Saturday, November 08, 2008

Andrew Bacevich, Expanding War, Contracting Meaning (also via Fabius Maximus; and he links to this article by James Bowman, Hollywood's Hero Deficit -- "The Wild West has been resurrected not as a story of taming the wilderness, both external and internal, on behalf of decency and civilization, but as a convenient synecdoche for that dark, amoral, and timelessly violent world that all art worthy of the name today must presuppose. Where there is no hope of a better world, there can be little to distinguish heroes from villains.").
Better Question: Who Isn’t a Lawyer on Obama’s Transition Team?

via Fabius Maximus
Peter Hitchens on the election of Barack Obama: The night we waved goodbye to America... our last best hope on Earth
The other day I saw some teenagers strolling through the school grounds--to pick up one of their siblings? One was carrying a baby--a teenage mom? I couldn't help but stare and wonder how many of the girls at the school would end up in the same situation 6 to 10 years down the road. The young mother looked content with her new doll (baby) [how does one do strikethrough on this]. Is there a father in the picture? If not, why not? Was she married? If not, did she feel any shame for her actions?

I briefly considered warning some students, "Don't be like her in the future."

I also overheard someone talking to the project specialist(?) about teen moms. (Was it about a former student of the school?) Not sure if it was the same day, but close enough that it was a remarkable coincidence.

Requirements of the 'new' dating system

Out of prudence, should a man and woman who are considering marriage first exchange medical histories and credit reports? Even if someone has been honest about their 'sexual history' he or she should also get checked for STDs and communicate the results to the other person, for the sake of full disclosure. Similarly, a credit report would show that one is fiscally responsible, a quality that will always remain important for the good of the household.

(I was reminded of this thought by this post of Steve Sailer.)

Edit. Trailer for Confessions of a Shopaholic. For the novels--Sophie Kinsella — Official Site for the Author

Thursday, November 06, 2008

What exactly is "The Office of the President-Elect"? We have already seen Obama's proposals for mandatory community service, so this is not a surprise. But it is a reminder of how his principles are to be found in a wrong-headed statism that is not the solution for the country.

America Serves

"When you choose to serve -- whether it's your nation, your community or simply your neighborhood -- you are connected to that fundamental American ideal that we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness not just for ourselves, but for all Americans. That's why it's called the American dream."

The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.

via VFR
Pete Takeshi might enjoy this: No Country for Old Men: Demonic Evil and the Limits of Tradition, by Carson Holloway

Papal Address to Catholic-Muslim Forum

Papal Address to Catholic-Muslim Forum

"Find a Common Ground for Building a More Fraternal World"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 6, 2008 ( Here is the address Benedict XVI gave today upon receiving in audience participants from the first meeting of the Catholic-Muslim Forum.

* * *

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to receive you this morning and I greet all of you most cordially. I thank especially Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran as well as Shaykh Mustafa Cerić and Mr Seyyed Hossein Nasr for their words. Our meeting takes place at the conclusion of the important Seminar organized by the "Catholic-Muslim Forum" established between the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and representatives of the 138 Muslim leaders who signed the Open Letter to Christian leaders of 13 October 2007. This gathering is a clear sign of our mutual esteem and our desire to listen respectfully to one another. I can assure you that I have prayerfully followed the progress of your meeting, conscious that it represents one more step along the way towards greater understanding between Muslims and Christians within the framework of other regular encounters which the Holy See promotes with various Muslim groups.

The Open Letter "A Common Word between us and you" has received numerous responses, and has given rise to dialogue, specific initiatives and meetings, aimed at helping us to know one another more deeply and to grow in esteem for our shared values. The great interest which the present Seminar has awakened is an incentive for us to ensure that the reflections and the positive developments which emerge from Muslim-Christian dialogue are not limited to a small group of experts and scholars, but are passed on as a precious legacy to be placed at the service of all, to bear fruit in the way we live each day.

The theme which you have chosen for your meeting -- "Love of God, Love of Neighbour: The Dignity of the Human Person and Mutual Respect" -- is particularly significant. It was taken from the Open Letter, which presents love of God and love of neighbor as the heart of Islam and Christianity alike. This theme highlights even more clearly the theological and spiritual foundations of a central teaching of our respective religions.

The Christian tradition proclaims that God is Love (cf. 1 Jn 4:16). It was out of love that he created the whole universe, and by his love he becomes present in human history. The love of God became visible, manifested fully and definitively in Jesus Christ. He thus came down to meet man and, while remaining God, took on our nature. He gave himself in order to restore full dignity to each person and to bring us salvation. How could we ever explain the mystery of the incarnation and the redemption except by Love? This infinite and eternal love enables us to respond by giving all our love in return: love for God and love for neighbour. This truth, which we consider foundational, was what I wished to emphasize in my first Encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est," since this is a central teaching of the Christian faith. Our calling and mission is to share freely with others the love which God lavishes upon us without any merit of our own.

I am well aware that Muslims and Christians have different approaches in matters regarding God. Yet we can and must be worshippers of the one God who created us and is concerned about each person in every corner of the world. Together we must show, by our mutual respect and solidarity, that we consider ourselves members of one family: the family that God has loved and gathered together from the creation of the world to the end of human history.

I was pleased to learn that you were able at this meeting to adopt a common position on the need to worship God totally and to love our fellow men and women disinterestedly, especially those in distress and need. God calls us to work together on behalf of the victims of disease, hunger, poverty, injustice and violence. For Christians, the love of God is inseparably bound to the love of our brothers and sisters, of all men and women, without distinction of race and culture. As Saint John writes: "Those who say, 'I love God,' and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen" (1 Jn 4:20).

The Muslim tradition is also quite clear in encouraging practical commitment in serving the most needy, and readily recalls the "Golden Rule" in its own version: your faith will not be perfect, unless you do unto others that which you wish for yourselves. We should thus work together in promoting genuine respect for the dignity of the human person and fundamental human rights, even though our anthropological visions and our theologies justify this in different ways. There is a great and vast field in which we can act together in defending and promoting the moral values which are part of our common heritage. Only by starting with the recognition of the centrality of the person and the dignity of each human being, respecting and defending life which is the gift of God, and is thus sacred for Christians and for Muslims alike -- only on the basis of this recognition, can we find a common ground for building a more fraternal world, a world in which confrontations and differences are peacefully settled, and the devastating power of ideologies is neutralized.

My hope, once again, is that these fundamental human rights will be protected for all people everywhere. Political and religious leaders have the duty of ensuring the free exercise of these rights in full respect for each individual's freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. The discrimination and violence which even today religious people experience throughout the world, and the often violent persecutions to which they are subject, represent unacceptable and unjustifiable acts, all the more grave and deplorable when they are carried out in the name of God. God's name can only be a name of peace and fraternity, justice and love. We are challenged to demonstrate, by our words and above all by our deeds, that the message of our religions is unfailingly a message of harmony and mutual understanding. It is essential that we do so, lest we weaken the credibility and the effectiveness not only of our dialogue, but also of our religions themselves.

I pray that the "Catholic-Muslim Forum", now confidently taking its first steps, can become ever more a space for dialogue, and assist us in treading together the path to an ever fuller knowledge of Truth. The present meeting is also a privileged occasion for committing ourselves to a more heartfelt quest for love of God and love of neighbour, the indispensable condition for offering the men and women of our time an authentic service of reconciliation and peace.

Dear friends, let us unite our efforts, animated by good will, in order to overcome all misunderstanding and disagreements. Let us resolve to overcome past prejudices and to correct the often distorted images of the other which even today can create difficulties in our relations; let us work with one another to educate all people, especially the young, to build a common future. May God sustain us in our good intentions, and enable our communities to live consistently the truth of love, which constitutes the heart of the religious man, and is the basis of respect for the dignity of each person. May God, the merciful and compassionate One, assist us in this challenging mission, protect us, bless us and enlighten us always with the power of his love.

© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Stephen Bainbridge: Proposition 8 Passes: What Now? and Eugene Volokh: Is California's Repeal of Same-Sex Marriage an Unconstitutional "Revision" by Initiative?

(via Crunchy Con)
2 from LRC:
Is Fractional-Reserve Banking Fraudulent?
Walter Block vs. the inflationist banksters.

Corrupt Birth
Tom DiLorenzo on American central banking.

And this podcast by Lew Rockwell: Civil Liberties Under Obama
Lew Rockwell interviews Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst and co-host of "Brian & the Judge" radio show

GL, Hunting for your dream place

Hunting for your dream place
Gene Logsdon,

I have a hunch that at no previous time in modern history have there been more people getting ready for their long planned - for move to a garden farm than right now. We are at the end of the era of unbelievably wasteful consumption and many people are realizing that the old adage is again appropriate: “Root, hog, or die.”


He also refers to this excerpt from one of his books: The Anatomy of a Homestead Landscape
Hayley Westenra sings Whispering Hope

Hayley Westenra sings Songbird

Hayley Westenra's UNICEF video diary - 23 Sept 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The New Scot would like this: Reclaiming the Blade

Another artsy lesbian movie? I guess The World Unseen isn't enough.
University of Virginia Press: The Southern Agrarians and the New Deal

Photos: Concluding Mass of the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 26: Bishops, cardinals and patriarchs from around the world attend a mass at the conclusion of the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held by Pope Benedict XVI at the St. Peter's Basilica, October 26, 2008 in Vatican City. (Getty)

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 26: Bishops, cardinals and patriarchs from around the world attend a mass at the conclusion of the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops held by Pope Benedict XVI at the St. Peter's Basilica, October 26, 2008 in Vatican City. (Getty)

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 26: Pope Benedict XVI attends a mass at the conclusion of the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the St. Peter's Basilica, October 26, 2008 in Vatican City.

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - OCTOBER 26: Pope Benedict XVI attends a mass at the conclusion of the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the St. Peter's Basilica, October 26, 2008 in Vatican City. Getty.

A bishop prays as Pope Benedict XVI leads a mass to celebrate the end of the Synod of the Bishops in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican October 26, 2008. Reuters.

This handout picture released by the Vatican Press Office on October 26, 2008 shows bishops gathering in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican during a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI (C) at the end of a bishops' synod. The Pontiff said he regretted the absence of Chinese bishops as he gave the concluding address to a three-week synod. Getty.
That self-professed Catholic teenagers and young adults (such as certain Soompi members) are voicing their opposition to proposition 8 can still astound me. Apparently they do not know that their bishops are supporting proposition 8 and urging Catholics to vote accordingly, or if they do know, they do not care, choosing to be enlightened liberals instead. How many understand the gravity of sexual sin? Who will be called to account for their failure to think and believe as Catholics?

Epistula ad Romans 8

8-14-2006 - Following his 50th town hall meeting in Massac County. U.S. Senator Obama poses in front of the Superman Statue in downtown Metropolis, IL. known as the home of the DC Comics super hero.

An Obama victory appears to be certain. Perhaps it was inevitable, given all of the factors in his favor, but I can't help but think that the children are running the nursery. (Especially when it is not virtuous deliberation on the part of the voter, but liberal pride that has made such an election possible.) We'll see what the results are for the local elections in the morning, but seeing the cheering because of its historical 'importance' by certain bloggers (even those that didn't vote for him), and the comments left by Obama supporters is discouraging me from surfing the Internet even more.

The consolidation that produced the single national state in practice won't be reversed, and statism will be reinforced even more.

Let us see what happens with the economy in the next 12 months. Obama certainly isn't going to bring virtue back--only Christ can do that. But who really wants Christ in their lives? His demands are too onerous. What will happen with His Church?

Some have ridiculed the notion that Obama is the Antichrist. This is probably correct. But what indication is there that Obama will not be part of the master plan that will lead to the persecution of Christ's Church on Earth? (More from Mark Shea on Obama being an antichrist.)

Liber Apocalypsis Ioannis 16:5-7
Et audivi angelum aquarum dicentem: “ Iustus es, qui es et qui eras, Sanctus, quia haec iudicasti; quia sanguinem sanctorum et prophetarum fuderunt, et sanguinem eis dedisti bibere: digni sunt!”. Et audivi altare dicens: “ Etiam, Domine, Deus omnipotens, vera et iusta iudicia tua!”.

Mr. Shea links to this article by Fr. Rutler on Msgr. Benson's Lord of the World.
The new world religion would be a humanitarian compact based on pacifism, pantheism, and the eradication of poverty through redistribution of wealth. The one obstacle to this was Christianity, which Benson makes synonymous with Catholicism (both because of his own ecclesiology and his prediction of the collapse of Protestantism as a significant force).
St. Augustine Press has its own edition.

Crunchy Con: Gen. Barrow's lesson in dying

As the Marine manpower chief in 1976, General Barrow was instrumental in drafting reforms designed to end physical abuse and harassment of recruit trainees by drill instructors. The New York Times, quoting military officials, reported in 1979 that the training reforms, which included closer supervision by officers, had worked well.

At the time, the general said the corps would not ease the tough physical conditioning that was a hallmark of Marine boot camps. But he demanded that there be no more "excess stress" on recruits, including "nose-to-nose yelling" by drill sergeants.
So did the change in drilling and boot camp affect the quality of the soldiers that were produced? If not, then is yelling (and worse, profanity and abuse) at least necessary to replicate stressful conditions? This sort of drilling had been adopted in various police academies--a result of being influenced by the military, and having veterans serving as instructors? Was that a mistake? Does the old way of doing things serve only to promote a 2GW mindset? Or is it necessary in order to instill some form of obedience and motivation in the recruits? How did the Prussians and Germans handle boot camp?

Related links:
Leatherneck - Magazine of the Marines
Gen. Robert H. Barrow General Robert Barrow’s 41 years of service
Death of former Marine Commandant, Gen. Robert H. Barrow
Twitch: Behind the Scenes Video for Martial Arts film IP MAN
Twitch: Confirmed: Japanese GHOST IN THE SHELL 2.0 DVD Release Will Include English Subtitles!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Please pray for my grandfather, who is now in the ICU.
Dropped off the ballot at the Registrar of Voters. There were a lot of people going in to vote today. I missed the curbside dropoff, and brought it inside 1555 Berger. Did it make a difference for local elections? I hope so.

Today students were coming up to me and asking if I would be voting for Obama, and then telling me to vote for him. What combination of images or use of images (~ advertising) and beliefs led them to think that he was the better candidate?

I can't find a video or transcript of the Baldwin-Barr-Nadar debate; Dr. Fleming does not think much of Baldwin. Perhaps he does not present sufficient particulars on his website. I could have voted for Ron Paul instead, since he was a qualified write-in candidate. But it doesn't matter, neither is going to be president.

On All Saints' Day

On All Saints' Day

"We Feel the Attraction for Heaven Rekindle in Us"

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 3, 2008 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave Saturday, All Saints' Day, before praying the midday Angelus with crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear brothers and sisters:

Today we celebrate with great joy the feast of All Saints.

When one visits a botanical garden, he is impressed by the variety of plants and flowers, and spontaneously thinks of the fancy of a Creator who has made on earth a marvelous garden. An analogous sentiment washes over us when we consider the spectacle of sanctity: The world seems to be a "garden" where the Spirit of God has called forth with admirable imagination a multitude of men and women saints, of every age and social condition, of every language, people and culture. Each one is distinct from the others, with the uniqueness proper of the human person and of a particular spiritual charism. All of them have, though, the "seal" of Jesus (cf. Revelation 7:3), that is, the imprint of his love, witnessed by way of the cross. All are in a state of joy, in endless celebration, but, like Jesus, they have reached this goal by passing through fatigue and testing (cf. Revelation 7:14), each one confronting his own part in sacrifice so as to participate in the glory of the Resurrection.

The solemnity of All Saints was gradually affirmed over the course of the first Christian millennium as a collective celebration of the martyrs. Already in 609, in Rome, Pope Boniface IV had consecrated the Pantheon, dedicating it to the Virgin Mary and all the martyrs. This martyrdom, on the other hand, can be understood in a broad sense, that is, as love for Christ without reserves, love that is expressed in the total gift of oneself to God and to neighbor.

This spiritual goal, to which all the baptized are called, is reached by following the path of the Gospel beatitudes, which the liturgy proposes for us in the feast of today (cf. Matthew 5:1-12a). It is the same path traveled by Jesus, and which the saints have made an effort to travel, though aware of their human limitations. During their earthly lives, in fact, they have been poor of spirit, sorrowful for sin, humble, hungry and thirsty for justice, merciful, pure of heart, peacemakers, persecuted for justice. And God has made them participants in his own happiness: They have foretasted it in this world, and in the world beyond, they enjoy it in plenitude. Now they are consoled, inheritors of the earth, satisfied, forgiven, they see God of whom they are children. In a word, "theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven" (cf. Matthew 5:3-10).

On this day we feel the attraction for heaven rekindle in us. [It] moves us to quicken our step on this earthly pilgrimage. We feel burst into flame in our hearts the desire to unite ourselves forever with the family of the saints, of which already now we have the grace to form a part. As a popular spiritual hymn says: "When the saints come marching in, oh how I want to be in their number."

May this beautiful aspiration burn in all Christians and help them to overcome every difficulty, every fear, every tribulation. Let us place, dear friends, our hand in the maternal hand of Mary, Queen of the saints, and allow ourselves to be guided by her toward the heavenly homeland, in the company of the blessed spirits "of every nation, people and tongue" (Revelation 7:9). And let us unite ourselves already in prayer, remembering our dearly departed, who tomorrow we commemorate.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[After praying the Angelus, the Pope greeted the people in various languages. In English, he said:]

I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer. Today’s celebration of the Solemnity of All Saints invites us to rejoice in our communion with the Saints in heaven, to implore their intercession for the Church on earth, and to follow their footsteps in the way of holiness. May the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the Saints strengthen us in faith and fervent hope in the fulfillment of Christ’s promises. Upon you and your families I invoke the Lord’s richest blessings!

© Copyright 2008 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I may be in Nashville for Christmas--it appears that the EF of the Roman rite is not celebrated there, though some priests were being trained to offer Mass in the EF. I just remembered Fr. Baker after seeing his face in one of the photos. Where does one go in Nashville to experience 'authentic' Southern culture?

The Nashville Dominicans are there, but I don't think I'd be visiting them...
Twitch: Trailers for Kinta

Is the movie in Cantonese for the sake of marketing? Because I think the number of Cantonese-speakers in Malaysia trails behind speakers of other dialects...
Sarge, la señorita morena flaca era en el oratorio esta mañana, con su madre (?). Ella me recuerda las Francesas flacas.