Friday, June 15, 2007

Dominicans vs. Jesuits (as usual)

Via Open Book:

Former Boston seminary rector criticizes Archdiocese

On his way out the door, the departing rector of St. John's Seminary sent a pair of blistering letters to church officials, alleging that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is endangering the future training of priests by letting theological liberals move in next door.

The Rev. John A. Farren, a conservative and occasionally controversial Dominican friar, warned in the letters last month that the "doctrinal integrity" of St. John's is at risk because of increased proximity to two Jesuit-run Catholic institutions, Boston College and Weston Jesuit School of Theology, which are expected to move into buildings currently held by the seminary.

Farren did not cite specific issues, saying only that Weston Jesuit employs "self-professed gays or lesbians" as faculty members and that several faculty members there have been questioned by the Vatican.

Weston Jesuit and Boston College are generally considered liberal institutions open to a wider range of theological views than St. John's. Under Farren's leadership, several members of the seminary faculty perceived as liberal were ousted.

(click on the link to read the rest)

The letters (pdf files)

Fr. Farren's info (from the SJS faculty page)
Rev. John A. Farren, O.P. - Rector and President
Providence College, A.B., 1959
St. Stephen College, M.A., 1961
Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception
(Washington, D.C.), S.T.D., 1972

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, June 15


Tomorrow's the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is on Saturday). Info over at EWTN. It is a traditional devotion of the Jesuits. (After all, one of the spiritual directors of St. Margaret Mary Alocoque was a Jesuit, St. Claude de la Colombière.)

The Western Confucian links to the following:

CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The Devotion to the Sacred Heart
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
30Days - The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Nine First Fridays

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
The Secret of Saint Margaret Mary
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
St Margaret Mary Alacoque, virgin
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Blessed Claude de la Colombiere
Claude La Colombière, S.I. (1641-1682) - biography
Claude La Colombière
St. Claude de la Coulombiere

Off to the ISN conference

I'm still working on othe paper, and the flight doesn't actually leave until tomorrow morning, at 6:00 A.M. But I will be leaving for the airport later tonight, so I can use public transportation to get there. Before then, I'll have to go to campus to print what I have. I'll have to do some cutting once I am there, since it is way too long (for a 20-25 minute presentation), but I'm not scheduled to give the paper until Saturday. Hopefully they won't ask me to switch with someone else scheduled to present on Friday, should the need arise.

I'll be back in Boston Sunday... I doubt I'll have access to the internet between now and then, but if I do, I'll try to give a report of how things are going.

Institute for the Study of Nature website

I'll try to take some pictures while I'm there; I haven't been to that part of Illinois before. Chicago is far, so is Dixon. (And Princeville, Sarge.)

Comparing the US of A with the Roman Empire

The Crunchy Con, Rod Dreher, has some new posts up after being unable to post since last Thursday. Of special interest is his "Are We Rome," which gets its title and subject-matter from the book by Cullen Murphy. (I'm staying away from Delta Airlines, after reading Mr. Dreher's story.)

the publisher's page: Are We Rome?; ISBN-10: 0618742220
“Are we Rome?” » Rational Review
"Are We Rome?" Salon Books
Scott McLemee: Are We Rome? - Politics on The Huffington Post
Are We Rome? - Esquire / Books / Non-Fiction - Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire ...
True Blue Liberal » “Are We Rome?”; BOOK REVIEW: Empire - Are we (US) like Rome? - Vermont Commons
The Colbert Report – Are We Rome? Colbert interviews Cullen Murphy ...

Movies.IGN trailers


The Nanny Diaries (with SJ) trailer

Exclusive: G.I. Joe Update
Producer on the tale of two scripts.
by Scott Collura

I'd rather see another movie done on the Unit.

Could Vermont feed itself?

Could Vermont feed itself?
Tim Johnson, Burlington Free Press
Yet another dietary mantra is gaining traction across Vermont -- "eat local" -- as more and more people are expanding their vegetable gardens, buying directly from farmers, and trying to relearn food preservation techniques that most Vermonters have long since forgotten.

All of which raises obvious questions:

-- Could Vermont really feed itself?

-- In a state where the ground is frozen four months a year, how realistic is it to try to "eat local" once the summer growing season is over?

-- What about all those staples -- wheat and other grains, for example -- that are barely grown in Vermont at all?

The answers are nuanced and speculative, depending on who's talking, but no less surprising for that.

Via EB

I think this is an important question for those pushing for Vermont to secede. Not only would they have to convince their neighbors that the best thing to do would be to secede from the Union, but also to work for economic self-sufficiency with regards to necessities.

