Current renewable energy technologies must be adopted in conjunction with aggressive Smart Growth and Efficiency if we hope to continue our current standard of living and complex society with diminished reliance on fossil fuels. These strategies have the additional advantage that they can work without large technological breakthroughs.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Oatmeal is a healthful food and now there’s an easier way to grow and process your own. The problem has always been the hulls which grip the groats so tightly that getting them off is difficult.
I can't say that I like having oatmeal for breakfast...
Holy Father's Christmas Message
"God Still Kindles Fires in the Night of the World" [2009-12-25]
Benedict XVI's Address to University Students
"Helping Others to See the True Face of God Is the First Form of Love" [2009-12-25]
"This Child Is Totally Unique and His Coming a Transforming Moment"
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Benedict XVI's Christmas Vigil Homily
"God Is Important, by Far the Most Important Thing in Our Lives" [2009-12-24]
Papal Address to Saints Congregation
"Holiness Means Constantly Striving for a High Standard of Christian Living" [2009-12-24]
Pope's Christmas Greeting to Curia
"The Year Now Ending Was to a Great Extent Marked by Africa" [2009-12-24]
by Shaorong Huang and Wenshan Jia
The Washington Post: Obama lists financial rescue as 'most important thing' of his first year
"Overall, if you had a checklist of promises made, a lot of those promises have been kept," Obama said. "When those things are complete, and I think they will be, we will have achieved a fundamental shift in health care, energy, education and our financial regulatory system that will put this economy on a firmer footing to grow over the long term."
You cannot be serious.
The New Scot's uncle discouraged him from joining the military for a few of those reasons.
With this background in mind, consider please the argument made by Anne Friedman and ask yourself if too much water has now gone over the dam for us to correct the wrongs we have inflicted on the Afghan people, including, indirectly, afghan the women[sic].
When will the do-gooders in power just swallow their pride, shut up, and leave other people alone?
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico – Four suspected members of a cartel-aligned hit squad have been arrested in the slaying of the family of a Mexican marine hailed as a hero for dying in a raid that killed a top drug lord.
Tabasco state Attorney General Rafael Gonzalez said gunmen from the Zeta gang killed the mother, two siblings and an aunt of marine Melquisedet Angulo. He said four Zeta associates believed to have indirect roles in the attack had been detained, but the killers remained at large.
The slayings of Angulo's relatives early Tuesday just hours after his memorial service was widely viewed as a chilling warning from the Beltran Layva cartel that the families of soldiers and police could now suffer for the government's campaign against drug traffickers.
President Felipe Calderon called the attack on the marine's family "a cowardly act" and vowed to press forward with his war on the cartels involving more than 45,000 Mexican troops.
Angulo was the only marine who died in a Dec. 16 raid that set off a two-hour firefight that killed drug lord Arturo Beltran Leyva and six of his bodyguards.
The Zetas, former military elite-turned-hit men, have allied with the Beltran Leyva cartel in recent years.
Is there nothing to military discipline in Mexico that would prevent some former members from becoming so mercenary?
There is some discussion of Evangelion thrown in the comments. The post is for mature readers only -- some of the language used by the author and some of the commenters isn't suitable for polite company.
What, then, of the power of audiovisual art and books to inspire? Is the AV medium really that effective, in comparison to poetry and literature? Does it do more than reinforce attitudes? It would seem that the AV medium can be an effective means of conditioning certain viewer to have various attitudes and behaviors. But does the prevalence of anime and mange in Japan explain why some Japanese men are the way they are? Or does the author of the post overreach?
To be clear, if this were a private university or a religious college, I would find this obnoxious, but only that. But this is a public university. I would be appalled if the school tried to force future teachers to sign off on some right-wing cultural agenda as a condition of their education too.
Once again, Mr. Dreher is trying to appear to be the moderate good guy who avoids both extremes, and advocates a "neutral" learning atmosphere, where all source of controversy is excluded--namely morality and culture. What is the purpose of education? If it is merely to impart vocational education, why should the state be involved at all? If there is more to education than the acquisition of art or techne, namely, the acquisition of morals, than does the state not have the competence to determine that education? Putting aside the question of whether book learning is the right approach to moral formation, let us pose the question to Mr. Dreher: if the right-wing cultural agenda (which Rod Dreher is supposed to believe in) is the correct and true one, then why shouldn't it be imposed on teachers, who have a major influence on the raising of children? And if it cannot be imposed, then should not people who do not have the right character and beliefs be excluded by parents from having any sort of contact with their children?
