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Sunday, August 28, 2011

"This was the Moment when the Rise of the Oceans Began to Slow"

From the Agence France-Presse:

Obama takes charge at hurricane command center

President Obama, just informed there are no more copies of the official NOAA coloring book.

(h/t Instapundit)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

No Longer Clinging to Their Religion

A study was presented Saturday at the annual convention of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas that had a possibly surprising finding. It seems while church attendance has declined in this country since the 1970s (no surprise there), "the rate of decline has been more than twice as high for less educated, lower and lower-middle class whites compared to more educated and presumably more affluent whites..." (the study was limited only to whites because church attendance among other ethnic groups is fairly consistent regardless their socio-economic status).
In the last four decades, monthly (or more) participation in religious services dropped from 50 percent of moderately educated (high school and perhaps some college) whites to 37 percent, according to the study, “No Money, No Honey, No Church: The Deinstitutionalization of Religious Life Among the White Working Class.” Attendance by the least educated (high school dropouts) dropped from 38 percent to 23 percent, by sociologists Wilcox, of the University of Virginia and Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University found.

Church attendance by higher-income whites with at least a bachelor’s degree barely dipped, from 50 percent to 46 percent.
The study's two authors, one conservative, the other liberal, offer various explanations for this curious dichotomy but none seem terribly persuasive to me. I wonder if it might be something else: the insufferably smug liberalism that supplanted mainstream protestant theology over the past forty years (and came close doing similarly in the Catholic Church) being mostly owned by upper and upper-middle class elites, could it be the working stiffs in the in the pews, having had their fill of sneering condescension from their social betters and after enduring countless sermons on "economic justice" and the like, have decided it is not worth the bother rousing themselves on Sunday mornings to go to church and be scolded, better to simply stay at home instead?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Marching for Truth and Just Intonation

Meet the 21st Century equivalent of the folk song army: the radical harpsichordist! In Oakland, California, no less. In a venue called "Humanist Hall," no less.
La Revolution is a harpsichord recital and lecture that works to inspire the audience to take immediate action in dealing with our economic crisis and global disasters. Early music performer and political activist, Vibeka Lyman, has probed the concept of what it takes for people to act politically and after spending a year in France, she has returned with some convincing ideas. Experiencing the culture, where strikes are a regular occurrence, she came to realize that freedom to express ones emotions, including anger, is needed for people to hit the streets...

Ms. Lyman believes the theory that events that unleash emotion in society such as the grocer, Mohammed Bouazizi, in Tunisia who set himself on fire, that brought on the Egyptian revolution, are what it takes for a strike to take place. She hopes that her concert, a dynamic performance of composers: Couperin, Chambonnieres, Scarlatti, Froberger, and Johann Sebastian Bach, will create such an experience in her listeners. Vibeka has performed on the keyboard for over 30 years and has experience with learning with some of the best teachers in the Bay Area and in Paris. Baroque music has been scientifically proven to heighten creative thought in the brain, and this concert is an effort to enhance people's thinking as well as their enjoyment.
Comrades! After a well-deserved sentence to music re-education camp I now proclaim that equal temperament is the preferred, more progressive tuning system; not the regressive and counter-revolutionary just intonation system with its reactionary bourgeois pure intervals!

Thanks to the PJ Tatler.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Church Vandals in the Academy

UPDATE: Reader Charles writes:

One correction: St. John's Seminary has not been closed. All the land and buildings were sold to Boston College, but the Seminary still operates in one of the main buildings on the site. The remains of the late Cardinal were removed from the chapel to another site on the same grounds apparently because Boston College wanted to develop the site of the chapel.

It is bad enough churches and cemeteries having to deal with the constant problem of thugs vandalizing their property. How, then, are we to react when an institution that is at least nominally Catholic, Boston College in this case, vandalizes its own property?

At the death of William Henry O'Connell, Cardinal Archbishop of Boston from 1907 to 1944, a man who, like the rest of us, was certainly not without his flaws but nevertheless a good and faithful servant to Holy Church, a chapel to house his remains was built at his behest on the grounds of St. Johns Seminary in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston. Vocations being what they are in the scandal-tarred Archdiocese of Boston, which is flat broke owing to massive payoffs to the victims of priestly rape and its cover-up, the seminary was closed and sold to to BC in 2007, with the hope, we must assume, it would be used in an appropriate manne

Apparently, BC could find nothing appropriate to do with Cardinal O'Connell's small chapel so they bulldozed it to the ground a few days ago (his remains had been removed earlier). Read the infuriating details, and see more photos, on the Boston Catholic Insider blog, then wonder, like I do, what kind of callous rogues are in charge of Boston College these days. It seems to me, though, it is hardly circumstantial an institution  holding so little regard for Catholic teachings is also indifferent to the resting place of a deceased cardinal.

Thanks to Inigo Hicks.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Charity and Debt

Timothy Dalyrimple on the recently passed Budget Control Act:
One of the great difficulties of this issue, for Christians, is that the morality of spending and debt has been so thoroughly demagogued that it’s impossible to advocate cuts in government spending without being accused of hatred for the poor and needy. A group calling itself the “Circle of Protection” recently promoted a statement on “Why We Need to Protect Programs for the Poor.” But we don’t need to protect the programs. We need to protect the poor. Indeed, sometimes we need to protect the poor from the programs. Too many anti-poverty programs are beneficial for the politicians that pass them, and veritable boondoggles for the government bureaucracy that administers them, but they actually serve to rob the poor of their dignity and their initiative, they undermine the family structures that help the poor build prosperous lives, and ultimately mire the poor in poverty for generations. Does anyone actually believe that the welfare state has served the poor well?
It would behoove every politico in Washington (at least those still in possession of a degree of rationality), no matter what his or her religion, to become familiar with the principle of subsidiarity, as found in the Catholic Catechism, to wit:
Socialization also presents dangers. Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co- ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good..."

The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to all forms of collectivism. It sets limits for state intervention. It aims at harmonizing the relationships between individuals and societies. It tends toward the establishment of true international order.
Making people slaves of the state while dumping the bill for it on future generations is neither charitable nor Christian.

h/t Instapundit