Sandro Magister's latest on the Neocatechumenal Way

The Way of the Neocatechumenals Is Still Rocky
Vatican approval for its new statutes is on the way – but not for the catechisms of the founders. And differences over the liturgical rites persist. Relations are also mixed with the Greek Melkite Church, and with the patriarchate of Moscow

The anthologies of the catecheses that have been delivered to the members of the Neocatechumenal communities have for many years been under examination by the Vatican authorities, but their definitive approval still seems a long way off.

These texts, contained in multiple volumes under the title “Cammino Neocatecumenale. Orientamenti alle équipes dei catechisti [The Neocatechumenal Way: Guidelines for the Teams of Catechists],” collect the oral tradition of the movement’s initiators, and in particular of Kiko and Carmen Hernández. They are not public, and the Vatican congregation for the doctrine of the faith has made their approval dependant upon a lengthy series of corrections.

There are other reservations about the ways in which the liturgy is celebrated in the Way.

Recent articles from Zenit:
Melkite Leader Invites Neocatechumenal Way [2007-06-05]Proposes Establishment of a Branch in Galilee
Kiko Argüello Meets With Benedict XVI [2007-05-27]

Neocatechumenal Way - Official Site
The Neocatechumenal Way in the United States
Decree of approval of the Statutes of Neocatechumenal Way ad ...

Someone get Boba Fett!

From The GOP's Lonely Anti-War Candidate:

In the wake of September 11th, Paul supported the authority and the funding to go after Osama bin Laden. "What I did not support," he said, "was going into nation-building and the occupation of two Muslim countries, and then allowing bin Laden to go into Pakistan -- a country that is our ally and we send money to." At the time, what Paul actually wanted instead of war was for Congress to grant Letters of Marquee and Reprisal, a Constitutional decree that would have allowed private sources or bounty hunters to pursue bin Laden.
Or Dog the Bounty Hunter? haha

H/T to Conservative Heritage Times

The official Boba Fett profile; The Boba Fett Fanclub; Boba Fett Multimedia Page - Welcome!

In all seriousness... would bounty hunters have been able to get Osama? Blackwater or any of the other PMC companies? John Rambo? Assassins-for-hire? My guess is still that getting mired in Afghanistan was a mistake--would it have been possible to send in special forces to take out AQ, while using the regular armed forces to hold the Taliban at bay? It's not like the Taliban had complete control of the country, iirc--we could have formed alliances with the local warlords and used special forces to do the more "delicate" work of finding AQ and destroying it, I think.

But what about the political issues? Could we enter the territory of another country and violate its sovereignty without declaring war? But even if we did declare war, that would not commit us to nation-building and establishing democracy--we could have just declared war in order to have a lawful sanction for our actions against AQ and the Taliban, and then withdrawn from the country once AQ was destroyed.

Perhaps there are some military experts out there who have provided alternate plans for handling AQ in Afghanistan.

Institute for Local Self-Reliance


The group was mentioned over at The Distributist Review. One of their programs is the Carbohydrate Economy Clearinghouse. I don't think I would agree with their optimism about ethanol.

Here's the video

(Ron Paul with Stephen Colbert)

via Lew Rockwell blog

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

AICN tidbit on Sci Fi's Flash Gordon

the article

Will the show catch on with BSG fans? I remember the comic having a lot of "eye-candy" (the 1980 movie not as much, but still some? I haven't seen it since the 80s), so if they can have a lot of attractive extras (surely it can't be that difficult to find some in Canada), I think they will be able to keep Sci-Fi's male audience (especially adolescents).

Sci-Fi gallery here... I wouldn't have minded a retro 20s-30s look for the characters. I think I prefer the actors from the 80s movie...

Edit: After glancing at this website, perhaps my opinion about the 80s movie is different now. But, Timothy Dalton is in it. Too bad they couldn't get the actor playing Tom Paris in ST: Voyager to be Flash, but then again Robert Duncan McNeill may be too skinny for the part. He'd have to bulk up at least.

The Independent: A World Without Oil

I found this article over at Drudge Report. Think Matt Drudge has been aware of peak oil for a while? Or is he just learning about it?

A world without oil
Scientists challenge major review of global reserves and warn that supplies will start to run out in four years' time
By Daniel Howden
Published: 14 June 2007

Oil Depletion Analysis Centre
ODAC The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre

Bill Bonner, Dark Cloud Looms Over Low Society

Dark Cloud Looms Over Low Society

Lower down on the socio-economic ladder, "them that hasn't, gitteth not." People on the lower rungs of society don't own shares in financial companies, they don't go to Harvard Business School, and they don't have million-dollar stamp collections. What they do have is debt - and they have a lot of it.

As long as house prices were rising and interest rates were going down, debt was no problem. The lumpen could refinance at lower rates and end up with more money to spend. But now, house prices are going down and interest rates are moving up.

