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About ds1973

  • Birthday 04/19/1973

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  1. OK for all my talk of voting 3rd party, I just couldn't bring myself to vote for any candidate for president. I did vote for a republican for NY state assembly who, on the issues positions test at www.vote-smart.org, answered pro-choice, pro-gun, pro-death penalty and for reducing or maintaining tax levels (no increases). In NY we had one amendment to make it possible for disabled veterans, who are not receiving disability benefits, to get civil service credits on "competitive civil service examinations". I also abstained from voting for offices where I only had 1 choice (Socialist Buffalonian State Senator, county judge, family court judge). For my congressional rep, I voted Republican, mainly because our current rep is a big government socialist. You should have seen the form letter I got outlining all the great reasons why the government should "rescue the financial services industry". She blamed the whole disaster on deregulation, lack of oversight, and loss of transparency - basically not enough government regulations led to this failure in the market. So, in the end, the numbers will show someone who came out to vote, but abstained from choosing a president. They can't blame it on hanging chads in NY either, we have those nifty mechanical voting machines. I think I like this whole selective voting process.
  2. So in Volume 20, # 2 of The Intellectual Activist, Tracinski argues that McCain is the "Lesser of Two Evils". Basic summary points: On morality: Obama - advocates the "altruist welfare-statism and foreign policy appeasement" McCain - "basic convictions are a generalized altruism expressed by his frequent exhortation to serve 'a cause greater than your own self-interest'“ and Pragmatism. Tracinski argues that there is one crucial question about these two candidates: "Does he love America?” He goes on to analyze: Obama: his association with people such as Wright and Ayers tell us: "that Obama himself may not hate America, but he has been comfortable dealing closely for long periods of time with people who do hate America and who have been willing to say so loudly, publicly, repeatedly." McCain: His history as a POW "enduring torture for years rather than betray his country, speaks volumes." And quotes McCains speech at the Republican convention where he describes when and why he fell in love with his country as a POW. Tracinski goes on to support his argument by pointing out that "Foreign policy is the one area in which the president acts virtually alone." He mentions how McCain advocated the surge far before Bush implemented it and how Obama was opposed to it. He also points out that McCain has a sincere desire to fight for America even if he really doesn't understand America or free markets. Tracinski also advocates voting for Republican congressional reps in order to block the democratic leadership from passing its agenda. He cites 3 "positive political developments" that the congressional Republicans have been responsible for: 1) Defeat of a proposal for "cap-and-trade" energy rationing. 2) Initiation of the "campaign to repeal restrictions on domestic oil exploration" 3) Their unexpected blocking of the first financial bailout bill and denouncement of it as "a slippery slope to socialism". Even though they were "browbeaten into voting for the bill", it was "a spirited defense of liberty in Congress" I apologize to Mr. Tracinski if I was not able to effectively capture his detailed article in my summary. It may be posted at his web site in the near future if you'd like to read it: http://www.intellectualactivist.com/ I also see the basic point that no political party really advocates an "Objectivist viewpoint" and I understand that Objectivism is not a political party. However, I'm still not personally convinced that the most appropriate action is to abstain from voting. It sounds like the basic idea advocated here is that the general population needs to be schooled in Objectivist thinking and subsequently will make more rational, pro-Objectivist philosophy decisions at the polls. If this were the case, then one would expect that one of the existing parties would not necessarily evolve "good ideas" but trend away from the bad ones. It's likely that they will demonstrate better behavior as they attempt to cater to a more pro-Objectivist minded electorate.
  3. I think it is legitimate to add "3rd party" to this poll. I think there are many students of Objectivism here who may see a vote for a third party as a protest vote. Some of us, myself included, just may not be able to bring ourselves to not vote (especially since many of us are still going to the polls for local/state reps and issues). I think the media and public would pay more attention if a third party, known for their message of individual liberty, were to receive 20 % of the vote rather than have that 20% go to "abstained". I'm still not sure why there is a hatred of the libertarian party when many of the stands they take on issues fall on the side of more individual freedoms and less government. I don't see that they advocate "anarchy" (as mentioned in the debate page) and people like myself it's likely they're a much different organization today than they were when Rand gave that interview. I'm not advocating that all objectivists should vote Libertarian here, but I see nothing wrong with it given the choices. I'm still trying to understand what exactly the so called "Objectivists" on this board DO advocate and how they expect to achieve their political goals outside of a political party. Which is the party that advocates the philosophy of Ayn Rand? Where is todays Objectivist leader and which party will they choose to reform towards Rand’s philosophy? With the Republicans catering to the Christian right and the Democrats catering to the socialist left, doesn't the libertarian party lend itself to such a reformation? Sorry if I sound frustrated here, my intention is not to flame anyone. I suppose this is my typical negative attitude when I only see the country heading further into a fascist hell-on-earth.
  4. Oh this thread is hilarious. These all had me rolling. I'd like to address your comment on Dwarves though: Leviticus 21 reads (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus%2021;&version=31;): "The LORD said to Moses, "Say to Aaron: 'For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; no man with a crippled foot or hand, or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the offerings made to the LORD by fire. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God. He may eat the most holy food of his God, as well as the holy food; yet because of his defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary. I am the LORD, who makes them holy." To a trained scholar like myself, it is apparent that God was referring to the Dwarves and Orcs of Middle Earth described separately in books of Tolkien. The Dwarves were productive people, but they mined the earth for gold, silver and iron and wrought the iron into tools which the traded for food. These dwarves did not live for the Isrealite God and so were rejected by him. The Orcs are the disfigured, deformed, hunchback bunch. They are in general no good to anyone, especially this picky God...
  5. This is out of control. According to this article, the US is responsible for destroying the primitive way of life of these people. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070416/ap_on_..._from_the_ice_4 This is a perfect example of man as an animal; a subsistence existence in which a small perturbation in environment wreaks havoc with their lives. "She", in the quote below, refers to one of the Inuit hunters, expert in global climate change... Does she know what a greenhouse is? This just blows me away. We're supposed to make drastic changes to our lifestyles because of an unproven hypothesis about mans effect on global climate to save a primitive way of life? Why isn't it ever suggested that these primitive cultures abandon their way of life & join the rest of the world? The next quote tells it all, the primitive life is one in touch with "god"... according to Rosie Stancer, who is trying to become the first woman to have traveled solo to both poles. This is mysticism over reason, force over mind & death over life. This is at the core of the environmental movement.
  6. Sounds like this has been a useful thread. Thanks for all the good feedback too. My daughter is so curious about this topic. Kids can be very rational thinkers and their questions can catch you off-gaurd because they're to the point and ask about things that maybe you haven't thought about in years. My wife went to a wake (without the kids) for a friends mother when they were visiting family last week. My daughter found out where she had been and asked if she could go next time someone we knew died. We told her that we hoped no one we knew would die any time soon, but that if she really wanted to go she could. She wants to see people before they get buried now. If we're not careful, she'll become the next Edgar Allen Poe. Last night I actually did use the doctor comment, but in the following context: my daughter (E): Daddy, I don't want to die Me (D): I know sweetie, but that's what happens to people. We get old and then die. I don't want to die either. You know what though? There are doctors and scientist working on ways to make people live longer. When you're older, most people will probably live to be more than 100 years old. Probably even longer! E: We can live forever? D: Not forever, but longer. If you want to help people live longer, maybe you can become a doctor. E: And I can give people medicine and they'll live longer? D: Sort of honey, doctors help make people better if they're sick so they can live longer. These conversations always seem to take place at bed time. On one hand, it's a serious topic to address, on the other it's a great stall tactic on her part! Demetrius
  7. I've never listened to Imus in the morning, I've only heard a clip or two. I have no interest. There are some buttons on my radio that I can use to avoid listening to things I don't like. I use them all the time when the scan stops on christian music channels or rap. Do other people know about these buttons? If people stop listening, and sponsors stop paying, those shows get cancelled. Laissez-Faire
  8. I just saw this movie. Yes, there was some revisionism and a good deal of creative license was taken in depicting the events (like one on one combat outside the phalanx). However, given the historical significance of this battle, how this really marked the beginning of a unified Greece and set into motion the chain of events that would ultimately lead to the end of the Persian invasion of Europe, I loved it. Would there have been a United States of America if Greece had not been able to repel the Persians? I can't say the movie deeply stirred me until the final scene. The scene where (was it Aristodemus with one eye?) was rallying the Greeks in the final battle at Plataea. I literally got tears in my eyes. Yes, ancient Greece wasn't perfect, but the idea depicted here, of Free men defending their values against mystics who were trying to enslave them literally brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't believe it. I've got to get my wife to see the movie now... she hates the graphic violence in these types of films though... Demetrius
  9. I've had a great conversation via private messages regarding this topic with Smathy. Profile I liked his advice so much that I thought I'd post it. However, the format of our messages contained a lot of quotations & commentary related to specific paragraphs that I thought it would be useful to reformat it into a conversation format. We both agree that the conversation sounds a bit contrived, but that the messages are conveyed acurately. Both of us have reviewed the contents and approved - with the disclaimer that this is a conversation constructed from messages sent back and forth (you also may notice lines cut and pasted from my original post in there). The characters below are: D - Me and S: Smathy. If there are other parents out there looking for some advice on speaking to their children about death, I hope this will help. D: Smathy, I need some advice. My daughter, turning 5 in May, has been staying up unusually late the past few nights. Tonight, after responding to my daughters calls, my wife came downstairs with tears in her eyes. Apparently my daughter had told her that she wants to be put between us with her bunny and other stuffed animals & her blanket when she dies S: “Aww, that's gorgeous, what a beautiful thought from someone so young." D: Yeah, but my wife was caught a bit off guard by it all. She told me she tried to explain to my daughter that she wouldn't have to worry about that for a long, long time, probably not till she was 85. S: That was a very unhelpful response for your daughter. Imagine the same situation between you and your wife, if you expressed concern about something serious to you, which you didn't really understand, and your wife responded by trying to tell you that you had nothing to worry about, that the problem was insignificant at this time, etc. You would probably close off and not bother involving your wife in any of your thoughts on the matter for some time. D: hmm.. I want to have a discussion with my daughter to try & take her mind off of dying and focusing on enjoying her life, just not sure what to say. S: imagine if someone did that to you. Imagine if right now instead of discussing this issue with you - I began trying to take your mind of it. "Hey, enough about your daughter, tell me about the other areas of your life, what sort of positive things do you see elsewhere in your life." You'd be: "What the hell are you talking about?!?" And rightly so. Your daughter will respond the same way, only it will have a far greater impact on her because she really values your opinion and input D: You’re right, geez I feel pretty bad about this. What now? I know her personality and she will worry about this. S: Good, because you know what - there's nothing more concerning for any living thing than death. It's perfectly natural for a conceptual being to ponder its own mortality. For your daughter, at her age (like mine) it's extraordinarily advanced. If you're not overwhelmingly impressed with your daughter's amazing conceptualization, and her advanced thoughts, then you need to ask yourself why. What is it about your daughter pondering death that bothers you and why? D: This is exactly what I told my wife, my daughter is brilliant. Seriously though, I think what bothers us most is the thought of her dying. It brings tears to both our eyes. S: Don't be afraid to tell your daughter that too - "Y'know I get really upset when you talk about dying because I'd be very sad if you were to die." Your daughter will probably show how strong she is by comforting you D: Problem is, I don't have any experience talking to a 5 yr old about death in a secular context. I was brought up in a Christian household with the standard going to heaven answer. S: Hey, I was raised in a secular family and no one ever presented me with the "How to talk to your five year old about death." manual. One of the reasons for that is that this really is no big deal. Kids have a natural curiosity about everything; you must know that. As they happen on a new subject they study it, think about it, ponder it. If they're always encouraged to think then they will often advance to topics which are beyond their ability to understand. You just do what you can, in the context of their world. D: What about with your own daughter, has this ever come up? S: Actually, yes. When my daughter was three, we went to see Charlotte's Web with both kids. So, in the end Charlotte, the spider, dies. Well, my daughters eyes filled with tears (I was pretty teary too) and she began asking questions. "Did Charlotte really die?" "Yes sweetie." "That's really sad." "Yes, it's very sad when someone you care about dies." "Are you going to die Daddy?" "Yes, one day." "Will I be very sad?" (laughing a bit) "I hope so!" "I will be very sad I think. .... Will I die?" "Yes sweetie, we all die." (very overwhelmed with tears) "I don't want to die." "No sweetie, nor do I." (confused and still crying) "I really don't want to die." "No, I really don't want to die either." (giving me a huge hug) "I hope we never die." "Wouldn't that be great if we never died." (happier) "Yes, and if we lived forever." "Let's see what we can do about that will we." (resolute) "Yes, good idea Dad." And that was the end of that. From time to time the subject comes up, talking about us dying, or her dying, or our two dogs which died when she was one, or Granny or Granddad - heh, that was funny. "Will Granny and Granddad die first?" "Yes sweetie, probably." "Because they're old?" "Yep." "Thought so." D: What about after death? I've thought about explaining how no one really knows what happens when you die, so that is just something we'll all have to see when we get there. I thought about outlining hypotheses like reincarnation, heaven or just nothing. S: You shouldn’t think about spinning complete lies to your child hoping to avoid the question. You'll only succeed in undermining her trust. My daughter has asked about heaven and I always answer with truth, that some people believe in heaven, but that there's no such place and when you die you die. She's asked why we have to die and I've explained about getting old and things running out sort of like a doll that breaks over time and eventually can't be fixed. The important things to remember are: 1. Never shy away from an opportunity to engage your child in a thoughtful examination of a topic. 2. Always phrase things in (accurate) language your child will understand, or give examples involving dolls 3. Sometimes (especially with these sorts of subjects) your child just wants you to hear them out, not offer a solution. 4. The tone of what you say is as important as the content of what you say. 5. The quickest way to grow a fear in a child is to be afraid to talk about a subject, refuse to talk about a subject, or attempt to change the subject to something else. It is those actions by the parent, which instill the fear in the child - they feed of your reaction. 6. Look for the message behind the words. D: You’re right; you know I've always been impressed with how rational kids can be. Sounds like she just needs to deal with this the same way a rational adult would, knowing she has some say and control over what happens even after she dies. She was very specific that she be buried between us and her little brother could be on the other side of one of us. Sibling rivalry to the end. S: Oh that's classic! Think about the message behind the words. Here it is: There's this thing I've heard of called death, which I don't really understand. I'm quite concerned about it. When it happens I want all the things that make me feel happy around me, and I want to be right next to mum and dad, NO, actually I want to be BETWEEN mum and dad. Yeah, nothing is a problem when I'm between mum and dad. Yeah, that's a good idea, I'm sure that'll work, I'll just tell mum - she always tells me when I've had a good idea... "Hey mum, I want to be put between you and dad with my bunny and other stuffed animals, and my blanket when I die." I would have immediately engaged her on the topic of her burial and asked which dolls she was going to have with her. Whether she was going to have her blanket folded, or wrapped around her. What clothes she wanted to be dressed in. Instead, think of the response that she received. D: You’re right Smathy. I need to engage my daughter on this topic. I’ll let you know how it turned out. S: If you're interested, a great book which I've read along the way - and which has been invaluable in my parenting - is "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk". If you get it you'll see much of what I've said here reflected in the pages, plus a heap more. Three days later… S: Hey Demetrius. So what happened with your daughter? D: Well, it’s an interesting story. I engaged her at the dinner table the other night. I told her that it seemed she still had questions about dying and that maybe mommy and daddy didn’t do a good job answering them. I told her that it made us very sad to think about her dying but that I would try my best to answer her questions if she wanted to ask more. I think she really opened up & we had a pretty good conversation. At one point where I did have tears in my eyes, she didn’t get upset, just kind of took it in and let me hug and kiss her. She told me about wanting to be buried between her mother and asked how other people would know how she wanted to be buried. She was real concerned about this. I told her that big people wrote wills and that a will told other people how to bury you and what to do with all your stuff. “All my stuff?” She asked. “Yes” I said, “any stuff you want”. I asked her if she wanted to write a will and that she could tell me what she wanted & I would write it up for her and she could sign it and put it with Mommy & Daddys wills. She liked that idea. So after dinner she sat on my lap at the computer and this is what I typed up based on her wishes: “I wish to be buried with between my mommy & daddy holding my pink bunny and straw cup in both arms. I direct that all my other stuffed animals including sheep & soft bunny, my soft Jasmine doll be placed around me in a circle. I direct that I should be wrapped in my soft pink & purple princess blanket. I direct that my Barbie dolls and Barbie videos be put around me with my stuffed animals.” I printed it out and had her print her name at the bottom. She said she wanted to draw pictures on it too but got distracted by things she had forgotten so she had my wife add to the will in marker: “and my Polly pockets and my markers and my gum & I want to wear my jewelry and my Aurora magnets and everything I own.” I swear she has been falling asleep better at night since we wrote that up. She hasn’t brought up death again since then. S: Sounds like a great outcome! Thank you for letting me know how it went.
  10. My daughter (turning 5 in May) has been staying up unusually late the past few nights. Tonight, after responding to my daughters calls, my wife came downstairs with tears in her eyes. Apparently my daughter had told her that she wants to be put between us with her bunny and other stuffed animals & her blanket when she dies. My wife told me she tried to explain to her that she wouldn't have to worry about that for a long long time, probably not till she was 85. My daughter is really worrying about death & dying. I want to have a discussion with my daughter to try & take her mind off of dying and focusing on enjoying her life, but I know her personality (she's just like me) and she will worry about this. Problem is, I don't have any experience talking to a 5 yr old about death. I was raised Greek Orthodox & was given the standard answer about going to heaven & being together again up there looking down on the world. Does anyone here have any advice? I'm particularly interested in hearing from other parents who have gone through this but I am open to rational suggestions from non-parents as well. I've thought about explaining how no one really knows what happens when you die, so that is just something we'll all have to see when we get there. I thought about outlining hypotheses like reincarnation, heaven or just nothing. However I don't want to set the stage for her to think they're true. I see now why so many people turn to religion after having children. It's pretty easy to abdicate the responsibility of explaining the tough questions & turn to using the prepared doctrine of religion. I would really appreciate some advice in this area. Thanks! Demetrius
  11. I voted the best I could to maximize individual liberties & minimize government. Here in Ohio we had 5 "Issues" on the ballot as well. Minimum wage hike (no), Banning smoking in places of employment & most open to the public (no, even though I hate smoking), etc... In my opinion, one should do the best they can to understand a candidates position on individual rights & vote for candidates who will support those rights. This is not always easy & involves somewhat ranking the freedoms important to you. I have no problem abstaining when I think both candidates are fascist or don't have enough information on them to make an informed decision. Good resources for digging into voting records & stances on issues are: http://www.vote-smart.org/ and http://www.smartvoter.org/ What about a choice on the ballot for "None of the above" & if "none of the above" gets equal or more votes than either candidate there should be some kind of re-election race. Talk about a way to bring government to a halt. Demetrius
  12. It's been a few months since I read it, but it struck me that there are economists with a philosophy and Economists without one. It's not clear from the book that Levitt has a philosophy (or is willing to publicize it). Don't expect Levitt to objectively identify behavior as "good" or "bad". As an economist, he is only concerned with how various "incentives" result in a particular outcome. Overall mrocktor's summary is right on. Levitt presents data and draws some logical conclusions from his overall analysis but don't expect him to apply any objective judgement to this work. Just prior to the abortion chapter, there is a NY times excerpt in which it is written about Levitt: "He has little taste for politics and even less for moralizing. He is genial, low-key and unflappable, confident but not cocky. He speaks with a considerable lisp. His appearance is High Nerd..... He was a good golfer in high school but has so physically atrophied that he calls himself 'the weakest human being alive' and asks Jeannett to open jars around the house." The whole excerpt seems to try and elevate him by degrading him. It's disgusting.. I'm experiencing a similar frustration with this lack of philosophy in "Seeing what's next; Using the theories of innovation to predict industry change". In a section of this book, the authors anaylze how govt regulation in the telecommunications industry either led to more or less innovation. The whole time during this book (I'm only 1/2 way through), the Objectivist in me is screaming "Laissez-faire is the only proper system" while the authors dispassionatly give the government advice on how to implement "successful intervention" in various industries.. It makes me sick to my stomach that so many people have taken it as axiomatic that government intervention is a legitimate, and effective means to improve the economy. More and more, I see how dangerous intelligent, productive people with no philosophy can be. It matters little how their work is used, only that they are allowed to do their work; and if the government funds it, all the better. Rand chose an appropriate title for "Philosophy: Who needs it". We all need it or else we wander around not giving a damn how we fund the fruits of our labor or how they are used. Demetrius
  13. Yes, e-ink is doing some pretty cool work. Check out their press releases: http://www.eink.com/press/releases.html and how the technology works: http://www.eink.com/technology/howitworks.html Imagine the possibilities of a flexible battery integrated with a flexible display -- The "scroll" of the 21st Century. Also imagine a house without lights, just photo-luminescent wall paper (flexible OLED technology. I work with a colleague who worked on this at GE - not proprietary info, patent cited below). Check out US pat # 6,891,330 -- Mechanically flexible organic electroluminescent device with directional light emission. One of many steps to the future... http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?...S=IN/schaepkens Demetrius
  14. Drewfactor, You'll find lots of articles supporting free-market solutions (authors from Economists like Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell to Medical Doctors) to various aspect of healthcare here: http://capmag.com/category.asp?action=cat&catID=6 I especially like the one Why Is There No Car Insurance Crisis? at: http://capmag.com/article.asp?ID=3848 Especially worthwhile is to read about how HMOs were created by an act of congress, effectively eliminating individual insurance. This is especially important since people tend to point at HMOs as an example of "Capitalism gone bad" even though there is really a lack of free market in the health insurance business. The History of HMOs: http://capmag.com/article.asp?ID=2819 Finally, on a final note, if you're debating anyone over 30, forget about it. You may have a better chance with the economic conservatives, but the social liberals are tough nuts to crack (if anyone has a technique, please enlighten me). By age 30, I think most people have solidified their basic philosophies in life. Demetrius
  15. Interesting, to address the copyright issue as well: http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#what ------------------------------- When is my work protected? Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Do I have to register with your office to be protected? No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration.” Why should I register my work if copyright protection is automatic? Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within 5 years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration” and Circular 38b, Highlights of Copyright Amendments Contained in the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA), on non-U.S. works. ---------------------- The only thing I've ever registered for copyright was my Ph.D. dissertation. Demetrius
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