Only a purely "technical" education can be moral-free, but it seems to me that teachers need more than the art of teaching and expertise in the skills they seek to impart. Teachers cannot but be a transmitter of some tradition or culture or values, given the amount of time they spend with children. To withhold such transmission is not only to starve children of the spiritual formation that they need, but to give them the impression that there is nothing deeper to human life.
Especially characteristic of your pastoral involvement is and remains your commitment to the "movements": the charismatic movement, Communion and Liberation and the Neocatechumenal Way have many reasons to be grateful to you. While in the beginning the organizers and planners in the Church had many reservations in regard to the movements, you immediately sensed the life that burst forth from them -- the power of the Holy Spirit that gives new paths and in unpredictable ways keeps the Church young.
You recognized the pentecostal character of these movements and you worked passionately so that they would be welcomed by the Church's pastors. Certainly, with respect to organization and planning, there were often good reasons to be scandalized as they brought new and unforeseen elements that could not always be integrated easily into the existing organizational structures.
You saw that what is organic is more important than what is organized; you saw that here were men who were deeply touched by the spirit of God and that in such a way there grew new forms of authentic Christian life and authentic ways of being Church. Of course, these movements needed to be ordered and brought within the totality; they needed to learn to recognize their limits and to become part of the communitarian reality of the Church in her proper constitution together with the Pope and the bishops. Thus they need a guide and purification to be able to reach the form of their true maturity.
They, nevertheless, are gifts to be grateful for. It is no longer possible to think of the life of the Church of our time without including these gifts of God within it.
I don't see anything here that would contradict the assertion that ecclesial movements are meant to be temporary solutions to fundamental problems plaguing the local Churches.
By Kari Lydersen, AlterNet (via Carolyn Baker)
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
It appears that the blame for Invictus cannot be mostly put on Morgan Freeman's shoulders:
Why Invictus? Why now?
I'm not an objective party. But the world needs this kind of story nowadays. It's just&everybody's so screwed up. Nobody knows where they're heading. It seems like our country's in kind of a morbid mood, because of the recession or whatever. I think our politicians could learn a lot from Mandela.
What do you think they could learn?
About racial relationships and such. It just seems like we're making a lot of mistakes on this whole calling everybody racist. Everybody's calling everybody morons and nuts. We're becoming more juvenile as a nation. The guys who won World War II and that whole generation have disappeared, and now we have a bunch of teenage twits. People 50 years old acting like that. In Gran Torino, I play a guy who's racially offensive. But he learned. It shows that you're never too old to learn and embrace people that you don't understand to begin with. It seems like nobody else got that message, I guess.
Mr. Eastwood accepts the American mythology surrounding World War II and the "Greatest Generation." Is that such a bad thing? If it blinds us to the truth about the war and American society in the 20th century. Without a grasp of what the more components of culture are, we are liable to think that peace and concord can be had solely through strength of effort alone.
Is there anything you'd sacrifice yourself for?
[long pause] I'm sure there is. But mine's more basic. It would be family. It comes down to the basic reason for the male being here, other than propagating, which is to defend and protect the family. [pause] But it would probably stay at that level. How far out the friendship chain it would go, I don't know. [laughs]
As for religion?
Do you still meditate?
Twice a day.
How does that work for you?
It works great. Because it just gives you a chance to gather your thoughts. I'm religious about it when I'm working.
I visualize whole sequences in the morning, before I go. I believe in whatever self-help you can give yourself, whether you believe in Buddha or whatever. I used to be much more of an agnostic. I'm not really a person of an organized religion. But I'm now much more tolerant of people who are religious, because I can see why they got there. I can sympathize.
So meditation with me was just a self-reliant thing. I've been doing it almost forty years. But I don't go out and sell it. A lot of other people find meaning some other way, screaming in the street or whatever it is that gets it for you. Or checking out the girls. [laughs] No, I'm past that. I'm living in my state of monogamy quite happily. I never thought I'd get there, but I did. It feels good. I like myself better than I did.
He returns to the topic of what it means to be a man:
One of your sons is in this new movie. How do you counsel your sons about manhood, being a man?
