Saturday, August 23, 2008
Good. Sean Lau Ching-wan in another Johnnie To movie. I'm looking forward to iot.
Also from Twitch: A Second Trailer For Gordon Chan’s Supernatural Kung Fu Film PAINTED SKIN, Starring Donnie Yen.
Who among the Republicans is qualified to be VP (and President, should the need arise)? I can think of one, but Sen. McCain is not going to ask him to be on the ticket. (And Dr. Paul would decline, unless the platform were to be changed, and assurances were given that it would be adhered to.)
More of the same old usual from the MSM: The Olympics over, China counts medals and respect
It is true at some level? Probably. Is it newsworthy? Not so much.
With all that money spent and all those medals one, have the basic needs of the Chinese been met and their welfare protected? Is China any closer to sustainable development now?
Campaign for Liberty
Papal Visit to Birthplace of St. Joseph Freinademetz
"All Cultures Are Waiting for Christ"
OIES, Italy, AUG. 22, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address Benedict XVI gave Aug. 5 upon visiting the birthplace of St. Joseph Freinademetz.
Joseph Freinademetz (1852-1908) joined the Society of the Divine Word in 1878. He lived in China for 29 years and is known for his work in that country. He was canonized in 2003.
As a memento of his visit, Benedict XVI wrote in the guest book at the birthplace: "Through the intercession of St. Joseph, may the Lord grant many spiritual vocations and open China ever more to faith in Jesus Christ."
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am deeply moved by this very warm welcome that I have encountered here, and I can only say thank you with all my heart. And I thank the Lord who has given us this great Saint, St Joseph Freinademetz, who shows us the path to life and also is a sign for the Church's future. He is a very modern Saint: we know that China is becoming increasingly significant in political and economic life and also in the life of ideas. It is important that this great country open itself to the Gospel.
And St Joseph Freinademetz shows us that faith does not mean alienation for any culture, for any people, because all cultures are waiting for Christ and are not destroyed by the Lord: indeed, [in him] they reach their maturity.
St Joseph Freinademetz, as we have heard, not only wanted to live and die as a Chinese, but also wanted to be Chinese in Heaven: thus he identified in spirit with this people, in the certainty that it would open itself to faith in Jesus Christ.
Let us now pray that this great Saint may be an encouragement for all of us to live anew the life of faith in our time, to journey towards Christ because Christ alone can unite peoples, can unite cultures; and let us also pray that Christ will give numerous young people the courage to devote their lives totally to the Lord and to his Gospel.
However, I cannot say anything other than simply "thank you" to the Lord who gave us this Saint, and "thank you" to all of you for your welcome which shows me that the Church is still visibly alive today and that faith is the joy that unites us and guides us on the path of life.
My thanks to you all!
[This was followed by a prayer in Ladin, the Rhaeto-Romance dialect of the Engadine in Switzerland, the Our Father and the Benediction. The Holy Father then said:]
Thank you! May the Lord Bless you all!
[And he concluded:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I would simply like to say thank you for coming. I heard that some of you waited for hours: thank you for your patience and your courage. May the Lord bless you all. And naturally I cordially greet all the German-speaking people present: may God reward you all, may the Lord's Blessing be with you all. May God reward you!
[Translation by L'Osservatore Romano]
Some photos here.
Pope's Q-and-A With Clergy of Bressanone (Part 5)
Edit. Another option is to start another blog where I can restrict readership and post the personal stuff. I'll consider doing that. I had been relying upon a small readership to preserve privacy. I could turn off the search options, but there are some posts with information that I would like to make public on the Internet. As for using the blog as an opportunity to reflect and philosophize (in a rough way, without having to worry about proof-reading and revising--just getting thoughts down), it would be enough to inscribe them in a journal, except that I've become dependent upon typing in order to write. Writing with a pen or pencil is somewhat difficult now. (What would Wendell Berry or CB say about that?) And then there is the question of pride and vanity, which I should continually ask myself...
Well, I suppose there has been confirmation that the manager has a gf. Her car was still parked in front this morning, and then there are the other signs, some more readily supporting a certain conclusion than others. (Like two voices coming from the shower.) Eh well. Where's Dr. Laura when you need her to give someone the verbal smackdown? They're both adults, but they're also old enough to know better. But that's the way most people have a relationship these days, ignoring boundaries and being intimate without commitment. It's the new ethics: be 'nice,' and almost anything goes. (Although surprisingly enough, being 'nice' also goes hand in hand with paternalism. But in this case, it's not how it is said that matters, but the content that matters. It is similary to how 'niceness' can accompany a patronizing attitude.)
Sarge, remind me to tell you about the ladder.
Printers at the library are down. It's been somewhat of a wasted trip.
Edit: I'm now at the Saratoga library. It's my first time here since it was renovated. Of course there is a lot more space, and there are not too many people using the computers. I should come here more often, instead of going to Cupertino. The teen room at the Cupertino library is unwisely located next to the computer area, and the teens are allowed to study together (and talk), so it can be somewhat noisy there.
But if I go to Saratoga, I'd have to see the residents of Saratoga. It's been a while since I've driven around the town (wiki) or explored the hills to look at the nice big mansions. haha. (Eh. The two cell phone offenders I've noticed so far are Asian. Not good.) What are the local water supplies like? Would it be possible to buy a piece of land in Saratoga to farm and raise livestock? (And put in some wells and compost toilets?) I am guessing the zoning regulations for this affluent town are prohibitive. Would Los Gatos be any better? Whenever I drop by St. Basil's, I should take a walk around the downtown.
