Monday, February 28, 2005


Read G Stolyarov's latest article : Personality, Laws, and Laissez-Faire

Friday, February 25, 2005

Whatta ya Know

You Belong in New Zealand

Good on ya, mate

You're the best looking one of the bunch

Though you're often forgotten...

You're quite proud of who you are


Independence - Genus: Virtue Differentia: Never requires or desires the unearned

The most important is the independence of one's mind. Life requires man to act in order to achieve his values. This requires the proper use of judgment to not only pick the right values, but to understand the best way of achieving them. To substitute another's thoughts for yours makes it impossible to judge the accuracy of them. It makes it impossible to build off of them to achieve better understanding. This is the area where independence is most critical. To default on one's responsibilities is to default on one's life. The degree to which one abandons his intellectual independence is the degree to which he is helpless to act. The degree to which he cannot pursue his own life and values. more...

Excerpt from The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies, July 4th 1776:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . .

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

For additional information about the Declaration of Independence, see these sites:

National Archives and Records Administration: Declaration of Independence
Library of Congress: About the Declaration of Independence

A reasoned mind is the only guarantee for knowing what constitutes wrongfulness whether committed by either a person or an independent state in a world community. To function effectively in a worldly domain, a government needs the citizens to agree with the political power at hand and what it is doing. Libraries offer the best source of knowledge to import fact-finding information on a government, what it is doing, whether it is moral and in agreement with the basic fabric of societal beliefs. It offers written, seasoned perspective to the order of independent nations and their thinking within a historical perspective.
(Actually now the Internet and especially Blogs satisfy that need Fabulously)

Obscene Obstetric Obtrusion

This is absolutely disgusting. I wonder about the mental stability of this Phill Kline person. What could be more personal to a woman than her gynecological records? He has no right to demand such information and the Kansas Supreme Court must deny him if it considers itself a part of the American Justice System.
TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) -- The Kansas attorney general is demanding abortion clinics turn over the complete medical records of nearly 90 women and girls, saying he needs the material for an investigation into underage sex and illegal late-term abortions.

Two clinics are fighting the request in Kansas Supreme Court, saying the state has no right to such personal information. But Attorney General Phill Kline, an abortion opponent, insisted Thursday: "I have the duty to investigate and prosecute child rape and other crimes in order to protect Kansas children."

The records sought include the patient's name, medical history, details of her sex life, birth control practices and psychological profile.

Kline began pushing in 2003 to require health care professionals to report underage sexual activity. Kline contends state law requires such reporting, but a federal judge blocked him. The case has yet to be resolved.

"Hello, hello, hello... just nod if you can hear me... is there anyone at home?" - Pink Floyd

Excuse me for my obtuse-ness (real-word eh?) but doesn't rape imply lack of consent? I know I know, a minor cannot legally give consent, but humor me. Doesn't the initiation of force, by the government, to retrieve the personal documents relating to the most intimate of doctor-patient relationships - CONSTITUTE RAPE!!!

So lemme get this straight ... the state attorney general of Kansas, finds it as his DUTY to RAPE AND PILLAGE the private lives of innocent women IN THEIR DEFENSE???!!!

HA-no, he's after the defense of the fetus.


Mental Illenes- they say it's on the rise, soon they'll be testing you, and your children, and your FETUSES!

Will they test the attorney general of Kansas?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Life and Death Headlines

COLUMBUS, Georgia (AP) -- A father fatally stabbed his two young children and seriously wounded three others with a hunting knife before committing suicide by slitting his throat, police said.

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- The man charged with killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and her 7-year-old son told his wife [of two months] from behind bars that "everyone has this all wrong."

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A man wanted by the Honduran government for a bus massacre that killed 28 people, including six children, was arrested this month in Texas, the Homeland Security Department said Wednesday.

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 24 - At least 21 people, including two United States soldiers, were killed today as insurgents struck to the north and south of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official and the American military said today.

SAN SALVADOR – A notorious street gang based in El Salvador has rapidly spread into 31 US states and raised enough concern for the Justice Department to create a new high-level task force to battle it. Clifford explains that in the past two years there has been a rapid expansion of MS13 branches throughout the US. During that time, there have been 18 MS13-related killings in North Carolina, 11 in Northern Virginia, and at least eight in Los Angeles.

Attempts to adopt children of Sierra Leone are thwarted by suspicions of child trafficking.

Assisted Suicide: A Moral Right

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Happy Birthday Lydia

Last Week Michael wrote a beautiful tribute to his wife for her birthday (early-which is bet because it gives you time to savor it) and so I thought it appropriate to re-acknowledge it today on her actual birthday. Happy Birthday Lydia!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Check It Out

Since I'm spending the time being working on getting my other permanent blog running, I wanted to go ahead and showcase some of the other blogs which I frequent and who have interesting things written (while currently I do not). Check out jomama's page, she's got some great quotes, quips and quirky humor bits. Jude at analysis has some interesting pieces on Smoking Bans, Property Rights, and AIDS. Michael seems to be on a movie kick the past few days. Martin Lindeskog at Ego has some great resources on all the topics I've been posting on, esp Eminent Domain. And I recently came across Boiling Point which is entertaining light hearted stuff, for example: I Like Beer and Texas Chili Contest but with a thinking man's edge that keeps it fresh.

UPDATE: Also check out this Brain Teaser I picked up off the OO Forum : Petals Around the Rose

Well that should keep you busy for a while. I'll still be posting if I find something that stands out, but I'm not going to spend alot of time searching until I've gotten everything worked out with the TRANSITION :)

Happy Presidents Day!

A Presidents Day quiz:
Can you name the first five Presidents of the USA in order?

Did you know that 3 out four of the Founding Fathers died on July 4th?

For more Trivia check here.

Robert Tracinski is going to do a brief series on our best and worst Presidents.
He started today with George Washington:

"Washington's achievement was to set a standard for future presidents--a standard of a leader who is not just a scheming politician ambitious for wider powers, but a man of the highest moral character, dedicated to the principles of liberty and representative government. It is a model that has had an enormous beneficial impact, not just in America, but around the world."

On a slightly different track: Fred comments on the comments made by the President of Harvard (the school which boasts the majority of Presidential Alumni).

