Saturday, January 10, 2009

NLM: Roman Professor, Priest and member of Papal Liturgical Office speaks on Benedict's New Liturgical Movement

More 天地人 links

NHK新潟放送局 - 天地人
NHK「天地人」 : 大河ドラマ情報
天地人 (NHK大河ドラマ) - Wikipedia
天地人、直江兼続生誕の地 新潟県南魚沼市
天地人 ゆかりの地を訪ねる/NHK大河ドラマ「天地人」/直江兼続/新潟県
天地人 - Yahoo!ニュース
愛・天地人
エンターテインメントトピックス - Yahoo!ニュース
NHK大河ドラマ
NHK出版 Online Shop

The drama it replaces: 篤姫

Will I be able to watch any of it? Unfortunately, for some reason the TV in the house does not have ch. 26 set on it. Maybe I can borrow a TV, but then I'd have to do something about this:
The Digital TV Transition: What You Need to Know About DTV

But while 26-1 has normal KTSF programming, 26-2 is MBC America...

日剧一周收视TOP10综述 《天地人》超《笃姬》

This looks like it might be the sequel to a previous TV series, but I don't know for sure:
I thought Tokiwa Takako's period drama was entitled 天地愛人, but I can't find anything on it on the Internet. I'll have to check the official NHK companion book (first volume!) next time I drop by Kinokuniya.

Edit. Ok I think I got it wrong--maybe it's 天地人(愛?).

天地人がやってきた! ~愛の源は食にあり~ 1/3


天地人がやってきた! ~愛の源は食にあり~ 2/3


天地人がやってきた! ~愛の源は食にあり~ 3/3


「天地人」妻夫木聡が愛を語る 1/2

「天地人」妻夫木聡が愛を語る 2/2

天地人PR①


天地人PR②


天地人(もうすぐ8時プレマップ)


天地人(新プレマップ)

大河ドラマ『天地人』  予告編
AP: Tattoos come of age in Asia at Singapore show
Mikimoto Haruhiko Will Draw New Macross Manga (via Macross World Forums)

More info (pdf); Designer Haruhiko Mikimoto to Draw New Macross Manga.

Haruhiko Mikimoto - Wikipedia

Related links
Macross 7 Trash
Macross 7 Print
Macross Ace « わかりませんロール (’~`;)

Friday, January 09, 2009

Drowning in a Toxic River
By MIKE ROSELLE

What Can Be Done to Save Appalachia?
The Distributist Review: An Interview With Thomas Storck

Bishop Vigneron and the Cathedral of Christ the Light

The comments here indicate that Bishop Vigneron inherited the design of the cathedral and construction had already begun (as I had thought previously)--so it would seem the official diocesan page gives him too much credit, which is to his detriment.

Edit. I should have continued reading. A "A Priest of the Oakland Diocese" writes:

Well, I think I need to set the record straight on few things.

First, the cathedral here in Oakland was NOT yet designed when Bishop Vigneron took over. The design and elements of it are of his primary doing with the board of advisors he created in the diocese. This is a fact. He took great interest in the cathedral, its elements and design. Please don't pass the design on to Bishop John Cummins just becasue it is modern as the design had not been settled when he retired.

Second, the old St. Francis de Sales Cathedral was damaged way beyond repair in 1989 in the earthquake. It was too small and without parking, among other things, therefore the plan to rebuild was put forward as a better use of the diocese's funds and I agree.

Thirdly, let me say that in spite of Bishop Vigneron's legacy at the seminary in Detroit in ligurgical "safeguarding", his liturgical legacy here in the Oakland diocese will less notable. He did little or nothing to respond to reported abuses all over the diocese and often tolerated many serious liturgical offenses deviating from the Roman Missal. I can attest to this firsthand.

I have a great deal of respect for (now) Archbishop Vigneron but I did not witness his "savior"-like status here in the Diocese of Oakland. Good luck Detroit. Blessings to him in his new post.

Links:
Fr. Rob Johansen -- Bishop Vigneron on Liturgy
If there's a Korean drama that I'd like to get subtitles for, it would be: 너는 내운명. It's one of those long series, focused on family and such, but it seems to be family-friendly. I belive in Japan many such dramas are shown in the morning? But I could be wrong about that. There are similar long-running dramas (which are also funny) in Hong Kong as well.

There may be Chinese subtitles here--I haven't checked yet. YouTube search results.

[노컷TV]소녀시대 윤아, '너는 내 운명'서 연기 도전


A Girls Generation performance
[노컷TV]소녀시대 'Kissing you(키싱유)' 라이브


[노컷TV]추격자
John writes in response to Mr. Hitchens:


I retired from the police some years ago and I could weep as I see the last links disappear between police and public. The old values of policing by consent, patience, common sense, discretion, co-operation have been replaced by confrontation, use or threat of arrest and force as a first resort, justified by "the circumstances as I saw them at the time, sir". The writing has been on the wall for some years now but the recent national security and terrorism concerns have rapidly accelerated the process.
Some years ago (during the 90s) there was a need for police officers to receive training, not only in the use of force but also in justifying such use. This was born out of a number of complaints and court actions about the use of force which was totally legitimate but the officer(s) concerned were inadequately prepared to answer for because they had not given sufficient thought to explaining their justifiable action later. They had acted instinctively from experience rather than thinking about how lawyers would deal with their evidence. Some police officers found themselves hesitating and even being injured because they feared the consequences of using force. Thus self defence classes and public order training began to include instruction and advice on proportional use of force, on when force is justified, on "perceived threats or likelihood of violence" as well as actual threats and actual violence which neatly led on to how pre-emptive strikes (hitting first) could be justified in certain situations. Very laudable and useful to officers genuinely experiencing such situations but the downside is that less scrupulous or gung-ho officers now had a script to justify their unnecessary use of force.

Protective equipment has also improved and in real riot situations has saved officers from serious injury. Of course the presence of officers dressed like this needs to be justified, these days it is but not only by real threat but also by the catch all "perceived threat". As I said, counter terrorism has provided a huge umbrella of justification for what you experienced. Officers are now pretty well protected physically from injury by what they wear and pretty well protected from their actions (shouting commands and using force/threat of force as a first resort) by using a "script of justification" they've been given, rather than to actually think about what they were really dealing with and interacting properly with the person in front of them. When they appear and behave like this in situations which to most observers seems over the top and unnecessary the effect on the general, law abiding public is to drive a further wedge between them and us and public support of the police shrinks further.

Senior officers need to reconsider how they deploy public order squads and the training they are given. The emphasis needs to go back to obtaining co-operation by reason and good humour (which can be backed up by force if necessary)rather than screaming at and threatening everyone whether they are a real threat or not. Of course officers need physical protection and support for their actions when the circumstances genuinely demand it but the pendulum has swung too far the other way.



A 'rebel conservative':
After being confronted with a "skirmish line of black-clad, helmeted figures, each carrying a large round black shield and a big club. All were wearing clompy, macho boots" you should take some comfort in the fact that it could have been worse - you could have forgotten to pay your TV licence... Sadly, I say this only half in jest.

