Saturday, September 11, 2010

After some time spent in deliberation this morning, I decided to head over to Sonoma Formula Drift. Not that I care about auto racing so much. But it was another introduction to America's [racing] automobile culture, whose days are limited if we accept the prognostications of Peak Oil theorists. I have to say that getting out of the house to go to the racetrack was a distraction that at least let me ignore reality for a while. It's not surprising that I was feeling a bit better during the day, as the things that normally make me angry weren't on my mind. If I had been thinking about our car culture a little bit more, I might have had more negative feelings, but I didn't wish to dwell on it today, despite the constant presence of its signs.

Someone told me that NOS, which is a sponsor of various auto events and gives away free samples of its drinks, has been bought out by Coca-Cola. As there were no drinking fountains I drank a lot of samples, and that wasn't a good idea. Besides having high fructose corn syrup, the drinks upset my stomach.

I could have stood by next to the track, but I wasn't so interested in watching the racing. Remembering that track-side spectators have been killed as a result of racing car accidents, I was a bit surprised that so many still stood so close to the racing...

I missed the Falken Tire team at their booth (signing autographs?) -- I don't know if they came later in the afternoon, or if I just didn't spot them when I walked by.

John Médaille posts this comment at another blog:
I think I have responded to every argument on trade. But surely you cannot think that “deficits don’t matter” and “it’s only bits of paper” are convincing arguments; it would certainly need a high theory to support such claims. If we are talking about challenges to economic orthodoxy, the “deficits don’t matter” school is at the extreme fringe; very few people with any right to an opinion believe that this can be prolonged indefinitely without a collapse, even of the entire global trading system. Indeed, it is only a peculiar combination of circumstances that has allowed it to continue this long, and these situations cannot continue much longer. Nor does it give me particular comfort to know that our most important assets are being bought up with money we shipped overseas. That kind of money floating around in foreign hands is nothing less than a threat to our very sovereignty.

As for betting on the future, I have no problems; I do it every day with my retirement account. But betting on a specific unemployment number I won’t do, and neither would anybody who understood what that number is. Basically, it is a vague construct that becomes very unreliable in times of turmoil, and there are any number of careful people who say it is unreliable now. Even the Official U6 number is already near 17%, while John Williams of “Shadow Stats” claims it is 22% ( Williams is pointing to the fact that the Clinton administration changed the way the numbers were reported to make them look smaller than they had in the past. The numbers supposedly represent those who are actually searching for a job. It would be very easy to lower the unemployment rate very quickly; just drop coverage after 26 weeks. Then those who are in fact “discouraged” but only keep looking because it is a requirement of the dole will stop looking, and therefore will not be counted. Both the labor force participation rate and the unemployment rate would fall, but the situation would not improve. Further, cutting the benefits would decrease demand, which would further increase unemployment, maybe to the point of a death spiral.

Here are some real numbers, regardless of what “rates” you care to quote:

Total working age population: 238.099million
Total Working Full Time: 111.832 million
Total Part Time Workers: 27.418 million.
Total Working: 139.25 million
Total not working: 98.849 million
Total Searching “Unemployed”: 14.86 million
Total Not Working Full Time: 126.267 million (not that “unemployed” is only 1/6th this number.)

In the next 24 months, we would have to have 3.6 million more jobs just to keep up with population growth, at a minimum, and I think the number is closer to 5 million. So that gives us something like 18 to 20 million jobs that we need in the next 2 years. Do you know of any industry or combination of industries that can absorb that many workers?

Nor is that all. The welfare claims, already high, are about to explode. In addition to the unemployed, the businesses getting subsidies and bailouts, and such things, we have an aging population. This year, the Social Security fund, which has been subsidizing the general fund for 30 years, will require a subsidy (pay back of the so-called bonds) from the general fund; it will go cash-negative. And we have rising Medicare claims and rising healthcare costs, with or without the Bill.

Traditional measures have not worked and will not work. We are trying stimulus. This has worked for the better part of 70 years, perhaps the best 70 years in our economic history. But it works best in an economy that is closed or has balanced trade. Not only does more of the stimulus lead off-shore, but without a larger manufacturing base it is harder to reach “escape velocity” (as Bernanke puts it). After all, the Bush years were pure stimulus with little results. Bush added $6T to the debt, which is a lot of stimulus, and that’s not even counting the monetary stimulus from Greenspan’s Fed policies. And yet for all that, the results were anemic, even before the crash.

All of that would be enough, but it is not all. There is a worldwide crisis shaping up. Sovereign debt spreads in Europe are increasing, and the PIIGS are getting shakier. And you can bet on some commodity shocks.

Nor is there anything in current thinking that can fix the problems. Indeed, you cannot fix any problem with thinking on the level that created it, which is what we are trying to do.

You want some predictions? Obama will not be able to fix this. The democrats may do better in November than most people think, but it won’t matter. By 2012, he will be a dead man walking, and may not even get re-nominated. The Republicans will take the elections, but they have no answers either; and there will be a general looting of the treasury by the well-connected before things collapse (see the Soviet Union for a model of what this looks like). And then things will get bad. Under current arrangements and current thinking, there is no way out this side of social chaos.

Is that scary enough?

There are ways to save the system, but there is neither knowledge nor will nor sufficient dedication to the common good that such solutions require. Partisanship will win, which means we all lose.