The latest study, reported in the San Diego paper, tells us that the housing slump will last well into 2008. Even these guys are overly optimistic, in our opinion. "The force of a correction is equal and opposite to the delusion the preceded it," we recall saying. The biggest housing boom in a hundred years is likely to be followed by more than a couple years of bust and more than a 2% or 3% decline, we think.

And the papers seem to agree. The latest news from Bloomberg tells us, "Mortgage default rates rose 90% in May." Of course, June, July, August, September and all the rest are still ahead…

And yesterday, bonds fell again, pushing up the yield on a 10-year Treasury note to 5.24% - bad news for debtors, homeowners, and the housing industry.

MG, The High Price of Low Intelligence

The High Price of Low Intelligence
"The leadership the Chinese economy is in the hands of people just as stupid and corrupt as the ones in charge of all the other economies, and there will be a huge price to be paid for acting that way."

The Ecology of Work

The Ecology of Work
Environmentalism can't succeed until it confronts the destructive nature of modern work—and supplants it
by Curtis White

Vantage Point

Starring Matthew Fox, Dennis Quaid, William Hurt, Forrest Whitaker


The Ojai Foundation

website; located in Ojai, it is affiliated in some way with TAC

Ron Paul, Amnesty Opponents Are Not Un-American

his latest column for Texas Straight Talk

Bridal Gift Registry

an interesting post at Boundlessline; and The Real Rules of Wedding Registries, No Nikes (which features Miss Manners on Painfully Proper Weddings, by Judith Martin)

Eight or Nine Wise Words About Letter Writing

from Lewis Carroll?

via Mere Comments

Dr. Trifkovic takes on Stratfor

Dilettantes, Poseurs, and Idiots

Ron Paul on Stephen Colbert tonight

11:30 P.M. on the Colbert Report

Undoubtedly it will be posted at youtube.

Song Hye Gyo, Coway CF

Thanks to

More about the Hitchens brothers

at the Independent (via Open Book)

From Peter Hitchens: Is democracy the same as freedom?
The real danger, and the real problem, is this. Democracy - in a world where terrorism is frequent and crime and disorder are serious - can easily become the deadly enemy of freedom and justice. Politicians such as Charles Clarke (who actually ought to know better, since he is an intelligent and knowledgeable person) and John Reid (who is what he looks like) do not hesitate to use the fear of crime, and of terror, to scare the population into accepting the end of Habeas Corpus and the creation of an arbitrary state not seen in this country since the 17th century. It is frightening to see how successful they are.

People go on about how our forebears 'fought' for democracy, and I have to say I see little evidence of that. Politicians have been pretty willing to hand over the vote once they realised how easy it was to manipulate people. But our ancestors certainly fought for liberty under the law. Not far from where I live is the memorial to John Hampden, whose stand against King Charles I was genuinely heroic, and helped secure liberty in this country. Not long afterwards, he died in battle for his beliefs. Yet most people nowadays haven't even heard of him.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Ron Paul Audio


Apolo and Julianne at the POTC 3 premiere

Kids and Money

a film by Lauren Greenfield

via GodSpy

Ross Douthat on the Sopranos and its finale


So perhaps Americans want a black-and-white ending which answers all their questions? Is the disapproval an indicator of the average intelligence of the American TV watcher? Or do they have a valid gripe?

How narrow is narrow?

I was rereading Sally Fallon's review of Weston Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, and came upon this:

Children born to parents who had adopted the so-called civilized diet had crowded and crooked teeth, narrowed faces, deformities of bone structure and reduced immunity to disease.
So round faces (and I don't meet chubby faces) are an indicator of health and good nutrition? If in a given population nutrition were healthy, would we see more round faces? And how narrow is narrow? Is it possible to inherit a narrow face? Or is it a product of development? Are there cultures were narrow faces are prized, and if so, are they overvaluing an unhealthy condition? (Much like in our culture, where extreme thinness is put forward by those who have control over fashion and the mass media as the ideal.)

Peter H. Duesberg

Cancer website; AIDS website

Cal faculty page

Rabbi Jacob Neusner

A Rabbi Debates with the Pope. And What Divides Them Is Still Jesus
The rabbi is Jacob Neusner, to whom Benedict XVI dedicates many pages of his latest book. In the judgment of both, the disputes between Judaism and Christianity should not conceal, but rather bring to light their respective claims to truth

Jacob Neusner's Home Page
Bard page; faculty info

A Profile of Jacob Neusner « Dr Jim West
Theology Today - Vol 34, No. 3 - October 1977 - ARTICLE - The ...
LUKE FORD » Jacob Neusner
The Pope's Favorite Rabbi TIME
Neusner, Jacob: The Economics of the Mishnah

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bill Bonner, The Bubbles of a Global Market Hot Tub

The Bubbles of a Global Market Hot Tub

A follow-up to his post on the housing bubble. (I've linked to that here.)

