Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dr. Fleming makes some observations about the Montessori Method

Here:
[W]e all fail to educate our children. I am deeply suspicious of all modern methods, because child-rearing is by its very nature an attempt to inculcate in our children the best qualities of their ancestors or at least of the people our ancestors looked up to. I have visited one Montessori school, discussed it with parents, and met graduates. While I admire the commitment to discipline, I have failed to discover other virtues. As for child-centered education, the very phrase is a betrayal of the obligations of parents and teachers. The Charlotte Mason method seems to me to have very little to do with education. I don’t know who William Michael is, but in looking him up on his own website, he has rather little formal training in classics–an undergraduate degree in classics and history–but his group seems to be making something of a cult figure of him. That alone could be quite dangerous. While I admire Dorothy Sayers as a fiction writers, some of her ideas are foolish, such as teaching Medieval Latin because it is easier, more Catholic, etc. I recently met a Latin teacher who insisted that only a “living” language approach would teach real Latin but the more he enthused, the more he revealed his own ignorance and incapacity. These are sad times, but we must do the best we can. I do wish some of the classical gurus would take the trouble to learn their Latin before writing textbooks.

and here:

I am in no position to evaluate the success of Montessori’s methods in math but it seems too much like playtime for my taste. Yes, children learn a great deal by playing, but I am not at all sure that it is a good thing for adults to participate in and supervise their play. Writers as opposed as Walter Scott and Hegel both strongly objected to the child-centered methods being introduced in the early 19th century. One thing to ask any teacher or principal is: “What is your goal, namely, what ideal of human mind and character do you have in mind as you are teaching.” If the answer is something like what I have often heard, “Ours is a child-centered curriculum that permits each child to develop into whatever human being he wishes to become,” then you can say, “I may as well save my money and let him play at home.” Here is a plain truth about math: Very few people ever use any math beyond what used to be the sixth grade level. I used to pose little practical questions to teachers, which required them to set up the most minimal equation, for example, if one and a half pounds of butter costs $3, what does a pound cost? Only math and science teachers could answer, typically, and only math and science teachers could remember how to divide fractions. Supposing the only purpose today in studying math is to pass the SAT math section, then Montessori or other private schools would have to be able to demonstrate a greater success with children of similar IQ levels in other schools. If they cannot do that–as they usually cannot–then they are asking you to take things on faith. I strongly believe in math instruction, along with Latin, geography, history, and English composition, but what we know is that in all these areas, American students are generally inferior to students in Europe and the advanced parts of Asia.
The Montessori Method may serve young children well, but what of those who are 7 or 8 or older? This FAQ has some more information, but I really should read Maria Montessori's book. Perhaps someone who has more experience with Montessori can respond to Dr. Fleming's concerns. Here are some common misconceptions.

Some have claimed that the Montessori method is effective for religious education/catechesis, and for acquainting children with the liturgy.

I think the advantages of the Montessori method may be the following:
(1) It permits children to build up phantasms and thus improves their understanding of reality.
(2) It uses children's inclinations to the virtues (and their spontaneous attraction to the various goods) to facilitate their acquisition of practical and social skills.

For English, does the Montessori method makes use of phonics or does it has its own way of teaching children how to read (and spell)?

The skills of reading and writing are not the same as the arts--can the Montessori method be effectively instruct students in the arts like grammar, rhetoric, and logic, or additional languages like Greek and Latin? Do Montessori proponents claim that these habits can be acquired by children on their own? What is the role of the teacher with respect to the arts and languages? And what of the study of history or of scientiae? What does the Montessori method do with children who have no interest in reading classic texts?

Because language is dependent upon convention, language and the arts cannot be deduced from principles. The nature of language and its intrinsic tie to tradition dictate the need for a teacher. It might be possible that they can be studied in systematic fashion, with students learning rules that help them see the reasons. But with respect to rhetoric and style -- Dr. Fleming would argue that students should be learning from the best models of their tradition.

The acquisition of scientiae requires proper phantasms, but it also requires the development of logic. According to NAMTA, "Unlike the other Montessori age levels, there is at present no international consensus defining Montessori secondary education." I also found this: MONTESSORI FOR AGES TWELVE TO EIGHTEEN: Montessori Philosophy and Practice for the Middle School & High School Years. I'll have to locate a copy of Sra. Montessori's From Childhood to Adolescence -- apparently she discuses university education in this book as well.

While Maria Montessori was Catholic, do Americans using the Montessori method end up being secular humanists with respect to moral instruction? I believe Montessori's own humanism was informed by her Catholic faith. I think it is fair to say that Montessori believed that all should received a proper moral education. (And she seems to be a bit of an agrarian as well.) But does she concede that differences in formation are grounded in differences in innate abilities? How egalitarian are her beliefs regarding education and social/political roles?

Having some interest in primary education in the past, I'd like to look into the Montessori method before becoming a primary school teacher, if possible. Using bad methods instruction may not cause long-lasting harm to a child's intellect, but it may cause frustration on the part of the student and the teacher which can have consequences on the student's moral and intellectual development.


The Rockford Institute website has been revitalized, and Dr. Fleming will be devoting more time to the Autodidact blog. Some posts of interest to me: The Real American Classics and Political Liberty and the Classical Tradition.



Related:
Montessori
The Montessori Foundation
Montessori Training
Association Montessori Internationale (alt)

Started on May 11.
First Image Icons
Obispo de Concepción ante casos de pedofilia: Hay que reformar lo dañado (From a comment to this post at Life after RC: Minor News Flash)

Lee So Yeon





She's currently starring in Dong Yi (동이).



Han Cinema
Peak Oil: The End -- An Interview with Matt Simmons (via FTW)

Jay: Thank you so much for coming on our show. I really appreciate it. The term “peak oil” is a very common term among investors these days, thanks in no small part to your work and your book Twilight in the Desert, but just to make sure that everyone listening to the show understands, exactly what you mean by peak oil. Can you define the term?

Matt: Sure. It’s a term that gets widely misunderstood, thinking that the peak oil people said, “we are about to run out of oil,” and we will never run out of oil. What we are running out of is high quality oil that flows easily out of the ground. What we have already passed is a peak sustainable crude oil flow, and that happened five years ago, and we are now going to get further and further behind. So the idea of actually catching back up is becoming pretty remote.

Jay: So that was five years ago, about the time you published the book Twilight in the Desert.

Matt: Yes, just purely by happenstance.

Jay: You noted then that your major concern was, there was a great deal of complacency at the time about the lack of ability to continue producing more and more oil to meet the world’s growing demands, and specifically you thought there was too much faith put in the ability of Saudi Arabia to produce oil. You still feel that way?

Matt: Yeah. Actually not just Saudi Arabia, it was in the Middle East. We somehow created an illusion that the Middle East was a giant sea of oil laying into the sand that was almost inexpensive to produce, it would last forever. And there was never any basis for that; no one ever went back and actually dug into the data and said there is only handful of fields that were ever found, and they are all old.

Jay: Well you did do some digging in the data I think –

Matt: I spent so much time between the spring of 2003 and up till a month before the book came out, I’ve never done so much research in my life.

Jay: Well your source, I think, largely was the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ technical papers that were written by the people who would know those projects the best.

Matt: Right.

Jay: Okay. So, about that time, if I am correct about this, Saudis were producing about 10 million barrels of oil a day. I seem to recall you saying somewhere that they were projecting 50 million barrels day and then they cut it back to about 12, 12.5 million barrels a day. Have they been able to reach that level of production? Are the Saudis putting out anything like that now as far as you know?

Matt: Well, it depends on who you listen to. If you listen to the pronouncements from the Saudi Petroleum Ministry, they have the ability today to produce about 12.5 million barrels a day. If you listen to some of the insiders, they sound like they are struggling to stay close to 8.

Jay: Wow.

Matt: In my opinion, this is first time we ever had no spare capacity.

Jay: So, we had of course a very dramatic drop in the oil price after the Lehman Brothers collapsed in September/October 2008—from $147 of a high to $40 or something.

Matt: 31 and change

Jay: Wow. That would have been, in retrospect, quite a buying opportunity.

Matt: Yeah.

Jay: So, we are back up at what, $70 or $80 now.

Matt: I think 85-86.

Jay: Okay. To my way of thinking, it’s very difficult to say where the price of oil or any commodity is going to in the future because, quite frankly, we have a measuring stick that isn’t very dependable. [I mean] the U.S. dollar. For example, we are creating enormous amounts of money out of thin air to finance all manner of bailouts and government expenditures for one thing or another, so where do you think the price of oil can go?

Matt: Well, first of all we have really basically done away with easy projects, so all of our future projects are going to be very expensive. We have an industry that basically has an asset base largely beyond its original design life, it needs to be rebuilt. If we rebuild 60% of the oil and gas infrastructure globally, it would probably cost at least $100 trillion. So prices need to go way up, where we just won’t get anything done. I am not sure we are working with the people to do that.

Jay: You mean the technicians who know how to do that?

Matt: Yeah, about two-thirds. There are too many studies, way overdue, that are now finally being done that show in the next five to seven years about two-thirds of the energy workforce will retire.

Jay: Okay. You don’t see a pool of new talent coming into the market?

Matt: No, no. We just barely got started when we had our financial collapse, and then all the new pool got fired.

The collapse turned out to be a really cruel hoax of thinking that we’d solved our oil problems and that it’s amazing how fast we bounced back. The problem is we are bouncing back too fast, and we can’t supply it.

Jay: Well, the demand side for oil of course is coming from the Far East—China, India. In India, where we have large numbers of people who for the first time in their lives are starting to enjoy what we have taken for granted here in the West: sort of middle-class comforts, people going from bicycles to cars or from walking to motorbikes, whatever, and this is of course a massive new growth in demand.

The Chinese are very active in various parts of the world—in Africa and places like that—but let’s talk a little bit more about the declining production. I mean, you paid a lot of attention to data from Saudi Arabia; what about Iran?

Matt: Iran’s fields are even older than Saudi Arabia’s and really in a mess. There is a new theory that somehow Iraq is going to come to the forefront and I read analysts’ forecasts that within five or six years Iraq will be producing 16 million barrels a day. Realistically, they will be very lucky to produce what they are doing today because their field is too old.

Jay: What is their current production about?

Matt: It’s about 1.8. We don’t have anything on the horizon that really basically works and we have demand now that you can’t stop. So demand has become a runaway train.

Jay: So staying on the supply side of the ledger, we have a declining level of production, a very rapid decline in Mexico from what I understand, and have a decline in Iran.

Are you saying that these declines are natural and it wouldn’t matter whether we had technical talent or not, they are in decline no matter what? Or would some technical expertise make some difference? Would it help someone?

Matt: Oh! Yeah. What you are really talking about is mitigating the extent of the collapse as opposed to turning an older oil field back into a young field. What also has happened is we’re really quickly running out of light sweet crude, essentially.

Most of those great crude streams have basically disappeared and what we are doing is substituting a steady rise in crude grades that are heavier and sourer, more metallic, and they are just very hard to be refined into finished products, and they’re energy intensive and extremely water intensive.

Jay: And in terms of the refining capability, I guess that’s another issue.

Matt: Refining capabilities in the United States are almost 85 years old and enormously expensive to build if you can even get permitting to build them.

Jay: So what are we going to do?

Matt: Well, that’s a problem. We have a water scarcity and we have a 10 million barrel fossil fuel scarcity, particularly in the form of transportation energy. And then there is an unbelievably interesting and almost totally ignored interdependence between the amount of water it takes to create modern energy, and the role of energy in creating water. It turns out the average gallon of motor gasoline in the world requires about three gallons of water at the refinery; in the cooling towers, 40% of America’s fresh water is used for power generation.

Jay: Is that right?

Matt: Yes. So, shortage of water.

Jay: Another big problem looming over the horizon.

Matt: The problem is already here; one we have ignored far more than peak oil is the interrelation between the two. Most of our remaining usable water comes from Aquifers , so it takes a pump to get it out of the ground. So if you don’t have energy, you can’t get the water out.
Peter Hitchens, Time for a Tory split and He agrees with Nick... the trouble is Dave disagrees with himself.
NLM, The Future Liturgy of an Anglican Ordinariate: Why not Sarum?

I don't think it will happen, but people can dream...
John Guzzardi, Has Steve Poizner Put Immigration In Play (AT LONG LAST!) In California?

I had doubts about Meg Whitman's qualifications. Then I read this from the article:

Making Whitman’s candidacy more inexplicable is that for most of her adult life, she never bothered to vote
Has she given a principled defense for not voting? I don't think it was because she couldn't in good conscience support the mainstream candidates from both parties. Out of the two, I was already favoring Poizner. But now I think Whitman is someone who is blinded to her own deficiencies by political ambitions. She is undoubtedly as much a feminist as Sarah Palin, if not more.

I may still vote third-party when November comes. I doubt Jerry Brown, despite his green and "populist" bona fides, will be able to persuade me that he should be governor again.

More from Mr. Poizner:






This isn't to be construed as an endorsement of Poizner, even if I think he's better than Whitman.
Having read this post at VFR, I did some more searching. Wikipedia porn row leads to Jimmy Wales giving up editing privileges and Wikipedia president Jimmy Wales cedes editorial control over porn scandal. I know some over at LRC extol Wikipedia because, in principle, everyone can access and write and edit, and it is a free source of online information. But anyone who pays attention to reality knows that not all are qualified to be experts on certain topics. Is Wikipedia useful? I won't deny that. But it is also prone to misinformation, if there are enough who are committed to pushing forth their own point of view. (For example, the entries on paleoconservatives and paleoconservatism have been contested for quite some time.) It seems that Mr. Wales is an egalitarian/liberal who cannot draw any lines because he desires above all to be a consistent liberal. (As a successor to those Enlightenment supporters of the encylopedia project, Mr. Wales has taken liberalism one step further? At least the Enlightenment philosophes recognized that only experts in the fields should contribute.)

The alternative to a Christian environmentalism

Eight principles of uncivilisation
by Paul Kingsnorth and Dougald Hine

(original)

1. We live in a time of social, economic and ecological unravelling. All around us are signs that our whole way of living is already passing into history. We will face this reality honestly and learn how to live with it.

2. We reject the faith which holds that the converging crises of our times can be reduced to a set of‘problems’ in need of technological or political ‘solutions’.

3. We believe that the roots of these crises lie in the stories we have been telling ourselves. We intend to challenge the stories which underpin our civilisation: the myth of progress, the myth of human centrality, and the myth of our separation from ‘nature’. These myths are more dangerous for the fact that we have forgotten they are myths.

4. We will reassert the role of story-telling as more than mere entertainment. It is through stories that we weave reality.

5. Humans are not the point and purpose of the planet. Our art will begin with the attempt to step outside the human bubble. By careful attention, we will reengage with the non-human world.

6. We will celebrate writing and art which is grounded in a sense of place and of time. Our literature has been dominated for too long by those who inhabit the cosmopolitan citadels.

7. We will not lose ourselves in the elaboration of theories or ideologies. Our words will be elemental. We write with dirt under our fingernails.

8. The end of the world as we know it is not the end of the world full stop. Together, we will find the hope beyond hope, the paths which lead to the unknown world ahead of us.

More Portuguese polyphony

Duarte Lobo: Audivi Vocem De Caelo


Manuel Cardoso: Magnificat Secuni Toni (2)


Manuel Cardoso: Lamentatio


Westminster Cathedral Choir - Ave Maria


Duarte Lobo: Pater Peccavi


Pedro de Escobar: Clamabat autem mulier Cananea

Friday, May 14, 2010

Travis Haley on Handgun Grip

Food Revolution in San Jose?

Last month at one of the schools in SJ I noticed the cafeteria was serving 2 grilled(?) drumsticks as one of its options. Was this a change brought through the influence of Jamie Oliver? Or was the school/district already planning a change? (I haven't seen anything similar at the other schools in the district.) The drumsticks looked better than the normal food that the students received...
Rod Dreher: Cardinal Sodano should walk the plank

Plus, Zenit: Canon Law Regarding Abuse by Clergy Explained [2010-05-14]
US Bishops Offer Media Seminar

Questions and Answers Regarding the Canonical Process for the Resolution of Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests and Deacons (pdf)
Michael Pollan: Forget Nutrition Charts, Eat What Grandma Said Is Good for You

Weekend Counterpunch

Mike Whitney, Why Rescue Bankers?

Gareth Porter, Afghanistan's Great Divide

Life After RC: The "Legion goggles"
The Western Confucian has a follow-up to a story I posted last week: Archbishop Joseph Ngô Quang Kiệt Speaks.

Some photos from Cannes 2009

Just came across these today... there are several Korean films being showed for the festival this year; I hope I'll be able to post some photos shortly.

South-Korean director Chan-Wook Park (R), Kim Ok-Vin (2ndR), Kim Hae-Sook (C), Song Kang-Ho (2ndL), Shin Ha-Kyun (R) pose during the photocall of their movie Bak-Jwi (Thirst) in competition at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2009. (Getty/Daylife)





South-Korean actress Kim Ok-Vin poses during the photocall of the movie Bak-Jwi (Thirst) directed by South-Korean Chan-Wook Park, in competition at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2009. (Getty/Daylife)

South-Korean actresses Kim Ok-Vin (L) and Kim Hae-Sook pose during the photocall of the movie Bak-Jwi (Thirst) directed by South-Korean Chan-Wook Park, in competition at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2009. (Getty/Daylife)


South-Korean actors Song Kang-Ho (R) and Shin Ha-Kyun pose during the photocall of the movie Bak-Jwi (Thirst) directed by South-Korean Chan-Wook Park, in competition at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2009. (Getty/Daylife)

Director Park Chan-Wook poses during a photocall for the film "Bak-Jwi" at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 15, 2009. Twenty films are competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or which will be awarded on May 24. (Reuters/Daylife)

