Sunday, November 17, 2019

Life of St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Art

St Elizabeth of Hungary Spinning for the Poor by Marianne Stokes (1855–1927)
The Devout Childhood Of Saint Elizabeth Of Hungary, 1852 by Charles Alston Collins
Elizabeth and her husband Ludwig shown with St Francis of Assisi – The German text reads : Founding of the Third Order – It is thought that Elizabeth did not meet with Francis, however, he sent her a personal message of blessing shortly before his death in 1226.
From Franciscan Seculars:
Saint Elizabeth [1207 -1231] is one of the two Patron Saints of the OFS [the other is King Louis XI of France]. We celebrate her feast day on 17th November. Born to wealth and royalty she married at a young age and was widowed by the time she was 20. She felt a great conflict between her royal status and the living standards of the poor. During 1223 she met some Franciscan Friars and embraced what St Francis had to say and turned her life-style more towards his. She assumed control of the royal household, distributing alms, giving away state garments and selling ornaments from her castle to help the poor. She arranged and paid for a hospital to be built for the poor and would make daily visits. 
In paintings and iconography Saint Elizabeth is often shown with loaves of bread or beautiful red and white roses in her apron – this event of often referred to as the Miracle of the Roses – Elizabeth had gathered together some food including meats and bread and whilst taking them secretly to the poor she met her husband “who, in order to quell suspicions of the gentry that she was stealing treasure from the castle, asked her to reveal what was hidden under her cloak. In that moment, her cloak fell open and a vision of white and red roses could be seen, which proved to Ludwig that God’s protecting hand was at work.” (Read more.)
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary by Théophile Lybaert
The Childhood of St. Elizabeth by Albrecht de Vriendt (1872)


Hit Piece on John Solomon

From The American Spectator:
You know you’ve scored when the New York Times runs a lengthy, front-page hit piece on you. Ace journalist John Solomon has scored big time — and the left-wing Times has had enough of the “all the news that’s fit to print” coming from Solomon. Here are samples from the Times hit piece. Allow me to translate. The headline:
The Man Trump Trusts for News on Ukraine
Translation: If this particular president of the United States trusts John Solomon, that means Solomon
  1. Is not to be trusted
  2. Has specious credentials as a journalist
  3. Needs to be stopped because he is extremely effective at uncovering the truth
And, most importantly, John Solomon has been a leader on Sean Hannity’s “ensemble team” of journalists who have been relentlessly investigating the attempted coup d’état against the legitimately elected president of the United States. An investigation that has unearthed one fact after another after another in thoroughly documented fashion. This is totally unacceptable. Next the Times says,
Mr. Solomon has been a surprisingly central figure in the impeachment proceedings so far. But the glare has not been so kind.
Translation: My God, Solomon is getting the truth! He has to be smeared — and stopped. Next is this:
So who exactly is John Solomon? A Washington-based reporter and Fox News personality who had until recently been working at the politics outlet The Hill, Mr. Solomon, 52, is not well known outside conservative media. But, according to interviews and testimony, his writing and commentary helped trigger the chain of events that are now the subject of the impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump.
(Read more.)

Ode to the Seine, River of Romance

From Literary Hub:
The Seine’s romantic power is rooted in her human scale. Compared with the Nile, the Amazon, or even the Hudson, she feels accessible, narrow enough to track the comings and goings on either side. Her banks are flat, her bridges densely packed and so low to the ground that you can almost touch the water. 
Then there is her grandeur. The architectural treasures that line her banks allow her to project power beyond her physical dimensions. The interplay between intimacy and power casts a spell. Painters, poets, filmmakers, photographers, historians, novelists, composers, lovers, and, these days, virtual- reality designers have fallen hopelessly in love with her. 
Monet painted from a studio boat on the Seine, Matisse and Marquet while gazing down at the river from their Paris apartments. Zola, Flaubert, and Bizet lived in houses along the Seine. Jazz great Django Reinhardt rented a place nearby. Dumas could see the river from his Château de Monte-Cristo. 
The Seine, of course, is a woman. She is called la Seine, not le Seine. Poets and songwriters refer to her as female. She takes her name and her identity from the ancient goddess Sequana, who healed ailing pilgrims at her temple at the river’s source. 
According to the French rules of geography and grammar, a river that flows into the sea, as the Seine does, should be given the masculine appellation le fleuve; many people who live and work on the Seine insist that it is feminine: la rivière, which is supposed to refer only to inland waterways. “The old word rivière is always used by the people of the water, from bargemen to bureaucrats,” wrote Francois Beaudouin, the founder of a museum on barge life in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, in his book Paris/Seine. “Fleuve,” he continued, is a word that “geographers imposed on the general public in the 19th century and that goes against the femininity of Sequana.” (Read more.)

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Life of Saint Margaret in Art

From Sharon Bennett Connolly:
Margaret of Wessex is a remarkable character to study. Her piety and devotion to the church saw her canonised as St Margaret just 150 years after her death; and named as Patroness of Scotland in the seventeenth century. Margaret had an impeccable Saxon pedigree – she was the daughter of Edward the Exile and his wife, Agatha. Edward was the son of Edmund II, usually known as Ironside, King of England in 1016; Edward’s grandfather was, therefore, Æthelred II (the Unready) and his uncle was Edward the Confessor, England’s king from 1042 until 1066. Such valuable royal blood meant she would never be allowed to pursue a life of seclusion in a convent.

When his father, Edmund II, was murdered in 1016, Edward and his younger brother Edmund were sent into exile on the Continent by England’s new king, Cnut. It is thought that Cnut intended that they would be killed once they had left English soil, but the boys were protected by Olof, King of Sweden, and sent on to safety in Kiev, where his daughter Ingegerd was wife of the ruling prince, Jaroslav the Wise. Edmund died sometime between 1046 and 1054, having married the unnamed daughter of a Hungarian king. Edward was also married, in c.1043, to Agatha, whose origins are uncertain: she may have been a daughter of Jaroslav; however, it is possible she was the daughter of Luidolf, Margrave of West Friesland and therefore a relative of Emperor Heinrich III.

Margaret, the eldest of three children, was born in either 1045 or 1046; her sister, Christina, was born around 1050 and her brother Edgar, the Ætheling, was born sometime between 1052 and 1056. The family might have spent their whole lives in European exile, were it not for Edward the Confessor lacking an heir to the English throne; although Edward was married to Edith Godwinson, the couple remained childless. Sometime in 1054 King Edward sent an embassy to Edward the Exile, to bring him back to England as ætheling, the heir to the throne. The family did not travel immediately, possibly because Agatha was pregnant with Edgar, and it was not until 1057 that they finally arrived in England, having journeyed in a ship  provided by Emperor Heinrich III. (Read more.)

King Malcolm welcomes St. Margaret
Wedding of Saint Margaret
The Family of King Malcolm and Queen St. Margaret


There’s No ‘Parental Right’ to Chemically Castrate a Child

From Crisis:
The medical and moral objections to subjecting pre-pubescent children to irreversible sex-change procedures have been treated thoroughly elsewhere. The vast majority of children who struggle with their biological sex eventually come to embrace it, to the tune of over 90 percent. But if sex-change hormones or other procedures like surgeries take place, children—at least 90 percent of whom would eventually come to love their biological sex—are rendered sexually stunted or even infertile. Medical professionals from pediatricians to psychologists, ranging from conservative Catholics to pro-gay rights progressives, have expressed serious concerns with the rapidly increasing practice of affirming gender dysphoria among young children. All of this is well documented by many experts. 
However, this situation has a challenging nuance, as it involves the issue of parental rights. For Catholics, a proper understanding of parental authority, responsibility, and the rights that derive from that responsibility is necessary to sustain civilization. In a situation like this, what authority do parents truly have over their children, and how ought the civil government mediate when there is a disagreement between two parents about how to raise a child? (Read more.)

Food That Helps Battle Depression

From the Wall Street Journal:
Now recent studies show that a healthy diet may not only prevent depression, but could effectively treat it once it’s started. Researchers, led by epidemiologist Felice Jacka of Australia’s Deakin University, looked at whether improving the diets of people with major depression would help improve their mood. They chose 67 people with depression for the study, some of whom were already being treated with antidepressants, some with psychotherapy, and some with both. Half of these people were given nutritional counseling from a dietitian, who helped them eat healthier. Half were given one-on-one social support—they were paired with someone to chat or play cards with—which is known to help people with depression.

 After 12 weeks, the people who improved their diets showed significantly happier moods than those who received social support. And the people who improved their diets the most improved the most. The study was published in January 2017 in BMC Medicine. A second, larger study drew similar conclusions and showed that the boost in mood lasted six months. It was led by researchers at the University of South Australia and published in December 2017 in Nutritional Neuroscience.

And later this month in Los Angeles at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting, researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago will present results from their research that shows that elderly adults who eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains are less likely to develop depression over time.

The findings are spurring the rise of a new field: nutritional psychiatry. Dr. Jacka helped to found the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research in 2013. It held its first conference last summer. She’s also launched Deakin University’s Food & Mood Centre, which is dedicated to researching and developing nutrition-based strategies for brain disorders.

The annual American Psychiatric Association conference has started including presentations on nutrition and psychiatry, including one last year by chef David Bouley on foods that support the peripheral nervous system. And some medical schools, including Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, are starting to teach psychiatry residents about the importance of diet on mental health.

Depression has many causes—it may be genetic, triggered by a specific event or situation, such as loneliness, or brought on by lifestyle choices. But it’s really about an unhealthy brain, and too often people forget this. “When we think of cardiac health, we think of strengthening an organ, the heart,” says Drew Ramsey, a psychiatrist in New York, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia and author of “Eat Complete.” “We need to start thinking of strengthening another organ, the brain, when we think of mental health.”

A bad diet makes depression worse, failing to provide the brain with the variety of nutrients it needs, Dr. Ramsey says. And processed or deep-fried foods often contain trans fats that promote inflammation, believed to be a cause of depression. To give people evidenced-based information, Dr. Ramsey created an e-course called “Eat to Beat Depression.” (Read more.)

Friday, November 15, 2019

Dangerous to Be an Heir

Margaret Clifford, another red-headed Tudor heiress
Everyone knows about Frances Brandon and her daughters the Grey sisters, but how many know about Eleanor Brandon and her daughter Margaret Clifford. From Stephanie Mann:
Margaret Stanley, Countess of Derby, who died on September 28, 1596, is another example of an heir to Elizabeth I who found out how dangerous that position was. Like the Grey sisters, Catherine and Mary (and Jane before them), she was an heir because her grandmother (on her mother's side) was Mary Tudor, former Queen of France, wife of Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, and Henry VIII's younger sister. Her father was Henry Clifford, 2nd Earl of Cumberland and her mother Lady Eleanor Brandon, the Brandon's second daughter.

Because she was a possible successor, whom she would marry was an important decision. John Dudley, the 1st Duke of Northumberland suggested in 1552 that she should marry his son Guildford, but Edward VI was opposed to that alliance (thus Dudley had that son available to marry Lady Jane Grey); then Dudley's brother Andrew was mentioned. Finally, when Mary I came to the throne, Margaret Clifford married Henry Stanley, 4th Earl of Derby. As this blog explains her situation:
She was the great granddaughter of Henry VII and according to Henry VIII’s will if anything happened to Elizabeth she would become queen of England. She therefore became Elizabeth’s heir presumptive. It was not a good place to be.

Before then she’d managed to avoid becoming a pawn in the game of crowns through her father’s forethought and then through her own lack of popularity. In 1553 the Duke of Northumberland had proposed to marry her to either his son, Guildford, or his brother, Sir Andrew Dudley, but Cumberland refused the match on his daughter’s behalf and took no part in the attempt to make Lady Jane Grey queen (sensible man).

Instead, Margaret was married with Queen Mary’s blessing in Westminster Abbey in February 1555 to Henry Stanley, Lord Strange. He was descended from the Woodvilles, Howards, Nevilles and a certain Thomas Stanley who happened to be married to Margaret Beaufort and who sat around on hillsides during key battles of the Wars of the Roses waiting to see how it would all pan out – landing the title Earl of Derby for his pains.

By 1557 Margaret was recorded as saying that Lady Jane Grey’s treason had excluded her sisters, Catherine and Mary Grey, from the succession, thus making Margaret, Queen Mary’s heiress presumptive…yes I know there was Elizabeth to take into consideration but Mary’s relationship with her sister was fraught by 1557. Mary was fond of stating that Elizabeth had the look of lute player Mark Smeaton. There was also the fact that Elizabeth was notably not Catholic whereas Margaret was. . . .
But Mary I was more obedient to the wishes of her father and the decisions of Parliament to interfere with the line of succession. Her great hope was to have a son to displace Elizabeth, not contravene the settled succession. Nevertheless, Margaret's troubles continued apace as she speculated on her opportunity to succeed Elizabeth I during her reign:
Lady Strange developed a dangerous interest in alchemy, to which she had been introduced by her father. An interest in the occult, although widespread among Elizabethans, could be a dangerous hobby; an interest in fortune-telling especially so for one in Margaret's position on the periphery of the succession dispute. From 1572, Margaret was countess of Derby. She consulted with wizards "with a vain credulity, and out of I know not what ambitious hope”, according to William Camden, and lost the Queen’s favor. In 1578 she was accused of employing a "magician", actually a well-known physician named Dr. Randall, to cast spells to discover how long Queen Elizabeth would live. According to one source, Randall was hanged and Margaret was banished from court and spent the rest of her life, eighteen years, in the custody of her kinsman, Thomas Seckford (d.1587), Master of Requests, to whom she was related through his mother, Margaret (d. 1557), the daughter of Sir John Wingfield (d. 1509) of Letheringham, and aunt of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Later she had a series of keepers, although she was allowed to live in her own house at Isleworth. (Read more.)

Trump Derangement Syndrome On Steroids

From David Limbaugh at The Daily Wire:
What’s exhausting is the ceaseless leftist noise machine railing against Trump. Leftists need to remove the smudges from their mirrors and see that they are projecting. They are the ones who have been vicious and hateful toward Trump from the beginning. They have wrongly accused him — and his supporters (half of Americans) — of racism and cruelty. They have contempt for all his supporters. Yet has Trump called them Nazis? Racists?

If you don’t believe me, read Waldman’s elaboration: “For many the mere fact that Trump could win in 2016 (even if he got three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton) was reason enough to lose faith in their country in a fundamental way. Eight years before they had convinced themselves that Barack Obama’s election meant America could be the place they wanted it to be: inclusive, tolerant, progressive, hopeful. Trump came along and told them that America was not that place.”

What? Precisely the opposite is true. Progressives are the antithesis of inclusion, tolerance and hope. They are intolerant of opposing viewpoints, and they readily use the power of government and social media giants to suppress conservative speech and religious liberty. They bully conservatives out of restaurants and college campuses. They are anything but hopeful. Former President Obama’s team told us the days of 3% growth were over. President Trump rejected the naysaying and gave us an economic boom, fulfilling his campaign promises and restoring hope. (Read more.)

Child-Sacrifice Graveyard

More on paganism in South America. From PJ Media:
Every Columbus Day, liberals insist that the story of European colonization is a simple narrative of good versus evil: horrible Europeans came upon innocent Native Americans, introducing slavery, exploitation, and oppression. A massive archaeological discovery blows one of many gaping holes in this narrative. While Europeans did indeed do horrible things, the natives weren't exactly innocent. 
Two hundred and fifty skeletons of children between the ages of 4 and 14 have been unearthed at Huanchaco, Peru, in what experts say is likely the world's largest child-sacrifice site. Huanchaco is a site of the Chimú culture (1200-1400), a predecessor to the mighty Inca Empire, which also carried out child sacrifices. "This is the biggest site where the remains of sacrificed children have been found," the excavation’s chief archaeologist, Feren Castillo, told AFP in August. "There isn’t another like it anywhere else in the world." (Read more.)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Louis XIV with His Mother and Brother

Painting by Philippe de Champaigne (1602–1674) depicting the Child Jesus with His Mother handing the crown of France to young Louis XIV, shown with his mother Anne of Austria and his brother Philippe. Share

Trump Impeachment: Blueprint to Overthrow Government From Within

From The Hill:
The Democrats do not even pretend that their impeachment game is fair or actually about fact finding. This is simply about using a grant of power in the Constitution arbitrarily and politically, outside the bounds of due process and the purpose of that authority. Although the House does have the “sole power” of impeachment, that is a grant of jurisdiction, not a license to proceed on purely partisan motivation. Article 1 must work coordinately and not inconsistently with Article 2, which provides the legal basis upon which a sitting president may be impeached. 
Second, Schiff demonstrates this is all about media play in the court of public opinion. Voters have no power or responsibility in an impeachment proceeding. The drafters of the Constitution intended the impeachment and removal process to be exercised only when there was sufficient evidence that the subject of the impeachment had committed a legally qualifying offense. This is not about whether impeachment is popular in the polls or whether a majority of Americans prefer it. Transparency in the context of this quasi judicial process is to provide fundamental fairness and due process for the president. Why are the Democrats so hellbent on blatantly refusing to allow Republican subpoenas and witnesses? 
It is because it is a sham. Yet the Democrats are openly admitting that their goal is to try this in the media and attempt to dishonestly convince us that somehow we too should hate Donald Trump. They are hoping to convince us not to vote for him. That is not a legitimate or constitutional purpose of an impeachment. It is rather ironic that they claim his “crime” is an alleged quid pro quo to gain political advantage, while they are manipulating the power of impeachment for their political advantage. It is Schiff and other Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who should be impeached. There is an actual constitutional basis for that. 
Third, Schiff is proving beyond doubt that this entire impeachment is merely a coordinated partisan attack against President Trump and, even more importantly, against the government of the United States. There was a bipartisan effort was against impeachment, with two Democrats and all Republicans in the House voting against the inquiry. The Democrats are abusing the power of impeachment and, if they are allowed to move forward, they are not only setting a terrible precedent that impeachment can be wielded as a political weapon that it was never intended to be, but also attacking the Constitution and undermining the rule of law. (Read more.)

The Ukrainian Famine

From History:
At the height of the 1932-33 Ukrainian famine under Joseph Stalin, starving people roamed the countryside, desperate for something, anything to eat. In the village of Stavyshche, a young peasant boy watched as the wanderers dug into empty gardens with their bare hands. Many were so emaciated, he recalled, that their bodies began to swell and stink from the extreme lack of nutrients. 
"You could see them walking about, just walking and walking, and one would drop, and then another, and so on it went," he said many years later, in a case history collected in the late 1980s by a Congressional commission. In the cemetery outside the village hospital, overwhelmed doctors carried the bodies on stretchers and tossed them into an enormous pit. 
The Ukrainian famine—known as the Holodomor, a combination of the Ukrainian words for “starvation” and “to inflict death”—by one estimate claimed the lives of 3.9 million people, about 13 percent of the population. And, unlike other famines in history caused by blight or drought, this was caused when a dictator wanted both to replace Ukraine’s small farms with state-run collectives and punish independence-minded Ukrainians who posed a threat to his totalitarian authority. 
“The Ukrainian famine was a clear case of a man-made famine,” explains Alex de Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University and author of the 2018 book, Mass Starvation: The History and Future of Famine. He describes it as “a hybrid…of a famine caused by calamitous social-economic policies and one aimed at a particular population for repression or punishment.” (Read more.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Young Louis XIV Meets His Aunt, Queen Henrietta Maria

A painting by the Belgian artist Henri Decaisne (1799–1852) depicting the meeting of the exiled  Henrietta Maria, Queen of England, with her nephews Louis XIV and Philip. From Wikipedia:
Gaston de France, Duke of Orléans presents his sister widowed Queen Henrietta Maria of England to Anne of Austria, regent of France for Louis XIV. The infant Louis XIV in peach stands in front of his mother and next to his brother Philippe de France, Duke of Anjou. Queen Henrietta Maria stands between Gaston and his daughter la Grand Mademoiselle. Cardinal Mazarin is behind Queen Anne.

Socialism Isn't the Cure

From Victor Davis Hanson at Townhall:
Massive immigration is changing the demography of the United States. The number of foreign-born U.S. residents and their children has been estimated at almost 60 million, or about 1 in 5 U.S. residents. Some 27 percent of California residents were born outside of America. Many of these immigrants flee from poor areas of Latin America, Mexico, Africa and Asia that were wrecked by statism and socialism. Often, they arrive in the U.S. unaware of economic and political alternatives to state socialism. 
When they reach the U.S. -- often without marketable skills and unable to speak English -- many assume that America will simply offer a far better version of the statism from which they fled. Consequently, many take for granted that government will provide them an array of social services, and they become supportive of progressive socialism. Another culprit for the new socialist craze is the strange leftward drift of the very wealthy in Silicon Valley, in corporate America and on Wall Street. 
Some of the new progressive rich feel guilty about their unprecedented wealth. So they champion redistribution as the sort of medieval penance that alleviates guilt. Yet the influential and monied classes usually are so well off that higher taxes hardly affect them. Instead, redistributionist taxation hurts the struggling middle classes. In California, it became hip for wealthy leftists to promote socialism from their Malibu, Menlo Park or Mill Valley enclaves -- while still living as privileged capitalists. Meanwhile, it proved nearly impossible for the middle classes of Stockton and Bakersfield to cope with the reality of crushing taxes and terrible social services.
From 2008 to 2017, the now-multimillionaire Barack Obama, first as candidate and then as president, used all sorts of cool socialist slogans, from "spread the wealth around" and "now is not the time to profit" to "you didn't build that" and "at a certain point you've made enough money." Universities bear much of the blame. Their manipulation of the federal government to guarantee student loans empowered them to jack up college costs without any accountability. Liberal college administrators and faculty did not care much when graduates left campus poorly educated and unable to market their expensive degrees. More than 45 million borrowers now struggle with nearly $1.6 trillion in collective student debt, with climbing interest. That indebtedness has delayed -- or ended -- the traditional forces that encourage conservatism and traditionalism, such as getting married, having children and buying a home.

Instead, a generation of single, childless and mostly urban youth feels cheated that their high-priced degrees did not earn them competitive salaries. Millions of embittered college graduates will never be able to pay off what they owe -- and want some entity to pay off their debts. (Read more.)

The Original Hamlet: The Story of Prince Amleth

From Medievalists:
The career of Amleth is found in the second part of Book III and the first part of Book IV of Saxo Grammaticus’s Gesta Danorum, ‘Deeds of the Danes’. Written in the early 13th century and composed in Latin, this ambitious work is intended to relate the heroic, legendary history of the Danes from mythical times – very much in the same spirit of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum britanniae. 
For a very long time, Amleth’s tale has been a point of interest, for it inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet, even though Shakespeare is believed to have never gained access to the text except via translated and redacted versions. 
The first part tells about Amleth’s lineage, youth, and his famed revenge, which form the basis of Hamlet’s plot. It starts as a kind of side story branched out from the account of the rule of Rørik, king of the Danes at the time. He installed two brothers, Orvendil and Fengi, as co-governors of Jutland. Orvendil accumulated much wealth through the years by raiding and became so greatly favoured by the king that Rørik married his daughter Gerutha to Orvendil. They had a son, Amleth. (Read more.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Decollation of Sir Walter Raleigh

The History website tells us why Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded on October 29, 1618:
He was a celebrated soldier, a hero on land and sea. He was responsible for the first ever English colonies in the New World. And he wrote poetry that ranks with some of the finest in early modern England. Yet at the age of 54 Sir Walter Raleigh was executed for treason. What caused the downfall of this beloved Renaissance courtier? 
For a court favorite, Raleigh actually spent quite a bit of his life locked up in the Tower of London. The first time, in 1592, it was because he’d secretly married his lover, Elizabeth ‘Bess’ Throckmorton, a lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth I. Bess was already pregnant, which explained both the marriage and the secrecy. Enraged by their plotting behind her back, Elizabeth dismissed Bess and imprisoned both of them in the Tower. 
 Raleigh did regain the Queen's favor eventually and then explored the New World, founding the Roanoke colony in Virginia, and returning from El Dorado (Guyana) promising more gold every time he visited.
While he remained in Elizabeth’s favor until her death, James VI’s of Scotland’s accession to the English throne as James I meant that Raleigh’s fortunes plummeted. This was largely because James was attempting a diplomatic rapprochement with Spain, England’s longstanding enemy, against whom Raleigh had been a formidable foe. England’s funds were depleted by their endless struggles against Spain’s richer, mightier forces, so James decided it was time to end the rivalry. . . .
So Raleigh was tried in a sham trial--never allowed to face his accuser and question him--and imprisoned again:
But James, in his determination to get on Spain’s good side, locked up Raleigh once again in the Tower—this time for 13 years. . . .It was likely Raleigh’s promises of gold that got him released from prison before his sentence could be carried out: in 1617 he was pardoned so that he could once again travel to Guyana in search of El Dorado. But that quest would ultimately prove fatal: during the expedition a detachment of Raleigh’s men (against his orders) attacked a Spanish outpost, an action that directly contravened the conditions of his pardon.
Because Raleigh's men, led by Lawrence Keymis, had violated the 1604 Treaty of London, the Spanish Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Diego Sarmiento de Acuña, Count of Gondomar, demanded Raleigh's execution (Keymis having committed suicide--Raleigh's namesake eldest son had died in the attack) and James I complied. Raleigh was executed at Whitechapel in London. (Read more.)


Slave Markets on Instagram

Slavery is alive and well. From the BBC:
Posing as a couple newly arrived in Kuwait, the BBC Arabic undercover team spoke to 57 app users and visited more than a dozen people who were trying to sell them their domestic worker via a popular commodity app called 4Sale. The sellers almost all advocated confiscating the women's passports, confining them to the house, denying them any time off and giving them little or no access to a phone. The 4Sale app allowed you to filter by race, with different price brackets clearly on offer, according to category. 
"African worker, clean and smiley," said one listing. Another: "Nepalese who dares to ask for a day off." When speaking to the sellers, the undercover team frequently heard racist language. "Indians are the dirtiest," said one, describing a woman being advertised. The team were urged by app users, who acted as if they were the "owners" of these women, to deny them other basic human rights, such as giving them a "day or a minute or a second" off. One man, a policeman, looking to offload his worker said: "Trust me she's very nice, she laughs and has a smiley face. Even if you keep her up till 5am she won't complain." He told the BBC team how domestic workers were used as a commodity. "You will find someone buying a maid for 600 KD ($2,000), and selling her on for 1,000 KD ($3,300)," he said.(Read more.)

The Murder That Inspired Hardy’s ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’

From Nancy Bilyeau at Medium:
In Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles, the title character possesses the kind of beauty that draws a certain sort of attention: “A small minority, mainly strangers, would look long at her in casually passing by, and grow momentarily fascinated by her freshness, and wonder if they would ever see her again: but to almost everybody she was a fine and picturesque country girl, and nothing more.” 
But that attention leads to tragedy for Tess, who, after being abused and mistreated by the man whom she lives with, finally murders him. At the end of the novel, Tess is hanged in the “city of Wintoncester, that fine old city.” The reader is spared the details of this execution, only being told that a black flag slowly moves up the staff after the execution is finished. 
It was otherwise for Thomas Hardy, author of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, who when he was 16 years old witnessed the public hanging of a woman charged with murdering her husband. Martha Brown became the last woman to be hanged in Dorset when in 1856, aged 44, she was found guilty of murdering her violent husband after he had beaten her with a whip during an argument. (Read more.)

Monday, November 11, 2019

An Anglo-Saxon Hoard

From The Daily Mail:
A collection of Anglo-Saxon gold artefacts known as the Staffordshire hoard has been hailed as 'one of the greatest finds of British archaeology' by researchers. The 'war hoard' collection was discovered by metal detectorist Terry Herbert who was using a £2 metal detector he bought from a car boot sale to explore a field near Lichfield belonging to farmer Fred Johnson. Their find on July 5, 2009 was sold off to museums for £3.285million and the funds were split between them. The artefacts are from what is widely considered the 'holy war of the dark ages' in which Pagan leaders fought against rival Christian kingdoms. Since then, the ancient haul dating back to between AD600 and AD650 has become an international sensation. And scientists now believe the hoard belonged to one of the most most powerful Anglo-Saxon Kings of the time.  Penda was part of the Battle of Hatfield Chase where Northumbrian King Edwin was defeated.

Researchers, lead by Dr Chris Fern, have identified nearly 700 items, out of 4,6000 pieces, from a time where Anglo-Saxon kingdoms engaged in brutal battles. Dr Fern believes the items were taken from Northumbria and east England by Mercian armies from a kingdom in the centre of what is now England, The Guardian reports. The hoard, which was likely hastily buried but never recovered, includes what could be a 'battle shrine' containing a processional cross that suggests that Christian emblems were used as good-luck charms for battle. An inscription from the book of numbers, the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, is also included in the collection. It reads: 'Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee,' The Times reports. (Read more.)

More HERE. Share

Triggering "The View"

From Charlie Kirk at Newsweek:
Don Jr., along with Dr. Sebastian Gorka and others, have been rightly outraged by the double standard shown by the media in protecting this person who is not entitled to legal protection. Accordingly, they shared the worst-kept-secret in Washington with the social media universe. This has caused an outpouring of self-righteous indignation from the usual gang of triggered Orwellians who call themselves "progressives." 
And now, ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to The View. Huntsman, one of the show's two presumed "conservatives," who is about as conservative as Bill Kristol, shared how disturbed she was about his leaker "outing" (which, remember, wasn't an outing) because she "lived in China" and this is what governments like that one do. Sunny Hostin (who mentions her life as a former federal prosecutor about as often as Forrest Gump said his name) declared that her law degree tells her Don Jr. broke the law. Earlier in the week, Hostin told the audience that if she were still a prosecutor, she would have Paul arrested for witness tampering for suggesting the name of the leaker be released. Hostin's intolerance would make her an excellent government prosecutor in China should she ever decide to leave television. (Read more.)

How Pornography Removes Empathy

From a couple years ago but worth reading again. From The Conversation:
In short, empathy and sexual objectification are incompatible. There is evidence that when observers hone in on a woman’s physical appearance, she becomes “less human” and “more object” in the eyes of the observer. Under a sexually objectifying gaze, women’s bodies momentarily become the “property” of the observer – whether they have consented or not. 
Psychologists have also argued that pornographic scripts emphasize culturally accepted standards of beauty. They also propagate the myth that women (and men) have insatiable sexual appetites, and glamorize sexual novelty and sex outside of a romantic relationship. Such narratives tend not to involve affection, intimacy, or expressions of love in any “real” sense. 
Recent analyses of the 50 bestselling adult films also suggest that objectification and lack of empathetic concern for women’s feelings and welfare are the norm. Of 304 scenes analysed, almost half contained verbal aggression, and over 88% contained physical aggression. Most of these aggressive acts were perpetrated by men, and the most common responses by female actors were either of pleasure or neutrality. 
In essence, pornographic “reality” (an increasingly normal reality for millions of men) is a reality devoid of empathetic concern for women. It is a reality where women are routinely treated as sexual objects, and where women respond positively or neutrally to such treatment. With pornography so popular and so accessible, it is perhaps unsurprising that such relational attitudes are embedded in the male psyche. (Read more.)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Mourning Dress - Black Clothing Worn During Bereavement

The Infanta Margarita
From Bellatory:
For over 500 years, wearing black signified bereavement. In Europe and America, black was the color of mourning, worn at funerals and for some time after the death of a loved one. Originally a custom for royalty and aristocracy who were experiencing grief, mourning dress eventually became a fashion statement worn by people who wished to imitate the elite. 
Wearing black clothing has often taken on a social significance. During the Middle Ages, wealthy Spanish gentlemen wore black velvet to display status as black dyes were expensive. 
In the mid 20th century, beatniks in the United States wore black to separate themselves from the herd, as a sort of counterculture trademark. More recently, certain groups of young people wore black to distinguish themselves as Goths. 
Black clothing has long been associated with the clergy and asceticism. 
And Johnny Cash called himself The Man in Black in a song in which he claims to wear black for political and social reasons, for the poor, and people living troubled lives. (Read more.)

Why Is Christopher Steele Still a Thing?

From Rolling Stones:
If you read this and thought it was silly, you weren’t alone. In early 2017, CNN anchor Jake Tapper wrote to Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith in a snit, complaining that Smith had been “irresponsible” and “uncollegial” when he published the dossier. Was Tapper upset that Smith had broken with ethical tradition by publishing unverified material, defaming a string of named human beings as traitorous spies without evidence?
Nope. Tapper was mad that Smith had defamed the story by showing where it came from! “I think your move makes the story less serious and credible,” he wrote, in an email produced as part of a lawsuit against Buzzfeed. “I think you damaged its impact.” Tapper apparently liked the Steele tale better when it was coming out in bits, through more politically astute sources like his buddy and future co-worker, the former director of national intelligence James Clapper, one of the four Sneaky Petes who presented Trump with the Steele synopsis.
The now-accepted notion that Steele’s importance lay in his “central claim” of Russian cyber-interference is still more revisionist propaganda. The headline of Steele’s first report was about Trump’s “compromising relationship” with the Kremlin, and the heavy focus of the “original” (i.e., non-verifiable) material in the dossier is the “two-way” Trump-Russia plot.
The American intelligence community published a conclusion about Russian interference in early January 2017 (the many coverage oddities surrounding that story comprise another subject for another time). America didn’t lose its mind for the two ensuing years because of Russian hacking, but rather because of the widespread belief that the new president was a long-cultivated Russian agent who would be found out at any moment, across years of “tipping points” and “beginnings of the end.” (Read more.)

Eleanor of England

Queen of Castile and grandmother of St. Louis IX, through her daughter Blanca. From :
Eleanor and Alfonso appear to have had a very successful marriage, and a close, trusting relationship. Eleanor is renowned for introducing her mother’s Poitevin culture into the Castilian court. The court encouraged the culture and architecture of Eleanor’s youth, whilst blending it with the luxuries offered by the neighbouring Moorish culture. Castilian poet Ramon Vidal described Eleanor as “Queen Leonore modestly clad in a mantle of rich stuff, red, with a silver border wrought with golden lions.” While the troubadour Pierre Vidal described to Eleanor as elegant and gracious.

Eleanor and Alfonso would have 7 children that survived infancy. Their eldest daughter Berengaria would marry Alfonso IX, King of Leon, and would act as regent in Castile for her younger brother, Henry I, before succeeding him as queen regnant. Berengaria and Alfonso’s marriage was dissolved by the papacy, on the grounds of consanguinity; but their children were declared legitimate. Shortly after succeeding to the throne of Castile, Berengaria abdicated in favour of her son, Ferdinand III, but continued to act as his closest adviser. (Read more.)

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Portrait of Katherine the Queen

From Joy of Museums:
“Catherine of Aragon” depicts the first wife of King Henry VIII. The daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, Catherine was betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the English throne. They married in 1501, but Arthur died five months later. Catherine subsequently married Arthur’s younger brother, King Henry VIII, in 1509. 
By 1525, Henry VIII was dissatisfied that his marriage to Catherine had produced no surviving sons. He sought to have their wedding annulled, and when Pope Clement VII refused to annul the marriage, Henry defied him by assuming supremacy over religious matters. In 1533 their marriage was declared invalid on the judgment of clergy in England, without reference to the Pope. 
The artist is unknown, but the painting has been attributed to Johannes Corvus, a Flemish portrait painter, and native of Bruges, who came to England and Latinised his name to Jan Rave. Several other English painting of this period has been attributed to him. (Read more.)

Antifa’s Ultimate Goal Is Communism

From The Daily Signal:
The Portland, Oregon-based journalist who was beaten last summer by Antifa extremists says the violent leftist group’s ultimate goal is to establish a communist state.

“Antifa is a far-left ideology and movement which brings together radical communists and anarchists seeking a revolution that would result in communism,” Andy Ngo said Thursday in an appearance at The Heritage Foundation. “But they believe that they can do it and secure a communist society without the national borders, law enforcement, the military, or state authoritarianism that has represented other communist revolutions,” Ngo, who is in his early 30s, said in a packed auditorium at the think tank’s headquarters on Capitol Hill. Ngo, editor-at-large for the Canada-based Post Millennial, was beaten and kicked by Antifa members in June while covering the leftist group’s protest of a march in Portland held by the far-right Fat Boys. (Read more.)

The Difference One Racist Made

From Human Life International:
Those who espouse eugenics believe that only the fit should be allowed to live. Many eugenics proponents—like Hitler—believed in a master race, at the exclusion of any other person or race deemed unfit. After reading all 5,631 pages of the Birth Control Review, HLI’s Director of Education and Research, Brian Clowes, PhD, wrote:
Sanger associated with racists and anti-Semites, people who despised everyone who was not a Nordic god or goddess, and those who demanded coercive eugenics programs to eliminate ‘lesser’ humans. The whole bunch, of course, participated in continuous vicious attacks on the Catholic Church….The malignant influence of Sanger and similar thinkers not only has ruined the West to the point that it is dying, but seems hell-bent on corrupting the rest of the world as well.
Clowes’ massive library compiled at HLI contains thousands of texts, including many of Sanger’s writers herself. He went on to say: “The Birth Control Review frequently highlighted the mission of its parent organization: ‘The American Birth Control League. Its Aim: To promote eugenic birth selection throughout the United States so that there may be more well‑born and fewer ill‑born children―a stronger, healthier and more intelligent race.’” (Read more.)

Friday, November 8, 2019

Walking and Stepping: A History of the Shoe

Marie-Antoinette's shoe
From Apollo:
This slipper, which belonged to Marie-Antoinette in 1792, measures just five centimetres wide and 21 long – the equivalent of a UK shoe size one today. The question of how the queen’s foot could have fit such a small shoe was the spark igniting this exhibition’s investigation into the history of footwear. Research shows that it was customary for aristocratic women of the 18th century to wear shoes that they struggled to walk in, with tiny feet and small steps used to signify social status.
Shoes for women in the 19th century were often uncomfortably constricting, with pointed toes that required the wearer’s toes to curl up. These lavender silk slippers belonged to the socialite and salonnière Juliette Récamier, and their narrow shape calls to mind an 1805 article in the Journal de Paris that described ‘ladies [who] make […] every effort to shorten and shrink their feel in all directions’, and compared the behaviour to foot-binding practices in China. (Read more.)
Madame Récamier's slipper

The “Most Colossal Crime of All Ages”

A new U.S. resolution acknowledging the Armenian Genocide has Turkey outraged. From FrontPageMag:
An ugly truth of history has just been acknowledged.  On October 29, the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (405 to 11) in favor of Resolution 296, which acknowledges the Armenian genocide perpetrated by Ottoman Turks during WW1.  (Unsurprisingly, Ilhan Omar was among the very few to abstain; her disingenuous logic will be addressed later.) In order to become official policy, however, the resolution needs to be approved by both houses of Congress, and then signed by the president.  The Senate is currently not scheduled to vote on the measure. It is at any rate a step in the right direction.  According to the book Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide,

At the beginning of 1915 there were some two million Armenians within Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000….  Despite the vast amount of evidence that points to the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, eyewitness accounts, official archives, photographic evidence, the reports of diplomats, and the testimony of survivors, denial of the Armenian Genocide by successive regimes in Turkey has gone on from 1915 to the present.

Indeed, Turkey is currently outraged at this resolution; its president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, called it “worthless” and the “biggest insult” to the Turkish people. Such willful denial borders the surreal considering how well documented the Armenian genocide is.  As the International Association of Genocide Scholars says, “the Armenian Genocide is not controversial, but rather is denied only by the Turkish government and its apologists.” (Read more.)

John Adams: A Medical Mystery?

Many people have bad tempers without being bipolar. I doubt that a man with such great accomplishments as John Adams would have such a debilitating illness as bipolar disorder. He was a brilliant attorney and the conscience of the American Revolution. They would not have sent him on a diplomatic mission to France if he had been a nutcase. From The Philadelphia Inquirer:
John Adams, the second U.S. president, was born with a proverbial chip on his shoulder. Contemporaries noted his frequent mood swings and behavior shifts. As a student, he suffered depressive episodes attributed to overwork. He abandoned early plans to study medicine, and instead went into law, disappointing his father, a Congregationalist deacon who wanted his son and namesake to enter the clergy.
People-pleasing seemed not to be one of his priorities. As a young, ambitious lawyer, he took on the task of representing British Redcoats accused of murdering five Bostonians. His neighbors were furious with him, but Adams insisted everyone deserved a fair trial. He won his clients’ acquittal.
In Philadelphia as a member of the Continental Congress, Adams argued passionately for independence from Britain. He was chastised by Benjamin Franklin for his bluntness, insulting other members for what he saw as their loyalty to the British crown. His temper alienated even those whose politics he admired.
He took his attitude with him to France in November 1779, when he was sent to negotiate an alliance at the court of Louis XVI. He behaved so undiplomatically, Franklin had him removed from the mission. From there, he became commissioner to the Netherlands to plead for financial aid to help his new nation. With his efforts meeting firm resistance, he became so unwell and withdrawn, he was said to be in a “coma” for five days. (Read more.)

Thursday, November 7, 2019

An Heirloom Wedding Gown

From My Modern Met:
When it came to finding “something old” to wear to her wedding, Pennsylvania native Abigail Kingston didn’t have to look beyond her family tree. The 30-year-old bride-to-be knew she wanted to be married in her family’s special heirloom–a 120-year-old wedding dress that has been worn by 10 women in her family, including her own mother. The two-piece Victorian gown was first worn by Kingston’s great-great-grandmother in 1895, and has been passed down from family member to family member ever since. Kingston tracked down the dress, which was last donned in 1991, only to find that the garment had turned brown and was falling apart from over a century of use. She decided to turn to expert bridal designer Deborah LoPresti for help. After 200 painstaking hours of work–which included adding new sleeves, lightening the brown shade to a champagne color, and altering the silk and satin garment to fit Kingston’s tall, thin frame–the dress was finally restored to a beautiful state. (Read more.)


From John Solomon Reports:
In recent interviews, Joe Biden has distanced himself from his son’s work at a Ukrainian gas company that was under investigation during the Obama years, with the former vice president  suggesting he didn’t even know Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma Holdings. There is plenty of evidence that conflicts with the former vice president’s account, including Hunter Biden’s own story that he discussed the company once with his famous father. There also was a December 2015 New York Times story that raised the question of whether Hunter Biden’s role at Burisma posed a conflict of interest for the vice president, especially when Joe Biden was leading the fight against Ukrainian corruption while Hunter Biden’s firm was under investigation by Ukrainian prosecutors.

But whatever the Biden family recollections, the Obama State Department clearly saw the Burisma Holdings investigation in the midst of the 2016 presidential election as a Joe Biden issue. Memos newly released through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Southeastern Legal Foundation on my behalf detail how State officials in June 2016 worked to prepare the new U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, to handle a question about “Burisma and Hunter Biden.”

In multiple drafts of a question-and-answer memo prepared for Yovanovitch’s Senate confirmation hearing, the department’s Ukraine experts urged the incoming ambassador to stick to a simple answer. “Do you have any comment on Hunter Biden, the Vice President’s son, serving on the board of Burisma, a major Ukrainian Gas Company?,” the draft Q&A asked. The recommended answer for Yovanovitch: “For questions on Hunter Biden’s role in Burisma, I would refer you to Vice President Biden’s office.” The Q&A is consistent with other information flowing out of State. As I reported yesterday, when a Burisma representative contacted State in February 2016 to ask for the department’s help in quashing the corruption allegations, Hunter Biden’s role on the company’s board was prominently cited. And a senior State Department official who testified recently in the impeachment proceedings reportedly told lawmakers he tried to warn the vice president’s office that Burisma posed a conflict for Joe Biden but was turned aside.

There are no laws that would have prevented Hunter Biden from joining Burisma, even as his father oversaw Ukraine policy for the President Obama. And the corruption investigations launched in 2014 by British and Ukraine authorities involving Burisma and its owner Mykola Zlocvhevsky involved activities that pre-dated Hunter Biden’s arrival on the board. They were settled in late 2016 and early 2017. Some of Biden’s media defenders have falsely suggested the investigations were dormant. They were not. (Read more.)

A Decade of Archaeology

There is still so much we do not know. From Gizmodo:
In 2013, scientists stumbled upon one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the decade: a previously unknown extinct human species, which they named Homo naledi. The remains of 15 individuals were excavated from South Africa’s Rising Star Cave by an all-female team of archaeologists. The resulting analysis, which involved researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and other institutions, showed that these ancient hominins featured very human-like teeth, wrists, legs, and feet, but with a small brain case, shrugged shoulders, curved fingers, and hips reminiscent of Australopithecus. In an email to Gizmodo, Jeremy DeSilva, an associate professor of anthropology at Dartmouth College, explained the significance of the find:
Surprisingly, Homo naledi shared the landscape with our own Homo sapiens ancestors only 250,000 years-ago, further complicating a Pleistocene world already occupied with Neanderthals, Denisovans, and island-dwelling hobbits. Not only were the fossils transformative, but Lee Berger and his team used these fossils to change the way our science is done. The recovery of the fossils was live-tweeted, connecting the world with science as it was happening in real-time. A large international team, consisting of many recent Ph.D. recipients, was assembled to work on the fossils. The results of the team’s work were published in open-access scientific journals. And 3D surface scans of the fossils themselves are available at no cost. The days of paleoanthropologists hoarding their fossils like gollums, in possession of the one ring to rule them all, are nearing an end. Meanwhile, these fossils are a startling awakening that there is a lot more out there just waiting to be discovered.
Living between 335,000 and 236,000 years ago, these hominins stood around 4 foot 9 inches tall (1.44 meters) and weighed between 88 and 125 pounds (40 and 56 kilograms). Sadly, not much is known about Homo naledi, such as its relation to other Homo species, its diet, or how it moved through its Pleistocene landscape. (Read more.)

More HERE. Share

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

An Early Mattei

Last September, I was having cocktails at a friend's house. One of the guests was the distinguished art journalist Meredith Mendelsohn and we had a great conversation. We remarked on an unusual painting belonging to our hostess, signed only "Mattei '30." I always liked the painting since it reminded me of old neighborhoods in Baltimore. After some research, Meredith discovered more about the artist. From AskArt:
Antonio Mattei was born in New York in 1900 and studied at Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design. From 1936 to 1943 he was under the sponsorship of Contemporary Arts holding two one-man exhibitions in its gallery. His work has been included in national exhibitions notably the Golden Gate Exposition and the annual exhibition at the Butler Art Institute where his Winter Burial was awarded first prize. Mr. Matttel lives in Ogunquit, Maine carrying on a summer art school there. He had a one-man show at the Laurel Gallery who is his usual dealer. (from an exhibition catalog published by Laurel Gallery in June of 1948) (Read more.)
During the Depression, Mr Mattei supervised art projects for the WPA. The painting above precedes the New Deal, however. Tony Mattei died in Maine in 1956.

More HERE and HERE. Share

A Failed National Experiment

From The Federalist:
Common Core is a set of national instruction and testing mandates implemented starting in 2010 without approval from nearly any legislative body and over waves of bipartisan citizen protests. President Obama, his Education Secretary Arne Duncan, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, and myriad other self-described education reformers promised Common Core would do exactly the opposite of what has happened: improve U.S. student achievement. As Common Core was moving into schools, 69 percent of school principals said they also thought it would improve student achievement. All of these “experts” were wrong, wrong, wrong. 
“The results are, frankly, devastating,” said U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement about the 2019 NAEP results. “This country is in a student achievement crisis, and over the past decade it has continued to worsen, especially for our most vulnerable students. Two out of three of our nation’s children aren’t proficient readers. In fact, fourth grade reading declined in 17 states and eighth grade reading declined in 31.” On the same day the NAEP results were released, the college testing organization ACT released a report showing that the high school class of 2019’s college preparedness in English and math is at seniors’ lowest levels in 15 years. These students are the first to have completed all four high school years under Common Core. 
“Readiness levels in English, reading, math, and science have all decreased since 2015, with English and math seeing the largest decline,” the report noted. Student achievement declined on ACT’s measures among U.S. students of all races except for Asian-Americans, whose achievement increased. ACT was one of the myriad organizations that profited from supporting Common Core despite its lack of success for children and taxpayers. Its employees helped develop Common Core and the organization has received millions in taxpayer dollars to help create Common Core tests. (Read more.)