Thomas Woods reviews The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution

for Lew Rockwell

Vid: Ron Paul New Hampshire Public Radio/C-Span

Pt 2, 3, 4, 5

Richard Rorty

He passed away on Friday.

Richard Rorty, 1931-2007
Last Words from Richard Rorty
Richard Rorty: Ironically Upbeat in Dark Times
Richard Rorty, pragmatic U.S. philosopher, dead at 75
Washington Post
Stanford philosopher Richard Rorty dies at 75
Richard Rorty, 1931-2007

More on Richard Rorty:
Richard Rorty's Homepage
Richard Rorty's Platonists, Positivists, and Pragmatists
Richard Rorty (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Richard Rorty (1931- ) [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]
Stanford Philosophy Department: Faculty, Staff and Students
Content-TV: Richard Rorty (Stanford University) -video
Presidential Lectures: Jacques Derrida: Richard Rorty essay
Richard Rorty: Internet Links

Richard Rorty and the Postmodern Rejection of Absolute Truth
Richard Rorty the Public Philosopher ("critiques Rorty from a leftist perspective")

Graham Strouts reviews The Last Oil Shock

Published on 11 Jun 2007 by Zone 5. Archived on 11 Jun 2007.
Book review: The Last Oil Shock
by Graham Strouts

another review; SANDERS RESEARCH ASSOCIATES LTD. - The Last Oil Shock - a review

David Strahan Writer Producer Director (author of the book)
The Last Oil Shock - Blackwell Online
YouTube - The Last Oil Shock

News from China, 11 June 2007

Over 10 thousand people clash with police in Chongqing
City inspectors beat a couple of flower sellers to death. The crowd rise in protest as police scramble to protect the inspectors. Public protest against official’s brutality grows ever more frequent.

Fake blood product used in public hospitals in Jilin
Hospitals use bottled drug containing polysorbate 80, a substance that can cause immunological reactions and death. Hospital authorities are faulted for accepting non-certified drugs or sloppily forged documents. Investigations continue but police remains tight-lipped.

Child labour used in factories making Olympic merchandise
Trade union alliance slams labour practices that involve 12-year-old children working 15 hours a day for 2 yuan an hour in factories making Olympic merchandise. Working conditions are poor and pay slips are falsified. Companies deny allegations but the IOC says it will look into the matter.

Cynthia Olavarría

Here is the link, Mr. Puerto Rico.
her myspace; Miss PR Unofficial; Miss Universe 2005; Cynthia Olavarría : La Miss Puerto Rico habla de su futuro - Miss ...

Here's her nemesis: Natalie Glebova pictures, picture gallery, pics, picture, photos ...; Welcome To

Here's that news article: Former Miss Universe Natalie Glebova to wed tennis player from ...

No more Sopranos

The series finale was yesterday, and it has been the subject of chatter here and there--you can find some discussion over at Open Book. I never got into the show, since I don't have cable, and haven't had a chance to watch it on DVD though I have been intrigued by all the buzz surrounding the show from time to time. But if it really does end by showing Tony Soprano and his family reconciling themselves with evil, nihilism (whatever you want to call it), and affirms the reality that people themselves choose hell... then I ask again, what would be the point of me spending time on watching this? Does it qualify as Christian tragedy, like the tragedies of Shakespeare?

Pete Takeshi could never get interested in the show; perhaps he will change his mind.

HBO website
The Sopranos - Family Values
The Sopranos
The Sopranos on HBO - The Sopranos Spoilers, Episode Guides ...

A poster for Sarge...

And your favorite brunette:

Yahoo! Movies: Jamie-Lynn Sigler
Jamie-Lynn Sigler - Yahoo! TV
Popoholic » Jamie-Lynn Sigler
Jamie Lynn Sigler Pictures Gallery and News ...
Jamie-Lynn Sigler Links
Jamie Lynn Sigler pics photo gallery immagini at Evenca Celebs
Maxim & FHM

Madeline Levine, The Price of Privilege

The Price of Privilege By Madeline Levine, Ph.D.

The Price of Privilege
How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
By Madeline Levine, Ph.D.

Saw this book over at the BC bookstore this afternoon.

Interview by Alan Jones of Grace Cathedral (mp3)

source of the following:
Children of Privilege
October 29, 2006
Some people believe that children who are raised with too much pressure and material advantage are America's new at-risk youth. Rona and guests, Madeline Levine, PhD, author of The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Deeply Unhappy Kids, and Elaine Heffner, EdD, Senior Lecturer in the Early Childhood Development Department at Cornell University Weill Medical College, will discuss how a generation of affluent children are experiencing epidemic rates of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
LISTEN Streaming Audio (64Kbps M3U) DOWNLOAD Entire Program (64Kbps MP3 ZIP 26.9M)

Sick of Expectations -

Schedule for Republican presidential debates

From Lew Rockwell:

Upcoming Republican presidential debates:

August 5, 2007 - Des Moines, Iowa
ABC News will be conducting a debate to be aired on This Week; moderated by George Stephanopoulos.

