassment, and the callous nature of battlefield commanders, who in a growing number of documented cases, have reacted to the plight of young female service members with the grace of Pleistocene Neanderthals."

After noting that "women make up approximately 15 percent of the active duty force and 20 percent of the reserve components," Ms. Vlahos says "the military would not have been able to wage the Long War without them." This second claim I knee-jerkedly rejected as so much feminist claptrap, but after a moment's reflection, realized that she's dead right. The American paradox of fighting imperial wars with a volunteer army requires every warm body whose brain can be washed to fight. Any why would the war machine discipline and imprison a stronger male when a weaker female can more efficiently be discharged?

"Whatever we might think of the war," writes Ms. Vlahos, "the systematic abuse of the enlisted and our veterans is an ongoing disgrace as old as this country." Amen.

Imagine, for a moment, if Iraqis or Afghans had done this to our girls. A Google search for "Iraqis rape American female" turns up some pretty horrifying stuff, not about Iraqis, but about male American soldiers and military contractors. If every troop is now a "hero" in post-America, aren't they all, every last one them, rapists by the same logic? Might not our girl soldiers been safer captured by Iraqi insurgents or Taliban fighters than among their fellow citizen soldiers?

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Mr. Romney Likely Even Worse Than Mr. Obama in Foreign Policy

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate who "increased military spending, twice upped troop levels in Afghanistan, started his own war with Libya, talked tough to North Korea, loudly threatened Iran and Syria, and oversaw the hit on Osama bin Laden" [possibly one out of eight ain't good] might just be the lesser of two evils, argues Doug Bandow, who reports "that Americans prefer Barack Obama to Mitt Romney on international issues by 53 percent to 36 percent," perhaps rightly so — Mitt Romney: The Foreign Policy of Know-Nothingism. An excerpt:
    Romney’s overall theme is American exceptionalism and greatness, slogans that win public applause but offer no guidance for a bankrupt superpower that has squandered its international credibility. “This century must be an American century,” Romney proclaimed. “In an American century, America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world.” He has chosen a mix of advisers, including the usual neocons and uber-hawks — Robert Kagan, Eliot Cohen, Jim Talent, Walid Phares, Kim Holmes, and Daniel Senor, for instance — that gives little reason for comfort. Their involvement suggests Romney’s general commitment to an imperial foreign policy and force structure.

    Romney is no fool, but he has never demonstrated much interest in international affairs. He brings to mind George W. Bush, who appeared to be largely ignorant of the nations he was invading. Romney may be temperamentally less likely to combine recklessness with hubris, but he would have just as strong an incentive to use foreign aggression to win conservative acquiescence to domestic compromise. This tactic worked well for Bush, whose spendthrift policies received surprisingly little criticism on the right from activists busy defending his war-happy foreign policy.
I'll vote for neither empty suit, but might find myself marginally less horrified to wake up on November 7th to four more years of the Obama régime.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Lisa Hannigan Performs Passenger, What'll I Do, A Sail, Little Bird, Lille, Paper House, and Knots

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"Burke Was Liberal Because He Was Conservative"

So said Russell Kirk of the subject of this fine piece — Back to Burke. An excerpt:
    Edmund Burke was never more eloquent than when denouncing the Penal Laws that circumscribed the liberties of Ireland’s Catholics. That system, he wrote in 1792, was “as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement, in them, of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.” This was Burke’s opinion at a time when Catholics were synonymous with subversion—didn’t they owe highest allegiance to the pope? To fearful Englishmen, “papists” were “the apex of all evil” above “all Pagans, all Mussulmen.”

    Burke demanded civil liberty—“a liberal and honourable condition”—for them anyway. He was not oblivious to minority dangers, nor indifferent to public orthodoxy. But who can imagine him alongside such Islam-baiters as Herman Cain or Pamela Geller, shouting about Sharia or boasting of plans to exclude an unpopular minority from public office?