5 by Thomas Tallis

The Tallis Scholars:

30 pound goldfish

REEL BIG FISH: Fisherman lands 30-pound goldfish

Live Science

7.62 rifles

One of the featured rifles is the REPR.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Two chasubles owned by John Henry Cardinal Newman

MELROSE, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 07: Katherine Milby stands beside two vestments owned by Cardinal Newman in the Chapel at Abbotsford House on September 7, 2010 in Melrose, Scotland. Abbotsford house will send the two valuable religious artefacts to Edinburgh to be viewed by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit. The Cardinal gifted the two ornate vestments, worn by him when he conducted mass at the historic property, to Mary Monica, the daughter of Abbotsford's owners, the Hope Scott family. The objects have never previously been on public display and following Cardinal Newman's beatification in Birmingham on September 19 they will become second class holy relics. (Getty/Daylife)

MELROSE, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 07: Katherine Milby holds a picture of Cardinal Newman as she stands beside two vestments once owned by him, in the Chapel at Abbotsford House on September 7, 2010 in Melrose, Scotland. Abbotsford house will send the two valuable religious artefacts to Edinburgh to be viewed by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit. The Cardinal gifted the two ornate vestments, worn by him when he conducted mass at the historic property, to Mary Monica, the daughter of Abbotsford's owners, the Hope Scott family. The objects have never previously been on public display and following Cardinal Newman's beatification in Birmingham on September 19 they will become second class holy relics. (Getty/Daylife)

MELROSE, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 07: Katherine Milby holds a picture of Cardinal Newman as she stands beside two vestments once owned by him, in the Chapel at Abbotsford House on September 7, 2010 in Melrose, Scotland. Abbotsford house will send the two valuable religious artefacts to Edinburgh to be viewed by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit. The Cardinal gifted the two ornate vestments, worn by him when he conducted mass at the historic property, to Mary Monica, the daughter of Abbotsford's owners, the Hope Scott family. The objects have never previously been on public display and following Cardinal Newman's beatification in Birmingham on September 19 they will become second class holy relics. (Getty/Daylife)

MELROSE, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 07: Katherine Milby stands beside two vestments owned by Cardinal Newman in the Chapel at Abbotsford House on September 7, 2010 in Melrose, Scotland. Abbotsford house will send the two valuable religious artefacts to Edinburgh to be viewed by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit. The Cardinal gifted the two ornate vestments, worn by him when he conducted mass at the historic property, to Mary Monica, the daughter of Abbotsford's owners, the Hope Scott family. The objects have never previously been on public display and following Cardinal Newman's beatification in Birmingham on September 19 they will become second class holy relics. (Getty/Daylife)

Reactions of Catholics to the Koran-burning controversy

I know some do support the burning of the Koran; others merely oppose the statements that have out against the burning. For example, The Thinking Housewife has this post on a statement from the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue: On Burning Sacred Texts.She also wrote something in response to a statement by
Cardinal McCarick: Kumbaya Diplomacy. Here's an interfaith statement. There's a FB group, "Catholics Against the Burning of the Quran."

Then we have a flyer from Communion and Liberation declaring that it is not islamophobic.CL talks about fear; is it taking its cue from Pope John Paul II, "Be not afraid"? Christianity is not defined in opposition to Islam; but is respect to be shown to the religion or to those who profess it? What is Islamophobia? Hatred of Islam? Fear of Islam? of Muslims?

More evidence that the basis for the new Catholic moral theology is human dignity, and the new virtue is respect?

Let's not take that line of thinking too far -- even if respect is not listed as one of the virtues in the Summa Theologiae, still showing respect and consideration for the feelings of others and not giving undue offense seems right. (Is it identical to or a part of friendliness? Or contention?) But is it possible to give respect to a religion, which is an abstraction rather than a substantial reality in itself?

The burning of a Koran can be a sign of disrespect to Muslims, and this can be intended as a consequence. But what of the actual act of burning a Koran. Is it disrespect or desecration or sacrilege?

It might seem that a Koran is not tied to the service of God in the same way a mosque is; though it does help man, Muslims claim that it is divine in origin. (Hence, a Christian might believe that it is more akin to an idol than some natural object that has been dedicated to the service of God?) However, this claim could be made: it does serve God in so far as it spreads His message to Muslims and others. So it is sacred or holy both in origin and use, which is dedicated to God. A Muslim who believes that the Koran is sacred by origin and use would be committing sacrilege if he burned it. But it is difficult for me to see how this is the case for someone who does not believe that the Koran is sacred by origin. Is it objectively sacred by its use?

If the answer were yes, then this would seem to give a more intellectually secure founding to the claims made by various representatives of the Church than the potentially erroneous "all religions deserve respect."

But I think a Christian is not bound to show the same respect that a Muslim is obligated to show to the Koran. But this does not mean that it is licit for him to destroy it either as a means of offending Muslims or to demonstrate to Muslims his belief that Islam is false. (Even if doing the latter is not injurious to social harmony, it may lead to scandal for the Muslim, that is the sort of obstacle that would prevent him from converting to Christianity.)

I tend to think, then, that the rationale given by Church spokesmen is linked to a false ecumenism. (If something similar to what I just wrote above cannot be stated because it is impolitic to do so, then should the Curia be issuing statements that are based on a bad rationale or a twisting of Church teaching? If the Church is trying to teach Christians then it should do so with the truth. The question is whether "All religions deserve respect," is authentic Christian teaching or if it is false ecumenism. I'd be willing to consider arguments that it is authentic Christian teaching, so long as they do not appeal to just Vatican 2 and post-conciliar documents, but show how these documents are in harmony with what has come before.)

A discussion thread at Catholic Answers.

Mark T. Mitchell, Rev. Jones and the Bonfire of his Vanity
Fr. Z: Questions raised by Nostra aetate about the Christian God and Muslim Allah

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien unveils the world's first ever Papal visit tartan outside the Scottish Parliament, before handing it over to Parliament's Presiding Officer, the Rt Hon Alex Fergusson MSP, on September 9, 2010 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The tartan, a limited edition, has been specially made to mark the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Scotland on September 16, 2010, which is also St Ninian's Day. Following his visit to Scotland the Holy Father will then travel onto England where he will beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman on September 19. The plaid has been created in conjunction with two Scottish companies - Ingles Buchan of Glasgow and ClanItalia of Falkirk. (Getty/Daylife0

Cardinal Keith O'Brien laughs as he attends the unveiling of the worlds first Papal Visit plaid in Edinburgh, Scotland September 9, 2010. The St. Ninian's Day tartan, designed by Scottish Tartans Museum director Matthew Newsome of North Carolina, is a limited edition and has been specially created to mark the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Scotland. (Reuters/Daylife)

Cardinal Keith O'Brien poses with the worlds first Papal Visit plaid, in Edinburgh, Scotland September 9, 2010. The St. Ninian's Day tartan, designed by Scottish Tartans Museum director Matthew Newsome of North Carolina, is a limited edition and has been specially created to mark the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Scotland. (Reuters/Daylife)

Cardinal Keith O'Brien poses with the worlds first Papal Visit plaid, next to piper piper Louise Millington, in Edinburgh, Scotland September 9, 2010. The St. Ninian's Day tartan, designed by Scottish Tartans Museum director Matthew Newsome of North Carolina, is a limited edition and has been specially created to mark the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Scotland. (Reuters/Daylife)

Benedict XVI - The response to Protestant inroads in Brazil (and Latin America)

Pope's Address to Brazil's Bishops
"Division ... Is In Opposition to the Will of the Lord"

More than five centuries ago, precisely in your region, the first Mass was celebrated in Brazil, making really present the Body and Blood of Christ for the sanctification of the men and women of this blessed nation which was born under the auspices of the Holy Cross. It was the first time that the Gospel of Christ was being proclaimed to this people, illumining their daily life. This evangelizing action of the Catholic Church was and continues to be fundamental in the constitution of the identity of the Brazilian people, characterized by harmonious coexistence between persons coming from different regions and cultures. However, whereas the values of the Catholic faith have molded Brazilian hearts and spirit, observed today is a growing influence of new elements of society, which a few decades ago were practically foreign. This causes a consistent abandonment by many Catholics of the ecclesial life and even of the Church, while witnessed in the religious picture of Brazil is the rapid expansion of Evangelical and neo-Pentecostal communities.

In a certain sense, the reasons that are at the root of the success of these groups are a sign of the widespread thirst for God among your people. It is also a sign of an evangelization, at the personal level, which at times is superficial; in fact, those who are baptized and who are not sufficiently evangelized, are easily influenced, as they have a fragile faith, and many times it is based on simple devotion, although, as I have said, they preserve an innate religiosity.

Emerging in this context, on one hand, is the clear necessity that the Catholic Church in Brazil commit herself to a new evangelization that spares no efforts in the search for lapsed Catholics, as well as for persons who know little or nothing of the evangelical message, leading them to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, living and active in his Church.

Moreover, with the growth of new groups that call themselves followers of Christ, though divided in different communities and confessions, all the more necessary, on the part of Catholic pastors, is the commitment to establish bridges of contact through a healthy ecumenical dialogue in truth.

A different sort of Americanism

Catholics who defend and praise Lincoln give me the impression of wanting to out-yankee the yankee. How many Catholics have embraced "conservative" myths abourt the United States, including a nationalist/yankee conception of the Federal union and of the Constitution? Such an understanding, along with acceptance of the American way of life, is an impairment to the Holy Spirit? At the very least it prevents them from understanding what the lay vocation requires. More on this in a bit... Given the yankee re-writing of history and their cultural dominance, we would expect that Catholics feeling the pressure to assimilate and to display their patriotism would willingly accept this sort of indoctrination. It makes one wonder if the Church in the South was able to maintain any sort of intellectual independence from these trends.

That which is obvious can be grasped by many. But first principles and wisdom? If conservatives admit that the understanding of first principles is attainable only by a few, then should they not be willing to question the opinions they receive from pundits and radio/TV personalities? Instead they fall back on their culture -- their history, creed, and self-identity and reject any contrary or dissenting opinion, even if they are unable to provide an explanation with that opinion is wrong. This is true of American Catholics as well. The yankee mindset is so ingrained in some that they cannot be convinced otherwise. As most Catholics are relative newcomers, and outsiders in the sense that the United States were predominantly Protestant in the beginning, should they not be able to have some more detachment from "American" history and culture, and more skepticism towards whatever they see as being the official narrative and ideology?

I'm not saying that Catholics have to become Southern conservatives, but they should be a little bit more open-minded in their appropriation of American history. Or if they're going to be dogmatically yankee, they should do that in their private lives while minding their own business and attending to their duties, instead of making the enforcement of the yankee consensus a part of their personal mission in this world. That's not going to happen. How many of these Catholics would be willing to take up arms against a state wishing to secede now?

Catch the Life on the Rock special on Wyoming Catholic College

Available on demand for one week. But the special has also been uploaded to youtube!

EWTN Podcast

Wyoming Catholic College
The Philosophical Vision of WCC

Dave Cohen on Obama's proposed infrastructure spending

Rearranging the Deck Chairs (original)

It includes the sort of criticism you would expect from those who take Peak Oil seriously -- the plan is an stupid expenditure on the current American way of life, instead of doing something to restore a transportation system that will be viable in a post-Peak era.
Gareth Porter, The IED War: Petraeus Spins as Casualties Soar 

Gen. David Petraeus claimed limited success this week in the war within a war over the Taliban's planting of roadside bombs, but official Pentagon data shows the Taliban clearly winning that war by planting more bombs and killing many more U.S. and NATO troops since the troop surge began in early 2010.

