Saturday, May 01, 2010
The import models were the primary reason for my going. How the underemployed waste their time... how I waste my time, at least. Unfortunately, in the two and a half years that I've been back to California, I can say that the number of new friends I've made remains 0. Where there more choiceworthy events for a Saturday? It might be better to stick to folk and early music.
If I were younger, I might be more excited about meeting the models, but I felt rather dead while I was there. There was some delight in female beauty, but I was doing what anyone who goes to such events does, for the sake of doing it. I didn't really talk with the models. What was there to say, really? One got the impression that some of them were real gong zhu; others seemed to be rather robotic in their fan service -- do models ever tire of making a living through the looks? Do they wish that they were appreciated for something more? One would think that the answer to these questions is yes.
I was surprised when a fight broke out between CD and another model right in front of me. The other model was leaving the Spocom models area; it looked like she was disrespecting CD, and CD went after her and threw a slap or punch. The two went at it, and photographers and other models attempted to separate them, while everyone else gathered around to watch the fight and to take photos or video. As I was caught off-guard, I did not think to capture on video. Maybe someone will upload some video onto Youtube. Event security came and kept the two women apart, and the police officers at the SMEC eventually came and wrote down a report. I don't know if CD was charged with assault and batter, or merely expelled from the grounds. My guess is that she was let go with a warning, as she did not cause any serious injury.
My first reaction? High school. And, to be honest, di ji, as someone from Cal used to say.
While the way some of the models spoke hinted at arrested development, I can't say they are too different from their peers in this regard. I don't know many women who get to the point where they speak like ladies, rather than girls. Import models may seem more feminine, because they are focused on making themselves physically attractive to men, but they can be as Uhmerican as any other woman.
Watching the LEOs at work tonight, I started doubting again that their profession would be a good fit for me. For some reason I feel an aversion to the profession and sometimes to the officers as well when I see them. In the abstract, the profession seems honorable and worthy of pursuit, but in the concrete... something repulses me. I can picture myself working for a particular city, but not for others. (And my feeling towards that city is not that stable. The other day I was working in one of its schools, and I couldn't picture myself putting my life on the line for some of those 6th graders. Maybe it's not their fault that they have the characters that they have, but I do not see a rosy future for many of them.) Is my aversion due to sour experiences with LEOs in the past? Or have I been influenced too much by the LRC blog?
Serving in a militia would be more satisfying, coupled with some worthy 'vocation.' Law enforcement is not the ideal, but a compromise. I don't know if I could ever convince myself that it isn't. It's all moot though, if my back doesn't improve.
There are many models of "liberal education" -- with which version of liberal education in the West is this Confucian ideal most aligned? What is the goal of a liberal education: practical, speculative, or both? It could be said that Confucianism advocates a "humane education," centered on ren. As presented by Mr. Crane, Confucian liberal education has much in common with the program put forth by Aristotle in the Politics. It has less in common with the medieval ideal, which was centered not on moral development as much as intellectual development. The liberal arts were the tools needed to prepare the intellect for further studies in philosophy and theology. (A foundation in the arts were also required for the professional degrees: medicine, law, etc.)
In the Renaissance we see a return to an ideal of a liberal education as being practical? For those, especially the sons of the elites, aspiring to be statesmen and so on? It would seem for Aristotle at least, the state would be involved in the moral component of education. However, there was a speculative end to his program as well, since a few would be prepared for the study of philosophy. I do not think the speculative component was as pronounced, if it was present, in Renaissance ideals, but I should check Vives and others. (Even though Jesuit formation and university education included philosophy and theology, I believe the apex of the curriculum was not metaphysics or speculative theology, but moral theology. But maybe the source I read was incorrect.)
As for Confucian liberal education, there has historically been a debate within Confucianism as to what moral training consists in -- how does the junzi, the gentleman, become virtuous? Through practice, meditation, or study? And how broadly should li, rites, be understood? While Aristotle does lay out a program of education, it should not be understood as being separate from the acquisition and practice of virtue. With some members of the Confucian school, this integration is not so clear. (But I do think that it is present in the Analects.)
While it would be advantageous to restore some sort of humane learning to East Asian society, I do not think it is going to happen in time to prevent social breakdown in the event of severe economic collapse.
Begun on April 26.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Stephen Carter-Novotni, CityBeat
Philosopher-farmers Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson and Gene Logsdon discuss the future of agriculture, the environment and changing our ideas about growth and progress.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Agri-Intellectual Reason (A Response to Blake Hurst)
One Foodie’s Experience
Gary Taubes, The Soft Science of Dietary Fat
The Grammy winner said she wanted to learn more about how the law will be implemented if it goes into effect this summer and to meet with Phoenix's Latino community.
