Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hamlet to be aired on PBS on April 28, at 8PM.


Starring Patrick Stewart and David Tennant. Check your local listings.

Great Performances: Hamlet - Preview the Film
Hamlet - Interview with Sir Patrick Stewart

Interview with Patrick Stewart on Tavis Smiley (via Trek Movie).

Related Links:
BBC 2 webpage
David Tennant
Patrick Stewart

Some photos:

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: Sir Patrick Stewart arrives for the Jameson Empire Film Awards held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, on March 28, 2010 in London, England. (Getty/Daylife)
British actor Patrick Stewart attends the 2010 Empire Film Awards in London, on March 28, 2010. The annual event is organised by Britain's 'Empire' film magazine. The awards are voted for by readers of the magazine. (Getty/Daylife)

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: Sir Patrick Stewart and actor Roger Rees attends the Jameson Empire Film Awards held at Grosvenor House Hotel, on March 28, 2010 in London, England. (Getty/Daylife)

MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Ben Kingsley attend the Variety Club Showbiz Awards, at the Grosvenor House, on November 15, 2009 in London, England. (Getty/Daylife)

MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Patrick Stewart, Sir Ben Kingsley and wife Daniela Lavender attend the Variety Club Showbiz Awards, at the Grosvenor House, on November 15, 2009 in London, England. (Getty/Daylife)

MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Sir Ian McKellen, Frances Barber and Patrick Stewart attend the Variety Club Showbiz Awards, at the Grosvenor House, on November 15, 2009 in London, England. (Getty/Daylife)

MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Patrick Stewart and Sir Ben Kingsley attend the Variety Club Showbiz Awards, at the Grosvenor House, on November 15, 2009 in London, England. (Getty/Daylife)

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 03: Patrick Stewart attends the Rodale launch party for Al Gore's New Book 'OUR CHOICE: A Plan To Solve The Climate Crisis' at the American Museum of Natural History on November 3, 2009 in New York City. (Getty/Daylife)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20: Dr Who actor David Tennant appears backstage at the National Television Awards held at O2 Arena on January 20, 2010 in London, England. (Getty/Daylife)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20: Dr Who actor David Tennant appears with his Outstanding Drama Performance award with Sarah Brown, wife of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, backstage at the National Television Awards held at O2 Arena on January 20, 2010 in London, England.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 20: (UK TABLOID David Tennant poses with his award for outstanding drama performance presented by Sarah Brown in the press room at the National Television Awards held the at The O2 Arena on January 20, 2010 in London, England. (Getty/Daylife)

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 28: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) John Simm and David Tennant attend the press night of 'Speaking In Tongues', at the Duke of York's Theatre on September 28, 2009 in London, England. (Getty/Daylife)
Saw this duo of twins on the weekend edition of Showbiz Extra. I guess even the younger trot artists feel the need to conform to social expectations regarding appearance.

Peter Hitchens elaborates on why he is not Catholic: Wars of Religion, and other topics.
A Cloistered Nun's Gift for the Holy Father

Lady Antebellum, "Home is Where the Heart Is"

(via CHT)

Hmm. American Third Position. (Also via CHT.)
Defense Review: The Big M4 Myth: “Fouling caused by the direct impingement gas system makes the M4 Carbine unreliable.”

Remington Military R-4 Gas Piston Carbine (GPC) Tactical AR Carbine with Proprietary Monolithic Rail System (Pics!)

Related links:
Remington Military Products Division

Plus a video:

FERFRANS SOAR - FERFRANS official web site

Related links:
FERFRANS SOAR Select-Fire SBRs and Carbines, and GRSC Combat Rifle Scope (CRS) at the Range
FERFRANS SOAR Gas Piston/Op-Rod Tactical AR-15 Carbines and SBR/Subcarbines for Special Operations
A good addendum to the previous post, an article in Defense Review: Future Iranian (Bladerunner 51/Bradstone Challenger Copy) Speedboat Swarms vs. U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers: Van Riper Redux?
Fred Reed, Damn the Torpedoes, Fools’ Greed Ahead (via the Western Confucian)

Bear in mind that a great many countries fear attack by the United States, among them such trivial nations as Russia, China, and Iran. None of these has the money to build carrier groups to oppose those of the Navy.

All of these have thought about cheap ways to overcome the U.S. behemoth. Four solutions soon came to hand:

  1. Very fast sea-skimming cruise missiles, such as the Brahmos and Brahmos II (Mach 5+).
  2. Supercavitating torpedoes, reaching speeds of over 200 miles an hour.
  3. Very quiet submarines, diesel-electrics in the case of poor countries.
  4. Anti-ship ballistic missiles, such as the one attributed to the Chinese.

Any military buff knows that the Navy cannot defend itself against these. It says it can. It has to say it can. In fleet exercises against submarines, the subs always win – easily. The Pentagon has been trying to invent defenses against ballistic missiles since the days of Reagan (remember Star Wars?) with miserable results. If you have close friends in the Navy, ask them over a few beers what scares the bejesus out of them. Easy: Swarms of fast, stealthy, sea-skimming cruise missiles with multi-mode terminal guidance.

Add to the brew that today’s ships are fragile, based on the assumption that they will never be hit. Go aboard a WWII battleship like the Iowa, BB-61 (I have) and you will find 16-inch belt armor and turrets designed to withstand an asteroid strike. Now go aboard a Ticonderoga-class Aegis boat (I have). You will find an electronic marvel with big screens in a darkened CIC and an amazing SPY-1 phased-array radar that one burst of shrapnel would take out of commission for many months.

Now note that cruise missiles have ranges in the hundreds of miles. Think: Persian Gulf. A cruise missile can be boxed and mounted on a truck, a fast launch, or a tramp steamer. The Chinese ballistic missile has a range of 1,200 miles, enough to keep carriers out of aircraft range of Taiwan. I wonder whether the Chinese have thought of that?

In short, the day of surface navies seems to be coming to a close, at least as strategically decisive forces. So does the day of the manned fighter as Predator-style "drones" improve.

What happens now? Nothing – for the moment.

To understand the problem, assume for the moment that the Navy knew beyond doubt, and openly admitted in internal discussion, that it could not protect its surface ships from modern anti-ship missiles. What would it do? What could it do?

Nothing. Why? Because, apart from the missile submarines, which have no role in combat, the Navy is the surface fleet. Many, many billions of dollars are invested in carriers and careers, in escorts for carriers, in countless men trained to run them. Mothball the carriers, and the Navy becomes a few troop ships useful for unopposed landings. Maintaining a large fleet only to support the Pentagon’s preferred role of massacring half-armed peasants would just be too costly.

So, does the Navy say to Congress, "We really aren’t of much use any longer. We suggest that you scrap the ships and put the money into something else"? Mankind doesn’t work that way. The appeals of tradition, ego, and just plain fun run high. (Never underestimate the importance of ego and fun in military policy.) A CVBG is a magnificent thing, just not very useful. The glamor of night flight ops, planes trapping ker-whang!, engines howling at full mil, 30 knots of wind over the flight deck, cat shots throwing fighters into the air – this stuff appeals powerfully to something deep in the male head. The Navy isn’t going to give this up.

Thus it can’t admit that its day comes to a close, whether it knows it, suspects it, or refuses to think about it. The carrier is forever. Unless one gets sunk.

Japan's Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, second right, listens to Rear Adm. Richard B. Wren, second left, the USS George Washington strike group commander, as Okada inspects the nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, Saturday, April 10, 2010. (AP/Daylife)

Japan's Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, center, led by Rear Adm. Richard B. Wren, second right, the USS George Washington strike group commander, as Okada inspects the nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, Saturday, April 10, 2010. (AP/Daylife)

Japan's Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, left, listens to Rear Adm. Richard B. Wren, right, the USS George Washington strike group commander, as Okada inspects the nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, Saturday, April 10, 2010. (AP/Daylife)

Japan's Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, third right, visits the flight deck control room, led by Rear Adm. Richard B. Wren, right, the USS George Washington strike group commander, as Okada inspects the nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, Saturday, April 10, 2010. (AP/Daylife)

Some photos of the F-18 Hornet.

An F-18 jet flies during a performance from aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in Rio de Janeiro, Wednesday, March 3, 2010. The aircraft carrier arrived Friday to take part in sporting activities with Brazil's naval forces. (AP/Daylife)

An F-18 jet lands on aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson during a military exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, Wednesday, March 3, 2010. The aircraft carrier arrived Friday to take part in sporting activities with Brazilian naval forces. (AP/Daylife)

An E-2 Hawkeye, top, and five F-18 jets fly in formation during a military exhibition from aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in Rio de Janeiro, Wednesday, March 3, 2010. The aircraft carrier arrived Friday to take part in sporting activities with Brazil's naval forces. (AP/Daylife)

I haven't been attracted to the US Navy for quite some time, not since high school. My interest was not in naval aviation, despite my enjoyment of Top Gun, or being on a submarine, but in surface ships. And there's the dress uniform, both the winter and summer versions. When I was at Christendom Sarge talked about the SEALs, and at the time I had a high opinion of them, but that wasn't enough to induce me to go into the Navy.

Also via the Western Confucian: Memoirs of an Exorcist.
Sharon Astyk, Why I Hate Earth Day II: The Road to Hell in Baby Steps

Greenwashing Isn't Just for Corporations

The central message of most Earth Day celebrations is that if we all do a little, we'll make the world a better place. But the fact is that that's not true, and as much as we like to hear such a friendly, fuzzy message, we can't make it factual just by wanting it to be true. The blunt reality is that unless we all do an awful lot, very fast, we're facing disaster. We use the word "sustainable" casually, to mean "well, we can probably do a little more of this if we cut back a little now." But we are facing a sustainability crisis in the deepest sense - if we don't make massive changes and quite rapidly, our children's future is in question - and the children of billions of people around the world.

The rhetoric of baby steps and we each have to do our tiny part masks the fact that only a massive collective effort can succeed. It is not accident that climate change and peak oil activists always invoke WWII - because we know it is possible to invest everyone in a vast international project, given sufficient motivation, but as long as even the folks on the side of the planet insist on using warm fuzzy rhetoric and not telling the hard truths, we'll find ourselves bang up against people who say "even you don't think this is a big deal, so why do it at all."

Baby steps haven't gotten us very far - our cloth bags and our CF bulbs haven't done enough. It is time to admit that we can't live the way we are for very much longer, and it is time to change the rhetoric. Now it is possible that Earth Day could, actually, result in that kind of changes - but so far, it hasn't. It has pleasantly helped propagate the idea that because we're not ready to deal with things as the laws of reality require, we don't have to, that we can do only what we are comfortable with.

We do not like to acknowledge that we may not have the time, resources or leisure to do things in comfortable, pleasant ways. We do not like to acknowledge that if everyone on the planet can't live like us, that means we have to change our lives, and soon - we like to think that the rest of the planet doesn't really mind if we take more than our share. Well, they mind. We like to think that we can have what we want and be oblivious - that we can choose not to know what the real state of our planet is. But all these things are lies, and if you believe in the truth, it is better to know the truth and begin to go forward from reality than to live in the world of polite lies. That is just another kind of greenwashing.

I know, right now, you are thinking "geez, she's depressing, she wants me to feel guilty." But no, I don't. I think guilt is an empty emotion, a weak emotion - "Oh, I shouldn't eat this cookie..oops, I'm really bad because I ate the cookie, I really shouldn't eat another one..." I have no truck with guilt, and frankly, no interest in it. I'm interested, instead, in action and what is possible, in the taking of responsibility, the acknowledgement of truth and the making of real change. So no, don't feel guilty. Do things that matter.
NLM: The Icons of Sr Petra Clare

Sancti Angeli Association - Sancti Angeli Benedictine Skete

Nazareth priest recommends the following: Institute of St. Joseph and Nazareth Studio.
The Oz Conservative: And this person wants to transform all of you men!
Zenit: Archbishop Speaks on Aquinas and Universities
"We Must Reaffirm the Passion for Truth That Animated St. Thomas"

Francisco Zurbarán
The Apotheosis of Thomas Aquinas

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tears of a Clown by Taki Theodoracopulos

Emotional incontinence has turned men into wimps. The new man has to be caring and unafraid to burst into tears. But I’ve got news for you. It’s all a sham. Good men were and are caring without having to show it. Stoicism and emotional restraint are superior to cheap histrionics. Touchy-feely types are like Clinton, a dime a dozen, and as dishonest as they come.
Taki echoes Theodore Dalrymple.

An oldie from the good doctor: No one tips their cap any more.

Marcus Aurelius (source)
Lehman's Liar's Loans and Other Cons, By MIKE WHITNEY
William Black Charges "Massive, Fraudulent Transactions"
I started reading through Esther Gokhale's 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back. Maybe it's old age, or acquired ADHD but I had difficulty reading through the book last night and understanding what was being said. The pictures helped somewhat. I don't think it is the book--I'd probably have difficulty understanding how-to book on Gracie jiu-jitsu. Maybe I need to take a series of her classes and have her coach me. Alas, I don't have the money. (Actually, even if I had money I could probably just afford one of her instructors.) Yesterday during her online class she mentioned that she is doing research about running and plans to write a book about it someday. There are some differences between walking and running -- running requires the use of the inner corset, and there are some other differences as well. I don't know if any of the paleo lifestyle people have written about running. The last thing I read about running that could be considered paleo would be the article about walking and running barefoot.

The Zen Art of Sitting

Some recent news about barefoot running:
Science News: Running barefoot blunts foot’s force
Harvard: Running Barefoot
Nature - Editor's summary and article
The Running Barefoot
Roger Scruton's 2010 Gifford lectures. (via WWWTW)
From globalization to re-localization
Megan Quinn Bachman, Ecowatch Journal
Using less, cutting back, saving resources, conserving energy, reducing impact—such actions, though vital responses to our planetary peril, conjure up images of a strictly proscribed and rather austere future. If a singular focus on cutting carbon dioxide is mistaken, what then, is the environmental movement to do? Thankfully we can save the planet while strengthening autonomy of our communities by re-localizing vital goods and services.


Irish Jansenism?

I recall hearing from a cleric (priest or bishop?) about the differences between Irish priests and priests from Romance countries in the confessional before Vatican II. It is alleged by some priests and professors that Irish priests believed sexual sins to be more serious than other sins (and reacted accordingly in the confessional) while priests from Romance countries were more understanding, or at least ackowledged that such sins were more due to human weakness than malice. A erroneous attitude towards sex can still be found among certain American Catholics (hence one form of Cathoic guilt) and also traditionalists (including those associated with the SSPX and I think in particulaar of a certain writers associated with the Remnant.) The distorted view of attitude has been attributed to "Irish Jansenism"; whether it really can be traced to Jansenism, rather than to some other tradition I do not know, though I do know what others have said, and some have made the link between the scandal and "Irish Jansenism."

I'll rephrase the question then -- does the sex scandal in Ireland, or its handing by the bishops, have any roots in a distorted view towards sex?

Today I read at CNN that a third Irish bishop has resigned today (along with a Belgian bishop who has admitted to abusing a boy).

Fr. Blake: Save the Liturgy, Save the World (from Jansenism)
Jansenism, the Liturgy and Ireland | Rev. Brian Van Hove, S.J.
Dublin's sex-abuse scandal: variations on the American theme by Phil Lawler

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dirt! The Movie

Dirt! The Movie

It was aired on PBS's Independent Lens on Tuesday, but it will be repeated in the Bay Area:

Sunday, April 25 — 08:00pm
9.3 - KQED World

Monday, April 26 — 02:00am
9.3 - KQED World
Tour of Stemple Creek Ranch this Saturday. Should I go?

Free Gokhale Method classes

Schedule of free classes at the Esther Gokhale Wellness Center. I'm watching one of the free online classes, but I haven't been paying attention as I should be. I'll have to concentrate when reading her book later. If you do sign up for a free online class, you may want to make sure your browser has the WebEx Meeting program (Cisco product) installed already -- it will take 2 or 3 minutes. Also, if you want to talk and be heard, instead of sending messages by typing, you'll need a microphone/headset.

A question about the seal of Confession answered?

From a comment at Fr. Z's blog:
We were told (by the then-proto-Penitentiary-Major Mons. Luigi de Magistris) that it is illicit to withhold absolution on the condition of the penitent turning himself in to the civil authorities (even in cases of child abuse, murder, and the like). The priest can strongly recommend this, but the penance/absolution cannot be tied to this as a condition. The example that Mons. De Magistris used was if he were to hear the confession of a man on the eve of his ordination, who confessed having active homosexual relations, he would urge the young man to go to his rector and withdraw himself as a candidate for the priesthood and apply some other penance. If on the next day, that young man were ordained, Mons. De Magistris would go before him and kneel to request his priestly blessing as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

More about the seal of Confession at Fr. Z: A case about violation of the Seal of Confession in the press
Fr. Z: Card. Castrillon praised that French bishop. Why? Something missing from the reporting?


Confederate Heritage Month
Sons of Confederate Veterans blog

The Flags of The Confederate States of America
Confederate Flags of the American Civil War
Flags of the Confederacy

Whole grains, good or bad?

I've had a short discussion with a friend about whole grains -- I referred to two pieces by Mark Sisson. There is also this. Is he misguided, relying on quack science? Or is there enough proof in the pudding?

(An analysis of the MESA study.)
Zenit: Pope Accepts Resignation of Irish Bishop

Must the Church in Ireland die in order to be reborn? Given the enormity of sex scandal there, has the reconversion of Ireland been put to a halt and reversed because the witness of the Church is suspect? (Does the scandal have any links to Irish Jansenism?)
UCTV: In Defense of Food (from May 2008)

mp3, mp4

Michael Pollan gives a plant's-eye view

From March 2007

Michael Pollan on Food Rules: An Eater's Manual

Video of Michael Pollan's appearance in Campbell this past January.

Michael Pollan interview, Jan 27, 2010 from Kevin Warnock on Vimeo.

Charlotte Allen takes on Michael Pollan, among others

Charlotte Allen takes a look at Real Simple: Not Really Simple (via Rod Dreher)

Going simple: another fad for SPWLs and BoBos? Eco-chic. But then she begins to link various people under this "movement." Ms. Allen mentions Michael Pollan:
Hunting is usually taboo in the simplicity movement because it involves guns (hated by the professionally simple) and exploitation of animals (ditto). However, if you're hunting boar in the upscale hills ringing the San Francisco Bay so as to furnish yourself a "locally grown" boar paté, as does Berkeley professor and simplicity movement guru Michael (The Omnivore's Dilemma) Pollan, or perhaps to experience an "epiphany," as another well-fixed Bay Area boar hunter recently told the New York Times, you're doing a fine job of returning to the simple life.

If Mr. Pollan hunted with a gun would the criticism to be lessened? Should we criticize him and others because they have experiences that others who live in the Bay Area cannot have? Advocates like Mr. Pollan would like to make society more aware of its dependency on farms and food producers, being big believers in public education. They are also generally supportive of efforts to get the community (especially the poor) involved in the production of food.

How valid, then, are Ms. Allen's characterizations of those who embrace this "simplicity movement"? Do they really believe themselves to be superior to those who live simply because they are poor and without means, or involuntarily? Perhaps there is some desire for status and pride involved, but shouldn't we also look at their actions and their circumstances as well? Why do we need to judge them solely on the motives we attribute to them? (Maybe we can easily infer their motives from their actions, but what if we can't?) Do we get a complete picture of them as people? It is easy to attack the affluent for their latest fashion. But is there some truth to what they are embracing? And should we be lumping all of these people together? Should we not be looking at the principles of action, rather than disparate people? But that would require focus and precision in one's thinking.

Here, as in elsewhere, she is critical because of the economics of "simplicity" or of localism:

Simplicity movement people always seem to shell out more money than the not-so-simple, usually because the simple things they love always seem to cost more than the mass-produced versions. On a website called Passionate Homemaking that's dedicated to making, among other things, your own cheese, your own beeswax candles, and your own underarm deodorant, you are also advised to cook with nothing but raw cultured butter from a mail-order outfit called Organic Pastures. The butter probably tastes great. It also costs $10.75 a pound - plus UPS shipping. At farmer's markets, where those striving for simplicity like to browse with their cloth shopping bags, the organic, the locally grown, and the humanely raised come at a price: tomatoes at $4 a pound, bread at $8 a loaf, and $6 for a cup of "artisanal" gelato.
This sort of judgment, that what enables people to have cheap food is the best, ignores the other sort of goods that are sacrificed in order to maintain that existence, many of which cannot be measured in dollars, except maybe indirectly. (The costs of bad health, and so on.)
her own recommendations? what does she accept or defend as intrinsically good (as opposed to what is merely practicable)?

More excoriation of Mr. Pollan follows:

But it has been only in the last decade or so that the simplicity movement has come into its own, aligning itself not only with aesthetic style but also with power. Thanks to the government-backed war against obesity (fat people, conveniently, tend to belong to the polyester-clad, Big Mac-guzzling lower orders) and the "green" movement in its various save-the-planet manifestations, simplicity people can look down their noses at the not-so-simple with their low-rent tastes while also putting them on the moral defensive. Thus you have Michael Pollan, whose zero-impact ethic of food simplicity won't let him eat anything not grown within one hundred miles of his Bay Area home, and preferably grown (or killed, milked, churned, or picked) himself. He bristles with outrage not only at McDonald's burgers, Doritos, and grapes imported from Chile (foreign fruit destroys people's "sense of place," he writes in The Omnivore's Dilemma) but even at Walmart's announcement in 2006 that it would start stocking organic products at affordable prices. Walmart, like factory farms, SUVs, wide-screen TVs, and outlet malls, is usually anathema to the simplicity set, but here you would think the giga-chain would be doing poor people a favor by widening their access to healthy, less-fattening produce. Not as far as Pollan is concerned. Instead, as Reason magazine's Katherine Mangu-Ward reported, Pollan worried on his blog that "Walmart's version of cheap, industrialized organic food" might drive the boutique farms that served him and his locavore neighbors out of business.Are his concerns legitimate or not? Does she address whether there might be a real difference between industrial "organic" agriculture and truly sustainable organic agriculture, and their products?
What sort of recommendations does Ms. Allen make? Does she concede that there is anything wrong with our political economy? Ms. Allen tends to be an example of unthinking mainstream conservatism that we must rid ourselves of--a conservatism that seeks to keep the corporatist, unsustainable status quo. Beware of those who make a living claiming to speak for the people and feel outrage on behalf of the people. The people can speak for themselves, and if they hear both sides of the story, they may be more likely to agree with Mr. Pollan than with Ms. Allen. If Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution can be successful in West Virginia, what will happen if people are educated about how they get food and the quality of that food (by watching movies like Food, Inc.)?

Ms. Allen continues with a discussion of the simplicity movement in relation to the virtues and the moral life:

The problem with the simplicity movement is that its proponents mistake simplicity, which is an aesthetic lifestyle choice, for humility, which is a genuine virtue. Humility is an honest acknowledgment of one's limitations and lowliness in the great scheme of things and a realization that power over other human beings is a dangerous thing, always to be exercised with utmost caution. The Amish, as well as monks, Eastern and Western, cultivate humility because they know they have a duty toward what is larger than themselves. Leo Babauta of the foregone grooming products cultivates simplicity because it makes him feel "happier," as he writes on his website. For humble people, their own happiness or other personal feelings are secondary.

Furthermore, no virtue is a real virtue unless it is available to everyone. Simplicity doesn't fall into that category. If everyone decided to hunt boar in the Berkeley hills like Michael Pollan, it wouldn't take long for boars to become extinct. Furthermore, simplicity, because it is a lifestyle choice, necessarily means that its practitioners have to have the financial wherewithal - and usually plenty of it - to make the choices.

If you can't afford fine grooming products, you're not practicing simplicity by going without; you're just plain poor. Not so for humility, for even the poorest of the poor can be humble - or its opposite, irritatingly full of themselves.

Finally, simplicity is fundamentally indifferent to others. It's all about the experiences - "primal connections" or what have you - of its practitioners. Simplicity movement people don't care, for example, how other people would get around if you took away their cars in the name of "going green," or how they would feel about being forced to compost their garbage, as they're already forced in San Francisco, or how they would eat if factory farms were put out of business as so many simplicity-loving folks would like. Not so with humility, which is always outwardly directed.

Is simplicity a virtue? The lifestyle is consistent with the practice of virtues, especially that of moderation (or frugality). One must know the difference between a necessity and a luxury, and what can be rightly obtained and what cannot--for example, the growth interest in "fair trade." Thus, the virtue of justice is also involved. But we should also be concerned with the question of sustainability, to which Ms. Allen herself alludes. Is hunting boar in the hills of California what is simple? Or the experience itself of hunting one's food? (I think Mr. Pollan did this as a part of research for The Omnivore's Dilemma; I don't think he still does this, does he?)
If we should be concerned with the sustainability of hunting wild boar, then why shouldn't we be concerned with the sustainability of industrial agriculture as well?

Pride is a problem for mankind, but it is not the problem that simplicity first of all seeks to address. Rather simplicity is a way of exercising moderation, particular justice, and general justice. Once again the fundamental problem of Ms. Allen's piece is apparent -- she fails to give a proper definition of simplicity. Even if she had enough examples (and I don't think she does), the induction from the many does not yield a definition of what she is attacking. Does Mr. Pollan think that taking away cars overnight will solve some problems without introducing others? Some advocates are more at ease with a "liberatarian," free-market solution than others--allowing alternatives to compete freely with the corporations. It is a question then of whether government can be forced to stop playing favorites with the corporations.

If our profligate behavior impoverishes the ecological system, degrades the environment, and hurts the community at large, why should not the law compel that we act against wastefulness? Would Ms. Allen say that conservatives should avoid advocating for any legislation, in the name of humility? Is she more libertarian than I think?
Sharon Astyk, Why I Hate Earth Day

The thing is, it is possible to engage people with these more complex strategies. Historian Timothy Breen argues that these "rituals of non-consumption" emerge in difficult times to replace the satisfaction people gets from consumption. But they are communal, collective, and they involve conversations and practices that replace, rather than just eliminate. It isn't enough to say "stop shopping" - instead you have to give someone something as satisfying as shopping to do, and a community to do it within. When Miranda Edel and I founded the Riot for Austerity, we found that this was the esssential element - that we could get people to cut their usage by 70, 80 and 90% over the average American - and without major political interventions or buying that 20,000 dollar solar system. But what was needed was the fun of the participatory exercise of reducing one's usage. What was needed was a good story about how we were all part of something.

And that's why I'm a skeptic about Earth Day and Earth Hour and anything that has you be green for a weekend or a day or an hour. Yes, I'm the original poster girl for "your personal choice makes an impact" - but not one day a year. And yes, teaching kids about the basics of environmentalism is awesome, and having festivals is good. But the truth is that I don't see it sticking.

I see Earth Day as the new Valentine's Day or Mother's Day, a Hallmark holiday for us to give lip service to the environment. There are contrary forces, good in the mix - but then there are good things in the mix of Mother's Day or Father's Day or Valentines as well. But the reality of Mother's Day doesn't seem to be that it inspires us to be more respectful of the needs of mothers - what comes out of Mother's Day isn't more calls for breastfeeding stations and child friendly policies, but a "we told you we loved you last Sunday...aren't we done yet?" The same is true of Valentines Day - there's no compelling reason to believe that once a year special chocolates and sex really do all that much to lower the national divorce rate.

The problem of living in a culture whose dominant message is that consumption is all - that we are not citizens but consumers, is that we learn to think of ourselves as baby birds with our mouths open. Our job is to create markets, to buy the right things, to spend money. And how you spend your money definitely matters. But it matters in context with how you vote and act and live your life and demonstrate and speak and model a meaningful way of life. More is simply required of us that opening our beaks.
Mike Whitney, The Real State of the Housing Market
Daniel Larison, Un-Christian Delusions

For that matter, Jerusalem is also considered holy in the eyes of Muslims. I have no idea how Westerners can claim to “know” that the Iranian government would be so moved by religious apocalyptic fervor that it would engage in suicidal nuclear warfare, but they also seem remarkably certain that the holy status of Jerusalem in the eyes of Muslims somehow doesn’t really “count” and will be tossed aside at a moment’s notice. We often see this selective reliance on the beliefs and statements of people in other states. When Ahmadinejad or some other figure of authority in Iran makes demagogic, bellicose statements against Israel, these statements are regarded as essential for understanding the thinking of the Iranian government. On the other hand, when their politico-religious authorities say repeatedly that they regard the use of nuclear weapons as abhorrent, we are supposed to dismiss these statements automatically.

Parts 2, 3, 4, 5

Nourishing Traditions,
Revised Second Edition, October 2000

by Sally Fallon with Mary G Enig, PhD

Weston A. Price Foundation

I didn't know Cardinal Castrillon was at the center of controversy:

"I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil administration," Castrillon Hoyos said. "You have acted well and I am pleased to have a colleague in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and of all other bishops in the world, preferred prison to denouncing his son and priest."


In it, the cardinal said relations between bishops and priests were not simply professional but had "very special links of spiritual paternity." Bishops therefore had no obligation to testify against "a direct relative," he stated.

The letter cited Vatican documents and an epistle of Saint Paul to bolster its argument about special bishop-priest links.

"To encourage brothers in the episcopate in this delicate domain, this Congregation will send copies of this letter to all bishops' conferences," Castrillon Hoyos wrote.

A staunch conservative from Colombia, the cardinal headed the Vatican department for priests from 1996 to 2006. From 2000 to 2009, he also ran a commission dealing with traditionalist rebels who broke from Rome in 1988 and were excommunicated.

NLM: Press Release: Celebrant Change Announced for Washington DC Mass and New Celebrant for Washington Pontifical Mass Announced
From EB:

Energy crisis imminent: the U.S. Department of Energy refused to comment on its own hypothesis
Matthieu Auzanneau , Oil Man (blog), Le Monde
Must we run into a wall in order to recognize that there is one?
Neither the Energy Secretary Steven Chu, nor any official in the Department of Energy (DoE) U.S. wished to respond to the possibility of a fall in global oil production starting 2011. The hypothesis had been made by the principle DoE analyst in an exclusive interview.

It took 14 days for the DoE press office to decide not to answer me ...

According to the article published here on March 23, Glen Sweetnam, head of economic analysis within the DoE admitted that "there is a chance that we may experience a decline" in world liquid fuels between 2011 and 2015 if investments are lacking.

... An official in the DoE testimony said, under cover of anonymity:

1 - Steven Chu cannot challenge Sweetnam's analysis, seeing as Sweetnam is his main analyst, 2 - Chu also does not comment, since responding to a forecast so laden with consequences would be to recognize the strength of it, and could trigger a financial panic. So 3 - the DoE responds with a "no comment". It's crazy, but they have no choice!

... My report has been widely copied on the Internet. But so far, only the Guardian and the Financial Times have cited it. Le Monde itself (which hosts this blog) up to now prefers to keep its distance.

A supply crisis would have dire consequences (as demonstrated by the riots that took place when a barrel of crude oil reached almost $ 150 in 2008). ...
(21 April 2010)

French version: Choc pétrolier imminent : le département de l’énergie US refuse de commenter sa propre hypothèse

How can Dr. Stephen Chu not be aware of peak oil? If he knows, then how can the Obama administration not know? In recent disaster movies, American presidents have justified hiding the news about impending doom from the public in the name of preventing panic and death. If the Obama administration believes that peak oil news would cripple the recovery of the economy, how can it believe that the economy can actually recover in the first place, if peak oil is upon us? How can it justify adding to the Federal deficit? Maybe the Obama administration is praying that the consequences of peak oil won't actually be experienced until Barack Hussein Obama has finished his sojourn at the White House.

Are we talking about criminal negligence? Malfeasance? Even if they believe a cover-up is justified (or nothing can be done at this stage to mitigate peak oil), they can still be guilty of malfeasance because they should have put in every effort possible to deal with the problem, instead of continuing to usurp power to the Federal government and maintaining a corporatist system.

That's what I think true populism requires, at least. What is Organizing for America doing?
Peter Hitchens confirms my suspicion, apparently in response to those who have left comments (I surmise these are to be found at the original post):

Macaulay's history of England is a great read (thrilling and fast-moving) and not, as one contributor suggests, hard going. But it covers only a small part of the national story. I too would like a reading list which covered the whole narrative.

As for those who damn the so-called Whig interpretation of history, I wonder whose interpretation they prefer? My guess is that they prefer that of Karl Marx. But of course they can't say so, as that would give the game away. Rest assured, once the left triumphs, there will be a standard history agreed at the highest level and taught (no nonsense about 'sources' and 'discovering it for yourself' then), packed with lies and full of gaps, to justify the nasty state they will by then have erected on the grave of Great Britain.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Laity and the Evangelization of Business

(First part -- 11 parts total.)

The Roman tunic

Scottish men get made fun of for wearing kilts. But how is the Roman tunic, which was worn by both men and women, structurally different from what we today consider a dress? (There are differences in width here and there, but the form isn't different, as far as I can tell.) Were there any significant differences between the men's tunic and the women's tunic to differentiate one from the other?

Related links:
Roman Costume History | How to Make a Roman Toga & Tunic
Roman Dress
Roman Clothing, Part I
How to Make an Authentic Roman Tunic
Legio XX Tunic Color Notes

Started on April 17.
The Treasonous Clerk: “See, I Am Doing Something New”: John Paul II’s Summons to Secular Being, by James Matthew Wilson

The pope’s summons proves extremely daunting: he wants a philosophy attentive to metaphysics in order to reground modern theology in a concern with reality—with objective and absolute truth. But, in 1998, he finds no one (or few) in contemporary philosophy turned toward the questions of being. Who any longer treats philosophy as founded in its sapiential dimension—that is, in its drive to explore the foundational human questions all persons need answered if they are to live fully (§81)? And who endeavors to arrive at philosophy’s “genuinely metaphysical range” (§83), its concern with being, with what is real? And so Fides et Ratio makes an intervention in philosophy in hopes of building up a population of philosophers who might, someday and in turn, help to rebuild modern theology as a discipline attentive to the foundations of reality rather than merely the phenomena of history or experience. Beyond analytic and Continental philosophy, we need, as it were, a renewal of “plain old-fashioned philosophy.”
Emblem of the Papacy

Thus, the provisional nature of this encyclical. It makes insightful arguments about the history of religions and intellectual inquiry in general; it recovers a reading or narrative of history often dismissed as the alibi of an anti-modern Church; but in doing so it primarily makes the case for others to begin a new work: the rediscovery of human life as an intellectual and spiritual pilgrimage whose terrain is always what is real (being) and whose horizons are the specific historical revelation of God’s Word and the “infinite mystery” of God Himself (§14). We are asked to rediscover that the reason of “separate philosophy” leads finally to despair of reason. If, on the contrary, we recognize that reason is preceded by faith (as we experience, for instance, in the already present desire to know the truth about ourselves) and that reason is completed by faith (reason opens onto truths that, finally, surpass it and that it can see in only fragmented fashion) (§13)—we discover something grand. Reason participates in the human being’s circular journey from the gift of being and the gift of revelation toward a theological understanding of those gifts. It is man’s natural means of searching for a truth that ultimately transcends human life and reason alike and brings all searching to an end (§73).

Fr. Benedict Ashley has written that Thomism has neglected the historical dimension of being, but it is not clear to me how this can be the case if philosophy is to attain to the Aristotelian ideal of episteme and sophia. The contingent may be helpful in helping us understand natures and causes, but there cannot be a science of the contingent as such. While Pope John Paul II is correct that we are in need of metaphysics, Fr. Ashley rightly reminds those who desire to know that we must first have an adequate physics.
Zenit: Papal Address After Cardinal Spidlik's Funeral Mass
He "Placed ... His Life Within the Commandment of Love"
Counterpunch: Evelyn Pringle, Inventing Disorders: the Psychiatric Drugging of Children
Tipping point: near-term systemic implications of a peak in global oil production
David Korowicz, The Oil Drum

We currently live within an integrated complex globalised economy. We have framed the process in which this occurs as a catastrophic bifurcation, driven by a series of reinforcing positive feedbacks. The final point will be a de-globalised (localised) economy of much reduced complexity.


Local economies close the distance between us
Staci Mitchell, Yes! Magazine

I live in a 19th century neighborhood in a small New England city. My mother-in-law, who grew up in this same neighborhood, often talks about what it was like during her childhood in the 1940s. What I find most striking about her description is how many businesses our little section of town once had. There was a grocery store, hardware store, two drugstores, a tailor, and more.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TomDispatch: American Kleptocracy
How Fears of Socialism and Fascism Hide Naked Theft
By William J. Astore
Pete Takeshi recommends Cinematic Titanic, which involves the creator of MST3K.

Photos: Benedict XVI at the funeral of Cardinal Spidlik

Pope Benedict XVI, center, arrives to deliver his eulogy at the funeral service of Cardinal Tomas Spidlik, of the Czech Republic, inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Cardinal Spidlik died in Rome on April 16 at the age of 90. (AP/Daylife)

Pope Benedict XVI diffuses incense on the coffin of late Cardinal Tomas Spidlik, of the Czech Republic, during his funeral service, inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Cardinal Spidlik died in Rome on April 16 at the age of 90. (AP/Daylife)

Pope Benedict XVI, second from right holding his staff, delivers his eulogy as cardinals pass in front of the coffin, seen on the ground at left, of late Cardinal Tomas Spidlik, of the Czech Republic, during his funeral service, inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Tuesday, April 20, 2010. Cardinal Spidlik died in Rome on April 16 at the age of 90. (AP/Daylife)
Insight Scoop: Pope Benedict XVI's Fifth Anniversary | A CWR Round-Table

Also via Insight Scoop:
The Multiple Scams of Goldman Sachs By DEAN BAKER
Yes, It Can Get Even Worse

Deadliest Warrior: SWAT v. GSG 9


The comparison seems a bit ridiculous, doesn't it? I saw an episode in which an Apache squared off against a gladiator -- the Apache won. How are they going to compare a police unit with a military counter-terrorist unit?


Are democrats leftists?


It is not the case that all leftists are democrats, though even advocates of Marxism profess to be democrats. Can democrats be classified as being on the left, even if they are not adherents of liberalism? Democrats may share some beliefs in common with liberals, but a democrat, as defined by Aristotle, merely holds that all should have a share in ruling merely on the basis of being free. The ideology of liberalism goes beyond this. While democrats and liberals may have a common agenda with respect to dealing with the rich, trying to understand all political advocacy in terms of the left-right spectrum seems mistaken.

It is said that the Founding Fathers were not democrats, as they endorsed restrictions on the franchise. This is probably the case for most, if not all, of them. How many conservatives are liberals in so far as they endorse universal suffrage?

Many liberal localists see peak oil, etc. as an opportunity for democracy to be renewed. The latest example: Rediscovering Democracy by Marcin Gerwin.

Traditional conservatives in America at the very least must pay lip service to the republican heritage of the country. Even if the Founding Fathers thought a limited franchise was compatible with the system of the American republics, is it possible for the typical Uhmerican to be persuaded that voting rights should be given on a basis other than being a "citizen"? Or that citizenship should not be given to all? While one might hope for a peaceful transition to a post-carbon world, it is unrealistic to think all are suited to participating in self-government. John Michael Greer has talked about the need for communities to make rules and to punish those who do not follow the rules through expulsion in order for them to survive. A less serious punishment, but one that may still appropriate for certain infractions, would be to take away citizenship rights.
Han Cinema: "Three Brothers" locks grip on TV charts

Given the success of the show, is my worry that it is subversive of Korean tradition and society (and deliberately so) warranted?

Maintaining classroom discipline

In the past two weeks I have had two classes in which students remarked how quiet I was. While shouting or constantly talking in a loud voice may hold the students' atatention and aid in being a task manager, it's against my character to do so. Perhaps it is the only way the attention of an unruly class can be held. (But it certainly wasn't necessary with those two classrooms.) If I wouldn't educate my children in that way, why should I do so when teaching the children of others? I don't see Don Bosco teaching in such a manner.


Some have praised the strictness of American teaching nuns of the past. (I read a few grateful remarks in connection with Meryl Streep's Doubt.) Their use of corporal punishment is often jutified by former students as well. But was their way really correct? Or were they so successful because they were simply better classroom managers than their secular counterparts? While they may have been able to educate American Catholics in the three Rs, is their legacy as positive as some who remember the fondly think it is? How much did they really deviate from the American industrial model of mass education? How do groups like the Nashville Dominicans or the Ann Arbor Dominicans maintain classroom discipline now?

A photo of the Clear Creek monks

More photos from the Abbatial Blessing. Their picasa account.

Matteo Ricci lecture, May 8, 2010


St. Anthony of Padua Institute: The First Father Matthias Lu Memorial Lecture and a Manhattan Forum lecture: "Confict and Accomodation: Matteor Ricci's Approach to Catholic Evangelization in China," by Dr. Anthony E. Clark

Saturday, May 8, 2010 at Father Kozina Hal, St. Margaret Mary Church

In hindsight which was the more feasible approach, evangelizing the literati or the masses? And what sort of cultural, social, or political obstaces to evangelization existed in imperial China that did not exist in imperial Rome?

flyer (pdf)

A portrait of Fr. Ricci.

On Fr. Matthias Lu:
The Catholic Voice
De La Salle Institute District of San Francisco
John Médaille, Aristotle and Aquinas, Bank Regulators
Oath Keepers and the Age of Treason (via EB)

Not sure if the word Treason was used in an ironic sense or not--hard to say, given the source of publication.

The Energy Bulletin headline isn't much better: Militias rising - are we on the road to fascism?

Resistance is legitimate only if liberals are doing it. Gotcha.
Brian Kaller reflects on the future of flight.
Even Rod Dreher, Orthodox convert, uses that lousy classification proposed by liberals and those studying comparative theology:

Should Christians practice martial arts? I'd love to see a (civil, philosophical) discussion on the question above. Though I ask for a view on whether or not Christians should do this, I would also be interested in hearing from Jews and Muslims about whether it is advisable (or not) for believers in their respective traditions to take up the Asian martial arts -- and if so, under what conditions might that be OK?

The problem, it seems to me, as someone who has never practiced a martial art, comes from the fact that many (most? all?) of the martial arts are grounded in a certain spiritual and metaphysical worldview incompatible with Abrahamic religion.

Is Christianity more than a belief system? There is something to be said for Protestants rejecting the word "religion" in favor of having a "relationship" with Christ. Do Jews, Muslims, and Christians observe the same laws with respect to the virtue of religio? No. Do they share the same beliefs? No. If a religion can be said to be Abrahamic, it is because it is bound with the historical person of Abraham in some way. Even if Jews and Muslims look to Abraham as the patriarch or founder of their peoples, is this true of Christians? No.

Calling a religion "Abrahamic" glosses over the question of whether God actually does any revealing, and how and where the salvation He has given is to be found.
Schütz Ensemble Almere (Netherlands), Carien van de Beld, 31-03-2010 Kerkcentrum de Triangel, Almere Stad

Tomás Luis de Victoria: Tamquam ad latronem (1585)

Tomás Luis de Victoria: Animam meam dilectam (1585)

Another version of the last piece: Coro Nostro Tempo, Iglesia de Ntra. Sra. de las Angustias - El Palo - Málaga, 26-3-2010
Coro Nostro Tempo (their Youtube channel)
Life After RC: Vatican action [nota bene: unconfirmed]
Hayley Westenra - Interview at Classical Brit Nominations 2010

Daniel Larison, The British Election and the American Right
Theodore Dalrymple, When Freedom Isn't Free

Is he making the libertarian argument that the law should not legislate morality whatsoever, because virtue must be freely-chosen? The subtitle reads: "In Britain, compulsory virtue stifles individual liberty." But he does not argue that law should not promote virtue. Rather, he talks about the freedom of association:

It is a necessary condition of freedom that private citizens should be allowed to treat with, or to refuse to treat with, whomever they choose, on any grounds that they choose, including those that strike others as repellent. Freedom is freedom, not the means by which everyone comes to precisely the same conclusion and conducts himself in precisely the same way.
The Beholden State, by Steven Malanga
How public-sector unions broke California
(via Michael Shedlock)

Food, Inc. this week

Check the PBS schedule for when POV will be shown locally. This is the schedule for the San Francisco Bay Area:


Wednesday, April 21, 9:00pm

Thursday, April 22, 3:00am

KQED World
Sunday, April 25, 9:00pm

Monday, April 26, 3:00am

Wednesday, April 21, 9:00pm

Thursday, April 22, 3:00am

Thursday, April 22, 8:00pm

Friday, April 23, 2:00am

Monday, April 19, 2010

One woman writes about her success with a paleo diet: My Paleo Alphabet. (via Mark's Daily Apple)
Zenit: Pope Notes Contributions of Cardinal Spidlik
Czech Cardinal Dies at Age 90
Clyde Wilson, On Being America’s Red-Headed Stepchild

The current fad is to treat everything good that Southerners say about the Confederacy as part of a “Lost Cause Myth” that Southerners made up after the fact to rationalize their failure and their evilly motivated attempt to destroy the “greatest government on earth.” Robert E. Lee was not really a great general, Confederate soldiers were not really brave and out-numbered, the people really did not support the Confederacy, a distinct Southern culture was merely a pretense to defend slavery, etc., etc., etc. In the face of vast contradictory evidence, it is simply declared that everything Southerners said about themselves was a lie they made up and told after the fact. A catalog I picked up just a few days ago reported new books: The Myth of Jefferson Davis and The Myth of Bedford Forrest. You see, Southerners always make up flattering stories about themselves while Northerners just tell the true facts.

Southerners are intrinsically evil and Northerners intrinsically good. The South is not to be understood for itself, as it is and was, as something with its own life and identity. It exists only as the bad side of America. Casting us in the villain’s role is not in the least affected by the facts—that the South is now the only part of the country where a majority of black people say they feel at home, and that racial tension and hatred is more prevalent today in the big liberal states than in the South. It leads the Southerner to suspect that all the furor about imposed equality in the last half century is motivated by something less seemly than the pure thirst for justice.

It is a strange and not comfortable feeling to be the object of hatred of great numbers of people you have never met and to whom you have never done any harm. On the upside, it does give one some objective distance from the myth of unique American virtue, a false belief far more pervasive and destructive than admiration of the Lost Cause.