Friday, August 31, 2012

"The Central Issue of Contemporary Liberalism"

Steve Sailer notes that "while it fails democratically, it also triumphs legally" — Gay marriage: 0 for 32 at the polls. Click on the link to read why "the main driving force of modern liberalism" is "not intellectual" but "more like the caste system in India."

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Abortion Extremism

A reminder that, as "civil libertarian, free speech activist, anti-death penalty advocate, anti-abortion advocate" Nat Hentoff said, "on abortion, Obama is an extremist" — Abortion survivor lambasts Obama infanticide vote in ‘withering’ new ad.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Bluegrass Diamonds Perform "Les Souvenirs de Mon Enfance" and "Maman Si Tu L'aimes"

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The Unbearable "Weirdness" of Mormonism and Mr. Romney

"I actually like Mitt Romney, but I have no idea if he'll make a good President," says Steve Sailer beginning his thoughts on "the notion that he's a prime product of the general healthiness of Mormon culture" — Romney and the Mormons.

"Mormons try to set up their lives to have a lot of good influences from other Mormons around them," Mr. Sailer continues. "By way of analogy, think of the late Neil Armstrong. He was a prime product of the general healthiness of mid-20th Century American culture (which Mormons continue continue to espouse, which is why they are considered so weird and creepy today)."

Bingo! I, too, have come to like Mr. Romney the more I learn about him. I started liking him with his much-ridiculed "trees are the right height" in Michigan comments about which I blogged back in March — Another Nowhere Man.

That said, I will not vote for the man. Policy, not likability, is what I'm looking for. He may well be the slightly lesser of two evils, but my vote won't count in Blue New York even if I were willing to vote for the slightly lesser of two evils, which I am not. I plan to make my vote count by giving a more-or-less deserving third-party candidate some needed support. If none can be found, I'll either stay home or write in Grover Cleveland.

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"An Improbable Love"

Steve Sailer reads a biography by a "veteran Washington Post reporter [who] does not appear utterly convinced, after years of research, that President Barack Obama Jr. is the biological son of Barack Obama Sr." — The weirdest thing in "Barack Obama: The Story". An exceprt:
    Maraniss has various governmental records of the marriage, and even a new third party confirmation that "Stanley had a baby" as a doctor at the hospital laughed a few days later at lunch. But he points out repeatedly that almost nobody can remember ever seeing the couple together, before or after marriage. The main witness to seeing them together in the book is Obama Sr.'s college friend Neil Abercrombie, the current Democratic governor of Hawaii, whom Maraniss doesn't appear to trust.

    Maraniss can find zero evidence that the couple ever lived together. He says that Stanley Ann was in Seattle to attend the U. of Washington within a month of the August 1961 birth, without her mother but with the baby, which I'd heard before but still sounds screwy to me. We have long had a witness, a lady who took care of Barack Jr. in Seattle during the Spring 1962 semester, and we've had Stanley Ann's grades from Fall 1961, so I guess it fits.

    This raises obvious questions about Obama's career-launching 2004 convention keynote address that starts out talking about his parents' "improbable love."

    In general, most of Maraniss's new revelations of sizable falsehoods in Obama's works can't really be blamed on Obama, since they stem from before he can remember. He writes, for example, that his parents were together for two years, but you can't really blame him for getting wrong facts from his infancy. He comes from a long line of people who like a good story and don't mind spin. You'll notice that Obama often puts a little skeptical spin of his own on stories passed down to him: everybody listening to that speech took "improbable love" to mean that, awwwwwww, it's just amazing that two people from the opposite ends of the earth fell so deeply in love with each other and tried to make a life together. But, Obama is also not ruling out that what he was told was a crock: Hey, I told you all it was "improbable," didn't I? Likewise, in Dreams he says he was assured that his parents were married in February 1961, but that he's never had the heart to look into it.

    In general, Obama does not like to tell baldfaced lies, especially when some lawyerly language would accomplish the task almost as well.

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The House of Stuart vs. the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Clyde N. Wilson writes, "[A] real monarchist must admit that the British executed and exiled their legitimate kings" — The One Over the Water. More:
    The Stuarts had defects enough, Heaven knows, but they were royal defects. They had the best of British qualities—courage and intelligence such as nearly conquered the world. Something went badly wrong when the present line of petty German princelings was imported. The German princes were among the stupidest and most repulsive of all the European royals and unfitted to be symbols of a great Empire.

    The only positive quality that the present ruling house has ever displayed is middle-class morality and steadiness. And even there, it has been more image than reality, since every generation has produced enough odd characters to fill a zoo. And now we have had two generations that are hardly distinguishable from their peers among the super-rich of the Northeastern United States: at best dilettantes prey of every pernicious cause of the day or else wastrels representative of nothing.

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Kenneth Saulnier Performs "'La Danse de Mardis Gras"

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Kenneth Saulnier Performs "M'en allant par Saulnierville Station" and "Les Bons Souvenirs"

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His Soon-to-Be Excellence Arrested for Non-Crime

And forced by popular nanny statist piety into "apologizing for his 'error in judgment' and asking forgiveness for the disgrace he brought upon the Church" — Future San Francisco archbishop apologizes for 'disgrace' caused by arrest.

"I pray that God, in His inscrutable wisdom, will bring some good out of this," he said; some good that could come out of this would be to follow the counsel of Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. set forth in this article — Legalize Drunk Driving.

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George Orwell Was Right

Nicholas Farrell on the news that "[t]he BBC has just rejected a proposal to erect a statue in honor of George Orwell outside its new London headquarters" because "to erect such a statue would be regarded as 'far too left-wing'" — Which Way, George Orwell? An excerpt:
    Orwell—too left-wing!

    Yes, George Orwell was a socialist, but above all he believed in liberty. He was well aware that the trouble with socialism is that it leads inevitably to tyranny.

    If Orwell were alive today he would despise the modern left, especially for its doctrine of political correctness, which denies freedom of speech and via the state inflicts on our lives numerous petty tyrannies.

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Rochester's Turkish Community

After many decades, "something rarely seen in the Rochester area" is being constructed — Turkish Society beginning work on mosque. "We’ve been dreaming about it the last 45 years," said Ali Calik, past president of the Turkish Society of Rochester. "Since day one, we always wanted to have some place to worship."

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George Romney's William Pitt the Younger


The above painting by "one of England’s defining portraitists and a direct ancestor of Mitt Romney’s" whose "purity, psychological depth, and unimpeachable fidelity to its subject remain fresh and engaging" is the topic of Joseph McKenzie — Romney’s Visual Treatise on Human and Political Virtue.

About the subject of the painting, the author writes:
    Pitt became prime minister at 24. He argued passionately against Britain’s wasteful war on the American colonies. As the engineer of the Acts of Union 1800, he attempted to procure Catholic emancipation, establishing himself as one of history’s finest champions of religious toleration.

    Mitt would do well to study Pitt, who was renowned for his administrative efficiency and his intolerance for radicals. Only during the war with France did Pitt raise taxes. He was appalled by the false doctrines of the French Revolution that continue in modern big-government politics.
The town I lived in was named after the subject's father, or to be more precise, named after a town named for his father, Pittsford, Vermont.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sœur Marie Keyrouz Sings "Thou, O Mother of God"


Sister Marie Keyrouz, "chanter of Oriental Church music... and founder-president of the National Institute of Sacred Music in Paris," "was born in Deir el Ahmar in Lebanon... [and r]aised in the Maronite Church, but being a Melkite through her religious congregation, ... took her vows in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church."

