Friday, October 30, 2009

It's almost time to "Go Galt"

For those who regularly read the Wall Street Journal, you know that the regular columnist Peggy Noonan is often incisive and always diplomatic. (She was a speech writer for Ronald Reagan.) But in today's column at the WSJ, Ms. Noonan actually called politicians stupid, and she referred to a businessman who said he's so fed up with government's confiscatory taxation that he's about ready to just quit, and he knows other businessmen who already have. I wrote the following letter to the editor at the WSJ on Ms. Noonan's column.


When the ever-polite and diplomatic Peggy Noonan calls the leaders of America stupid, we have crossed a threshold.

Ms. Noonan is right, of course – though she is, ironically, being polite again. These so-called leaders are, instead, willfully and consciously ignorant of what is right and, more important, what individual rights are.

They have high-education degrees but chose to buy into the power-lust “progressivism” and coercive altruism of Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and every other leader in American politics, to some degree, in the 20th and 21st century. They turned their noses up at Adam Smith, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Locke, Aristotle, Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand. They think, like all skeptics of human nature such as Thomas Hobbes, that citizens and their businesses must be strictly controlled, that those who earn lots of money on merit and education must be sacrificed to those who don’t, that a government made up of humans is somehow more moral than those it monitors and suppresses.

And the result is everything Ms. Noonan alluded to: confiscatory taxation, redistribution, oppressive regulation and purposely vague legislation that puts businesses and people at the mercy of corrupt lawyers and bureaucrats. It gets to a point, as Ms. Noonan said of her businessman, where we hard workers and owners of businesses and wealth seekers do, indeed, want to quit – or “Go Galt,” in reference to the hero in Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” in which the great thinkers and businessmen chose to “stop the motor of the world” because they tired of rapacious government.

If the citizens and leaders of this once-great country do not inform themselves soon on what is right, that day will come. And none too soon for this boy from Texas.

A remarkable creed that all journalists should live by

As my dear readers know, I commend the Wall Street Journal often for its high journalistic standards, its general objectivity and the best opinion pieces, bar none, in the world. It says something about the character of the best minds and the people with the most financial power in the world that the WSJ's subscription base is the only one in the world for the last two years to continually rise instead of drop.

The primary reason for this is the WSJ's remarkable mission statement. Here it is:

We speak for free markets and free people, the principles, if you will, marked in the watershed year of 1776 by Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence and Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations." So over the past century and into the next, the Journal stands for free trade and sound money; against confiscatory taxation and the ukases of kings and other collectivists; and for individual autonomy against dictators, bullies and even the tempers of momentary majorities.

How's that for an impressive creed in our modern-day slave society?! If even half of the major dailies in this country adopted this attitude, we'd see a sea change in U.S. politics. But, of course, that won't happen until millions of Americans become philosophically smarter, to learn to think philosophically, to spend some of their TV time each week on the fundamentals of philosophy.
Be that as it may, I'll just take a moment to salute the best newspaper (and its staff and progenitors) for the highest quality journalism the world has known. Salute!

Insider-trading rules run by outsiders from D.C.

In a remarkable piece of journalism, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece by an eloquent man named Donald Boudreaux earlier this week on how insider trading should not be illegal and should be dictated by company policy instead. Not being an Objectivist, the writer didn't get to fundamentals, but he made a terrific argument for why outlawing so-called insider trading hurts companies, shareholders and markets. The WSJ printed my letter to the editor (below) yesterday on the article:

Mr. Boudreaux is on the money in acknowledging that corporations own their own property and can construct their own insider-trading rules. Not only is it a practical solution to the political manhandling of corporations, it is also a moral solution because it honors and acknowledges a company's right to its property and to make decisions for itself and its shareholders.
David Elmore
Roswell, GA

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If I were a gorilla, I wouldn't have sinus infections

Just got done reading Richard Dawkins' fabulous new book on evolution, "The Greatest Show on Earth" (which I'll review anon), and discovered that when we hominids began walking upright our nasal passages in our cheeks couldn't drain anymore.

There are two drain holes at the top of the passages, so while we're standing, our sinuses fill up like thirsty reservoirs. Ever get that heavy head feeling during sinus season? Yep, that's why. Well, as you can imagine, the apes don't have this issue because they still get around pretty much on all fours (and it's also why liberals don't get sinus infections).

After reading this article, I got to thinking, "How can I solve this issue?" Then Eureka!

So, if you see a guy at the mall bent over 90% with a Rube Goldberg-style vision apparatus attached to his eyes and head so he can see straight ahead, that'll be me. Just don't expect me to stand up and shake hands. I might spew.

If you're a journalist, I feel sorry for you ... sort of

New circulation figures by the Audit Bureau of Circulations show that in just the last six months, daily circulation at 379 U.S. snoozepapers fell an astounding 10.6%. In SIX MONTHS!

Snoozepapers are bleeding ... badly. The major snoozepaper in the city I live around, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has been hit even harder. Its daily circulation plummeted 23.4% to just 214,303 -- in a region with more than 5 million residents! It's pathetic. Part of the AJC's falling numbers are attributed to its elimination of circulation in outlying counties, but even after that, it's numbers are worse than other places around the country. Atlanta is in one of the top 10 population regions in the country, and its major snoozepaper has now dropped out of the top 25 in circulation!

In what I think is related news, CNN's viewership is now the worst of all the major snooze channels. (it's also based in Atlanta)

So, why is this happening -- not just in Atlanta, but around the country? It's complex. Well, OK, it's not. The snooze media are borrrring and Leftist. To make my point, the top newspaper (yes "news," not "snooze" in this case) is the Wall Street Journal, whose readership has been going up during the last two years while the rest of the industry free-falls. Also, Fox News has seen the same thing on an even grander scale. It is now smoking the other channels. Both of the latter media are much more objective than their counterparts, much more free-market oriented, much more interesting, and much more insightful.

I have to admit to a little schadenfreude here. I love the well-deserved misery. It's justice on a grand scale that I could not have thought possible two years ago. The newspapers have been printing the worst kind of vitriol against free markets, individual rights and businesses for years, and the businesses, like beaten puppies, continue to advertise there because it's the only monopoly game in town.

CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post and the rest of their ilk have adamantly supported the Leftist agenda (and their new puppet king in the White House) for years, and now consumers are treating them like they do the latest liberal Hollywoodite "theme" film -- with a smirk and a "no thanks."

And many snoozepapers, like the AJC, are actually doing what they do best in these hard times: making horrible business decisions while instigating ludicrous price hikes. The bill for the AJC just went up considerably for me, and so I will soon end my subscription as well, and I'll simply peruse it online when I must.

I feel sorry for the very few journalists friends I have, including Dan Puckett in San Antonio. They got into journalism, I think, for the same reason I did: to bring real news, objective news, creative news to the public and to make money with the beloved written word. They are now faced with the decision to hang on and glean a little bit of satisfaction from their own professionalism in a rotten industry or to start looking elsewhere for better pastures.

I wish them luck as I hope for the ultimate demise of jaundiced journalism.

Time to get the "public" out of education

The Wall Street Journal published a story yesterday in which it asked several "experts" what is needed to get American students on par with international students in math and science. They had the usual mundane responses ranging from Obama Dead Eyes is busy with other stuff and we need to pay math and science teachers more and blah blah blah. I wrote the following letter to the editor on the article:

The experts who commented in the “Why We’re Failing Math and Science” missed the boat on all counts.

The reason K-12 education in America is woefully behind its international counterparts is because of two things: anachronistic classes and propaganda. As many recent studies have pointed out, the information industry is leaping forward exponentially, with much of what is known and taught today expected to be outdated within 2 years (sort of Moore’s Law applied to high tech), so that math classes take students in a direction that 99% of them will never use, as opposed to more specific technology classes.

And students are being propagandized on global warming, recycling, environmentalism, welfare statism, economics, “social studies” and “giving back,” instead of learning about the original U.S. Constitution and the meaning of individual rights, as well as how to think independently with facts as their only guide to decision-making.

All of that said, the primary problem we have in America with childhood learning is that the “public” and its political representatives are in charge of what children learn, when they learn it, and how well they’ve allegedly learned it. The only solution to making America children more knowledgeable, more creative and better motivated than students in other countries is to exterminate “public education” and allow American education consumers to send their children to private trade schools with their well-honed curricula.

The result will be magnificently prepared and highly energized children becoming happy, productive individuals who can, then, read up on alleged global warming and the other issues and make their own informed decisions – that is, if they have the time to wade into such morasses while enjoying their fruitful lives.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Congressman kicks butt on health care issue

Check out the straight talk from Congressman Rogers from Michigan at a congressional hearing (guaranteed you didn't see this on CNN or read about it in your newspaper). Here it is HERE.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Americans cooling on global warming

Three years ago, 77 percent of Americans believed that the Earth was warming. A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that that number has now fallen to 57 percent -- still high but moving in the right direction. Even more significantly, only 36 percent of Americans think humans are causing the Earth to warm, compared with 47 percent in 2006.

This is, frankly, stunning. The Lefties are blaming the "tea-party activists" and conservatives for "playing with numbers" and other such nonsense. But the director at Pew said many Americans seem to just not give a shit because they've got other things to worry about -- and perhaps because many of them experienced a cool summer this year and already a chilly autumn.

Yes, the Earth has been cooling since 1998 (or 2000, by some scientific accounts), and it is cooling faster than it warmed between 1980 and 1998. You won't read about this in most snooze-papers around the country, but it is real and it is not even being denied by anyone who'll go on record for denying such things.

It is also frankly amazing that major snooze media actually printed the recent poll (luckily it was done by a respected institution), but of course the media included in the articles the alleged fact that a "vast majority of scientists" still believe in anthropocentric global warming. The snooze pundits don't say what KIND of scientists believe the nonsense and they don't give an accounting of which ones actually believe it.

But for the moment, I'll just revel in some good news (not snooze).

The federal health-care balloon hoax

The Lefty-controlled Congress and White house have untethered their silver, fascist balloon over America. On the side it reads: Free health care for the poor. Insurance for every American. Lower prices for all. Land of the free health care and home of the brave new world.

And the Lefties have shoved Truth and Liberty into the attic, though they say the two boys are inside the balloon.

Will someone please notify the Larimer County sheriff in Colorado that he's got 536 people in Washington D.C. to arrest, too? They are far more dangerous than a Reality TV charlatan who's made no claims to rip up the Constitution of the United States and hold Americans at gunpoint if they seek only their individual rights.

If the sheriff can find a jail big enough for the 536, may I suggest that he turn on the cameras? I will join millions of Americans with popcorn watching that Reality TV.

Bright Star -- a movie review of Keats film


The latest movie about the English poet John Keats, "Bright Star," is a enticing period piece, true to its genre and ambiance, with superb acting -- but woefully boring in places and lacking in imaginative outlet for Keats' best work.

Keats wrote poems for only the last three years of his short life, which ended at the age of 25 in 1821 because of tuberculosis, which had felled both his mother and brother Tom.

Keats had a sad temperament with bouts of joy, much like many poets of his time. Had he lived another 20 or 30 years, his poetry could've possibly rivaled Shakespeare's in rich, complex verse. Even so, some of Keats' poems are magestic, though sometimes laced with strained or staid wording, as this line from Endymion: "... and such are daffodils, With the green world they live in" or this contrived line later in the poem: "An endless fountain of immortal drink, Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink."

The two things that primarily fell flat in "Bright Star" were the platonic/romantic relationship with his muse, Fanny Brawne, and the film's lack of imaginative flights from Keats' best poetry. Brawne is a baffling and sometimes daffy muse who doesn't really get poetry and doesn't really DO anything. She is pretty and free-spirited and witty, but also shallow. She does not come across as nearly Keat's equal in sense of life and depth of soul, which would be a true inspiration for any poet. (If this were true in real life, perhaps it would explain Keats' inability to construct truly great and evocative verses consistently. Perhaps he needed another 10 years of living through anguish, ecstasy, wonder and self-understanding to truly glean his teeming brain.)

