Friday, April 30, 2004

From The Rockall Times
Spam saves badgers from starvation
Hewlett-Packard rushes in emergency supplies
Great New York Times article on Asperger syndrome
Acquaintance Bill Stillman sent me this: like me he's self-diagnosed with AS but is a professional consultant to parents and teachers on autism-spectrum disorders, has written a book on the subject and is respected by other pros in that field.

When I read these stories I see a lot of the problems I had growing up but some of these people still seem farther gone. Another friend recently told me about people who are 'situationally retarded', where they grow up with unsupportive and/or abusive families and unconsciously 'dumb down' to fit in - when they get out of that bad environment they normalize. Still another friend who helped me 'get out' and get started as an adult 15 years ago thought that was what was wrong with me. Now I think it was a mix of the two - some traits of AS but maybe not full-blown AS, made much worse by being badly handled. I've come a long way since, gratia Dei.

Last July, Steven Miller, a university librarian, came across an article about a set of neurological conditions he had never heard of called autistic spectrum disorders. By the time he finished reading, his face was wet with tears.

Oh, yeah - the day four years ago when my whole life suddenly made sense. Except I wasn't crying - it was a relief and exciting to finally know.

First identified in 1946 by the Viennese physician Hans Asperger, the condition was little-known until it was added to the American psychiatric diagnostic manual in 1994.

It was 1944, during World War II, and 1) to his credit Dr Asperger, who I think died in 1980, tried and I think succeeded in protecting the boys in his study from being exterminated by the Nazis, and 2) a Catholic nun helped him in his work. I think 1980 also was when his work first was published in English.

"They thought I had found an excuse or something."

Trust me - nobody would have chosen the childhood or adolescence I had as a cool way to scam people.

"It does seem like people with Asperger's, once they click, have a lot of advantages in life," Jared said. "It's like we stay tadpoles for longer, but once we're ready, we're no less of a frog."

From Forum 18
Communist China still controls religion in country
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Outrage at American torture of Iraqi prisoners
LP: The authorities are shocked, shocked:

"Six soldiers now face court martial and jail. One allegedly boasted that the captives "broke within hours". Seven others, including a general, are suspended from duty and may be disciplined. Shocked Army spokesman Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said: "I can't make excuses for this. We're appalled. These photos are dismaying."

One of the accused gave a classic utilitarian defense of his actions:

"He allegedly boasted in an email to his family: "We had a very high rate with our styles of getting them to talk. They ended up breaking within hours."

When called to account for his deeds, he played dumb:

"Yesterday Frederick said he would deny abuse, claiming he was not shown Geneva Convention rules on how to treat captives."

Note, as well, that at least one of the tormentors in the photos is a woman soldier. A woman officer, Brig. Gen. Karpinski, is under investigation, as well. A great triumph for feminism!

It's a good thing that after the publicity hit, the military perps will be called to account. But what is being done where there is no publicity?

Also, note that what is being done to the prisoners is humiliation and degradation, and what a writer for Atlantic Monthly calls "torture lite," or "coercion," or "physical pressure".

This is a long article; go read the whole thing.


"Then there are methods that, some people argue, fall short of torture. Called "torture lite," these include sleep deprivation, exposure to heat or cold, the use of drugs to cause confusion, rough treatment (slapping, shoving, or shaking), forcing a prisoner to stand for days at a time or to sit in uncomfortable positions, and playing on his fears for himself and his family. Although excruciating for the victim, these tactics generally leave no permanent marks and do no lasting physical harm.

The Geneva Convention makes no distinction: it bans any mistreatment of prisoners. But some nations that are otherwise committed to ending brutality have employed torture lite under what they feel are justifiable circumstances. In 1987 Israel attempted to codify a distinction between torture, which was banned, and "moderate physical pressure," which was permitted in special cases. Indeed, some police officers, soldiers, and intelligence agents who abhor "severe" methods believe that banning all forms of physical pressure would be dangerously naive. Few support the use of physical pressure to extract confessions, especially because victims will often say anything (to the point of falsely incriminating themselves) to put an end to pain. But many veteran interrogators believe that the use of such methods to extract information is justified if it could save lives,”whether by forcing an enemy soldier to reveal his army's battlefield positions or forcing terrorists to betray the details of ongoing plots. As these interrogators see it, the well-being of the captive must be weighed against the lives that might be saved by forcing him to talk. A method that produces life-saving information without doing lasting harm to anyone is not just preferable; it appears to be morally sound. Hereafter I will use "torture" to mean the more severe traditional outrages, and "coercion" to refer to torture lite, or moderate physical pressure."

The Atlantic Monthly author gives a nod of approval to "coercion":

"Torture is a crime against humanity, but coercion is an issue that is rightly handled with a wink, or even a touch of hypocrisy; it should be banned but also quietly practiced. Those who protest coercive methods will exaggerate their horrors, which is good: it generates a useful climate of fear. It is wise of the President to reiterate U.S. support for international agreements banning torture, and it is wise for American interrogators to employ whatever coercive methods work. It is also smart not to discuss the matter with anyone.

If interrogators step over the line from coercion to outright torture, they should be held personally responsible. But no interrogator is ever going to be prosecuted for keeping Khalid Sheikh Mohammed awake, cold, alone, and uncomfortable. Nor should he be."

The Soviet interrogators who used the "conveyor" (round-the-clock interrogration, blinding light, forcing prisoners to stand in awkward positions for long periods of time, etc.) on the prominent Great Purge defendants in 1937-1938 are nodding their approval.

Kyrie, eleison. [End.]
Aaron Russo: a choice not an echo
by Ilana Mercer
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
US general under scrutiny in Iraqi prisoner case

Thursday, April 29, 2004
by Fr Justin Courterier
This one's making the rounds of the message boards and blogs:

Is whistle-blowing RC priest being punished for exposing gay sex scandal in clergy?
Sorry, this is another sign-in site. Source: Fr Anthony Ferraro.
Charming vagante site in Russia
Sometime friend (I was at his wedding) and proud Ruthenian Catholic Daniel Barton posted this on CIN East recently. They're not really Orthodox nor are they under the Pope but for whatever problems they have the hearts of these Soviet-bred Russians seem to be in the right place. But, of course, if it's not properly grounded in the church, under a lawful bishop (says the ecclesiology of the Catholic faith East and West), this piety runs the risk of going off the rails into sectarian 'enthusiasm' in the Ronald Knox sense, which the Russians call прелесть.

In my car I carry a very Italianate-looking copy of the icon on these men's English page of Our Lady, Quick to Hear (Скоропослушница), given to me by a lovely girl from Bulgaria a couple of years ago.