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Those Western-Sponsored Syrian Good Guys

"Syrian rebel forces have trapped over 12,000 Greek Catholics in a village near the Lebanese border, causing shortages of food, medicine and other urgent supplies," reports Catholic News Agency's Kevin J. Jones — Thousands of Christians trapped in Syrian village. An excerpt:
    For over 10 days the village of Rableh in the area of Homs has suffered under a strict blockade from armed opposition forces that have surrounded it, Fides news agency says. Snipers have killed at least three men of the village, including a married father of four.

    Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gergorios III Laham has appealed to men of good will to ensure that “Rableh is saved and all other villages affected in Syria.” He has asked “for peace to be reached in our beloved country.”

    Archbishop Mario Zenari, the apostolic nuncio to Syria, has asked both sides of the conflict to adhere to “the strict observance of the international humanitarian law.”

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Brain-Dead Conservatives

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Pink Floyd, Live at Pompeii (1972)

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Pompeii, MCMXXXIII Years Later

"The final 24 hours of the Roman city of Pompeii are being relived on Twitter today," "retweeted as it happened from the Twitter account Elder_Pliny" — The Last XXIV Hours of Pompeii Retold on Twitter: Catastrophe Relived (Almost) Exactly 1,933 Years After Eruption of Vesuvius.

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Caetano Veloso Performs "Terra"


Something to memorialize this passing — Astronaut Neil Armstrong dies at 82. The lyrics:
    Quando eu me encontrava preso na cela de uma cadeia
    Foi que vi pela primeira vez as tais fotografias
    Em que apareces inteira, porém lá não estava nua
    E sim coberta de nuvens
    Terra, Terra,
    Por mais distante o errante navegante
    Quem jamais te esqueceria?
    Ninguém supõe a morena dentro da estrela azulada
    Na vertigem do cinema mando um abraço pra ti
    Pequenina como se eu fosse o saudoso poeta
    E fosses a Paraíba
    Terra, Terra,
    Por mais distante o errante navegante
    Quem jamais te esqueceria?
    Eu estou apaixonado por uma menina terra
    Signo de elemneto terra do mar se diz terra à vista
    Terra para o pé firmeza terra para a mão carícia
    Outros astros lhe são guia
    Terra, Terra,
    Por mais distante o errante navegante
    Quem jamais te esqueceria?
    Eu sou um leão de fogo, sem ti me consumiria
    A mim mesmo eternamente, e de nada valeria
    Acontecer de eu ser gente, e gente é outra alegria
    Diferente das estrelas
    Terra, terra,
    Por mais distante o errante navegante
    Quem jamais te esqueceria?
    De onde nem tempo e nem espaço, que a força mãe dê coragem
    Pra gente te dar carinho, durante toda a viagem
    Que realizas do nada,através do qual carregas
    O nome da tua carne
    Terra, terra,
    Por mais distante o errante navegante
    Quem jamais te esqueceria?
    Na sacadas dos sobrados, das cenas do salvador
    Há lembranças de donzelas do tempo do Imperador
    Tudo, tudo na Bahia faz a gente querer bem
    A Bahia tem um jeito
    Terra, terra,
    Por mais distante o errante navegante
    Quem jamais te esqueceria?

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Old Crow Medicine Show Perform "Levi"

    Born upon the Blue ridge, at the Carolina line
    Baptized on the banks of the New River
    Brought upon bluegrass and clear moonshine
    And tough as iron but a heart soft as leather
    Levi, lord, lord, lord, they shot him down
    10 000 miles from a southern town
    Oh, Levi,

    Like a fire on a mountain, running wild with no states
    Playing nights at the golden horse shoe
    And Indian raids
    Now it's parachutes and combat boots
    And camouflaged airplanes
    And a country boy who don't belong
    In the desert anyways
    Levi, lord, lord, lord, they shot him down
    10 000 miles from a southern town
    Oh, Levi,

    Well the sandbox sure gets lonesome
    And it's 109 degrees
    Singing carry my back to Virginia
    Lord I'm down here on my knees
    In the market square while the bells were ringing
    Loud to fill the air
    Levi gazed his eyes out, through the rocket glare
    Beyond the desert and the ocean
    To the furthest fields at home
    And when the bullets pierced his body
    He was already gone

    Levi, lord, lord, lord, they shot him down
    10 000 miles from a southern town
    Oh, Levi, lord, lord, lord, they shot him down
    Oh, Levi, oh Levi.
Click on this link to learn how "[o]ne of [OCMS's] fans was Leevi Barnard, a U.S. Army lieutenant who died in the Iraq War in 2009 — and whose life became the inspiration for a brand-new song, 'Levi'" — Old Crow Medicine Show: Something Borrowed.

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Where Have All the Protest Songs Gone?

"Today’s music targets bullies instead of wars," laments The American Conservative's Scott Galupo — Why Are There No Popular Protest Songs?

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"The Anatolian Hypothesis"

"By using novel methods developed for tracing the origins of virus outbreaks," it has gained some support, reports Hristio Boytchev — Researchers identify present day Turkey as origin of Indo-European languages. An excerpt:
    Based on archeological data, it states that Indo-European languages spread with the expansion of agriculture from Anatolia, beginning 8,000 to 9,500 years ago.

    The prevailing theory among linguists, however, is the “Steppe hypothesis,” explained Michael Dunn, a linguist the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, Netherlands. The hypothesis is based primarily on an approach to reconstruct the ancestral language. By doing so, linguists have found that most Indo-European languages have related words for “wheel” and “wagon.” This points to the steppes of present-day Russia, 6,000 years ago, as the birthplace of the language family, because this is where the widespread use of chariots, an important technological advance, is thought to have originated.

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Véronique Labbé Performs "On Part"

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Véronique Labbé Performs "Je Vais Maintenant Vivre" & "La Théière"




Pour l'amour du country brings us la chanteuse country Québecoise. The blurb for the first video informs us, "Elle a composé cette pièce pour son fils Félix." Can anyone with better francophonic skills than mine confirm whether this is a pro-life song, as I suspect it is?

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PЦSSУ ЯIФT

Leave it to a "hard left" CounterPuncher writing from Moscow named Israel Shamir to inform us that "that famous lover-of-art, the US State Department, paid for their first ever single being produced by The Guardian," and that "[t]he alleged organiser of the PR, Marat Gelman, a Russian Jewish art collector, has been connected with previous anti-Christian art actions which involved icon-smashing, imitation churches of enemas" — The Secret History of Pussy Riot.

Noting that "the anti-Church campaign started a few months ago, quite suddenly as if by command," Mr. Shamir explains:
    The Russian Church had 20 years of peace, recovering after the Communist period, and it was surprised by ferocity of the attack.

    Though this subject calls for longer exposition, let us be brief. After the collapse of the USSR, the Church remained the only important spiritual pro-solidarity force in Russian life. The Yeltsin and Putin administrations were as materialist as the communists; they preached and practiced social Darwinism of neo-Liberal kind. The Church offered something beside the elusive riches on earth. Russians who lost the glue of solidarity previously provided by Communists eagerly flocked to the alternative provided by the Church.

    The government and the oligarchs treated the Church well, as the Church had a strong anti-Communist tendency, and the haves were still afraid of the Reds leading the have-nots. The Church flourished, many beautiful cathedrals were rebuilt, many monasteries came back after decades of decay. The newly empowered church became a cohesive force in Russia.

    As it became strong, the Church began to speak for the poor and dispossessed; the reformed Communists led by the Church-going Gennadi Zuganov, discovered a way to speak to the believers. A well-known economist and thinker, Michael Khazin, predicted that the future belongs to a new paradigm of Red Christianity, something along the lines of Roger Garaudy’s early thought. The Red Christian project is a threat to the elites and a hope for the world, he wrote. Besides, the Russian church took a very Russian and anti-globalist position.

    This probably hastened the attack, but it was just a question of time when the global anti-Christian forces would step forward and attack the Russian Church like they attacked the Western Church. As Russia entered the WTO and adopted Western mores, it had to adopt secularization. And indeed the Russian Church was attacked by forces that do not want Russia to be cohesive: the oligarchs, big business, the media lords, the pro-Western intelligentsia of Moscow, and Western interests which naturally prefer Russia divided against itself.
This, too, is worthy of quoting:
    Two years’ sentence is quite in line with prevailing European practice. For much milder anti-Jewish hate talk, European countries customarily sentence offenders to two-to-five years of prison for the first offence. The Russians applied hate crime laws to offenders against Christian faith, and this is probably a Russian novelty. The Russians proved that they care for Christ as much as the French care for Auschwitz, and this shocked the Europeans who apparently thought ‘hate laws’ may be applied only to protect Jews and gays. The Western governments call for more freedom for the anti-Christian Russians, while denying it for holocaust revisionists in their midst.
Tolle, lege. This is the best article I've come across yet on the subject.

[Thank you Fake Cyrillic Generator for the title of this post.]

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More Postconciliar Church Artistic Renovation


"An elderly parishioner has stunned Spanish cultural officials with an alarming and unauthorised attempt to restore a prized Jesus Christ fresco" — Spanish fresco restoration botched by amateur.

God bless these "Spanish cultural officials" for their wisdom. Church officials have been promoting similar "renovation" for the past half-century since the Second Vatican Council. Indeed, the elderly renovatrix "claimed to have had the permission of the priest to carry out the job."

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Starving the Beast

The American Conservative's Michael D. Ostrolenk praises " the Mulvaney-Frank amendment [as] an acknowledgment that the endless military-spending hikes since 9/11 cannot continue" — How to Freeze the Pentagon.

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Is Obesity a Result of Collateral Damage in the War on Microbes?

Human microbiome decimation can have unintended consequences, it appears — Early use of antibiotics linked to obesity, research finds. "Since the 1950s," the article informs us, "low doses of antibiotics have been widely used as growth promoters in animals."

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A Local Love Story


Newlyweds Jessica and Aaron Kaler "met at Penfield High School and later learned that they were adopted from South Korea through the same agency" — Love comes full circle for Penfield couple.

The article parenthetically informs us that "Rochester has the second highest number of children adopted from South Korea in the whole country.... largely due to the region’s affluence and level of cultural acceptance."

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gillian Welch & David Rawlings Perform "I Want to Sing That Rock And Roll"

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An "Atlantic Divide" in Rock 'n' Roll?

"Rock ‘n’ roll is innately religious and expresses a desire for the infinite, according to one of Ireland’s leading music journalists," John Waters, reports Catholic News Agency's David Kerr — Music journalist explores religious qualities of rock 'n' roll. An excerpt:
    Waters contests that there is an “Atlantic divide” when it comes to the “credent pillars of modern pop and rock ‘n’ roll,” with a “British model” that is more ideological and destructive, standing in contrast to its American counterpart.

    The British model, as exemplified by the 1970s punk movement, “always seemed to believe that rock ‘n’ roll should be a political form of rebellion which implicitly became socially left-wing,” Waters said. But the American model has “always had a far more existential dimension, a far broader dimension,” a characteristic that he traces to its “relationship with the primal music of the Blues and Gospel.”

    So while the British model has tended to inform the analysis of music critics, it is “not necessarily the impulse that is to be found in the music,” he said, holding up legendary American artists such as Sam Cooke, Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen as examples.

    “They play the game of the modern culture, speaking to the communications media in a certain language, and yet in their songs they speak an entirely different language.”

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A Devout Agnostic's Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

"The Moby-Dick author sought spiritual connection on an 1857 Holy Land trip" but "found dust and rocks instead" — Melville in Jerusalem. An excerpt:
    Melville’s view of the place was certainly clouded by his financial and artistic troubles, as well as the religious tensions he felt as a Christian traveling in 19th-century Jerusalem. While Melville was not a traditionally religious or observant man, theological questions dominate the author’s work. The philosophically inclined child of a Christian father and pious Calvinist mother, Melville held a complex theology, best described as something like devout agnosticism. “He can neither believe, nor be comfortable in his unbelief,” Hawthorne wrote of Melville in his journal. “He is too honest and courageous not to try to do one or the other. If he were a religious man, he would be one of the most truly religious and reverential.” This devotion to uncertainty—but affiliation with pious Christianity—affected Melville’s view of Jerusalem in a number of ways: He felt uninspired by the city and disappointed to find himself feeling this way. Additionally, he was saddened to see the sites associated with Christian history in such poor condition. He wrote that “the mind can not but be sadly & suggestively affected with the indifference of Nature & Man to all that makes the spot sacred to the Christian.” The barren city, in combination with his bleak mood, left Melville feeling disenchanted; his outlook was markedly more optimistic upon departing for Rome.
No mention of what the author of America's greatest novel found there.

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Obama or Romney?

The Washington Examiner's Gene Healy explains that when it comes to "core questions of federal power -- in areas where the president has much more discretion than he does over the budget -- there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the two tickets — The bipartisan imperial presidency. "Among those questions: Can the president launch wars at will, subject American citizens to military detention and assassinate them via drone strike?"

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Thank You, Congressman Todd Akin

For "another opportunity to clarify Church doctrine," according to the National Catholic Register's Joan Frawley Desmond — Abortion in Cases of Rape: Todd Akin’s Gaffe Spotlights Catholic Teaching — Again.

Noting that "the latest election-year dustup also provides a chance for the Church to explain why it opposes abortion in cases of rape, what medical treatment in such cases is ethically acceptable, and the U.S. bishops’ reasons for supporting legislation that bars federal funding of abortion but exempts victims of rape," the author explains:
    The Catechism teaches, “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person — among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life (2270).

    “Since the first century, the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law (2271).”

    Registered nurse Marie Hilliard, the director of bioethics and public policy at the
National Catholic Bioethics Center and a canon lawyer, echoed this point: “No matter how violently that life came into being, the second victim of the rape is the human being that, through an abortion, would be treated as a perpetrator.”

    Hilliard added that while “statistics concerning the frequency of rape victims becoming pregnant from the assault are less than precise (1%-5%), the right of the victim to utilize every means to defend herself against the fertilization of her ovum (conception) is supported by Catholic health care.”

    Referencing “The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Facilities” issued by the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops, Hilliard noted that “medications that have the potential to stop ovulation, such as Plan B, should be provided if medical assessment of the victim indicates that ovulation can be interrupted. However, drugs, devices and procedures administered at a time when they will have an abortifacient effect violate human life and dignity” and thus cannot be used.

    But what happens when pregnancy can not be prevented, and a victim of sexual assault faces the choice of whether to carry her assailant’s child or have an abortion? Pro-life conferences have featured stirring testimonials from women and children about the fateful decision to carry a pregnancy to term in such cases, but their stories rarely surface in the media or even Sunday homilies.

    Janet Smith, a professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and a popular author and speaker, has long sought to challenge the received wisdom on abortion in cases of rape during presentations at conferences and in classrooms with young people, including seminarians.

    “Compassionate young people who are understandably horrified by the act of rape are very confused about the Church’s teaching on this,” agreed Smith, and “partisans also use this confusion to keep abortion legal.”

    However, Smith asks her audience to step back and consider what is being asked of a women who is pregnant as a result of rape.

    “Rape is a horrible thing, and no one wants to minimize the consequences for the victim. It would be a huge sacrifice to carry this life to term — and today we just don’t think that people should be asked to make great sacrifices,” Smith suggested.

    Such comments may seem shocking, even uncaring, but Smith says her arguments have shaken the complacency of audiences that haven’t been asked to embrace a call to great self-sacrifice.

    “When I started to do sidewalk counseling, I spoke with a girl who was pregnant because of rape. She told me she didn’t want an abortion — ‘But everyone says I would be stupid to carry a baby that I got because of a rape.’”

    Smith doesn’t think an act of great generosity is “stupid.”

    “The simple point is that an unborn child’s right to life isn’t dependent on the goodness or badness of its father. The child becomes the second victim of the rape, paying for the sins of its father if it’s life is taken away.”

    Richard Doerflinger, the chief lobbyist on life issues for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, confirmed that the conference had been fielding calls about the Church’s stance on a vexed issue that has left many people in the pews confused.

    “Because this question is getting raised in the news in connection with the electoral campaign, I would much prefer to send you background information,” he told the Register. “As you know, the bishops’ conference tries not to comment on candidates and their positions as such.”

    With that caveat, Doerflinger provided some context for the moral debate within the Church and the pro-life movement regarding efforts to bar legal abortion in cases of rape.

    He noted that in “federal policy this subject has been debated chiefly in the context of the Hyde Amendment, a rider to the annual Labor [Department]/HHS appropriations bill that prevents federal funding of abortion. For many years, that amendment did not allow funding for abortions in cases of rape.”

    In 1993, however, “the House of Representatives prepared to approve an appropriations bill that dropped all restrictions on abortion funding. After concluding that his only opportunity to restore the Hyde Amendment would be defeated unless it included a rape/incest exception, Congressman Henry Hyde reluctantly allowed that exception to be added. Hyde and parallel provisions in many other federal laws have included such an exception since then.”

    Doerflinger noted that even with the exemption for incest and rape, “the Hyde Amendment has prevented federal funding of well over 99% of the abortions that would otherwise receive federal support. Without the amendment, the government had funded about 300,000 abortions a year in Medicaid; that number was cut down to a few hundred each year.”

    Pope John Paul II, in his groundbreaking 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), stated that legislative compromise was morally acceptable in certain situations.

    “[W]hen it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but, rather, a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects” (73).
    Doerflinger echoed this point in his comments for the Register.

    “The Church opposes all direct abortion and federal funding for all such abortion. But without supporting the exceptions, the bishops’ conference has supported the restrictions placed on abortion funding by the Hyde Amendment and similar laws for the sake of the good they do and the many lives they save.”

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Ut Unum Sint

    The stand taken by the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church in Poland on topical issues of today, such as individual morality and social ethics, bioethics, ethics of scientific research and some others, are very close, which makes it possible for the two Churches to develop cooperation, bearing joint witness to the Christian tradition in Europe. I would say the contemporary situation, which European countries have found themselves as a result of secularization, turns this opportunity into urgent necessity.
Thus spake Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department of External Church Relations, quoted here the Acton Institute's Dylan Pahman — Catholics and Orthodox Seek Reconciliation in Poland. From Sandro Magister come the complete text and the comment of Pope Benedict XVI — Russia and Poland, Orthodox and Catholics. The Breakthrough Message.

Coming to mind is Soloviev's Apocalypse, in which "resistance [against the Antichrist] comes from Pope Peter II, John the Elder, leader of the Orthodox, and Professor Ernst Pauli, representing Protestantism," and under the "pressure of persecution the three churches in this eschatological situation at last unite."

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The Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation

The local lady for whom "more than $700,000 was raised" has "decided to take $100,000 from those funds and start... [an] agency [that] will help fund counseling programs at schools across the country and create curriculum to help teach students about bullying" — Bullied bus monitor starts anti-bullying foundation.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Émilie Daraîche Performs "Jusqu'au bout du Monde"

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More on L'Affaire P*ssy Riot

  • "The song to which the punk band 'Pussy Riot' danced on Feb. 21 in Russia’s iconic Christ the Savior Cathedral ends with a prayer asking Jesus’s mother Mary to 'become a feminist,'" reminds CounterPunch's Ray McGovern, rightly also reminding, "but Mary always was a feminist through and through, with a voice speaking strongly for justice" — From the Virgin Mary to Pussy Riot.

  • The New American's Christian Gomez wrongly reverts to the historic Russophobia of the John Birch Society for which he writes — Punk Band's Sentencing Signals Russia's Resurgent Communism.

  • The American Conservative's Eric Margolis makes an interesting analogy — Assange Is America’s Pussy Riot — and here's the first I've heard of their music, and I have to say I like it — Pussy Riot releases new anti-Putin song.
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    Saintly Stuff

    Stories on "a martyr to the truths of [the] evil of Nazism" — St Maximilan Kolbe, who gave his life to save a parent — and a right forearm "used it to bless and baptise thousands of people" — St Francis Xavier relic to tour Australia.

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    Admiral Cheng Ho

    A short video on the Muslim eunuch who "from 1405 to 1433, [led] seven epic expeditions brought China's "treasure ships" across the China Seas, the Indian Ocean, from Taiwan to the spice islands of Indonesia and the Malabar coast of India, on to the rich ports of the Persian Gulf and down the African coast, China's 'El Dorado,' and perhaps even to Australia, 300 years before Captain Cook was credited with its discovery" — The Greatest Admiral You've Never Heard of.

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    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Rhéal LeBlanc Performs "Que la Vie Est Belle" & "Il Faut Pardonner"

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    "Apocaholism"

    "Religious zealots hardly have a monopoly on apocalyptic thinking," says Wired Science's Matt Ridley, reminding us of "some of the environmental cataclysms that so many experts promised were inevitable" — Apocalypse Not: Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Worry About End Times. An excerpt:
      Best-selling economist Robert Heilbroner in 1974: “The outlook for man, I believe, is painful, difficult, perhaps desperate, and the hope that can be held out for his future prospects seem to be very slim indeed.” Or best-selling ecologist Paul Ehrlich in 1968: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s ["and 1980s" was added in a later edition] the world will undergo famines—hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked on now … nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.” Or Jimmy Carter in a televised speech in 1977: “We could use up all of the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade.”

      Predictions of global famine and the end of oil in the 1970s proved just as wrong as end-of-the-world forecasts from millennialist priests. Yet there is no sign that experts are becoming more cautious about apocalyptic promises. If anything, the rhetoric has ramped up in recent years. Echoing the Mayan calendar folk, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its Doomsday Clock one minute closer to midnight at the start of 2012, commenting: “The global community may be near a point of no return in efforts to prevent catastrophe from changes in Earth’s atmosphere.”

      Over the five decades since the success of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 and the four decades since the success of the Club of Rome’s The Limits to Growth in 1972, prophecies of doom on a colossal scale have become routine. Indeed, we seem to crave ever-more-frightening predictions—we are now, in writer Gary Alexander’s word, apocaholic. The past half century has brought us warnings of population explosions, global famines, plagues, water wars, oil exhaustion, mineral shortages, falling sperm counts, thinning ozone, acidifying rain, nuclear winters, Y2K bugs, mad cow epidemics, killer bees, sex-change fish, cell-phone-induced brain-cancer epidemics, and climate catastrophes.

      So far all of these specters have turned out to be exaggerated. True, we have encountered obstacles, public-health emergencies, and even mass tragedies. But the promised Armageddons—the thresholds that cannot be uncrossed, the tipping points that cannot be untipped, the existential threats to Life as We Know It—have consistently failed to materialize. To see the full depth of our apocaholism, and to understand why we keep getting it so wrong, we need to consult the past 50 years of history.
    Tolle, lege.

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    Questioning America's Religion

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    The Last Place on Earth I'd Like to Visit

    Is the country where this miscarriage of justice is now occurring — Christian girl with Down's syndrome accused of blasphemy.

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    L'Affaire P*ssy Riot

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    I Just Were

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    Sunday, August 19, 2012

    Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's Assumpta Est Maria Sung by Stile Antico


    Something belated for the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, which I was away for.

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    Paul Hébert Performs "Bonjour Bonheur" and "Pauvres Riches"




    Above, "one of the foremost Bluegrass artist[s] from the Maritime Provinces (Canada)" and "one of the rare Francophone artist[s] in that musical style." The Maritimes are next on this blogger's list of places to discover.

    [More from the same artist — Paul Hébert Performs "Le Printemps" and "Tu Es la Seule".]

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    The Acadian Flag


    The Flag of Quebec, or Fleurdelisé, is known to most of us, but the Flag of Acadia, pictured above, was a new sight to me on my recent trip. Wikipedia, as usual, gives a good introduction:This blogger was a bit turned off by the French Revolutionary Tricolore, but this explanation more than put him at ease:

      The Tricolour represents the Motherland of the Acadians. The yellow star, the Stella Maris, is the symbol of Mary, Acadian national symbol and patron of the mariners. It is set on the blue stripe, because blue is the colour of Mary. The yellow colour of the star represents the Papacy.

      Father Richard selected the French flag as the basis of the Acadian one to underline the adherence of the Acadians to the French civilization.... Father Richard saw the star in the blue band as "the distinctive emblem of our Acadian nationality", representing the star of the Blessed Virgin of the Assumption, patron of the Acadians. The star also represented the starfish that guides the sailor "through storms and reefs". The gold colour of the star was chosen by Father Richard because it is the colour of the Pope, in order to show both the adherence of the Acadians to the Roman Catholic Church and the role of the Church in the history of Acadia.

      The flag is a good example of an anachronism, and was mis-designed in 1884 by using the then current flag of France. The Acadian flag is based on the French Republic's Tricolore, however, France lost Acadia in 1755, when the French flag was still the Fleur-de-lis of the French Kingdom (the Tricolore was adopted in the French Revolution long after Acadia had become a British possession). The only flags which have flown over Acadia are the Fleur-de-lis, Union Jack, and Canada’s two flags. When Father Richard imagined the "motherland" of France, he was referencing the Kingdom, not the Republic, of France.

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    Canadian Vacation

    The Canadas played host to our family summer vacation this year, from which we returned early this morning. I grew up up near the border, and Fort Erie, Ontario, Niagara Falls and Toronto were frequent destinations for family day trips. In college, I lived close enough to bike or even walk across the Peace Bridge, but this was the first time I had a chance to explore the remoter (for an American) places.

    Our first destination was Upper Canada's Bruce Peninsula National Park, which was every bit as beautiful as I had imagined watching Quest for Fire (1981) as a kid (minus Rae Dawn Chong). Cyprus Lake still must look much as it did 10,000 years ago. From there, we drove almost ten hours to the capital and her Canadian Museum of Civilization, one of the best I've ever visited.

    I shamefully confess to not having ever known much about the country next to which I grew up, except of course that they were such nice people, and this museum did much to educate me. I never really fully contemplated the fact Canada as we know it never really existed as an English-speaking country until the French and Indian War and the desertion of American Loyalists.

    This bit of history gave me an intensified respect as we crossed into Lower Canada and entered the Francophone, driving another five hours or so, through little towns dominated by beautiful Catholic churches that give each a center and a name, to our destination, La Mauricie National Park. It was there that the best day of our vacation occurred, canoeing on the pristine Lac Wapizagonke. I think I've never felt farther away.

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    Saturday, August 11, 2012

    Angela Hewitt Performs J.S. Bach's "French Suite № 4 in E Flat Major"


    One last Canadian performance to leave you with before we take off (you hoser) to the Great White North for a week of camping and exploring. At this time tomorrow night we'll be asleep (in a tent) under the stars in the Bruce Peninsula, a place I've wanted to visit since seeing Quest for Fire (1981) as a kid. By midweek, we'll have left the wilds briefly and visited the Canadian Museum of Civilization in the country's capital, after which we are to cross the border into the Francophone, God willing, to return.

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    Glenn Gould Performs J.S. Bach's "Goldberg Variations"

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    Neil Young Performs "Out On The Weekend," "Old Man," "Heart Of Gold," "Don't Let It Bring You Down," "A Man Needs A Maid," and More

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    Joni Mitchell Performs "Chelsea Morning," "Cactus Tree," "My Old Man," "For Free," "California," "Big Yellow Taxi," and "Clouds"

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    Thomas Sowell Remembers His Hometown

    And finds "it is painful... to realize that youngsters growing up in the same places... where I grew up more than 60 years ago have far less chance of rising economically, educationally or otherwise— Harlem Then and Now.

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    Another Good Thing About Living in Rochester

    Finger Lakes Wine Country is just down the road, as this article on an event I would have attended were it not for tomorrow's trip reminds me — Finger Lakes Riesling Festival toasts great grape.

    "Riesling is a very diverse grape that makes many different styles of wine, all the way from dry to sweet," said one vintner. "We have a climate similar to that of Germany, where the grape is actually from," said another.

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    Joaquin Diaz Performs "Rosamari"


    I will sadly have to miss "the folk-merengue artist" who "performs Monday, August 13, 8 p.m. at Abilene, 153 Liberty Pole Way" — CHOICE CONCERTS: 8/8-8/15. We will be camping in a bordering foreign country for a week or so.