At the root of this problem is, I believe, our tragic descent, as a society, from one that treasures liberty, to one that revels in licence. Sadly, few people appreciate the distinction.

When social control breaks down, when order is not established by self-restrained individuals and communities, it will be imposed by the State. The response from authority is entirely predictable, it tries to impose order on society, with ruthless and officious brutality. At one time the State would have imposed Christian moral standards, but now, with Christianity "out-dated" they enforce the prevailing liberal orthodoxy. So, public sex is fine, but we now daren't mix plastics with glass recycling. Because the State deems itself the arbiter of moral conscience, it follows that dissent can not be tolerated in any meaningful way.

Interestingly, this is the reason that Locke maintained that in a free society, private citizens must retain religion as a form of social control. As a society, we have abandoned religion, it plays no role in the lives of most people. Religion, when it is discussed at all, is mocked and ridiculed as fairy stories or derided for "imposing their morals on others." Should we be surprised with the result?


A reminder why some of this is necessary:
The 'militia' look of the police? Well, the helmet came from brain-damaged colleagues. The overalls came from burned colleagues. The shields came from colleagues battered by bricks. The no-nonsense tone came from colleagues who allowed themselves to be berated into letting someone go down that road, and from the shame when that person came to harm because it wouldn't have happened if they had stuck to their guns.
Massawrym on Bride Wars:


The film this most reminded me of was How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Not only did it have the same cheap production values and goofy floor wax commercial score – but it seemed to have the very same hatred of women that its predecessor had. The biggest problem with How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days was that every woman in the film was either a backstabbing bitch or whiney and entirely lacking in the ability to function on their own in the real world. Every woman but one, that is. Kate Hudson’s character. And that is because she was written as a man. It boggled my mind at just how eagerly women gobbled up a movie about stupid women were, but it worked. And so they’re trying it again.

This movie does not like women at all. It seems to be in love with girlish things and ideas. But not actual girls. Both of the film’s leads are stereotypical time bombs waiting for some occurrence to come along and give them an opportunity to finally use their ticket to take the express train to crazytown. And as you watch two men smile and even celebrate what they love about their soon to be spouses…things that we married men like to refer to as WARNING SIGNS…you quickly become freed of any attachment you might have to the characters and simply sit back and watch a boring hour and a half of lame, catty revenge.

Imagine if Nora Ephron awoke from a dream to pencil down a half baked idea based upon having watched Rushmore just hours before and then that notepad was stolen by someone with no imagination whatsoever that wanted nothing more than to set feminism back 20 years or so. That’s Bride Wars. Lacking a single enjoyable, or hell, even palatable moment, this film meanders from lame girly revenge moment to lame girly revenge moment as two women who were at one time lifelong friends, seek to completely humiliate the other by dying their hair blue, giving them a super orange tan or tricking them into overeating so they won’t fit into their wedding dress. For 90 cringe inducing minutes.

Yeah. It’s Mean Girls for the ladies that found that film a little too cerebral.

He goes on to express his disappointment with Anne Hathaway. It just goes to show that you shouldn't make idols out of actresses. Her choices in film and life have not been remarkable--especially her participation in Becoming Jane.

More Anne Hathaway links:
Alluring Smile
Anne Hathaway Online
Anne Hathaway Place
Yahoo Movies
Anne Hathaway Just Wants a Good Husband - Anne Hathaway : People.com (She's just stuck looking for one among the rich and handsome. uhhuh.)
Anne Hathaway To Obama: Explain Rick Warren
YouTube: Anne Hathaway - David Letterman (The Devil Wears Prada)
From Zenit: St. Escriva, in His Words

It's perhaps a little late for a Christmas present idea, but an interesting new book has been published that would be perfect for someone whose interest in Opus Dei has been skewered by the novel and movie, "The Da Vinci Code."

Called "Un Cammino Attraverso il Mondo" (A Walk Through the World), the book -- so far only published in Italian -- is an anthology of literature, homilies and letters of St. Josemaria Escriva that aims to reach out to those who may not otherwise have come across the founder of Opus Dei, or know much about what the personal prelature is really about.

"It's one of the many unintended consequences of the Da Vinci Code," says author Father John Wauck, an American priest of Opus Dei. "I wanted to use a secular perspective to get across why St. Josemaria and the spirit of Opus Dei might be interesting to those who aren't necessarily believers."

Father Wauck, a professor of literature at Rome's Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, says the writings of St. Josemaria are "not very well known, and not terribly accessible." So he has tried to explain Opus Dei through the eyes of its founder in a way that hasn't been done before, lifting out key texts that give the reader a "flavour of his personality."

The process involved scouring through letters, biographies, and interviews. One chapter is devoted to how St. Josemaria envisioned Opus Dei from its founding in 1928 until the 1960s. "That's one of the more valuable chapters," says Father Wauck. Another chapter is called "Like a Donkey," which provides a window on St. Josemaria's personal life of prayer in which he frequently refers to himself as a donkey. One little known fact revealed in the book is the Spanish saint's penchant for drawing cartoon ducks.

The title for the book is taken from a poem by Wallace Stevens, the 20th century American poet who became a Catholic shortly before he died. Father Wauck saw many similarities between Stevens and the spirit of Opus Dei, which seeks to spread the Gospel in everyday life: although he was poet, Stevens never gave up his mundane day job as an insurance salesman.

Like those engaged in the charism of Opus Dei, Stevens understood that it's "easier to transcend the world than to find transcendence through the world," says Father Wauck. "There is a transcendence that can be found through the world, not going around it, not avoiding the things of the world, but going through the world and transforming it. The point of the quote is that it's not easy. It's actually harder to do it that way."

Father Wauck, who continues to run a popular blog that grew out of "The Da Vinci Code," hopes the book will do more than merely right the absurd calumnies made against Opus Dei by Dan Brown's potboiler. He hopes it will also appeal to readers merely from a cultural standpoint, showing a new way of approaching professional work and family life.

Fr. Wauck's blog (according to Avast! the webpage has been infected with a virus -- I sent an e-mail to Opus Dei Blogs--I hope they will get the message to him)
Opus Dei Blogs

On True Worship

On True Worship

"The Era of the Temple and Its Worship Had Ended"


VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered during today's general audience in Paul VI Hall.

* * *

Dear brothers and sisters,

In this first general audience of 2009, I want to offer all of you fervent best wishes for the New Year that just began. Let us renew our determination to open the mind and heart to Christ, to be and live as his true friends. His company will make this year, even with its inevitable difficulties, be a path full of joy and peace. In fact, only if we remain united to Jesus will the New Year be good and happy.

The commitment of union with Christ is the example that St. Paul offers us. Continuing the catecheses dedicated to him, we pause today to reflect on one of the important aspects of his thought, the worship that Christians are called to offer. In the past, there was a leaning toward speaking of an anti-worship tendency in the Apostle, of a "spiritualization" of the idea of worship. Today we better understand that St. Paul sees in the cross of Christ a historical change, which transforms and radically renews the reality of worship. There are above all three passages from the Letter to the Romans in which this new vision of worship is presented.

1. In Romans 3:25, after having spoken of the "redemption brought about by Christ Jesus," Paul goes on with a formula that is mysterious to us, saying: God "set [him] forth as an expiation, through faith, by his blood." With this expression that is quite strange for us -- "instrument of expiation" -- St. Paul refers to the so-called propitiatory of the ancient temple, that is, the lid of the ark of the covenant, which was considered a point of contact between God and man, the point of the mysterious presence of God in the world of man. This "propitiatory," on the great day of reconciliation -- Yom Kippur -- was sprinkled with the blood of sacrificed animals, blood that symbolically put the sins of the past year in contact with God, and thus, the sins hurled to the abyss of the divine will were almost absorbed by the strength of God, overcome, pardoned. Life began anew.

St. Paul makes reference to this rite and says: This rite was the expression of the desire that all our faults could really be put in the abyss of divine mercy and thus made to disappear. But with the blood of animals, this process was not fulfilled. A more real contact between human fault and divine love was necessary. This contact has taken place with the cross of Christ. Christ, Son of God, who has become true man, has assumed in himself all our faults. He himself is the place of contact between human misery and divine mercy; in his heart, the sad multitude of evil carried out by humanity is undone, and life is renewed.

Revealing this change, St. Paul tells us: With the cross of Christ -- the supreme act of divine love, converted into human love -- the ancient worship with the sacrifice of animals in the temple of Jerusalem has ended. This symbolic worship, worship of desire, has now been replaced by real worship: the love of God incarnated in Christ and taken to its fullness in the death on the cross. Therefore, this is not a spiritualization of the real worship, but on the contrary, this is the real worship, the true divine-human love, that replaces the symbolic and provisional worship. The cross of Christ, his love with flesh and blood, is the real worship, corresponding to the reality of God and man. Already before the external destruction of the temple, for Paul, the era of the temple and its worship had ended: Paul is found here in perfect consonance with the words of Jesus, who had announced the end of the temple and announced another temple "not made by human hands" -- the temple of his risen body (cf. Mark 14:58; John 2:19 ff). This is the first passage.

2. The second passage about which I would like to speak today is found in the first verse of Chapter 12 of the Letter to the Romans. We have heard it and I repeat it once again: "I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship."

In these words, an apparent paradox is verified: While sacrifice demands as a norm the death of the victim, Paul makes reference to the life of the Christian. The expression "offer your bodies," united to the successive concept of sacrifice, takes on the worship nuance of "give in oblation, offer." The exhortation to "offer your bodies" refers to the whole person; in fact, in Romans 6:13, [Paul] makes the invitation to "present yourselves to God." For the rest, the explicit reference to the physical dimension of the Christian coincides with the invitation to "glorify God in your bodies" (1 Corinthians 6:20): It's a matter of honoring God in the most concrete daily existence, made of relational and perceptible visibility.

Conduct of this type is classified by Paul as "living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God." It is here where we find precisely the term "sacrifice." In prevalent use, this term forms part of a sacred context and serves to designate the throat-splitting of an animal, of which one part can be burned in honor of the gods and another part consumed by the offerers in a banquet. Paul instead applied it to the life of the Christian. In fact he classifies such a sacrifice by using three adjectives. The first -- "living" -- expresses a vitality. The second -- "holy" -- recalls the Pauline concept of a sanctity that is not linked to places or objects, but to the very person of the Christian. The third -- "pleasing to God" -- perhaps recalls the common biblical expression of a sweet-smelling sacrifice (cf. Leviticus 1:13, 17; 23:18; 26:31, etc.).

Immediately afterward, Paul thus defines this new way of living: this is "your spiritual worship." Commentators of the text know well that the Greek expression (tçn logikçn latreían) is not easy to translate. The Latin Bible renders it: "rationabile obsequium." The same word "rationabile" appears in the first Eucharistic prayer, the Roman Canon: In it, we pray so that God accepts this offering as "rationabile." The traditional Italian translation, "spiritual worship," [an offering in spirit], does not reflect all the details of the Greek text, nor even of the Latin. In any case, it is not a matter of a less real worship or even a merely metaphorical one, but of a more concrete and realistic worship, a worship in which man himself in his totality, as a being gifted with reason, transforms into adoration and glorification of the living God.

This Pauline formula, which appears again in the Roman Eucharistic prayer, is fruit of a long development of the religious experience in the centuries preceding Christ. In this experience are found theological developments of the Old Testament and currents of Greek thought. I would like to show at least certain elements of this development. The prophets and many psalms strongly criticize the bloody sacrifices of the temple. For example, Psalm 50 (49), in which it is God who speaks, says, "Were I hungry, I would not tell you, for mine is the world and all that fills it. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Offer praise as your sacrifice to God" (verses 12-14).

In the same sense, the following Psalm 51 (50), says, " …for you do not desire sacrifice; a burnt offering you would not accept. My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God, do not spurn a broken, humbled heart" (verse 18 and following).

In the Book of Daniel, in the times of the new destruction of the temple at the hands of the Hellenistic regime (2nd century B.C.), we find a new step in the same direction. In midst of the fire -- that is, persecution and suffering -- Azariah prays thus: "We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader, no holocaust, sacrifice, oblation, or incense, no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you. But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received; As though it were holocausts of rams and bullocks … So let our sacrifice be in your presence today as we follow you unreservedly" (Daniel 3:38ff).

In the destruction of the sanctuary and of worship, in this situation of being deprived of every sign of the presence of God, the believer offers as a true holocaust a contrite heart, his desire of God.

We see an important development, beautiful, but with a danger. There exists a spiritualization, a moralization of worship: Worship becomes only something of the heart, of the spirit. But the body is lacking; the community is lacking. Thus is understood that Psalm 51, for example, and also the Book of Daniel, despite criticizing worship, desire the return of the time of sacrifices. But it is a matter of a renewed time, in a synthesis that still was unforeseeable, that could not yet be thought of.

Let us return to St. Paul. He is heir to these developments, of the desire for true worship, in which man himself becomes glory of God, living adoration with all his being. In this sense, he says to the Romans: "Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice … your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1).

Paul thus repeats what he had already indicated in Chapter 3: The time of the sacrifice of animals, sacrifices of substitution, has ended. The time of true worship has arrived. But here too arises the danger of a misunderstanding: This new worship can easily be interpreted in a moralist sense -- offering our lives we make true worship. In this way, worship with animals would be substituted by moralism: Man would do everything for himself with his moral strength. And this certainly was not the intention of St. Paul.

But the question persists: Then how should we interpret this "reasonable spiritual worship"? Paul always supposes that we have come to be "one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28), that we have died in baptism (Romans 1) and we live now with Christ, through Christ and in Christ. In this union -- and only in this way -- we can be in him and with him a "living sacrifice," to offer the "true worship." The sacrificed animals should have substituted man, the gift of self of man, and they could not. Jesus Christ, in his surrender to the Father and to us, is not a substitution, but rather really entails in himself the human being, our faults and our desire; he truly represents us, he assumes us in himself. In communion with Christ, accomplished in the faith and in the sacraments, we transform, despite our deficiencies, into living sacrifice: "True worship" is fulfilled.

This synthesis is the backdrop of the Roman Canon in which we pray that this offering be "rationabile," so that spiritual worship is accomplished. The Church knows that in the holy Eucharist, the self-gift of Christ, his true sacrifice, is made present. But the Church prays so that the celebrating community is really united to Christ, is transformed; it prays so that we ourselves come to be that which we cannot be with our efforts: offering "rationabile" that is pleasing to God. In this way the Eucharistic prayer interprets in an adequate way the words of St. Paul.

St. Augustine clarified all of this in a marvelous way in the 10th book of his City of God. I cite only two phrase: "This is the sacrifice of the Christians: though being many we are only one body in Christ" … "All of the redeemed community (civitas), that is, the congregation and the society of the saints, is offered to God through the High Priest who has given himself up" (10,6: CCL 47,27ff).

3. Finally, I want to leave a brief reflection on the third passage of the Letter to the Romans referring to the new worship. St. Paul says thus in Chapter 15: "the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in performing the priestly service (hierourgein) of the gospel of God, so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the holy Spirit" (15:15ff).

I would like to emphasize only two aspects of this marvelous text and one aspect of the unique terminology of the Pauline letters. Before all else, St. Paul interprets his missionary action among the peoples of the world to construct the universal Church as a priestly action. To announce the Gospel to unify the peoples in communion with the Risen Christ is a "priestly" action. The apostle of the Gospel is a true priest; he does what is at the center of the priesthood: prepares the true sacrifice.

And then the second aspect: the goal of missionary action is -- we could say in this way -- the cosmic liturgy: that the peoples united in Christ, the world, becomes as such the glory of God "pleasing oblation, sanctified in the Holy Spirit." Here appears a dynamic aspect, the aspect of hope in the Pauline concept of worship: the self-gift of Christ implies the tendency to attract everyone to communion in his body, to unite the world. Only in communion with Christ, the model man, one with God, the world comes to be just as we all want it to be: a mirror of divine love. This dynamism is always present in Scripture; this dynamism should inspire and form our life. And with this dynamism we begin the New Year. Thanks for your patience.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[The Pope then greeted the people in several languages. In English, he said:]
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At the beginning of this New Year, I offer all of you my cordial good wishes! In the coming months, may our minds and hearts be opened ever more fully to Christ, following the example of Saint Paul, whose life and doctrine we have been considering during this Pauline Year. Today we turn to the meaning of "true worship" as highlighted in Paul’s Letter to the Romans. In uniting us to himself, Christ, a temple "not made with human hands", has made us a "living sacrifice". Paul thus exhorts us to offer our own "bodies" – meaning our entire selves – as a "spiritual worship": not in the abstract, but in our concrete daily life. At the same time, this true worship does not come about merely through human effort. Rather, through baptism, we have become "one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28), who took upon himself our human nature and has thus "assumed" us into himself. Only he has the power, by joining us to his body, to unite all people. Thus, the goal of the Church’s missionary activity is to call everyone into this "cosmic liturgy", in which the world becomes the glory of God: "a pleasing sacrifice, sanctified by the Holy Spirit".

I am pleased to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, including the groups from Finland and the United States of America. Upon you and your families I willingly invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace throughout the new year!

© Copyright 2009 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

On the Epiphany


On the Epiphany

"Jesus Came to the World With Great Humility and in Secret"

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address Benedict XVI delivered today, the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, before praying the Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Epiphany, the "manifestation" of the Lord. The Gospel recounts how Jesus came to the world with great humility and in secret. St. Matthew, nonetheless, refers to the arrival of the Magi, who came from the East, guided by a star, to render homage to the recently born king of the Jews. Each time I listen to this narrative, I am impressed by the clear contrast between the attitude of the Magi, on one hand, and that of Herod and the Jews.

The Gospel says that, upon listening to the worlds of the Magi, "King Herod [...] was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him" (Matthwe 2:3). This reaction can be understood in various ways: Herod became alarmed because he saw in the one the Magi searched for a competitor for him and his sons. The authorities and inhabitants of Jerusalem, however, seemed astonished more than anything else, as if they woke up from a certain lethargy and needed time to think. Isaiah, in reality, had announced: "For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:5).

So then, why did Jerusalem become worried? It seems that the Evangelist wanted to anticipate the position that the high priests and the Sanhedrin would take, as well as that of the populous, with regard to Jesus during his public life. Certainly, it highlights the fact that knowledge of Scripture and the messianic prophecies don't lead all to open themselves to him and his word. Christ recalls this, before the passion, when he cries over Jerusalem because it had not recognized the time of its visitation (cf. Luke 19:44).

He we touch upon one of the crucial points of the theology of history: the drama of the faithful love of God in the person of Jesus, who "came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him" (John 1:11). In light of the entire Bible, this attitude of hostility, ambiguity or superficiality represents that of every man and of the "world" -- in the spiritual sense -- when it closes itself to the mystery of the true God, who comes to meet us with the disarming meekness of love. Jesus, the "King of the Jews" (cf. John 18:37), is the God of mercy and fidelity; he wants to reign with in love and truth, and asks us to convert, to abandon evil works and that we take up with decision the path of the good.

"Jerusalem," as such, in this sense, is all of us. May the Virgin Mary, who welcomed Jesus with faith, help us to not close our heart to his Gospel of salvation. Let us allow ourselves to be conquered and transformed by him -- the "Emmanuel" (God with us) -- to give us peace and love.

[After praying the Angelus, the Pope said:]

I direct my heartfelt congratulation to the brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches who follow the Julian calendar and will celebrate Christmas tomorrow. May the memory of the birth of the Savior spark in your hearts more and more the joy of being loved by God. Recalling our brothers and sisters in faith takes me spiritually to the Holy Land and to the Middle East. I am deeply worried about the violent armed confrontations that are taking place on the Gaza border. While I confirm that hate and the rejection of dialogue doesn't bring anything but war, I would like to encourage the initiatives and efforts of those who, loving peace, are trying to help the Israelis and Palestinians to sit down at a table and talk. May God support the commitment of these builders of peace!

In many countries, the feast of the Epiphany is also a celebration of children. I am thinking especially of all children, who are the treasure and blessing of the world, and above all of those who are denied a serene childhood. I wish to call attention, in particular, to the situation of hundreds of children and adolescents who, in these past months, which included Christmas, have been kidnapped by armed gangs that have attacked small towns in the eastern province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which have resulted in numerous victims and wounded.

I call out to the authors of these inhuman brutalities to return these young people to their families and to a future of security and development, which is their right, together with these beloved populations. I wish to express at the same time my spiritual closeness to the local Churches, whose members and works have been hurt, while I exhort the pastors and faithful to remain strong and firm in hope.

Episodes of violence against children, which unfortunately also occurs in other parts of the world, are even more deplorable give that in 2009 the 20th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child will be celebrated: a commitment that the international community is called to renew so that it can defend and promote childhood throughout the world.

May the Lord help those who work on a daily basis to serve the new generations -- and they are innumerable! -- helping them to be protagonists of the future. Furthermore, the Day of the Child Missionary, which is celebrated on the feast of the Epiphany, is an opportune occasion to highlight that children and adolescents have an important role to play in the diffusion of the Gospel and in the works of solidarity with those of their same age who are in need. May the Lord reward them!

[The Pope then greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English, he said:]

I greet all the English-speaking visitors who join us for this Angelus prayer. On this feast of the Epiphany, the Church celebrates the revelation of Christ, the Eternal Son of the Father, as the light of the nations and the Saviour of all mankind. May the radiance of the Lord's glory fill you and your families with deep spiritual joy, and draw men and women everywhere to faith and new life in him!

© Copyright 2009 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

On the Feast of Mary, Mother of God

On the Feast of Mary, Mother of God

"We Can Always Hope Anew That the Future Will Be Better"


VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave before praying the midday Angelus on Jan. 1 together with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear brothers and sisters,

On this first day of the year, I am happy to offer all of you here present in St. Peter's Square and those who are tuned in by radio and television my most fervent best wishes for peace and every good thing. They are wishes that, we could say, the Christian faith makes "reliable," anchoring them in the events that we are celebrating during these days: the incarnation of the Word of God, born of the Virgin Mary. Indeed, with the grace of the Lord -- and only with it -- we can always hope anew that the future will be better than the past.

This is not about, in fact, trusting in better luck or in the modern secrets of the market and finances, but rather in we ourselves making the effort to be a little better and more responsible, so as to be able to count on the Lord's benevolence. And this is always possible because "God has spoken to us through a son" (Hebrews 1:2) and he continually speaks to us, through the preaching of the Gospel and through the voice of our conscience. In Jesus Christ, he has shown to all people the path of salvation, which is above all a spiritual redemption, but which takes in everything human, also including the social and historical dimension.

That's why, as the Church celebrates the divine maternity of most holy Mary, on this date that for more than 40 years has been World Peace Day, it indicates to everyone that Jesus Christ is the prince of peace. According to the tradition begun by Servant of God Pope Paul VI, I have written for this occasion a special message, choosing the theme: "Fighting Poverty to Build Peace."

In this way, I wish to once again enter into dialogue with the leaders of nations and international groups, offering the contribution of the Catholic Church for the promotion of a world order worthy of man. At the beginning of a new year, my first objective is precisely that of inviting everyone -- political leaders and simple citizens -- to not become discouraged in the face of difficulties and failures, but to renew their commitments.

The second part of 2008 has brought an economic crisis of vast proportions. This crisis should be interpreted in its depths, as a grave symptom that requires intervention at the level of the causes. It is not enough -- as Jesus would say -- to put a new patch on an old cloak (cf. Mark 2:21). To put the poor in first place means to decidedly move to this global solidarity that John Paul II had already indicated as a necessity, harmonizing the potential of the market with that of civil society (cf. Message, 12), in constant respect for legality and always taking into account the common good.

Jesus Christ did not organize campaigns against poverty, but he announced to the poor the Gospel, for a complete rescue from moral and material misery. The Church does the same, with its endless work of evangelization and human promotion. Let us invoke the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, so that she helps all men to walk together along the path of peace.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[The Holy Father then addressed the people in several languages. In English, he said:]

I am very pleased to greet the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Angelus, and I wish you all a happy New Year! I pray that Christians everywhere, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, will be filled with spiritual joy. During this year, may all who believe in Christ promote justice and charity, and bear constant witness to forgiveness, reconciliation and peace! May the Lord bless you and keep you!

© Copyright 2009 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Robert Stacy McCain, Advertising is Rape

More openings from '80s shows

Benson Theme Song 1984 (I think it's been cut short, the governor is missing.)


IT'S A LIVING SITCOM INTRO


Never saw this on network tv--caught the syndicated version, which had a young Crystal Bernard.

It's a living season 6


Taxi


Gimme A Break


1982 TV Show Openings Part 1

Small Wonder TV Show Intro


TV from the '70s and '80s seems so very odd... especially as the shows serve as a record of some version of American culture. How long before one gets that feeling from movies done in the '50s and before.

Being sentimental about TV shows is bizarre too...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Peter Hitchens laments the existence of riot police: 'It's not debatable,' they bawled. My chilling encounter with Britain's jack-booted paramilitary police

They were part-astronaut, part-samurai, all menace. They were also pointless. I couldn't see any reason for this riot squad to be there. There was no trouble, before or behind or beside them. Later on, they might be needed, in which case I'd stay well away from them. But now, they were just there. So I behaved as if they were what they weren't, normal constables. I carried on walking towards them, peaceably, on my lawful business. I'd already made a big diversion to avoid the main demonstration. If I had to go back the way I'd come, I'd need to go miles to get round. If there had been any obvious reason to do so, I'd have done it. But there wasn't.

That was when they started bellowing at me. "Get back!" (or something like that). I looked round to see if I had accidentally got into the middle of a sudden melee, but the street was as peaceful as it had been before, and the marchers were still advancing quietly behind the black-garbed figures.

I held out my hands in a shrugging, mock-pleading gesture and began to ask why I couldn't just walk on the pavement undisturbed. "I am", I began to say " a private person on his way to Paddington station".

I didn't finish. I couldn't. The figures began bawling again, in a strange robotic chorus of Arthur-Mullard-like voices. And this is what they bawled :"It's not debatable!" . Then they bawled it again "It's not debatable!". And then one more time, I think. I don't think words like "debatable" come naturally to such people. I think this is what they had been trained to say in some riot-rehearsal long ago, to clear aside some imaginary band of quarrelsome troublemakers with fancy ( and outdated) ideas about their rights. Instead, they had to make do with me, the only man in London silly enough not to flee at the very sight of them. It even crossed my mind to think that they might have been longing to bawl "It's not debatable!" ever since they had been trained to say it, and here was their chance.

It's an interesting set of words, especially for police officers to use in a free country with free speech, where power is supposed to subject to the law and the police are supposed to be the servants of the people. It was clear that they thought I had no business even looking at them, let alone asking them ( as I believe I'm entitled to do) under what law they were acting. Until recently I'm quite sure they'd have had no legal right to order me about like that without explanation. Nor would they have tried. I'd have been allowed to pass, as it was quite reasonable for me to do. I know this as the veteran of many demonstrations in other days, and one who developed some respect even as a far left-winger for the restraint and level-headed, humorous good sense of the police ( as they then were) on such occasions.

