Saturday, May 12, 2007

Michael Pollan interviews

Michael Pollan: The Truthdig Interview
Grist interview
Leite's Culinaria
Complex Medium
Austinist
Megnut
TomDispatch
Resilience Science
Satya
"America's Eating Disorder"
Frontline: Modern Meat
The Believer


His website; The Omnivore's Dilemma.

Samsung Air Conditioner CF

making


cf




I'm pretty sure that's Jang Jin-young.

"A legacy of white colonialism"

Royal Mess
Focus, people, on Jamestown.
By Martin A. Davis Jr.

I'm surprised that paleos haven't written more about the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.

As Columbus Day has been downgraded or even replaced by Indigenous Peoples Day, and the "discovery" of the New World, and the consequent settlement by Europeans criticized by multiculturalists and leftists, is it surprising that this anniversary would be ignored by the MSM as well? No specials on any of the main commercial networks or PBS, though Terrence Malick's The New World was released in 2005. (How many people remember that movie?) The Anglo(-Celtic) identity of America has been greatly eroded over the past half-century, and there is no sign that it will return in any great strength.

Diane Farsetta, War vs. Democracy

Untold Stories from the Pat Tillman / Jessica Lynch Hearings
War vs. Democracy
By DIANE FARSETTA

Chan Akya, Brace for a China-led chill

CHAN AKYA Brace for a China-led chill

Bah, why did they do this to Thomas Tallis?

The creators of The Tudors have written in a homosexual love affair between Tallis and William Compton (in order to spice up the drama? to update it?). (A brief mention in the NY Times.)
Only 4 episodes of the mini-series are left; I don't know what ratings have been like, but it would not surprise me if many are gullible enough to accept the story as historical fact.

Miscellaneous link:
poet Thomas Wyatt

New trailer for The Kingdom

Yahoo! Movies

Some Hayley Westenra vids

Never Say Goodbye


Scarborough Fair


Interview

Friday, May 11, 2007

Papal addresses in Brazil

Benedict XVI's Address to Brazil's Bishops
"Become Messengers of Eternal Salvation"

Pope's Address at Canonization of 1st Brazilian
"His Immense Charity Knew No Bounds"

Archbishop: Current Energy Model Must Change

Archbishop: Current Energy Model Must Change
Calls for Education and Responsible Consumption

"Economic growth does not have to mean greater consumption," Archbishop Migliore stated.

He said: "From the standpoint of a sustainable economy, it does, however, mean that we will need technology, ingenuity, determined political will and common sense.

"Importantly, it will also demand technology transfer to developing countries, to the benefit of the entire global community."

"But even technology, its transfer and political will to collaborate at the international level are not enough," the archbishop continued. "To all that we must add national education schemes that will lead all of us without exception to approach our daily patterns of consumption and production in a very different way and to demand a similar change throughout construction, transport, businesses and other institutions.

"Remedies are not beyond our ingenuity, but we should be careful not to choose a path that will make things worse, especially for the poor."

Archbishop Migliore added, "We cannot simply uninvent the modern world, but there is still time to use technology and education to promote universally sustainable development before it is too late."

Father Cantalamessa on Peace

Father Cantalamessa on Peace

Pontifical Household Preacher Comments on Sunday's Readings

ROME, MAY 11, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of a commentary by the Pontifical Household preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, on the readings from this Sunday's liturgy.

* * *

My Peace I Give to You
Sixth Sunday of Easter
Acts 15:1-2,22-29; Revelations 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you" (John 14:27). What peace does Jesus speak of in this Gospel passage? He is not talking about an external peace that would consist in an absence of wars and conflicts between different people or nations. He speaks of that peace on other occasions, for example, when he says: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."

In today's Gospel passage he speaks of another peace, an interior peace of the heart, of the person with himself and with God. This much is clear from what Jesus immediately adds in this passage from John: "Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." This is the most fundamental peace. Without this peace, no other peace can exist. A billion drops of dirty water do not make a clean ocean and a billion troubled hearts do not make up a human race at peace.

The word that Jesus uses is "shalom." The Jews greeted each other with this word and still do; Jesus himself greeted the disciples with it on Easter evening and he orders the disciples to greet people in the same way: "In whatever house you enter say first, 'Peace be to this house'" (Luke 10:5-6).

To understand the meaning of the peace that Christ gives we have to look to the Bible. In the Bible "shalom" says more than simple absence of war and disorder. It positively indicates well-being, rest, certainty, success, glory. The Scriptures speak indeed of "the peace of God" (Philippians 4:7) and of the "God of peace" (Romans 15:32). Peace does not mean only what God gives but also what God is. In one of her hymns the Church calls the Trinity "ocean of peace."

This tells us that the peace of heart that we all desire can never be totally and stably possessed without God, outside of him. In the "Divine Comedy" Dante Alighieri synthesized all of this in that verse that many consider the most beautiful in this work: "In his will is our peace."

Jesus makes us understand what is opposed to this peace -- worry, anxiety, fear: "Do not let your hearts be troubled." Easy to say -- someone might object. How do we placate anxiety and disquiet, the worry that devours us all and keeps us from enjoying peace? Some people are by temperament more disposed than others to these things. If there is some danger, they blow it out of proportion, if there is some difficulty, they increase it by 100%. Everything becomes a reason for anxiety.

The Gospel does not promise a remedy for all these problems; to a certain extent they are part of our human condition, exposed as we are to forces and dangers much bigger than ourselves. But the Gospel does indicate some remedy. The chapter from which Sunday's Gospel passage is taken begins: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and have faith in me too" (John 14:1). Trusting in God is the remedy.

After World War II, a book was published by the title "Last Letters from Stalingrad." They were letters by German soldiers who were awaiting the final Russian assault on Stalingrad, in which all were killed. The letters went with the last plane that was able to make it out of the city. In one of the letters, found after the end of the war, a young soldier wrote to his parents: "I am not afraid of death. My faith gives me this beautiful certainty."

Now we know what we are wishing each other at Mass at the kiss of peace. We wish each other well-being, health, good relationships with God, with ourselves and with our neighbor. In other words, we are wishing each other a heart filled with "the peace of Christ that surpasses all understanding."

Chet Richards reviews Brave New War

for DNI

Sharon Astyk, The Sustainable Marriage

The Sustainable Marriage, by Sharon Astyk, Energy Bulletin/Casaubon's Book

Maximos, Which Freedom

Which Freedom?

more on political economy and economic liberalism

20/20 feature on exorcism

here

Fr. Gabriel Amorth is interviewed briefly as a part of the story.

Kith and Kin: Why We Reject a "Proposition Nation"

Posted at Conservative Times:

KITH AND KIN: WHY WE REJECT A “PROPOSITION NATION”
by Michael Hill, President, The League of the South

Nelly Furtado on Dancing with the Stars

A performance on the show Tuesday of this week...


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Folk wisdom

Last night I had dinner with a fellow PhD student in the program, JH. I've written about it elsewhere, so I won't post about it again here. What I wanted to write about was this, the passing on of practical knowledge from one generation to the next. JH's wife, CH, mentioned that she is pregnant with their second child. (Their first child, Benedict, is cute--blonde and blue eyes, chubby cheeks, and likes cars. He was well-behaved last night and cheery.) JH's mom was evidently a great source of help and inspiration to her. JH's parents raised 8 children, and were not overly anxious about their children. His mom helped CH to not fuss too much over Benedict, and to be able to let him take care of himself while taking care of other tasks.