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Power to the Person

Larry Salzman and Alex Epstein weigh in on the issue of Eminent Domain:

To such government officials, the fact that an individual earns a piece of property and wants to use and enjoy it, is of no importance--all that matters is "the public." But as philosopher Ayn Rand observed, "there is no such entity as 'the public,' since the public is merely a number of individuals...the idea that 'the public interest' supersedes private interests and rights can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others."
Matthew Dery, another property owner in Kelo warns that "People who've never experienced this sort of treatment at the hands of the government should realize that this could happen to them. You take for granted that, in America, you own your property until you choose to sell it, but that's not the way it is in New London or in Connecticut. If the City [is] allowed to get away with [it] . . . , [t]he knock at your door could be next."

And Alex Epstein again on the FDA:
The lesson to be drawn here is that drugs are neither "safe" nor "unsafe" as such; they carry different risks and benefits for different people. As a result, whether an individual should take a given drug or not is a contextual issue. It depends on the available knowledge about his genetic profile, the properties of the drug he is considering, and the resulting risks and expected benefits. It depends on the risks and benefits of his other options, including the often deadly option of inaction. These are some of the factors that an individual and his doctor must take into account if they are to make an objective decision
Unfortunately, individuals and doctors today cannot make such decisions--not consistently--due to the FDA's coercive power to keep drugs off the market. The basic premise behind this power is that individuals cannot judge for themselves what drugs to take given their individual circumstances and risk preferences, and thus the government must make collective determinations of risks and benefits--and enforce them on everyone. "To argue that people ought to be able to choose their own risks…" says former FDA commissioner David Kessler, "is to impose an unrealistic burden on people."
The era of the government collectively and coercively declaring which drugs are safe for Americans to take must come to an end, to be replaced by a new era of individual judgment and liberty. Many changes must be made to achieve this, but a first step is clear. While the government must continue to prosecute fraud in the manufacturing and marketing of drugs, it must end the FDA's power to keep pharmaceuticals off the market. more...

Friday, February 18, 2005

Prurient Prose

Congratulations to our contributor here at Reclaim Your Brain: Chris Granger. He has been published at Yankee Pot Roast and today he gets front page status.
What do you know, a celebrity, right here at Reclaim Your Brain!

Thursday, February 17, 2005


Some of you may have noticed the multiple glitches on this page in the last few days. I think this little blog has outgrown it's free production welcome. In light of this I have already set up to move this blog to the domain I own which is, and hopefully within 2 weeks it will be operational. Any of you who already link to me may want to update your links, although I will keep this site operational until I have the other location set up the way that I want it. Plus Blogger does have some good features, so I may keep it on as an intro. Nevertheless, I know it will take me awhile to get everything switched over, so I thought I'd go ahead and give a head's up.
Thank you to everyone for your contributions so far. I'm hoping this will grow into quite the little production, and with control over my domain I can start adding other features such as personal editorials, essays, and letters to the editor, as I gain the knowledge neccessary to proceed.
Keep your thinking caps on, we're about to blast off, in T-minus.....

Juiced, a Review

And Jose closes with good news for you youngsters just starting out on steroids (page 98): “One definite side effect of steroid use is the atrophying of your testicles. I can confirm that. Whatever size they start out, they will definitely shrink if you are taking steroids over a period of time. But here's the point I want to emphasize: what happens to your testes has nothing to do with any shrinking of the penis. That's a misconception. As a matter of fact, the reverse can be true. Using growth hormone can make your penis bigger, and make you more easily aroused. So to the guys out there who are worried about their manhood, all I can say is: Growth hormone worked for me.”

More from Keith Olbermann

The Fightin' Irish

DUBLIN, Ireland - Irish police arrested seven people, including a member of the IRA-linked Sinn Fein party, and seized millions of dollars, some of which may have been stolen in one of the biggest bank robberies in history, authorities said Thursday. Police believe the IRA, Northern Ireland’s largest Catholic paramilitary group, was behind the robbery. The modern IRA, founded in December 1969 in Northern Ireland, for decades has run an ever-expanding range of criminal enterprises, including robbing banks and armored cars, counterfeiting bank notes and goods, and smuggling fuel and cigarettes. Anti-racketeering authorities estimate that the IRA generates at least $13 million in illegal revenues annually.


Followers? Not quite. This short piece aptly reminds.Thanks Phillip Schearer and Pittsburgh Live

On the other hand: Vatican university debuts classes on Satanism
Worried about the lure of the devil, a Vatican-linked university on Thursday debuted its latest course offering: a class on Satanism, black magic and exorcism.
In 1999, the Vatican issued its first new guidelines since 1614 for driving out devils, offering cautions to exorcists about taking psychiatric problems into account.
Among the widely accepted signs of possession by the devil are speaking in unknown tongues and demonstrating physical force beyond one’s natural capacity.

Privacy in a Public Life

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Chafing over racy broadcasts like Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" at the 2004 Super Bowl, the House overwhelmingly passed a bill Wednesday authorizing unprecedented fines for indecency

"We would put Big Brother in charge of deciding what is art and what is free speech," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, who opposed the bill. "We would see self- and actual-censorship rise to new and undesirable heights."

Stickers Land Man in Jail:Officials have charged 31-year-old Dean Young, the owner of a yellow Ford Focus displaying the images, with distribution of sexually oriented materials to minors. [ ZardozZ relays the message]

The Power of the Blogosphere: With an estimated 8 million blogs in the US last
year and 32 million readers, blogs may be the biggest development in the media
right now.

But can such a public media help bring back privacy? What should be private, and what should be public in this ever more publicized world? G. Stolyarov II attempts to answer:
First, it is necessary to determine the ethical root of the concept of privacy, of the fact that there are matters which a man can legitimately keep to himself or within a close circle of relevant persons. The two antecedents to privacy are "property" and "rights," property being any item which man has earned by his own effort (or miscellaneous consensual entitlement) and can peacefully use or dispose of as his self-interest requires. It was John Locke who had first discovered that the most fundamental property a man can hold, and that he acquires from the first moment of his existence, is his self, his mind, body, and all functions thereof included. This basic possession is the key to all other acquisitions, material or intellectual, which, as logically follows, become his own if earned by his own labor and not given away or traded to others (as a contractual agreement provides for in numerous cases, including a man's presentation of his labor to an employer in exchange for a salary). more...

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Eminent Domain, Imminent Disaster

I last mentioned eminent domain when discussing Donald Trump a couple of weeks ago. Now it's popping up again in a town called New London in CT. The city council is looking to increase revenue by building a pharmacutical complex, right over Fort Trumbull neighborhood.
The precise issue before the high court is whether this kind of arrangement between a city and a private developer violates the Fifth Amendment mandate that private property may be taken by the government only for "public use."

As I mentioned last time, the problem is the broad power given by the non-term "public use". Which public, what kind of use? These are not self evident, and that is why the interpretation is getting broader and broader as more unscrupulous businesses use government favor to take advantage of less connected individuals, counting on their lack of money and political pull to make for easy prey.
Private Property is one of the most fundamental rights for an individual. To allow it to be confiscated by any whim of the government based on something as flimsy as the "public good" is nothing less than tyranny. The only reason this is continuously allowed to happen is because of the misguided idea that the "public" has some rights that the individual hasn't got. That an individual must sacrifice for the good of the collective. It's cases like this that show the true face of altruism. The benefit of the few, the powerful, the thugs, at the expense of the decent hardworking individuals.
The government has an unfair advantage obviously, the right to initiate force against the individual.
They say the city tried to frighten them away. When those threats did not work, the city waged what some call a psychological war. "They did everything they could to make us miserable," says Kelo. "Every day it was something else," adds William Von Winkle, a neighborhood resident and landlord for 21 years. "Anything to aggravate you."

The private developer uses this to his advantage, to get the land he wants without having to pay for it.

When the city first approached Dery, he was offered $208,000 for all four multistory houses on the family's property. When he turned down the offer, the property was seized through eminent domain.Dery says low-ball appraisals were part of a deliberate strategy. "Their whole plan hinged on us being the kind of people who didn't have the financial wherewithal to fight this," he says. "They had all the money, and they were going to stretch us out financially so we would crack."

Under the eminent domain process, the city can negotiate the voluntary sale of a targeted property. It can offer whatever it thinks a homeowner might accept. If an offer is refused, the city can continue to negotiate or file papers in court to have the property seized. Once the property is seized, the owner has a right to challenge in court the fairness of the price. But to launch such a challenge, the owner would have to go through the expense of hiring a lawyer and paying open-ended trial costs. These are expenses most working-class and elderly Fort Trumbull residents could not afford.

If we are to stop instances like this, we have to challenge the premise upon which it derives it's power. That premise is altruism. Respect for the rights of the individual would never allow this sort of injustice. It is only the belief that the collective is more important, that the interests of the many supercede the rights of the few, that allows such a monsterous outright theft by the government to be supported and propagated by the Supreme Court.

A report claims that 10,000 properties have been seized by cities for private developers.

• In Atlantic City, an entire black middle-class neighborhood was condemned and destroyed to make way for a tunnel to a new casino.
• Bremerton, Washington removed a woman in her 80s from her home of 55 years for the claimed purpose of expanding a sewer plant, but gave her former home to an auto dealership.
• West Palm Beach County in Florida condemned a family's home so that the manager of a planned new golf course could live in it.

Eminent Domain should be repealed entirely. The Supreme Court needs not just to define "public use" which cannot be done objectively, it needs to redraw the guidelines by which "public" property may be purchased and developed. Private owners should deal with private owners man to man. The more that public works could be privatised, that would help, but in the meantime the Supreme Court needs to draw clear guidelines to protect against at the very least these overt cases.
The practice of eminent domain has been abused throughout US history. When the railroads and many of the nation's highways were built, landowners were often told their properties were condemned, given a dollar and told to go to court if they wanted their "just compensation."
In Lakewood, Ohio, for instance, a whole neighborhood of colonial homes was recently deemed "blighted" because the backyards were too small and the homes didn't have two-car garages. The city is turning the property over to private developers to build upscale condominiums and retail space. more...

The court noted that "if one's ownership of private property is forever subject to the government's determination that another private party would put one's land to better use, then the ownership of real property is perpetually threatened by the expansion plans of any large discount retailer, 'megastore', or the like."Property rights are a bedrock of democracy and should not be curtailed simply because a community decides it won't raise its taxes or trim spending. Rights once taken are not easily returned, while sources of revenue are more fluid and temporary. A person's castle should be a bastion of individual rights, not a revenue center. more...

(Sub Immi for Emi if it helps you understand.)-Edit, Ok I did it myself to avoid confusion

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Eason Jordan Resigns

I guess I'm late getting the news of Eason Jordan's resignation. Of course as previously mentioned there are sites that have been dedicated totally to this topic through it's entirety which are much better equipped to comment on the implications. I'm turning to Captain's Quarters today for my info.

Who's Afraid of Ayn Rand

Ok, I have a new favorite: Front Page Mag. In yesterday's article Who’s Afraid of Ayn Rand?
Alec Mouhibian writes an excellent review of Ayn Rand's critics and gives a proper place to her philosophy.
Her first novel, We The Living, a semi-autobiographical depiction of life under communism, was panned by leftist critics for “failing to understand the Soviet experiment.” The rigorous philosophy she later developed—which she called Objectivism and which can be summarized by the axis of reason-individualism-capitalism—unnerved intellectual nippleweights from both left and right. And mutual hatred with Women’s Lib was established from the get-go, because she liked men.

Mike Wallace reflected that Rand’s most vehement critics tended not to actually read her. So challenged were their basic assumptions by the ideas of this little big-eyed immigrant that they were too afraid to deal with them. Their fear of being challenged was a harbinger of an intellectual culture today in which monocle-dropping offense comes much easier than rational thought.

When I asked the chairs of the Women’s Studies and Political Science departments at my school what they thought of her, they both gave the kind of bashful, blushing smile that I normally give when reminded of my childhood crush on Oscar the Grouch. Read her in high school, grew up, moved on, haven’t thought of her since. Great sex scenes though. May we talk Hegel?

The day that intellectual principles are restored in academe will be the day when Ayn Rand is treated by professors as more than just an adolescent indulgence. It will be the day when she is treated as the brilliant thinker that she was: a woman who made history by espousing unique ideas that brought it a great deal closer to its end.

Read the whole article here.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Interview with Christopher Hitchens

I was recommended to read this interview on Front Page Mag with Christopher Hitchens, and I must say I was quite pleased. It covers topics ranging from from the war, to religion, Mother Theresa and Bill Clinton. In turn, I recomemend it to you dear reader. The bases are pretty well covered in this one, and it is definitely worth your time.
Click Here to read it now.

Thank you to my anonymous contributor. This one was spot on!

Here's the link to the rest of Christopher Hitchens' articles. I'm going to read through them and perhaps post more on him if he turns out a consistent good read.

Comments are welcome as this interview is sure to offend someone on some point or another.

I'm sure I'll find some things to disagree with him myself on at some point, but for now I'll enjoy the glow of appreciation that came from a first blush interview.

The Great Disparity

Wealth distribution, is just not going to be equal, get over it folks. There are going to be have nots, and have gots. What we want is equal oppurtunity. Some examples of what I mean:

This is from an Op-Ed, but it illustrates the point nicely.
Corporations do not pay taxes, people do. This is not a contest between capitalism and socialism, or good and bad, or Wall Street and Main Street. It just is.The buck does not stop at a corporation, it is just passed through. This is the nature of the beast. When a corporation is taxed, any one or all three of the following pass-throughs happen in some measure.
1. The corporation will raise the price of its goods or services by the amount of the tax and the cost of compliance, if competition allows. Dale Jorgensen, Ph.D., Harvard economist, estimates the federal income tax system requires tax-and-compliance premiums amounting to 20 to 30 percent of each product’s or service’s price. These premiums are hidden in the cost of every good or service bought in or exported by our country. Think about that as we try to sell American-made goods overseas.
2. Often global competition (and WalMart) will not allow pricing to absorb the entire cost of taxes/compliance. What is the next corporate move? Reduce the cost of labor. Who loses their jobs to efficiency or foreign manufacturing? It is our low-income friends again, taking it on the chin and out of their wallets.
3. Now, assume prices are as up as they can be and labor costs are as down as they can be, and there are still taxes/compliance costs to pay. What do corporations do? Lower profits to their shareholders. For a mom-and-pop, that means a lesser lifestyle for Mom and Pop. That means later or no retirement. For Wall Street, that means union pension funds experience lackluster performance when invested in domestic corporations. This may not be a big concern for the low-income, working poor, but that certainly puts a double whammy on the working class. Fewer jobs and threatened pensions. And then there are the undue burdens our fixed-income retirees. Yet again, the very groups we set out to protect with corporate income taxation are those we punish most. Attacking the wrong solution misdirects the well

A discussion here points to some of the issues involved specifically in the WalMart debate, and a very detailed response can also be found here:
After all, if the economy is operating at anything resembling efficiency, then labor costs don't have a high degree of demand elasticity. Employers cannot pay lower wages, without losing workers. Employees cannot demand higher wages, without losing jobs. An efficient economy will not base wage-rates on a normative and subjective definition of "fairness", but on a market defined proper allocation of resources. Price, after all, is simply a piece of information, reflecting the overall value of any given product or service.
So, is the eventual "race to the bottom" leading inevitably to lower and lower labor costs? To some extent, yes. Business will always seek to lower their costs....since, after all, consumers do the same. But that's the beauty of a free market. We simply don't know how to allocate our resources - for one thing, because the proper allocation of resources changes from day to day - but a properly functioning price mechanism allows us to distribute those resources based on what value we place on them. Will Wal-Mart be around and on top forever? Of course not.
I'd remind you of who Wal-Mart replaced on the Dow Jones Industrial Average: Woolworth. A company that achieved market dominance by "undercutting the prices of local merchants". Of course, they were criticized for driving local merchants out of business at the time. And then, in 1997, they closed the remainder of their stores. Why? "Analysts at the time cited the lower prices of the big discount stores and the expansion of grocery stores to carry most of the items five-and-ten-cent stores carried as factors in the stores' lack of success in the late 20th century."
Short version: Wal-Mart, Target, grocery stores and others had found a better business model. Woolworth was a dinosaur. In time, Wal-Mart will be replaced, too. And we'll probably hear complaints that the new business model, which almost eliminates employees altogether, is harmful. Never mind that we're getting "more for less", freeing up "more for something else". The same argument has been made for centuries, but the fact remains: in a free market, wages are simply a piece of information defining the value of a resource. If that information is inaccurate, it will be forced to change.

And here as well is a detailed defense of the mega-retailer:
On the whole, if one doesn't like Wal-Mart and finds it to be of greater utility to support their local mom-and-pop stores for an assortment of cultural and non-economic reasons, then they may do so. If consumers wish to obstruct the development of a Wal-Mart store in their small town, they have scores of non-bullying options to pick from in order to try and persuade their fellow townsfolk that a new Wal-Mart is not the best option. It's interesting to observe that the consumers who denounce Wal-Mart are often the same folks who take great joy in reaping the rewards of corporate bigness, such as saving money with sales, clearances, and coupons, being able to engage in comparative shopping, and taking advantage of generous return policies.
When all's said and done, Wal-Mart employs lots of people; provides heaps of things you need in one place at the lowest prices you'll find; and gives millions to charities every year. Add up the charitable giving of all the mom & pop stores in the country and it probably won't equal that of one giant corporation.
To be sure, if Americans didn't love Wal-Mart so much it wouldn't be sitting at the top of the 2002 Fortune 500 with $219 billion in revenues. And we do love Wal-Mart. We love it because it gives us variety and abundance. We love it because it saves us time and wrangling. And we love it because no matter where we are, it's always there when we need it.

Of course, this is not the popular view. The funny thing is, everyone seems to know what the wealthy should do with their money, but if they are all so good with money, why aren't they wealthy. Sorry folks, you don't get to the top by giving away everything that you work for. The wealthy know just fine what to do with their money, and most of their holdings are in stocks and other investments which support the economic prosperity you enjoy now.

Finally, the ARI weighs in:
"No business has the right to be protected from competition," says Dr. Locke. "Innovative businesses of all types replace competitors with better value for the money. This is the way capitalism works--automobiles replaced the horse and buggy, sound movies replaced the silents and computers replaced the typewriter. The business that offers the customer the best value for the money wins.
"Nor does any city have the right to dictate local wages, directly or indirectly. Wal-Mart's low prices, which are especially beneficial to lower-income individuals, are made possible in part by paying lower wages than those paid by unionized stores. But no business can force an employee to work for a given wage without the employee's consent. Wages, like other prices, are properly set by the free market.
"Wal-Mart should not be feared but admired--as an American ideal--a rags to riches story in which a single five-and-dime store in a small Arkansas town grew into the largest corporation, in term of sales, in America.
"Trying to stop Wal-Mart is not only morally wrong, it is un-American."

Again here:
The wealthiest 1 percent includes the most productive people in America--the entrepreneurs and executives who direct the course of the nation's businesses. These people work hard and shoulder enormous responsibilities. They provide the knowledge, the entrepreneurial energy, and the investment capital that drives our economy. Yet they are vilified as idle swindlers by the left--and the right is too timid to defend them openly.

and here:
In the minds of leftist economists, the economy does not exist so that productive individuals can enjoy the fruits of their labors. It exists for only one purpose: to divert money from the successful to the unsuccessful. If these economists seek to "stimulate" the economy, it is only so that productive people can, temporarily, become more vigorous draft-horses to drag along a cart loaded with an ever-heavier crowd of unproductive hitchhikers.

and here:

To know how to fix our economy, we must first identify what is wrong with it. Here, analysts have it mostly right when they cite a decline in business investment as a major roadblock to recovery. But the problem is actually broader than this. Not only are businesses investing less money in new technologies, new manufacturing plants, and research and development--all of which are crucial to long-term profitability and therefore economic growth--they are reluctant to enter mergers, to formulate new strategies, to take risks. Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina says her company and others are "less likely to undertake bold moves, even if you feel those are vital to the future of your company."
America's economy is stagnating because America's businesses are stagnating. The cause--and the factor that must be removed to revive the economy--is the government's ongoing regulatory crackdown on business.

UPDATE: As if to punctuate:
SIGN OF THE TIMES? Carly Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, has announced her departure.
At first blush, the Carly Fiorina story seems like that of a highly visible female CEO perceived to have failed. But her firing as head of Hewlett-Packard sheds some light on how business is changing, no matter what the gender of the person in the corner suite.
Indeed, the executive turmoil at HP shows that corporate boards, in a post-Enron world, are becoming more active overseers. This means close scrutiny of the wheeling and dealing, the acquisitions, the corporate culture, even the pay package. And CEOs under the microscope, such as Ms. Fiorina, are finding they have less time to produce results. In fact, a CEO's tenure at the top is starting to look a lot like a politician's term in office with a small group of voters sitting around a boardroom table.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Egg-erotic Universe- Was it a Big Bang?

I found this while looking at more info on the Ekpyrotic Universe. If you remember the last article, or if you've read about it elsewhere, you know that the claim is that the Universe is cyclical, and infinite.

Note that the cosmological principle also implies that the universe has no boundaries and no center (if it had, that would violate the assumption of homogenity and isotropy), hence the plane as well as the saddle have to be imagined extending into infinity! (the surface of a sphere has no boundaries, even if it has only a finite size, and no center). So if the universe has negative or zero curvature, and the cosmological principle indeed holds, it has to have an infinite size. In contrast, if the curvature is positive, the size of the universe is finite. It's hard to believe, but despite research going on about this for decades, so far we still don't know which curvature our universe really has - and so we still don't know if it has a finite or an infinite size. - Read the rest here.

Now do you get it ;)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

You're Not The Boss of Me :p

Virginia (AP) -- Virginians who wear their pants so low their underwear shows may want to think about investing in a stronger belt.The state's House of Delegates passed a bill Tuesday authorizing a $50 fine for anyone who displays his or her underpants in a "lewd or indecent manner."
From parks to bars to the workplace, more states are proposing far-reaching bans that would limit public smoking. Last year, several coastal cities in southern California went so far as to ban smoking on public beaches. This year, San Francisco supervisors passed a law - supported by the mayor - that will prohibit smoking in all city-run recreational areas except golf courses.
Big Brother is getting more like Big Momma and Poppa everyday.

What's Next? A Ban on Indoor Nudity?

And then they wonder why they end up having to take counter measures like this:

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday to ban lawsuits by obese customers who say they became overweight by eating at fast-food restaurants.
"We've got to get back to those old-fashioned principles of personal responsibility, of common sense, and get away from this new culture where everybody plays the victim and blames other people for their problems."

Which it doesn't take a genius to see that if you are going to regulate every little detail about people's lives, they are going to EXPECT it of you. And then the more you comply, the more they want. The only way to get back those "old-fashioned principles" is to respect the individual adult enough to leave him with his freedom; for the government to get their sticky fingers off of everyone's plate, and tell all the whiny "but I'm offended" groups out there that what is truly horrendously offensive is their constant assault on personal liberty.

It is not the government's function to keep us all moral, or to make sure we eat right, and we take our vitamins. The government's function is solely to protect us from force initiated by others, on the individual and us as a country. And once again people, being offended is not the initiation force against you, but guess what, having your hard earned tax dollars forcefully expropriated for laws which you don't agree with or what's worse, which target you, IS the initiation of force against you by your government. But then, that is old news, and no body seems to mind, they just want more and more rules, so they can secure their piece of the pie before the government takes it all from their neighbor.

As Peter Schwartz explains:
A precondition of freedom is the recognition of the individual's capacity to make decisions for himself. If man were viewed as congenitally incapable of making rational choices, there would be no basis for the very concept of rights. Yet that is increasingly how our government views us. It is adopting the role of a paternalistic nanny, zealously protecting the citizen against his own actions. In the process, our freedom is disappearing.

Anti-Trust and Free Trade?

Definition 1 A legal arrangement in which an individual (the trustor) gives fiduciary control of property to a person or institution (the trustee) for the benefit of beneficiaries.
Definition 2 A monopolistic corporation, prior to the enactment of antitrust laws.
Definition 3 the trait of trusting; of believing in the honesty and reliability of others; "the experience destroyed his trust and personal dignity"

An individual, corporation or association holding assets for another party, often with the legal authority and duty to make decisions regarding financial matters on behalf of the other party.

