Spam Assassin

 Posted by on 28 February 2007 at 11:28 am  Uncategorized
Feb 282007

Thanks to my change of servers, I’m now able to run SpamAssassin on my mail. After a bit of testing, I decided to allow it to delete the spam from the server, rather than just marking it as such. The results are fantastic. Instead of well over over 200 spam e-mails per day, I got just over 200 over the course of seven days. (Much of that was from my address, actually.) The vast majority of the remaining spam is caught by my collaborative filtering “Cloudmark” spam filter for Outlook.

That makes dealing with my mail, particularly downloading it on a slow connection or in a hurry and viewing it on the web, just so much easier.


The Jewish Taliban

 Posted by on 28 February 2007 at 7:15 am  Uncategorized
Feb 282007

I don’t know much about the politics of the various sects of Judaism in Israel, but this NPR story about the demands of the ultra-Orthodox was eye-opening. (I’m not going to recount the story; it’s too detailed. I highly recommend reading the article. It’s short and interesting.) The description “Taliban-like” does indeed fit these zealots, not just because their demands are borne of insane religiosity that they wish to impose on everyone else by force, but because the particular demands (e.g. for “modesty” and segregation of women) are so similar to those instituted by radical Muslims. According to the article, these ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel are becoming more radicalized — and more insistent in their demands on everyone else.

In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, ever-more people are taking the irrational demands of their religion ever-more seriously — and threatening the rest of us with earthly punishments if we fail to submit. Given the way of Islam and Christianity, I’m not surprised to see this trend in Judaism. Still, it’s downright frightening.

(Via weekly newsletter.)

Dhimmi at GMU

 Posted by on 27 February 2007 at 4:45 pm  Uncategorized
Feb 272007

I just got this announcement from The Objective Standard:

Subject: GMU Goes Dhimmi: John Lewis Talk Cancelled

George Mason University has abandoned its commitment to freedom of expression on campus. At the last minute, GMU has caved-in to pressure from Muslim groups and has cancelled Dr. Lewis’s talk, which was scheduled for tomorrow night, Wed, Feb 28, 2007. This is all we know right now. We will post details as soon as we have them. Please spread the word.

The scheduled talk was “‘No Substitute for Victory’: The Defeat of Islamic Totalitarianism, as blogged here.


 Posted by on 26 February 2007 at 10:33 am  Uncategorized
Feb 262007

Over the past few months, ARI speakers have occasionally endured some crazed heckling from conspiracy-mongering LaRouchites. (The LaRouchites seem to be completely deranged and insensitive to reality, not to mention thoroughly uncivilized.) Since I hadn’t heard about LaRouche for some years, I was curious. I poked around Wikipedia for information about Lyndon LaRouche and his LaRouche Youth Movement. The most interesting source I found was this lengthy article from the Washington Post. If you might run into one of these loonies, it’s worth reading in full. Personally, I hope to never see one again.

Pas Deja Vu

 Posted by on 25 February 2007 at 10:30 am  Uncategorized
Feb 252007

I experienced the feeling of “pas deja vu” this morning when I put the laundry detergent in my second load of laundry this morning. My thought was something like, “Hmmm… this doesn’t seem familiar. Oh shit.” If my (lack of) recollection is right, then I didn’t put any detergent in the first load. It was a funny way to realize something.

I’m too lazy to wash the load again, plus I remembered that the difference between washing a load of laundry with and without detergent is negligible, at least in the short term, according to Straight Dope. (They suspect that’s due to residual soap.)

The Battle over Sex

 Posted by on 25 February 2007 at 7:10 am  Uncategorized
Feb 252007

If you’re interested in keeping up with news about the battle over sex, marriage, and abortion between religionists and secularists in America today, I’d recommend subscribing to the weekly newsletter of (After registering at the site, you need to subscribe yourself to the newsletter with the “subscribe” button at the bottom of the left-hand column.)