For most American families, the accumulated wisdom of previous generations (and the assurance that comes with it) has been lost, replaced by books written by "experts." How much of their advice is based on their own experience with children (or the experience of others), and how much is based on presuppositions from psychology which are by no means established or proven?

If the experts disagree, then whom do we trust?

The Dr. Spock Company: Expert parenting and children's health ...
Parents' Press: Dr. Benjamin Spock Interview

Has a century of child-rearing advice taught us anything?, by Rachel Hartigan Shea

Richard Ferber's rise. - By Ann Hulbert - Slate Magazine
Raising America: Experts, Parents, and a Century of Advice About Children, by Ann Hulbert
NPR : 'Raising America'

Alex Chediak, The Fruit of Immaturity

THE FRUIT OF IMMATURITY by Alex Chediak
It's time to grow up.

Seducing Mr. Perfect OST MV



I just watched Uhm Jung Hwa in another movie today, La plus beele semaine de ma vie. Whatever her defects as an actress or as a person, she does have sex appeal onscreen.

Teum MV


Uhm Jung Hwa - 6th Album Comeback Medley!

Apolo and Julianne, 07 May 2007

Tango


Paso doble

Papal Address to Youth

Papal Address to Youth

"I Send You Out on the Great Mission of Evangelizing"


PACAEMBU, Brazil, MAY 10, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today to youth, during the first full day of his visit to Brazil.

* * *

My dear young friends!

"If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor … and come, follow me" (Mt 19:21).

1. I was particularly eager to include a meeting with you during this my first journey to Latin America. I have come to inaugurate the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America which, according to my wish, will take place at Aparecida, here in Brazil, at the Shrine of Our Lady. It is she who leads us to the feet of Jesus so that we can learn his teachings about the Kingdom, and it is she who stirs us up to be his missionaries so that the people of this "Continent of Hope" may have full life in him.

In their General Assembly last year, your Bishops here in Brazil reflected on the theme of the evangelization of youth and they placed a document into your hands. They asked you to receive that document and add your own reflections to it in the course of the year. At their most recent Assembly, the Bishops returned to the theme, enriched now by your collaboration, in the hope that the reflections and guidelines proposed therein would serve as a stimulus and a beacon for your journey. The words offered by the Archbishop of São Paulo and the Director of Pastoral Care for Young People, both of whom I thank, confirm the spirit that moves your hearts.

While flying over the land of Brazil yesterday evening, I was already anticipating our encounter here in the Stadium of Pacaembu, anxious to extend to all of you a warm Brazilian embrace and to share with you the sentiments which I carry in the depths of my heart, and which are very appropriately indicated to us in today's Gospel.

I have always felt a very special joy at these encounters. I remember especially the Twentieth World Youth Day at which I was able to preside two years ago in Germany. Some of you gathered here today were also present! It is an emotional memory for me on account of the abundant fruits of the Lord's grace poured out upon those who were there. Among the many fruits which I could point to, there is little doubt that the first was the exemplary sense of fraternity that stood as a clear witness to the Church's perennial vitality throughout the world.

2. For this reason, my dear friends, I am certain that today the same impressions I received in Germany will be renewed here. In 1991, during his visit to Mato Grosso, the Servant of God Pope John Paul II, of venerable memory, said that "youth are the first protagonists of the third millennium … they are the ones who will be charged with the destiny of this new phase in human history" (16 October 1991). Today, I feel moved to make the same observation regarding all of you.

The Christian life you lead in numerous parishes and small ecclesial communities, in universities, colleges and schools, and most of all, in places of work both in the city and in the countryside, is undoubtedly pleasing to the Lord. But it is necessary to go even further. We can never say "enough", because the love of God is infinite, and the Lord asks us -- or better --requires us to open our hearts wider so that there will be room for even more love, goodness, and understanding for our brothers and sisters, and for the problems which concern not only the human community, but also the effective preservation and protection of the natural environment of which we are all a part. "Our forests have more life": do not allow this flame of hope which your National Hymn places on your lips to die out. The devastation of the environment in the Amazon Basin and the threats against the human dignity of peoples living within that region call for greater commitment in the different areas of activity than society tends to recognize.

3. Today I would like to reflect on the text we have just heard from Saint Matthew (cf. 19:16-22). It speaks of a young man who ran to see Jesus. His impatience merits special attention. In this young man I see all of you young people of Brazil and Latin America. You have "run" here from various regions of this Continent for this meeting of ours. You want to listen to the words of Jesus himself -- spoken through the voice of the Pope.

You have a crucial question -- a question that appears in this Gospel -- to put to him. It is the same question posed by the young man who ran to see Jesus: What good deed must I do, to have eternal life? I would like to take a deeper look at this question with you. It has to do with life. A life which -- in all of you -- is exuberant and beautiful. What are you to do with it? How can you live it to the full?

We see at once that in the very formulation of the question, the "here" and "now" are not enough; to put it another way, we cannot limit our life within the confines of space and time, however much we might try to broaden their horizons. Life transcends them. In other words: we want to live, not die. We have a sense of something telling us that life is eternal and that we must apply ourselves to reach it. In short, it rests in our hands and is dependent, in a certain way, on our own decision.

The question in the Gospel does not regard only the future. It does not regard only a question about what will happen after death. On the contrary, it exists as a task in the present, in the "here" and "now", which must guarantee authenticity and consequently the future. In short, the young man's question raises the issue of life's meaning. It can therefore be formulated in this way: what must I do so that my life has meaning? How must I live so as to reap the full fruits of life? Or again: what must I do so that my life is not wasted?

Jesus alone can give us the answer, because he alone can guarantee us eternal life. He alone, therefore, can show us the meaning of this present life and give it fullness.

4. But before giving his response, Jesus asks about a very important aspect of the young man's enquiry: why do you ask me about what is good? In this question, we find the key to the answer. This young man perceives that Jesus is good and that he is a teacher -- a teacher who does not deceive. We are here because we have the very same conviction: Jesus is good. It may be that we do not know how to explain fully the reason for this perception, but it undoubtedly draws us to him and opens us up to his teaching: he is a good teacher. To recognize the good means to love. And whoever loves -- to use a felicitous expression of Saint John -- knows God (cf. 1 Jn 4:7). The young man in the Gospel has perceived God in Jesus Christ.

Jesus assures us that God alone is good. To be open to goodness means to receive God. In this way, he invites us to see God in all things and in everything that happens, even where most people see only God's absence. When we see the beauty of creation and recognize the goodness present there, it is impossible not to believe in God and to experience his saving and reassuring presence. If we came to see all the good that exists in the world -- and moreover, experience the good that comes from God himself -- we would never cease to approach him, praise him, and thank him. He continually fills us with joy and good things. His joy is our strength.

But we can only know in an imperfect, partial way. To understand what is good, we need help, which the Church offers us on many occasions, especially through catechesis. Jesus himself shows what is good for us by giving us the first element in his catechesis: "If you would enter life, keep the commandments" (Mt 19:17). He begins with the knowledge that the young man has surely already acquired from his family and from the synagogue: he knows the commandments. These lead to life, which means that they guarantee our authenticity. They are the great signs which lead us along the right path. Whoever keeps the commandments is on the way that leads to God.