The content of their English and Russian pages is completely different - the Russian one heavily quotes the Russian Orthodox saint St John of Kronstadt.
New draft translation of RC Mass into English
Except for the remaining stupid paraphrase 'for you and for all', not bad! Far better than what's out there now, and while the 1965 ordo (as issued in 1965 with no further changes - the Mass that should have been) is still better, this compares favourably both to it and to US 1979 Book of Common Prayer/RC Anglican Use Book of Divine Worship Rite I.

If this actually makes it into the parishes then one may say the restoration is under way.
Mother loses son to war she opposes (you have to sign in to read this)
Philadelphia peace activist’s son joined Pennsylvania National Guard to pay for school
LRC pick
Urban warfare - is Iraq a rehearsal for us?
From blog correspondent John Boyden
FBI wants to watch you type
From blog correspondent John Boyden
More on ritual murder of nun in Ohio

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Abuse of Iraqi prisoners probed
A wise word on Robert Lentz and junk religious art
by Central Churchman and friend ‘Keble’
How to refute Protestantism in six words
The trump card is asking a sincere Protestant the question 'Where did your Bible come from?' Any sincere attempt to answer that leads Catholicwards.
From The Onion
Bush to Iraqi militants: ‘Please stop bringing it on’
WASHINGTON, DC—In an internationally televised statement Monday, President Bush modified a July 2003 challenge to Iraqi militants attacking U.S. forces. "Terrorists, Saddam loyalists, and anti-American insurgents: Please stop bringing it on now," Bush said at a Monday press conference. "Nine months and 500 U.S. casualties ago, I may have invited y'all to bring it on, but as of today, I formally rescind that statement. I would officially like for you to step back." The president added that the "it" Iraqis should stop bringing includes gunfire, bombings, grenade attacks, and suicide missions of all types.

What do you think? National cyber-security

Infographic: Guantánamo prisoners’ complaints
LRC picks
St Alban for England!
Makes sense - he was the first British martyr; St George’s story has nothing do with England and was picked up abroad by Crusaders

Why does the American public put up with abusive cops?

The fascist fantasy

Matt Taibbi on US pro football, dulce et decorum est and all that
From Virtuosity
Why doesn’t the Episcopal Church just leave the Anglican Communion and form its own denomination?
The 'liberal gay church'?

Mr Blair supported Jeffrey John’s appointment to be canon of St Alban’s

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Many thanks
For the link, Lawrence of Cyberia! Salaam.
From Taylor Marshall’s blog
Episcopal Church (ECUSA) an official co-sponsor of last Sunday’s pro-murder march in Washington
From the other young fogey
Why PETA is a joke
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Sex selection and female infanticide in Asia: emerging threat to world peace?
LP: A long article assessing the implications of sex selection in India, China, and elsewhere in Asia:

Money quote:

"In a new book, Bare Branches: Security Implications of Asia's Surplus Male Population (MIT Press), Valerie M. Hudson and Andrea M. den Boer warn that the spread of sex selection is giving rise to a generation of restless young men who will not find mates. History, biology, and sociology all suggest that these "surplus males" will generate high levels of crime and social disorder, the authors say. Even worse, they continue, is the possibility that the governments of India and China will build up huge armies in order to provide a safety valve for the young men's aggressive energies.

"In 2020 it may seem to China that it would be worth it to have a very bloody battle in which a lot of their young men could die in some glorious cause," says Ms. Hudson, a professor of political science at Brigham Young University."

Statistics from the book's authors:

"As sex-selective abortions have become more common in certain countries, boys vastly outnumber girls. In China in 1996, for example, there were 121 boys ages 1 to 4 for every 100 girls in the same age range."

Result: In India in 1991, there were 105.8 boy children under age 6, for every 100 girls. In 2001, there were 107.9 boys under age 6 for every 100 girls. In China in 1982, there were 107 boys ages 1-4 for every 100 girls. In China in 1996. there were 121 boys ages 1-4 for every 100 girls in that age group.

Where will the lonely, rootless, frustrated young Asian men go, in about 10-20 years? [End.]
Comedy’s brainy babe (you have to sign in to read this)
'Saturday Night Live' is crap except for two things - sometimes the music (I like Maroon 5, for example) and, most of the time, the smart (writes her own material), beautiful, anti-Mr Bush Tina Fey. Dennis Miller (now shilling for Mr Bush) and I don't agree on much but I second his remark that the 'Weekend Update' parody newscast with her is perhaps the best ever. (I think the main reason people laughed when the original team did it 20 years ago is more shock than wit - audiences weren't used to hearing words like 'Jane, you ignorant slut' on the air.)

Fun facts: she is half-Greek (mother's family) and her recent wedding was at a Greek Orthodox church.
This one's making the rounds of the message boards:

Among the pagan ladies
What I’m watching
The Sixth Sense

Caught it on the box last night - first time I'd seen it since the cinema five years ago. O. M. G. Disturbing. And one of the best films I've seen.

A few thoughts...

Olivia Williams is beautiful - saw her that same year in another favourite, Rushmore (starring Talia Shire's son). Haven't seen her in anything AFAIK since!

Hated him on the TV 15 years ago but Bruce Willis is a fine actor.

Scariest, most disturbing thing in the whole movie: Kyra's entrance - and how she got that way.

(Through Google I learnt today that this actress, Mischa Barton, is now a lovely young woman appearing in an American nighttime soap-opera I've never seen.)

The main premise of the story agrees with Russian Orthodox legend/pious belief (as I learnt from reading a book by this fellow) - allowable doctrinally - about what the souls of the dead do between the time of death and the beginning of the particular judgement: 'hang out' in all the old familiar places for about three days.

A longtime acquaintance, a reporter at the newspaper where I work, was chased away from the filming outside the Acme supermarket in one scene.


Monday, April 26, 2004

LRC picks
Colonizing Iraq?
by Paul Craig Roberts

Neoconservatism’s basic flaw
by Charley Reese

‘Drug war’ includes fixing elections
by Daniel Forbes
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
American Gestapo
US Secret Service investigates teen's art project depicting Bush as devil
Nothing new under the sun:

No significance should be attached to recent statistics of torpedoed ships in view of public announcements to the effect that the submarine menace has been practically scotched.

- Punch, 1917

Yes, Mr Bush said on the deck of that aircraft carrier that the war was won so by jingo it was. Maybe we're all supposed to be Christian Scientists - the dead coming back in flag-draped coffins (more) since that breathtaking moment in history are only dead in our and their imagination.
Your mistake or mine, it’s all the same to the brain

Sunday, April 25, 2004

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Russian nuns face eviction from their convent for leaving church
While their history is heroic objectively I haven't that much sympathy for these ladies now - I don't know if it's the nuns or the writer who are taking the very Protestant and secular tack of claiming a right to the convent against their bishop but surely a 92-year-old mother superior should know better than to disobey apostolic authority over matters not related to the faith.

But to be charitable, they're very old and perhaps really don't understand. They still understandably fear the Communists and perhaps think these are still in charge in Russia. Like the Old Believers centuries ago, they mean well but are wrong.

The mother abbess, who is akin to a mother superior in the Catholic faith

Please, journalists, do your research - western Catholicism has abbesses too!
The sincerest form of flatulence?
Seems somebody in the wild, woolly world of online nutter religion is trying to make some sort of statement - I'm not exactly sure what - with this.

Thanks for reading the blog, whoever you are!
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Ritual murder in Ohio
LP: Straight out of Fr Malachi Martin's Windswept House... but in real life. [End.]

Yes, it is. I've read the book.

And adding to the horror of this news story, a smarmy, condescending statement from an RC diocesan official (the victim was an old nun, the murderer a priest).

"We're very saddened by the whole experience," said the Rev. Michael Billian, episcopal vicar of the Diocese of Toledo. "It certainly saddens the diocese that any one of its ministers would be in this situation."

That's right - in the face of rank, shocking evil, we hear patronizing middle-class corporate talk. Rather Protestant, innit? A friend once observed that in Catholic Europe - southern and eastern - you see these extremes of incredible holiness and extreme evil, while Protestants in the north tend towards blandness and mediocrity, just like this statement. Maybe in this case it's the Protestant influence of the US Midwest. (Remember what Our Lord said he'd do with the lukewarm? Not a pretty picture.)

The decades-long predatory gay-priest scandal that made the news two years ago got rather the same treatment if I recall rightly. No wonder it all happened.

As for that dear older bride of Christ, dona ea requiem.
Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women
This is the second Sunday after Easter in the Byzantine Rite calendar, the epistle, actually from the Acts of the Apostles, telling how the first deacons were chosen by the apostles; the gospel from Mark about 'the noble Joseph' of Arimathea and the three women who, having gone to anoint Christ's dead Body, first learnt of the Resurrection. Some biblical scholars think Mark originally ended where the gospel reading today does - very suddenly with the Greek word for for - gar - in 'for they were afraid'.

Nineteen years ago on this liturgical day I went to my very first Byzantine Rite Divine Liturgy - or 'Holy Mass' (служба Божi, literally 'service of God' or 'divine service') as the aged priest not fluent in English called it - at a Ukrainian Catholic church. Not perfect by an expert's standards (it was a Saturday anticipated Mass, Low without incense) but not a bad introduction to the rite and tradition either. The little red-brick church looked Russian with a proper onion dome (silver-coloured) - but the three-bar cross had the bottom bar straight, not slanted (a regrettable and unnecessary but perhaps historically understandable anti-Russian and anti-Orthodox statement) - and wonderful painted wooden iconostasis. The biggest latinisation I remember other than the clean-shaven priest (probably an exile from World War II and the Soviet invasion of old Polish Ukraine) was that Communion was received kneeling on the step in front of the iconostasis and the people, looking as though there was an altar rail though there wasn't, passed down the priest's hand crucifix to kiss before receiving - copying how the Pax was shared traditionally in some places in the Roman Rite. Was that Polish practice?

What I remember most vividly is Godwardness - priest properly vested in gold with an icon of Christ on his back, priest and people facing liturgical east and the priest's private prayers sotto voce in a liturgical language, either Slavonic or Ukrainian - and almost tangible holiness, and it was part of a pattern where, thanks to Vatican II, about the only times I've ever experienced Catholic worship actually in a church of the Pope's communion have been with people rather on the margins like these. (Reminds me of the title of one of Fr Ivan Clutterbuck's books!)

Obviously it made quite an impression - today I know Russian and all these years later I still have the bulletin (on its cover is an icon of St George, commemorated by most of this blog's correspondents and visitors this past Friday) from that service!

Saturday, April 24, 2004

From Taylor Marshall’s blog
The great feminist swindle

Also recommended reading: Who Stole Feminism? by Christina Hoff Sommers, published (and read by me) 10 years ago. She goes into the difference between 'equity feminism', based at least indirectly on the Christian belief in the rights and dignity of all people, and toxic 'gender feminism', which sets women against men (Marxist class hatred transferred to the sexes). One other difference: 19th-century feminists were prolife.
Chalk wars
On the pavement of an Ivy League college yesterday:

Freedom means choice
OK, then - I choose to blow your head off, LOL.

But nearby in more than one spot:

Women deserve better than abortion


Peace begins in the womb
Anonymous submission
US troops raid Abu Hanifa mosque, destroy Fallujah relief goods
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Mr Bush’s fans in Australia have had their day
Mr Adams' name for Aussie Bushophiles fits considering what 'whack (off)' means in America

Friday, April 23, 2004

From Joseph Oliveri
Spam souvenir T-shirt
Famous lost words:

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

- Dwight D. Eisenhower
Anonymous submission:

100+ celebrities to march in Sunday pro-murder demonstration (PDF file)
That's right, on a Sunday. It shouldn't be surprising any more, but some talented and/or attractive actors, singers, et al. want you to think that killing babies is glamorous as well as a 'right'. (Mike Stoller, who co-wrote Elvis' hit songs? O tempora.) God-given talent doesn't necessarily give one good judgement on matters outside one's art!

“If the government takes safe, legal, clean abortions away from women—knowing that if a woman needs an abortion, she may have one anyway—then they're encouraging women to kill themselves,” said actor and comedian Whoopi Goldberg. “That's why I'm marching.”

A straw-man. Abortions because of need - to save the woman's life - were rightly legal in the US before Roe. No, by 'need' Ms Goldberg means 'I really "need" to kill this inconvenient baby'.

What's more disturbing as well as ironic is that the United Black Women's Health Imperative have signed onto this outrage. Margaret Sanger, a racist and committed eugenicist, would have laughed her head off. So much for the health of unborn black women. To its credit, my city now has billboards decrying the fact that half its black children are aborted.

Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.
LRC picks
The fundygelical world war
by Paul Craig Roberts
War without end, amen. Thanks a lot, Protestant religious right.

The real lessons of 9/11
by US Rep. Ron Paul, MD

Thursday, April 22, 2004

From Tolle Blogge
Death and casualty totals in Iraq as of 20th April

Reality check for Trump fans

He had a head start most of us didn't
From Your Catholic Voice, an RC mass e-mailer I don't often agree with politically:

Our Catholic faith does not easily fit either the "left" or "right", and nor does it fit into the platforms of either party. Our values are often not ‘politically correct.’ As lay Catholics our responsibility is to evaluate all the candidates, policies, parties, and platforms by how they protect or undermine the life, dignity, and rights of the human person, whether they protect the poor and vulnerable and whether they advance the common good.

- former Ambassador Ray Flynn
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Good-bye, First Amendment:

Woman sacked for photographing coffins of US soldiers
LRC picks
Why the US has got everything wrong in Iraq
by military expert William Lind

F*ck the draft:

The coming slave army

Utter insanity
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Historians, archivists miffed over Bush’s pick to head National Archives
From another article: The Society of American Archivists has expressed concern about Weinstein’s nomination.

“Prior to the announcement, there was no consultation with professional organizations of archivists or historians,” the Chicago association noted in a statement this month. “This is the first time since the National Archives and Records Administration was established as an independent agency that the process of nominating an archivist of the United States has not been open for public discussion and input.”

JB: Bush is doing this ’cause he cares so much about truth.

More on Mr Weinstein
To be fair, Soviet records found after the collapse of the USSR proved Whittaker Chambers and Mr Weinstein right - Alger Hiss was guilty as sin

Bird flu’s huge potential risk
JB: Evreybody's heard ’bout the Bird... or, at least, they're going to.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Many thanks
To Peter de Ruyter of Icons Explained for including my page on the Orthodox tradition in his links
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Russia backslides into oppression; 20% would vote for Stalin
A New York Times story; you have to sign in to read it.

LP: Repression and centralization are usually part of war preparations ....
From last night...

What I’m drinking
Merlot from Chile - I like it! (I know nothing about wine - I usually like the fruity stuff everybody else likes.)

On the box
'Frasier', wrapping things up. Didn't watch this much. Got to give Kelsey Grammer and the writers credit - he and they took a one-off character that people weren't supposed to like and made him last onscreen for 20 years! Laura Linney's a dream.

'Scrubs': it's funny + Sarah Chalke is adorable = I'm hooked.

'Law and Order: SVU': good as always but this week I sussed who the real perp was well in advance.
LRC pick
Daniel Ellsberg: Iraq is ‘Vietnam, the sequel’
More on the CSS Hunley sub crew’s funeral
Apparently it not only was Anglican but Anglo-Catholic! A requiem Mass. Wonderful, though I wonder if that was the faith of most or any of the men aboard the sub or even most of the South then... though it may have been the most Anglican part of America. (Those colonies were founded by English businessmen and corporations, not the groups of extreme Protestant dissenters from the established church that started the northern ones.) Certainly no-one there back then practised exactly this kind of churchmanship! Robert E. Lee was Episcopal but of the old Virginian, decidedly Low Church variety. Jefferson Davis probably had Catholic beliefs.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Dominican Republic to pull troops from Iraq
All 302 soldiers, following the lead of Spain and Honduras
US Supreme Court hears test of how detainees handled
John Boyden: More ridiculousness regarding the civilians held against their will and without any recourse to legal representation at Guantánamo Bay.

The Bush administration calls the men "enemy combatants," similar to traditional prisoners of war but outside the guarantees of the Geneva Convention.

JB: So you change the name and escape international law. Clever.
From Ecclesia et mundus
Christian peacemakers report killings of women and children by US troops in Fallujah
Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.
From Ecclesia et mundus
Their beliefs are bonkers, but they are at the heart of power: Protestant fundamentalists are driving Bush’s Middle East policy
From David’s Daily Diversions
Waiving my moratorium on The Passion, this is from The Moscow Times:

Orthodox in Russia praise The Passion
Linguistic boffinry
Got to give Nicholas Stanosheck credit for this one - a feature of a site I've used to check my writing in Russian:

This blog, translated more or less into Russian by machine
The results are fair - not bad for this kind of thing. When I tested it on my 'Page Down' notice I saw that 'Sorry!' came out по-русски as 'Sorrow!' and 'back button' was rendered with 'back' (спина) as in 'my back hurts'. If I had a button there I should see a doctor! Думаю, что "Консервативный блог для мира" правильно/лучше был бы писано так: "Консервативный блог за мира", да? Perhaps the 1-in-1,000th reader who knows Russian will answer that for me.
From El camino real
On religious pathology
by Jeff Culbreath
Another reason why the Protestant religious right and Mr Bush are frightening
There’s something about Mary
The Immaculate Conception as seen by the Orthodox tradition
From blog correspondent John Boyden
The last Confederate funeral
Civil War sub crew to be buried with military honours by re-enactors

JB: Sadly, the story gives testament to the misconception that the Civil War was a war about slavery. [End.]

Right - it was really about this (the American states as sovereign nations crushed to form today's centralized empire).
LRC pick
14 years of brutality and barbarism
The US war on Iraq
by Paul Craig Roberts
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Mail to GIs in Iraq returned to senders
Breaking news
The story the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies announced yesterday (thanks for the heads-up, Dave McLaughlin) is out:

Fables of the reconstruction
by Jason Vest
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Poll: New York is not Bush country
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Bush père, Bush fils and Mr Cheney’s ‘Stillwater deal’
Selling mines to the Russians

Why sell the Russians 90% US platinum mines?
LP: This is a conspiracy analysis, but read it anyway ... we appear to be helping Russia rearm, so that we can have our own excuse to do the same. (Remember the character in the novel Catch-22 who, in the middle of World War II, sold strategic goods to the Allies and the Nazis alike?)

Be that as it may ... I believe that world war is coming - and that the Bush Adminstration people who are doing these shady deals are outsmarting themselves. In the 1930s, we sold scrap metal to Japan, and got it back as shrapnel. The same will occur again. [End.]

Quite possible. Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.
From Terry Lys
Two picks, one from 2003 and the other from LRC this month:

A evening with Dr Ron Paul, US Congressman


by Dr Ron Paul

Monday, April 19, 2004

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Woodward on Bush
Mr Kerry’s latest on the war
Not quite the peace message I want to hear
Prolife news from blogforlovers
Teachers angry over NEA union forcing them to support proabortion march
As well they should be
US pop-culture watch
From a friend at work:

Every time I pass by Lifetime (apparently a faux-feminist women's cable channel) on the TV I see a woman being pushed down a flight of stairs - unless there's a good-looking guy on the show, because we all know that sexy guys don't abuse women.
US state of Georgia limits peaceful protest
From blog correspondent John Boyden
The religious red herring in the US presidential campaigns
Some well-meaning writers like this one have pointed out Mr Kerry is a quisling RC. So was his idol JFK, only owing to the changing times Mr K can be more openly so. It'll probably work to help elect him - even better than it did for Jack in 1960 - pleasing both the RC vote (historically Democratic anyway) and the historic anti-Catholic majority in America. (Unlike 1960, today both would vote for him to spite the Vatican.) It doesn't matter. I don't like the religion of either candidate - Mr K's sellout or Mr Bush's nutter Protestantism - and certainly am not suggesting Mr K should be canonized one day. Neither party with a chance will do anything substantial about abortion so that stick won't work on me anymore. And fiscally and governmentally Mr B's handlers are a disaster from the POV of real conservatism. In spite of his wacky ideas, if Mr K made noises about stopping the war I'd consider him - do something about the killing one can stop. But he isn't and he voted for the war as a senator.
Iraq duty deters re-enlistment
US military deaths in Iraq in April so far: 99
McDonald’s CEO dies of heart attack
Draw your own conclusion
They don't call themselves Nestorians but this is an informative unofficial site about the historic Church of Iraq. The Chaldean Catholic Church, belonging to this tradition, is the country's largest church.
Obscure religious and language-geek link
Glagolitic breviary from 1396
This is the alphabet SS. Cyril and Methodius came up with - even more elaborate than the 'Cyrillic' (Russian) alphabet that replaced it! In parts of what used to be Yugoslavia the Roman Rite was done in Slavonic into the 1900s, but written in this alphabet.
The law of God is written in the heart of every man
It's interesting how goths and New Agers try to recreate traditional Catholic practices - like this 'breviary' and even forms of monasticism and a 'rosary' - even though their theology is way off. (They like Latin and Book of Common Prayer-sounding English too... and if they knew Slavonic they'd probably like that.) The goths are putting together fragments of a culture they don't understand - the fragments they've shored against their ruins as T.S. Eliot might have put it. I don't see these people singing Marty Haugen songs or inventing a pagan 'Liturgy of the Hours' in ICEL 'English' celebrating 'ordinary time'! They have more sense! Natural religion.
Why do you worship God?
Good question!
LRC pick
An American Cæsar
by Paul Craig Roberts

Sunday, April 18, 2004

¡Viva Zapatero!
Spanish PM orders troops out of Iraq
Greek to me
Tagged along by happenstance last night to the second Greek Orthodox service I've ever been to - Vespers for St Thomas Sunday (which the Russians call Антипасха, a word taken from Greek), and in the presence of a bishop! Of course it was beautiful, properly high-church, in a relatively new circular floor-plan, domed Byzantine church with the bishop impressively enthroned to the right of the iconostasis and next to the kliros where the men chanters sang. (Byzantine chant - the Mediterranean meets the Middle East. Christos anesti ek nekron...) They had the litya with five huge loaves of bread and not only was it an impressive appearance of the apostolic ministry in action - the bishop made an older priest an archimandrite, blessing him and giving him the klobuk (that's what it's called in Russian: black stovepipe hat and veil) of a monk, and tonsured a squad of altar boys as candle-bearers - but both my romantic historical imagination and my language-geek skills got some exercise as the bishop preached a sermon in Greek! (Demotic Greek, of course, not what the apostles spoke, but it was still impressive and I could make out a few words.) About the only down side was the usual extremely beautiful Greek women weren't in abundance in that congregation.
Brush with celebrity, almost
Three days ago I was enjoying the spring weather and bicycling in the city when I found a street blocked with trucks and the equipment used for filming, such as lots and lots of lights on poles. Turned out the lovely Cameron Díaz and the IMO even more beautiful Toni Collette were there making a movie! Alas, I saw neither.
From Virtuosity
New prolife news site

Saturday, April 17, 2004

When Catholicism goes bad it becomes the religion of amulets and holy places and priestcraft*: Protestantism, in its corresponding decay, becomes a vague mist of ethical platitudes.

- C.S. Lewis

*In no way am I disparaging sacramentals, holy places or the apostolic ministry - that God, who became man, works through matter including places 'where prayer has been valid' as T.S. Eliot wrote. Lewis obviously was referring to all these being knocked off their foundation and purpose and degenerating into hysteria and superstition.
Israelis kill Hamas leader
Story from the beginning of (Great) Lent:

Greek Orthodox crucifix in Pennsylvania said to have started exuding oil
LRC picks
Going postal
by Ryan McMaken
Let us not forget that the stated reason behind the terrorism of 9-11 was American meddling in Saudi Arabia and Israel. And whether or not Bin Laden believes these are the only good reasons for killing American civilians is immaterial, for what we do know is that the millions of Muslims who see their countrymen killed by American missiles in Palestine or their neighbors beaten to death by American soldiers have become more sympathetic every day toward striking back at the United States the only way they can.

What we have right now is an American government that seems to honestly believe that they have a right to interfere worldwide, but they have no responsibility in preventing the predictable blowback from killing Americans here at home. In other words, for the foreseeable future, Americans need to be prepared to sit around waiting patiently for terrorists to strike while thousands of young men and women in the Middle East are driven to joining terrorist organizations by endless wars care of Uncle Sam.

Poor little us
We help out a country by shooting them up, and they don't appreciate it
by John Pilger

Friday, April 16, 2004

These two links should work through 21st April, after which you can search this paper for these stories:

An American in London

A friend lost

A mercenary ex-US Navy SEAL is killed in Iraq
One of four cute Easter and Orthodox-related links on The Onion Dome this week
At midnight Easter service, adults all fall asleep while children stay awake
Dame Helen Mirren’s Russian heritage
The actress is the granddaughter of an exiled tsarist aristocrat
From Meletao
Shards O’Glass
Hadn't seen this before - it's a parody of those stupid, hypocritical anti-smoking commercials from Philip Morris
Easter link
The miracle of the holy fire
I know somebody who's experienced it
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Déjà vu
Once again, HM Dominion of Canada, the current adopted home of our own Samer al-Batal, is a refuge for Americans - as it has been from the days of the Underground Railroad to Vietnam
From InfernoXV
The Jetlag Travel Guide to Molvania
Can you imagine everybody's favourite traveller Ian Wright or the lovely Justine Shapiro from 'Globe Trekker' in this place?

Edward Yong: ...some Eastern Europeans think it's an outrage and extremely insulting, but I think it's hilarious.

You've been warned.

Godwardness illustrated
Holy Week with the Society of St John
After the boom
Eastern Christians cling to their faith as time runs out on the former coal towns of Pennsylvania
LRC pick
The madness of President George
by Llewellyn Rockwell
African Anglicans refuse US church funding over gay clergy issue

Thursday, April 15, 2004

See how they spin
Former Ladies' Home Journal editor (for 20+ years) Myrna Blyth says how women's magazines are biased in bad ways (more - you have to sign in to read this).
Thoughts on being single
From El camino real
How I became a paleoconservative
Has a lot in common with granola conservatism, which is a good thing
From Virtuosity
Episcopal Church Annual blasts Robinson consecration
The Red Book, the American version of Crockford's
Patriarch of Constantinople officially forgives western Catholics for 1204 sack of city
Now Istanbul, Turkey
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Iraqi beaten to death by US troops
Anonymous submission (also on LRC today)
An interesting day: President Bush’s movements and actions on 9/11
Anonymous submitter: Why is the toothless 9/11 commission addressing none of the deeply troubling questions raised here?

Was the POTUS/Commander in Chief left openly exposed and vulnerable to actual terrorists' threats (and was U.S. national security jeopardized) due to incompetence, mendacity and/or internal power struggles within his own administration? [End.]

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

From Itar-TASS
Patriarch of Moscow calls relations between Russian Church and Vatican knotty
Oh, no, not this line again:

“In the first place, there is a problem posed by the Roman Catholics’ missionary activity among the traditional Orthodox population of Russia and other countries of the CIS, and we describe such stratagems as proselytism,” Alexy II said.

I think the patriarch knows the RCs don't target members of his church; he said 'traditional Orthodox population'. Running a soup kitchen, for example, for completely secularized post-Soviet Russians ≠ trying to convert people who are Russian Orthodox. No sale.

Again (sigh), what about Aid to the Church in Need, which has helped rebuild the Russian Orthodox Church, not tear it down?

And again:

Another problem without a solution in sight is the onslaught of the Greek Catholics – the followers of the eastern rite who have been reporting to the Vatican since the 17th century -- on the Russian Orthodoxy (sic) community in the western regions of Ukraine.

'Onslaught'? No, Your Holiness, the Ukrainian Catholics, in their homeland, not yours, took back what the Communists stole from them when they invaded - buildings the Coms gave to your church.

The situation in at least three regions – Lvov, Ternopol, and Ivano-Frankovsk – remains far from normal, as the communities of canonical Russian Orthodoxy have been driven into bay there, Alexy II said.

There never were many Russian Orthodox in those places to begin with! Lvov has been the HQ of the Ukrainian Catholic Church for centuries, during most of which it was part of Poland.

The hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church are particularly alarmed by the Greek Catholics’ plans to press the Vatican for establishing their own patriarchate in Kiev, he said.

That's a valid criticism. Kiev is the patriarch's turf, not the Ukrainian Catholic Church's.
From Itar-TASS
Patriarch of Moscow and first hierarch of Russian Church Abroad to meet 18th May
The two churches have been separate for 84 years because of the Russian Revolution.
The Iraqis dare fight back against an invader, which the neocons can spin to their advantage. Last night Mr Bush blamed non-Iraqis, including - ooh - 'terrorists', which reinforces that excuse for the war and might work to get him elected this year as the great protector. Of course he mentioned 9/11, as if that had anything to do with Iraq, by the time he was finished.
From The Onion
‘What do you think?’ Resistance in Iraq
From The Onion
Bishop sick of local church scene
From The Onion
Rumsfeld looking forward to Secretary’s Day
More linguistic boffinry
You know how Sid Caesar (genius that he is) could freely riff on foreign languages, doing a convincing mock French, German, Swedish, whatever? I've always wanted to hear a foreign actor do mock English. I'd be fascinated to see what they imagine typifies our speech.

Depending on how much English the actor has heard, I reckon his cod English either would sound like Dutch - 'it sounds just like English but I can't understand anything' - or Engrish, what happens when hip Japanese who don't know English try to use it.
LRC pick
30,000 dead Americans in Iraq? Noooo problem!
A postscript to Mr Bush's bloodthirsty speech last night

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
US jets attack Fallujah
DM: The blood-dimmed tide is loosed...

- W.B. Yeats
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
High-ranking Jesuit dispels vicious rumours about Fr Malachi Martin
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Vietnam II
Ralph Nader tells kids to brace for draft

Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.

Russell Kirk on conscription
More fun for language geeks
Essential explanations
Or 'let's see how many ethnic/linguistic groups we can piss off' (joke). Here are some pithy and true ones:

English is essentially bad Dutch with outrageously pronounced French and Latin vocabulary.

- Eugene Holman

English is essentially Norse as spoken by a gang of French thugs.

- Benct Philip Jonsson

English is essentially German spoken in the mouth rather than the throat.

- jmallett

English is essentially Dutch but it doesn't want to admit it.

- Danny Wier

English is essentially a West Germanic language that's trying very hard to look like a Romance one.

- Andreas Johansson

American English is essentially a tool to keep a person from ever being able to speak another language.

- jmallett

Swedish is German spoken in English word order with a singsong accent.

- From another source, not this link

French is essentially a language that elides everything that doesn't get out of the way fast enough, and nasalises everything else.

- Peter Bleackley

Italian is Latin that's had a bottle of wine.

- Me (not from the link)

Spanish is essentially Italian spoken by Arabs.

- Benct Philip Jonsson (Yes, all those al- loan words, sibilant sounds - ses and zs - and even expressions like ¡Ojalá! ('Would to Allah!') thanks to 700 years of Moorish rule. El idioma español is like instant gratification for beginners on their way to becoming linguistic boffins. It's beautiful-sounding like Italian and easy to learn. And very useful in the States, almost an official second language in some places. Like Italian, it's Latin lite: half the grammar.)

Portuguese is nothing more than Spanish as spoken by people who wannabe French.

- Javier de la Rosa

Catalan is essentially Spanish and French spoken at the same time.

- Michael Everson (Its French neighbour Provençal is basically the same language and what St Bernadette of Lourdes fame spoke, not French: 'Que soy era Immaculada Councepciou'. Looks more like Spanish, doesn't it?)

Romanian is essentially a Romance language trying really hard to blend in with the Slavic languages around it.

- Jesse S. Bangs (It's like strange Italian with a few Russian words thrown into it.)

Bulgarian is essentially Russian pronounced as it is spelled and using English grammar.

- Eugene Holman (You have a fighting chance at reading it if you know Russian but it has no cases and has articles but they're tacked onto the ends of nouns.)

Slovenian is essentially Russian with an Italian accent.

