Saturday, February 28, 2009

2nd Station

2nd Station (Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cleve., O.)

II Jesus takes up his Cross

2. Jesús carga su cruz

John xix ― 14 And it was the parasceve of the pasch, about the sixth hour, and he saith to the Jews: Behold your king. 15 But they cried out: Away with him; away with him; crucify him. Pilate saith to them: Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered: We have no king but Caesar. 16 Then therefore he delivered him to them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him forth. 17 And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha.

14 Erat autem parascéve Paschæ, hora quasi sexta, et dicit Judǽis : Ecce rex vester. 15 Illi autem clamábant : Tolle, tolle, crucifíge eum. Dicit eis Pilátus : Regem vestrum crucifígam ? Respondérunt pontífices : Non habémus regem, nisi Cæsárem. 16 Tunc ergo trádidit eis illum ut crucifigerétur. Suscepérunt autem Jesum, et eduxérunt. 17 Et bájulans sibi crucem exívit in eum, qui dícitur Calváriæ locum, hebráice autem Gólgotha :

Sentimos en el Cristo de la Semana Santa con su cruz a cuestas, que es el pueblo que va cargando también su cruz. Sentimos en el Cristo de los brazos abiertos y crucificados, al pueblo crucificado pero que desde Cristo, un pueblo que crucificado y humillado, encuentra su esperanza
― Monsenor Romero. 19 Marzo 1978.

We feel in the Christ of Holy Week, with the cross upon his shoulders, that his is the people who are also carrying their cross. We feel the people crucified in this Christ with the open arms crucified, but it is from this Christ that a people crucified and humiliated will encounter their hope.

Friday, February 27, 2009

1st Station

1st Station (Immaculate Conception, Cleve., O.)
I Jesus is condemned to death

1. Jesús es condenado a muerte

Luke xxiii. ― 1 And the whole multitude of them rising up, led him to Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse him, saying: We have found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he is Christ the king. 3 And Pilate asked him, saying: Art thou the king of the Jews? But he answering, said: Thou sayest it. 4 And Pilate said to the chief priests and to the multitudes: I find no cause in this man. 5 But they were more earnest, saying: He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place. 6 But Pilate hearing Galilee, asked if the man were of Galilee? 7 And when he understood that he was of Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him away to Herod, who was also himself at Jerusalem, in those days.

1 Et surgens omnis multitúdo eórum, duxérunt illum ad Pilátum. 2 Cœpérunt autem illum accusáre, dicéntes : Hunc invénimus subverténtem gentem nostram, et prohibéntem tribúta dare Cæsári, et dicéntem se Christum regem esse. 3 Pilátus autem interrogávit eum, dicens : Tu es rex Judæórum ? At ille respóndens ait : Tu dicis. 4 Ait autem Pilátus ad príncipes sacerdótum et turbas : Nihil invénio causæ in hoc hómine. 5 At illi invalescébant, dicéntes : Cómmovet pópulum docens per univérsam Judǽam, incípiens a Galilǽa usque huc. 6 Pilátus autem áudiens Galilǽam, interrogávit si homo Galilǽus esset. 7 Et ut cognóvit quod de Heródis potestáte esset, remísit eum ad Heródem, qui et ipse Jerosólymis erat illis diébus.

Dios que renuncia a su categoría, de Dios, deja la felicidad de su cielo y se viene a hacer hombre, hombre que no anda mencionando sus prerrogativas de Dios, hombre cualquiera -dice la Biblia hoy-, un hombre cualquiera; un hombre cualquiera que es amarrado por la autoridad de su tiempo, llevado a los tribunales, ajusticiado. Se me ocurre pensar cuando San Pablo dice: "un hombre cualquiera", esas figuras que ya estamos acostumbrados a ir viviendo en nuestros periódicos: el campesino esposado, el campesino torturado, el obrero a quien no se le reconocen sus derechos, un hombre cualquiera, así se quiso hacer Cristo ― Monsenor Romero. 19 Marzo 1978.

This is a God who renounces his condition as God, coming down from the happiness of heaven to become a man, a man who doesn’t go around mentioning his prerogative as God—“any man,” says the bible today. “Any man” who is tied to the authority of his time and carried to the courts. When St. Paul says “any man,” it occurs to me to think of those people whom we are already accustomed to seeing in our newspapers: the handcuffed peasant, the tortured peasant, the laborer whose rights aren’t recognized. This is the “any man” whom Christ wanted to become.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

An introduction to the Stations

There are many forms to the devotional practice of the Way of the Cross, or as it is often popularly called, ‘Stations’. There are living Stations, where people perform the parts. Some parishes have school children in the enactment, often on Good Friday itself, and sometimes the Friday before. A few parishes take to the streets with adults in a procession on Good Friday, and of course there are two the world media will photograph--the ones in Jerusalem, and in Rome.

Some are less theatrical, yet can still be very moving and spiritually enrichening. I have for many years attended stations, the last few years I have tried to attend them in different parishes in the lenten season. There are, of course, different programmes. They are usually on Friday at 7 p.m., but they can be found at other times. Some precede or follow mass, some have an exposition of the Eucharist and Benediction.
There are versions where you are put in the position of Mary, Jesus or a member of the crowd. Some are done with audio-visual equipment, some people are encouraged to process through the church from depiction to depiction of each station. There are parishes that do one form in english, and another in the language of the old country. Where I went to parish grade school, they were the traditional ones of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, which as a youth, I found too intensely intimate; as an adult I am more comfortable with the language. Each can affect different souls, one peson may notice the effect of a different presentation has on him.

Some people wish to add an extra station of the Resurrection. No such 15th Station. Yes!, we all know Jesus was resurrected, and we wait for it on Holy Saturday, but the events of the cross were of Friday, on which, He suffered, died and was buried. Via Crucis was Friday, not Sunday. It is, in part the protestant tendency of uncomfortableness with Good Friday, that, americans have picked up, and allow for this reformation of the stations. Some of these people who want this 15th are upset, with people whom do not want it. They want to force their indulgence upon others.
Now, I will go on a generalising tangent, in reference to general principles. There are many such things some wish to progressively alter. Good Friday must be, primarily, about Good Friday, just as Easter Sunday must be about Easter. Similar criticisms were directed at Gibson’s film on The Passion. The conservative view is to be held. In so many things, change should come when there is a true need for change, not just when change is desired, especially when the change is desired by the few for all. Some novel private permutations are fine, as long as they are not made mandatory, by soft, or hard coercion. This is a form of tyranny by diktat. There are people of position, who overstep and over reach their legitimate authority, and there are people of no position who overstep and over reach. A committee as well as a bishop, a policeman as well as an activist or a ‘facilitator’ can, and do, go too far.

This is the form of the Stations, that, will be presented in the following pages. Caveat: this is just one of many possible versions. Stations can be done privately or publicly, in solitude or in community. A visual focus of the scene, will be here, a photograph of a station from a local church, this will be followed by: a Douay Rheims Challoner revision of the Vulgate, and the Vulgate passage from the New Testament, which will be followed by: quotations from Archbishop Óscar Romero and an english translation, most of this will be lifted from: Monsenor Romero: El Pueblo Es Mi Profeta, Equipo de Educacion Maiz, 1994.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Geronimo at Yale

Years ago, I remember several saloons having a framed photograph of Geronimo, the one above was taken by Ben Wittick in 1887. I am not sure why he had that popularity. There is a limited number of famous indian warriors who posed for pictures. Geronimo was a free wild man into the twentieth century, he was an example of a type of noble savage. It is easy to roll off the tongue, alternating soft consonants and vowels. A movie with Chuck Connors was released in 1962, but the photo was always of the indian, and not the actor.

