Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Devil Knows Latin

ISI Books is having a sale--60% off its books. Sale ends March 31.

The Devil Knows Latin
Why America Needs the Classical Tradition

The Devil Knows Latin is a provocative and illuminating examination of contemporary American culture. Its range is broad and fascinating. Whether discussing the importance of Greek and Latin syntax to our society, examining current trends in literary theory, education, and politics, or applying a classical perspective to contemporary films, Christian Kopff (Professor of Classics at the University of Colorado) is at home and on the mark. He outlines the perils and possibilities for America in the coming decades with learning and verve—demonstrating that the highway to a creative and free future begins as a Roman road.

E. Christian Kopff, University of Colorado at Boulder

"A Tale of Two Administrators"
His review of Smiling Through the Cultural Catastrophe by Jeffrey Hart
Review of A War Like No Other by Victor Davis Hanson
Review of Men Among the Ruins: Post-War Reflections of a Radical Traditionalist by Julius Evola
Europe and America in Whit Stillman’s Barcelona

Society for Classical Learning

Classics still relevant to modern America
Classicist says ancient values shape founding of the United States

He recommends Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning, by Robert Littlejohn, Charles T. Evans

Introduction and Chapter 1

Crowd Culture

Bernard Iddings Bell, Crowd Culture: An Examination of the American Way of Life (the introduction and the first chapter)

It is truly unfortunate that, until now, the work of Canon Bernard Iddings Bell has been out of print for some time. For Bell's cultural criticism was an important impetus to the formation of the postwar traditionalist conservative synthesis, drawing the attention of Russell Kirk and others. In Crowd Culture, a remarkably prescient work originally published in 1952 (before the words "dumbing down" had ever been uttered), Bell excoriated the complacent and conformist egalitarian ethos that he believed was undermining American education, religion, and culture. In an age of stultifying homogenization, Bell's relevance has never seemed greater.

List of (some? all?) his books

History of Bard

Bernard Iddings Bell
Warden of the College 1919–1933

"No facts taught here are worth anything until students have assimilated them, correlated them, interpreted them. It is the student, not the bit of knowledge, that we are teaching."

Andrew Cusack's blog entry

ITV Austen Season preview trailer


Thanks to Austen Blog.

Update: QT version

Pray for a special Valentine, says Church

Late, but interesting nonetheless.

Pray for a special Valentine, says Church
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:20am GMT 11/02/2007

Forget speed-dating and lonely-hearts columns. The Roman Catholic Church has come up with a more reliable way of finding love on Valentine's Day: pray to St Raphael, the little-known patron saint of "happy meetings".

The Church, concerned by a 30 per cent drop in Catholic weddings in England and Wales in the past decade, is offering single people the chance to seek divine intervention by the saint, described as a "heavenly helper famed for his match-making prowess".

It has set up a website that includes tips for people trying to find "a good and virtuous spouse" and a prayer to St Raphael that has to be said for nine consecutive days from Wednesday.

While the spiritual match-making service is being offered to all singles, the Church is particularly hoping that the facility will aid Catholics who are finding it increasingly difficult to meet a spouse.

The number of Catholic weddings fell from 15,552 in 1996 to 10,953 in 2005.

advertisementAnn-Marie Lohan, 38, of south London is single and is planning to pray to St Raphael in the hope of finding love as she says it has become virtually impossible to find a Catholic husband.

"Women greatly outnumber the men in church," she said. "As patron saint of Catholic singles, St Raphael has certainly got his work cut out these days."

Praying to a saint might seem like a rather desperate course of action for those wondering where their next rose or box of chocolates is coming from, but the Catholic Church teaches that there is a strong link between the earthly and spiritual realms. They believe that saints can intercede on their behalf.

The Rt Rev Ambrose Griffiths, Bishop Emeritus of Hexham and Newcastle, acknowledged that people may be sceptical, but urged them to give St Raphael the benefit of the doubt.

"We are alerting people to a dimension of life that most people tend to overlook," he said. "We are not just physical beings, but we are spiritual as well."

However, Bishop Griffiths, who is also chairman of Catholic Youth Services, warned people against praying to St Raphael in search of sexual gratification.

"Prayer should not be used as a tool for people to find someone to jump into bed with. True love is much deeper than that."

Visitors to the site at are greeted by a virtual host, dressed in a pin-stripe suit, telling them to be optimistic in their search for love.

"Are you looking for a soulmate?" he asks.

"There are many reasons to be hopeful. Why not seek the help of a heavenly helper who is famed for his match-making prowess."

St Raphael is credited with helping a biblical marriage between Tobias and Sarah. Sarah's previous seven husbands had all died on their wedding night.

Neil Hughes, a 24-year-old physics graduate, has been single for a year and welcomes the Church's offer of help.

"It might sound like a crazy idea, but I believe that prayer is an important way of seeking guidance in life," he said.

"I'll be praying to St Raphael. It definitely beats trying to find your partner by getting drunk in a nightclub."

Lesley Pippett, the Catholic Church's "agony aunt", gives tips to singles that include appreciating that only a small part of a relationship is based on sex.

"Far more important is whether or not you have overall compatibility and accept each other without wanting to change one another," she says.

Prayer to St Raphael

"You were sent by God to guide young Tobias in choosing a good and virtuous spouse. Please help me in this important choice which will affect my whole future."

St Raphael is one of the three archangels, along with Gabriel and Michael. He appears only in the Book of Tobit in Roman Catholic bibles. He is known as the patron saint of "happy meetings"

In the Catholic Church, St Raphael's feast day is celebrated on Oct 24.

Schumacher College


I'm rather surprised that the website does not have more information about the man after whom it is presumably named, E.F. Schumacher.
He does show up in the links section, in the Schumacher Circle, but no biography, no links to his writings.

E.F. Schumacher Society, USA

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

Last night Pete Takeshi brought up in a conversation that he was reading about the causes of Roman decline. I bring it up because DNI
has a new post by Fabius Maximus, Forecast: the Death of the American Constitution.

I say empire not only because of recent imperial adventures abroad, but because of the size of the United States and the change in the nature of the Federal Government.

Here are some recently published books on the fall of the Roman Empire:

The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians
by Peter Heather (Faculty Page, Jesus College page, wiki)

The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization by Bryan Ward-Perkins (Faculty page, St. Hilda's College page, wiki)

Review of Heather by Dr. Fleming; gracchi blog post; a review of Heather and Ward-Perkins; another.

An older book that has been reprinted:
Fall of the Roman Empire by Michael Grant

Decadence, Rome and Romania, the Emperors Who Weren't, and Other Reflections on Roman History
Ancient Worlds Group, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
(Symposium with Dr. Ward-Perkins at Ancient Worlds)
BBC In Our Time discussion

Remake of Ballon Rouge

From KFCCinema...

Hou Hsia-hsien has filmed a remake of Ballon Rouge, starring Juliet Binoche. trailer

I remember seeing the original movie when I was in elementary school--I remember it being a sentimental movie for the audience, though I don't remember much of the movie itself, except the ending. (And now the ending tune is in my head...)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Harvest of Women, by Diana Washington Valdez

book's website

vdare blog entry on the book
CJR article
NPR : Explosive Theory on Killings of Juarez Women
'Rich Killers' Stalk City of Lost Girls

Pope Lists 2 Rules for Movements to Grow

Pope Lists 2 Rules for Movements to Grow

Respect Charisms, Remember That Church Is One

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 23, 2007 ( For ecclesial movements to flourish, new charisms and the unity of the Church must be respected, says Benedict XVI.