Earlier I had lunch over at Armadillo Willys since they still have the 1/2 off on burgers before 4 P.M. on Saturday (they replaced the 1/2 off burgers on Thursday nights with a Tex-Mex special deal). It was a reminder of how solitude can be conducive to meditation and prayer, even when other people are present. (How so? It's the anonymity and lack of other people to converse with.)
Psychological preparation for prayer is important... and being along reminds me of what needs to be done.
I was thinking of a metaphor for sin and grace. Grace is like the rain that fills up the well, from which we drink and nourish ourselves, and sin is the poison that we add to the well, making it unfit to drink from, and useless to the living things that depend upon it. The well would be the soul.
Well, one can take metaphors only so far.
Last night I was reading through a couple Orthodox blogs, and there were some posts on humility:
Fr. Stephen--Humility - The Only Path Forward in Orthodoxy
Benedict Seraphim--Thy Kingdom Come
I was thinking about that this afternoon, about how growth in charity requires humility.
Gas in Cupertino is somewhat expensive, compared to the two Valero stations that I passed on the way to the library. $0.04 difference/gallon may be insignificant. But one inevitably notices these differences when looking for cheap gas.
The oratory is getting a new rector in a couple of weeks. I've forgotten who the new rector will be. The latest bulletin has the info: Fr. Weiner is going to St. Francis de Sales Oratory (website) in St. Louis. Fr. Moreau, rector of St. Joseph's Oratory in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is replacing him.
St. Louis Catholic
Rome of the West (see the photos from the Farewell Mass for Archbishop Burke)
Archdiocese of St. Louis
There's this essay at the Our Mother of Perpetual Help Oratory website, Man and Woman. Typical of a traditionalist pov. I would disagree with the assertion that "the city is there for the interests of the home"--this same assertion can be found in John Finnis and others. (Even in certain Church documents perhaps.) Governing is for the sake of the home, but it is also for the sake of the political community at large, and there is a common good which goes beyond the good of the family. The family does not exist for itself, but for the community. (Which is not the same as the government or the "State.") As for the mentioning of the sex differences, complementarity and distinction of roles... the essay is limited by its length.
Byzantine, TX: New Patriarchal Vicar for Melkites
Transporter 3 photos, trailer
Righteous Kill photos
Too bad the movie is supposedly a stinker.
McG Lets Slip T4 Plot Details
McG said Salvation alludes to the actions of a specific character, with the director mysteriously adding: "Sometimes life is worth living when you make sacrifices so others may benefit." But which charcter is he talking about?
Better not be John Connor or his wife.
And last, but not least, Appaloosa photos!
I hardly talk to the other people in the house, so I don't think I will have any more details in the future.
I'll be working next week, except on Wednesday probably, though I am still waiting for a response from the dept. chair. He should be around the department next week, I would think, since it's the week before school begins.
Miss S. is out because her brother is dying. She was out last week, but Mr. N. was subbing for her class.
The MD will be coming up later in the week for a conference in Oakland. Her family will be arriving on Friday.
And now I should go back to typing.
Wounded pride and nationalism... why do "we" need to be on top of the world with respect to the Olympics? Why should public funds be spent for the purpose of vanity, when there are more urgent problems?
When U.S. Olympics officials return to their Colorado headquarters, they'll look at how to better spend their resources in the run-up to the 2012 London games, how to better use their athlete training centers and perhaps how to draw more government funding, Roush said. The U.S. track and field program will undergo a "comprehensive review" after the games, the program's chief executive officer, Doug Logan, announced on his blog.
Ueberroth said more attention would be paid to sports such as track cycling where U.S. athletes "don't show up at all."
Roush said more Americans need to get behind their athletes.
"You have a question of unlimited need and limited resources," Roush said. "We need our country to support our team."
For Corey Cogdell, U.S. bronze medal winner in trap shooting, this year's second-place gold medal finish will motivate the United States to claw back on top of the Olympic heap.
"We need to continue to work harder and strive for perfection," Cogdell said. "We need to be able to be on top of the world."
Friday, August 22, 2008
Outside a handful of majors -- engineering and some of the sciences -- a bachelor's degree tells an employer nothing except that the applicant has a certain amount of intellectual ability and perseverance. Even a degree in a vocational major like business administration can mean anything from a solid base of knowledge to four years of barely remembered gut courses.This may reward book-learning, but is there more to education than book-learning? Especially with the 'hard' sciences? What are the dangers of reducing evidence of knowledge to exams with quantifiable results?
The solution is not better degrees, but no degrees. Young people entering the job market should have a known, trusted measure of their qualifications they can carry into job interviews. That measure should express what they know, not where they learned it or how long it took them. They need a certification, not a degree.
The model is the CPA exam that qualifies certified public accountants. The same test is used nationwide. It is thorough -- four sections, timed, totaling 14 hours. A passing score indicates authentic competence (the pass rate is below 50%). Actual scores are reported in addition to pass/fail, so that employers can assess where the applicant falls in the distribution of accounting competence. You may have learned accounting at an anonymous online university, but your CPA score gives you a way to show employers you're a stronger applicant than someone from an Ivy League school.
The merits of a CPA-like certification exam apply to any college major for which the BA is now used as a job qualification. To name just some of them: criminal justice, social work, public administration and the many separate majors under the headings of business, computer science and education. Such majors accounted for almost two-thirds of the bachelor's degrees conferred in 2005. For that matter, certification tests can be used for purely academic disciplines. Why not present graduate schools with certifications in microbiology or economics -- and who cares if the applicants passed the exam after studying in the local public library?
Certification tests need not undermine the incentives to get a traditional liberal-arts education. If professional and graduate schools want students who have acquired one, all they need do is require certification scores in the appropriate disciplines. Students facing such requirements are likely to get a much better liberal education than even our most elite schools require now.
Read what "a Thomist" has to say about liberal education with Aristotle and St. Thomas as masters:
Formal Logic as opposed to Aristotle's Logic
Thomism and the manual tradition
Do you think that such an education (with its emphasis on the acquisition of logic) is readily susceptible to the sort of certification process that Mr. Murray advocates?
Here's the reality: Everyone in every occupation starts as an apprentice. Those who are good enough become journeymen. The best become master craftsmen. This is as true of business executives and history professors as of chefs and welders. Getting rid of the BA and replacing it with evidence of competence -- treating post-secondary education as apprenticeships for everyone -- is one way to help us to recognize that common bond.
It sounds good, in so far as it recalls the way things were done in the past, but now--are all 'professions' equal? (There are plenty of negative things to say about the MBA and becoming a functionary of the corporate world.) We need the cultivation of crafts for sustainable enterprises, which will strengthen the local economy, not 'more of the same,' with just a little tweaking to produce better results.
The medieval intellectual project flourished precisely because the cultivation of reason was subordinate to authority and to Tradition. We 'moderns' reject any sort of authority in learning, even if we must rely upon them when we read our textbooks to memorize our 'facts,' sticking to the illusion that we are self-taught and that everything that we have acquired in our study is the product of 'pure reason.' How many liberal arts school would proclaim themselves to be disciples of certain masters? It is more likely that they would claim to give their students "the critical skills" needed to make up their own minds about reality. This may resonate with what we imagine philosophy to be, but it is not how it was actually practiced or passed on by the Greeks or the medievals.
via Carolyn Baker
What to think of stuff like this?
Trilateral Commission Controls the Presidency | Ron Paul War Room
Obama's CFR Connections - Political Cafe Meetups
'Change'? - Obama Backed By Consumate Insider
GLOBAL ELITE GATHER_135
The Trilateral Commission
Council on Foreign Relations
wiki on the Bilderberg Group
I am interested in this book: Sacrifice in the Desert: A Study of an Egyptian Minority Through the Prism of Coptic Monasticism.
About Fr. Mark Gruber. Saint Vincent Spirituality Publications
Mere Comments has news of a lecture by Fr. Gruber on September 9. Alas, it's in Ohio.
Father Vissarion, head of the self-proclaimed Orthodox Church of Abkhazia stands in the cathedral of the Novy Afon monastery north of capital Sukhumi, August 16, 2008. The church is seeking to break free of the Georgian Orthodox Church. (Reuters)
Father Vissarion (R), head of the self-proclaimed Orthodox Church of Abkhazia speaks in the Novy Afon monastery north of capital Sukhumi, August 16, 2008. The church is seeking to break free of the Georgian Orthodox Church. (Reuters)
Father Vissarion (L), head of the self-proclaimed Orthodox Church of Abkhazia stands in the Novy Afon monastery north of capital Sukhumi, August 16, 2008. The church is seeking to break free of the Georgian Orthodox Church. (Reuters)
Father Vissarion, head of the self-proclaimed Orthodox Church of Abkhazia looks into the camera in the Novy Afon monastery north of capital Sukhumi, August 16, 2008. The church is seeking to break free of the Georgian Orthodox Church. (Reuters)
Reuters AlertNet - FEATURE-Abkhaz monks, like rebels, want freedom
NFTU: Aug 18, 2008
The head of Orthodox Christianity, Patriarch Bartholomew I addresses a ceremony in the village of Karyes at Mount Athos, northern Greece, on August 21, 2008. Bartholomew I will visit the monasteries of Mount Athos until August 26 in order to attend celebrations for the 500-year anniversary of the local monastery of Dionyssios, St. Nyfonos. (AFP/Getty Images)
The head of Orthodox Christianity, Patriarch Bartholomew I is pictured in a monastery in Karyes at Mount Athos, northern Greece, on August 21, 2008. Bartholomew I will visit the monasteries of Mount Athos until August 26 in order to attend celebrations for the 500-year anniversary of the local monastery of Dionyssios, St. Nyfonos. (AFP/Getty Images)
Bob Barr, No War for GeorgiaWho wants to talk about the Fed? What his campaign website says about Monetary Policy.
Bob Barr on the Fed: Not encouraging « Last Free Voice
Table Talk at Jackson Hole
Is the Fed Still a Central Bank?
By PETER MORICI
I know that many Catholics today believe that their Church teaches and has always taught that national and ethnic groups are insignificant and that all Christians have a universal obligation to help equally all people everywhere. Therefore, no country can pass and enforce immigration and trade restrictions or conduct wars that protect and benefit its citizens as opposed to all mankind. This is, quite simply, a grotesque misreading of Catholic/Christian doctrine.