But all that's gone. Such persons are not, like old-fashioned coppers, servants of the law. They are servants of the state and you'd better believe it. Technically the law now supports them, but only because the whole purpose of the law has been subverted so that it doesn't restrain the police at all in such circumstances. 'Terrorism' of course, has been the pretext for it. But most of us, most of the time, don't see the ugly face of the thing we have created by letting this happen.
He does not call them police since they do not conform to the ideal of the police from the past. Many of us have grown accustomed to the idea of riot police, and their necessity to keep mobs in check, having seen them on the television or at public demonstrations. Is the equipping and formation of riot police so problematic?

Mr. Hitchens's ideas (or complaints at least) may be similar to the liberatrian perspective offered at Lew Rockwell (and perhaps other websites). I believe Mr. Hitchens does call himself a libertarian. It may be that his English conception of liberty is slightly different from American libertarianism. But I think his conception of the police certainly follows from it -- the police are no different from other citizens and should be unarmed, and they serve, not dominate, the rest of the citizens. What some of us would see as an inconvenience (following the directions given by the police under such circumstances) would be interpreted as a violation of liberty by Mr. Hitchens?

We may lament the passing of a more 'civilized time'; but with the decline of morals, do we not need specially equipped police officers and general orders in order to protect the public and even the protesting crowd crowd from itself? Would Mr. Hitchens say that no amount of liberty cannot be sacrificed for the sake of public order? Public order is for the sake of liberty, and not the other way around? I don't think he is merely arguing that the precaution that guides police procedures and directives is unwarranted in certain circumstances, and therefore general guidelines should be flexible. Rather, he seems to be saying that the existence of riot police (and the change it represents in the nature of policing) is a threat to liberty itself.

This horrible development, the transformation of our police into a state gendarmerie, has many causes. One of them is the way in which our politicians - and much of the public - have simply forgotten, or never even knew, the intricate arrangements made to ensure that we did not suffer this fate. Parliament at the beginning of the 19th century resisted the foundation of a Metropolitan force precisely because such bodies had invariably become engines of repression all over the continent. Sir Robert Peel only got the measure through by ensuring that our police force was subject to law, policed by consent, and was not allowed to become a militia.

The rules were set ( see my book 'the Abolition of Liberty') so as to ensure we didn't have a Prussian or Gallic riot squad in London, and very effective they were until quite recently. But now we are moving quite fast towards the very fate that MPs feared 200 years ago.

The paradox is that we have these grim jawed enforcers ( predicted rather accurately in Constantine Fitz Gibbon's amusing future fantasy thriller 'When the Kissing Had to Stop' back in the early Sixties) but that the criminal classes have never had such an easy time.

How can this be? My theory is fairly simple. In a liberal state, the police are weak on crime because it is officially regarded as a social disease, not really the fault of the criminals. But they are tough on individuals who tackle crime themselves, because they threaten the state monopoly of law-enforcement (worse, their methods, if generally allowed, would be more popular than the feeble methods of the state police); and they are tough on street protest because they represent a state which regards itself as good, and so sees all protestors as automatically malignant. How do you think totalitarianism would establish itself in a once-free country? What do you think it would look like? I think it would look like this. Fortunately, it is still debatable.
[Sounds a bit like Samuel Francis's description of anarcho-tyranny, doesn't it? (Jerry Pournelle)]

If there is an uneasy tension between freedom and order in any republic, is it the case that a megapolis or nation-state that is too 'big' (not just in the number of citizens, but also with the concomitant centralization of power, inaccessibility to elected officials, lack of intermediate institutions and subsidiarity and so on) puts so much stress that one must choose order over liberty, in order to preserve the community?
The Western Confucian links to an essay by Dr. Robert Spaemann (wiki) on just wars. In the comments I write:



I suppose Professor Spaemann would have to further explain what he means by "territorial integrity." That a country's territory cannot be divided or taken over by another power? Or further, that its boundaries cannot be violated by being trespassed upon? Otherwise, I don't see how this is connected to the second part: "and others can declare war on them to pursue the problem at its root."

Some questions I have--
1. A nation-state that cannot police within its borders and therefore has lost control over its own territory is really not a nation-state. Therefore this should be recognized? or
2. A nation-state should continue to exist, but a new government should replace the inneffectual one. This can be facilitated by an outside agency, so long as the people consent?
3. But if it is impossible for an effective government to be created at the level of the nation-state, then the territory should be divided until governments that can be effective over a smaller area can be created?
4. If consent is not available, is it permissible for an outside agency to impose its own government? Some might say that that which has care of the international common good has the right to do so, and therefore the UN should be given this authority, but I am hesitant in conceding this.

Some more thoughts:

I would hold that any authority that has care of the 'international' common good must be shared by all peoples, whether it be directly or through their governments. If a people or their government withdraws, then there it no longer has any authority, and we return to what has been 'normal'--nations making and observing treaties and so on. "Legislative" power would require the cooperation of all nations, and "executive" power would be very limited, and as widely dispersed as possible. I haven't reasoned this out all the way--but I am inclined by this position for two reasons: (1) it would be a better check on tyranny, and (2) any other sort of arrangement would seem to be a dangerous act of human pride, an attempt to replace the kingship of Christ. Now in order to make the argument work, one can look first at the question of justice. And then show that even though other arrangements may be just, they may not be the best (or prudent).

I need a better understanding of authority, and how its determination and exercise relates to justice. If authority can be delegated, can it be recovered? Does delegation imply the surrender of all rights or powers? What rights or powers are retained?

Other writings by Dr. Spaemann:
Robert Spaemann. Rationality and Faith in God. Communio 32 2005
A Philosopher Reissues the Pope's Wager: To Live as if God Exists
Google Books: Happiness and Benevolence
Anita Weier, Writer of 1970s 'Ecotopia' makes a comeback in the green era

(via EB)





In the 1975 cult environmental novel "Ecotopia," Washington, Oregon and Northern California secede from the United States in the midst of a global financial crisis. Author Ernest Callenbach creates a sustainable society where recycling is required, food wastes are turned into organic fertilizer, and most energy comes from solar, sea, wind and geothermal power.

Sound familiar?

The prescient Callenbach, now 79, is suddenly in demand again as interest in a green society and environmental stewardship is back in vogue. More than three decades later, Callenbach's book concepts are being taught in English, political science, sociology and environmental courses on campuses across the country, and he is a sought-after lecturer.

His book, which he originally self-published, was just reissued with a new cover by Bantam Books.

"I was pretty lucky in some of the things I wrote about coming true, but the basic thrust is not that original," Callenbach said in a phone interview from his home in Berkeley. "People then and now look ahead at what a society would be if there was not cheap energy from oil."

Callenbach says the Midwest-Great Lakes region had best turn its attention to sustainable manufacturing and resource management.

The recently shuttered General Motors plant in Janesville, for instance, could be used to make buses that would be powered by electricity or alternative fuels, he said.

"When we went into World War II, in two months, Detroit was making military trucks and tanks," Callenbach said. "So when things have to be done quickly, they can."

"We can't just prop up these failing enterprises," he added. "We have to get them to adapt to a new, greener world."

The Midwest should also be using high-speed trains and streetcars, and buildings should be built to better conserve energy.