The Holy Father made this comment Thursday, the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, during a question-and-answer session with the Roman clergy in the Hall of Blessings.

Father Gerardo Raúl Carcar of the Schoenstatt Fathers, a native of Argentina working in a parish in Rome, asked the Holy Father how movements can work together with the hierarchy of the Church.

In his answer, Benedict XVI presented two rules for a successful relationship between the two. First, quoting St. Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, he said: "Do not extinguish charisms."

The Holy Father said: "If the Lord gives us new gifts we must give thanks.... And it is something beautiful that, without an initiative of the hierarchy ... new forms of life are born in the Church, as they were born in all the centuries."

"Movements have been born in all the centuries," the Pope said. "They integrate in the life of the Church, though at times there is no lack of sufferings and difficulties." As an example, he said that when the Franciscans and the Benedictines were founded, they were also new movements.

"Thus, also in our century, the Lord, the Holy Spirit, has given us new initiatives with new aspects of Christian life: On being lived by human persons with their limitations, they also create difficulties," the Holy Father added.

Born to serve

Commenting on the unity of the Church, the Pontiff said: "If the movements are really gifts of the Holy Spirit, they integrate and serve the Church, and in the patient dialogue between pastors and movements a fruitful form is born, in which these elements become edifying elements for the Church of today and tomorrow."

Benedict XVI continued: "This dialogue takes place at all levels. Beginning with the parish priest, the bishop, the Successor of Peter, the search takes place for the appropriate structures: In many cases, this search has already borne fruits. In other cases, it is still being studied."

The Holy Father gave as an example the process of approving the statutes of the Neocatechumenal Way: "It has been a long way, with many complications which are still occurring today, but we have found an ecclesial way which has much improved the relationship between the pastor and the Way. And so we go ahead!"

"The same is true for the other movements," he added.

On summarizing the two fundamental rules, the Pope suggested that both the movements and parish communities continue with "gratitude, patience, and acceptance of sufferings, which are inevitable."

Benedict XVI continued: "Also in a marriage there are sufferings and tensions. And yet, they continue, and thus true love matures. The same happens in the community of the Church: Together, let's have patience."

"Let us be obedient to the voice of the Spirit," the Pope added, "but let us also be clear when it comes to integrating these elements in life: This criterion serves, in the end, the concrete Church and in this way, with patience, courage and generosity, the Lord will guide and help us."

Papal Address to Delegates of Paris-based Academy

Papal Address to Delegates of Paris-based Academy

"Always Uphold the Truth About Man"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 23, 2007 ( Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered to the members of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of Paris, whom he received in audience Feb. 10.

* * *


Saturday, 10 February 2007

Mr Permanent Secretary,
Your Eminence,
Dear Academic Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

With pleasure, I welcome you today, members of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences. First, I thank Mr Michel Albert, Permanent Secretary, for the words with which he has expressed your delegation's sentiments, and also for the medal that recalls my entry as a Foreign Associate Member of your noble Institution.

The Academy of Moral and Political Sciences is a place of exchange and debate, which proposes reflections to help all citizens and legislators to "find the forms of political organization most favorable to the public good and to the development of the individual".

In fact, the reflections and actions of the Authorities and of the citizens must be centered on two elements: respect for each human being and the quest for the common good.

In today's world it is more than ever urgent to invite our contemporaries to a renewed attention to these two elements. In effect, the development of subjectivism, which makes each one tend to consider himself as the only point of reference and to hold that what he thinks has the character of truth, exhorts us to form consciences on fundamental values that cannot be mocked without putting man and society itself in danger, and upon the objective criteria of a decision that presupposes an act of reason.

As I emphasized during my Conference on The New Covenant held before your Academy in 1995, the human person is "constitutively a being in relationship", called to consider himself ever more responsible to his brothers and sisters in humanity.

The question asked by God from the very first text of Scripture must resound constantly in the heart of everyone: "What have you done [for]... your brother?".

The sense of fraternity and solidarity and the sense of the common good are founded on the vigilant respect of one's brethren and on the organization of society, granting a place to everyone so that they can live in dignity, have a roof and what is necessary for their own existence and for that of the family for which they are responsible.

It is in this spirit that one must understand the motion that you approved last October regarding the rights of man and freedom of expression, which are part of the fundamental rights, being careful never to mock the fundamental dignity of the person and of human groups and to respect their religious beliefs.

Allow me to recall to your attention the figure of Andreï Dimitrijevitch Sakharov, whom I succeeded in the Academy. This outstanding personality reminds us that it is necessary, in private and public life, to have the courage to say the truth and to follow it, to be free with respect to the surrounding world that often tends to impose its viewpoint and the behavior to adopt.

True freedom consists in proceeding along the way of truth according to one's vocation, knowing that each person must render an account of his own life to his Creator and Savior.

It is important that we know how to propose to youth a similar path, reminding them that true development is not at whatever cost, and inviting them not to be content to follow every trend presented to them. Hence, they will be able to discern with courage and tenacity the way of freedom and happiness, which presupposes fulfilling a certain number of requirements made with effort, sacrifice and the necessary renunciation so as to act well.

One of the challenges for our contemporaries, and in particular for youth, consists in not accepting to live merely in exteriority, in appearance, but in the development of the interior life, the unifying environment of being and acting, the place of recognizing our dignity as sons and daughters of God called to freedom, not separating ourselves from the font of life but remaining connected to it.

That gladdens man's heart is the recognition of being a son or daughter of God; it is a beautiful and good life under the gaze of God, as are also the victories obtained over evil and against deceit. By permitting each person to discover that life has a sense and that he or she is responsible for it, we open the way to a maturation of the person and to a reconciled humanity that seeks the common good.

The Russian intellectual Sakharov is an example of this; while his exterior freedom was obstructed during the Communist period, his interior freedom, which no one could touch, authorized him to speak out firmly in defense of his compatriots in the name of the common good.

It is important also today that man does not allow himself to be hampered by exterior chains such as relativism, the search for power and profit at any cost, drugs, disordered relationships, confusion in regard to matrimony and the non-recognition of the human person in all phases of his or her existence from conception to its natural end, which suggests that there can be periods when the human being would not really exist.

We must have the courage to remind our contemporaries what man is and what humanity is. I invite the civil Authorities and the people with a role in the transmission of values to always uphold the truth about man.

At the conclusion of our meeting, permit me to hope that through your works, the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, together with other institutions, can always help people to build a better life and to build up a society where it is beautiful to live as brothers and sisters. This is the wish, united to prayer, that I raise to the Lord for you, your families and all the members of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences.

[Translation of French original issued by the Holy See]

© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Fr. Cantalamessa on Evil

Father Cantalamessa on Evil

Pontifical Household Preacher Comments on Sunday's Readings

ROME, FEB. 23, 2007 ( Here is a translation of a commentary by the Pontifical Household preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, on the readings from this Sunday's liturgy.

* * *

He was tempted by the devil
First Sunday of Lent
Deuteronomy 26:4-10; Romans 10:8-13; Luke 4:1-13

The Gospel of Luke, which we read this year, was written, as he says in the introduction, so that the believing reader would be able to "know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed." This purpose is quite relevant today.

