Saturday, February 16, 2008

S. M. Hutchens, The Oprah Club

The Oprah Club

Mere literacy has no value in itself. It is worthy only as the servant of virtue. The virtues of Oprahism, however, appear to be subordinate to, and ordered by, the prime virtue of self-realization and self-actualization rather than that of finding the self by losing it in sacrificial service to others, subject to the will of God. Its heroes tend to be Prometheans injured by, and in defiance of, the Traditional Moral Order (let us all weep for them a bit), lap-christs for the entertainment of silly women. Oprahism, to be sure, is chock-full of "virtues," but the order in which they are placed relative to one another in the scheme of the whole makes the phenomenon a veil of evil.

Tropa de Elite

Brazil's "The Elite Squad" wins in Berlin
Violent Brazil cop drama named best film in Berlin
official website

trailer


alt

Tropa de Elite Trailer Preview - English Subtitle



imdb
wiki.
Tropa de Elite: Brazil’s dark sensation
Arthur Ituassu
BOPE - Tropa De Elite
Elite Squad aka Tropa de Elite (2007) Movie Review ...
Twitch - Website and Trailers For Brazil’s TROPA DE ELITE

Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin

Times UK: Italian bishops condemned for urging actors to shun sex scenes

Italian bishops condemned for urging actors to shun sex scenes

Blu Ray prevails?

"News" at AICN.

All for the sake of what... gratifying the senses? Is this a good way for society to spend its wealth, fostering technical improvements that in the end just keep the entertainment industry around?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tokyo Tower

From Twitch:
'Tokyo Tower' takes home the hardware at Japan Academy Awards
Variety

trailer


Might be a good movie about maternal love, but could also be the ultimate guilt trip for the typical Japanese male... I remember reading a book on Japanese culture when I was taking a course on Japanese culture at Foothill, and it talked about how Japanese mothers would wield this power over their sons.

SHOCHIKU Co.,Ltd.
IMDB
lovehkfilm
lunapark6

Mike Whitney, Henry Paulsen's Wild Ride on the Economic Hindenberg

"The Worst is Just Beginning"
Henry Paulsen's Wild Ride on the Economic Hindenberg

By MIKE WHITNEY

Carolyn Baker, Why I Will Not Vote For A President In 2008

Why I Will Not Vote For A President In 2008

her website

Is the USPS cutting down on costs?

The price of first class postage is supposed to go up to 42 cents in May. Is the USPS working to eliminate unnecessary costs? In the part of Milpitas where I live, the postal carrier drives his little truck around to deliver mail; he parks right next to the mailbox (I assume he leaves the engine running). In fact, I got a note instructing me how to park the car so the postal carrier could have easy and safe access to the mailbox.

Now, is it really necessary for the USPS to waste gas like that? If it is more efficient in so far as they need less postal carriers to deliver the mail, would postal customers be willing to expect less from the services the USPS can provide? Instead of having first class letters be delivered in 2 days (which is not guaranteed), how about 3 or 4?

Zenit: Falling in Love With Christ

Falling in Love With Christ

Gospel Commentary for 2nd Sunday of Lent


By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap

ROME, FEB. 15, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Why are faith and religious practice in decline and why do they not seem to constitute, at least not for most people, the point of reference in life?

Why the boredom, the weariness, the struggle for believers in performing their duties? Why do young people not feel attracted to the faith? In sum, why this dullness and this lack of joy among the believers in Christ? The event of Christ's transfiguration helps us to answer these questions.

What did the transfiguration mean for the three disciples who were present? Up until now they knew Jesus only in his external appearance: He was not a man different from others; they knew where he came from, his habits, the timber of his voice. Now they know another Jesus, the true Jesus, the one who cannot be seen with the eyes of ordinary life, in the normal light of the sun; what they now know of him is the fruit of a sudden revelation, of a change, of a gift.

Because things change for us too, as they changed for the three disciples on Tabor; something needs to happen in our lives similar to what happens when a young man and woman fall in love. In falling in love with someone, the beloved, who before was one of many, or perhaps unknown, suddenly becomes the only one, the sole person in the world who interests us. Everything else is left behind and becomes a kind of neutral background. One is not able to think of anything else. A very real transfiguration takes place. The person loved comes to be seen as a luminous aura. Everything about her is beautiful, even the defects. One feels unworthy of her. True love generates humility.

Something concrete also changes in one's own habits. I have known young people whose parents could not get them out of bed in the morning to go to school; or they neglected their studies and did no graduate. Then, once they fall in love with someone and enter a serious relationship, they jump out of bed in the morning, they are impatient to finish school, if they have a job, they hold onto it. What has happened? Nothing, it is just that what they were forced to do before they now do because of an attraction. And attraction allows one to do things that force cannot make one do; it puts wings on one's feet. "Everyone," the poet Ovid said, "is attracted by the object of his pleasure."

Something of the kind must happen once in our lives for us to be true, convinced Christians, and overjoyed to be so. Some say, "But the young man or young woman is seen and touched!"

I answer: We see and touch Jesus too, but with different eyes and different hands -- those of the heart, of faith. He is risen and is alive. He is a concrete being, not an abstraction, for those who experience and know him.

Indeed, with Jesus things go even better. In human love we deceive ourselves, we attribute gifts to the beloved that she does not have and with time we are often forced to change our mind about her. In the case of Jesus, the more one knows him and is together with him, the more one discovers new reasons to be in love with him and is confirmed in one's choice.

This does not mean that with Christ too we must wait for the classic "lightning bolt" of love. If a young man or woman stayed at home all the time without seeing anyone, nothing would ever happen in his or her life. To fall in love you have to spend time with people!

If one is convinced, or simply begins to think that it is good and worthwhile to know Jesus Christ in this other, transfigured, way, then one must spend time with him, to read his writings. The Gospel is his love letter! It is there that he reveals himself, where he "transfigures" himself. His house is the Church: It is there that one meets him.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

* * *

Father Raniero Cantalamessa is the Pontifical Household preacher. The readings for this Sunday are Genesis 12:1-4a; 2 Timothy 1:8b-10; Matthew 17:1-9.

Zenit: Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 5

Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 5
On the Reality of Sin and the Sacrament of Penance [2008-02-15]

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Zenit: Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Parts 3 and 4

Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 3
On Reaching Out to a Secular World [2008-02-13]

Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 4
On the Church's Role in Education [2008-02-14]

Capelli Links

Via Thomistica.net: Moscow State University

Carmen Marcoux's website

courtshipnow.com
Her website was introduced on the Next Wave Live radio program, part of which I listened to the other day on Immaculate Heart Radio, 1260 AM in the Bay Area.

Check out the February programming for Next Wave Live:

February 14:

Topic: Courtship & Marriage: How to Prepare for Lifelong Love

With Steve & Stephanie Wood


February 21:

Topic: The Thrill of the Chaste

Guest: Dawn Eden


February 28:

Topic: Virtue in Vogue: The Pursuit of Purity in Fashion

Guests: Christina Condit (Modesty speaker) and Mary Lahood (Actress, Theater of the Word)


archives (Carmen Marcoux -- February 2007)
Next Wave Faithful

The niece went to Mass this week, for the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. She received 3 blessings... she also likes to bless her po po now with holy water. I wonder what she would do if she saw herself in a veil.

She also says, "Kau kau knows it," but in connection with things that I don't think I have anything to do with... but perhaps her po po doesn't understand what she is talking about.

Gene Logsdon, A death In the family

A death In the family
A tragedy, like the dead chickadee in the photo, seems small compared to what is happening in the calamitous world we live in now, but not to me.

original

AR: The little steps that matter

The little steps that matter
As we move deeper into the twilight of the petroleum age, grand pronouncements and proposals for massive "solutions" abound. Far more useful, if less noticed, are simple, scalable, low-energy technologies that could make a big difference in the unraveling of industrial society.

original

Indy 4 trailer

Yahoo

It's difficult to watch this and not think Indy's an old man, and judge the movie won't be as good as the first three because of it. But maybe Harrison Ford can once again show that seniors can be action heroes too.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

William Lind reviews If We Can Keep It

On War #250: Counter Counter-Insurgency

Richards’ first major point is that most of our armed forces are “legacy forces,” white elephants designed for fighting the Red Army in Europe or the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific. They have little utility in a world where nuclear weapons prevent wars among major powers, wars with minor powers can be won easily and usually aren’t worth fighting, and legacy forces generally lose against Fourth Generation opponents. Although they are largely useless, these legacy forces eat up most of the defense budget. Richards would disband them, save the Marine Corps, some useful tac air (i.e., A-10s) and some sealift, and give the money back to the taxpayer.

That will happen when pork stops flying. But the point is a good one; most of what we are buying is a military museum. I disagree with Richards that the Marine Corps or any other major elements of the U.S. armed forces are Third Generation forces, forces which have institutionalized maneuver warfare. The Marines talk it, but it is not what they do. I would prefer to keep enough of the Army to face the Corps with some competition, rewarding whichever service actually makes it into the Third Generation. Bureaucratic competition is a good thing.

Perhaps Richards’ sharpest point is that DOD’s latest fad, counter-insurgency, is something of a fraud. He notes that whereas states have often been successful in defeating insurgencies on their own soil, invaders and occupiers have almost never won against a guerrilla-style war of national liberation. Not even the best counter-insurgency techniques make much difference, because neither a foreign occupier nor any puppet government he installs can gain legitimacy. Despite the current “we’re winning in Iraq” propaganda, both Iraq and Afghanistan are almost certain to add themselves to the long list of failures. If neither the U.S. Army nor the Marine Corps can do successful counter-insurgency, what can they do? That brings us back to Richards’ first point.

If We Can Keep It: A National Security Manifesto for the Next Administration, by DNI Editor Chet Richards. Amazon

Odette Yustman

Something for Sarge when he returns: Odette Yustman: The Next Megan Fox

Summer Palace trailer

Apple

official website

What's a film about June 4 without youthful idealism and love? Unfortunately young love also justifies fornication. I can understand why the workers had to protest; but were the students involved in the demonstrations a little bit too naive or idealistic about what they might be able to bring about, or what the possible government response would be?

Michael Shedlock, Where is all the oil money going?

Where Is All The Oil Money Going?

A colossal squandering of treasure...

Peter Hitchens on the CoE

Is the Church of England finished? Should it be?

Corporal punishment

Was it used to enforce a rule of silence in the classroom, back in the day? I believe that in Macau, at my mother's secondary school, one was punished for using Cantonese instead of English in the classroom... I'll have to ask my mother what they did for students who were talking too much in class...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Magister, Benedict XVI Invokes the Judgment of God on this World. For Love of Justice

Benedict XVI Invokes the Judgment of God on this World. For Love of Justice

From the Q&A session with the priests of Rome:

Masses celebrated with large crowds. Pros and cons


Q: How do you reconcile the treasure of the liturgy in all of its solemnity with the sentiment, feeling, and emotionality of the masses of young people who are called to participate in it?

A: The problem of liturgies at which masses of people participate is a serious one I recall that in 1960, during the great international Eucharistic congress in Munich, there was an attempt to give a new physiognomy to the Eucharistic congresses, which until then had been solely acts of adoration. The intention was to put the celebration of the Eucharist at the center as the act of the presence of the mystery celebrated.

But the question immediately arose of how this could be done. Adoration, it was said, can also be done from a distance; but in order to celebrate there must be a delimited community that can interact with the mystery, and therefore a community that must be an assembly around the celebration of the mystery.

Many were against the idea of celebrating the Eucharist outdoors with a hundred thousand people. They said that it was not possible because of the very structure of the Eucharist, which requires community for communion. And there were also prominent personalities, very respectable, who were against this solution.

But then professor Jungmann, a great liturgist and one of the leading architects of the liturgical reform, created the concept of "statio orbis," returning to the "statio Romae" in which during the Lenten season the faithful would gather in a place, the "statio," like soldiers for Christ, and then would go to the Eucharist together. If that, he said, had been the "statio" of the city of Rome, the place where the city of Rome gathered, that this would be the "statio orbis," the place where the world gathers.

It was from that moment that we had Eucharistic celebrations with mass participation. For me, I must say, it remains a problem, because concrete communion in the celebration is fundamental, and therefore I do not believe that the definitive answer has truly been found. Again at the last synod [of bishops] I raised this question again, but the answer was not found.

I posed another question, about mass concelebration: because if, for example, a thousand priests concelebrate, it is not clear whether the structure intended by the Lord is still present. These are questions. And so you encountered, in Loreto, the difficulty of participating in a mass celebration during which it is not possible that all be equally involved. A certain style must therefore be chosen to preserve the dignity that is always necessary for the Eucharist; the community is not uniform, and the experience of participation at the event is different; for some, it is certainly insufficient. But in Loreto, this matter did not depend upon me, but rather upon those occupied with the preparation.

We must therefore reflect well on what to do in these situations [...]. The fundamental problem remains, but it seems to me that, knowing what the Eucharist is, even if one does not have the possibility of the kind of exterior activity desired to feel oneself as a participant, one may enter with the heart, as the ancient imperative of the Church says, which may have been created precisely for those who were in the back of the basilica: "Let us lift up our hearts! Now let us all come out from ourselves, so that we ma be with the Lord and be together." I do not deny the problem, but if we truly follow these words, "let us lift up our hearts," we will all find, even in difficult and sometimes questionable situations, true active participation.


Is there perhaps too much of an emphasis on the "international" nature of the Church that leads to this pastoral and liturgical problem? If the local Church received the proper emphasis and was living up to its mission, would a need for such large international eucharistic celebrations be necessary?

complete transcript

Matthew Clavel, The single-sex education movement catches on

Chartering Success
The single-sex education movement catches on.
12 February 2008

If all goes according to Raccah’s plan, the Boys Preparatory Charter School of New York will open in fall 2009. The school’s mission would be the same as for Girls Prep, but, she says, “the difference becomes the delivery.” Boys do not learn in the same fashion as girls and require different approaches. Constant engagement is essential, as boys have trouble sitting still in school, don’t get enough recess time, and endure too much group work (which girls more often enjoy). An ideal boys’ school offers structure, a fact-based curriculum, ample amounts of exercise, competition, generous recognition for achievement, and character-building. Other aspects of Girls Prep, like a system of core values and a fellows program, could be easily adapted to a boys’ environment.

Thoughts on Jericho

SpoilerTV: Jericho

Season 2 returns tonight at 10 PM--will the series be done after the season is over? Or will it return? The first episode raises some interesting political questions regarding popular sovereignty and the nature of the National State. Could a case be made for the town of Jericho having de facto independence? (Yes there is the problem of the lack of self-sufficiency, but that isn't absolutely necessary for political independence though it is ideal.) And how much of the national infrastructure and supply chains remain intact? (Especially the oil supply--how else is the military able to move around and to regain control without it?)

Fr. Taft's opinions on the liturgical reform of the Consilium

A rather provocative piece. (From the comments section to this post at NLM.) Let's see what sort of reaction it garners...

Zivi i Mrtvi: The Living and the Dead

Twitch

Ronnie Cummins, Standing at the End of the Road

Corporate Globalization
Standing at the End of the Road

By RONNIE CUMMINS

Corporate globalization, savagely embodied by NAFTA, is not just a threat to Mexican farmers and rural villagers. The economic, health, and social damage created by industrial agriculture, corporate globalization, and the patenting and gene-splicing of transgenic plants and animals, are inexorably leading to universal "bioserfdom " for farmers, deteriorating health for consumers, a destabilized climate (energy intensive industrial agriculture and long-distance food transportation and processing account, directly or indirectly, for 40% of all climate-disrupting greenhouse gases), tropical deforestation, and a rapid depletion of oil supplies. Lest we forget, forty percent of the world's population are still small farmers and rural villagers. If we allow corporate agribusiness and so-called "free traders" to continue to drive these last two billion peasants from the land, replacing them with chemical and energy-intensive, climate disrupting industrial farms, cattle ranches, and agrofuels plantations, we are doomed.

Fortunately practical solutions are at hand, although implementing these obvious alternatives will require nothing short of a global grassroots rising. The simple solution to all this is to scrap NAFTA, make organic and sustainable farming once more the dominant practice in agriculture (as it has been for most of the last 10,000 years), help the globe's two billion farmers stay on the land, make healthy organic foods and lifestyles the norm, and restructure global agriculture and commerce so that sustainable local and regional production for local and regional markets and Fair Trade become the norm, not just the alternative. And of course as we begin this great turning away from corporate control, we will also begin to be able to address and solve the global energy crisis (at the root of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) as well as the global climate crisis, through conservation, economic re-localization, and drastic greenhouse gas reduction in the agriculture, transportation, and utilities sectors. Unfortunately none of the "major contenders" for the White House are offering any real alternatives, other than rhetoric, to address the current Crisis. Our job is daunting, but standing here at the end of the road, it appears we have no choice.

CP: The Psychology of Killing

Close In or Far Away?
The Psychology of Killing

By Col. DAN SMITH

Newman’s Rules for Writing

Or "Fr. O’Connell's transmission of them," via S. M. Hutchens:


1. A man should be in earnest--by which I mean he should write, not for the sake of writing, but to bring out his thoughts.

2. He should never aim to be eloquent.

3. He should keep his idea in view, and should write sentences over and over again till he has expressed his meaning accurately, forcibly, and in few words.

4. He should aim at being understood by his hearers or readers.

5. He should use words which are likely to be understood. Ornament and amplification will come spontaneously in due time, but he should never seek them.

6. He must creep before he can fly--by which I mean that humility, which is a great Christian virtue, has a place in literary composition.

7. He who is ambitious will never write well; but he who tries to say simply what he feels and thinks, what religion demands, what faith teaches, what the Gospel promises, will be eloquent without intending it, and will write better English than if he made a study of English literature.

Zenit: Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 2

Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 2

On What to Do With the Youth

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Following a Lenten tradition, Benedict XVI met Thursday with parish priests and clergy of the Diocese of Rome. During the meeting, the participants asked the Pope questions. Here is a translation of the second question and the Holy Father's answer.

Part 1 appeared Monday.

* * *

[Father Graziano Bonfitto, from the parish of Ognissanti:]

Holy Father, I am originally from a town in the province of Foggia, San Marco in Lamis. I am a religious in the order of Don Orione [Sons of Divine Providence] and have been a priest for a year and a half, currently serving as the vice pastor in the parish of Ognissanti, in the Appio neighborhood. I won't hide my excitement from you, and also the incredible joy I have in this moment, which is such a great privilege for me. You are the bishop and the shepherd of our diocesan Church, but you are also the Pope and thus the pastor of the universal Church. Because of this, my excitement grows uncontrollably. I would first like to express my gratitude for all that, day after day, you do, not only for our Diocese of Rome, but for the entire Church. Your words and your gestures, your attention toward us, the people of God, are signs of the love and the closeness that you foster for all of us, and each one of us.

My priestly apostolate is carried out above all with youth. It is precisely in their name that I would like to thank you today. My holy founder, St. Luigi Orione, said that youth are the sun or the storm of the morning. I think that in this historical moment in which we find ourselves, youth are both the sun and the storm, not of the morning, but of now. As youth we now feel, more than ever, the strong need for certainties. We want sincerity, freedom, justice and peace. We want to count on people who walk with us, who listen to us, like Christ with the disciples of Emmaus. Youth desire people capable of marking the path to liberty, responsibility, love, truth. That is, the youth of today have an unquenchable thirst for Christ: a thirst for joyful witnesses who have found Jesus and have staked their whole existence on him. The youth want a Church always with feet on the ground and ever closer to their needs. They want her present in their life decisions, even though a certain sensation of indifference toward the Church persists in them. Youth seek a trustworthy hope -- as you wrote in your last letter directed to the faithful of Rome -- to avoid living without God.

Holy Father -- permit me to call you Papa -- how difficult it is to live in God, with God and for God. The youth feel attacked on so many fronts. There are so many false prophets, salesmen of illusions. There are too many proclaimers of false truths and ignoble ideals. With all of this, youth who believe today -- even feeling that they are trapped -- are convinced that God is the hope that resists every disillusion, that only his love cannot be destroyed by death, even if most of the time, it is not easy to find the space or the courage to give witness. What to do then? How to act? Is it truly worth it to continue staking one's life on Christ? Life, the family, love, joy, justice, respect of others' opinions, liberty, prayer, charity -- are they still values to defend? The life of the saints, measured by the beatitudes -- is this a life adequate for man, for the youth of the third millennium?

Thank you so much for your attention, your affection and your consideration for the youth. The youth are with you: They esteem you, they love you and they listen to you. Stay close, show us with ever greater strength the path that leads to Christ, the way, the truth and the life. Help us to fly high, ever higher. And pray for us always. Thank you.

[Benedict XVI:]

Thank you for this beautiful testimony of a young priest who is with the youth, who accompanies them, and as you have said, helps them to walk with Christ, with Jesus.

What to say? All of us know how difficult it is for youth today to live as Christians. The cultural context and the mass media offer everything contrary to the path that leads to Christ. It precisely seems that it makes it impossible to see Christ as the center of life and live a life as Jesus shows us. Nevertheless, it also seems to me that many feel more and more the inadequacy of these offers, of this style of life that in the end, leaves one empty.

In this sense, it seems to me that the readings precisely from today's liturgy, from Deuteronomy [30:15-20] and the Gospel passage from Luke [9:22-25] respond to what we should essentially say to youth and always to ourselves. As you have mentioned, sincerity is fundamental. Youth should perceive that we don't say words we don't ourselves live, but rather that we speak because we have found and look to find each day the truth as truth for my life. Only if we are on this path, if we ourselves try to assimilate this life and associate our lives with that of the Lord, then our words can also be credible and have a visible and convincing logic. I insist: Today this is the great and fundamental norm, not only for Lent but for all Christian life: Choose life. Before you, you have death and life: Choose life.

And it seems that the answer is natural. There are only a few people who nourish in their depths a will for destruction, for death, of no longer wanting existence and life, because everything is contrary for them. Unfortunately, on the other hand, this is a phenomenon that is growing. With all the contradictions, the false promises, in the end life seems contradictory. It is no longer a gift, but a condemnation and thus there are those who want death more than life. But normally, man responds: Yes, I want life.

The question continues being how to find life, what to choose, how to choose life. And we know the offers generally made: Go to the disco, obtain everything possible, consider liberty as doing everything you want, whatever occurs to you in any given moment. But we know on the other hand -- and we can show it -- that this is a false path, because in the end, life is not found there, but rather the abyss of nothingness.

Choose life. The reading says it: God is your life, you have chosen life and you have made the choice: God. This seems fundamental to me. Only in this way are our horizons broad enough and only in this way do we remain within the fount of life, which is stronger than death, stronger than all of the threats of death. Thus, the fundamental choice is this one that is indicated: Choose God. It is necessary to understand that one who begins a life without God in the end finds himself in darkness, even though there can be moments in which it seems he has discovered life.

Another step is how to find God, how to choose God. Here we arrive to the Gospel: God is not a stranger, a hypothesis of the first cause of the cosmos. God has flesh and bones. He is one of us. We know him with his face, with his name. It is Jesus Christ who speaks to us in the Gospel. He is man and he is God. And being God, he chose man to make it possible for us to choose God. Thus it is necessary to enter into knowledge of and afterward friendship with Jesus, to walk with him.

I consider this the fundamental point of our pastoral care for youth, for everyone, but above all for youth: Call their attention to the choice of God, who is life. To the fact that God exists. And he exists in a very concrete way. And teach them friendship with Jesus Christ.

There is also a third step. This friendship with Jesus is not a friendship with a person who isn't real, with someone who belongs to the past, or is far from man at the right hand of God. He is present in his body, which continues to be a body of flesh and bones: It is the Church, the communion of the Church. We should construct and make communities that are more accessible and reflect the great community of the living Church. It is everything: the living experience of the community, with all of its human weaknesses, but nevertheless real, with a clear path and a solid sacramental life in which we can also touch what can seem so far away -- the presence of the Lord. In this way, we can also learn the commandments -- to return to Deuteronomy, from where I began. Because the reading says: To choose God means to choose according to his Word, to live according to his Word. For a moment this seems almost positivist: They are imperatives. But first is the gift -- his friendship. Later we can understand that the indicators of the path are explanations of the reality of this friendship of ours.

We can say that this is a general overview, which flows out of contact with sacred Scripture and the life of the Church each day. Afterward it is translated step by step in the concrete encounters with youth: To guide them in their dialogue with Jesus in prayer, in the reading of sacred Scripture -- reading in common, above all, but also personal -- and sacramental life. These are all steps to make these experiences present in the professional life, even though this realm is frequently marked by the total absence of God and by the apparent impossibility of seeing him present. But precisely then, through our life and our experience of God, we should try to make the presence of Christ enter into this world far from God.

Thirst for God exists. A short time ago, I received the "ad limina" visit of bishops from a country in which more than 50% are declared atheists or agnostics. But they told me, in reality all of them are thirsting for God. This thirst exists, though hidden. Because of this, let's start beforehand, with the youth we can find. Let's form communities in which the Church is reflected; let's learn friendship with Jesus. And in this way, full of this joy and this experience, we can also today make God present in this world of ours.

[Translation by Kathleen Naab]

Zenit: Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 1

Pope's Q-and-A Session With Roman Clergy, Part 1

On the Importance of the Permanent Diaconate

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 11, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Following a Lenten tradition, Benedict XVI met Thursday with parish priests and clergy of the Diocese of Rome. During the meeting, the participants asked the Pope questions. Here is a translation of the first question and the Holy Father's answer.

* * *

[Deacon Giuseppe Corona:]

Holy Father, I would like first of all to express my gratitude and that of my brother deacons for the ministry that the Church so providentially has taken up again with the [Second Vatican] Council, a ministry that allows us to fully express our vocation. We are committed in a great variety of works that we carry out in vastly different environments: family, work, parish, society, also the missions of Africa and Latin America -- areas that you indicated for us in the audience you granted us on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the diaconate of the Diocese of Rome.

Now our numbers have grown -- there are 108 of us. And we would like for you to indicate a pastoral initiative that could become a sign of a more incisive presence of the permanent diaconate in the city of Rome, as it happened in the first centuries of the Roman Church. In fact, sharing a significant, common objective, on one hand increases the cohesion of diaconal fraternity and on the other, would give greater visibility to our service in this city. We present you, Holy Father, the desire that you indicate to us an initiative that we can share in the way and the manner that you wish to specify. In the name of all the deacons, I greet you, Holy Father, with filial affection.

[Benedict XVI:]

Thank you for this testimony as one of the more than 100 deacons of Rome. I would like to also express my joy and my gratitude for the Council, because it revived this important ministry in the universal Church. I should say that when I was archbishop of Munich, I didn't find perhaps more than three or four deacons, and I very much favored this ministry because it seemed to me to belong to the richness of the sacramental ministry in the Church. At the same time, it can equally be the link between the lay world, the professional world, and the world of the priestly ministry -- given that many deacons continue carrying out their professions and maintain their positions -- important or those of a simple life -- while on Saturday and Sunday they work in the Church. In this way, you give witness in the world of today, as well as in the working world, of the presence of faith, of the sacramental ministry and the diaconal dimension of the sacrament of Orders. This seems very important to me: the visibility of the diaconal dimension.

Naturally as well, every priest continues being a deacon, and should always think of this dimension, because the Lord himself made himself our minister, our deacon. We can think of the gesture of the washing of the feet, with which he explicitly shows that the master, the Lord, acts as a deacon and wants those who follow him to be deacons, that they fulfill this role for humanity, to the point that they also help to wash the dirtied feet of the men entrusted to us. This dimension seems very important to me.

On this occasion, I bring to mind -- though it is perhaps not immediately inherent to the theme -- a simple experience that Paul VI noted. Each day of the Council, the Gospel was enthroned. And the Pontiff told those in charge of the ceremony that he would like one time to be the one who enthrones the Gospel. They told him no, this is the job of the deacons, not of the Pope. He wrote in his diary: But I am also a deacon, I continue being a deacon, and I would like to also exercise this ministry of the diaconate placing the word of God on its throne. Thus, this concerns all of us. Priests continue being deacons, and the deacons make explicit in the Church and in the world this diaconal dimension of our ministry. This liturgical enthroning of the word of God each day during the Council was always for us a gesture of great importance: It told us who was the true Lord of that assembly; it told us that the word of God was on the throne and that we exercise our ministry to listen and to interpret, to offer to the others this word. It is broadly significant for all that we do: enthroning in the world the word of God, the living word, Christ. May it really be him who governs our personal life and our life in the parishes.

Now, you have asked me a question that, I must say, goes a bit beyond my strengths: What would be the tasks proper to the deacons of Rome. I know that the cardinal vicar knows much better than I the real situations of the city and the diocesan community of Rome. I think that one characteristic of the ministry of the deacons is precisely the multiplicity of the diaconate's applications. In the International Theological Commission, a few years ago, we studied at length the diaconate in the history and also the present of the Church. And we discovered just that: There is not just one profile. What they should do varies, depending on the preparation of the persons and the situations in which they find themselves. There can be applications and activities that are very different, always in communion with the bishop and with the parish, naturally. In the various situations, various possibilities arise, also depending on the professional preparation that these deacons could have. They could be committed in the cultural sector, which is so important today, or they could have a voice and an important post in the educational realm. We are thinking this year precisely of the problem of education as central to our future, and the future of humanity.

Certainly the sector of charity was in Rome the original sector, because those called presbyters and deacons were centers of Christian charity. This was from the beginning in the city of Rome a fundamental area. In my encyclical "Deus Caritas Est," I showed that not just preaching and the liturgy are essential for the Church and for the ministry of the Church, but rather equally important is the service of caritas -- in its multiple dimensions -- for the poor, the needy. Thus, I hope that all the time, in the whole diocese, even if in distinct situations, this continues being a fundamental dimension, and also a priority for the commitment of the deacons, even if not the only one, as is also shown in the early Church, where the seven deacons were chosen precisely to permit the apostles to dedicate themselves to prayer, liturgy and preaching. Also afterward, Stephen found himself in the situation of having to preach to the Greeks, to the Jews who spoke Greek, and thus the field of preaching was amplified. He is conditioned, we could say, by the cultural situation, where he has a voice to make present in that sector the word of God. In that way, he makes more possible the universality of the Christian testimony, opening the doors to St. Paul who witnessed his stoning, and later, in a certain sense, was his successor in the universalization of the word of God. I don't know if the cardinal vicar would like to add something; I'm not as close to the concrete situations.

[Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's vicar for the Diocese of Rome:]

Holy Father, I can just confirm, as you said, that also concretely in Rome, the deacons work in many sectors, for the most part, in parishes, where they concern themselves with the ministry of charity; but, for example, many are also involved in ministry to the family. Since almost all of the deacons are married, they offer marriage preparation, give follow-up to young couples, and things like that. They also offer a significant contribution to the ministry of health care; they help also in the vicariate -- where some of them work -- and as you heard, in missions. There is a certain missionary presence of deacons. I think that, naturally, in the numerical plane, the greatest commitment is in the parishes, but there also exist other sectors that are also opening, and precisely because of this, we now have more than a hundred permanent deacons.

[Translation by Kathleen Naab]

Zenit: Papal Address to Participants in Congress on Women

Papal Address to Participants in Congress on Women

"Recall the Design of God That Created the Human Being Male and Female"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 10, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Saturday upon receiving in audience participants from the international conference that marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of Pope John Paul II's apostolic letter "Mulieris Dignitatem."

The conference, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity and titled "Woman and Man, the 'Humanum' in Its Entirety," ended Saturday.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

With true pleasure I welcome all of you who are taking part in the international conference on the theme "Man and Woman: The ‘Humanum' in Its Entirety," which has been organized on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the publication of the apostolic letter "Mulieris Dignitatem." I greet Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and I am grateful to him for being the interpreter of shared sentiments. I greet the council's secretary, Bishop Josef Clemens, and the members and the collaborators of this dicastery. In particular I greet the women, who are the great majority of those present, and who have enriched the conference's proceedings with their experience and competence.

The question on which you are reflecting has great contemporary relevance: From the second half of the 20th century until today, the movement for women's rights in the various settings of social life has generated countless reflections and debates, and it has seen the multiplication of many initiatives that the Catholic Church has followed and often accompanied with attentive interest. The male-female relationship, in its respective specificity, reciprocity and complementarity, without a doubt constitutes a central point of the "anthropological question" that is so decisive in contemporary culture. The papal interventions and documents that have touched on the emerging reality of the question of women are numerous.

I limit myself to recall those of my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II, who, in June 1995 wrote a "Letter to Women," and in Aug. 15, 1988, exactly 20 years ago, published the apostolic letter "Mulieris dignitatem." This text on the vocation and the dignity of women, of great theological, spiritual and cultural richness, in its turn inspired the "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World" of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In "Mulieris Dignitatem," John Paul II wanted to delve into the fundamental anthropological truths of men and women, the equality in dignity and their unity, the rooted and profound difference between the masculine and the feminine and their vocation to reciprocity and complementarity, collaboration and communion (cf. "Mulieris Dignitatem," No. 6). This dual-unity of man and woman is based on the foundation of the dignity of every person, created in the image and likeness of God, who "created them male and female" (Genesis 1:27), as much avoiding an indistinct uniformity and flattened-out and impoverished equality as an abysmal and conflictive difference (cf. "Letter to Women," No. 8). This dual-unity carries with it, inscribed in bodies and souls, the relation with the other, love for the other, interpersonal communion that shows that "the creation of man is also marked by a certain likeness to the divine communion" ("Mulieris Dignitatem," No. 7). When, therefore, men or women pretend to be autonomous or totally self-sufficient, they risk being closed up in a self-realization that considers the overcoming of every natural, social or religious bond as a conquest of freedom, but which in fact reduces them to an oppressive solitude. To foster and support the true promotion of women and men one cannot fail to take this reality into account.

Certainly a renewed anthropological research is necessary that, on the basis of the great Christian tradition, incorporates the new advances of science and the datum of contemporary cultural sensibilities, contributing in this way to the deepened understanding not only of feminine identity but also masculine identity, which is frequently the object of partial and ideological reflections.

In the face of cultural and political currents that attempt to eliminate, or at least to obfuscate and confuse, the sexual differences written into human nature, considering them to be cultural constructions, it is necessary to recall the design of God that created the human being male and female, with a unity and at the same time an original and complementary difference. Human nature and the cultural dimension are integrated in an ample and complex process that constitutes the formation of the identity of each, where both dimensions -- the feminine and the masculine -- correspond to and complete each other.

Opening the work of the 5th General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Episcopate last May in Brazil, I recalled how there still persists a macho mentality that ignores the novelty of Christianity, which recognizes and proclaims the equal dignity and responsibility of women with respect to men. There are certain places and cultures where women are discriminated against and undervalued just for the fact that they are women, where recourse is even had to religious arguments and family, social and cultural pressures to support the disparity between the sexes, where there is consumption of acts of violence against women, making them into objects of abuse and exploitation in advertising and in the consumer and entertainment industries. In the face of such grave and persistent phenomena the commitment of Christians appears all the more urgent, so that they become everywhere the promoters of a culture that recognizes the dignity that belongs to women in law and in reality.

God entrusts to women and to men, according to the characteristics that are proper to each, a specific vocation in the mission of the Church and in the world. I think here of the family, community of love, open to life, fundamental cell of society. In it, woman and man, thanks to the gift of maternity and paternity, together play an irreplaceable role in regard to life. From the moment of their conception, children have a right to count on a father and a mother who care for them and accompany them in their growth. The state, for its part, must sustain with adequate social policies all that which promotes the stability of matrimony, the dignity and the responsibility of the husband and wife, their rights and irreplaceable duty to educate their children. Moreover, it is necessary that it be made possible for the woman to cooperate in the building-up of society, appreciating her typical "feminine genius."

Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you once more for your visit and, while I wish you complete success in the work of the conference, I assure you of a remembrance in prayer, invoking the maternal intercession of Mary, that she help the women of our time to realize their vocation and their mission in the ecclesial and civil community. With such vows, I impart to you here present and to your loved ones a special apostolic blessing.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

Zenit: Dateless? An Angel to the Rescue

Dateless? An Angel to the Rescue

Web Site Offers Novena Prayer to St. Raphael


LONDON, FEB. 11, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Singles worried about spending the upcoming Valentine's Day by themselves are being encouraged to seek help through the prayers of an angelic matchmaker.

A Web site of the Catholic Enquiry Office, part of an agency of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, is encouraging Catholic singles to pray a novena to the Archangel Raphael.

Raphael is traditionally considered an ally in the realm of love and relationships thanks to the role he played in helping Sarah and Tobit in the Old Testament.

The book of Tobit explains how Raphael delivered Sarah from an evil spirit that had brought about the death of seven husbands on seven successive wedding nights.

Monsignor Keith Barltrop, director of the Catholic Enquiry Office, explained, "Many people have testified to the help they have received in finding a life partner through the prayerful help of the archangel. At this time of year, significant numbers are seeking someone special, or maybe dealing with recent heartbreak. St. Raphael is there to help."