This is no place to go into a lengthy and complicated discussion of this point, but a few simple observations are in order. In the Old Testament, we are given the story of Babel as a warning against human presumption. Babel is figuratively an attempt at a multi-cultural empire and it falls apart because of its diversity. We are also told the story of a peculiar people whose special relationship to God requires them to defend their way of life against others. In the NT, Christ and the Apostles do teach us that the distinctions between Jews and Samaritans, Greeks and Jews are insignificant in spiritual and religious terms, but they say nothing about the amalgamation of all nations and responsibilities. in the Scriptures and in the writings of the early Church, Christians are told repeatedly to carry out the ordinary obligations of everyday life–the duties of spouses, parents and children, slaves and masters, and citizens. Even the gentiles do these things, we are told, which makes it even more incumbent upon Christians to fulfill such obligations.
The fact is that in a flawed world, we must defend ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our fellow-citizens from those who would prey upon them, whether the enemies are domestic criminals or foreign invaders. When distinctions, no matter how arbitrarily arrived at, are made, we have a duty to make sure that they are not used to cut against interests of our people as opposed to their people. In the color-blind world of liberal theory, there would be no special programs privileging people of one color over another and people like Jeremiah Wright and Al Sharpton would not be given a public forum. But when a movement has been created to marginalize and extinguish the group you happen to belong to, you are justified in protecting your own interests and in refusing to sign on to a suicide pact.
The Catholic universalism that Tradcat invokes is a product of the anti-Christian Enlightenment that borrows Christian phrases and puts them to decidedly non-Christian uses. A good example is the pseudo-Catholic support for the welfare state, which invokes the Christian language of charity as a justification for imposing Marxist policies.
The choice that we face today is not between sentimental universalism, whether in its anti-Christian Marxist or pseudo-Christian form, and racialism, but between the historic Christian view, demanding justice and charity to strangers but also requiring us to fulfill our particular duties to family, friends, and fellow citizens, and two nasty ideologies created in the Enlightenment, universalism and racial nationalism. One does not have to be a Marxist to practice charity–quite the contrary-and one does not have to be an anti-Christian bigot to protect one’s children.
Fr. Imbelli's review (which was also part of Sandro Magister's post on the book)
Against the Grain: Archbishop Charles J. Chaput's "Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life"
New Commander for Swiss GuardPope names new Swiss Guard commandant
VATICAN CITY, AUG. 21, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI appointed Daniel Anrig, 36, as the commander of the world's smallest army.
Anrig, from Walenstadt, Switzerland, will hold the five-year post of commander with the rank of colonel. He is married and has four children. He will take office on Dec. 1, though his appointment was announced by the Holy See on Tuesday.
Anrig served the Holy See as a Swiss Guard from 1992 to 1994.
After returning to his homeland, in 1999 he obtained a degree in Civil and Ecclesiastical Law from the University of Fribourg. He was an assistant professor of civil law in the same university from 1999 to 2001.
He then spent four years as chief of criminal police and later general commander of Glarona's police force.
Colonel Anrig replaced Elmar Maeder, who held the post since 2002.
The Swiss Guard is made up of 110 soldiers and a chaplain. It was established by Pope Julius II (1503-1513).
The work of the Swiss Guard is complemented by the Corps of Gendarmes, established in 1816 by Pope Pius VII. This corps has 160 members of Italian nationality.
Daniel Anrig smiles during a news conference in Glarus, Switzerland, after he was appointed new Commander of the Vatican Swiss Guards by Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday, August 19, 2008. (AP Photo by Walter Bieri)
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Over the same period, Amish settlements have been established in seven new states, putting them in at least 28 states from coast to coast. The new states are: Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Washington and West Virginia.via Mark Shea
Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana continue to be the geographic center for the Amish, accounting for about two-thirds of the faith's population. They also accounted for more than half of the total population gain.
But eight states with at least 1,000 Amish residents had higher rates of growth, led by Kentucky, which saw its population jump 200 percent, from 2,835 to 8,505, the study found.
The number of Amish "districts"—congregations that usually consist of two or three dozen families—has increased by 84 percent in the past 16 years, from 929 to 1,711.
The arrival of the Amish can raise land prices, and their self-reliance translates into a relatively low burden on public services.
Dennis Hubbard, a government official in Sheldon Township, Wis., said the newcomers seldom appear in the court system, require long-term care or attend public schools.
No need for 'entitlements.'
Someone was claiming the Sardinian accent is closest to Latin. Whatever that means.
Italy, how many separate languages? | Antimoon Forum
wiki: Italian, Sardinian
BBC - Languages - Italian
Italian Language Guide
WESS Italian Studies Web
Italian Language News and Magazines
Best Italian Web Sites
New York University | Bobst Library: Italian Language and Literature
Yamada Language Center: Italian WWW guide
Italian language, alphabet and pronunciation
Italian Language Resources
Resources for Italian Language and Literature
BU Libraries | Research Guides | Italian Language and Literature
San Francisco Italian Language School,
Monty Python's Flying Circus - Italian Language Class
Sarge check this out: L’OssRom: Knights Templar were innocent
Afterwards, we first dropped by Hue--Watcher went inside to do some recon--it was empty, except for one occupied table. So we decided to check out VIP. There I discovered that no girl is too fobby for Watcher. This girl didn't know anything about bartending, and seemed like a girl "fresh from the country" or something. Watcher said she was the kind of girl you bring home (i.e. marry)--innocent, nice, quiet, hard-working, a bit shy? They provided some free food in addition to the bar munchies--peaches and popcorn. When we first got there, there were maybe 3 or 4 other customers, but it got somewhat busier, and Watcher felt more comfortable with the noise they were making in the background.