Cast members (L to R) Ha-Kyun, Hae-Sook Kim, Ok-Bin Kim and Kang-Ho Song pose during a photocall for the film "Bak-Jwi" by director Park Chan-Wook at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival

South-Korean actor Song Kang-Ho poses during the photocall of the movie Bak-Jwi (Thirst) directed by South-Korean Chan-Wook Park, in competition at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2009. (Getty/Daylife)



Cast members Hae-Sook Kim (L) and Ok-Vin Kim pose during a photocall for the film "Bak-Jwi" by director Park Chan-Wook at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 15, 2009. Twenty films are competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or which will be awarded on May 24. (Reuters/Daylife)


Cast member Ok-Vin Kim poses during a photocall for the film "Bak-Jwi" by director Park Chan-Wook at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 15, 2009. Twenty films are competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or which will be awarded on May 24. (Reuters/Daylife)

Cast member Ok-Vin Kim attends a news conference for the film "Bak-Jwi" by director Park Chan-Wook at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 15, 2009. Twenty films are competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or which will be awarded on May 24. (Reuters/Daylife)

South-Korean director Chan-Wook Park (2ndL), Kim Ok-Vin (3rdR), Kim Hae-Sook (C), Song Kang-Ho (2ndL) and Shin Ha-Kyun (L) arrive for the screening of their movie Bak-Jwi (Thirst) in competition at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 2009. (Getty/Daylife)

Director Park Chan-wook (2nd R) arrives with cast members Kim Hae-sook (3rd R), Shin Ha-kyun, Kim Ok-vin (3rd L), and Song Kang-ho (2nd L) for the screening of their film "Bak-Jwi" at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 15, 2009. Twenty films are competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or which will be awarded on May 24. The man on the left is unidentified. (Reuters/Daylife)

Director Park Chan-wook (2nd R) arrives with cast members Kim Hae-sook (C), Shin Ha-kyun (R), Kim Ok-vin (2nd L), and Song Kang-ho for the screening of their film "Bak-Jwi" at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 15, 2009. Twenty films are competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or which will be awarded on May 24. (Reuters/Daylife)

Director Park Chan-wook (2nd L) arrives with cast members (R to L) Kim Ok-Vin, Song Kang-ho, Kim Hae-sook, and Shin Ha-kyun for the screening of their film "Bak-Jwi" at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 15, 2009. Twenty films are competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or which will be awarded on May 24. (Reuters/Daylife)

Cast member Kim Hae-sook arrives for the screening of the film "Bak-Jwi" by Director Park Chan-wook at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 15, 2009. Twenty films are competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or which will be awarded on May 24. (Reuters/Daylife)
May 15, 2009. Twenty films are competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or which will be awarded on May 24. (Reuters/Daylife)
Zenit: Papal Homily at Mass in Porto
"It Is Jesus Whom Everyone Awaits"
Thomas Fleming, Vergil’s Aeneid: Preliminaries
Asia Times: Macau's Ho bubbles ahead with Oceanus
From its evocative architecture to knockout location, the latest casino from market leader Sociedad de Jogos de Macau shows that 88-year-old managing director Stanley Ho and company remain unsinkable in their home waters. - Muhammad Cohen (May 13, '10)


New casino "Oceanus" with the shape like China's National Aquatics Center, known as the Water Cube, in Macau Friday, Dec. 18, 2009. Macau celebrates the 10th anniversary of the handover to China from Portugal, which falls on Dec. 20. (AP/Daylife)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Alasdair MacIntyre has a couple of essays (republished in the collection Ethics and Politics) that explain how Renaissance Aristotelians, in their misinterpretation of Aristotle, caused academic moral philosophers to be discredited. Does he give conclusive evidence for his historical thesis? I don't think so, but it is some sort of evidence nonetheless.
Yesterday was the first time I subbed for daycare for a particular district. B______ Children Center. It wasn't really anything like pre-K for the other district, at least not 15 years ago. Perhaps CDC is more like daycare now. Or I should say, the "temporary orphanage." Which is what it reminded me of, when the children were all lying down for nap time, on their mats, covered by sheets and blankets supplied by home. Those who were working there seemed nice enough, but how can a childcare "provider" take the place of a parent? Some of the children had some behavior problems -- kicking others, and so on.

I don't know what is required for parents to be able to "enroll" their children at district-provided daycare, if the children have to come from "high-risk" families, or if the family has to be "low-income." As far as I know, it is free, but I could be wrong. I can understand why those families that need to have two parents working out of the home need childcare. I can understand why single parents need child care, though maybe they should feel a bit more guilt and shame over bad life choices. But daycare conditions, while they may conform to state regulations, are still less than ideal for the healthy development of a child. Someone who is paid to take care of a child cannot offer that care in the same way as someone who loves the child and has genuine affection. (And then there is the question of numbers -- one provider must divide his attention among many children.) One of the boys was telling me yesterday that he was mad with his mom and hates her; I couldn't elicit the reason for his feelings from him.

While I was taking my lunch break today, some middle schoolers walked by with their teachers. I couldn't help but have a visceral reaction to them, since they dressed in accordance with ghetto fashion, and some gave a gang-banger vibe, even though they weren't wearing gang colors. My first reaction was that of disdain -- if they were "well-behaved" my reaction would be different, but they were rather surly and using profanity. I couldn't see myself living in community with these children and their parents. Even if there be charity, how could someone with a family be commanded to live with them, or just have a service-oriented career among them?

Then I thought about it... would these children have more respect for themselves and others if they had more control over their lives and environment? If they were learning in accordance with a different curriculum? Maybe the politicians can't do anything but maintain the welfare state, since it's not "practical" to restore true economic freedom to people. But that's to acquiesce in the decay that the welfare state inevitably brings as the citizens become degraded. Have these children gone to the local community garden/farm? Would producing their own food bring about a restoration of authentic self-esteem and bring about better behavior?

I watched the first episode of the current season of Friday Night Lights yesterday. I don't watch it for the drama of the high school students, though now that Tim Riggins has left college and is ostensibly no longer with Lyla, will he hook up with the daughter of his one-night stand? No, I watch it for Coach Eric Taylor.

Now that he's the coach of the restored East Dillon football team, will he be able to lead the underdogs to victory over West Dillon? I've written elsewhere that I don't like how the writers portray his family life and his place within the family, but there is little on television that rivals the depiction of a male authority figure when he is on the football field.

Some may think that a woman can fulfill the same role as a man with respect to coaching football, but they're wrong. Biological fathers aren't the only ones who are called to account for giving a positive masculine role model to young males and mentoring them, and we would be wrong to compartmentalize the tasks of education in this way by claiming that coaching or teaching is ideally gender-neutral. (As for men coaching girls' and womens' teams -- we aren't talking about recreation but competitive sports. Which sex is more inclined to competition?)



(source)
Madison Burge plays a student at East Dillon, and possibly Tim Riggins's new love interest.

Alas, her character talks so casually about her cougar-mom sleeping with so many men. Defense mechanism?

Madison Burge: American Actress

Westminster Cathedral Choir - Portuguese Polyphony

Photos: Benedict XVI in Fatima


Pope Benedict XVI waves to the crowd in his popemobile upon arrival to celebrate a mass at the Fatima's Sanctuary in Fatima on May 13, 2010. Pope Benedict XVI began a giant outdoor mass in the Portuguese shrine of Fatima Thursday before hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the world. The sanctuary's huge esplanade was full to overflowing and Church organisers said half a million people attended the mass, a greater number than joined his predecessor John Paul II here in 2000, illustrating Benedict's pulling power even as he battles a paedophile priest crisis. (Getty/Daylife)

Pope Benedict XVI (C) gestures as he celebrates a mass at the Fatima's Sanctuary in Fatima on May 13, 2010. Pope Benedict XVI began a giant outdoor mass in the Portuguese shrine of Fatima Thursday before hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the world. The sanctuary's huge esplanade was full to overflowing and Church organisers said half a million people attended the mass, a greater number than joined his predecessor John Paul II here in 2000, illustrating Benedict's pulling power even as he battles a paedophile priest crisis. (Getty/Daylife)

Pope Benedict XVI (R) celebrates a mass at the Fatima's Sanctuary in Fatima on May 13, 2010. Pope Benedict XVI began a giant outdoor mass in the Portuguese shrine of Fatima Thursday before hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the world. The sanctuary's huge esplanade was full to overflowing and Church organisers said half a million people attended the mass, a greater number than joined his predecessor John Paul II here in 2000, illustrating Benedict's pulling power even as he battles a paedophile priest crisis. (Getty/Daylife)


[The above two captions are probably inaccurate.]

Pope Benedict XVI walks up steps during a mass at the Catholic shrine of Fatima in central Portugal May 13, 2010. Thousands of pilgrims made their way to the Fatima Shrine to attend a mass by Pope Benedict XVI to mark the 93rd anniversary celebrations of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917. (Reuters/Daylife)

Pope Benedict XVI arrives for a mass at the Catholic shrine of Fatima in central Portugal, May 13, 2010. Thousands of pilgrims made their way to the Fatima Shrine to attend a mass by Pope Benedict XVI to mark the 93rd anniversary celebrations of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917. (Reuters/Daylife)

Pope Benedict XVI (C) celebrates a mass at the Fatima's Sanctuary, in Fatima, on May 13, 2010. Pope Benedict XVI began a giant outdoor mass in the Portuguese shrine of Fatima Thursday before hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the world. The sanctuary's huge esplanade was full to overflowing and Church organisers said half a million people attended the mass, a greater number than joined his predecessor John Paul II here in 2000, illustrating Benedict's pulling power even as he battles a paedophile priest crisis. (Getty/Daylife)

Pope Benedict XVI greets the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima Antonio Marto (2nd L) during a mass at the Catholic shrine of Fatima in central Portugal, May 13, 2010. Thousands of pilgrims made their way to the Fatima Shrine to attend a mass by Pope Benedict XVI to mark the 93rd anniversary celebrations of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917. (Reuters/Daylife)

Pope Benedict XVI stands during a mass at the Catholic shrine of Fatima in central Portugal May 13, 2010. Thousands of pilgrims made their way to the Fatima Shrine to attend a mass by Pope Benedict XVI to mark the 93rd anniversary celebrations of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917. (Reuters/Daylife)

Pope Benedict XVI raises his hands as he celebrates a mass at the Catholic shrine of Fatima in central Portugal May 13, 2010. Thousands of pilgrims made their way to the Fatima Shrine to attend a mass by Pope Benedict XVI to mark the 93rd anniversary celebrations of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917. (Reuters/Daylife)

Pope Benedict XVI (C) celebrates a mass at the Fatima's Sanctuary in Fatima on May 13, 2010. Half a million pilgrims are attending a giant open-air mass with Pope Benedict XVI in Fatima, a greater number than joined his predecessor John Paul II here in 2000, a Church spokesman said. (Getty/Daylife)


Pope Benedict XVI greets Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva at the end of a mass at the Catholic shrine of Fatima in central Portugal, May 13, 2010. Thousands of pilgrims made their way to the Fatima Shrine to attend a mass by Pope Benedict XVI to mark the 93rd anniversary celebrations of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917. (Reuters/Daylife)


Pope Benedict XVI arrives to pray at the tomb of the shepherd children in the Basilica of Fatima at the end of a mass at the Catholic shrine of Fatima in central Portugal, May 13, 2010. Thousands of pilgrims made their way to the Fatima Shrine to attend a mass by Pope Benedict XVI to mark the 93rd anniversary celebrations of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917. (Reuters/Daylife)



Pope Benedict XVI l prays at the tomb of the shepherd children at the end of a mass at the Catholic shrine of Fatima in central Portugal, May 13, 2010. Thousands of pilgrims made their way to the Fatima Shrine to attend a mass by Pope Benedict XVI to mark the 93rd anniversary celebrations of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917. (Reuters/Daylife)

Presidency of the Portuguese Republic

Edit.
From Zenit:
Holy Father's Address at Fatima Shrine
Pope's Prayer at Apparition Chapel
Pope's Homily at Fatima Mass
Benedict XVI's Address to Bishops
Housing as a Human Right
By BILL QUIGLEY
"This is Above the Law"

Housing is a human right recognized by a number of international human rights laws. For example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted after the Second World War, promised “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood.”