"The skill of these industrial areas can be put to use," Callenbach said. "We need an ecological-industrial complex."

Callenbach would rather see ethanol made from agricultural waste than corn, and he hopes to see greater use of rivers and lakes for the ferrying of parts and goods.

He'd also like to see the Great Lakes used for wind power. "Wind over water is very strong, not obstructed by hills or trees."

Callenbach, who grew up in Pennsylvania and went to college at the University of Chicago, visited relatives in Wisconsin when he was young. His father also attended the University of Wisconsin as an undergraduate.

Callenbach, who edited the prestigious journal Film Quarterly at the University of California Press from 1958 until he retired in 1991, has also written nonfiction books on ecological issues and the fictional prequel "Ecotopia Emerging."

He said he became interested in ecological matters in the early 1970s after reading Rachel Carson's groundbreaking book, "Silent Spring," which exposed the dangers of pesticides, and because of emerging clean water and clean air legislation.

"I was rather skeptical at first but began doing some reading and became convinced it was a big field that people weren't taking seriously. 'Ecotopia' was an attempt to apply the scientific ecological ideas that had been evolving and applying them to real life."

Callenbach is the first to admit that his futuristic book is not a great work of literature. There is a love story, though some critics say it amounts to little more than gratuitious sex. But he says he took pains to base his ecological ideas on science, even sending his chapters to scientists for fact checking.

"I was not doing science fiction," he said. "I was trying to raise the question that we could be doing all this stuff in 1975 and why aren't we? Our goose will be cooked if we don't do it now."

In a blurb for the book, consumer advocate Ralph Nader wrote, "None of the happy conditions in 'Ecotopia' are beyond the technical or resource reach of our society."

The story is told through the eyes of a New York reporter who visits the breakaway country in the early 21st century, 20 years after secession. William Weston's assignment is the first officially arranged visit by an American since the separation. His tour of the capital city, San Francisco, is full of surprises: Market Street, a two-lane street lined with thousands of trees, caters to electric taxis, minibuses and community bicycles. Buses do not charge fares.

Cities have been broken up into communities linked by interurban trains, and residents live within a half-mile of transit stations. There is a 20-hour work week, and people tend to work when they feel like it, though in a productive and creative way. After the secession, many wealthy people flee to the United States, leaving the people who worked for the factories, farms and stores in control of their organizations -- with oversight by local governments and local courts.

The new tax system relies on a corporation tax on production enterprises. There are no personal income, sales or property taxes, but a land tax discourages sprawl. Absentee investment is not permitted. Tax revenues are used by the community governments to provide recycling services, housing, power, water, telephones, medical services and police protection. A share goes to regional and national governments to support larger-scale operations such as defense and large-scale research.

Women get equal pay, and Ecotopia has a woman president who heads a women-dominated political party. Free love is common, but women choose the fathers of their children, and most couples are monogamous.

The country was formed in response to deteriorating conditions in the United States. As "Ecotopia" explains, "The burden of outlays for an enormous arms establishment caused a profound long-term decline in the world competitiveness of American civilian industry. A slow drop in per capita income led to widespread misery, increased tension between rich and poor, and ended citizen confidence in economic gains."

While current conditions echo Callenbach's fictional world, the author is optimistic about President-elect Barack Obama, whose administration, he says, "has some brains at work."

"This is a country full of capable, dynamic and energetic people. If we get moving in the right direction, we can accomplish an astonishing amount of things," he said.


A social progressive and having optimism about Obama--he may be wrong about the new administration and the way some things ought to be, but he's right about the basic goods (natural resources) needed for a community and how we should be taking care of them, as well as looking for sustainable means of production.


(source)
Links:
Ernest Callenbach
wiki; for Ecotopia
YouTube - ECOTOPIA or BUST - Ernest Callenbach
Ernest Callenbach Permaculture & Alcohol Can Be A Gas
Ernest Callenbach's essay from Ecotopia on sewage
Ernest Callenbach - Authors - Random House
Ernest Callenbach Interview
Sarge, here's that book to which I was referring last night--there is an ad for it at The Unit homepage.


The same Pete Blaber as Lt. Col. Pete Blaber in Operation Anaconda and Not a Good Day to Die by Sean Naylor? I still have to read that book.

The White Rhino Report review of Not a Good Day to Die

Google Books (Not a Good Day to Die)

Links:

Misc:
Daniel McCarthy, Henry Regnery, Conservative for Mideast Peace

In the 1950s, Regnery published several important books arguing for justice for the Palestinians. These included Freda Utley’s Will the Middle East Go West?, Alfred Lilienthal’s controversial What Price Israel — which Regnery ran by Elmer Berger and Willi Schlamm before publication; both of them urged him to bring it out — and Per-Orlow Anderson’s They Are Human Too. Regnery discusses these books in his Memoirs of a Dissident Publisher, which is available as a free PDF from the Henry Regnery Legacy Project (as is Utley’s book).
Funny. Jonas Blaine does James Bond. (There's another action hero with JB for his initials.) The first part of this week's episode of The Unit is supposed to take place in Macau--they have a shot of one of the Casinos. (Did Lisboa start another casino? I see Po King in Chinese in the opening shot, and then something else in English, Golden Lotus. Never mind, I checked it again and you can indeed see a shot of the Lisboa building right behind the sign. Of course, the rest of the episode was probably filmed somewhere else... California?)

Edit. There may be one or two native Cantonese-speaker among the minor characters. Bridget Sullivan's Cantonese is really bad--there's no way she could pass as a native. Or as a Portuguese expat speaking Cantonese.

Fr. Neuhaus passes away



Loyal son of the Church but a theocon? I'll leave others to sort through his intelletual and theological legacy. May he rest in peace.

Announcement at First Things.

More:
NLM
Fr. Z
Crunchy Con: Richard John Neuhaus has died, Remembering Richard John Neuhaus

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

AllKPop

Photos: Coptic Christmas




Pope Shenuda III, Head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, leads the Coptic Christmas midnight mass in Cairo late on January 6,2009. Pope Shenouda III is the leader of the Coptic community which makes up over 10 percent of Egypt's 76 million population. (AFP/Getty)

Pope Shenuda III (L), Head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, leads the Coptic Christmas midnight mass in Cairo late on January 6,2009. Pope Shenouda III is the leader of the Coptic community which makes up over 10 percent of Egypt's 76 million population. (AFP/Getty)

Pope Shenuda III, Head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, leads the Coptic Christmas midnight mass in Cairo late on January 6,2009. Pope Shenouda III is the leader of the Coptic community which makes up over 10 percent of Egypt's 76 million population. (AFP/Getty)

Pope Shenouda III, leader of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, meets with Arab League cheif Amr Mussa (not in picture), at his residence in Cairo's St. Mark's cathedral, October 23, 2008. (Reuters)

Coptic icon to the left--not sure if the representation of Christ in the middle qualifies as being in the Coptic style or not.