As for the lack of imaginative flights, the film does almost nothing with Keats' best poem (not published in his lifetime): "When I have fears that I may cease to be." Here is the poem:

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;--then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

In the film, Keats is with Fanny and some of her family at a table when a child asks him for a poem. He sits in reverie for a moment and then recites the first six lines of the above exquisite poem. He then stops and apologizes that he cannot finish. We, the informed audience, are supposed to know the pain he feels and understand his reticence (or, perhaps, he himself doesn't want to go down that dark tunnel yet). In either case, we are not allowed to feel the enduring pain he felt in full force that he may not live long enough to feel the "faery power of unreflecting love" or to glean his teeming brain.

Why could the film-makers not have shown us a particularly harrowing moment in Keats' diseased life, shown us the man surrounded by his beloved books, shown us the poet staring out his window at the stars, shown us his dreamy thoughts of Fanny, and then unsentimentally given us a voice-over of Keats' poem coming out of him and revealing the true tragedy of his life?

There are moments in the movie in which his poetry is evoked well, but several of his best works like "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" and others are not plumbed, or they are not plumbed in proper context, so that you don't FEEL the poet.

I left the theatre after seeing "Bright Star" pretty much feeling as I did after seeing 1994's "Immortal Beloved" about Beethoven: like I'd felt some bond with the man, but feeling like there was much much more that I wanted to feel and know.

Get ready to be hated, rich people in Norway

Norway (a country most Americans can't find on a map) has followed up its fictional Peace Prize with a nonfiction masterpiece of class warfare. It has published the incomes of every citizen, revealing for all the wealth-haters those who make "too much money."

The land of Quisling (remember the guy who gave Norway to Hitler?) and the land of the inventor of dynamite (yes, Alfred Nobel), and the land of the formidable Vikings, has cut off its testicles and proudly proclaims itself a welfare state and believes it should be a model of "transparency" to the world by publishing the tax returns of all its citizens -- except the homeless and the royal family, which laughably doesn't pay taxes. (Now THERE are two groups that should always be mentioned in the same sentence: the homeless and the royal family -- the two least-worthy objects of pathetic affection.)

The concomitant reaction to the income charade has been predictable. Children on playgrounds taunt other children whose parents make little money. Fascist adults (unruly children with pubic hair) decry the "obscene" profit-making of rich industrialists. People in grocery stores ask with feigned sympathy, "How can you live on those low wages?" Professors praise the "egalitarian" aspect of exposing all incomes and makes socialistic statements like, unlike CEOs in the U.S., Norway "places the wealth and health of all as a priority above the individual success stories."

The professors should've left the last two words off that last statement.

What the industrial world is descending into (except for, ironically, communist China) is pandemic altruism: the Jesus syndrome -- those nosy nattering nabobs who can't get enough justification out of their own lives and must fill the void by pretending to care about others and spitefully wielding the government club against individuals who don't have a void to fill.

This is why religion and other forms of subjectivism (liberalism, global warming, conservatism, fascism, socialism, environmentalism, welfare, etc.) have become my (our) business. These subjectivists, as Ayn Rand pointed out, must execute their altruism in politics. They can't help themselves. They must act on their irrationality.

Religious people are aghast when they hear my answer to their seemingly innocuous question, "Even if there isn't a god, what's wrong with people being religious?"

"Because they can't keep it to themselves," I say, not to mention that it is a recipe for a disastrous self-esteem and a lack of self-discovery. But that latter would be fine with me if they could just mind their own business. They can't, however. In a democracy, they get to vote, and since we have moved away from a Constitution that largely restricted coercive legislating, that vote is now perennially menacing.

So now the Big Brother (or Big God) mentality votes away my rights be electing such abominable swamp trolls as Obama Dead Eyes or George W. Bush and such harpy bog bitches as Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein. And the more these subjectivists believe in "higher powers," the more they insist on higher and greater powers in government.

It's vicious. It's a circle. It's a vicious circle, and the Quislings of liberty are trying to make George Orwell the new prophet.

Girl's got game

My lovely daughter, Livy, turned 6 a month ago, and that little brain of hers is leaping exponentially, breathtakingly in observation, morality, conceptualization, wit, creativity, logic -- and that includes games.

When she was barely 5 a year ago, she saw me and a neighbor playing Gears of War on an X-Box and asked to learn. When a young child asks to learn something, I've long since discovered, she doesn't necessarily mean that you are to go through an extensive explanation of the game and the controls. It generally means, "Hand me the controls, shut up, and let me learn all the stuff myself. Cool?" And, of course, through trial and error (a kid's favorite means of learning), she learned the X-Box controls and was soon vanquishing the Gears of War enemy with tactical ability, astounding me and other adults who saw her. (The tech revolution was MADE for children. Everything is perfectly logical and reality-oriented, just like unmuddied minds.)

In the last several months, she has learned all the controls and rules for her electronic DS2 and her Leapster, as well as the different rules for a dozen or more games for those sets. In the last month, she has learned (and mastered the rules) for Uno, Monopoly, Sorry and many other games. She asked me last week if I would play a game of chess with her. She barely let me explain the different capabilities of the pieces before jumping out of her skin, but she realized in this instance that she did need to hear this from me because she would be powerless without it. That's kids for ya, again. If you leave them alone, they know most of the time when to listen and when to plunge forward with playful abandon.

The funniest thing I've found about Livy, though, is her predilection for constant monologue when we are playing games, as if she were an innocent and yet canny cardsharp. She plays psyche games without knowing really that she's doing it. When we're playing Uno (which we did for four hours on Wednesday), she will say something like, "Hmm, should I give you the Four+ card now or wait? You won't like this card. You will see. It is a very special card. This is something that I have ..." She says it with a perfectly serious yet angelic face with all the necessary gravity of a plotting victor. It's hilarious!

Another wonderful product of her latent maturity is her circumspection about what games are all about -- not winning, per se, but execution -- doing your best and having fun. This doesn't mean she doesn't keep score and announce the score with alacrity, but it does mean that her self-esteem is not caught up in winning. She will say, after 8 games of Uno, "Daddy, you won five and I won three," and then say, "Let's make some hot chocolate" directly after.

I'm almost brought to tears often around her because of my joy at who she is and the thought of who she will become. I'm overjoyed at being able to be a part of her sweet life. I'm thankful each day -- even when she tromps over me in Sorry! -- and then high-fives with her big smile and bright eyes.

Yes, you got game, my darling, and are a good person, to boot.

Driving drunk in a La-Z-Boy chair

As an avid follower of current events, I get to know what my neighbors (approximately 6.5 billion of them, by last count) are doing. I think I'm a bit of a snoop. When I was a young boy, I used to sneak out of the house with my brother ostensively to peek in the windows of pretty girls, but we often found ourselves simply sitting outside a window watching an elderly couple chatted or dozed off in their chairs while the husband was reading and the wife was knitting -- sort of an early 1970s version of reality shows. It was fun watching people when they didn't know you were watching. It was wrong of us to violate private property, but, hey, I wouldn't be reading Ayn Rand for another 17 years, and we didn't really mean anyone any harm -- and that one particular blonde who took her top off and admired herself in the mirror from all possible angles, well that was ...

Anyway, back to the subject. A Minnesota guy pled guilty yesterday to driving his La-Z-Boy (who the hell came up with the spelling for that name?!!!) after he had had "8 or 9 beers" and "crashing" into the back of a car. The guy had put a lawnmower motor on his chair and outfitted it with a stereo and cupholders. Ha!

Now, this is the kind of stuff you simply can't make up, and that's what makes it so damned interesting -- the lengths people will go to to enjoy themselves and have what they want and think outside the box. I mean just get inside this guy's head for a moment. "I love my La-Z-Boy. I wish I could have it at my favorite bar. I don't want to take a chance driving home drunk from the bar. I wish I could listen to my favorite tunes. I wish I could have my drinks while driving home without getting into a lot of trouble with the law ..."

"Aha!!!! I'll put my lawnmower motor on my La-Z-Boy and my stereo system on it and make some cupholders. The police can't arrest me because I'm not in my car and I'm not endangering anyone, and I can show it to all my friends ...!"

But the poor schmuck didn't realize the extent of the long-arm of the PC crowd. He was arrested for and convicted of (get ready to shake your head) driving under the influence. The judge stayed his 180 days of jail time but gave him 2 years of probation (presumably from DWIL -- Driving While In La-Z-Boy).

I've been asked before what I, an Objectivist, think of cops. Are they good or bad? And my answer is that they are just people, and people are good or bad. But the thing that can make a good cop (or good judge) bad is bad laws that they are obliged to execute. That is when the police become a police state, and the creative town drunk isn't just laughed at but also put in jail or threatened with such.

I hope that Dennis LeRoy Anderson (good name for the drunk La-Z-Boy cowboy) doesn't get too downhearted about this and remembers next time to have a pretty designated driver in his lap while cruising home from his favorite bar.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One leg is shorter than the other

I've had lower-back pain for most of my adult life, despite having kept myself in near-perfect shape the entire time. Sometimes it almost goes away and there is just some residual stiffness, but it usually comes back to some degree after a good jog. And if I did heavy yardwork or moved heavy boxes in a move, I could hardly move the next day. It's been frustrating. Hell, I couldn't even stand in one place at a concert or a party for more than 45 minutes without sweating and feeling discomfort or pain.

I've tried everything (massages, chiropractic care, x-rays, different running shoes, medical doctors, different strides), but nothing has made it stop -- until last month.

After getting shooting lower-back pain because of lengthy chicken fights in my brother's swimming pool with his sons a couple of months ago (yes, STUPID), I couldn't even hardly get out of bed for days. I told my friend Marita about it, and she highly recommended a chiropractor named Sean McWillliams in Alpharetta.

Though I'd been to at least a half-dozen chiros previously, I gave Sean's office a call. I was surprised to learn that he only charges $25 for the initial checkup and adjustment, which included full x-rays of my skeleton in the necessary areas. I drove over.

He brought the x-rays into the adjustment room and put them on the wall. "Look," he said with a smile as he pointed at my hip bones on the screen. I noticed that one hip was considerably lower (and crooked) than the other. "What's that?" I asked. "Your right leg is almost a half-inch shorter than your left. That's what's causing you to tilt right. Look at yourself in the mirror."

"Wow!" I said, immediately seeing the consequences in my mind and then on the next x-ray of my lower back (crooked as shit). "Is that what's been giving me issues for so long." He nodded, again with a smile. "Can you fix it?" I asked. "Yep," he said, but you may need to wear shimmies in your right shoe for the rest of your life. "Ha, that's no prob, as long as I don't have back pain anymore! Why didn't other chiros get this?" "I don't know," he said diplomatically.

He gave me 7/16" shimmies for my running shoes and another pair of shoes and began immediate adjustments on my hips, my lower back, my middle back, my neck area and my legs. I felt a tiny bit of relief after that first adjustment. A week later, I felt only mild stiffness in my back and no pain. Another week later, I had no stiffness or pain.

The real test came after a run the following week. No pain, but a tiny bit of stiffness -- nothing like I would've had, though. He said it'll be a couple of months before the hips and spine have "relearned how they're supposed to work and shape."

The next real test came when I did 7 hours of yardwork 10 days ago, with a chainsaw in my hand for 6 hours and hauling heavy logs for another hour. The next day, not a smidgen of stiffness or pain. I could hardly believe it!

A couple of side benefits: I can feel my left shoulder and side relax with the tension taken off of it from the tilting, and I can breathe better. He said the reduced stress should also make my heart work better and my digestion improve. I don't know if it is already happening, but I went to a walk-in clinic last Saturday to have wax removed from one ear, and the doctor did a blood-pressure test. I was at 100 over 64, which is the lowest I've had since I was 16 years old.

