Saturday, September 22, 2012

Peak Oil, Energy Descent, and the Fate of Consumerism by Samuel Alexander


Karl Hess

The radical right-wing roots of Occupy Wall Street by Maureen Tkacik

The Vespers - 'Lawdy'

Last Resort


Having finished the first episode of Last Resort, "Captain," I can make some comments.

*spoiler warning*

The commercials mention praise by various sources. Of course a commercial would do that.

I find that the story was rather rushed in the episode, in that the events could have been spread over 3 or 4 episodes, allowing more room for character exposition and a much much better discussion of the moral dilemmas the crew face - something more like Crimson Tide, but perhaps even better. Instead, the moral gravity of what the crew must decide is ignored in favor of rapid story-telling.

And why did they have to make the COB, played by Robert Patrick, such a stickler for regulations? Is that the way the COB is supposed to be? Or should he have some more trust in the decisions of the captain? Certainly the showrunners now have the option of writing his character out of the show, but putting him in the brig indefinitely. How much of a history does the COB have with the captain? Again, this brings us back to the first problem - it would seem that most of the crew has served together for a while (except the new female lieutenant who happens to be the daughter of an admiral). Wouldn't there be more of a conflict between their sense of duty and their loyalty to their captain? More discussion of what is the right thing to do? Instead, they are quick to establish the premise of the show, that this is a sub that has gone rogue and now we get the drama of their new "life" as an independent autonomous unit.

Also, the cheap sets of the scenes taking place back in the States seem to be representative of the ABC "style" or "look," even though its dramas are probably not produced by the same company. (NBC also has a certain look to its dramas as well. I think the look of the CBS shows is most varied, and probably the best out of the 3 former major networks.) The submarine didn't look too bad, but they probably will not feature too many scenes on the sub - the corridors look too wide apart, and anything more complex than the bridge/con of the sub may be too expensive for them to create (since the production company is probably not receiving any technical assistance from the U.S. Navy). With the small size of the cast (not too many extra crew members seen), I think they must have a rather limited budget, perhaps a budget too small to do this show well. Even BSG seemed able to hire more extras.

And what can I say about the pretty-boy SEAL who is carrying a heavy secret about his role in precipitating what happens to the crew? (See his photo above.) The XO seems to be a rather weak personality, even though the captain claims that he recommended for a promotion to a post on shore. (Blame it on the casting? They should have hired someone from Australia, like Jason Clarke.)

Should we expect any honest discussion of the impact of mixed-sex crews on morale and efficiency? I doubt it; it's straight-up feminism in the first episode.

I'll probably watch the second episode, but I don't expect the series to get much better, despite the presence of Andre Braugher.

Yahoo Fall TV Preview

Two Upcoming Movies with Christopher Walken

The first also stars Al Pacino and Alan Arkin - Stand Up Guys.


And Seven Psychopaths.


Coach Taylor

Despite my reservations about Friday Night Lights and Coach Taylor's way of dealing with the women in his life, the show was memorable, even if not family-friendly according to older standards.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Does Damian Thompson support fracking?

Damian Thompson critcizes Cafod:

Just another Lefty pressure group
Did you know that the Catholic Church condemns fracking? Cafod – the English and Welsh bishops’ agency for overseas development – has been tweeting hysterically against shale gas. This week it sent us a link to an anti-fracking propaganda campaign run by European Greens, ferocious opponents of Catholic teaching on sexual morality. I remember a time when, if you put money in the collection plate for Cafod, you could be confident it would go to feed the hungry. Now, apart from the odd genuflection in the direction of Rome, the charity is just another Lefty pressure group. Catholics should bear that in mind next time the plate comes round.
I don't know enough about Cafod to say if they advocate sustainable development and appropriate technology. But isn't it proper to protect the environment, which is a good for all?

See also his reflections on Shakespeare.

TAD Tomahawk

There were some in olive green still available at the end of the first day, but now the company is out of stock. I didn't think the price would be so low - "only" $625.00 for a TAD product.

So how good is the quality of this tomahawk?

The creator, Daniel Winkler.

A video of last year's edition:

2009: Cutting Edge Tactical Tomahawk Roundup

No posts more recent than 2010 on the subject at Gear Scout?

Line-up for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Now Up

Go to the website.

Armenian Soul

An Interesting Interview with Vox

Greenberg Interview Sep 2012

VD: My concern is that because of...40 years ago or so even 30 years ago, America was kind of two different countries. You had the South and you had everywhere else.

BG: Right.

VD: No doubt that there are still...I'm sure there's still plenty of people across the South who are just patiently waiting for Round Two. But, now there's more like five or six distinct nations, not necessarily blood-nations, but very distinct groups that, in times of severe economic stress, are not likely to stick together but are likely to stick together against everyone else. You've got the Hispanic population, you've got the black population, you've got the Muslim population, you've got the South, you've got the sort of mid-west/middle class sort of thing and then you've got the coasts. Its not too hard to imagine all of those different groups separating and basically wanting to go their own way and attempt to fix the challenges...attempt to fix the problems and meet the challenges by themselves in their own way rather than as one giant 310 million strong country.

BG: So in essence you see the nation breaking apart?

VD: Yeah, all empires break apart.

BG: Right.

VD: And the more diversity that you have the faster you're going to break apart and the more severe the stresses are. And so the whole melting pot concept has always been complete garbage. It was a romantic idea of a British Jew who came to Britain from Russia. It had nothing to do with anything relating to the American experience whatsoever. And we've seen time and time again we've seen...look what we're seeing in Europe right now, the whole European Union thing was supposed to be an idea to create a European people, but I can tell you that is simply not happening in any way.

BG: That was just a wet dream of political...the politicians and the academics.

VD: Of course, but what I'm saying is that we're actually seeing much stronger...we're seeing the rise of national interest in places it hasn't been for centuries. I mean, Scotland is on the verge of demanding independence.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pierre Manent on Modernity

But does he satisfactorily explain what separates "Modern" from pre-Modern? He does give a (Straussian?) explanation of the Modern project with Machiavelli as one of the central actors, but I'm not buying it.

Pierre Manent, City, Empire, Church, Nation
How the West created modernity
(via FT)
There is something terrible in human action: what makes us human is also what exposes us, takes us out of ourselves, and sometimes causes us to lose ourselves. In the beginning, human beings gathered, fished, hunted, or even made war, which is a kind of hunting; but they acted as little as possible, leaving much to the gods and tying themselves down with prohibitions, rites, and sacred restraints. Historically, properly human action first appears as crime or transgression. This, according to Hegel, is what Greek tragedy brings to light: innocently criminal action. Tragedy recounts the passage from what precedes action to properly human action.
Say what? Is that a true presentation of what "primitive" cultures believed about human action? Sounds like someone's setting up human action to be some sort of liberation from superstition disguised as divinely-imposed restraint. I hear a serpent calling.

Manent explains that the Modernity is a political project of collective action, in which "democracy" holds a central place. The roots of the project can be found in ancient Greece. The city was insufficient by itself to secure internal and external peace and so what was needed was empire. And then the Church appears.
Not only did the imperial idea mark the West through the enduring prestige of the Roman Empire; the idea was reborn in a new form, one that was, again, particular to Europe. This was the Catholic or universal Church, which aimed to reunite all mankind in a new communion, closer than that of the most enclosed city and more extensive than that of the vastest empire. Of all the political forms of the West, the Church extended the greatest promises, since it proposed this community, at once city and empire; but it was also the most disappointing, since it failed to bring about the universal association for which it had awakened a desire.

Though I have just surveyed the history of premodern Europe with the speed and delicacy of Attila the Hun, I have gathered the elements of the situation that will allow me to elaborate the modern project.

