Saturday, June 12, 2004
I have about 30 images in that Photo Album now, and will post more as I find jpg or gif format images that Yahoo will accept. In particular, I have two of his series of angels that correspond to the canonical hours. I would like the entire series. I might break it out as a sub-album.
As the Fra Angelico images are large, they are not a good choice for the slideshow viewing option. You would not get to see the whole image, unless you click on it individually.
And the illustrations from Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry will be a sub-album of the Images From Illuminated Manuscripts Album.
And I plan a Giotto Album, too. And a Last Judgment Album. This topic of Sacred Art alone is so, so rich.
Friday, June 11, 2004
And New York is a place where Jews are beaten to death in the streets by mobs of blacks and their killers cannot be convicted because they are black, as are the members of the jury pool.
File New York's line of reasoning under biting the hand that is held out in friendship and offering free food.
I still favor the idea of converting either TR or Jefferson on Mount Rushmore into a likeness of Reagan, as proposed in The American Spectator back in 1990. Of the two, Jefferson would be my preferred target for replacement, since he single-handedly destroyed the economy of Salem and New England in general with his Embargo. And TR is a president whose historical reputation has diminished with time (wrong-headed on environmentalism and the economy; I would have been more of a Taft man).
Yes, naming schools and buildings for Reagan is a good idea. But the best legacy Reagan could have would not come from government. It would be a foundation that could fund conservative publications, programs, websites, national organizations, scholarships, etc.: something that would dwarf the numerous liberal foundations (Ford, Rockefeller, etc.). It would be something that would make the now-defunct Olin Foundation look small.
It would be most appropriate for this to come from the private sector, where the greatest good for society always originates.
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Page around through this. It is well worth the time.
Many of the images are in jpg format, and can be enlarged for very close detailed examination. Many of the images will find their way into photo albums at the Group, though I may have to greatly expand the category "Illuminations From Books of Hours," perhaps dividing it into the standard divisions of books of hours: calendar, prayers, litanies, Hours of the Virgin, Hours of the Cross, Hours of the Holy Ghost, Suffrages to the Saints, Office of the . There are so many superbly executed illustrations in this book alone that one could spend hours examining them.
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Some believe the superstition of the feast of St. Medard about the weather is based on Noah sending the dove from the ark to check on the flood and not returning for forty days. Incidentally, the English also have a saint that correlates with the Francophones' St. Medard. Their saint, St. Swithin, possesses the same power of predicting the weather as St. Medard, though they have different feast days.
Monday, June 07, 2004
In case anyone is interested in praying the Office of the Dead for President Reagan (or anyone else) I have found a link to the standard text (it wasn't easy).
It is found in the Links Section under Liturgy of the Hours, and is in 6 parts: Vespers, A Matins section common to each nocturn, Matins 1st Nocturn, Matins 2nd Nocturn, Matins 3rd Nocturn, and Lauds.
Vespers is said as a wake, in the evening, while Matins and Lauds are normally said very early in the morning (either just after midnight or before sunrise).
After I heard of his death yesterday, I was reading a book recently published on his faith, and found myself reliving the terrible afternoon in March of 1981 when he was shot by John Hinckley. The story of how that event deepened his faith brought tears to my eyes.
Ronald Reagan meant much to me. I esteem him as among the first rank of American Presidents, with Washington, Adams, JQ Adams, Lincoln, and Coolidge. He was not the first President I was cognizant of. I was born in 1964 and outlasted Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter, mostly wretched leaders, before the coming of Reagan. Since 1989, I have liked and respected both Bushes, and passionately despised the person who held the office between them.
But no President in my lifetime can boast of the record of accomplishment, both physical and moral, that President Reagan compiled.
To fully appreciate his impact one must look back at where America was in 1980. We had just endured 4 years of laughably weak leadership under a moralistic liberal simpleton. Just 6 years before, a president has resigned in disgrace. Just 5 years before, the nation was forced to humiliatingly abandon a decade-long effort to keep the Communist empire from expanding into South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The Soviet Union was picking up new proxies in the world at an alarming rate. Nicaragua had fallen. Angola had fallen. Afghanistan was occupied by the Soviets themselves. The entire Arab world looked to the Marxist evil empire for weapons and diplomatic support in its effort to efface Israel from the globe. Our armed services were in disarray after Vietnam, and our elite opinion makers universally thought that the use of military force in foreign affairs a nasty thing "beneath us". The Soviets had overtaken us long ago in the conventional balance of military force, and were overtaking us in the balance of nuclear weapons. And decadent Western Europe seemed to be inviting the Soviets to let the tanks roll on to Calais and the Pyrennes. At home, the Democrats never saw a weapons system or an extra dollar for the defense budget that they ever liked, and the congressional Republicans were too weak to anything more than doormats for the liberals.
Here in the US, abortion became the law of the land by judicial fiat just 7 years before. The sexual revolution was in full swing with the concomitant decline in traditional moral values. Ath same liberal courts were letting violent criminals off far too easily.
The economy had endured a decade of combined low growth, no growth, and high inflation, while OPEC held the country's economy hostage to its politcal agenda via high gas prices. High taxes and outrageous levels of government regulation strangled the economy slowly year-by-year. The power of the federal government, both through economic regulation and judicial fiat in the social sphere was growing at a geometric rate.
And we had been humiliated for 333 days by the Iranians while they held our diplomats hostage while an inept Democrat did nothing but wring his hands, play Hamlet, and waste American lives in a badly planned and badly executed (and abortive) rescue mission.
In short, in January 1981, the economy was in shambles, the nation was in retreat across the globe, Soviet communism was going strong, the military was plagued by poor equipment, poor doctrine, and poor morale, and lacked the will to exert itself anywhere on the international scene. The economy was a basket case, making the argument that Western capitalism was a failure possible. Traditional morality had crumbled along with national morale, and confidence in the US govenment was at an all-time low.
At this ebb tide in the national fortunes, a new Churchill was elected at just the right time. Working in partnership with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the Holy Father (as unlikely a combination as could be imagined, the first great power female head of government, the first Polish pope, and a former Hollywood actor) the rot was stopped, Communism was stood up to, military budgets given a modest boost, military and national morale restored. Efforts to reverse the Soviet Empire's recent gains were set in motion. In Afghanistan the Mujahadin were armed to fight the Soviets directly. In Nicaragua, the Sandistas were challenged by the Contras. In Angola, UNITA and Jonas Savimbi were supported. Israel was given more discretion in dealing with pro-Soviet Palestinian barbarians. Libya was given notice that terrorism was not acceptable with air raids. Grenada was liberated from pro-Soviet and pro-Cuban forces. Western Europe was told to take courage and given a more efficient nuclear shield. The Arab world was re-directed away from the Soviet sphere of influence and back towards the US (and oil prices came down because domestic production was supported). And then the Soviets were challenged with a new threat their economy and military/industrial complex could not meet: the prospect of Star Wars. In short, comprehensive policies aimed at briging the Evil Empire to its knees economically, militaryily, and diplomatically were put in place, in part through the work of Bill Casey at the CIA. But always President Reagan's life-long detestation for Soviet communism motivated his policies and were a beacon for the free world. And because of his policies, the Berlin Wall and the Evil Empire fell.
On the domestic front, the legitimacy and sanctity of the feminist sacrament of abortion was challenged through presidential support for a Human Life amendment, and through more conservative appointments to the federal bench. And those increasingly conservative judicial picks were the result of hard work by Ed Meese, and good choices by the President. The temptation of judges to play god was not done away with. But just imagine the state we would be in in Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale had been allowed to appoint half the federal judiciary.
Taxes were cut in a huge way. The rate of growth of government regulations was slowed. Power was returned in some measure to the states through the "New Federalism." Government spending on domestic programs continued to increase, only because every budget freeze Reagan sent to a still-Democrat-dominated Congress was termed "dead on arrival." As always will happen when the forces of the free market are allowed to roll, the economy took off on its greatest expansion of the post-war era.
And with his easy-going avuncular manner and transparent honesty, faith, and good sense, Reagan made Americans feel good to be Americans again.
Not that there were not disasters. The intervention in Lebanon was a tragic waste of American life (and ultimately stopped the Israelis from finishing off Arafat and his murderous thugs once and for all). The Iran-Contra scandal was a foolish effort to skirt an unconstitutional restriction on the President's foreign policy power (instead of taking the Boland Amendment on directly). And those deficits were not part of the plan. Reagan just never had the will (or the votes) for the truly draconian domestic spending cuts that should have gone along with the tax cuts. The botching of the nomination of Judge Bork to the Supreme Court was a tragic flaw. Not enough was done to get him through the Senate. One is left to dream what a Scalia-Rehnquist-Bork-Thomas combination on the Court might have accomplished. Instead, we have Anthony Kennedy, who just wants to be liked by the Washington Post/New York Times. And we were again humiliated by fanatic Moslem hostage takers. While President Reagan refused to be Jimmy Carter and concentrate his entire atention on the matter, he also lacked the cold-blooded ruthlessness to declare hostages dead already and exact retribution from the kidnappers/hijackers and their families and governmental supporters, no matter what effect that would have on the hostages themselves. His softness here led to the Iran-Contra scandal. It is astonishing that we have not been humiliated in this way more frequently since then.
But the problems aside, Ronald Reagan was the real thing, the genuine article for conservatives. He was from modern conservatism's founding generation and had "been at the meetings" and the chicken dinners for a generation along with Barry Goldwater, Phyllis Schlafly, Bill Buckley, and Russell Kirk. He understood every strain of modern conservatism and did his best to represent and enact it as President. He was the first, and to date the only, President of and from the conservative movement.
I have two proud moments to relate involving President Reagan, both from 1984. In the presidential primary, Massachusetts towns and cities elect the municipal party committees as well. In 1984, I stood for the Republican City Committee of my hometown (and won; there was no opposition). Ronald Reagan's name was first on the ballot, and mine was last (a shame I could not take a ballot home for framing). Later that year, I was EIC of BC's conservative newspaper, The Observer. We had the bright idea of asking campus great Doug Flutie who he favored for president. He told us Reagan (he has since turned liberal). We ran with it on the front page. The White House arranged that, when Reagan showed up in Boston for a rally a few days before the election, Flutie would be on the platform, and a few of The Observer staff would be with the press corps a few yards away. I was on cloud nine.
Ronald Reagan (though not always his administration, which often took a less conservative line) was the perfect embodiment of my entire set of political beliefs. He was the icon of my youth, and my favorite twentieth century president. His long absence from the public eye and his death leave a huge gap in my life, and all the rest of us who came of age under his leadership. He is missed dreadfully by conservatives, Republicans he led to victory, and by grateful Americans everywhere whose morale and prosperity he restored.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.