- Egbert Lenderink

Croatian is essentially Serbo-Croatian written in the alphabet used in (Roman) Catholic Gospels.

Serbian is essentially Serbo-Croatian written in the alphabet used in Orthodox Gospels.

Bosnian is essentially Serbo-Croatian curiously not written in the alphabet used in the Koran.

- Marco Cimarosti (Bosnian's written with Roman letters and accent marks just like Slovenian and Croatian and a lot like Czech and Slovak.)

Czech is essentially Slovak as spoken by a German.

- John Cowan

Polish is essentially any other Slavic language with 70% of its consonants randomly shuffled.

- Basilius (Mine: Polish is perfectly good Russian words effed up with redundant sh and zh sounds.)

Written B(y)elorussian is essentially Russian with misspellings one would expect from small Russian children.

- Ivan Derzhanski (based on Terrence Griffin on Dutch) (Yes. It looks just like Russian spelt the way it's pronounced!)

Ukrainian is essentially Russian spoken by people with cleft palates.

- John Cowan (Disclaimer: This one is far crueller than I'd like but I understand - the lack of the hard g sound; Ukrainian turns it into an h sound. Slovak and I imagine Czech do that too.)

Old Church Slavonic is essentially the language that comes out when the basses sing a low C.

- Dan Seriff (Mine: It's to Russian as The Canterbury Tales in its original form is to this. Or: It's Russian with funny archaic words in it that's overpronounced - pronounced as it's spelt.)

Irish is essentially an Indo-European language cunningly disguised as gibberish to perplex the English.

- And Rosta (Pageing Dave McLaughlin, er, Daithí Mac Lochlann... )

Koine Greek is essentially Classical Greek as spoken by people who don't know any Greek.

- Andreas Johannson

Modern Greek is essentially Classical Greek with all vowels and diphthongs changed to "i", and all consonants pronounced as fricatives.

- Egbert Lenderink/Justin Mansfield

Lithuanian is essentially bad Sanskrit.

- John Cowan (That's right - it isn't closely related to Russian AFAIK but is to Sanskrit.)
LRC pick
David Ray Griffin on The New Pearl Harbor
Buried church in Roman Forum reopened
Santa Maria Antiqua's Byzantine murals changed scholars' views of mediæval art

Monday, April 12, 2004

How I spent Easter
Including the hours in church with music and baroque externals that took you back to about the early 1800s (and I'd want it no different), it was one of the best Easters I've had in the 15 years I've been completely on my own. Many thanks again, Mike and Hope (Mike reads the blog) - for food, drinks, fellowship and meeting new people (helped along a bit by the drinks) and of course the DVD fest, everything from Yes, (Prime) Minister and Black Adder to, again, The Family Guy!
From Justin Kissel: got to give him credit!

When did suspects start getting called "actors"? Doesn't it seem weird to be reading your local paper and to see things like "a known actor exited the vehicle"? A known actor? Like Mel Gibson or something?

LOL, brilliant. Yes, don't forget to get his autograph before you cuff him (and in the States read him his Miranda rights)! One of the joys of my job as a newspaper sub-editor is I get to take the piss out of stupid jargon exactly like this, changing it into real English and making sure the jargon never gets printed. I find corporate (yuppie) crap - the kind of language Paul Fussell describes as 'cornball elegant' that many proles and middle-class people mistakenly think is great prose - more offensive than police-blotter stuff like this.
A story and site to warm the hearts of language geeks like me:

Azen means hello

Endangered Languages Project
From Pravda
Ukrainian forces to withdraw from Iraq?
As with the Spaniards it would be a small, largely symbolic but noble gesture
From The Rockall Times
Suspicious object causes London tube panic
Greek island of Chios celebrates Easter with ‘rocket war’ between two churches
From Virtuosity
How well-meaning conservative Christians can make a mistake
Of course it was good of these people to refuse to go along with the Episcopal Church's new claim that practising homosexuality and being a reverend father in God are compatible, but:

"For months, we didn't come to Communion," (parishioner Lisa) Ball said.

"They're now taking Communion because they like the person," (opposing parishioner Ann) Elkins said.

Sorry, but Ann Elkins has a point here. Refusing a sacrament because of the personal character of the minister is heresy (in this case Donatism), not the Catholic faith including the apostolic ministry. The apostolic ministry doesn't work that way! Maybe the Church of the Redeemer is Low Church.

Now if the offending cleric is fiddling with the rite, the content of the service, that changes things. The content and objective character of the church's mediæval rites as handed down are supposed to prevent that - they protect the people from the priest's failings and perhaps vice versa. But most churches today don't keep that safeguard.
LRC pick
The helicopter gunships of freedom
From The Times via Virtuosity
Does God exist? Physicist says it’s 2 to 1 He does

Saturday, April 10, 2004

On using sins outside one’s experience to scapegoat people
Despite my historical differences with Seraphim Reeves this is very impressive. I would disagree on one point and say some people - an infinitessimal number - are born with the temptation of homosexuality and of course deserve our charity but not as an excuse for the sins associated with the problem. As I like to say, partly agreeing with Mr Reeves on the wrongness of such 'identity politics', there is no such thing as the gay community. Maybe they're just people - some good, others not so.
RC bishop joins Good Friday abortion protest
Debra Messing's son is born. Actually she became a mum nine months before, of course.
Bush knew
Of course. Or perhaps one should say his handlers knew while he was fishing or playing Nintendo or something.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Passionate about The Passion
by Fr Jon O’Donnell
I'd decided to stop posting links about the movie but this article looks good and fits the liturgical 'kalendar' today
LRC pick
The Phoenix Program reborn
CIA death squads in Iraq
Open letter to Condoleezza Rice
by Catherine Austin Fitts, US assistant secretary of housing under Bush the Elder
Common sense about John Kerry
by friend of the blog Keble
They pierced my hands and my feet; I can tell all my bones - Psalm 21/22

Good Friday 2004
Please join me, Dave, Lee, Samer and John as all of Catholic Christendom and indeed all Christians are in calendrical sync this year and pray for peace, for the people of Iraq and Palestine, that the US, British and other troops wrongly in the Middle East come home safely and very soon, and for the restoration of freedom, and the flourishing of our holy mother, the church, at home:

+ Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy upon us.

+ Hagios ho Theos, hagios Ischyros, hagios Athanatos, eleison imas.

+ Святый Боже, святый Крепкий, святый Безсмертный, помилуй нас.

For the peace of the whole world, for the welfare of the holy churches of God and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

The plashchanitsa, the icon of the burial of Christ used in the Orthodox liturgy on Good Friday

Благообразный Иосиф, с Древа снем пречистое тело Твое, плащаницею чистою обвив, и вонями во гробе нове покрыв положи.