It's really difficult. You just try to give them local morals. You know, you let the woman go through the door first. Why? Because you're stronger, you're younger. It's your duty as a man. That's what you're here for, to take care of things. And nowadays I don't think men are taught that. It wasn't a macho thing; nobody felt they had to kick over the table and act tough to prove they were men. I'm fond of telling this story—I remember meeting Rocky Marciano. We shook hands. It was a real light handshake, like he was a concert pianist. I walked away and thought, Yeah, Rocky Marciano doesn't have to grab you. He knows he could kill you. He's a real guy.
So be strong and protect yourself, emotionally and physically. But don't—you don't have to take any crap from the world, but at the same time, you don't have to go looking for crap, either. Don't let the feminist revolution turn you into an anti. Women really do want your help, and that's why we're on the same planet, the same level.
Mark Stricherz, December 22, 2009
David Lapp, December 22, 2009
The "mass incidents" are caused by the growing difference between rich and poor, and abuse of power by government representatives. In the first 10 months of 2009 criminal cases increased by 15% compared to last year. The social concerns are a risk to the survival of the Communist Party.
Sacramento diocese launches TV ad campaign aimed at fallen away Catholics
It appears that good things continue to happen in the diocese of Sacramento; we will see what else Bishop Soto accomplishes. It is expected that Bishop Cordileone of Oakland will do much good as well, but who would want to move to Oakaland? Even nearby Berkeley isn't that appealing. In contrast, the Sacramento area looks more and more attractive, though I probably wouldn't move to the city itself, but to one of the towns closeby.
Catholics Come Home
Originally Scott wanted to do a revisionist movie about the Sheriff of Nottingham (who becomes Robin Hood?), but he decided to do a more "traditional" tale about Robin Hood instead. I was actually looking forward to a story that focused on the Sheriff, who decides he must pretend to be an outlaw in order to right injustices--though now that I think about it, it does sound too much like Zorro.
Anyway, I watched the UK trailer for Robin Hood -- it is better than the US one, but it also features a Cate Blanchett fighting and donning armor. Please don't tell me her character was inspired by St. Joan of Arc, who, according to Hilaire Belloc, never took up arms except to protect herself,
or that Ridley Scott is making up for what was lacking in Lord of the Rings. Give me the Audrey Hepburn Maid Marian any day.
At first I thought Robin Hood would not be as PC as Scott's Kingdom of Heaven; this bit of feminist fantasy is on par for Anglo-American movies today, and it's not entirely new to Ridley Scott. (Alien.) But if he was going to aim for realism, why put this in? (I believe the same claim of realism was made about Kingdom of Heaven as well.) In this respect, I suspect it is like the most recent BBC series (which is probably worse overall in catering to the PC orthodoxy of the BBC).
In both trailers Robin Hood makes the sign of the cross. Will Scott show a greater respect for the Catholic religion and its influence on the period than he did in Kingdom of Heaven? There's no mention of the Crusades, or Robin Hood going to the Holy Land with King Richard the Lionheart--instead the story begins towards the end of King Richard's reign. The French make an appearance as the enemy of the English, and Robin Hood's credentials as an English national hero are established.
The populism of Robin Hood does remind me a bit of Mel Gibson's Braveheart; does it refer to the republicanism of the Anglo-American political tradition (with its appeals to the Magna Carta?), or to the modern democratic spirit? Russell Crowe's speech-giving as Robin Hood is identical to his speech-giving Gladiator and Master and Commander. Not a good thing.
I will probably see the movie, but the experience will not be free from annoyances.
William Lind on cultural Marxism. (See also "Who stole our culture?.")
The Bishop repeated that the results of the first session are good, compared to the previous situation. The parties talked entirely freely and only about doctrinal issues in a Thomist theological framework.
It makes sense; but I hope the delegation for the SSPX is made up of better Thomists than some of the people who write books and for their websites.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Memory should be in the service of friendship and genuine community--we remember what others have done for us and what we owe, but also the joys (and sorrows) we experience with our friends. What is the object of nostalgia? Something that is tied to illusion or falsehood in some way, I would think. (If there is true nostalgia, for example, for the place where we grew up, then it seems to be the same as memory. But we are talking about nostalgia that is a distortion of memory.)
Splendid in its visuals, the movie suffers from what seemed like rushed story-telling. Also, if the viewer is not familiar with the Victorian period, he may not understand all of the political maneuverings taking place. The courtship between Albert and Victoria is touching -- the movie could have spent more time on illuminating the attraction Victoria felt towards him. What about Albert's motivations and interest?