Needless to say, I'm ecstatic, and I am thankful to one man becoming so good at his profession that he earns every penny of what I pay him. I am also thankful to Marita for telling me about Dr. Sean. In the last 5 weeks I have gotten used to walking straight again; it was weird at first with the shimmies because I felt like I was now tilting left, when in fact I was standing straight up.

Sean says that more than half of Americans have one leg at least a bit shorter than the other, but not quite as drastic as mine was. It could've been because of the way my lower left leg healed itself after I broke it in a motorcycle accident when I was 17 or I could've been born this way. Whatever the reason, I'm deeply grateful and happy about this new chapter in my life and am again able to exercise with full potential!

I'm going for a jog in an hour, and I can't express the relief I feel that afterward, I will feel only the exhilaration of all those fuzzy endorphins.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The real battle is rationality for irrationality

A Wall Street Journal columnist wrote a piece on Tuesday chastising atheistic scientists for being feeble in their defense of morality as he tried to intimate that they actually needed "god." Here's my letter in response to his article that I sent it today.

William McGurn is correct that God vs. science isn’t the real issue, but his misunderstanding of the rational nature of humans keeps him from identifying that the true issue alive today (and for millennia) is a more-fundamental irrationality vs. rationality, with the consequences being either subjectivism (personal-belief mantras divorced from the facts of reality) or objectivism (objective identification of facts) – and immorality or morality, respectively.

The subjectivists (those believing in “faith,” global warming, statist redistribution, altruism, multiculturalism, moral equivalence, relativism, etc.) never bother to investigate (via facts) the cultural and religious presuppositions they were reared on, thereby skeptically relegating humans to second-class citizens in the universe and in politics, as well as a perpetual ennui.

Though scientists don’t usually allow presumptions to get in the way of their science, they do allow their cultural presumptions against human efficacy to taint their generalizations about human rationality – and therefore morality. They implicitly agree with the subjectivists that there’s something wrong with humans or that humans have no ultimate control (because of alleged chemical reactions in the brain) over their lives. This makes Mr. McGurn’s apposition of the atheistic scientist and the God-ist a red herring because they are fundamentally in the same skeptical swamp.

The only alternative to these whimsical subjectivists is objectivity (or Objectivism, as Ayn Rand described her rational philosophy – and which Mr. McGrun must be quite familiar with). This is not the philosophy of commandments or cultural “consensus” or traditional presuppositions. It is a fact-based philosophy that explains and understands the nature of the universe (real, tangible, subject to laws), the nature of humans (rational, volitional), the nature of morality (objective conceptual laws guiding all human action toward rational goals aimed at human happiness), the nature of politics (rational laws proscribing all initiation of coercion against individuals and the establishment of a government whose sole duty is to ensure the protection of individual rights).

There is no ennui or existential dread or deathbed confession or whiny discomfort or oblique apology in the Objectivist. The morality is clear and exhilarating.

Mr. McGurn is right to hint at dementia in the modern village atheist, but both the irrational atheist and the irrational God-ist suffer from a form of insanity (being divorced from reality). Would that they would join the land of the rational living.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mr. Lizard died today

Livy and I caught a nice healthy lizard outside four months ago and have been feeding him juicy grasshoppers and fresh water in his awesome aquarium in Livy's room since. We've watched in rapt fascination as he stalked each grasshopper and pounced with perfection each time, grasping each prey in his mouth. After each lunch, Livy pronounced that Mr. Lizard was fat (distended belly) and happy. She smiled and chatted with Mr. Lizard each time. ("There you go, Mr. Lizard. That was a big green grasshopper for you.") Mr. Lizard had grown accustomed to our approach and seldom moved, seemingly anticipating our fresh meal.

Mr. Lizard died today, and my darling Livy cried her eyes out. I patted her and held her and my eyes got watery.

As a parent, we know these sad days must inevitably come, but it does not lessen the heartbreak for our child, who learns first-hand what death means when you get close to a living creature that you've watched and talked to for quite some time.

She wants Mr. Lizard taken home (outside) for his final resting place.

And he will be.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Throw the bums out!

Here's a terrific 9-minute video commentary from Bill Will at PajamaTV on paying off all 535 "felons" in congress to do absolutely nothing for the rest of their tenure. He's got some other really good tidbits, as well as a quick itemization of the felons who are currently under investigation. Mind-blowing.

Half-mile-high skyscrapers and liberty

I wrote the following letter to the Wall Street Journal on why America is in decline and how to change it to become a beacon to the world once again. It's a response to a columnist who wrote that America has become lazy and isn't hungry anymore to be the best.

Zachary Karabell is right that the Chinese economy may surpass the U.S. economy by 2030, but he is stunningly wrong that the reasons are that America doesn’t have an economic rival, that the U.S. is lumbering, that it needs to retool its economy, that it has gotten lazy as the dominant nation for nearly a century.

There is only one reason the U.S. is losing ground to China: ideas. Specifically, “progressive” ideas that have mandated government redistributive altruism (all forms of “welfare”), confiscation of corporate and individual income, regulation of corporate life, abandonment of the gold standard, Fed takeover of the monetary system, pro-union legislation hobbling corporate competitiveness, and disastrous tariffs. America was the fastest growing economy in the world in the 19th century because it had very little to none of the above – not because it was “hungry.”

If it were not for all of the above government grand larceny since the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, America could easily have five times its current standard of living; it could easily have scores of half-mile-high skyscrapers adorning major-city skylines; it could easily have a GDP five to ten times what it now has and be growing at a rate that would make China’s growth look positively lethargic.

If Mr. Karabell needs proof that Americans are still highly competitive (not “lumbering”), he need look no further than the least regulated industry: technology. In this field, where unions are loathed and where government has thus far been bafflingly complacent, our best and brightest outshine the world. The same could be true (and once was true) in all other fields if the government got out of the way and performed the only function it has a moral right to perform: protect individual rights, which includes the right to start up and run a corporation without a single peremptory piece of legislation dictating standards and without any single piece of taxation.

