Saturday, July 28, 2007

Is a public service academy a good idea?

Via Drudge:

Clinton: Create Public Service Academy

Jul 28, 4:04 PM (ET)


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton told college Democrats on Saturday she would create a national academy to train public servants.

"I'm going to be asking a new generation to serve," she said. "I think just like our military academies, we need to give a totally all-paid education to young men and women who will serve their country in a public service position."

An older woman carrying a sign that said "She doesn't care, all she wants is the power" yelled at Clinton while the New York senator was speaking in a ballroom on the University of South Carolina campus. Students attending the College Democrats of America convention shouted down the woman down and pushed her from the room.

"One of the things I love about politics, you never know what the day will bring," Clinton said.

Several people at the convention said they were inspired by Clinton's speech and her experience in public service after law school.

Clinton was an intern with the Children's Defense Fund, which advocates for minority, poor and disabled children.

"I loved her personal stories. ... It wasn't her generic speech," said Katelyn Porter, president of the College Democrats chapter at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.

Porter, who is from Boston and works for a nonprofit organization that helps low-income families, said she has not decided which Democratic candidate she will support. "But Hillary is definitely at the top of the list," she said.

Clinton spoke about her conversion during college from a born and raised Republican to a Democrat.

"I woke up in my dorm one day and I thought, 'Well, I'm not sure I am a Republican,'" she said to enthusiastic cheers. "I was at the time, embarrassingly enough, the president of the Wellesley College young Republicans."

Later, in Beaufort, she told supporters she was running for president "because I think we can set big goals again. There is still so much to be done."

She mentioned universal health care, ending dependence on foreign oil, expanding early childhood education and safely withdrawing troops from Iraq.

Helen Gilbert, a retired government worker originally from Virginia, said she believes women - especially older women - may be Clinton's biggest hurdle.

"We're brought up to believe the men know it all," said Gilbert, 75. But Clinton's track record is what has earned Gilbert's support.

"She knows so much and she's done so much and she's been involved so much," Gilbert said. "She's going to be the president. I think it's about time, don't you?"


Associated Press writer Evan Berland in Beaufort contributed to this report.
I am sympathetic to the Confucian tradition, and the idea of a "public service" academy might resonate with the tenets and history of Confucianism. Still, book learning can supplement, not supplant, virtue, and it is not clear to me that a U.S. Public Service Academy would have the correct idea about virtue.

How has civil service changed with the rise of bureaucracy? What sort of education is really necessary for a civil servant? What was required by the British Empire, or the Spanish Empire or the Holy Roman Empire for that matter? Some form of a liberal education, I would think, even if that has evolved much over the past 5 centuries. How does the program at the USPSA compare? If it aims at having a diverse student body, does it nonetheless acknowledge the Natural Law? And what about a proper understanding of the Constutition? (I doubt that the notion of states' rights and the account of federalism that it generates will get much play there.)

"The campus ethos and daily pace of life will be more akin to a military academy than a typical liberal arts college. Students will be held to the highest standards of behavior and character through the Academy Honor System, which will underpin all campus activities. "

Will there be co-ed housing? Any rules against fornication? Drunkeness? I am a bit wary of training Federal civil servants who are then "posted" to different states--especially if there is a deliberate attempt to place them somewhere other than their home state. (Shades of the Chinese Empire.) I also am concerned about the reinforcement of a Federal/imperial arrogance which looks down upon the locals.

"It will offer students a broad-based liberal arts education that emphasizes a commitment to public service but maintains the academic rigor and wide-ranging intellectual experience essential to flexible, critical thinking. Academy students will earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Sciences degree in traditional subjects such as English, economics, biology, or physics."

Sounds normal for most "liberal arts" schools these days. But nonetheless a bad idea. A Great Books program would be better than this.

In addition to their Academic Major, students will participate in a systematic leadership development program that builds students’ leadership responsibilities progressively through the four-year undergraduate program. Modeled on the Cadet Leadership Development Program at the United States Military Academy, the program will involve academic work, extracurricular programming on campus, and service in the community. All students will enroll in a service-learning class each semester. This community service will improve living conditions and promote civic well-being in the local community, while contributing to students’ sense of responsibility and leadership. Through their community service projects, students not only will interact with local people and see firsthand some of the challenges that citizens face on a daily basis, they also will gain practical leadership experience. The hands-on experience will help guide students in their choice of the public service fields in which they want to work.
Have I ever written about why I dislike community service programs/activitiets as an element of liberal education? In a true polity, education in such virtues would be necessary for all, not just a few, and the responsibilities enumerated here would be common to all citizens, not just those who are admitted to the elite. (This is a essential part of relocalization.) And so I am suspicious of a project such as this, which may produce more imperial bureaucrats who serve not the people, but the oligarchy.

British Civil Service - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What about a school for diplomacy or international relations? It is difficult for me to say anything bad about the idea, as it seems that the Vatican's school for diplomacy has much prestige behind it. (One assumes that since the students at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy are clerics, they should know that their service is ultimately ordered to God and should be bound to their spirituality.) In the abstract, the training of diplomats would probably be similar to that of civil servants, though it would also require some knowledge of languages and other cultures and customs, and so on, plus more concentration on that part of statecraft that is involved in diplomacy. Still, I am also suspicious of contemporary programs in International Relations, for the same reason that such training seems to emphasize formal learning rather than growth in the virtues and the practice of citizenship in a community.

U.S. Public Service Academy
Help Us Build the U.S. Public Service Academy U.S. Public ...
youtube clip from the debate

What's this?
Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations
American Graduate School of International Relations and Diplomacy
GU SFS: Institute for the Study of Diplomacy
Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce
Graduate School of International Relations - The Fletcher School ...
Welcome to Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations ...
Plus a host of other programs for International Relations

Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy - Index
Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy Celebrates 300 Years
The Vatican State
Agenzia Fides - VATICAN - The Pope addresses students of the ...
Pope's Address to Ecclesiastical Academy: "All Will Clearly See the Atypical Character of Pontifical Diplomacy"

English School of International Relations
English School of International Relations Theory (homepage)
The English School and Diplomacy
The English School on Diplomacy
The English School, Herbert Butterfield and Diplomacy
International relations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
English school of international relations theory - Wikipedia, the ...
Realism (international relations) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

St. Stephen the First Martyr parish

the FSSP parish in Sacramento; it is starting a secondary/college prep school--the name(s) of the faculty may be familiar

via Stony Creek Digest

Vermont Commons: UVM Secession Debate

SUMMER WEB EXCLUSIVE: UVM Secession Debate-Transcript by Joshua Lambert

John Berger, 10 Dispatches About Place

Ten Dispatches About Place
by John Berger
As Everywhere becomes Nowhere, we establish private landmarks for the presence of the eternal in daily life.

Somebody inquires: are you still a marxist? Never before has the devastation caused by the pursuit of profit, as defined by capitalism, been more extensive than it is today. Almost everybody knows this. How then is it possible not to heed Marx, who prophesied and analyzed the devastation? The answer might be that people, many people, have lost all their political bearings. Mapless, they do not know where they are heading.

Every day people follow signs pointing to some place that is not their home but a chosen destination. Road signs, airport embarkation signs, terminal signs. Some are making their journeys for pleasure, others for business, many out of loss or despair. On arrival they come to realize they are not in the place indicated by the signs they followed. Where they now find themselves has the correct latitude, longitude, local time, currency, yet it does not have the specific gravity of the destination they chose.

They are beside the place they chose to come to. The distance that separates them from it is incalculable. Maybe it’s only the width of a thoroughfare, maybe it’s a world away. The place has lost what made it a destination. It has lost its territory of experience.

Sometimes a few of these travelers undertake a private journey and find the place they wished to reach, which is often harsher than they foresaw, although they discover it with boundless relief. Many never make it. They accept the signs they follow and it’s as if they don’t travel, as if they always remain where they already are.

The details in the image on this page were taken by Anabell Guerrero in the Red Cross shelter for refugees and emigrants at Sangatte near Calais and the Channel Tunnel. On orders from the British and French governments, the shelter was recently shut down. Several hundred people were sheltering there, many hoping to make it to Britain. The man in the photographs—Guerrero prefers not to disclose his name—is from Zaire.

Month by month millions leave their homelands. They leave because there is nothing there, except their everything, which does not offer enough to feed their children. Once it did. This is the poverty of the new capitalism.

After long and terrible journeys, after they have experienced the baseness of which others are capable, after they have come to trust their own incomparable and dogged courage, emigrants find themselves waiting on some foreign transit station, and then all they have left of their home continent is themselves: their hands, their eyes, their feet, shoulders, bodies, what they wear, and what they pull over their heads at night to sleep under, wanting a roof.

Thanks to Guerrero’s image we can take account of how a man’s fingers are all that remain of a plot of tilled earth, his palms what remain of some riverbed, and how his eyes are a family gathering he will not attend. Portrait of an emigrant continent.

“I’m going down the stairs in an underground station to take the B line. Crowded here. Where are you? Really! What’s the weather like? Getting into the train—call you later...”

Of the millions of mobile telephone conversations taking place every hour in the world’s cities and suburbs, most, whether they are private or business, begin with a statement about the caller’s whereabouts. People need straightaway to pinpoint where they are. It is as if they are pursued by doubts suggesting that they may be nowhere. Surrounded by so many abstractions, they have to invent and share their own transient landmarks.

More than thirty years ago Guy Debord prophetically wrote: “the accumulation of mass-produced commodities for the abstract space of the market, just as it has smashed all regional and legal barriers, and all corporate restrictions of the Middle Ages that maintained the quality of artisanal production, has also destroyed the autonomy and quality of places.”

The key term of the present global chaos is de- or relocalization. This does not only refer to the practice of moving production to wherever labor is cheapest and regulations minimal. It also contains the offshore demented dream of the new ongoing power: the dream of undermining the status of and confidence in all previous fixed places, so that the entire world becomes a single fluid market.

The consumer is essentially somebody who feels or is made to feel lost unless he or she is consuming. Brand names and logos become the place names of the Nowhere.

Other signs announcing FREEDOM or DEMOCRACY, terms plundered from earlier historical periods, are also used to confuse. In the past a common tactic employed by those defending their homeland against invaders was to change the road signs so that the one indicating ZARAGOZA pointed in the opposite direction toward BURGOS. Today it is not defenders but invaders who switch signs to confuse local populations, confuse them about who is governing whom, the nature of happiness, the extent of grief, or where eternity is to be found. And the aim of all these misdirections is to persuade people that being a client is the ultimate salvation.

Yet clients are defined by where they check out and pay, not by where they live and die.

Extensive areas that were once rural places are being turned into zones. The details of the process vary according to the continent—Africa or Central America or Southeast Asia. The initial dismembering, however, always comes from elsewhere and from corporate interests pursuing their appetite for ever more accumulation, which means seizing natural resources (fish in Lake Victoria, wood in the Amazon, petrol wherever it is to be found, uranium in Gabon, etc.), regardless of to whom the land or water belongs.

The ensuing exploitation soon demands airports, military, and paramilitary bases to defend what is being siphoned off, and collaboration with the local mafiosi. Tribal war, famine, and genocide may follow.

People in such zones lose all sense of residence: children become orphans (even when they are not), women become slaves, men desperadoes. Once this has happened, to restore any sense of domesticity takes generations. Each year of such accumulation prolongs the Nowhere in time and space.

Meanwhile—and political resistance often begins in a meanwhile—the most important thing to grasp and remember is that those who profit from the present chaos, with their embedded commentators in the media, continuously misinform and misdirect. Their declarations and all the plundered terms they are in the habit of using should never be argued with. They have to be rejected outright and abandoned. They will get nobody anywhere.

The information technology developed by the corporations and their armies so they could dominate their Nowhere more speedily is being used by others as a means of communication throughout the Everywhere they are struggling toward.

The Caribbean writer Edouard Glissant puts this very well: “the way to resist globalisation is not to deny globality, but to imagine what is the finite sum of all possible particularities and to get used to the idea that, as long as a single particularity is missing, globality will not be what it should be for us.”

We are establishing our own landmarks, naming places, finding poetry. Yes, in the Meanwhile poetry is to be found.

As the brick of the afternoon stores the rose heat of the journey

as the rose buds a green room to breathe
and blossoms like the wind

as the thin birches whisper their stories of the wind to the urgent
in the trucks

as the leaves of the hedge store the light
the day thought it had lost

as the nest of her wrist beats like the chest of a sparrow in the turning air

as the chorus of the earth find their eyes in the sky
and unwrap them to each other in the teeming dark

hold everything dear

—Gareth Evans

Their Nowhere generates a strange, because unprecedented, awareness of time. Digital time. It continues forever uninterrupted through day and night, the seasons, birth, and death. As indifferent as money. Yet, although continuous, it is utterly single. It is the time of the present kept apart from the past and future. Within it, only the present is weight-bearing; the other two lack gravity. Time is no longer a colonnade, but a single column of ones and zeros. A vertical time with nothing surrounding it, except absence.

Read a few pages of Emily Dickinson and then go and see Lars von Trier’s film Dogville. In Dickinson’s poetry the presence of the eternal is attendant in every pause. The film, by contrast, remorselessly shows what happens when any trace of the eternal is erased from daily life. What happens is that all words and their entire language are rendered meaningless.

Within a single present, within digital time, no whereabouts can be found or established.

We will take our bearings within another time-set. The eternal, according to Spinoza (who was Marx’s dearest philosopher) is now. It is not something awaiting us, but something we encounter during those brief yet timeless moments when everything accommodates everything and no exchange is inadequate.

In her urgent book Hope In the Dark, Rebecca Solnit quotes the Sandinista poet Gioconda Belli describing the moment when the Somoza dictatorship was overthrown in Nicaragua: “two days that felt as if a magical, age-old spell had been cast over us, taking us back to Genesis, to the very site of the creation of the world.” The fact that the U.S. and its mercenaries later destroyed the Sandinistas in no way diminishes that moment existing in the past, present, and future.

A kilometer down the road from where I’m writing, there is a field in which four burros graze, two mares and two foals. They are a particularly small species. The black-bordered ears of the mares, when they prick them, come up to my chin. The foals, only a few weeks old, are the size of large terriers, with the difference that their heads are almost as large as their sides.

I climb over the fence and sit in the field with my back against the trunk of an apple tree. The burros have made their own tracks across the field and some pass under very low branches where I would have to stoop double. They watch me. There are two areas where there is no grass at all, just reddish earth, and it is to one of these rings that they come many times a day to roll on their backs. Mare first, then foal. The foals already have their black stripe across their shoulders.

Now they approach me. They smell of donkeys and bran—not the smell of horses, more discreet. The mares touch the top of my head with their lower jaws. Their muzzles are white. Around their eyes are flies, far more agitated than their own questioning glances.

When they stand in the shade by the edge of the wood the flies go away, and they can stand there almost motionless for half an hour. In the shade at midday, time slows down. When one of the foals suckles (ass’s milk is the closest to human milk), the mare’s ears lie right back and point to her tail.

Surrounded by the four of them in the sunlight, my attention fixes on their legs, all sixteen of them. Their slenderness, their sheerness, their containment of concentration, their surety. (Horses’ legs look hysterical by comparison.) Theirs are legs for crossing mountains no horse could tackle, legs for carrying loads that are unimaginable if one considers only the knees, the shanks, the fetlocks, the hocks, the cannon bones, the pastern joints, the hooves. Donkeys’ legs.

They wander away, heads down, grazing, their ears missing nothing; I watch them, eyes skinned. In our exchanges, such as they are, in the midday company we offer one another, there is a substratum of what I can only describe as gratitude. Four burros in a field, month of June, year 2005.

Yes, I’m still among other things a marxist.

Winona LaDuke, Ricekeepers

by Winona LaDuke
Poling their canoes through the murky waters of patent claims and genetic contamination, the Ojibwe strive to protect the Creator's gift from corporate agriculture

Environmental movement and Natural Law

John Allen's latest column: For Benedict, environmental movement promises recovery of natural law tradition

The first question had to do with the formation of conscience, and Benedict replied with his now-familiar diagnosis of the cultural situation in the West. By truncating the sphere of reason to only those things which can be empirically verified or falsified, the pope said, spirituality and morality have been "expelled" from rationality, consigned to a merely subjective sphere, understood as a matter of individual taste and judgment.

In response, Benedict proposed a two-pronged strategy, one being the path of religious faith, the other being what he called "a secular path." By that, Benedict appeared to mean natural law, the idea that nature itself carries a moral message that can be deciphered utilizing the faculty of conscience, even by those who aren't Christian or who aren't religious at all.
I wonder if this is Mr. Allen's own interpolation. Joseph Ratzinger has an essay in Crisis of Conscience (ed. John Haas)--I don't know if this is included in IP's On Conscience (link given below). [To be honest I found that essay to be a little bit lacking in precision, especially when compared with the essay written by Ralph McInerny in the same book.] The transcript of the Q&A session between the pope and the priests of the diocese of Belluno, Feltre, and Treviso is in Italian, and the language is a bit daunting. My suspicion is that the Holy Father does not explain the relationship between natural law and conscience in this way.

In the pope's mind, this seems to be where environmentalism enters the picture.

"Everyone can see today that humanity could destroy the foundation of its own existence, its earth, and therefore we can't simply do whatever we want with this earth that has been entrusted to us, what seems to us in a given moment useful or promising, but we have to respect the inner laws of creation, of this earth, we have to learn these laws and obey them if we want to survive," Benedict said. "This obedience to the voice of the earth is more important for our future happiness than the voices of the moment, the desires of the moment. … Existence itself, our earth, speaks to us, and we have to learn to listen."

Exactly, because by the Natural Law we are commanded to love ourselves and to love the community, and to aim for the good of the community, which includes its survival. A community can only exploit the earth and degrade the environment so long, before it jeopardizes its own survival. If one wants to say that out of their own self-interest political communities should be aiming at sustainability and living in harmony with the local ecology, while transforming it in ways both beneficial to man and to the other organisms living there, he can do so. (This is the kind of stewardship advocated by Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, and Brian Goodwin.) I would just say that this is reasonable, and that exploitation is disordered.

From there, Benedict said, we may also learn anew to listen to the voice of human nature as well, discovering in other people and in human communities moral laws that stand above our own ego. In that regard, the pope said, we can draw upon the great moral experience of humanity. Doing so teaches that human liberty never exists in isolation from others; it works only if it's rooted in a sense of common values.

An appeal to tradition? Again, I wonder if Mr. Allen is not simplifying what the pope said. As Fr. Pinckaers writes, freedom is ordered to excellence, or to virtue (and to authentic goods).

In other words, Benedict sees in the modern environmental movement the most promising route for recovery of the natural law tradition. What today's rising ecological awareness presumes is that there are limits inscribed in nature beyond which humanity trespasses at its own peril. Without any particular reference to religion, the secular world today is arriving at its own version of natural law theory. Building upon that momentum, and directing it beyond environmental matters to questions of individual and social morality, is what Benedict seems to mean by a "secular path" to formation of conscience.

Not quite, Mr. Allen. One can discover certain precepts of the Natural Law, without having to develop an account of the Natural Law at the same time. Natural Law without reference to the Creator is incomplete. One can frame such precepts in a way that still affirms the primacy of human beings in the created material order, without the excesses of certain members of the environmental movement (Gaia hypothesis, misandry, etc.). Such primacy does not negate man's responsibility to be a good steward.

To extend a metaphor, one might say that Benedict XVI is trying to paint a distinctively Catholic shade of green.

I don't mean to suggest that the pope's environmental concern is entirely instrumental, as if he OKed putting solar cells on Vatican buildings simply because, in some round-about fashion, he thinks that'll convince people not to have abortions. He's made clear on multiple occasions that he regards defense of the environment as an urgent moral necessity all by itself. But Benedict also appears to see something deeper stirring in Western environmentalism, a new sense of moral restraint grounded in objective natural reality.

To put the pope's point simplistically, if the world is willing to limit its carbon output on the basis of the laws of nature, then maybe it will become more willing to accept limits arising from nature in other spheres of life as well.

At the moment, the International Theological Commission, the main advisory body to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has a sub-commission working on a document on Natural Law. A draft is expected to be ready for discussion in October. The project is being led by Dominican Fr. Serge Bonino, the editor of the Revue Thomist; the American member is Jesuit Fr. John Michael McDermott of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. It will be interesting to see if the sub-commission develops this line of reflection.
Ah, Fr. Bonino. I can't wait until this document is released.

Transcript of that talk with the priests (in Italian).

From Ignatius Press:
On Conscience by Joseph Ratzinger
Pope Benedict XVI: The Conscience of Our Age by Vincent Twomey

ATimes: China silk trade hits Indian weavers

China silk trade hits Indian weavers

Romance and lore of the ancient "Silk Road" have been buried by the harsh realities of competition as cheap Chinese silk pours into India through the reopened Nathu La Pass in the Himalayas. Former centers of the Indian handwoven-silk trade lie idle, many of their artisans unemployed. Meanwhile, the Chinese rankle at Indian charges of "dumping" cheap silk. - Indrajit Basu

Low-impact houses

The green green grass of home
They might look like hobbits' dwellings, but low-impact developments could offer a solution to the housing crisis. Patrick Barkham reports
(via EB)

That Roundhouse Building a Low Impact Roundhouse (Simple Living ...

Chuck Baldwin, Corporate America: Freedom's Greatest Threat

Corporate America: Freedom's Greatest Threat by Chuck Baldwin

via Conservative Heritage Times

Lee Yo-won Conjures the Spirits of May 18

Lee Yo-won Conjures the Spirits of May 18

`May 18’ Remembers Heroes of Gwangju(The Korea Times)
Film on South Korea's Kwangju massacre set for release ...
Asianpopcorn >> Korean Movie 'May 18' Focuses on Kwangju Massacre
May 18 (Splendid Holiday) released in Korea : Lunapark6
Film on SKorea's Kwangju massacre set for release

KFCinema Forum thread
Official site
Teaser; trailer; MV (mms)

Gwangju Democratization Movement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Democracy Now! 25 Years Ago: The Kwangju Massacre in South Korea
S. Korean survivors tell of 1980 Gwangju massacre
BBC News ASIA-PACIFIC Flashback: The Kwangju massacre
24th Anniversaary of Gwangju Popular Uprising
BBC NEWS Asia-Pacific Lingering legacy of Korean massacre

Miss Hong Kong 2007

Kayi Cheung, center, a 23-year-old student is crowned Miss Hong Kong Pageant 2007 in Hong Kong, Saturday, July 21, 2007. She is flanked by first runner-up Grace Wong , left, a 21 year-old student and second runner-up Lorretta Chow, right, a 19 year-old student. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Miss Hong Kong 2007 Kayi Cheung (C) poses with first runner-up Grace Wong (L) and second runner-up Lorretta Chow after winning the annual beauty contest in Hong Kong July 21, 2007.