Singles are being encouraged to join a novena starting Feb. 14, using the following prayer:

For the Choice of a Good Spouse

St. Raphael, you were sent by God to guide young Tobias in choosing a good and virtuous spouse. Please help me in this important choice which will affect my whole future. You not only directed Tobias in finding a wife, but you also gave him guidelines which should be foremost in every Christian marriage: "Pray together before making important decisions."

Amen.

The online resource includes tips from a matchmaking expert, information about the archangel and intercessory prayer, true love stories and a competition offering the prize of a meal for two.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon




trailer (via Twitch); official site

also from Twitch: movie posters

This project has been underway for a while; still, maybe it's time for a moratorium on Chinese historical epics.

So The Hobbit might not be made?

Tolkien estate sues studio over 'Hobbit'

The estate of J.R.R. Tolkien sued New Line Cinema on Monday, seeking a court order terminating any rights the studio has to any of the author's works, including "Hobbit."

I don't know if Christopher Tolkien is in charge of the estate (I don't think he is), but he strongly opposed the adapting of the trilogy to film.

The Tolkien Estate

Dinner at Darda

Tonight I met with xiao Jimmy and CC for dinner at Darda (yelp) at Milpitas Square. CC is supposed to be returning to Taiwan on the 14th, though she was offered another job by a different company. But she hasn't received a written offer yet, so she doesn't think she can stick around to see if she gets one. Darda is a Chinese Moslem restaurant. It's similar to Fatima in Cupertino and Ma's in San Jose (not sure if the same people are involved with all 3).

Xiao Jimmy thought the food was too oily--it was. The black pepper beef short rib had too much black pepper, and the chicken with snow peas--something tasted funny. The beef with green onion was ok, as was the Westlake beef soup. Would this be considered complaining? Or just making a judgment about the food? After all... we should be thankful that we can have such food, especially so much meat. Meat should be a luxury, and yet we tend to take it for granted. At any rate... I suppose one should make a judgment about the quality of food, if only to avoid wasting money in the future. Though I can understand why some people hate cooking for only themselves, but enjoy cooking if it is for others. If I get a job that requires long hours I may have to adopt the "typical" well-off bachelor lifestyle... eating out everyday...

At another table I noticed everyone was praying before dinner--the only woman there made a sign of the cross, so I'm guessing she's Catholic. The two men didn't, so I don't know if they're Catholic or Protestant. The Caucasian that she was sitting with... her bf? Well, she did gaap sung for him. She looked a bit like Christy Chung, at least face-wise, but she has a much thinner frame. But she seems devout at least. Maybe it was just some sort of interdenominational Christian gathering of some sort. But I hope her bf? is not Protestant... I've heard about too many couples of which the girl is Catholic and the guy is Protestant and the girl ends up becoming Protestant.

-:-Totally Christy Chung-:

There was another woman having dinner with her boyfriend, who didn't look Chinese, but the waitress was speaking in Mandarin, so at least one of them is Chinese. She looked more Thai than Chinese... she seems to be very conscious of her appearance (lots of make-up, painted toe nails, etc.), but her walk wasn't very lady like. Xiao Jimmy thought she was very good-looking and I too picky.

Inside one of the private rooms was an Indian? (Pakistani?) family--the daughter was very pretty... Jimmy said a lot of Indian families eat at restaurants that serve beef... if they are strict Hindus, is this permissible?

My nose is stuffed and I'm getting a cough now... Did I get this cold from my housemates or from the students last week? Bah.

Calhoun and Popular Rule

Calhoun and Popular Rule: The Political Theory of the Disquisition and Discourse
By H. Lee Cheek, Jr.

University of Missouri Press
Google Books

Economy in Crisis: Solutions to America's Economic Problems

Solutions to America's Economic Problems
The following suggestions should be considered as part of a new plan to recover American industry and economic health:

* Appoint an economic czar, a major cabinet post, to develop policies that protect our economy from foreign predatory practices and to create conditions to make manufacturing competitive and profitable through government sponsored research, tax changes and subsidies.
* Develop an industrial research and development division (similar to government sponsored National Institute of Health (NIH) - in Medicine or the Manhattan Project in World War II or Japan's (MITI) Ministry of International Trade & Industry) to focus on needs and development procedures for new and existing industries. Our country's future as we know it is at stake.
* Selective use of Tariffs for strategic and endangered industries to prevent their loss.
* Change tax structure for select industries that we can't afford to lose - steel, etc.
* Consider changing agreement with the W.T.O. or else get out of W.T.O. - it usurps our sovereign rights and places unreasonable limitations on us.
* Control our Balance of Trade Deficit.
* Analyze every international trade deal - does it benefit America; currently most deals do not.
* Curtail subsidies foreign owned companies receive from our State Governments.
* We should attempt to discourage technology transfer and outsourcing manufacturing if it causes us to lose industries.
* Prevent sale of strategic companies or institutions to foreign ownership.
* Faster depreciation on capital equipment investment - it will lessen the need to outsource manufacturing.
* Free trade has been a disaster. It must be replaced with intelligent trade that prevents foreign predatory practices and better serves our interests.


OTHER SUGGESTIONS AND THINGS TO CONSIDER
o Strive to become competitive, otherwise we must exist on imports with more debt, accompanied with high unemployment.
o American owned companies have lost their edge and on balance are not as productive or as protective as many other foreign companies- we must learn to correct this.
o It must pay to manufacture in America by American owned companies or we won't do it.
o We are losing a major economics war; we are relinquishing management and control of our economy through effects of our Balance of Trade Deficit, outsourcing, subsidized insourcing and foreign tax benefits.
o Consider the consequences of losing whole industries such as publishing, autos, movies, steel, electronics, clothing and how it impacts national security and living standards.
o Analyze and correct negative effects of WTO rules and decisions regarding their impact on our economy.
o Analyze and correct violations of WTO rules practiced by other countries to our detriment.
o Analyze and correct restrictions (specific and/or in practice) imposed by foreign governments on American exporting companies.


Too much reliance on central planning and protectionism without addressing the root causes of the lack of economic freedom for most people?

Variety: Slumping Korean biz in fund freeze

Slumping Korean biz in fund freeze

Maybe this will lead to greater scrutiny of scripts so that less bad movies will be made. If it is like the US, then there will be more money-makers with stupid plots being produced, but I don't know if I want to claim Korean comedies are as dumb as American ones (with the exception, perhaps, of Korean sex comedies.)

Because they're useful for confined spaces?

2 from the LRC blog:
Automatic Shotguns (which appears to be missing something)
More On Automatic Shotguns

One shouldn't be using an automatic shotgun to hit someone at a fairly long distance (like they needed to do at the LA North Hollywood bank robbery)--hence the need for a patrol rifle for officers. But automatic shotguns can be useful at short distances and the scatter at short distances is less of a problem than at long distances, is it not? Hence they will be employed for CQB, as far as I know. Another example of a rash reply by an anti-state LRC contributor?

What happened to that anti-spanking bill?

First mentioned here. An update from California Catholic Daily:

They let it die
Deadline kills “anti-spanking” bill in state assembly

From 2004: AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS Guidance for Effective Discipline
AAP: What is the best way to discipline my child?

From the American College of Pediatricians:
Analysis of Corporal Punishment by Parents

The American College of Pediatricians carefully reviewed the available research on corporal punishment in developing a position statement on the subject. Its conclusion: Disciplinary spanking by parents, when properly used, can be effective component in an overall disciplinary plan with children. The details are contained in the following statements.

Corporal Punishment Position
Click on this link to view the Corporal Punishment position statement. For the complete report, view the
policy statement listed below.

Guidelines for Parental Use of Disciplinary Spanking
Click on this link to view guidelines for a parent's use of
disciplinary spanking.

Corporal Punishment Policy
Click on this link to view the Corporal Punishment policy statement, which contains all the research and support
for the position statement.

PJB Blog: McCain: Conservative or Globalist?

McCain: Conservative or Globalist?

USA Today: U.S. Hispanic population to triple by 2050

Via Drudge:

U.S. Hispanic population to triple by 2050

So will people start to take Pat Buchanan a little bit more seriously?

Pew Research summary; the report

Now for VDare to put up a response...

Of course for those who advocate a "proposition nation," this isn't a problem--all you need to be a real American is to believe the "American creed." Just another excuse to continue to maintain power at the center.

Ron Maxwell interview

with Howard Phillips--the clip at YouTube. The opening music for the program is so... 80s...

Trailer for Street Kings


@ Yahoo! Movies

More on Redbelt

Variety
AICN

Can't find verification about Gracie involvement, but Randy Couture is in the cast.


(from his appearance in The Unit)

YouTube - David Mamet talking MMA film REDBELT
First Look: Chiwetel Ejiofor in David Mamet's Redbelt ...

Zenit: B16--Papal Address to Participants in Congress on Women

Papal Address to Participants in Congress on Women

"Recall the Design of God That Created the Human Being Male and Female"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 10, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Saturday upon receiving in audience participants from the international conference that marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of Pope John Paul II's apostolic letter "Mulieris Dignitatem."

The conference, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Laity and titled "Woman and Man, the 'Humanum' in Its Entirety," ended Saturday.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

With true pleasure I welcome all of you who are taking part in the international conference on the theme "Man and Woman: The ‘Humanum' in Its Entirety," which has been organized on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the publication of the apostolic letter "Mulieris Dignitatem." I greet Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and I am grateful to him for being the interpreter of shared sentiments. I greet the council's secretary, Bishop Josef Clemens, and the members and the collaborators of this dicastery. In particular I greet the women, who are the great majority of those present, and who have enriched the conference's proceedings with their experience and competence.

The question on which you are reflecting has great contemporary relevance: From the second half of the 20th century until today, the movement for women's rights in the various settings of social life has generated countless reflections and debates, and it has seen the multiplication of many initiatives that the Catholic Church has followed and often accompanied with attentive interest. The male-female relationship, in its respective specificity, reciprocity and complementarity, without a doubt constitutes a central point of the "anthropological question" that is so decisive in contemporary culture. The papal interventions and documents that have touched on the emerging reality of the question of women are numerous.

I limit myself to recall those of my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II, who, in June 1995 wrote a "Letter to Women," and in Aug. 15, 1988, exactly 20 years ago, published the apostolic letter "Mulieris dignitatem." This text on the vocation and the dignity of women, of great theological, spiritual and cultural richness, in its turn inspired the "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World" of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In "Mulieris Dignitatem," John Paul II wanted to delve into the fundamental anthropological truths of men and women, the equality in dignity and their unity, the rooted and profound difference between the masculine and the feminine and their vocation to reciprocity and complementarity, collaboration and communion (cf. "Mulieris Dignitatem," No. 6). This dual-unity of man and woman is based on the foundation of the dignity of every person, created in the image and likeness of God, who "created them male and female" (Genesis 1:27), as much avoiding an indistinct uniformity and flattened-out and impoverished equality as an abysmal and conflictive difference (cf. "Letter to Women," No. 8). This dual-unity carries with it, inscribed in bodies and souls, the relation with the other, love for the other, interpersonal communion that shows that "the creation of man is also marked by a certain likeness to the divine communion" ("Mulieris Dignitatem," No. 7). When, therefore, men or women pretend to be autonomous or totally self-sufficient, they risk being closed up in a self-realization that considers the overcoming of every natural, social or religious bond as a conquest of freedom, but which in fact reduces them to an oppressive solitude. To foster and support the true promotion of women and men one cannot fail to take this reality into account.

Certainly a renewed anthropological research is necessary that, on the basis of the great Christian tradition, incorporates the new advances of science and the datum of contemporary cultural sensibilities, contributing in this way to the deepened understanding not only of feminine identity but also masculine identity, which is frequently the object of partial and ideological reflections.

In the face of cultural and political currents that attempt to eliminate, or at least to obfuscate and confuse, the sexual differences written into human nature, considering them to be cultural constructions, it is necessary to recall the design of God that created the human being male and female, with a unity and at the same time an original and complementary difference. Human nature and the cultural dimension are integrated in an ample and complex process that constitutes the formation of the identity of each, where both dimensions -- the feminine and the masculine -- correspond to and complete each other.

Opening the work of the 5th General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Episcopate last May in Brazil, I recalled how there still persists a macho mentality that ignores the novelty of Christianity, which recognizes and proclaims the equal dignity and responsibility of women with respect to men. There are certain places and cultures where women are discriminated against and undervalued just for the fact that they are women, where recourse is even had to religious arguments and family, social and cultural pressures to support the disparity between the sexes, where there is consumption of acts of violence against women, making them into objects of abuse and exploitation in advertising and in the consumer and entertainment industries. In the face of such grave and persistent phenomena the commitment of Christians appears all the more urgent, so that they become everywhere the promoters of a culture that recognizes the dignity that belongs to women in law and in reality.

God entrusts to women and to men, according to the characteristics that are proper to each, a specific vocation in the mission of the Church and in the world. I think here of the family, community of love, open to life, fundamental cell of society. In it, woman and man, thanks to the gift of maternity and paternity, together play an irreplaceable role in regard to life. From the moment of their conception, children have a right to count on a father and a mother who care for them and accompany them in their growth. The state, for its part, must sustain with adequate social policies all that which promotes the stability of matrimony, the dignity and the responsibility of the husband and wife, their rights and irreplaceable duty to educate their children. Moreover, it is necessary that it be made possible for the woman to cooperate in the building-up of society, appreciating her typical "feminine genius."

Dear brothers and sisters, I thank you once more for your visit and, while I wish you complete success in the work of the conference, I assure you of a remembrance in prayer, invoking the maternal intercession of Mary, that she help the women of our time to realize their vocation and their mission in the ecclesial and civil community. With such vows, I impart to you here present and to your loved ones a special apostolic blessing.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

Zenit: B16--On Entering Into Lent

On Entering Into Lent

"Live This Time of Grace With Interior Joy and Generous Commitment"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 10, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Last Wednesday, with the fast and the rite of ashes, we entered into Lent. But what does it mean to "enter into Lent?" It means to enter into a time of particular commitment in the spiritual combat that opposes us to the evil present in the world, in each one of us and around us. It means to look evil in the face and dispose oneself to fight against its effects, above all against its causes, right up to its ultimate cause, Satan. It means not unloading the problem of evil onto others, onto society, onto God, but recognizing one's own responsibility and consciously taking it upon oneself.

In this regard Jesus' invitation to everyone to take up his "cross" and follow him in humility and confidence (cf. Matthew 16:24) resounds more urgently than ever. The "cross," as heavy as it may be, is not synonymous with misadventure, with a disgrace that must be avoided as much as possible, but with the opportunity to follow Christ and in this way acquire strength in the battle against sin and evil. Entering into Lent therefore means renewing the personal and communal decision to face evil together with Christ. The way of the cross is in fact the only way that leads to the victory of love over hate, of sharing over egoism, of peace over violence. Seen in this way, Lent is truly an occasion for determined ascetic and spiritual commitment founded upon the grace of Christ.