Faced as we are with attacks on the historical veracity of the Gospels from every quarter and with the continual manipulation of the figure of Christ, it is more important than ever that the Christian and the honest reader of the Gospel know the truth of the teachings and reports that the Gospel contains.

I have decided to use my commentaries on the Gospels from the beginning of Lent to the Sunday after Easter for this purpose. Taking each Sunday Gospel as our point of departure, we will consider different aspects of the person and the teaching of Christ to determine who Jesus truly is, whether he is a simple prophet and great man, or something more and different than these.

In other words, we will be doing some religious education. Such phenomena as Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code," with the imitators and discussions it has given rise to, have shown to us the alarming religious ignorance that reigns in our society. This ignorance provides ideal terrain for every sort of unscrupulous commercial venture.

Tomorrow's Gospel, for the first Sunday of Lent, treats of Jesus' temptation in the desert. Following the plan I have announced, I would like to begin from this Gospel and expand the discussion to focus on the general question of Jesus' attitude toward demonic forces and those people possessed by demons.

It is one of the most historically certain and undeniable facts that Jesus freed many people from the destructive power of Satan. We do not have the time here to refer to each of these episodes. We will limit ourselves to throwing light on two things: The first is the explanation that Jesus gave about his power over demons; the second is what this power tells us about Jesus and his person.

Faced with the clamorous liberation of one possessed person which Jesus had performed, his enemies, unable to deny the fact, say: "He casts out demons in the name of Beelzebul, the prince of demons" (Luke 11:15). Jesus shows that this explanation is absurd. If Satan were divided against himself, his reign would have ended long ago, but instead it continues to prosper. The true explanation is rather that Jesus casts out demons by the finger of God, that is, by the Holy Spirit, and this shows that the kingdom of God has arrived on earth.

Satan was "the strong man" who had mankind in his power, but now one "stronger than him" has come and is taking his power away from him. This tells us something quite important about the person of Christ. With his coming there has begun a new era for humanity, a regime change. Such a thing could not be the work of a mere man, nor can it be the work of a great prophet.

It is essential to note the name or the power by which Jesus casts out demons. The usual formula with which the exorcist turns to the demon is: "I charge you by...," or "in the name of ... I order you to leave this person." He calls on a higher authority, generally God, and for Christians, Jesus. But this is not the case for Jesus himself: His words are a dry "I order you."

I order you! Jesus does not need to call upon a higher authority; he is himself the higher authority.

The defeat of the power of evil and of the demons was an integral part of the definitive salvation (eschatological) proclaimed by the prophets. Jesus invites his adversaries to draw the conclusions of what they see with their eyes. There is nothing more to wait on, to look forward to; the kingdom and salvation is in their midst.

The much discussed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit has its explanation here. To attribute to the spirit of evil, to Beelzebul, or to magic that which is so manifestly the work of the Spirit of God meant to stubbornly close one's eyes to the truth, to oppose oneself to God himself, and therefore to deprive oneself of the possibility of forgiveness.

The historical approach that I wish to take in these commentaries during Lent should not keep us from seeing also the practical importance of the Gospel we are treating. Evil is still terribly present to us today. We witness manifestations of evil that often exceed our ability to understand; we are deeply disturbed and speechless when faced with certain events reported by the news. The consoling message that flows from the reflections we have made thus far is that there is in our midst one who is "stronger" than evil.

Some people experience in their lives or in their homes the presence of evil that seems to be diabolical in origin. Sometimes it certainly is -- we know of the spread of satanic sects and rites in our society, especially among young people -- but it is difficult in particular cases to determine whether we are truly dealing with Satan or with pathological disturbances. Fortunately, we do not have to be certain of the causes. The thing to do is to cling to Christ in faith, to call on his name, and to participate in the sacraments.

Tomorrow's Gospel suggests a means to us that is important to cultivate especially during the season of Lent. Jesus did not go into the desert to be tempted; his intention was to go into the desert to pray and listen to the voice of the Father.

Throughout history there have been many men and women who have chosen to imitate Jesus as he withdraws into the desert. But the invitation to follow Jesus into the desert is not made only to monks and hermits. In a different form it is made to everyone.

The monks and hermits have chosen a place of desert. We have chosen a desert time. To pass time in the desert means to create a little emptiness and silence around us, to rediscover the road to our heart, to remove ourselves from the noise and external distractions, to enter into contact with the deepest source of our being and our faith.

Mexifornia, Five Years Later

by Victor Davis Hanson

Dalrymple, What Makes Doctor Johnson Great

some links
For more on crime and punishment, see Mr. Dalrymple's Real Crime, Fake Justice.

Who dares to denigrate Katherine of Aragon

The Eternal Present
Theodore Dalrymple

TD discusses how the loss of religion and the sense of the transcendent is apparent from tombstones.

Returning to my friends’ house, I idly picked a volume from a bookcase. It was an edition of Henry VIII’s love letters. It fell open to Katherine of Aragon’s last letter to the man she considered still, and always, her husband:

My most dear lord, king and husband,
The hour of my death now approaching, I cannot choose but out of the love I bear for you, advise you of your soul’s health, which you ought to prefer before all considerations of the world or flesh whatsoever. For which you have cast me into many calamities, and your self into many troubles. But I forgive you all, and pray God do so likewise. For the rest, I commend unto you Mary, our daughter, beseeching you to be a good father to her, as I have heretofore desired. I must entreat you also, to respect my maids, and give them in marriage, which is not much, they being but three; and to all my other servants, a year’s pay, besides their due, lest otherwise they should be unprovided for; lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire you above all things. Farewell.
Katherine, Queene of England

Stupid Henry VIII.

Socialism and Communism

For EJK... these should be better than anything I can tell you...

Catholic Encyclopedia: communism. socialism.
wiki entries on socialism, communism
Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Socialism
Frederick Engels, The Principles of Communism
Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto

G. K. Chesterton and Dorothy Day on Economics: Neither Socialism ...
Dave Armstrong's Chesterton photo page; M. Ward's page

His books: Project Gutenberg, alt

Theodore Dalrymple, The Roads to Serfdom

Fractured Generations

Dr. Carlson's latest book, published in 2005. (Amazon)

Fifty years ago, the phrase “family policy” was rarely heard in America. Individual states maintained laws governing marriage, divorce, education, inheritance, and child protection, which regulated the formation, childrearing practices, and dissolution of families. However, these scattered policy issues were not seen as closely related. Until the 1960s, the nuclear family was an institution that was part of the natural life-course expected of most adults. Family meant marriage, children, the establishment of a home, care of the elderly, but perhaps most of all, bonding of the generations.

As early as the 1840s, certain elements of states’ policies hinted at a weakening family structure, but not until the 1960s was the family openly attacked. Feminists objected to a male-oriented home economy, demographers encouraged negative population growth, the sexual revolution was on the rise, and religiously grounded morality in public life was challenged in the federal courts. Married couples with children had to shoulder a larger tax burden, further discouraging people from building and maintaining families. Perhaps because family was so central to the founders’ lives they found no need to mention it in the Constitution. But today, generational bonds have fractured, while family policy is a paramount public concern.

As Allan Carlson makes clear no nation can progress, or even survive, without a durable family system. Contemporary family policy represents an attempt to counter the negative forces of the last four decades so as to restore the natural family to its necessary place in American life. Fractured Generations’ chapters follow the life-course of the human family—marriage; the birth of children; infant and toddler care; schooling; building a home; crafting a durable family economy; and elder care. This is a passionate and well-reasoned appeal for a return to the institution that is the last best hope for America’s future: the family.

“No social institution is more vital to the perpetuation of civilized life than the family. Yet few institutions have suffered more from the relentless incursions of modernity than the family. And no field of contemporary scholarship has been more politicized and debased than the study of the family. These three facts, taken together, explain why Allan Carlson’s humane voice, and his contribution to our national life, is so rare and so valuable. He is our most persuasive advocate for the natural family, one of the few scholars willing to approach the subject with an unapologetically normative view. For him, the family is rightly regarded as the nexus of the profoundest of human experiences: marriage, sexuality, procreation, childrearing, home life, home economics, and the care of the elderly. Fractured Generations is not only a succinct defense of that view, but a meaty compilation of particular policy initiatives that can begin to restore the strength and dignity of the natural family and give it the tools to defend itself. It should be read by everyone who cares about the future of the family.”-­Wilfred M. McClay, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

“A welcome and provocative book of thoughtfully revisionist history and wise prescriptions by an honest, learned man of the Midwest, Fractured Generations points the way to a family policy rooted in healthy tradition, American liberty, and human-scale community.”­Bill Kauffman, author of Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette

“Fractured Generations is an insightful and provocative account of the history and future of family policy in the United States. Written by one of the wisest observers of the family in America, this book offers timely analyses of topics such as social security, income tax policy, and family planning. This book is required reading for academics, journalists, and policymakers interested in the family.”-­W. Bradford Wilcox, Department of Sociology, University of Virginia and author of Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands

"Allan Carlson is the best writer and thinker on family and society. His essays are always a 'must read' for anyone concerned about the family, be they liberal (to know the strength of their opposition) or conservative (to be led deeper and deeper in an always enjoyable way). With the years his already vast knowledge increases and his insights become more and more unassailable. In Fractured Generations he continues and refines his work - his tradition, and concludes with a list of public policy proposals that every Congressman and Senator should have in pocket-card form next to his (or her) heart." -Patrick F Fagan, The Heritage Foundation

"Allan Carlson is an economist deeply immersed in the complexities of social history and public policy. Agree or disagree, his work always provokes and illumines. His recommendations for family-friendly social policy are stated clearly and defended vigorously. Anyone with an interest in marriage, families, and public policy will find Carlson's latest worthy of careful consideration. Let the debate begin!" -Jean Bethke Elshtain, author of Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy.

Allan Carlson is president of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society in Rockford, Illinois, and distinguished fellow in family policy studies at Family Research Council. He is the author of The Swedish Experiment in Family Politics, Family Questions, and The Family in America, all available from Transaction.

Radio Interview: Phyllis Schlafly Live: Fractured Generations by Allan Carlson [50:17 min]

His review of Stephanie Coontz, MARRIAGE, A HISTORY: FROM OBEDIENCE TO INTIMACY OR HOW LOVE CONQUERED MARRIAGE (New York: Viking, 2005), 313 pages.

Sam Francis, Nationalism, Old and New

A chapter in Paleoconservatives: New Voices of the Old Right, edited by Joseph Scotchie. Thanks to BC, I have access to the e-book. I found it to be a fitting response to The End of Paleoconservatism, even if it was written earlier, as it gives the views of one of the subjects of that article, Sam Francis. He gives his explanation why paleoconservatism didn't take hold, and it's not because it had been sapped of intellectual strength. While some may argue that paleoconservatism may have lost credibility because of the preoccupation of some with race and immigration issues, if they are correct in arguing for tradition as being the foundation of living in community, and that loss of tradition threatens the existence of community, it is up to those who wish to respond to their positions on race and immigration to first formulate a counter-argument with respect tradition. As a Catholic the tradition that I am most of all concerned with is the Christian Tradition, in all its aspects, and hence my priority is the evangelization of one's fellow citizens. (It is my personal belief that there will be no permanent cultural and political renewal unless that happens.) Nonetheless, I recognize that Tradition is not transmitted solely by the ordained ministers of the Church, but through the instruments of culture as well, and for Americans, their Western heritage is something to be preserved, not scorned.

Mr. Francis first gives his account of American history, focusing on Nationalism and republicanism:

In the course of American history, nationalism and republicanism have usually been enemies, not allies. From the days of Alexander Hamilton, nationalism has meant unification of the country under a centralized government, the supremacy of the executive over the legislative branch, the reduction of states' rights and local and sectional parochialism, governmental regulation of the economy and engineering of social institutions, and an activist foreign policy—expansionist, imperialist, or globalist—that costs money and requires at least occasional wars. Nationalism and its proponents have historically been Anglophiles, emulating the mercantilist dynastic state that flourished in Great Britain from the eighteenth century, and for all their claims of overcoming sectionalism and private interests, they have been identified with the Northeastern parts of the United States and its instutitions—New England, New York City, the Ivy League, Big Banks and Big Business, Wall Street, and Washington. The national state the nationalists defended and constructed was born with the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, reached adolescence in the victory of the North in the Civil War, and grew to a corpulent adulthood in the twentieth-century managerial state of Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson.

The principal opponents of nationalism in American history have been republicans, and it is one of the ironies of our history that the political party that claims the republican name has been the chief vehicle since the Civil War of antirepublican nationalism. The Antifederalists who opposed ratification of the Constitution were men immersed in the political theory of classical republicanism, a school of thought that originated in modern times with Machiavelli, found expression in the seventeenth-century British resistance to the powers of the monarchy, and in the eighteenth century influenced both radical Tories and radical Whigs. Deeply suspicious of centralized power of any kind and of the corruption it bred, the Antifederalists opposed ratification, demanded a Bill of Rights to limit federal power, insisted on a strict reading of the constitutional text as the basis of law, defended the states against the federal government and the Congress against the Presidency, and were generally content with the limitations on wealth and national power that a small, restricted state imposed, in preference to what they condemned as the "luxury" and "empire" that national consolidation and an interventionist foreign policy would encourage. "The anti-federalists," writes Professor Ralph Ketcham in his introduction to a popular edition of their writings:

[Looked] to the Classical idealization of the small, pastoral republic where virtuous, self-reliant citizens managed their own affairs and shunned the power and glory of empire. To them, the victory in the American Revolution meant not so much the big chance to become a wealthy world power, but rather the opportunity to achieve a genuinely republican polity, far from the greed, lust for power, and tyranny that had generally characterized human society.

Though the Antifederalists lost, their ideas, far more than those of Edmund Burke and Adam Smith, have informed the long American tradition of resistance to the leviathan state of the nationalists, appearing in the thought and on the lips of John Randolph, John C. Calhoun, the leaders of the Confederacy, the Populists of the late nineteenth century and the Southern Agrarians of the early twentieth, and in the Old Right conservatism of the era between Charles Lindbergh and Jesse Helms.