That's a bit of a leap, from “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood.” to "Housing is a human right." I agree that people should have access to work and resources that enables them to support themselves. That they are owed housing is much different claim.

Mike Whitney, Capitalism Without Capital

Volatility is back and stocks have started zigzagging wildly again. This time the catalyst is Greece, but tomorrow it could be something else. The problem is there's too much leverage in the system, and that's generating uncertainty about the true condition of the economy. For a long time, leverage wasn't an issue, because there was enough liquidity to keep things bobbing along smoothly. But that changed when Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy and non-bank funding began to shut down. When the so-called "shadow banking" system crashed, liquidity dried up and the markets went into a nosedive. That's why Fed Chair Ben Bernanke stepped in and provided short-term loans to under-capitalized financial institutions. Bernanke's rescue operation revived the system, but it also transferred $1.7 trillion of illiquid assets and non-performing loans onto the Fed's balance sheet. So the problem really hasn't been fixed after all; the debts have just been moved from one balance sheet to another.

《葉問2》角色系列報導 - 葉問大弟子黃梁、洪拳掌門人洪震南

Bound to Fail
By FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY
The Inevitable Collapse of McChrystal's Afghan War Plan
Zenit: Pope's Prayer at Apparition Chapel
"I Consign the Golden Rose That I Have Brought From Rome"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Archdruid Report: After Money

The Archdruid Report: After Money
Something I Bet Hardly Anyone Else Knows
Gene Logsdon, OrganicToBe.org

Okay, so I sound like a megalomaniac. But I’m not bragging. The bit of knowledge I’m referring to is something very few people need to know which is why you probably don’t. But just in case you ever happen to start a new woodlot from scratch, the following experience might come in handy.

(original)
Reforming Seigniorage: the Key to a Sustainable Economy
Eric Zencey, History News Network

Chances are that unless you’re a total financial wonk, you’ve never heard the term “seigniorage.” But you should, because doing the right thing with it could help solve several major, interrelated problems.


(original)
Rod Dreher, Benedict: Sex abuse scandal is our fault and Diarmuid Martin, truth-teller and prophet
Oz Conservative: A lament for England

Hayley Westenra - 千の風になって (Sen no Kaze ni Natte)

ABC 7: Public sounds off over American flag shirt controversy

There is some video of last night's Morgan Hill Unified School District board meeting.
Pam Martens, The May 6 Stock Crash Revisited

"Over My 21 Years on Wall Street, I Never Saw Anything Remotely So Suspicious"
Robert George is popular writer among conservative Catholics, and I would recommend his writings on abortion and the natural law (though I think he is incorrect in his adoption of the new Natural Law Theory of John Finnis and Germain Grisez). But I have to say that as I accept the paleo understanding of the Constitution more and more, I am led to doubt whether Professor George, despite his academic credentials and scholarship, has an adequate grasp of what an originalist view of the Constitution entails. He writes in Conservatives and the Kagan nomination:

What is relevant is Kagan's understanding of the proper role of courts in our system of government under the Constitution. And that should be the focus of conservatives' concerns. If, indeed, Kagan believes it is legitimate for judges to read into the Constitution liberal (or, for that matter, conservative) views about abortion, sexuality and marriage, religion, speech, or anything else, then she should be opposed for that reason. In my judgment, a constitutionalist is someone who believes that the legitimate sources of constitutional meaning are the text of the Constitution, the logical presuppositions and implications of its provisions, its structure, and its publicly understood historical (or "original") meaning. A jurist who is willing to look beyond these sources of meaning in order to reach outcomes in line with his or her moral and political preferences undermines the Constitution by usurping authority it allocates to other actors in the system.
His post could come from any Republican -- concern about Kagan's possibly liberal views on social issues and the first amendment. But what of executive overreach (regardless of whether it is practiced and defended by a Democrat or a Republican)? No mention of that. What he writes about being a constitutionalist may look all right, but "publicly understood historical (or 'original') meaning" might be written with a restricted sense. As far as I know, Professor George has not written anything positive about states' rights or state sovereignty, nor has he said that the Constitution should be understood in accordance with those who ratified it.

American Principles Project: Robert P. George's Statement on the Nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court of the United States
Byzantine, Texas: On a Divine Liturgy in Shanghai

No iconostasis -- perhaps it was removed during the Communist persecution? Or maybe one had not been installed yet?
Peter Hitchens, What will real Conservatives do about this Torberal Government?

The reaction - immediately and in the long term - of properly conservative members and supporters of the Tory Party is the thing to watch. If they submit and allow themselves to be co-opted, then all immediate hope is gone and political and social conservatism is dead in this country. We can all go off and keep bees.
Fr. Edward McNamara on the question of Blue Liturgical Vestments.
Daniel Larison, Learning All The Wrong Lessons and The British Coalition Government and Conservative Reform.

Hoang Lan

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

NLM: Cardinal Caffara on the Priesthood and the Hermeneutic of Continuity
The Future Liturgy of an Anglican Ordinariate: Considerations by Bishop Peter Elliott (scribd)
Mirror of Justice: Cardinal DiNardo's Commencement Speech at St. Gregory's University

There's nothing wrong with the commencement speech. It's just an occasion for me to question the role of Catholic institutions in maintaining the status quo: a continued decline in the the quality of higher education, degree inflation, the blowing of a higher education bubble, unjustified student debt, and the infantilization of American youth? Who will answer for that? Even if we concede that some Catholic institutions do a better job of bringing their students to the intellectual virtues, what about the other effects of the system?
Peak Moment 168: Four acres and independence — a self-sufficient farmstead
by Yuba Gals Independent Media

(original: Peak Moment Television)



(mp3)
Please let laissez-faire go
Jeremy Fox, OpenEconomy

The prevailing neo-liberal ideology to which the UK is wedded rests on the idea of completely open borders to trade and capital flows. It is a dog-eat-dog world that places market competition as the prime motif of economic policy-making. Companies are free, even encouraged, to have their products made wherever it is cheapest to do so and to export them into the UK rather than have them manufactured locally.