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Resisting Scientism

Philip Kitcher dares to say "history and the humanities are also a form of knowledge" — The Trouble with Scientism. An excerpt:
    The problem with scientism—which is of course not the same thing as science—is owed to a number of sources, and they deserve critical scrutiny. The enthusiasm for natural scientific imperialism rests on five observations. First, there is the sense that the humanities and social sciences are doomed to deliver a seemingly directionless sequence of theories and explanations, with no promise of additive progress. Second, there is the contrasting record of extraordinary success in some areas of natural science. Third, there is the explicit articulation of technique and method in the natural sciences, which fosters the conviction that natural scientists are able to acquire and combine evidence in particularly rigorous ways. Fourth, there is the perception that humanists and social scientists are only able to reason cogently when they confine themselves to conclusions of limited generality: insofar as they aim at significant—general—conclusions, their methods and their evidence are unrigorous. Finally, there is the commonplace perception that the humanities and social sciences have been dominated, for long periods of their histories, by spectacularly false theories, grand doctrines that enjoy enormous popularity until fashion changes, as their glaring shortcomings are disclosed.

    These familiar observations have the unfortunate effect of transforming differences of degree into differences of kind, as enthusiasts for the alleged superiority of natural science readily succumb to stereotypes and over-generalizations, without regard for more subtle explanations.
Another:
    The emphasis on generality inspires scientific imperialism, conjuring a vision of a completely unified future science, encapsulated in a “theory of everything.” Organisms are aggregates of cells, cells are dynamic molecular systems, the molecules are composed of atoms, which in their turn decompose into fermions and bosons (or maybe into quarks or even strings). From these facts it is tempting to infer that all phenomena—including human actions and interaction—can “in principle” be understood ultimately in the language of physics, although for the moment we might settle for biology or neuroscience. This is a great temptation. We should resist it. Even if a process is constituted by the movements of a large number of constituent parts, this does not mean that it can be adequately explained by tracing those motions.

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Ross Douthat's Bad Religion

Eve Tushnet says the book "tells a story of decline, in which a host of self-comforting and banal Christianities triumph over the strange, challenging, and paradoxical Jesus of the Gospels" — Against the American Jesus.

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A Local Nuke

News of "a little-known underground labyrinth containing a small nuclear research reactor" that existed for "more than 30 years.... without anyone in the Rochester community having a clue" — Did you know? Kodak Park had a nuclear reactor. "In the annals of local information that was never truly public knowledge, this one deserves its own chapter."

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lisa Hannigan Performs "Lille" and "Ocean And A Rock"




Lisa Hannigan and her band playing their "broken-down, wheezy old instruments" in Derry.

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Nat Hentoff vs. Andrew Cuomo

"A helpful reminder that order does not mean uniformity and oppression," says Mark in Spokane linking to "[t]he long-time civil rights advocate, pro-life activist, and liberal columnist for the Village Voice tak[ing] issue with the fusion of police state and nanny state happening in New York City" — Nat Hentoff on the civil liberties situation in New York.

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Nanny State vs. Family Farm

"Children can't work on their own farms," Elena Maria Vidal reports — The War on the Family Farm. She quotes:
    Last August, the Department of Labor looked around, scratched its head, and decided the new thing it should focus on was applying child labor laws to agricultural settings. Offhand, you're thinking, "Well, shouldn't they be applied?" Well, sure. In a corporate feed lot. What we're talking about here is the use of children on farms that those children's families own. Put into practice, these laws will, in the words of a Department of Labor press release, prohibit children under the age of 18 from "being employed in the storing, marketing, and transporting of farm product raw materials."

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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jacob Obrecht's Missa De Sancto Donatiano Sung by Cappella Pratensis

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A Day of Peace

Murray Polner on a holiday "initially suggested by two peace-minded mothers, Julia Ward Howe, a 19th century anti-slavery activist and suffragette, and Anna Reeves Jarvis, mother of eleven, who influenced Howe and had asked her fellow Appalachian townspeople, badly polarized by the Civil War, to remain neutral and help nurse the wounded troops of both sides" — Mother’s Day, 2012, and We’re Still at War.

"While neither lived to see an official Mother’s Day, it was eventually designated as a national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, a president whose armies invaded Mexico, brought the U.S. into World War I and whose administration carried out brutal punishments against opponents of the World War I and the draft, such as Eugene V. Debs."