"I heard about it on the news and I thought, 'Wow,'" Shakira told The Associated Press after meeting with city officials. "It is unjust and it's inhuman, and it violates the civil and human rights of the Latino community ... It goes against all human dignity, against the principles of most Americans I know."
Her beliefs about the Constitution:
"I'm not an expert on the Constitution but I know the Constitution exists for a reason," Shakira told reporters after meeting with city officials. "It exists to protect human beings, to protect the rights of people living in a nation with or without documents. We're talking about human beings here."
Shakira also made a stop at the state Capitol in downtown Phoenix, telling a group of a few hundred community members that if the law were in effect, she could be arrested since she didn't bring her driver's license to Arizona.
"I'm here pretty much undocumented," she told the crowd, who screamed her name and took photos of her with cameras and cell phones.
I'm assuming she couldn't get into the country without a passport and a visa. Should she be carrying that around? Don't other countries require foreigners to carry their passports with them? We should stop subsidizing celebrities like Shakira who are able to become political advocates because they do not have to do real work. Very often it is American celebrities going to other countries to lecture their governments; for once it is a foreign celebrity (even if she has a fan base in the U.S.) coming to the U.S. to speak on a "humanitarian"/"human rights" issue. Regardless of who it is, the celebrity advocate is exemplifies the liberal activist who knows no bounds.
Colombian pop singer Shakira speaks against Senate Bill 1070 at a news conference with Phoenix's Mayor Phil Gordon (R) at city hall in Phoenix, Arizona April 29, 2010. Arizona's Republican governor, Jan Brewer, signed a measure into law last week that makes it a state crime to be in Arizona illegally. It also requires state and local police to determine a person's immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" they are undocumented. (Reuters/Daylife)
Columbian singer Shakira speaks to guests at the Carl Hayden Youth Center Thursday, April 29, 2010 in Phoenix. The pop star was visiting Phoenix to voice her opposition to the new Arizona immigration law. (AP/Daylife)
Colombian pop singer Shakira speaks out against Senate Bill 1070 during a news conference at city hall in Phoenix, Arizona April 29, 2010. Arizona's tough new immigration law has renewed calls for Washington to reform federal immigration laws, and protesters decried the state's action as a violation of U.S. civil rights after Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1070 at the state's capitol last week. (Reuters/Daylife)
Columbian singer Shakira speaks to the media at Phoenix City Hall Thursday, April 29, 2010 in Phoenix. The pop star was visiting Phoenix to voice her opposition to the new Arizona immigration law. (AP/Daylife)
The Crushing Burden of College Debt
Host, Steve Wood & Dr. Alan Carlson
The last three shows (archived audio is available for the two most recent shows only):
Thursday, April 22, 2010
2 PM [ET]
Hope & Healing from Pornography Addictions
Host, Steve Wood & Fr. John Mulvey
Thursday, April 15, 2010
2 PM [ET]
How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk
Host, Steve Wood
Thursday, April 8, 2010
2 PM [ET]
How Pornography Alters the Brain & How to Change It Back
Host, Steve Wood
Perhaps it is understandable why paleolibertarians/members of the Austrian school are so quick to dismiss the impulse to own one's home -- one does not really own one's home until the end of a very long process. Until then, the bank in essence owns it. But economic freedom and security begins with having a place of one's own, one that cannot be taken away with 30 days notice.
On the Springfield Remanufacturing Company.
Jack Stack, Entrepreneurial Skills Article - Inc. Article
I was thinking of how pathetic it would be if political advocacy had been reduced to giving financial contributions and putting up signs on one's lawn. Xiao Jimmy recently signed up for campaign materials from Meg Whitman; he himself was planning to plant some signs in front of his house. How many of these people believe in an issue to talk about it with their neighbors. I can understand those who cannot volunteer for a campaign because they have to work during the day; instead they contribute money. But when they are off from work, what is to prevent them from talking about politics with their neighbors? People cannot even be bothered to form neighborhood associations for the discussion of politics (as opposed to deliberating upon aesthetic standards for their neighborhood).l
Those who can't trouble themselves to learn about what's being voted on, or do not have the understanding to do so, and must rely upon signs to give them some idea of how to vote, probably shouldn't be voting.
Now, keeping one's advocacy limited may ease one's conscience and prevent one from being in conflict with others (as would probably happen with respect to same-sex marriage). But is the lack of social strife so important, compared to other goods? Maybe antagonizing others over such issues is useless, since little can be changed because of the power of the elites. But if such conflict might precipitate large-scale movement towards relocalization and maybe even secession... if people disagree about virtue and vice to such a great extent, and the absence of legislation prohibiting vice adversely affects the next generation, it would be better for them to separate.
Facebook is another place where people can show their support for some issue, without much effort. (For example, I note that many of the people I know from high school support same-sex marriage in California.) I don't really take Facebook seriously as a means of communicating such issues to others, other than posting articles on my wall. Most people are too committed to our political economy as it is.
As for measure J, it is the business of those residing in Santa Clara, but if they knew the truth about peak oil and the political economy, would they be so dedicated to perpetuating the status quo? Or would they question their priorities?
Poll shows Santa Clara stadium measure ahead
Financial reform is the Congressional political issue of the month. Democrats say their bill will place essential controls on Wall Street to prevent abuse and a repeat of the financial crash. Republicans say it will encourage further Wall Street risk-taking by giving the big banks a guarantee of a future taxpayer bailout if reckless decisions trigger another financial crash.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Two Summers ago I picked up the 5 year anniversary issue of Yogi Times at Whole Foods Cupertino. The magazine caters to yoga practitioners in San Francisco and Los Angeles. (The coastal regions of California still have ties to the 60s.) As I was going through my things, I found it and looked through it again. Acouple of pages are spent on crow and side crow, bakasana and parsva bakasana. But the articles make it clear that yoga does have an associated spirituality and view of reality. Pilates appears to lack the philosophical and spiritual components of yoga, and so it should be less problematic. I was interested in pilates while I was in Boston, but I never did anything about it. Is pilates counter to the "natural posture" as exemplified, for example, in the Gokhale method? It is claimed that pilates helps strengthens the core, which I need to do.
A few things about the police, jury trial and the presumption of innocence. The former criminal justice system never sees - or never saw - most of the work that the police do (or used to do) to keep crime and disorder under control. One of the reasons that it is now breaking down is that every encounter between authority and disorder has to be recorded and dealt with formally. Jury trial was never intended to protect burglars, shoplifters or violent louts from the fist of the law. It was meant to ensure that the state couldn't persecute the innocent through abuse of the criminal courts.
Let us please not be sentimental, or go seeking after a Toytown perfection. The police (usually large cynical men who had grown up and gone to school alongside those they policed) were given a great deal of licence to be rough with criminals.
I use the word criminals quite deliberately (see below). They left the rest of us almost entirely alone, and would not have dreamt of behaving towards the law-abiding as they do now. In fact it is largely because they have become the over-mighty bureaucratised servants of the left-wing state that they have ceased to harry criminals (which is what we all want them to do), and begun to trouble the innocent.
The problem does not lie in the mere fact that public education is public. 100 years ago, community schools in northern Illinois were parsimonious and effective. But with school consolidation, the centralization of power, the growth of “professional” teacher training, a nightmare was created. What is the solution? It is quite simple. First, decertify the unions. Then delegitimate the pseudo-professional education degrees. Downsize the districts to something like an area that could be served by a current elementary school, abolish the state board of education, and eliminate the US Department of Education. At this point, local neighborhoods will be able to decide if they want public schools, what the goals of their schools should be, and what kind of education they wish their children to receive.
While I think there should be greater local control and decentralization, is a stable community necessary for this to be maintained in the long run?
What I have sketched out is not a reform of the schools. That can only be done by disciplined and educated men and women who understand the purpose and function of schooling. But the demolition of the entire system would clear the way to make reform possible. Any well-intended attempt to reform the schools–and, believe me, as teacher, headmaster, scholar, and “education expert,” I have looked at hundreds of them–is a waste of time that will probably–inevitably–make matters worse.
But, since this demolition will only take place sometime after the thundering arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, there is absolutely nothing to be done with public education except to vote against bond issues and oppose every school board candidate who has any agenda except budget cutting. Parents who actually care about their children, unless they happen to live in one of a very few bourgeois districts, will either send their children to private schools or else teach them at home. Of course, Rockford’s private schools are for the most part only whiter and safer imitations of public schools and home-schooling is far from an ideal solution, even in principle. But, even though protecting children from predatory savages is not a primary goal of education, it is a minimum prerequisite.
Vote No on Measure B.
Damien Perrotin, The View from Brittany
2010 might very well be seen in retrospect as the year when Peak Oil became, if not exactly mainstream, at least something of a subject for the powers that be...Yet very little of it transpired into mainstream press and we can be quite sure, as Matthieu Auzanneau himself acknowledges, that a lot of water will run under the bridges of Paris before any kind of policy is implemented to address the problem. And there are unfortunately very good reasons for that.
Out of our Ego Houses, into the Collective Intelligence
Andrew MacDonald, Radical Relocalization
Communal life - our tribal past - valued the group over the individual. We left our communal past to put the individual's benefit (and especially material benefit) before the common good, in the process losing much of our memory of community.