After spending some time there, we went back to Hue before 11. There were more people this time. Especially one table full of somewhat loud HKers. It figures, huh? Watcher said one of the girl seemed stuck-up, from the way she walked. He wasn't really interested in the other one.
He was also interested in the waitress, who turned out to be older than him. (30) He left her a business card (and his phone number). haha. She reminded me of someone famous, but I don't know how. Not quite like Bae Doona. Pale and thin, with a distinct face.
The bar/lounge environment is a bit too foreign to me, even if I could manage a conversation with other people. We met another techie at VIP, and Watcher was chatting with him for a bit. But he'd rather be talking to a cute fob bartender. If I get married, it seems likely that it will be through an arrangement of sorts, or an online service. Hah. Everyone else I know is avoiding online services. Me... I'm not in the position to really consider what the possibilities are. Watcher is, though.
The other gentleman said that downtown does have nightclubs and bars and such, and that they can be busy during the weekdays. I never suspected that would be the case. I asked some of my HS friends about downtown area a while ago. I can't remember what they said exactly, but their comments were rather discouraging. Watcher is the only one who likes clubbing; his friends don't. I'd go to just sit and observe and stew, and not much else. The nightclub environment isn't really for me either. The topic of room salons also came up, and the software engineer commented that there used to be more around, but a lot had been shut down (for reasons you can guess).
It's too bad the conference ended on a Wednesday. If it had been Friday night when we went out things might have been more interesting. But Watcher will be up in SF today until Saturday, so he can enjoy the night life there.
This morning I picked him up to take him to the train station, but first we stopped at Sunnyvale Hobees for breakfast:
He wants to check out Brainwash this afternoon. *shrugs*
The Ming Dynasty exhibition at the Asian Art Musem is ending soon...
What I heard this morning on the phone:
Niece #1: *wearing black and white* "When I get stronger, I will be sister. I will help people."
His official fansite. "Longer form: substitutability is infinite." This is very questionable, but perhaps someone else will try to take his rebuttal apart. Despite his books, it appears that Mr. Stirling is very much enamored with what cheap abundant energy makes possible.
Sigh. I've seen this nonsense before; last time it was nuclear war as the longed-for destroyer of modernity, with all the survivalists stocking their cabins, or planning to outrun the fireball down the interstate.
Ecological collapse via pollution, famine (remember the "Club of Rome" and Paul Erlich?) and 'social breakdown' were big in that crowd too.
OK, here's the short form: "peak oil" is utter crap; it's not an analysis, it's a wish-fulfillment dream.
The people pushing the concept quite obviously aren't -afraid- limits on oil supply will crush the modern economy, they -hope- it will. They'd be very, very sorry if their dreams come true, of course.
Longer form: substitutability is infinite.
First, we don't get most of our energy from oil. We get most of our energy from -coal-. And we are not short of coal. There's enough in the state of Wyoming alone to maintain current consumption for approximately 1000 years. The Chinese are adding 8 megawatts of coal-fired generating capacity -every day- and aren't finding it hard to get ahold of the stuff, though they burn it rather carelessly.
Second, hydrocarbons are all fungible. You can do anything with one that you can do with another; it's just a matter of relative costs and convenience.
Coal, for example (or oil sands, or shales, or the ultraheavy oils like the Orinoco fields) can be made into liquid fuel. It costs a bit more -- prices have to be consistently around $40-$50 in 2008 dollars for the equivalent of a barrel of petroleum to give a reasonable return on the investment in conversion plants.
We haven't done it much up until now (except in South Africa and a few other places who have special incentives) because it costs more; the production cost for a barrel of Saudi crude is around $2.00.
Every time higher prices prompt investment in alternative sources of liquid fuel, the Saudis wait until the money's committed and then pull the plug by driving prices down and bankrupting the investors.
They probably can't pull the plug this time because increased demand from Asia is driving the ramp in prices and the Saudis don't have as much spare capacity as they used to.
Third and more generally, the combination of a market economy and the scientific method doesn't just manipulate resources: it -creates- resources.
When prices for something get high, money flows into finding more of it, doing more with less of it, and finding other things that do the same thing as it does. Scarcity creates abundance; high prices produce low prices.
All three processes are now in evidence.
For example, the Brazilians just discovered a supergiant field of about 6 billion barrels that will turn them into a major oil exporter. The field is in water so deep (and formations so deep) that it couldn't even have been -detected- ten years ago, much less tapped economically.
Want to bet this won't happen again and again? There are 31 billion barrels off Greenland, according to the latest estimates... and then there's the deep Arctic...
The Bakken formation in the American West holds about 500 billion barrels of oil -- more than twice Saudi Arabia's reserves, and about four or five times our conventional reserves -- but was a geological curiosity rather than a producing field until recently, because it's deep, thin, and in difficult rock.
