Conservative Judaism

 Posted by on 31 August 2006 at 5:34 pm  Uncategorized
Aug 312006
 

This brief post on Conservative Judaism from the Volokh Conspiracy is a great example of the intellectual weakness — and consequent lack of appeal — of an inconsistent, unprincipled middle ground.

Domestic Terrorism

 Posted by on 31 August 2006 at 4:13 am  Uncategorized
Aug 312006
 

Bad news: A neurobiology professor at UCLA specializing in vision research just gave up his work on primates due to persistent threats from animal rights activists. If justice was a metaphysical law written into the fabric of the universe, those &%*^@! man-haters would all go blind. Then again, I’d be delighted if ophthalmologists simply refused to treat them for even routine vision problems. Better yet, doctors could refuse to treat any known animal rights activist. It’s best not to pollute those noble idealists with the fruits of medical experimentation upon animals, right? Let’s end the sanction of the victim — and let the animal rights activists wallow in the plentiful, debilitating, and oh-so-natural diseases of this earth.

(Via Slashdot and Doug Peltz)

Socialist Medicine

 Posted by on 30 August 2006 at 12:12 pm  Health Care
Aug 302006
 

Paul just sent me the following:

The California legislature has approved a bill to mandate universal (state-run) health care in [California]; eliminating private insurance. We’ll see if Schwarzenegger vetoes this one.

http://www.sfgate.com/…

“On a largely party-line 43-30 vote, the Assembly approved a bill by state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, that would eliminate private medical insurance plans and establish a statewide health insurance system that would provide coverage to all Californians. The state Senate has already approved the plan once and is expected this week to approve changes that the Assembly made to the bill.”

Holy socialism! I’m glad that Paul isn’t practicing medicine in California any longer, because he certainly wouldn’t practice under such a system.

As for the likelihood of a veto, the article also reports, “Schwarzenegger’s office said it had no official position on the bill. The governor has said he would propose solutions to the state’s health care crisis in his State of the State address next January if he is re-elected.”

Strange Acronym, Great Course

 Posted by on 30 August 2006 at 9:02 am  Uncategorized
Aug 302006
 

The Ayn Rand Institute‘s Objectivism Academic Center is officially accepting registrations to audit the excellent year-long teleconference course on Objectivism taught by Dr. Onkar Ghate, i.e. the “Seminar On Ayn Rand’s Philosophy Of Objectivism” or SARPO. Classes are recorded and made available on the web, so you don’t need to block off your schedule for the whole academic year. The cost is $1000 for both semesters. That’s a steal for 26 weeks of a three-hour class taught by Dr. Ghate! I took the course two years ago. It was truly superb.

For more information, see this page. Classes will begin soon — and space is limited. So don’t delay!

Update: I fixed the number of sessions, as per Greg Perkins’ comment. Also, if you want to know more about how auditing works, you should contact Lin Zinser at lin@zinser.com.

 

I’ve been eagerly awaiting this announcement from ARI for weeks!

The Jihad Against the West: The Real Threat and the Right Response

A three-day conference event including a lecture by Yaron Brook at the Ford Hall Forum Boston, Massachusetts, October 20-22, 2006

Featured Speakers:

  • DANIEL PIPES, director of the Middle East Forum
  • YARON BROOK, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute
  • FLEMMING ROSE, culture editor of Jyllands-Posten
  • ROBERT SPENCER, director of Jihad Watch
  • PETER SCHWARTZ, author of The Foreign Policy of Self-Interest: A Moral Ideal for America
  • JOHN LEWIS, assistant professor of history, Ashland University

Al-Qaeda. Hezbollah. Islamic Jihad. The Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas … In Lebanon, Syria and Egypt; in Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia; in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, in Pakistan and Afghanistan–in almost every country from the Middle East to the Far East a gang of Islamic terrorists is fighting to advance its own “holy” cause. So many groups have declared jihad that it’s hard to keep them all straight–or even to know how seriously to take each of them.

But the threat to the West is deadly serious. We only have to remember Sept. 11 to understand that.

Some analysts have declared that we have entered an “Age of Terror” and that there is no way to permanently eliminate these violent groups. But is the West really ready to concede victory so easily? Despite their sectarian differences, is there a common goal amongst the assorted terrorist groups? Who are they and what do they actually want? What accounts for the seemingly renewed sense of purpose amongst so many of them? What can and must the West do to ensure victory? Is peace possible?

Join us for a special conference to discuss “The Jihad Against the West.” A distinguished panel of Middle East experts has been assembled to answer the most important questions of our time. While the experts will answer these complex questions from different points of view, they all agree on one thing: the real threat is Islamic totalitarianism and the right response necessitates engaging in a principled, ideological battle to defend the West from the jihad declared against it

Events will take place at Tufts University, Boston’s World Trade Center and Faneuil Hall, concluding with a lecture by Yaron Brook at the Ford Hall Forum.

For more information: http://www.objectivistconferences.com/fordhall06/

As you can tell from the speakers, this conference will be of interest to a far wider audience than Objectivists. So spread the word!

Too Damn Funny

 Posted by on 29 August 2006 at 1:59 pm  Funny
Aug 292006
 

A co-worker of Paul’s forwarded this tidbit to him:

The British are feeling the pinch in relation to recent bombings and have raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved’. Soon though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross”. Londoners have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorised from “Tiresome” to a “Bloody Nuisance”. The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was during the great fire of 1666.

Also, the French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide”. The only two higher levels in France are “Surrender” and “Collaborate”. The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability. It’s not only the English and French that are on a heightened level of alert.

Italy has increased the alert level from “shout loudly and excitedly” to “elaborate military posturing”. Two more levels remain, “ineffective combat operations” and “change sides”.

The Germans also increased their alert state from “disdainful arrogance” to “dress in uniform and sing marching songs”. They have two higher levels: “invade its neighbors” and “lose”.

Heh.

Sadly, I think we should rename America’s alert levels to “refuse to identify the enemy,” “demand concessions from your allies to your enemies,” “fight half a war in the wrong place,” and “appease while quaking in fear of barbarians at the gates.”

Is Vanity Not a Sin for Deities?

 Posted by on 28 August 2006 at 6:29 am  Uncategorized
Aug 282006
 

God must be even more vain than I thought: He caused a woman to have a painful bulging disc just so that He could see His own picture in an MRI. No, really.

Pre-posting update: Whoops! Paul already put this story in the queue. (He e-mailed the link to me.) He said: “The scanners we use in our radiology practice are pretty good, but obviously not as good as the ones in this story: ‘Woman Sees Jesus in MRI Image‘.”

1 Chronicles

 Posted by on 27 August 2006 at 7:58 am  Uncategorized
Aug 272006
 

I think the author of 1 Chronicles must have been some kind of ancient Rain Man. Why would anyone normal person care about this X begat Y begat Z genealogy, let alone which sons got which suburbs of which cities?!? I’ve been listening for quite some time… and the lists of people just go on and on and on and on…

The Poor Professor

 Posted by on 27 August 2006 at 7:15 am  Uncategorized
Aug 272006
 

Professors live in fear of bad course evaluations from students. One poor fellow finally did the unthinkable:

Professor Pressured To Sleep With Student For Good Course Evaluation

FAYETTEVILLE, AR — Alan Gilchrist, an associate professor of English literature at the University of Arkansas infamous for his tough grading standards and dry lecturing style, was coerced into sleeping with an undergraduate on Monday in order to earn a good course evaluation. “My tenure’s on the line here, so I allowed a student to take advantage of me,” said an emotional Gilchrist of the experience, which he hopes will earn him at least six “very much enjoyed” responses on the eight-item evaluation form. “I told myself it would be just this once, and that it would be over soon, and that it wouldn’t be that bad, but I was used. And I can’t stop showering.” Sources said that the unidentified student is one of the most popular and charismatic on campus, raising questions about possible abuse of power.

Yes, that’s from The Onion. (Via TJ Orson Olson, although I first heard about it from Robert Mayhew.)

Self-Inflicted Torture

 Posted by on 26 August 2006 at 7:11 pm  Uncategorized
Aug 262006
 

I’m currently watching that horrible bit of Soviet propaganda, Mission to Moscow. I’ve watched less than 20 minutes, but it’s already far worse than Song of Russia ever aspired to be. At least the basic plot of Song of Russia revolved around an apolitical love story. Mission to Moscow has no such redeeming neutral qualities. Perhaps most offensive of all, Joseph Davies loudly proclaims his determination to judge Soviet Russia objectivity every few minutes — even though the film is already revoltingly pro-Soviet.

Oh, and I’m watching this movie as my break after a grueling two hours paring down the second section of Kant’s Groundwork into a form suitable for my students.

Yes, I am a philosophical masochist.

Update #1: Oh dear God. The Davies just arrived in Russia. The train station is overflowing with delicious foods… and equality of the sexes!

Update #2: Oh, those industrious Soviet workers undermined by evil saboteurs!

Update #3: Yes, Yes! Let’s trust the Soviets not to bug the American Embassy! They’d have the right to listen in if they pleased. And America has no private business whatsoever to conduct in Russia! (Really, I’m not exaggerating. Those were the claims made by Davies when confronted with the revelation of Soviet bugging of another embassy.)

Update #4: Wow, the workers even have time to learn excellent English in night classes. They are just so friendly and happy too. Those Soviets just aren’t terribly different from Americans — except slightly superior in all ways. Oh, and Americans sure are stupid about Russia, caught up as they are in their myriad misconceptions.

Update #5: Oh, and let’s just ignore that whole small matter of the Nazi-Soviet Pact.

Update #6: Hooray! A defense of Stalin’s purges! (Every time I think it can’t get any worse, it does!)

Update #7: Davies speaking to Stalin, “I believe, sir, that history will record you as a great builder for the benefit of mankind.” Stalin is humble in response, attributing his successes to the original plans of Lenin as carried out by the people.

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha