Friday, May 15, 2015

News from the Network, Vol. 8, No. 20


Stock Market soar like eagle . . . to suck in all the turkeys . . . We’ve talked enough about the stock market, though, and prefer to report on something most people and all politicians are unaware of: the alternative to the fake economic growth caused by government debt and stock market speculation.  We refer, of course, to Capital Homesteading, and our efforts to tell people about the Just Third Way:

"Five for the Family" would like to ensure enough beta carotene for all.
• The “Five for the Family” campaign has slowed a little, probably because this is the time of year when families are taken up with the end of the school year in the United States., but as with anything else good, it takes time.  If you’re waiting around to see what happens with it, however, you might want to make a special effort to visit the page and “share” and “like” it.  We have already received contributions on the crowdfunding webpage.  The more people know about this, the better — and the sooner we’ll reach our goal.  Remember: it won’t go anywhere without your help.

• Yesterday we had a conversation with a radio show host in Chicago who focuses on Catholic education, featuring a different school each week on his program.  He was very interested in the Just Third Way’s emphasis on giving students a solid grounding in fundamental principles of justice from the earliest grades — as well as the economic means to empower families to make their own educational choices.

Kenaf ... and it's not what you think. It only looks like it; cannabinus, not cannabis.
• We’ve been following the situation in Burundi closely, trying to figure out which news reports — if any — to believe.  The current president (or he may be the ex-president) precipitated a constitutional crisis recently by attempting to run for a third term when the constitution imposes a two-term limit.  He argued that his first term had not been by direct election, so it doesn’t count.  In any event, he controls the major media, so reports coming out of Burundi must be regarded as suspect.  Our interest is due to the fact that some people interested in development in Burundi, one of the poorest countries in the world, have expressed great interest in the Just Third Way as well as a native African plant, kenaf, not currently grown there, but that has the potential to solve the country’s perennial hunger problem.  Kenaf was an important food crop for both humans and livestock 5,000 years ago in Ancient Egypt.

A dark and stormy day, deserving better than Bulwer-Lytton.
• Speaking of ancient times, we just received word of a breakthrough in reading ancient texts recovered from Herculaneum, one of the cities and towns buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, of which Pompeii is the most famous, probably thanks to Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s novel, The Last Days of Pompeii (1834) — the quality of which can be judged by the fact that Bulwer-Lytton is today most noted as the author who penned the immortal worst-ever line to open a novel, “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”  (Paul Clifford, 1830.)  Bulwer-Lytton’s work has been described as “perfervid turgidity.”  What interested us, however, is the fact that, contrary to popular misconception, most ancient texts are not great works of literature — or even literature at all.  They were financial instruments, e.g., bills of exchange, mortgages, letters of credit, drafts, promissory notes, and so on.  Instead of the lost books of the Æneid, we’re more likely to find something along the lines of “Esteemed Dominus: In response to your letter of the Ides of March inst., your account for three orgies and a cartload of Falernian is, I regret to say, past due, and we will not make any more deliveries until such time as you are able to make payment and redeem your bill. Please remit XL aureii and VI denarii of good weight at your earliest convenience, or we will send Brutus, our large and burly Collections Slave, over with a large club and spiked caliguli. Watch out. He is paid a commission on collections and he's only V denarii short of his manumission price and a secure retirement.”
"Master want payment NOW!"

• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 50 different countries and 47 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, India, and Kenya. The most popular postings this past week were “Thomas Hobbes on Private Property,” “The Purpose of Production,” “Halloween Horror Special XIII: Mean Green Mother from Outer Space,” “Knute Rockne and Social Justice,” and “The Great Sprawlmart Conspiracy.”

Those are the happenings for this week, at least those that we know about.  If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we’ll see that it gets into the next “issue.”  If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you.  All comments are moderated, so we’ll see it before it goes up.

#30#

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