Bill McKibben: The Surprising Reason Why Americans Are So Lonely
Bill McKibben, Speaking Truth to Power
Community may suffer from overuse more sorely than any word in the dictionary. Politicians left and right sprinkle it through their remarks the way a bad Chinese restaurant uses MSG, to mask the lack of wholesome ingredients. But we need to rescue it; we need to make sure that community will become, on this tougher planet, one of the most prosaic terms in the lexicon, like hoe or bicycle or computers. Access to endless amounts of cheap energy made us rich, and wrecked our climate, and it also made us the first people on earth who had no practical need of our neighbors.
Joanne Mariner, The Legality of Drone Warfare
Bruce E. Levine, The Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America: a Conversation with Robert Whitaker
John Ross, The Big Scam: How Washington Hooked Mexico on the Drug War
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sponsored in part by Agrariana:
Righteous Porkchop and Uncertain PerilNicolette Hahn Niman:
Nicolette Hahn Niman and Claire Hope CummingsApril 28, 2010
101 Morgan Hall, UC Berkeley
From New York to Bolinas … and from vegetarian to cattle rancher
Reaping What We Sow: How Industrial Animal Farming is Contributing to the Risk of a Swine Flu Pandemic
The Carnivore's Dilemma
More with Claire Hope Cummings:
The Good Food Revolution
A Conversation with Claire Hope Cummings
He gives a definition of happiness:
Happiness, as described by classical and Christian thinkers, is a life of excellence in accordance with goods and standards (both natural and supernatural) that are suited to human beings. This sort of happiness is not achievable in isolation, for humans are creatures fit for community.This isn't the definition of Aquinas or Aristotle; it is similar to that of Boethius. I can't recall if St. Augustine give a definition of happiness, or one that does not include God within it. This definition of happiness also seems to be more in consonant with the New Natural Law Theory than with Aristotelian-Thomism. (Goods are implied by the A-T definition of happiness, in so far as virtues are ordered to goods but so is right reason, and right reason is more than adherence to the Natural Law.)
Our high-tech products increasingly make use of rare metals, and mining those resources can have devastating environmental consequences. But if we block projects like the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska, are we simply forcing mining activity to other parts of the world where protections may be far weaker?(original)
His official website.
Stephen Wolfram: A New Kind of Science
Wolfram Research: Mathematica, Technical and Scientific Software
Reflections on Stephen Wolfram's 'A New Kind of Science'
Monday, April 26, 2010
The Return of the Great Depression by Vox Day
Selected Papers of Seven Marglin (author of Dismal Science) features the following two, which are recommended by John Médaille:
How else to reconcile tradition with modernity (or some other standard determined by reason)? Keep what can be harmonized with reason, reject what is against reason. (Or, in this case, what is against "justice.") I should watch it though to see what is done with traditional conceptions of the family.
Global Fund for Women
More: Fora TV and Google lecture
Sunday, April 25, 2010
More about the movie:
Dirt! The Movie Gene Rosow Interview
INTERVIEW with the directors of the documentary "Dirt: The Movie"
Podcast Interview with Wangari Maathai | ITVS Beyond the Box Blog
Having mentioned the movie here, I was able to make time to watch it on the local PBS channel tonight; well KQED is in SF. I suppose KTEH is the local channel since that is based in San Jose. KQED and KTEH seem to have coordinated their programming more, with the aintroduction of DTV.
As I suspected the movie does talk about the impact of industrial agriculture on soil. Weaknesses? Too many general statements, not enough support. It is true that the medium isn't amenable to footnotes. Also, I found the animation to be a bit juvenile and unnecessary. The use of rhetorical dev...ices I can understand, but the animation reminded me of typical PBS programming. Perhaps the filmmakers intended to reach a broad audience (i.e. children), but adults may want more elaboration and less cartoons. While the movie features a number of experts and personalities, including Wes Jackson and Alice Waters, there are too many sound bites. A requirement of the format? Or a product of its time? An illustration of soil depletion, and a list of areas that are threatened would have strengthened the argument.
Still, the movie is only an hour long, check it out.
There is a '60s "counterculture" feel to many of the personalities; some are probably associated with the "left." Some of the rhetoric, disguised as testimony from scientists, goes too far in the direction of radical equality between all living things. Many paleos and traditional conservatives are "environmentally" aware, but we need to make the pitch to middle America. Perhaps the average conservative American is more willing to sacrifice than I give him credit for.
The movie did make me want to get involved with an organization dedicated to sustainability and related issues, or, gasp! politics. If only we could bring great change to the Bay Area....
Green Belt Movement
NAVDANYA USA • VANDANA SHIVA
Sustainable South Bronx
The Natural Builders
Heart and soil tale 'Dirt! The Movie' comes to PBS April 20