In the eighteenth century, when the debate between these two sides of the American political coin still sparkled, it was possible for the American people and their leaders to choose republicanism and to institutionalize its ideals. Perhaps it was possible to do so as late as the early twentieth century, before the managerial state began to crystallize. Today it is no longer possible. The national state has long since triumphed, and with it, wedded to it like Siamese siblings, multinational corporations, giant labor unions, universities and foundations, and all the titanic labyrinth of modern bureaucratic organizations in both the "public" and the increasingly illusory "private" sectors have won as well. To establish republicanism in anything like its classical form would involve a massive rejection and dismantlement of the main features of the twentieth century—the physical and social technologies by which modern, centralized, bureaucratically managed mass organizations operate—and while the continued existence and dominance of such features are not inevitable in any Hegelian sense, no one save a few romantic reactionaries seriously contemplates doing away with them. Not only do technology and its organized applications entice us with ''luxury"—what we today complacently call a "high standard of living"—but also they offer to those who understand how to manipulate them a degree of power unknown to the most imperious despots of the past. The elites that manage modern mass organizations and master the technical skills that allow these organizations to function cannot permit the decentralization and autonomy that characterize republican civic culture simply because their power would vanish, and these elites are lodged not only in the state but also in the dominant organizations of the economy and culture so that our incomes and our very thoughts, values, tastes, and emotions are conditioned and manipulated by them and their apologists. Short of a new Dark Age (or perhaps it would be a Golden Age), in which knowledge of scientific and organizational technology is lost, there is no prospect of reversing the trend toward mass organization and its absorption of local and decentralized institutions.

Moreover, as most students of classical republicanism understand, the distinctive principle of its theory is its concept of "virtue," a quality that consists less in moralistic purity than in personal and social independence. Owning and operating his own farm or shop, usually producing his own food and clothing, governing his own family and his own community, and defending himself with his own arms in company with his own relatives and neighbors, the citizen of the classical republic neither needed nor wanted a leviathan state to fight wars across the globe in behalf of democracy nor to pretend to protect him and his home. Nor did he need or want a job in someone else's company, or a pension plan or health benefits or paid vacations or five-hour workdays. He did not want to shop in vast shopping malls where nothing is worth buying and nothing bought will last the year. It did not occur to him to enroll himself or his children in therapy courses or in sensitivity and human-relations clinics in order to find out how to get along with his neighbors, and he sought no edification or instruction from the mass media to entertain him continuously or indoctrinate him with the current cliches and slogans of public discussion or trick him into buying even more junk for which he had no use and no desire. If the citizen succumbed to such temptations, then he had become dependent on someone or something other than himself and his extension in family and community. Men who become dependent on others cannot govern themselves, and if they cannot govern themselves, they cannot keep a republic.

Today, virtually everyone in the United States is habituated to a style of living that is wrapped up in dependency on mass organizations of one kind or another—supermarkets, hospitals, insurance companies, the bureaucratized police, local government, the mass media, the factories and office buildings where we work, the apartment complexes and suburban communities where we live, and the massive, remote, and mysterious national state that supervises almost every detail of our lives. Most Americans cannot even imagine life without such dependencies and would not want to live without them if they could imagine it. The classical republicans were right. Having become dependent on others for our livelihoods, our protection, our entertainment, and even our thoughts and tastes, we are corrupted. We neither want a republic nor could we keep it if we had one. We do not deserve to have one, and like the barbarians conquered and enslaved by the Greeks and Romans, we are suited only for servitude.

Classical republicanism, then, is defunct as a serious political alternative to the present regime, but this does not mean that Americans should either embrace the old, Hamilitonian nationalism or merely squat passively in their kennels waiting for the next whistle from their masters. Even though virtually no one today subscribes or adheres to the classical republican ideal of virtue and independence, even though most Americans are too "corrupt" (in republican terms) to support a republic, there remain a large number of Americans, perhaps a majority, whose material interests and most deeply held cultural codes are endangered by the national (and increasingly supranational) managerial regime.

NYC Report

I tried to go to bed early last night, but ended up taking a 2 hour nap before waking up and heading over to the Boston bus terminal near South Station.

There were at least 3 Mainland families riding the bus, each with their own Little Emperor, talking really loud, playing, and annoying the non-Chinese, no doubt. There was a German couple and mother? of one of the couple sitting behind me, and they weren't as noisy, though they weren't speaking with "classroom voices." The three children were moving about all over the bus--some discipline from my mother would serve them right. The girls weren't as bad as the boy--the way he spoke to his father, unbelievable! The father was plainly spoiling him instead of doing something about his son's bad attitude... Now if that is the typical family, multiply that by who knows how many families--100 million? 200? 300? And I think one would be justified in being concerned about the future of China.
One can't but help but be annoyed by certain people, but I was struck during the day that one still has to love them since God loves them. How then, should one properly deal with parents like that, if at all?

After I arrived in Chinatown, I hopped on the 6 to get to Kinokuniya; browsed through various magazines. I noticed Classy for the first time. (Hilarious--it has a wiki entry.) No chance to look at JJ and Can Cam and the others--most were wrapped, and I had to rush off to Our Saviour. [Found this link to a Time article at the neomarxisme post; another blog on CanCam; wordpress.]

I got to Our Saviour before Mass started, but transit time (by foot) was about 8 minutes. I was surprised to see Fr. Rutler celebrating the 12:05 Mass; I don't know if it's his normal Mass, but I did get a chance to hear another of his homilies. Unfortunately, this time around I didn't pay full attention. Perhaps it was the lack of sleep. There was a mix of people attending Mass--those attending weren't all from a certain demographic. I don't know if there are more people attending the earlier Masses.

After Mass I had to rush back downtown on the 6--EJK and her sister had an appointment with a real estate agent to look at apartments in Soho, and I was supposed to meet her after her appointment. I met EJK at Starbucks, on Broadway south of Spring--she told me that we were going to meet with her sister (whom I had not met before) and her real estate agent for lunch. They were already at Woo Lae Oak in Soho. I met her sister for the first time; she is taller than EJK, but I think I remember that she said EJK was the shortest in the family... I don't think I had seen a photo of her before; she once said that she resembled their father more, while EJK resembled their mother. As for the restaurant, it had visual appeal and ambiance, and the sisters claim that the (white) waiters only get hotter as the day goes on, and that dinner is the time for women to have their eye candy. Heh.

EJK and I had planned on watching a movie so we headed over to Angelika after picking up an umbrella at her sister's work place (as it had started to rain during lunch). At first we were going to watch Notes of a Scandal, but EJK asked about the other movies that were playing, and I mentioned that I wanted to watch The Lives of Others. Her interest was piqued, and so we exchanged tickets... fortunately, she liked the movie. (Review to come.)
After the movie we had some things to talk about, so she suggested getting a drink at a Russian place close by, but then she had an appetite for tacos--but that place was small and packed (I didn't catch the name, I think it was on Spring Street, or on a street that is just off Spring Street) . So, we dropped by Spring Street Natural Restaurant. $$, but I don't think there are many $ restaurants in NYC (pizza shops, delis and such having been disqualified as "restaurants").
It was a nice visit--I hope I can make at least one more before I leave for CA, assuming that I am able to move back to CA soon...

