Our Choice

 Posted by on 31 October 2004 at 9:08 pm  Uncategorized
Oct 312004

The season premiere of South Park, which Paul and I are watching now, sums up our choice in the Presidential election all too well. We must choose between a Giant Douche and Turd Sandwich.

Despite some sympathy for the Giant Douche, he deserves to lose. So I’ll be voting for the Turd Sandwich, even though I find the mere thought extremely repulsive.

Blubber Blubber

 Posted by on 30 October 2004 at 8:48 pm  Uncategorized
Oct 302004

Americans really are getting fatter and fatter, as this set of yearly obseity maps shows. It’s pretty scary, particularly when you consider just how fat people have to be in order to be obese. For instance, given my height of 5’8″, I would have to be almost 200 pounds in order to obese! I wouldn’t even hit the overweight mark until 165 pounds! Given that I was looking pretty porky at 155 pounds last winter when I declided to lose those extra pounds, I shudder to think of what Overweight Diana would look like in the mirror, let alone Obese Diana.

Since I was always within the “normal weight” range, my recent weight loss does my blessed state of Colorado no good. But it delights me a great deal — and that’s far more important. I suspect that Paul, who has transformed himself into a svelt god-like man over the past year with exercise and diet, is probably pleased too. (But unlike him, I still have some fat to burn off.)

Interestingly, I think that my high level of fitness helped me recover from the flu faster than usual. I was back to rowing 4-5 miles every other day (albeit somewhat slowly) within eight days of the onset of symptoms, despite a lingering cough. I hope to be back up to a full workout next week — meaning running and/or rowing about 5 miles per day. Then again, maybe it was the drugs. (I took TamiFlu, an anti-viral.) Either way, I’m very glad to be substantially on the mend.

On Not Having Sex

 Posted by on 29 October 2004 at 7:54 pm  Uncategorized
Oct 292004

Ever wondering how to manage not to have sex? If so, this article might be of help. If not, read it anyway, as it’s damn funny.

And since this is a philosophy blog, I should also link to Will Wilkinson’s post on the grave problem of inequality in sexual satisfaction. Utilitarians and other egalitarians tend to focus on inequality of income, but sexual gratification is often more critical to happiness than money. And given diminishing marginal utility, utilitarian husbands blessed with lusty wives would be morally obliged to encourage them to transfer some of that lustiness to lonely men. Or maybe, as Will suggests, the government should institute a system of vouchers for hookers.

Hrmph, I bet poor J.S. Mill never thought of that!

The Story of Ketchup

 Posted by on 29 October 2004 at 2:56 pm  Uncategorized
Oct 292004

Soon-to-be-Mrs-Volokh linked to this great article on ketchup. Yes, you heard that right, ketchup. I remember Malcolm Gladwell’s article on the technology of diapers as fabulous. His full article archive is here.

Bill’s Lawsuit

 Posted by on 29 October 2004 at 10:39 am  Uncategorized
Oct 292004

Perhaps I wasn’t paying sufficient attention, but I must admit that I expected the sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill O’Reilly to drag on much longer. I suspect that these speculations on the settlement from a trial lawyer are basically right; Bill probably ponied up a substantial settlement to make the case go away.

Sexual harassment law is a complete farce. The proper response to boorish behavior are sharp words of disapproval and perhaps even public humiliation, not a lawsuit. The proper compensation is an abject apology, not millions of dollars.

The other day, a professor of mine made a sexually explicit joke in the course of casual conversation outside of class. (It was really a geeky philosophy joke about induction; the reference to his penis was merely incidental, although certainly connected to the background discussion about ugly ties — but never mind all that.) I shudder to think of just how “traumatized” and “intimidated” I could have been by it all. If I were a twitchy man-hater, I could have easily twisted his words to make him sound like a dangerous sexual predator — and thereby ruined his career. Of course, that would be completely pathetic, not to mention deceptive, malevolent, and unjust. That doesn’t seem to be an obstacle for some women.

If Bill O’Reilly did what he is accused of doing, shame on him. But hearing a few dirty comments does not entitle anyone to millions of dollars of compensation.


 Posted by on 27 October 2004 at 1:38 pm  Jimmy Wales
Oct 272004

My longtime friend Jimmy Wales certainly gets lots of well-deserved press for Wikipedia, but does this article really mean that I can find his bearded face in the latest Newsweek in my local grocery store?

If so, wow.

Front Range Objectivism

 Posted by on 24 October 2004 at 10:39 am  Uncategorized
Oct 242004

We’re official! Now Front Range Objectivism has a glorious new web site. Happily, it’s just in time for Andy Bernstein’s visit to Denver for FROST in early November. On Friday November 5th, he will be lecturing on “Global Capitalism: The Cure for World Oppression and Poverty” at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The next day, he will be giving a four and a half hour seminar on “How to Be an Impassioned Valuer” in Denver.

Generally, Objectivism is quite busy along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Here’s the gist from the FrontRangeObjectivism.com:

FROST (Front Range Objectivist Supper Talks) brings Ayn Rand Institute approved speakers to Denver for delicious dinners and stimulating lectures on a variety of topics about six times per year. Past lecturers include Dr. Lewis on “The Failure of Homeland Defense,” Dr. Ridpath on “In The Dawn’s Early Light: Patrick Henry,” and Dr. Brook on “The Morality of War” and “The State of ARI.” Anyone is welcome, including people unfamiliar with Objectivism.

FROG (Front Range Objectivist Group) is a discussion group that meets monthly in members’ homes. With about 20 active members at each meeting, the group is currently at capacity. (A second discussion group will be formed if enough Objectivists from FROST and FROLIC are interested.) FROG members differ in the depth of their understanding of Objectivism, but all are deeply committed to understanding and applying the principles of Objectivism in their own lives.

FROLIC (Front Range Objectivist Laughter Ideas and Chow) is a social group which meets at least once per month at a Denver restaurant. Other fun events may be scheduled according to the wishes of participants. All friendly people with a serious interest in or honest curiosity about Ayn Rand’s philosophy are welcome.

Also, the University of Colorado at Boulder has a new Boulder Objectivist Club this year. The club meets every other week on Thursday evenings in Ketchum 301 on the Boulder campus. Contact Jared Seehafer at Jared.Seehafer(at)colorado.edu to join the mailing list.

Bush Versus Kerry

 Posted by on 22 October 2004 at 9:53 am  Uncategorized
Oct 222004

Ever since hearing Yaron Brook’s talk The Morality of War a few weeks ago, I’ve been slowly overcoming my substantial revulsion to voting for Kerry. Of course, Kerry is uniformly awful — although his election would likely create some blessed gridlock in Washington and perhaps even arouse some thoughts of fiscal conservatism by Republicans. Yet Bush’s altruistic imperialism concealed by a veneer of tough talk in the War on Terror seems deeply dangerous, in that it discredits the “hawk” position as impractical ineffective.

However, some recent concerns raised by Paul, particularly in combination with similar arguments by Harry Binswanger, have once again placed me on the fence. In particular, the (almost) complete dominance of the universities by the left ought to indicate that the nihilism, altruism, and collectivism of the left is very much alive, if not well. That worries me, even though I regard religion as the more powerful and dangerous force in the long run. And perhaps that religion is best combated directly at this point, i.e. with the Bush administration in power. If Kerry is elected, I fear a worse situation in which the newly mobilized religious opposition paints itself as the only alternative to the surrendering subjectivism of the left. Then again, if Bush is elected, appeasement and UN-style multilateralism will be presented as the only alternative to his failed policies in the War on Terror.

Oy. It’s bad all around, I think.

Flu, Flu, and More Flu

 Posted by on 19 October 2004 at 7:30 pm  Uncategorized
Oct 192004

Since I’m presently in the grip of the flu, this article on the pernicious effects of bad government on vaccines is entirely too relevant to my life right now. (Via InstaPundit.)

Update: Okay, now I’m really mad. My husband — a physician — cannot get a flu shot. But Joe Lieberman will get one because he might spread the virus to his constituents?!? And what of Paul spreading the flu to his patients? Or me spreading the flu to my students? Or anyone spreading the flu to anyone else?

Oy, nothing like self-serving rationalizations for government privilege!

Not a Good Opener

 Posted by on 19 October 2004 at 5:09 pm  Uncategorized
Oct 192004

For some strange reason, I didn’t find this bit of socially conscious spam all that compelling. But it was pretty damn amusing.

Dear Ms Diana Hsieh

My name is Cindy Wolgemuth. I am contacting you as a respected intelligent, Constitution-friendly, socially-conscious individual who knows and sets an example of what sustainability, American Capitalism, and opportunity can do for ordinary, hard-working folks.

The point is that WE need YOU [personally] and your colleagues as past benefactors of environmental and community social issues to help build a healthy country and encourage a responsible, knowledgeable next generation.

Kindred Haven Integrated Community Care System has planned a community project [under the fiscal sponsorship of S.E.E.] that would be beneficial to a number of citizens. KHICCS intends to promote and focus on education, self-reliance, environmental awareness, participation , and philanthropy. The sticking point has always been the ‘land’. We have found and researched several locations suitable for a project of this size and type; all of them in the South [for a variety of reasons]. We have been told that there is funding available for each of the programs we propose, but we need help to secure the land. You know, yourself, that without the land there is no project….without the place from which to serve….

Below, I offer you a brief synopsis of the project and ask that you contact me in any capacity you are willing and able to offer– advisory, financial, letters of support to various grant-making organizations and/or by generating interest in KHICCS among your colleagues.

KHICCS intends to build a mixed income, environmentally sustainable, community land trust in a rural area less than one hour from a town/small city and within two hours travel time of a larger metropolis. “Kindred Haven” proposes to consist of approximately 85 one acre single-family homesteads and 4 8 unit multi-family buildings, with approximately half of the homes designated to aid low/moderate income families. All dwellings and other buildings will be constructed utilizing a 75%+ standard of sustainable/alternative building materials and energy sources.

“Kindred Haven” will, also, consist of community member owned/operated cottage industry style businesses [i.e. B&B/tavern, Reiki-Massage Therapy Clinic, retail shops, camping facility, Farmer's Market]; community services such as Kindred Kids [5-17 year olds learn literacy, character, environmental preservation projects, life and craft skills, history, culture, etc], Adult workshops [studies of character, literacy, history, religion, environmental preservation projects, life and craft skills, health, etc], food donation coalition, hiking trails, public garden and picnic areas; community-supported, organic, agriculture; as well as community sponsored fund-raising/educational events [featuring Pow-Wow, Food Fest, Living History]..

KHICCS proposes to create a site map for a Community Land Trust [not government-sponsored Conservation Easements], a number of acres to be donated for Native American usage, a number of acres for a responsible agro-forestry program [to generate income as well as provide environmental education opportunities], and any remaining acreage to be reserved for future environmentally friendly endeavors such as community expansion, hemp or bamboo manufacturing, wildlife preserve, educational center, etc.

Our members have been busy developing and selling several natural/organic and/or hand-crafted products in order to raise funds specifically for Land Acquisition, but as you may know; that is a slow process. We at Kindred Haven Integrated Community Care System earnestly anticipate the establishment of solid support from and fruitful association with successful, responsible, like-minded people. Please see our website for further information: www.freewebs.com/khiccs/ and contact me with your questions and input.

Thank you so much for your time.

Cindy Wolgemuth

I guess that I must not be much of a “respected intelligent, Constitution-friendly, socially-conscious individual who knows and sets an example of what sustainability, American Capitalism, and opportunity can do for ordinary, hard-working folks”!

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