Olympic Torch Toasts US Candidates
Warlord: the Rise of Muqtada al-Sadr
Want to Save the Economy?
Film Scores and Westerns: the Stealth Cavalry of Empire
The Rise and Fall of the Private IndividualHis historical understanding is perhaps a bit too libertarian... I'll have to read through the whole thing and compare it with James Burnham's The Managerial Revolution (B&N), Sam Francis's Revolution from the Middle, and Paul Gottfried's After Liberalism: Mass Democracy in the Managerial State. Of course, I'll have to read those as well in order to make the comparison. Ha!
The Social Revolution through which private individuals were created hand-in-hand with the creation of private property began with the Inclosures in the twelth century and attained its greatest flowering in the nineteenth century. Prior to the appearance of private property, private individuals did not exist. There existed only the rulers and the ruled, lords and serfs.
A serf was a person who did not own his own labor. Although he was not himself owned by another, that is, he could not be bought and sold like a slave, the feudal nobility, the state of that time, had rights over the serf’s labor. When we say that a peasant was enserfed, we mean that he owed a certain amount of his working time to the state. Over time and regions this obligation seems to have averaged about one-third of a serf’s working life.
WK-W: Actually, we are working on two projects at this point. One is called The Grandmaster, which is with Tony to play the master of Bruce Lee…
MG: Yip Man?
WK-W: Yeah! And the other one is The Lady from Shanghai .
Even once the mountains are over, the sense of space is always there. And I think this is another of the main differences between our two cultures, the immense amount of room in which Americans find it easier to get along with each other by staying a safe distance from each other. It was also astonishing to pass through the gigantic steelworks that still fringe the southern edge of Lake Michigan, though I think they're much diminished from how they were 20 years back. . I wonder if they'll be there at all in 20 years, given the pace of globalisation, but they give you some idea of the colossal industrial and economic power which was unleashed in the USA by the Second World War - and they reminded me of what Sheffield and Rotherham used to look like when we still had a serious steel industry.
It doesn't matter how many times I'm told that it doesn't matter that we know longer make very much ourselves. I can't help thinking that it does matter, and also that a society which doesn't have jobs for men to do, such as steelmaking, coalmining and shipbuilding, has lost something very important. We've mechanized the land, and exported most of the hard manual work to the East. Is it, can it be right for us to live at such a distance from the making of real wealth, and the growing of real food?
Recipe of the Week: The world’s two easiest breads
There’s now no excuse not to bake your own bread, said Nick Fox in The New York Times. A year ago, a columnist for this newspaper, Mark Bittman, published what we called “the easiest bread recipe possible.” The no-knead recipe was created by Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in SoHo. The response from readers “was so fervid you would have thought he’d revealed a foolproof way to pick winning lottery numbers.” People desperately wanted to bake bread at home, and that recipe showed them how.
Recently Dr. Jeff Hertzberg, a physician from Minneapolis, developed an even easier bread-making technique. His recipe makes Lahey’s method
look “like molecular gastronomy.” Both use 30 percent to 50 percent more liquid than most recipes that require kneading. Lahey’s recipe, because it uses only a small amount of yeast, requires at least 18 hours of fermentation and often results in a very loose dough. Dr. Hertzberg’s dough rises more quickly, and easily forms into a loaf that can be baked in a pan or on a hot stone.
Recipes of the week
Time: about 1½ hours, plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising time
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1-5/8 cups water
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1-1/4 tsp salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
In large bowl combine flour, yeast, salt. Add 1-5/8 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours (preferably about 18), at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
Dough is ready when surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour work surface; place dough on it. Sprinkle with a little more flour, and fold dough over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rest about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into ball. Generously coat cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal; put dough on towel, seam-side down. Dust with more flour, bran, or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel; let rise for about 2 hours. When ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with finger.
At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex, or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up. (It may look like a mess, but that’s okay.) Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid, bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on rack. Yield: One 1-1/2-pound loaf.
Simple Crusty Bread
Adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007)
Time: About 45 minutes, plus about 3 hours’ resting and rising
6-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough
4 cups water
1-1/2 tbsp yeast
1-1/2 tbsp kosher salt
In large bowl, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not with airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature at least 2 hours (and up to 5). Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks.
When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough. Cut off grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating rounded top and lumpy bottom. Put dough on pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.
Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes. Dust dough with flour and slash top with serrated knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour 1 cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely. Yield: 4 loaves.
