Politics Is Sickening

 Posted by on 29 November 2003 at 1:12 pm  Uncategorized
Nov 292003

Oh yuck:

During 14 years in the Michigan Legislature and 11 years in Congress, Rep. Nick Smith had never experienced anything like it. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, in the wee hours last Saturday morning, pressed him to vote for the Medicare bill. But Smith refused. Then things got personal.

Smith, self term-limited, is leaving Congress. His lawyer son Brad is one of five Republicans seeking to replace him from a GOP district in Michigan’s southern tier. On the House floor, Nick Smith was told business interests would give his son $100,000 in return for his father’s vote. When he still declined, fellow Republican House members told him they would make sure Brad Smith never came to Congress. After Nick Smith voted no and the bill passed, Duke Cunningham of California and other Republicans taunted him that his son was dead meat.

Integrity is a precious commodity in Washington, so horray to those who did vote “no” despite this pressure cooker.

Virtue and Vice

 Posted by on 29 November 2003 at 10:24 am  Uncategorized
Nov 292003

Wishing ill upon evil people no vice.

Metaphysical Confusions

 Posted by on 28 November 2003 at 10:44 am  Uncategorized
Nov 282003

I’ve noticed that the arguments against gay marriage routinely confuse metaphysical facts with man-made facts. Case in point:

Gay marriage, gay marriage, gay marriage. I don’t think I’ve ever written a column on gay marriage. Perhaps I should. Trouble is, I can’t get my mind around it. In this zone, I am totally a dinosaur. When I hear people talking about gay marriage, it falls on my ears as if they were saying: “OK, from now on, we are going to have Mars revolving round the Sun in Venus’s orbit, and Venus in Mars’s.” Oh, are you? That’s nice. But how are you going to do it? By an edict from the Supreme Court?

I suppose that religious conservatives see marriage as a fact of nature rather than a human-created social institution because God is supposed to have established it. (Then again, God is also supposed to have put his stamp of approval on slavery, the subjugation of women, and many other delights conveniently forgotten.) In any case, the appeal to God doesn’t make the argument any less stupid.

The Overdue Update

 Posted by on 25 November 2003 at 10:54 pm  Uncategorized
Nov 252003

My farrier came to trim the horses hooves today… and lo and behold, he caught me on TV! I’m famous! Okay, well, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement. But my first appearance as a talking head (discussing animal rights on “Drawing the Line with Reggie Rivers”) was pretty exciting. Thankfully, I didn’t embarrass myself with horrid arguments. But I found it harder than expected to get to the meaty philosophical points.

Ari Armstrong wrote up some commentary on the show and animal rights in general. He even posted the picture below, which I have duly stolen.

The official caption reads “Jennifer Melton, David Crawford, Ari Armstrong, Diana Hsieh, and Reggie Rivers discuss animal rights November 19 on Rivers’ show, Drawing the Line.”

Now I’m going to go add that “Media Appearances” section to my CV! :-)



 Posted by on 19 November 2003 at 9:52 am  Uncategorized
Nov 192003

Tonight, I’m slated to discuss animal rights as part of a panel for “Drawing the Line with Reggie Rivers,” a local PBS show (on Channel 12 at 8pm). I’ll be arguing against animal rights along with Ari Armstrong, who was good enough to think of me for this gig.

I’m quite terrified actually, so wish me luck!

Advice on the Academic Job Market

 Posted by on 16 November 2003 at 10:05 pm  Uncategorized
Nov 162003

This article details one Ph.D’s search for the right job in the right location… and the need to settle for the right job in the wrong location. Given that Paul and I are bound to the Denver area by his job, this is a depressing bit of realism for me. (I really like Colorado, so I’m hardly dying to leave. But if it were just me, I’d be willing to move pretty much anywhere for a good tenure-track job. Then again, if it were just me, I’d still be programming and not philosophizing. Even philosophy is not worth enduring poverty.)

BTW, I found this article via the blog of Brian Leiter, the author of the ever-useful Philosophical Gourmet Report. As one would expect, he seems to comment fairly often on academic life.

Oh, and I just found this cool blog entry analyzing the latest Jobs for Philosophers. The results jibe with what I’ve heard around the grad lounge about the availability of jobs in the major areas (M&E, ethics, and history).

Istanbul Synagogues Bombing

 Posted by on 15 November 2003 at 11:48 am  Uncategorized
Nov 152003

This post is being constantly updated with information about the recent bombing in Turkey. (The blogger is an American college student currently studying in Turkey.)

Religious Strategy

 Posted by on 15 November 2003 at 7:36 am  Uncategorized
Nov 152003

Den Beste’s commentary on varieties of religious strategy actually made me feel grateful for the rationality of modern Christianity. That doesn’t happen often, I must admit.

Red and Blue

 Posted by on 14 November 2003 at 1:24 pm  Uncategorized
Nov 142003

These maps offer a financial perspective on the battle between red and blue states (courtesy of Andrew Sullivan).

Ayn Rand in St. Petersberg

 Posted by on 11 November 2003 at 10:32 pm  Uncategorized
Nov 112003

Oh, cool stuff (present-day pictures and information) on Ayn Rand’s life in St. Petersberg, thanks to Don Parrish.

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