It is not enough, however, simply to know them. Witness is even more important than knowledge; or rather, it is applied knowledge. The commandments are not imposed upon us from without; they do not diminish our freedom. On the contrary: they are strong internal incentives leading us to act in a certain way. At the heart of them we find both grace and nature, which do not allow us to stay still. We must walk. We are motivated to do something in order fulfil our potential. To find fulfilment through action is, in reality, to become real. To a large extent, from the time of our youth, we are whatever we want to be. We are, so to speak, the work of our own hands.

5. At this point, I turn once more to you, young people, because I want to hear you give the same response that the young man in the Gospel gave: all these I have observed from my youth. The young man in the Gospel was good. He kept the commandments. He was walking along the way of God. Jesus, therefore, gazing at him, loved him. By recognizing that Jesus was good, he showed that he too was good. He had an experience of goodness, and therefore of God. And you, young people of Brazil and Latin America, have you already discovered what is good? Do you follow the Lord's commandments? Have you discovered that this is the one true road to happiness?

These years of your life are the years which will prepare you for your future. Your "tomorrow" depends much on how you are living the "today" of your youth. Stretching out in front of you, my dear young friends, is a life that all of us hope will be long; yet it is only one life, it is unique: do not let it pass it vain; do not squander it. Live it with enthusiasm and with joy, but most of all, with a sense of responsibility.

Many times, we who are pastors feel a sense of trepidation as we take stock of the situation in today's world. We hear talk of the fears of today's youth. These fears reveal an enormous lack of hope: a fear of death, at the very moment when life is blossoming and the young are searching to find how to fulfil their potential; fear of failure, through not having discovered the meaning of life; fear of remaining detached in the face of a disconcerting acceleration of events and communications. We see the high death rate among young people, the threat of violence, the deplorable proliferation of drugs which strike at the deepest roots of youth today. For these reasons, we hear talk of a "lost youth".

But as I gaze at you young people here present -- you who radiate so much joy and enthusiasm -- I see you as Christ sees you: with a gaze of love and trust, in the certainty that you have found the true way. You are the youth of the Church. I send you out, therefore, on the great mission of evangelizing young men and women who have gone astray in this world like sheep without a shepherd. Be apostles of youth. Invite them to walk with you, to have the same experience of faith, hope, and love; to encounter Jesus so that they may feel truly loved, accepted, able to realize their full potential. May they too may discover the sure ways of the commandments, and, by following them, come to God.

You can be the builders of a new society if you seek to put into practice a conduct inspired by universal moral values, but also a personal commitment to a vitally important human and spiritual formation. Men and women who are ill-prepared for the real challenges presented by a correct interpretation of the Christian life in their own surroundings will easily fall prey to all the assaults of materialism and secularism, which are more and more active at all levels.

Be men and women who are free and responsible; make the family a centre that radiates peace and joy; be promoters of life, from its beginning to its natural end; protect the elderly, since they deserve respect and admiration for the good they have done. The Pope also expects young people to seek to sanctify their work, carrying it out with technical skill and diligence, so as to contribute to the progress of all their brothers and sisters, and to shed the light of the Word upon all human activities (cf. Lumen Gentium, 36). But above all, the Pope wants them to set about building a more just and fraternal society, fulfilling their duties towards the State: respecting its laws; not allowing themselves to be swept along by hatred and violence; seeking to be an example of Christian conduct in their professional and social milieu, distinguishing themselves by the integrity of their social and professional relationships. They should remember that excessive ambition for wealth and power leads to corruption of oneself and others; there are no valid motives that would justify attempting to impose one's own worldly aspirations -- economic or political -- through fraud and deceit.

There exists, in the final analysis, an immense panorama of action in which questions of a social, economic and political nature take on particular importance, as long as they draw their inspiration from the Gospel and the social teaching of the Church. This includes building a more just and fraternal society, reconciled and at peace, it includes the commitment to reduce violence, initiatives to promote the fullness of life, the democratic order and the common good and especially initiatives aimed at eliminating certain forms of discrimination existing in Latin American societies: avoiding exclusion, for the sake of mutual enrichment.

Above all, have great respect for the institution of the sacrament of Matrimony. There cannot be true domestic happiness unless, at the same time, there is fidelity between spouses. Marriage is an institution of natural law, which has been raised by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament; it is a great gift that God has given to mankind: respect it and honour it. At the same time, God calls you to respect one another when you fall in love and become engaged, since conjugal life, reserved by divine ordinance to married couples, will bring happiness and peace only to the extent that you are able to build your future hopes upon chastity, both within and outside marriage. I repeat here to all of you that "eros tends to rise . . . towards the Divine, to lead us beyond ourselves; yet for this very reason it calls for a path of ascent, renunciation, purification and healing" (Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est , 5). To put it briefly, it requires a spirit of sacrifice and renunciation for the sake of a greater good, namely the love of God above all things. Seek to resist forcefully the snares of evil that are found in many contexts, driving you towards a dissolute and paradoxically empty life, causing you to lose the precious gift of your freedom and your true happiness. True love "increasingly seeks the happiness of the other, is concerned more and more with the beloved, bestows itself and wants to 'be there for' the other" (ibid., 7) and therefore will always grow in faithfulness, indissolubility and fruitfulness.

In all these things, count upon the help of Jesus Christ who will make them possible through his grace (cf. Mt 19:26). The life of faith and prayer will lead you along the paths of intimacy with God, helping you to understand the greatness of his plans for every person. "For the sake of the kingdom of heaven" ( Mt 19:12), some are called to a total and definitive self-giving, by consecrating themselves to God in the religious life -- an "exceptional gift of grace", as the Second Vatican Council expressed it (cf. Decree Perfectae Caritatis, 12). Consecrated persons, by giving themselves totally to God, prompted by the Holy Spirit, participate in the Church's mission, bearing witness before all people to their hope in the heavenly Kingdom. I therefore bless and invoke divine protection upon all those religious who have dedicated themselves to Christ and to their brothers and sisters within the vineyard of the Lord. Consecrated persons truly deserve the gratitude of the ecclesial community: monks and nuns, contemplative men and women, religious men and women dedicated to apostolic works, members of Secular Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life, hermits and consecrated virgins. "Their existence witnesses to their love for Christ as they walk the path proposed in the Gospel and with deep joy commit themselves to the same style of life which he chose for himself" (Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life, Instruction Starting Afresh from Christ, 5). I pray that in this moment of grace and profound communion in Christ, the Holy Spirit will awaken in the hearts of many young people an impassioned love, prompting them to follow and imitate Jesus Christ, chaste, poor and obedient, totally devoted to the glory of the Father and to love for their brothers and sisters.

6. The Gospel assures us that the young man who went to meet Jesus was very rich. We may understand this wealth not only on the material level. Youth itself is a singular treasure. We have to discover it and to value it. Jesus appreciated it so much that he went on to invite the young man to participate in his saving mission. He had great potential and could have accomplished great things.

But the Gospel goes on to say that this young man, having heard the invitation, was saddened. He went away downcast and sad. This episode causes us to reflect further on the treasure of youth. It is not, in the first place, a question of material wealth, but of life itself, and the values inherent in youth. This wealth is inherited from two sources: life, transmitted from generation to generation, at the ultimate origin of which we find God, full of wisdom and love; and upbringing, which locates us within a culture, to such an extent that we might almost say we are more children of culture and therefore of faith, than of nature. From life springs freedom, which manifests itself, especially in this phase, as responsibility. There comes the great moment of decision, in a twofold choice: firstly, concerning one's state of life, and secondly concerning one's profession. It is about providing an answer to the question: what do I do with my life?