The movie does have a positive portrayal of "old-fashioned courtship" and marriage. The deep abiding love between Victoria and Albert is rather touching, and in this regard the movie makes for a decent companion piece to Mrs. Brown (Masterpiece Theater). One would like an exploration of what made their marriage successful, something dealing with the intervening years between the settings of these two movies.
More stills at Yahoo!
I need to read more about the Tories and Whigs, the Court and Country Parties. The Whigs influential in forming the Anglo-American political tradition; but would contemporary Catholics in and out of England have been so supportive of their political philosophy?
It was the court for non-Jews in the temple of Jerusalem. Benedict XVI has used it as a symbol of the dialogue with those alienated from religion, to keep the search for God alive in them. The key passages from his Christmas speech to the Roman curia
In delineating a male spirituality, does Mr. Podles take it a bit too far. What he writes may resonate with the spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola, for example, but what of St. John of the Cross?
Former truck driver Bill Wilson tells an insightful story about the energy packed in a gallon of gas — which we won’t always have in cheap abundance. Now a permaculture educator, he sees permaculture as a viable, realistic way to use nature to provide the abundance we really need — harvesting sunlight, food, wind, water and more. Can you guess what the magic stuff is that we all can’t live without? (No, it’s not oil.)
In his classes, Bill not only passes on a bounty of practical, common sense ideas, he also inspires people to experience being alive on the planet, finding their connectedness with life, their passion and ways to make a world that works for everybody. (Midwestpermaculture.com).
If you want to know what to be really angry about, listen to ‘Judge’ John Reddihough, the insufferable political commissar who imprisoned Munir Hussain (pictured above with his brother Tokeer who was also jailed) – for doing what we would all like to do to the man who invaded his home and terrorised his family.
Mr Reddihough brayed, as he wielded the sword of injustice: ‘If persons were permitted to take the law into their own hands and inflict their own instant and violent punishment on an apprehended offender rather than letting justice take its course, then the rule of law and our system of criminal justice, which are the hallmarks of a civilised society, would collapse.’
So now acts of self-defense are morally equivalent to vigilante justice? There's no way I'd move to the UK (or most parts of Canada, for that matter).
Background info here. See also Legion of Christ discloses Fr. Maciel's plagiarism to its members and El plagio del salterio, un capítulo más de una vida de mentiras.
From 2006: Michael Ruppert, THE PARADIGM IS THE ENEMY: The State of the Peak Oil Movement at the Cusp of Collapse
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I confess I have never really understood the idea of “guesthood” and its converse, the ethnic “ownership” of a place. It is one thing to have a strong ethnic identity, a connexion with the cultural heritage and folkways of one’s forebears. The world has lost much ethnic diversity in its slide into cultural anæmia, and could benefit from a revival. I should never expect a Punjabi family in Somerset to “become” English; nor, for that matter, should I expect their English neighbours to think of them as “really” English when they probably do not. But that is quite different from calling them perpetual guests. In any practical civic sense, there should be no difference whether the English and Punjabi neighbours meet in Somerset or in Sangrur. After settlement, guesthood becomes a backhanded insult.
This might sound like postmodern multicultural claptrap of the sort that drives localists up the wall. But perhaps it is quite the opposite: perhaps I am not modern enough to appreciate a modern national identity. This view of diversity is pre-national as much as post-national. The wedding of territory and ethnicity as the nation-state is a relatively recent event. No one thought that time and space turned a Greek in the Ottoman Empire into a Turk. Likewise, today’s trends are severing anew the link between ethnicity, or religion, and territory. Even with a modest continuation of what we see now, these categories of belonging will become more rootless over the next two or three centuries. Sometimes this will mean hybridisation, other times merely movement. The world’s diasporas already give us a foretaste of what that looks like. Even a third of the humanity in such a transplanted or hybridised condition will make the global demographic unrecognisable by today’s standards. It will become hard to say that minaret-building Muslims in a Swiss village “own” that village any less than a neighbour whose forebears lived there for ten generations. And it becomes not just hard, but preposterous, to say that the Muslim villager should defer to someone three cantons away as an “insider” who defines “Swissness.”
How does this reemerging multiethnic tapestry square with the strong communities that we want to resurrect? We must, I think, drop a short-term nostalgia for the nation-state. But we also have to articulate an approach different from the false choices that both the liberal multiculturalists and the xenophobic sort of traditionalists would impose on us.
For one thing, the problem should be clear. When decent people bemoan social decay and then take a swipe at ethnic diversity, they are conflating two different trends. Unfortunately, the influx of outsiders into these societies has coincided with a breakdown of many of the small decencies. But that breakdown would have happened anyway, if the larger machine of liberal modernity had been bearing down with closed borders around it. Japan, which has remained notoriously insular, is a case in point.
In the texture of daily life, it is easier to see hundreds of African or Asian immigrants moving into a neighbourhood than to see the money-driven mobility or shifting morés of one’s own compatriots. The McDonalds opened on the village green is not usually owned by a Jamaican immigrant, even though he might take a job in it after the fact. It is hardly in the interest of the pro-market right to acknowledge as much.
The same conflation happens when traditionalists talk of cultural decay. A few years ago, a very elderly relative of mine remarked over dinner that Britain’s surge of immigration had “lowered standards.” A few minutes earlier, he had lamented the loss of high culture and that educated people today rarely read Cicero. Again, there are unfortunate but real correlations. Given what motivates cross-border migration, most of the influx is of two sorts. Either it is uprooted refugees from poverty, because global capitalism has not brought development of a humane sort to the countryside. Or it is a professional stratum pushing its way smoothly upward, disconnected from any tradition—including its own—and embracing of all the nice new-class orthodoxies. Neither group is likely to be seen as kindred spirits by anyone committed to an indigenous high culture.
I could understand where my relative was coming from in his disdain. When I asked him, he agreed in principle that the same decay was happening all over the world. But it was obviously an abstract point for him. This is because one of modernity’s less obvious ills is a loss of serious engagement across the great traditions. Ironically, Enoch Powell, whose 1968 speech made him the patron saint of British xenophobes, was a cultured and multilingual fellow. After studying classics at Cambridge, he learned twelve languages, including Hindi and Urdu. Likewise, one of the strongest voices against the minaret ban in Switzerland—and against the Danish cartoons mocking Muhammad a couple of years ago—was none other than the Catholic Church. We have at our disposal, if we can cultivate it, a cosmopolitan moral clarity quite different in flavour from the liberal sort that destroys traditions.
If we want to preserve the village green, we must acknowledge that strong communities have very little to do with the nature and origin of their membership. They have to do with an ethos of participation and stewardship. Shoring up that ethos requires measures radical but colourblind: policies favouring local cooperative enterprises, land trusts, sustainability, decentralisation of decisionmaking, and the like. A lived community arises from the texture of responsibilities, not from drawing lines around one or another place. Many of the people who draw boundaries spend far too little time worrying about how to craft pro-community policies within them.
But how these responsibilities are lived are defined by rules specific to that community;these rules define all areas of life, not just commerce and the acquisition, holding, and selling of property. Should someone be excluded from membership in a community merely on the basis of race or appearance or ethnic heritage? But what about self-exclusion, when someone refuses to adopt the mores (and language) of a new culture? Refusal to give membership (or citizenship) is the appropriate consequence of that individual's choice. And then there is the question of religion and cult. What can be done now, when the elites have already opened the borders to peoples of other religions? What can local populations do to preserve the religion of the community, which should have a public character?
Now I am comfortable being Asian in appearance. But it does not mean that various social obstacles no longer exist.
Would I want to blame white people for wanting to look at beautiful white people, and thereby projecting this as the standard for all of society? No. Should they seek to be more diverse in what they are attracted to? Those who are responsible for marketing a product or a image or fantasy may wish to draw in as wide a customer base as possible, and as a result there is a financial incentive to have diversity represented in advertising or in their visual product. Men are probably less picky than women when it comes to physical or sexual attraction -- of course race or ethnicity may be a factor when they are more rational and considering a marriage partner. Still, while having a diverse case may be beneficial to those who are making TVs and movies (this may be questionable at least with respect to TV shows -- do the various races in America share the same viewing preferences?), I can't impute racism to the customer who wishes to see only certain kinds of beauty.
The Métis Fiddler Quartet
Old Indian and Metis Fiddling in Manitba: Origins, Structure, and Questions of Syncretism
Traditional Metis Music And Dance
Gilbert Anderson, Northern Alberta Métis Fiddler
Musical Traditions: Award Winning Métis Fiddler John Arcand