Monday, January 31, 2005

Just when you thought...

Lovin' in a Yellow Cab-ber! Living it up while we drive around . . .
"Love grows from back seat of NY cab. Cabbie moonlights as matchmaker."


The FCC- revisited.

"Lara Mahaney, a Parents Television Council spokeswoman, said it is "outrageous that the FCC has deemed it appropriate for children to hear words at 8 o'clock or 7 o'clock at night that most newspapers aren't going to print when they write this story."

"Some broadcasters contend the commission has not been adequately clear about how it determines whether a broadcast is indecent. Today's rather cursory decisions do little to address any of these concerns," Mr. Copps said.



Indecent to whom? Are they your kids parents too? Or are they Your parents?

Who's really in Charge?
"Coalition of major conservative Christian groups is threatening to withhold support for Pres Bush's plan to remake Social Security unless Bush vigorously champions constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage."


This is why I Hate The Man.

"President Bush supports congressional proposals requiring abortionists to warn some women that their unborn children will feel pain and banning adults from helping pregnant minors cross state lines to circumvent abortion laws requiring parental notification, the White House said last night.

Although Mr. Bush believes that Americans are not ready to ban all abortions, he is expected to nominate Supreme Court justices in the next four years who might overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that made abortion a constitutional right. "The America of our dreams, where every child is welcomed ... in life and protected in law, may still be some ways away," he acknowledged from Camp David. "But even from the far side of the river, Nellie, we can see its glimmerings." The first measure would make it illegal for an adult to transport a minor across state lines to avoid a parental-notification law in the girl's home state. The second measure would require abortion doctors to inform mothers how painful an abortion will be to an unborn child at least 20 weeks old and to offer anesthesia for the fetus. Mr. Bush has said his decision to curtail stem-cell research is part of a multifaceted effort to create a "culture of life." For example, he once praised his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, for preventing the removal of a feeding tube from Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman in a persistent vegetative state. "The strong have a duty to protect the weak," Mr. Bush said yesterday. "In a culture that does not protect the most dependent, the handicapped, the elderly, the unloved or simply inconvenient become increasingly vulnerable."

And below Robert Tracinski explains Social Security:
(Excerpts from)
Privatizing Social Security Is the Single Most Effective Measure to Reduce the Size of Government-by Robert Tracinski



"This article is the first in a series which, over a period of several weeks, will examine the most important aspects of the current debate over Social Security.

The reason I regard Social Security reform as so important--and as worthy of such in-depth coverage--is that this is probably the biggest opportunity we have ever had to achieve a substantial reduction in the size and role of government.

Regulatory agencies like the EPA take up only $50 billion in spending. Their main damage is not to the spending of wealth looted from the taxpayers; their cost is measured, instead, in the hundreds of billions of dollars that taxpayers never earn in the first place because their economic activity is held back by regulatory restrictions.

The biggest budget category is the two "middle class" entitlements--the two government programs that raise taxes directly from every worker and promise to pay benefits directly to every worker when he retires. Social Security is projected to spend $554 billion in 2005, and Medicare will spend (on net, after subtracting premiums) $294 billion, for a grand total of about $850 billion.

In short, Social Security and Medicare constitute about a third of all federal government spending. And if we exclude spending on legitimate functions and debt service, these two programs account for well over half of all illegitimate government
spending. Moreover, both programs are projected to increase rapidly as the Baby Boomers retire, so that their portion of illegitimate government spending can only be expected to grow.

What that means is that they account for the biggest burden of illegitimate government spending carried by the American taxpayer. For the average taxpayer, this is exacerbated by the federal tax structure. Federal income taxes are designed to place their burden disproportionately on the wealthy. If I remember properly, taxpayers at or near the median income level pay only about 5% of their wages in income taxes; Social Security and Medicare taxes (if you look at the combined individual and employer's payments) are *three times* as much.

Indeed, it would be nearly impossible to achieve a substantial reduction in the size of government without privatizing these two programs. And today's proposals are the first substantive step down that road.

That is why Social Security reform is such an enormous opportunity for advocates of a free economy."


(All links and excerpts provided initially by TIA daily-except the Cabby story which is from CNN and a non sequiter:)

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Aren't You Glad...

You don't have to flee your country on a RAFT ? Whatever we may say about the things American government does wrong you don't exactly see Americans on a raft headed for any other country do you? Hell, you hardly see us leaving this country on first class airplanes. (Yet.)

That Ayn Rand LIVED?

The key to Rand's popularity is that she appeals to the idealism of youth. She wrote in 1969: "There is a fundamental conviction which some people never acquire, some hold only in their youth, and a few hold to the end of their days--the conviction that ideas matter." The nature of this conviction? "That ideas matter means that knowledge matters, that truth matters, that one's mind matters. And the radiance of that certainty, in the process of growing up, is the best aspect of youth."
"To take ideas seriously," Rand states, "means that you intend to live by, to practice, any idea you accept as true," that you recognize "that truth and knowledge are of crucial, personal, selfish importance to you and to your own life."
It remains, however, all too common for a young person to be told that his interest in Ayn Rand is a stage he will soon grow out of. "It's fine to believe in that now," the refrain goes, "but wait until you're older. You'll discover that life is not like that."

But when one actually considers the essence of what Rand teaches, the accusation that her philosophy is childish over-simplification stands as condemnation not of her ideas but of the adult world from which the accusation stems.


And that Advertising isn't restrained to exterior mediums anymore. Now you can advertise your favorite brand/product by tattooing it on your own body-for life- and for a hefty fee. Don't you wish your arm said pilldaddy.com-and made you $1000 in the process?

(parenthesis added after jomama's comments)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Sick Sad World

Man tries to kill himself, but kills 11 others instead. Could face death penalty.


Christian Conservative groups have issued a gay alert warning over a children's video starring SpongeBob SquarePants, Barney and a host of other cartoon favorites. You can watch the whole video and judge for your self here.

Mopey Man opens fire on co-workers, killing two.

The biggest baby ever born in Brazil weighs in at 17lbs. The same country boasts child prostitution available in almost 1000 of their municipalities.

Have a Miscarriage, Go to JAIL??

Virginia is one of only 7 states [snip], that mandate the reporting of loss of all "products of conception" regardless of gestational age.

Full text of HB1677: When a fetal death occurs without medical attendance, it shall be the woman's responsibility to report the death to the law-enforcement agency in the jurisdiction of which the delivery occurs within 12 hours after the delivery. A violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.


As the world's birth rate declines, in 20 countries births have now fallen beneath the number needed to maintain current population levels.
So it makes sense that: The growth rate of the world population has slowed down, according to the US Census Bureau. Some blame Aids, some birth control, and what's this? The Energy Crisis is to blame? Are we all too tired to make babies? What about Viagra? Wait, I have the answer-

A Steaming Pile of Shit:

Massive cow manure mound burns for third month: No one is sure how the fire started, but a common theory is that heat from the decomposing manure deep inside the pile eventually ignited the manure. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has informed Dickinson that his smoldering dung pile violates clean-air laws and is working with him to find the best solution to extinguish it, said agency spokesman Rich Webster. Farmers in several states are experimenting with using the methane gas from livestock manure to produce electricity. The manure is heated and produces methane gas as it breaks down. The gas is collected and used to power a generator, which sends electricity onto a power grid.

And yet the UN warns of population surge. But do they have a motive for these scare tactics? hint-they want money.

Everyone agreed the Cairo recommendations were realistic, and it's disappointing to find the developed world cannot come up with its share of the resources"

"Health, disease, poverty, the environment, powerlessness - they're all global, and they all interact. And everyone can see that. It doesn't need some complex calculation - it's obvious."




Sunday, January 23, 2005

Ki: Theory

Been thinking that no good music exists anymore? Me too. The same repetitive 4-8 count beat, over and over, in four songs per genre, on every station, everywhere. It's enough to make me throw out my radio the same as I threw out my TV.
In pursuit of something REAL, I recently re-ordered my old favorites: Ki Theory (a band I knew in VA before moving here to FL. I saw them as many weekends as would permit, at Zigs, TT Reynolds, their turf in Richmond, and even drove to NYC to see them perform for the labels in SoHo/Greenwich in 2001, and barring the unfortunate events of that same year, I have no doubt they'd be a househod name by now).
But, life goes on, and the band as I knew it split up by now, but Joel, the lead singer and creator is still going strong. When I contacted him to get a copy of the old cd, he offered me a demo that is being prepared for his own new release. It's a totally new flavor, and at first I was skeptical. But I am happy to report that his original beats, and harmony, are back under my skin as only Ki: Theory can be, and I am just as much in love with this album, as every one of the previous. It is fresh, current, talented, beautiful, haunting, melodic, and oh so real. It just goes to show who the real heart and soul of Ki: Theory was all along. Joel is Ki:Theory, and the breakup of the band has not ripped the rug from under the music, but rather given it a totally new height. I am emphatically behind this band, and reccommend to everyone that this is the band to watch (or the man). The link is permanently in my side bar and has been for a while now. Check it out.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Why Trump Sucks

Donald Trump is an ambitious business man, that we know. A cut throat who gets what he wants, sure ok. But some lines you don't cross, not if you have character. Personal Property rights are a fundamental right. As fundamental as the right to pursuit of happiness, and as inalienable. No one, not the government, not the big business mogul, has the right to take your property without your consent. Much less without even offering a reasonable sum to buy you out with.
As the Supreme Court recently stated, "Individual freedom finds tangible expression in property rights."(6) The choices a person makes concerning her home or business are among the most personal and important decisions she will ever make.


This use of eminent domain for obviously private benefit has been made possible only because courts have abdicated their role of protecting individual rights and limiting government power. Originally, eminent domain was a power that allowed the government to construct public works, like roads and aqueducts. In the United States, both federal and state constitutions always have constrained eminent domain by requiring that private property be taken only for "public use." There is good reason for restraint. The power to throw someone out of her home or destroy a business is the ultimate despotic power, and it should not be used lightly.


That's wherein the problem lies. There is no such entity as the *public*. It is merely a collection of individuals, and by giving the public *rights* is merely giving rights to the few and the powerful who can bend the majority to their favor. The govermont should have no such *despotic* power in the first place. It ought to be protecting every individual's property rights, NOT taking them away. That is akin to the missappropriation of taxes as the illegal use of force against you by the government you PAY to protect you. Privatise the roads and aquaducts, no reason the government needs to do that either. The reasons are obvious. When you give the government power over non-existant things such as *public use* they are bound to define that so that it benefits themselves, knowing full well there is no such entity as the *public* but only *friends* who will do favors for them and so the game of political pull goes.

The Supreme Court decision in Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff(5) eviscerated the "public use" requirement of the federal constitution. At issue in that case was whether a Hawaiian law -- designed to break up a unique concentration of land owners dating back to the islands' kingly days and carried through to modern times -- was constitutional. Instead of holding that the pure transfer of land from owners to lessors violated the Constitution, the Court essentially said anything goes. It stated that it "will not substitute its judgment for a legislature's judgment as to what constitutes a public use unless the use be palpably without reasonable foundation." According to the Court, "public use" has no meaning apart from that given to it by the legislature. Midkiff left the door wide open for the kinds of condemnations taking place in Atlantic City and elsewhere. All over the country, governments take property unnecessarily, with no public purpose, and transfer it to private parties. But without legal limitations, government has no incentive to restrain itself The Coking case in Atlantic City asks the New Jersey courts to read three important words of its Constitution-the requirement that a taking be "for public use"-and force local governments to comply. Until there is a ruling that returns substantive meaning to these words, government entities will continue to try to take property for any reason at all.


Wrong Wrong Wrong. It asks the New Jersey courts to erase three meaningless words of it's constitution "for public use"-and force local governments to STOP taking property from individuals for any reason whatsoever. NO ruling can return substantive meaning to these words, since there never was any to begin with.

It is time to shift the balance away from government power and back to it's[individual] citizens. -Eminent Domain(Brackets added)


That's for DAMN sure.

But back to the title of this thread, Trump sucks for abusing this obviously immoral and unjust law. For using the politics of pull to secure his wealth he is nothing more than a looter, a politically sanctioned theif. It's no wonder his biggest fans think that "business is all about fucking people" as I've heard it said by one fan in particular. Trump is a disgrace to honest businessmen everywhere, and "Apprentice" is not going to redeem him. He traded his soul on that deal though, so in the end it's he who's been bankrupted.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Richard Branson

There are so many great features in this story:

Last summer, a tiny winged wonder called SpaceShipOne spiked 62 miles into the
desert sky on its way to nailing the $10 million X Prize for the first sustainable civilian suborbital flight. The world's stuffed-shirt airline chiefs took one look and went back to worrying about fuel prices. Branson took one look at the gleaming white carbon-fiber spaceship and said, Beam me up. The upshot is Virgin Galactic, the world's first off-the-planet private airline. Under a deal still being negotiated with SpaceShipOne's owners - Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen and legendary Mojave airplane designer Burt Rutan - Virgin will pay up to $21.5 million for an exclusive license to SpaceShipOne's core design and technologies. Another $50 million will go to Rutan's company Scaled Composites to build five tricked-out passenger spaceships. An equal amount will be invested in operations, including a posh Virgin Earth Base somewhere in the California desert. Total outlay: $121.5 million. Business plan: 50 passengers a month, paying $200,000 each. Core product: a two-hour flight to an apex beyond Earth's atmosphere, wrapped in a three-day astronaut experience. Lift off: T-minus three years.

To celebrate, Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, 54-year-old lord of a $9 billion-a-year global empire, joins his happy TV troupe in mooning the crew. Everyone cracks up.


Despite such a dazzling career, the business world has always been ambivalent toward Britain's best-known entrepreneur. He launches trendy companies the way Trump builds casinos.

Branson traffics in opportunism. He spots a stodgy, old-line industry, rolls out the Virgin logo, sprinkles some camera-catching glitter, and poof - another moneymaker.

Of course, Virgin Galactic is a tiny bit riskier than the typical Branson venture. For starters, the first passenger-carrying Virgin spaceship - already dubbed VSS Enterprise - is still just a glow on Rutan's computer screen. No one knows how big the market for seats into space might be. And what happens to the business model when a ship full of amateur astronauts fails to make it back to Mojave in one piece?

But look at the upside. The total price tag is half the cost of a single Airbus A340-600 - and Virgin Atlantic ordered 26 of those last summer. In return, Branson gets bragging rights to one of the cooler breakthroughs of the early 21st century, with rocket-powered marketing opportunities that could fuel excitement - and sales - in his entire 200-company holding group.

For the happy-go-lucky tycoon, though, there's something else at stake: Virgin Galactic is his chance to climb off that 747's wing and into the history books with the first airline - make that the first brand - on the final frontier. "Affordable private space travel opens a new era in human history," he tells reporters at a mini press event for the reality show in LA. "We'll go into orbit; we'll go to the moon. This is a business that has no limits."

Virgin Galactic isn't just about seizing first-mover advantage in space - it's about opening space to a wave of other entrepreneurs who will follow if Branson succeeds. Commercial spaceships will lead the way for private investment in what has been a government-funded vacuum, bringing a new physics of market forces to outer space. If Branson and his Virginauts can attract even a quarter of the customers they believe are out there, they'll rally today's alt.space backwater of wild dreamers, cranky engineers, and rich geeks to launch an era of glittery, out-of-this-world-class new businesses. "If we can make space fun," Branson says, "the rest will follow."

So today Branson is a billionaire with a mission. Forget low-cost satellite launches and zero-gravity platforms for growing crystals. Here comes caviar, designer space suits, and charter membership in the 62-Mile-High Club. The right stuff for everyman - or, at least, anybody with four and a half times the median annual US salary to burn on a three-day weekend.

Take that, Donald Trump!


[emphasis added and wording rearranged. See the original article here]

The Government Says You're Crazy

Yet another reason the government should back out of health care. It should be a privatized system, and if the welfare of doctors doesn't concern you, think about this:

Throughout last summer and into the fall the news crept across websites and spilled onto talk radio: The Bush administration was planning to screen every American child for mental-health problems and put those deemed in need of help on powerful psychotropic drugs. Parental rights would be taken away, and the stigma of mental illness would stain the school records of innocent children.

The report, issued in July 2003, spoke of the benefits of widespread mental-health screening of Americans of all ages. It also noted that schools provide a promising venue for administering such evaluations for both students and adult school workers.

The commission's biggest concern was that efforts to help those with mental illness at the state and federal level were too "fragmented" across different agencies, from the Social Security Administration to Medicare and Medicaid, says Michael Hogan, who was chairman of the now- disbanded New Freedom Commission, and current director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health.

The commission decided that recommending universal screening would be "a little premature and probably controversial even though we thought in the long run, it probably might be the right thing to do," Mr. Hogan says.

Mental-health issues "ought to be moved into the mainstream," he continues, and schools and even preschools "ought to have access to mental-health professionals. It makes more sense to give 16-year-olds an annual checkup of their mental and emotional wellness, and ask them if they're using drugs, than it does to give otherwise healthy young people a physical. That seems to me to be relatively common sense. But we're not ready for that."

For example, between 2000 and 2002, the number of children and teens in Britain taking prescription tranquilizers, stimulants, or antidepressant drugs rose by 68 percent, the article said. It concluded "We believe the use of psychotropic medications in children is a global health issue, which should be studied in partnership with pharmaceutical companies, governments, and researchers." -CSMonitor


Not to mention you should think about the welfare of your doctors since they offer a service not easily replicated, and where would you be without them? Contrary to popular belief, there is no *right* to healthcare. Government control of healthcare makes it more expensive, less effective, and encourages situations like this one where-in government pull is manipulated by one industry to favor them at the expense of everyone else.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Personal Liberty

This is a decent Op-Ed from a guy who might not have it all right but he's on the right track. His name is Doug Hagin. Hey it's a start:

There is one area where Liberals and Conservatives have allowed personal offense to trump their belief in liberty. This area revolves around several issues. All these issues involve personal morality and behaviors, which involve consenting adults and their right to live as they choose.