Rome's Exorcist Gives Inside Look at Devil,
Urges Separating Possession From Psychiatric Problems
ROME, APRIL 11, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Some of the mystery surrounding the devil and exorcism is being unveiled in a television and Internet report series, detailing the work of the exorcist of the Diocese of Rome.
Society of St. Paul Father Gabriele Amorth, Rome's exorcist for the past 21 years and a specialist in the figure of Mary, explained in the first edition of the series how he performs exorcisms.
"I go to one of Rome's churches, to a parish that is closed during the day," he said. "There is Mass in the morning and then the church is closed. There I perform the difficult exorcisms. I always work with seven to 10 people who help me, and use a small bed. Sometimes we need to tie people down or simply subdue them."
With Christ, the priest said, it is possible to overcome the devil: "The exorcist acts in the name of Jesus and with the strength that comes from Jesus."
Is he real?
The first question Father Amorth addressed in the report is if the devil exists: "I respond with the words of John Paul II, who was once asked this question: 'Your Holiness, I find many bishop who don't believe in the devil.' And John Paul II responded: 'One who doesn't believe in the devil doesn't believe in the Gospel.'
"The devil is an angel, and therefore, a pure spirit created good by God and who perverted himself because he rebelled against God. Therefore, he maintains all the characteristics proper of a pure spirit, such as a very large intelligence, immensely bigger than ours."
The devil is pleased by the way he is generally represented -- with wings and a tail, horns, as a bat, etc. -- because these images make him seem ridiculous and help people to believe that he does not exist, the exorcist reported.
Medical or spiritual
Father Amorth suggested that diabolic problems be separated from psychiatric ones; and to do so an exorcist is needed in every diocese to help in discernment.
"Normally when a person experiences these conflicts and problems, the first thing he does is see a doctor and psychiatrist," he said. "It is very difficult to distinguish the devil's action from a psychological problem. The person goes to a psychiatrist and after years of therapy obtains no result.
"Then he begins to suspect that the problem is not a natural one and goes to a conjurer from whom he obtains even greater harm. This is what normally happens. At this point, it is possible that someone more experienced in these matters suggests an exorcist."
The exorcist confirmed that Satan's great foe is the Virgin Mary.
He explained: "On one occasion an exorcist friend of mine asked the devil what most hurts him about Our Lady, what most annoys him. He responded, 'That she is the purest of all creatures and that I am the filthiest; that she is the most obedient of all creatures and that I am the most rebellious; that she is the one who committed no sin and thus always conquers me.'"
Father Amorth affirmed that on some occasions, God forces the Prince of Lies to tell the truth, however, the devil's main struggle is to make man fall into sin.
"To lead man towards evil is to make him fall into sin; this is the devil's preferred activity and we are all subject to it from our birth until our death."
According to Father Amorth, Mary is a key figure in the fight against the devil's tricks, especially since she herself was tempted: "Mariology is my field and I have often been asked if Mary was tempted by the devil. Definitely. When? From her birth until her death. But she always triumphed."
Parts of the weekly reports, transmitted in eight languages, can be viewed at H2oNews.
Aristotle talks about the three different kinds of friendship. While some may argue that the Aristotelian friendship-based-on-advantage is the same as his civic friendship, I think civic friendship, while not identical to the friendship based on the good that exists between close friends, is close to it--a participation in it, shall we say, if the general moral state of the community is good.
One, of course, is that the era of cheap fossil fuel may be coming to an end, either because we run out or because we take global warming seriously and seriously cut back. Either way, the massive, invisible, industrialized methods we’ve come to rely on for feeding and clothing and fueling our lives may start to break down.
And the other problem is that we may break down. We weren’t designed to be this distant from our neighbors—we descend from apes who spend most of the day grooming each other for the practical purpose of removing lice and for the even more practical purpose of building the deep bonds that give their lives security and meaning. The economic life of Homo sapiens has always been about that kind of contact—until now, until us. Research has shown that when we live on car-filled streets, our number of close friends drops by half. We eat half the meals we used to with friends, family, neighbors. Forget about the flax-swingler; our clothes come through the ether from the mysterious geography of Lands’ End. We don’t need each other anymore, and that’s the saddest thing we’ve done—sadder even than the scourge of climate change, which at least is anonymous and impersonal.
In Book VIII of his Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle categorizes three different types of friendship: friendships of utility, friendships of pleasure, and friendships of the good. Friendships of utility are those where people are on cordial terms primarily because each person benefits from the other in some way. Business partnerships, relationships among co-workers, and classmate connections are examples. Friendships of pleasure are those where individuals seek out each other’s company because of the joy it brings. Passionate love affairs, people associating with each other due to belonging to the same hobby organization, and fishing buddies fall into this category. Most important of all are friendships of the good. These are friendships based upon mutual respect, admiration for each other’s virtues, and a strong desire to aid and assist the other person because one recognizes their essential goodness.
The first two types of friendship are relatively fragile. When the purpose for which the relationship is formed somehow changes, then these friendships tend to end. For instance, if the business partnership is dissolved, or if you take another job, or graduate from school, it is more than likely that no ties will be maintained with the former friend of utility. Likewise, once the love affair cools, or you take up a new hobby or give up fishing, the friends of pleasure will go their own ways.
Perhaps there is some bitterness at work here. I think he may be going too far to say that women don't have close friendships with other women--there are probably some women I know who would dispute this using their own lives as an example. And I think that the last line is true, not because all women hate men or just use them, but because they reserve that sort of intimacy with someone of the other sex for their husband. In general men and women cannot be that close, and last week I was thinking of the friendship between St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal. (Which I had used before as an example of a friendship that can exist between a man and a woman.) Would it be accurate to say that their friendship was not a peer-friendship? But the friendship that exists between a spiritual director and his charge, or between a spiritual father and his spiritual child?
I really do not believe that females are capable of bonding in the way males are. I do believe that a male and female can bond together in a way that males, and females, cannot. But that is another phenomenon, because it is primarily sexual. It's also more glorious because it brings forth new life.
I really don't have many true friends. But the very few men whom I do consider true friends have my unconditional love, as I do theirs. In a time of need or crisis, there is no sacrifice I would not make for any of them, because I know each of them would do the same for me.
I would not extend the same courtesy to any woman I know or have met, because it goes without saying she wouldn't do the same for me.
On April 10, 1861, Brig. Gen. Beauregard, in command of the provisional Confederate forces at Charleston, South Carolina, demanded the surrender of the Union garrison of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.The above link includes official reports from officers involved.
Thomas Di Lorenzo:
"Mr. Andrew Bacevich (in the March 14 issue) makes some perceptive and wholesomely moral observations on "The Living Room War." However, he spoils it all when he starts out by likening Ft. Sumter to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. The last two were massive sneak attacks by foreign enemies. The firing on Fort Sumter was preceded by a gentlemanly warning and was completely bloodless. It would not have happened at all if Lincoln had not dissimulated about re-enforcements and had a hostile fleet just outside. Nor does Lincoln's call for 75,000 troops after the fall of Fort Sumter at all resemble American unity and determination after Pearl Harbor. To begin with, the call for troops was illegal, and the 75,000 was either mistaken or deceptive since the conquest of the Southern people and destruction of their state governments eventually required over a million men. Further more, its immediate effect was to drive four more states out of the Union and require immediate military occupation to forestall the secession of three others. And despite a temporary upsurge of militancy after Sumter, Lincoln's government never had the degree of support in the North for its actions that characterized the public in the two more recent events. Several hundred thousand men evaded the draft by various means, many others were enlisted by cash bonuses, public speakers and newspapers had to be suppressed, and a fourth of the army had to be recruited abroad. When this kind of folklore is invoked, putting Southerners in the basket with Tojo and Ben Laden, we despair of the possibility of collaboration with nationalist conservatives.
That’s a nice turn of phrase, but it is contradicted by reams of evidence. In "Lincoln and the First Shot" (in Reassessing the Presidency, edited by John Denson), John Denson painstakingly shows how Lincoln maneuvered the Confederates into firing the first shot at Fort Sumter. Northern newspapers all recognized this at the time, but Winik seems to know nothing at all about it. As the Providence Daily Post wrote on April 13, 1861, "Mr. Lincoln saw an opportunity to inaugurate civil war without appearing in the character of an aggressor" by reprovisioning Fort Sumter. On the day before that the Jersey City American Statesman wrote that "This unarmed vessel, it is well understood, is a mere decoy to draw the first fire from the people of the South." Lincoln’s personal secretaries, John Nicolay and John Hay, clearly stated after the war that Lincoln successfully duped the Confederates into firing on Fort Sumter. And as Shelby Foote wrote in The Civil War, "Lincoln had maneuvered [the Confederates] into the position of having either to back down on their threats or else to fire the first shot of the war."
After Fort Sumter Lincoln wrote to his naval commander Gustavus Fox thanking him for his assistance in drawing the first shot.