Oldest active parish priest in Italy

In this photo made available by Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano Wednesday, July 18, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI and Treviso's Bishop Andrea Bruno Mazzocato, center, meet with 96-year-old priest Armando Durighetto at the end of the traditional Angelus prayer in the 19th century Mirabello castle in Lorenzago di Cadore, near Belluno, Italy, Sunday, July 15, 2007. Durighetto, considered the oldest active parish priest in Italy, told the Pontiff he celebrated at least 36,455 mass during his priesthood. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Theodore Dalrymple, Delusions of Honesty

Delusions of Honesty
Theodore Dalrymple

The doctor evaluates the leadership of Tony Blair.

Bill Bonner, The Real Boom's Evil Twin

The Real Boom's Evil Twin
By Bill Bonner "In order to fully enjoy a crack up boom you have to understand that a crack up boom is not all it's cracked up to be. It is fundamentally a feature of monetary inflation, not of real economic growth. Easy come; easy go."

Today's Guest Essay:
The Collapse of Collapse
By Bill Bonner "The world has never been want for some kind of crisis that tests its inhabitants. War, depression, economic hardship - all still occur. What has changed in the last quarter century is the way we approach these crises. Bill Bonner explores how the current global mindset is allowing trouble to take a holiday. Read on…"

From time to time, a young man will come to see us. He'll say he wants to get in the business. So, we warn him. You don't know what trouble is, we say, until you become a financial analyst. When your recommendations don't work out, your readers will despise you. And when you do well, they'll be disappointed you didn't do better. Worse, you might begin to think you really know what you're talking about. And then you're completely useless - and a danger to everyone, especially yourself.

So take our advice, we tell them. Go into law or dentistry. But if you decide to go ahead…remember, you can always come to us for advice and help. And if things really go badly for you, we always keep a loaded pistol in our desk drawer; we hate to see a financial analyst suffer.

I was going to say earlier, it seems that there are a lot of Austrian school adherents who go into financial advising. (I don't know if Mr. Bonner is one of them.) Is the Austrian school generally underrepresented in economics departments?

Father Cantalamessa on Jesus' Prayer

Father Cantalamessa on Jesus' Prayer
Pontifical Household Preacher Comments on Sunday's Readings

ROME, JULY 27, 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.

* * *

Jesus at Prayer
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Genesis 18:20-21, 23-32; Colossians 2:12-14; Luke 11:1-13

Sunday's Gospel begins with these words: "Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.' He said to them, 'When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.'"

We can get an idea of what Jesus' countenance and his whole person looked like when he prayed by considering the fact that his disciples, just watching him pray, fell in love with prayer and asked the Master to teach them to pray. Jesus responds to them, as we have just now heard, by teaching them the Our Father.

Again in our commentary for this Sunday we will draw inspiration for our reflections on the Gospel from Benedict XVI's book on Jesus. "Without the rootedness in God," the Pope writes, "the person of Jesus remains elusive, unreal and inexplicable. This is the point on which my book is based: It considers Jesus from the perspective of his communion with the Father. This is the true center of his personality."

These claims are amply justified by the Gospels. Therefore, no one can deny that historically the Jesus of the Gospels lives and works in continual reference to the heavenly Father, that he prays and teaches how to pray, that he bases everything on faith in God. If this dimension is taken away from the Jesus of the Gospels, nothing is left of him.

From this historical evidence there follows a fundamental consequence and that is that it is not possible to know the true Jesus if we detach from faith, if we try to approach him as nonbelievers or declared atheists. I am not speaking at this point of faith in Christ, in his divinity (which comes later), but of faith in God, in the most common understanding of the term.

Many nonbelievers today write about Jesus, convinced that they are the ones who know the real Jesus, not the Church, not the believers. I do not have the intention of saying -- nor does the Pope, I believe -- that nonbelievers have no right to concern themselves with Jesus. Jesus is the "patrimony of humanity" and no one, not even the Church, has a monopoly on him. The fact that even nonbelievers write about Jesus and are passionate about him can only give us pleasure.

What I want to draw attention to are the consequences that follow from such a point of departure. If we detach from or deny faith in God, it is not only divinity that is eliminated or the so-called Christ of faith, but the historical Jesus is also completely eliminated, not even the man Jesus is left.

If God does not exist, Jesus is only one of the many deluded people who have prayed, worshipped, and spoken to their own shadow or the projection of their own essence, as Feuerbach would say. But how do we explain the fact that the life of this man "changed the world"? It would be like saying that truth and reason did not change the world but illusion and irrationality. How do we explain that after 2,000 years this man continues to affect us like no one else? Can all of that be the fruit of an equivocation, of an illusion?

There is but one way out of this dilemma and we must acknowledge the consistency of those (especially in the circle of the "Jesus Seminar" of California) who have taken that route. According to them, Jesus was not a Jewish believer; at bottom he was a philosopher of the Cynic type; he did not preach the kingdom of God, or an immanent end of the world; he only pronounced wise maxims in the style of a Zen master. His purpose was to restore in men their self-awareness, to convince them that they did not need him nor another god, because they themselves possessed a divine spark. These are the things, however, that the New Age movement has been preaching for decades.

The Pope understood it correctly: Without the rootedness in God, the figure of Jesus is elusive, unreal, and, I would add, contradictory. I do not think that this must be taken to mean that only those who interiorly adhere to Christianity can understand something about it; but it should put those on guard who think that only by being outside of it, outside the dogmas of the Church, can something objective be said about it.

The Dark Knight teaser

Don't know how long it will be up. (Slow download, supposedly you can find a poorer quality vid at youtube.)

via AICN

Lust, Caution

Apple trailer

official site not up yet

David Bond, The China Syndrome: Silk Road or Silver Road?

The China Syndrome: Silk Road or Silver Road?
by David Bond

Tea at Trianon: F.D.R. and Pearl Harbor

Tea at Trianon: F.D.R. and Pearl Harbor

which includes a link to this review of The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable

Defense Review article on the HK416

Army Recon Bike

Featured on The View--how much do the show and the guy who does the segment get paid by Gadge Universe for featuring these products? Might as well be an infomercial segment.

yellow; red

The bike is $150 and supposedly light; I wonder how much a off-road/mountain bike with a light frame costs these days.

Commuter Bicycles
Dynamic Bicycles Chainless Bicycles - Shaft Drive – Hybrid bikes ...
Mountain Bike Magazine: Bikes, Gear, Training, Reviews, Maintenance
Mountain bike product reviews forums classifieds trails
Mountain Bike Mountain Biking Trails
wiki on mountain bikes
How to Maintain a Mountain Bike - wikiHow
Web Mountain bike store in maryland

Col. Magee's Prepared Statement as Submitted to the HASC

More on Dragon Skin, at SFTT.