The noble Joseph, taking down Thy most pure Body from the Tree, wrapped It in a clean linen, anointed It with spices and placed It in a new tomb.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Peter Hatala’s travel photo album
Catholic Europe in pictures, West (Prague) and East (Moscow and St Petersburg)
From David’s Daily Diversions
Your papers, please... sir
Mr Blunkett wants to swop Anglo-American liberty for Eastern European-style oppression
LRC pick
We hate your religion
And intend to change it - Jim Lobe on neocon ambitions
Today one can remember two important acts in the history of God's revelation to mankind, the institution of the Eucharist and of the apostolic ministry (the priesthood of the New Testament, sharing in the ministry of the one Priest, Christ) to give It.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

From The Onion
Infographic: The hunt for bin Laden
April 4, 1986 - bin Laden given millions of dollars in weapons and training by Reagan administration, giving him the ability and means to later evade capture
From The Onion (this link will work for the next six days)
Yahoo! launches soul-search engine
LRC and The American Conservative pick
Book review: on ‘progressive’ Christianity, the Great War and the rise of the messianic nation
by Thomas Woods Jnr
How the Left historically have taken God's name in vain:

...these ['progressive'] clergymen, caught up in their conviction that the U.S. was at least in some sense the savior of the world, applied to America the same language that Christians had traditionally applied to Christ. The Christian categories and concepts that Social Gospel theologians had found malleable enough to make railroad regulation sound like a direct command of Christ were thus drafted into service in the conflict that had engulfed Europe. It thus became impossible for them to conceive of the war in measured, rational terms: to America they had assigned the righteousness of Christ, and there could be no compromise between Christ and Satan.

Sound familiar?
US hits Fallujah mosque, 40 said killed
Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Salaam 'alaikum
Many thanks for the link, Sunni Sister!
Comic from the 1950s, from Emily’s page
Spike humour
Cathedral of the Resurrection
New Ukrainian Catholic HQ, in Kiev
Rwanda 10 years on
Requiescant in pace
Battles flare as Shi’ites vow resistance
20 occupying soldiers, 100 Iraqis dead since weekend
From The Power Line (a neocon blog)

I think he looks handsome and hip except for the flower zip tab. Like his boyhood idol he's got his looks working for him and Mr Bush is rather like that idol's 1960 opponent in that regard.
LRC pick
Meet the neocons’ (and their Protestant religious-right sidekicks’) new best friend
by Eric Margolis
Communist Uzbekistan! Actually I feel bad for the Uzbeks - they may end up double-crossed like former US operatives/employees Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.
Another cardinal we can write off
This time a darling of the RCs’ ‘neocons’ (defending the status quo since 1965)
LRC pick
Shi’ite revolution
Yankee, go home

Today’s news
8 US Marine occupiers and 30 Iraqis dead in latest battles
From blog correspondent John Boyden
More news on the possessed town in Sicily
JB: Thought it was over? Not quite.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Poll says Mr Bush is losing support on Iraq
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
How possible NATO expansion into the Ukraine may threaten world peace
The President’s re-election prospects are helped mightily by the candidacy of Ralph Nader and by the virtue of running against a Democrat who is not only a Skull but insists on adopting as his platform all of the incumbent’s policies.... As we wrote back in early February, Kerry’s candidacy was either intended by the oligarchs to replace a high risk group of mentally and morally challenged people with a group who are only morally challenged, or it was meant to make Bush look good. This week it definitely seems as though it is the latter, and if this keeps up, Kerry will lose hands down.


NATO was scheduled to deploy warplanes to the Baltic states last Monday, a move that has both angered and alarmed the Russians (see The Heron’s Latest Catch). In Georgia, America’s new stooge, Mikhail Saakashvili, seems bent on creating a casus belli with Russia as well (see All News is Lies). George Soros was in Ukraine. Wherever that man goes, a “Rose Revolution” follows in his wake. The Ukraine is the gateway to Russia. Pressing already on Russia’s northern and southern flanks, a NATO move into Ukraine is going to significantly alter the strategic balance even further in NATO’s favour, and by doing so significantly reduce the choices left to those Russians who are opposed to NATO expansion. Are these to be only surrender or fight?

The markets have a lot more than non-farm payrolls to be worried about.

Lee Penn: Watch these developments very carefully, recalling that Russia has publicly asserted her rights to make pre-emptive strikes against serious threats to Russian security, recalling that Russia has continued modernizing her nuclear forces since 1991, and recalling that Russia and China have a currently active mutual defense pact.

An actual (or perceived, or alleged) Western threat to Russia could be a short path to nuclear war. [End.]

LRC pick
Against NATO expansion
by US Rep. Ron Paul, MD
The further expansion of NATO is in reality a cover for increased US interventionism in Europe and beyond. It will be a conduit for more unconstitutional US foreign aid and US interference in the internal politics of member nations, especially the new members from the former East.

It will also mean more corporate welfare at home.
From De Fidei Obœdientia
Forced abortions in the US?
Poems about Pennsylvania and Ruthenians
by Leonard Kress
From blog correspondent John Boyden
A toxic cover-up?
How Mr Bush’s handlers dealt with a huge environmental disaster
From Virtuosity
Postmodern divide
by Uwe Siemon-Netto
Shi’ites riot in Iraq
Remember - this was the group treated the most viciously by Hussein. They obviously don't want these 'liberators'. Yankee, go home.
Two blogs
The Shrine of the Holy Whapping, apparently the blog of the nascent Catholic restoration movement at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana - storm heaven, kiddos; you'll need all the help you can get - and Dappled Things, a.k.a. Don Jim, by Fr James Tucker, aged 29
From Taylor Marshall’s blog
Do Kabbalah teachers want celebrity spokeswomen like these?
LRC pick
Where was the Air Force on 9/11?
by Ted Rall

Sunday, April 04, 2004

From blogforlovers
Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord
About the Pope’s Palm Sunday message
The pontiff, it said, invites youths to "ally themselves on Christ's side, and not with the sowers of hate, the mercenaries of terror, the prophets of death."

Like the ones based in Washington.
What I’m watching
‘The Family Guy’ on DVD
Brilliant free-form satire, arguably better than 'The Simpsons'

Saturday, April 03, 2004

From David’s Daily Diversions
‘Nigerian’ scammer and spammer now in the slammer
Many of them are in Nigeria but this one - also an African? - was in the UK
From blogforlovers
George Herbert
Born today in 1593
Q: How many Serbs does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Two - one to shoot the old bulb out and one to screw the new one in.