Goyaałé (*1829) was a Chiricahua Apache born in what was, then, Mejico. The Apache and the mexicans were in a state of war. Goyaałé was a fearless, effective and charismatic warrior, who seemed immortal in battle and impossible to capture. Jeronimo was an appellation given by the mexicans. The US military found the same situation, for more than a full generation, Geronimo continued. He surrendered in 1886. He became a prisoner in Florida, Alabama and Fort Sill, Oklahoma. As an aged man he became a national celebrity. In 1905 he told his story in an autobiography.

An hundred years, and a week ago he died at Fort Sill, Oklahoma,and was buried in the Indian Prison Cemetery. During WWI, while millions died in battle on the fields of europe, three yalies, all being members of the secret society ‘Skull and Bones’ were fighting the kaiser and keeping America free at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. They, depending on interpretation, liberated bones or desecrated indian graves in 1918. They took the relics or souvenirs to their clubhouse at Yale.

One of these bold adventurers was Prescott Bush. The same, Prescott Bush, who planned a coup against Franklin Roosevelt. The same, Prescott Bush, whose son and grandson occupied the White House. On the hundredth anniversary of Geronimo’s death, his relatives have sued, in federal court, for return under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. They have gotten Ramsey Clark as counsel.

One can speculate, that, this is the sort of thing the entitled, presumptuous elite do as sport, or the thing drunken fratboys falsely claim, and enshrine, as inherited folklore. Mankind has for millenia taken body parts as trophies of war, and those, whom, have not gone to war have felt the need to invent heroics. It would not be the first time wasps have enjoyed a degradation of an indian, or drunken clubhouse juveniles enjoy fantasies.
Postsriptum: After viewing the 1962 version, Geronimo, with Chuck Connors, for the first time since it was on ABC’s Sunday Movie, it still holds. There were many comments about the silly incongruity of a blue eyed indian. The deep set stare of determination worked well. It was a petty complaint. The writer, Pat Fielder, had written for Connors in The Rifleman. Geronimo was an historical figure just leaving living memory. As Shakespeare, and other writers, take a known personage and plot, and then spin their own tale, and message, so did Ms. Fielder.

The tropes of filmdom were there in giving familiarity to many a movie: man and woman meet in tension and make a family, the best friend dramatically dies, fathers proud of their children, the value of education and the female civilising influence. Beyond that, it was shown that the indians were cheated, that agreements made by the US with indians were never meant to be respected. The government agents and preachers were not interested in justice.

The indians, Geronimo in particular, wanted their dignity recognised. Fielder wrote sympathetic and telling dialogue that would rile busheviks and american imperialists if they were written, to-day, and especially five or six years ago.
[I did not transcribe, this is approximation]
“We are not savages. We are Apache.”

“I’m not an animal that has to be branded!”

“Show me which hand signed the paper ”, before the crooked agent’s hand is fixed to the table.

“I am a soldier, not a philosopher.

“You will be fighting the whole United States. You can not win.”
“I know. We will fight and not surrender. Then people will ask, why are they fighting still? And we continue, and they will stop. ” [This was in 1962, before the heavy Viet Nam involvement.]

Monday, February 23, 2009

Portrait of a smear

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States. — US Constitution. Article II. Section 1.
Again, and again, there has been shown by reoccurring examples, that, many Republicans and their supporters do not read, understand or respect the Constitution of the United States of America. Again, and again, there has been shown by reoccurring examples, that, many Republicans and their supporters will state untruths as truths. The wording to one adage of experience is something near to: do not ascribe malevolence to something that can be explained by ignorance. The mind is constructed to recognise patterns. The patterns are: Republicans have no scrupulosity about truth, and run continuous black propaganda meaning to deceive, and will not relent in repeating falsity.

Richard Shelby was a Democratic senator from Alabama. In 1994 the Republicans did well enough, at the polls, to become the majority party in both houses of Congress. Since then, Shelby has been a Republican. Saturday, past, he spoke at a steak house in Cullman County, Alabama, and answered questions. Someone brought up a rumor, that, has extensively, and has repeatedly shown to be without merit, and utterly false. Shelby is quoted saying:
“Well his father was Kenyan and they said he was born in Hawaii, but I haven’t seen any birth certificate. You have to be born in America to be president.”
Well this will not end, and it is not meant to end. Once a story has been made, it exists, and as existing, someone will encounter it a first time, and then another... Truth is not a prerequisite for a story’s continuance. This story is put out, and is meant to cause doubt concerning the legitimacy of Barack Obama as president. This has been a continuing Republican tactic. gwbushjr stole two elections, and we have emerged from eight years of criminal conspiracy, and the press will not discuss that.

Beyond that, to say “his father was Kenyan” is meant to say “his father was a black african, not born in the US”. That is meant to rekindle the country’s bigotry against negroes, mulattoes, non-nativists, and the children of immigrants. Beside that, at the time Kenya was a british colony, and kenyans were british subjects. Republicans do not say, “Obama had a british father”.

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. The document exists and has been made public. Is Shelby the officer in charge of examining candidates’ documents? Does Obama need to send every Republican a copy of his birth certificate? Have you seen Shelby’s birth certificate. Hawaiʻi was annexed to the United States by Senate vote on 6 July 1898, 42 to 21. On 21 August 1959 territorial status changed to that of a state. Obama was born 4 August 1961.

Shelby’s statement is untrue on several points. Shelby’s statement is malicious on several points. Barack Obama was qualified as a candidate for the presidency, de jure and in ability, and was legally elected and installed, unlike the previous occupant. Obama did take the oath, unnecessarily a second time, probably to stem idiotic statements, that, he was not properly inaugurated. The only unresolved item is whether: Shelby is ignorant and idiotically so, stupid, mean, mean and stupid, or cunningly malevolent?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Eucharistic Entreaty in Supplication

Last Monday, 16 February, there was broadcast, on the local public television channel, a programme on the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist as a parish church. The arguments the bishop of Cleveland, Richard Lennon, voiced for the cathedral parish could be made for every parish in the diocese. On the same day, Saint Andrew parish church was demolished, the parish recently suppressed (closed).

The irony is that soon, 7 March, an announcement of further suppressed parishes will be made. In the diocese “cluster meetings” were held. Many of the participants were under the impression, that, the cluster process was to share resources, and promote mutual support of new groupings, groupings independent of subdeanery groupings of the past.