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    Our Lady of Victory


    Above, "one of the most emotional moments of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games" — Virgin Mary 'crosses the finish line' with Olympic gold runner.

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    "A Daily Dying to Self"

    A call from Bishop Richard J. Malone who was installed as the XIVth Bishop of Buffalo, N.Y. on Aug. 10" — New Buffalo bishop stresses need for modern-day martyrs. Said His Excellency, "We need the martyrs’ conviction and courage, tenacity and selflessness, and, yes, hope, to stand up in our increasingly relativistic society in defense of these truths and values so threatened in our time."

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    Tear Down the Traffic Lights!

    Karen De Coster posts "an interesting video of an intersection (a) in Auckland during a power outage with no traffic lights and (b) the next day, after the traffic lights were restored" showing "the smooth flow of traffic during a power outage and the resulting spontaneous order, as compared to the traffic backups with the lights working" — Anarcho-Roads.

    [My 2007 article on the subject — Anarchy, or Spontaneous Order, on the Streets of Saigon.]

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    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    "Loretta" Performed by Norah Jones with Gillian Welch & David Rawlings

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    Isolationism — As American as Apple Pie

    Dissent Magazine's Zach Dorfman offers a useful primer — What We Talk About When We Talk About Isolationism. Some excerpts:
      The idea that global military dominance and political hegemony is in the U.S. national interest—and the world’s interest—is generally taken for granted domestically. Opposition to it is limited to the libertarian Right and anti-imperialist Left, both groups on the margins of mainstream political discourse. Today, American supremacy is assumed rather than argued for: in an age of tremendous political division, it is a bipartisan first principle of foreign policy, a presupposition. In this area at least, one wishes for a little less agreement.

      [....]

      Today, isolationism is often portrayed as intellectually bankrupt, a redoubt for idealists, nationalists, xenophobes, and fools. Yet the term now used as a political epithet has deep roots in American political culture. Isolationist principles can be traced back to George Washington’s farewell address, during which he urged his countrymen to steer clear of “foreign entanglements” while actively seeking nonbinding commercial ties. (Whether economic commitments do in fact entail political commitments is another matter.) Thomas Jefferson echoed this sentiment when he urged for “commerce with all nations, [and] alliance with none.” Even the Monroe Doctrine, in which the United States declared itself the regional hegemon and demanded noninterference from European states in the Western hemisphere, was often viewed as a means of isolating the United States from Europe and its messy alliance system.

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    Justin Raimondo Exposes Small-a Anti-Christ

    "American tax dollars fund anti-Christian pogrom" — Christ Almighty! US Foreign Policy vs. Middle Eastern Christianity. His rousing conclusion:
      In Syria, and throughout the region, it is the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches that will be razed to the ground as radical Sunnis backed by the US take power and impose sharia law. If these groups have any lobbying power in the US, I have yet to see them exercise it on behalf of their beleaguered co-religionists. The mainstream media in the Western world, no friend of organized religion of any sort, is content to close its collective eye to the pogrom, whilst cheerleading and covering up for the supposedly heroic rebels. This BBC reporter doesn’t hesitate to ask a nun reporting rebel atrocities if she knows “many people consider you a liar.” Imagine some reporter — particularly one from the BBC — saying that to a Kosovar during the Balkan war. It would never have happened.

      If the Obama administration is trying to reinforce the wacky idea that the President is really a secret Muslim, then they are certainly doing a bang-up job of it. As for me, my view is that, like all statists, the Obamaites are hostile to all religion, just on general principles. The church, after all, is a rival power center to the State. In any case, sympathy for the plight of Christians in the Middle East is not likely to be found in those quarters — but, Christ Almighty, what about the rest of the country? Have we completely lost our moral compass, or is the triumph of militant secularism so complete that we can comfortably ignore our own government’s war on Christianity in the Middle East?

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    Bill Kauffman on Mormonism

    While he has "never experimented with LDS," the local author confesses to having "always had a soft spot for the Latter-Day Saints" — Just Deseret. Mr. Kauffman offers reasons that are largely local, and thus logical:
      Their faith was founded about 50 miles to our east during the antebellum roil which gave to our region the appellation of the “Burned-Over District,” as religious and reform enthusiasms (abolition, women’s rights, spiritualism) set this land afire. I find the Book of Mormon, well, implausible, but as an indiscriminate patriot of the Burned-Over District anything or anyone hailing from these parts is okay by me, from the free-love Oneida Community to Ann Lee and her celibate Shakers. (And what a rotten perpetuation strategy that was: a no-sex sect.)

      [....]

      Almost a score of years ago I published a travel book about rural New York (Country Towns of New York) in which I wrote up Palmyra, the Mormon mecca, in whose environs Joseph Smith claimed to have received a visit in 1823 from an angel named Moroni, who directed him to the west side of a glacial drumlin that the Mormons would call Cumorah. There Smith found a stone box containing a set of gold plates upon which was written, in an ancient language, the Book of Mormon.

      For one week every July, tens of thousands of Mormons and gentiles alike gather at sunset at the foot of the Hill Cumorah to watch a multimedia pageant of LDS history. As a waggish merchant said of the Mormons who descend upon Palmyra each summer, “They bring the Ten Commandments and a ten-dollar bill and never break either one.”

      The proselytizing at Hill Cumorah is low-key. Typically, the pageant’s actors fan out through the crowd a couple of hours before show time. A cute Mormon girl or earnest Mormon boy, dressed as a Lamanite or Nephite and soon to take the stage, will ask you where you’re from, tell you that he or she has had an “awesome” time at Palmyra, and say something like, “I want you to know that all these stories you’re going to see tonight are true, and reading the Book of Mormon has brought me more joy than I ever imagined.”

      And that’s it for the evangelizing. I don’t believe these stories are true, but for the life of me I can’t understand why I’m supposed to despise these people.

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    Vintage Base Ball at the Genesee Country Village & Museum

    "Every summer more than 100 volunteer players help bring the game back to its roots, complete with period uniforms, equipment, lingo, and rules" — RECREATION FEATURE: VINTAGE BASE BALL.

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    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    "Bury Me Beneath the Willow" Performed by Doc Watson, Sara Watkins, Chris Thile, Sean Watkins & Byron House

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    Malcolm Muggeridge on George Orwell

    "He loved the past, hated the present, and dreaded the future," quotes John P. Rossi in his article on the great "political radical and cultural conservative" — The Tory Anarchist.

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    "Burned-Over District"

    An old nickname for this part of New York State, as explained by Adam Gopnik — I, NEPHI:
      Mormonism was just one of countless sects dating from the Second Great Awakening, that period of the early nineteenth century which saw the first expression of the kind of hyper-emotional, revivalist Methodism that has remained the signature style of American Christianity into our own time. Smith’s part of upstate New York was called, Gutjahr tells us, “the ‘Burned-Over District,’ because the region was so often swept by the flames of the Holy Spirit.” All the sects had their own creeds, visionaries, and beliefs; they ranged from the Millerites, an upstate cult whose founder taught that the world would come to an end and Jesus return on March 21, 1843, all the way to the Oneida Community, whose members believed that Jesus had already returned and given everybody license for free love.

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    America Through Her Pastime

    Jeremy Beer recounts his trip "to see seven minor league baseball games in seven days, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and including many other wonders seen on the road from Cleveland, Ohio, to Portland, Maine" — America, One Minor League Ballpark at a Time.

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    Monday, August 6, 2012

    J. S. Bach's "Aus der Tiefen Rufe Ich, Herr, Zu Dir" Performed by The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, Directed by Ton Koopman

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    Anniversary of a "Cold War Crime Against Humanity"

    "The US intentionally prolonged the war for the sole purpose of testing the atomic bomb on real cities," rightly charges the author of this piece — Phil Strongman: Hiroshima is a war crime that haunts my family, 67 years on. An excerpt:
      Apologists for these events have used two arguments. These attacks were necessary because Japan wouldn't surrender without them, and because a land invasion against Japan's disciplined troops would have caused 300,000 US casualties or more. The bombing also kept the Soviets out of Japan and helped speed the end of the war. This thought now dominates – anyone disagreeing is "a soft peacenik". No one objected to the A-Bomb's use in 1945, we are told. No one who knew the score amongst the military high-ups. There was no alternative.

      But the argument that no one in the know objected is a fallacy. General Eisenhower opposed it, "Japan was already defeated… dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary." The Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Nimitz agreed: "The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in their defeat." Admiral Leahy, President Truman's Chief of Staff, concurred: the atomic attacks were "of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already ready to surrender…"

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    Sunday, August 5, 2012

    Bristol Mountain Bluegrass Perform "Nobody's Love is Like Mine," "I'll Go Stepping Too," "I've Lived a Lot in My Time," and "B&D Breakdown"


    Local legends rained out today from their scheduled free performance at the Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum, which was to be the last stop on our weekend getaway which started nearby yesterday at the wonderful Sodus Point Beach Park and continued through the night and until this morning at Fair Haven Beach State Park, were we camped and enjoyed the lake until the rains came in.

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    War Comes Home

    "A patriotic gun-lover who would hassle any man that was drinking a cocktail instead of a beer" has left "his wife of three months" a war widow — Pfc. Theodore 'Matt' Glende remembered as insightful, intelligent.

    "'When I found out (Alexandra) was dating Theo, I couldn’t believe it,' said Robert Buda, a close friend of both Glende and his widow. 'Right when I found out they were dating, you knew that they were meant to be together.'" Were it not for the Bush-Obama imperial wars.

    Also local, a "newly published memoir of... Iraq experiences is getting national attention in media and publishing circles" and "has been compared to other highly regarded war memoirs" — Iraq vet from western NY writes vivid war memoir.

    "'I liked the old me, the one who played guitar, and laughed at dumb movies, and loved to read for days on end,' he said. 'That me died from a thousand blasts. Died covered in children’s blood. Died staring down my rifle barrel, a helpless woman in the crosshairs and my finger on the trigger. That me is gone.'"

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    El Sistema Comes to Rochester, Again

    Charles Valenza reports on "the RocMusic program, which will provide tuition-free music instruction and access to instruments for city youths," "inspired by the acclaimed 'El Sistema' program in Venezuela" — There's more to music than fun and entertainment. "The announcement has many ironies, however," the author reports:
      Rochester once had a similar program that was recognized as the finest in the country, and was a key component in establishing the city as a cultural center. Ultimately, it was abandoned.

      The program was a collaboration of George Eastman, the Eastman School of Music, and the City School District. In 1919, Eastman donated $15,000 to the CSD (the equivalent of $200,000 today) to purchase 250 musical instruments. All city students were given a musical aptitude test, and those showing interest and aptitude were loaned instruments.

      Low cost instrumental lessons (50 cents per lesson in my day) were available to all students at one of the city high schools every Saturday during the school year.

      The program gradually was disbanded when city school leaders increasingly regarded music and arts programs as “frills” not worthy of substantial funding.

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    Diversity Before Diversity: Governor Romualdo Pacheco


    Steve Sailer's "Diversity Before Diversity" Series came to mind reading about California governor Romualdo Pacheco, "the only Hispanic or Latino governor in the state's history as part of the U.S.," in Lost Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, the Sugar Kings and America's First Imperial Adventure, as did all of the history's "mixed" marriages between prominent haole (white) settlers on the islands and native Hawaiian nobles, who were well-received in American upper-class society.

    Mr. Sailer's series was designed "to point out that the color line discrimination against blacks was both quantitatively and qualitatively more severe than the discrimination suffered by other groups" and that "we shouldn't project how African-Americans were treated to other minorities."

    Indeed. We make a big hoopla now over this or that "Hispanic" politico, but to our ancestors before Nixon (who gave us the term "Hispanic"), this was no big deal. Neither were marriages to Polynesians, whom I remember being classified as "white" in one of the books I read as a kid.

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    Friday, August 3, 2012

    Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, Stuart Duncan and Aoife O'Donovan Perform "Quarter "Chicken Dark," "Attaboy," & "Here And Heaven"

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    Mario Vargas Llosa's Latest

    A "novel [that] recounts the true-life story of Roger Casement, an Irishman who documented and published reports of human rights abuses in Congo and Peru at the cusp of the 19th and 20th centuries" — Writing in the time of the post reverse-conquista. More from Luis Alberto Urrea's review:
      Casement ran afoul of the British Empire when he returned home and realized that Ireland was as subject to imperialism and colonialism as the natives he had observed in extremis. The Crown did not take kindly to this epiphany. He was eventually arrested for treason for trying to enlist Germany’s help in the Irish fight against British rule.

      The first half of the novel owes a clear debt to Joseph Conrad. Heart of Darkness hums like a mosquito in the background. In fact, among other historical figures, we meet Conrad himself, behaving like a coward in these pages.

      Sir Henry Stanley, the famous African explorer who found David Livingstone, is cruel. There’s not a hero among Casement’s cohort, not even poor Casement himself. He wanders, seemingly dazed, watching blood spatter from the “savages” and worrying about Ireland. It is a delicate performance by Vargas Llosa.

      We first meet Casement in prison, awaiting execution. His entire adventure is told in unemotional flashback, but the story is oddly dammed because the narrative flow is as captive as its hero. By page 90, one realises this is not a tale of adventure; it is a tale of oppression. The author expects us to attend to the great themes and learn.

      Colonialists in the era of King Leopold II are portrayed here as weirdly disconnected from the violence they inflict. Convinced that torture is for their victims’ own good, these capitalists ravage the land in pursuit of rubber for burgeoning new markets in the first world. The natives are enslaved — and then tortured or killed if they resist. Their masters avoid censure by calling this genocide “liberation.”

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    Justin Raimondo Eulogizes Gore Vidal

    The American Conservative carries his review of a recent work by the author who "greatly fears the corruption of the people that is the first and fatal symptom of the imperial disease" — Patriotic Gore — and Antiwar.com carries his obituary of the man who " represented... the sharp dissent of an American original and a literary giant" — Gore Vidal: The Last Jeffersonian.

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    Mumford & Sons Perform "The Cave, "White Blank Page," "Little Lion Man," and "Winter Winds"








    The local City Newspaper announces an upcoming performance of the band:
      On this side of the pond, we define bands that blend genres including folk, country, or bluegrass as Americana. Quartet Mumford & Sons is Americana too, but owing to its U.K. origins, it adds some Shakespeare and Celtic swagger. The result is literate and rustic roots music that’s earned the band numerous Grammy nominations and Billboard Music Awards. With only one album, 2010’s “Sigh No More,” Mumford & Sons is as close to an overnight sensation as it gets. Lead singer-guitarist-troubadour Marcus Mumford’s voice is the key. It lends an emotive cathedral-like quality that stands out in a crowd while his sons — who aren’t really his sons — create a cohesive dynamic and occasionally raucous texture. With Aaron Embrey and Dawes.

      Mumford & Sons performs Tuesday, August 7, 7 p.m. at CMAC, 3355 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua. $35-$45. cmacevents.com
    Far more than I can afford, but should be a good show.

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    Field Marshal the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank Speaks

    "My view is absolutely clear: torture is wrong and shouldn't be allowed, and people who torture should be apprehended, with the full force of law applied," says Britain's most senior ranking general — A Soldier's View of Torture, Just War Principles.

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    The Mother Country

    A conservative blog for peace looks at the pros and cons of "the idea of America joining the (British) Commonwealth" — Anglosphere.

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    Church, State, and Marriage

    The New American's R. Cort Kirkwood on the noteworthy news of an interesting promotion for "an orthodox shepherd on sexual matters [who] was the main prelate of the Catholic Church who pushed the passage of California’s... state referendum that defined marriage as a bond between one man and one woman" — Prop 8 Proponent to Head Catholic Church In San Francisco.

    LewRockwell.com's Peter S. Rieth argues that the "libertarian methodology of dealing with the problem of marriage policy would eventually lead to the realization of the conservative goals of strengthening family, faith and patriotism" — The Libertarian and Conservative Case for the Abolition of Marriage Laws.

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    Two From The American Conservative on Conservative Literati

    Micah Mattix reviews a new book about a poet for whom great poetry "begins in delight and ends in wisdom" — How to Read Robert Frost.

    "Can Christian humanism redeem an age of ideology?" asks Brad Birzer — Making Modernity Human. The author references, among others, "Irving Babbitt and Paul Elmer More, and [Nikolai] Berdyaev, Christopher Dawson, and T.S. Eliot," "C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and their circles in Britain, as well as philosophers Jacques Maritain and Etienne Gilson in France," and even "Flannery O’Connor, E.I. Watkin, Owen Barfield, Frank Sheed, ... and John Paul II."

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    What Do Wlat Disney and Kim Il-sung Have in Common?

    John Feffer argues that "the worlds of Walt Disney and Kim Il Sung are actually not that far apart," — The Disneyfication of North Korea. An excerpt:
      The world of Disney is the closest thing to totalitarianism that the entertainment-industrial complex has ever produced. The founder, Walt Disney, created a saccharine, air-brushed utopia that has been a dystopic reality for so many who have worked in the many enterprises of the Disney universe. The affinity between Disneyworld and the world of North Korea goes beyond any taste for Western-style entertainment that Kim Jong Un might have picked up during his Swiss education

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    Bill Kauffman's Hometown Visited by Downstater

    Burned-over district heard this empty pledge from an empty suit today: "I love yogurt and I’m going to eat more than my share of yogurt, I promise you" — Cuomo salutes Batavia's yogurt boom. That said, "the state’s fast-growing yogurt industry" is something worthy of saluting.

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    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    "Bury Me Beneath the Willow" Performed by Doc Watson, Sara Watkins, Chris Thile, Sean Watkins & Byron House

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    Gore Vidal, More Right Than Wrong

    News of the passing of "an icy iconoclast [who] delighted in chronicling what he perceived as the disintegration of civilisation around him" — Gore Vidal.

    Here's Bill Kauffman's review of the latest collection of essays from a man he says "has been a contumacious patriot of the Old Republic for nigh the entirety of the post-Republic era" — The Last Republican.

    Here's some of what he said — Gore Vidal quotes: 26 of the best. I've taken the trouble of separating them, adding my own parenthetical remarks; it seems we can amend this last quote to say: "There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise [at least two-thirds of the time]:"
      WRONG

      "I never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television." [Honest enough, but hardly inspiring; both are neutral, good or bad depending on the purposes to which they are put.]

      "It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail." [True enough as an observation on human character.]

      "Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little." [Ditto.]

      "Andy Warhol is the only genius I've ever known with an IQ of 60." [Warhol was not a genius (excpet perhaps in marketing), and his IQ was 86.]

      "Fifty percent of people won't vote, and fifty percent don't read newspapers. I hope it's the same fifty percent." [Disgust is not the same as apathy.]

      "The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so." [Again, true enough as an observation on human character, but we can aspire to be better than that.]

      "Sex is. There is nothing more to be done about it. Sex builds no roads, writes no novels and sex certainly gives no meaning to anything in life but itself." [It has profound meaning as a sacrament.]

      "Think of the earth as a living organism that is being attacked by billions of bacteria whose numbers double every forty years. Either the host dies, or the virus dies, or both die." [Such ideas are really beneath any thinking person.]
      RIGHT

      "A narcissist is someone better looking than you are." [Again, true as an observation on human character; see the quotes below on envy.]

      "Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically by definition be disqualified from ever doing so." [Well said.]

      "Democracy is supposed to give you the feeling of choice like, Painkiller X and Painkiller Y. But they're both just aspirin." [Perfect.]

      "Envy is the central fact of American life." [An astute observation on one of the seven deadly sins.]

      "The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country — and we haven't seen them since." [Right on!]

      "Every four years the naive half who vote are encouraged to believe that if we can elect a really nice man or woman President everything will be all right. But it won't be." [Indeed.]

      "A good deed never goes unpunished." [At least in this world, usually.]

      "All children alarm their parents, if only because you are forever expecting to encounter yourself." [A genial observation on the uniqueness of each soul.]

      "Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates." [Yep.]

      "Some writers take to drink, others take to audiences." [We need more of the former.]

      "The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept a majority of the people from ever questioning the inequity of a system where most people drudge along, paying heavy taxes for which they get nothing in return." [Excellent.]

      "Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn." [Sure.]

      "The more money an American accumulates, the less interesting he becomes." [Uh-huh.]

      "Congress no longer declares war or makes budgets. So that's the end of the constitution as a working machine." [Long live the Old Republic!]

      "We should stop going around babbling about how we're the greatest democracy on earth, when we're not even a democracy. We are a sort of militarised republic." [More rightly: we've not even a republic anymore; we're a sort of militarised democracy.]

      "As the age of television progresses the Reagans will be the rule, not
      the exception. To be perfect for television is all a President has to
      be these days." [Now, even the Reagans look good.]

      "There is no such thing as a homosexual or a heterosexual person. There are only homo- or heterosexual acts. Most people are a mixture of impulses if not practices." [Why the author never used the word "gay" in his life.]

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    Profligate Nation

    Walter E. Williams argues that "despite the fact that today's Americans have achieved an unprecedented level of prosperity, we have become spiritually and morally impoverished compared with our ancestors," daring to compare ours to times when "spending beyond one's means was considered a character defect" — How Times Have Changed.

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    Fish Oil

    An article with "everything you need to know about the supplement that can fight heart disease, ease arthritis - and even stave off blindness" — Are You Hooked on Fish Oil Yet? The Natural Wonder Drug Proven To Treat a Range of Conditions.

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