Cardinal Adam Maida smiles during a news conference in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Allen H. Vigneron, 60, who has been serving in California, as the new archbishop of Detroit. Maida, had led the Detroit area's 1.4 million Roman Catholics for nearly two decades. The Vatican said Maida had resigned after reaching the 75-year-old age limit dictated by canon law. (AP/Paul Sancya)

Bishop Allen H. Vigneron, 60, speaks during a news conference in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Pope Benedict XVI named Bishop Vigneron, who has been serving in California, as the new archbishop of Detroit. Cardinal Adam Maida, had led the Detroit area's 1.4 million Roman Catholics for nearly two decades. The Vatican said Maida had resigned after reaching the 75-year-old age limit dictated by canon law. (AP/Paul Sancya)

Bishop Allen H. Vigneron, 60, right, and Cardinal Adam Maida speak during a news conference in Detroit, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Pope Benedict XVI named Vigneron, who has been serving in California, as the new archbishop of Detroit. Maida, had led the Detroit area's 1.4 million Roman Catholics for nearly two decades.

Cardinal Maida has been an obstacle to the EF of the Roman rite--perhaps Bishop Vigneron will change this once he takes the cathedra.
AP: Obama names special watchdog for federal spending

So the GAO or the Comptroller General can't be trusted with this task? The Executive Branch needs to create a new position for fiscal oversight? How difficult can it be to get honest numbers concerning expenditures by the National Government?
NLM: New World Byzantine - The Work of Andrew Gould

More pictures of projects at the New World Byzantine's website.

April Verch Band at the Cook Shack, November 2008

Links to all of the videos uploaded to YouTube:
APRIL VERCH BAND AT THE COOK SHACK, NOVEMBER 2008
APRIL VERCH BAND AT THE COOK SHACK, NOVEMBER 2008
APRIL VERCH BAND AT THE COOK SHACK, NOVEMBER 2008
APRIL VERCH BAND AT THE COOK SHACK, NOVEMBER 2008
APRIL VERCH BAND AT THE COOK SHACK, NOVEMBER 2008
APRIL VERCH BAND AT THE COOK SHACK

Oops--her latest CD isn't from Rounder, but is available through CD Baby.

Related links?
LIVE FROM THE COOK SHACK Union Grove, North Carolina

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Knowing One's Place
Gene Logsdon, OrganicToBe.org
Dave Haferd sees his farm with eyes that are 200 years old. He knows every foot of its 180 acres, on top and underneath. Walking across his land, he discourses endlessly and joyfully upon almost any rock, post, tree, clod, weed, or building that his eye falls upon.

original
A 50-Year Farm Bill

By WES JACKSON and WENDELL BERRY
Published: January 4, 2009
THE extraordinary rainstorms last June caused catastrophic soil erosion in the grain lands of Iowa, where there were gullies 200 feet wide. But even worse damage is done over the long term under normal rainfall — by the little rills and sheets of erosion on incompletely covered or denuded cropland, and by various degradations resulting from industrial procedures and technologies alien to both agriculture and nature.

Soil that is used and abused in this way is as nonrenewable as (and far more valuable than) oil. Unlike oil, it has no technological substitute — and no powerful friends in the halls of government.

Agriculture has too often involved an insupportable abuse and waste of soil, ever since the first farmers took away the soil-saving cover and roots of perennial plants. Civilizations have destroyed themselves by destroying their farmland. This irremediable loss, never enough noticed, has been made worse by the huge monocultures and continuous soil-exposure of the agriculture we now practice.

To the problem of soil loss, the industrialization of agriculture has added pollution by toxic chemicals, now universally present in our farmlands and streams. Some of this toxicity is associated with the widely acclaimed method of minimum tillage. We should not poison our soils to save them.

Industrial agricultural has made our food supply entirely dependent on fossil fuels and, by substituting technological “solutions” for human work and care, has virtually destroyed the cultures of husbandry (imperfect as they may have been) once indigenous to family farms and farming neighborhoods.

Clearly, our present ways of agriculture are not sustainable, and so our food supply is not sustainable. We must restore ecological health to our agricultural landscapes, as well as economic and cultural stability to our rural communities.

For 50 or 60 years, we have let ourselves believe that as long as we have money we will have food. That is a mistake. If we continue our offenses against the land and the labor by which we are fed, the food supply will decline, and we will have a problem far more complex than the failure of our paper economy. The government will bring forth no food by providing hundreds of billons of dollars to the agribusiness corporations.

Any restorations will require, above all else, a substantial increase in the acreages of perennial plants. The most immediately practicable way of doing this is to go back to crop rotations that include hay, pasture and grazing animals.

But a more radical response is necessary if we are to keep eating and preserve our land at the same time. In fact, research in Canada, Australia, China and the United States over the last 30 years suggests that perennialization of the major grain crops like wheat, rice, sorghum and sunflowers can be developed in the foreseeable future. By increasing the use of mixtures of grain-bearing perennials, we can better protect the soil and substantially reduce greenhouse gases, fossil-fuel use and toxic pollution.

Carbon sequestration would increase, and the husbandry of water and soil nutrients would become much more efficient. And with an increase in the use of perennial plants and grazing animals would come more employment opportunities in agriculture — provided, of course, that farmers would be paid justly for their work and their goods.

Thoughtful farmers and consumers everywhere are already making many necessary changes in the production and marketing of food. But we also need a national agricultural policy that is based upon ecological principles. We need a 50-year farm bill that addresses forthrightly the problems of soil loss and degradation, toxic pollution, fossil-fuel dependency and the destruction of rural communities.

This is a political issue, certainly, but it far transcends the farm politics we are used to. It is an issue as close to every one of us as our own stomachs.

Wes Jackson is a plant geneticist and president of The Land Institute in Salina, Kan. Wendell Berry is a farmer and writer in Port Royal, Ky.

(via EB)

Is President-Elect Obama reading?

See also "Peak Soil" by David Montgomery.

via Mark Shea: Chesterton is Now Downloadable onto MP3
Korea Times: Idol Stars Gearing Up for Various Activities
Fans of Wonder Girls will be thrilled to know that the hit pop group will hold its first concert in February. After the concert, however, the group will move to the United States and carry out their U.S. promotions for the time being.
Where will they be living? SoCal or NYC?

Wonder Girls Wonderland
Amy Welborn attends Divine Liturgy at a Melkite church.

Also of note: Bishop Vigneron has been appointed archbishop of Detroit.
SF Chronicle: Oakland bishop to head Detroit Archdiocese; California Catholic Daily

Eh... who will be replacing him? I don't like the cathedral, but according to what others tell me, the bishop has done a lot of good things for the diocese. (I thought he inherited the design for the cathedral; I didn't know he "oversaw the design.") I hope his replacement is just as good, if not better. The Bay Area is sorely lacking in good bishops.


Links:
A homily he gave at TAC in 2004: The Gift of Wisdom: The Intellect as the "Disciple of Love"
A video of the bishop discussing marriage @ Marriage Matters to Kids.
The Catholic Voice (newsletter for the diocese of Oakland)