Saturday, February 27, 2010

Joseph Kip Kosek: Acts of Conscience: Christian Nonviolence and Modern American Democracy

From a review in The Christian Century:
But it turns out that the FOR [Fellowship of Reconcicliatin] pacifists understood something that their critics missed. As Kosek deftly explains, they "were among the first to suggest that the amoral logic of modern war could overcome the ideals for which any particular war was fought." This insight, which seems quite prescient in light of the "war on terror," highlights the ways in which "tough-minded realists" have often proved to be quite unrealistic in believing that the brutality and horror of war can be contained. This brutality poses serious challenges to just-war theorizing in an age of total war.
I'd argue the opposite. The logic of WW2 led to the civil rights movement the next decade in America. The brutality and horror of defeating Hitler's Germany and Tojo's Japan did not overcome America's ideals; far from that. It sparked the fufillment of ideals at home with the civil rights movement.

John van Schaick: The Little Corner Never Conquered: The Story Of The American Red Cross War Work For Belgium

Reprinted in 2007 by Kessinger Reprints.

John van Schaick:
"the very essence of Universalism—to find the universal things that unite us, and to make everybody recognize them."
Spoken like a Dutchman. A tall order...

Peace Making: Development without Security

For UU's calling for development without protection. From Gov Exec,
Contractors working with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan are eager for the increased military presence expected within the coming months.

During a roundtable of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, eight executives representing companies doing reconstruction and development work in Afghanistan said they were optimistic more U.S. troops would make it safer and easier for them to complete their projects.
You first outside the wire.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

America as a Christian Civilization

Fortune Mag, Jan, 1940, laying out what any non-Christian could easily point out; then and now. America's got a Christian heritage whether we like it or not.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Conscience of Nhem En

via their site,
The Conscience of Nhem En explores conscience and complicity in the story of a young soldier responsible for taking the ID photos of thousands of innocent people before they were tortured and killed by the Khmer Rouge.

Nhem En was 16 years old when he was the staff photographer at the notorious Tuol Sleng Prison, also know as Security-21 or S-21, where, from 1975 to 1979, 17,000 people were registered and photographed, then imprisoned and tortured, before they were killed.

Andrew Walden recalls George McGovern's about-face on Cambodia,
"Do we sit on the sidelines and watch a population slaughtered, or do we marshal military force and put an end to it?" -- Senator George McGovern, August 21, 1978
(Also Tom Wicker here) and this response at the time in the WSJ,
Needless to say, McGovern's August, 1978 turnabout raised many eyebrows. The Wall Street Journal wrote August 23 of that year:
"There is a truly mind-boggling quality to a statement like this. Nearly 20 years ago, American liberals came to power in this country exhorting us to take a more vigorous and expansive view of our role as leader of the free world. They came complete with a theory of counterinsurgency, ‘winning the hearts and minds of the people.' When the then-existing government of South Vietnam failed to fully adopt this prescription, they blithely arranged its overthrow. Upon discovering the price of the commitment thereby sealed, they set about toppling the American President, who inherited the aftermath of the coup. Not content when American troops were finally withdrawn, they set about slashing, on the grounds that the South Vietnamese government was ‘immoral,' the aid funds it needed to maintain any pro-Western presence in Indochina. Now, having finished the task of destroying that presence, they are shocked and dismayed by the news of the grim and brutal world that resulted."
HT Dan Proft's FaceBook

Thursday, February 11, 2010

2010 the Year of the Gyros

Via The Trib,
It is hard to believe that Chicagoland got its first taste of Kronos gyros 35 years ago when Kronos Foods, Inc. (, the leading maker of premium gyros and other Mediterranean specialty food items, debuted in Chicago. Kronos introduced gyros to market in 1975 and has since made it a Chicago favorite. And, to celebrate its 35th anniversary, join Kronos and participating retailers with the Year of the Gyros promotion (

Starting Jan. 23 through Feb. 26, 2010, order a Kronos gyros at one of more than 100 participating Chicagoland area locations and receive an instant win game card* for your chance to be one of 35 Grand Prize Winners to win a year of gyros**.

“We want everyone throughout the Chicagoland area to help us celebrate our 35th Anniversary by playing the Kronos Year of the Gyros game,” said Valerie Lester, vice president of marketing of Kronos Foods. “Every time you buy Kronos gyros at any of our participating restaurants, you will receive an instant win game card with your chance to WIN. This is a way for Kronos to thank Chicagoans for supporting our company, and the restaurants that sell our food for 35 years.”
...and a couple of great pictures thanks to the folks at Kronos.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Proposed Meadville House, 57th and Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago Illinois

Wonder how many UU's will be left in Hyde Park in a year or two?

Chicago's St Paul's on the Midway and Ryder Divinity House

Currently The Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School occupies the Church and Ryder Divinity House but they have plans to move to a new building by 2011 so no idea what U of C will do with these structures once the school out.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Rahm's apology on SNL

Wait till the tapes from the Blagojevich trial go public. This spot on Rahm.

Liberal Christianity gone boring

From Gulley here...
God asks us to make the earth a true garden for all God's children.


Quaker and writer, Philip Gulley, author of If the Church were Christian, reflects on our care of the earth. If the Church were really Christian, he contends, saving the earth would be more important than saving our souls.
An awfully boring interview with Preacher Gulley.

I know we're of the earth. I know we'll return. I think we ought to be in a right relationship with the earth, as with all creation.

Not sure about souls so not certain we've even left. Somehow I think the history of Christianity more about saving souls though than about saving the earth. Somehow I think the Hebrew preacher got it better,

1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
3 What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full: unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
8 All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
...and the words not boring...they've abided an awfully long time.

NYT: Afghan Women Warn Against Possible Deal With Taliban

Groups representing Afghan women warned the international community on Wednesday against pursuing a peace deal with the Taliban, fearing a return to the austere Islamist rule that saw women banned from education and work.
Women likely to pay the price for peace if the desire for peace overwhelms our desire for justice. via Reuters and the NYT


Press Sec Gibbs on the likely execution of KSM,
"Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is going to meet justice and he's going to meet his maker," said President Obama's press secretary, Robert Gibbs. "He will be brought to justice and he's likely to be executed for the heinous crimes that he committed in killing and masterminding the killing of 3,000 Americans. That you can be sure of."
And if found not guilty, the US will hold him anyways as an enemy combatant.

How this kind of show trial can be called Justice, and how it will be seen as a positive reflection on American values, I'm at a total loss to see.

KSM belongs in Gitmo for the duration. When AQ defeated, and the fatwa of peace declared, we can send KSM to a War Crimes Tribunal.

Don't degrade the criminal justice system with a show trial and execution.

Libertarian Progressivism (or Liberalism)

Zorn reflecting on Jacob Weisberg's Down With the People Blame the childish, ignorant American public—not politicians—for our political and economic crisis.

Voters look contradictory only when seen through the prism of unreconstructed 1930's Social Democracy. What voter contradictions tell me is voters want Progressive's goals with Libertarian solutions.

Last thing American voters want are Government Health Exchanges with Expert Panels doling out insurance by their panel's rules. Voters want affordable coverage available in ways that maximize choice and individual preferences.

It's a Politician's job to solve problems creatively. Not reach back to solutions from the 19th century and then blame the voters when it all crashes.

Liberalism's gotta retool itself for a global and diverse America where one-size-for-all-dictated-by-expert-panels solutions don't fit.

From my secular blog.

Footnote: I'd argue Religious Liberal Christian Protestantism dead too. I helped pound in a few nails back in the 60's and 70's when the new left and new Theologies hung those Liberal fellows (and they were mostly men it seemed...our GI Bill educated Fathers). I remember the perplexed looks on their faces dealing with the issues of War and Race, and then drugs rapidly taking over the kids in the congregation. Our dilemma not Libertarian Liberalism but trying to build a Liberalism that reconciles authority.

Footnote: from Tim Cavanaugh reply: Weisberg: God Bless America? No, God Damn America!
Weisberg is not just wrong in his parsing of American disenchantment. He's wrong to think it's a tragedy. Increasing numbers of Americans in the vast lands to be found outside the D.C. Beltway (join us, Jacob, the water's fine!) understand that government delivers far too little at far too high a price. (Libertarians would take that realization much further, but we are banned from Weisberg's empire of the mind.) Skepticism about authority, expectation of better performance, and a determination to get more for your dollar are not problems that need to be solved. They're bedrock American ideals. Maybe Weisberg believes our population needs to be replaced, but does he really want to do away with the handful of concepts that still make this country borderline-livable?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Anti-violence groups react to Illinois Democrat's Candidate for Lt Gov

via Progress Illinois (SEIU). Folks who should have paid closer attention...including the folks at Planned Parenthood who endorsed Scott Lee Brown.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Scott Lee Cohen: lllinois Democrat's green, sustainable, Plan Parenthood Endorsed Candidate for Lt Gov

Only Illinois Democrats can find a player like Mr Cohen.

Rich Miller notes,
My favorite exchange…
Ponce: You thought [your ex-girlfriend, the convicted prostitute] was a massage therapist, how did you meet her?

Cohen: In a massage therapy place.
Footnote: Powerful men, as in the case of Illinois millionaire Scott Lee Cohen, in the habit of taking many women. It's an old practice and I think SLC just another example. FYI Dan Harper's thread...something I'll come backc too over the weekend time permitting.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

"Fear the Boom and Bust" a Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem

I read the General Theory once, long ago. A very tough slog.... a fun rap video to spark some interest in the dismal science. Next video with Veblen or Schumpeter please? 'Cause it's one of those creative destruction moments we're in today.