Tuesday, May 21, 2019

More on the Art Collection of Charles I and Henrietta Maria

Henrietta Maria of France
From Vogue:
Thusly spurned by the Spanish infanta, Charles subsequently chose 14-year-old Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV of France and his taste-making Florentine wife Marie de’ Medici (and sister to Louis XIII), as his queen. Henrietta Maria promised her godfather, Pope Urban VIII, that she would bring up her children as Catholics, unwittingly sowing the seeds for the rise of Oliver Cromwell, the fall of the monarchy, and the execution of her husband. Problematic as her influence on the British throne would ultimately prove, Queen Henrietta Maria’s reign was at least possessed of refined taste. Through her godfather and his connections to the great artists of Rome, she introduced the work of some Italian Baroque stars to Britain’s court, bringing artists such as Orazio Gentileschi to work in London and smoothing the way for the commission of a portrait bust of her husband by Bernini. A disgruntled Bernini worked not from life, as he would have liked, but from a remarkable triple portrait of the king by the new star of the moment, Anthony van Dyck. Although this picture was intended merely as a model from which Bernini would work, it is evident that van Dyck was using the commission as an opportunity to showcase his virtuosity to the iconic sculptor, and perhaps attract the attention of potential continental clients. (Read more.)

Infanta Maria Anna of Austria, Holy Roman Empress
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The Emasculating Effects of Fatherlessness and Feminism

From The American Thinker:
The cultural climate in the United States is growing increasingly hostile towards men. The barbaric behavior of Harvey Weinstein, Larry Nassr, and Bill Cosbyhas put all males in the proverbial doghouse. To make matters worse, major news outlets and left-leaning politicians add fuel to the fire by pushing an agenda-driven narrative that masculinity is inherently oppressive, violent, and domineering. Though it is true that hypermasculinity is problematic, we face a far greater threat at the opposite end of the macho-spectrum. Ironically, America is experiencing an epidemic of young men who fail to launch -- millennials who resist growing up and becoming men. They are abandoning traditional male behavior in favor of metrosexuality -- shoe-shopping, manicures, pedicures, and make-up are becoming the new norm. We are not making men like we used to; in fact, we are not making them at all. 
For example, a recent study published in the Journal of Hand Therapy finds that millennial men had significantly weaker grip strength than men 30 years ago. The average millennial male has the hand strength of a 30-year-old woman. The hormone that makes men masculine is vanishing from the western world too. Testosterone levels have dropped at least 17 percent since 1987 and continue to decline1.2 percent annually. Consistent with other trends in male reproductive health, men's sperm count and quality are also dwindling. Between 1989 and 2005, average sperm counts fell by 33 percent, meaning that one in five males will have difficulty conceiving. These statistics have significant implications for male fertility and health, but is it affecting the male psyche as well? Is it possible that low testosterone levels are making our men's character more receptive to feminization? Millennial men lack the defining grit and initiative of men from prior ages. Not only are men getting weaker and more effeminate, but they are also floundering academically too. Women are presently outperforming men in every level of academia. (Read more.)
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The Dearth of Conservatives in Academic Philosophy

From Quillette:
It is no secret that conservative political views are underrepresented in the academy. In Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University, John A. Shields and Joshua M. Dunn Sr. cite surveys that put the number of professors who self-identify as conservative in the humanities at between four and eight percent. It should therefore come as no surprise that conservative political views are scarce in philosophy. While it may seem impolite to raise this issue when the philosophy profession is contending with a rather different diversity problem, the fact itself is philosophically interesting. It is strange, for instance, how rarely philosophers agree about a wide range of thorny philosophical problems, and yet they appear to be unified on a range of complex issues that divide the American public roughly in half. 
Why are there so few political conservatives in philosophy? Some hypotheses stand out immediately. One may notice that philosophy requires a critical attitude that sits uncomfortably with the characteristically conservative respect for authority. As a profession, philosophy also does not offer career prospects that risk-averse conservatives may value higher than their more idealistic liberal counterparts. Lastly, as Peter K. Jonason has shown,1 openness to ideas and experience—the philosophical character trait par excellence—is associated with political liberalism, not conservatism. (Read more.)
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Monday, May 20, 2019

Theories About Da Vinci

From The Atlantic:
We will be hearing a lot about Leonardo this year, the 500th anniversary of his death. Exhibits are being readied in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. In May, the Queen’s Gallery, at Buckingham Palace, will display Leonardo drawings from the Royal Collection (which owns about 500 of them). A major exhibition at the Louvre, which is home to five Leonardo paintings, including the Mona Lisa, will open in October. So a wealth of Leonardo will be on display. Also on display—it never really stops—will be the musings of those who believe that they have finally solved some urgent Leonardo mystery, a mystery that might exist, like beauty, only in the mind of the beholder. (Read more.)
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The Modern Bonfire of the Vanities

From American Greatness:
San Francisco is the latest case in point. Earlier this month, the high school convened a “reflection and action working group” to determine the fate of a pair of 83-year-old murals depicting George Washington. The group determined the artwork is “highly problematic” and “traumatic” for students, since one of the murals presents George Washington next to several laboring slaves, and the other represents a dead Native American. The working group’s choice follows an earlierdecision in February by a school-board committee that the art “glorifies slavery, genocide, colonization, manifest destiny, white supremacy, oppression, etc.” 
What’s particularly moronic about this attempt to erase history is that the original painter of the murals, Victor Arnautoff, didn’t even intend to glorify President Washington. Arnautoff was a Communist who depicted Washington in such a way to “provoke a nuanced evaluation of his legacy,” namely, to call attention to the human costs of slavery and manifest destiny. (Read more.)
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Death of Queen Elizabeth Woodville

Of plague. But why is it mentioned 19 years after the fact? Strange. From The Guardian:
A 500-year-old letter discovered in the National Archives has revealed that the “White Queen” Elizabeth Woodville, the grandmother of Henry VIII, may have died of the plague. Elizabeth, the wife of Edward IV, mother of Edward V and maternal grandmother of Henry VIII, died in 1492 after spending the last five years of her life in Bermondsey Abbey in London. No cause of death was recorded at the time, and there are no known contemporary accounts of her passing. However, while digging through transcripts and translations of Venetian documents relating to England, National Archives records specialist Euan Roger stumbled on a letter from the Venetian ambassador to London, written 19 years after her death. 
The letter, dated July 1511, sees the ambassador, Andrea Badoer, state that “the Queen-Widow, mother of King Edward, has died of plague, and the King is disturbed”. Roger said the ambassador could only be referring to Elizabeth Woodville, mother of the princes in the Tower and a woman renowned for her “lynx-eyed” beauty, which drew the attention of Edward IV. It is the only known reference to Elizabeth’s death being caused by plague, but Roger believes that if the queen did in fact die in this way, it provides an alternative explanation of why accounts of her funeral are so modest. (Read more.)
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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Elisabeth of France – Martyr and Servant of God