(original)
The Thinking Housewife: An Affirmative Action Judge
Twitch: Is Tsui Hark Back On Form? The Trailer For DETECTIVE DEE Says Yes.



I don't know what Detective Dee's name is. Is there any connection with the fictional Judge Dee? After some seraching... Detective Dee is a fictional account of Di Renjie, upon who Judge Dee was loosely based.

30 Images from Tsui Hark's Detective Dee
Carina Lau

More on Judge Dee.
Judge Dee-A Homepage
Information on Di Renjie, Robert van Gulik, and Judge Dee
Rechter Tie / Robert van Gulik
Daniel Larison on Richard Goldstone. (Why attacks on Mr. Goldstone about being a judge in South Africa may backfire on those seeking to defend Israel.)
Gareth Porter, McChrystal's Afghan War Plan Unravels

Monday, May 10, 2010

I remembered receiving an appeal by Tom Monaghan for funds for Ave Maria University. I came across the letter tonight while cleaning. It is dated November 2, 2009. I thought he had admitted that Ave Maria was in dire need of funding, but I was wrong on this score. Here is the letter, slightly edited for the sake of brevity:

Dear Fellow Catholic,

My name is Tom Monaghan, and I am the founder of Domino's Pizza. Eleven years ago I sold Domino's in order to devote my time and assets to helping the Church.

Over these last eleven years, I have spent most of my time and money on advancing Catholic higher education through Ave Maria University, and I need your help to do it well.

During the last quarter-century, I have given to a lot of Catholic causes, and been asked to give to more than I can remember. Frequently, I have been criticized for both causes I have and haven't supported. I think the first such public example came in 1984 when I helped build the new Cathedral in Nicaragua. Some people said "Why put up a building, when there are poor people who need food?" So I then supported a mission in Central America that taught the youth how to farm to raise enough food for their families, and other people said "Why give them just food? You need to educate them so they can earn their keep." So I started a system of Catholic grade schools.

However, after building a number of schools, I realized that as worthwhile and important as this was, due to the expense of starting all these individual schools, I was going to run out of money faster than I had first thought. During this time, I realized that through Catholic higher education, we could train young men and women -- tomorrow's leaders, most importantly -- in the precepts of the Catholic Church, but also to be dynamic and successful contributors in our society and the Church. When this happens, people thrive, the society thrives, and the Church thrives.

Around the country, I've run into people who have said "Why should I give money to Ave Maria University, when you are giving so much?" I say, well when you're in Church, and someone puts a big check in the collection basket in front of you, do you put your money back in your pocket? Of course not. What they give has nothing to do with how your contribution can help the Church! That is the bottom line, and an important line.

[Some details about his spiritual life and some lessons about Christian spirituality, culminating in a paragraph on the importance of supporting the Church with our material reasources.]

In the late 80's and early 90's, I was approached by many Catholic causes asking me to support their efforts -- some I did and some I didn't. I wanted to be prudent with the resources at my disposal and I wanted them to have the greatest impact for the good of the Church. I learned that not everything that called itself "Catholic" was really Catholic. So I had to be discerning, as you do, in what I supported.

As I got more and more involved in Catholic causes, I developed what I thought was a fairly specific focus of what I thought was the most important work for me to do, because I knew I couldn't support everything that was good. Yet, I soon became convinced that I needed to get even more focused, and through this process I became convinced that investing in Catholic higher education would be the most efficient and effective way to train the next generation of Catholic leaders, both lay and clerical, who will carry on the vital work of the Church after you and I are gone.

So after various attempts and a lot of research and prayer, and I believe through the guidance of Mary, AMU is now in Ave Maria, Florida. In 2007 we moved into the permanent campus, and this year we have 640 students! I have been asking people coast-to-coast to donate so we can complete the Oratory, the classrooms, the dormitories -- we've come so far, but we're not done yet.

[My comment: His take on Ave Maria College? And other education debacles.]

Which brings us back to the surprise I sometimes get. People either say "You're 72, why don't you just retire and relax?" Or, they say "You have enough money, why don't you do it all yourself, why ask me for help?" Let me explain. First, I don't think God wants me to retire, and I feel driven to spend the balance of my time and effort not only in giving my resources to Ave Maria University, but also helping to raise funds from others like you, so that together we can make it possible for our graduates to go out into the world as Catholics who are well formed in the faith and academically equipped to be great in whatever they do -- as great Priests and religious, great pro-life doctors and lawyers, great teachers and great professionals of every kind. And great, great parents.

So, with the above said, I feel it is my responsibility to ask you, to implore you to join our efforts by praying, fasting, and making a gift today in support of Ave Maria University. It is easy for all of us to stand by and convince ourselves that someone else is going to do it, but I think we have to ask ourselves if this is something we are called to support in these different ways. We are attempting to build up the Church at Ave Maria by investing in the generations to come.

There is a saying, as the U.S. goes, so goes the world. As you know, the U.S. in this time and place is the superpower with the most possibility of spreading goodness to the most number of people around the globe. But it all begins here at home.

Perhaps some of your children have left the Faith. That is a tragedy. As Bishop Sheen said, very few reject the Church -- they reject what they think is the Church. And I would guess that their misimpressions were often through faulty religious education at some level. We need to change this. We must. By supporting Ave Maria University, we will have the troops needed to repopulate the high schools, grade schools, chancery offices, the Catholic hospitals, orphanages and other organizations with dedicated Catholics who are committed to the Church and committed to making a difference.

So as you see, Ave Maria University is more than just a school, and if you don't help, you'll never know how much good you could have been a part of. So really, in addition to whatever things you pray for or support, I know you won't regret it if you help us today with a gift of as much as you can to help form tomorrow's leaders in the great Catholic intellectual tradition of our Church.

[Here he makes an offer of a special gift for any donation sent by December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.]

Yes, we have made great progress in building Ave Maria University, but we need to make more progress now. Your gift today will help in several ways -- it will allow us to keep up the pace, it will show the broad base of support for Ave Maria which is so important to any national institution, and it will encourage others to support us too because they will see that they can be a part of a great awakening in our culture -- the new evangelization in our country that will so dramatically shape the future of the Church.

Please, I ask you to pray, fast and contribute today. You won't regret it. In fact, I have great hope that you and I will have an eternity to rejoice in the action we take today.


Evidence of... many things that are wrong with how American Catholics understand education, evangelization, and the political economy. And an egregious example of why modern mass marketing (including the use of biography), especially when applied to the things of God, cannot but sound insincere.

Celledoor Miscellany: The Evangelization of Matteo Ricci

Celledoor Miscellany: The Evangelization of Matteo Ricci

Sebastian Junger's book on the Korengal Valley


War. Harper Collins Canada. Junger is one of the creators of Restrepo. Review in the Miami Herald. Mr. Junger will be appearing in California this month. From the FB page for Restrepo:

Kepler's Books; West Menlo Park, CA
Sunday, May 23 from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm

Commonwealth Club; Historic Hoover Theatre; San Jose CA
Sunday, May 23 from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm

Will he be giving a talk for the Commonwealth Club?

Elsewhere in the Bay Area:

KPFA public event; First Congregational Church, Large Assembly Room; Berkeley CA
Monday, May 24 from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm

Commonwealth Club; San Francisco CA
Tuesday, May 25 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm


Sundance Film Festival Honors Sebastian Junger's ‘Restrepo’



One of his previous book, Fire.


Sebastian Junger Community
Afghanistan's Korengal Valley
US withdrawal from Korengal Valley a 'Taliban propaganda coup'
It is said that the taste of Romaine lettuce is mild, but today I really noticed the difference between produce purchased at a normal supermarket (in this case some local Chinese supermarket) and the organic romaine lettuce I bought at Whole Foods. The romaine lettuce I am eating for lunch has no taste! It doesn't even taste like a plant...

How can distributists get their message out?

John Médaille has claimed that now is an opportune time for distributism to make itself known to the public and to gather support for change.

John Michael Greer responds to a commentator: "I'm the one who keeps on suggesting that Distributists need to get their ideas out into the wider collective conversation of our time, and not just preach to the already converted!"

and
I'm not suggesting trying to publicize Distributism among the legions of get-rich-quick groupies! There are many thousands of people these days interested in alternative ways of thinking about economics, and the vast majority of them have never heard of Distributism -- for that matter, I had no idea there were still people promoting it until you mentioned it here a while back, and I'm pretty well informed on alternative ideas! If Distributists would put some energy into getting their ideas out into the alternative scene, I think you might find more interest than you expect.


Could distributism be transmitted through some sort of populist movement?



Practical Distributivism: The Just Wage vs. The Just Income
James Matthew Wilson, Personality, Conversion, and Being: On John Paul II’s “Fides et Ratio”

Christians have faith in God not chiefly as a first cause or unmoved mover, nor primarily as the ground of being in whom we move and who “moves” in us; while it is valid to name God as Goodness Itself, Beauty Itself, Truth Itself, and Being Itself, the Christian above all knows Him as Personality or Personhood Itself. He is a personal God not simply because he has a knowledge of individuals; that is, we call Him personal not merely as a means of contra-distinguishing Him from the mechanical Deist god of general rather than particular laws. But rather, because what He reveals about himself above all is His reality as the archetype, as it were, of Personality; as Three Persons in One Nature, the Trinity speaks to us of the intimacy of love, the philia between persons, as the fundamental principle of things. Love in this sense precedes being, and a person is one who loves another with a precision, complexity, and totality the full description of which it is beyond my ambitions here to provide. Our self-knowledge as persons is preceded by and modeled on the Persons of the Trinity; it is in this participation in the Divine Persons that our human dignity resides. While modern discourse often uses the terms “personal” and “subjective” to relegate something to the private sphere, to neutralize its authority or attenuate its reality, the Christian senses that it is precisely insofar as we are persons that we approximate to divinity. What is most personal is not most “private” but most real and most important. My “subjective” ideas possess a dignity, authority, and reality that makes the mere “objective” seem lifeless in comparison.

As such, God as the Person who gives of Himself without reducing Himself, and so makes things to be that had not been; Who loves what had not previously been there to be loved (and Who makes the “there” there–place–as itself lovable): He sets all things in being not of necessity but by grace, by the utter gratuity of caritas. This mystery of grace and creation, which Benedict XVI has elsewhere and powerfully described in terms of freedom, love, and reason, precedes everything–everything, that is, save God as Trinity, as a Perfect Community of Persons in One Nature. In the Trinity, grace and personality are perfectly one. As St. Thomas Aquinas underscored, this entails that God, as Personality Itself, is outside any species or genus: He is not a person like us, though we are persons insofar as we bear a likeness to Him. As such, there is no ground besides, outside of, or Before God on which to base our discussion of Him. There is no secular terrain on which the Christian God features like a mountain and another god or gods like rivers and forests, all of whom can be summed up, compared and contrasted, as so many individuals in a ginned up science of divine geography called Theology. Personhood and grace precede all things, because by grace things come to be, and by God as Person things are eternally known, loved, and given form.


Speaking of Personality as it relates to God irks me. Mr. Wilson identifies Personality with "Personhood" -- if this is the case than "Personhood" here cannot mean the same thing as the abstraction taken from "Person" as applied to the Three Divine Persons of the Most Holy Trinity. (Otherwise we would have the absurdity that God is both One Person and Three Persons.) How would a Thomist speak of the same thing? Is it the case that the Church Fathers spoke of the Divine actions, God's love of us and so on, or of the Three Divine Persons, rather than of abstractions pertaining to the Godhead?