Current horizontal drilling technology now makes about 5 billion barrels of it recoverable at high rates of profit and the first wells are going in in North Dakota even as we type.
Want to bet more won't become accessible?
Moving on to "doing more with less of it", note that one unit of GDP now needs only half the amount of petroleum that it did in 1970. In other words, we get twice the economic output per barrel.
Anyone want to bet this process won't continue, too?
Just to take one example, plug-in hybrid cars are just becoming available.
When mass-produced their production cost is not much different from conventional cars and they get, in effect, around 200 mpg of gas(*), because they use (mostly coal-generated) electricity for the first 40 miles of travel.
An electric car with a 40-mile range is not, to put it mildly, rocket science. It has a gas-powered generator set to take over if you need to go longer, so there's no loss of flexibility, which is the problem with all-electric vehicles.
82% of American cars travel an average of 40 miles or less per day. I only take longer trips about once a month, for example.
Because they recharge in off-peak hours, we could replace 70% of our current car and light-truck fleets with plug-in hybrids (and reduce our consumption of petroleum by about 50%) -without even adding any electrical generating stations-. Quite literally all you need is an extension cord.
We'd have to burn more coal, of course, and fission more uranium... but we're not short of either coal, or uranium. Myself, I prefer the nukes. And then there's natural gas; US reserves of that have doubled in the past two years as improved recovery technology made gas-shale formations in Louisiana, Texas, Pennsylvania and New York economically accessible. That's why Pickens is hyping natural-gas driven vehicles; the stuff is a drug on the market.
And as I said, that's just one of the market-driven devices coming onstream now.
Moving on to finding substitutes, there are too many to mention, so let's take just one.
Ethanol from grain is probably a dead-end, but ethanol from sugarcane, at current levels of efficiency (which have increased by about 15x in the past two decades), is fully competitive -- the Brazilians already get about half their liquid fuels that way, and despite their new oil bonanza are expanding production. The tropics are full of potential sugarcane land.
Production of ethanol using tailored enzymes to break down ordinary cellulose is certainly possible -- there are demonstration plants in operation right now -- and about 6% of America's arable land would grow enough cordgrass and switchgrass to -entirely- replace other sources of liquid fuel.
It's an old truism that you can't outguess the market. That's because the market is a massively-parallel computer in which each human being is a processor. It's the collective brainpower of the human race. Apply it to any problem through the market pricing mechanism, and voila... solutions. Unless the government or some goo-goo gets in the way, of course. Then you get wars and mass death by famine.(*) more if you use biofuels, of course.
Does this mean that Christians will have to convert to Islam in order to have protected speech on controversial topics? If Muslims agitate for the imposition of Sharia law, begin to be vocal about the decline of sexual mores, same-sex marriage, refuse to respect the so-called "rights" of members of certain groups, will the Canadian government do anything about it?
In my own nation some years ago, a judge in the province of Saskatchewan declared the Bible to be “hate literature” because of its teachings on homosexuality. As I have written on this site on a few occasions, Human Rights Commissions often punish Canadians for holding politically incorrect views on Moslems and gays. In another land of the free, the rise of same-sex marriage has been a veritable breeding ground of litigation, leading to legal actions against physicians, pastors, adoption services, and even wedding photographers (!) for choosing not to work with gay and lesbian couples (see Mark Hemingway’s “Gay Abandon,” in National Review July 14, 2008).
Multiculturalism appears to be just a cover for anti-Christianity--and we know who's pulling the strings. How else could you explain such inconsistency.
More disappointing news about HK celebs, who apparently do not mind being at the vanguard of social change [decline].
She smiled that she does not particularly want to get married, but she does think a lot about having children. She said frankly that she does not mind being an unmarried mother, but she has not found a suitable partner yet.
Is "finding a suitable partner" really a way to cover up the fact that "it's all about me, me, me"? And while she may not mind being a single mother, will the children not mind not having a father?
The press does a public disservice by broadcasting the idiocy of celebrities, and then remaining 'neutral', while being aware that they (the celebs and the press) do have an impact on society. (Most likely those in the press would not oppose such a decision.)
It's just poison.
The keynote address by the Reverend Professor Robert Taft, S.J., of the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome (himself an Eastern Catholic) dealt with translation problems with respect to liturgy, language, and ideology. He made known his dislike of “sacral,” “numinous,” or “archaic” liturgical English (as confusing obfuscation with mystery). He endorsed “horizontally” inclusive language, on the grounds that liturgical translations are for “people of today” and should be in an idiom and style most readily comprehensible to them.
He prescribed as axiomatic that the nature and style of liturgical translations should be determined by the nature of the recipient rather than the donor language, and that fidelity to the nature of the recipient language must take precedence over that to the donor. Whatever criticisms might be levied against the current International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) translation of the Latin Catholic liturgy into English, the members of the translation team had clearly set forth the principles on which they were to operate before embarking on their task—a thing unheard of among translators of Byzantine liturgical texts into English. He observed also that the very flexibility of the English language itself encouraged clumsy vocabulary and syntactical usage among people lacking a wide experience of reading and writing it.
As a problem of ideology he cited making shibboleths of mistranslations by reading into them matters of deep significance. Examples included “writing ikons” (instead of painting them), translating chram as “temple” rather than “church,” translating Theotokos as “Birthgiver” (an otherwise nonexistent English word; does one say “Good morning, Birthgiver” to one’s mother?), or basing a whole theology on the misunderstanding of “Orthodoxy” as derivative of orthos and doxa (i.e., right worship) rather than, as in truth, of orthos and dokeo (i.e., right teaching). On the issue of gender-inclusive language, he ended with the statement that it is because it gives power to the disenfranchised that it is feared and resisted by the clergy. In the subsequent discussion Archimandrite Serge Keleher noted that what Fr. Taft described as axioms might more accurately be seen as postulates.
Although the issue of inclusive language was seldom explicitly raised in the subsequent course of the conference, there appeared to be a tacit consensus—at least among the experts—that its advocates had won the day. This was in notable contrast to the related issue of traditional versus contemporary English liturgical language, in which there was also a striking contrast between the Eastern Catholics (who have almost universally gone over to the contemporary) and the Orthodox (who are still debating the issue).
And Fr. Taft's speech for the 2007 McManus Award:
Maior autem his est caritas: Fr. Robert Taft SJ on liturgical reform
Then why have we now entered into a period of darkening storm clouds, when the liturgical renewal of the Roman Rite is under attack, the gearshift has been put into reverse, and the order of the day seems to be full-speed backwards? The short answer is that those who want that don’t know much about the history and theology of liturgy. One anecdote will suffice to illustrate that. A reliable eye-witness reported to me that during the 2006-2007 academic year, the graduate students of liturgy from the Pontifical Liturgical Institute Sant’ Anselmo in Rome, during their customary annual courtesy visit to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, were informed by a high official there that the purpose of the Mass was the devotion of the priest! That would be simply funny, were it not also rank heresy.
Having sunk so low, all roads must lead up. So my wish for you today, fellow-workers in the Catholic liturgical ministry so marvelously renewed at Vatican II, is to be of good heart! We are passing through a bad patch, as often happens in the history of an organization so complex and huge as the Catholic Church, which may occasionally stumble, as I believe it has recently with regard to liturgy. But in this time of shockingly mediocre liturgical leadership on the part of some of our Church authorities, we should take courage that the People of God and the vast majority of our bishops throughout the world are with us—even if not all of them have the courage and integrity to exercise the leadership we have a right to expect of them by speaking up like Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, PA.
Let me illustrate popular sentiment on these issues by what took place on December 11, 2003 at the Symposium “Sacrosanctum Concilium Forty Years Later,” in the basilica of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute Sant’Anselmo in Rome. In his talk, the recently deceased Catalan Servite priest Fr. Ignacio Calabuig, OSM, spoke with deep emotion about the “greats” of the Liturgical Movement he had known. Towards the end of his paper, he turned to Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments seated to my right in the presidium, and, in a trembling voice, departed from his written text, saying (in Italian of course) something like this (I am paraphrasing what I recall, not translating literally): “I feel I must tell the Prefect [Cardinal Arinze] that the devastating impression the Congregation [for Divine Worship] seems to be spreading throughout the Church, that men of great culture in their own lands are not capable of translating liturgical texts into their own mother tongue, is causing great discontent and concern in the Church”—at which point the entire audience, some 600 strong crowding the basilica, spontaneously exploded into prolonged, enthusiastic applause that thundered on for about three minutes. It was an historic moment, the message was crystal clear, and even Cardinal Arinze himself finally joined in the applause that went on and on and just would not stop. This is my 43rd year in Rome and I have never seen anything like it before or since.
Such a resounding affirmation of the Vatican II mandated liturgical renewal by God’s Holy People does not mean, however, that our work is over and done with. For the Council also taught us that the Church is “semper reformanda.” So let me add my wish list to your own ideas regarding what remains to be done or redone.
- First, in seeking solutions to problems new and old, the “Magisterium doctorum”—i.e., the common teaching of reputable Catholic scholars and theologians—must be returned to its proper and fully traditional place in the “ordinary magisterium” of Catholic theological discourse. The Magisterium is not a substitute for a brain, or for a solid formation in the history and teaching of the Church across the entire continuum of its history, and not just what happens to be in vogue today, or was at Trent.
- Second, as for what some call “the reform of the reform,” I continue to maintain that the western liturgical renewal in the wake of Vatican II was a great success, returning the liturgy to the People of God to whom it rightly belongs. The Vatican II reform was not perfect because only God is perfect. But we have a saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” So we should stop tinkering, leave alone what has been done already, and concentrate on what was not done well or not done at all. Done well were the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the Mass, the translations into the vernacular, which are certainly not to be redone according to the norms of that unfortunate document Liturgiam authenticam—at least not until one has read the absolutely devastating scholarly critique of Prof. Peter Jeffrey of Princeton in his book Translating Tradition: A Liturgical Historian Reads “Liturgiam Authenticam” So instead of messing eternally with already finished business, I think it is time to turn to unfinished business. The Vatican II reforms were done as well as was humanly possible at the time, and we owe an enormous debt of gratitude and respect, not denigration, to those, some of whom are now with God, that had the courage to carry them out and implement them. The problems in ritual and language came not from the language and the restored rites, but from implementing them poorly or employing them abusively, and one does not change a language because some of its native speakers and writers are incapable of using it well. This demands not “reform of the reform,” but better liturgical formation.
- Finally, the unfinished business not done well or not done at all would include, in my view, the Liturgy of the Hours, some aspects of the Lectionary, and the Calendar, especially the Sanctoral, where more space should be given to local saints over against the centralized cult favored by the overly-centralized canonization process with its unfortunate “political canonizations” directed at the self-glorification of the ecclesial nomenklatura. And above all, one must restore the Roman Rites of Christian Initiation of infants to their traditional sequence and unity, because the way they are structured now is little better than ridiculous.
Liturgical scholars shouldn't be entrusted with reforming the liturgy? I can respect his scholarship on the Byzantine rite, but I disagree with many of his recommendations for the Roman rite, and his judgment on the post-conciliar "reforms."
Fr. Serge Keleher is an admin and participant at the Byzantine Forum.
Serge Keleher: Studies on the Byzantine Liturgy �
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
When I was a kid, people used to call it a "tragedy" if a child lost his mother or father, by death or divorce. That seemed about right to me; I knew a couple of those kids. But now one of my colleagues, a nominal Catholic, unmarried, has adopted a healthy little boy to raise as her own, without a father. I am supposed to believe that this is a wonderful thing, and throw a party. I can't believe it, as I cannot believe that our children of divorce and of shacking up are just fine, not hurt by it, no, not a bit. It would take a long and tedious post for me to recount what divorce and shacking up has done to just the families of our five or six closest friends in Canada; but I am supposed to ignore all of that, and believe, with a toss of the head, that marriage would have been worse. I have seen, closely, marriages that were terrible; and I have seen rotten husbands and wives grow even worse because of the possibility of divorce. I have seen them go on and make other people's lives miserable, like free radicals ranging through the system. I am supposed to ignore it, and believe, just believe.
It's a lovely day out there, and I am going to spend some of it picking blueberries. I could go on and on, listing the absurdities I can't bring myself to believe: that the purpose of our schools is to educate; that Catholics generally wish there would be more young priests; that Hillary Clinton loves her country; that soccer is a greater game than football; that Europe is not dying; that it is a wonderful thing to know that a movie like The Sound of Music (recently requested by my 14-year-old son) not only would not be made now, but could not be made; that people who believed in chastity in my parents' generation are just like the Taliban; that marriages of nitpicking duty-sharing are superior to marriages of complementary gifts and gratitude; that kindergarteners ought to know about sodomy; that a 120-pound girl lifeguard could save me if I were sinking; that men who stay at home to take care of their children will be fulfilled in their manhood and will be well-treated by their wives, who will work to earn money so that their husbands can have all the good things they would like for themselves and the family; that higher education is not a bloodsucking cheat; that a city without children is a great place to live; that anybody who drives a car with an automatic transmission, uses a clothes dryer or an air conditioner, lives more than a few miles from work, or owns a house of more than 500 square feet per occupant may be an "environmentalist" qualified to tell everybody else what to do about global warming; and so on.
History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders' Worldview
by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Emory University, Atlanta, and Eugene D. Genovese, University of Georgia
| Book Review | The Journal of American History, 93.4 |
Poland and the United States spent a year and a half negotiating, and talks recently had snagged on Poland's demands that the U.S. bolster Polish security with Patriot missiles in exchange for hosting the missile defense base.
Washington agreed to do so last week, as Poland invoked the Georgia conflict to strengthen its case.
The Patriots are meant to protect Poland from short-range missiles from neighbors—such as Russia.
The same Patriot missiles that are notoriously unreliable? Or have they been improved since the first Gulf War?
I would suggest, however, not that people don’t vote but that they take a serious look at the principle and practice of mass democracy. Within coherent communities, political institutions are always based to some extent on consent, and it does not matter whether the system is monarchical, oligarchical, or democratic. Tyrannies learn how to manufacture consent and to manipulate it. To take part in such a system, without a clear understanding of what it is, is to collaborate with one’s oppressors. I vote from time to time when a candidate seems to present a decent alternative–I don’t ask for perfection, only an alternative. But a wise man chooses not to be a fool for anyone. This is neither cynicism nor despair. Some good can often be done in the political arena, and God bless those who try to do it. But there are other, far more important arenas of life where we can do good, and if political interests cause us to neglect our families, friends and the duty to cultivate ourselves, then it would be better to abandon politics entirely. Read Tacitus. Like most of us in this discussion, he was a disgruntled republican, dissatisfied with even good emperors. However, he also expresses a good deal of disapproval of the Stoic extremists who deliberately insulted Vespasian–far from being a bad rulers-and had to commit suicide. Tacitus seems to suggest that for all their undoubted nobility, the Stoic senators were playing a game they could not win, unlike the younger Cato who had half a chance of preventing Caesar from establishing his permanent dictatorship. Cato lost, fighting a good fight with desperate odds. But what did Helvidius Priscus hope to accomplish? It is up to every man to decide whether he lives in 50. BC or 70 AD, but a wise man knows that his life is too precious to throw away in futile resistance.
Miniature cattle farming is catching on with families trying to stay ahead of rising food prices
via the Crunchy Con and Andrew Sullivan
Ideal Small Farm Cows DEXTER Cattle
Breeds of Livestock - Dexter Cattle
American Dexter Cattle Association
Purebred Dexter Cattle Association
Dexter Cattle American Legacy
California Dexter Cattle
Iirc, Mr. Culbreath (or his neighbor) has some of these.