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Who Is Right, Charles Krauthammer or Uri Avnery?

The American (in name only) neocon apoplectically asserts that "Israelis today face the greatest threat to their existence — nuclear weapons in the hands of apocalyptic mullahs publicly pledged to Israel’s annihilation — since May ’67" — Echoes of '67: Israel unites.

The Israeli peace activist "looks at how a number of leading hardliners in Israel’s military and security establishments have spoken out against the Israeli government’s plans for an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations and called into question the fitness for office of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak" — A putsch against war: Israel’s hawks in open revolt against war on Iran.

ThinkProgress's Matt Duss has more analysis — Deconstructing Krauthammer’s Misinformation On Iran And Israel.

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None Dare Call It Racism and Sexism

    We are endlessly told that white people are racist and that white men are sexist. But in my experience people of a different color are much more racist and men of a different color much more sexist. It is just that we do not hear about this racism because no one is allowed to speak about it for fear of being branded… a racist.
So rightly writes Nicholas Farrell — It’s in Their Culture. Having spent sixteen of the last two decades living abroad and the rest working with foreigners, I agree.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Red Baraat Perform "Chaal Baby," "Shruggy Ji," and "Dhol 'n' Brass"


Some "rollicking funk music steeped in Northern India's wedding celebrations, with a dash of D.C. go-go beats and hip-hop" will be heard this Sunday here for free — After Dark: Sunny Jain happy to play to a hometown crowd at Lilac Festival. Says the band-leader:
    The fascinating thing told to us regularly is how people take in our music. Depending upon a person’s musical background or experience, they hear different things. South Asians hear the relationship to baraat brass bands back in India, as well as the Punjabi rhythms. Westerners typically hear New Orleans in our sound and when we’re in DC, people hear the go-go beat. I’ve had Brazilians tell me it sounds like Samba and West Indians say it sounds like Soca. So the elements get blurred and mesh together and at the end of the day, it’s about bringing forth a musical celebration that breaks the division of band and audience.

    For me, music serves as a bridge for the two cultures I grew up with, the Indian and American culture. Bringing together the music of my Indian heritage (Jain bhajans, Punjabi music, Bollywood) and my western upbringing (jazz, rock, funk). In the fall of 2008, I started up Red Baraat with the intention of creating a large acoustic band that brought a powerful primal sound. As I started thinking of instrumentation, I knew that I wanted a wide variety of musical voices and no electrified instruments, just drums and horns. It’s the guys in the band that collectively make up the sound of Red Baraat.

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Chesterton on Broadway

    When I had looked at the lights of Broadway by night, I made to my American friends an innocent remark that seemed for some reason to amuse them. I had looked, not without joy, at that long kaleidoscope of coloured lights arranged in large letters and sprawling trade-marks, advertising everything, from pork to pianos, through the agency of the two most vivid and most mystical of the gifts of God; colour and fire. I said to them, in my simplicity, "What a glorious garden of wonders this would be, to any one who was lucky enough to be unable to read."
What I Saw in America by G. K. Chesterton, quoted in Kevin Belmonte's Defiant Joy: The Remarkable Life & Impact of G.K. Chesterton, which I stumbled across at Ollie's Bargain Outlet of all places.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cappella Pratensis Perform Josquin Desprez's Nymphes des Bois and Pierre de la Rue's Introitus Requiem Æternam

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Paul Gottfried's Book on Leo Strauss

The American Conservative's Kenneth B. McIntyre reviews the book on the man whose "work is almost universally dismissed by philosophers and historians, yet [who] has attracted a following amongst political theorists... and neoconservative political activists" and whose legacy has been "to develop an abstract legend of American politics that supports a moderate welfare state domestically and a quasi-messianic internationalism in foreign policy" — The Right’s False Prophet.

"[U]nlike critics on the left who suggest that Strauss is illiberal and anti-modern, Gottfried argues that Strauss’s appeal consists largely in his creation of a mythical account of the rise of liberal democracy and its culmination in a creedal conception of the American polity."

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Get the State Out Of the Bedroom!