In other words, youth appears as a form of wealth because it leads to the discovery of life as a gift and a task. The young man in the Gospel understood that his youth was itself a treasure. He went to Jesus, the good Teacher, in order to seek some direction. At the moment of the great decision, however, he lacked the courage to wager everything on Jesus Christ. In consequence, he went away sad and downcast. This is what happens whenever our decisions waver and become cowardly and self-seeking. He understood that what he lacked was generosity, and this did not allow him to realize his full potential. He withdrew to his riches, turning them to selfishness.

Jesus regretted the sadness and the cowardice of the young man who had come to seek him out. The Apostles, like all of you here today, filled the vacuum left by that young man who went away sad and downcast. They, and we, are happy, because we know the one in whom we believe (cf. 2 Tim 1:12). We know and we bear witness with our lives that he alone has the words of eternal life (cf. Jn 6:68). Therefore, we can exclaim with Saint Paul: Rejoice always in the Lord! (cf. Phil 4:4).

7. My appeal to you today, young people present at this gathering, is this: do not waste your youth. Do not seek to escape from it. Live it intensely. Consecrate it to the high ideals of faith and human solidarity.

You, young people, are not just the future of the Church and of humanity, as if we could somehow run away from the present. On the contrary: you are that young man now; you are that young man in the Church and in humanity today. You are his young face. The Church needs you, as young people, to manifest to the world the face of Jesus Christ, visible in the Christian community. Without this young face, the Church would appear disfigured.

My dear young people, soon I shall inaugurate the Fifth Conference of the Bishops of Latin America. I ask you to follow its deliberations attentively; to participate in its discussions; to receive its fruits. As was the case with earlier Conferences, the present one will also leave a significant mark on the next ten years of evangelization in Latin America and the Caribbean. No one must stay on the sidelines or remain indifferent in the face of this ecclesial initiative, least of all you young people. You are full members of the Church, which represents the face of Jesus Christ for Latin America and the Caribbean.

I greet the French speakers who live on the Latin American continent, and I invite them to be witnesses of the Gospel, and to be actively engaged in the life of the Church. My prayer is addressed to you young people in a particular way: you are called to build your lives on Christ and on fundamental human values. Everyone should feel invited to work together in order to build a world of justice and peace.

My dear young friends, like the young man in the Gospel who asked Jesus: "What good deed must I do, to have eternal life?", you are all seeking ways to respond generously to God's call. I pray that you may listen to his saving words and that you may become his witnesses for the peoples of today. May God pour out upon all of you his blessings of peace and joy.

My dear young people, Christ is calling you to be saints. He himself is inviting you and wants to walk with you, in order to enliven with his Spirit the steps that Brazil is taking at the beginning of this third millennium of the Christian era. I ask the Senhora Aparecida to guide you with her maternal help and to accompany you throughout your lives.

Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ!

[Original text: Plurilingual]

© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Paula Rothenberg, Feminism Then and Now

Snatched from the Jaws of Victory
Feminism Then and Now
By PAULA ROTHENBERG


Empowerment, we are now asked to believe, is not about getting an education, not about becoming economically independent, not about taking control of our bodies, not about saving the environment, not about working toward social justice, but dressing a certain way and wearing the newest version of what ever t-shirt or body piecing we choose. And whose interests does this serve? Today cultural practices continue to occur within the context of unequal power relations. Racism, sexism, and class privilege are still alive and well. They frame our choices and define the meaning of what we choose. The women's movement of the Second Wave talked, not about "equality," but about liberation, because believe me, equality is not enough. We have gone from seeking to challenge and change the ways in which institutionalized privilege and hierarchy limit and coerce our choices to the illusion that the battle for women's rights and civil rights is over and done. We have been duped into trading social critique and collective action for a vision of feminism that offers us personal choice without social responsibility and without social context. We have exchanged the possibility of genuine change for feminism light and designer water.` And in the end, we know whose interest that serves.


So how does a good feminist resolve the tensions between being successful as the system defines it, and the destructiveness of that system? After all, what would a feminist say if the economy that makes her education and job possible is founded upon the exploitation of many? That the end, her personal enlightenment and consequent ability to "do good for others" justifies the means, the exploitation?

How many would be willing to adopt the humble agrarian lifestyle?

Homestead Heritage

Their website. (Via CrunchyCon.)

Nice furniture.

Conversations

I was able to talk to JP last night for a little bit--I hadn't seen her for a long time, and the last time she talked that much was a while ago. Things have not improved much for her, although her brothers are trying to take care of her. But she is not handling it well.

Please pray for JP, that she may have courage and hope for the future and be able to love herself as she should.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

William Lind reviews Brave New War

at DNI

Finally, Robb correctly finds the antidote to 4GW not in Soviet-style state structures such as the Department of Homeland Security but in de-centralization. What Robb calls “dynamic decentralized resilience” means that, in concrete terms, security is again to be found close to home. Local police departments, local sources of energy such as roof top solar arrays – I would add local farms that use sustainable agricultural practices – are the key to dealing with system perturbations. To the extent we depend on large, globalist, centralized networks we are insecure.
Yes!

Bill Bonner, Money! Moola! Credit! Cash!

Money! Moola! Credit! Cash!

by Bill Bonner

Daniel McCarthy reviews American Conservatism for Orion

His blog entry linking to the review.

Western wear rivals the Indian sari

Western wear rivals the Indian sari
By Indrajit Basu

Protest breaks out as land grabs persist

Protest breaks out as land grabs persist
Local officials continue to take land from farmers to sell it to industrialists at below market price. People have taken to the streets in protest, not least because they are given just minimal compensation. A policeman has killed three people in Dalian.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – There is no let-up in theft of land perpetrated by public authorities and industries to the detriment of farmers. In wealthy Guandong, the anger of the people has exploded on the streets; they are without safeguards despite recent land reforms and repeated assurances from the highest powers of the state. In Dalian, a policeman shot dead three people who asked him for compensation.

In Gurao city in the municipality of Shantou, Guangdong, residents ransacked the offices and homes of local leaders, taking to the streets over illegal land grabbing. The production of underwear flourishes in this area. Residents were protesting because local officials were grabbing and selling their land at below market price to overseas investors to promote this industry, denying them [the residents] fair compensation. Now the authorities have set up a “work group” to mediate with the people. But the village residents have become mistrustful and want to appeal immediately to higher authorities.

Zhang Yifa, secretary of the Communist Party of Xinxing village, told the South China Morning Post that his fellow villagers had invaded his home several times and threatened him as well as other officials. He complained that the police failed to intervene although he called them more than once.

In Dalian, according to local sources, a railway police official shot and killed three members of the same family on 26 April when they went to his home to discuss an issue of compensation. One source said there was an attempt to stop the news from leaking out.

According to official statistics, more than 50% of social protests are the result of land grabs and failure to pay adequate compensation. In 2005, there were reports of more than 87,000 “mass protests”. The number dropped by 16.5% in 2006 but the incidents were much more violent. The Land and Resources Ministry admitted that in 2006 unwarranted land seizures increased by 17.3% to reach 131,000 cases involving around 100,000 hectares of land, a volume that exceeds that of 2005 by 76%. At least 43,000 hectares of land grabbed was farming land.

According to the state agency Xinhua, “the enormous number of social protests across the country has become the most serious problem affecting social stability.” Every day, China registers between 120 and 230 manifestations, mostly in rural areas.

Pius XII one step closer to becoming declared Venerable

From Fr. Z: Cong. Saints: Decree on Heroic Virtues of PIUS XII!

"The Pope must approve this decree of the Congregation before Pius XII may be called 'Venerable'. "

Eating Fossil Fuels

Now in print:
Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food, and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture
By Dale Allen Pfeiffer
New Society Publishers (2006, 125 pages)

A review (via EB)

Original article at From the Wilderness (alt, another)

At Global Public Media:
Kellia Ramares of Radio Internet Story Exchange talks to author Dale Alan Pfeiffer about his book Eating Fossil Fuels (New Society, Oct. 2006) [mp3]

The death of liberal education in the U.S.?

From "Exporting Idiocracy":

Several comments come to mind. First, Meijie better hurry and get the job done before U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings achieves her goal of dismantling American-style liberal education in America. Spellings is in the midst of decertifying the primary liberal arts accrediting body in the United States, the American Academy of Liberal Education. She is also ramrodding through a federal system of No-Child-Left-Behind-style testing requirements for higher education.
I didn't know about this. If this sort of thinking becomes solidified at the Department of Education, it would destroy any chance of a separate accreditation body for Catholic colleges truly devoted to promoting liberal education of being founded and surviving. The standards that really need to be clarified and enforced are at the secondary level, not at the college and university level.

Links
U.S. Secretary of Education
College Accreditation in the United States
American Academy of Liberal Education
Peter Wood, Prove You’re Not Stupid: Secretary Spellings’s dubious reform dooms a voice of reason. (originally at NRO)
Jeff Martineau, Department of Education misguided in withdrawing recognition of AALE
Peter Berkowitz, Liberal Education, Then and Now

Mr. Wood also discusses the influence of Howard Gardner on Chinese educators:
Our master plan for dumbing-down Chinese education, however, is not just about atmospherics or theatrics. Let’s not forget: this is American educationism. And that means theory. Hulbert eventually gets to this: “If there is an American figure to whom Chinese proponents of more active, multidimensional, student-centered learning have listened especially attentively over the past half-decade, it is Howard Gardner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.” Gardner is, of course, the originator of “Multiple Intelligences” theory, or M.I., the charming idea that intelligence isn’t a single capacity but many separate capacities. Gardner’s theory has instant democratic appeal since it implies that no one is truly dumb. We are all just different. I may have trouble with calculus, but I’m really good at skipping stones. I have stone-skipping intelligence. So there.

Gardner’s arguments are occasionally more sophisticated than this but not by much. M.I. theory has pretty direct links to the contemporary classroom. If it is true, we shouldn’t try to teach the same stuff to everybody in the same way. Gardner originally distinguished seven kinds of intelligence: linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, and intrapersonal—and later added an eighth, “naturalist” intelligence, which is attentiveness to the environment. Gardner believes all eight kinds of intelligence need to be cultivated, so an M.I. approach to education would necessarily be broad. Moreover, this kaleidoscopic view of intelligence emphasizes discovery over didactic approaches.

Is Gardner’s theory consonant with what we know about the mind from more rigorous forms of inquiry? Or is he misusing the word “intelligence” to speak of talents? Is my stone-skipping excellence really best conceived as exemplary of my “kinesthetic intelligence”? Or do I just have good hand-eye co-ordination?

I don’t have to answer this to be delighted that China began a national project in 2002, “Using M.I. Theory to Guide Discovery of Students’ Potential.” Hulbert quotes a Chinese high-school principal who sees a link between Gardner’s theory and the traditional Confucian emphasis on the need for teachers to understand the character of their students. Hulbert’s article prompted me to look a little further, and she is right. Gardner is catching fire in China. He has attracted graduate students to his program at Harvard; he went to China on a speaking tour in May 2004; and his book, Multiple Intelligences, was published in Chinese in 1999. In a conference paper last year, “How MI Theory fits into Traditional and Modern China,” Jie-Qi Chen also points out that a 2001 directive issued by the central government ruled that Chinese education had to focus on “developmental characteristics of children … individual differences [and] active learning.” Gardner wasn’t mentioned by name, but according to Jie-Qi Chen, “it was quickly perceived” that M.I. would be “one of the main theoretical frameworks for China’s curricular reform.”

Let us be patient. It took nearly a century for the “reforms” of Dewey’s progressivism to make American schools into places that cultivate self-assurance over knowledge, co-operation over achievement, blandness over distinction, and dullness over everything. Gardner is widely recognized as one of Dewey’s most important heirs, and we need to give his ideas some time to turn China into a nation of self-satisfied ignoramuses.
Education that starts and ends in rote memorization is by no means complete or fully humanistic, but it is better than neglecting the memory altogether, which happens frequently in American schools today. Students need to memorize materal in order to pass their exams, sure, but they are not asked to memorize the classics of literature, especially poetry, nor the basic definitions that are needed for reasoning (especially in the sciences and in philosophy). Short-term memory is emphasized and rewarded; long-term memory is not.

Long before Gardner came onto the scene, people recognized that not all strengths were those of the theoretical intellect or merely served the intellect; but if liberal education is aimed at building up the intellectual virtues, and not the arts or other virtues, then Gardner's analysis is irrelevant. However, once the goal of education has been forgotten (truth, especially the highest truths), his work can easily be made the foundation of the latest fashion in "educational reform," especially if education is seen as a tool of building up self-esteem in any way possible.

I posted some links to Gardner and other related resources here.

Photos: Lee Yo-won

At least I think it's Lee Yo-won... not sure if this is from a premiere or just a press conference announcing production or something. But I am interested in the movie--the poster looks good, and so does the cast. I don't know why she started to cry during the press conference.















More photos from the Andre Kim Awards

A page with all of the women being honored.

A photo:


Kim Hee Sun:






Lee Young Ae:





Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Fr. McNamara on Blessings and Plenary Indulgences

Blessings at First Masses

And More on Divine Mercy Sunday


ROME, MAY 8, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.

Q: I have two questions: 1) The Benedictine Ordo for the American Cassinese Congregation has the following note concerning "Rescripts from the Holy See": "His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, has decreed that a newly ordained priest may, on the occasion of his first Mass, celebrated with some solemnity outside of Rome, grant once the Papal Blessing, using the formula given in the Roman Ritual. The plenary indulgence attached to this blessing may be gained by the faithful who devoutly assist at the first Mass, provided they have received the sacraments of penance and holy Communion, and have prayed for the intentions of the Holy Father. Given at Rome by the Sacred Penitentiary on November 5, 1964." Do you have any idea what the present status of this rescript is? Since the Roman Ritual has been edited since 1964, which text would be used? What is the status of the plenary indulgence? 2) A deacon asked that I serve as the assistant priest, vested in a cope, for his first Mass. From what I understand, the assistant priest at the first Mass was more a matter of custom than law. Is this allowed in the current liturgy? -- M.M., Latrobe, Pennsylvania

A: I would say that the rescript is no longer in force as its effects have been absorbed by the general norms of the Enchiridion of Indulgences.