September 27, 2007 - Baltimore, Maryland
PBS will host a Republican debate in Baltimore, Maryland, on the campus of Morgan State University

October 14, 2007 - Manchester, New Hampshire
WMUR-TV, ABC News, and the New Hampshire Union Leader will host a Republican debate in Manchester, New Hampshire

October 21, 2007 - Orlando, Florida
The Florida Republican Party and Fox News Channel will host a Republican debate in Orlando, Florida.

November 6, 2007 - Ames, Iowa
MSNBC will host a debate on the campus of Iowa State University.

January 5, 2008 - Johnson County, Iowa
The Des Moines Register and Iowa Public Television will host a Republican debate in Johnson County, Iowa

January 30, 2008 - Los Angeles, California
The Los Angeles Times and CNN will host a Republican debate in California

Papal Address to Caritas Internationalis

Papal Address to Caritas Internationalis
"You Are Called to Spread the Love of God"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 8, 2007 ( Here is Benedict XVI's Saturday address to representatives of Caritas Internationalis, who were having their general assembly in the Vatican.

* * *

Dear Friends,

It is a special joy for me to welcome the participants in the Eighteenth General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis. I extend particular greetings to Doctor Denis Viénot and to the President of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, thanking them for their kind words a few moments ago. I also offer prayerful best wishes to the newly elected President of the Confederation, Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga. You have all come together in Rome during these days for a significant moment in the life of the Confederation, so that your member organizations can reflect, in an atmosphere of fraternal communion, on the challenges facing you at the present time. Moreover, you have taken important steps shaping your immediate future by electing the major officers of Caritas Internationalis. I am confident that your deliberations during these days have been of great benefit for you personally, for the work of your member organizations worldwide, and for all those you serve.

First of all, let me take this opportunity to thank you for the outstanding witness that your Confederation has given to the world, ever since the founding of the first national Caritas in Germany over a century ago. Since that time, there has been a great proliferation of organizations bearing the name -- on parish, diocesan and national levels -- and these have been gathered, through the initiative of the Holy See, into the Confederation Caritas Internationalis, which today numbers more than 150 national organizations. It was because of the public character of your charitable activity, rooted in the love of God, that my predecessor the Servant of God John Paul II conferred public and canonical legal personality upon Caritas Internationalis through the Pontifical Letter During the Last Supper of 16 September 2004. This status seals your organization’s ecclesial membership, giving it a specific mission within the Church. It means that your Confederation does not simply work on behalf of the Church, but is truly a part of the Church, intimately engaged in the exchange of gifts that takes place on so many levels of ecclesial life. As a sign of the Holy See’s support for your work, Caritas Internationalis has been granted its wish to be accompanied and guided by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum.

So what is the particular mission of your Confederation? What aspect of the Church's task falls to you and to your member organizations? You are called, by means of the charitable activity that you undertake, to assist in the Church’s mission to spread throughout the world the love of God that has been "poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Rom 5:5). The very concept of caritas draws us into the heart of Christianity, into the heart of Christ, from which "rivers of living water" flow (cf. Jn 7:38). In the work of charitable organizations like yours, we see the fruits of Christ’s love. I developed this theme in my Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, which I commend to you once more as a reflection on the theological significance of your action in the world. Charity has to be understood in the light of God who is caritas: God who loved the world so much that he gave his only Son (cf. Jn 3:16). In this way we come to see that love finds its greatest fulfilment in the gift of self. This is what Caritas Internationalis seeks to accomplish in the world. The heart of Caritas is the sacrificial love of Christ, and every form of individual and organized charity in the Church must always find its point of reference in him, the source of charity.

This theological vision has practical implications for the work of charitable organizations, and today I should like to single out two of them.

The first is that every act of charity should be inspired by a personal experience of faith, leading to the discovery that God is Love. The Caritas worker is called to bear witness to that love before the world. Christian charity exceeds our natural capacity for love: it is a theological virtue, as Saint Paul teaches us in his famous hymn to charity (cf. 1 Cor 13). It therefore challenges the giver to situate humanitarian assistance in the context of a personal witness of faith, which then becomes a part of the gift offered to the poor. Only when charitable activity takes the form of Christ-like self-giving does it become a gesture truly worthy of the human person created in God’s image and likeness. Lived charity fosters growth in holiness, after the example of the many servants of the poor whom the Church has raised to the dignity of the altars.

The second implication follows closely from the first. God’s love is offered to everyone, hence the Church's charity is also universal in scope, and so it has to include a commitment to social justice. Yet changing unjust structures is not of itself sufficient to guarantee the happiness of the human person. Moreover, as I affirmed recently to the Bishops gathered in Aparecida, Brazil, the task of politics "is not the immediate competence of the Church" (Address to the Fifth General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, 13 May 2007). Rather, her mission is to promote the integral development of the human person. For this reason, the great challenges facing the world at the present time, such as globalization, human rights abuses, unjust social structures, cannot be confronted and overcome unless attention is focused on the deepest needs of the human person: the promotion of human dignity, well-being and, in the final analysis, eternal salvation.

I am confident that the work of Caritas Internationalis is inspired by the principles that I have just outlined. Throughout the world there are countless men and women whose hearts are filled with joy and gratitude for the service you render them. I wish to encourage each one of you to persevere in your special mission to spread the love of Christ, who came so that all may have life in abundance. Commending all of you to the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, I am pleased to impart my Apostolic Blessing.

[Original text: English]

© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Kevin Gutzman, Ex-Constitution

by Kevin R. C. Gutzman

How is it that questions such as whether abortion is allowed and when, whether homosexuals may marry each other and where, what penalties may be imposed on convicted criminals and when, and who received Florida’s electoral votes in the election of 2000 have been and continue to be decided by federal judges? The short answer is that "constitutional law" – the body of judicial decisions implementing the Constitution – has been off the rails virtually from the beginning. Nationalists in control of the federal judiciary have consistently used their offices to further their personal political ends, all in the name of "interpreting" the Constitution.

The changes they have wrought since 1801, the year Jefferson was inaugurated, have gone far toward eliminating three basic features – republicanism, federalism, and limited government – from the federal system. Sure, there are elections at federal and state (including local) levels, and kids and immigrants still are taught, while soldiers and politicians still must swear, to uphold the Constitution.

Kevin Michael Grace, Take My Computer, Please

Take My Computer, Please

My marriage collapsed January 30. It was sudden and complete. I fought hard to save it and did all the things one expects of rejected men. I begged, pleaded and cajoled. I sulked, raged and sought refuge in drink. I became an object of pity by asking my friends the same question my partner refused to answer: Why am I the only one trying to save this relationship?

My marriage collapsed January 30 when I installed Vista, Microsoft’s new operating system. I divorced and remarried February 24 when I bought a new computer. Oh, a computer, you say. Haven’t you over-egged the pudding? What a pathetic fallacy.

Computers are merely metal boxes filled with chips and boards and wires. Computers are cold and rational, not at all like women. Computers are our servants.

No, they are not. They have become our mechanical brides. Having lived half a century, I remember a world before computers. As a writer, I remember when people looked things up in books and scribbled their compositions on paper or bashed them out on typewriters. But that was in another country and besides, the wench is dead.

Clyde N. Wilson, Us and Them

Us and Them

Under existing circumstances, pursuit of reform through the Presidential election is not very promising, though I do not disparage any effort to increase the clout of anti-imperial forces within the Republican Party. For some years I have, in my amateurish impudence, toyed with the notion of a different strategy. Identify districts for U.S. Representative in which the two parties are closely divided or in which a maverick has a chance. Field articulate, attractive, independent candidates in each of these districts. Some of them might win in a close three-way race.

When the independents get to Washington, their strategy will be to hold the balance of power between the two factions of the Imperial Party. If neither Democrats nor Republicans have a majority, the independents can block the organization of the House and bring the imperial machine to a pause. Then the Powers will have to offer concessions to us anti-imperialists. The independents can disagree on everything else—they can be Greens, Southern nationalists, education decentralists, right-to-lifers, antiwar warriors, as long as they unite against Empire.

Some more Angie Chiu vids

tin sin ji

nei ngo tsang ging jau gwo gei yuen

mei niang

I can't find a longer version of this song:

oops... spoke too soon... then again, I guess it's rather short when used as background music

I wonder if xin bai niang zi is available on DVD.

Fan vid

I've forgotten who first sang this (Paula Tsui?)... but here is Angie Chiu's rendition:

Beyond's AD

I think I posted this one before:

Xiao Kan Liang Yuan Opening clip

Viva Angie
MV for a more recent series

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Kurt Cobb, The official story: A lesson in how to undermine it

Published on 10 Jun 2007 by Resource Insights. Archived on 10 Jun 2007.
The official story: A lesson in how to undermine it
by Kurt Cobb

The energy independence story appeals to a deeply held belief in American life: Good old American ingenuity can solve any problem.

For those concerned about world peak oil production (and peak natural gas and coal, for that matter), none of the above responses seem adequate or, in some cases, entirely ethical, especially with regard to environmental effects such as global warming. The problems with such responses have been detailed again and again on the web, in specialized publications, and in many places in the mainstream media.