Europeans were divided among the city, the empire, and the Church. They lived under these mixed and competing authorities, these three modes of human association. The cities that survived or were reborn were in competition with—indeed, often at war with—the Roman Empire (now known as the Holy Roman Empire, in what is today Germany); and the Church was in competition with the cities and the empire, which, in turn, were in competition with it. The disorder was dreadful, a conflict of authorities and of loyalty. It was this confusion that the modern project wanted to allow us to escape—and in this, it succeeded.
As a result, not only were there competing authorities but competing identities as well:
The conflicts had to do with institutions but also, more profoundly, with the human type that would inspire European life. Whom to imitate? Did one have to follow the life of humble sacrifice for which Christ provided the model? Or was it better to lead the proud, active life of the warrior-citizen, a life for which Rome had provided the framework and of which Rome was the product par excellence? Should Europeans, surveying the ancient world, admire Cato or Caesar? Europeans no longer knew which city they wanted, or were able, to inhabit; thus they did not know what kind of human being they wanted, or were able, to be. It was in this radical perplexity, and in order to come to terms with it, that the modern project was born.
Competing authorities and authoritative texts lead to a disconnect between speech and action. Which texts were to determine action? The Reformation was one answer to this question. Machievelli gave another, directed especially at the tension between Christianity and the way men actually were.
Now, the greatest distance between speech and action is introduced by the Christian Word, which requires men to love what they naturally hate (their enemies) and to hate what they naturally love (themselves). The modern political project, which Machiavelli was the first to formulate, was therefore a response—it began as a response, in any case—to the “Christian situation,” one marked by competition among authorities, disorder of references, anarchy of words, and, above all, the demoralizing contrast between what men said and what they did.
Isn't that a erroneous account of Christian charity? (Or, more accurately, of the emotion of hate, which is not opposed to charity or rational love?) But this false account may be needed by Manent to make his point.
The problem of the Christian age was solved, therefore, by the sovereign state and by representative government—that is, by our political regime considered as a whole. My object here is not to describe the mechanisms or, for that matter, to sketch the history of the representative regime. Still, one point must be emphasized. The decisive factor in the reconciliation between speech and action is the formation of a common speech by the elaboration, perfection, and diffusion of a national language. Luther’s Reformation was a spiritual upheaval, but it was also inseparably a political revolution and a national insurrection. Too often forgotten is that even before the modern state was consolidated and became capable of authorizing or prohibiting effectively, the nation had emerged in Europe as the setting for the appropriation of the Christian Word, which the universal Church had proved incapable of teaching effectively. Each European nation chose the Christian confession under which it wished to live and essentially imposed it, after many attempts, on its “sovereign.” Europe assumed its classic form with the “confessional nation,” soon to be crowned by its absolute sovereign, who would later bring about its “secularization”; and this was the form in which it succeeded in organizing itself in the most stable and durable manner. From then on, it was in the framework of a national civic conversation that Europeans sought to link their speech with their actions and their actions with their speech. The national form preceded and conditioned representative government.
Having rejected the authority of the Church and weakened it, the elites controlled the modern nation-state. Can we really say that we have had "representative" government in the West, rather than rule by a few, regardless of the general population's approval of them through the fiction of voting? Manent may just be giving his analysis, rather than approving the modern nation-state as a solution, but he is missing something in his account of the rise of the modern nation-state, and how its development necessarily violates the human scale. Without this, he can pretend that the modern nation-states are democratic, but they really aren't. They are governed for the benefit of the few.
The divorce between action and speech helps explain the new role of political correctness. Because speech is no longer tied to a possible and plausible action against which we might measure it, many take speech as seriously as if it were itself an action and consider speech they do not like equivalent to the worst possible action. Offending forms of speech are tracked down and labeled, in the language of pathologists, “phobias.” The progress of freedom in the West once consisted of measuring speech by the standard of visible actions; political correctness consists of measuring speech by the standard of invisible intentions.

Bad psychology as philosophy? A simplistic thesis to explain the evolution of Western polities; the need to match words to action. (Straussian emphasis on texts or their understanding of logos/logoi?) The changes were not due to the need for man to resolve tensions within himself in his beliefs, but rather it is the story of the struggle of power after the fall of Adam and Eve, with some unique Western features.

Life After Growth - Economics for Everyone


Life After Growth - Economics for Everyone from enmedia productions on Vimeo.

Les Misérables BTS

Empire: Les Mis Behind The Scenes Featurette


During the Tenure of Benedict XVI?

Italian Scholar Living in Russia Speaks On Eastern Orthodox- Roman Catholic Relations

Latin Mass Magazine Monterey Conference

No current info at the LM website or KTF. I think there is one this year, but I could be wrong.

Call the Midwife

Licensing hurdles and the elimination of all risk because citizens and not free to undertake their own? But we're protecting midwives from the liability in case something goes wrong, because people can't sign away rights in that event, right? Should we get the impression that the state owns you?

State by State - Citizens for Midwifery
North American Registry for Midwives
Summary of the Licensed Midwifery Practice Act of 1993


BBC trailer

BBC preview for ep 1


PBS's 'Call the Midwife' And the Debate Over Health Care
Get a sneak peak.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Women can be on subs too! I saw it on TV!

Premiere episode of Last Resort is online. In the first five minutes there is a nod to sensitivity training and sexual harassment, as there are female crew members on this submarine, including the lieutenant on the bridge. As the crew disobeys orders, I do not think that this show gets support from the U.S. Navy (and free use of equipment and stock footage). Petty bickering between the males (reminiscent of Crimson Tide), tough, smart-mouthy women (Aliens and a host of other movies and shows since then). What is Andre Braugher doing on this show? He's probably the only good thing about it. He should do another Homicide movie. (Oh, and there's Robert Patrick playing another character with a military background, this time the COB. Good to see him working.)

Do you think we're stupid?

Libya attack was ‘terrorist’ strike, but not planned, says U.S. official
The head of the U.S. National Counter-Terrorism Center told lawmakers on Wednesday that the deadly attack on Sept. 11 that claimed the lives of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three aides was a "terrorist" strike. But the official, Matt Olsen, said evidence so far suggests it was not planned in advance.
It all depends on what you mean by "in advance." There was planning and coordination involved; no attackers just showed up at the protest and spontaneously decided that they would join together to assault the compound. They may have decided to use the protests as cover once the opportunity presented itself, but that doesn't put the administration in the clear. It still supports the claim that intervening in Libya has made things worse and allowed for such elements to be in the country to carry out such activities.

Better-fitting Body Armor for Women

Shorter and more tailored for a better fit: Army reveals new body armor specially designed to make female soldiers more mobile and safer
National Guard news

Commentary at the Thinking Housewife

Nothing to See Here.

"The report found no evidence that Holder was informed about the Fast and Furious operation before Jan. 31, 2011, or that the attorney general was told about the much-disputed gun-walking tactic employed by the ATF."

Justice Dept faulted in gun-trafficking operation

Psy on Ellen

A Good Man for the USCCB

But is one man enough to tackle the following? The USCCB'S Department for Justice, Peace, and Human Development and Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Jonathan Reyes, the Bishops’ New Man in D.C.
Denver Catholic Charities, Social Ministries Director Named Head Of USCCB Justice, Peace, Human Development Department
Pro-life leaders laud new head of U.S. bishops’ peace and justice department
America Magazine

"National" Catholic programs administered by the USCCB, just like the program he founded, Christ in the City. (An alternative to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps?)

The bishops may be trying to clean house, which thethe CCHD especially needs, but should they reconsider their approach? It could be argued that one office to cover all these United States is necessary so long as there are factors and agents that affect them all and cannot be effectively addressed through state legislation alone. But an unwieldy bureaucracy cannot replace the needed renewal of the local Catholic churches and their parish communities, which would be better able to perform corporal works of mercy in accordance with the order of charity while evangelizing at the same time. (Moreover, the local Churches need to respect the local culture [and peoples], rather than attempting to replace it with some "natural law" vision of what it should be.)

How can one trust someone who is paid to be "nice"? Is he truly kind or is he merely acting in order to get the paycheck?

Rather than ameliorating problems, such programs, if they are misguided in their principles, may make them worse, reinforcing erroneous beliefs about political communities (especially the question of scale).

On John Carr, Dr. Reyes's predecessor: Ending the USCCB’s Path to Progressive Politics?

Some recent news for the Augustine Institute, which Dr. Reyes helped found.

Augustine Institute Opens New Campus
Augustine Institute Expands Evangelization Effort with New Campus
Bishop Aquila Finds an Ally for Changing the Order of the Sacraments

Whatever else he may think or say, Archbishop Samuel Aquila's writing on restoring reception of the sacrament of confirmation as the second sacrament to be received by the newly initiated deserves a wider audience.

Bishop Aquila receives Pope's praise for reordering sacraments

From 2007, The New, Lay Face of Missionaries

'We have no king but Caesar:' Some thoughts on Catholic faith and public life
By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap. *

Fr. Rutler, Christ in the City


David Korten: What is Your Vision for the Future

Growth or Equality: Two Competing Visions for America’s Future by David Korten
David Korten on how closing the wealth gap can open the way to a fairer, more prosperous economy.

Three More Growth Fallacies by Herman Daly
Gus Speth: ‘Ultimate insider’ goes radical by Wen Stephenson
As Spain's Recession Darkens, Alternative Economies Rise
“Making Wholeness Heals the Maker”: Why Human Flourishing Requires the Creative Act by Nikos Salingaros
Technology + God = Meaning in Work? By Luciano Corbo

Organic Agriculture Plus Fifty Shades of Gray
Is A Faulty Stanford Study Putting Kids At Risk?

Kevin Carson, The Whole World is Watching

Uhmerican Consumerism - An Ugly Sight to Behold:
Life at (a cluttered, stuff-filled American) Home
Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century
UCLA news
CS Monitor

History of New Society Publishers - Specials.

Mark Regnerus's study

How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study

New Hobbit Trailer



Constitution Day...

A bit late... two available to subscribers to Mike Church:
2012 Constitution Day - Interview with Kevin Gutzman
2012 Constitution Day - Interview with Brion McClanahan

Plus, from 2010: What It Means to be an Imaginative Conservative

2012 H.L. Mencken Club Conference
The Fifth Annual H.L. Mencken Club Conference
Challenging the Historical Consensus
November 9-11, 2012

Ralph Nader on Rand Paul, Not His Father's Son

Stromberg on the "Isolationism" of the Old Right

Mere “Isolationism”: The Foreign Policy of the “Old Right”

In the end, he still advocates population control.

Despite reminding us that we have to take into consideration other factors besides population numbers to determine what population level can be sustained.

Population and a Dose of Common Sense

Patriarch Kirill in Japan

Patriarch Kirill celebrates Divine Liturgy at Resurrection Cathedral in Tokyo

Byzantine, Texas: The Gospel in Japanese

Harmonia Time Capsule: Bogotá Cathedral

IPM - mp3

Ordering Chaos

Via Jack Donovan: Masculinity’s Misdirection (True Sight)
I speak no lies when I say men wish for a family to call their own. To have an “us” to return and be useful to, rather than be in a constant situation of “I really don’t know anyone”. To have a woman who is yours, and children who you know are yours and will carry your legacy. It is ideal to own a home and be able to defend it. To have a home surrounded by a community who you’d defend and who’d defend you. Defend from physical and psychological, from economic and natural obstacles. It is ideal to be a man amongst men, to be recognized in public and have explicit opponents and enemies. These are universals, because they are all relatively permanent. They are in other words, not halation. They are knowns, and it is always easier to deal with knowns than it is to deal with unknowns. The path of order is always to create more knowns out of unknowns, and then put them in their correct place.

Critics at Large on Raylan

Straight Talk: Elmore Leonard's Raylan

Thomas Naylor on What Vermont's Response Should Be to the Duopoly?

Secession of course: Barack Obama and the Temple of Doom
The November election is much ado about absolutely nothing. It will make not one whit of difference whether Obama or Romney wins. Regardless of the outcome the real winners will be the big banks, the big oil companies, the big pharmaceutical companies, big military contractors, and the tiny state of Israel.

There is only one fundamental question which really matters and it will not appear on the ballot anywhere. “Is there any justification whatsoever for the continued existence of the largest, wealthiest, most powerful, most materialistic, most environmentally toxic, most racist, most militaristic, most violent empire of all-time – an empire which has lost its moral authority and is unsustainable, ungovernable, and unfixable?”