The document mentions the papal blessing to which a plenary indulgence is attached. The present Enchiridion in concession No. 43 attaches a plenary indulgence to the priest and faithful who assist at a newly ordained priest's first solemn Mass, but this indulgence is now dissociated from imparting the apostolic blessing.

The Enchiridion grants the right to impart the apostolic blessing only to the diocesan bishop, who may impart it three times a year at the end of particularly solemn Masses (norm No. 10.2).

Therefore, as the papal blessing is no longer granted, the question as to what ritual should be used in imparting it is moot. The priest may use any of the blessings proposed in the missal according to the liturgical time and season.

With respect to the second question, effectively, the use of an assistant priest at a first Mass is custom and not prescriptive. This priest is usually an experienced priest whose principal task is to guide an understandably nervous new priest through the intricacies of the celebration.

The role of such a priest is similar to that of a master of ceremonies, although, unlike this figure, he usually simply vests the stole over an alb or surplice. The cope would not ordinarily be worn on this occasion, although its use may be a legitimate local custom in some places or within some orders.

The assistant priest does not usually perform the functions pertaining to the deacon, although it is not unknown for him to read the Gospel and preach the homily at a first Mass.

* * *

Follow-up: Divine Mercy Sunday

After our piece on Divine Mercy Sunday (April 17), a reader said: "I'm still confused … we can all gain a plenary indulgence every day if we fulfill certain requirements. If that is so, I don't see anything special about the Divine Mercy Sunday."

Effectively, there is no difference between the plenary indulgence granted on Divine Mercy Sunday than any other act to which a plenary indulgence is attached. The Church has simply added this grant to the list as another means of obtaining the grace of an indulgence.

After all, no plenary indulgence can be more plenary than others.

A plenary indulgence is itself special and even though it may be obtained every day, the indulgenced acts always require some degree of spiritual exertion beyond normal Christian devotion.

Another reader asked: "Can the image of Divine Mercy be hung behind the altar? Is it against liturgical rules? Or is this an individual decision made by the parish priest?"

Depending on the design of the Church, the image of Divine Mercy may be hung in an alcove, behind a side altar or in some other suitable place.

While it is not forbidden to display an image of Christ, Mary or a saint behind the main altar, in modern churches this is usually reserved for the church's patron. At the same time, the apse may be decorated with murals and mosaics figuring several personages.

Therefore, I would say that the image of Divine Mercy would not normally be set up behind the main altar unless the church was dedicated to this devotion. It could be so set up on a temporary basis on Divine Mercy Sunday or during devotions to the Divine Mercy.

Finally, the image may never substitute or block the image of Christ crucified required for the celebration of Mass.

Another Hwang Jin Yi trailer

Thanks to SongHyeGyo.net.

HK416 on The Unit?

Looked like a HK416, but maybe it was a modified M-4--the rail system on the barrel looked the same.

Tonight's the season finale.

IGN's 2007 Summer Movie Guide

here

A real grumpy old man

The BBC is being ruined by women, says Patrick Moore

They have even destroyed sci-fi, Sir Patrick’s personal passion. He said: “I used to watch Doctor Who and Star Trek, but they went PC – making women commanders, that kind of thing. I stopped watching.”


The first ST pilot did feature a female No. 1, but that was never aired. I wonder if the heads of NBC objected to that.

Scottish National Party

their website; wiki

SNP Manifesto 2007

While I was aware of its part to bring about Scottish independence, I didn't know the orientation of the party until I did some research today--"center-left" indeed. Just another European party supporting socialism, with a twist. It also encourages immigration of 'new Scots' (and I don't think they mean Nova Scotians) as a way to increase the population.

Peter Hitchens refers to the victory of the SNP in passing:

Meanwhile in Scotland, and in Wales, the Tory Party barely exists. By the way, I'm not specially bothered by the SNP advance. Like all the other nationalisms now unleashed in the British isles, this is a side-effect of EU membership. The EU claims to be against 'nationalism' but what it is really against is strong, sovereign nation states in territory it regards as its own. Actually it encourages the most petty and small-minded forms of nationalism, meaningless, non-sovereign toy parliaments in unviable former 'nations' or statelets, national costumes, forgotten flags.

How the EU must rejoice to see he repeated daft calls for an 'English Parliament'. This is a plea it can grant all too easily provided the 'Parliament' has no power. I suggest it should be held in a giant thatched mock-Tudor barn in Milton Keynes, surrounded by massed bands of traditional Morris Dancers and traditional football hooligans, all waving their St George's flags (while real pillars of nationhood, such as the great army regiments and the Royal Navy, are quietly dismantled, disbanded and demoralised).

It even invents regionalism in countries which have no historic regions, such as Portugal (or England, where I am told I live in some historic homeland romantically named 'South East'. I wonder what its national costume is?).

All these petty assemblies do is provide employment for second and third-rate politicians who could never prosper in a proper nation state, and provide a way for Brussels to bypass and undermine the real national governments it wishes to destroy. Oddly enough, of all the nationalist movements in the British Isles, only Sinn Fein seems to have grasped that being controlled and financed from Brussels, by the EU, does not amount to independence but is simply a new form of dependence. I hate to put in a good word for this grisly party, but credit where it is due - though I wonder if they will embrace the EU when they finally get their hands on the Dublin government, which I suspect they will shortly after the abolition of Northern Ireland in the 2016 referendum. I cannot believe that the rebels of 1916 risked their lives for Ireland to be governed by EU directives - 'a Province Once Again' doesn't make much of a watchword.

If Britain could only leave the EU, then the 'dream' of a Scottish 'nation' - in reality a minor, tributary province of the EU empire, far less privileged than it is in the United Kingdom, would vanish with a loud 'pop', and Scotland might have to attend to real politics again. As with so many other issues, the claims of the EU to be sovereign over these islands are at the heart of the issue - and never discussed.

Indeed, if there is no economic self-sufficiency, then what's the point of having a local parliament and "political independence," if that independence were in name only? True independence is linked to autonomy, not to subserviance to the bureaucratic monolith known as the EU. Those who dream of relocalization and community will have to look elsewhere--the SNP is a disappointment.

website for the Scottish Parliament
ScottishPolitics.org

The Mogambo Guru: Putrid Economics at a Terrible Price

Putrid Economics at a Terrible Price

Fourth Generation Warfare Evolves, Fifth Emerges

Fourth Generation Warfare Evolves, Fifth Emerges (1 MB PDF), by Col. T. X. Hammes, USMC, Ret.

Racing ahead, China resurrects its past

Racing ahead, China resurrects its past
By Kent Ewing

A return to ancient wisdom, leaders hope, will create a more moral society with a heightened sense of the importance of relationships - especially the hierarchical relationships of Confucianism that command obedience.


The restoration of an "Imperial Confucianism"--the exploitation of Confucianism to help the state maintain power and social control, without reference to the common good--continues.

Although media expert Yu Dan has been attacked by scholars for oversimplifying and thus degrading the words of the sage, the 42-year-old professor, dubbed an "academic supergirl", has become something like a pop star with lay people. Yu's style is to pick out simple, understandable truths from the Analects and relate them to the day-to-day experiences of ordinary people. A 200-page compilation of her CCTV lectures has sold more than 4 million copies, which tops any of J K Rowling's Harry Potter books, and she is now selling her act, and her book, in Taiwan.