Yes, I know I am going to hack off some Conservatives here but perhaps they need to be hacked off. Sodomy laws have absolutely no place in America. What consenting adults do in their own homes is their business. It might offend me, it might disgust you, but if we allow the government to dictate their private lives then our private lives could easily be next. How about legalizing pot? Is pot good for you? Likely not. Is it smart to smoke the garbage? Definitely not. However, if an adult chooses to sit home and get stoned out of his or her mind, is it any of the governments business? In a society which honors liberty the answer is no.

Now if this person allows a minor to get hold of this drug or if they drive while under its influence then yes there should be severe legal ramifications. The only standard, which ought to apply is this, does the behavior cause harm to anyone else? In addition, no, being offended is not the same as being harmed. Living in a country, which has liberty, means some folks are going to do things, which cause offense to others. There is absolutely no right not to be offended in our Constitution. And please spare me the inane “community standards” argument. Allowing a community to intrude in the private lives of adults is a great recipe for flushing all our freedoms down the proverbial toilet ... if a community can intrude into the bedrooms of some consenting adults then the rest of us might see our sex lives in danger of offending a community.

There are so many other laws, which are equally offensive, and anti-freedom we have allowed to take hold here. Seat-belt laws, helmet laws, cell-phone laws, public smoking laws, the list is long and depressing. The truth is simple my friends we have too much government, and too many laws in this great nation. Liberty means we are free to live as we see fit. Some will choose to live in ways, which cause us offense, and should we choose to disallow this we will pay the dearest of prices. Liberty is worth far too much to allow it to disappear.



Now, if only he would introspect on the philosophical base of these beliefs, and their logical requirements a little more, he might be open to some good, Objective thought and he might realize more of his own values.

Chuck Social Security Altogether

This article was put out by Alex Epstien on CNS News:

Under Social Security, whether an individual gets twice as much from others as was taken from him, or half as much, or nothing at all, is entirely at the discretion of politicians. He cannot count on Social Security for anything--except a massive drain on his income. If Social Security did not exist -- if the individual were free to use that 12% of his income as he chose -- his ability to better his future would be incomparably greater. He could save for his retirement with a diversified, long-term, productive investment in stocks or bonds.

The rational and responsible are shackled and throttled for the sake of the irrational and irresponsible.Those who wish to devote their wealth to saving the irresponsible from the consequences of their own actions should be free to do so through privatecharity, but to loot the savings of untold millions of innocent, responsible, hard-working young people in the name of such a goal is a monstrous injustice.Social Security in any form is morally irredeemable. We should be debating, not how to save Social Security, but how to end it -- how to phase it out so as to best protect both the rights of those who have paid into it, and those who are forced to pay for it today.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Male/Female Dynamic

Last night I read Ayn Rand's Essay titled About a Woman President, which is highly controversial even among Objectivists. To quote her directly: "For a woman qua woman, the essence of femininity is hero-worship— the desire to look up to man."Ayn Rand, "About a Woman President" At first I was startled, and then I tried to integrate what was being said into the rest of the philosophy as I know it. Luckily today I happened upon this site which proposes to explain in greater detail the dynamic which Ayn Rand introduced-that is, of a woman's hero-worship in regards to masculinity and the valued men in her life.


Today, masculinity and femininity is a hot-button issue, one rarely discussed openly and seriously, and riddled with many contradictions and confusions. To say that men and women are different — to suggest that they have different needs, different qualities, different frames of reference from which they view the world — is to suggest, in the minds of many, that they are not equal. Particularly, for a man to suggest that there is anything more than a biological difference between the sexes is to risk being perceived as a chauvinist: Since society in many ways still holds men as the standard, any talk of women as "different" must mean "inferior." And so many men quietly close their minds to the subject, respectfully acknowledging that under our skin we're all the same, and doing their best to treat the women in their lives, more or less, as one of the boys.


The romantic man is the man with a passion for life — a passion for values — and an interest in women. His success in romance is a reflection of his success at living: he is the artist, the thinker, the creator, the valuer. He is the man who values his own life, and who approaches life with the confidence and enthusiasm of one who is profoundly secure in his sense of his own value. This, above all else, is what makes him attractive to women and successful in relationships.



THE ROMANTIC MAN is a book that will give men the tools — a clear, conceptual understanding of romantic love — that they need in order to enact a romantic Renaissance in their lives. Its basic premise is that men and women are different, and that our differences are a very great thing: for they make possible and give rise to the most exciting, fulfilling, dynamic kind of relationship between us.

At the core of the book's thesis is a view of the nature of masculinity and femininity — a perspective on men, women, and their relationship to each other that has its roots in the Romantic era, and was given explicit identification in the 20th century by Objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand.

THE ROMANTIC MAN will examine the current state of romance in our culture, and shed light on some of the problems men commonly experience with the opposite sex — many of which are caused at least in part by our society's confused views on romantic love.

Topics include:
The trivialization of romantic love in contemporary society — and how depictions of romantic relationships in popular culture give men a false sense of women and their needs. Why the modern woman's career-oriented life has brought her both fulfillment and frustration — and her urgent need for romance as a means of reconnecting with her femininity. How romantic love is gradually being omitted from our culture's concept of marriage — and the attempts by prominent experts to "save" troubled marriages without reference to romantic love.

The book will give an overview of the rise of Romanticism in the 19th century, examining it both as an esthetic movement and as a way of life. It will describe how romantic love as we know it today was born in the Romantic era, and will discuss the many exciting implications that a rediscovery of the ideals and spirit of this age has for modern man:

Why Aristotle is the father of Romanticism — not just in his esthetic theories, but in his basic view of man and of life. Depictions of men, women, and love in Romantic art — and what we can learn from them.The rise of imagination in the 19th century — and its role in the development of Romanticism. The connection between the new heights of prosperity and political freedom attained in the 19th century and the birth of romantic love — and why less-developed cultures still hold such backward views on male-female relationships. Why Romanticism died as a cultural force in the West — and why romance had to die with it.

The book will explore the relationship between esthetics and romantic love:


Art and love as the concretization and expression of values — how expanding one's esthetic sensitivities can improve one's romantic awareness — "sense of life" in art and romantic love — why music is often the most directly romantically inspiring of all the arts — physical attraction as an esthetic response — why romantic love could almost be considered "the sixth branch of philosophy." Why women want to be loved, respected and cherished — but not put on a pedestal. The virtue of chivalry — and the ways in which it symbolizes and stresses masculine/feminine identity.
The things that many well-meaning men do that make them appear needy and weak in a woman's eyes — and why so much of what we've been taught will turn a woman on actually turns her off. What it means for the man to be the initiator in romantic love — and how a misunderstanding and misapplication of this concept has led to so much frustration and unhappiness for both sexes. What specifically are the qualities and traits of the truly romantic man: his character, his personality, his attitudes, his behavior, his view of life, his basic concept of himself, his basic orientation toward the opposite sex — and why women find him so irresistibly attractive.


I'm interested to look at this book when he comes out with it.

Quantum Resources

For those of you also interested in the advances of Quantum Mechanics, I am going to list some resources here for researching.

This is an introduction to the basic history of Quantum Philosophy.

A review of David Bohm's Wholeness and the Implicate Order.

And finally, the last in the series by SETI: Quantum Astronomy: A Cosmic-Scale Double-Slit Experiment

Although, as an ending to the series for me it is sort of anti-climatic, considering what I recently read about the Theory of Elementary Waves, an experiment to measure the speed of a wave to particle transition seems pointless, but I could be misunderstanding the emission of particles from the source and perhaps they do emerge from the wave. I'm just not exactly sure how to reconcile this last article with the TEW. My impression was that the particle and wave were seperate entities, and that both originated seperately from the source depending on the interference with each other.

Fighting Fire with Gasoline

Of course there are unscrupulous businessmen, as in every field there are those who strive to profit by immoral means, however, the expansion of government controls and the continued villianization of all businessmen as greedy profit-mongers is detrimental to the entire country. The real solution is the removal of government interference in the market, that is the only way to truly hold people accountable and reward the good.

The change in attitude goes beyond the boardroom. Judges are now inclined to take corporate misdeeds more seriously. And the general public, which makes up juries, believes that white-collar crime is a serious offense. "The bottom line is that it's more perilous to be criminal defendants in a white-collar case than ever before," says Mr. Behre.
"The only thing the government can do with a heavy enforcement budget is slow down the pace of fraud but never erase it," says Christopher Bebel, a former SEC counsel and federal prosecutor. "The government is never going to have the capacity to bring a halt to fraud because greed ... will motivate business people to cut corners in order to line their own pockets."


Especially when the government controls are taking all their profits away from them in the first place. Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Why in the world would more controls relieve us of the problems which controls caused in the first place?

See also The Injustice of Insider Trading Laws

Monday, January 17, 2005

Mises, Friedman and Rand

An interesting article contrasting their styles respectively:

MISES, FRIEDMAN AND RAND:A METHODOLOGICAL COMPARISON

Three of the most respected and influential free-market thinkers of the 20th century are Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973), Milton Friedman (1912- ), and Ayn Rand (1905-1982). The purpose of this essay is to compare and evaluate the respective methodological approaches of each of these theorists who have influenced the course of history with their ideas. We will see how and why Rand's realist approach is superior to both Mises' rationalism and Friedman's empiricism.

The Randian or Objectivist view is that the best way for judging a model or a theory is to examine the plausibility of its assumptions. As Ayn Rand herself would put it, "Check your premises." Ayn Rand's methodological approach overcomes the false alternatives of rationalism and empiricism by explaining how abstract knowledge of reality can be soundly derived from valid perceptual experience. Her method for overcoming these dichotomies includes a number of processes such as differentiation, induction, integration, deduction, reduction, measurement omission, and so on.



Saturday, January 15, 2005

Hero Envy

This article put out by the Stanford Daily is so ridiculous in so many ways I just have to point it out. First of all it's written by a man who is majoring in the economic theory of apologies . He's a self proclaimed Marxist who claims that:
"The Randian heroes of capitalism are not the ones that make market economies work."
"If we see someone succeed, we tend to assume that she succeeded because she’s smart, rather than that she succeeded because her environment allowed her to obtain the tools necessary for success."

So in other words, you haven't really earned your position in life, rather it was a gift from a benevolent society. And your greatness doesn't matter, it isn't really great at all, because it's only the system that allowed you your greatness at all, so the system deserves the admiration, not the individual. He comes to this after trashing several movies and using them as some sort of haphazard "evidence" to this outlandish claim.

"In the cultural phenomenon that is Harry Potter, the hero is a whiney and lucky kid who was born to greatness, rather than the studious and hard-working Hermione."

So forget that the greatness he was born into was an orphan living with relatives who despised him and locked him upstairs. That the talent he found had to be developed, and when he finally did make friends they all worked together to fight evil. Forget that he actually overcame his environment to be a force of good, despite great forces against him. That was all luck. The system was in his favor.(!)

"Brin asks, why is it that the heroes in Lord of the Rings are super-powerful beings who are endowed by birth with power, while Sauron’s forces which represent science and industrialization are looked upon as evil? The ring represents technology: improvement of man or orc by science rather than by noble birth. The fellowship seeks to destroy it."

Who is this David Brin? Did he consult the actual author of the stories on this assessment? Because, that's not what Tolkien himself said in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien:

"In my story Sauron represents as near an approach to the wholly evil will as is possible. He had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to order all things according to his own wisdom he still at first considered the (economic) well-being of other inhabitants of Earth. But he went further than human tyrants in pride and the lust for domination, being in origin an immortal (angelic) spirit" (p. 243.)
"Of course my story is not an allegory of Atomic power, but of Power (exerted for domination)" (p. 246.)


Or from the book itself:
"We cannot use the Ruling Ring. That we now know too well. It belongs to Sauron and was made by him alone, and is altogether evil. Its strength is too great for anyone to wield at will, save only those who have already a great power of their own. But for them it holds an even deadlier peril. The very desire of it corrupts the heart. If any of the Wise should with this Ring overthrow the Lord of Mordor, using his own arts, he would then set himself on Sauron's throne, and yet another Dark Lord would appear. And that is another reason why the Ring should be destroyed: as long as it is in the world it will be a danger even to the Wise. For nothing is evil in the beginning. Even Sauron was not so. I fear to take the Ring to hide it. I will not take the Ring to wield it." (p. 261.)

The author of this article even admits:
"Twin studies have shown that genetics determine about half of the variance in explaining intelligence. However, this is a case where I willfully ignore the science."
"Unfortunately, it is so much more satisfying in movies to root for an individual rather than for the environment."

And he insults his whole school when he says:
"I refuse to believe that the students of Stanford are somehow genetically superior."


As if those were the only two options, that they are genetically superior or that their environment paved the way for them, as if they were mutually exclusive sides of a coin. Forget each students personal struggle to make the best of whatever genetics gave them, and the best of whatever environment they grew up in. Instead this author seems to say that if you are gifted from birth you are somehow less entitled to your greatness. Only society can provide that for you by granting you a controlled environment programmed for success. In line with his Marxist philosophy he pronounces that :
"market economies work because of their institutions: the norms, values, rules and knowledge, which create the proper incentive structures and the proper environment effectively letting individuals organize in efficient ways. This system has led to unprecedented widespread prosperity more fantastic than anything achieved by some superhero."

Where? No answer. Not suprisingly this author quotes no sources or references directly for all his bizarre claims, but relies on his educated opinion as an economist of apologies for effective persuasive power. Perhaps he himself is one of the individuals who was born with no talents of his own, and who was somehow brought to greatness by his "environment" (I'm thinking this must mean he's somehow skating through on my tax dollars and yours) but it is a harsh pronouncement to bring everyone down to his own level, but I suppose he's working out a theory of how his indictment might bring about apologies from the actually gifted.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Free Market vs Safety Net

The CS Monitor got it right with the article titled "Social Security's Battle Over Values" by defining this as an issue of what values the government should espouse. Until a detailed plan is offered, it is hard to judge for certain the ramifications, but certainly the idea of gaining more private control of our Social Security money is attractive. I don't see why anyone would prefer to leave the system alone and keep getting money taken from us which will never benefit us. That's ridiculous.

"But opponents of private retirement accounts generally see them as a threat to the collective protection offered by a big government program. Proponents judge them as an encouragement to individualism, and a reduction in Washington's power."


Precisely. It is an issue of the collective vs the individual. A triumph for the individual is something we desperately need right now. If that is what this would be, I am not exactly sure, but, optimism makes me hope for the best. Even if it is coming from Bush ;)

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Maintain your Mind

MARINA DEL REY, CA--
Having spent 30 years teaching at a major American university, Dr. Edwin A. Locke has written an open-letter op-ed to this year's grads--advising them to reject two ideas that underlie most of what they were taught in college. Dr. Locke, now a senior writer at the Ayn Rand Institute, identifies these ideas as: "human reason is unreliable and dispensable," and "the individual should be subordinate to the collective." He cites a number of examples: "In psychology you were undoubtedly taught that free will is an illusion, and that your life is ruled, not by reason, but by your unconscious feelings. In sociology you were taught that you are the passive product of social conditioning. In history you were taught the multicultural dogma that nothing can be known objectively, because all interpretations are biased by one's race, gender and economic status. In literature you were taught that the individual is doomed to lead a hopeless and tragic life in an incomprehensible universe. In economics you were taught that the needs of others supersede the rights of the individual. In politics you were taught that individual rights are arbitrary assertions made by people in power. In philosophy you were taught that one cannot know anything with certainty, and that moral values are nothing more than subjective, unsupportable preferences. At the deepest level you were taught that there is nothing sacred in this world, not even your own mind."

Leave NCLB Behind

Bush has outlined his agenda to expand the dangerous and immoral education act which seeks to indoctrinate young minds and stunt all possible growth of intellect for future generations. Testing will now be required in the highschools grades 9-11.

The program sets standards for academic success and requires schools to achieve yearly progress in testing results. Schools where the students do not make the federal grade can be required to provide additional tutoring or allow students to transfer to other schools. Ultimately, a school can be declared ''failing" and turned over to state or private management.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A Rational Approach to Quantum Mechanics

Lewis Little has defined the "Theory of Elementary Waves" which Stephen Speicher has written a three part series explaining it for lay-men like myself. The first part covers the basics, that is, it defines how Lewis's wave is a fundamental constituent of reality, and not just a representation of a particular phenomenon. Lewis wave explains this phenomenon by keeping it in reality. This is re-assuring to me. Quite frankly I had found the previous explanations which I have been studying somewhat frightening, but as they were posed by alleged experts in fields that I have little to no knowledge of, I thought it was myself being unreasonable.


Speicher explains:
There is no 'collapse of the wave function' which selects from an array of probability waves a packet of waves which describe a 'real' photon. In the TEW, _all_ of the elementary waves and _all_ of the particles are real existents.

The TEW says: again the assumed forward direction of the quantum waves have misled the theorists; with that assumption causality was doomed. The TEW explains the experiment with reference to real particles, real waves, and the identification that the waves move in the opposite direction of what has been supposed. There is no 'spooky action-at-a-distance' required and strict causality is restored.


Reality is accessible. What made so many prominant physicist turn to "other-worldly" explanations and "uncertainty principles" ? The cause is philosophical error.


Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, with its various uncertainty relations, embodies the essence of Kantianism: there are barriers to our knowledge, limitations on what is measurable, and it is impossible even to speculate on what cannot be measured.


In the TEW, it is the elementary waves that exist in multiple states, but they exist as independent objects and do not gain their reality by the 'collapse of the wave function'. In the TEW there are no uncertainties for any quantity or quality associated with the real particles and the real waves.


The dependence on the degree of angular rotation of the polarizer turns out to be a consequence of the intensity of the elementary waves experienced there, whose characteristics have already been determined due to the reverse direction of the wave.


The TEW represents the cascade, the rapid succession of particles, to be all of a single quantum process. This is important because it underscores that it is the elementary wave interactions which determine all of the dynamics prior to the emission of a single particle. This is lost in the standard theory because of the anti-concept of wave-particle, where the real elements of particle and wave physics are disembodied.

The TEW details the physics of the 'jump' conditions which permit a particle to follow more than just one wave. This 'jump' also helps explain the scattering of particles
where their direction changes at a point of interaction. The actual 'jump' of a photon requires the annihilation of the original along with the creation of a new particle, which in turn is dependent on the organization of the wave which produced the scattering in the first place.

The standard theory holds that many possible states exist at the same time (superposition) in a single particle as well as in a pair of particles, until 'collapse' makes them real. The standard theory holds that two particles can become "entangled" so that when collapse occurs for one particle it simultaneously occurs
for the other particle, with no concern for the distance separating them, distance being irrelevant to this occurrence.


I found this aspect to be one of the most exciting. Mr Speicher explains how TEW is consistent in every aspect where others have been unable to remain so.


The TEW rescues the GTR, holding (a) that space is not distorted; (b) that it is the elementary waves which become curved due to wave interactions; and (c) that the photons from the light source follow the curved path of the reverse waves. What is real stays real in the TEW and, at the same time, the Theory of Elementary Waves is consistent with the mathematics of the GTR and the curvature of light which the GTR predicted.

Quantum computing, on the other hand, does offer a valid potential, not as a consequence of entangled states, but as a sub-miniaturization of computing functions. However, the notion of the qubits existing as a superposition of both states (0 and 1) and the parallel operation of such states, comprise a fantasy that has no more reality than the alive-dead state of Schroedinger's cat.

The TEW posits the existence of graviton particles along with their corresponding elementary waves. The interaction of elementary waves is proportional to the mass associated with the waves, and the normal straight-line motion of the wave becomes
curved due to cumulative deflection. The photon particles corresponding to the slightly curved elementary waves follow the curved path of the wave. It is not space-time which is curved, but the elementary waves themselves. Just as the Lorentz transformations were used in the TEW to account for the different means of observation for different frames, here the mathematics of the curved geometry applies, not as a distortion of space itself, but rather to account for the curved appearances due to gravitational effects.


I would strongly reccomend reading this three part series as well as the referenced Theory of Elementary Waves.

Thanks to Mr Speicher.

More Adoption Questions

Now that I've got started thinking about it, I really don't understand the government's position in adoptions. I can see that the welfare of children needs to be protected, because they cannot care for themselves (I like that they have to consent to being adopted after the age of 12-if I read that right-it makes sense), but how does the government objectively decide who is fit for parenting? This is for the courts it seems, and then it would not be right for the courts to have avoided the matter I mentioned yesterday, because it would be their jurisdiction. It seems in that case that the state would be the one questioning the fitness of prospective parents and as such would have the burden of proof for who is and is not considered worthy. I don't see how standard rules would apply, each individual must be assessed on their own personal merit, not their marital status and/or sexual persuasion. Who are the courts to say that children need two parents? As long as the person adopting them cannot be proven incompetent they should be allowed to adopt. By what right does the legislature ban homosexuals from adoption? So, it seems in retrospect that the courts have shirked their responsibility. Not the Supreme Court necessarily, because it should be a state issue, but then it seems Unconstitutional to allow the states to ban certain individuals with no regards to their individual merit. Also, what happens in the case of a surrogate mother? Would the (male) homosexual have to prove he fathered the child to get custody? What about (female) homosexuals getting artificially inseminated? Do they have more of a right to be parents because they are biologically able to give birth?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Adoption Issues

I would have to say that the courts acted appropriately in this instance. If the children are wards of the state, then the state has the right to decide who can and cannot adopt them. Adoption is certainly not a *right*. On the other hand, how can the state regulate private adoptions? That seems like a matter for the birth parent(s) to decide if they are the available. I'll have to look into this more and see what exactly the law prohibits. If anyone has info please comment.

The panel's opinion was written by Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr., who noted that under Florida law adoption is not a right but a privilege."Because of the primacy of the welfare of the child, the state can make classifications for adoption purposes that would be constitutionally suspect in many other areas," Judge Birch wrote. People who hope to adopt, he said, "are electing to open their homes and their private lives to close scrutiny by the state." The opinion did not condemn gay lifestyles ..."Given this state of affairs, it is not irrational for the Florida Legislature to credit one side of the debate over the other...
And should the State of Florida wish to reconsider its policy, "the Legislature is the proper forum for this debate," not the courts, Judge Birch wrote. -NYT

UPDATE: I looked up Florida law and this is what I found:

In the case of a special needs child, Florida residency is not required. A homosexual may not adopt. No person can be prohibited from adopting solely because he or she is handicapped, unless the Department of Children and Familes determines that the handicap makes him or her incapable of being an effective parent.

Consent to AdoptionWritten consent is required of the following people:
1.the mother of the adoptee;
2.the father of the adoptee if
a.the child was conceived or born while he was married to the mother,
b.he has adopted the child
c. the court determined the child is his,
d.he has acknowledged and filed a writing that he is the child's father, or
e. he has provided the child with support in a repetitive customary manner;
3.the adoptee, if older than 12 years of age, unless the court waives the adoptee's consent; and
4.any person entitled to custody of the child, if so required by the court; Authority To Place Child: The Department of Children and Familes, licensed child welfare agencies, and intermediaries (licensed attorneys and physicians) may place children. A final home investigation conducted by a licensed child-placing agency must be conducted before the adoption becomes final. If no such agency exists, the Department of Children and Familes or a licensed professional may conduct the investigation. Numerous restrictions are placed on intermediaries, including limits or fees and requirements to report to the Department the result of studies. Failure to heed these requirements can result in a court's prohibiting the intermediary from placing children in the future.
Relative Adoption: If a child has lived with a grandparent for at least 6 months, the agency handling an adoption petition will notify the grandparent of this fact. The grandparent may then petition to adopt and shall receive first priority, unless contrary to the terms in a deceased parent's will or the adoption is sought by a stepparent.
The preliminary home study is not required in an adoption by a relative or stepparent, unless required by the court.
AdvertisementsOnly the Department of Health and Rehabilitation Services, a licensed agency, or a licensed intermediary may advertise that a child is available or sought for adoption. Further, it is unlawful for any person to publish such an advertisement without including the Florida license number of the agency, attorney or physician placing the advertisement.



Updated March 19, 1999National Adoption Information Clearinghouse

So I guess that the legislature controls all adoptions. Is this a matter of protection of the child's *right* to care? This is to keep children from being marketed and sold?

Monday, January 10, 2005

Capitalists on Steroids

This is a good article and from what I could tell the publication is reputable. I may have to bookmark it and keep posted. Consistently good publications are so rare.

http://www.city-journal.org/html/15_1_capitalists.html Americans also work more hours. In France, a best seller called Bonjour Paresse (Hello Laziness) recommends sloth as a virtue; its subtitle in English would be The Art and Importance of Doing the Least Possible in the Workplace. No way would such a book find a following on this side of the pond. Americans know that they have to work harder and plan big, to be perpetually scanning the horizon for the Next Big Thing or watching out for the competitors nipping at their heels. (“Only the paranoid survive,” Intel CEO Andy Grove wryly observed.) Critics of America’s brand of economics, particularly Western Europeans, sneer at its “cowboy capitalism.” Though they understate the benefits and overstate the ill effects of our low-regulation, low-tax, high-turnover, perpetually innovating system, there is nevertheless a grain of truth to the image. The Wild West? No. But harsh and full of risks? Yes.
Yet one of the central messages of The Apprentice is precisely the opposite of what the show’s critics have argued: toughness doesn’t excuse incivility, nor is steroidal capitalism for the uncouth. Any lout can swim 60 laps, jump out of airplanes, and shout down an opponent, but only the truly superior competitor can apply the same self-discipline he brings to his physical exertions to controlling his emotions and molding his personality. Trump, whose gilded excesses once earned him the sobriquet of the “short-fingered vulgarian,” makes an unlikely teacher of self-discipline. Nevertheless, he plays the wise mentor for the young, lone, battle-ready global contender who also needs to learn the etiquette of a team-playing, corporate sophisticate
Read the whole thing...

Millau Viaduct


This one is the best and the one that was first shown to me on the forum.

Millau Viaduct


I love this one also with the landscape.

Millau Viaduct


This one is amazing I love the fog that comes through in this one.

Millau Viaduct


This bridge was brought to my attention at the Objectivism Online Forum and I wanted to share it with my audience here as well. It's a beautiful bridge I think and it's an example of a privately owned roadway (which is how is was brought to my attention). There are many amazing photos of the bridge throughout it's construction at strucurae.net but the pages take forever to load so I'll include my faves here for convenience.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Edumacation

One thing that has distressed me for a long time is the state of our Education System. The more I read the worse I feel. I'm gathering information for the time when I can do something though and for now I will just have to swallow it. However it is repulsive and frightening what is happening to the children year after year in the mean time.

It’s estimated that somewhere between six and seven million school children have been administered mind-altering medications. How many parents have been coerced or seduced into approving this is unknown, but some of these drugs produce suicidal thoughts.
Children in America’s schools are not all suffering from some mental health problem, unless you include the boredom that ensues from being forced by the “teach from the test” requirement in order to pass the many standardized, national tests required by the No Child Left Behind program. In its first term the Bush administration has strengthened Federal control over the schools, neglecting the aspirations of Ronald Reagan to actually rid the nation of the Department of Education. The fact that the
nearly 52 million children in public schools do not all learn at the same rate is ignored. Any information not reflected on the tests tends to get ignored because those test scores are tied to funding. NCLB is as cruel and stupid a program as could have been devised and it cost taxpayers some $50 billion. Not surprisingly, many school districts have opted out of the program to avoid the stifling effect on their curriculums.This standardization of education about the Constitution teaches a government-approved version and nothing could be more un-American than that. The Constitution makes no provision for the Federal government to be involved in education. That is a power that belongs exclusively to the States and local communities.
The United Nations has gained a foothold in our schools with its International Baccalaureate program, underwritten by UNESCO. Writing about the IB program earlier this year, one critic wrote her local newspaper to point out that “Administrators do not tell you that the current IB program for ages three through grade twelve promotes socialism, disarmament, radical environmentalism, and moral relativism, while attempting to undermine Christian religious values and national sovereignty.” And, of course, we all want the UN to be involved in the education of American children, don’t we? NOT! -The Autonomist

And of course it's no surprise that Bush had to bend and break rules to push that ridiculous program through. What has he not done that for??

A company run by Armstrong Williams, the syndicated commentator, was paid $240,000 by the Education Department. The goal was to deliver positive messages about Bush's education overhaul, using Williams' broad reach with minorities. The Bush administration has promoted No Child Left Behind with a video that comes across as a news story but fails to make clear the reporter involved was paid with taxpayer money. It has also paid for rankings of newspaper coverage of the law, with points awarded for stories that say Bush and the Republican Party are strong on education. The GAO has twice ruled that the Bush administration's use of prepackaged videos -- to promote federal drug policy and a new Medicare law -- is "covert propaganda" because the videos do not make clear to the public that the government produced the promotional news.-CNN



Update: Even Teachers are getting involved in cheating to keep their jobs under the new system.

Too Good To Be True

I normally do not get interested in this sort of news, much less enough so to want to post it here. But I really did like seeing Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston as a couple. They just seemed so evenly matched. I wish they could've made it work. I guess it's not really over until the fat lady sings though. Maybe they can work it out.

Hollywood couple Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston have announced that they have split up after what they describe as "much thoughtful consideration". The couple have no children. There is no indication whether they plan to file for divorce. Their statement said: "For those who follow these sorts of things, we would like to explain that our separation is not the result of any speculation reported by the tabloid media - this decision is the result of much thoughtful consideration."
"We happily remain committed and caring friends with great love and admiration for one another."
"We ask in advance for your kindness and sensitivity in the coming months."

Friday, January 07, 2005

Clarification

The ARI issued this piece today to clarify the piece that Holcberg put out and which I and other's have been responding to. I for one am very glad they issued the clarification, because it is true that although this has grabbed all of our attention, it seems inappropriate to jump on this particular instance when there are so many other instances of both altruism and missappropriation of our tax dollars. This has, however, captured the world's attention. I have tried to reinforce in my posts that it is not the giving to the aid effort that is the problem. Indeed, around the world people have reached out in appropriate ways. It is merely the manner of giving being addressed. To read the whole thing click here.

Politics, Once and For All

On a lighter note, Fred explains politics, once and for all.
The liberal believes that the group has a right to control every aspect of everyone’s life. He may permit many freedoms, but only those of which liberals approve. Abstract or general freedom holds no appeal for him. The limbic instinct of the inveterate liberal is to harry, regulate, and stifle the individual, of whose penchant for independent action he is profoundly distrustful.
The liberal is a creature of the homiletic herd, like a gnu wielding tracts, and believes in the “the masses,” in their infinite plasticity and potential for uplift and betterment, guided by him. He sees himself in the capacity of the patient mother of a society of wayward two-year-olds who must be diapered, formed, and taught.
Thus the government will eventually come to dictate the altitude, material, color, shape, texture, and compressive strength of toilet seats.
Conservatives by contrast believe that the individual has a God-given right to rob others. As the liberal has good intentions without rationality, the conservative has rationality without good intentions. He worships at the shrine of personal freedom, by which he means only his prerogative of making money regardless of damage done to others. He dislikes government as he dislikes anything that might inconvenience the pursuit of private rapine. He believes in the sanctity of private property, unless someone buys the lot next to his and builds a hog-rendering plant, when he will see the merits of zoning.
He is likely to be a Christian, though not to the extent of letting his faith moderate his misbehavior. For him faith is a justification, not a limitation. While conservatives generally do not engage in herd behavior (note that they seldom hold demonstrations, while liberals seldom stop) they do believe in military aggression. Christianity provides moral cover as he does things that might otherwise raise nagging doubts, such as dropping large bombs on other people’s cities. I was only following orders, from on high.


It Doesn't Stop There

It may seem cold hearted to against the grain to condemn altruism at a time like this. Alot of people responded to Holcberg's statement as apalled. But the reason shows itself more and more as this crises goes on. One only has to look to see how the underlying mentality-that need = *right* and that those in *need* somehow have a mortgage on those deemed *less in need*-never ends. You can never give enough to satisfy, and you only create reliance upon aid around the world.

As relief pledges near $4 billion, officials hope to leverage altruism for crises elsewhere. As a massive relief effort takes shape in Asia, some aid officials are already planning a next step: leveraging current world concern for tsunami-ravaged regions into greater interest in other humanitarian crises. The Asian tsunami was a natural disaster of historic proportions. But as terrible as it was, the grinding conflict in eastern Congo has killed far more people. Similarly, fighting in the western Sudanese region of Darfur has displaced millions over the past two years. Disease and poor sanitation continue to devastate families in other parts of the globe's poorest regions. "An essential component of our mission ... is to point out that disasters happen everywhere, and we have to care about all of them," says Salvano Briceno, head of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. And as terrible as the situation on Indian Ocean coastlines, some displaced persons in other areas of the world may be wondering how they, too, can command such sympathetic attention. How many innocent Congolese have to perish before the world starts paying attention?

For a good article on this subject see also "A Foreign Aid Disaster in the Making".


Thursday, January 06, 2005

Clean Air Concrete


Concrete is becoming more and more versatile as scientists and engineers develop new ways to improve an old substance. The Church above is made with a type of concrete which is self cleaning so that it never darkens from pollutants and may in fact improve air quality. Other types include a concrete which is semi transluscent and lets light pass through and types which are stronger and longer lasting. Click on the title above to read the whole article.


There are many simple ways to modify the properties of concrete. Tweaking the ratio of the ingredients can change the material's strength or roughness, for instance. Modern concrete also contains chemical additives that affect the material's physical properties, such as the fluidity or the time it takes to harden.

Eliminating the need for steel bars has other advantages, including lengthening the lifetime of structures. Consider the deck of a bridge. In the winter, when ice-clearing salt dissolves and seeps into the concrete, it corrodes the steel. The corrosion causes the concrete to detach itself from the reinforcing metal and to crack. A conventional concrete deck needs major repairs or reconstruction after about 25 years, says Perry. "A Ductal deck should last at least twice as long," he adds.

The material has already found its way into several pedestrian bridges around the world, as well as a light rail transit station in Calgary, Alberta. The canopies that form the roof over the station's platform and the roof's support columns are made entirely of Ductal. The canopies provide protection from the elements, can withstand high winds, and support heavy snow loads.

A translucent concrete material contains glass optical fibers that transmit light through the entire length of the block. It can bring sunlight through a wall.

With these blocks, architects can design and build a large variety of structures, ranging from translucent concrete walls to floors lit from below. LiTraCon has already received a number of requests from architects interested in the material, says Bittis. One firm in New York has proposed using the new concrete in its design of a police college in Kuwait City. Because concrete is an excellent insulating material, the building would protect against the desert heat while letting through some sunshine.

New forms of concrete might also abate environmental pollution. Scientists at the Italcementi Group in Bergamo, Italy, have developed a self-cleaning concrete that keeps buildings from turning black from pollutants in the atmosphere. Luigi Cassar and his colleagues at the research branch of Italcementi made the concrete by adding particles of the white pigment titanium dioxide to the cement component.

The material has applications beyond keeping concrete surfaces bright. Cassar's group has found that the concrete can actually clean the air. The company is investigating coating buildings and roads with the photocatalytic material. Computer models of the material and urban pollution predict that covering 10 to 15 percent of the roads and building surfaces in a city such as Milan, Italy could reduce air pollution by 40 to 50 percent, Cassar's group calculates.

The efforts to bring concrete to new heights of function and form, however, is almost certain to transform the traditional perception of concrete as a cold, drab, low-tech material. Its use is likely to extend as far into the future as it reaches into the past.


Is the Sexual Tsunami Engulfing a School Near You?

In this ridiculous article, Mary Ann Kreitzer states:

Close to 2,000 gay-straight clubs have been established in high schools around the country, and even middle schools. This is bad news indeed as we see the escalation of sexual experimentation among our youth ... Make no mistake, the clubs are all about convincing kids that homosexuality is normal and acceptable ... Gay-straight clubs are all about making the homosexual lifestyle more tolerable to children. This "toleration" will encourage experimentation. Would any school offer a nonsmoker-smoker club to foster communication and tolerance for those who smoke? Of course not. Smoking is self-destructive. Oral sex, sodomy, "fisting," and other perverted practices are all part of homosexual behavior and they maim and kill.

Likewise, Bonnie Alba's article "Shameful! Postponing Sex Until Marriage!" is mostly garbage not even worth refuting. I did at least admire her honesty about her real motivation for writing it.

I’m distressed at how far we have come from the 50s when “shame” was a common word to denote the feeling after doing something wrong. Another word “remorse” was also common. Neither of these words appear to be of significance in raising this generation. Well, Bring back some good old-fashioned Shame! We need to see how “shame” is good for us. Primarily shame lets us know that not all choices in life are beneficial nor do they result in good consequences. You might end up thinking that these parents are ashamed their children might “wait until marriage” to have sex.

What we need to do is teach responsible sex education classes which include abstinance, proper contraceptive use, STD risks, pregnancy, and self-esteem, as one integrated whole. They are all choices that ultimately the individual must make. Whether they are gay or straight is not the issue, either lifestyle as well as the pious virgin lifestyle require choices and choices require you to have the proper knowledge available to make them. How can teenagers especially be expected to make these life altering decisions when they are presented with all this hysteria from their local community. It is not up to the community to make the moral choice for them. Even their parents cannot do that, as much as they would like to. The options must be explained objectively and the kids should be encouraged to value themselves as individuals and the expression of love to be an expression of their value for themselves and the person to whom they are involved with. Then the kids can be left to decide for themselves knowing that whatever option they decide upon they have done it intentionally and they have the knowledge of how to protect themselves from disease and unwanted pregnancy. To undermine the kids ability to make their own decision, to attach stigma and "shame" is not a deterrent as statistics can show quite clearly. Instead kids fall into a cycle of mistakes, shame, bad decisions, and more shame which just perpetuate disease and unwanted pregnancy statistics. The issue is not "gay rights" or "abstinance" but giving kids the chance to make informed decisions motivated by their own value for themselves, and not out of guilt or fear or shame.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Anarchy of Altruism

Sure enough, we are accepting a National guilt for being the wealthiest nation and gleefully throwing money at the problem to redeem ourselves for the sin of wealth. 15 million was not enough



U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland suggested that the United States and other Western nations were being "stingy" with relief funds, saying there would be more available if taxes were raised.


So we offer 35 million lest we be unpopular, and the statement is revoked.


"The United States is not stingy," Mr. Powell said as the United States increased its initial package of disaster relief from $15 million to $35 million. "We will do more," he added during a round of morning TV interviews. "I wish that comment hadn't been made."


and what we have given is too random says some:


"The tsunami response so far demonstrates the US culture of giving in all of its profusion and confusion," says Larry Minear, coauthor of the book, "Charity of Nations," and an expert at the Feinstein International Famine Center at Tufts University.


So we beg to be forgiven, and private citizens offer their children's allowances and their own hearing aid money so we can boast a total of 163 million.


"I feel like our country has been such a bad citizen of the world in the recent past," Putterman says. "For a few minutes there, it looked like the administration was going to be pretty stingy, and I just felt like it was important for everyone to rally."


Now the total is 350 million, but then the AP analysis offers a word of caution: "US political leaders and analysts caution Americans shouldn't over-trumpet the American role, or risk a backlash.... While the United States may generate some goodwill among Muslims and blunt al-Qaida recruiting efforts, it will be squandered 'if the purpose of this is seen as political rather than humanitarian,' Bader said."

I suggest again we stop trying to buy favor and forgiveness, and that we reject the guilt that is unduly imposed upon us.

We don’t get thanks for liberating 50 million people with the blood and treasure of this nation, we get criticized, why would we suddenly become popular by feeding and clothing people in a region where Osama bin-Laden has opinion ratings that any American politician would give up his first born for?-The Bush & Clinton Tsunami Charity Tour – An Unnecessary Reality Show
[UPDATE] Now, as if to prove my point that it will never ever be enough, President Bush is seeking an additional $600 million (where do you think he's seeking that people? From your paycheck, that's where he's seeking it) To bring the grand total pledged in aid to a whopping $950 million. My my, aren't we the best now? Have we bought the world's love now? Surely for $950 million in taxpayers hard earned money we can buy the love and freedom of the whole wide world, can't we?
Andrew Natsios, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, told reporters Wednesday that the $950 million humanitarian pledge would represent "the most generous and the most extensive in American history for the U.S. government.

There is nothing wrong with giving to the relief effort in and of itself, and plenty of Americans are donating in appropriate ways, but to do it as an apology for something or out of guilt is very wrong.


"Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal. Any man of self-esteem will answer: 'No.' Altruism says: 'Yes'." -- Ayn Rand in Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World

To quote Robert Tracinski of TIA daily:

This is the real evil of our leaders' decision to give hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the tsunami victims. It is not that the aid is given, but that it is given on terms that surrender the individual's right to exist for his own sake




Distinguish good selfishness from bad selfishness
"Selfish" has two entirely different meanings. One is: "taking advantage of people against their will." The other is: "taking care of yourself and your family first and foremost and to whatever degree YOU deem appropriate." Obviously, the latter is a virtue, and the former is a vice. But if you fail to distinguish between the meanings you're prey to being suckered by con artists of either the deliberate variety* or of the more common unwitting, unthinking "disease carrier" kind. First they make you extremely fearful of ever being seen to take unwilling advantage of anyone, and then they twist it with the sneakiness of a magician and the cleverness of a lawyer to make you extremely fearful of ever being seen to take care of yourself and your
family first.

We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves" -- Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind

The unstated premise of the doctrine of altruism is that all relationships among men involve sacrifice. This leaves one with the false choice between maliciously exploiting the other person (forcing them to be sacrificed) or being 'moral' and offering oneself up as the sacrificial victim." -- Jeff Landauer and Joseph Rowlands HERE



"Politicians never accuse you of 'greed' for wanting other people's money -- only for wanting to keep your own money."-- Joseph Sobran


The FCC is the Real Culprit

In response to a comment on the last post, I suppose the next logical step is to point out that NOW is really only taking advantage of the power given to the FCC to censor the airwaves. In reality the entire argument is extraneous to the real issue which is censorship. Eventually it also turns into thought control. If we can stop people from ever hearing about breast implants, people will stop getting them, and then we will all be back to the pre-breast implant days. After all, isn't that what NOW really wants when they launch a campaign for "Love your Body"? They feel there is something "degrading" about the procedure. I have not cared to see if this is their policy on all cosmetic surgery. The point is that it isn't reason enough to disallow all contests whose reward is any sort of cosmetic surgery. And the radio is no different as a forum just because you can hear it. It isn't less entitled to freedom of speech anymore than TV is. Clear Channel is widely criticized for their political connections and special privileges which tend to be homogeneous and biased. However, the real culprit here is the FCC, and the fact that the government is allowed to regulate free speech in these mediums at all. In order to be successful, Clear Channel has to be homogeneous, it has to lobby Congress, because that is how the system is set up. If they actually had to compete in a free market without government subsidies then who knows if they would even be successful at all.

Each year since the early days of radio, every broadcast station must apply to the FCC for permission to use the airwaves. In exchange for their licenses, broadcasters must promise to serve the "public interest." Stations that the FCC regards as having failed to do so can be fined, or even shut down, at the FCC's sole discretion.

The putative justification for the FCC's regulation of broadcasters is that the airwaves are public property. But just as the government does not own--and so has no legitimate control over--the presses of the New York Times, so it has no business regulating what may be broadcast over airwaves. The airwaves, which would be useless without the transmission networks created by radio and television stations, belong to the individuals and companies that developed them. Broadcasters should not have to plead to the authorities for annual licenses, any more than a homeowner should have to beg for an annual license to use the patch of land he has developed.
But let Howard Stern offend a listener, and Clear Channel is hammered with over a million dollars in fines. So far, only "indecency" has been targeted by the FCC's crackdown--but politicians on both sides of the aisle have begun whispering demands to censor PBS or the Fox News Channel, on the grounds that their alleged biases violate the "public interest." Both the liberals, with their political correctness, and the conservatives, with their puritanical religious ethic, claim to speak for the "public interest." Can it be long before the two sides begin the battle over which ideas and values Americans are allowed to see and hear on-air?

As the FCC wields its club ever more fiercely, broadcasters are running scared. Clear Channel stations have dropped Howard Stern and other "shock jocks." Skittish station-managers have bleeped out words like "urinate," "damn," and "orgy" from the Rush Limbaugh program. Most ominous, The National Association of Broadcasters convened a "Summit on Responsible Programming" to define industry-wide standards of self-censorship.

America was founded on the freedom of speech--on the right and responsibility of the individual to decide what to say, and what to listen to. Yet in the name of protecting ourselves from being offended--and almost without noticing it--we are well on the way to surrendering that crucial right to the control of the omnipotent state. -from ARI

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

National Organization AGAINST Women??

TAMPA, Florida (AP) -- Radio giant Clear Channel Communications has come under fire from women's health advocates over a Christmas contest in which stations granted breast enlargement surgeries to women in four cities. In the "Breast Christmas Ever" contest, 13 women were awarded the procedure after writing essays to the stations explaining why they wanted larger breasts. A Tampa station claimed to receive more than 91,000 entries.The contest has drawn the ire of both the National Research Center for Women & Families and the National Organization for Women.While neither women's group is alleging the breast surgery contest violated decency standards, they are complaining the contest promotes potentially dangerous surgery and leaves its winners with no legal remedies should the surgery go awry. Under the rules, winners must be at least 18 and sign a waiver protecting the company from all liability claims.
NOW is urging the public to send e-mails to Clear Channel and the FCC to complain about what it considers a "degrading and unethical contest." NOW has been active in lobbying the Food and Drug Administration against the marketing of silicone breast implants and has an ongoing "Love Your Body" campaign aimed at countering what it says are unrealistic body images promoted in the entertainment industry.
Good Grief. What are they pushing to outlaw the implants now?? I don't have them and I probably wouldn't get them, but to impede upon the rights of legal adults to compete for and win the surgery of their choice is utter lunacy. Aren't any of you people realizing that adults are being relegated to the roles of infants slowly but surely. I don't mean the crazies in charge of this nonsense, but the people not fighting back. Quote for today is:
Did you exchange, a walk on role in a war, for a lead role in a cage?-Pink
Floyd.
Really, by stating that women cannot decide for themselves whether or not they want the surgery, NOW is mother hen-ing all women back into the Victorian ages. Yikes. I say all women call or e-mail NOW and complain that what is "degrading and unethical" is their attempt to censor the radio and remove the individual rights from women to their own body. What a sinister and insideous attempt they are making under the guise of "Love your Body". Hey NOW, "Leave my body alone".

Monday, January 03, 2005

Compulsory Charity is Not Moral

This commentary by Matthew Rothschild is so off the mark, but then what do you expect from a magazine with this sappy rhetoric as their MO:

The mission of The Progressive is to be a journalistic voice for peace and social justice at home and abroad. The magazine, its affiliates, and its staff steadfastly oppose militarism, the concentration of power in corporate hands, the disenfranchisement of the citizenry, poverty, and prejudice in all its guises. We champion peace, social and economic justice, civil rights, civil liberties, human rights, a preserved environment, and a reinvigorated democracy.

Which, of course just shows how little they think at all as a rule.



The article is titled Taking Market Ideology to Its Cruelest End and it shows that the author knows very little about the Ayn Rand Institute or Objectivism or anything much at all.



The thrust of the rightwing libertarian group's piece was that the U.S. government "should not give any money to help the tsunami victims" because "every dollar the government hands out as foreign aid has to be extorted from an American taxpayer first." The folks at Ayn Rand don't believe in taxation.



First of all, the ARI is not a rightwing libertarian group. Secondly they do not not believe in taxation. They simply are stating a moral observation about how such money should be used. The taxpayers money should not be used for forced charity. If individuals and private organizations do not wish to donate they should not be forced to by a decision of the government. That money is to be used for the defense of the citizens against physical harm inflicted by other persons and the maintenance of a safe society, NOT for buying friends and trying to plug a never ending hole of need which will suck us dry if they keep letting it. Plenty of individuals want to give aid, and the ARI is not making a judgment that no individual Americans or American organizations should donate as they see fit. The ARI just doesn't agree with Compulsory Charity.



Check this out: "It is America's acceptance of altruism that renders them morally impotent to protest against the confiscation and distribution of their wealth," the piece said. It calls this altruism "a vicious morality."



Yes of course they do. By not claiming our individual rights over our tax dollars we are allowing the government to spend our hard earned money on the whims of what public opinion deems acceptable regardless of the individual's personal choice. Government should not interfere in the individual's decision in this way. This is not a necessary function for them and it is only a political game to make sure we donate "enough" to stay on good terms with everybody which is definitely not moral.


What's vicious is letting millions of people go hungry and homeless and without clean water or medical care. This self-parody would be easy to laugh off if it did not represent the apotheosis of free market idolatry, idolatry that is worshipped at the highest levels of our government.



What's vicious is having a mission statement which in practice advocates slavery.

You don't need to be a member of the Ayn Rand Institute to sense that something morally amiss is shaking the world's political classes. Surfing the great Asian tsunami of 2004 is shaping up as the top policy sport of 2005. No politician or policy wonk can seem to resist the lure of the disaster.

If there's an emerging lesson in the aftermath of the tsunami, it is this: Beware of aid efforts that must be trumpeted in press releases and hyped at news conferences. The bulk of world relief to tsunami victims, soaring to hundreds of millions of dollars, had been registered by private agencies collecting donations from individuals who sought no public recognition, issued no media release and made no effort to get their names into the papers. It was only after it became obvious thousands, if not millions, of individuals wanted to help that the world's governments - in Ottawa and Washington and elsewhere - suddenly saw an opportunity. Absurdly, Ottawa announced it would "match" the private donations of individual Canadians -- as if Ottawa got the money from some magic fountain behind Parliament Hill rather that from taxes on the same individuals who had already volunteered.


As an excellent article by G. Stolyarov II points out:

How is it, one might ask, that government relief to flood victims would damage them, whereas private relief would assist them? Then again, how is it that government aid to the unemployed robs them of the stimulus to return to work and resume earning an income for themselves? How is it that government efforts to rehabilitate criminals, drug addicts, and alcoholics have corresponded with a statistical increase of all three groups over the past several decades? How is it that government efforts to "protect consumers," through regulatory agencies such as the FDA, have resulted in millions of consumer deaths from disease because of the time delays involved in forcing new drugs to undergo unnecessarily stringent tests before being released to the open market? How is it that government labor laws and minimum wage statutes damage the least skilled among workers by forbidding employees to hire them at rates that their skills warrant and are simultaneously profitable to companies? We find that, whenever government intervenes on behalf of a group it deems a victim of society, personal deficiency, private action, or nature, its intervention only serves to further incapacitate the victims.



Private individuals, when not hindered by government intervention, have a choice in how to allocate their funds among the various purposes that they deem to be of importance ... In a free market, they have the full capacity to put their values into practice and organize effective aid to those they believe will benefit from it.



Moreover, this inexhaustible supply of funds implies that, unlike private individuals, who will supply aid for a limited time with the expectation of the recipients' resumption of an autonomous condition not requiring aid, the government can, under pretexts of compassion, afford to give this aid to so-called "victims" indefinitely, thus creating a myriad of money drains like today's farm subsidies (a direct violation of Cleveland's policy of no federal aid to farmers), welfare programs, rehabilitation programs that do not rehabilitate, and Medicaid for drug addicts. Thus, the former expectation of the victims recovering from their conditions transforms into the expectation of the victims continuing to rely on the perpetual magic fount of assistance, fueled, of course, by money unjustly taken from good, productive citizens. Thereby does government, through furnishing this manner of assistance, become the "paternal" entity Cleveland warned us of and discourage otherwise generous and charitable people from helping the new class of perpetually dependent grown-up infants the government has created. After all, a prudent private citizen would not invest his funds into a building that will never be completed or a product that will never be marketed. Nor should he be expected to invest in a person who will never improve as a result of the investment.



Furthermore, government assistance to the tsunami victims will deprive those forced to assist under such circumstances of the ability to practice the moral virtues of benevolence and generosity that private aid entails. According to philosopher Ayn Rand, "The moral is the chosen." The very reason why the concept of morality has any value to an individual is that the individual has the free will to choose to act morally in the face of an alternative. An action that an individual is forced to perform by someone else, be it a government or a private agent (whose use of force would classify him as a criminal), adds nothing to an individual's moral integrity, because, even if he would have done this action independently, he cannot be credited as its initiator, for he had no choice in the matter. Somebody else made the decision for him and enforced it, be it through direct compulsion or the threat of force.



Disasters, however terrible, are temporary and can be recovered from. The consequences of a loss of fidelity to principles, on the other hand, cannot be undone, for principles are permanent and universal, and, without their guidance in proper decision making, there can exist nothing but perpetual suffering for individuals, both the givers and the receivers. Acting with the alleged intention of alleviating suffering, the government, through its involvement in tsunami relief, will only serve to perpetuate this suffering on a scale that only a welfare state is capable of.