The newsletter consists of a listing of noteworthy news stories and opinion essays on sexual issues, each well-summarized in a paragraph. For example:

Tenn. proposes death certificate for aborted fetuses

Rep. Stacey Campfield, a Republican, said his bill would provide a way to track how many abortions are performed. He predicted it would pass in the Republican-controlled Senate but would have a hard time making it through the Democratic House. The number of abortions reported to the state Office of Vital Records is already publicly available. The office collects records _ but not death certificates _ on abortions and the deaths of fetuses after 22 weeks gestation or weighing about 1 pound. (02/14/07)

Lovely, no? (The links from the newsletter all go through the ifeminist site, perhaps as a way of circumventing censorship.)

Critique of Objectivism

 Posted by on 24 February 2007 at 9:06 am  Uncategorized
Feb 242007

Someone recently e-mailed me to ask me about this critique of the Objectivist ethics by University of Michigan philosophy graduate student John Stephen Ku. I’ve not looked at it in any detail, but I vaguely recall that someone wrote up some substantial comments in reply. Am I right? If so, are they still available? If so, where?

LePort Schools in Search of Teachers

 Posted by on 24 February 2007 at 8:31 am  Uncategorized
Feb 242007

While I have no personal familiarity with LePort Schools, I’ve heard good things. They are looking for teachers:

LePort Schools is seeking full- and part-time teachers for a variety of subjects in our upper elementary and junior high division (Grades 4 – 8) to join our staff in September, 2007.

A thriving private school with 200 students, LePort Schools operates three campuses in beautiful Southern California. Our website is

LePort Schools is a warm learning environment that attracts bright, well-mannered students and informed parents. The right candidate can anticipate training and on-going mentoring; a well-prepared, stimulating curriculum; and small class sizes. LePort Schools offers health and dental coverage, generous vacation time, and competitive salaries.

Ideal candidates will possess:

  • An interest in mastering a rigorous academic curriculum
  • A desire to convey knowledge to young minds
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • An enthusiastic and productive work ethic

Teaching certification is not required, but preference will be given to candidates who have experience working with children.

Familiarity with Objectivism is also preferred, but not required.

While all applicants are thanked for their interest, only those chosen for interviews will be contacted. No phone calls, please. Resumes and cover letters should be emailed to:

Lindsay Journo
Executive Director, LePort Schools’ Upper Elementary and Junior High
E-mail: [email protected]

Colbert the Objectivist?

 Posted by on 23 February 2007 at 11:06 am  Funny
Feb 232007

John Stewart and Stephen Colbert have back-to-back shows on Comedy Central, and they can be really funny even though they are pretty hard Left. At the end of Stewart’s show, he checks in with Colbert for a few seconds to keep the viewers from drifting away between the two. These exchanges are most often random silliness, and one such bit a few nights ago surprised me by being entirely focused on Rand and Objectivism: we come across Colbert in a situation that shows him in agreement with and even teaching others about Rand (but a horrible mischaracterization of her).

My best guess on motivation is that Colbert — himself a parody of arch-right-wing hosts like O’Reilly — is portrayed as a screwy Rand fan because many on the Left regard her as some sort of hard-core Conservative. Apparently the little detail that Objectivists and Conservatives are not exactly chummy, and that they strenuously disagree with the association by pointing to fundamental philosophical differences, has still not registered in the world of such writers.


 Posted by on 22 February 2007 at 9:31 pm  Uncategorized
Feb 222007

I am presently watching Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus. It is painfully, unbearable slow. I’ve lost track of the number of scenes in which ten seconds is spent watching people walk into a room from a still camera. And oh, the montages! The slave army hard at work. The slave army in inclement weather. The slave army training for battle. The slave army marching through the mountains. The slave army marching through a field. The slave army enjoying wholesome fun.

Apparently, living the brutal and degraded existence of a gladiator-in-training is good for the soul. Although they go a bit wild in their initial revolt, after about two minutes of exhortation by Spartacus, all the gladiators become paragons of respectable virtue. The same is true of the other freed slaves. As a result, camp life is perfectly harmonious and productive.

Apart from a few good but anachronistic lines about slavery and freedom, the characters are utterly dull. Kirk Douglas, the supposed hero, is particularly awful. His acting is wooden, he’s far too old for the role, and his face is painfully ugly.

I think I have about another hour to watch. Ah well, at least my suffering will be over soon. At this point, I might just have to cheer for the scheming, decadent Romans. At least they’re interesting.

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha