Saturday, April 30, 2016

Anne's World

From Victoria:
Generations of girls have enjoyed the heartwarming tales of Anne Shirley, better known as Anne of Green Gables. Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery drew upon her own childhood experiences to create the stories, which take place in the fictional village of Avonlea, inspired by the true-life community of Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. The picturesque area holds many wonderful sights to explore; here are a few of our favorite spots. Montgomery often visited her cousins at their farm near Cavendish. The Green Gables Heritage Place commemorates the site of the iconic house featured in the books about her beloved protagonist, “Anne with an e.” The home is open for tours, and it is decorated as it appeared at the time of the author’s stays. (Read more.)

Anglo-Saxon Nobility

From English Historical Fiction Authors:
Whatever the truth of the matter, it is clear that by the tenth-century the thegns were subordinate to the king's thegns and to the ealdormen, and that the gesith was no longer engaged in active service for the king.

One distinction between the gesith and the thegn was that of age; the thegn was a young man, the gesith more mature. Initially the thegn was not a powerful man, the term sometimes merely denoting a servant, albeit one who was free. By the tenth-century, however, ‘thegn’ had taken on a more specialised meaning. The law codes of the period show us something of how the thegns had become more important as servants of the king. They were given the responsibility of helping the king to ensure that the church was observing its rules:

"And I and my thegns shall compel our priests to that which the pastors of our souls direct us (clerical celibacy)." [2]

It is also clear that the thegns now had their own class, with a recognisable rank:

“And my thegns are to have their dignity in my time as they had in my father’s.” [3]

Anglo-Saxon society was not a static one. Thegnship had developed as a class of its own, but this did not mean that one had to be born into that class to belong to it. (Read more.)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Container Gardening

From Victoria:
You don’t need a lavish landscape to relish the pleasures of a garden. Whether a fragrant pot of herbs on a balcony or a winsome window box of flowering delights, potted plantings can brighten almost any corner of an outdoor haven. When pondering an alluring focal point for container gardening, think beyond blooms. A simple yet striking trio of tiny conifers takes center stage in this window box, while flowering annuals play supporting roles, enveloping the base of the shrubs in a living carpet of pink and white finery. Vining branches of ivy spill over the box adding a delicate flourish to the verdant vignette.Like a painting, a well-composed container garden blends multiple elements into an artful whole. Paint living portraits with an idyllic palette of plants. (Read more.)

French Royal Dogs

From Geri Walton:
Part of the reason for elaborate pet furniture was these pieces were generally viewed by the rich as household furniture, which was also the reason why such pieces were often commissioned. Moreover, those who loved their pets and could afford it, wanted their pet furniture to resemble their larger furniture counterparts. This meant a kennel might look like a miniature canopy bed or a tabouret stool.

One elaborate commissioned piece was the niche de chien (dog kennel). It was created by Marie Antoinette’s talented chair maker, Claud I Sené. In this case, it was “constructed from gilded beech and pine…covered with luxurious velvet…[and] lined in a striped blue and beige silk.” Copper nailhead trim also added to the elaborate look as did the Neoclassical motifs, which were popular at the time and resulted in the carvings of “acanthus leaves and Greek keys.” (Read more.)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Book of Kells

From the BBC:
But it wasn't just forces of nature with which the monks had to contend. The monastery, like many early Christian communities, came under the threat of Viking raids. In 806, following a raid that left 68 of the community dead, the Columban monks took refuge in a newly-founded monastery at Kells in County Meath in Ireland to keep them safe. The most likely theory is that the monks took the manuscript with them.

Amazingly since they were written, the majority of the pages have been passed down through the generations with just 60 pages missing. But medieval sources do record that an illuminated manuscript was stolen from the stone church of Kells in 1006 which is likely to have been the Book of Kells. According to the Annals of Ulster it was found “two months and twenty days” later “under a sod.” After fighting in the Cromwellian period, the church at Kells lay in ruins, and in 1653 the book was sent to Dublin by the governor of Kells for safekeeping.  A few years later it reached Trinity College where it remains today. (Read more.)

Foreign Policy Speech

Please click HERE for the full text of the speech Donald Trump gave on April 27 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. I thought it was an excellent speech, whether you agree with everything he said or not. I happen to agree with him. To quote an excerpt:
Unfortunately, after the Cold War, our foreign policy veered badly off course. We failed to develop a new vision for a new time. In fact, as time went on, our foreign policy began to make less and less sense. Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, and this led to one foreign policy disaster after another. We went from mistakes in Iraq to Egypt to Libya, to President Obama’s line in the sand in Syria. Each of these actions have helped to throw the region into chaos, and gave ISIS the space it needs to grow and prosper. It all began with the dangerous idea that we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a Western Democracy. We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed. Civil war, religious fanaticism; thousands of American lives, and many trillions of dollars, were lost as a result. The vacuum was created that ISIS would fill. Iran, too, would rush in and fill the void, much to their unjust enrichment. Our foreign policy is a complete and total disaster. No vision, no purpose, no direction, no strategy.

Today, I want to identify five main weaknesses in our foreign policy.

First, Our Resources Are Overextended

President Obama has weakened our military by weakening our economy. He’s crippled us with wasteful spending, massive debt, low growth, a huge trade deficit and open borders. Our manufacturing trade deficit with the world is now approaching $1 trillion a year. We’re rebuilding other countries while weakening our own. Ending the theft of American jobs will give us the resources we need to rebuild our military and regain our financial independence and strength. I am the only person running for the Presidency who understands this problem and knows how to fix it.

Secondly, our allies are not paying their fair share.

Our allies must contribute toward the financial, political and human costs of our tremendous security burden. But many of them are simply not doing so. They look at the United States as weak and forgiving and feel no obligation to honor their agreements with us. In NATO, for instance, only 4 of 28 other member countries, besides America, are spending the minimum required 2% of GDP on defense. We have spent trillions of dollars over time – on planes, missiles, ships, equipment – building up our military to provide a strong defense for Europe and Asia. The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense – and, if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. The whole world will be safer if our allies do their part to support our common defense and security. A Trump Administration will lead a free world that is properly armed and funded.

Thirdly, our friends are beginning to think they can’t depend on us.

We’ve had a president who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies. He negotiated a disastrous deal with Iran, and then we watched them ignore its terms, even before the ink was dry. Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon and, under a Trump Administration, will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. All of this without even mentioning the humiliation of the United States with Iran’s treatment of our ten captured sailors. In negotiation, you must be willing to walk. The Iran deal, like so many of our worst agreements, is the result of not being willing to leave the table. When the other side knows you’re not going to walk, it becomes absolutely impossible to win. At the same time, your friends need to know that you will stick by the agreements that you have with them. President Obama gutted our missile defense program, then abandoned our missile defense plans with Poland and the Czech Republic. He supported the ouster of a friendly regime in Egypt that had a longstanding peace treaty with Israel – and then helped bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power in its place. Israel, our great friend and the one true Democracy in the Middle East, has been snubbed and criticized by an Administration that lacks moral clarity. Just a few days ago, Vice President Biden again criticized Israel – a force for justice and peace – for acting as an impediment to peace in the region. President Obama has not been a friend to Israel. He has treated Iran with tender love and care and made it a great power in the Middle East – all at the expense of Israel, our other allies in the region and, critically, the United States. We’ve picked fights with our oldest friends, and now they’re starting to look elsewhere for help. (Read more.)

"It's the Culture"

From First Things:
Why Western culture ceased to credit the Bible’s narrative is perhaps a question only God and his saints can now answer. But it is suggestive that the first step was a replacement metanarrative: the Enlightenment’s tale of self-sustaining (and so covertly divine) Western scientific, political, and economic progress. This preserved the teleological thrust of biblical narrative and promised similar hope and security, but it did not include that offensive item, the election of the Jews.

“Remember not the former things,” said the Lord through Isaiah, “for, behold, I am doing a new thing.” For a time, Western modernity could believe that faith in progress seemed to obey the mandate—and there are some especially sheltered popularizing scientists who still think that way. But for most of us, history itself has undone faith in autonomous historical progress.

We can roughly specify the period of the modern narrative’s collapse. Its epicenter was 1900, the year Nietzsche, the great prophet of modernity’s decadence, died in appropriate fashion, and Picasso came to Paris, where it was revealed to him that one could repudiate the modern bourgeois world and its illusions by new ways of putting paint on canvas. Perhaps we may locate the period’s dawn in 1863, when Édouard Manet exhibited Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, “The Luncheon on the Grass.” In this apparent genre painting, two men are having a picnic. There is a third figure with them, a woman, who happens to be naked. She pays no attention to them, and they—entirely improbably in view of her charms—reciprocate. She is in fact dropped in from another painting altogether, perhaps a Venus Observed, to disrupt any attempt by viewers to construe a coherent story about the picnic. The subsequent history of art is in decisive part the story of various strategies to achieve a similar disruption of modernity’s faith. And in 1918, Walter Gropius, future founder of the Bauhaus, formally proclaimed the end of modernity: “A world has been destroyed; we must seek a radical solution.”
So what happens when both the biblical narrative and its Enlightenment replacement are no longer trusted? Of course, another new narrative might be invented. But now the inventors would know, at least subliminally, that it was a fiction.

Thus in crisis-modernity (also known as postmodernity or high modernity in different areas of culture), the very notion of a comprehensive story that warrants the truth of our partial claims is suspect—or, indeed, forbidden. Among the illuminati, “metanarrative” is a bad word. Yet the West’s history with the Bible has left it with no other way of understanding itself. (Read more.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cover of the New Book

Finally. The book is about finished. The galley is on the way. Here is the cover. I'll let everyone know when it is ready. Thank you for your patience. I promise it will be worth the wait. Share

Lady Vaux

From English Historical Fiction Authors:
While Anne Vaux's association with the Jesuit Superior Henry Garnet made her a suspect in the events of November 1605, she was not the only female Vaux of Great Harrowden Hall, who became a suspect in the conspiracy. Her sister-in-law Elizabeth, the self-styled Dowager Lady Vaux, was of equal mettle and perhaps, even greater complicity. In today's language, she would be described as an 'amazing piece of work.' Courage, defiance, loyalty to those who shared her views and religious zeal were among her attributes. She was also surprisingly rich, considering the frequency with which both her father Sir John Roper, Baron Teynham; her father-in-law Lord Henry Vaux; and her husband  George were imprisoned and fined for their recusancy. (Read more.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Palace of the King of Rome

From Shannon Selin:
In addition to bridges and other practical improvements to Paris’s infrastructure, Napoleon Bonaparte built a number of monuments intended to be a lasting testament to the glory of the imperial regime. The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel was finished in 1808; the Vendôme column was completed in 1810; the foundations of the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile were started in 1806. When Napoleon was in exile on St. Helena, he said:
It was the constant subject of my thoughts to render Paris the real capital of Europe. I sometimes wished it, for instance, to become a city with a population of two, three, or four millions, in short, something fabulous, colossal, unexampled until our days, and with public establishments suitable to its population…. Had Heaven but granted me twenty years, and a little more leisure, ancient Paris would have been sought for in vain; not a trace of it would have been left and I should have changed the face of France. (1)
Napoleon’s marriage in 1810 to Marie Louise, a Habsburg princess, strengthened his desire to rival the grandeur of other European courts. When Marie Louise became pregnant, Napoleon commissioned the architects Charles Percier and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine to design a palace for his unborn child. Percier and Fontaine had worked on Malmaison, the Louvre, the Tuileries Palace, Fontainebleau, the Château de Saint-Cloud, and many other projects for Napoleon. According to Percier and Fontaine:
Napoleon examined, in the presence of several great figures of his court, our plans relative to the new palace. Each one gave his advice and all, except Marshal Duroc, had repeated in almost the same terms what the master had said. ‘And you, Madame,’ said the Emperor, turning towards Empress Marie Louise, his new wife, ‘what do you think?’ ‘I do not know anything,’ the Empress responded modestly, excusing herself. ‘Do not be afraid,’ replied the Emperor. ‘Speak, they know even less than you and I have not committed to do or to believe anything they say. Your opinion is necessary to me; it concerns the palace where our son will live.’ The Empress examined the plans and made some judicious observations, which everyone hastened to applaud. The Empress was pregnant, and four months later she gave birth to the King of Rome. (2)
In January 1811, 20 million francs were allocated for the palace’s construction. When Napoleon François Charles Joseph Bonaparte, also known as the King of Rome, Napoleon II or the Duke of Reichstadt, was born on March 20, 1811, work had already begun. (Read more.)

Mystery of the Varna Gold

From Smithsonian:
As a cold wind carries the sound of clanging metal from a nearby factory, I ask Slavchev something I’ve been wondering since we met: What happened to the society that once existed here? The golden age entombed in the cemetery was brief, he says. The bones were all buried within a few centuries, between 6,600 and 6,200 years ago.

What happened next is an enduring mystery. All along the lower Danube, settlements and cultures that flourished during the Copper Age come to an abrupt end around 4000 b.c. Suddenly, settlements are abandoned; the people vanish. For six centuries afterwards, the region seems to be empty. “We still have nothing to fill the gap,” he says. “And believe me, we’ve looked.”

For decades, scholars assumed the sudden abandonment was the result of an invasion by the mounted Indo-European warriors Gimbutas had written about, rampaging through the region. But there are no signs of battle or violence, no burned villages or skeletons with signs of slaughter. (Read more.)

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Amber Room

From The Times of Israel:
The 18th-century Amber Room, made of amber panels and gold leaf, was fitted into Russia’s Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg, where it remained until it was looted by Germany’s Nazis in 1941. Tests in September by earth-penetrating radar in the woods near the Polish village of Mamerki suggest there’s a small room at the base of a bunker that was the German army’s wartime headquarters, according to the head of Mamerki Museum, Bartlomiej Plebanczyk. The bunker is located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Russia’s Kaliningrad region — which was the German region of Koenigsberg during the war and where the Nazis brought the Amber Room in 1941. Plebanczyk told TVN24 on Friday that he is “almost certain” that the crumbling concrete bunker hides the Russian treasure. He has informed local Polish authorities in the town of Wegorzewo, who will now decide what to do.

Wegorzewo Deputy Mayor Andrzej Lachowicz told TVN24 authorities will try to see what’s in the bunker.

“If not the Amber Room, then maybe some other treasure,” Lachowicz said. The British heavily bombed Koenigsberg in 1944. The current whereabouts of the Amber Room is unknown. In a project that took decades, Russian authorities reconstructed a replica of the Amber Room at the same palace. (Read more.)

An Open Letter to Target

From Mary from Martha:
To Whom It May Concern:

I am a woman. I am a frequent shopper in your stores. I am first and foremost a mother. Your recent change in policy of who you allow to use each restroom concerns me. You stated in your blog post, “We believe that everyone…deserves to be protected from discrimination and treated equally.” and “…you’ll always be accepted, respected, and welcomed at Target.” As a business owner, I do understand your right to make a stance as a company. As a parent, I will never understand why you would trade the safety of our women and children for the sake of not hurting  feelings.

I realize that everyone needs to feel accepted, loved, and wanted. I know the struggles of a person struggling to find their identity. I also know that as of September 2012, a Gallup poll showed that approximately 3.4% of Americans identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. If, for argument’s sake, we assume that those groups are of equal representation in that number, that would indicate that of the American population, only 0.85% of Americans identify as transgender.

Let’s also look at other statistics, taken from RAINN.ORG:

1 in 6 women will be the victim of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.

1 in 9 girls under 18 have REPORTED being the victim of sexual assault.

1 in 53 boys under 18 have REPORTED being the victim of sexual assault.

These numbers factor out to being 16.67% of women, 11.11% of girls, and 1.89% of boys.

If anyone is allowed to “claim” an identity of a gender not their own, they will have unlimited access to anyone they so choose. A woman could claim to “identify as a man” and YOUR little boy could become 1 in 9 in an instant. A man could claim to “identity as a woman” and have instant access to myself and my daughters. BAM. I am 1 in 6 and my little girls are 1 in 9. (Read more.)

The Pope and Gender Identity

From Breitbart:
In a convergence of faith and science, the Pope said that especially when experiencing difficulties with gender identity, “the young need to be helped to accept their own body as it was created,” a proposal encouraged by the physicians of the American College of Pediatricians.

Thinking that we enjoy “absolute power over our own bodies,” Francis warned, leads to the delusion that “we enjoy absolute power over creation.”

“An appreciation of our body as male or female,” he added, is “necessary for our own self-awareness in an encounter with others different from ourselves.”

An effort to cancel out sexual differences based in anatomy is a symptom of a society that “no longer knows how to deal with it,” he wrote.

As he has done in the past, Francis decried an ideology of gender that “denies the difference and reciprocity in nature of a man and a woman and envisages a society without sexual differences, thereby eliminating the anthropological basis of the family.”

The Pope’s words echoed a recent statement from the American College of Pediatricians, which warned against the physical and psychological dangers to children posed by advocates of transgenderism. Failing to identify with one’s biological sex signals a psychological disorder that must be dealt with, not pandered to, the physicians proposed. (Read more.)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Obamacare Premiums

From The American Thinker:
Many insurers will try to keep the increases down by raising deductibles.  In many cases, Americans are purchasing plans with higher deductibles than the plans they had before Obamacare became law.  This is another promise gone by the boards when Obamacare was being sold to the public. If insurance companies don't receive the increases they need to be profitable, there will be many more exits from the exchanges.  At some point, the entire system could collapse.  No one is sure where the tipping point is, but with fewer plans to choose from next year and a big increase in rates for less coverage, the consumer will probably let us know when the end comes. (Read more.)

William the Marshal's Horses

From author Elizabeth Chadwick:
Having been ransomed from his predicament by Eleanor of Aquitaine, William joined the royal household as tutor in chivalry to Henry and Eleanor’s eldest son, The Young King and from that position in society, set out to tourney with a joyous vengeance. ‘Then you would have seen many kinds of banner and flag fall and slide into the mud, and many a horse, both piebald and bay, fleeing riderless over the field. Those most able to take full advantage made gains and captured horses.’ What happened to these horses? The Histoire doesn’t say, but I would make an educated guess that they were either kept, sold on, or ransomed back to their owners. One of the main methods of capturing a knight in the tourney appears to have been by seizing his bridle and dragging him by main force out of the tourney, then forcing him to yield. (Read more.)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Don Quixote

From Reid's Reader: 
Don Quixote is certainly a comic masterpiece. Indeed much of it is pure slapstick and farce and the “mistakes of the night at the inn” variety of comedy. But I have never read its best episodes without seeing how Cervantes is also playing with bigger and more resonant ideas. Is it the triumph of the imagination over material reality when the lion released from its cage does not attack Don Quixote? Is it the revenge of material reality over imagination when Don Quixote is knocked down by a herd of bulls? Are we deep into the realms of subjectivism and rationalism when Don Quixote is lowered into a cave, clearly falls asleep, and yet emerges telling of the wonderful things he has seen? How clearly does Cervantes comment on the suspension of disbelief in theatre when Don Quixote slashes with his sword at the puppet show? How satirical is he being about war and warriors when Don Quixote mistakes two flocks of sheep for two armies? One could almost read such examples as parables.

I do admit that I find the two parts of the novel not to be a perfect match. Part One, published in 1605, is the more purely comic part – the part which often simply invites us to laugh at the crazy things done by a deluded old man. Part Two, published ten years later in 1615, is the part which waxes more philosophical and certainly has some of the sequences I enjoy most as Cervantes reconsiders his knight and squire and has them more often melding into each other in the ways they see reality. It also has Sancho at last getting his “island” and ruling it; and it has the best conflicts in the whole opus when Samson Carrasco confronts Don Quixote with a more challenging view of what reality is(Read more.)

Nutritious Cocktails!

I love Chico's clothes! Now I love their blog! Here is a spring cocktail:
One of our favorite ways to celebrate good weather is with a pitcher of something delicious that also has a kick. We’re enchanted by a new book, Zen and Tonic, by Jules Aron, a certified health and nutrition coach. She takes cocktails, adds fresh, interesting ingredients like beet juice and coconut water, for a healthier version of some of our old favorites. Having a drink never looked so good (for you). Here’s Jules’ seasonally appropriate, sparkling riff on a classic whiskey-based fruit punch. Enjoy!(Read more.)

Ghosts and Exorcists

From Patti Armstrong:
Fearful that her deceased ex-husband was haunting her, a woman went to see Fr. Vincent Lampert, the exorcist for the diocese of Indianapolis, Indiana. Ever since her ex-husband’s death, there were strange goings-on in his old favorite room. 
The woman lived alone so when she found furniture moved around, there was no one to blame.  It was especially unnerving that an old wedding picture kept showing up on a table.  She would put it away only for it to later show up on the table again—sometimes face up, sometimes face down. The marriage had ended because of infidelity.  When the man announced he was leaving for another woman, the wife had told him: “Rot in hell!”
Time passed and the man developed a terminal illness.  Before his death, he repented of the adultery and asked for his wife’s forgiveness. “Rot in hell!” was her response.  She had no intention of forgiving him for the intense pain he had caused her and for destroying their marriage. But now, after his death, it seemed he was making his presence known to his ex-wife.  Was he haunting her out of revenge?  Or was he actually in hell now and somehow punishing her?

After assessing the situation, Fr. Lampert believed that the man was in purgatory and in need of prayers. God was allowing him to make his presence known to his ex-wife.  “I convinced her to forgive him,” Fr. Lampert said. “I prayed for him together with her and everything stopped.” (Read more.)

Friday, April 22, 2016

90th Birthday

From Royal Central:
One of the Stamp Sheets is particularly special as it featured features four generations of the House of Windsor sat together, photographed by Ranald Mackechnie for Royal Mail. The family portrait was taken in the White Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace in the summer of 2015. Posed in the frame are The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince George. Six further stamps have also been issued. Three of these focus on Her Majesty’s family life, and the other three honour the ninety year old’s work life and dedication to the country. (Read more.)

A Jew Speaks Out

From J
Each week I navigate the complex intersection of family, religion, community and career, each of which is extremely important to me. The most obvious tension of being a Sabbath observer and having a job with significant responsibility is the simple fact that each week, I am disconnected from work for Shabbat and typically several days at a time during certain months as a result of Jewish holidays. In all instances, Donald Trump has always been extraordinarily respectful of my religious beliefs and requirements. Because of him, my career has never been at odds with my other priorities of family, religion and community. Donald Trump allows me to live up to the values and goals that my wife and I have established for ourselves and our family.

Like so many of you, I attended the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., in late March. To me, Trump’s speech stood out more than the others for its conviction. He recognizes what Israel stands for, and why it is so important to the United States and to the world. He recognizes that the United States, a country that my wife and I are blessed to live in and raise our children, has an unbreakable friendship with Israel.

Donald Trump will work tirelessly to stem the flow of weapons and funds from Iran to its puppet states and terror organizations, and to stop payments made by Iran and others to terrorists and their families. Trump recognizes that those terror networks are problematic not just to Israel but also to the United States, and he will strive to eradicate Iran’s global terror network.
Donald Trump is deeply passionate about bringing peace to Israel. He recognizes it is one of our time’s most difficult challenges, but believes the time has come finally to achieve this goal. With his skills, talent and perseverance, and with the changing times — including Israel’s formal and informal relationships with many of its Arab neighbors – Trump has the ability and the environment to finally make it happen.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dancing into Battle

From Austenprose:
Attending a society ball with the characters was quite heady. When one thinks of the Regency-era, and especially the ball room scenes made famous in Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer novels, the hairs on the back of my neck stand at attention. Fellowes did not disappoint. There was enough description of the decor, music and ball gowns to properly set the stage, quenching fans of the era. The characters that filled the ball room are what really added interest and potential for the future. Fellowes is building his world and framing personalities beautifully.

The end of the episode was puzzling – and meant to be, by design. We are not really sure what the big secret is. Why is Sophia gasping and sobbing over the sight of the group of officers that Lord Bellasis is with? Later, we learn that he dies at Waterloo. Not entirely a surprise for me, but a big shock for our heroine.

It is early days, but the opening was spare in its simplicity, yet brimming with potential. (Read more.)

The 9/11 Documents

Since some of us always knew the Iraqis had nothing to do with it. From InfoWars:
Trump made reference to the papers in February during a campaign stop in South Carolina. “It wasn’t the Iraqis. You will find out who really knocked down the World Trade Center,” he said. “[Because] they have papers in there that are very secret. You may find it’s the Saudis, OK? But you will find out.”

On Monday, the Obama administration and the State Department said the release of the papers detailing Saudi involvement in the 9/11 attacks and its support for al-Qaeda would damage US national security and endanger citizens living abroad.

The White House has threatened to veto legislation that would release the documents. “It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where the President would sign it,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Monday. He said the bill would jeopardize international sovereignty and put the US at “significant risk.”

Both the Obama and Bush administrations have refused to release the papers stored in a guarded vault beneath Washington DC. The FBI has also refused to unseal the documents. “It needs to be classified,” former Director of the FBI Robert S. Mueller said in a secret meeting.

Obama allies on Capitol Hill, including an unnamed  Republican senator, have vowed to prevent the Senate from taking up the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. The bill would remove Saudi Arabia’s immunity in federal court and allow victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue the kingdom.

In order to have the bill move forward, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would need to file procedural motions. 60 votes are required to have the bill move forward. “I think part of the concern is that somehow this is a thumb in the eye to Saudi Arabia, a valuable ally,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said.

On April 10 the former chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and co-chair of the bipartisan joint congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks, Bob Graham, told CBS News he believes Saudi Arabia was behind the attacks. Graham said support came from the Saudi government, charities, and rich people in the country. He said that support was downplayed because of the “special relationship” between the United States and the kingdom. (Read more.)

The Catholic Enlightenment

Louis XVI was very much a part of the Catholic Enlightenment, with his reforms and his promotion of the sciences. From The Imaginative Conservative (via Stephanie Mann):
The sum of Dr. Lehner’s argument is this: contrary to popular and secular mythologies, the Church possessed a number of critical personalities and intellectual leaders who actively engaged the ideas of democracy, individualism, liberalism (properly understood), and what would be called, ultimately, modernity. All of this happened between the Council of Trent and the end of the French Revolution. Surprisingly, at least to me, Catholic scholars and theologians considered, studied, and digested the importance of the thought of John Locke, Immanuel Kant, and even Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Indeed, they not only took the ideas of non-Catholic scholars seriously, they actually attempted to meld secular thought with Catholic theology. Dr. Lehner, much to his credit, never over-makes his case. He recognizes that there were many, many “Enlightenments” during the few centuries leading up to the French Revolution, just as our own John Willson stresses the need to acknowledge many “Foundings” in the American Founding period. Additionally, Dr. Lehner never claims that these Catholic Enlighteners—as he calls them—dominated scholarship or the thinking of the Church as a whole. Rather, he notes, time and time again throughout his book, they attracted attention, bonded with one another, and changed, shaped, and delimited the philosophical and theological discussion within the Church.
It is best to allow Dr. Lehner to explain this himself:
What was on the agenda of Catholic Enlighteners? Their aim was (a) to use the newest achievement of philosophy and science to defend the essential dogmas of Catholic Christianity by explaining them in the new language, and (b) to reconcile Catholicism with modern culture. If anything held these diverse thinkers together, it was their belief that Catholicism had to modernize if it wanted to be a viable intellectual alternative to the persuasive arguments of the anti-clerical Enlighteners. Catholic Enlighteners differed among themselves as to how such a modernization should be brought about, but all agreed that Aristotelian scholasticism could not longer serve as the universal foundation for theology.
(Read more.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Lady Susan

From Entertainment Weekly:
Once keen to the idea of adapting Lady Susan, Stillman had difficulty finding an avenue through which to make it. After one partner left the industry all together, he turned the script into a passion project, chipping away at it in the moments between paid assignments. Stillman’s work has always owed some debt to Austen, making an adaptation of her work seem only logical, but it wasn’t until discovering Lady Susan that Stillman had the right work to tinker with. “I could add something that was kind of small and incomplete,” he said, “rather than subtracting tons of things from something that’s a masterpiece.” (Read more.)

The West Will Collapse

From InfoWars:
There has never been a successful and long-lasting atheistic civilization — and there never will be — is the opinion of many astute observers. And it’s also apparently the belief of radio giant Michael Savage, as he issued a dire warning on his Wednesday show.
“Unless Christianity receives a new enthusiasm that sweeps the Western world, and Christianity itself rises up against the forces against it,” he said, “the entire West will collapse in your lifetime.”

Savage, author of numerous best-selling books and host of the award-winning Savage Nation radio program, has long warned that the West is imperiled by “savages” from without and is being savaged by militant secularists within. Now, addressing the crux of the matter, Savage is adamant that the death of Christian belief portends the death of the West, as he said:
I can almost prove it. I can almost feel it. It’s palpable to me. And I’m not the only who sees it or feels it. Anyone I know with a certain intelligence level above a minimal amount, sees what’s going on in Europe, and they say that we’re not far behind.
Presumably, Savage was referring to secular Europe’s acceptance of waves of unassimilable Muslim migrants — which include some jihadists — the Islamization of the continent, and the rapid moral decay bedeviling the entire West. It’s plain to many that the erosion of the West’s foundational faith is synonymous with the erosion of her foundation. Our second president, John Adams, issued a warning to this effect, saying in 1798, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Note that the West could still rightly be called “Christendom” at the time, and the founders generally meant “Christian” when using the term “religious.” Thus, Adams clearly didn’t view Christianity as so many do today — as something to be kept “separate” at all costs lest it become an impediment to our constitutional government — but as a prerequisite for it.

Why? Well, British statesman Edmund Burke wrote in 1791, “Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites.” And George Washington addressed the origin of moral chains five years later when saying, “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

While I won’t delve deeply into the link between religion and morality here (I did so in this piece), I will quote one of the many thinkers who did recognize it, Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky. As he wrote in his 1880 work The Brothers Karamazov, “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.” And this isn’t hard to understand: Without acceptance of the eternal, unchanging, divine author of right and wrong, all moral questions (and, in particular, answers) are met with the cynical “Says who?! Those are your values; don’t impose them on me!”

Of course, this explains how a once healthy civilization can collapse into self-imposed tyranny. A mature and moral adult who knows the “rules of life” can safely negotiate the world just as a mature driver acquainted with the rules of the road can safely navigate the highways and byways. But a small, uncivilized child must be watched — and often controlled — by mother or father or nanny.

 The overgrown uncivilized child called a barbarian must be subject to the same, except the watchers in his case will be the cops and criminal-justice system. And as it is for individuals so it is for groups, even country-size ones. Only, their nanny is the nanny state. (Read more.)

What is Really Going On

The Apocalypse. From Monsignor Pope:
We are too easily mesmerized or terrified by our limited view of history. We think that life depends on which political party wins, or whether a cure is found for some disease, or whether world leaders can reach rapprochement. But the battle is far higher and deeper than our little sliver of the early 21st century. It is far deadlier and is about more dramatic issues than what will happen to the GNP of the U.S. or which of the latest political theories will prevail.

This is a great drama between good and evil. It concerns the far more fundamental issue of where you will spend eternity. Yes, there is a great and cosmic battle in which we are all caught up; it is happening all around us. St. Paul says,

For we do not contend against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the high places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm (Eph 6:11-13).

The Book of Revelation is speaking to the same reality. It unveils the true and cosmic battle. In so doing, it declares without ambiguity who the victor is: Jesus Christ our King, who has already won. There are only two kingdoms, two armies, two sides. You must decide whom you will serve: the prince of this world or the King and Lord of all creation. (Read more.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Restoration Fashions

From Geri Walton:
The Bourbon Restoration began after the fall of Napoleon, and, at the time, as “the white flag floated from the dome of the Tuileries…there was a passion for white gowns.” These white gowns were generally trimmed at the bottom with flowers and worn to both private and official balls. In addition, there was “more than one lady at the court of Louis XVIII [who] trimmed the edge of her skirt with a wreath of lilies, while she altered but little the shape of her gown, which remained as short waisted as under Napoleon I.”

In 1814 and 1815, besides the passion for white gowns, many French women were also seized with “anglomania” when it came to fashion. But this predilection for everything English was not embraced by everyone. For instance, when one mother tried to get her young daughter to wear an English dress, the daughter replied, “Gracious! how frightful! what dreadful taste! To think of wearing English fashions!” (Read more.)


British Values?

From Christianity Today:
Parents are threatening to keep their children from attending class on the day the Church of England primary school in Hartfield, East Sussex holds its "transgender day" event, which was designed by the school to "empower lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people." The school's head teacher, Emma Maltby, said the classes are part of meeting the government's requirement to teach children "British values."

"As part of the national curriculum, we spend time talking to the children about British values of tolerance, respect and celebrating differences," she said.

But Christian parents are outraged, according to Charisma News. The classes on transsexualism will encourage children to "explore" their sexuality, and parents are complaining that the event is only going to "satisfy adult political agendas."

The Christian Institute spokesman Simon Calvert said children do not need to be taught about the homosexual lifestyle to show respect towards it. (Read more.)

In Order to Live

From Reid's Reader:
In America, some teenagers have the leisure to build fantasy worlds, engage in considerable self-pity, drink, screw around etc.
Then there are teenagers who have to live in North Korea.

Okay, that’s a low blow. It’s unfair to compare two books which have such different purposes as Amy Zhang’s This Is Where The World Ends and Yeonmi Park’s memoir In Order to Live. Still, reading them one after the other did give me the odd ironic jolt. Far be it from me to belittle the angst of American teenagers, but the phrase “First World Problems” did keep surfacing in my mind when I considered Amy Zhang’s effort.

Briefly, In Order to Live is Yeonmi Park’s account of growing up as a child in North Korea, escaping with her mother across the Yalu River into China when she was a young teenager, and eventually making it to South Korea, via Mongolia, after many horrific experiences. She states clearly her present situation in her introduction:
Like tens of thousands of North Koreans, I escaped my homeland and settled in South Korea, where we are still considered citizens, as if a sealed border and nearly seventy years of conflict and tension never divided us. North and South Koreans have the same ethnic backgrounds, and we speak the same language – except in the North where there are no words for things like ‘shopping malls’, ‘liberty’, or even ‘love’, at least as the rest of the world knows it. The only true love we can express is worship for the Kims, a dynasty of dictators who have ruled North Korea for three generations. The regime blocks all outside information, all videos and movies, and jams radio signals. There is no World Wide Web and no Wikipedia. The only books are propaganda telling us that we live in the greatest country in the world, even though at least half of North Koreans live in extreme poverty and many are chronically malnourished. My former country doesn’t even call itself North Korea – it claims to be Chosun, the true Korea, a perfect socialist paradise where 25 million people live only to serve the Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. Many of us who have escaped call ourselves “defectors” because by refusing to accept our fate and die for the Leader, we have deserted our duty. The regime calls us traitors. If I tried to return, I would be executed. (pp.3-4)
Yeonmi Park, born in 1993, is only 22. She explains:
The country I grew up in was not like the one my parents had known as children in the 1960s and 1970s. When they were young, the state took care of everyone’s basic needs: clothes, medical care, food. After the Cold War ended, the Communist countries that had been propping up the North Korean regime all but abandoned it, and our state-controlled economy collapsed. (p.15)
The 1990s were therefore the years of famine, disguised by the pervasive propaganda of the state. The propaganda is so relentless that “my mother…. sincerely believed that North Korea was the centre of the universe and that Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il had supernatural powers.” (p.34) We are told of the relentless surveillance by the bo-wi-bu (“National Security Agency”). We are told of the starvation and official brutality. We are told of the young Yeonmi Park’s appendectomy in a North Korean hospital where corpses are piled for days in the courtyard until there are enough for the removal men to cart away. But - despite the surveillance – we are also told of a thriving black market and of corrupt officials who will turn a blind eye to people smuggling. (Read more.)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Queen Henrietta Maria as Saint Catherine

The Queen of Charles I in her youth, attributed to Van Dyke. Share

Kate Greenaway

From English Historical Fiction Authors:
Born March 17, 1846 in London, her first name may have been Catherine, but she seems to have been always known as Kate. She was the daughter of John Greenaway, a draughtsman and wood engraver whose illustrations appeared in PUNCH and other periodicals, and Elizabeth Jones Greenaway, a seamstress. Kate seemed to have inherited talents from both parents, as she loved to draw and to make clothes for her dolls. She was taught at home, and encouraged to draw. As a child, she spent time with relatives in Rolleston, Nottinghamshire, and acquired a love for the country. She pursued her art studies, including some time studying drawing and watercolours in Chelsea, and later at the Slade School of Fine Art. In 1867, she made Christmas cards, illustrated a book for author William Kingston, and she exhibited some of her work in 1868 at the Dudley Gallery in London. Her cards, book plates and calendars were popular, and her illustrations appeared in magazines as well. She illustrated children’s books by multiple authors, and a couple of novels by Charlotte M. Yonge. Her first exhibit at the Royal Academy was held in 1877. She was, however, quite eager to write, as well as illustrate, her own book. (Read more.)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Vow of Louis XIII

Ingres' painting of the "Vow" of Louis XIII in 1637. Every year on the Assumption the king would lead a procession in honor of Our Lady in which he would place France under her protection. Here is the Vow:
We have declared and declare that, in taking the very holy and glorious Virgin as the special protector of our Kingdom, we dedicated to her ourselves, our state, our Crown and our subjects, pleading her to inspire in us very holy behaviour and to defend this kingdom against the efforts of all its enemies, with great care, whether it may suffer under the scourge of war, or enjoy the sweetness of peace that we are asking God to deliver us with all our hears, there are no paths of grace that do not lead to paths of glory.
The Virgin of Charles X

Museums of Lost Sound

From Open Culture:
Unless you’re an audio engineer, you’ll have little reason to know what the term “convolution reverb” means. But it’s a fascinating concept nonetheless. Technicians bring high-end microphones, speakers, and recording equipment to a particularly resonant space—a grain silo, for example, or famous concert hall. They capture what are called “impulse responses,” signals that contain the acoustic characteristics of the location. The technique produces a three dimensional audio imprint—enabling us to recreate what it would sound like to sing, play the piano or guitar, or stage an entire concert in that space. As Adrienne LaFrance writes in The Atlantic, “you can apply [impulse responses] to a recording captured in another space and make it sound as though that recording had taken place in the original building.” (Read more.)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Antique Lace

From Victoria:
Such motherly sentimentality lies at the heart of these keepsakes, whose creation initially was women’s work. Lace making, which has been traced to the sixteenth century, was a cottage industry, and the first pieces were designed to dress up the costly costumes of the European nobility. Each country produced its own handmade designs until the nineteenth century, when machine-made lace was manufactured for the middle-class market. Today, lace from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, although perhaps not the most collectible, is the most available. Choices include Battenburg, a highly textured variety with fanciful flowers; Normandy, a patchwork of different types of French lace; needle lace, whose diaphanous design is formed from hundreds, even thousands of small stitches; crochet lace; Alençon, the so-called “Queen of Lace,” from France, that resembles snowflakes; and net, the whisper-fine lace that serves as a background for all manner of embroidered decoration. (Read more.)

Let Me Ask America a Question

From Donald J. Trump via the Wall Street Journal:
Let me ask America a question: How has the “system” been working out for you and your family?
I, for one, am not interested in defending a system that for decades has served the interest of political parties at the expense of the people. Members of the club—the consultants, the pollsters, the politicians, the pundits and the special interests—grow rich and powerful while the American people grow poorer and more isolated. No one forced anyone to cancel the vote in Colorado. Political insiders made a choice to cancel it. And it was the wrong choice. Responsible leaders should be shocked by the idea that party officials can simply cancel elections in America if they don’t like what the voters may decide. The only antidote to decades of ruinous rule by a small handful of elites is a bold infusion of popular will. On every major issue affecting this country, the people are right and the governing elite are wrong. The elites are wrong on taxes, on the size of government, on trade, on immigration, on foreign policy. Why should we trust the people who have made every wrong decision to substitute their will for America’s will in this presidential election?

Here, I part ways with Sen. Ted Cruz. Mr. Cruz has toured the country bragging about his voterless victory in Colorado. For a man who styles himself as a warrior against the establishment (you wouldn’t know it from his list of donors and endorsers), you’d think he would be demanding a vote for Coloradans. Instead, Mr. Cruz is celebrating their disenfranchisement. Likewise, Mr. Cruz loudly boasts every time party insiders disenfranchise voters in a congressional district by appointing delegates who will vote the opposite of the expressed will of the people who live in that district. That’s because Mr. Cruz has no democratic path to the nomination. He has been mathematically eliminated by the voters. While I am self-funding, Mr. Cruz rakes in millions from special interests. Yet despite his financial advantage, Mr. Cruz has won only three primaries outside his home state and trails me by two million votes—a gap that will soon explode even wider. Mr. Cruz loses when people actually get to cast ballots. Voter disenfranchisement is not merely part of the Cruz strategy—it is the Cruz strategy. (Read more.)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Miniature of Madame Elisabeth

How she looked in prison. I think the picture belonged to her beloved niece, the Duchesse d'Angoulême. Share

Amoris Laetitia

Our Holy Father has given us beautiful reflections on married love and family life. From the Vatican website:
The Bible is full of families, births, love stories and family crises. This is true from its very first page, with the appearance of Adam and Eve’s family with all its burden of violence but also its enduring strength (cf. Gen 4) to its very last page, where we behold the wedding feast of the Bride and the Lamb ( Rev 21:2, 9). Jesus’ description of the two houses, one built on rock and the other on sand (cf. Mt 7:24-27), symbolizes any number of family situations shaped by the exercise of their members’ freedom, for, as the poet says, “every home is a lampstand”. (Read more.)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Floral Seasonings

From Victoria:
Compound butters—known for their ease and versatility—can be fully customized to fit any menu or occasion. For our version, whipped butter becomes a creamy canvas for featuring a variety of peppercorns mixed with finely chopped chives, shallot, garlic, and oregano. Pressed into the velvety log, a smattering of radish flowers, society garlic, and oyster leaf lends accents reminiscent of the ingredients for which the buds are named.

Smoothed across pumpernickel bread for delectable Tea Sandwiches, the softened spread holds cucumber topped with radishes, smoked salmon, and microarugula. A garnish of oyster leaf completes the presentation. This perennial herb, also called oyster plant or sea bluebell, is grown throughout North America and leaves a hint of seafood on the palate.

Captured at their peak of beauty and preserved in ice, delicate blooms appear unaffected by time or gravity. The secret to success is pouring water into a mould a little at a time and freezing in stages—a technique that can also be used to create other frosty centerpieces. (Read more.)

The Great Swindle

From PJB:
The Republican Party in Georgia, another state Trump won, is also talking up delegate defections. In state after state, when Trump wins, and moves on, the apparatchiks arrive — to thieve delegates for Cruz. “This is a crooked system, folks,” says Trump, “the system is rigged. … I go to Louisiana. I win Louisiana. … Then I find out I get less delegates than Cruz because of some nonsense. … I say this to the RNC. I say it to the Republican Party: You’re going to have a big problem, folks, because the people don’t like what’s going on.”

Something rotten is also going on in the Democratic race.

Bernie Sanders is on a roll, having won seven straight primaries and caucuses. Yet, he keeps falling further behind. “I watch Bernie, he wins. He wins. He keeps winning, winning,” said Trump in Rochester. “And then I see, he’s got no chance. They always say he’s got no chance. Why doesn’t he have a chance?

“Because the system is corrupt.” (Read more.)

Michael Savage on the Colorado swindle. To quote:
Savage said Trump has been “pushed aside by the ‘Republicrat and Demican’ party, which I have told you about since 1994.”

“I told you we don’t have a democracy. It’s how I rose to fame in the radio business. … I position, as
I have been all my life, as a total cynic,” he said.

“This is a corrupt, rotten system. It’s a one-party system. It’s demagoguery. There is no two-party system. They are the ones who selected Obama. They are the ones who are selecting Hillary. Make no mistake about it.”

Savage said the “rigged Republican, back-room deal” was “not befitting a free republic” and “something you would expect of Uruguay in the 1940s.”

“How can Mr. Cruz support a rigged election in Colorado and still claim to be a conservative?” (Read more.)

Gretna Green

Why do people in Jane Austen novels elope to Gretna Green? In case you ever wondered....From Regency History:
It was still possible for those aged under 21 to be legally married in Scotland without their parents’ permission. In fact, Scottish law allowed boys as young as 14 and girls as young as 12 to be married. No parental consent was required and the marriage did not have to be consummated to be valid. 
By travelling into Scotland, underage lovers from England could still get married without parental consent. 
Another group of people who took advantage of the more relaxed marriage laws in Scotland were Dissenters. There were special dispensations for Jews and Quakers, but not for non-conformists and some chose to make the journey to Scotland rather than get married in a Church of England church.
All that was required for a marriage in Scotland to be legal was a declaration in front of witnesses. Couples arriving at the blacksmith’s shop in Gretna Green were married by a self-appointed ‘anvil priest’ – not a clergyman, but an entrepreneur who could see that conducting runaway marriages was big business. As the eloping couples were typically rich and in a great hurry to be married, the anvil priest could charge whatever he liked and the couple would probably pay. The anvil priest conducted a short hand-holding ceremony over the anvil in front of two witnesses and pronounced the couple man and wife. If the couple had arrived without witnesses, the anvil priest would obligingly provide them. (Read more.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Blackrock Farms

From Victoria:
When Helene Lewand first saw Blackrock Farm in Kennebunkport, Maine, she knew instinctively it was the place for her. Fortunately, the owner was looking for a tenant, so Helene and her husband, Dana, moved in. She felt such a strong attachment to the property, she never wanted to leave. Rather than searching for an outside job, she was determined to work from home. Channeling Helene’s mother, an avid gardener, the couple planted fields of herbs and flowers, planning to dry and transform them into gorgeous wreaths and bouquets. Except for a few essential rooms, such as the kitchen, the entire house became a huge drying barn, with bunches of flowers hanging from every ceiling. To make the business more viable, Helene also planned flower-filled weddings and began designing gardens, discovering a passion for landscape design that still fuels her days. (Read more.)

Can the GOP Get Together in Cleveland?

From PJB:
After winning only six delegates in Wisconsin, and with Ted Cruz poaching delegates in states he has won, like Louisiana, Donald Trump either wins on the first ballot at Cleveland, or Trump does not win. Yet, as that huge, roaring reception he received in his first post-Wisconsin appearance in Bethpage, N.Y., testifies, the Donald remains not only the front-runner, but the most exciting figure in the race. Moreover, after the New York, New England, mid-Atlantic and California primaries, Trump should be within striking distance of the 1,237 delegates needed for the nomination. He will then have to persuade uncommitted delegates to back him, and perhaps do a deal with one of the defeated candidates, Marco Rubio or John Kasich, to win the remaining few needed to go over the top. In 1976, Ronald Reagan, shy of the delegates he needed to defeat President Ford, offered second place on his ticket to Sen. Richard Schweiker, a moderate from Pennsylvania.This brainstorm of Reagan campaign manager John Sears did not produce the required delegates, and Reagan received an envelope from a conservative Congressman with 30 dimes in it — 30 pieces of silver. (Read more.)

The Good is Always Useful

From Seton Magazine:
Arguing that “the good is always useful,” Newman explains that anything that is “beautiful, perfect, admirable, and noble in itself…must be useful to the possessor and all around him” but not always in terms of tangible results or sudden noticeable benefits such as a job or higher salary
To Newman “useful” means real gains and improvements that transcend quantification and calculation. Unlike a train, car, or computer, the value of goodness “is not useful in any low, mechanical, mercantile sense, but as diffusing good, or as a blessing, or a gift, or power, or a treasure.”
Thus goodness always serves a practical purpose, reaps benefits, enriches human lives, and improves the world. It produces effects and aftereffects that Newman compares to the spreading, diffusing, and communicating of light, joy, and love.
The good is useful because of its discharge. Like a child’s play that produces joy, a person’s contemplation of beauty that evokes wonder, the pleasure of friendship that offers companionship, or the delight of singing that lifts the heart, goodness—like liberal education—brings immediate and far-reaching blessings:
Good is not only good, but reproductive of good; this is one of its attributes; nothing is excellent, beautiful, perfect, desirable for its own sake, but it overflows, and spreads the likeness of itself all around it. Good is prolific…. A great good will impart great good…. I say then, if a liberal education be good, it must necessarily be useful too.
(Read more.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Bonnet à la Sultanne

Turbans became popular in the reign of Louis XVI and were worn by Marie-Antoinette and other ladies. Share

Pro-Life and Anti-Trump: The Hardball Moment

From Marjorie Campbell:
A person who procures a completed abortion incurs a
latae sententiae excommunication.

(1983 Code of Canon Law, sec. 1398)

On Thursday, March 30, 2016, Nassua County, NY police found 20-year-old Sharon Seudat bleeding profusely. After transporting her to the emergency room and learning that a pregnancy was involved, the police searched the home. They found a dead newborn – an infant girl – sealed into a black plastic bag. Seudat has been charged with murder and is being held pending a $750,000 bond.

Only one day earlier, on March 29, during a town hall meeting moderated by “Hardball” questioner Chris Matthews, this flurried exchange occurred with presidential candidate, Donald Trump:

MATTHEWS: I never understood the pro-life position.
TRUMP: Well, a lot of people do understand.
MATTHEWS: I never understood it. Because I understand the principle, it’s human life as people see it.
TRUMP: Which it is.
MATTHEWS: But what crime is it?
TRUMP: Well, it’s human life.
MATTHEWS: No, should the woman be punished for having an abortion?
TRUMP: Look…
MATTHEWS: This is not something you can dodge.
TRUMP: It’s a — no, no…
MATTHEWS: If you say abortion is a crime or abortion is murder, you have to deal with it under law. Should abortion be punished?
TRUMP: Well, people in certain parts of the Republican Party and conservative Republicans would say, “yes, they should be punished.”
MATTHEWS: How about you?
TRUMP: I would say that it’s a very serious problem. And it’s a problem that we have to decide on. It’s very hard.
. . . .
MATTHEWS: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no as a principle?
TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.
MATTHEWS: For the woman.
TRUMP: Yeah, there has to be some form.
MATTHEWS: Ten cents? Ten years? What?
TRUMP: I don’t know. That I don’t know. That I don’t know.
MATTHEWS: Why not?
TRUMP: I don’t know.
MATTHEWS: You take positions on everything else.
TRUMP: Because I don’t want to — I frankly, I do take positions on everything else. It’s a very complicated position.

Unlike their non-reaction to young mothers criminally charged when they murder their newborns, many pro-lifers issued blistering attacks on candidate Trump for hesitantly approving a penalty for aborting mothers.

An exemplary list of pro-life and anti-Trump proclamations appears here:  the basic theme being that women who kill their unborn “deserve” compassion, love, understanding, empowerment, support, mercy, etc. – but never justice or accountability.

As Robert George summarized in First Things: “Most pro-lifers and the entire mainstream pro-life movement oppose, and have always opposed, punishing women who seek abortions.”

Sadly, most pro-lifers did not analyze the context of Trump’s blunder or Catholic Matthew’s obtuse defense of abortion; nor did they embrace Trump’s “yeah” as a teaching moment.

Yet, a teachable moment it was. Trump most certainly – and many of his followers – rank among the least experienced and knowledgeable of the nuances and divisiveness of the pro-life, pro-choice subculture. This vacuum could have created educational opportunity but only if Mr. Trump and his supporters were not summarily dismissed by established pro-lifers as “not one of us.”

It is not obvious to many people why pro-lifers insist that a woman who finds a way to kill her unborn child – whether legal or illegal, whether procured or self-induced – should never be punished.

Is this merely a necessary strategy, critical to combat pro-life “opponents” who would “weaken the pro-life cause by tarring pro-lifers as punitive, vindictive people who would send women . . . to prison”?

In fact, there is an interesting and substantial legal history of restraint in prosecuting women who procure illegal abortions in favor of convicting illegal abortion providers, like the restraint shown in prosecuting prostitutes in favor of convicting pimps.

But this history and context were notably missing in pro-life reaction to Trump’s remarks. I found no calls, for example, for education or reasoned discussion in my pro-life Facebook community. Rather, I read that Trump is “toxic” and that, were I to suggest a woman be held accountable for aborting her unborn, I’d be summarily “unfriended.”

Trump has a knack for triggering strong, sometimes virulent, response – even from Catholics who, one would have hoped, might embrace an opportunity for charity, education and dialogue. Catholics might have embraced Trump’s confused, forced response for its worth: why does the Pro-life Establishment insist that women who intentionally abort are “victims” of their own decision?

Catholics’ canonical law imposes the single most severe canonical penalty – an automatic excommunication from the Church – upon a woman for the intentional, voluntary inducing, procuring, or participating in the death of her unborn child. (Read more.)