This year the beginning of Lent providentially coincides with the 150th anniversary of the apparitions at Lourdes. Four years after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Blessed Pius IX, Mary appeared to St. Bernadette Soubirous in the grotto of Massabielle for the first time on Feb. 11, 1858. Other appearances followed, accompanied by extraordinary events, and at the end the Holy Virgin, bidding farewell to the young visionary, told her in the local dialect, "I am the Immaculate Conception." The message that the Madonna continues to spread at Lourdes recalls the words Jesus pronounced at the beginning of his public mission and that we hear again often during these days of Lent: "Convert and believe in the Gospel," pray and do penance. Let us accept Mary's invitation, which echoes Christ's, and let us ask her to help us to "enter" with faith into Lent, to live this time of grace with interior joy and generous commitment.

We entrust to the Virgin as well the sick and those who care lovingly for them. Tomorrow, the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, we celebrate, in fact, the World Day of the Sick. I greet with all my heart the pilgrims who are gathering in St. Peter's Basilica led by Cardinal Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council of Health. Unfortunately I cannot meet them because this evening I will begin spiritual exercises, but in silence and in recollection I will pray for them and for all the necessities of the Church and the world. To all those who will remember me to the Lord I offer my sincere thanks in advance.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[After the Angelus the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims in six languages. In English, he said:]

I warmly greet all the English speaking pilgrims present at today's Angelus. I particularly welcome members of the Hohenfels Catholic Military Faith Community from the United States of America, as well as young people from the Sant'Egidio community in Asia and Oceania who are attending a formation course in Rome. My dear friends, this past week we began our Lenten practice of prayer, fasting, and -- in a special way -- almsgiving. I invite all believers to enter this "spiritual battle" with hearts full of generosity towards those in need. In this way, we learn to make our lives a total gift to God and to our brothers and sisters. I wish all of you a fruitful preparation for the Paschal Feast!

© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Professor Deenen explains why economics cannot be morality-free

A Moral Economy?

Underground Fires

via EB

Coalmine fire put out after half a century
Jane Macartney, Times (UK)

The article is from last year, but go to the comments part and see how many other fires are taking place underground, especially in coal mines. Incredible...

Mine fire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Centralia Mine Fire
Mine Fire, Centralia, Pennsylvania
Field Trips / 417-Coal Mine Fire Field Trip

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Scott's Apple/1984 commercial



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1984 by George Orwell

Wired: Q&A: Ridley Scott Has Finally Created the Blade Runner He Always Imagined

Q&A: Ridley Scott Has Finally Created the Blade Runner He Always Imagined

The Mother of All Arts: Agrarianism and the Creative Impulse

by Gene Logsdon, 20% off from University Press of Kentucky:

When Gene Logsdon realized that he experienced the same creative joy from working on his farm as he did from writing, he began to suspect that farming itself was a form of art. Thus began his search for the origins of the artistic impulse in the agrarian lifestyle. The Mother of All Arts is the culmination of Logsdon's journey, his account of friendships with farmers and artists driven by the urge to create. He chronicles his long relationship with Wendell Berry and discovers the playful humor of several new agrarian writers. He reveals insights gleaned from conversations with Andrew Wyeth and his family of artists. Through his association with musicians such as Willie Nelson and his involvement with Farm Aid, Logsdon learns how music--blues, jazz, country, and even rock 'n' roll--is rooted in agriculture.

Logsdon sheds new light on the work of rural painters, writers, and musicians and suggests that their art could be created only by those who work intimately with nature. Unlike the gritty realism or abstract expressionism often favored by contemporary critics, agrarian art evokes familiar feelings of community and comfort. Most important, Logsdon convincingly demonstrates that diminishing the connection between art and nature lessens the social value of both.

Humorous and introspective, The Mother of All Arts is neither conventional cultural criticism nor traditional art criticism. It is a unique, lively meditation on the nature and purpose of art--and on the life well lived--by one of the most original voices of rural America.

Gene Logsdon, a writer and farmer in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, is the author of many books, including Wyeth People, The Contrary Farmer, and the forthcoming novel The Lords of Folly.


Amazon

How's that for an edorsement

McCain a 'True Conservative,' Bush Says

Shouldn't that be enough to discredit Senator McCain?

NLM: How to Sing Dominican Chant III: An Example

How to Sing Dominican Chant III: An Example

Petrodollar Warfare

Inspired by this post from Professor Deneen: Paper Tiger

I need to do more reading about the dollar being the reserve currency and so on--I have seen differing opinions on what the impact of changing the currency in which oil is priced would be...

Petrodollar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Petrodollar warfare - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Feasta - Oil, Currency and the War on Iraq
From 2005: Petrodollar Warfare: Dollars, Euros and the Upcoming Iranian Oil ...
Iraq, the Dollar and the Euro by Hazel Henderson - The Globalist ...
Putin: Why Not Price Oil in Euros? - Social and Economic Policy ...
Petrodollar became the essential basis for the US economic ...
Petrodollar Theories of the War

Petrodollar Warfare, by William R. Clark
Petrodollar Warfare - Home

William Clark talks about "Petrodollar Warfare"
William Clark updates "Petrodollar Warfare," part 1 - Brightcove
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New Society Publishers - Petrodollar Warfare
Google Books
Interview With William R. Clark, Author "Petrodollar Warfare: Oil ...
Global Public Media: Author William Clark on Radio New Zealand's "Nine to Noon"

Plus:
American House of Saud :: Steven Emerson
Review of The American House of Saud

The Dollar as Reserve Currency
The dollar’s reserve currency role is drawing to an end
The World's Reserve CurrencyPCR:
The Dollar’s Reserve Currency Role Is Drawing to an End
Asia Times: US dollar hegemony has got to go
Dollar Hegemony and its Danger: Reading Henry CK Liu | american ...

Can I live with less?

Tonight KK, her husband, my mother and I drove up to SF to have dinner with the grandparents at... of course Emperor Palace. We should have made a reservation, as plenty of others had done so, to have dinner to celebrate the New Year there. We were able to get a table, but it was in the corner, and it was not such a comfortable arrangement, as they had pushed two smaller rectangle tables together, presumably to get them out of the way since a lot of large tables had been set up in the main dining room. The food there was generally good, though I heard the chicken wasn't. And my sister and her husband still prefer salt and spicy pork over the si jap gwat dish that came with the $21.95 wo choi lunch/dinner special (which my mother usually orders when she takes the grandparents to lunch).

I wouldn't consider my grandparents to be poor or destitute--but they don't have that much, and their apartment is rather simple. There is running water, electricity, heat... a small TV too. Nothing like the luxuries most Asians aspire to have these days... I wonder how many of us would be content with what my grandparents have?

Now if only they would be converted to Christ. When they lived at our home, which was a long time ago, maybe 20 years now, my mother noticed that they did not talk to each other much. They might take a walk or read newspapers, but there was very little conversation. Maybe their relationship has improved since then--I noticed that my grandfather gaap sung/grabbed food to give to my grandmother again tonight. He hadn't done this before. My mother marvelled when I mentioned it to her after the last time he did it--the change in character was quite unexpected.

At Emperor Palace there is a TV, and KCNS was broadcasting special New Year's programming from Mainland China. There were plenty of people in the audience. How many people in China could entertain themselves? Make their own music and so on? Is the percentage of people who can do so even less there than it is here? One can live the simple life but not by choice. On the other hand, the simple life is probably not incompatible with having leisure. As Wendell Berry points out, we need to learn how to entertain ourselves, rather then relying upon mass-produced "culture." But like the domestic skills and arts that we have lost, the art of singing or making music and so on must be recovered.