From History of Royal Women:
Elisabeth and Clotilde were raised by Madame the Marsan, Governess to the Children of France. The two sisters couldn’t be more different. Clotilde had “the happiest disposition, which needed only to be encouraged and aided” while Elisabeth was “proud, inflexible, passionate and had intolerable defects.” Nevertheless, they were quite close, and Clotilde taught her sister the alphabet. The Abbé de Montégut, canon of Chartres, was appointed to tutor the children in 1774 and he instilled in Elisabeth the religious sentiments that would never leave her. When Elisabeth was 10, her grandfather King Louis XV died, and he was succeeded by her elder brother, now King Louis XVI and his wife Marie-Antoinette, barely out of their teens. For now, Elisabeth would remain at her studies, but Clotilde was destined to marry. The sisters were parted for the first time when Clotilde married the future King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia. Marie-Antoinette wrote to her mother, “My sister Elisabeth is a charming child, who has intelligence, character, and much grace; she showed the greatest feeling, and much above her age, at the departure of her sister. The poor little girl was in despair, and as her health is very delicate, she was taken ill and had a severe nervous attack. I own to my dear mamma that I fear I am getting too attached to her, feeling, from the example of my aunts, how essential it is for her happiness not to remain an old maid in this country.” (Read more.)

More HERE.  A collection of pictures and posts, HERE.


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A Voice of Reason

From Commentary:
Shapiro’s conception of the West is different from that of others who in recent years have taken up her cause. For those writers—think Steven Pinker and the like—the West sprang up, abruptly and miraculously, with the advent of Enlightenment skepticism, scientific rationalism, and modern capitalism. In Shapiro’s view, however, at the heart of that “West” is a “mechanistic, materialist vision of human beings and the universe.”
Shapiro resolved to write the book after he got a terrifying dose of our modern disorders in early 2016, when a group of conservative students invited him to give a speech at California State University at Los Angeles. It took dozens of armed, uniformed police officers, plus Shapiro’s own private security team, to get the author safely in and out of the college venue, so ravenous and violent was the mob that sought to silence him. (Read more.)
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The Essence of Evil

From the Toluidine Blue blog:
It is estimated that there are 100,000 to 150,000 under-aged child sex workers in the U.S. These girls aren’t volunteering to be sex slaves. They’re being lured—forced—trafficked into it. In most cases, they have no choice. In order to avoid detection (in some cases aided and abetted by the police) and cater to male buyers’ demand for sex with different women, pimps and the gangs and crime syndicates they work for have turned sex trafficking into a highly mobile enterprise, with trafficked girls, boys and women constantly being moved from city to city, state to state, and country to country.  
For instance, the Baltimore-Washington area, referred to as The Circuit, with its I-95 corridor dotted with rest stops, bus stations and truck stops, is a hub for the sex trade. No doubt about it: this is a highly profitable, highly organized and highly sophisticated sex trafficking business that operates in towns large and small, raking in upwards of $9.5 billion a year in the U.S. alone by abducting and selling young girls for sex. Every year, the girls being bought and sold gets younger and younger. The average age of those being trafficked is 13. (Read more.)
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Saturday, May 18, 2019

An 1829 Almanac

From East of the Sun, West of the Moon:
Poole’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Polite Assistant
and useful remembrancer
for the Year 1829
containing an almanack
the births deaths and marriages &c of the Soveriegn Princes of Europe
lists of Both Houses of Parliament
ruled pages for engagements cash accounts and various other articlesof useful information
To be continued annually
London Printed for J Poole et al
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The ‘Equality Act’ is a Danger to American Women

This legislation has no rules about what constitutes a legitimate claim to “gender identity” as a protected class. Any male (or female) can claim identity as the opposite sex without proof of medical diagnosis or permanent intent. Sex-based identity is completely subjective and determined by perception or desire and can be changed at any time.

Society’s purpose for sex-segregation, a major factor of women’s safety, is negated under this legislation. Women could no longer claim rights to our safety and equal protections because men could claim our rights just by claiming to be women. Perhaps the sponsor of this bill, a gay man, doesn’t understand our concerns. Women are safer in places they know men can’t legitimately access. 
If this bill passes, men, go ahead, put on your makeup and take a walk in a women’s locker room for a day. You don’t have to prove anything, just claim your feminine side. Women would be commanded to open the door to any female-posing male who wants access to women’s sex-specific spaces. (Read more.)
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The Exorcisms of Emma

From Medium:
Soon after settling at his new post, Father Theo, 39, got word from Thomas Drumm, Bishop of Des Moines, about a strange case. Twenty-six-year- old Emma Schmid of Germantown was suffering from disturbing experiences. Theo had met the devoutly religious Emma and her family years before, when she was sixteen and Theo was studying theology in Milwaukee before his stint in New York. His notes reflect finding her “always truthful and obedient, cheerful and companionable, and [leading] an exemplary life.” 
Despite the fallout from his possession cases back east, the request to look into such a claim did not faze Father Theo. As one of his colleagues, Reverend Father Carl Vogl, later wrote of Theo’s state of mind before Emma’s case: “He had little suspicion that he would meet with the severest experience as yet encountered by him.” 
Father Theo followed Roman Ritual, which contained the church-mandated guidelines to “diagnose” a possession and differentiate it from illness or fraud. “I am not so easily convinced that there is a possession,” he explained to the Milwaukee Journal in a rare interview. “Hundreds of persons have been sent to me by priests and laymen who believed that there is a possession. Usually I find otherwise.” (Read more.)
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Friday, May 17, 2019

Marie Antoinette VR

From Digital Rise:
Enter the 18th century France in vivid 360 S3D details. Marie-Antoinette invites you on an epic journey inside her memories. From the child queen of Versailles to her premature death, experience her heartbreaking story. Virtual reality will reshape your assumptions about this controversial woman, who never actually said “Let them eat cake!”. Embark on an epic journey inside the life of Marie Antoinette, captured in vivid 360 3D detail. Rediscover her life from her own perspective. She never said, « Let them eat cake. » Marie Antoinette VR is the concept demo of a cinematic VR episodic experience in development. Marie Antoinette VR had its world premiere at Cannes Film Festival Next VR, was presented at Oculus Connect 4 and was an official selection at Busan International Film Festival. Carol Liu’s Marie-Antoinette has been supported by Google in 2017 JUMP Start Program. The Demo has been shot with the support of Digital Rise and DVgroup. (Read more.)
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Faith, Family, and the Future of Europe

From The Imaginative Conservative:
The natives are restless. Across Europe resistance to the imperialism of the European Union is rising. Take Poland, for instance. Since the election to power of the populist and patriotic Law and Justice (PiS) party in 2015, the Polish people have flexed their political muscles. Refusing to genuflect before the power of the Euro-Empire and its dictatorial directives, the Polish government has resolutely resisted the EU’s demands that Poland open its borders to large-scale Muslim immigration. Such resistance is a reflection of a real national revival as Poles rediscover the religious roots of their nation. Church attendance is rising, as are the numbers of baptisms, confirmations, first communions, and marriages. The number of Catholic priests has also risen to record levels.

Reflecting this religious revival, the Polish parliament voted in November 2017 to begin to phase out Sunday shopping so that Sunday could be restored as a day of rest and fellowship for families. A year earlier, Poland’s bishops, together with Poland’s President, Andrzei Duda, proclaimed Jesus Christ as King of Poland, calling upon Christ to govern the nation, its people, and its political leaders. One nation under God!

A similar revival is under way in Hungary, whose President Viktor Orbán has emerged as a David-like champion of the freedom of small nations in their struggles against the Goliath-like bullies in Brussels. Since 2010, the year in which President Orbán was elected, Hungary has seen marriage rates increase by a staggering 43 per cent and, equally remarkable, divorce rates dropping by 22.5 per cent. With marriage once more en vogue it is not surprising that the number of abortions has decreased by a third since Orbán’s election nor that the nation’s birth rate is at its highest in 20 years. Hungary’s healthy demographic shift towards the revival of the traditional family has been helped greatly by the Hungarian government’s pro-family policies. (Read more.)
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The Real Story Behind The Russian Hoax

From Zero Hedge:
In 1999, Durham was appointed special prosecutor to investigate alleged ties among Boston police officers, federal agents, and organized crime figures, including James “Whitey” Bulger. As a result of Durham’s work, four men who had been imprisoned for murder years earlier had their sentences vacated because they had been framed by the FBI. One retired agent was sentenced to ten years in prison on racketeering charges. Another former agent who faced charges died before his trial. In 2008, Durham was assigned to look into a major scandal involving the CIA’s destruction of graphic interrogation recordings, though the Department of Justice (DOJ) declined to bring charges in the case. The following year, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed Durham to examine the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” methods. (Read more.)

More HERE. Share

A Deep Sense of Place

From Website, Ink:
"The Mind of the South" was written by Cash, a non-academic and a non-professional historian, but he examined the South of his day with laser-like precision. This book has been required graduate school reading ever since. One of the concepts about the South he put forth was the "sense of place" — from the architecture, the landscape, the soil type, to the terrain and the regional differences in architecture and the differences in accents that separate someone from Charleston from someone from Hattiesburg — that had all been jealously preserved by its inhabitants. To this day, the New York elites like to bottle and sell and examine this essence. I've lived in many places, and people remain fascinated. And if they have the good fortune to visit Homewood, they never forget it.(Read more.)
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Thursday, May 16, 2019

The House That Grief Built

From The New York Times:
The duke could not return to France for more than 20 years, until the fall of the Second Empire in 1870, when Napoleon III was overthrown. In the meantime, the duke’s wife and older son had died in England. He returned to France only to witness his younger son die from an illness. The duke regained ownership of Chantilly. In his grief, he re-created the old private rooms with their original contents, precisely as Lami had decorated them in the 1840s. “These private apartments became his ‘cemetery,’ as he called them,” said Mathieu Deldicque, curator of the Condé Museum at Chantilly. “Furniture was placed precisely where it had been earlier.” (Read more.)

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Anti-Semitic Attacks in New York City

From Twitchy:
We’re seeing a number of tweets reporting anti-Semitic attacks throughout New York City and for some reason, the media is silent on them. Police are searching for these suspects in the beating of a Hasidic father and son in Williamsburgh: "Just received a report that a Hasidic father & son were beaten up in Williamsburg this past Friday night for no other reason than being Jewish. Police report has been filed. Here’s footage of the four violent suspects behind the attack - help @NYPDDetectives find them!" (Read more.)

From The Federalist:
Imagine that members of a religious minority were being frequently physically assaulted in America’s largest city at alarming rates. Imagine if members of that minority were being cold-cocked or spit on randomly for doing nothing more than being who they are and dressing how they dress. Imagine what a powerful and important story this would be to our country, how mobilized the media and government would be to stop it. But what if I told you that this is happening in New York City right now, and nobody seems to care very much? How can this be? I’ll explain it.
Orthodox Jews in New York City, specifically in Brooklyn, have experienced alarming rates of physical assault over the past year. The New York Police Department says that hate crimes in the city are up 67 percent this year. Of those, a whopping 80 percent have been anti-Semitic hate crimes. Just this week an Orthodox Jew just walking down the street was attacked from behind, punched in the head by an attacker who then ran away. In another incident this week, an Orthodox Jew was attacked by a group of men, one of whom shouted “You (expletive) Jew.” (Read more.)
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Organized Crime at Record Level in UK

From The Guardian:
Britain risks losing the fight against organised crime unless police receive significant new resources to tackle the “chronic and corrosive” threat from such groups, the head of the National Crime Agency has warned. In a chilling assessment, the NCA’s director general, Lynne Owens, said the threat from organised crime groups was at unprecedented levels. “It is chronic and corrosive. The message needs to be heard by everyone.” 
She added: “People should understand that serious and organised crime kills more of our citizens every year than terrorism, war and natural disasters combined.” 
In a rare political intervention, the head of an agency often described as Britain’s equivalent to the FBI reopened the debate on police funding, arguing that without significant investment the UK’s forces would fall further behind the criminals exploiting encrypted communications technology and dark web anonymity. “Against a backdrop of globalisation, extremism and technological advances, serious and organised crime is changing fast, and law enforcement needs significant new investment to help combat it,” said Owens, ahead of this week’s launch of the NCA’s annual strategic assessment into the impact of organised crime. Last year Whitehall’s spending watchdog revealed the jobs of 44,000 police officers and staff had been lost since 2010, when the coalition government came to power, and that the Home Office had failed to even forecast the possible impact. (Read more.)
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The Tragic Decline of Music Literacy

From Intellectual Takeout:
Two primary sources for learning to read music are school programs and at home piano lessons. Public school music programs have been in decline since the 1980's, often with school administrations blaming budget cuts or needing to spend money on competing extracurricular programs. Prior to the 1980’s, it was common for homes to have a piano with children taking piano lessons. Even home architecture incorporated what was referred to as a “piano window” in the living room which was positioned above an upright piano to help illuminate the music. Stores dedicated to selling pianos are dwindling across the country as fewer people take up the instrument. In 1909, piano sales were at their peak when more than 364,500 were sold, but sales have plunged to between 30,000 and 40,000 annually in the US. Demand for youth sports competes with music studies, but also, fewer parents are requiring youngsters to take lessons as part of their upbringing.

Besides the decline of music literacy and participation, there has also been a decline in the quality of music which has been proven scientifically by Joan Serra, a postdoctoral scholar at the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute of the Spanish National Research Council in Barcelona. Joan and his colleagues looked at 500,000 pieces of music between 1955-2010, running songs through a complex set of algorithms examining three aspects of those songs:

1. Timbre- sound color, texture and tone quality
2. Pitch- harmonic content of the piece, including its chords, melody, and tonal arrangements
3. Loudness- volume variance adding richness and depth

The results of the study revealed that timbral variety went down over time, meaning songs are becoming more homogeneous. Translation: most pop music now sounds the same. Timbral quality peaked in the 60's and has since dropped steadily with less diversity of instruments and recording techniques. Today’s pop music is largely the same with a combination of keyboard, drum machine and computer software greatly diminishing the creativity and originality. Pitch has also decreased, with the number of chords and different melodies declining. Pitch content has also decreased, with the number of chords and different melodies declining as musicians today are less adventurous in moving from one chord or note to another, opting for well-trod paths by their predecessors. Loudness was found to have increased by about one decibel every eight years. Music loudness has been manipulated by the use of compression. Compression boosts the volume of the quietest parts of the song so they match the loudest parts, reducing dynamic range. With everything now loud, it gives music a muddled sound, as everything has less punch and vibrancy due to compression. (Read more.)
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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

French Elegance in the 18th Century

Marie Leszczynska, Queen of France (1703-1768), Charles-André van Loo, 1747, Palace of Versailles
From Daily Art Magazine:
The beginning of the century was all about silhouettes – sleek shapes and narrow-looking dresses. A plain style was preferred, without too many ornaments. This style was strongly influenced by Françoise d’Aubigné, the wife of King Louis XIV. Soon after his death, however, the style changed significantly. Women began wearing the robe manteau, which evolved into the more refined robe volantes and later into the robe à la française. The baroque-era dresses also started being decorated with ribbons and lace. When it came to make up, a lot of white foundation was used, made for example of egg whites. The lips were usually the color of red or cherries. Hair was often worn with a cap and close to the face. As the years passed, women began dressing in a more colorful style, and panniers became more comfortable. The beginning of the second half of the 18th Century was all about silk materials decorated with bows, strongly influenced by Rococo. Later in the period, fashion became inspired by what Marie Antoinette wore. (Read more.)
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Medical Kidnapping

The most notorious case of alleged medical kidnapping nationally involved Justina Pelletier, who had a rare mitochondrial disease. When doctors at one hospital determined it was psychosomatic, her parents tried to send her to a different hospital. The first hospital called in Massachusetts Department of Child Welfare case workers, and a judge’s order kept Pelletier away from her parents for 16 months. 
The most notorious case of medical kidnapping in Arizona was Melissa Diegel. Diegel was accused of something very similar to Munchhausen by proxy, a condition in which a caregiver makes up, or causes “an illness or injury in a person under his or her care, such as a child, an elderly adult, or a person who has a disability,” according to the University of Michigan School of Medicine. Except she didn’t have Munchausen, said Sherwyn. Diegel’s case was featured on the website Medical Kidnap (which tracks these kinds of cases nationally), as well as covered locally. Diegel told The Daily Caller that she has not seen her two children since 2016; she said she has spoken to numerous parents who have had their children taken in similar fashion by Arizona DCS. 
The potential to use of Munchausen by proxy as legal leverage may be a national phenomenon. In California, attorney Shawn McMillan has won multiple lawsuits after child welfare in California took children illegally, accusing the mother of Munchausen. (Read more.)
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John Lukacs, R.I.P.

From Chronicles:
When long-time Chronicles contributor John Lukacs died on May 6, the country lost one of its finest adopted sons, who was also one of its finest writers and historians. The scope and extent of his work defies summary—he published over three dozen books between 1953 and 2017 on a wide-ranging list of subjects, including: the philosophy of history, World War II, the Cold War, Tocqueville, George Kennan (a longtime correspondent and personal friend), Agnes Repplier, democracy, nationalism, a half-century of Philadelphia’s cultural landscape, and his own life and experience. 
His life was defined by his deep scholarship. In its obituary, the New York Times quoted a self-reflective statement from one of his final columns for Chronicles, in 2017: “I am a crumbling remnant. A remnant of the very end of the Bourgeois Age and a remnant of the Age of Books.” 
When I first encountered the great historian’s byline in Chronicles some twenty years ago, so lucid and limber was his prose that I assumed he must be a remarkable young scholar just entering the prime of his years. Imagine my surprise when I soon learned he was already in his 70s, retired after 47 years of teaching at Chestnut Hill College. Yet in a sense he was indeed in his prime—soon after I first read him he published the book for which he is probably best known today, Five Days in London, and new works continued to appear almost annually for the next dozen years. 
Lukacs lived to see Five Days in London became the basis for the film “Darkest Hour” in 2017, though the movie was less than fully faithful to Lukacs’s account of Winston Churchill’s mentality and actions as he decided whether to continue the war with Germany. Lukacs’s book had become a bestseller after 9/11, when New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani recommended it and compared the experience of the attacks on the Twin Towers to living through the Blitz. Despite the recommendation, Lukacs did not excuse the mayor’s hyperbole—he responded that the jihadist attack, horrific as it was, was not comparable to the sustained onslaught that London had faced from Hitler. 
Lukacs drew equally sharp distinctions between Churchill and a latter-day American “war president” like George W. Bush, whose adventurism Lukacs condemned. He had long criticized the blending of military symbolism into civilian politics, such as the practiceof civilian leaders saluting to soldiers. The title of his 1984 book, Outgrowing Democracy, was a warning about where he saw America heading. A refugee from the Soviet domination of Hungary—and before that, a conscripted laborer under the Nazis—Lukacs was an enemy of totalitarian ideology. But he saw nationalism itself as a more powerful force than any empire of the mind. This led him to agree with Kennan’s assessment of the Soviet threat as one that could be contained. And it led him to predict the dissolution of the Soviet Union itself, at a time when the CIA and the anti-Communist intellectuals of the conservative movement believed the Cold War would continue indefinitely. (Read more.)
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Ancient Egyptian Bread

From Ancient Origins:
A history enthusiast has baked loaves of ancient bread based on an ancient Egyptian recipe and using an ingredient that was 1,500 years old – yeast scrapings taken from ancient Egyptian bread pots. He claimed the outcome was very tasty! 
Ancient Egypt was a society that was very much dependent on the grains that it grew in the very fertile Nile valley . It was used to make bread and even to brew beer , both staples in the Egyptian diet . We actually know quite a lot about the bread that the Egyptians ate because of ‘optical and scanning electron microscopy of desiccated bread loaves’ reports Science
One amateur research has been intrigued for many years as to how the Ancient Egyptians made their bread and what it tasted like. Seamus Blackley, a successful American video game designer and entrepreneur, became interested in Ancient Egyptian bread some years ago. He had all the ingredients he needed to replicate how they made their bread and could even use the same type of millstones to grind grain into flour. Blackley only needed one thing- yeast, which was essential in the baking process of Egyptians 4000 years ago, as it is today. (Read more.)
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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Royal Mistresses

Madame de Pompadour
From History:
Diplomats who wanted to get to the King Louis XV in the mid-18th century had to go through Madame de Pompadour, who would meet with them while applying her makeup in public. Though Pompadour’s official title was as the French king’s mistress, she only slept with him for the first several years of their 20-year relationship. For the rest of it, she was the king’s closest political advisor and confidant.... 
“There’s not a real division between formal and informal political power in the early French court,” says Christine M. Adams, coauthor with Tracy Adams of the forthcoming book, The Creation of the Official French Royal Mistress. “If you were a friend”—or more than a friend—“that makes you politically influential. You can get favors for your friends. You can get land. You can get money.” 
It was pretty common for kings to have a mistress in those days, in part because marriages were arranged for political gain and not personal companionship. “They would often be paired with someone who they may not have known very well or they may not have liked,” says Danièle Cybulskie, author of the forthcoming book Life in Medieval Europe: Fact and Fictions. Adultery was still frowned upon, and kings could be deposed if they appeared to act too immorally, but people mostly tolerated a king having one mistress at a time. (Read more.)
Madame du Barry
More on Madame de Pompadour, HERE. Share

How Anti-Humanism Conquered the Left

From Quillette:
The logical conclusion of this anti-humanist ideology is, depressingly, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (Vhemt). According to its founder, activist Les Knight, Vhemt (pronounced “vehement”) is gaining steam. “In the last year,” Knight told the Daily Mail, “I’ve seen more and more articles about people choosing to remain child-free or to not add more to their existing family than ever. I’ve been collecting these stories and last year was just a groundswell of articles, and, in addition, there have been articles about human extinction.” 
Over 2000 new people have “liked” the movement’s Facebook page since January and, more importantly, the number of people fulfilling the movement’s goals (regardless of any affiliation with the movement itself) is growing. The U.S. birth rate is at an all-time low. According to the latest figures from the Center for Disease Control, the total U.S. fertility rate for 2017 was at an all-time low of 1.77 babies per woman (i.e., below the replacement rate of 2.1 babies per woman needed to maintain the current population). 
Recent examples of writings that are warming to the idea of human extinction include the New Yorker’s “The Case for Not Being Born,” NBC News’ “Science proves kids are bad for Earth. Morality suggests we stop having them,” and the New York Times’ “Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?” which muses that, “It may well be, then, that the extinction of humanity would make the world better off.” Last month, the progressive magazine FastCompany released a disturbing video entitled, “Why Having Kids Is the Worst Thing You Can Do for the Planet.” (Read more.)
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The News vs Reality

From Andrew Klavan at the Daily Wire:
I suppose this transformation of journalism into imaginative fiction was bound to happen sooner or later. All the elements were in place. One party — the Democrats — controls both the news industry and the entertainment industry. The same party is convinced that human nature, moral truth and reality itself can be transformed by transforming the stories we tell about them. And for eight years, that party and its media tried to prove that point by telling us a story about Barack Obama. He wasn’t a Chicago machine hack who knew jack-all about how foreign policy and the economy work. No, he was, in fact, the “next messiah,” a “light-worker,” “above the country, above the world… sort of God,” in the words of various journos. 
But now, reality, as is it's wont, is reasserting itself. And in reality, we find that even mean, nasty, very bad Orange Man Donald Trump can do a better job of being president than Obama ever could. What’s more, it is slowly coming to light that Obama, who abused the IRS to silence his opponents and the State Department to cover up his mistakes, may have also turned the Justice Department into a political weapon. Which means the “next messiah” was even meaner, nastier, very-badder and more unconstitutional than Orange Man Trump has even thought to be. 
Well, what can the Democrats do under the circumstances but put on a show and hope their news and entertainment media can sell it to the public? The result is the bizarre make-believe crisis the Democrats are acting out in Congress and the even more bizarre reporting of that make-believe crisis as if it were somehow real life. (Read more.)

