Saturday, January 16, 2010

Whig history gets its name from the Whig party. Does it have a proper grasp of the Anglo-American political tradition? (I am guessing that it equates the Anglo-American political tradition with liberalism.)

Herbert Butterfield's The Whig Interpretation of History.

"Reexamining the Roots of Anglo-American Political Thought." (pdf) Introduction to The Politics of Liberty in England and Revolutionary America by Lee Ward (A review of the book.)

So who is right, the liberals or the republicans? (I take it that the writers at Chronicles follow the republican school of thought in their understanding of the Anglo-American political tradition.) I wonder if I can solicit an opinion from Jonathan C. D. Clark.
Daniel Larison, The Trouble With Scott Brown

Will Scott Brown win? He's no outsider, no true conservative, and useful only to block the health bill. Does the race have Republican cheerleaders excited? Sure.
Dr. Médaille recommends Money as Debt.
Ancient Faith Radio: SVS Liturgical Symposium
Created and Renewed – Fr. Gabriel Bunge OSB

SVS has published an English translation of one of his books: Dragon’s Wineand Angel’s Bread The Teaching of Evagrius Ponticus on Anger and Meekness

You can see some photos of Fr. Bunge here.
How good is this? Why DVD+R(W) is superior to DVD-R(W)
Pray Tell is a new blog about the liturgy sponsored by Liturgical Press. Is that fact sufficient to tell us about the leanings of the blog? The introduction to the blog by Anthony Ruff, OSB:

Some people speak today of “liturgy wars.” (Maybe we should be grateful for such evidence of high interest in liturgy!?) Some talk of a “Reform of the Reform,” which apparently wants to undo the “damage” of the past 45 years. Some zealots on the Right have an unmistakable focus on the musical and archeological and ceremonial externals: east not west, propers not hymns, kneeling not standing, and so forth. [Full disclosure: I personally rather like Latin propers, and kneeling, and the eastward orientation of the Eastern churches.] This blog arose from our sense that the conversation needs to broadened, deepened, redirected. Moderate and progressive voices need to be in dialogue with zealous traditional voices. The “spiritual import” which is the “real nature of the liturgy” needs to be reemphasized. The fundamental pastoral intent of the Second Vatican Council, and of the larger ecumenical liturgical movement of that era, needs to be restated, refined, defended.
If we are to use an analogy from hylomorphism -- Fr. Ruff focuses too much on the form, separating it from the matter, which is proportioned to the form. Traditional ways of worshipping have their reasons, which are not by their nature unintelligible to modern man. Should we not show more respect for what we have received from those who have come before us? Those who are at the forefront of a traditional liturgical movement do not focus exclusively on externals, or do so without understanding. It is part of a larger program of restoring liturgical piety. Even if Fr. Ruff has a liking for tradition, can we characterize his mindset as that of a liberal liturgist? (How else can he speak of "zealots" on the "Right" -- liberals always seek to capture the "center" for themselves.) And even if Cardinal Ratzinger did not explicitly say that he was a proponent of the Reform of the Reform, can anyone seriously doubt that he is aligned with it, given what he has written in The Spirit of the Liturgy, and his recommendations? No doubt Fr. Ruff would claim to be an heir of the 20th century liturgical movement, but I dispute this. See Fr. Bouyer's The Decomposition of Catholicism.

Comparative study of the liturgical rites of the Church does have a purpose -- but it should not be used for re-imaginings of the Roman rite. It should help illumine Latins understanding of the liturgy and their own rite so that liturgical piety is better fostered.
Fr. Z: The Pope of Christian Unity address the CDF

The address (in Italian).
I'm listening to Barbara Simpson's interview with Bishop Cordileone. I have to say, 8 minutes into the interview and I've already winced several times...
Whiskey's Place: Local TV News: Politically Correct and Feminized

A lot of minority faces doing the news here in the Bay Area. If Plato were alive today I wonder what sort of barb he would say with regards to journalists. Surely they must rate even lower than Sophists and other academics. It reminds me of the "educational" and history programming on on PBS, which has the veneer of scholarship by featuring academics (or scientists) as experts. But the viewer is ignorant of the fact that in the world of academics, not all academics are created equal and that getting published is no sign of scholarly competence or soundness of reasoning. Furthermore, an argument from authority is the weakest, especially when no evidence is given to defend the assertion; rather authority is used merely to confirm a certain narrative. (I am thinking in particular of Peter and Paul.) Given the bias of PBS, we can usually guess what sort of narrative that is. While PBs may do me a service in presenting BBC shows, I'd be willing to do without that if it were to disappear. It's a tool of those who hold tradition in contempt and seek to remake the world in accordance with their utopian ideals. SWPLs may take pride in their support and viewership of PBS as a sign and verification of their "education," but their inflated egos prevent them from knowing how ignorant they are.
EB: 2010 State of the World - Transforming Cultures: From Consumerism to Sustainability (excerpt)
Rob Hopkins responds to John Michael Greer and Sharon Astyk:

Why community might not need organising
Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture
I read with interest John Michael Greer’s recent post, The Costs of Community, and then Sharon Astyk’s response, On the Problem of Community and I wanted to add some thoughts to the flow.

One more thought on Green Zone

What does the studio think it is doing by producing an action movie with the Iraq War as a backdrop? Don't tell me that it is doing so for "patriotic reasons." Do they really think that such a movie will do well here and overseas? Is it more likely to foster anti-American sentiment than pro-? I am thinking that it may be offensive, exploiting a bad situation (even an unjust war) in order to sell a story with cartoon characters, and may create a worse impression of Americans. "Those stupid Americans, even when they are wrong they must find a way of making themselves seem right, by creating a soldier of a good soldier who fights against the corrupt CIA and brings it to justice."

I saw the trailer for Green Zone -- Bourne before he was remade into Bourne? (Especially when Brendan Gleeson says, "You have no idea who you're dealing with.") Jason Isaacs plays the SF/CAG? operator (this character irritated Sarge) who is working for a CIA officer with a hidden agenda (Greg Kinnear). Do I detect a Southern accent? Matt Damon is the average American with a standard American accent--he doesn't want to be in Iraq, he just wants to do the right thing. But Jason Issacs, he's probably trigger-happy and crazy, and willing to kill all sorts of people, even if they're innocent; he's a bad American? If Isaacs does turn out to have a Southern accent, even if slight, then I would consider it to be another example of the demonization of the South? Just like Russell Crowe in Body of Lies, iirc. Does a certain people of the South have a reputation as fighters, or even being bellicose? It would seem so. Do Southerners disproportionately serve in the military? Yes. Should they be getting this treatment from Hollywood? No.

We'll see what accent he has, when the movie comes out. As for the characterization of SF/CAG as hooligans who are just hired guns without an understanding of what is right and wrong, just and unjust... that will probably upset a lot of people as well. (Are there instances in which they followed orders which were ultimately wrong? Perhaps. But to make them enthusiastic participants in wrong-doing ordered by their superiors is a bit much. The same could be said probably about the CIA's paramilitary officers.)
John Polhamus tells us that a reprint of Dom Cabrol's The Day Hours of the Church can be purchased through lulu. (see comments to Pius Parsch on the Divine Office as Liturgical Prayer (and a Poll) at NLM. )

(Volume 2)

The Divine Office: A Study of the Roman Breviary
By Rev. E.J. Quigley

A typical explanation of rights?

Ilana Mercer, The defunct foundations of the republic (via Kevin Gutzman)

Rights always give rise to binding obligations. In the case of natural rights, the duty is merely a mitts-off duty. My right to life means you must not murder me. My right to liberty means you dare not enslave me. My right to property means you ought to refrain from taking what's mine. And you have no right to stop me from taking the necessary acquisitive action for my survival, so long as I, in turn, heed the same restrictions.

If in exercising a "right" one transgresses against another's life, liberty and property – then the exercised right is no right, but a violation thereof.

Because my right to acquire property doesn't diminish your right to do the same, the right of private property is a negative right. Negative rights are real or natural liberties because they don't conscript me in the fulfillment of your needs and desires, and vice versa.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Driving up 880 this afternoon, I saw the police car for the Arroyo Grande K-9 unit. I don't know if all of the AGPD patrol cars are of the same make and model, and given my apathy towards cars in general, I couldn't identify it then and there. I don't think it was a Dodge Charger, like the one shown below:

Never mind, I guess I was wrong, it is a Dodge Charger. It just doesn't look the same when you're passing it.

I don't recall seeing Dodge Chargers for any of the local police departments...

Is Latin necessary for catechesis?

We have heard of inculturation, and how it is necessary in order for Latin-rite missionaries to make Christianity intelligible to non-Latin peoples. It seems undeniable that this claim is legitimate to some degree, if one has a proper understanding of inculturation. Those whose duty is to evangelize others labor under with the burden of having to communicate with human language. It is easier for the apostle to learn the language of another people and to make the Gospel intelligible to them in their native tongue, than for that other people to learn his language. Moreover, inculturation can also be used to refer to the adaptation of the liturgical rites of the Church of Rome to other cultues in order to make them more familiar to the people (usually beginning with the replacement of Latin by the "vernacular"). (Would it be incorrect to say that the ability to create a wholly new liturgical rite or family of rites passed away with the Apostles and the first few generation of their successors?) However, often inculturation becomes syncretism, which is justified as being necessary to "translate" Christian teaching using [religious] concepts familiar to the people, and this is why inculturation has fallen into disrepute among traditional Christians.

What, then, are we to do with a culture that was once Latin, or heavily influenced by it? It seems ridiculous to say that there must be some sort of inculturation for the cultures of Europe and the Americas. But here in the United States it could be argued that we are so distant from our Latin roots that we do not need to familiarize the people with Latin culture. Why should the "Western Patriarchate" be tied to Latin? There are the historical and cultural ties of course... but is the Church of Rome to do when people are ignorant, both passively and actively so? There may be reasons for a certain few to embrace Latin and a classical education; those who know what it is to be a true Anglo-American republican, rather than a democrat of the modern mass liberal democracy. But the mission of the Church is to bring Christ to others, not to teach them Latin so they can read Virgil.

Even if one can present arguments for the necessity of Latin in Western cultures that are more deeply rooted in the Roman Empire, who is going to promote Latin among the laity and get them interested, or teach them the language (and culture)? Who can develop a Latin for Dummies course? As for Americans -- if they aren't even familiar with English, can they expected to learn Latin?

Should we therefore give up Latin, and go back to the original languages of Sacred Scripture and begin from there, as the Reformers thought they were doing, and what has been done since then by Biblical scholars and translators? Surely we can easily produce an English translation that is dignified, avoiding the worse excesses of those silly Bible translations whose rationale is that they can be understood by the youth or those who live in urban ghettos.

(It might seem that with regards to Sacred Scripture that there is less of a need to inculturate, because the language is relatively simple, referring mostly to concrete sensible things? It should not be difficult to find equivalents of words referring to sensible things in another language, unless that culture has no experience of those objects. If there are no equivalents, do we use approximations, or do we create neologisms based on transliterations? Or do we seek to invent a new word using the native language as the base?)

Bishop Cordileone on Latin (from his interview with Barbara Simpson): "Latin is our tradition, and it helps us keep in touch with our tradition." Americans may be too far removed from their classical and Christian roots. But it seems to me that even if we do not re-appropriate Latin for the sake of recovering our classical culture and heritage, we should do so as Latin-rite Catholics. Latin-rite Catholics should at least be able to understand the basic prayers in Latin, along with the ordinary of the Mass. (Those who pursue higher studies in philosophy, theology, and law should definitely know Latin.)

Even if English-speaking Catholics were to adopt a hieratic version of English for the liturgy,
hieratic language (vernacular), acquainting them with Latin would be useful. Our faith in Christ is mediated through the Church and Tradition, and is in this way dependent upon language. (Our knowing is dependent on language as well.) We are not rootless individuals, but are joined to others in history, and sharing a common liturgical language (even if only partially) unites us to those who have come before us. Christ does not obliterate our natural ties to one another, but elevates them. Was it not Christopher Dawson who emphasized that Catholic Christians have their own culture? Is the learning of Latin another way of showing love and honor for our forefathers in the Faith? Can we not have a catechesis that aids us in become latinized, while maintaining a balance with what is required by a legitimate inculturation? Familiarity with Latin may not be necessary for our salvation, but it is a natural perfection that "humanizes" us and is open to being raised by grace.

See the writings of Christine Mohrmann on liturgical Latin, which was not the vernacular of the people, but stylized and adapted for liturgical use. Fr. Z links to a reflection by Jesuit on the new Missal translation which uses Mohrmann as a starting point.

Pope John XXIII, Veterum Sapientiae
Rorate Caeli: Uwe Michael Lang traces the historical evolution of the liturgical language in the Roman rite--Latin vehicle of unity between peoples and cultures by Uwe Michael Lang (English translation by Fr. Anthony Forte)

NLM: Liturgical English and the Hieratic Tradition
Adoremus: Translation and Inculturation in the Catholic Church
Christopher Dawson: Is there a Christian Culture

Fr. Finigan: "The English Vicars Apostolic"
Something apropos to the link to the story on Cardinal Schoenborn: From Petrus: Cardinal Saraiva is also a skeptic on Medjugorje. Is there some one thing that explains Cardinal Schoenborn's questionable actions to date (and hostility to the EF), along with his reputation for orthodoxy?

Medjugorje bishop says Cardinal Schönborn’s visit brings greater suffering to his diocese

The cardinal has his admirer(s): The Schönborn Site.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Spearhead: John Bagot Glubb

The Fate of Empires by Sir John Glubb
Philosophical “Common Ground”?
By John W. Carlson

Thomists or “perennial” thinkers frankly propound a comprehensive doctrine, including the notion of the good and the idea that humans are distinctive among natural beings in our ability to understand and freely pursue the good. Further, human good can to some extent be discerned by practical reason, quite apart from revelation. (This last point is typically formulated in terms of “natural (moral) law,” as distinguished from the specifically “divine law” expressed in sacred texts of the Jewish and Christian traditions.) In this view, “human law”—in particular, public laws and policies—should reflect general precepts of natural law. Followers of Aquinas ask: should not such natural law precepts, together with the human goods they enshrine and safeguard, count as elements of public reason?

Certain caveats are in order. Humankind may have made progress in appreciating the fundamental goods of the social order; but it is always possible to backslide. In addition, people can take and historically have taken as natural law things that are mere cultural accretions. In both cases, philosophers (as well as philosophically informed public officials) must be prepared, in the name of reason, to oppose the social consensus.

Areas of agreement between the philosophical traditions emerge and perhaps point the way to what Christopher Wolfe has called “natural law liberalism.” That is, the resources of the Thomist tradition, as developed by thinkers such as Jacques Maritain and Yves Simon, might provide a sound framework for the functioning of liberal democracies without arbitrarily limiting the range of considerations to which public appeal can be made.
Can liberal democracies be set up in such a way that they are identical to the good regime of the republic/polity, rather than the bad regime of the democracy? I'll say this for now -- if universal suffrage is a essential feature of liberal democracy, I think it is more a bad regime than a good one. Can a bad regime be said to be in accordance with the natural law? If a liberal democracy is reshaped or harmonized with the natural law, is it really liberal? Before this question can be answered, we need a definition of liberalism upon which liberals agree, but this should not be too difficult to find.

Virtually all Thomists now agree, in light of reflection on the scientific data, that fertilization marks the beginning of a human life.
I'd be an exception. I still don't think that human reason alone can determine that the conceptum is a human being, as opposed to matter that is used to generate a human being. If the principle of parsimony were universally true, then it could be argued that a rational soul is infused at fertilization, but the principle of parsimony cannot be shown to be universally true.

They also agree that abortion violates the fundamental precept against taking innocent life.
I think this position follows from the first. However, even if abortion is not against justice, it may still be counter to another virtue and be seriously wrong. (Hence the Church taught that abortion was a mortal sin, even though there was disagreement about whether the conceptum was human or not.)

A Holmes for the MTV generations?

source: Yahoo

It's been a while since I've read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, and even my memory of the adaptation with Jeremy Brett is hazy, so I shouldn't compare Guy Ritchie's movie to either.

Some may argue that this movie is dumbed down, fast-paced, and frenetic, suffering from the same problems affecting the recent Star Trek movie. Why is SH immune to the criticisms I would have of Star Trek ? Why did I like SH more?Is it just my bias against J.J. Abrams and the new Trek? The difference was that Guy Ritchie's Holmes wasn't trying to maintain some sort of continuity with a previous portrayal or story. The only question is, "Is Ritchie's interpretation faithful to the Holmes of the novels?" This is a question I cannot answer; I read the stories when I was a child, and I'm very hazy as to the details of Holmes's character.

If I re-read the stories now, maybe my opinion of the movie would change. I think though that Ritchie's Holmes is plausible for those who have had little or no exposure to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, or don't remember much from them. Having an older mature actor like Robert Downey Jr. helps the movie -- a younger American probably would not have succeeded. This is not some version of "Young Sherlock Holmes" (and the casting of Chris Pine in Star Trek exemplifies the negatives of the reboot trend). But should Holmes have the manners and mannerisms of a 19th ce British gentleman? From what I recall, Holmes is not as refined and gentlemanly as one would imagine. (Jude Law's Dr. Watson would seem to be fine, in this regard.) This wasn't a problem for me while I was watching the movie since I was absorbed in it, but when reflecting upon it afterwards, I question whether Robert Downey Jr.'s character fell short in this regard. I'll have to watch it a second time with this question in mind. I did laugh at the banter between Holmes and Watson, though it might have been more credible between college chums, rather than bachelors in their 40s, and this too seems to be another modern flourish to the character, something absent from the original stories.

How does the re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes compare to the rebooted James Bond?
Even if Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr. give an acceptable interpretation of Holmes that does not lessen his intellectual prowess, is the result still dumbed down? The story is less of a mystery, and more of an action movie. Like what passes in the typical Bond film, the hero must thwart the villain in a final showdown and prevent him from using some device to bring his plans to fruition. Maybe a mystery would not be satisfying for today's movie audiences, but if this is repeated for the sequel, the disappointment of purists will undoubtedly increase (assuming they bother to watch it).

I didn't think the movie was fast-paced; I'd have to re-watch the other movies in Guy Ritchie's ouevre, but it seems to me that he's calmed down a bit for this movie. Yes, there are action sequences and a lot of fast movement, but the story-telling isn't that fast or noisy. Is it intelligent?

Others have noted that Rachel McAdams is the weakest of the cast; I'm inclined to agree with that assessment. She is too much of the 21st century American girl, and not the 19th century femme fatale. (Michelle Pfeiffer in The Age of Innocence) It is difficult to see how she could have outsmarted Holmes, except by rendering him unable to think by overwhelming him through physical attraction. But she is supposed to bemore of a worthy intellectual match for Holmes.

Are there any holes in the plot? An answer to this question requires a second viewing.

The last action scene, the fight scene on top of a Tower Bridge in the process of being built, did bother me because of the noticeable CGI -- it looked a bit like the poster above--rather fake, especially in comparison with the rest of the movie, in which the CGI, if used, was not apparent.

The sequences in which Holmes is thinking the fight through before he takes action were enjoyable-- I wouldn't have minded another instance of that later in the movie, but perhaps Guy Ritche thought it would be too much. How does the fight choreography for Holmes compare to historical Bartitsu? The fighting was fine, though it still could have been more reality-based, less Hollywood?

(see this post about Bartitsu)

Those who are not fastidious fans of the stories and prone to being pleased by action movies will probably enjoy this. Still, I think the final product might have been better if some changes had been made in casting and in the plot and perhaps Robert Downey Jr.'s acting. But it does make for a fun Winter movie.

The movie almost made me a fan of late 19th-century men's wear. (How much change was there between late Victorian and Edwardian fashion?)

Yahoo movie stills

A note on logic:
While watching Sherlock Holmes at work, the logical structure of his method of "deduction" and inference came to mind. He is good at guessing at causes, and one can make better guesses if one has some familiarity with the possible causes.

If a then b.
Then a.

To avoid the fallacy of affirming the consequent, one cannot characterize the conclusion as certain, but only as "probable." (A discussion of what is "probable" postponed.) The same sort of "deduction" is at work each week on House? House and his team work through the list of possible causes, eliminating each one until they find the one left that explains the symptoms.

His method is closer to "induction" than "deduction."

Roger Ebert's review
Rotten Tomatoes
All Movie Photo
Robert Downey Jr. Talks About Playing Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes on the Web
Sherlock Holmes Museum

On the Victorian Era:
Victorian Station
The Victorian Era
The Victorian Web

On the Edwardian Period:
Edwardian England
Manor House
The Historical Association

What Victorians Wore
A Year in Fashion: 1893
Costumer's Manifesto
Edwardian Style
Edwardian Style, Clothing and Fashion

More on Bartitsu:
Sherlock Holmes' Martial Art Comes To Pacific Northwest
History Today
What is Bartitsu, the Sherlock Holmes Martial Art?
The Martial Arts Reporter
Edwardian Promenade
bartitsu: the martial art of sherlock holmes
Bullshido discussion
The Bartitsu Compendium, vol. 1
Sharon Astyk responds to John Michael Greer's post on the difficulties of community-building.
AmCon: Dawson's Creed
Giselle recommends Cardinal George's book The Difference God Makes.

The Difference God Makes: An interview with Cardinal Francis George about the Catholic Church, unity and communion in a fragmented world

Crossroads Cultural Center
Joe Carter, I.M. Broke, Ph.D.
Dr. Wilson on Differences that Americans should know.
I was flipping through a magazine in the books & magazine section at the local Safeway when I felt someone tugging on my hood. I turned around and it was a woman (in her 20s?) trying to pull my hood down, telling me I looked like a burglar. (I had kept the hood up after I entered the store because I was feeling sick and also because I was feeling down and alienated. Weak human that I am, I wore a hood indoors.) I was annoyed but took the hood down and she walked away saying something like, "That's better." What happened to personal space? Or asking? If security is a concern, it's a concern for the store, and even the store wouldn't bother with someone non-threatening with a shopping cart and reading a magazine. There hasn't been a recent spate of daytime robberies by someone wearing a hood. At any rate... maybe she thought she was being cute. Or maybe she has some personal security issues or trauma. Or maybe she's the busybody/zealous mommmy type. If I had cared enough, I would have thought of something appropriate (or inappropriate) to say... was it really apathy, or excessive passivity though?
The Health Insurance Monopoly
Wellington Energy came over today to install the smart meter for PG&E. A lot of libertarians and others have been critical about the smart meter's implementation. I'm not too happy about it either, even though I don't own a home.

Podcast of Barbara Simpson's show on Smart Meters

mp3 of Barbara Simpson interviewing Bishop Cordileone.
Winslow T. Wheeler, More Pentagon Spending
The 2007 CD from the Institute. I have their first CD; I'm not so interested in this one -- more of the Solesmes interpretation.

Alt site.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

JMG, The Costs of Community
Glance back through American history from colonial times to the present and you'll discover that the one consistently effective strategy for citizens who seek to change the direction of their society is to organize. When Alexis de Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America not long after the Revolution, one of the things he found most remarkable about the new republic was the way that ordinary citizens who wanted to bring change to their society did it by organizing societies, lodges, movements, political parties, or any other kind of citizen's group you care to name. The same thing has been true ever since; glance back along any wave of change in American life and you'll find an organized group of citizens behind it.

It's popular to insist these days that such organizations can't possibly muster the clout needed to overwhelm, say, the power of big corporations. History says otherwise. In the 1880s, for example, corporations had even more unrestricted power in the United States than they do now, and the railroad corporations were the richest and most powerful of the lot. The Grange, an organization of farmers, took on the improbable task of breaking railroad monopolies that were forcing farm families into poverty by keeping the cost of shipping farm produce to urban markets artificially high. The short version? The Grange achieved total victory, and the railroad corporations lost the monopoly status that made their fortunes.

The key to understanding the power of citizens' organizations is that representative democracy doesn't respond to the will of individuals; it responds to pressure exerted by groups. Those who organize to put pressure on the system generally get at least some of what they want, and the longer and harder they push, the more of it they get. Those who don't organize, by their lack of organization, make themselves irrelevant to the political process.
From VFR:

According to The New Yorker, before Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to be a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, he had boiled down the possible nominees to a short list of four women. On that short list was … Janet Napolitano. (“Number Nine,” by Lauren Collins, The New Yorker, January 11.)

4 women. Does anyone doubt that the AA president is a committed AA idealogue?
Yahoo: Mozart Effect Helps Premature Babies Get Stronger

The Israeli researchers plan to test out different kinds of music soon. One team member suggested that rap music might evoke the same response as Mozart, since it has a similar pulsating and repetitive frequency.

Rap = Mozart!?

Children take part in a winter camp program at a Confucian school in Jeongeup, North Jeolla Province on Tuesday. /Yonhap
AsiaNews: Card Shönborn: Medjugorje, Lourdes, a school of everyday faith
From December 28 to 31, the archbishop of Vienna visited the place where the Virgin Mary appeared in 1981. In an interview with Tagesblatt, he explains the meaning of the apparitions. Without prejudging the final assessment of the Church, he asks everyone to look at the positive fruits of prayer and love that flow from Medjugorje.

Cardinal Schoenborn is an enigma to me.
101 Ways to Save Money on Healthcare (via Dr. Helen)
NLM: Books by Joseph Braun SJ Available Online
VFR: Self defense in one's own home illegal in the Dead Isle

The Telegraph article:

Miss Klass, a model for Marks & Spencer and a former singer with the pop group Hear'Say, was in her kitchen in the early hours of Friday when she saw two teenagers behaving suspiciously in her garden.

The youths approached the kitchen window, before attempting to break into her garden shed, prompting Miss Klass to wave a kitchen knife to scare them away.

Miss Klass, 31, who was alone in her house in Potters Bar, Herts, with her two-year-old daughter, Ava, called the police. When they arrived at her house they informed her that she should not have used a knife to scare off the youths because carrying an "offensive weapon"--even in her own home--was illegal.

She could have told them that she wasn't offended by the knife. Or that it wasn't an offensive weapon, it was a defensive weapon. The police probably wouldn't have taken it well. The U.K. is going down the tubes.
The Myth of Muslim Conquest

What of the demographic war?
Jason Peters, Prime Wisdom

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Joe Carter links to this piece by Anne Trubek: Handwriting Is History
NLM: The Life, Work and Ambitions of Abbé Franck Quoëx, 1967-2007
First Things: Cicero Superstar by Mary Ann Glendon
Lost in the White House

The practice of our politics is so broken today, but what pains me worse is that we have gone a long ways toward no longer even possessing the capability of imagining better alternatives. Good Americans – of generous intentions, thoughtful analysis and progressive dispositions – are losing the capacity to imagine genuine alternatives to an American politics which offers the choice between right, far right and hysterical right, all of them differing only in the shading of the patina they spray over their common oligarchical core. No presidents could possibly better serve the interests of the plutocracy than Bill Clinton and Barack Obama (indeed, finding any sort of meaningful dividing line between the White House and Wall Street is an increasingly difficult task). And yet those on the right in America foam at the mouth in their rage at these communist infiltrators, while some progressives foolishly believe that Obama is trying his darndest to be a good lad, against a tough situation he’s inherited.

Obama's State of the Union won't preempt season premiere of 'Lost' after all
Boccherini's Body: An Essay in Carnal Musicologyby Elisabeth Le Guin

SFCV: Boccherini, That Chamber Music Renegade
Steve Sailer, Up in the Air: Reitman, Clooney Disappoint

Guess I'm passing on this one.
AICN: Sarah Palin Signs With Fox News!!

There are plenty of articles talking about this -- it should cement anyone's low opinion oF Fox News. She does strike me as being... someone who likes attention.
I got food poisoning from what is probably the worst Asian buffet in the area (Pacific Buffet in Fremont) -- I spent most of yesterday in bed, with no appetite for food (that still hasn't really come back). I also couldn't find the desire to blog or to read blogs. Not such a bad thing.

See the comments by Dr. Fleming and others to his Church and State A.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Andrew Bacevich, No Exit
Peter Hitchens, A Response to Conservative Home and its contributors

As it happens, I stopped being a Marxist when Mr Vaizey was seven years old. Let me put it another way. I have been a non-Marxist, and an active opponent of Marxism, for far longer than Mr Vaizey has been a grown-up. Since then I have spent much of my time experiencing at first hand and close quarters things far too few Tories know anything about at all - the British Labour and Trades Union movement, the Eastern European nations under Communism, and the USSR itself, where I lived with my family. I have also lived in the USA, and continue to travel widely as a foreign reporter, most recently in China, Japan, Burma, South Africa, Iran and North Korea. I know in detail why I am not and could never again be any kind of socialist, let alone a Marxist or Trotskyist. Any time Mr Vaizey wishes to discuss this suggestion with me, I am ready to do so, preferably in front of an audience.

But one thing I will say. The goals which revolutionary Marxists of my generation sought – a radical reordering of the relations between the sexes, a weakening of the married family, a general moral, cultural and social revolution, the destruction of the taboos against abortion, illegitimacy and divorce, egalitarian education, the abolition of frontiers and of nation states, the end of restrictions on immigration and the withering away of national borders, the sociological approach to crime as opposed to the belief that wrongdoing was an act of free will that deserved punishment, the infiltration of the media, the schools and universities by radical and revolutionary ideas about history and society, the dismantling of the canon of literature and of conservative attitudes towards history, the general denigration of the British Empire, the demolition of the idea that education was a passing on of accepted knowledge, and so of the idea that teachers are figures of authority - are now the policies of the establishment and so the policies of the Modern Conservative party - despite occasional sops - of the sort listed by Tim - offered to conservative thinkers.

My fellow-revolutionaries – from whom I broke and who hate me like poison as a traitor to my generation - entered the media, the law, the education system and the civil service in their thousands when the sixties ended, intent on pursuing these aims. And as Gerry Adams used to say of the IRA ‘They haven’t gone away, you know’. The number of ex-Communists and ex-Trotskyists at the very top of the Labour Party - who unlike me will not discuss their political pasts and also unlike me try to hide them - is extraordinarily large. These are for the most part not Old Labour socialists of the Clause Four trade union and nationalisation sort, but 'modern' enthusiasts for 'New Labour', which has many intellectual links with the current known as Euro-Communism , which used to coalesce round such publications as 'Marxism Today' and then migrated into the think tanks which swarmed around Mr Blair, and now swarm round Mr Cameron, who has pretty much accepted the Blair revolution as the price of establishment and BBC approval. See what I'm suggesting here?

Maynard Keynes once commented that politicians were generally the unconscious slaves of some defunct economist. They are also – especially Tories who know nothing of the Left - slaves of defunct social and political thinkers.
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