In other words, Forbes' Elisabeth Eaves' words three years ago — Abolish The Marriage License!

That seems the only reasonable response to these stories — Obama endorses gay marriage, says same-sex couples should have right to wed and N.C. approves constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Rightly observes Ms. Eaves, "There seems to be an irony here on both sides: Hands-off-our-religion conservatives and stick-it-to-the-man liberals are both obsessed with having the state's OK."

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three Perform "Pack It Up," " La La Blues" and "Josephine"






Tuvan throat singing yesterday, Americana today; you never know what treasures you can pull from the archives of Dutch TV's Vrije Geluiden. Well, I know what gems will be posted tomorrow, but you'll have to come back.

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"The Economist v. Tolkien"

"Perhaps the future won't be contested between Left and Right," suggests Steve Sailer, "but between globalist dynamists and localist sustainablists" — Localist (and potentially anti-globalist) sentiment among hipsters.

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Mormonism More Heretical Than Islam

Daniel Nichols clarifies "the confusion that sees Mormonism as closer to orthodox Christianity than Islam" — Mitt, Mormons, and Muslims. An excerpt:
    The confusion is understandable: Mormonism has its roots in the Protestant revivalism of the 19th century and claims to worship the Trinity. Mormons use all the familiar Christian terminology. Mitt Romney, no doubt, can look you in the eye without mental reservation and tell you that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Saviour.

    The problem is that when a Mormon says such things he means something entirely different from what the broadest Christian orthodoxy means. His “Trinity” consists of three separate physical beings, who are highly evolved men. There is no Supreme Being, no Creator who made all things out of nothing. What are eternal in Mormonism are matter and intelligences (souls), which are uncreated.

    While using familiar Christian language, Mormonism teaches an entirely different worldview. It worships a different god, or rather, gods. This materialist gnosticism is so foreign to historic Christianity that no Christian church or ecclesial body recognizes Mormon baptism as valid.

    Islam, on the other hand, preaches the God of Abraham, Who exists from all eternity, a perfect Spirit, Who created the world from nothing, Who will judge all humanity at the end of the age, Who spoke through the familiar Jewish prophets. It teaches, further, that Jesus Christ was born of a Virgin, that He was the greatest prophet and will return at the end of the world. Of course, Islam denies His divinity, but only the ignorant deny that Muslims worship the One God. Indeed, when you consider the traditional Jewish hostility to Christ and His Mother, and the blasphemies that have been uttered through the ages by Jews, it is apparent that Islam has far more in common with Christianity than does Judaism. (I do understand that many modern Jewish scholars approach Christ with a far more benign attitude).

    I know that Common Wisdom dictates that we pay no attention to Romney’s Mormonism, that a candidate’s religion is of no consequence when we are considering for whom we will cast our vote.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tyva Kyzy Perform "Aylanmaa Damyran," "Chandagajty" and "Setkilimden Sergek Yr-dyr"






Throat singing ladies! Tyva Kyzy (Тыва Кызы), apparently, "is the first and only women's group in Tuva that performs all styles of Tuvan throat-singing. There were a few female throat-singers in Tuva's history, though it was believed a woman performing throat-singing could hurt her male relatives and cause her difficulties during childbirth."

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XXIst Century Cannibalism

News of "pills containing dehydrated and crushed human flesh" from China "sold as sexual stamina enhancers and as alternative medicine for a variety of ailments" — 17,000 ‘Aphrodisiac’ pills made from dead, aborted babies seized by police in South Korea.

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¡Viva Chile!

Evidence that "illegal abortion is not associated with maternal mortality" and that "a ban on abortion is consistent with one of the world’s lowest maternal mortality rates" — A ground-breaking abortion study from Chile and Chile study challenges the “safe abortion” myth.

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"Obnoxious Atheistic Evangelists"

Scott Locklin, who's "not religious, nor... a proponent of intelligent design," finds himself "amused by alleged rationalists who think strident disbelief makes them enlightened primates rather than obnoxious atheistic evangelists" in his interview with a "very talented and productive scientist who has issues with the standard evolutionary model"— Christian Science.

"It interests me terribly that such people are so unhinged and emotional about their allegedly rational views. I scratch my chin and puff on my pipe when alleged free-thinkers fret about children being brainwashed with religion but have no qualms when the state forces ideological conformity on young minds."

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Rochester in the News

We've made two national lists, with "an impressive intellectual leap" for the first, and landing on "a list most cities hope they don't make" in the second — Rochester named 10th-smartest city in U.S. and Rochester makes 'smuttiest cities' list.

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A Field Guide to Authoritarians


"Counterpoint" posted by JPG to Daniel Nichols's post — A Field Guide to Libertarians. Sure, libertarians, like anyone else, can be annoying, but at least they don't annoy by means of the mailed fist of the State.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Duke Ellington & His Orchestra Perform "Take the 'A' Train," "Satin Doll," "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" & "VIP's Boogie/Jam with Sam"








Some musical accompaniment for Stephen Brown's essay — The Duke Ellington collective. An excerpt:
    That his band was Ellington’s instrument has become a cliché, but it is a misleading one. An instrument is a passive object that takes its energy from its operator. That’s not how Ellington worked. He was a tremendous talent-spotter, and part of what kept that talent close by was his willingness to let it have its voice, and more, to highlight and showcase it, and most importantly, to involve it in the creative process. We tend to fetishize originality and ownership (as though Rubens painted every inch of his canvases), but the Ellington band was in large part a collective. The perks of belonging to it were enormous. Steady work with great musicians, Ellington’s incomparable ability to feature his performers, his unending loyalty to them, the opportunity he gave them to be heard, recorded, broadcast around the world. There were drawbacks as well. Whatever came out of the Ellington studio bore Ellington’s name. The exception was work by his longtime collaborator, Billy Strayhorn. But their collaboration was so close that their contributions are often inseparable.

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"The Last Catholic Book"

That's how G. K. Chesterton described "the liturgical and literary masterpiece" remembered here — Anglicans celebrate Book of Common Prayer’s 350th. For me, it was in many ways my first Catholic book; the 1662 volume radicalized my prayer life after stumbling across it in an out-of-the-way used bookstore in Jefferson, Oregon.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lisa Hannigan Performs "Knots," "Little Bird" and "Passenger"


"Exuding both musical and personal warmth, the Irish singer mesmerized at the NPR Music offices." Prepare to be mesmerized.

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None Dare Call It Shell Shock

Part of "the Army’s effort to reduce its record suicide rate" — New name for PTSD could mean less stigma. How about not sending our boys over there in the first place?

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Catholic Church Lends a Hand to Aussie Beta Males

Telling "women not to be too picky about their future husbands and marry early because there is a drought of eligible men" — Priest says women too fussy in picking a mate. The story cites rather unbelievable "statistics claiming there are just 86,000 Mr Rights for 1.3 million women aged between 25 and 34."

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Archie D'Mello, Husband of the Year

The story of how a "Scottish* woman's 60th birthday turned brutal when two supposedly tame cheetahs attacked the woman at a game reserve in South Africa" — Cheetahs Mauls Woman on 60th Birthday Trip. The details:
    Violet D'Mello and her husband Archie were allowed to get up close and pet two brother cheetahs, Mark and Monty, at the Kragga Kamma Game Park in Port Elizabeth last weekend.

    "They seemed to be pretty docile. They said they were hand reared from cubs and were extremely tame and one could you know stroke them and not only that lay on them and they'll do nothing to you," Archie D'Mello said.

    The couple had just taken photos with the animals and were still in the petting area when one of the cats grabbed an 8-year-old girl by the leg.

    Violet D'Mello tried to stop the attack. After the girl ran for safety, D'Mello said both cheetahs turned on her in a savage attack that lasted for more than three minutes.

    Incredibly, Archie D'Mello kept taking pictures, documenting the horrific scene as the animals bit and scratched his wife's head, legs and stomach.

    Violet D'Mello said her instinct took over while a guide tried to pull the cats off of her.

    "Something inside me just said, 'Don't move. Don't move at all. Don't react, just play dead'," she told the Port Elizabeth Herald.
So, while the wife saw that "the cats [had] grabbed an 8-year-old girl by the leg" and "tried to stop the attack," the husband "kept taking pictures" of his wife being mauled! And this guy has the nerve to be interviewed about his cowardice!

* The couple may be Scottish citizens, but their surname and accents reveal them as Indian Catholics from the west coast of the subcontinent, where the Portuguese established colonies.

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Pēteris Vasks' Dona Nobis Pacem Performed by Chœur et Orchestre de Chambre Estonien, Directed by Paul Hillier


"Most people today no longer possess beliefs, love and ideals," says contemporary composer Pēteris Vasks, quoted on Vox Nova. "The spiritual dimension has been lost. My intention is to provide food for the soul and this is what I preach in my works." Holy minimalism at its holiest.

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"The Europe Syndrome" and the Arts

"Can a major stream of artistic accomplishment be produced by a society that is geriatric?" asks Charles Murray. "By a society that is secular? By an advanced welfare state?" — Future tense, IX: Out of the wilderness. An excerpt:
    The Europe Syndrome starts with a conception of humanity that is devoid of any element of the divine or even specialness. Humans are not intrinsically better or more important than other life forms, including trees. The Europe Syndrome sees human beings as collections of chemicals that are activated and, after a period of time, deactivated. The purpose of life is to while away the intervening time between birth and death as pleasantly as possible. I submit that this way of looking at life is fundamentally incompatible with a stream of major accomplishment in the arts.

    The most direct indictment of the Europe Syndrome as an incubator of great accomplishment in the arts is the European record since World War II. What are the productions of visual art, music, or literature that we can be confident will still be part of the culture two centuries from now, in the sense that hundreds of European works from two centuries ago are part of our culture today? We may argue over individual cases, and agree that the number of surviving works since World War II will be greater than zero, but it cannot be denied that the body of great work coming out of post-war Europe is pathetically thin compared to Europe’s magnificent past.

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Israeli Old Rightists?

Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery reports the hopeful news that "we are now seeing a kind of verbal uprising against the elected politicians by a group of current and former army generals, foreign intelligence and internal security chiefs [who] condemn the government’s threat to start a war against Iran, and some of them condemn the government’s failure to negotiate with the Palestinians for peace" — A Putsch Against War.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Amanda Shires Performs "Swimmer...," "Shake The Walls" and "When You Need A Train It Doesn't Come"


"Maybe it's the quiver in her voice or the poetry in her spare writing, but there's a magnetic pull that draws fans into the songs and stories of Amanda Shires," writes the blurbist. "Watch the singer and fiddler bring her charming music to the NPR Music offices."

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"No Man Is an Island"

    No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
Meditation XVI from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions by John Donne, at least the first five words of it, was quoted by a candidate in a job interview today. Could the candidate have known this was my favorite poem?

Thomas Merton's book of the same title was one of the first Catholic books I ever read. I have not yet read the biography of Lee Kuan Yew of the same title, but have visited the island in question.

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Fair-haired Melanesians


"Humans are beautifully diverse, and this is just the tip of the iceberg," says Carlos Bustamante, a geneticist at Stanford University, whose team "has identified a gene that is responsible for blond hair in 5 percent to 10 percent of the indigenous population of the Solomon Islands," and found that this "gene variant responsible for blond hair in the islanders is distinctly different from the gene that causes blond hair in Europeans" — The Blonds of Guadalcanal.

Steve Sailer posts the story as an example of his "simple notion that race is less about what you happen to look like than about who your relatives are."

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"They Make a Desolation and Call It Peace"

Thus spake Tacitus, quoted by CounterPuncher Paul Atwood in his "lessons from Ancient Rome for the Pax Americanum" — From Republic to Empire. An excerpt:
    We can easily see how greatly many of the early founders of the American Republic were influenced by their particular reading of Rome’s history. Much of the language of our law is Latin; the American Senate derives from the Latin Senatus, as does the Capitol (from Rome’s Capitoline Hill), and the motto on the Great Seal of the United States and dollar, Annuit Coeptis Novus Ordo Saeclorum (Announcing the Birth of a New Order of the Ages). The ancient Roman symbol of unity, the fasces (from which we get the word fascism), adorns the House of Representatives and ornaments many places on the Senate building and the Supreme Court, and the entrance to the White House Oval office. Perhaps the starkest tribute is the fact that the architecture of the Capitol district resembles that of ancient Rome. But here’s the rub- not of the Roman Republic, but of Imperial Rome. It seems the Capitol’s architects failed to heed Benjamin Franklin’s warning when asked what the 1787 Constitutional Convention had achieved. “A republic… if you can keep it,” said old Ben, aware that of the very few historical examples of popular rule, all had degenerated into tyranny.

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Pro Multis

"While the traditional text in its foundational Latin version still says: 'Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei […] qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur,' the new postconciliar formulas have read into 'pro multis' an imaginary 'pro omnibus' — Vatican Diary / "For many" or "for all"? The right answer is the first.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Claudio Monteverdi's Vespro per la Salute, Performed by Akademia and La Fenice, Directed by Jean Tubéry and Françoise Lasserre


More vespers tonight, these ones forty years closer to our times that than the ones heard on these pages last night.

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The Peace Address

The American University Commencement Address delivered on June 10, 1963 — The Speech That Got JFK Murdered? The president, explains that he has chosen "to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth too rarely perceived," continuing
    And that is the most important topic on earth: peace. What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, and the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.

    I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age where great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age where a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.

    Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need them is essential to the keeping of peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles – which can only destroy and never create – is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace. I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary, rational end of rational men. I realize the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war, and frequently the words of the pursuers fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.
The radical nature of this speech becomes more understandable with the recently unearthed knowledge of a secret correspondence between John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, and both leaders' growing distrust of their own their countries' military establishments, as explained in James W. Douglass' masterpiece, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters.

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The Scientism Delusion

The New Republic's John Gray takes apart "the modern belief that scientific inquiry can enable us to resolve conflicts and dilemmas in contexts where traditional sources of wisdom and practical knowledge seem to have failed" — The Knowns and the Unknowns. Writes Professor Gray:
    Scientism has been shown to be an illusion time and time again. But it is another illusion to imagine that scientism will go away. Looking to science for deliverance from the tragicomedy of history is part of what it means to be modern. The tracts that come and go in airport bookstores, promising solutions to problems that have baffled the greatest minds, are symptoms of a confusion that is incurable. We may expect many more books that offer to extricate us from conflict by sprinkling the magic dust of science on our disorders.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Claudio Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine, Performed by the Académie Baroque Européenne d'Ambronay, Directed by Gabriel Garrido


Different vespers than the ones heard on these pages last night, these more than four centuries old and more than two hours in length.

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That Cleveland May Day "Terrorist" Plot

Justin Raimondo rightly calls it "another frame-up by the Feds" — Bringing the ‘War on Terrorism’ Home. An excerpt:
    Is it just a coincidence that on May Day, the very day the “Occupy” movement chose for nationwide protests against corporate dominance of American politics, the FBI announced the arrest of five “anarchists” who were supposedly plotting to blow up a bridge in Cleveland?

    Not that there was ever any danger of the bridge actually being blown up: like all the high-profile “domestic terrorism” cases touted by the feds these days, this was yet another case of the FBI infiltrating a fringy group and instigating its members into participating in a bogus “plot,” which the feds could then hold up as another “success story” in their ongoing domestic “war on terrorism.” It’s a veritable growth industry, one the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have a vested interest in propagating and encouraging: the more “plots” they can uncover, the more tax dollars are poured into their coffers.
Of course, the neocons will jump on this story to scream just how "violent" the Left really is. Paleocons know better.

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Local Assassination Plot?

Christopher Ludwig, 28, faces "a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine" for "a telephone call to the Monroe County Board of Elections on April 26, 2012" — Rochester man charged with threatening to kill Obama.

I wonder if he was mad, as I was, that he decided to go in late work so as to vote for Congressman Ron Paul, only to find no one had showed up at the polling station. And I actually suffered the indignity of registering as a Republican!