If this is the case, how come the peak oil story and the many warnings about such responses to our energy challenges aren't center stage in the American consciousness? There are plenty of reasons, but I propose to discuss what I think is a critical one: The peak oil movement has been focused mainly on selling a new narrative to the public without first dislodging the existing one. As long as people have faith in the existing official story about achieving American "energy independence" within the framework of a cornucopian future, it will be almost impossible to sell them on another story no matter how carefully constructed and supported.

21 Principles for the 21st Century -- Series Collection

via EB

21 Principles for the 21st Century -- Series Collection
WorldChanging Team
Over the past month or so, we've been running a series of posts highlighting many of the core ideas we discuss on Worldchanging. While it's not necessarily a complete kit of concepts for envisioning 21st century sustainability, each tool, model or idea in the series plays an important role in the conversations we have on the site and with all of you. Below is the full list of 21 principles collected in one place for future reference.

The Myths of Biofuels

via EB

Lawrence Laboratories scientist: The Myths of Biofuels (Audio)

The Reality Report: via Global Public Media
Jason Bradford discusses "The Myths of Biofuels" - specifically liquid biofuels geared towards transportation - with Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory staff scientist David Fridley. The Reality Report is broadcast on KZYX&Z in Mendocino County, CA.David Fridley is part of Lawrence-Berkeley's Energy Analysis Program, Environmental Energies Technology Division. The EAP generates and interprets information to inform governments and international institutions on energy-related issues to assist in the formulation of energy and environmental policies. Fridley is also deputy group leader of Lawrence-Berkeley's China Energy Group, which collaborates with the Chinese on end-use energy efficiency, industrial energy use, government energy management programs, data compilation and analysis, medium and long term energy policy research.(4 June 2007)

Matthew Simmons video

via EB

Peak Oil: What are some of the Implications and Energy Options for California to Consider? (Video)
Matt Simmons, University of California TV (UCTV)
Peak oil theory states that oil will have a beginning, middle, and an end of production, and at some point it will reach a level of maximum output. It is estimated that approximately half of all oil that will be recovered, has been recovered, and oil production may reach a peak in the near future, or perhaps already has. Then what? (12 March 2007)

Requires RealPlayer.

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Women for Faith and Family page
Catholic Culture : Liturgical Year : June 10, 2007 : Most Holy ...

The Roman Sacristan: Comparison of Prayers - Most Holy Body and ...

'Green wall of China' aims to hold back desert

'Green wall of China' aims to hold back desert
by Charles Whelan
Tue Jun 5, 1:58 AM ET

TAIPUSI, China (AFP) - Officials in Inner Mongolia say they have established a living barrier of trees, grass and shrubs wide enough to hold back the Gobi desert and to curb the sandstorms blowing over northeast Asia and hitting the United States.

Taipusi, one of Inner Mongolia's banners or counties, is at the centre of a project to plant a so-called Green Wall of China, designed to act as a buffer between the expanding desert and Beijing, just 200 kilometres (120 miles) to the south.

Like the original Great Wall, the green wall straddles a patchwork of counties in several northern provinces including arid Hebei and Shanxi.

But unlike the crumbling stone structure, which failed to keep out invading nomads from the north, officials say they believe the new wall will work.

"We are pretty confident it will be effective," Hu Cun, Inner MongoliaÂ’s vice director of forestry, told some 30 journalists invited from Beijing to inspect the work ahead of World Environment Day on Tuesday.

"Already the number of sandstorms has been reduced," he said, saying that from 18 in 2001 the number fell to none this year, a figure disputed by experts who say four sandstorms were recorded in Beijing in March alone.

The barrier is partly designed to help Beijing keep its pledge to stage a green and environmentally friendly Olympics next year, officials said.

A study by US scientists in 2001 found that sand from the Gobi is pushed into the jet stream during storms and whisked across the Pacific to the US, with some found as far inland as Colorado.

"This project will contribute significantly to an improved environment for the Beijing Olympic Games," said Inner Mongolia's information office director Meng Shude.

The journalists were taken to a small hill on the southern edge of the "green wall" from where they could look north towards the desert five kilometres away over a ridge.

Between the hill and the desert were hardy young poplar trees, newly planted Mongolian pine that had yet to grow beyond a metre in height, as well as apricot bushes and grassland.

"This area was in an atrocious state a few years ago," said Zhang Boawen, the deputy mayor of Taipusi, home to 230,000 people, mostly farmers or herdsmen.

One third of the entire land of Inner Mongolia is desert and the sand wilderness has been spreading for decades.

Taipusi county is in Xilongol league, a province of central Inner Mongolia which was once more than 90 percent grassland but is now overrun by the Hunsandake desert, an eastward extension of the Gobi that now claims more than 30 percent of its land.

Most of the rest of the Xilingol grassland is severely distressed by population pressure and over-grazing.

As a result of this and other factors including an extended drought, the desert has been marching southeast at a rate of three kilometres a year heading directly for Beijing. But the expansion has stopped, at least for now, officials say.

"So far we have had some success," said Hu. "The desert is being held back. However, the ecology of this arid land is very delicate and the desert has been expanding for decades. We have just begun our job so we will need more time."

Millions of trees have been planted and grass seeds dropped from airplanes, while herdsmen have been banned from fragile grassland and thousands of families have been relocated from distressed areas.

But sceptics say the root of the problem, overpopulation and unsustainable development, has not been addressed by a narrow corridor of grass and trees.

Jiang Gaoming, of the Institute of Botany at the Chinese Academy of Science, said that 60 billion yuan (7.6 billion dollars) spent on projects to control sandstorms hitting Beijing had been largely wasted.

"Do not get too excited by those recovered grasslands and forests you see alongside the highways. They only cover 10 percent of the total affected area. The other 90 percent causes the continuing sandstorms," said Jiang.

US government experts said progress had been made since the 2001 study. They described Xilingol as a "disaster area."

Rogation days

Even if their observance isn't restored to the new calendar (and perhaps they should, because any society that loses its ties to agriculture cannot last for long), the petitions for a good harvest and good weather are something we still need, especially as the southwest and southeast U.S. experiences drought-like conditions. How many bishops and Christians in general give a thought to God and ask for His Mercy? Instead they throw up their hands and play the victim, or worse, live as if there is no problem.

Southern California is a mess--there are too many people living there, and the numbers are taxing the available water sources. Those who would defend illegal immigration based on what the popes have said about migration need to understand that perhaps they are not considering all of the relevant facts. More on this later.

Pius XII on migration

This was posted over at Vox Nova:

"The natural law itself, no less than devotion to humanity, urges that ways of migration be opened to these people. For the Creator of the universe made all good things primarily for the good of all. Since land everywhere offers the possibility of supporting a large number of people, the sovereignty of the State, although it must be respected, cannot be exaggerated to the point that access to this land is, for inadequate or unjustified reasons, denied to needy and decent people from other nations, provided of course, that the public wealth, considered very carefully, does not forbid this."

It is taken from Pius XII's Exsul Familiar Nazarethana.

Text of the apostolic constitution. Unfortunately it is not available at the Vatican website, particularly the Latin. I'd like to see what the original terms for "public wealth" are.

Not surprisingly, citation of this document and of others is emphasized over at the blog Evangelical Catholicism.

This is possibly an example of "dogmatic proof-texting," though how this is to be applied to the current political discussion on illegal immigration is left unstated in the original post. But I would argue that it does not have any direct bearing on the current debate about illegal immigration, since the passage does not touch upon integration into an already existing political community--merely the right to migrate.

Some things to consider:
1) Land or space -- the free migration of peoples and their resettlement if their survival necessitates it. This is not the same as the right to be integrated or to join an already existing political community.

Land, just like all natural resources, is a common good, for the benefit of all mankind, though how it is allotted for the use of individuals and communities is left to the determination of human law.

2) The potential destruction of culture; differences between the migration of a hunter-gatherer group, and members of an agrarian or industrial society. Hunter-gatherer groups usually migrate as a group--they bring their political community with them. Members of an agrarian or industrial society migrate as individuals or as families.

The migration of peoples versus the migration of individuals (or of families.)

3) How much of land is arable? Is the integration of immigrants more readily achieved in an agrarian economy or in an 'industrial' economy?

The United States does not have a sustainable political economy, and it is not merely an empire in the sense of imposing its will on the rest of the world, but an empire as a political entity aspiring to a centralized government, one that is not adequate to address the needs of different parts and yet holds onto the illusion that it can, preventing any competitors from having real political and economic power.

Hence, there is a tension between meeting the needs of citizens who are poor and helping immigrants, both illegal and legal. One should first be concerned with a establishing a just political economy that will aid poor citizens, and then determining what is possible once this is done. It may be that instituting a sustainable economic system will diminish what supposed wealth the nation may have, and thus a different course of action with respect to immigrants needs to be found, rather than making them beneficiaries of the welfare state.

4. While a community may help illegal immigrants out of benevolence, the beneficiaries should not act unjustly or take advantage of the community's hospitality. If they are prevented from becoming a citizen, nonetheless they should strive to become a member of the community, seeking integration and becoming familiar with the customs and mores of that community, and adopting them, in so far as they are in accordance with the Divine Law.

A community has a legitimate concern with the immigration of people who have customs at variance with its own, and whose practice of those customs threaten to undermine the moral fabric of that community. This is one basis for the restriction of immigration; other considerations include natural limits--the size of the community, availability of resources, and so on.

On a related note:
How long should one stay in a godless community that violates God's laws more and more? How long should Lot wait before he flees Sodom? Obviously finding an answer takes prayer and careful discernment.