As the scandals of youth gave way to encroaching age, the once hard-partying George retired to Windsor Castle, where he indulged his love of fine foods and finer wines. Famously the now reclusive king ballooned in size, exceeding 17 stone and squeezing his corpulent bulk into corsets intended to confine a 50-inch waist. With frequent bouts of breathlessness causing near suffocation on occasion, his physicians, led by Sir Henry Halford, toiled to ease the symptoms of gout, dropsy and any number of other problems that plagued the ailing monarch, but there could be no doubt that his time was approaching.Share
As Spring passed into Summer, the health of the king became a source of great concern to his physicians, who plied him with laudanum in futile efforts to control the pains he suffered in his bladder and lower extremities. The application of leeches made things no easier for George and he began to suffer deep depressions, exacerbated by the fact that he could hardly sleep for the periods of breathlessness that afflicted him and a special chair was built which could double as a partly upright bed for the ailing monarch.
On the night of his death George retired to bed in the company of his friend, Sir Jonathan Wathen-Waller, where he slept fitfully. He woke in the early hours of 26th June 1830, breathless and in such pain that Halford was summoned immediately. As the doctor hurried to the room, George gripped Wathen-Waller's hand and told him, "my boy, this is death". At quarter past three that morning, the last King George of the glorious Georgian era passed away. (Read more.)
Thursday, June 30, 2016
The news was spread far and wide last weekend that George F. Will is no longer registered as a Republican and is now politically “unaffiliated,” owing to the GOP’s acceptance (however grudging) of Donald Trump as its presidential nominee. “Far and wide” is probably a good deal further than the columnist’s reputation, or even name recognition, extends today.Share
A protégé of Irving Kristol’s (Kristol, the father of William, was one of the early neoconservatives) who was hired by William Buckley as National Review’s Washington and literary editor in the 1970s, Will was for a decade or two a minor celebrity in print and on television, the face of “rational,” “polite,” and “acceptable” conservatism. In private, he considered Buckley to be not a serious person. Will is nothing if not serious, which is why he is virtually a non-person four decades later. (“The opposite of funny,” Chesterton said, “is not serious, it’s ‘not funny.’”) Buckley, whatever his faults, was never priggish, a word that abundantly describes George Will. (Read more.)
Robert Lewis Stevenson, a Scotsman like her father, wrote a poem about her. It begins:
Forth from her land to mine she goes,The island maid, the island rose,Light of heart and bright of face:The daughter of a double race.'...The country estate at Great Harrowden was featured in my recent posts, and is best known as the 17th Century refuge for hunted Jesuit priests and as the home to the amazing recusant heroines Anne Vaux, her sister Eleanor Brooksby, and their redoubtable sister-in-law Eliza Roper, the Dowager Lady Vaux. However, they were not the last formidable women to grace the grounds of the historically important Midland estate which is now an exclusive golf club. In the tradition of the Vaux, the last aristocratic woman to roam the halls of Harrowden was the heir apparent to a foreign throne. She arrived there already well educated and a celebrated beauty. Her family sent her to the exclusive girl’s school operated on the grounds with an eye to polishing her into the image of a proper queen. The move had been encouraged by their advisors. The new student at Harrowden's father was a skilled Scottish businessman and entrepreneur who had married into royalty. Although Scottish on her father’s side, her royal bloodline was from a very different culture. The English at Harrowden called her Vikie, after her namesake Queen Victoria. Her full name was Victoria Kawēkiu Kaʻiulani Lunalilo Kalaninuiahilapalapa Cleghorn.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Share(Read more.)Six-hundred and forty two years ago today, citizens in the German city of Aachen started to pour out of their houses and into the streets where they began to writhe and whirl uncontrollably. This was the first major outbreak of dancing plague or choreomania and it would spread across Europe in the next several years.To this day, experts aren't sure what caused the frenzy, which could drive those who danced to exhaustion. The outbreak in Germany was called St. John's dance, but it wasn't the first appearance of the mania or the last, according to The Black Death and The Dancing Mania, originally published in 1888. In the book, Justus Friedrich Karl Hecker imaginatively describes the spectacle of St. John's dance as follows:They formed circles hand in hand, and appearing to have lost all control over their senses, continued dancing, regardless of the bystanders, for hours together, in wild delirium, until at length they fell to the ground in a state of exhaustion. They then complained of extreme oppression, and groaned as if in the agonies of death, until they were swathed in cloths bound tightly round their waists, upon which they again recovered, and remained free from complaint until the next attack.
Let’s start in Europe. Last week a whole cadre of social-media sites — including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Microsoft — locked arms with the EU’s European Commission and signed a code promising to suppress “hate speech” wherever it appears. The stated goal is to combat “racism, xenophobia, and all forms of intolerance.” There’s some talk of combating terrorism, forestalling ISIS recruitment in European countries, and keeping people from being incited to hate crimes.
ShareCombating racism and preventing ISIS recruiters from being able to contact young people sounds great. But then there’s that vague, slightly sinister phrase “all forms of intolerance.” That should make us wary, especially when we look closely at the language in the code and consider the background of “hate speech” law in the EU. The first thing you should know is that Vera Jourova, the EU commissioner in charge of writing the code, is an outspoken advocate of the LGBTI agenda. As recently as October 2015, she spoke about the need to use “hate speech” codes to combat any viewpoint that doesn’t support “rights” for those groups. This means that the EU spokesperson who included “all forms of intolerance” in the list of things social-media companies must suppress believes that you are guilty of hate speech if you have any reservations about LGBTI demands. That makes a lot of people guilty of “hate speech” — everybody who thinks that marriage is between one man and one woman, everyone who believes that surgery can’t change a person’s sex, everyone who thinks children probably shouldn’t be encouraged to determine their own “gender” as early as the age of four (as did one child whose story recently appeared in the pages of the Washington Post), and even everyone who merely thinks that people have the right to express the above beliefs. The EU’s language isn’t exactly tailored to limit ISIS’s posts on Facebook without encroaching on the free speech of others. (Read more.)