Col. Magee's Prepared Statement as Submitted to the HASC

Who's playing Spock in the next Trek movie?

AICN has photos

Plus photos of Karen Allen on the set of Indy IV! Looking good!

(Then again, that's what makeup is for...)

Ecumenical Vespers at St Maria sopra Minerva, Rome

Ecumenical celebration of evening prayer in the presence of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor of Westminster and Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury


CIEL Oxford: Magnificat at Solemn Tridentine Vespers

Sarum Rite (Use of Salisbury) High Mass

Ordination into Sacred Orthodox Priesthood

Father Steven was Ordained into the Sacred Priesthood on May 20, 2007 at Agios Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church. This is part one of a two part series.

Part 1

Part 2

Close Up Scarlett Johansson

What is the truth about Pat Tillman's death?

AP: New Details on Tillman's Death
via Lew Rockwell blog

No Marilyn Bauer for season 7?

speculation at AICN

Rena Sofer

More photos at this fansite. IMDB gallery

Hong Kong, men prefer Chinese women

Hong Kong, men prefer Chinese women

Since 2001 the number of single women in the city has risen by over 43%. An increasing proportion of men travel to the continent in search of a wife. Worrying increase in divorce and “single” parents.

Peggy Noonan, Rich Man, Boor Man

Rich Man, Boor Man

It's funny. In a time of recession, you'd think salespeople would be more aggressive, because so much might hinge on the sale--a commission, a job. In a time of relative wealth, you'd think they might be less aggressive. But the opposite seems true.
Do people working in the service industry tend to be rather rude? It's unclear, though it seems likely that parents are not doing their job in raising their children with good manners, and their employers aren't do that much either (or as Ms. Noonan points out, they encourage that sort of aggressiveness because it leads to sales). Nonetheless, Ms. Noonan needs to recognize that we are in a recession, or very close to it, retail sales are shaky, and those working in the service and retail industries have reason to be concerned about their paychecks.

How easy it is for those who are living off extra wealth (e.g. columnists) to criticize those who are trying to manage.

I do agree with her criticisms about cell phone and BlackBerry use.

Fatboy Slim, Weapon of Choice MV

with Christopher Walken!

I put this up because the women of The View were talking about Mr. Walken's dancing ability in Hairspray.

Bryon King, The Full-on Oil War of 2007

Mr. Bill Bonner makes a reference to this bulletin/advertisement in his latest.

The Full-on Oil War of 2007 :
Bloody New "Backlash" Set to Rocket Oil Past $150... and Send Gas Soaring to Over $6 per Gallon
Fri Jul 27 10:27:12 2007. US/Eastern
by Byron King, Editor

Well, Mr. King is one of many who make a living off making economic forecasts (including Mr. Bonner), so one might be skeptical about the claims made, especially as they are made of this year. I've read predictions about higher oil and gas prices since 2005, but the actual reality has not been as bad as those predictions. (Though they do offer explanations for why this is so--demand drops among poorer countries, and so on.) Nonetheless, are such financial/investment advisors more reliable than supposedly "neutral" and "scientific" economists sitting in their ivory towers, whether it be at the institutions of "higher" learning or at think tanks, or working for the MSM?

Bill Bonner, Cheap Oil Like Jonestown Kool-Aid

Cheap Oil Like Jonestown Kool-Aid
By Bill Bonner "Since the era of cheap oil is coming to a close…Americans will have to stop living in ugly, soul-destroying suburbs; they will have to stop their vulgar consumerism… They'll have to change, whether they like it or not."

Today's Guest Essay:
Don't Withhold the Don'ts
By Greg Guenthner "Do you sometimes feel as if Wall Street is not giving you all the facts? Well, that might not be too far from the truth. Greg Guenthner explores this idea through the story of one man and his guidelines for investing…or lack there of. Read on…"

Papal Letter on Scouts

Papal Letter on Scouts
"A Forceful Presentation of Christianity"

VATICAN CITY, JULY 26, 2007 ( Here is a Vatican translation of Benedict XVI's June 22 letter to Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the first Scout camp.

* * *


To His Eminence Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard,
Archbishop of Bordeaux
President of the Bishops' Conference of France

The first of August 2007 will mark the 100th anniversary of the opening on Brownsea Island, England, of the first Scout camp organized by Lord Baden-Powell.

On this occasion, all those in the world, young people and adults who once made their Scout promise individually or as a group, will be invited to renew it and to make a gesture for peace, thereby stressing how close the vocation of a "peacemaker" is to the Scout ideal.

For a century, through games, action, adventure, contact with nature, a team spirit and service to others, an integral formation of the human person is offered to everyone who becomes a Scout.

Made fruitful by the Gospel, scouting is not only a place for true human growth but also for a forceful presentation of Christianity and real spiritual and moral development, as well as being an authentic path of holiness.

It would be appropriate to recall the words of Fr Jacques Sevin, S.J., the founder of Catholic Scouts: "Holiness does not belong to any specific period and has no specific uniform". The sense of responsibility inspired by the scouting pedagogy leads to a life in charity and the desire to serve one's neighbour in the image of Christ the servant, relying on the grace that he bestows especially in the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation.

With all those in your Country who have benefited from belonging to a Scouts' association -- the Scouts and Guides of France, the Scouts and Guides of Europe or the United Scouts and Guides of France -- I rejoice that since the appeal for greater communion among Catholic Scouts launched by my Predecessor in 1997, there have been outstanding instances of collaboration, which have respected the sensibilities of each movement with a view to greater unity in the heart of the Church.

Indeed, Scout leaders will remember that their priority task is to awaken and form the personalities of the young people entrusted to them by their families, teaching them to encounter Christ and making them familiar with Church life.

It is also important that "Scout fellowship" is manifested and develops among Scouts and between the different movements, which was part of their initial ideal.

Furthermore, especially for the young generations, this "membership" demonstrates what the Body of Christ is, or, to use St Paul's image, all are called to carry out a mission in their own province, to rejoice in the progress of others and to help their brothers and sisters in their trials (cf. I Cor 12:12-26).

I thank the Lord for all the fruits which scouting has yielded in the past century. With the entire Church, I trust that the different movements, Scouts of France, Scouts and Guides of Europe, United Scouts and Guides of France, may pursue the route with ever greater interaction, and offer to today's boys and girls a pedagogy that forms in them a strong personality based on Christ, with the aspiration to live the high ideals of the faith and human solidarity.

From this viewpoint, the Scout promise and prayer form a basis and an ideal to develop throughout life. Lord Baden-Powell used to say this: "Always be faithful to your Scout Promise, even when you are no longer a child -- and may God help you to succeed!". When a person does his utmost to keep his promises, the Lord himself strengthens him on his way.

I willingly impart my Apostolic Blessing to the Scouts and Guides who make up the three movements, to the young people and adults and to the chaplains who supervise them, to the families, to former Scouts and Guides and to you yourself as well as all the Pastors of the Church in France.

From the Vatican, 22 June 2007


© Copyright 2007 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Angelo Matera reviews John C. Médaille's The Vocation of Business

in the July/August issue of the Houston Catholic Worker

It is ironic that because the Church refuses to accept the reduction of man to one dimension--homo economicus--thereby reducing all of life to matters of utility and exchange and profit, it is accused of being unrealistic and out of touch with economics. Médaille, in the opening pages of The Vocation of Business, thoroughly refutes the idea that the Church doesn't have the right to interfere with the "science" of economics (we've heard this before from extreme Darwinists who want the Church silenced on evolution). He asks "Is life, both the life of the world and the life of the individual, thus consigned to a kind of schizophrenia in which our moral life--the life of love and personal relationships and our deepest longings--is forever at odds with our 'scientific' life, the life in which we earn our daily bread?"

Médaille takes on the critics of CST [Catholic social teaching] on their own turf, accepting the challenge that "a 'teaching' which cannot be enacted in daily life and mundane concerns, which has no 'practical' application, is not really a teaching at all, but a mere set of platitudes." HE painstakingly builds the case for introducing ethics and justice into economics and business, starting with the most basic issues. He begins in the territory of Alasdair MacIntyre, the acclaimed Catholic philosopher who, in his 1981 book, After Virtue, argued that moral discussion isn't even possible in western societies anymore because we no longer share a common vocabulary. Médaille confronts this problem directly, and carefully reconstructs the process of moral reasoning, taking the reader all the way from the Bible and the Greeks to the Enlightenment, and the separation of reason from faith--the source of our modern (or post-modern) predicament, where relativism rules.

Médaille's range is breahtaking; he explains classical economic theory and the Church's social encyclicals, the arguments of the Catholic "neoconservatives," the history of "Distributism"--the Catholic-influenced movement for a wide dispersion of land and property which was promoted by G. K. Chesteron and Hillaire Belloc in England, and by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in this country. (Many progressives would be surprised to know that Day's urban-based Catholic Worker Movement advocated a radical, faith-based agrarian vision.) He continues on to the "just wage" and the theory of the corporation, and then presents several case studies of recent social and business innovations that illustrate how CST can be implemented. (These include the Distributist-inspired Mondragon Cooperative in the Basque region of Spain, and the Grameem micro-bank of Bangladesh.) Throughout, he weaves in history and theology, from the ancients through the medieval era to contemporary thought.

I've only touched on the breadth of ideas and examples that Médaille includes. The book is a densely packed 325-pages, yet the writing is always clear and elegant. It's not for the casual reader, but neither is it for the theological or economic specialist. It's aimed at the intelligent layman willing to put in some effort. Médaille covers so much, I'm surprised the book works so well. You would expect a few embarrassing simplifications, but there are none--the argument is airtight, and Médaille leaves almost nothing out (I wish he had addressed the mid-twentieth century economist Joseph Schumpeter, who coined the phrase "creative destruction," and reworkd classical economics to account for "disequilibrium" and the dominance of large firms. And although Médaille includes the communitarian economies of South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, he doesn't mention the Catholic-influenced "Social Market" economy of post-World War II Germany.)

The Vocation of Business may be the definitive book on Catholic Social Teaching. But did Médaille accomplish his goal of bridging the gap between moral theory and business practice? I'm not sure. In the final paragraph, he says: "The world we live in is a world built by businessmen and -women." Unfortunately, I don't think this book will reach that audience. Theologians? Yes. Economists? Probably. And that's no small accomplishment. But I doubt it will engage the business leaders who run MBA programs and business magazines, or make the sort of impact that E.F. Schumacher's Small is Beautiful did. I don't think The Vocation of Business will spark a revolution of virtue-based business practicies (although I hope I'm proved wrong and it becomes the guidebook for thousands of social and business innovators.) It's an important stepping stone in that direction. But we still await that oh-so-necessary book. In the meantime, we should thank Médaille--and God--for this one.

The Vocation of Business is definitely on my list of books to get, I hope I will be able to read it soon.

Grameen and Muhammad Yunus
Grameen - Banking for the poor
Grameen Foundation - Fighting poverty with microfinance
Muhammad Yunus . org - Home
Grameen Bank, Bangladesh
Peace 2006; Muhammad Yunus - Nobel Lecture; The Norwegian Nobel Institute / Muhammad Yunus
Grameen Bank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Muhammad Yunus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nobel Winner Yunus: Microcredit Missionary
Muhammad Yunus - The London Speaker Bureau
Q & A Muhammad Yunus - TIME
MIT World » : Ending Global Poverty
Dr. Muhammad Yunus - 1994 World Food Prize Laureate
The New Heroes . Meet the New Heroes . Muhammad Yunus PBS

The Mondragón Cooperative
Mondragón Cooperative Corporation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
cac — Mondragon Unibertsitatea
Mondragon Corporacion Cooperativa, Spain
Dollars and Sense: The Magazine of Economic Justice
Mike Long / The Mondragon Co-Operative Federation
The Mondragón Cooperative Gives Lessons in Democracy
Mondragon: A better way to go to work?
The Mondragon Co-operative Research Conference 2005
Co-op Study 7: Mondragon Co-operatives
The Challenge of Mondragon
The Evolution of Management in the Mondragon Cooperatives ...
The Mondragón Cooperative Corporation (MCC): An Introduction
Access to Catholic Social Justice Teaching
After Capitalism: VISIT TO MONDRAGÓN
GEO::Grassroots Economic Organizing The Myth of Mondragon: Cooperatives, Politics, and ...

The German Social Market
Social market economy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The German social market economy and its changes
Chapter 11, " Germany: Unifying the Social Market Economy "
Social Market Economy in Postwar Germany: German History Rebuilding Germany: The Creation of the Social Market ...
Rebuilding Germany: The Creation of the Social Market Economy ...
Economic and Political Governance in Germany's Social Market Economy
21.5.2003 Germany’s Social Market Economy: How Sustainable is the ...
Germany’s “ Social Market Economy”
Germany the Social Market Economy
Wilhelm Roepke: Means "Contra Gramsci"

The Failure of the Social Market - Mises Institute
Germany’s Social Market Economy and the New Systems Competition

Joseph Schumpeter
Joseph Schumpeter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Creative destruction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(1883-1950) Joseph Schumpeter was an Austrian-American economist ...
Joseph Schumpeter
Books about Schumpeter
On the Concept of Social Value, by Joseph Schumpeter, 1908
Joseph Schumpeter: State, Imperialism and Capitalism (1919)
Joseph Alois Schumpeter, Biography: The Concise Encyclopedia of ...
ISS - International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society
Wired 10.03: The Father of Creative Destruction
Harvard University Press: Prophet of Innovation : Joseph ...
Harvard University Press Publicity Blog : Thomas McCraw on Joseph ... Joseph A.Schumpeter: Critical Assessments (Critical ...
Evolutionary econometrics: From Joseph Schumpeter’s failed ...

I wonder what what answer is given here: Joseph Schumpeter Lecture: The Size of Countries: Does it Matter?
Commentary: Joseph Schumpeter and the moral economy

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Beowulf trailer

Via Pete Takeshi. At Apple. Does it live up to the epic? Or will it be another Troy? I do think the CGI is once again too obvious, and that ruins it, for me.

official site

The Archdruid Report: A Failure of Mimesis

this might come in handy for the CEC conference paper

JHK's post, the original inspiraction behind the AR post

BA: Prep for the Wedding Night

BA: Prep for the Wedding Night
by Candice Watters

John Barrowman interviews David Tennant

for the LD -- some photos:

More photos.
I suppose poses haven't changed much, but some of these remind me of Tiger Beat and other similar teeny-bopper magazines. hahaha

David Tennant Fan

New home sales down substantially

Ok, the people covering the housing bubble saw this coming... who needs to catch up?

New home sales down substantially By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer 2 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Sales of new homes fell in June by the largest amount in five months as the housing industry continued to struggle with its worst downturn in 16 years. The median home price also fell.

The Commerce Department reported that sales of new single-family homes dropped by 6.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 834,000 units. The decline was more than triple what had been expected and was the largest percentage drop since sales fell by 12.7 percent in January. Sales are now 22.3 percent below the level of a year ago.

The median price of a new home sold last month dropped to $237,900, down by 2.2 percent from a year ago. It was the biggest year-over-year price drop since a 6.5 percent fall in April. The median price is the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less.

The big drop in new home sales followed a report Wednesday showing that existing home sales dropped by 3.8 percent in June to a five-year low. The weakness reflects spreading troubles in the mortgage market as more borrowers are defaulting on their loans, dumping those homes back on an already glutted market. In addition, banks and other lenders are tightening their standards, making it harder for prospective buyers to qualify for loans.

By region of the country, new home sales fell by 27.1 percent in the Northeast, 22.5 percent in the West and 17.1 percent in the Midwest. Only the South saw an increase in sales, a gain of 7.6 percent.

Economists believe the weakness in housing could linger through the rest of this year until a huge overhang of unsold homes is worked down. For June, the inventory of unsold new homes was unchanged at 537,000 units.

In other economic news, the Commerce Department said that orders for big-ticket manufactured products increased by 1.4 percent last month, the best showing since a 5.1 percent increase in March. Orders had declined by 2.3 percent in May.

The June strength in durable goods orders was concentrated in orders for commercial airplanes, which soared by 28.7 percent, reflecting strong demand for Boeing Co. aircraft. Aircraft orders, which are extremely volatile from month to month, had fallen by 21 percent in May.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported that the number of newly laid off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell to 301,000 last week, a drop of 2,000 from the previous week. The performance was better than the slight rise that economists had been expecting.

Economists believe that the economy regained momentum in the spring after a lackluster start to the year in which economic growth slowed to a dismal annual rate of 0.7 percent from January through March, the weakest showing in more than four years.

The government will report on April-June growth on Friday, with many analysts believing the report will show a solid rebound to growth of around 3.2 percent despite continued troubles in the housing industry.

The report on orders for durable goods, items expected to last at least three years, showed that the strength was concentrated in aircraft with many other sectors showing declines last month.

Overall transportation orders were up 6.1 percent, but that reflected the 28.7 percent jump in demand for commercial airliners and a 9.9 percent rise in orders for military aircraft. Orders for autos were down 1.4 percent last month.

Outside of transportation, orders fell by 0.5 percent, reflecting weakness in a number of other categories. That was the second straight drop in orders excluding transportation.

Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a category that is considered a good proxy for business investment, fell by 0.7 percent last week following an even bigger 1.5 percent decline in May.

Other sectors showing weakness were primary metals, including steel, which dropped by 3.6 percent and computers and electronic products, down 4.6 percent.

Photos: Lee Young Ae

Whoo website appears to be down.

Tom Whipple on the NPC report

Published on 25 Jul 2007 by Falls Church News-Press. Archived on 25 Jul 2007.

The peak oil crisis: hard truths
by Tom Whipple

In reality, the “Hard Truths” report is a piece of political theater carefully constructed to deflect responsibility from the administration for failing to publicly acknowledge and start preparing the nation for the consequences of oil depletion.

Let’s drop back two years and review what was happening in September 2005 when a letter requesting the report was being staffed through the Department of Energy, the White House and other interested government agencies.

The country was just recovering from back to back hurricanes that came very close to shutting down much of the U.S.’s gasoline supply and gas prices were at levels not seen in decades. Without the aid of emergency shipments from European stockpiles, many Americans would have spent the fall sitting in lines at gas stations, cursing the government for their predicament.

It was a time when the world oil production was starting to flatten after several years of rapid growth and Congressman Roscoe Bartlett was rushing around Washington telling anyone who would listen that peak world oil production was nearly upon us with devastating economic and social consequences. Bartlett, a loyal Republican, had even made his way into the oval office and made his pitch directly to the president. There was no pleading ignorance of the issue.

Given the pressures, the administration had to do something. With three years left in office, there was too much risk in completely ignoring a situation that had the potential to destroy an already tottering presidency should major fuel shortages and lines at the gas pumps develop setting off social unrest.

Taking decisive action to prepare for oil depletion was, and still is, unthinkable for an administration and its supporters who had just spent the better part of five years denying global warming and doing everything in their power to promote the welfare of big business and economic growth. The last thing any president would want to do would be to propose highly unpopular conservation measures without absolute, positive, irrefutable, un-debatable proof that peak oil was real and imminent.

When in doubt, call for a study. If you have any concerns about what the study might conclude, then put it in completely trustworthy hands and closely monitor progress. Involve as many people as you can. With everybody talking at once, you can pick and choose what you want the study to say, or more importantly, use in your defense, should there ever be Congressional hearings on the topic of “who was sleeping while America collapsed.”

Thus the great National Petroleum Council study on global oil and natural gas was born. A cast of hundreds worked on it and over 1,000 participated.

The future of dentistry in a post peak world

Published on 24 Jul 2007 by Transition Culture. Archived on 25 Jul 2007.
Peak oil and dentistry
by Ben Brangwyn


Song Hye Gyo, HK Cosmopolitan

the article

Roger Scruton, A Righter Shade of Green

A Righter Shade of Green
By Roger Scruton
Safeguarding the environment is too important to leave to environmentalists.

Lind, How to Win in Iraq

Here. He references the July 30 issue of The American Conservative.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

CA DCA Landlord/Tenant Book Index


PDF Version of California Tenant & 2007 Update

Innocent Venus, first episode

at IGN (warning: violent content)

What do you think, Pete Takeshi?

Innocent Venus
Innocent Venus (TV) - Anime News Network
Innocent Venus - Anime First Impressions at BasuGasuBakuhatsu ...
Innocent Venus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
+ N ǿ v ά ś ŧ o я м + » Innocent Venus
ADV Films Trailer Page

Der Spiegel interview with Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Link posted by daninardmore at Eunomia.

Greg Guenthner on the I-Phone

Why Apple’s iPhone Can’t Change Anything
When it comes to fancy electronic toys, the U.S. lags behind Asia (and Europe as well?). What is the I-Phone but another rather useless accessory for those who have too much money to burn?

(As for being wired in and connected, and having all this wonderful information at one's fingertips, in general... perhaps the grand illusion of our age.)

What about those BLS numbers...

The Accelerating BLS Birth/Death Adjustment
The Incredible Levitating May Jobs Report; Evidence that Employment Stats Are "Wildly" Overstated
From 3 years ago: Torgerson's Blog: Most of Those New Jobs Reported Are Imaginary

A different opinion: Misleading Commentary on Job Creation

Bureau of Labor Statistics Home Page

Monthly Review articles from a year ago

From May 2006: The Household Debt Bubble by John Bellamy Foster; Trouble, Trouble, Debt, and Bubble by William K. Tabb

Still current?

Michael Shedlock's blog

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis

Check out Employment on Pluto Rises for his response to the June Employment Report.

John Cranford, Political Economy: This Might Hurt a Bit

via Economy in Crisis

Political Economy: This Might Hurt a Bit
By John Cranford, CQ Columnist

Robot Chicken Star Wars

list of videos

Thanks to Pete Takeshi.


Is the question of orthography/standardized spelling reform just an education question or a culture question well? Some might argue that reforming English spelling so that it is phonetically consistent will enhance ease of learning and efficiency, and that language is made for man, not man is made for language. Much of the difficulty with learning English is that many sounds can be represented by more than one letter (or combination of letters). (I won't address the question of English grammar here, just spelling.) And a letter can represent more than one sound value.Some may even go so far as to advocate the adoption of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA); I think there is a case to be made for the retention of the Latin alphabet--it is part of our cultural heritage. And many of those who would argue for the retention of current orthography would probably base their argument on this form of cultural conservatism. A language (both in its spoken and written forms) carries the burden of its history, since it is something handed down from one generation to the next, with all of the human factors that can influence such a process.

E. Christian Kopff, in The Devil Knows Latin, writes:

Luckily for the United States, such an easy doctrine did not prevail at the founding. It does, however, prevail today. Sadly, few Americans ever reach that sure mark of maturity, the realization that we are the beneficiaries of the past. To begin with, we did not choose our parents. Neither did we choose our first language. Nor, if that first language is English, did we choose that serious discourse in important disciplines--law, politics, ethics, the physical sciences, and the humanities--is conducted in a vocabulary heavily Latinate and generously peppered with Greek words. The fact of the atter is that we can no more choose our culture and its languages than we can our parents. A trendy academic recently urged his peers to make a careful selection among what he called our 'cultural baggage.' We should not deceive ourselves, however. If our culture and its traditions are baggage, we are not carrying it, or paying academic redcaps to haul it behind us. It is carrying us. (53-4)
There are plenty of words that have been borrowed from other languages, and supplanted "native" words. For example, the word saint, which is borrowed from French and has its origin in the Latin sanctus. We don't use the Germanic word holy (related to the German word heilig). When was the last time you heard of someone speak of Holy Benedict rather than Saint Benedict? Should we consciously return to the use of native English words, preferring them to the words we have from French, Latin, and others?

[Germanic Languages
This page presents a tree of Germanic Languages and capsule descriptions of them.
Characterization of the Germanic Language Family
Yamada Language Center: Germanic Fonts]

Do we need an organization like the Académie française (wiki) to monitor the English language? It seems an impossible task, given the use of English universally as a business language, and its impact on other cultures, as well as the number of different forms of English that exist even here in the United States. Would we not be striving for an artificial (one imposed from above by a central agency) or an ideal purity? If we say that the language of the elites should be adopted by everyone else, should this not be done voluntarily? It's not like the AF has the coercive power of the law to back up its actions.

If we keep the words, should we keep the spelling? The spelling of those words that have been anglicized can perhaps be reformed, but what about words that kept the original spelling, being borrowed directly from the other language? What if the pronunciation of the word has shifted from that of the original language?

Do we risk losing touch with our historical and cultural roots in reforming the spelling of borrowings? Cultural conservatives may argue that it is better to bow to custom and to retain such usages. What about the variety of local accents? The same word can have different pronunciations, according to different local accents. Are sound shifts consistent, that is if the pronunciation of phonemes in certain words are changed, will they be changed in the same way for other similar (or not so similar) words?

What happens if they are not consistent, and the spelling of the word no longer effectively represents its pronunciation (at least in a system that strives to be consistent)? I don't think this is just a byproduct of a certin way of learning how to read, but is a "normal" way some people learn how to read on their own--written words can take on an importance of their own. That is, people learn to recognize words by the combination of letters, not by relating them to the sound(s) it represents.

[wiki: phonics, sight word, reading education, whole language; Whole Language vs. Phonics Reading Instruction; Whole Language vs. Phonetic Reading Instruction; Whole Language Ideology; July 1996 Phyllis Schlafly Report -- Phonics vs. Whole Language; Reading Wars: Phonics vs. Whole Language; Defending Whole Language: The Limits of Phonics Instruction and ...]

I am sympathetic to the concerns of conservatives, so I don't have any suggestions right now, other than support the adoption of a phonics approach, to facilitate learning how to read and spell.

As for spelling bees, and the success of homeschooled children in those contests--one would think that those who are homeschooled would tend to do better, as they receive more individual attention from teachers (usually their parent(s)), who can devote more time to them. It seems to me that it is easier to get children to read in such an environment. Nonetheless, all it takes for one to win a spelling bee is good memory and an extensive acquaintance with English vocabulary (which one can do "naturally" through reading, or "artificially" through the use of word lists). This does not at all show that a homeschooling education is better than one obtained in a school at preparing a student for the acquisition of scientia or logic.

And then there are the structural changes that take place in the language, changes in grammar and so on, which is part of the historical evolution of a language(?) and can lead to the development of dialects...

Orthography: John H. Fisher - The History of Written English
Traditional English Orthography - History
English Spelling Reform
Spelling reform - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
English Spelling Reform, New Alphabets for English, Systematic ...
The Simplified Spelling Society.
Simplified Spelling Society : Spelling Reform Typology.
The Problem with English Spelling
Fanetik: Thoroughgoing Spelling Reform for English, At Least for ...
Webster Language
Spelling Reform Links
English Spelling Reform
SpecGram--A 21st Century Proposal for English Spelling Reform--H ... JUSTIN RYE ON SPELLING REFORM.
Wells: Accents and spelling reform » Article » Fonetic Eenglish and th speling ...
BBC NEWS UK Magazine Should we simplify spelling?
English Spelling Reform: Why It Makes Sense
Babel--Arguments Against English Spelling Reform--Hermes Trismegistus
Richard Sprague WebLog : English spelling reform

A Word about Southern Orthography - Why Traditional Southrons do ...

English alphabet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Restoring the Alphabet
Modern English Runic alphabet
International Phonetic Alphabet--Middle English Consonants

History of English Phonemes
The History of English Phonemes
Phonological history of English vowels - Wikipedia, the free ...
Middle English Phonology
Pronunciation Guide for Middle English

Old English:
Old English Alphabet
Old English Letters
The Old English Alphabet
Manuscript Studies: Paleography: Special Characters in English ...
Old English language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Labyrinth Library: Old English
Yamada Language Center: Old English Web Guide
Old English at UVA
Modern English to Old English Vocabulary
Old English Dictionary
Old English Aloud
Ye Olde English Sayings
Old English at the University of Calgary
Browse By Language: Old English - Project Gutenberg
old english
old english corpus
Old English Newsletter Online

Middle English:
Middle English - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Middle English Phonology
Middle English Grammar Project
About Middle English Grammar
Notes on translating Middle English
Middle English Texts
Changes in the English Language: a Comparison of Old, Middle, and ...
The Middle English Collection
Labyrinth Library: Middle English
Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse (The Middle English Compendium)
Middle English
middle english
Middle English
Middle English Plays [Medieval Drama in England; Theatre History]
Geoffrey Chaucer (1342-1400) - "The Canterbury Tales" (in middle ...
The Chaucer MetaPage Audio Files
Notes on Middle English Romance
Middle English Dictionary
A Concise Dictionary of Middle English by A. L. Mayhew and Walter ...

More on the International Phonetic Alphabet:
International Phonetic Association (Handbook of the International Phonetic Association - Cambridge ...)
The International Phonetic Alphabet Project
The International Phonetic Alphabet
Yamada Language Center: Phonetic Fonts
International Phonetic Alphabet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The sounds of English and the International Phonetic Alphabet ...
French IPA - International Phonetic Alphabet
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet - Audio Illustrations
IPA Source - International Phonetic Alphabet Transcriptions and ...
International Phonetic Alphabet (Anders Jacobsen's blog)

More links on whole language:
What is Whole Language?
Learning To Read and Whole Language Ideology
Research about Whole Language
Phonics or Whole Language
Guided Reading, Whole Language Style
Whole Language vs. Phonics
Phonics-Spelling-Whole language
Whole Language Exercise
Whole Language Umbrella
Whole Language Reading Instruction

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