Saturday, July 16, 2011

KunstlerCast #164: Landscape Urbanism - Part 1
JHK Critiques Charles Waldheim's Remarks

(For reference: Watch Charles Waldheim’s Presentation at the Closing Plenary of CNU 19)

The Landscape Urbanism Reader

Livable Cities Don't Have Freeways
CLAMABAT AUTEM MULIER - Francisco Guerrero (1528 - 1599)

Could I hack it?

How 1 MILLION Pounds Of Organic Food Can Be Produced On 3 Acres. (A vid on Growing Power)

Transforming a Barren Landscape into a Permaculture Farm (Rainbow Valley Farm; a video)

I could get excited about being a book editor, especially books in theology or philosophy, but when reminded about the future it seems rather futile. If I could make a modest living doing some farming... but that takes a lot of start-up capital. So if I do get asked that question, what do I foresee myself doing in the future, should I be honest and say, "I'd like to work for a sustainable farming operation?"

More videos.

Harry Potter

The movie is out, fans are lining up to watch it and being emotional. A classic for the ages (I mean the books, not the movies.) Is he the hero for our children? There are plenty of Catholics who love the story. At least with respect to the "subjective" response, Harry Potter is not much different from Lord of the Ring, though arguably the latter is more in line with a Catholic world view.

A reactionary would talk about the loss of oral culture. I have something on the works dealing with legends and heroes, and this is a reminder that I should spend more time on that.

People across the world may be united by what they consume -- but what impact does the reading of literature really have on us. For adults it may be a light diversion. For children, during their moral formative stage, literature can have a much greater influence. Do we not have real-life heroes to celebrate instead? A pious Catholic may refer to the saints. But what sort of stories are we able to tell about the saints that would be inspiring to children, and to boys in particular, who want something that appeals to their desire for adventure and great deeds?
A Case For Government by Wilson Carey McWilliams ·

The author relies much upon Tocqueville. Too much? I think he misdiagnoses the American problem.

Woman Knight of Mirror Lake

My post last year about Qiu Jin. There is now a Chinese movie about her, apparently more fantasy than fact. Twitch has the trailer. The HK movies of the 80s and 90s with Michelle Yeoh, Michelle Khan, and Cynthia Rothrock and those that followed were transpositions of the heroines of wuxia/kung fu movies that came before to the modern era. The heroines were more of a fantasy for males than an ideal for females, probably. But when you couple the image of a woman kicking-ass that is possible only in movies with a historical figure who was arguably China's first feminist, what is the result but ideology for the masses?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Steve Martin performing for a Capitol Fourth

Watch the full episode. See more A Capitol Fourth.

Tavis Smiley interview
New Leonardo da Vinci Painting Verified, 'Salvator Mundi' (via Fr. BL)

This undated handout photo provided by Robert Simon, shows a painting recently authenticated as the work of Leonardo da Vinci. "Salvator Mundi," dating to around 1500, will be on display at the National Gallery in the fall as part of a larger exhibition on the Renaissance artist, the London museum said Monday, July 11, 2011. It depicts a half-length figure of Christ with one hand raised in blessing and the other holding an orb. (AP/Daylife)
A comment by Susan at The Archdruid Report:

I work in the financial services industry, and I can tell you without reservation that it is all a big crock of $#!+... If you can get your local financial planner to have a few drinks he might just tell you what a big game it all is.

Starting about two years ago (just after the financial meltdown of 2008), several hedge fund managers that my company deals with started telling us that we should advise our clients to start thinking seriously about getting out of municipal bonds and into buying arable land, preferrably a safe distance away from the nearest big city.

At first I thought they were just being paranoid, but when they walked us through the numbers it became obvious that they understood early on that our whole economic system is going to collapse (not might collapse, or could collapse, but WILL collapse).

How that collapse will happen is the subject of great debate. Depression and deflation is what lots of people, including Mr. Bernanke, seem to fear the most, but it could go the other way just as easily.

The least politically painful way out of our current mess is to simply print money. Sure, it destroys savings, leads to hyperinflation, and ultimately results in massive social upheavals, but it doesn't require anyone to pay more taxes or accept cuts in their entitlements before the next election, or the next one after that. Thus the politicians get to keep their jobs for a few more years, or at least until the mob comes and stands them up against that proverbial wall...

Then the new government, which still owns most of our mortgages (through Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac), as well as millions of acres of federal land, can issue new money backed up by land (instead of gold or other commodities). This is what Germany did in the 1920s after their terrible wheelbarrow inflation. Look up something called the rentenmark.

Slightly off subject, I recently finished reading The Long Descent, and I am now about half-way through The Ecotechnic Future. Wow, I think you pretty well nailed it.
Bravo Company has a new website.

The video was created by Haley Strategic Partners.

The Banjo Project: Earl Scruggs Teaser Clip

Earl Scruggs Teaser Clip from The Banjo Project on Vimeo.

The Banjo Project

Tonight the last episode of FNL airs on NBC

Good... riddance...

NPR: Kyle Chandler: Playing A Coach On 'Friday Night'
PCI: The End of Cheap Coal by Richard Heinberg and David Fridley (EB)

Hrm, wasn't this posted when the article was originally published. It may have been another version of the article by Richard Heinberg.

Of interest to Austen fans

Saved for the Nation: Bodleian acquires last Austen manuscript

Jane Austen Day 2010

Lindsay Curren reviews American Meat

Why oil is killing the American farm by Lindsay Curren (EB)

American Meat




(via Cowboys and Indians)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The passing of Old Europe?

People in traditional clothes move the coffin of Otto von Habsburg-Lothringen from the St. Ulrich chapel to the St. Pius chapel for the requiem in Poecking near lake Starnberg July 9, 2011. Otto Habsburg-Lothringen, the eldest son of the last Austrian emperor who became a champion of European unity, died aged 98 at his home in Germany on July 4, 2011. (Reuters/Daylife)

The coffin of Otto von Habsburg-Lothringen stands in a chapel in Poecking near lake Starnberg July 5, 2011. Otto Habsburg-Lothringen, the eldest son of the last Austrian emperor who became a champion of European unity, died aged 98 at his home in Germany on Monday. (Reuters/Daylife)

Air Guard member named one of Air Force's top 12

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell
National Guard Bureau

Air Force Staff Sgt. John Norris, a tactical air control party specialist with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 193rd Special Operations Wing, works alongside Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division during his deployment to the Kunar province, Afghanistan in late 2010. Air Force officials announced July 14, 2011 that Norris was selected as one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year. (Courtesy photo)

Why does tac air controller get multicam while the 101st soldiers are stuck with ACUs?

Let California go down the tubes

Heather MacDonald, Less Academics, More Narcissism
The University of California is cutting back on many things, but not useless diversity programs.

University of California

Why the h*** not? They made their bed, let them go lie in it.
Benedictus Dominus: More on Music in the 3rd Edition of the Roman Missal (via The Chant Cafe)

Thanks to our "Catholic" governor Jerry Brown

Jerry Brown signs bill requiring schools to teach gay history (via VFR)

The Atlantic Wire

At least parents can opt their children out of sex ed. This is just one more legitimation of homosexuality, and if the decision on Proposition 8 is maintained, you can bet that addition to civic orthodoxy will be strengthened. Catholic parents should withdraw their children from public schools, let's see what happens as a result. How many of them could afford it? And what are the California bishops doing? Time to be more assertive and stop pretending we live under a "free," "neutral" regime.
Why do humans congregate in big cities?
Gene Logsdon, The Contrary Farmer, Mulligan Books

One of life’s mysteries for me is why country people have inevitably migrated to the cities in every civilization that I have studied. In the United States, where there has been little of the kind of violent upheavals that send third world countries into instability, the reasons for migration to cities seem especially specious to me.

I remember Dr. Marshner proclaiming his love of the city once during class. Mr. Logsdon writes:

Sometimes I think the ideal life occurred in Europe (probably other places too) before the two world wars wrecked the old agrarian life there. Unlike in America, where farmers established themselves on homesteads dotted out all over the countryside some distance from each other, European farmers preferred to live in villages, and to go out daily to their farms around the village. There was little chance to feel isolated or bored and lonely because in the evenings they all gathered on doorsteps or street corners or more likely in the taverns, and enjoyed the camaraderie, true social security, pastimes and amusements of communal life.

A group of families living together can advance in their cultivation of the virtues and arts, and there is the aspect of leisure and communal festivity that Mr. Logsdon alludes to, as well as just plain living together. (Dr. Marshner, on the other hand, seemed to be referring to the presence of "culture," concerts and such.) This is different from the phenomenon of mass urbanization today, in which people abandon farming in search of a better living.

mass urbanization and the new Metropolis

Secret History of the Credit Card

Frontline (link via Distributive Review FB)
Rick Garnett, Remember the Vendee and Bastille Day, the Vendee, and "genocide"
Marie Digby -- My Great Mistake

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pope's Condolence Message for Otto von Habsburg

"A Witness to the Changing Face of Europe"

Habsburg funeral provokes uneasy nostalgia in Austria By Albert Otti

Live chat with Michael Buble

Tomorrow at 12:00 PST on Ustream. His website.

Warner Bros announcement
Anti-Social Network  By Stephen B. Tippins Jr.
Who needs friends when you have Facebook?

Feeding moderns' unhappiness? People needing an escape from both work and home? Guess being a wage slave isn't all that it's cracked up to be, but we may also be lacking in character, and no just a proper work ethic.
LA Times: Ron Paul: 'I don’t think I was cut out to be in politics'

I didn't think he'd be retiring so soon. Truly it is an end of an era.
Art of Manliness: 100 Must See Movies: The Essential Men’s Movie Library

I disagree with some of the choices, and I might even prune the list. Maybe the Vatican Best Films List is better for a Catholic... but we live on cheap energy.

Doomb conservatives.

They make conservatism look bad. The first is written by a former teacher.

Larry Sand, Sizing Up Classrooms
It’s time to expose the “smaller-is-better” myth.

What’s more, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, teacher-pupil ratios across the nation have diminished steadily since 1955, when the ratio of public school teachers to students was 26.9 to one. By 1970, the ratio was 22.3 to one. And by 2007, the last year for which federal government statistics are available, the ratio came down to 15.5 to one. In California, going back to 1999, the student-teacher ratio across all elementary and secondary schools was 20.9 pupils. Today, it’s 21.3—a paltry 1.9 percent increase.

But it's set to increase in California because of budget problems.

If it's just mass education, one-size-fits-all, then it can be fed to a large group, without any consideration of whether the students are retaining any of the information. It's up to the initiative of the students and their families.

But what about the impact of "misbehaving" students? And if teachers take time out to address the needs of individual students? In the latter case it should seem obvious that the fewer students there are, the more time one can spend on addressing individual needs. The essay relies too much on numbers and data analysis, I think. Mass education itself should be rethought in many parts of the country.

It's not just the bottom line, the author might say. It's about results, and why pay for results that are no better, or even worse? Is it always about the bottom line? We need to be vigilant about public spending, but if it could be argued that classroom management would be easier with less students, and that this would have a positive impact on the lives of students even if it didn't increase test scores, what would these "fiscal conservatives" say to that? What, exactly, are they seeking to conserve?

The Class-Size Debate Never Graduates High School
By Charles C. Johnson

Just reporting on demographic changes? Or promoting an agenda?


His parents said, 'Not with a white girl'
By Diane Farr, Special to CNN

So what is the domestic culture like? The author doesn't talk about it in her piece. What sort of beliefs do they have about (the support of) extended family? Religion?

Weddings blend cultures as well as families

Why U.S. is not a Christian nation
By Kenneth C. Davis,
Do women more often than not start talking to themselves when they find themselves alone?

Items of Interest, 13 July 2011

Discussion of Msgr. Burnham's paper on Anglican patrimony.

The Link Between Peak Oil and Peak Debt – Part 1
Posted by Gail the Actuary

A Realist Philosophical Case For Urbanism and Against Sprawl: Parts One and Two by Philip Bess

Peter Hitchens on Northern Ireland: A Different Sort of Bonfire Night. (The ‘Anti-Depressant’ Controversy again)

What not to wear, Farmer Edition

Sharon Astyk, Casaubon's Book


Motorcop on the recent BART incident

BART PD – Again
CSMonitor: 51st state? Small step forward for long-shot 'South California' plan

Is that really secession or just the division of a sovereign political entity?

Supervisor Jeff Stone
Supervisor Jeff Stone lays out plans for ‘South California’
Valley News

Sierra Hull, "Someone Like You"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wendell Berry's platform

A Quieter Life Now by Wendell Berry, Madhu Suri Prakash
In an exchange of letters with a dear friend, Wendell Berry explains why his writing is only a small part of the movement against greed and waste.

Wherefore Lifeteen?

Jeffrey A. Tucker, The Catholic Youth Catastrophe

Lifeteen is rather influential in the diocese, although not all parishes have a Lifeteen Mass on Sunday. More thoughts on that if I complete the post on the bishop's ADA. The weakness and malfeasance of our bishops is truly lamentable, not to mention in some cases the outright heterodoxy.

More Dominican Rite info:
Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P. :  New Music Resources for the Dominican Rite
(Dominican Liturgy)

The Sweetback Sisters

Norah Jane Struthers recommends this link (and group): In Studio: The Sweetback Sisters

website and MS and FB

Items of Interest, 12 July 2011

The Transition Movement – Preparing for a World After Peak Oil

Robert Waldrop, Hard Times in Farm Country

The Story of a New Economy by David Korten
David Korten: We’re in the midst of a contest of competing stories—one fabricated to serve the interests of Empire; the other an authentic story born of the experience and aspirations of ordinary people.

On Benedict Ashley, O.P. How the Great Books seminar turned a radical poet into a philosopher and priest. by Benjamin Recchie, AB’03
The Chant Cafe: A Cistercian Twist on the Old Salve Regina

Street Stories: The World of Police Detectives

Street Stories: The World of Police Detectives by Robert Jackall (via VFR)

The great speaker...

"Congratulations for your extraordinary devotion to your country."

Saying "Congratulations on winning the Medal of Honor" seems tacky. But the above just sounds stupid. How about "Thank you for your extraordinary devotion to your country" instead?

Dumb and dumber.

More on today's Medal of Honor winner later.

Ana Moura

Ana Moura - "Não é um Fado Normal" (videoclip oficial)


Monday, July 11, 2011

Are they still charging for admission to the Sunday feria?

New website for the annual San Jose Mexican Heritage and Mariachi Festival.

Ben Sollee: Tiny Desk Concert


website, MS

John Médaille proposes reforms for the health care system

Distributism and the Health Care System

Health Insurance

It is often suggested that insurance can function as a middle term between the market and socialism. However, this involves a misunderstanding of what insurance is. Insurance can only be a means of cost-averaging; some must pay too much and others too little, but one way or another, the cost must be paid by the users, which, in a monopolistic market, will price many out of the market. And healthy purchasers will seek plans that eliminate as many “risky” applicants as possible; they will seek the safest “risk pool” which is reflected by the lowest cost. People with higher risks will be placed in higher risk pools with higher prices, which will price many out of the market. So nothing is gained towards a universal, affordable system.

Further, insurance works differently in a monopolistic market. Cars and homes can be efficiently insured because the home and car repair businesses are relatively free markets, which means that insurers can rely on the market to control costs. Insurance will have some inflationary effects, as people perform repairs they might otherwise have deferred, but in general the effects are mild. This is not true in the presence of monopolies; the monopolistic market cannot be relied on to control costs, quite the opposite: the more money supplied to a monopoly, the more the prices will rise. This in turn raises the cost of insurance, which drives more people out of the market. The effect is the prices rise while coverage shrinks, or precisely the effects we are seeing in the real world.

Some have suggested that these problems will go away if we make insurance mandatory and universal, as in the Massachusetts Plan. However, a mandatory purchase is just another name for a tax; since everybody is required to purchase the product, it cannot really be a free market. Again, some argue that even though the purchases are mandatory, the system is still “free-market” because of the variety of plans and prices provided. However, the price differences in the plans can only come from differences in coverage. Some will cover more, and some less; some will deny more claims, and others less. People will have to guess in advance what diseases and medicines they are likely to need, and to the extent that they guess wrong—which is inevitable—they will be uninsured. You will have, essentially, the same situation we have today but in a different form: instead of the insured and uninsured, you will have the fully insured and the partially insured, with partial insurance being the equivalent of non-insurance for many situations.

Again, some will counter that the government can require all the plans to cover the same things. However, a standard, compulsory plan is no different from socialized medicine, and is likely to be a good deal less efficient. There are likely to be high expenses for profit and marketing, even though profits are not justified for compulsory purchases, and the “marketing” can be no more than an effort to convince people to buy the same product with a different label on it; it serves no useful purpose and only adds useless expense. Finally, there is likely to be duplication in administrative expenses. If all the companies are selling and administering the same plan, there is simply no reason to have multiple administrative organizations. In such a case, a “single-payer” system makes more sense.

Some will argue that Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) combined with catastrophic insurance will go a long way towards solving the problem. HSAs allow people to put a portion of their income in tax-free savings accounts, usually up to about $6,000 per family, to pay for ordinary medical expenses and then buy high-deductible policies to cover anything beyond that. The benefits are that people will be paying for most care from their own funds and are thus likely to make better use of the funds. At the same time, high-deductible policies are much cheaper. Between the two, great efficiencies are gained.

However, HSAs or some variation have been in place for many years, but have done little to address the underlying problems. The reasons are not hard to find. The first problem is that the people who are least able to afford insurance are also those who are least likely to have a surplus that they can save. In an economy that has seen a stagnant median wage for 30 years, even in the face of rapidly rising productivity, this should not be surprising. HSAs will not help the unemployed or the underemployed at all. Further,the majority of those who cannot afford any insurance are already in the lowest tax bracket, hence the tax advantages are minimal. And the majority of taxes that they do pay are the FICA taxes, and HSAs are not exempt from these. The greatest advantages of HSAs go to those who need them the least. A person in the lowest tax bracket, assuming he can save $6,000, might get a $600 tax advantage, but a person in the 35% bracket gets a $2,100 government benefit. Although the intentions behind HSAs are laudable, in effect they are mere subsidies to those who already have sufficient surplus.

Richard Aleman, Is the Acton Institute a Genuine Expression of Catholic Social Thought?

The Greencards in Felton

Don Quixote’s International Music Hall, tonight at 7:30

their website, FB, MS

Playing live on KPIG at 11!

The band was at Freight and Salvage on Friday night, but I learned of it last minute, and didn't feel like trekking it up to Berkeley.


Dalrock, Interviewing a Prospective Wife Part II: Interview Questions

Discovery Channel: Ranger School

Surviving the Cut
Peak exploration: The Apollo program and the high water mark of Western civilization
by William Hicks (EB)

Over at Traditional Christianity: The Politics of Nostalgia: America’s War with the Present

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Traditionalism as Retroconservatism?

Hearkening to the 50s or the 60s or 70s as the ideal? That is the impression I sometimes get from the titles of articles posted at The Art of Manliness. For example: How to Stock a Home Bar. Though I haven't really watched the show, images of Mad Men and TV shows from the late 50s and early 60s (I Dream of Jeannie?) flash in my mind. The lifestyle of mid-20th ce American bourgeoisie. Other posts recall the chivalry of yesteryear: The Ins and Outs of Opening a Door for a Woman.

This is retroconservatism at its best? Worst?
(1) Such a lifestyle and its possessions entail wealth and a system of cheap energy without which the lifestyle of the "middle class" would not be possible.

(2) It presumes that women and men are still being raised the way and that social expectations towards sex, courtship, married life, and male and female roles are the same. If her family is traditional and they've raised the daughter to be that way, maybe it's safe to use the courtship practices of the past. Otherwise, with a woman of unknown background and values, you are not warranted on relying on her words. She has to qualify herself to you, even if she is "Catholic."

AoM does offer a useful guide for being a man (probably acceptable advice to Gamers for aspiring alphas:
The 5 Switches of Manliness: Physicality and What to Wear on a First Date), but what social rules and expectations does it promote, what standards should men be living up to? "Marriage 1.0"? How useful is the dating/relationship advice if it just supports the pedestalization of women? The Manosphere would just laugh it off. What do the married men who talk about Game or the Christians of the Manosphere say about dating practices?

This may be more acceptable: 10 Cheap Date Ideas She’ll Actually Love. Players and PUAs will keep it as cheap as possible while maximizing the benefits from their relationships. But even Christians and traditionally-minded men have reasons not to spend too much while sifting through prospective spouses. Still, dinner dates seem to be the norm for the writers at AoM; there's no going dutch or letting the woman pay.

I think a man should be hesitant about accepting the beta provider role until she's showed that she's qualified to be the right one. Should a man be so concerned to show that one is worthy to the woman during the initial stages, instead of just "exhibiting his character" and putting the burden of proof on her? Is this "fair?" Should she be the one demonstrating value first?

She should be capable of observing for herself what his character is like in how he interacts with others. As for verifying that he can be support a family --  that is an important consideration, but is it as important as character? Is one date enough for a man to know if a woman is traditional enough?

As I saw that she had updated her blog, I can ask what would a Catholic woman like Dawn Eden say about the complaints and comments in the Manosphere?

The Duties of the Best Man

Karen De Coster at Polyface Farms Field Day

Joel Salatin: A Radical for Freedom
Peter Hitchens on the miniseries on the Kennedys:

Finally, a glimpse of the real JFK

Why are many TV critics so rude about the mini-series on the Kennedy family, now approaching its end on BBC2? It’s far more honest about them than anything else I’ve ever seen on mainstream TV, and Tom Wilkinson’s portrayal of the monstrous patriarch and crook Joe Kennedy is superb. It isn’t Shakespeare, and isn’t meant to be, but it’s a fast-moving, concise account of a thrilling era and I can’t stop watching it, whereas most TV these days sends me to sleep. Perhaps it’s the honesty the critics don’t like.

JFK-worship is still all too common among our media classes. The family’s gangster connections, JFK’s appalling infidelity, the sinister Doctor Feelgood pumping the President and Jackie full of drugs, the horror story of the President’s lobotomised sister – and the towering figure of evil that was Joe – don’t quite fit the picture. But it’s all true.

Ah, this is the one that was prevented from being shown here in the U.S. because of the family's influence.
BBC Two to screen controversial Kennedy mini-series

An afternoon at Costco Sunnyvale

Someone mentioned Costco on the radio this morning, so I decided to go there for lunch today, instead of In and Out or some restaurant. Of course, as it was Sunday, the parking lot was full and so was the line for food, at 1:30 in the afternoon. A microcosm of Silicon Valley? A diverse crowd, if you think a mix of whites, East and South Asians is "diverse." I didn't get pizza because of the carbs; I did get plenty of sugar from the fountain drink (and the bun) that came with the hog dog. You can guess what how the average Costco shopper was dressed. A slight sense of revulsion wasn't unexpected, even if the crowd was slightly better than Walmart's. Enough to force one into tribalism? Why should I lay my life down for them, a bunch of strangers with very little paideia instead of family? What a sorry lot city- and suburban dwellers
are in the valley and this part of coastal CA. The people up in the more "rural" parts may not be more refined or "knowledgeable" and I may be romanticizing them too much, but I do think they are a better sort of people. (More Anglo-American?)

Americans who have no real power are generally democrats, not republicans. They may be even worse than the democrats derided by the peripatetics, believing themselves to be equal and "free" even if they cannot define freedom. (Free with respect to what?) Their servility is hidden to them. The meaning of free status to the Greeks was clear, even if it was not "earned"?

Too quick to judge based on appearance and public behavior? My pity for poor Uhmerican schlubs is running out.

Bill Rogers

I've mentioned before that Mr. C has recommended his school. Bill Rogers has some DVDs out.

Don't know what Mr. C thinks of Paul Howe:
AltRight: A Polemical Engagement with the Left by Keith Preston

Blake Shelton's riff on the Dos Equis ad campaign.