A number of political groups persist in the belief that the U.S. government is still fixable. They include Ron Paul supporters, the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, and Although these groups have quite different views on what it will take to fix the empire, they each represent major distractions diverting public attention away from the fact that our nation is beyond repair. Until we come to terms with this reality, all is naught.

The Montpelier Manifesto

5 Issues this Election Should Be About, and One to Drop
If they are the issues, what are the remedies in accord with the Constitution?

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Language of War, What is it Good for?

On a topic touched upon by Mark Mitchell, Brian Phillips writes in Culture-Makers or Culture Warriors? about the purposes of a classical education:
Classical education, unlike forms of modern education, aims at the nurturing of the soul, the cultivation of wisdom and virtue. This stands in contrast to arming students with ready-made answers – the problem of “ideology,” according to Wolfe. We claim our desire is for students to know how to think, not just what to think; yet we seem to fall short of that reality.

For example, in many Christian classical schools, the teaching of logic and the growing emphasis on apologetics courses belies a truly defensive slant, the courses being taught as a way of protecting students from an ungodly culture. And, while there is nothing wrong with arming students for defense, it does not stop there. Even rhetoric has been reduced to the mere production of persuasive essays and speeches, rather than developing (as Aristotle said) the “faculty of discovering in any given case the available means of persuasion” – an art that could include story-telling, creative writing, poetry, and more.

The result is that classical educators are preparing culture warriors but not “culture-makers.” In holding up the works of Lewis, Tolkien, Chesterton, et al, then, we hold up museum pieces because rather than stressing the need for great artists, musicians, songwriters, poets, and authors, we merely equip our students to argue. We have called them to uphold truth and, perhaps, goodness, but beauty has been left out of the equation.
Americans think too much in terms of the marketplace of ideas, or maybe a "battle of ideas," but maybe we should recognize conflict between individuals and groups for what it is, in so far as such conflict is irresolvable (without some sort of moral conversion) and involves at least one party trying to impose its "value system" on the other? We can talk about making culture in response to anti-culture and recognize the limits of dialogue, but if there is a struggle for power, we must be aware of that as well, and not be content to   be passive in response to such aggression in the name of false "charity"?

If the non-Christian Romans had been resolved to extirpate the Christian communities (rather than just persecuting them to a rather limited extent), would there be a Roman Christianity? (After all, with what sort of belief could the Romans counter the Christians? Contrast that with the domination of Christians by Muslims - how many Muslim countries have been converted through the persecution of Christians?)

Martin Shaw Interview

An interview with Dr. Martin Shaw: “A lot of opportunity is going to arrive in the next 20 years disguised as loss”

On his book, A Branch from the Lightning Tree.
The Mythsinger Consortium.
His website.

Ross Douthat Lecture

Ross Douthat Talk at University of Mary Now Online

Sacred Music from the Pope's Visit to Lebanon

Byzantine Rite-Entrance Chant/Pope Benedict XVI, Lebanon
Chant Cafe: Papal liturgy and Music in the Maronite Rite Related: Pope Benedict in Lebanon (14 September 2012) POPE BENEDICT XVI-MEETING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE/LEBANON The best images from Benedict XVI's visit to Lebanon

A Man without a State

Mike Gogulski and the Citizens of Nowhere

Even if he is free of the modern state, isn't he also a man without a community?

A stateless passport? Hrm.

Another Apologia for Hamilton at AmCon

Hamilton Was Right
George W. Carey reviews The Political Philosophy of Alexander Hamilton by Michael P. Federici (The John Hopkins University Press)

author's bio

Also by George W. Carey: Conservatism, Centralization, and Constitutional Federalism

Chronicles Contributors on Recent Blowback

Thomas Fleming, Reaping the Whirlwind - taken down from Daily Mail. Too controversial? Fortunately we do not live in that land of the weak, the U.K.

Trifkovic Interview: Anti-U.S. Fury and Islamization

The Tyrant...


Steven Spielberg - Steven Spielberg praises Day-Lewis for 'incredible' Lincoln prep

Steven Pinker on Taboos, Political Correctness, and Dissent