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Rogue State Department

"American foreign policy has become so militarized that pressure groups can now seemingly order up a government armed intervention like customers at a fast food restaurant drive-through window can order up a burger and fries," says Ivan Eland of "the U.S. Special Forces’ chasing of the wacky but brutal African warlord Joseph Kony in the jungles of central Africa" — American Foreign Policy: Have Gun, Will Travel.

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"What is Served Everywhere in Western New York, Yet Is Hard to Come By?"

The answer to that "particularly Sphinxian riddle" is contained in this article about a company that "has locations at close to 200 venues" and whose "opening Wednesday of its first fixed location where the general public can get in year round... marks the start of what could become a national chain" — Red Osier has expansion plans.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Vespers Perform "Got No Friends" and "Close My Eyes"




The New Beginning introduces us to more great American music.

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A Chestertonian Reminder

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General Eric Shinseki Was Right


Congressman Ron Paul notes that "the same VA Secretary Eric Shinseki [who] was forced to retire from the Army by President Bush for daring to suggest that an invasion and occupation of Iraq would not be the cakewalk that neoconservatives promised" this past month "announced the addition of some 1,900 mental health nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to its existing workforce of 20,590 mental health staff in attempt to get a handle on the epidemic of suicides among combat veterans" — We Were Right About the Costs of War.

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Obama-Kony 2012

I knew Mr. Obama had sent troops to Uganda, and I had heard about that XXIst war propaganda film disguised as an independent humanitarian documentary, but this from the Warshington Post is the first I knew that we were at war with the Lord's Resistance Army, which, as far as I remember, never picked a fight with us — Joseph Kony hunt is proving difficult for U.S. troops.

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We've Always Been at War with Eastasia

"What this is all about," writes Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Régime Paul Craig Roberts, "is provoking a long-term cold war conflict with China that will keep profits and power flowing into Washington’s military-security complex" — Brewing Up a Conflict With China.

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Heliogenic Global Cooling

From cryptogon.com we learn that our "sun may be entering a period of reduced activity that could result in lower temperatures on Earth, according to Japanese researchers" — Sun May Soon Have Four Poles.

"Officials of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the Riken research foundation said on April 19 that the activity of sunspots appeared to resemble a 70-year period in the 17th century in which London’s Thames froze over and cherry blossoms bloomed later than usual in Kyoto."

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Sex Panic and the Punitive State

CounterPunch's Laura María Agustín reviews a provocative book of that title — The Specialness of (Some) Sexual Crimes. The book "concerns panic over the figure of the sex offender, a label encompassing an array of offenses, not all of which are actually sexual (peeing in public, for example) and some of which are quite minor," and notes that "'child sex trafficking' surely constitutes the most vibrant panic of the last few years, despite a lack of evidence that it actually exists (what does exist are teens who leave home)." An excerpt:
    A whiff of misbehavior–like the false claim of a resentful teenager–can lead to drastic police measures. The figure of the innocent child always vulnerable to victimization hovers permanently over every conversation. Government sometimes appears to exist for the purpose of protecting this child figure from all conceivable risk, with the result that middle-class parents are afraid to allow their children to play on their own. While the Right may be blamed for constant paranoia about lower-class criminality and an intransigent focus on law and order, the Left is guilty of promoting grievance as identity marker and celebrating victims of oppression as “survivor”-heroes. Certainly, the nurture of resentment and injury has become a viable path to fame, and the public is invited to identify with traumatized victims–all the better if they appear young and innocent. Empathy with the outraged victim has come to outweigh the presumption of innocence for those accused of crime. Individual stories of injury are valued over analyses of systemic inequality. Most starkly, incarceration rates are higher in the United States than anywhere else in the world, including totalitarian states.

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American Nuns Gone Wild

Sandro Magister posts the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's document "bringing back to the straight and narrow the 'Leadership Conference of Women Religious,' the conference of religious superiors of the United States of America, initials LCWR, the cartel that connects most of the communities of sisters in the country" — Vatican Diary / The Holy Office puts the American sisters in the corner.

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The Beauty of Korean Catholicism


Korean starlet Kim Tae-hee (김태희) caused a quite a stir (and perhaps an upsurge in male conversions) with these recent photos.

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