Sunday, March 26, 2023

The Murderous Children of 19th Century Britain

 Anyone who has read Dickens is aware that the lot of the poor in Victorian England was dire, in spite of continuous efforts  on the part of both church and state to give aid. While the Industrial Revolution brought many advantages to society in general, such as more efficient transportation, cheaper and plentiful food and personal amenities, the initial transformation of society from agricultural and rural to urban and mechanized caused great upheavals. Family life, religious custom, moral guidelines, were seemingly trampled in the maze of crowded slums of those whose new center of life was the factories where health and safety measures were practically unknown. No laws existed initially to protect children from working all day and so they labored at many jobs all over the country. One would not therefore be surprised at children turning to crime in the cities, like Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger. 

What surprised me about Christina Croft's carefully researched book about child murderers of the nineteenth century were how the children in the countryside seemed as depraved as those in the towns. Little children killing other little children just out of spite, curiosity, or for no apparent reason occurred in idyllic country villages as well as in thriving centers of commerce. Some people blamed the Penny Dreadfuls, which were serialized bloody and lurid tales aimed at a youthful audience, for giving violent ideas to unformed minds. Others blamed the fact that many poor families drank gin or ale when clean drinking water was absent, which it was most of the time. And so it seems many poor children, bereft of an adequate breakfast, were stumbling around intoxicated by mid-morning. In order to feed them, many destitute families sent their children, as soon as they were old enough, to work in service to middle class or wealthy families. It was in respectable and prosperous homes that many of the most infamous murder cases occurred, for the child servants were given the task of watching over the babies of the family. It seems the repressed or suppressed anger of some servant children manifested itself when they were supposed to be caring for helpless infants. England was shocked by such incidents, and the death penalty did not distinguish between adult and child criminals.

Besides willful murder, there were also children who raped other children, as well as children who enjoyed throwing rocks at strangers' heads and seeing them collapse. There were no gun laws regarding children; many curious young boys found it exciting to steal their fathers' firearms but then accidentally shot innocent passersby or even their friends and family members. Christina Croft has recorded dozens of tragic cases of all varieties of crime which put one more in mind of twenty-first century Baltimore, Maryland than nineteenth century Great Britain. My Beatrix Potter-like visions of Victorian children having rustic tea parties in the garden along with bunnies, dolls and badgers have been smashed forever.


On the Signature Bank Fiasco

 From The Post Millennial:

Regulators shut down New York City based Signature Bank on Sunday, a financial institution which had previously cut ties with President Donald Trump following the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Signature Bank is the second financial institution shuttered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) this week after Friday's collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. According to CNBC, "Signature is one of the main banks to the cryptocurrency industry. As of Dec. 31, Signature had $110.4 billion in total assets and $88.6 billion in total deposits, according to a securities filing."

On January 12, 2021, the bank told The New York Post that it had begun the process of closing Trump’s two personal accounts and “will not do business in the future with any members of Congress who voted to disregard the Electoral College.” According to the outlet, Signature also posted a “scathing statement” on its website slamming Trump stating, “We have never before commented on any political matter and hope to never do so again.” (Read more.)


From Brownstone Institute:

Indeed, notwithstanding all the Mickey Mouse aspects of the SIFI capital standards regime, it might well be wondered whether Signature and SVB would still be open today had they needed to adhere to JP Morgan levels of capital and liquidity, but one thing is certain: Getting the benefits of a posthumous SIFI designation that they were never required to adhere to while they were still among the living is a new low in Washington servility to the powerful. In this case, the billionaire overlords of Silicon Valley and the VC racket whose deposits were at risk until about 6PM Sunday night.

And yet, and yet. The grotesque bailout of the large depositors who wear the Big Boy Pants at these institutions is just the tip-of-the-iceberg of the outrage warranted by this weekend’s pitiful capitulation.

It apparently became evident even to the brain-dead zombies who run the triumvirate in Washington that bailing out all SVB and Signature Bank depositors would trigger a massive run on deposits at other “small” banks—and for that matter most any non-SIFI institution. So they extended the bailout to the entire $18 billion universe of US bank deposits, more than $9 trillion of which are not covered by the existing $250,000 FDIC insurance limit.

And pray tell what lighting enactment of a Congress which was not even in session over the weekend, or prior enactment that no one on earth ever heard of, was this sweeping commitment of taxpayer funds based on?

The true answer is essentially institutional arrogance. Technically, the new Bank Term Funding Program (BTFP) was invoked under the Fed’s emergency authorities to handle “unusual and exigent circumstances” by cranking up its printing presses. But this new addition to the alphabet soup of facilities first stood up during the 2008-2009 crisis is just plain over the top.

It will allow banks to borrow 100 cents on the dollar against the book or par value of trillions of UST and Agency debt on their balance sheets. Yet much of it is massively underwater owing to the fact that at long last the yields on fixed income securities are being allowed to normalize. And unlike normal free market practice, BTFP users won’t even have to over-collaterize their loans.

Accordingly, this is a huge gift to banks which were sitting on some $620 billion in unrealized losses on all securities (both Available for Sale and Held to Maturity) at the end of last year, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. It also means that just the Big 4 banks—as shown in the second chart below—are getting a $210 billion bailout. (Read more.)


Harriet Tubman: A Story Told Through Landscape

 From Mahan Rykiel:

The subject of a 2019 Hollywood film and new statue in the Maryland Capitol, Harriet Tubman began her life and incredible story on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She was born into slavery and later escaped and helped others gain their freedom as a “conductor” of the Underground Railroad. Tubman also served as a scout, spy, guerrilla soldier, and nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War; she is considered the first African-American woman to serve in the military. Her life and legacy are influenced deeply by the landscape and communities in which she was raised, enslaved, and worked. In 2013, 100 years after Tubman’s death, the State of Maryland and the National Park Service broke ground for a new protected area within the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. This 17-acre state-owned site lay entirely within the refuge’s boundaries on Maryland Route 335. The state designated the land and honored Tubman’s legacy with the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park. On the same date, the State of Maryland unveiled the 125-mile Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway, a route along an existing system of county, state, and federal roads which mirrored the route Tubman took while rescuing slaves.

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center invites visitors to experience Tubman’s world through exhibits that are informative and emotive, providing an in-depth understanding of Tubman’s early years spent in Maryland’s Choptank River region and her legacy as a leader in the resistance movement of the Underground Railroad. The park, which sits on the trailhead for the 125‐mile Byway, interprets how the landscape of the Choptank River region shaped her early years and the importance of her faith, family and community.

“The core of the Tubman interpretive experience is rooted in the physical geography and topography of the fields, forests, paths, and waterways of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. These landscapes are physical and material, on the one hand, and intangible and nonphysical on the other…. Rooting visitors in these places, such as her birth site at the Thompson plantation at Harrisville, the fields and woods of the Brodess farm and Bucktown, the forests, fields, wharves and creeks of Madison, the rivers and streams of Blackwater and the Choptank River estuary, and the Underground Railroad routes through Caroline County, can help visitors visualize the breadth and scope of the physical and social landscapes of Tubman’s life.” (Larson, 2014)

(Read more.)