Confucius reduced to fortune cookie sayings, by a Chinese academic?

CRI article on Yu Dan; China Post; Women of China

The Useless Tree: Yu Dan's Errors; More on Yu Dan

Such statements put the new emphasis on philosophy and religion in clearer perspective. With Marxism now a dead ideology in China, leaders are searching for ways to fill the void and unify the country. In the past, they have tapped into nationalism, but that can be a dangerous force, as witnessed by the sometimes violent anti-Japanese protests that swept over the country two years ago.

The hole left by the revolutions of the 20th century--I hope that it will be filled by Christianity. Principles without habituation and customs to ground them will not take, and while there is unrest in the countryside, social disintegration will continue in the cities.

Hallyu Stars Give Sparkle to Korean Fashion

Hallyu Stars Give Sparkle to Korean Fashion
Korean celebrities turned into fashion models for one night for the first-ever Hallyu Stars Fashion Festival held at Seoul Plaza, Saturday evening.

Top Stars Win Andre Kim Awards
Top Korean fashion designer Andre Kim gave recognition to Korea's most beautiful and popular stars during his 2007 Best Star Awards...

Actress Lee Young-ae, star of the hit MBC drama "Daejanggeum" (Jewel in the Palace) receives the grand prize during the Andre Kim 2007 Best Star Award at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Seoul, Monday evening.

Legislative Council blocks motion condemning Tiananmen repression

Legislative Council blocks motion condemning Tiananmen repression
The president of the body, Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, blocked the motion that calls on the government to shed light on what happened during the massacre on 4 June 1989. Those pushing for the motion say the most important thing is that the pro-democracy movement is remembered.


Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Hong Kong’s Legco (Legislative Council) yesterday blocked a motion condemning Beijing for its crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy and anti-corruption movement on 4 June 1989.

Legco’s president, Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai (considered by many to be very close to the Communist government) said it would be "out of order" for the legislature to criticise the central government.

Responding to Leung Kwok-hung, the legislator who proposed the motion, Fan said: “The Council, being a local legislative body under the central government, has no right to demand an end to the one-party rule the Communist Party enjoys.”

If Leung does not manage to reach agreement with the president, this will be the first year in which a motion recalling the Tiananmen Square massacre is not debated in Hong Kong.

The motion currently says “the Council condemns the prime culprits of the bloody crackdown in Tiananmen” and demands that "the Chinese communist government investigate the massacre and bring those responsible to justice.” It also calls for “the release of political prisoners and an end to the one-party dictatorship, and return of political power to the people.”

Leung said “this wording is already milder than an earlier version”, but added that he would “negotiate with Mrs Fan”. Ultimately, he said, "I don't care whether the motion can be debated or not, since it is doomed to be voted down. The most important thing is to get people to remember June 4 1989."

KBS News Interview, 4 May 2007

Innisfree cf, May 2007

Is a professional police force necessary?

via Lew Rockwell blog:

Police and Thieves

In the comments to that blog entry, one finds the following: ARE COPS CONSTITUTIONAL?
(I don't think the author successfully shows that the establishment of professional police forces is against the letter of the Constitution; he tries to show that the consequences of their creation are predominantly harmful to a "republic." After all, their creation was something undertaken at the local level, not the Federal level. Perhaps there might be a coherent argument against the FBI being constitutional. I doubt it.)

What sort of solutions do paleolibs have to the two causes that necessitate the creation of a professional police force?
1. Big cities (and the crime rates that go with them).
2. Extreme differentiation of function because of the demands of the political economy.

It will be difficult for city-dwellers to help enforce the law if they are busy working 9 to 5, and have "family" obligations afterwards. If professional police forces are an "evil" (that is, lead to evil consequences or conditions for the political community), the author has not shown they are not necessary evils.

Perhaps if the police were unarmed the author would be more sympathetic--but the conditions that would permit an unarmed police force don't obtain here in the U.S., as they no longer exist in the U.K.

Monday, May 07, 2007

60 minutes interview with Lou Dobbs

here

A good enough reason to watch The Bachelor?

Miss Tessa Horst:

I think she looks a bit like Lee Young-ae. Her sister is cute as well. (She and the rest of Miss Horst's family were on TV tonight, as the bachelor Lt. Andy Baldwin visited the families of the 4 remaining contestants.)

She's the fan favorite to win the bachelor's heart by the end of the season, but let's see if she can get a rose tonight.

Mike Whitney, Post Mortem for the Stock Market

Post Mortem for the Stock Market
by Mike Whitney May 2 2007 - 11:11am permalink

Ah-ha! So the Fed gooses the money supply, stocks shoot up, and everyone’s happy---right?

Wrong. Growth in the money supply should (closely) parallel growth in the overall economy. So if GDP is shrinking (which it is) and the money supply is increasing then—Viola!—inflation. (“11.8%” to be precise)

Of course inflation doesn’t affect the investor class or their fellow-scoundrels at the Fed---the more money floating around the markets the better for them. It’s just the opposite for the pensioner on a fixed income or the salaried wage-slave who gets a 15-cent pay raise every millennia. They end up getting ripped off with every newly-minted greenback.

But then that’s the plan---to shift zillions from one class to another through massive equity bubbles. All it takes is artificially-low interest rates and a can of WD-40 to keep the printing presses rolling. It’s so simple we won’t dignify it by calling it a “conspiracy”. It’s just a swindle, pure and simple. But it never fails.

Every time the Fed prints up another batch of crisp $100 bills; they’re confiscating the hard-earned savings of working class people and retirees. And, since the dollar has dropped roughly 40% since Bush took office in 2000; the government has absconded with 40% our life savings.

That’s the truth about inflation; it is taxation without representation, but you won’t find that in the government’s statistics. In fact, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) deliberately factors out food and energy so the working guy can’t see how the Fed is robbing him blind. The only way he can gauge his losses is by going to the grocery store or gas station. That’s when he can see for himself that the money he works so hard to earn is steadily losing its purchasing power.


Something Ron Paul addressed last week, but no one I know of, apart from the bloggers at Lew Rockwell, noticed.

Misc from EB

Via EB

(Not all of the articles to which EB links.)

Questioning the compost supply chain
Deborah K. Rich, SF Chronicle

100-Mile Diet: Hand Picked from the Blog'Food mile' foibles. And eating beluga whales.
J.B. MacKinnon and Alisa Smith, The Tyee

Please Lord, not the bees
Peter Dearman, Guerrilla News Network (GNN)
Everything you didn't want to know about Colony Collapse Disorder [CCD]

Could the Mysterious Agricultural Techniques of an Ancient Amazonian Civilization Make New Zealand Farming More Competitive? (Audio and text)
David Haywood, Public Address

Kurt Cobb, The point of despair

Published on 6 May 2007 by Resource Insights. Archived on 6 May 2007.
The point of despair
by Kurt Cobb

...I don't believe our ecological predicament has any solutions by which people normally mean that we can solve our problems and then go back to business as usual. Instead, we are left with responses--responses which may prove valuable or worthless, but the results of which cannot be known in advance. In short, there are no guarantees that our responses will work. By "work" I mean allow us to maintain the semblance of a technically advanced human civilization.

It's no surprise that such a realization brings many people to the point of despair. Of course, if they remain there, they can accomplish nothing. But, let's not hurry forward. Let's dwell on that despair for a moment. Does it have a function? I think it does. It is at the point of despair that people can feel deep down their connection to all that has come before them and all that will come after. It is not just their personal futures that are at stake anymore. It is the whole project of human civilization, the art, the literature, the philosophy, the great works of architecture, the great institutions of learning and research, the huge store of human knowledge, and the ongoing experiment in self-government. It is also the future of the natural world, not just what it can provide for our sustenance, but also the beauty and diversity that result from its own purposes.

It is no wonder that such an understanding brings with it what seems like an unbearable burden. Indeed, for some people this is the very first time their personal ambitions shrink as their link to the social and natural world greatly expands. To feel that link strongly can be overwhelming. It brings with it a sense of responsibility, the size of which seems immense. The moment seems to say, "If I am linked to all of this, I am somehow responsible for it." But how can one lone person even make a dent in the immense challenges humankind faces?
His parting words:
And still, on the path to sustainability, I do not think that despair is something to be avoided. Rather, I think the point of despair can become a point of departure for contemplating our deep connections to one another and to nature. When we have made some sense of those connections, then and only then, is it time to move on to action--action now informed by a new and more profound understanding.
our deep connections to one another and to nature and to God.

Peak Oil and U.S. Representative Vernon Ehlers

Peak Oil and U.S. Representative Vernon Ehlers
by Aaron Wissner

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Photos: QE2 in Jamestown


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (3rd R), U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (4th R) and Virginia Governor Tim Caine (2nd L) depart the Jamestown settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, May 4, 2007. The Queen is visiting the U.S. as part of the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (UNITED STATES)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by US Vice President Dick Cheney, left, is shown a breastplate by historic interpreter Fred Schlopp in the armoury of the reconstructed Jamestown Fort, at Jamestown, Va., Friday May 4, 2007. The Queen visited Jamestown - the site of the first permanent English settlement in the US - to mark the settlement's 400th anniversary.(AP Photo/Fiona Hanson, pool)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by US Vice President Dick Cheney in historic Jamestown, on day two of her US visit. Friday May 4, 2007. The Queen returned to Jamestown - the site of the first permanent English settlement in the US - to mark the settlement's 400th anniversary. (AP Photo /Arthur Edwards, Pool)

Queen Elizabeth II is shown a well by Bill Kelso, director of Archaeology, Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities while at Historic Jamestowne, on Jamestown Island, Va., Friday, May 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Rodney Lamkey, Pool)

Philip Emerson, right, of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation gives Queen Elizabeth II a tour of the Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg, Va., Friday, May 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Lisa Billings)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) listens to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, speak during a presentation at Jamestown Settlement museum in Williamsburg, Virginia, May 4, 2007. The Queen is visiting the area to mark the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, England's first permanent settlement in North America. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) watches actors take part in a ceremony at the fort at Jamestown Settlement museum in Williamsburg, Virginia, May 4, 2007. The Queen is visiting the area to mark the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, England's first permanent settlement in North America. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES)

Actors in period costume stand along a fort wall during a visit to the historical Jamestown settlement by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (not pictured) near Williamsburg, Virginia, May 4, 2007. It is the Queen's first visit to the United States in 16 years. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C) watches actors take part in a ceremony at the fort at Jamestown Settlement museum in Williamsburg, Virginia, May 4, 2007. The Queen is visiting the area to mark the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, England's first permanent settlement in North America. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (2nd L), U.S Vice President Dick Cheney (L) and Philip Emerson (3rd L), Executive Director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, walk past women in period costumes during a tour of the historical Jamestown settlement near Williamsburg, Virginia, May 4, 2007. It is the Queen's first visit to the United States in 16 years. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (R) watch actors take part in a ceremony at the fort at Jamestown Settlement museum in Williamsburg, Virginia, May 4, 2007. The Queen is visiting the area to mark the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, England's first permanent settlement in North America. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES)

Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she greets the crowd during a tour of the Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg, Va., Friday May 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)


Queen Elizabeth II is shown some armor by a actor Fred Scholpp in period costume at the Jamestown Settlement museum in Williamsburg, Va., Friday, May 4, 2007. The Queen is visiting the area to mark the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, England's first permanent settlement in North America. (AP Photo/Jim Young, POOL)

Queen Elizabeth II is escorted past the 'Susan Constant' ship by Philip Emerson, Executive Director of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation at Jamestown Settlement museum in Williamsburg, Va., Friday, May 4, 2007. The ship is a replica of one that brought America's first permanent colonists to Virginia in 1607. (AP Photo/Jim Young, POOL)

Queen Elizabeth II, center, and Vice President Dick Cheney, second from right, are escorted by Philip Emerson, second from left, of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation during a tour of the Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg, Va., Friday, May 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Queen Elizabeth II tours the Historic Jamestowne archeological site with William Kelso, director of archeology for the site, in Jamestown, Va. Friday, May 4, 2007. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool)

On Mary's Month

On Mary's Month

"Pray for This Apostolic Pilgrimage" to Brazil


VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today before reciting the Regina Caeli in St. Peter's Square.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

The month of May began several days ago. For many Christian communities this is the Marian month par excellence. As such, in the course of the centuries it has become one of the peoples' dearest devotions and has been valued by pastors as a propitious occasion for preaching, catechesis and community prayer.

After the Second Vatican Council, which emphasized the role of Mary most holy in the Church and in salvation history, Marian devotion underwent a profound renewal. And the month of May, coinciding at least in part with the Easter season, is quite propitious for illustrating the figure of Mary as the Mother who accompanies the community of disciples united in prayer in expectation of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:12-14).

Consequently, this month can be an occasion to return to the faith of the primitive Church and, in union with Mary, understand that our mission even today is to proclaim and bear witness with courage and joy to Christ crucified and risen, the hope of humanity.

I would like to entrust to the Holy Virgin, Mother of the Church, my apostolic voyage to Brazil March 9-14. As did my venerable predecessors, Paul VI and John Paul II, I will preside at the opening of the General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean.

This fifth general conference will begin next Sunday in the great national shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, in the city of the same name. Before this, however, I will travel to the metropolis of São Paulo, where I will meet the young people and bishops of Brazil and have the joy to register Frei Antonio de Sant'Anna Galvão in the book of saints.

This is my first pastoral visit to Latin America and I am preparing myself spiritually to visit the continent where almost half the Catholics of the whole world, many of them young people, live. It is for this reason that Latin America has been given the name "continent of hope": It is a hope that has to do not only with the Church, but with the whole of America and the entire world.

Dear brothers and sisters, I invite you to pray to Mary most holy for this apostolic pilgrimage and, in particular, for the 5th General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, so that all the Christians of those regions may see themselves as disciples and missionaries of Christ, the way, the truth and the life. Many and multiple are the challenges of the present: This is why it is important that Christians be formed to be a "ferment" of good and a "light" of holiness in our world.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[Following the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father greeted the English-speaking pilgrims with the following words:]

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors here today. Today's Gospel reminds us that love is at the heart of all Christian discipleship. During this Easter season may we strengthen our desire to bear witness to Christ's love in our lives. This Wednesday I leave for my pastoral visit to Brazil. I ask all of you: please accompany me with your prayers! Upon each of you present and your families, I invoke God's blessings of peace and wisdom.

© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana