Author Archives: Dan

GT can break my heart.

I have to get back to a rhythm posting here at ObjectivelySpeaking. I’ve been so busy with work and other life stuff the last three weeks, I’m afraid my blogging has ground to a halt. But I enjoy it too much to be beaten away from it by life’s other necessities. So hopefully, I’m back.

To say that Georgia Tech was ineffective against a very good Clemson football team last Saturday would be, in my opinion, gross overstatement, they didn’t even show up. 5 and 1 prior to last week’s massacre at Clemson, GT has struggled a might, but looked as though they might be set to make a great run. They can do that – play pretty wonderfully, then let you down in the worst way. My heart (once again) his broken.

Today’s vacillations of college sports teams is a direct effect of the prevailing philosophy of this age, which is to say that there is none. All you hear during a game is the catch-all, “momentum”. If “Big Mo” leaves you… you’ve lost. It’s so range of the moment.

Now this week, Saturday, GT, now 5 and 2, hosts Miami for homecoming. Miami, having a terrible season by Miami standards, is now 5 and 2 also – and the hype for the game is GT vs. MIAMI… for the lead in the ACC Coastal Division.

Georgia Tech could(?) well be 6 and 1, they’re capable… and the headline would change.

Woe is me.

Tonight is Thursday – it’s Clemson vs. Virginia Tech, televised. I wonder if both will “show up” and who has “Big Mo’?

-Dan

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gus van horn’s Wilson is haunting me

On discovering gus van horn, the first thing that catches one’s eye is the logo in the upper left corner. To say it is handcrafted would be over statement, and that’s understatement.

It’s really a simple thing. A background of what appears to be a square of yellow ruled legal pad paper with what I can only describe as a “doodling” of an image – a full frontal face done all in black. A rough drawn ovalish facial outline; black as coal eyes (wearing glasses); a saw-toothed head of black hair; an overbearing black moustache/goatee combination that contains a single-lined, slightly down-turned, slit of a mouth; a make-do semi-u-shaped nose and exactly three strands of black hair emanating from each temple and sticking straight out at about forty-five degrees. After reading his autobiographical material, I can only guess that the logo is a quick self-portrait sketch that veils gus van horn just as his bio does.

But enough flattery.

I had visited his site on several occasions before it dawned that something about this logo/image haunted me – some link with something else. I wrestled with this for some time before I realized what I was connecting this logo too. It was the vision of Tom Hank’s best friend, the volleyball, in Cast Away.

Now the problem changed. What was the name Hanks gave his only, beloved friend? Now THAT eluded me, until‚ last night. I stumbled across Cast Away on cable about thirty minutes into the movie. Of course I was then stuck. I’m not crazy about re-watching movies; it seems such a waste of time with most of them. But I had to stick with it. I had to go at least as far as the volleyball’s name.

WILSON! By God, the volleyball’s name was WILSON! Well, I was plugged into the movie pretty good by that time so I continued with it to the end and I’m glad I did. There was depth to Cast Away that I had passed over the first time I saw it.

So now, I had the name, but the haunting hasn’t gone away. For some reason, I didn’t think it would. Let me think?

-Dan

P.S. I guess I’ll file this under uncategorized for now. Somehow‚ a category named ‘Things that haunt me’ doesn’t sound‚ all that‚ objective.

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On targeting non-combatants in war

In answer to this question from a reader:

In precisely what way does rights theory imply the moral necessity to target non-combatants in war?

Craig Biddle explains at Principles in Practice, the blog of The Objective Standard, where he is editor, how the right to self-defense against aggression is contextual and what this means regarding the targeting of “non-combatants” in war – and, guess what, we’re in one:

This question assumes that a proper theory of rights implies the moral necessity of targeting non-combatants in war, but this is not necessarily so. It depends on the context. Objective rights theory, that is: rational egoism applied to the requirements of human coexistence, implies the moral necessity of protecting oneself and one’s rational interests from aggressors by whatever means necessary. In the context of a war, this means that the nation against which force has been initiated morally must use whatever retaliatory force is necessary to eliminate the aggressor as quickly and efficiently as possible with as little risk to the lives of its own citizens as possible. If targeting non-combatants is required to achieve that end, as it was in World War II, and as it is in the war against Islamism, then egoism demands it.

He concludes with this:

If we were to engage in a massive aerial bombing of Iranian military assets, Iranian government buildings, Iranian mosques and madrassahs (colleges in which students are trained to be Islamists), and the residencies of Iranian leaders, government officials, mullahs, imams, and teachers, and then explain to the world that, from now on, this is how America will respond to any and all threats to her citizens or allies, adherence to Islamism would suddenly lose its appeal worldwide. Muslims across the globe would either lose their religion altogether or opt for a watered-down, unserious version of it, as today’s Christians and Jews have done with their equally barbaric creeds.

The entire read can be found at Principles in Practice: Reply to a Question about Targeting Non-Combatants in War.

I hope I’ve given you enough enticement to read this in full.

It’s crucial to understand in this current war (and make no mistake, it is a war) against Islamic Totalitarianism, exactly what the root philosophical motives of the Islamists are; and it’s vitally important to understand what the morally proper response to these aggressors is.

Otherwise, we’ll all be facing East and praying five times a day… or dead.

It will take more than appeasement – interspersed with limited, halting, uncertain military actions – to defeat the Jihadists… it will take a moral certainty that can only come from a rational, pro-life, philosophy.

During the Cold War, Ayn’s Rand’s response to the often used expression, “Better Red (meaning communist) than dead” was, “Better to see the Reds dead”.

She was ‘right’, all the way to the root – as we’ll have to be ‘right’ – to defeat what’s afoot here.

-Dan

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What does hauling watermelons have to do with Iraq?

I was working on a post on Global Warming, when I got a ping on my Feed Reader… I’ll start with a watermelon joke…

Two big-rig trucker friends, Hammerhead and Mothertrucker, decided that a good way to make lots of money was to haul early-season watermelons out of Florida into New york. The key to the big money?… don’t hang around trying to get a return payload back to Florida. Instead, they would ‘deadhead’ (run empty w/o a payload),as quickly as possible, back to Florida for more melons.

After several grueling trips doing this, Hammmerhead got on the CB to Mothertrucker:

Hammerhead to Mothertrucker: “I’ve been doing some thinkin’ and calculatin’ in my head. I’ve come up with somethin’ we need to talk about”.

Mothertrucker to Hammerhead: “And what’s that partner”?

Hammerhead to Mothertrucker: “Well, we’ve made quite a few trips now and by my calculations, we’re loosing twenty-five cents a watermelon”.

Mothertrucker to Hammerhead:”OK, what do we need to do”?

Hammerhead to Mothertrucker: “We need to put on at least one more truck”.

To connect watermelons to Iraq, I give you this excerpt and link to a Craig Biddle post @ Principles in Practice:

“Just War Theory –  the theory driving U.S. military buffoonery in the absurdly named “War on Terrorism is, in fact, an utter inversion of justice, which sacrifices the lives and limbs of American soldiers for the sake of enemy civilians and mystical savages. The even worse news is that this wretched theory is becoming further and further entrenched, as indicated by this article in the New York Times. (Thanks to Robert LeChevalier for bringing the article to my attention.)

The excerpts below require no comment, but when you’re through reading them and lifting your jaw from the floor, please read “‘Just War Theory’ vs. American Self-Defense.” If you’ve already read it, send the link to every active-minded person you know.

If what you’re doing is a loosing proposition, you just aren’t doing enough of it.

I will later write much more on this, but right now… I have to get my jaw up from the floor.

-Dan

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And yet again, it’s the lesser of two evils

Cox & Forkum: Beast of Burden

The above link is to a portion of an excellent article By Rob Tracinski on a rational voting strategy in the upcoming elections. The Cox & Forkum post has a great political cartoon to accompany their text portion of Tracinski’s article which, as usual, should be seen. Therefore, my link to them. They, in turn, link RT’s full article.

Two teasers:

Like many on the right, I have been deeply unsatisfied with the Republican Congress. The Republicans, I thought, ought to lose enough seats in the November congressional elections that they feel they’ve been punished for runaway federal spending.

But as the election gets nearer and I think more about what is at stake, I have come to realize that the best outcome is for the Democrats to lose. The Democrats’ failure to regain control of either house of Congress would be a good start. But an unambiguous and humiliating defeat–even a loss of Democratic seats in the House and Senate–would be much better.

The best thing we can do in this election is to crush the left–because …

And:

[I]f you want to have a debate over how to fight and win the War on Terrorism, you’ll have to have it within the right. The left contributes nothing but proposals for surrender, appeasement, and passivity. As far as the war is concerned, that “D” next to a candidate’s name on the ballot stands for “defeat.” …

Be sure and follow Cox & Forkum’s link to the full read.

You’ve heard of ‘suicide by cop’ no doubt… I’m afraid it’s almost to the point of ‘suicide by vote’!

Maybe that’s a more apropos title for this post and RT’s article.

-Dan

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From Diana @ NoodleFood: Dr. Brad Thompson on School Violence

This cross-post is not* too late to be of good to anyone who might be interested in attending the first of these lectures, but it may give guidance for the later lectures in the series.

NoodleFood: Dr. Brad Thompson on School Violence

Seven years after the horrifying Columbine High School massacre, America’s public schools are still plagued by student violence. This Thursday, October 5th, Dr. C. Bradley Thompson will examine the causes of that violence in the inaugural lecture of “Think!”–a new series of public lectures sponsored by the Center for Values and Social Policy in the Philosophy Department of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

What: Lecture on “Why Johnny Can’t Think or Distinguish Right from Wrong” by C. Bradley Thompson.

Where: Old Main Chapel on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder. (Campus Map)

When: October 5th from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m.

Lecture Description:

What’s wrong with America’s adolescent boys? Why are they so angry, and why are they committing mass murder in America’s government schools? How are we to understand and explain what happened at Columbine high school?

In this lecture, C. Bradley Thompson rejects the leading theories of conservatives and liberals and instead advances a radical proposition–that the cause of America’s epidemic of school shootings is to be found in the schools themselves. He argues that the root cause for all these shootings might very well be found in the destruction of the minds and souls of America’s young people by an education establishment bent on using our children as guinea pigs for their experiments in schooling.

C. Bradley Thompson is the BB&T Research Professor at Clemson University and the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism.

“Think!” will also sponsor two events later this fall:

-Thursday, November 16th. “What We Owe to Animals: A Debate” David Barnett and Robert Hanna (CU/Boulder)

-Thursday, December 7th. “Integral Ecology” Michael Zimmerman (CU/Boulder)All talks will be held from 8:00-9:30 p.m. at the Old Main Chapel on the CU Campus. They are free and intended for the public. Members of the media are welcome to attend. For more information, visit:http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/center/think.shtmlThese lectures are funded through the generosity of The Collins Foundation.

From above: “C. Bradley Thompson is the BB&T Research Professor at Clemson University and the Executive Director of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism.”
That puts Dr. Thompson in my neighborhood (state of South Carolina). I’m always glad to hear that rational thinking is moving in next door. A big HT to Diana @ Noodlefood for helping with this Philosophy Dept., CU/Boulder, Colorado rational effort.

Thanks Diana, you go girl!

-Dan

*Note: Update! Due too Diana’s comment, I’ve amended this entry. It’s now 1:58 EST, so wrap up what you’re doing, get youself cleaned up, grab a bite and head out. Times-a-wastin’! Tonite’s C. Brad Thompson lecture starts at 8:00 P.M. (MT?)

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The War on Terror is (still) not about poverty – They don’t think the same way we do!

Back on September 11, (2006), I entered a post titled, The War on Terror is not about poverty!, in which I included two links which support this, along with an included passage from Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged for further enlightenment and understanding of the philosophy and psychology of Islamic extremism. (I just checked the links in that post to be sure they are still functioning properly should you wish to read, or re-read it, and follow the links.)

There is a post today at Jihad watch, Jihad seen in upward trend in Morocco, by Marisol, that offers corroborative evidence to the fact that poverty is not the cause of the Islamists’ venom. It begins:

Data emerging in Morocco puts another dent in the frequently encountered notion of poverty as the principal catalyst for turning seemingly “normal” people into jihadists. From AP: “Extremist Islam may be rising in Morocco”

I have recently made a better effort at trying to keep up with Robert Spencer and the crew at Jihad Watch by adding them to my Feed-Reader list (like I have time for another read). There insight and expertise regarding this subject is immense (and intense). I need to get them on the blog roll here too.

What is below covers the right side of my title, They don’t think the same way we do!

My HT to that ‘fount of things true and good’ gus van horn for leading me to this article by Stephen Browne @ Rants and Raves, titled, Observations on Arabs. You can also read a bit of bio there too on what seems an interesting life. To tease you into clicking over:

I went to live and work in Saudi Arabia in 1998, and I “made my year” as expats there put it. That phrase means that I actually stuck out the whole year, instead of “running” from my contract, an occurrence so common that you only have to say “he did a runner” to explain why someone isn’t showing up for work anymore. And while my experience wasn’t nearly as unpleasant as Jill Carroll’s, I could have told her a thing or two before she went to Iraq armed with her overflowing good will.

Although Stephen Browne’s experience is “Arab specific”, he does suspect at least a significant similarity in Iranian Islamic culture, although he makes the point that the two cultures’ histories are different:

So, with the caveat that one of the first things I learned was that the term “Arab” covers a lot of territory, here are some observations and some tentative conclusions about Arabs, more specifically about Arabs from the oil states about why we have misunderstood each other to the point that we are fighting a war with some of them and are pissing off the rest of them. I suspect that many of these also apply to Iranian Islamists, but I have never been there and note that Iranians are not Arabs and have a different cultural history.

Although it’s not experiencing it with your very own eyes (which I haven’t), I found his twelve points very insightful.

Hope you do too.

I’m off now for some lunch and at 3:30 EST to see if Georgia TECH, Reggie Ball and Calvin Johnson ‘show up’ in Blacksburg, Virginia to do battle with Virginia TECH, and at half-time, maybe I’ll ponder on my ability to sit there in my recliner and enjoy such things in the middle of all the turmoil in the world.

While the defeat of the Hokies may indeed require some luck, the ability to enjoy such things in this country does not… at least, not yet.

-Dan

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God & government, like oil & water, don’t mix

I have just added Dr. Michael J. Hurd’s website DrHurd.com to my sidebar today. I read his Daily Dose of Reason faithfully (although I admit to having to play ‘catch-up’ more often than not).

Almost immediately, I see a link to Dr. Hurd in gus van horn’s Quick Round Up 101 – which BTW is most always a good condensation of current happenings from a pro-reason perspective. gvh tipped his hat to Carl Svanberg for the lead. So, HT w/link to both.

Dr. Hurd presents a concise and effective case for the separation of church and state in his Sunday, 9/24/06, Daily Dose of Reason – Why God and Government Do Not Mix. A teaser (and I won’t use gvh’s):

Survival and progress are by definition objective, secular concepts. You can be an atheist, an agnostic, or subscribe to whatever faith you choose, but if you value survival (in this life) and progress, you have to favor the separation of church and state.

Also, gvh links to this timely speech with the lead in:

Drop whatever you’re doing and read Senator James Inhofe’s spectacular speech against global warming hysteria.

Another HT to gvh, and I second the recommendation !!!

A lot of links, but I’ve checked them all – they work!

-Dan

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In Moral Defense of Israel

This is the title of a page at The Ayn Rand Institute’s website dedicated to a reasoned defense of Israel’s right to exist and to explain why it is in America’s best, rational self-interest to support her.

The explanation itself is a quick read, but contains numerous links to op-eds and press releases that ARI’s Objectivist team of scholars have developed, written and released over time addressing this theme.

If you’d like a better rational understanding of this important subject and have neither the time nor desire to research tons of materials, and the tedious task of separating fact from fiction, this is a great resource.

An early paragraph reads:

Israel and those who attack it are not moral equals. Israel is, like the United States, a “mixed economy,” which retains a significant respect for individual rights. Its citizens, whatever their race or religion, enjoy many freedoms, including freedom of thought and speech, and the right to own property. The purpose of Israel’s military is only self-defense: to protect its citizens from aggressors. Consequently, Israel has a moral right to exist.

For what its worth, I recommend it.

-Dan

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FrontPage Magazine interview

For those who “get” this, after awhile I suppose it begins to sound like beating a dead horse. But obviously there are many too many that don’t.

I’ll post just the prelude to the actual interview with this link to it at FrontPageMag.com:

Because They Hate

By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | September 25, 2006 Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Brigitte Gabriel, a journalist and news producer who started her career as an anchor for World News, an evening Arabic news broadcast throughout the Middle East, for which she reported on critical events in the Middle East.As a terrorism expert and the founder of the non-profit organization AmericanCongressforTruth.com, Brigitte travels widely and speaks regularly on topics related to the Middle East. She is the author of the new book Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America.

 

 

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