Saturday, March 25, 2023

“O Jewel Resplendent”

From MDPI:

St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179) comes down to us as one of the most dynamic intellectual figures of the twelfth century. As a leader of religious women in the Rhineland, she authored extensive volumes of visionary theology; designed visual images for at least one of those; composed the largest corpus of liturgical music ascribed to a single author of the Middle Ages; wrote works in natural science and medicine; preached to religious communities throughout her region; and engaged in an extensive correspondence with people from all ranks of society, from popes and kings down to local monks and nuns. This extraordinary, interconnected body of work offers us a unique entry point into medieval intellectual life, at once rooted in tradition and recasting that tradition in startlingly innovative ways. Hildegard’s Mariology exemplifies this creative range.
The best overview of Hildegard’s “theology of the feminine” remains the foundational work of Newman (1997). She demonstrated that for Hildegard, the feminine can be understood at a cosmic level as the matrix for the manifestation of divinity into time. The Virgin Mary is the most concentrated focal point of a dynamic that stretches from the figure of eternal Wisdom ordering creation, through the fertile but fallen mother Eve, and then on to the Virgin Mother Church. Essential elements in this Mariology include the predestination of the Virgin (i.e., that God preordained from eternity that the Virgin would bear his Son); Mary’s restoration of Eve’s fallenness through the power of virginity; and the Virgin’s exemplarity for Ecclesia, the Church, who is a Mother to the faithful in baptism and bears for them the Body of Christ in the Eucharist.1
Most studies of Hildegard’s Mariology find their richest sources in her lyrics. She composed more liturgical music for the Virgin Mary than she did for any other single subject: sixteen pieces that survive with musical notation (including antiphons, responsories, a sequence, a song, an Alleluia verse, and a hymn), as well as several others that survive only in a textual miscellany (Hildegard of Bingen 1998). There is good reason for this: Hildegard’s thought reaches its densest and most sublime in her liturgical poetry, which summarizes her larger theological project. Hildegard’s music thus provides an entry point for exploring the deeper roots of her Mariology, not only through manifest images of the Virgin but also through what Denk (2021) has called “Mariological allusion.” Essentially, we can learn even more about Hildegard’s views on the Virgin Mary by tracing allusions, analogues, and motifs that make the Virgin present even in the absence of explicit invocations. Denk (2021) has done this principally through musicological allusions to the wider chant repertoire, a valuable line of inquiry pioneered in recent years by Bain (2021).
This study, too, will take two of Hildegard’s musical compositions for the Virgin as its springboard: the antiphon, O splendidissima gemma; and the responsory, O tu suavissima virga. The context in which we will explore their allusive power, however, will be the treatise in which Hildegard embedded them: her first work, Scivias, written 1142–1151. This book (whose title is shorthand for “Know the Ways of the Lord”) consists of twenty-six visions organized into three parts and serves as a kind of summa or “summary” of Christian theology. The first part surveys the order of creation and its fall, both of Lucifer and the angels and of humans in Adam and Eve. The second part articulates the order of redemption, with a focus on the Incarnation, the Trinity, and the sacraments of the Church. The third part, finally, dramatically retells the stories of the first two by setting them within a vast “Edifice of Salvation,” with the Virtues as our guide through salvation history and into eternity.
This study of Hildegard’s Scivias will proceed not only from its text,2 but also from its illustrations and music. Hildegard designed a detailed cycle of illustrations for a copy of Scivias produced in her monastery during the final decade of her life, which I will refer to as the Rupertsberg Scivias.3 Although no extant copies of Scivias include musical notation for the song cycle in the work’s final vision, the notation does survive in copies of Hildegard’s music in two other manuscripts.4 As Fassler (2022) has recently argued, Hildegard certainly intended that her nuns would know both the illustrations and the music when they engaged with the treatise.5 Meanwhile, as I have argued elsewhere (Campbell 2013, 2021), the illustrations produced about two decades later function as teaching tools to refine and highlight certain aspects of the text. Interpretation of the work is dynamically strongest when it attends to all three of its modes of communication: textual, musical, and visual.
Previous studies of the Virgin Mary’s place in Scivias have focused on the contrast with Eve (Garber 1998) and the place of the Annunciation as a model for authorizing female inspiration (Wain 2017). Wain (2017) offers a valuable critique of the ways in which many discussions of medieval Mariology rely too simplistically on the “Eva/Ave” trope to set up an oppositional parallel between Eve and Mary. She suggests that Hildegard instead sees the Virgin Mary as a model for her own intellectual fertility, positing the opening illustration of the Rupertsberg Scivias (which accompanies Hildegard’s preliminary Protestificatio) as an adapted Annunciation scene, with Hildegard gestating and giving birth to the work. Garber (1998), meanwhile, draws together the architectural metaphors found in several of Hildegard’s Marian lyrics with the imagery of the edifice of salvation in Part 3 of Scivias to suggest that Hildegard and her nuns shared with the Virgin a role as builders, not only of the physical monastery that they renewed at the Rupertsberg, but also of the life of monastic virtue. She contrasts the symbolic abstraction of Eve and Mary in much of Scivias with the more physically concrete personifications of the Virtues, who thus offer more relatable role models for Hildegard’s nuns.
The salient historiographical issue is the extent to which the Virgin Mary could serve as a viable role model for medieval women. It is sometimes suggested that she could displace the gross misogyny that often resulted from the identification of women as “daughters of Eve.” But how realistic would that displacement be if we recognize that the Virgin Mary was in many ways “an inaccessible paragon” (Wain 2017, p. 164)? In Hildegard’s hands especially, the Virgin takes on cosmic proportions. We do not find Hildegard meditating on the humanly relatable aspects of the Virgin’s life, such as her compassion or sorrow for her Son, that would become powerful models in later medieval spirituality. Instead, as we will see in this study, Mary appears as “majestic and impersonal” (Newman 1997, p. 166), a radiant light shining distantly, blinding in its brilliance like the sun. But this study will also show that Hildegard mediated the Virgin’s light through analogues of traditional Marian imagery. Building on the insights of Garber (1998) and Fassler (2022), it will reveal how the Virgin exemplifies the life of the virtues and through them could indeed serve as a model for Hildegard and the virgin nuns under her care. Again, in contrast to later medieval spiritual practices that encouraged interior meditation on details of the Virgin’s life—even when those details, such as her reading at the Annunciation,6 could authorize women’s learning and intellectual life—Hildegard’s focus for her nuns was on actively developing virtues that for her imitate the Virgin’s key role in salvation history. When her nuns would join their voices in the music of the liturgy, in particular, they would be transformed into resplendent gems, “living stones” to build up the heavenly Jerusalem and take their place as the perfected work of the Church. (Read more.)