I found out that the last departure for Lucky Star Bus is 2:00 A.M. It costs a bit more, $25--not sure if it's because it's low demand or something else, but it's something I will keep in mind for the future.
review of Woo Lae Oak

Articles about the impact of television viewing

From EB

Children's TV 'is linked to cancer, autism, dementia'
Fergus Sheppard, The Scotsman

Scientific evidence: TV rots the brain, ruins the body
Aric Sigman, Guardian

Goodbye to Girlhood

Goodbye to Girlhood
As Pop Culture Targets Ever Younger Girls, Psychologists Worry About a Premature Focus on Sex and Appearance

"To read the APA report of the Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls, go to"

Natalie MacMaster

Coming to town this coming Sunday, to perform at Boston Symphony Hall (tickets). I don't think I will be able to attend the concert; she does have a DVD coming out in May though. Too bad the New Scot isn't around...

official website

Natalie MacMaster 2006 Leahy Music Camp

Natalie MacMaster @ the Black Sheep Inn

A Slow Aire Natalie MacMaster

Something Up-Tempo Natalie MacMaster

Natalie Plays the Fiddle

Closing the Concert Natalie MacMaster

12 years old

Boston Kiltics
Listed on their website:

Another, not listed:
Boston Kiltics Nova Scotia Celtic Fiddle Dance Story & Song

Papal Address on Natural Law

Papal Address on Natural Law

"The Only Valid Bulwark Against Arbitrary Power"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 22, 2007 ( Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered Feb. 12 to the participants of the International Congress on Natural Law, organized by the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome.

* * *


Clementine Hall
Monday, 12 February 2007

Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood,
Esteemed Professors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with particular pleasure that I welcome you at the beginning of the Congress' work in which you will be engaged in the following days on a theme of considerable importance for the present historical moment, namely, the natural moral law.

I thank Bishop Rino Fisichella, Rector Magnificent of the Pontifical Lateran University, for the sentiments expressed in the address with which he has introduced this meeting.

There is no doubt that we are living in a moment of extraordinary development in the human capacity to decipher the rules and structures of matter, and in the consequent dominion of man over nature.

We all see the great advantages of this progress and we see more and more clearly the threat of destruction of nature by what we do.

There is another less visible danger, but no less disturbing: the method that permits us to know ever more deeply the rational structures of matter makes us ever less capable of perceiving the source of this rationality, creative Reason. The capacity to see the laws of material being makes us incapable of seeing the ethical message contained in being, a message that tradition calls lex naturalis, natural moral law.

This word for many today is almost incomprehensible due to a concept of nature that is no longer metaphysical, but only empirical. The fact that nature, being itself, is no longer a transparent moral message creates a sense of disorientation that renders the choices of daily life precarious and uncertain.

Naturally, the disorientation strikes the younger generations in a particular way, who must in this context find the fundamental choices for their life.

It is precisely in the light of this contestation that all the urgency of the necessity to reflect upon the theme of natural law and to rediscover its truth common to all men appears. The said law, to which the Apostle Paul refers (cf. Rom 2:14-15), is written on the heart of man and is consequently, even today, accessible.

This law has as its first and general principle, "to do good and to avoid evil." This is a truth which by its very evidence immediately imposes itself on everyone. From it flows the other more particular principles that regulate ethical justice on the rights and duties of everyone.

So does the principle of respect for human life from its conception to its natural end, because this good of life is not man's property but the free gift of God. Besides this is the duty to seek the truth as the necessary presupposition of every authentic personal maturation.

Another fundamental application of the subject is freedom. Yet taking into account the fact that human freedom is always a freedom shared with others, it is clear that the harmony of freedom can be found only in what is common to all: the truth of the human being, the fundamental message of being itself, exactly the lex naturalis.

And how can we not mention, on one hand, the demand of justice that manifests itself in giving unicuique suum and, on the other, the expectation of solidarity that nourishes in everyone, especially if they are poor, the hope of the help of the more fortunate?

In these values are expressed unbreakable and contingent norms that do not depend on the will of the legislator and not even on the consensus that the State can and must give. They are, in fact, norms that precede any human law: as such, they are not subject to modification by anyone. The natural law, together with fundamental rights, is the source from which ethical imperatives also flow, which it is only right to honor.

In today's ethics and philosophy of Law, petitions of juridical positivism are widespread. As a result, legislation often becomes only a compromise between different interests: seeking to transform private interests or wishes into law that conflict with the duties deriving from social responsibility.

In this situation it is opportune to recall that every juridical methodology, be it on the local or international level, ultimately draws its legitimacy from its rooting in the natural law, in the ethical message inscribed in the actual human being.

Natural law is, definitively, the only valid bulwark against the arbitrary power or the deception of ideological manipulation. The knowledge of this law inscribed on the heart of man increases with the progress of the moral conscience.

The first duty for all, and particularly for those with public responsibility, must therefore be to promote the maturation of the moral conscience. This is the fundamental progress without which all other progress proves non-authentic.

The law inscribed in our nature is the true guarantee offered to everyone in order to be able to live in freedom and to be respected in their own dignity.

What has been said up to this point has very concrete applications if one refers to the family, that is, to "the intimate partnership of life and the love which constitutes the married state... established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws" (Gaudium et Spes, n. 48).

Concerning this, the Second Vatican Council has opportunely recalled that the institution of marriage has been "confirmed by the divine law", and therefore "this sacred bond ... for the good of the partner, of the children and of society no longer depends on human decision alone" (ibid.).

Therefore, no law made by man can override the norm written by the Creator without society becoming dramatically wounded in what constitutes its basic foundation. To forget this would mean to weaken the family, penalizing the children and rendering the future of society precarious.

Lastly, I feel the duty to affirm yet again that not all that is scientifically possible is also ethically licit. Technology, when it reduces the human being to an object of experimentation, results in abandoning the weak subject to the arbitration of the stronger. To blindly entrust oneself to technology as the only guarantee of progress, without offering at the same time an ethical code that penetrates its roots in that same reality under study and development, would be equal to doing violence to human nature with devastating consequences for all.

The contribution of scientists is of primary importance. Together with the progress of our capacity to dominate nature, scientists must also contribute to help understand the depth of our responsibility for man and for nature entrusted to him.

On this basis it is possible to develop a fruitful dialogue between believers and non-believers; between theologians, philosophers, jurists and scientists, which can offer to legislation as well precious material for personal and social life.

Therefore, I hope these days of study will bring not only a greater sensitivity of the learned with regard to the natural moral law, but will also serve to create conditions so that this theme may reach an ever fuller awareness of the inalienable value that the lex naturalis possesses for a real and coherent progress of private life and the social order.

With this wish, I assure you of my remembrance in prayer for you and for your academic commitment to research and reflection, while I impart to all with affection the Apostolic Blessing.

[Translation of Italian original issued by the Holy See]

© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I'm up

so I shouldn't be missing the bus to NYC. I'll probably be taking Fung Wah--I'll be back late tonight, and I'll update then, if I don't go to bed...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Benedict XVI, On the 40 Days of Lent

On the 40 Days of Lent

"God Is Love and His Love Is the Secret of Our Happiness"

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 21, 2007 ( Here is a translation of Benedict XVI's address at today's general audience. The Pope dedicated his address to Ash Wednesday.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Ash Wednesday, which we celebrate today, is for us Christians a particular day, characterized by an intense spirit of recollection and reflection. We begin, in fact, the Lenten journey, time of listening to the word of God, of prayer and of penance. They are 40 days in which the liturgy will help us to relive the important phases of the mystery of salvation.