If this happens (with the death of progressivism), stand back and watch the once-greatest economic engine in the world return to and surpass its glory – and become a guiding light for those of integrity in the world and seeking a symbol of freedom and prosperity.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Obama's Nobel didn't come from

I wrote the following letter to the Wall Street Journal today on the farcical Nobel Peace Prize for Obama Dead Eyes (hey, that rhymes!).

When I first read an email on President Obama’s winning of the Nobel Peace Prize, I thought it originated from the satirical

Alas, I was naïve and suffering from short-term memory lapse, for the pacifist-prize committee has shown its inclinations for satire many times before with prizes going to the likes of Jimmy Carter, Yasser Arafat, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mother Teresa, Le Duc Tho and (the piece de resistance) Al Gore.

The peace prize is, and always has been, a content-less, subjective, murky and unprincipled award. It should be supplanted with a Nobel Liberty Prize, for you cannot have peaceful nations without liberty and laws girding individual rights. A liberty prize could be easily defined and, therefore, circumscribed by objective definition and evaluation – as are the science prizes, for the most part. The liberty-prize committee could have as its standard the original U.S. Constitution and decide which person or group does the most to bring their country’s laws the farthest toward such a constitution’s ideals.

Over the last century, a liberty prize would have been immensely more meaningful and a true barometer for worldwide freedom (or “peace,” if you like) with such winners as Ronald Reagan, Aung San Suu Kyi (one of the very few principled winners of a Nobel), Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand, Margaret Thatcher and Charles Krauthammer. Such a prize would take the onion breathe out of the award and stop making it a symbol of liberty-quislings with political gamesmanship as their ephemeral guide.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Ha! Iranian madman-in-chief Ahmadinejad is Jewish

The irony is simply too delicious. Check out this article from Newsmax.

The sky is dry! The sky is dry!

Remember for two years here in Georgia when everyone was screaming that global warming had caused the sky to dry up and the reservoirs to get to "dangerous levels"? Even the American socialists jumped into the fray on their web site making allusions to global warming and the southeastern "drought." (it is a humorous piece, though not intended to be, blaming the "profit motive" as well for the lack of water)

And remember that rational folks like moi were saying that it had nothing to do with global warming (and, as side note, you could hardly call 42 inches of rain, instead of 54, a "drought").

Well, some actually OBJECTIVE scientists from Columbia University studied tree rings in our area of the country, did computer modeling, studied data from weather instruments, and concluded that (drum roll, please) "this drought was pretty normal and pretty typical by standards of what has happened in the region over the century."

Gosh, who'd a thunk? The scientists also said that similar patterns have occurred over the last century and can be expected again.

Now, I hope you're sitting down, because I can hardly believe what came next. The scientists said that climate models suggest that the Southeast will actually probably be wetter in a warming world!!!!!!!!!!! (sorry, my finger got stuck)

Now, it just so happens that that last statement concurs with the data and conclusions of Australian climatologist Ian Plimer, who stated in his anti-global-warming book "Heaven and Earth" the same thing about the whole world getting wetter when the Earth is warmer -- consistently over millions of years.

Hey, these little objective victories don't come along often (and their getting printed in a fascist newspaper come along even more rarely), so please excuse my enthusiasm.

So, altogether now: CO2! CO2! CO2! CO2! ...

Fascist U.S. regime bans clove cigarettes

Good thing my ex doesn't smoke clove cigarettes anymore. She'd be pissed. The FDA (fascist druggie assholes) last week banned "flavored cigarettes" because, they said, they are targeted at children and allegedly get the children hooked. So, no more flavors of chocolate, clove, vanilla, etc. for teenagers -- or adults.

Agents for the fascists immediately began entering private tobacco shops and other "public" businesses and began interrogating them as to their products. In one tobacco shop in Mobile, AL, the agents told the owner that the ban included cigarillos like Black & Mild, and that the owner must cease all illicit selling of said product.

To call this latest intrusion part of the "nanny" state is simply too nice, too much of a euphemism. We must being calling all private intrusions (welfare, taxes, eminent domain, regulations, bans, etc.) what they really are: fascism.

When will you, my dear readers, have had enough of this? When will we rise up against this Orwellian autocracy?

Soon, I hope. Soon.

Politicians are thieves, but are they murderers?

I get few raised eyebrows when I say that politicians are thieves, taking from the productive and giving to, well, everyone else.

But when I call them murderers, I sometimes (often) get "what?"

Leaving aside just plain first-handed murder like Teddy Kennedy's killing of Mary Jo Kopechne, politicians kill with legislation (by proxy): Here are some examples:

1) The creation of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). It regularly restricts chemicals and/or treatments that are allegedly "not tested," keeping vital medicine and medical actions from those near death. A recent example of this was the rejection by the FDA of Yondelis, an ovarian cancer drug created by Centocor. The Wall Street Journal reported on Sept. 24 that in this case, politics was behind the rejection. How many women will be murdered by this political action is unknown. Worse, most drugs must go through years or decades of FDA tests before being "approved" for sale while thousands are dying and could benefit from the drug. It should be up to those dying people whether they are willing to chance death to save their lives. Instead, these individuals must live at the mercy of autocrats.

2) Drug laws. There is no argument anywhere that thousands of police and tens of thousands of citizens in the U.S. have been killed directly or indirectly by the banning of "hard" drugs. Each one of these cases is murder by proxy (by politician), and the politicians should be tried in a court of law because of it.

3) Welfare legislation. Since these laws began being passed by the wretched FDR administration 75 years ago, millions of people began receiving handouts and relegated themselves to wards of the state, creating ghettos where violent crime escalated and tens of thousands of innocent people have been murdered (again, by political proxy).

4) Second-handed war-making. The U.S. has the capability to wage wars from afar without ever putting a soldier in harm's way on the ground, and yet our politicians (fearing world opinion) refuse to use our most powerful weapons to wipe out regimes from Vietnam to Iraq to Pakistan to Afghanistan to Iran to Panama to Somalia to North Korea (in the 1950s). These are war crimes of the first degree by our politicians, and they should be tried in a court of law for killing tens of thousands of our precious military men and women. Second-handed politics (instead of independent unilateralism) is also responsible for 9/11 and many other atrocities that have been committed against Americans.

Besides all of the above, the grand larceny by politicians for the last 100 years has effectively created a government that is a provocateur of suicide, by vanquishing independence and wiping out hard-earned wealth, fostering a state of psychological inefficacy amongst producers and causing many of them to jump from windows or put guns to their heads in their plight. These suicide victims are obviously responsible for their own lives and often act irrationally, but many of them would be alive today if it were not for political grand theft.

We can save trillions of dollars in productivity, foster independence and save hundreds of thousands of American lives by creating an airtight Constitution that relegates the U.S. government to its one and only moral task: protecting Americans from coercion. It's time to put an end to political murder by proxy.

Friday, October 02, 2009

I've decided to run for president

OK, I'll need all of you to deny you've ever known me or to state very confidently that I am a devout Christian who seeks world peace and a Green World and for everybody to just get along. ... I guess I'll have to delete this blog, too, and all of the thousands of online posts I've made that have pissed off scores of people and made it sound like I wasn't a Christian and didn't want world peace. I'll probably need to consult a politician or ACORN worker of union member on how to lie convincingly. And I'll definitely have to ditch the only pair of shoes I wear: sandals. And ...

Oh hell, fuhgetaboutit. I'll just be me. So, here's my platform, in order of executive decisions.

1) Jail Obama Dead Eyes and Congress for sedition and grand larceny -- and ask the judge to defer sentence on the only one still standing after they all have been sent to a giant swine farm and forced to smother each other in shit until only one survives. That one survivor will have done such a national service that he may go free -- after he/she showers.

2) Nuke the military/industrial/administrative complexes of Iran, Syria, North Korea, China, Russia, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and a few others. Drop leaflets in aforesaid countries letting any surviving evildoers know that more nukes are coming if they don't form a liberty constitution and abide by it. Before nuking, I will propose that our military's special forces capture each head of state and drop him/her onto the African savanna within a quarter-mile of a pack of raving mad hyenas. Favorite presidential word: "unilateral."

3) Abolish the welfare state (too many things to list); abolish all taxes; eliminate all regulations and tariffs. Shut down all "public schools." End all handouts for anything. (Send letter to all welfare queens saying that they can contact Michelle Obama Dead Eyes for sympathy if they no longer feel proud of their country.) Bring back the Gold Standard. Abolish all coercive laws such as minimum wage. Burn all Social Security numbers and every bit of private information on all free Americans. Create an online list of all the "fishy" comments made by Hollywoodites et al and ensure that the National Rifle Association is informed of the list.

4) Sell off all "national parks" and all property, roads and buildings "belonging" to the government (except for courts) and use the money for a kick-ass Cabo San Lucas vacation. Oops, sorry. Use the money to pay back Americans who have been robbed their entire working lives.

5) Supplant the Christmas holiday with Mary Jo Kopechne Day, as a reminder of what politicians used to be (thieves and murderers) and what government will be in the future (protector of liberty).

6) Shut down the Post Office, Amtrak and all other government-run boondoggles -- and load their 19th century computers (and personnel) onto a big-ass plane and drop them on Madonna's house while she's giving a party for her Red celebs.

7) Personally drive a bulldozer through the FDR monument on the Washington Mall (twice).

8) Redo the Constitution and make it clear that each citizen has a right to be free from coercion AND NOTHING ELSE. Add a provision stating that states cannot pass coercive legislation either. Add a provision stating that if you're too goddamned fat to fit into one seat on an airplane, then the airline can charge you for two seats -- and you sure as hell had better not whine about it!

9) Add a redundancy to the Constitution saying that you have a right to own a gun, and if anyone tries to pass legislation saying you don't, you can shoot him in both knees.

10) Decriminalize drugs. Free the drug "criminals." Partayyyyyyyyy!

11) Tell oil companies, "Go ahead, dudes. Drill. Drill, baby drill. Drill till you can't drill no more!"

12) Tell Hollywood commies that if they don't like it, they can fricking "Johnny Depp" -- move to France.

13) Tell Nancy Pelosi that she is now a jobless, painted scarecrow, but that she at least has a brush (unlike Rosalyn Carter), and she'll have to smother 535 other schemers in a giant swine pit to get to use the brush (after the shower).

14) Ask the courts to indict Michelle Obama Dead Eyes as an accessory (no, not THAT kind of accessory) to socialism. Ask the judge to go lenient on her if she gets that "I'm finally proud of my country" unctuous grin off her bug-eyed face.

15) Tell unions, "You're on your own, Mo-Fos." Bwahahahahah! Pension this!!

16) Tell big business: "No more lobbying, no more regulations and no more government oversight. So, you're on your own, and you can be successful and thrive or you can crash by your own incompetence -- but you can't blame government anymore and you can't turn in your competitors for alleged "monopoly" practices anymore. Stop whining and start working like it's a free country again. Good luck."

Former Prez Jimmy Carter DENIES racist comments

Yes, you read that headline correctly. Even though Jim Dandy was videotaped saying that the "negative environment" that we have today against Obama Dead Eyes is caused by racism, he says (on videotape again) that he actually didn't say that. If you've ever been around congenital liars, you'll be familiar with this bobble-headed hoodwink and his bullying pusillanimity with the interviewer.

Newsmax has put the two videos on one web page for you HERE. Watch the bottom one first all the way through (less than 2 minutes), including balls-sucking Bryan Matthews' quote of Jimmy Boy at the end. And then watch Cawtah's top video, which came later; he looks the interviewer directly in the eye and simply lies and insists (twice) that she read the transcript from the first interview. Like a good socialist girl, she backs off and even wishes the demi-Hitler a happy birthday.

This, my friends, is the face of evil. I live in the same city (Atlanta) as this eternal scoundrel, this malevolent mush-mouth, and they have named a boulevard after him, which is clogged most of the time. You can also see in the second video how his very-strange and perennially disheveled spouse (does her religion ban brushes?!) believes you and I should be paying for other people's health care.

I often wish there were a heaven and a hell based upon rational justice. If so, these two altruistic deadbeats would be cleaning the shit off of swine's testicles with their forked tongues until the universe collapses upon itself some billions of years down the road.

"We the Living" -- a new DVD

Ayn Rand's first novel, "We the Living," is perhaps her best-written novel (except for the ending) because it is more viscerally real and the dialog is seldom didactic. It is intensely personal, and the characters ring true -- something that often doesn't occur in her other three novels.

As many of you know, the Italians made an illicit and unauthorized movie version of "We the Living" in the 1940s (actually two separate movies). When Ayn Rand eventually saw the films, she loved them -- even more than the version of The Fountainhead. And for good reason. The Italian movies were excellent -- even after Italian censors injected propaganda messages into them.

Now the Ayn Rand Institute's bookstore is selling a DVD version of the two restored films: "Noi Vivi" and "Addio Kira." Ayn Rand herself did almost all the aesthetic and philosophical editing of the two films. I purchased the DVD recently and saw the final product. Please read no further if don't wish to know plot-spoilers in areas that I find intriguing.

I'll start from the end of the DVD because it caught me quite off-guard. As many of you know, Ayn ended her novel with Kira dying after being shot in the back by a Soviet border guard on Kira's hopeful journey out of Soviet Russia. And, as many of you know, Ayn defended this anti-romantic ending as necessary to show what happens to brave souls in totalitarian states. The realistic ending has also been defended by almost every Objectivist I've ever met for largely the same reason. I have argued for 20 years that it is an immoral end because it is not romantic -- i.e. it doesn't show how a brave soul SHOULD live and should be happy. It is not romantic art, and Ayn should've eventually chastised herself for this early mistake in her artistic life.

So, the DVD's ending? It ends on a romantic note, not showing or even suggesting that Kira will die. It simply shows her as she begins her perilous journey to safety and freedom. Then the credits role. It is an exhilarating finale -- as much as one can be after sitting through 2.5 hours of unrelenting squalor, dour miens and duplicitous characters. I find it interesting that nowhere could I learn from ARI who made this final decision on a romantic ending: Ayn or someone else.

The only bright spot in the movie is Kira, played by the magnificent and effervescent Alida Valli. Her lines are sometimes tersely Rand-esque, but her delivery is always perfect, and her lovely open face is the personification of self-esteem, liberty, individualism, determination and empathy. She IS the movie.

As with the book (and, I think, with Ayn's life), the strong female character (Kira) is drawn not to principles primarily but to "the face" in her romantic partners. (Rand said once that "We the Living" was as close to an autobiography that she would ever produce, and I think it includes the depiction of a strong woman's pursuit of "the look" in a man.) But the man behind the face in "We the Living," Leo, is a bit of an empty vessel and a cad, and you cannot help but wonder more than half the time what Kira is doing with such a self-indulgent, narcissistic man. Kira is portrayed as resolutely knowing what she wants and who she is, so the relationship makes no sense.

However, the communist Andre is, ironically, much more palatable to the reader, and Kira is drawn to him, too. This is the most intriguing aspect of both the book and the DVD. Andre seems to have a good soul and have sold it to live -- as a communist, nevertheless.

The best part of the "We the Living" DVD package is the separate DVD titled "We the Living - A Lost Treasure Discovered." It is a fascinating tale of how this movie (2 movies) even got made in Mussolini's fascist Italy and how it then almost never made it out after Mussolini's minions ordered all copies of the film burned immediately. A great detective story. It also has the original ending from the Italian movies.

I have only read "We the Living" once and I will see this movie just once. It is too depressing. If I wish to see Alida Valli again, I will watch "The Third Man" or one of the hundred other movies she made during her brilliant career.

Schooling and the death of childhood learning

HERE is a terrific piece by Daniel Quinn on the history of "public education" and the motives behind it, as well as an affirmation of the natural curiosity of children -- who do NOT need motivation to learn. It is a testament to unschooling.

Here's a quote from the speech:

"What sells most people on the idea of school is the fact that the unschooled child learns what it wants to learn when it wants to learn it. This is intolerable to them, because they're convinced that children don't want to learn anything at all - and they point to school children to prove it. What they fail to recognize is that the learning curve of preschool children swoops upward like a mountain - but quickly levels off when they enter school.

"By the third or fourth grade it's completely flat for most kids. Learning, such as it is, has become a boring, painful experience they'd love to be able to avoid if they could. But there's another reason why people abhor the idea of children learning what they want to learn when they want to learn it. They won't all learn the same things! Some of them will never learn to analyze a poem! Some of them will never learn to parse a sentence or write a theme! Some of them will never read Julius Caesar! Some will never learn geometry! Some will never dissect a frog! Some will never learn how a bill passes Congress!

"Well, of course, this is too horrible to imagine. It doesn't matter that 90% of these students will never read another poem or another play by Shakespeare in their lives. It doesn't matter that 90% of them will never have occasion to parse another sentence or write another theme in their lives. It doesn't matter that 90% retain no functional knowledge of the geometry or algebra they studied. It doesn't matter that 90% never have any use for whatever knowledge they were supposed to gain from dissecting a frog. It doesn't matter that 90% graduate without having the vaguest idea how a bill passes Congress. All that matters is that they've gone through it!"

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Biggest discovery ever on human origins

I've been hearing rumors for years about a new discovery in Ethiopia, but scientists haven't been letting the cat out of the bag. Now I know why. They had to piece hundreds of skeletal remains together using computers. What they came up with is 36 skeleons of adults and kids dating back more than 4 million years. One of the greatest hypotheses to come from this is that chimps and apes probably looked a lot different way back then and have been evolving themselves quite extraordinarily. This would explain many previous puzzles in determining the evolutionary pattern of humans.

Here's the amazing story HERE.