So Much for Transparency

 From American Greatness:

The Left and NeverTrump Right spent four years claiming “democracy dies in darkness” while extolling the virtues of resistance and transparency. Thus, their extreme overreaction to Tucker Carlson’s acquisition and release of raw video footage from the January 6, 2021 Capitol protests is startling and a bit tin-eared. The leadership basically are saying: “Who you gonna believe, us or your lying eyes?” 

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) condemned Carlson as an enemy of the people and seemed to imply something bad would happen to Fox News for permitting the dissemination of videos of the January 6 protests. Schumer, and pretty much all of Carlson’s other critics, never explain why what happened on January 6 should be hidden from the American people, and they never assert the videos being shown are doctored, fake, or inauthentic.

Critics can call this release a lie all they want, but the footage doesn’t lie. In fact, compared to the cherry-picked material already in the public domain, the broader record undermines some of the key narratives Democrats have concocted. For example, Officer Brian Sicknick is seen walking around, apparently in perfect health, after his supposed murder. An alleged violent insurrectionist, the QAnon Shaman, appears being led calmly from door to door by helpful Capitol Police

Carlson’s critics from both wings of the uniparty seemed to think they could keep a lid on reality and use their extravagant and overwrought rhetoric about an INSURRECTION to reinforce their false narrative. No such luck. This fragile edifice was already starting to crack before Carlson’s exposé. 

Before Carlson, there had been many videos circulating showing grandmas politely and respectfully walking through the capitol, and American Greatness’ Julie Kelly earlier exposed the two-tiered justice system defendants have faced for what are mostly minor offenses. (Read more.)


Joe Biden: Guilty Of Foul Deeds

 From David Horowitz at American Greatness:

This first Biden bank record to be surrendered showed three members of the Biden family, including Beau Biden’s widow Hallie and one person identified only as “Biden,” received payments amounting to $1 million from a Chinese Communist State energy company. 

What were the payments for? Forget asking the Bidens, who have a long history of silence and denial on such material questions. When asked, Joe Biden denied he ever discussed Hunter Biden’s Chinese business affairs with him, even though he flew with Hunter on Air Force Two to China and met with his business associates. Never at a loss for brazen lies to extricate himself from difficult circumstances, Biden, without a second thought, denied that the bank records were “true.” 

To date, there hasn’t been one attempt by the Biden camp to try to explain what service the Bidens actually supplied to the Chinese Communists to earn such ample rewards. At the lowest levels of this corruption, Hallie Biden, who is a school counselor, received $25,000 from the Chinese Communist Party. For what?

When you have no answers to such material questions, when you lie continually about the operations themselves (“I never discussed Hunter’s business with my son!”) when you suborn your intelligence services to carry out an elaborate and expensive effort to suppress the story of an incriminating laptop, and do it right before a presidential election, you are in fact telling us that you are guilty of the obvious crime you are covering up. In this case, treason: colluding with an enemy power to hurt your own country.

Consider the simple fact that though pieces of this story have become objects of public concern over the last half dozen years, the Biden camp has constructed no narrative to provide a plausible explanation of these extraordinary payoffs from the Chinese Communist dictatorship; in other words, no effort has been made to provide an alternative explanation to the apparent one of personal greed and national betrayal.

I ask readers to put themselves in the position of the president. You are taking massive payments from a government that deliberately sent millions of its subjects from the Wuhan center of a deadly pandemic to countries around the world to celebrate the Lunar New Year. This criminal action resulted in the deaths of 9 million people globally, including a million Americans. You then backed this same criminal dictatorship’s efforts to cover up the origins of that outbreak in a Chinese Communist military lab which was running “gain of function” research, paid for by your government, on the deadly virus at the heart of said pandemic.

At the same time, the dictatorship from which you were receiving payments making your family rich beyond its wildest dreams was organizing alliances with America’s deadly enemies, Russia and Iran. And thanks to your deliberate destruction of America’s southern border, which effectively put its control in the hands of Mexico’s drug cartels, you created a new mortal threat to the safety of American citizens in the form of a new drug—fentanyl—which is produced by the Chinese Communists and distributed to Americans by the Mexicans. 

The annual death toll from fentanyl poisoning among Americans now equals the annual death toll of American soldiers in World War II. But Biden has made no effort to deter the Chinese from poisoning American citizens by, for example, ending the subsidies we provide to their economy or revoking China’s Most Favored Nation trade status, or closing all the Confucius Institutes ensconced at our universities and designed to steal our technologies. From the Chinese Communist point of view, this alone would be worth the tens of millions of dollars they have poured into the Bidens’ pockets. (Read more.)


A Century-Old Trout Hatchery in Virginia Is Making Waves

 From Garden and Gun:

Ty Walker is up to his ears in trout. From his home in New Castle, Virginia, Walker raises thousands of rainbow trout on a nearly hundred-year-old hatchery situated on a mountain spring. The hatchery, built in the 1930s by the federal government, still operates the way it always has, relying on gravity and an abundant supply of limestone-filtered water to fill the raceways and ponds where the fish grow to maturity. In 2022, Walker estimates that he and his brother-in-law, Matthew, processed around eight thousand trout by hand, cleaning, gutting, and packing the fish before they could be sold. This year, the trout count is up to twenty thousand, and Walker is committed to putting them front and center (and whole) on plates around the state of Virginia. His hatchery, called Smoke in Chimneys, sells to chefs, as well as by mail-order online. “Our goal is to make eating a whole trout right up there with shucking oysters or picking crabs,” Walker explains. “Eating whole trout should be in that sphere, but the barrier to entry is like walking into a cigar shop and not knowing anything about cigars. You already feel like an idiot.” Walker wants to change that, and he hopes that people will be willing to learn about the beauties of eating the state fish, grown in its home state, with a little help from some of Virginia’s best chefs. (Read more.)


Friday, March 24, 2023

Four Table-Styling Tips


From Victoria:

Texas-based tastemaker Nicola Bathie McLaughlin is a household name to those who long to fill their dressing rooms with sparkling bespoke gems and elegant fashions. The interior designer–turned–jewelry designer creates necklaces, earrings, and other baubles for her namesake brand, Nicola Bathie Jewelry, and has collaborated with notable clothier Antonio Melani for a Dillard’s clothing line. Her impeccable sense of style reaches well into her San Antonio home, featured in our March/April 2023 issue, where she entertains family and friends. Exclusively for Victoria, Nicola shares four tips for creating beautiful tableaux. With connections to England and a love of antiques, Nicola’s china collections embrace a distinct European elegance. A combination of blue-and-white plates become a unique work of art on her dining room wall and complement the ruffled gingham covering on the table. “Don’t be afraid to layer,” says Nicola. Salmon-shaded placemats from Mrs. Alice offer a charming contrast to the cool tones of the cloth underneath, while etched crystal goblets and Herend plates in the Queen Victoria pattern provide even more pattern play on the surface. (Read more.)


Southern Poverty Law Official Worked for Communist Front

 From Catholicism:

Conservative media platforms have been reporting the arrest of a staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center— Thomas Webb Jurgens — who participated in a violent Antifa attack on a police and fire training center outside of Atlanta.

On March 5th, armed and black clad Antifa anarchists invaded the Atlanta Public Safety Training Facility in South River Forest, Georgia, setting fires, destroying construction equipment, and hurling rocks, bricks, fireworks and Molotov cocktails at police officers.

Thirty-five individuals were arrested in connection with the attack. Twenty-three, including Jurgens, were charged with domestic terrorism.

The arson, vandalism, and assaults on police came less than a month after the leak of a memo from the Virginia office of the FBI, targeting traditional Catholics as violent extremists, which cited the Southern Poverty Law Center as its source.

The Soros funded SPLC has now defended Jurgens, claiming that he was acting as a “legal observer” for the National Lawyers Guild. Largely overlooked in this controversy, is the fact that the National Lawyers Guild has long been identified as a front group for the Communist Party, USA.

The House Un-American Activities Committee once described the NLG as the “foremost legal bulwark of the Communist Party,” an assessment shared by U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell.

Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle made the following comment: “The SPLC has a long, mendacious and disreputable history of demonizing social conservatives and traditional Catholics as extremists who belong to ‘hate groups.'”

“Now we find that one of the SPLC’s attorneys, Thomas Jurgens, participated in a terrorist attack by an actual extremist group — Antifa — which has an extensive record of destructive acts of criminal violence.”

“Moreover, this SPLC official collaborated with Antifa on behalf of another extremist organization — the NLG — which is affiliated with the Communist Party, undoubtedly the most murderous hate group in human history.”

“The SPLC is a lucrative bunco scheme which monetizes left wing paranoia by inciting fear of conservative Christians. As of the end of fiscal 2021, its total assets exceeded $800 million, while its annual income was north of $130 million.” (Read more.)


Who Controls Alexander Vindman?

 From The Raging Patriot:

You may or may not remember Alexander Vindman. He is the Director of European Affairs for the United States National Security Council and the senior advisor of VoteVets. Vindman became well-known when he testified before Congress in the first Trump impeachment case regarding the Ukraine scandal involving an alleged quid pro quo between Donald Trump and the Ukrainian president. He became news again this week when he tweeted, “Kinda weird that @elonmusk gets to decide how like a half-billion people communicate. Way too much power for one erratic individual to wield, don’t you think?” Several Twitter users noticed something strange was happening when other people started tweeting the exact same message as Vindman. When Musk became aware of the situation, he warned Twitter users that they might be in violation of Twitter’s terms of service. 

One Twitter user said, “And they’re all echoing Alexander Vindman.”

To which Musk replied, “Like digital ventriloquist dolls.”

Musk tweeted, “Vindman is both puppet & puppeteer. Question is who pulls his strings … ? They’re bots in human form.”

“Note, spamming, whether done by a set of humans or bots is against ToS,” Musk continued. (Read more.)


The Marriage of Mary Ball and Augustine Washington

 From Lives and Legacies:

March 6, 2017 was the 286th wedding anniversary of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington, George Washington’s amazing parents.  In addition to calling to mind how grateful we are for their role in raising the boy who would become our courageous General and first president, this anniversary also provides us with an opportunity to discuss the circumstances of Augustine and Mary’s marriage, their family, and their eventful lives here in Stafford and Spotsylvania Counties.

It was not Augustine Washington’s first time to the altar. His earlier marriage to Jane Butler in 1715 produced four children. Jane was likely 16 when she gave birth to their first son, Butler, who died in infancy. Butler was followed by Lawrence (b. 1718), Augustine Jr. (b. 1719 or 1720), and Jane (b. 1722). Their mother tragically passed away in 1729 just shy of her thirtieth birthday. This left young Lawrence (about 11 years old), Augustine Jr. (around ten), and Jane (about seven) without a mother. Their devoted father immediately began a judicious search for a proper wife for himself, a nurturing mother for his children, and an experienced household manager.

He discovered such a gem in the Northern Neck’s attractive and highly eligible maiden, Mary Ball. Mary’s family had thrived in the Virginia Colony’s tidewater region for generations. Mary gained valuable experience managing property from her mother, Mary Johnson Ball who oversaw the family’s substantial resources after the death of Mary’s father Joseph Ball when Mary was only three years old. Mary’s mother again wed, and was soon widowed with additional resources to manage, thanks to the generosity of her devoted husband. When Mary was only 13, her mother passed away, and Mary joined the household of her older, half-sister Elizabeth Johnson. Thereafter, childbirth and childrearing became second nature to Mary who, as a loving aunt, gained valuable experience helping to nurture her sister’s children and perfecting the lessons in household management first learned under her mother’s tutelage.

When it came to matrimony, anxious parents typically steered their children toward appropriate choices, especially among established and propertied clans as the Washington and Ball families. But death had robbed both Augustine and Mary of their respective parents and their wisdom. Some claim that Colonel George Eskridge, a prominent Northern Neck Lawyer and family friend, helped bring this destined pair together. While a parent’s concerns provided some guidance for young lovers, it was only one of several considerations for eager suitors. Ideally, the opportunity for social advancement, acquiring property (both land and enslaved labor), financial security, and – of course – affection were also carefully weighed.

Mistress Mary Ball rang all of these “bells:” She was experienced with children. She had been tutored in plantation management and household skills by her experienced mother. Mary Ball’s generous and enviable dowry had accumulated to include 1000 acres of Virginia land, enslaved laborers, horses, cattle, and sundry personal belongings. Notably, the majority of her acreage bordered Augustine Washington’s iron mine in Accokeek, just one of Mary’s assets that Augustine found irresistible.

On March 6, 1731, the pair joined. Mary was about 23 and her new husband Augustine was 37. Of Augustine’s three living children from his first marriage, Lawrence, Augustine Jr., and Jane, it was Jane who remained a daily part of their Westmoreland Plantation home. Mary continued the household training that young Jane started learning from her own mother. Lawrence and Augustine Jr. continued their education at the Appleby Grammar school in England where their father had attended school.

Before their first wedding anniversary, Mary and Augustine welcomed their first son, George, into the world. He was born on February 11, 1731 (Old Style) in Westmoreland County. In all, their happy marriage produced six children: George (1732), Betty (1733), Samuel (1734), John Augustine (1736), Charles (1738), and Mildred (1740). All but little Mildred survived to adulthood. (Read more.)


Thursday, March 23, 2023

Empress Maria Theresa in Film


From Flock Flicks:

Maria Theresa (1717-1780) ruled a vast domain in central Europe in her own right: Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Transylvania, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands, and Parma. By marriage, she was Duchess of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, and Holy Roman Empress. Her ascendancy to the throne sparked a war in the 1740s. She was known for making dynastic marriages with her many, many children (she gave birth to 16, 13 of whom survived) including the future Queen Marie Antoinette of France. She’s one of the “enlightened despots” of the 18th century, passing many reforms but maintaining central control of power. (Read more.)


Sanitation Power Does Not Permit Tyranny

 From Jeffrey Tucker at Brownstone Institute:

Just who is being sanitized here? The plane, bus, or boat is presumably being sanitized by restricting your poison breath. But what if you are not sick? Doesn’t matter. Maybe you need to be sanitized from other people’s poison breath. Of course the mask does nothing of the sort but that’s a side issue. At question here is the power itself and the CDC’s legal right to make such a decision on its own. 

The word itself got me thinking of its roots. Etymologically, the word has a number of iterations. Think of sanitize or sanitizer, the stuff people doused themselves with for two years while thinking that they were killing Covid even though it spreads not through surfaces but through aerosols. The word is also related to sane and insanity, as in one’s mind is in need of some kind of cleaning. 

The root of the word is Latin: sanitas which means clean but a deep root is sanus which refers to health generally, mind, body, and maybe soul. A related derivation is the Latin Sanctus which means holy and apart, as in sanctuary, sanity, and sanctimonious. We can see, then, the easy identification of physical and spiritual health. Hence, the famous statement by the founder of Methodism: cleanliness in next to godliness. It seems true enough but can also lead to confusion: unclean/immoral/diseased; clean/moral/healthy. For hundreds and thousands of years, these words have bled into each other, fomenting every kind of dangers including institutionalized segregation and wanton cruelty toward the sick. 

And speaking of bleeding, consider the word Sanguine, which is word we sometimes use but it refers also to a medieval temperament meaning that one is driven by the blood (Sanguine in Latin). When one got sick, it was believed that this was due to bad blood. One’s health (sanus) was compromised by the blood (sanguine), and hence the belief that bloodletting is a sure cure for every kind of malady, a practice that lasted into the 19th century with the use of leeches. 

The conflation of ill health and immorality, both traceable to bad blood, is a persistent feature of history, as we learn from the Bible. Perhaps it made some sense for the lepers to be excluded from temple life but for how long? Decades? They had to undergo a ritualistic cleansing and blessing to reenter. This is a service that Jesus provided and it variously got him in some trouble

This cleansing feature of religious practice shows itself in the use of holy water in Christian worship too. It is sprinkled in the final blessing and deployed in foot-washing ceremonies at the end of Lent in order to symbolically cleanse the body and soul to prepare for the experience of salvation. (Read more.)


Manhattan D.A. Accused of Hiding Hundreds of Pages of 'Exculpatory Evidence' in Trump Case

 From The Wildfire Newsletter:

Harvard Law Professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz added his perspective on the charges being brought by the Manhattan D.A. "You know, in my new book, "Get Trump," I go through all of those four allegations and I say, there's plenty of smoke, but there's no fire," Dershowitz argued. "And if there were a fire, it would be set by arsonists."

"There is no crime committed in any of the four allegations, and I prove that categorically in my book "Get Trump," he added. "Where did I get the name? Get Trump. I got that from Letitia James' campaign slogan. Her campaign promise was, 'I promise you I will get Trump'."

"And I want to add something new that hasn't been said before," he continued. "I think that Bob Costello has changed this case dramatically. I think that Bragg note now only has two possible results from that. Number one, he can say, alright, 'I'm going to try to make the case without Cohen.' He cannot use Cohen as a witness anymore."

"That would be unethical because of the testimony that Costello gave," he went on. "Or he could say, 'Look, I have to drop the case.' He may not be able to make it without Cohen. But if he can't make it without Cohen, he can't make it, because no ethical prosecutor is allowed to put on as a witness, somebody who has told the lies and has contradicted himself so much."

"So I think that Bob Costello — it's a game changer," he added. "I think maybe that's a reason for the delay here. I think ethical experts are now telling Bragg, wait a minute, you cannot use Cohen. So if you can make it through Pecker, if you can make it through some of the other people, okay, go ahead. But if you can't make it without Cohen, you cannot bring this charge."

"That's a powerful statement," Sean Hannity remarked. (Read more.)

More on the hidden evidence, HERE

From Becker News:

“I want to express my appreciation to President López Obrador,” Kerry said. “I see a wisdom in his leadership that wants to undo some of the wrongs of the past & help to promote the interests of the people.” The president rattled off a list of complaints about the Biden administration’s human rights track record. “Mexico’s President AMLO says the United States cannot talk about human rights with Julian Assange detained, cartel violence with President Joe Biden bombing the Nord Stream pipeline, or democracy while arresting the leading presidential candidate Donald Trump,” noted Kanekoa on Twitter.

Lopez Obrador also acknowledged the challenges that Mexico has to face to fight corruption and uphold the rule of law. “As it relates to Mexico, the reported involvement of members of Mexican police, military and other government institutions in serious acts of corruption and unlawful arbitrary killings remain a serious challenge for Mexico and that’s why they were highlighted in our report,” he said.

Mexico’s government may be corrupt. But at least it isn’t arresting former presidents on trumped-up charges. (Read more.)

Also from The Wildfire Newsletter:

"U.S. Judge Beryl Howell, who on Friday stepped down as the D.C. district court's chief judge, wrote last week that prosecutors in special counsel Jack Smith's office had made a 'prima facie showing that the former president had committed criminal violations,'" ABC News reported, "and that attorney-client privileges invoked by two of his lawyers could therefore be pierced."

Donald Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in the classified documents case. The former president blasted the report on Tuesday. "Shame on Fake News ABC for broadcasting ILLEGALLY LEAKED false allegations from a Never Trump, now former chief judge, against the Trump legal team. This disinformation is on par with their breathless Russia, Russia, Russia, Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine and “no-collusion” Mueller speculation, all of which were totally disproven. These leaks are happening because there is no factual or legal basis or substance to any case against President Trump. The deranged Democrats and their comrades in the mainstream media are corrupting the legal process and weaponizing the justice system in order to manipulate public opinion, because they are clearly losing the political battle. "The real story here, that Fake News ABC SHOULD be reporting on, is that prosecutors only attack lawyers when they have no case whatsoever. "President Trump is the only leader fighting for the Constitution in order to protect the American people from being abused by a crooked system.” (Read more.)


Mischaracterization of the TLM, Then and Now

 From Dr. Janet Smith at Crisis:

It would seem the solution to the problem of priests not saying the Mass with a full consciousness of its meaning would be that recommended by Houghton—and by several popes: teach them how to pray and the importance of Eucharistic adoration. These are virtues that must be learned and practiced in spiritual reading, meditation, and personal prayer. Imposing a new rite of Mass and a new breviary is not at all the obvious solution to the problem. 

Although many priests may not have been so attached to the TLM (I suspect, as Houghton intimates, that it was because they did not have good preparation for it), there is an abundance of evidence that the TLM captured the attention and devotion of its attendees and powerfully nurtured their faith. Indeed, the same Fr. Houghton who describes what he regarded as the sad state of priests’ spiritual life and the effect of that on the TLM says this about how his parishioners, by contrast, responded to it in 1969:

I wonder how many Catholics attend Mass on any given Sunday in England and Wales? Not far short of three million, as far as I can make out. Even in Norfolk and Suffolk, where we are notoriously thin on the ground, the figures soon mount up: over three thousand at Norwich and Ipswich, over a thousand at Bury and Yarmouth, and in numerous parishes around the five hundred. Obviously—the figures themselves prove it—we love our Mass: that incomprehensible ceremony in which the only thing we understand is the utter mystery of the True Presence of Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine.

We love our Mass as it is, with its Latin mumbling, strange silences, sudden bells. Well, it is all going to be changed for us before this month is out—on November 29th….

Humans are not prone to change, and least of all in the ritual of their religion. In fact, in many religions the ritual long outlives the belief; men continue to perform the traditional acts of worship when they have long since lost any positive faith in why or what they are worshipping. So, of course, the overwhelming majority of practising Catholics in this country will be desperately sorry to see their Latin Mass go. The traditions of a thousand years and habits of a lifetime cannot be chucked overboard without the passing tear. For my own part, I rather think that the last time I cried was in 1936; I shall probably do it again on November 29th.

Of the priests I have talked to, slightly over half are in favour of the change, especially among the younger clergy who are not yet sick of the sound of their own voices. Of the many, many hundreds of laity, I have only found four individuals in favour, and they highly educated and thoroughly unrepresentative. 

This is, I think, a point of some importance. The English Mass has not come about in response to any popular demand; it has been imposed by the hierarchy. It is an act of pure clericalism if ever there was one. Houghton, Unwanted Priest, 93–94.

Houghton expresses great sympathy for the laity, who were not consulted about making the changes and who were not consulted about how the changes affected them: 

This issue was that the new reforms in general and of the liturgy in particular were based on the assumption that the Catholic laity were a set of ignorant fools. They practised out of tribal custom; their veneration of the Cross and the Mass was totem-worship; they were motivated by nothing more than the fear of hell; their piety was superstition and their loyalty, habit. But the most gratuitous insult of all was that most Catholics had a Sunday religion which in no way affected their weekly behaviour. This monstrous falsehood was—and still is—maintained by bishops and priests who, for the most part, have never been adult laymen. Every day the Catholic workman had to put up with the jeers of his colleagues, as the more educated with their sneers. Every night they took their religion to bed with them. 

I am not in a position to judge other priests’ parishioners. I am, however, in a position to judge what were my own. No words are adequate for me to express my admiration for the conscious faith and piety of my flock, both in Slough and in Bury. This is where the trouble lay. The reforms were based on criticism; I was unwilling to take any action which might make me appear to criticise the wonderful people whom I was ordained to serve. I was perfectly conscious that I learned more about God from them than they were likely to learn from me. Houghton, Unwanted Priest, 811

Peggy Noonan writes of her experience of the TLM in the fifties with her aunt, an immigrant from Ireland:

If we were together on a Sunday, she took me to Mass. I loved it. They had bells and candles and smoke and shadows and they sang. The church changed that a bit over the years, but we lost a lot when we lost the showbiz. Because, of course, it wasn’t only showbiz. To a child’s eyes, my eyes, it looked as if either you go to church because you’re nice or you go and it makes you nice but either way it’s good.

Jane Jane [as they called her] carried Mass cards and rosary beads—the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Blessed Mother, the saints. She’d put the cards on a mirror, hang the rosary beads on a bedstead. I look back and think, wherever she went she was creating an altar. To this day when I am in the home of newcomers to America, when I see cards, statues and Jesus candles, I think: I’m home.

She didn’t think life was plain and flat and material, she thought it had dimensions we don’t see, that there were souls and spirits and mysteries. Peggy Noonan, “Home Again, and Home Again, America for Me,” Wall Street Journal, November 23, 2022.

 (Read more.)


Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Desserts for Spring and Easter


From Victoria:

The gentle blush of a sugared rose petal adds the crowning touch to Angel Food Cakes. Beneath a rippling cloud of sweetened whipped cream, delicate sponge cake holds a luscious surprise. The first forkful reveals an abundance of raspberries and jam—the ruby-hued fruit filling a delightful complement to the other components of the dessert. For a variation on England’s chilled dessert of cooked, puréed fruit (typically gooseberries) folded into whipped cream, sample sunny Lemon Shortbread Fool. Crumbled cookies add delightful crunch to tantalizing swirls of citrus and cream. Hibiscus tea, an infusion made from the subtropical roselle bloom, adds tartness to the airy dessert filling in our decadent Chocolate Mousse in Chocolate Cups. Raspberries, edible flowers, and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar draw attention to these artful treats. Our pièce de résistance is a scrumptious pairing featuring fruits swimming in silky-smooth cream. This fresh and fragrant Berries and Cream delight mixes strawberries and raspberries with whipped cream flavored with raspberry liqueur. (Read more.)

From Southern Living:

To longtime Southern Living readers, it might come as no surprise that the most searched cake in the South is the Hummingbird Cake. Any way you slice it, this cake’s classic combination of banana, pineapple, and cinnamon has long made it one of our most popular recipes across all recipe genres. The 45-year-old recipe, first submitted to the magazine in 1978 by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina, has been reinvented into Bundt cakes, pancakes, and even whoopie pies. But the classic three-layer cake enveloped in cream cheese frosting is still our readers’ preferred way to enjoy this dessert. Nationwide, ‘dump cakes’ proved popular for their ease, with no special tools required to make these no-fail cakes. Despite the extra effort needed to assemble the hummingbird cake, Southerners are more than willing to put in the time for the final delicious result. (Read more.)


From the World Health Organization to Chicken Conspiracies

From A Conservative Conscience:

As I’m sure you all know, Covid is a complex beast about which there is a plethora of information to study and write. In my case, pandemic research brought me specifically to Bill Gates. I am determined to uncover and publicize all that I can find regarding his globalist pursuit. This is a result of his push for mRNA vaccines that ultimately ended any discussion of early therapeutics; treatments that, if not for him, the pharmaceutical industry, and corrupt doctors, could have been administered immediately upon arrival of the pandemic.

So, now that you have a better understanding of why I write so often about Bill Gates, perhaps you won’t deem me crazy when admitting that I peruse his foundation’s 990-PF IRS forms on occasion. These filings provide a wealth of information regarding his grant-giving. Since these yearly filings are typically more than 1000 pages long they take time to analyze. Therefore, I pick and choose what to look at depending on my mood.

Yesterday, I was reviewing grants listed under W for a better idea of the foundation’s World Health Organization provisions.