As we know, man was created to be a friend of God, but the sin of our first parents broke this relationship of trust and love and, as a consequence, humanity is incapable of fulfilling its original vocation.

Thanks, however, to the redeeming sacrifice of Christ, we have been rescued from the power of evil: Christ, in fact, writes the apostle John, has been the victim of expiation of our sins (cf. 1 John 2:2); and St. Peter adds: "Christ also died for sins once for all" (cf. 1 Peter 3:18).

On dying with Christ to sin, the baptized person is also reborn to a new life and is freely re-established in his dignity as son of God. For this reason, in the early Christian community, baptism was considered as the "first resurrection" (cf. Revelation 20:5; Romans 6:1-11; John 5:25-28).

From the beginning, therefore, Lent was lived as the time of immediate preparation for baptism, which is administered solemnly during the paschal vigil. The whole of Lent was a journey toward this great encounter with Christ, toward immersion in Christ and the renewal of life.

We are already baptized, but often baptism is not very effective in our daily life. Therefore, Lent is also for us a renewed "catechumenate" in which we again go out to encounter our baptism and rediscover and relive it in depth, to again be really Christians.

Therefore, Lent is an opportunity to "be" Christians "again," through a constant process of interior change and of progress in knowledge and love of Christ. Conversion never takes place once and for all, but is a process, an interior journey of our whole life. Certainly this journey of evangelical conversion cannot be limited to a particular period of the year: It is a journey of every day which must embrace our whole existence, every day of our lives.

From this point of view, for every Christian and for all ecclesial communities, Lent is the appropriate spiritual season to train with greater tenacity in the search for God, opening the heart to Christ.

St. Augustine said on one occasion that our life is the sole exercise of the desire to come close to God, of being able to let God enter into our being. "The whole life of the fervent Christian," he says, "is a holy desire." If this is so, in Lent we are invited even more to uproot "from our desires the roots of vanity" to educate the heart in the desire, that is, in the love of God. "God," says St. Augustine, "is all that we desire" (cf. "Tract. in Iohn," 4). And we hope that we really begin to desire God, and in this way desire true life, love itself and truth.

Particularly appropriate is Jesus' exhortation, recorded by the Evangelist Mark: "Repent and believe in the Gospel" (Mark 1:15). The sincere desire for God leads us to reject evil and to do good. This conversion of the heart is above all a free gift of God, who created us for himself and has redeemed us in Jesus Christ: Our happiness consists in remaining in him (cf. John 15:3). For this reason, he himself anticipates our desire with his grace and supports our efforts of conversion.

But what does conversion really mean? Conversion means to seek God, to walk with God, to follow docilely the teachings of his Son, Jesus Christ; to be converted is not an effort to fulfill oneself, because the human being is not the architect of his own destiny. We have not made ourselves. Therefore, self-fulfillment is a contradiction and is too little for us. We have a higher destiny.

We could say that conversion consists precisely in not considering ourselves "creators" of ourselves, thus discovering the truth, because we are not authors of ourselves. Conversion consists in accepting freely and with love that we depend totally on God, our true Creator, that we depend on love. This is not dependence but liberty.

To be converted means, therefore, not to pursue personal success, which is something that passes but that, abandoning all human security, we follow the Lord with simplicity and trust, so that Jesus will become for each one, as Teresa of Calcutta liked to say, "my all in all." Whoever lets himself be conquered by him is not afraid of losing his own life, because on the cross he loved us and gave himself for us. And, in fact, by losing our life out of love, we find it again.

I wished to underline the immense love God has for us in the message on the occasion of Lent, published a few days ago, so that Christians of the whole community can pause spiritually during the time of Lent, together with Mary and John, the beloved disciple, before him who on the cross consummated for humanity the sacrifice of his life (cf. John 19:25).

Yes, dear brothers and sisters, the cross is also for us, men and women of our time -- who all too often are distracted by earthly and momentary concerns and interests -- the definitive revelation of divine love and mercy. God is love and his love is the secret of our happiness. However, to enter into this mystery of love there is no other way than that of losing ourselves, of giving ourselves to the way of the cross.

"If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mark 8:34). For this reason, the Lenten liturgy, on inviting us to reflect and pray, stimulates us to value penance and sacrifice more, to reject sin and evil and to conquer egoism and indifference. Prayer, fasting and penance, works of charity toward brothers, become in this way spiritual paths that we must undertake to return to God in response to the repeated calls to conversion that the liturgy makes today (cf. Galatians 2:12-13; Matthew 6:16-18).

Dear brothers and sisters, may the Lenten period that we undertake today, with the austere and significant rite of the imposition of ashes, be for all a renewed experience of the merciful love of Christ, who on the cross shed his blood for us.

Let us listen to him with docility to learn "to regive" his love to our neighbor, especially those who are suffering and experiencing difficulties. This is the mission of every disciple of Christ, but to carry it out it is necessary to listen to his word and to nourish oneself assiduously on his body and blood. May the Lenten journey, which in the early Church was the journey to Christian initiation, to baptism and the Eucharist, be for us, the baptized, a "Eucharistic" time in which we take part with greater fervor in the sacrifice of the Eucharist.

May the Virgin Mary -- who, after having shared the sorrowful passion of her divine Son, experienced the joy of resurrection -- accompany us during this Lent to the mystery of Easter, supreme revelation of the love of God.

A good Lent to all!

[Translation by ZENIT]

[At the end of the audience, the Pope greeted pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today -- Ash Wednesday -- we begin our Lenten journey in a spirit of prayer and penance. From the earliest days of the Church, Lent has been a special time of preparation for Baptism. For those already baptized, Lent is a time of conversion and renewed faith. It is a time to "exercise" our desire for God by opening our hearts to the new life offered to us in Christ. Jesus exhorts us to "repent and believe in the Gospel." Only conversion can lead to true happiness, and God's grace is needed to inspire and sustain our efforts to direct our hearts completely to him. Conversion consists in recognizing that we depend entirely on God, who created us and redeemed us in Christ. In my Lenten message this year, I wanted to emphasize God's immense love for us, and to invite all Christians, together with Mary and the Beloved Disciple, to draw near to the Lord, who gave his life for us on the Cross. The Cross -- the definitive revelation of God's love and mercy -- is the only way to enter this mystery of saving love. This Lent, by a more fervent participation in the Eucharist, may we learn to enter more deeply into the Paschal Mystery and to "re-give" Christ's love to others, especially the suffering and those in need.

I am pleased to greet the pilgrimage group from the Diocese of Jelgava in Latvia, led by Bishop Antons Justs. Upon all the English-speaking visitors present at today's Audience, especially those from England, Wales, Ireland, Finland, Japan and the United States, I cordially invoke God's blessings for a fruitful and spiritually enriching Lent.

© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

It's Ash Wednesday...

and no Mardi Gras party for me last night. KK and my mother are off in Rome; I don't know if they were able to obtain tickets for the Papal Mass at Santa Sabina, home of the Ordo Praedicatorum, the Order of Preachers--the Dominicans. The Basilica is not far from Santa Maria in Cosmedin, made famous by Audrey Hepburn's Roman Holiday. I had a chance to visit both during one trip to Rome--it would be nice to visit Santa Sabina again; there is a small gift shop in the basilica, with some prints of paintings by Fra Angelico.

No photos yet of the Holy Father for Ash Wednesday... here are some other photos instead...

South Korea 's President Roh Moo-hyun (R) presents a gift to Pope Benedict XVI during a private meeting at the Vatican February 15, 2007. REUTERS/Danilo Schiavella /Pool (VATICAN)

Pope Benedict XVI poses with South Korea 's President Roh Moo-hyun (R) and his wife during a private meeting at the Vatican February 15, 2007. REUTERS/Danilo Schiavella/Pool (VATICAN)

Pope Benedict XVI poses with South Korea 's President Roh Moo-hyun during a private meeting at the Vatican February 15, 2007. REUTERS/Pool/Danilo Schiavella (VATICAN)

Pope Benedict XVI chats with South Korea's President Roh Moo-hyun during a private meeting at the Vatican February 15, 2007. REUTERS/Danilo Schiavella/Pool (VATICAN)

Pope Benedict XVI poses with South Korea 's President Roh Moo-hyun (L) during a private meeting at the Vatican February 15, 2007. REUTERS/Danilo Schiavella /Pool (VATICAN)

In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI delivers his message to Apostolic Nuncios based in South America, in the Concistoro Hall at the Vatican, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2007. According to Italian news agencies, the pontiff reiterated his message on the need to defend marriage and families from the government's attempts to grant legal rights to same-sex couples. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, HO)

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing as he arrives at the 'Seminario Romano Maggiore' (Roman Major Seminar) for a visit, in Rome, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2007. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

Pope Benedict XVI, flanked by Rome's Vicar Cardinal Camillo Ruini, delivers his speech during a visit at Rome's 'Seminario Romano Maggiore' (Roman Major Seminar), Saturday, Feb. 17, 2007. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

Japanese faithful cheer at Pope Benedict XVI during the weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing during the weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives to lead his weekly general audience in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican February 21, 2007. REUTERS/Dario Pignatelli (VATICAN)

2 of Cardinal Bertone:

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi (L) and Vatican Secretary of State Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone chat during a meeting to celebrate the anniversary of the sign of the Patti Lateranensi in Rome February 19, 2007. Pope Benedict on Saturday attacked 'lobbies' he blamed for unravelling the traditional family, as he escalated a war of words against Italian draft legislation that would recognise unwed and gay couples. REUTERS/Remo Casilli (ITALY)

How to create an efficient fossil-fuel-free economy

How to create an efficient fossil-fuel-free economy (registration required)

Jon Rynn, Sanders Research Associates


Merck ending lobbying for mandatory Gardasil vaccine

Merck ending lobbying for mandatory Gardasil vaccine 2 hours, 19 minutes ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Drugmaker Merck & Co. said on Tuesday it would stop lobbying state legislatures to make it mandatory for schoolgirls to be inoculated with its new cervical cancer vaccine.

The company said it made the decision after re-evaluating its lobbying program, which has generated fierce debate with some religious organizations saying it could encourage promiscuity and parents groups questioning the need for such a widespread vaccination program.

Merck's Gardasil is the first and only vaccine against cervical cancer. Approved in 2006 for females aged 9 to 26, it works against strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease responsible for about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases.

Earlier this month, Texas became the first U.S. state to require that all 11- and 12-year-old girls be vaccinated against HPV. Republican Gov. Rick Perry said parents could opt out of mandatory vaccinations for their children if they objected for reasons including religious beliefs.

About 20 U.S. states had been considering mandating the vaccine, many for girls before they entered the sixth grade.

The vaccine, given in a series of three injections at a price of $360, has been endorsed by medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In December, Merck said it was looking into providing Gardasil at much lower prices in developing countries and to make it available within months.

Richard Haupt, executive director of medical affairs for vaccines at Merck, said the media publicity had become a "potential distraction" that was interfering with the company's objective of promoting widespread use of the product.

"We've reevaluated our position, but certainly plan to continue education efforts in different venues, such as with legislators, health departments and coalition groups in various states," Haupt said.

The company reaffirmed it continues to expect combined revenue this year of $2.8 billion to $3.2 billion from its array of vaccines, including ones to prevent shingles and infections with rotavirus.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc is expected to file in April for U.S. regulatory approval for its cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix.

Cervical cancer kills some 300,000 women worldwide each year.

Allan Carlson, The Domestic Workplace

The Domestic Workplace
Feminism, Careers & the Family: Who Has Gained? Who Has Lost?

by Allan Carlson

The modern history of “women’s liberation” can be read as a tale of increasing human bondage and female submission to the corporate state.

By “corporate state,” I mean the union of the giants—big business and big government—who, whatever their surface disagreements, share a deep and lasting interest in the weakening of family bonds and the disappearance of the autonomous home.

Before expanding on my argument, I want to add two caveats: First, I am not very concerned, here, with the attitudes and fate of the wealthiest 5 to 10 percent of the population, now or in the past. The rich and powerful—women as well as men—have always enjoyed special choices or dispensations that have set them apart. I want to focus instead on the attitudes and lives of the 90 to 95 percent: those fated by birth or circumstance to labor in order to survive. In other words, I am less concerned about people in careers such as physician or lawyer or stockbroker and more concerned about folk in “careers” such as cafeteria worker, janitor, or assembly line.

Also, I am not here to defend the so-called “traditional family” or “Ozzie and Harriet family” of the 1950s. There were architects of this family model, one that I have described elsewhere1 as “a household engineer bonded to an organization man in a companionate marriage focused on informed consumption in the suburbs.” While I am fascinated by the rise and fall of this historical episode, I would emphasize the inherent weaknesses of this family system, which left it as a “one-generation wonder” incapable of transmitting its set of values to subsequent generations.

Good stuff, read the rest of the article.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Learning Linux

Perhaps I will do so, some day, and say good bye to Microsoft.


Linux homepage
Linux Journal

Executive Orders

Posted by someone at JHK's blog:

All this talk of wars and rumors of wars, this Bud4weiser is for you,

The following =Executive Orders=, now recorded in the Federal Register, and therefore accepted by Congress as the law of the land, can be put into effect at any time an emergency is declared:

10995--All communications media seized by the Federal Government.

10997--Seizure of all electrical power, fuels, including gasoline and minerals.

10998--Seizure of all food resources, farms and farm equipment.

10999--Seizure of all kinds of transportation, including your personal car, and control of all highways and seaports.

11000--Seizure of all civilians for work under Federal supervision.

11001--Federal takeover of all health, education and welfare.

11002--Postmaster General empowered to register every man, woman and child in the U.S.A.

11003--Seizure of all aircraft and airports by the Federal Government.

11004--Housing and Finance authority may shift population from one locality to another. Complete integration.

11005--Seizure of railroads, inland waterways, and storage facilities.

11051--The Director of the Office of Emergency Planning authorized to put Executive Orders into effect in "times of increased international tension or financial crisis". He is also to perform such additional functions as the President may direct.
ps I recently received a mandatory census from the AG Dept to itemize everything on my farm, by law I had to respond.

The actual texts:












Did he summarize them currently?

Look at the name of this website--you can see why there who are concerned with the power of the Federal Government slip into "conspiracy-thinking" mode. FAS also offers a list of Executive Orders that are on the books, ones pertaining to information and intelligence...

One can find the government archives here.

At the very least, do the orders not reveal how centralized the Federal Government has become? There's no counter-balance to them, Federal Support for the integrity and self-sufficiency of the states.