Groupings were made, almost, entirely by geography. Urban and first ring suburban parishes were targeted as redundant. In a group of five parishes, two were directed to be made go; this was repeated: 3 of 6, 4 of 7, 2 of 4, and so on. Saint Stephen, Cleveland, parish had been recommended for suppression. This scenario was repeated for other churches. Some acquiesced, some did not. To-day there will be a veneration of relics of Saint Stephen Protomartyr, and an Eucharistic procession and Benediction, with choirs singing at Saint Stephen parish. All this for the purpose, and supplication for the continuation of the parish church.
The service was covered by
WEWS channel 5 and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and they allowed a friendly, detailed and accurate article to be written and published, with many pertinent facts. The chancery will not like it.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

WOIO 19/43

Many people have lamented how lame local news is, its lack of quality, and its shallowness. In northeastern Ohio, there is currently a CBS affiliate, and its secondary station, that have a “news” department. It is not quite accurate to say it appeals to the lowest common denominator. It does appeal to the audience that finds extremist, irrational, irresponsible, mouthfoamer radio authoritative. Every on air reporter or reader seems free to ad lib (snide) comments. It does seem, all those comments come from the same range. This must be policy. Sure, they may select personnel of a certain, political persuasion, but primarily, they must be coached, coaxed, or thusly directed in sensationalist idiocy. They also select for attractive women. Their most famous stunt: was to have one appear in a mass nude photo session, it got her (Sharon Reed) a guest shot on Letterman. She has tried to get a job in a bigger market, and has not. Most of the nonsense come from males, including one, loud, obnoxious to the point of disgusting, local, radio mouthfoamer (Trivisonno).

Cleveland television news, years ago, had news directors, and station vice-presidents, give occasional editorials. I remember Virgil Dominic, Gary Ritchie, and Ken Bagwell, speak evenly, moderately, and even blandly. In recent years, the only station executive to speak is Bill Applegate. He is the VP/General Manager, and must set the tone, style and example.

The comments (they use the words honest, fair and everywhere) on WOIO would fit well on FOX cable, or a satirical comedy. Applegate* spoke on, oil drilling in Alaska, as the panacea cure-all to US energy demands. He used math, that might have been, learned from Sarah Palin. He has shown great contempt for Congressman Dennis Kucinich. His views have not been conservative, they have been from a bizarre cloud cuckoo land. His on-air staff have often sensationalised material. They have cribbed false stories from odd sources. One instance, in 2004, a false story, on a non-existing series of trysts between John Kerry and a young woman, was carried with brio and brouha. Later it was discovered, the transmitter of the story was the fake journalist, the pseudonymous Jeff Gannon. Of course false, or wild stories, are brought up, but are not rectified, when reality intervenes. Practically, any rubbish story that embarrasses certain individuals (usually Democrats) is used. Sometimes creatively, absurd questions are posed. Accuracy is irrelevant, it is an opponent to be defeated when obstructive. This is often described as tabloid style journalism, it is extreme rubbish with a political agenda.
*On the often amusing The Simpsons, there is My Two Cents, on channel 6, with Kent Brockman.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

your television signal

For many years in the US and Canada, there was not television twenty-four hours a day. The programming would begin with a sign on, and end with a sign off. NBC had a Today, and a Tonight show; this, often, bracketed an affiliate station’s day. Beyond that, there was often a performance of the national anthem, and the very first, and last thing--the picture of supra, or similar. Sometimes, this would persist for a few seconds, and sometimes, through the early morning hours, sometimes with the sound of static, or a high pitched squeal. It was simple, coherent and ritualistic. What else could have been done? A fellow to tell you to shut the television off, or to unplug it?

It is the public
’s airwaves. There is commercial licensing. In Britain people pay a television and radio tax. In the US, the appliance is bought with just local sales taxes; but the government grants licenses to private companies to broadcast, broadcast in the public’s interest. The Federal Communications Commission, since 1934, has regulated the radio signal. The radio signal includes television, and mobile phone signals. And because of the latter, being a new, and profitable, and ever, more, ubiquitous presence. It was decided to take away the free analog signals, and sell or give them to the new industry, in disregard of the public’s ownership.

A chief actor in this was, the recent chairman, who did not want to relinquish his post under the new administration, Kevin Martin. He had been chairman, since 2005, and a commissioner since 2001. He received these benefices after being the Deputy General Counsel to Bush-Cheney 2000, and member of the Florida vote scandal team.

He was investigated for his manner of conducting business by Congress:
“Chairman Martin’s heavy-handed, opaque, and non-collegial management style has created distrust, suspicion, and turmoil among the five current commissioners.” -- Congressional Report 9 Dec. 2008
It was readily found, that he withheld, and manipulated, evidence from his fellow commissioners, the Congress, and the public. His goal was to deregulate everything. This, in practice means, to serve the greatest monetary interests, and damn the law, and the public. He was a very, successful, Republican lawyer; very arrogant, and dismissive, and without scruples.

In this light, and in the lessons of history, it is easy to see, that it is not the public that will benefit, in the switch from analogue to the new, high, definition signal. In the short term: it has been the appliance industry. They have sold more televisions, sooner than replacement opportunities would have opened up, and the new gadgets to retrofit, some of, the older sets. In other countries, e.g. Japan, the switch was made without obsolescence. In the long term: private companies which will be given the old signal frequencies.

Some people, meaning the impoverished, shant have the new equipment. Democrats in Congress, and the president, have suggested a delay to June. It seems some 680 stations of the country’s nearly 1800 stations will drop the analog signal to-day. This delay was objected to by the out-going Martin.

This Martin has collected many paychecks. He has also worked for Wiley Rein LLP.
A major client of Wiley Rein is Verizon. Martin’s wife has worked for: John Cornyn, Donald L. Evans and Dick Cheney. What a nexus of dollars and interests!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Crucifixes disturb bigots

In 2003, Adel Smith a mohammedan, living in Italy, made a public campaign against the crucifix, first at his son’s school. He convinced one judge, and then lost to the next. He threw a crucifix out of a hospital room. He has been a frequent guest on italian radio and television. He began Unione dei musulmani d'Italia, and outside of recent albanians, it has few members. He is largely unsuccessful and is more of a carnival act. Very few people, including other mohammedans, support his goals.

Recently, Boston College has re-introduced crucifixes and icons into all of its classrooms. In Italy it was, also, institutes of the state, that displayed crucifixes. Boston College is not a state facility. It is a catholic school. In a campus paper and its electronique mail, The Observer, at least three chemistry professors objected. One says, he is a practicing anglican, and objects to the display of “religious art” [his repeated use of quotation marks], he expected such behavior from Notre Dame, but not there. Chemistry professor Amir Hoveyda has been particularly aggrieved and has been quoted in a few different papers. Most of the professors, who have publicly complained, have confessed to not being catholic.

Other remarks whine: bait and switch, intolerance, false pretenses, forced imposition. I doubt there is any law, in effect in Boston, that demands governmental flags to be displayed in private institutions. I have never been to Boston, I am sure there are such flags in all sorts of private institutions, and I do not believe there are individuals raising a hue and cry about it. These doctors are employees of a jesuit school, catholics pay them to work in a catholic school. I doubt, that, an employee of General Motors objects to GM logos in the workplace.

The Boston Herald ran an informal internet poll, 94% of 3804 responses found no cause for disapproval. The tail wants the dog to wag.

I went to a catholic grade school, which, at the time of my graduation, catholics were a minority; they were soon to be a rarity. I had fellow classmates, whom, objected to religion class. Some classmates were taught anti-catholic propaganda and bigotry at home. Some shared their thoughts with me. At Boston College it is mostly professorial staff that have objected. Most catholic colleges and universities hire non-catholics, there are schools ran by other faiths that demand signing statements, that guarantee religious conformity, and they are not restricted to theology faculty. Catholic schools have been guilty of being overly accommodating, not under accommodating to non-catholics.

Many people have religious objects in their homes. What guest has the right to object ? how many have the gall to do so?

Scorsese and Silence

Now, the path of an item of interest, that appears in a person’s field of interest is not always direct. I, casually looking at a citizen’s internet journal, was directed to an article in a catholic weekly, which further directed me to the AFP, which in mid-February ’09, picked up a story that nipponistas and film enthusiasts took up at the beginning of the month, which confirmed a story that was reported from Cannes in May of ’07--Martin Scorsese is to film, his version of, Shusaku Endos 1966 novel, Silence (Chinmoku). In August of ’06, an UK edition of the novel came out, with a foreword by Scorsese. In October ’06, he told reporters, that, he was considering it for fifteen years. I have not read that foreword, but it may tell us how Scorsese would present the story.

Scorsese once wanted to be a priest, and was a seminarian. He may have lost his faith, but is still interested in christian themes, the nature of Christ and belief, and perhaps, imposition and loss of belief. He made an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988. Kazantzakis so bothered the church, that, he was denied a christian burial. The novel is worth reading. It deserved to be put on the Index. It was an heretical portrait of Christ, it was near adoptionism, and near nestorianism. It was not meant to be biographical. Kazantzakis changed several undisputed facts*. Scorcese’s film was protested, and anti-christians heralded it for free speech. I was not going to spend money on it, but I did get a tape from the library. I could not have watched more than twenty minutes of it. Scorsese insulted Kazantzakis, and what he did to Christ, well Jesus suffered more on the cross, but this was not to His benefit either. It was a totally wretched movie, well I admitted, that, I watched only the beginning, but if you start eating a meal and you are gagging, and sickened by the food, would you eat the remainder?

I, later, followed the news and the contrast with Mel Gibsons, The Passion. News ran a long time before the film was shown. Gibson wants to make a movie. It can be filmed. He will pay for everything. It was to be filmed in Italy where Pasolini’s film, The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, had been. No one will market the film. And then there was controversy: radical protestant fundamentalists, activist anti-anti-semites were incensed, Hollywood blackballed the movie, and Gibson. I would be far, far more comfortable with Mister Gibson.

Scorsese has made more excellent movies than disasters. The screen writer, for Silence, is to be Jay Cocks, who was the writer for Gangs of New York, a fabulous, sprawling disaster. Practically every person of note, associated with 19th century New York City was brought onto the screen. Facts and chronology were random. They both worked together on The Age of Innocence, which was a good movie. The two movies, that, I mentioned unfavorably, did receive great praise in certain quarters. Some people gravitate toward certain tastes and projects, based on their proclivities, and, of course, it varies. For those who have affection for Endo, and his subject manner, these are anxious moments.
*from memory, he changed the number of apostles, and made Judas their chief; and he has a caravan bring the bark of the cinchona that produces quinine, which came from the Andes; these, I surmise, are hints that this is about a Jesus of an alternate universe. 
postscriptum  30 July 2014: [click] Filming may soon begin.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Day of Change

I knew a professor of history, whom, compared the british queen, and the regard and devotion towards her, to that of a living flag. In the United States, there is an extreme relation to the flag. This pledge to the flag, done here, is too outré. The rutherfordites, Jehovah witnesses, are not right on much, but they are right*, that, this is to engage in homage to an idol. The first Bush won an election, on the false threat, that crazed, venomous blasphemers were waiting for a great flag bonfire. Some people are willing, and ready, to die for, and to kill for a flag.

When I was born, the national flag of Canada was the british red ensign, with a canadian heraldic shield. That flag is not the canadian flag to-day. To-day is flag day for Canada. Somewhere in between, it became apparent, that a great majority of canadians, and virtually all canadiennes, wanted a uniquely canadian flag; and a majority wanted a maple leaf design.

The flag of Canada, for over two centuries, was the fleur-de-lis of France. On the Plains of Abraham, Canada became part of British North America. In 1867, Canada began independence. The british red ensign, a naval union jack, with a canadian shield, became first, de facto, and later de jure, the national flag. Similar flags still exist as national flags of Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.

When John Diefenbaker (Conservative Party) was premier, Lester “Mike” Pearson (Liberal Party) promised, early in 1960, a new flag. On the 15th of June 1964, Premier Pearson began the parliamentary debate. The new flag would be without a british reminder. A committee of 15 would choose a design. Pearson proposed three, red, maple leaves, on a white field, between two blue bars--the traditional maple leaves of Canada from sea to sea. An historian, George Stanley, proposed a single leaf, with red bars. The committee voted 14-0 for the latter.

Diefenbaker (say this with un accent québécois) led the opposition, in six weeks of debate, then the francophone conservatives voted with the liberals for cloture. It was passed 15 December, 28 January, Elizabeth signed, 15 February 1965 the Maple Leaf, l'Unifolié, became the national flag. Diefenbaker wept, many veterans were nostalgic for the ensign. The provincial flags of Manitoba, and Ontario have red ensigns to-day, which were adopted in 1965.

On 15 February 1971, the british, and the irish decimalised their money. ₤.s.d. were the, natural, abbreviations for pounds, shillings and pence; Oh, pounds were libræ, shillings--solidi, denarii--pence. There was 240 silver denarii to the roman pound, and twenty shillings to the british pound.

Russia decimalised the ruble in 1710, the french, the franc in 1795. Lord Wrottesley tried Parliament in 1824, and a few years later life was made simpler, for schoolchildren and foreigners. Now, groats, tanners, florins, tuppence, guineas and other purse coins can be found in victorian novels, and a hundred pennies (pee) to the pound. Shove an ha’penny.
*West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saint Valentine

Valens was the name of one, and Valentinian was the name of three roman emperors. A root word, valere, is latin for: to be strong, the adjective, valentissimus. It was a popular source of names in the late western empire. There were three saints Valentine martyred on 14 February. The one noted for to-day may have been he, that was beheaded, on the Via Flaminia, on 14 February 270?, when Claudius the Goth reigned. He has been demoted since 1969, that is not a denial, but an admission, that, his story is now scarce, and because of scarcity, may be oddly used and abused.

The associations we now have with the day came in the time of Chaucer*, the late 14th century, and it lingered on in english culture and literature. Shakespeare has Ophelia sing in Hamlet IV.v. 48-51:
To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
But in the thoroughly, orthodox tradition, eroticism has nothing to do with Valentine. Valentine is not Eros or Cupid. The love of Valentine† was agape. The same love of Christ, that, Christ had for man, and mankind; the love we are enjoined to have for each other. It is a fine, and of course, valiant name...why, my own father’s father was a Valentin.

Since writing this,
I have attended mass to-day. The priest, before mass, said he would like to be the first to wish us a Happy Cyril & Methodius Day, and went on to say the calendar has changed, and the day is primarily commemorated to the two brothers, that evangelised the slavs. He went on to mention, that, the last pope (who wrote an encyclical epistle, Slavorum Apostoli, in 1985), and the current have wanted the unification of the east and west, and this is a fitting prayer on this day.

I have seen the BBC write on to-day, yesterday, that Valentine is not the right patron for the heart lonely, but Saint Raphaël.
The archangel Raphaël brought Sarah and Tobias together. There was an error to their writing, what they referred to ‘as legend’ is Scripture.
For this was on seynt Valentynes day,
Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make,
― lines 309-10. The Parliament of Fowles c.1380.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The press conference

President Obama had his first, evening, press conference, within a month, of his inauguration. It was, in great to part, to egg on the passage of the spending/stimulus bill. The previous occupant, of the office, had a first conference, a month after New York City, and Washington D.C. were attacked.

Mister Obama answered questions six times longer, than his prepared speech. His answers were fluent, firm and well stated, logically phrased, and said with articulate, and unhalting diction. This, again, was in remarkable contrast with the previous occupant.

He took several questions, mostly from younger reporters, and younger than himself. There was some apoplexy*, on account of a question, a very fine question about Senator Leahy’s possible investigation on the criminal behavior of the past regime. The question came from an, electronique, news service writer. Mister Obama also called on Miss Helen Thomas, a woman who was shamefully ignored, and demonised during the now, recently, past usurpation; he sidestepped the questions, in a fashion of previous, and longstanding american policies. The discontent, with the questioners, came from the bizarre, cloud, cuckoo land of the Republican, extremist media, although, Obama did take an obnoxious, speculative question, from that regiment, which was, meant to embarrass, not only himself, but the vice-president, and the stimulus programme. Mister Obama would do himself, and the country benefit, by not engaging, with such belligerent, and malevolent lunatics.

Earlier in the day, he was in Elkhart, Indiana taking questions from an unscreened (again, a great departure from the previous regime) group of residents. He genially answered an, unfriendly, accusing question, by a confessing follower of a television and radio republican. Two great points of difference here: first, in the demeanor, and openness of President Obama; secondly, the unrelenting hostility of the anti-democratic populace.
*There was even displeasure vented, on account, of other reporters being seated. There was no such convulsions, when bushjr took questions from the male prostitute, Jeff Gannon, née Guckert, who posed for two years in Ari Fleischer’s press briefing room.
postscriptum: One of the points Mr. Obama emphasized was, that, of Franklin Roosevelt’s response of decisive government spending, in a time the economy failed, and private spending dried up. The spending was necessary, in part, as a last resort. It is also necessary, to remind people of a successful prior response by a president, and a country, to a similar set of problematic events. It is further necessary to remind a nation that has been falsely, yet effectively, propagandised by the ilk of Grover Norquists, whom have foisted Ronald Reagan as the avenger against the New Deal. There is an ongoing campaign, to change the facts of history, concerning Franklin Roosevelt. One current example, is that of, the new, idiotic congressman from Ohio (2, 3), Steve Austria, who has been called, on his part of this campaign of disinformation. He graduated from Marquette (did he take any american history courses? or pay any attention? or are some people so obdurate, that, even, the Jesuits can not teach and learn them?); and before that a catholic high school. To graduate from high school in Ohio, at that time--1977, one needed a year of american history, and a half year of civics(government). People pay tuition for their children, buy them books, and what? They chew the pages and make spitballs.

Lincoln at 200

Robert Root. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas—Debate at Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 1858. 1918. Springfield, Ill.

This is the picture on the cover* of the medical journal, JAMA. Root painted this after studying the portraits of the politicians of the day; the painting was for the state’s centennial celebration. Lincoln and Douglas debated each other seven times, campaigning for senator, Charleston was the middlemost. Lincoln did not become senator, but did gain national exposure in the press. The senators were then elected by the state legislature. The original hangs in the north corridor on the second floor of the State House (or did a few years ago).

Two hundred years ago, this very day, Abraham Lincoln was born. He was the second candidate nominated by the Republican party for president. He was not a likely nominee. He had very, little, political success, and was not highly thought of. Lincoln had one successful speech, at the Cooper Union, in New York City. It is a wonder that he was in the running. He was not, even, on the ballot on several southern states. He was very much a minority candidate.

He won. Four years later, in a smaller number of remaining states, he ran as the National Union Party candidate. So, in a minor way, he too left the Republican party. It is extremely hard to find another Republican candidate, ever, worthy to vote for. Some people would suggest, Teddy Roosevelt or Bob La Follette; they both left the party as different sorts of progressives; there is no one near such a personage in that rather, uniform club of reprobates to-day, even a moderate is an exaggeration.

To-day, the stronghold of the Republican party in popular votes, and members of Congress is in the south. How many Lincoln Day parties and dinners are held there? The only good, and he was a great president, nominee the Republican party has had is Lincoln. He won no southern states in 1860 or 1864. He is not liked in the south now.

On the same day Lincoln was born, Charles Darwin was born. Darwin came from a family of ministers, Lincoln was never baptised. Of those core Republicans in existence, to whom would they hold favorable? Which people would they curse and damn?

There are six states that have to-day as a legal, public holiday. They are: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York .
*Vol. 301 No. 6, February 11, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

White Shirt Day

On 11 February 1937, the sit down strike at the General Motors Fisher Body Plants in Flint, Michigan ended. John L. Lewis, of the C.I.O., spoke for the workers, while GM met in another room refusing to speak to the union. The governor of Michigan, Frank Murphy, would relay messages between. Collective bargaining and union recognition had been won. General Motors would, henceforth, negotiate with their employees through the United Auto Workers. Now, this had not been easy. The UAW was new, and General Motors controlled Flint, and the first injunction granting judge, and the police. The workers held the plant through the siege. There were other GM plants on strike also.

Now, a sit down strike is different than most strikes, where workers would not enter the workplace. A sit down strike is a physical occupation with a cessation of work. This strike began on 30 December 1936. On 11 January the guards, and police, tried to stop food deliveries to the strikers. The police, then using riot guns, were repelled by fire hoses, from within the plant. Windows were broken to allow tear gas to waft out, and back towards the police. The police retreated.

The workers were fortunate, they could have been mown down by machine guns of the national guard, such things were an american norm. Governor Murphy was a Democrat, and President Roosevelt was friendly to labor and national opinion sided with the workers. Laws had recently been passed to restrict automatic and blanket injunctions. Sit downs were new to America*, later the Supreme Court outlawed them in 1939. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 was still in the future. The workers had a rare opening in opportunity.

The strike is the strongest, and most significant act, of organised labor. It is civil and economic disobedience versus economic royalists and their minions in government. Later in Poland, it began the fall of communism. In the United States it has become rarer and rarer, a legacy of reaganism; the rest of the, now expanded, “free world” finds it more frequently employed.

In 1948, on the anniversary, the first White Shirt Day was celebrated in Flint. All workers are to wear white shirts, and attempt to keep it as clean as their, white collar bosses. The observance of health, and safety rules are to be encouraged. Now, in the current troubled economic times, will such a commemoration expand or contract about the nation?
*it was a mediæval french idea resurrected about europe

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Saint Scholastica Day in Oxford town

Now, the first university in Britain is Oxford. Its formation began with the expulsion of the english, from the University of Paris, in 1167. At this time, Henry II had Thomas à Becket in exile, and had warred against Louis VII repeatedly. Oxford town, and its countryside, now had a new source of steady income, of a captive clientele. In the middle of the 14th century, the bubonic plague hit europe, afterwards there was a significant, and drastic reduction in population, with much social disruption of all kinds.

The three days, beginning with Tuesday, the 10th of February, Saint Scholastica* [yes, there is irony aplenty] Day, 1355, there was something between an urban riot, and warfare in Oxford. It began at Swindlestock [again irony in naming] Tavern, when scholars complained about bad wine. The taverner chose to use unfortunate words, the wine then hit him, followed by the pot. He wanted revenge and gathered men. He brought the local enforcement authorities to university. The university was not under town jurisdiction.

Wednesday the students attacked the town, and the town counterattacked. Thursday was the bloodiest day. Many of the scholars were clerics and were tonsured. The townies and rural locals scalped others. An Eucharistic procession, to demonstrate for calm, was attacked.‡ Some of the university fled to Stamford, which had earlier had Oxford émigrés.

Edward III was to rule on this. The town having inflicted the greater havoc was punished. Each year on Dies Scholastica: the mayor and 62 freemen were to attend mass at Saint Mary the Virgin on campus, and pray, for the souls of those that died in the slaughter; in addition, they were to give a penny each for each dead scholar. The mass was changed to a sermon, when England apostatized, and that atonement ended in 1825. A mayoral oath of good behavior lasted to 1859. All Masters of Arts had to swear, that, they would not lecture at Stamford. The university would guarantee weights, and measures and the prices on drink and bread, and would clean the streets. In 1955 a ceremony of all differences settled took place.

Now from that, one, especially one, who, has lived as a student in a college or university town, must gather, that, the townies gouged and cheated students, and did not maintain facilities. Students are a cash crop of livestock. It is true, they are often a drunk and rowdy lot, but they are temporary residents and cash cows, and are treated as such. Some will say the mediæval ages were brutal and ignorant, but that is often just a strawman argument. There was no such precedent, certainly, in England at this time. There were occasions of violence, but not battle; and within the school, the rivalry was between the scots and the english. No, it was something pertinent to 1355 and how the university was in relation to the town and countryside about it.
*Saint Scholastica *c.480 †547, abbess, twin sister of Saint Benedict of Nursia.
it was not an introduction by indians, but by the anti-clerical english
‡one can wonder, whether any of this was connected, with the rise of lollardry§, the lollards began about Oxford, and had anti-Eucharistic, and anti-clerical views; but it also co-incided with the the Great Schism of the West, and the Peasant revolt, which again may all be, in part, ripples from the plague.
§latin lolium =
certain ryegrasses, lolium temulentum = cockle, (bearded) darnel, false wheat, tares
cum autem dormirent homines venit inimicus eius et superseminavit zizania in medio tritici et abiit
But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed cockle among the wheat and went his way. ― Matthew xiii. 25. DRC
But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. KJV
In Geoffrey Chaucer’s (*early1340s,†1400) Prologue to the Shipman’s Tale:
...“He woulde sowe some difficulty,
Or springe cockle in our cleane corn...

Sunday, February 8, 2009


To-day is Septuagesima* Sunday, in the ante-Vatican II roman calendar. The weeks of Epiphany are over. In mass, the Gloria† is not sung. Alleuia†, also awaits the Easter Vigil. Now, we have a movable calendar, in this regard, and the mass readings for the extra Sundays of Epiphany are used for the supplementary masses, after Pentecost, before Advent. This gets complicated, a bit. The readings for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost are always the last before Advent. The 22nd Sunday is always read. If there is less than 24, the 24th is read on the 23rd Sunday and those for the 23rd are read on the Saturday, prior. Now, when there are extra Sundays, the readings for the last Sundays of Epiphany are read, in reverse order, from the last Sunday of Pentecost, until the 23rd. The first supplemental mass has the readings of the 6th Sunday of Epiphany ... the fourth supplemental mass has the readings of the 3rd Sunday of Epiphany. A calendraic year has 52 full weeks and one or two days; so a year may have either 52 or 53 Sundays. Either the 1st of January, or Christmas can fall on Sunday. I am not certain, whether, a year can repeat the same set of Sunday readings; I would think not. The three year vernacular cycle avoids this by having an, interrupted, Ordinary Time, in place of epiphanical, pentecostal time, and three Sundays of pre-Lent.

Now, all movable dates are fixed on the date of Resurrection Sunday, the Paschal feast. Quadragesima is a period of forty days used for fasting and preparation. The term was used at Nicæa (325). Quadragesima Sunday is the first Sunday of Lent. Quinquagesima is the Sunday prior to Lent. Sexagesima is two Sudays prior. Quinquagesima is fifty days, Sexagesima is approximately sixty days, Septuagesima is approximately seventy days before Easter, and in part is to remind us to the years of Babylonian exile, as Quadragesima the forty years in the desert, and the forty days Jesus was in the desert.
*Septuagesima is fun to say.
†Quómodo cantábimus cánticum Dómini in terra aliéna ?
How shall we sing the song of the Lord in a strange land? ― Ps. 136. 4 DRC
There had been an occasional celebration, where in, the day prior to
Septuagesima, the choir would take an Alleluia banner through the church and deposit it to rest. Alleluia, dulce carmen was sung.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The State of the Democracy Returned

The Obama presidency began on a musical interlude, an arrangement of the religious hymn, Tis A Gift To Be Simple, played on cello, violin, piano and clarinet. On a cold day, in mid-winter, democracy returned to the United States. Two million people came to see the moment.

Polling began on the approval of the occupant of the executive mansion in 1938. Final approval rating of the last occupant was 22 percent, and disapproval 73; no president had a lower yea, nor higher nay percentage. bush junior has been shown exceptionable.

As joyful and hopeful the crowds were for Mister Obama, they did show contempt and disdain for what he replaced. When gwbjr came out of the Capitol runway, audible booing was heard. When the heliocopter took him away, the crowd sang, “na na hey hey goodbye”.

A fortnight and more has passed. Some of the atmosphere is new and clear, and some of the smoky, sulfurous clouds linger on. Darth Cheney will not stop his unrepentant, propaganda campaign. The placement of busheviks burrowed, into the bureaucracy, lay in wait to sabotage.

John Cornyn delayed Holder’s nomination as attorney-general. That office of government is encharged to police the law. All members of the government are sworn to uphold the Constitution, but that department is to investigate and prosecute those who have transgressed. These last eight years the Constitution has been battered. The last administration used the Department of Justice as a compliance auxiliary to their party. Naturally, those involved do not want to be brought to justice, and part of the country does not want the sordidness viewed, nor remembered. Cornyn and his ilk approve of torture and other criminal government behavior, and they do not want to be held responsible, nor reminded, nor restrained.

Karl Rove and his political circle will not answer subpœnas. The Republicans want their political crimes buried. The Democrats have been obliging. A scrupulous and active attorney-general would not be.

Labor Secretary nominee Hilda Solis has been held from even committee discussion. Likewise, a scrupulous and active labor secretary is a great threat to their party, and economic masters.

Tom Daschle has been scratched from Health and Human Services. Doctor Howard Dean has been neglected for his ability, success and intensity. He would shake up things and get things accomplished. The Republicans hate him, and Obama’s circle have shunned him. Doctor Dean would be a good and worthy administrator. bushjunior got repulsive, dishonest and incompetent nominees to major jobs. Obama should push back, after all he won and was legally installed as the first president in the new century.

The junior senator of Minnesota, Al Franken, has not been seated. The 60th vote is being held back, because he is the 60th, and he has a quick wit and a sharp mind. The Republicans fear all of that. Coleman has criminal investigations pending about him, this gets very little notice, while he, and his team, contradict themselves in ridiculous ways in trying to first delay a count of votes, and now to overturn the count. Every day that Franken is not sworn in is an injustice to democracy, and a bonus to the Republican party.

Barack Obama has chosen Republicans for his cabinet: he has held over Robert Gates and the pentagon establishment; he has chosen a Republican congressman for transport, Ray LaHood; he has nominated a Republican senator for commerce, and has acquiesced to have a Democratic governor to replace Judd Gregg with another Republican.

Barack Obama has extended his hand, to the Republicans* again, and again. At this rate, he will have far less digits than Boris Yeltsin.

* “Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban. And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes. And these Taliban ― I’m not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban ― no, that’s not what we’re saying. I’m saying an example of how you go about is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with.” ― chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Pete Sessions

The stimulus bill passed the House of Representatives easily, but with zero Republicans voting for it. Many Republicans were jubilant and boastful, yes I see that there is no normal segue between those two sentences.

Republicans of good will

During the stimulus/spending bill debate, Senator Reid again used the phrase, “Republicans of good will”.*What can he possibly mean? Is this an oxymoron? or an example of a null set?

Reid has used this formula before, prior to Reid it is hard to find. Bob Dole used it in July of 1996. Is this a concept in existence to-day?

Reid said two were in existence.* I am reminded of the following conversation:
What if there be five less than fifty just persons? wilt thou for five and forty destroy the whole city? And he said: I will not destroy it, if I find five and forty. And again he said to him: But if forty be found there, what wilt thou do? He said: I will not destroy it for the sake of forty. Lord, saith he, be not angry, I beseech thee, if I speak: What if thirty shall be found there? He answered: I will not do it, if I find thirty there. Seeing, saith he, I have once begun, I will speak to my Lord. What if twenty be found there? He said: I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty. I beseech thee, saith he, be not angry, Lord, if I speak yet once more: What if ten should be found there? And he said: I will not destroy it for the sake of ten. And the Lord departed, after he had left speaking to Abraham: and Abraham returned to his place. Genesis xviii. 28-33. DRC
How small a dwindling number can be found and set?
“Do we have the votes? We believe we do, we believe we can find two Republicans of good will who are going to do the right thing for the country”. ― 5 February 2009.

Boxer fights

11.41 a.m. 5 February 2009. Barbara Boxer responding to Lindsey Graham, whom had just previously displayed the bill, and the near ream of paper it was printed upon.*:
I find it really rather amazing that the senator is holding up a bill. Holding up a bill ― theatrical. (small chortle) Did you ever do that when George Bush was president and he sent down a bill twice as big as that? Did he ever do that?...d ev ya...Cause you can do that, that's theatrics. You can do that.
The petite, californian senator has repeatedly, almost, reflexively countered punched preening, overstepping arrogance. Inhofe tried to assume power over Al Gore’s testimony 21 March 2007:
BOXER:Would you agree to let the Vice President answer your questions? And then, if you want an extra few minutes at the end, I'm happy to give it to you. But we're not going to get anywhere --
INHOFE: Why don't we do this? Why don't we do this? At the end, you can have as much time as you want to answer all the questions.
BOXER: No, that isn't the rule of -- you're not making the rules. You used to when you did this. (holding gavel) You don't do this anymore. Elections have consequences.
At Rice’s confirmation hearing, 19 January 2005, Boxer was not allowing Rice to clench, stall and prevaricate:
MS. RICE: ... ... And so we knew what his intentions were in the region; where he had attacked his neighbors before and, in fact, tried to annex Kuwait; where we had gone to war against him twice in the past. It was the total picture, Senator, not just weapons of mass destruction, that caused us to decide that, post-September 11th, it was finally time to deal with Saddam Hussein.
SEN. BOXER: Well, you should read what we voted on when we voted to support the war, which I did not, but most of my colleagues did. It was WMD, period. That was the reason and the causation for that, you know, particular vote.
But, again, I just feel you quote President Bush when it suits you but you contradicted him when he said, "Yes, Saddam could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year." You go on television nine months later and said, "Nobody ever said it was" --
MS. RICE: Senator, that was just a question of pointing out to people that there was an uncertainty. No one was saying that he would have to have a weapon within a year for it to be worth it to go to war.
SEN. BOXER: Well, if you can't admit to this mistake, I hope that you'll --
MS. RICE: Senator, we can have this discussion in any way that you would like. But I really hope that you will refrain from impugning my integrity. Thank you very much.
SEN. BOXER: I'm not. I'm just quoting what you said. You contradicted the president and you contradicted yourself.
MS. RICE: Senator, I'm happy to continue the discussion, but I really hope that you will not imply that I take the truth lightly.
SEN. LUGAR: Let me intervene at this point.
While I can not agree, or disagree, approve, or disapprove with every cause, statement or action a politician, or any individual stands for or commits, I am impressed with the mien of this woman. She will, even as part of a small minority† or alone, speak up for what is right, or what she believes is right. She repeatedly confronts bullshit, and does not back down.
*Now, I saw this broadcast, locally, on the PBS channel, not on their own news broadcast, but on the BBC
’s, nor did I see it on another broadcast. I have found, again and again, non-american news sources covering and describing the more salient and telling information on american politics, often in more direct and honest language. The rest of the world has been slow to adopt american coined euphemisms and obfuscations.
†She along with Feingold and Harkin voted to censure bush junior on illegal wiretapping 31 March 2006.
She was the only senator to object to Ohio’s electoral vote 6 January 2005.

noto bene: I realise she is not always right. She is an extreme abortion supporter, and has shown hostility to catholicism on, at least, that and related matters. On those matters, she is equally pugnacious.

Power of Posters

A generation ago, the communist government and society of Poland was challenged by dissent. The dissent was peaceful and systemic throughout the country. One slogan, the name of the labor union, which, gave name to the movement was placed in the world’s consciousness ― Solidarność, Solidarity. On posters, banners, clothing, the one word spoke tremendously, and one iconic formulation was recognised by the world, and the world knew.

During World War II, the british government printed over 2 million posters with a message, that would be understood, for its reserve and resolve. The threshold of emergency was not crossed for it to be issued, but, now looking at it, one can see its message. It would have been effective, it is effective in hypothetical retrospect.

Last year, during the american presidential campaign, Shepherd Fairey took a photograph, and drew and silk screened a poster of the, then, future president and the word ― Hope. It was much reproduced. The artist made no money on it, that was not his aim; yet, now Associated Press wants to sue him, because the model he used was from a cropped photograph by an AP employee. Simple, reflexive, presumptuous greed on the part of someone, or agency, living in a culture that elevates private gain to ne plus ultra.

Many found Fairey’s poster a source of imitation and even humor. There was one with Palin and the word, “NOPE”, there was one of Bob Hope. Also, last year Benedict XVI visited New York City, and a poster was commissioned. The idea was simple and endlessly adaptable. One can take the design and use it for anything. You can take your photo, and have it, transformed similarly. In the 1960s, Andy Warhol had a similar ethos on subjects, including a series on soup cans. It is popular art. It is popular art, that can have greater public, and political interest.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nagasaki Martyrs

Twenty-six men and boys were martyred, on account of the christian faith, in a spectacular fashion, in Nagasaki on the 5th of February 1597. Most were japanese, but there were spaniards, a mexican and an asian indian. Nagasaki is, and has been, the center of christianity in Japan. Nagasaki has become inseparable from martyrdom. It is the entrance gate of christianity.

In the generation after Francis Xavier, christianity became a significant factor in the country. Many converts were made, the feudal aristocrats often had their populace convert. There was fervor and zeal in the new faith, but not without bad behavior and impolitic action.

The shogun, and the power behind the emperor, Toyotomi Hideyoshi turned against christianity. Several reasons gave him cause: the destruction of buddhist and shinto art and architecture, which was japanese cultural patrimony, criminal behavior of certain christian merchants, possible imperial desires of Spain and other europeans, the dissension between spainards and portuguese, the franciscans and the jesuits, and the greater dissension between these former and the dutch and english heretics, and in contradiction, a possible christian hegemony. Hideyoshi was a champion commander, and there had been generations of internecine war; he wanted a centralisation of power in his own hands. With the buddhist monks, the bonzes, also having political, military and economic power, which, had become, weakened; he did not want a greater threat in the christians. In Hideyoshi’s childhood there were no christians (catholics), now there were, perhaps many more than, 300,000.

These early japanese christians were romanced with the Cross. They were evangelised with the Passion, and knew well of the early martyrs, and the rewards of heaven. With understanding of buddhist resignation and samurai honor and toughness, they had a stoic appreciation. Cruel irony found crucifixion (haritsuke) a novel and effectively, vicious form of torture and execution. They were to be paraded from Kyoto (literally, the capital then), after mutilation and constant abuse, over a thousand kilometers to their deaths. They were to be tied to a cross and speared by lances. If they renounced christianity, they would live. All the countryside would know of their degradation and fate. Yet, this did not end the faith in Japan. These martyrs engaged their deaths so bravely, that, they caused others to be ardently steadfast.

One of the martyrs, Paul Miki had been a jesuit for eleven years. He was an enthusiastic preacher, but not yet ordained. He exhorted crowds along the way and on the cross. Hideyoshi, as the english, feared and hated the jesuits. Miki made the appeal, that, the accusations against him (and the others) were false. They had no ulterior motives, they were merely faithful christians, and he, Miki, was not a foreign agent from the Philippines, but a nipponese as they were. His and all their deaths were unflinching and unwavering. This did not end christianity. It would be along time before the first man would either betray, or, disgrace himself and, the faith under pressure.

These martyrs are not well known in english speaking america, but in latin america, where there was contemporaneous evangelisation, and where one was born, their story, and their images were known. In 1862 they were placed on the universal calendar, first as Sts. Peter Baptist and Twenty-Five Companions on the 5th of February, and later as Sts. Paul Miki and his Companions on the 6th.

Nagasaki remained a center of both the faith and of martyrdom throughout the centuries. The last spectacular execution of innocents occurred on the 9th of August 1945. One dirty atomic bomb detonated over the cathedral, its radiation is still killing, far beyond the initial incineration. There is a memorial building, attached to a church dedicated to St. Philip of Jesus, the martyr from Mexico, and the first to die. It commemorates the 100th year of the canonisations. On the outside of the building there is a bronze, by Angelico Funakoshi, of the 26 in line. There is a Peace Park in Nagasaki to beg for the end of nuclear terror.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Governors and senators in flagrante

Rod Blagojevich was on Letterman last night. He became nationally known for a single act of corruption: he was about to peddle a US senatorship to the highest bidder. He found no takers. He was impeached 114 - 1, and found guilty 59 - 0. Previously, Elliot Spitzer resigned his governorship for renting women. How easy, and quickly, does scandal remove Democrats from office. How many Republicans would, even, allow the thought of impeaching any bushevik, to be expressed? The media, certainly, did not, as it seemingly promotes all Republican arguments.

Diaper Dave Vitter, a frequent brothel customer in Louisiana, and about DC, is still senator. Diaper Dave Vitter, is a man who, voted to impeach Bill Clinton. Diaper Dave, is a man who, campaigns on family values. Diaper Dave pegs the pole as a Republican conservative, but falls about mid-range as a Republican hypocrite. Mark him as another, outrageous Republican. Stevens, financial ethically challenged, was defeated at the polls, very narrowly. Craig, a deviant adulterer, finished his term. It is extremely difficult to find a Republican who shows shame, or applies a single standard.

Milorad Blagojevich is now an ex-governor of Illinois. For whatever reason, he has shown an appreciation of victorian, british poets. He has publicly quoted Tennyson* and Kipling†, in apparent reference to his circumstances. As a serb, from a people whom have heralded defeats in song and poetry for centuries, it is not, particularly surprising to relish lyrics in defeat; nor from an american politician, hubris in failure. But, as he repeatedly said, he was not convicted, nor was he defended. Letterman posited, that, he will have time in the future for due process.

Don Siegelman, former governor of Alabama, was sent to prison, as a political prisoner, so as to be removed from the stage, by Rove and the Republican party. He has been since released, and Rove, and his gang have not been forthcoming. This swift removal of Blagojevich was not pro forma, and Blagojevich wants the stage.
*Ulysses, not reflecting the homeric Illiad, but the infernal Dante
If, celebrating failed, imperial freebooting

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Saint Blaise

Twenty-five years ago, a small book of humor, Growing Up Catholic, came out. On a corner of a page, there was listed two, and only two, Catholic fun days; one was Saint Patrick’s, there were irish on the committee, and the other was ― Saint Blaise. Now, in protestant America, it is doubtful that Blaise is even known, considering, the often, odd naming practices as a given, christian name.

On his name day ― 3 February, or Sunday of Candlemas, throats are blessed by crossed tapers. During mass, or after, people line up to hear the words, in the old latin, “Per intercessionem S. Blasii liberet to Deus a malo gutteris et a qouvis alio malo”, or in english, “May God at the intercession of St. Blaise preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil”, as beeswax candles are pressed about the throat, and the priest, or deacon, pronounces the sign of the cross.* This little ceremony, as with the imposition of ashes, is both optional for the faithful, and open to all, irregardless of their faith, meaning ― you do not have to be a Catholic. Some people remember this, fondly, from their elementary school days. Others still enjoy it as adults, and are even disappointed if the local priest does not celebrate the blessing.

Why this? Blaise is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. He was a bishop and physician in Sebaste of Armenia, at that interesting time, when christianity was becoming legal. He was tortured and beheaded, under Licinius, in 316, after the Edict of Toleration. While imprisoned, he saved a boy from choking on a fish bone, hence his help for the throat.

Now, there is a bit of an english wordplay with candles and the name Blaise (Blaze). We can also, other than being safe from choking and malady, be free from uttering bad, or hurtful words. Some of us can still be in the need of his intercession.
*sometimes said so rapidly as to resemble a mumbling blur of syllables
noto bene: St. Blaise is patron of Dubrovnik on the Dalmatian coast, banner supra. Recently, in Sivas (modern Sebaste), archaeologists have found a grave, that, they believe may have been for Blaise. Some of his relics reside in Dubrovnik.