From The National Review:
To review the plot: Robert Mueller conducted what was in effect an impeachment inquiry from within the executive branch for two years. In defiance of the spirit of the special-counsel regulations, he wrote a long, detailed narrative account of what his investigation found, even though he didn’t accuse the president of a crime (he did, however, “not exonerate” the president on obstruction, a bastard concept hitherto unknown to American law). 
Nothing in the regulations required Attorney General Bill Barr to release any of the report, let alone release it in its entirety. He did anyway with minimal, entirely defensible redactions that the DOJ worked through with Mueller. He then testified for hours in public before a Senate committee about his handling of the report, while declining to appear for more voluntary testimony before a House committee the next day over a process issue (the committee wanted a counsel to question Barr; the attorney general objected, likely because he didn’t like the optics). 
Collectively, then, and often working at cross-purposes, the Trump administration has done Congress an enormous favor the last two years. It appointed a special counsel; not only let him finish his work, but cooperated with him (despite Trump’s ineffectual scheming against the investigation); didn’t object to his writing a narrative for public and especially congressional consumption; and with only a brief delay handed the full report, signed, sealed, and delivered, over to Congress to potentially to use as a roadmap for impeachment. (And, oh yeah, the report has been published as a book and is being sold on Amazon.) Most of Jerry Nadler’s work has been done for him. (Read more.) 

From The Conservative Review:
On Sunday night’s episode of “Life, Liberty & Levin,” constitutional scholar and Chapman University law professor John Eastman told LevinTV host Mark Levin how special counsel Robert Mueller’s report turns the idea of justice upside down. Eastman was the author of legal analysis that challenged the idea of automatic birthright citizenship under the Constitution that became a point of controversy during the Trump presidential campaign. 
Eastman agreed with Levin that the second part of the Mueller report dealing with obstruction of justice issues is a “bunch of crap.” He went on to explain how the report even got the presumption of innocence wrong in dealing with the president. 
“[Mueller] said ‘I couldn’t find enough evidence to exonerate President Trump from the obstruction of justice allegations,'” Eastman pointed out. “That’s not his job as a prosecutor. The only job is to decide whether there’s enough evidence to bring an indictment with a likelihood of conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.” 
“We presume innocence unless we can prove otherwise,” Eastman continued. “His report presumes guilt unless Trump can prove otherwise, and it is a fundamental altering of our very basic conceptions of justice.” 
Levin and Eastman discussed the various elements that must be present to meet the minimum standard for a federal obstruction of justice charge and how that standard wasn’t remotely met by Mueller’s team. Later in the interview, Eastman also explained how Democrats’ rhetoric is undermining the principles behind the American Founding. (Read more.) 
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Cazeneuve

From Epoch Times:
Chateau Royal de Cazeneuve is shaped somewhat like an irregular polygon, and it’s strategically located on sheer cliffs at the confluence of two rivers along the Gorges de Ciron. The old mediaeval fortress built on this site was founded back in the 11th century, was extended in the 14th century, and restored in later centuries. The castle was frequented by many monarchs, including Edward I, Louis XIII, and Louis XIV.

The castle is surrounded by a moat (now dry) and was defended by two rectangular towers. Within its walls, there’s a large interior courtyard and a terrace that overlooks the moat. In the lower yard of the castle, I discovered medieval cellars where delectable wines are aged. There are several underground rooms, passageways, and caves as well.

As I walked through the wooded park on the grounds, I came across a fountain, a picnic area, an arboretum, a bamboo plantation, a pond, a waterfall, a mill, gardens, and Queen Margot’s famous cave in Queen Margot’s Wood. (Read more.)
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Monday, May 13, 2019

Opinions on a Brontë Classic

Wuthering Heights (1939)
From Lit Hub:
The plot of Wuthering Heights is immensely complicated and yet there is the most felicitous union of author and subject. There is nothing quite like this novel with its rage and ragings, its discontent and angry restlessness. 
Wuthering Heights is a virgin’s story. The peculiarity of it lies in the harshness of the characters. Cathy is as hard, careless, and destructive as Heathcliff. She too has a sadistic nature. The love the two feel for each other is a longing for an impossible completion. Consolations do not appear; nothing in the domestic or even in the sexual life seems to the point in this book. Emily Brontë appears in every way indifferent to the need for love and companionship that tortured the lives of her sisters. We do not, in her biography, even look for a lover as we do with Emily Dickinson because it is impossible to join her with a man, with a secret, aching passion for a young curate or a schoolmaster. There is a spare, inviolate center, a harder resignation amounting finally to withdrawal.
(Read more.)

From Owlcation:
Wuthering Heights is a gothic tale full of mystery and intrigue. Perhaps one of the biggest mysteries of all involves Heathcliff himself. Where did he come from? Who were his parents? And did the author, Emily Bronte, provide clues? That latter question is one of the most interesting. The work is a master showcasing of "show not tell." Instead of telling readers what people are made of or what is going to happen, Bronte shows it in master storytelling. She does this through her characters' words and actions, through foreshadowing, through symbolism and through clues. The more one studies this work, the more one realizes that Bronte was a subtle writer. She knew that perceptive readers would read between the lines and discover that much more was going on below the surface. This is in keeping with the gothic nature of this work. She doesn't insult readers' intelligence by spelling it out for them but rather, allows them to make their own discoveries and their own decisions about what they find. And the deeper they delve into this novel, the more they discover. (Read more.) 

Another opinion. From The Conversation:
To this day, Emily Brontë’s life story and literature continue to exert a powerful hold on the imaginations of audiences worldwide. One reason for the longevity of this fascination is the air of mystery that envelops the author and her work. Who was Emily Brontë? What does her famous novel, Wuthering Heights, mean? And how could a reclusive curate’s daughter, living on the edge of the Yorkshire moors, have written this mysterious tale of passion and revenge? 
In 1896, literary critic Clement Shorter dubbed Emily “the sphinx of our modern literature”. She died early, leaving behind only a few diary papers and letters, in addition to her novel and poetry. By contrast, we have volumes of letters from her sister Charlotte, telling us about her life in her own words. Emily was private, reclusive, and difficult to understand. But the strength of collective desire to uncover who she really was, and how she came to create her masterpiece, inadvertently also gave rise to one of the coarsest and most curious legends to have attached itself to the Brontë family – the myth that Wuthering Heights was the product of incestuous longings. (Read more.) 

From Medium:
Despite their damaging toxicity, Catherine and Heathcliff are soul mates. They belong together but not as lovers. It’s an idolized, obsessive connection. As this Bustle article explains: They [Heathcliff and Catherine] strive to transcend the boundaries of human subjectivity and physicality — to become something that is other and only them. Their relationship in the novel is strange and fascinating, but it’s not love. 
There is zero indication that Catherine or Heathcliff have romantic, sexual chemistry. They aren’t physically attracted to one another like Catherine is to Edgar Linton (the man she marries), and since she is pregnant and dies after giving birth, we, as readers, know Catherine has had sex. 
In fact, if you analyze this story from a historical lens (which is important since mores, morals, and day-to-day living was different), a modern audience might better understand that Victorian-era audiences considered the “opposites attract” rule to be the epitome of romantic love. "… Because he’s [Heathcliff’s] more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and [Edgar’s] is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire." 
Heathcliff and Catherine are the same; therefore, theirs is a platonic love, while Catherine and Linton are opposites and therefore more symbolic of Victorian-era romantic love. Catherine says: "I am Heathcliff. He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being." And that, straight from the horse’s mouth, carries the weight of the point: this is not a romance. Catherine and Heathcliff, though linked by their souls, have an eerily incestuous, deeply codependent, dangerously toxic, and (at times) hostilely platonic relationship. 
The only reason we consider Wuthering Heights a romance is because of moody film adaptations and bad high school English teachers. So, I plead with you all, the betrothed, married, and stupid-in-love couples of the world, please stop using this quote to describe your relationship. (Read more.) 

More HERE and HERE. Share

Trauma and George Washington

From The Daily Wire:
Here's the irony, though. The murals were painted in 1936 by artist Victor Arnautoff, who was a protégé of Diego Rivera and a communist. "He included those images not to glorify Washington, but rather to provoke a nuanced evaluation of his legacy. The scene with the dead Native American, for instance, calls attention to the price of 'manifest destiny.' Arnautoff’s murals also portray the slaves with humanity and the several live Indians as vigorous and manly," The Wall Street Journal reports. Historian Fergus M. Bordewich told The Fix that it is "a deeply wrongheaded habit to project today’s norms, values, ideals backwards in time to find our ancestors inevitably falling short." 
"It betrays a very troubling intolerance of art and the ambiguity of art and the aspirations of art," he said. "It’s incredibly stupid if we try to erase history. It still happened, and you should argue about its meanings." (Read more.)
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Sims Should Resign

From Life News:
Ashley Garecht told CBS Philadelphia that Sims’ aggressive behavior had her concerned for her daughters’ and their friend’s safety. The girls are ages 13 and 15. “Absent the pro-life issue, this was about an adult interacting with minors in an aggressive manner and an adult infringing on minors’ speech,” she told the news station. “I don’t need an apology from him. I’m an adult. I’ve already forgiven him.”

She said she would like Sims to apologize to her daughters and their friend. Last week, Sims posted a video of himself berating a pro-life sidewalk counselor in Philadelphia. A second video that he posted earlier in April showed him offering $100 for the identities of three pro-life teenage girls who were praying peacefully outside the abortion facility with Garecht. His requests suggest that the state representative may have been trying to intimidate the 13- and 15-year-old girls through doxxing, a practice where a person’s name and contact information are posted publicly online usually to encourage harassment. Garecht said she did not realize that Sims was a state representative until earlier this week when the videos went viral. (Read more.)
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Native American Jacobites!

From Stephanie Mann:
From The Catholic Herald, a review of a new book from OUP about the Wabanaki confederation of what is now north-eastern USA and south-eastern Canada, highlighting their desire to aid the Catholic Stuarts:
It was 1715 and a tribal people were preparing to assist in restoring Britain’s exiled Royal House of Stuart, sharpening tomahawks, covering themselves in war paint and raising sails on ships built to the highest technical standards of the day.

No, I haven’t been drinking too much Bourbon. Nor am I confusing Scottish highlanders, American Indians and Caribbean pirates. I am writing about a combination of two facts – the amassing of a fleet of sailing ships by the Indian tribes of the Wabanaki confederation, and the role which those tribes played in the Jacobite movement – facts which are virtually unknown but which can be studied in Matthew Bahar’s book, Storm of the Sea: Indians and Empires in the Atlantic’s Age of Sail. . . .

From the time they learned of the “Glorious Revolution” until the 1760s, the Wabanaki supported the claims of the Stuart dynasty, making them some of the last adherents of the Jacobite cause. It was a position which contributed to their cooperation with the Jacobites’ French allies in colonial campaigns during the War of the League of Augsburg, the War of the Spanish Succession and the War of the Austrian Succession – cooperation of greater strategic significance than might be readily apparent.

The more that Indian aid could minimise France’s need to send men and supplies to North America, the more resources France could spare for a Stuart restoration. Conversely, British victories in the colonies would divert French resources from Jacobite efforts. In 1745, for example, the French colonial fortress of Louisburg fell to a New England army. Had the fortress held out, the army and fleet which Louis XV sent to recapture it the following year would have been ordered to support Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s Jacobite rising, even if it meant setting out on such a mission after the Battle of Culloden.

The Wabanaki also contributed to bleeding dry the House of Hanover’s ability to make war. One of the major props of the power of Hanover was naval supremacy. The British navy’s most important source of timber for shipbuilding was the Wabanakis’ homeland. . . .(Read more.)
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Sunday, May 12, 2019

King Alfred and India

An Anglo-Saxon Map of the World
From Dr. Caitlin Green:
According to the 'Anglo-Saxon Chronicle' for AD 883, King Alfred of Wessex sent two men, Sigehelm and Æthelstan, overseas with alms to carry both to Rome and to the shrines of 'St Thomas in India/Indea and to St Bartholomew', fulfilling a promise made when he besieged a Viking raiding-army at London (MSS D, E & F; also mentioned with additional details by William of Malmesbury and John of Worcester, see below).
883: Sigehelm and Athelstan took to Rome—and also to St Thomas in India and to St Bartholomew—the alms which King Alfred had vowed to send there when they beseiged the raiding-army in London; and there, by the grace of God, they were very successful in obtaining their prayers in accordance with those vows.(1
Needless to say, this passage has been the subject of considerable interest. Some have suggested that 'India seems an unlikely destination for two English thanes' and argued that we might thus see India/Indea as a mistranscription of Judea, based on variant forms in MSS B & C.(2) However, whilst possible, this is by no means a necessary assumption, and a reading of Sigehelm and Æthelstan's intended goal as indeed being India remains commonly accepted.(3) Certainly, a final destination for Alfred's two emissaries at shrines in India, rather than Judea, would fit well with contemporary Anglo-Saxon knowledge of the two saints mentioned in the Chronicle's account. As the ninth-century Old English Martyrologyattests, both St Thomas and St Bartholomew were said to have been martyred in India in tales that were current in King Alfred's time; likewise, Cynewulf's arguably ninth-century Old English poem The Fates of the Apostles explicitly links these two saints with India, and so too do the works of Aldhelm, d. 709, whom King Alfred notably considered England's finest poet.(4) Furthermore, it may well be that, rather than India being an 'unlikely destination for two English thanes', its remoteness from early medieval England was, in fact, the very point of Alfred's gift: that, in return for success against a Viking raiding-army that had occupied London, King Alfred had deliberately pledged to send alms to the very furthest-known reaches of Christendom, to the land that was conceived of as mirroring Britain's position on the very far edge of the known world.(5) (Read more.)
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The Political Voice of the Full-time Mother

"The hand that rocks the cradle rocks the world.” I first heard that saying from my mother, who homeschooled five children. I hardly ever hear that proverb anymore, and now that I’m raising my own children, I often find myself doubting it. Every day, well-educated, economically stable women like me get the message that the hand rocking the cradle would be put to better use rocking the world in some other way, that full-time motherhood is a waste of our potential. As we busy ourselves with fixing lunches, scrubbing the bathtub, and herding a litter of tiny troublemakers through the checkout line at the grocery store, the thought might cross our minds that there’s something to the criticism.

I value my motherhood above any other responsibility I have in this life. I respect other stay-at-home moms (SAHM) for their commitment to raising their children full-time. But like so many other mothers who “stay home,” mothering and home-making are not all the work I do. In my case, I write and podcast. I don’t do it because I’m afraid of being judged for being a strictly SAHM. This work is my way of attempting to rock the world outside the comfort and relative serenity of my happy family. (Read more.)
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No Greater Love

From CNA:
On Wednesday, Kendick’s father, John Castillo, confirmed to the Denver Post what he had learned from witnesses and the coroner: that Kendrick died while charging the shooter to save his friends. “It doesn’t surprise me,” John Castillo told the Denver Post. “He cared enough about people that he would do something like that, even though it’s against my better judgment.”
“I wish he had gone and hid,” Castillo added, “but that’s not his character. His character is about protecting people, helping people.”
Kendrick’s friends and fellow students share the same sentiment, Haynes said. “Every time I see a new kid that is in shock or crying, I ask - ‘But are you surprised?’ And they say ‘No, I’m not surprised at all. I’m just mad because I didn’t want him to have to do it. But of course he was going to do it.’” Haynes said she remembers Kendrick as an unfailingly kind student, who cared deeply about everyone, who tried hard in school, and who wasn’t afraid to have fun and be goofy. (Read more.)

Meanwhile, some parents are more concerned about pronouns. From The Federalist Papers:
 The parents of the younger shooter in the Colorado school shooting are more concerned about what pronoun is being used for their child than the shooting. The shooter, born Maya McKinney, is listed as a 16-year-old female, but the child prefers the name Alec and wants to be known as a male, The New York Post reported.

McKinney was shackled at the wrists and ankles Wednesday when he appeared in court and responded to the judge’s questions in a clear but quiet voice, saying, “Yes, your honor,” and, “No, your honor.” His mother sat at his side. The teen’s lawyers asked that the pronoun “he” be used for their client.
(Read more.)

More HERE and HERE.
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The Ancient Mass in “House Churches”

From Monsignor Charles Pope:
What is remarkable about these early liturgies is how formal they were despite the less-than-ideal circumstances. The following text is from the Didiscalia, a document written in about 250 A.D. Among other things, it gives rather elaborate details about the celebration of the early Catholic Mass in these “house liturgies.” I have included an excerpt below (in bold italics); my comments are shown in red text.  
 Now, in your gatherings, in the holy Church, convene yourselves modestly in places of the brethren, as you will, in a manner pleasing and ordered with care. 
These “house liturgies” were not informal; good order and careful attention to detail were essential. 
Let the place of the priests be separated in a part of the house that faces east. 
Even in these early house Masses, the sanctuary (where the clergy ministered) was distinct from where the laity gathered. People were not all just clustered around a dining room table. 
In the midst of them is placed the bishop’s chair, and with him let the priests be seated. Likewise, and in another section let the lay men be seated facing east. For thus it is proper: that the priests sit with the bishop in a part of the house to the east and after them the lay men and the lay women,
 Everyone faced east, laity and clergy. Notice that men and women sat in separate sections, which was the tradition in many churches until relatively recently (the last 150 years or so). 
and when you stand to pray, the ecclesial leaders rise first, and after them the lay men, and again, then the women. Now, you ought to face to east to pray for, as you know, scripture has it, Give praise to God who ascends above the highest heavens to the east.
 Again, note that Mass was not celebrated facing the people, as some suppose of the early Church. Everyone faced in the same direction: east. The text cites Scripture as the reason for this: God is to the east, the origin of the light. 
Now, of the deacons, one always stands by the Eucharistic oblations and the others stand outside the door watching those who enter,
 Remember that this was a time of persecution; the early Christians were careful to allow only baptized and bona fide members to enter the sacred mysteries. Only the baptized were permitted to enter the Sacred Liturgy. This was called the disciplina arcanis(discipline of the secret), and deacons guarded the door to maintain it.
and afterwards, when you offer let them together minister in the church.
 Once the door was locked and the Mass began, it would seem that the deacons took their place in the sanctuary, with one remaining outside it to maintain “good order” among the laity.
And if there is one to be found who is not sitting in his place let the deacon who is within, rebuke him, and make him to rise and sit in his fitting place … also, in the church the young ones ought to sit separately, if there is a place, if not let them stand. Those of more advanced age should sit separately; the boys should sit separately or their fathers and mothers should take them and stand; and let the young girls sit separately, if there is really not a place, let them stand behind the women; let the young who are married and have little children stand separately, the older women and widows should sit separately. 
This may seem a bit complicated, but the upshot is that seating was by sex and age. Note that those with young children were to stand in a separate area (the cry rooms of the day!). 
And a deacon should see that each one who enters gets to his place, and that none of these sits in an inappropriate place. Likewise, the deacon ought to see that there are none who whisper or sleep or laugh or nod off. (Read more.)
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