Antitrust laws-

The Federal laws forbidding businesses from monopolizing a market or restraining free trade.

Free Trade-
International business not restrained by government interference or regulation, such as duties.
Opposition between two conflicting forces or ideas {Principle of contradiction} (Logic), the axiom or law of thought that a thing cannot be and not be at the same time, or a thing must either be or not be, or the same attribute can not at the same time be affirmed and and denied of the same subject.

Is anyone confused by the above? The emphasis was added by myself to help make it clear. Now take a look at this story which I have excerpted below and tell me if this makes sense:

Microsoft first sells an XP operating system with Media Player included at no charge. Consumers are generally happy with that because they get an already bundled media player at zero out of pocket cost. (They are, of course, perfectly free to delete Microsoft's own media player and/or to download any rival media player.) Competitors who sell rival media players complain, however, that Microsoft's free bundling makes it harder for them to do business. And they bring all of this to the attention of the European antitrust regulators.
So the European regulators come in, absent of any evidence of consumer abuse, and order Microsoft to sell a consumer inferior version of Windows XP so that rival media player competitors will have an opportunity to do more business. But, the coup de gras, the name of the consumer inferior version must not reveal that it is in fact consumer inferior! Indeed, Microsoft has been ordered to do nothing commercially that would make the consumer inferior operating system appear less attractive to consumers and that includes, apparently, naming the product correctly. Microsoft, in short, has been ordered in effect to lie about its new operating system in the title and all in the name of preserving "competition."

Really speaks well for the "Wisdom of Crowds" don't you think?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Why You Say What You Say

Time for some light hearted trivia. Today we explore the unlikely origins of some well known idioms. For reference- all information comes from the Idiom Site.

Copasetic ("The Cop is on the Settee,"): it meant that he was sound asleep and it was safe to enter the building. The phrase was used so much that it eventually was shortened to the version we know today as COPESETIC, ............say it real fast............THECOPISONTHESETTEE.

Cut to the chase: A movie term from the 1920's, it originally meant to cut from a dramatic scene to an action scene (like a chase).

Deadline: Originated in the American Civil War, where a prisoner would be shot if they crossed a line around the prison or prison camp.

Mad As A Hatter: refers to mercury nitrate that was used by hat makers to make fur pelts softer and suitable for hat use. After years of mercury exposure it would make the user quite mentally unstable.

Pie in the Sky: Of course, this means to search for the impossible dream but it originated in the early 1900's. A famous labor organizer named Joe Hill was extremely critical of the clergy's treatment of slaves. He wrote a tune called 'The Preacher and the Slave" accusing the clergy of making false promises of a better life in heaven while people starved on earth. The song goes: 'Work and pray, live on hay. You'll get pie in the sky when you die. That's a lie!

The Dangers of Democracy/You Can't Please Everybody

Democracy is heralded is as the ultimate in freedom, but it is too often forgotten that Democracy only works when there is a constitution in place to protect individual freedom. Democracy in and of itself is merely tyranny of the majority, and without a proper constitution, individual rights will fall by the wayside. One of the major misconceptions about Democracy is that the majority is *right* by virtue of it's being the majority, but there are many factors that make defining the true majority and even defining the *right* almost impossible. Both are fluctuating, instable, and often treated as subjective. However, Democracy is the best way to decide conflicts which arise under the constitution, at least so far as we have seen. In order to do that, a constitution must protect freedom of speech, it must protect property rights and it must separate church and state. As we watch Iraq work to draft their constitution, it becomes clear that a popular mandate is not neccesarily going to result in individual liberty.

"The constitution is the most dangerous document in the country and the most important one affecting the future of the country," said Alaadeen Muhammad al-Hakim, a son of and spokesman for Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Said al-Hakim, one of the most senior Shiite clerics in Iraq.

The clerics generally agree that the constitution must ensure that no laws passed by the state contradict a basic understanding of Shariah as laid out in the Koran. Women should not be treated as the equals of men in matters of marriage, divorce and family inheritance, they say. Nor should men be prevented from having multiple wives, they add.

"We don't want to see equality between men and women because according to Islamic law, men should have double of women," said Muhammad Kuraidy, a spokesman for Ayatollah Yacoubi. "This is written in the Koran and according to God."-Read the rest here.

Unfortunately, the supposed defenders of Democracy-the liberal left-are some of it's worst enemies. Even in Britain we can see the furthur deterioration of the concepts of both freedom and Democracy. Salman Rushdie comments:

"The idea that any kind of free society can be constructed in which people will never be offended or insulted, or in which they have the right to call on the law to defend them against being offended or insulted, is absurd.

People must be protected from discrimination by virtue of their race, but you cannot ring-fence their ideas. The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it's a belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.With its proposed "incitement to religious hatred" law, Prime Minister Tony Blair's government has set out to create that impossibility. Privately they'll tell you the law is designed to please "the Muslims." But which Muslims, when and on what day?"

Monday, February 07, 2005

In Search of Buckyballs

While looking up information prompted by a comment on TEW here which referenced buckyballs, I came across several sites I'm going to need to take a better look at.

I found some more helpful information about the progress being made in QM, at this section of the Wikipedia. It is in discussion format so it is an interesting look, both at QM and at the way Wikipedia is put together. There are alot of links on the page I'll need to puruse before I can articulate any more on the actual content of the discussion itself.

Another source of information, this one regarding CMP can be found here:

In trying to understand the properties of matter, one must contend with the fact that matter is made up of a large number of microscopic consituents. As Einstein showed in his investigation of diffusion nearly 100 years ago, therein lie the secrets to many of the mysterious properties of matter. In fractionalized states, there are particle-like excitations which have quantum numbers which are fractions of the quantum numbers of electrons.

And this article which I can hardly understand a word of, but I'm learning a new vocabulary trying :) :

The rich diversity of structure in molecular systems is made possible by the profound asymmetries between the nuclear forces and electromagnetism. Although molecular dynamics is founded on electromagnetic orbitals, the diversity of the elements and their asymmetric charge structure, with electrons captured by a spectrum of positively charged nuclei, is made possible through the divergence of symmetry of the four fundamental forces.
The strong force mesons gain mass from a different mechanism, being the energies of the bound states of the colour force, whose gluons are massless, but confined. The separation of gravity from the other forces is more fundamental because it involves the structure of space-time and may be described by a higher-dimensional superstring force in which particles become excited loops or strings in a higher dimensional space-time which is compactified into our 4-dimensional form (Green 1985, 1986, Goldman 1988, Freedman & van Nieuwenhuizen 1985).

And this looks to be the most helpful, but will take me quite some time to get through also:
The Quantum Monte Carlo Methods in the Study of Nanostructures.

All of these are a bit technical for my understanding, but I still can glean alot from reading through them, and it helps me to learn the terms. I seem to go back and forth between these and the layman's explanations. I'm still looking for what my commenter was referencing, if anyone can point me in the right direction I'd appreciate it.

Thanks to Andrew for providing the sources which I have yet to read:
Physics Today requires a subscription,
as does Nature to review back issues,
so I may be stuck going to the library until I can afford the investment. Nevertheless it is a place to start. :)

And I found a couple of blogs that also discuss these :
There's this article on Nanotechnology which leads us to this article.
This blog also briefly discusses the phenomenon.
Here we have some info on Nanotechnology and the law.
Also this article on The Advent of Nanotechnology.

A-ha, the Buckminster Fuller Institute. This should be a very good place to start. I'll post more as i read through these articles.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Mishandled Media

Excerpt from:

Two incidents highlight the mainstream media's defects and biases. by Hugh Hewitt

"The first is the genuinely scandalous assertion by CNN's Eason Jordan, made at the World Economic Forum, that the United States military has targeted and killed a dozen journalists. The account of Jordan's remarks -including his backpedaling and the crowd's reactions--is available at ForumBlog. Thus far no major media outlet has demanded an accounting of Jordan, but the idea that a major figure from American media traffics in such outlandish and outrageous slanders on the American military deserves attention and criticism, not indifference. It is no wonder that anti-American propaganda gains traction in the world when American news executives set fantasies such as this one in motion. If Jordan had no grounds for peddling this grassy-knoll garbage, he should be fired. If he did have even the flimsiest of grounds, he ought to share his evidence and let the public decide whether his judgment is as flawed as it was when he covered for Saddam all those years.
THE SECOND SUBJECT for mulling is John Kerry's extraordinary interview with Tim Russert last Sunday. There's a lot to absorb here, including Kerry's assertion that he did indeed run guns and CIA men into Cambodia on secret missions--and to aid the Khmer Rouge no less! "-Read the whole thing

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Define Second Hander

In Edward Rothstein's article on Ayn Rand, he takes a kind of pragmatic and tragic view of both Romanticism and Ayn Rand. He seems to regard her with some degree of respect, although he doesn't seem to fully understand her concepts. These are not the trivial dreams of a "subtle philosopher".

Perhaps when he read her (if in fact he did, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt here) there were not as many other resources for exploring her philosophy. While I'm no expert I have beneifitted from her own explanations of her philosophy in works such as Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, The Voice of Reason, and The Ayn Rand Lexicon, not to mention Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, by Leonard Peikoff, which I plan to start tonight. So to me this author's statement:
"Did Rand really believe that the world should be run by such creators while second-handers (ordinary workers like most of us) humbly deferred?"
among others, makes me believe that his knowledge of her work is only a superficial "first blush" impression. It is certainly not Rand's position that "ordinary workers like most of us" should be "humbly deferred". To my understanding, her work encourages everyone to take responsibility for themselves. Second-hander therefore refers to those who try to live through other people. It is possible that most of Mr. Rothstein's audience are second-handers, but that is by their choice, and does not have anything to do with being an ordinary worker.

Ayn Rand did support meritocracy, but she believed each individual man had the means to be his own personal best, and that is more important than your super hero status. Or more clearly, any man has the potential to be a hero, and his status as such depends on the amount of effort he exerts in pursuit of his highest values, which Ayn Rand said ought to be life-oriented, reality based, and reasonable. This gives each individual ordinary worker the ability to rise above the ordinary should he so choose.

She strips man of the limits of determinism and cultural handicap, and that I think is what upsets most people. They are so comfortable within their limits, that the thought of being expected to accomplish more makes them bitter and angry. But Ayn Rand doesn't propose to strip people of their right to be the lowest underachiever. Rather she defends the individual unilaterally, unless he attempts to harm someone else. However, she does advocate not letting these underachievers be the ones to run everything. Rather the most competant, the most able, and the most moral men should hold the top offices in a rational society.

The Nature Of The Second-Hander, from a conversation between Roark and his friend Gail Wynand (Fountainhead):
"Second-handers have no sense of reality. Their reality is not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one human body from another. Not an entity, but a relation—anchored to nothing. That's the emptiness I couldn't understand in people. [snip]Men without an ego. Opinion without a rational process. Motion without brakes or motor. Power without responsibility. The second-hander acts, but the source of his actions is scattered in every other living person. It's everywhere and nowhere and you can't reason with him. He's not open to reason. You can't speak to him—he can't hear. You're tried by an empty bench. A blind mass running amuck, to crush you without sense or purpose .... "
"What would happen to the world without those who do, think, work, produce? Those are the egoists. You don't think through another's brain and you don't work through another's hands ...."

Today's News

In Search of The Impossible:
Being a reporter, you shoot pictures. It’s what reporters do: make notes, take pictures. Report. What next? How do you report the—is “occurrence” a suitably neutral word?--objectively?

God and Football...What a Sunday
Pregame and postgame prayers have become a familiar sight in America’s sports stadiums. As many as a third of athletes in the major team sports are estimated to be born again or evangelical Christians, more in football.

Social Security- An OxyMoron
This week, for instance, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he believed he had commitments from all of the Senate's Democrats to oppose Bush's plan to divert part of the payroll tax that now funds Social Security into individual accounts. If that proves true, Democrats would have enough votes for a filibuster to kill the proposal that Bush promoted so ardently Wednesday night. Just as troubling for the White House have been the cracks in Republican unity. The key to Bush's first-term legislative success was his ability to hold together congressional Republicans, even on ideas that left some of them uneasy

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Bad Words

Now, three recent episodes in Florida elementary schools in which police handcuffed and removed children as young as 6 are crystallizing a national debate on finding a proper and practical balance between safety and tolerance. In Melbourne, Fla., two officers from the Cocoa Police Department were called to Endeavour Elementary School, where a 6-year-old boy had thrown a tantrum and struck a teacher. He then hit one officer on the head with a book.

Brevard County prosecutors have placed a felony battery charge under review.In Ocala, boys aged 9 and 10 were suspended from school after police arrested them on charges of making a written threat to kill or harm another person in the form of a stick-figure drawing of themselves stabbing a third pupil. Teachers called in sheriff's deputies when the picture was discovered.

"Tough criminal sanctions are absurd at that age," says Bob Schwartz, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Juvenile Law Center. "Florida is not alone. There are still many places in the country where adults are completely losing their bearings."

The Real Story

Ayn Rand Taught the World How to Value Human Life -by Peter Schwartz

[Editor's note: This eloquent eulogy of Ayn Rand by TIA's founding editor, Peter Schwartz, was originally published in the March 15, 1982 issue of The Intellectual Activist. This article is part of the new bound volume of the back issues of TIA from the Peter Schwartz era, 1979-1991, now available at .--RWT]

Ayn Rand taught the world how to value human life. She was man's great idealizer and defender. In her novels, in defiance of the cynics, she portrayed her heroes as figures to be looked up to and emulated. In her philosophy, in opposition to the skeptics, she defined man as a rational being, whose power of reason left no part of the universe unknowable and no goal unattainable. In her cultural/political writings, she identified the meaning of the seemingly innocuous slogans and projects and policies that posed deadly intellectual threats. Someone who knew and admired her commented sadly, upon her death: "The world is unprotected, now."

Ayn Rand believed that happiness should be viewed as man's normal state of mind. She taught people to *expect* happiness and not to settle for less--to regard frustration and misery as the exception, as unnecessary--to recognize a "benevolent universe" where success is achievable if only men use their minds. She wanted man to be the very best he could be, and she gave us the knowledge of how to do so.

Her radical theory of morality established man's happiness as the central purpose of his life. But achieving it, she said, comes not from surrendering to some mindless hedonism or from obedience to some supernatural authority--but from the commitment to live by rational values. She taught that living an honest, productive, *selfish* life entails greater effort and greater integrity--and greater reward--than adopting the life of a Mother Theresa. Ayn Rand glorified man. She believed that life was precious, too precious to be thrown away in the form of self-sacrifice. She showed that virtue consists in productivity, not renunciation, and in pride, not selfless humility.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Debunking the Debunkers

It's Ayn Rand's 100th on Feb 2nd, and the critics are out in force. I thought I'd weigh in on the whole shenanigan here briefly:

Someone needs to point out that Bernie Conneely doesn't know what he's talking about. He writes an article titled in part Plenty of Reasons, and yet Conneely gives none. Rather he makes ad hominem attacks which merely show he has never read a word of hers, or if he has, he had as much trouble with comprehension as he does with writing.

"History is riddled with the consequences of unregulated, unbalanced, money-driven societies where power and wealth become concentrated in the top few bricks of what is essentially a very large pyramid scheme. Oftentimes Rand's rugged, ambitious individuals of high achievement might be seen to prefigure some of history's worst criminals."-Bernie Conneely

Where? In what context? Which free-market societies riddle history? What do you mean by "pyramid-scheme" and how does it apply to meritocracy? Who are "history's worst criminals" and how do they resemble any of Rand's heroes? What were the names of Rand's heroes (Do you even know)????

I call this slander for slander's sake and a vicious misrepresentation administered by the Boston Globe.

And Then:

"It's a doubly embarrassing admission: Not only is Rand one of the most important figures in the libertarian movement of which reason is a part, but this magazine's name is an homage to her philosophy, Objectivism, which ascribes a key role to rationality." -Nick Gillespie

Well Nick Gillespie, maybe you don't know, but Ayn Rand was no great fan of libertarians either. And the magazine's name is a ridicule of the concept "reason". It is the defiance and destruction of reason which your magazine advocates.

"I'm more simpatico with Officer Barbrady, the illiterate cop on South Park who declared, "At first I was happy to be learning to read...but then I read...Atlas Shrugged... because of this, I am never reading again."
Yup, I can see that. So what provokes you to write?

This just goes to show that this site titled is out to destroy the meaning of reason, and has no intention of using it [any reason] except for the perverse corruption of the concept itself.

“Like most of my contemporaries, I first read The Fountainhead when I was 18 years old. I loved it. I too missed the point."—Nora Ephron, The New York Times Book Review (1968)
Why she continues with her nonsense beyond these revealing sentences (?) is unknown to me. But why Reason reprints it is starkly apparent.

"Rand’s unshakable belief in the power of the human mind led her to refuse to recognize the mental deterioration of her husband, Frank O’Connor, and she tormented him with exercises in “psycho-epistemology.” -Cathy Young
Perhaps I'm going out on a limb here, but isn't that like saying a wife "torments" her physically disabled husband if she encourages excercises in physical therapy?

"In the 21st century, as we face Islamist terrorism abroad and when public discourse at home often seems dominated by religious conservatism on the right and politically correct pieties on the left, Rand’s message of reason and liberty, if it’s stripped of its odder features, could be a rallying point for what the neo-Objectivist philosopher David Kelley, who runs the Objectivist Center, calls “Enlightenment-based values.” (Emphasis Added)
Odder features being conclusions? Moral judgements?

"This is perhaps how Rand is best appreciated: as a figure of great achievement and great contradictions, a visionary whose vision is one among many, whose truths are important but by no means exclusive."
How can a truth be important but not exclusive? Doesn't all truth neccessarily exclude the false? Hey I know, I'm out on a limb again.
My guess is that the author here is trying to evade her own contradictions, even as she proudly displays them in this article. But then, that would be a contradiction too wouldn't it?

Haha, Turns out Cathy Young is a columnist for the Boston Globe also. Whaddya know.