I first ventured into this world by way of Felix Mendelssohn's Reisebriefe. One of the first was a letter in which Mendelssohn described to his family his visit with Goethe at Goethe's home in Weimar. It is the closest we can come to actually being in Goethe's parlour with Mendelssohn playing the piano. After playing the old poet many pieces pieces by Bach (Goethe loved the music of Bach) and Mozart, Felix (it is almost impossible to read his letters without coming to be on a first name basis with him) said to his elderly friend, "Now I will play you some Beethoven," but Goethe said that he did not wish to hear any Beethoven. "I'm sorry," replied the young composer, "but I can't help it!" and then he launched into a piano reduction of Beethoven's fifth symphony. Goethe listened to the music, and then said, "That was splendid, but if all the musicians were here playing it together, wouldn't the house fall in?"Share
Throughout the course of Felix's letters, his recipients become as interesting as himself. His father, Abraham Mendelssohn, who did not know the strength of his own personality, and who constantly underestimated his own intellectual abilities; his mother Lea Mendelssohn, the great lover of literature and languages, whose favorite play was Der Sturm, that is Shakespeare's The Tempest, and who had been the primary teacher of Felix and his siblings; his younger, fun-loving, Greek reading sister Rebecka; his shy, cello-playing younger brother Paul; and most of all, his beloved sister Fanny, the queen of German chamber music. (Read more.)
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
The British General Edward Braddock and his young colonial aide George Washington are often portrayed as symbols of the antagonism brewing between Britain and her Colonies during the French and Indian War, which would soon burst forth in the form of the American Revolution. This is partly true, but their relationship and the relationship between Britain and America were and are much more complex than has often been portrayed in grade school history texts and Hollywood motion pictures. There was also something deeply human about their interaction that is often overlooked in favor of a more easily understood narrative that chooses sides rather than seeks out the middle way.Share
In February of 1755, Edward Braddock, a 62-year-old veteran of the prestigious Coldstream Guards and native of Perth, Scotland, was sent to North America to ostensibly “put the French in their place” and push them further west to make room for the expanding British colonies in the Ohio River Valley. The colonists themselves were enthusiastically behind this push for supremacy, and initially welcomed the regular troops sent from the Mother Country to aid them in the territorial struggle, known as The French and Indian War in America and The Seven Years War in Europe.
But problems arose almost immediately, involving the proper accoutrement of these newly arrived troops and misunderstandings on both sides. The British viewed the colonists, by and large, as low-life opportunists who tried to get best edge on every deal and refused to obey orders or conform to disciplinary regulations. The colonists, on the other hand, resented the pompous and bullying attitude of the British officers, including Braddock, who refused to acknowledge that the Americans could ever stand on equal footing with them in social, political, or military spheres. (Read more.)
Donald Trump is releasing a 35-page document that takes down Hillary Clinton's foreign policy and economic stances — a 50-point attack that pulls together news articles, documents and speeches critical of the former secretary of state.Share
While Enlightenment political thought was less violent in America, the French Revolution was a bloodbath that ended in tyranny. And it’s philosophical heirs, particularly Russia’s Bolshevism, lay claim to the greatest genocides in human history. According to cultural and philosophical critic Jay Dyer:Share
“French Revolutionary demagogues, such as Danton, Robespierre, the Duke of Orleans, Marat, and St. Just, were all members of secret societies and Illuminist orders. Many communists leaders such as Vladimir Lenin were also “Illuminists.’ Through infiltrating Freemasonry, many of these bloody men were also inducted into a deeper, darker society within the ranks known as the Illuminati.“The Illuminati had been formed in 1776 by an ex-Jesuit canon lawyer named Adam Weishaupt, in Bavaria. Weishaupt, who was immersed in rationalism, intended to organize an elite group that would eventually install a one-world, socialistic order and abolish theology. Weishaupt seems to have been the key ideological figure behind the revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries that ultimately removed all forms of monarchy and effectively cut off Christianity from having any cultural influence.”Modern governments have no contract with God but rather claim a “social contract” between the government and its subjects. Instead of God being the highest authority, that role now belongs to “the people.”
Jesus Christ is not part of the contract. Compare this to the vows made by a King such as Russia’s Czar Nicholas II at his coronation:
“May my heart be in Thy hand, to accomplish all that is to the profit of the people committed to my charge and to Thy glory, that so in the day of Thy judgment I may give Thee account of my stewardship without blame; through the grace and mercy of Thy Son, Who was once crucified for us, to Whom be all honor and glory with Thee and the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life, unto ages of ages. Amen.”(Read more.)
Monday, June 27, 2016
Mme de Staël did not present this problem as a matter of political philosophy. Although she frequented philosophers, notably Benjamin Constant, one of her many lovers, she was known primarily as a literary figure—a salon lioness, a romantic novelist, and the woman who defied Napoleon, preferring exile to subjection. Yet she grasped something that had eluded political theorists and that is still worth pondering. It was the importance of public opinion at the deepest level of political life—neither the shifting, short-term views of policies and politicians nor a preference that could be tallied in the form of votes, but rather a visceral, collective emotion that linked a people to its leaders.Share
Should that tie be broken, Staël maintained, the public could develop such a sense of estrangement that the political elite, whether royal ministers or elected officials, could no longer manage public affairs. This kind of disaffection ultimately explained the failure of the French Revolution, she argued, and she made the argument by working it into a full-scale history, Considérations sur les principaux événements de la révolution française (Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution), her last and most ambitious book, published posthumously in 1818. (Read more.)
- Good-willed, but naive, Catholic laypersons go to one of their priests to talk about supporting “pro-life” in the election only to be rebuffed, either outright, or with a lecture about social justice, or with a nod of head which leads to nothing being done.
- These same lay Catholics then begin to talk to others in the parish only to find many are also hostile, or fear “politicizing” the church, or are worried about what “father” will think: “Have you asked Father?” they will ask.
- These same lay Catholics are bewildered by the fact those in the parish are not responsive to political engagement on the side of protecting life and end up doing little or nothing, and becoming cynical about the Church’s commitment to life.
- It’s become standard practice in US parishes not to talk about abortion, especially during a campaign season, for many reasons, the most ridiculous one being the charge that to preach against abortion is a partisan activity. (Read more.)
America has never experienced the butchery of bishops and priests that characterized the persecution of the Church by atheistic Communism during the twentieth century or the Jacobins during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror (1793-1794). However, our nation may soon witness the same wholesale confiscation of Church property that accompanied these bloody persecutions.Share
Aided by a secularist media, an orchestrated effort is under way by Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests and Other Clergy (SNAP), Voice of the Faithful, and other liberal Catholic advocacy groups, to lift or extend retroactively civil statutes of limitations nationwide.
California was the first state to do so. In 2003, the Golden State approved a one-year “window of opportunity,” a “look-back” period that suspended the civil statute of limitations and allowed lawsuits to be filed regardless of when the abuse is alleged to have taken place. Media reports say 1,000 lawsuits were filed.
State legislatures across the nation are now being asked to amend their civil statutes of limitations for childhood sexual abuse crimes in similar ways, or to abolish them altogether. If such changes become a national trend, we can expect to see the Church paying out billions of dollars to defend itself and to fund the resulting awards and settlements. As Prof. Patrick J. Schiltz, Saint Thomas More Chair in Law at St. Thomas University in Minneapolis, observed:
Estimated awards and settlements for the Church sexual abuse scandal already exceed two billion dollars. But with legislative changes, the total cost may be many billions more before the storm blows over.It’s like warfare… Phase One was for plaintiff lawyers to maximize bad publicity and destroy the credibility of the Church. Phase Two is to use that publicity to push for legislative changes. Phase Three will be to collect.
Once insurance limits are exhausted, these billions will come from Church bank accounts and then from the sale of Church assets on the auction block. This means real property such as churches, schools, and hospitals and personal property like vehicles, vestments, and chalices. (Read more.)
Sunday, June 26, 2016
“My father was very Hemingway-esque, very much a bon vivant,” Margot adds. “He was always saying, ‘Look at this!’ He was informing my eye, training me to appreciate beauty and good design.” As a result of these excursions, the young girl’s creative side blossomed, and her father’s enthusiasm took root in her soul. Margot’s interest in design took a different form years later, when she worked with noted Birmingham, Alabama, floral designer Sybil Sylvester. Under her masterful tutelage, Margot says she “learned to think outside the framework of normal, expected arrangements.
”When she married, twenty-two years ago, she and her husband, Gates, moved into her house while searching for a residence for their newly blended family. Fortunately, the couple didn’t have to look far; they found a charming farmhouse on a 3-acre lot just a stone’s throw away. Among several structural changes they made was converting one bedroom into two baths—a necessity with three daughters between them. (Read more.)
Although Progressive share much in common with CPUSA and DSA, they are shrewd enough to understand the terms “communist” or “socialist” are unpalatable for most Americans. Hence, the word “Progressive” was injected into American political verbiage. While the words are not interchangeable, one thing is for sure: The CPC is doing its part to further the goals of modern Communists and Socialists who have found a voice in the Democratic Party.Share
In 2002, Communist Party USA PAC leader Joelle Fishman reported CPUSA uses the Congressional Progressive Caucus as “an important lever” to “move the debate to the left.” A February 2, 2010 Communist Party USA article “Convention Discussion: A Time to Grow” explained they plan to meet their goals by running for office “within the auspices of the Democratic Party” because “conditions rarely if ever allow us to run open Communists for office.” (Read more.)
The study, published in the March issue of Scientific Reports, measured the amount of the synthetic hormone EE2, a common contraceptive ingested by women around the world, and found it “present in aquatic environments throughout the United States and many other countries.”Share
Researchers tested whether exposure to EE2 has any adverse health outcomes for the “mekada fish” in Japan. What they found could have an impact on how Americans view their own drinking water and the nearly universal use of the Pill to avoid pregnancy.
Researchers looked at “transgenerational consequences” of exposure to EE2 and found “a reduced rate of fertilization and an increased incidence of embryo mortality.” These consequences were found in several generations of fish. They also found “transgenerational effects on survival and fecundity, which consequently disrupted population dynamics.”
The study showed the biggest impact on exposure to human contraceptives occurred in subsequent generations of fish with a 30 percent reduction in fertility rates. This occurred even if the fish had not ingested the chemical directly. It was an abnormality that was passed on from previous generations. (Read more.)
Saturday, June 25, 2016
The allure of blue and white as a colour palette is undeniable. The versatile nature of the combination allows it to be used in all types of homes from coastal to townhouse; in a pretty and delicate way or in a bold and dramatic fashion. It is timeless and a staple of many fabric and wallpaper collections. (Read more.)
Even Ted Kennedy, who gets a 100% pro-choice rating from the abortion-rights group Naral, was at one time pro-life. In fact, in 1971, a full year after New York had legalized abortion, the Massachusetts senator was still championing the rights of the unborn. In a letter to a constituent dated Aug. 3, 1971, he wrote: "When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception."
But that all changed in the early '70s, when Democratic politicians first figured out that the powerful abortion lobby could fill their campaign coffers (and attract new liberal voters). Politicians also began to realize that, despite the Catholic Church's teachings to the contrary, its bishops and priests had ended their public role of responding negatively to those who promoted a pro-choice agenda.
In some cases, church leaders actually started providing "cover" for Catholic pro-choice politicians who wanted to vote in favor of abortion rights. At a meeting at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, Mass., on a hot summer day in 1964, the Kennedy family and its advisers and allies were coached by leading theologians and Catholic college professors on how to accept and promote abortion with a "clear conscience."Share
The former Jesuit priest Albert Jonsen, emeritus professor of ethics at the University of Washington, recalls the meeting in his book "The Birth of Bioethics" (Oxford, 2003). He writes about how he joined with the Rev. Joseph Fuchs, a Catholic moral theologian; the Rev. Robert Drinan, then dean of Boston College Law School; and three academic theologians, the Revs. Giles Milhaven, Richard McCormick and Charles Curran, to enable the Kennedy family to redefine support for abortion. (Read more.)
Twice on this blog I have pointed out that we are misjudging Guy de Maupassant if we see him only as a writer of short stories, great as he was in that genre (look up the postings on Pierre et Jean and Fort Comme La Mort). Guy de Maupassant was also a novelist. Four times on this blog, I have dealt with some of the best novels of Honore de Balzac (1799-1850), viz. Le Pere Goriot, LaRabouilleuse, La Cousine Bette and Le Cousin Pons. But here I must perform the manoeuvre in reverse. Great as Balzac was as a novelist, he was also an accomplished writer of short stories. So as with Guy de Maupassant, we can appreciate him in both genres.Share
As a signed-up Balzacian, I must, however, issue a warning. Not all of Balzac’s shorter fiction is of a piece or is of equal merit. Once he had conceived of his interlocking series of novels La Comedie Humaine, he often wrote short pieces simply to connect characters in one novel with characters in another. Indeed he often worked-over short stories he had already written, adding incidental details and names to fit them into this grand scheme. It is hard even for me to read these as stand-alone pieces. They are best read as adjuncts to specific Comedie Humaine novels. There is also the fact that his concept of the short story was a very loose one. Some of his shorter fictions are of the length of novellas, like his story of the money-lender Gobseck (1830) or his sad tale, one of his best, of the returned Napoleonic soldier Le Colonel Chabert (1832). (Read more.)
Friday, June 24, 2016
We’re looking forward to the summer holidays here at The English Home by picturing nostalgic delights of flotillas of boats and swallows soaring across the sky. To capture a nostalgic seaside or lakeside mood, keep to a restricted palette of mid-blues, greys and chalky whites with the occasional dash of colour and consider using swallow motifs which flutter all over collections at present. Distressed paint finishes, grey blue paints, metal trunks and gorgeous swallow motif wallpaper set a holiday mood in this lovely guest bedroom (above). Or consider darker blue walls to offer a more cosseting alternative – as in the charming cottage master bedroom below. Set the scene with flickering candles in hurricane lamps, nautical inspired tableware and set the scene for an informal fish supper. (Read more.)
King Henry VI was well-disposed towards the Beauforts in the 1440s at a time when Henry’s government was dominated by William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk.Share
Edmund was appointed to a command in France where he replaced Richard, Duke of York. York did not take it well, resenting Somerset’s rise. His annoyance was compounded by the fact that Somerset was not a very competent commander. His resentment was further fuelled by the fact that Somerset was promised £25,000 to fund his campaign whereas York had received nothing and was owed many thousands. York was then sent to rule Ireland – far from the centre of power.
In 1450 a wave of popular unrest caused several attacks against Suffolk’s corrupt government, culminating in the murder of several members of the king’s inner circle, including Suffolk. This left a void at the heart of the government. Whatever happened next there would be a new regime. (Read more.)
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Here is the full transcript of Donald Trump's speech of June 22, 2016. To quote:
Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and theft. She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund – doing favors for oppressive regimes, and many others, in exchange for cash. Then, when she left, she made $21.6 million giving speeches to Wall Street banks and other special interests – in less than 2 years – secret speeches that she does not want to reveal to the public. Together, she and Bill made $153 million giving speeches to lobbyists, CEOs, and foreign governments in the years since 2001. They totally own her, and that will never change. The choice in this election is a choice between taking our government back from the special interests, or surrendering our last scrap of independence to their total and complete control. Those are the stakes. (Read more.)Share
The Hessian soldiers who fought for the British in the American Revolution did not come to the New World of their own free will.Share
The troops comprised conscripts—school dropouts, servants without masters, bankrupts, idlers, drunkards, the unemployed, troublemakers, and any other "expendable" man who was healthy and under 60. Their societies saw them as anything but the best and brightest.
"Hessian" is catch-all term for soldiers rented out to the British by Frederick II, the landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, and five other German rulers. In Hesse-Kassel, the fee was the equivalent of 13 years of tax revenue, and Landgrave Frederick used it for the public good. He left a full treasury, founded museums and schools, and had a taste for expensive buildings.
About 30,000 soldiers crossed the Atlantic between 1776 and 1783. At first, they were well trained and well equipped. As the war dragged on, it became harder to find men who would make good soldiers. (Read more.)
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
It was supposed to be a meeting of 300, but over the course of a few weeks it burgeoned to over 1000 attendees. The setting was hardly intimate, but given the circumstances, the Evangelical organizers did a good job of making it worth our while. Donald Trump showed another side of himself during the hour-plus question and answer session: the usual bravura was replaced by self-deprecating humor, a deeper seriousness, and a forthright affirmation of the Christian faith.From LifeNews:
Two of those taking the stage before Trump, Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, Jr., took advantage of their time slots, setting the tone for an occasion to ponder the future of our nation if Hillary Clinton is elected president, with her 2 to 5 picks for the Supreme Court, her pro-abortion agenda, and her evident scorn for traditional Christians.
Trump himself picked up that thread in answer to one of the first of the questions posed by Gov. Mike Huckabee, calling religious liberty the “number one issue of the campaign.” He mentioned several times the list of 11 possible SCOTUS nominees already released, with the help of vetting from The Federalist Society and The Heritage Foundation, and promised the release of at least four more in the near future. Trump was emphatic when he said all his nominees would be “pro-life” and “similar to Justice Scalia.” Needless to say, the room frequently interrupted these comments with loud clapping and “Amens.”
There were some Catholics in evidence: Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the SBA List, introduced Cong. Marsha Blackburn, who spoke about her House Planned Parenthood investigation, and author/speaker Eric Metaxas capped the event with a speech on the “new vision” for America. Other than those two, I counted dozen or more around the room, such as Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League; Lila Rose, president of Live Action; John Klink, former Vatican diplomat to the UN; Austin Ruse, president of C-FAM; Marjorie Murphy Campbell, blogger at www.newfeminism.com; Mary Beth Bonacci, president of Real Love, Inc.; Deacon Keith Fournier, blogger at www.thestream.org; and Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote. (Read more.)
Since he’s become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, pro-life voters are starting to move in Donald Trump’s direction — especially knowing the alternative is abortion activist Hillary Clinton. But many pro-life voters and some pro-life leaders remain skeptical about supporting Trump given some of his misstatements and past support for abortion.
To gain a better understanding and insight on his abortion views and to potentially be able to endorse his candidacy, a group of top pro-life leaders met with Trump today at a summit in New York.
“We are going to appoint great Supreme Court justices… These will be justices of great intellect… And they will be pro-life,” he said.
During the meeting, Trump told them he would promote religious liberty and appoint pro-life judges:Share
Donald Trump won a standing ovation from hundreds of Christian conservatives who came to New York City Tuesday with a skeptical but willing attitude toward a man who has divided their group with comments on women, immigrants and Islam. In his comments the presumptive GOP nominee vowed to end the decades-old ban on tax-exempt groups’ – including churches — politicking, said religious liberty is “the #1 question,” and said he’d appoint anti-abortion Supreme Court justices. “I believe that he came across very well as a messenger for everybody in the room, not just as a beneficiary of evangelical votes but as a fellow traveler. That’s not necessarily an easy distance for him to have traveled because people didn’t see him like that before,” said Marjorie Danenfelser of Susan B. Anthony’s List, which works to oppose abortion. “He made no missteps. There were no explosions.” She said she couldn’t recall a candidate explicitly stating they would pursue “pro-life” justices. “They usually couch it in other words, like ‘constitutional,’” she said. As president, he said, he’d work on things including: “freeing up your religion, freeing up your thoughts. You talk about religious liberty and religious freedom, you don’t have any religious freedom if you think about it,” he told the group, which broke in many times with applause.(Read more.)
I have learned over the years that if I want to rest better then I need to actually rest. When I can get into a good evening routine and sleep schedule I’m able to actually feel rested when I wake each morning. It’s one of the reasons that my boys go to bed early! Also I’ve learned the art of a catnap. Sometimes when I am running low on sleep a quick nap will give me just enough of a boost to get through the day. The trick is to nap earlier enough in the day and short enough that it doesn’t effect your body’s natural rhythm. (Read more.)Share
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Racism is always evil, as is any other manifestation of hatred towards our neighbours or our enemies. Christians can never espouse racism, nor can they support with a clear conscience parties that advocate racism. It is, however, unfair to suggest that anyone who is concerned about the Islamization of Europe or about the endemic corruption and overarching imperialism of the European Union is either a racist or a xenophobe. Such language is the sort of thoughtless knee-jerk reaction that is the death of rational discourse. Furthermore, it is the sort of demonizing and stereotyping of opponents of which the racists are themselves guilty. Against such dumbing-down of the real nature of the problem, I would argue, with Pope Benedict XVI among others, that there are three mutually incompatible and inimical forces at work in the international arena: secular globalism, radical Islam, and Christian orthodoxy. As Pope Benedict highlighted in his prophetic Regensburg Address, the clash between these forces is at the troubled heart of our darkening world.Share
This struggle for the heart of Europe was encapsulated by a young priest, Father Jacek Międlar, at a rally of almost 100,000 patriotic Poles in Warsaw in November last year. Comparing efforts by the European Union to force Poland to accept large scale Islamic immigration, he likened the EU’s coercion of the Polish people to the oppression of the Soviet occupation. (Read more.)
ShareIn 2014, the church bells of Mosul fell silent for the first time in 16 centuries following the onslaught of ISIS—a new and terrible evil that has engulfed Mesopotamia, driving out Christians by the tens of thousands, slaughtering countless Yazidis, Muslims, and others in its path. Against this background, several patriarchs of the ancient Christian churches came to Washington in September of that year to plead with Western religious and political leaders to save their besieged communities, including the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who was instrumental in bringing the summit about.The patriarchs’ entry to Washington was highly publicized, and carried with it a hint of the spectacle (and politics) that accompanied the Byzantines to Florence. Unlike those in Florence, however, these ancient Christians from the East had no Caesar and no state. On September 9, they gathered in an ecumenical prayer service with their American friends as a symbol of unity. This quasi-liturgical event seemed to contain within itself much of the paradox and tension that it sought to diffuse, as protocol complicated presenting Evangelical leaders along with the patriarchs. Still more problematic, the urgent nature of the event had left insufficient time for many Evangelical leaders to participate at all. The following day, the patriarchs and other diaspora Christian leaders gathered at the U.S. Capitol, where the crowd of several hundred heard from more than 20 congressional leaders. On September 11, the anniversary of al-Qaeda’s 2001 attack on America, the patriarchs met with President Obama to plead for help against the radical offshoot of al-Qaeda that had carved out of Syria and Iraq a purported Caliphate. (Read more.)
Monday, June 20, 2016
I wish to inform the person or persons who keep stealing my Trump sign that there are more intelligent ways of championing your candidate than stealing a sign out of my yard. You can (1) volunteer at the local DNC headquarters where you will be able to (2) make phone calls and mail out flyers on behalf of Hillary or Bernie. (3) Instead of stealing Trump signs, you can put up Hillary or Bernie signs in your own yard and around the county. (4) There are such things as Twitter or Facebook which are the latest and greatest means of promoting a candidate. (5) You can write letters to the editor, start a blog, host a rally, and call popular talk radio shows. These are more effective ways of promoting Hillary or Bernie than breaking the law, trespassing, and stealing my yard sign. All that will do is encourage me to call the sheriff (which I have already done), and replace each sign stolen with twenty more signs, placed all over the county. Plus it encourages me to more actively support Trump, as I already do daily, on Twitter and Facebook. So by stealing my Trump sign, you are helping the Trump movement, not hindering it. Also, as there will soon be hidden video cameras in my yard, I will send your picture to Hillary Clinton so she will know you are willing to break the law on her behalf.Share
In 1967 the share of mothers who did not work outside the home stood at 49%; by the turn of the millennium it had dropped to just 23% (see chart 1). Many thought this number would continue to fall as women sought to “have it all”. Instead, the proportion of stay-at-home mothers has been rising steadily for the past 15 years, according to new data crunched by the Pew Research Centre.Share
This partly reflects demographic change. Immigrants, a rising share of the relevant generation, are more likely to be stay-at-home mums than women born in America. There is an economic component to the change, too: at the end of the 1990s, when mothers staying at home were at their rarest, the economy was creating so many jobs that most people who wanted work could find it. Now more report that they are unable to do so, or are studying in the hope of finding work later. But there is also an element of choice: a quarter of stay-at-home mothers have college degrees.
Taken as a whole, the group includes mothers at both ends of the social scale (see chart 2). Some are highly educated bankers’ wives who choose not to work because they don’t need the money and would rather spend their time. (Read more,)
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Jadwiga (1373/4 – 1399) was monarch of Poland from 1384 to her death. Her official title was ‘king’ rather than ‘queen’, reflecting that she was a sovereign in her own right and not merely a royal consort. She was a member of the Capetian House of Anjou, the daughter of King Louis I of Hungary and Elizabeth of Bosnia. She is known in Polish as Jadwiga, in English and German as Hedwig and in Latin as Hedvigis. Queens regnant being relatively uncommon in Europe at the time, Jadwiga was officially crowned a King. She is venerated by the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Hedwig, where she is the patron saint of queens. She admired the Byzantine liturgy and attempted to unite her people through the use of Slavonic rites. In Cracow cathedral she endowed sixteen priests to sustain the Divine Office almost continuously. She also dealt with the dangerous Teutonic Knights by skillful negotiation. (Read more.)Share
ShareIn the view of so many ‘accomplished’ American students, the two-thousand-year old Catholic Church is little more than a comforting fable perpetuated by such intellectually compromised men as Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, and Cardinal John Henry Newman. (If only someone had told the early martyrs. They might have avoided being shredded by Roman lions by choosing another fairy tale in which to seek solace from worldly woes.)If these had just been acquaintances, their condescension likely would have infuriated me. But they were my friends; I knew them too well to feel anything besides heartbreak.One was the same girl who would get blackout drunk every weekend, dissolving into tears as she stumbled back from whatever party I had been summoned to collect her from. And the guy? Shortly after this conversation, he withdrew from school for an eighteen-month leave of absence to treat his ongoing battle with depression. (Read more.)
Saturday, June 18, 2016
The features of this last-named Princess were not regular, but her face expressed gentle affability, and the freshness of her complexion was remarkable; altogether, she had the charm of a pretty shepherdess. She was an angel of goodness. Many a time have I been a witness to her deeds of charity on behalf of the poor. All the virtues were in her heart: she was indulgent, modest, compassionate, devoted. In the Revolution she displayed heroic courage; she was seen going forward to meet the cannibals who had come to murder the Queen, saying, “They will mistake me for her!”
Memoirs of Madame Vigée Lebrun (Read more.)Share
Snapchat is an increasingly popular messaging and photo sharing application for iPhones, iPads and Android devices. How it works and what it does is part of the reason for the app’s success. Its premise is simple: photos or videos that are sent to a recipient can be viewed only for the number of seconds that you set on your device before they “self-destruct” on the recipient’s phone. But, is there not an Achilles Heel at play? According to Joan Knies with Crisis Connection, “[t]he app is supposed to tell you if someone takes a screenshot of your photo, but it doesn’t always work.” It gives users a “false sense of security,” she adds. Hence, in this hypersexualized age when many people send racy photos as part of their dating relationships, intimate and sexually explicit images can land anywhere in cyber space. Ironically, it becomes a temporary app with permanent consequences. (Read more.)Share
Friday, June 17, 2016
ShareMarie Antoinette did not say "Let them eat cake!"Yet "Let them eat cake!" isn't the only phrase frequently attributed to the last queen of France. A quick cursory search on Google or numerous social media platforms reveals many quotes supposedly said by Marie Antoinette. But did she really say them? Where did these quotes come from? In this new post series, 'And Marie Antoinette Said...' we will be taking a closer look at some of the most famous quotes attributed to the queen (yes, including "Let them eat cake!") to uncover their origins and hopefully their veracity."I was a queen, and you took away my crown; a wife, and you killed my husband; a mother, and you deprived me of my children. My blood alone remains: take it, but do not make me suffer long."
This popular quote is credited as having been said by Marie Antoinette at her trial. In addition to being frequently shared online, the quote was commonly included in 19th century history books and can be even bound in books published in the last hundred years. The short speech is usually placed after Marie Antoinette's death sentence is read or when she is asked if she has anything to say in her own defense before the jury begins their deliberations.
It is a moving, novel-worthy quote to be sure--something that evokes a hauntingly elegant image of the burdened former queen, slowly rising in her tattered mourning gown, addressing the Revolutionary Tribunal with all the grace and wit of a daughter of the Caesars.
But did she actually say it? (Read more.)
ISIS stands for the "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria," a terror group controlling a large swath of both Iraq and Syria in which the terrorists claim to have established a "caliphate," a state in which Islamic sharia law is imposed upon all living in the area, anyone who fails to adhere to strict Muslim guidelines has his head removed. Obama's contrary assertions aside, ISIS is by no means contained. In fact, the savage group (which prefers to be called the "Islamic State" or "IS") has metastasized on maps like immense pools of blood covering the ancient borders that once divided parts of Syria and Iraq.Share
ISIL, Obama's preference, stands for the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant." According to glaphyridae.com, "[t]he Levant in its geographical sense comprises the following political entities: the west part of Syria, Lebanon, west part of Jordan, Palestine (West Bank and Gaza Strip), Israel and Sinai (Egypt)." Other sources claim that it also encompasses parts of Turkey. All of these states embrace Islam, with one very notable exception: Israel, our only "blood brother" ally in the region that all Islamic terrorists want gone, violently and forever.
That Obama uses ISIL in discussing the terrorists is extremely telling and chilling. To those of us who keep our fingers on the pulse of Middle Eastern geopolitics, the distinctions separating ISIS and ISIL are by no means meager. It's readily apparent that Obama considers both Israel and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, thorns in each of his sides. Since 2009, his atrociously dismissive treatment of Netanyahu has been highly embarrassing, shocking, and outrageous, especially to those of us who cherish our relationship with the Jewish state. (Read more.)
Irish wakes are famous world-wide for the moments of joy and the senses of community and indomitable spirit they bring to otherwise solemn occasions. If you’ve never been to an Irish wake, or if you were looking for first-hand proof of their greatness, look no further than this video of the recent wake for Ger “Farmer” Foley in Killorglin, Co. Kerry. Ger tragically lost his battle with Cystic Fibrosis at just 45 years of age, leaving behind a wife, two young children, and a town full of friends and family members who are devastated by his loss. After the funeral, many of them gathered at Falvey’s Pub to raise a pint in Ger’s memory, and, as is customary at many Irish wakes, a few songs were sung in his honor. When Brian O’Sullivan led the crowd in a lively rendition of “Mr. Brightside,” by The Killers, which is something of a New Year’s tradition in Falveys, little did he think that a video of him would go viral or that the song’s creators would be reaching out to him online in a day’s time. (Read more.)Share
Thursday, June 16, 2016
See if you can spot the scenes that really are shot in Versailles...
"The problem with Versailles is the gardens are open seven days a week, and the building is only closed on Mondays," says Chelli. "So we booked Mondays to shoot stuff that is so specific to Versailles, which was usually the Marble Court.
"Carriages would drive into the Marble Court and up to its beautiful gilded door where they'd set down their nobles. So we shot a lot of the arrivals there. It’s big and so beautiful.
"We also filmed in the gardens and the Grand Canal – an ornamental lake, which reflects the sunset." (Read more.)Share
The eight decades from the Bolshevik Revolution to the collapse of the Iron Curtain brought waves of anti-religious repression comparable to the persecutions of the first centuries. Yet they also produced acts of witness paralleling the most heroic of Christian history. When I began gathering material for a two-volume history, I had a pretty sound grasp of what Christians, so many of them Orthodox believers, had endured. But I had little idea of the sheer scale of persecution.Share
Lenin’s power system claimed possession over minds and souls, and commanded not just obedience but also active approval. By promising absolute good, it eroded any sense of evil, unleashing primal instincts usually constrained by law and ethics. Christians were shocked at how the potestas tenebrarum, the power of evil spoken of by St Paul, had surfaced again in their own lifetimes.
“In childhood and adolescence, I immersed myself in the lives of the saints and was enraptured by their heroism and holy inspiration,” the youthful Metropolitan Benjamin of Petrograd confided to a friend as he awaited execution in 1922 as an “enemy of the people”. He and other priests were dressed in rags so the firing squad would not recognise them. “I sorrowed that times had changed and one no longer had to suffer what they suffered,” he said. “Well, times have changed again, and the opportunity has arisen to suffer for Christ both from one’s own people and from strangers.”
The paradigms of persecution and martyrdom, established in the Early Church, had indeed made a drastic comeback. Under Roman rule, there had been secret police and informers, show trials and forced labour sentences. Propagandists such as Celsus and Porphyry had ridiculed Christian beliefs, while Roman officials had followed the tactic of “striking the shepherd so the sheep will scatter” – using torture to break the will of Christians and force them to incriminate others. Whereas the Romans had defended the established religious order, communists sought to destroy it. But the impulses of suspicion and hostility were much the same. In both cases, Christians represented an alternative value system. They owed temporal loyalty to the state, but spiritual loyalty to a heavenly kingdom beyond it. When the two came into conflict, they were bound to obey God. For regimes demanding absolute submission, this could not be tolerated. (Read more.)
Widows were expected to wear special clothes to indicate that they were in mourning for up to four years after the death, although a widow could choose to wear such attire for the rest of her life. To change the costume earlier was considered disrespectful to the deceased and, if the widow was still young and attractive, suggestive of potential sexual promiscuity. Those subject to the rules were slowly allowed to re-introduce conventional clothing at specific time periods; such stages were known by such terms as “full mourning”, “half mourning”, and similar descriptions. For half mourning, muted colours such as lilac, grey and lavender could be introduced. (Read more.)Share
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Knighthood was the state of being an armored warrior on horseback, in the days when cannon and rifles had not yet banished those worthies from the battlefield. Chivalry was the code by which they attempted to live. Both were the result of marrying the Catholic Faith to Roman civilisation and the Germanic martial ardour that conquered that civilisation. To put it another way, it was the Christianisation of war. As Leon Gautier put it in his masterful work, Chivalry: “Chivalry is the Christian form of the military profession: the knight is the Christian soldier.” The Crusades had the effect of crystallising the chivalric institution, as did such practices as the Truce and the Peace of God, the knighting ceremony (a version of which found its way into the Roman Pontificale), and membership in the military orders. These latter — the Templars (later dissolved, but whose Portuguese and Aragonese branches survived), Knights Hospitaller (later of Malta), and Teutonic Order, to name a few — were regular religious orders whose vocation was to the battlefield, as others are to contemplation, teaching, or missionary work. Impressed by their work and loyalty to the Faith, late medieval kings gathered their own royal orders of knights around their persons. Moreover, as the centuries wound on, knighthood — which had been open to any proficient in arms and willing to observe the code of chivalry, and which could be conferred by any other knight, bishop, or sovereign — became ever more exclusive. More and ever more, it was conferred solely on those of noble or gentle birth by a monarch. The latter came to be sole fons honorum for his country, and many coronation rites symbolised this role by the conferring of spurs upon the new King. This was of course one of the many symptoms of the transformation of feudal Europe intonation-states. A parallel development was the arrival of gunpowder that drove the knight off the battlefield. (Read more.)Share
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
|Marie-Antoinette à la Rose by Vigée Le Brun, 1783|
|Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, self-portrait|
|Marie-Antoinette by Adolf Ulrik Wertmüller, 1788|
Why am I allowed to attend Mass on Sundays? Is it because God has commanded that I worship him, and having a social nature I must do so in union with my fellows within the bounds of the Church founded by Christ for that purpose, on the day he rose from the dead? Or is it because I want to?Share
The first answer was given by states that officially professed Catholicism. A Catholic confessional state, as they were historically called, recognized as true that Catholics bear a duty from God to attend Mass on Sundays. Given their duty, Catholics had a right to exercise it, and the right was practically expressed in Catholics’ liberty of action.
The progression thus ran from truth, to duty, to right, to liberty. Liberty in the Catholic confessional state meant a liberty of truth. This liberty, which extended to the other sacraments, to the Church’s preaching and teaching, and to the Church’s temporalities such as buildings and liturgical goods, was generally known as the liberty of the Church.
That is not the answer given to me by the governments of the United States of America and the state of Kansas. These governments, taken as a single entity for the sake of convenience, allow me to attend Mass on Sundays because I want to. The state’s answer expresses liberalism, a governing philosophy that grants liberty in matters of religion within the bounds of public order.
Is this answer, like the prior one, the answer of a confessional state? Most people would say no, because the state does not officially profess a traditional religion like Catholicism. However, the state does officially profess liberalism, and in a prior essay I have argued liberalism functions as a religion. (Read more.)
Monday, June 13, 2016
Dr. Han Suyin: Our gorgeous lie did not even last the night.One of the most lavish romantic spectacles of the 1950's, Love is a Many-Splendored Thing is a film during which sentimental people tend to cry. It is hard not to reach for a hankie as Han Suyin (Jennifer Jones) runs through the streets of Hong Kong to the "high and windy hill" where her lover Mark Elliot (William Holden) will never walk again. Of course, there was never any doubt that it would end badly. Lovely Dr. Han goes from being a respected physician, the venerated widow of a Chinese Nationalist general, to being a fallen woman with no home and no job.
~from Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)
According to Variety:
William Holden as the American correspondent, and Jennifer Jones as the Eurasian doctor, make a romantic team of great appeal. This is something of an emotional tear-jerker, to be sure, but an awfully well-made one. Han [in her autobiographical book A Many Splendored Thing] was less concerned with drama than with tracing the mating of two kindred souls in a world strange to both.With every temptation, there are plenty of moments in which it is still easy to turn back; Suyin allows herself to round the bend to the point of no return, where she is then compelled to give up everything for the love of a man who either cannot or will not marry her. I say "will not" because I have a sneaking suspicion that the excuse of "I can't marry you because my wife won't give me a divorce" was a convenient one which made having an extramarital affair appear to be the only option open to the star-crossed lovers.
Up to the middle of the film, things go rather slowly. Both director Henry King and screenwriter John Patrick apparently thought the romantic theme should be enough. Since Elliott (Holden) is married and his wife won't give him a divorce, marriage is impossible. Although compromised, and without a job at the end, Han (Jones) holds fast to her love.
King and lenser Leon Shamroy do a magnificent job in utilizing the Hong Kong backgrounds, whether in the opening shots panning down on the teeming city or in the charming little scene where Han returns to her Chungking home and is followed there by Elliott.
Holden is restrained and completely believable. Jones is pure delight in a very difficult part. In her, the spirit of the book is caught completely. Supporting cast is fine, with Isobel Elsom properly superficial as the British matron who resents Jones. Kam Tong, as the Commie doctor who urges Jones to return to Red China and 'her people,' is sinister yet wisely refrains from playing the heavy.
The general rule of thumb is that you’ll need one gallon of water per person per day. Half a gallon is used for drinking and the other half is used for hygiene. That number will go up depending on a whole host of factors. If you live in a hot climate or have pregnant or nursing women in your group, you’ll want to store more water. Alright, so a gallon a day per person is the general rule. So the question becomes, how many days without water should you prep for? Well that depends on how prepared you want to be for varying degrees of disaster. FEMA recommends that everyone have enough water to last three days should your regular water source be disrupted. Three days of water should be enough to get you through the periods of water shut-off or contamination that can happen during natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes, and ice storms. (Read more.)Share
Sunday, June 12, 2016
As we’ve already seen, governesses were a necessary feature in upper class households with children. The position came to be regarded as oppressive, socially ambiguous and somehow shameful. This is especially true of the Victorian era, when middle class and tradesman families who had acquired new wealth wanted governesses for their children as a sign of their new status (and to help their children move into a higher social sphere). In many ways, this created a new tension in that, at the same time, there was a plethora of unattached gentlewomen seeking employment who went to work for people whom they might never have considered a social equal. Within the household, a governess had the social strain of being kept “in her place” combined with the need to provide their female students with less intellectual stimulation and more accomplishments, creating a singularly isolated and intellectually arid situation. (Read more.)Share
Saturday, June 11, 2016
What is happening in Europe today was predictable and predicted.Share
At the turn of the century, in “The Death of the West,” I wrote,
Europe has begun to die. The prognosis is grim. Between 2000 and 2050, world population will grow by more than three billion to over nine billion people, but this 50 percent increase in population will come entirely in Asia, Africa and Latin America, as one hundred million people of European stock vanish from the earth.Europeans are vanishing, as the peoples of the Maghreb and Middle East, South Asia and the sub-Sahara come to fill the empty spaces left by aging and dying Europeans whose nations once ruled them.
Absent the restoration of border controls across Europe, and warships on permanent station in the Med, can the inexorable invasion be stopped? Or is “The Camp of the Saints” the future of Europe? An open question. But if the West is to survive as the unique civilization it has been, its nations must reassume control of their destinies and control of their borders.
Britain ought not to go gentle into that good night the EU has prepared for her. And a great leap to freedom can be taken June 23. (Read more.)