If you’re impatient, as I can be, you may be asking, “Emmie… how do Bill Gates, his foundation, and the World Health Organization have anything to do with poultry?” (Read more.) 

Donald Trump, American Dissident

 From American Greatness:

The Trump witch hunt has never been about one man. If Donald Trump is arrested on these baseless charges, it will be an act of hostility toward millions and an attack on the political principle of self-rule. A free country cannot tolerate a corrupt, local machine prosecutor making an American president and opposition leader into a political prisoner. It will prove that Our Democracy™ is a sham, no better than Putin’s Russia, or, for that matter, Zelenskyy’s Ukraine.

All Republican primary candidates must vigorously and unequivocally defend Trump against this fraud. So far, we have seen damning hesitation from all but a few in the party, like businessman and primary candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Republicans who are reluctant risk discrediting themselves. You cannot expect your base to show up for you on Election Day if they believe you are willing to acquiesce to a rigged system. (Read more.)


Meanwhile, the Biden Crime Family has become rich  through their ties with the Chinese Communists. Also from American Greatness:

A Chinese company based out of Hong Kong which paid at least $3 million to several members of the Biden family has since been revealed to have ties with the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). According to the Daily Caller, State Energy HK Limited sent $3 million via wire transfer to Robinson Walker LLC, a company run by an associate of the Biden family named John Robinson Walker. The wire transfer took place in March of 2017, shortly after Joe Biden’s term as Vice President came to an end, according to a report released on Thursday by the House Oversight Committee. One of the direct subsidiaries of State Energy HK is State Energy Group International Assets Holdings Limited (SEIAH). At the time of the wire transfer, SEIAH’s chairman was Ren Qingxin, who previously worked for the CCP as a representative at a business organization.

Shortly after the $3 million transfer, Ren was succeeded in his leadership position by Lei Donghui, who had been a member of the CCP since 2002, where he served as Secretary General of the International Engineering Business Bureau of China State Construction (CSC). CSC has since been designated by the Department of Defense as a “Communist China military company.”

Subsequently, the $3 million sent to Robinson Walker was then transferred to four different members of the Biden family: Joe Biden’s son Hunter, brother James, daughter-in-law Hallie, and a fourth unidentified family member, the Oversight Committee reports. The transfers were sent in several transactions, both to the family members directly and to several of their companies, including Owasco PC, JBBSR Inc, and RSTP II, LLC.

The previously-unknown involvement of Hallie – the widow of Biden’s elder son Beau, who later became Hunter’s girlfriend after Beau’s death – has proven to be one of the biggest bombshells yet in the GOP’s investigations into Biden family corruption. In addition, speculation has arisen as to who the fourth, as-of-yet unknown family member could be. (Read more.)


“Camouflaging” of Autistic Traits

 From PsyPost:

A study of autistic children and adolescents in Australia showed that those suffering from anxiety, depression or similar symptoms (apart from autism) showed a more pronounced tendency to try to mask their autistic traits in social situations. Adolescents were also more likely to camouflage their autistic traits than children. The study was published in Autism Research. Autism or autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by communication and social difficulties, restricted interests and repetitive behavior. It is more common in boys than in girls. On the other hand, studies show that clinicians and teachers are less likely to detect autistic traits in girls than in boys. (Read more.)

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

"Charming and Engaging"

 A review of My Queen, My Love from royal historian Theodore Harvey at Royal World:

Most Americans are probably not aware that the US state of Maryland was originally named after Queen Henrietta Maria (1609-1669), daughter of King Henri IV of France (1553-1610) and wife of the ill-fated King Charles I of England (1600-1649). Readers seeking an introduction to this unjustly neglected historical figure would do well to immerse themselves in this charming and engaging book by Elena Maria Vidal, who appropriately enough lives in Maryland.

"My Queen, My Love," which covers the title character's life from her childhood in France through the births of her own children in the 1630s on the eve of the English Civil War, is a historical novel, so includes fictionalized dialogue, but is firmly based on historical research like any biography. Its style vividly brings the complex and colourful world of the 17th century to life, from Italy [homeland of her mother Marie de Medici (1573-1642)] to France to England. The central importance of religion is evident from the outset. Daughter of the pragmatic convert Henri IV, the devoutly Catholic Henrietta Maria finds herself in an impossible situation as wife of the staunch Anglican Charles I in what is by then a predominantly and fervently Protestant country, with even the King's own high church Anglicanism increasingly deemed too "catholic" by some. While the author clearly shares Henrietta Maria's devout Roman Catholicism, it is to Vidal's credit that the sincerity of King Charles who believes that his Church of England is truly Catholic is depicted in a well-rounded manner. I particularly appreciated the writer's evident love of liturgical beauty as reflected in lavish descriptions of Catholic ceremonies including sacred music. Henrietta Maria's enjoyment of the secular arts, so scandalous to the dour Puritans especially her own participation in Masques, is a consistent theme as well.

Anglicans like me who revere Charles as a Martyr, aware of his and his wife's fervent loyalty to each other during the terrible trials of the Civil War which (after the time period covered by this book) would end in his execution and her widowhood, are accustomed to thinking of their marriage as an ideal devoted Christian one, as indeed it later became. However it must be admitted that this was not always the case. While vaguely aware that King Charles and Queen Henrietta Maria had had difficulties in the early years of their marriage, I had not thought much about the details until I read this book. One sensitive issue is that in order to gain French approval for their 1625 marriage Charles had had to make various promises, particularly those related to the Queen's Catholicism, that once back in England he finds himself unable to keep. It particularly galls her, understandably, that money from her dowry ended up being used to fund a war with her native France! While Vidal's Henrietta Maria never falters in her ultimately heroic love for Charles, the reader can also see without dismissing his point of view how Charles might have felt frustrated at times. (Read more.)


Gender Concealed

From The Blaze:

According to an investigation conducted by the conservative group Parents Defending Education, more than 3.2 million American children attend public schools that have policies in place to conceal students’ gender identities from parents. Last summer, the Biden administration proposed new Title IX rules that would allow all U.S. public school employees to withhold children’s gender status from parents. Those regulations could become federal policy if approved in May.

PDE compiled a list of public school districts across the United States with policies that currently “openly state” district officials can or should hide a student’s gender status from his or her parents. The controversial district policies have already sparked legal battles across the nation. The nonprofit notes that the list is not comprehensive but, so far, includes 5,904 schools from 168 districts nationwide. The list contains two of the largest school districts in the country, Chicago Public Schools and Los Angeles Unified School District. (Read more.)


The Roots of Sacrifice: Religion, Morality, and the Search for Transcendence

 From The European Conservative:

War is always particularly rich with the stories of sacrifice, both moral and religious, and unsurprisingly so. It is a time of intense passions, radical views, and ever-present fears, a time when the future is uncertain, the law is often silent, and death is no longer a distant possibility. But it is also a time of opportunity, if one is willing to take it. As it has been said many times, war tends to bring out the best and the worst in people; some murder and pillage indiscriminately, while others fight honourably and give away all they can spare. War also breeds propaganda, an artificial and vastly powerful amplifier that provides guidance for the nation’s fervour—and perfectly utilises the impact of sacrifice. In fact, propaganda is often responsible for creating myths, especially if reality lacks the necessary dramatic structure.

An example of an inspirational sacrifice is the death of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died valiantly at the very moment of his triumphant victory in one of history’s most famous naval battles. Nelson was already a hero to admire, and his words upon receiving his mortal wound enhance this heroic image further: “Thank God I have done my duty.” Lord Nelson became a legend of the Royal Navy; however, because he risked his life willingly in service of a higher cause, his death caused sorrow but not rage.

As an example of an innocent victim who suffers terrible injustice and becomes a symbolic representation of virtue and suffers terribly, we can turn to the Indian Mutiny of 1857. In a town called Cawnpore, the rebels broke the terms guaranteeing the safe evacuation of the garrison. They took prisoners and executed them; more importantly, they captured and later butchered around 200 European women and children. The British public was horrified and infuriated by the massacre, which led to retribution on a massive scale.

Major-General Charles George Gordon defended Khartoum in 1884-1885 during the Mahdi uprising. The situation he found himself in was entirely his own doing, as he conducted his campaign in Sudan according to his view of Britain’s interests but against government orders. The government was reluctant to help him and only sent a relief force due to public pressure. It arrived too late: General Gordon was killed, along with his men and countless civilians. His death was certainly heroic, yet the nation also felt he was betrayed—a sentiment shared by many officers, notably General Wolseley, the relief force commander. The scandal cost the government its office, and though years had passed before another expedition to Sudan was launched, General Gordon was ultimately avenged. (Read more.)


Monday, March 20, 2023

The Greatest of the Patriarchs

 From The Catholic Weekly:

A recurring question about St Joseph is that of his age at the time of his marriage to Our Lady. It seems from Scripture that St Joseph had died before the start of Jesus’s public ministry but how old he was at the time of his death is impossible to tell from scripture. In the Eastern churches and especially in the Coptic Church the tradition has been that St Joseph was of mature years when he married Our Lady, and according to some Eastern traditions he was a widower. However in the western Church the stronger tradition has been that St Joseph was a virgin at the time of his marriage to Our Lady.

Three contemporary figures in western Christianity have argued that St Joseph was not an old man when he married Our Lady but someone who was young vigorous and chaste. First, Mother Angelica, the founder of the global EWTN television network with some 264 million subscribers. She was also a mystic who claimed to have had a vision of the child Jesus. She remarked, “who has ever heard of an old man walking to Egypt?” In other words, we are told that St Joseph had to take Our Lady and the baby Jesus away from the territory of King Herod so that he would not be slaughtered and this had to be done in the middle of the night.

What we now call the flight into Egypt sounds like getting out of Vienna to a neutral country just hours before the Anschluss. Mother Angelica’s point was that if Our Lady and Our Lord needed someone to protect them and manage the logistics of secretive border crossings and then the task of earning a living in the foreign country, assuming they managed a safe passage, the Holy Spirit would have chosen a young and athletic man. St Josemaria Escriva agreed that St Joseph was probably not elderly. He wrote:

I don’t agree with the traditional picture of St Joseph as an old man, even though it may have been prompted by a desire to emphasise the perpetual virginity of Mary. I see him as a strong young man, perhaps a few years older than our Lady, but in the prime of his life and work. You don’t have to wait to be old or lifeless to practice the virtue of chastity. Purity comes from love; and the strength and joy of youth are no obstacle for noble love.

Venerable Fulton Sheen made the same argument in his book The World’s First Love:

To make Joseph appear pure only because his flesh had aged is like glorifying a mountain stream that has dried. The Church will not ordain a man to his priesthood who has not his vital powers. She wants men who have something to tame, rather than those who are tame because they have no energy to be wild. It should be no different with God.

Archbishop Sheen concluded that St Joseph was probably young, strong, virile, athletic, handsome, chaste, and disciplined … Instead of being a man incapable of loving, he must have been on fire with love … Instead … of being “dried fruit to be served on the table of the king, he was rather a blossom filled with promise and power”. (Read more.)


Beating Biden

 From New York Post:

Trump has been campaigning since last year’s midterms and takes every opportunity to bash younger Republican leaders who might challenge him for the nomination, above all Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Democrats have no one who can plausibly wrest the nomination from the 80-year-old incumbent. Biden may be old, but he’s tough. He didn’t run for president three times over 32 years just to hand his prize over once he’d snatched it.

Biden’s approval ratings are anemic. Yet he has reason to be confident that the 2024 electoral map will return him to office. He thinks he has a special affinity for the state of Pennsylvania. Other states that flipped from Republican to Democrat between 2016 and 2020 — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin — all elected Democratic governors or senators, or both, in last year’s midterms.

Georgia re-elected a Republican governor as well as a Democratic senator last year. But Biden can afford to lose Georgia, or even Georgia and Arizona, and still win in 2024, if he keeps his grip on the Rust Belt. Those industrial states, hard hit by globalization, delivered the White House to Trump in 2016 — and took it from him in 2020. A Republican either has to win back the Rust Belt or widen the battleground map to prevail next year. Trump received more electoral votes in 2016 than George W. Bush did in his successful 2004 re-election effort. The Trump map remains the best map for the GOP. (Read more.)


Meanwhile, are we facing WWIII? From Human Events:

 Biden said he would not send American F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. He said it in January, and he said it again in February. Now, a report out from NBC shows that Ukrainian pilots are in the US to learn how to fly these high-tech military planes. Biden previously promised that US Abrams tanks would not be sent to Ukraine, and that has been reveresed. And on February 24, 2022, Biden told the American people that "Our forces are not going to fight in Ukraine."

 He backed down on his promise to not send tanks, actions by the military are indicating that he's going to do an about-face on the promise to not send F-16s. How soon before the promise to not waste American lives in a foreign border war is broken as well?

On January 30, Biden spoke off the cuff to reporters outside the White House. When he was asked if the US would send the fighter planes that Zelensky was demanding, Biden said "No." When asked the same question in February, Biden said Zelensky "doesn't need F-16s now," going on to say "I am ruling it out for now."

Fast forward to 10 days later and it turns out that Ukrainian pilots are being trained in how to use the planes they "don't need." NBC sourced unnamed congressional officials and a senior US official when reporting that "The Ukrainians’ skills are being evaluated on simulators at a U.S. military base in Tucson, Arizona, the officials said, and they may soon be joined by more of their fellow pilots." 

In January, a US official told reporters that Abrams tanks would not be sent o Ukraine, but by January 25, Biden announced that 31 Abrams tanks would be sent to Ukraine. "Today," Biden began, "I'm announcing that the United States will be sending thirty-one Abrams tanks to Ukraine, the equivalent of one Ukrainian battalion." (Read more.)