EWTN schedule for the Pope's visit to the UK

Here, but no times are listed yet:

Pope Benedict XVI: Journey to England and Scotland

Thu. September 16 - Sun. September 19, 2010

The Holy Father's visit to the United Kingdom will center on the theme, "Cor ad Cor loquitur" ("Heart Speaks to Heart"), the theme Newman chose for his coat of arms in 1879 when he became a Cardinal. During this visit, the Pope will beatify Cardinal Newman.

Thu. September 16

Arrival in Scotland
Visit with Her Majesty The Queen
Mass at Bellahouston Park
Arrival in London

Fri. September 17

St. Mary's University
Meeting with Youth
Meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury Westminster Hall Westminster Abbey

Sat. September 18

Mass in Westminster Cathedral
Hyde Park
Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman

Sun. September 19

Meeting with the Bishops

The cassock isn't tradtitional daily clothing for clerics? What?

NLM: Clerical Dress in the City of Rome in the 19th Century (Part 1 of 2) and Clerical Dress in the City of Rome in the 19th Century (Part 2 of 2)

What did clerics in Rome wear everyday? The abito corto or abito d’abate. See the posts for more info and photographs. So is the modern clergy suit a fitting successor? It would seem so.

I don't mind that stockings have fallen out of fashion for men.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Google search engine

The results page has been altered so that results are given instantaneously as you type in the search box, you no longer have to press enter. This new display might be helpful to some; I think it is distracting though and often less than helpful. As I use Google often during the day, I was bound to notice it.

Google search tool seeks instant results

Edit. I guess if I had paid attention to the homepage, I would have seen the link explaining the introduction of Google Instant.

Debate on nullification at UVa

From an e-mail I received:

ISI is sponsoring a debate: "Is Nullification Constitutional?"
Dr. Donald Livingston of the Abbeville Institute VS. Dr. Allen Guelzo
of Gettysburg College

The debate will take place on:
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
7:30 p.m.
University of Virginia
Jefferson Hall (Hotel C)


The Abbeville Institute
Reclaiming the Culture: Bishop Salvatore Cordileone

Reclaiming the culture is planning to have interviews with Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, Ms. Mary Eberstadt, Fr. Anselm Ramelow, OP, Monsignor R. Michael Schmitz, and Dr. Anthony Esolen. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

American academic freedom

Patrick Brennan writes in connection with a controversy involving the Villanova Law School:

In a season in which Villanova is engaged in a dean search, I think it's vital to be unequivocal that Villanova Law faculty enjoy complete academic freedom.  They can write about whatever the heck they want.  I have colleagues who write about all kinds of stuff I regard as truly crazy, and many colleagues advance in print positions that are opposed to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.  That last fact, like the former, is not to my liking, but I accept that it is part of the American university model. 

What about the Catholic university model? In two separate places Ex Corde Ecclesiae mentions academic freedom, as it was explained within Gaudium et Spes, n.59:
Every Catholic University, as a university, is an academic community which, in a rigorous and critical fashion, assists in the protection and advancement of human dignity and of a cultural heritage through research, teaching and various services offered to the local, national and international communities(14). It possesses that institutional autonomy necessary to perform its functions effectively and guarantees its members academic freedom, so long as the rights of the individual person and of the community are preserved within the confines of the truth and the common good.
The Church, accepting "the legitimate autonomy of human culture and especially of the sciences", recognizes the academic freedom of scholars in each discipline in accordance with its own principles and proper methods(28), and within the confines of the truth and the common good.
Let us accept that some may be sincere in the errors they make in their reasoning, and do so in good faith, willing to be corrected by their peers when their errors are pointed out. They should be protected by "academic freedom." But what about those who reach their errors because of false principles which contradict the teachings of the Church? Ex Corde Ecclesiae and Gaudium et Spes do not seem to embrace an absolute notion of academic freedom -- rather it is delimited within the "confines of the truth and the common good." And in a Catholic university, truth should not be limited to that which can be discovered by natural reason, but it extends to what has been given to us through the Church by Divine Revelation. In these documents, free inquiry is protected, but nothing is said about the embrace of errors that precedes inquiry.

American academic freedom may prevail in public and secular and deChristianized schools, and the Church does not have actual authority over such institutions. But what about those institutions which claim to be Catholic and under the authority of the local bishop? What sort of Catholic legal theory fails to recognize that there is an "essential" difference between Catholic and non-Catholic schools which has an effect on how they are run and what is to be considered "right"?

Regarding ethical, legal, and political matters - if someone denies precepts of Natural Law or its authority, and reasons accordingly, should they be allowed to teach at a Catholic institution? I think not.

A question about the Church and Universal Suffrage

Has the Church ever endorsed universal suffrage?

The Church does not endorse any particular form of government (in particular, the forms of government enumerated by the ancients and considered by the medievals -- monarchy, aristocracy, or polity). It only requires that government serve the common good (rather than the private good of those who are ruling).
A quick search reminded me of this post at Ite ad Thomam. Talking about who is qualified to participate in ruling and who is not is implicitly tied to claims about distributive justice. I don't see the Magisterium coming out with a statement supporting [absolute] universal suffrage (which ignores the question of whether one is morally qualified to rule or not) when this would be contrary to distributive justice. (Individual bishops and priests may do so, but I would claim that they do not have adequate support from Tradition or reason. Praise of liberal democracy exists, even at the highest levels, but it is, as far as I remember, limited and conditional.)

Still, even if the Church hasn't endorsed universal suffrage, it may maintain that in communities where it exists, Catholic citizens have a duty to exercise citizenship (to participate in elections and so on). Power should be used if it is given to one, even if he does not deserve it, for not using would be failing to prevent others from misusing it? However, what if he cannot exercise it well? What if Catholic citizens perceive that they are not qualified to vote, because they are not well informed of the issues or candidates? Not only can they opt out of voting, but would it be morally necessary for them to do so?

What of the apparent paradox that the knowledge that one is not qualified is founded upon the knowledge of what is necessary to be qualified, and those who have this fundamental knowledge are thereby qualified? We would have to break this down and look at what is actually known and to see if it is the same in all three cases. In the first, one may have opinion or moral science of who should be a citizen, but the most important qualification of a citizen is his virtue: the moral virtues including prudence or practical wisdom, which are not identical with opinion and moral science.

Something related:
Here is an article in the NY Times from the last century, in which a Catholic priest defends giving women the right to vote.

Going, going...

Given the personnel changes in the past year or so and the appearance of more fluff on its website, Taki's Mag has been in danger of becoming irrelevant to "alternative" conservatives. Now, can we say that the alteration in its appearance is the final nail in the coffin? I don't think Taki would want to see this as his legacy, but did he not pass the website off to his daughter? Some serious articles are posted on the homepage, but it is difficult to get past the top banner and the colors of the font.

Even if those who operate the website wanted to convey the sense of an cocktail social, couldn't they have used a visual aesthetic more appealing to men? With all those male Mad Men fans, it wouldn't have been difficult to go retro in that way.


Take a Video Tour of Mad Men's Costume Shop

Dr. Samuel Gregg on St. Thomas More

From EWTN:
EWTN  With the Pope’s visit to the U.K. looming, EWTN has England in the spotlight! The country’s most famous martyr is arguably St. Thomas More. Learn more about this saint, scholar, and statesman – and his heroic death – as Dr. Samuel Gregg, the Acton Institute’s Director of Research, guests with Fr. Mitch Pacwa at 8 p.m. ET, Wed., Sept. 8 –

The video for this week's episode is available for a week.

Audio File

Samuel Gregg

Samuel Gregg: Spiritual Trumps Secular in Encyclical

"I wanna be an Airborne Ranger"

75th Ranger Regiment streamlines selection process
By Vince Little

Comments, Sarge?

Andrew Cusack on the Order of the Thistle

The Highest Order in the Land
The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle

Christus Vincit

"Christus Vincit" CMAA Winter Chant Intensive from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

Featuring someone I know from my days at Christendom... his voice reminds me of the pastor of the local church. If only the pastor would sing more chant during his Masses!

(via Totus Tuus)
The Distributist Review: Interview with Christopher A. Ferrara

TDR: You are mostly known for your writings on Fatima and the crisis since Vatican II in The Remnant Newspaper and Latin Mass Magazine, but not so much for economics. What sparked your interest in Catholic social teaching as it pertains to economics and the market? Were you ever of a libertarian persuasion?

CF: First, a quick course correction. Contrary to what certain liberal Catholic sophists have suggested, I have not written about “economics” as a purely academic discipline involving such technical matters as supply and demand curves or theories of price formation in neo-classical economics, including the “Austrian School.” Rather, I have written about the Church’s binding teaching in the realm of moral theology and natural justice concerning human affairs that happen to involve the exchange and distribution of goods in society and the moral limits on what can be bought and sold.

The Church, in line with the entire Western tradition since Aristotle, considers economics to be a branch of ethics oriented to the just exchange and social distribution of goods oriented to the life of the family as the basic unit of society—hence the etymology of the very word economics, derived from the Greek oikonomeia, which denotes “household management.” The Church’s social teaching thus defends the order of justice related to the support of the family in society. No “law of economics” can trump that teaching, which looks to the moral accountability of human actors whose actions are not determined or excused by any such law. So, for example, no “law of economics” can possibly justify the way Scrooge treats Cratchit, the family man. And yet, as I show in the book, liberal sophists of the “Austrian School” cite “economic law” precisely—I am not joking—“in defense of Scrooge.”

What sparked my interest in writing about the social teaching was the attack upon it by Catholics of the so-called “Austro-libertarian” movement—a combination of the “Austrian School” of laissez-faire capitalism and radical libertarianism. We are dealing here with yet another post-Vatican II Trojan horse in the City of God, whose occupants openly defy the command of Pope Saint Pius X in Singulari quadem that Catholics must “obey and firmly adhere to and fearlessly profess the principles of Christian truth… most wisely laid down in the encyclical letter ‘Rerum Novarum’…”—that is, Pope Leo XIII’s veritable summa of the social teaching, which was always present in the Magisterium but which he and all of his successors have developed and refined for modern circumstances.

Was I ever a libertarian?  Back in my college days I flirted, for about an hour-and-a-half, with Ayn Rand’s sententious drivel, and for much a longer time I dutifully observed the bourgeois liberalism I had thought was “conservative”—that is, what is good for Big Business is good for mankind. But that was before I returned to the practice of the Catholic faith in my late twenties. It was then that I realized that such works as Henry’s Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson and Frederic Bastiat’s The Law were superficial appeals to a bourgeois liberalism that insinuates itself into Catholic minds as “conservatism” by resorting to the spectre of socialism, defined as any “interference” in the “free” market and “free” interactions of other kinds among men. The Church’s teaching is the antidote to the poison of the false dichotomy—“freedom” or “socialism”—that has brought our entire civilization to the brink of self-destruction.

He responds to a question on whether there has been a change in Church teaching on usury by saying that there has been a change in its application. He continues:

CF: Belloc speaks of usury as taking interest on an unproductive loan. Such indeed is usury. If I loan you a bottle of wine and demand two in return, that is usury. If I loan you ten dollars today, and demand twenty tomorrow, that is usury.

But what if I lend you ten dollars today and you propose to pay me back ten dollars five years from now? In the modern economy, the question of usury in that case is not so simple as saying the loan is unproductive, for money today is essentially an unstable claim on goods and services in the form of currency whose value declines over time due to inflation and manipulation of the money supply, so that a lender who receives a year from now the same ten dollars he lent a year earlier has actually suffered a compensable loss.

Now, Catholic moral theology, even at the time of Vix Pervenit, has always recognized a title to “compensatory” interest when a lender actually loses value and thus suffers harm in the transaction. Moreover, in today’s financial markets a lender who advances funds foregoes opportunities to “grow” those funds by investments. Catholic moral theology has also always recognized a title to interest to compensate a lender for a legitimate foregone opportunity that he had to give up in order to make the loan.

The second claim seems shaky to me -- is there such a thing as a "certain" return on a possible investment? And is one entitled to that? If I there are two businesses in which I can invest, can I say that the one I pick owes me something because I chose to invest in it and not the other? The claim seems a bit greedy. (See David W. Cooney's comment.)

Part 3 of Keith Preston's series on Carl Schmitt

Alternative Right

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Egg Hunter
Gene Logsdon,
This year’s favorite hideout is a pile of hay I put in the machine shed “temporarily” when rain was threatening and I didn’t have time to add it to the outside stack. The photo shows one of these hay pile nests (yes, those are old crosscut saws hanging on the wall behind the nest along with my broadcast seeder, called by some modern garden farmers a “hand-cranked thingie”).
NLM: More on 13th Century Dominican Stabat Mater

This post at NLM, Liturgy Convention of the Archdiocese of Colombo: Cañizares, Ranjith, Lang, Mosebach, links to the website for a fascinating convention held not in Europe but in the Archdiocese of Colombo.

A funny coincidence?

Before I was awakened by a phone call this morning, I was dreaming about school, and a certain teacher shows up in the dream. When I answer the phone, who starts talking? The same teacher. She wasn't feeling well and wanted to know if I could sub for her today. So I did...

Gary L. Gregg II and Bill Kauffman discuss whether the Anti-Federalists were right

As the past two feature articles on First Principles have focused on the Constitution of the United States, perhaps it is now worthwhile to pursue an answer to the question: were the Anti-Federalists right to oppose the Constitution?

Gary Gregg and Bill Kauffman debated this question last year at the University of Colorado.

Regarding the signing of the Constitution, Gregg states: “There are particular times, there are particular moments in world history when great things, and good things are possible. This was one of those moments. I submit to you that the Anti-Federalists would have doomed our nation to lope along for decades if they would have rejected the Constitution. For this summer of 1787 may well have been the only real chance we had for the only kind of . . . conservative and reformed constitutionalism that we so needed.”

Kauffman responds by defending the Anti-Federalists and their contributions, noting that they “stood for decentralism, local solutions, anti-militarism, and a deep suspicion of far-off governments. And they stood on what they stood for, local attachments, local knowledge.”

To see these statements fleshed out, click here.

(via the Western Confucian)

Celtic Colours International Festival

website and YT

Some videos of the Bachands

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Opuscula: Msgr. Gherardini on Vatican II, Continuity and Rupture

One more item for the to do list

With my rather weak memory, I recall Roderick T. Long has been published in academic journals. He has written on Aristotle, perhaps even something relating Aristotle to rights, but I'll have to check my notes. But if I was aware that he was libertarian and Austrian school I had forgotten. Or I never made the connection between Roderick T. Long the philosopher and the Roderick T. Long whose writings appeared at LRC. His website (blog) and his archive at LRC. I (re-)discovered his website after doing some searches today on praxeology, as this morning I came across this post at The American Catholic: Thomas Woods and His Critics, The Austrian vs. Distributist Debate Among Catholics.

This essay (pdf) attempts to show Austrian economics can be a science as Aristotle defines it, but I am not convinced by the attempt. (The author makes use of Long's work on Aristotle.) Up until now I have been content with reading the general claims made by Austrian school members and Catholics who uphold Catholic Social Teaching and distributists. But in order to gain a better understanding of what they mean by science, and judge for myself whether their general claims can be supported by what they lay out, I'll have to read the big works by Ludgwig von Mises and others, such as Human Action and Man, Economy, and State. (Murray Rothbard on rights: The Ethics of Liberty.) Many laymen who are friendly to or critical of Austrian school economics have used "science" equivocally, and it is necessary to grasp how the Austrians define science and their method, and whether this can be reconciled with Aristotelian logic. Is the axiomatic-deductive method employed by the Austrians similar wot what Spinoza attempted to do with his treatment of ethics? It would appear that this is the method is how they try to attain the certitude and necessity that characterizes a science, but it may be the wrong way to go. Despite any possible denial by the Austrians, even their version of economics is more a practical science than a speculative science, and certitude must be achieved in another way. (See Fr. William Wallace, O.P.'s The Role of Demonstration in Moral Theology, which discusses how demonstration differs for speculative and practical sciences.)

Timothy M. Dolan, The Catholic Schools We Need


I don't think this is the first time Archbishop Dolan has made a plea for diocesan schools, and in this essay he makes stronger claims for them than Greg Sisk did this past June and July (I haven't re-read Sisk's series to check):
The reasons for the decline are familiar: the steady drop in vocations to the religious teaching orders who were the greatest single work force in the church’s modern period; the drastic shift in demographics of the late-20th century that saw a dramatic drop-off in Catholic immigration from Europe; the rising cost of living since the late 1970s that forced nearly every American parent to become a wage-earner and put Catholic education beyond their budget; and the crumbling of an intact neighborhood-based Catholic culture that depended upon the parochial school as its foundation.

The most crippling reason, however, may rest in an enormous shift in the thinking of many American Catholics, namely, that the responsibility for Catholic schools belongs only to the parents of the students who attend them, not to the entire church. Nowadays, Catholics often see a Catholic education as a consumer product, reserved to those who can afford it. The result is predictable: Catholics as a whole in the United States have for some time disowned their school system, excusing themselves as individuals, parishes or dioceses from any further involvement with a Catholic school simply because their own children are not enrolled there, or their parish does not have its own school.
Since all Catholics benefit from a good diocesan school system, they all have a duty to support it:
The truth is that the entire parish, the whole diocese and the universal church benefit from Catholic schools in ways that keep communities strong. So all Catholics have a duty to support them. Reawakening a sense of common ownership of Catholic schools may be the biggest challenge the church faces in any revitalization effort ahead. Thus, we Catholics need to ask ourselves a risky question: Who needs Catholic schools, anyway?

Hence in his closing he reiterates: "Catholic education is a communal, ecclesial duty, not just for parents of schoolchildren or for parishes blessed to have their own school. Surely American Catholics have sufficient wealth and imagination to accomplish this."

I think that it was said with reference to the Archdiocese of New York that it operates the largest system of parochial schools in the United States? It therefore has the opportunity to model reform in Catholic education, instead of adhering to outmoded modes of thinking that may still be influenced by Americanism and the desire to please their Yankee neighbors (bad assimilation). Can there be a renewal of diocesan schools without a renewal of the diocese and of the parish? What is the Church in the United States going to do to stem mobility and social fragmentation? How is it going to work against the political economic system if it shares many of the same assumptions that govern American public education, which serves that system? (And does it not embrace many of the same modes of teaching and learning?)

Throwing out the textbooks, which may be anti-Catholic like those used by their peers attending secular public schools, but in a more subtle manner, would be a good first step, along with a focus on the learning of the arts at the primary level, followed by a rethinking of secondary education and university education. Unless these sort of concrete changes are taken by the bishops, defenses and exhortations, like this one by Archbishop Dolan, will lack credibility.

Pope: Without Prayer, Nothing is Possible

New Master General of the Dominicans

Moniales:  NEW MASTER OF THE ORDER OF PREACHERS!!! and Scenes from the Election of Father Master Cadore
Father Bruno Cadore, New Master General of the Dominicans

French, Spanish, German, Italian

Domine, da mihi hanc aquam!: More on our new Master
Fr Bruno Cadoré --new Master of the Order of Preachers, elected

Photos from Day 6 of the General Chapter.

Another website associated with the province of St. Joseph: Dominican Frairs Province of St. Joseph
Institutum Historicum OP: Home

George Monbiot reviews Meat: A Benign Extravagance

George Monbiot, I was wrong about veganism. Let them eat meat – but farm it properly

The ethical case against eating animal produce once seemed clear. But a new book is an abattoir for dodgy arguments

Meat: A Benign Extravagance
Permaculture Magazine

Gary Taubes' "Why We Get Fat" IMS Lecture On August 12, 2010

From livinlowcarbman --

Part 1 of 8

Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Gary Taubes IMS Lecture Q&A Session On August 12, 2010 Bonus Footage

‘Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show’ Episode 399: Paleo Nutrition & Fitness Expert Nell Stephenson
Top Ten Myths of Popular Psychology (via Counterpunch)

The book 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology might be good.

The Psychfiles interview
Point of Inquiry interview
Psychojourney podcast
Token Skeptic
$19.00 for a video of an interview? The price seems rather much. (Is it to encourage people to buy the book instead?)

John Denver, "Leaving on a Jet Plane"

He reminds me a bit of MK from Boston (now in PA).

Monday, September 06, 2010

Gareth Porter on the Sunnis and the Surge

Defense Review: Barrett REC7 5.56 8″ Piston AR PDW Displayed at SOFIC 2010 (Photos!): 5.56mm NATO Piston-Driven Tactical AR Carbine/SBR for Military Special Operations (SPECOPS)

The Firearm Blog
Barrett Rifles Discussion Forum

Barrett REC7 5.56mm M4 from Tactical Productions on Vimeo.

The Invasion of Atlantis, Multiculturalism in Malta

The Invasion of Atlantis, Multiculturalism in Malta by Derek Turner

Malta catholic Action
From earlier this year: Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Visit to Malta

St. John's Cocathedral (wiki)

Sovereign Order of Malta

Paul Gottfried on the Ground Zero Mosque controversy

Mosque Hysteria Left and Right
There is a solution to this controversy. Let the elected officials in New York City decide. If the local population is unhappy with their mayor’s commitment to the project, let them vote him out of office. And if the zoning board changes its collective mind and votes against the imam, then so be it. Where houses of worship are placed should be subject to local control. By the way: although it’s not my call and New York is not my place of residence, I am personally against putting the project anywhere near Ground Zero. I am appalled by the hypocrisy of those who are funding this enterprise and who claim to be standing for “interfaith understanding.” Let them put their buildings in Saudi Arabia, where both visitors and residents are forbidden to keep or read Bibles.

In acknowledgement of Labor Day

Maybe we should stop avoiding it as unpleasant and start to love it as something that can perfect us?

An interview with Chris Bird, author of ‘Local Sustainable Homes’ (original)
Rob Hopkins, Transition Culture
In advance of the publication next week of Chris Bird's Transition Book "Local Sustainable Homes", I spoke to Chris about the book, and about what he set out to achieve in writing it.

Rob Hopkins: My foreword to ‘Local Sustainable Homes’ (EB)

Why learn permaculture? For the children and ourselves (original)
Chuck Burr, Southern Oregon Permaculture Institute
Permaculture is one of the only ways home for humanity. If one believes in modernism, industrial agriculture and better living through chemistry read no further. However, if you feel something is not right about the way we live, read on.

Oil, health, and health care (original)
Dr. Angela Raffle, British Medical Journal
The April 2010 oil leak in the Mexican Gulf illustrates the risks being taken to extract oil from inaccessible fields, and in June a Lloyd’s 360° risk insight report said, “we have entered a period of deep uncertainty in how we will source energy for power, heat and mobility and how much we will pay for it.” The reason why such damaging extraction methods are pursued, and why Lloyd’s are telling us we face a “new energy paradigm” rather than normal market volatility, is that oil discoveries peaked 40 years ago, and oil supply is probably at its maximum, with decline soon to follow. This has substantial implications for transport, food, jobs, health, and health care.
Fabius Maximus: Generals read “Ender’s Game” and see their vision of the future Marine Corps

How many American generals were using maneuver warfare in the European theater during World War 2? (I have read that Patton was one.) If we could have beaten the Germans at their own game, how much "strategic bombing" of targets in Germany would really have been necessary?
25 Reasons the 2010 Dietary Guidelines are wrong about cholesterol, saturated fat, and carbohydrates
(via WAPF)
NLM: Archbishop Agostino Marchetto Resigns Curial Position to Study History of Vatican II

Are the original schema/drafts that were prepared by Cardinal Ottaviani and others before the opening of the council available online or in print?

Archbishop Marchetto's The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: A Counterpoint for the History of the Council should be available in November.
The Spearhead: Domestic Violence Fairytales Threaten Constitutional Protections

USDOJ: Office on Violence Against Women

H.R. 4594: International Violence Against Women Act of 2010

The Inside Job

Does it get the details and explanation right? Is it sufficiently thorough in its analysis of the latest global economic crisis?


official webpage
Sony Insider
Yahoo; FB

Frank Kaminski reviews The Witch of Hebron

James Howard Kunstler's sequel to A World Made by Hand: EB (original)

"Chehre Jo Dekhe Hai"

From Whats Your Rashee.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Principles over Politics Rally

The rally was held earlier today - some video at the campaign site for John Dennis. The Hon. Rep. Ron Paul made an appearance. (As I haven't watched the video, I am unsure if he is in the video, but I would think that he is.) I don't know what the turn-out was like in San Francisco; while John Dennis may be too much of a libertarian, he would still be better than Nancy Pelosi. A report on the rally from Robert Taylor.

The Moderate Voice
Fog City Journal

The utility of Leo Strauss

The latest issue of The Catholic Social Science Review, the one that featured a debate between Thomas Storck and Thomas Woods, also features a symposium, "The Ancients/Moderns Distinction: Catholic Perspectives." Here is the introduction by Kenneth Grasso. I tend to be among those who reject Strauss's intellectual history, but there have been quite a few Catholics who have been influenced by Strauss and his disciples, including Fr. Ernest Fortin and C.N.R. McCoy.

Thomas Storck on Heinrich Pesch, S.J.

A Giant Among Catholic Economists (original)

Edwin Mellen Press
Opuscula interview with Dr. Ruper J. Ederer
Rupert J. Ederer, A Principle for Economics

Half Moon Bay considering disincorporation

Michael Shedlock: Dissolving Cities - Is this the Way Out? He also criticizes Paul Krugman again:  New Job Opportunity - Spitting at the Moon.

Half Moon Bay
The End of Half Moon Bay?
California Cities: D is for Disincorporate

Tin Tin is closing?

The Tin Tin supermarket around the corner is going out of business. It must have been in trouble for a while, since I don't think the bank would suddenly call in its loan or whatever its doing. The other Tin Tin on El Camino Real in Sunnyvale closed a while back (replaced by an Indian grocery store or restaurant, I think).
The store has been going-out-of-business sales these past few days. I was here when it first opened... I think it was the freshman year of high school. In those days there were complaints about the smell of fish, and the store resolved that issue, even if it still smelled like the seafood section still smelled like the typical Chinese grocery store seafood section. I think I saw the L twins and their old sister here. Or was it at Marina? Marina opened a few years after Tin Tin, and Tin Tin began to lose business to the competition from the other Chinese grocery stores in the area. Was it still popular with Chinese people living in the neighborhood? Apparently it wasn't popular enough to survive. I don't know if the stores next to it are owned by the same people or not, or if they just share the Tin Tin name. (One is a Chinese Christian book store.) Given all of the changes that have taken place at that shopping plaza the past 20 years, Tin Tin was a stable anchor, if not a local landmark. What will replace it? Another Chinese business? Or will it be an empty commercial space for a while?

According to Mrs. Y, on the first day there was a mad rush, thanks to mainlanders and Taiwanese trying to get a good deal. What would non-Chinese people think if they witnessed the lack of manners on display that day? The bank had already taken over, and was apparently trying to recover some money from what was in stock and couldn't be returned.

I actually haven't verified the store is closing -- I assume that it is, but I haven't read the signs on the store's doors for myself.

Edit. My mother says there is an article in the print edition of  World Journal (世界日報) which says the owner run away, absconding with some funds and leaving his creditors hung out to dry.

Started on September 1.

The Lovell Sisters, Choctaw Hayride

The Lovell Sisters Band (MySpace)

Alison Krauss and Union Station:

Vigilantes de la Noche

Le Barroux.

Yoshida Brothers videos

Yoshida brothers Q&A 2010 Otakon Panel
Yoshida brothers Q&A 2010 Otakon Panel 2
Last Question
Yoshida Brothers Q&A Performance

official website
MySpace & Facebook