July 2012

The Freedom to Restrict the Freedom of Others

July 31, 2012

. Conservative arguments in support of Chick-Fil-A – or more to the point, against those critical of Chick-Fil-A – demonstrate a characteristic contemporary conservative confusion of terms. What better example than Gary Bauer to represent how conservatives do it. The left’s response to Cathy’s rather innocuous comment has once again exposed the gay rights movement’s [...]

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Wander Lust

July 30, 2012

. Longtime readers of this blog and the conscientious historians will know how it began. For my last sabbatical year, in 2008, Julia and I bought a thirty-seven foot Class A, Tiffin Allegro Bay motor home (which I named Obelisk), attached a hydraulic lift on which to carry two Yamaha C-3 motor scooters, moved all [...]

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Pythonian Philosophy

July 29, 2012

. In the spirit both of the most recent “Drowning Child” post and our current London Olympiad, we persevere in our arguments by exploring the nature of intellectual competition. The first video I actually share with my students in the opening week of my critical thinking class. It’s a hoot and does make a point. [...]

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The Drowning Child: an Experiment in Morality

July 27, 2012

. Over at Philosophy Experiments, a site of The Philosopher’s Magazine, one of the experiments is drawn from Peter Singer‘s “The Drowning Child and the Expanding Circle.” Here is the basic scenario. Your route to work takes you past a shallow pond. One morning you notice that a small child has fallen in and appears [...]

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The Mystery of Terrorism, Revealed

July 26, 2012

. Cross posted at The Times of Israel. When I wrote the other day about our dumbness before the phenomenon of terrorism – so often the wanton and random killing in large numbers of those who must by any non-self-justifying reason be considered innocents – I was invoking the mystery of the moral self that can rise [...]

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Alexander Cockburn: Remembering the Dead

July 25, 2012

Cross posted at the Algemeiner. It really is the ultimate sentimentality. That concern with how we will be remembered, or how those for whom we care will be treated in the minds of others, or who is saying what about whom now gone. It is too obvious to say we will never know the reputations [...]

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Eating Poetry (XXXIX) – “From back when it was Nam time I tell you what”

July 21, 2012

. Here is the vernacular as the purest verbal music, singing the culture from which it is pulled, clots of earth still clinging. You may find it hard to separate the units of meaning on first read. It will be easier on second, and if you listen here to the poet reading it, you will [...]

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We Are Not Speechless, but Dumb before Terrorism

July 20, 2012

. I had it in mind to offer today a series of many quotations on terrorism. I thought some collection of insightful commentary on the phenomenon might be of momentary worth. What provoked the thought, it may not surprise, was yesterday’s suicide bombing in Bulgaria. The U.S is now confirming its belief, in agreement with [...]

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Higgs Boson, or What’s the Meta in Metaphor for?

July 18, 2012

. Let’s get God out of the way to start. The Higgs Boson particle/field is not the God particle. (I keep telling everyone – the neutral B-meson is the God particle.) In part because of that name, and, certainly, the momentous confirmation at the largest site of physics experimentation in the world of a near [...]

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Privatizing America

July 16, 2012

. By the time the full extent of it is known, who can say how late it will be. There are always people who know what is happening along the way, but then there are also people who know things that are happening that are not happening, so it can be hard to tell the [...]

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CineFile – Drive

July 15, 2012

. with Ryan Gosling, by Nicolas Winding Refn. Primal eruption  and withdrawal. Related articles New Images of Ryan Gosling in Nicolas Winding Refn’s ONLY GOD FORGIVES (collider.com) WTF: Nicolas Winding Refn Directing ‘Barbarella’ TV Series (slashfilm.com) ‘Only God Forgives’ Will Share The ‘Language’ Of ‘Drive’ (moviesblog.mtv.com) Behind the Scenes Photos: Ryan Gosling in ‘Only God Forgives’ [...]

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Eating Poetry (XXXVIII) – To the One Who is Reading Me

July 13, 2012

. To the One Who is Reading Me by JORGE LUIS BORGES Translated from the Spanish by Tony Barnstone You are invulnerable. Didn’t they deliver (those forces that control your destiny) the certainty of dust? Couldn’t it be your irreversible time is that river in whose bright mirror Heraclitus read his brevity? A marble slab is [...]

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Jazz Is: 41 – KLAZZ Brothers and Cuba Percussion

July 13, 2012

. “Summertime” I’m feelin’ it. All hail Kilian Forster, solo bassist with the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, founder, Klazz Brothers. Related articles Eating Poetry (XXXVII) – The New Physics (sadredearth.com)

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The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in a Single Conversation

July 12, 2012

. The following is a partial transcript of a “discussion” on Democracy Now between Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin and Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada. In this brief exchange we see all of the essential characteristics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tobin makes the point that regardless of any opinion regarding the settlements, peace can be had. Legal settlements can [...]

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The Real Dispute behind the Supreme Court’s Health Care Vote

July 11, 2012

. If you pay attention to the expert analysis and the more general opining, you might think from either that the argument over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, and the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision upholding it, hast to do with the Commerce Clause and taxation. This thinking represents two kinds of pretense. The [...]

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God and Man at the Higgs Boson Level

July 10, 2012

. Cross posted at the Algemeiner. I wrote the other day how most physicists who speak of it are uncomfortable with the label “God” particle for the Higgs boson particle, the existence of which scientists at CERN confirmed on Wednesday. The rather casual, sensationalistic origin of the label clarifies that discomfort, as does, I suspect, unsurprising scientific worry that too conventional [...]

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Male Genital Enhancement

July 9, 2012

. This essay originally appeared in The Times of Israel, July 3, 2012. Is it too fanciful to imagine that Germany  might wait, say, a thousand years, the length of an eponymously termedTausendjähriges Reich, before any governmental body in that country could feel sufficiently conscientiously liberated as to actually restrict a Jewish religious rite, i.e. [...]

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I Am a Man: When American Indians Were Recognized as People Under U.S. Law

July 7, 2012

. This is the story I have meant to share.  You had to know the story of the Massacre of the Cheyenne first. That took place at Fort Robinson, Nebraska on January 9, 1879. This story, and these events, played out only months later, in Omaha, Nebraska, in the spring of 1879. Though I draw on [...]

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Eating Poetry (XXXVII) – The New Physics

July 6, 2012

THE NEW PHYSICS Al Zolynas for Fritjof Capra And so, the closer he looks at things, the farther away they seem. At dinner, after a hard day at the universe, he finds himself slipping through his food.  His own hands wave at him from beyond a mountain of peas.  Stars and planets dance with molecules [...]

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The Real “God” Particle

July 5, 2012

. I hate trooping off in a gang. Scientists working with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN believe they have confirmed the existence of what others have called the “God particle.” Everyone exclaims “Higgs boson!” But I cry out “neutral B-meson” to that. I understand that for physicists, this discovery completes and substantiates the “Standard Model,” by which they [...]

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Jazz Is: 40 – Jumpin Jive

July 4, 2012

. Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers. From Stormy Weather. And what an ending. It’s a wonderful country. Related articles How We Lived On It (51) – Route 66: The American Road (sadredearth.com)

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