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Philosorapters - Preparing students for the job market 
05:27pm 20/02/2011
  Hello everyone,

I doubt this is the right place to post this so I apologize if it's wrong.

I recently applied for graduate programs in philosophy all over the US. I realized at some point that I was doing about an hour of research a day and just storing it for myself. This seemed a bit on the selfish side so I decided that I would publish my findings on this blog. This blog is my research into how to survive as a career philosopher.


This blog is designed to keep you updated on professional news and movements in philosophy today, trolled from many site over the internet.
Firstly, particular focus is on the professional aspects of philosophy such as how to create a good C/V, prepare ones application, Publish papers, and understand hiring practices.
Secondly, I'm also quite interested in why philosophy, specifically critical thinking, is not taught in high school, and other issues in the profession.

I will be posting my findings that I think could be beneficial to other undergrads, graduates as well as post-doc students.

Please feel free to comment, criticize, or suggest research material.

Yet again, I apologize if this is posted in the wrong place,

I hope this blog might help philosophy students prepare for the job market if that is where they want to go.

All the best,

William Parkhurst

(your two cents)

10:38am 17/07/2007
  This certainly doesn't belong here but I created this old (very quite) community and therefore can do what I want. :)

I have created a new, quite similar community called:  poli_issues

This new community is more broad and allows us to discuss more broad ideas and topics of politics.  I noticed there are many, MANY people who watch THIS community.  I hope to write more in both communities but grad school has taken so much more of my time and grad school has forced me to leave my love of political philosophy behind. 

So, please, take a look at my new community.  I have posted several entries so there is plenty of reading should you ever get bored.  At least during the summer I plan to be more active and strongly encourage you all to be active as well.

Best wishes! and enjoy

(your two cents)

Role of Government?: Nationalized Education 
10:26am 17/07/2007
  I know this is a basic question but its been floating around in my head since my grad school friends and I discussed this very question during a short break in my urban politics seminar this summer.

Background for asking this question:

When I opened this community a couple of years ago, I lived in Greeley, Colorado.  Greeley is a pretty wealthy small city but I'm FAR from wealthy...quite the contrary.  For graduate school I have moved to Milwaukee.  Milwaukee is a VERY segregated city and its painful to see what has taken place in this city.  I'm also sure that Milwaukee is not the exception to the rule. 

In Milwaukee, there is a couple of high schools (technically outside the Milwaukee School District) Whitefish Bay High School and Shorewood High School.  These schools have bowling alleys, pools, and obviously enough money to retain the necessary educational property like books and teachers.  Shorewood High School students are even begging (and I'm mean BEGGING) private residents to pay for a dome for their sports fields.  www.drivetodistinction.org.

Less than 2 miles away in Milwaukee proper are schools that are so poor they do not have enough tax revenue to pay for ANY extra-curricular activities and worse BOOKS and basic maintenance of school buildings.

I fully understand that these are different school districts and therefore there are different tax bases for each of these districts.  What I am trying to show is that, at least in Milwaukee, poor and rich areas are segregated from one another and have been since the advent of the automobile. 

Should public education be nationalized

My time here in Milwaukee has led me to be inclined that YES, it should be.  Thus far local government has had the power to deal with everything public education.  But that has brought serious differences and a complete lack of fair opportunity!  Nationalizing education would enable the US to provide equal opportunity for success of EVERY child in the state. 

(your two cents)

Are Mass Murders Our Price For Freedom? 
10:08am 18/04/2007
mood: reflective
Some people have made arguments that if there were better gun control the mass murder at Virginia Tech wouldn't have happened. I've also heard that if people were allowed to carry weapons they would have been able to defend themselves against the killer. I disagree with both arguments. The issue of guns is a red herring. There's no evidence that either the availability or the lack of guns reduces violence. The real issue is whether we should have more pro-active intervention policies toward people who are mentally ill.

It seems obvious that Cho Seung-Hui was mentally ill. His professors and fellow students all knew it. And yet nothing happened about it because he didn't want help and because there's no law or policy out there that allows intervention. There are two reasons why this is. First, as a society we haven't decided that it's our collective responsibility to intervene in the lives of the mentally ill. Second, we have a strong libertarian notion that a person should not be subjected to interventionalist treatment just because they're different.

What, then, is the point at which libertarian freedom gives way to public health concerns? At what point should we not be worried just about the mentally ill person, but also the livelihood of the people around him? I don't know the answer to the question. It may be that if we're to say "no" to pro-active intervention in the name of libertarian freedom we may have to pay for it with the sacrifice of people in situations like this.

(2 stated input | your two cents)

Book recommendation 
10:46pm 07/03/2007
  I'd like to find a decent book that serves as a comparative study of the contemporary environment of radical political theory. Something that contrasts the positions of figures like Zizek, Agamben, Hardt, Negri, Mouffe, Laclau, etc. The book I'm reading right now, Zizek's Politics gives a paltry introduction to the situation. Right now I don't have the time to read each of these theorists individually. Anyone have any book suggestions?  

(your two cents)

Janizary of the positivism 
02:56am 22/01/2007
It is completely it would be correct to name the fate of social sciences for the latter of one-and-a-half century deeply tragic. In a sense, it is similar to the fate “of the lions of Islam”, of the struck terror into tens countries of Europe, Asia and Africa in XV -XVIII centuries, the furious and cruel soldiers of Ottoman Empire - Janizary.

(your two cents)

01:53pm 16/11/2006
  A moment of silence for the death of Milton Friedman...

He died today.

(As for the wonderful article that has been posted: I will read it more closly after classes get out. This is my first semester of grad school and i'm a little overwhelmed. Please do not be discouraged about my lack of attention! From what I have read, it sounds awsome. )

(your two cents)

John P. McCormick on removing the wealthy from Popular Government 
09:23pm 16/06/2006
  This is in response to an article I just ready by the above individual called, "Contain the Wealthy and Patrol the Magistrates.  Restoring Elite Accountability to Popular Government". 

Unfortunately, this blog will probably be missed by the few who read it because the article is so new but I wanted to comment about it anyway.

Quick review:
McCormick makes the argument that Popular government has actually moved away from institutions of making it MORE difficult, if not impossible, for the wealthy or politically agile to find their way into politics.  He mostly sites the Roman republic as described by Machiavelli and Guicciardini.  McCormick also argues that such institutions have left the psyche of philosophers of popular government.  For this he points is finger at the Foundign Fathers of the United States, arguing that the Founding Fathers were more concerned about the tyranny of the masses than the tyranny of the few aristocrats. 

This is where I begin to take serious issue with McCormick's argument.  Its true, if his evaluation of Machiavelli and Guicciardini is correct, that philosophers of popular government have forgotten that the wealthy have an incredibly strong hand in politics (at least the thinkers who have had any influence on politics).  But 3 big things stand out to me in McCormick's argument.

First, the Roman Republic.  It may be true that EVERYONE spent time in politics and was involved in politics and were picked from a lottery to reside in their legislature for 1 year terms.  This provided for the poorest of citizens to have a true voice in government.  It also provided for an ever changing of the guard, if you will.  If I recall correctly, the most wealthy also were barred from these positions.  However, this information needs to be juxtaposed with several other points of the Roman Republic that McCormick fails to mention.  First, that the Republic had many slaves.  Those who were considered citizens were actually not the poorest of those living in the nation.  Also, as just mentioned, EVERYONE was invloved in politics.  Something we have seen an incredible decline in for decades, if not longer.  One does not have to be an expert in politics to hold the office in such a lottery...but more than 30% of the public from which this lottery is drawn should know the Vice President's name and be able to name the Secretary of State and Defence! (Shame on the American public) 

Second, McCormick argues that our Founding Fathers were more concerned with the tyranny of the majority than that of wealthy aristocrats.  And, this is partly true.  The reason?  During the time of the founding of this country, there was a very small gap between the poorest and wealthiest citizens.  Even de Tocqueville noticed this in his visit to the states.  So there was little reason to really fear the tyranny of the wealthy.  On the other hand, there was a great push, at least from one of our most famous founders, Thomas Jefferson, to have something similar to the Roman Republic implimented in the states.  The idea was townships.  Jefferson lost the argument but wanted to see small county or city sized government where everyone actually had a say and a personal vote as if they were each on the town committee board.  This, he argued, would inable people to do more in their republic than vote once every couple of years.

The third point is, I think, a direct result of the last point (made by Jefferson and reiterated by Hannah Arendt).  Noone is involved in politics anymore.  Those who ARE involved in politics are either wealthy or only involved enough to complain about their station in life.  The middle class is somewhat involved in politics but it seems they refuse to actually involve themselves physically.  Instead, they want to pay dues to groups and associations and pretend to be involved (see "Bowling Alone").  The poor who pay attention to politics do only that, pay attention.  The only time they involve themselves is on election day, and, statistically, they don't even do that in any great numbers. 

So, who's to blame.  Well, part of the problem is missing the chance that Jefferson gave us to actually enable the masses to involve themselves more than once every year or two.  Another part of the problem is the laziness of the public in general.  In many societies that have implimented popular governments, there is no sense of civic duty, no sense of obligation beyond self-interest.  This causes the population to have a someone-else-can-handle-it approach.

McCormick ends by trying to suggest bringing back institutions from the Roman Republic and the like.  Unfortunately, he seems to neglects the above mentioned realities of today's societies.

(your two cents)

Sending the Disadvantaged to College 
08:05am 30/05/2006
  Today's New York Times had an article on the front page about how many colleges are enabling students who have not even finished high school or received an equivelent degree to attend their institutions. The students receive financial aid, including state and federal tax money, in many cases.

Interestingly, the article, "Can't Complete High School? Just Go Right Along to College", never looked at WHY? this trend is taking place. It even seem to suggest that these colleges admit students unable to even graduate high school because of their altrustic beliefs that "everyone" should have "the opportunity to come to college". That was Mary Claire Bauer, an admissions director at a SUNY campus. She goes on to admit that the "success rates are only so-so".

Why are colleges admitting unquilified stuedents to their campuses? It could be because of their altruistic tendencies. This could be argued because, like SUNY, many of these colleges are state schools, funded in a large part by state taxes. From this, one could argue that society should work to bring EVERY indivudual to their potential and that this trend shows the move by the state to fulfill this. But I don't think this is the reason. Why? Because it turns out that the article also talks about how other campuses, like private and "commercial colleges", are also showing this same trend. The above made arguement implies that these profit driven campuses are admitting unquilified students who are statistically doomed to fail. Usually when a school bares the cost of a poor or underprivileged student, they do so in hopes of being able to place that student's name on their walls, making the institution look better or so that the institution can look less rich or less white. So, unlike the article suggests, the institutions following this trend are not indulging in altruistic actions. But there is something else!

What about the money coming from private financial aid, state and federal finacial aid and the student's own pocket? If the student is willing to pay, if the state and federal government are willing to pay, and if private groups are willing to pay, why should an institution NOT want to allow such students in?

In capitalism, in order to maintain success or profits, you must constantly expand. In order to constantly expand, you must expand your customer base. In our current topic, the customer base is the potential student. The group of potential students will not change. The same number of PS will always be there. The same percentage of people will always want to go to college. The question is the percentage of THAT percentage that are eligible to enter colligate institutions.

So, what OTHER trend exists that the NYTimes article did NOT bring up? The trend that universities, colleges, and "commercial colleges" are lowering the bar (to use the trendy phrase). Allow a larger percentage of the willing PS and you can, in turn, increase your customer base. Increase your customer base and you increase your profit.

This is by no means a post against capitalism! This is a post pointing to a trend that the NYTimes article refused to acknowledge! A trend that EXPLAINS why the other trend exists! People remain ignorant if they refuse to think!

(6 stated input | your two cents)

Airline Industry of US and Singapore 
07:27am 30/05/2006
  The airline industry in the United States has, for more than a decade, been in the red. Our government has, for about that long, been willing to pull them out of that debt that they face. The argument is that the industry is necessary to maintain the economy. And, that I can believe. But in a state where capitalism is supreme, it is difficult to understand how we, as Americans, can see the airline industry as anything but a failing giant.

Unlike the US airlines, Singapore's international airlines have NEVER, let me repeat, NEVER been in the red. Why is this? Well, according to an NPR story this morning, it has everything to do with the way the industry treats its customers. Customer service. What a concept.

(Singapore is something I know a little about. I did a fair amount of research about the country last year and its economic status and its world status as many still consider it a third world country.)

Customer service is something that has long since passed in this state. It seems that many industries believe that if they can get more and more customers, they no longer need, or can't afford, good customer service. Go anywhere of reasonable cost. Try to get decent customer service, it will be difficult to find and probably does not flood the entire store you are patronizing and is probably a blip in the chain with one single individual understanding customer service.

Back to the airline industry in the US. It seems the west, being in the red for so long, is looking for inovative and imaginative ways to strengthen the corporation that is the industry. That imagination has created a rather strange way to save and make money...and creepy as well. A few months ago, it was expressed in many news papers that there were airlines who were considering economy seats that were not seats at all. Instead they were hoping to fit more passengers in the same size plane (aka more wallets paying for tickets). How would they do this? They are considering creating boards with "seat" belts. Instead of sitting in uncomfortable, cramped seating, you would be standing in even more uncomfortable and smaller spaces. Nice.

I have said this before my research of Singapore's economy, during my research and after my research. Singapore spent a bit over 40 years pulling itself out of third world status to be comprable to the powerhouses of the West. Almost entirely by its own and has no debt and owes the WTO nothing. What are they doing right that we are doing wrong. Perhaps we've just touched on one aspect.

Something to think about.

(your two cents)

on Immigration 
07:11am 16/05/2006
  This morning, Bush's announcement that he will send about 5000 National Guard troops to the Mexican/American border is a bit of a shock to me, I have to say.

Bush has traditionally taken a soft or unknown response to illegal immigration. Perhaps this move is one which he hopes will shift his slipping poll numbers or perhaps one that he hopes will shift his party's poll-position for their own benefit.

This all aside, Why is it that we seem to see such a surge of illegal immigration from Latin America? And why does it seem like noone can agree on what to do about the situation?

Answer: Neither side is wrong. The heart-tugger is that nearlly every individual who crosses into our country from Latin American illegally do so in hopes of bettering their own life and more so the lives of their families back home. Nearlly every Latin American state is considered an LDC (Less Developed Country). They are situated beside the absolute richest state in the world (US). I can not think of one single other situation in the world system where such a gap exists between rich/poor states with adjacent borders perhaps northern Africa and southern Europe but recent riots in France has shown us that the French have also neglected the situation.

No matter what road is taken in trying to fix the illegal immigration situation, the choice will seem to be the wrong one. On the one hand, how can the richest state in the world system turn its back on people who, for the vast majority of them, only want to better their lives and those of their families. Being the land of opportunity, it is difficult to believe that this state could stop such movements. Besides, rich do, I believe, have some obligation to assist those at the bottom who try to change that economic position. On the other hand, the state can not take in every single individual who wants to come to the land of opportunity. And, considering the majority of undocumented individuals are Latin American (this only matters in that they are crossing the long southern border rather than flying into the states or coming across the northern border) and that majority is almost entirely poor. I doubt that this matters as much as many argue in regard to social welfare programs. However, there is a serious shift in the state's own prosperity if undocumented poor come in at least the same large numbers. There will be a shift in the economic make-up of the state. The lower class is already very large. Bringing in even more, at an alarming rate, who can not speak the main language, will only further a decline in the state's prosperity.

Either way, we lose. Neither answer is a good answer. The only positive answer would be one that includes significant positive changes to Latin Ameircan state economies. This is something that the US can assist but is an answer that resides specifically in the hands of the citizens of Latin American states as well as their respective political leadership.

(2 stated input | your two cents)

12:20pm 21/04/2006
  Here's a topic that has been beaten around every news org, tv/radio commentator and dinner table but its been one that I have had trouble coming to my own personal opinions, so I throw this out in hopes of any insight.

Obviously, part of the citizenry wants all illegal immigrants to go back to their respective states. This is not only unlikely but damn near impossible. You can't expect a large population of individuals who are mostly dirt poor to say, "oh, ok, we'll just pack up and go home the same way we came". For many that would be dangerously through deserts and in the back of hot trucks and trunks of cars. Another option thrown out by many is deporting them ourselves. Another impossible idea. You can not just find 12 million (at least that's what the gov't is counting) people and pack them into busses and planes and boats and deport them.

The other part of the citizenry believe that it is a human right to live where ever one chooses. As great as this sounds, this has never been the case in human history, not once.

I am smart enough to know that these are only the extreme views; however, they are also the vocal ones getting attention in the media.

So, what does the United States Gov't do? Its apparent by the growing number of vocal individuals and groups and incredibly large protests that this issue is no longer able to be swept under the table.

Solution: Well, its difficult to find a working solution that i can be proud to suggest considering the US refuses to cut spending and find a way to live even modestly outside its own means; however, here we go.

First, the border with Mexico. Send the national guard to patrol. This sounds rough but listen. Don't make the servicemen and women work any more than they are currently obliged and you can still do this. And, this does not include shotting to kill or garbage like that. Simply place the guard there to turn back anyone trying to cross without the proper paperwork. This will be seen as a harsh move internationally but how many other very wealthy states border such poor states?

Two, move much of the processing centers toward the mexican/american border. This would make it easier for individuals wanting to come here to come here legally without going too far out of their way.

Third, actually go after companies that employ illegal immigrants. Many will argue that such a move will dramatically increase the cost of living this country. This maybe true but the argument is twisted. This argument is based on the idea that it is ok and appropriate to pay anyone in a country such as ours wages that we consider deplorable at best and slavery at worst so long as those wage laborers are undocumented workers. They should not be allowed the benefits of being a citizen of the state; however, they should be allowed the rights of being a human being based on our beliefs of what a human being is entitled to.

(your two cents)

The other side of the Corporation 
06:59pm 16/02/2006
  This inquiry may sound Marxian but work with me, it is Marxian only slightly.

My question is about the worker, the laborer. What are they entitled to in the corporation? And can you justify that entitlement?

Marx says they are entitled to everything since they are the ones actually physically producing the products in question. Hence the community concept of communism.

Kelley (mentioned in my last post) and Druker (also mentioned last post and said 50 years before Kelley) argue that the stockholder should not own the corporation. Kelley went so far as to argue that the workers should be given all the stock in the corporation. She has several justifications for this. One being the Marxian worker produces the product (for the life of me I can't think of the phrase Marx coins for this). Two, that stockholders don't do anything for the corporation and the workers do. Three, this would give workers added incentive to work harder and take pride in their work and their company.

Pullman (in the 1890's) argued that workers did nothing for the corporation and therefore he, the owner, owed them nothing. He was not responsible for the workers at all, only to the stockholders and the management.

Based on some of Ayn Rand's writing, one can assume she sides with the CEO's.

Kelley's idea wouldn't work because giving all stocks to all employees would open a pandora's box of employees watching stock prices/values like hawks and quitting and find jobs at better valued corporations with better preforming stocks. Our labor force would be incapable of doing any one thing well and corporations would implode under the pressure of constantly training new workers.

More and more John Rawls' theory is sounding better and better. If only there was a practical way to convince the public in such an independently drive society that they have civic duties and that those duties come before or are at least equal to the duties to one's self.

(1 stated input | your two cents)

06:17pm 14/02/2006
  Where can I find an exhaustive list of Straussians?  

(your two cents)

About Corporations... 
07:33pm 13/02/2006
  I've been reading a lot about corporations and capitalism lately and am still not sure what to think about them.

In a class a few semesters ago, I read Kelley's book "The Divine Right of Capital". She suggested that stockholders do not really own the corporation and that the workers should. One would think that she would invoke Marx but that was not the case. Come to think of it, I don't think she mentioned any great thinkers. But about a month ago, I read Peter Druker's book "The Future of the Industrial Man" (I'm pretty sure that's the title). He actually said in about 10 pages what took Kelley an entire book. Since my encounter with Druker. I've tried to find other books from the 40's through the 60's and the main theories on capitalism and corporations.

I don't like Ayn Rand but she wrote, or put together a composition, about capitalism and the modern corporation. She had a completely different and more positive in favor of corporations and their stockholders. The beloved Alan Greenspan even provides an essay. One thing stood out though throughout the entire book, the idea that capitalism requires complete and unadulterated freedom.

I question this theory. I think that capitalism CAN exist without complete freedom. All capitalism requires is economic freedom. I don't see how it is necessary to have all other freedoms. They argue that one must have the freedom to think and be able to create unabated by government oversight.

Any thoughts or suggestions for readings?

(8 stated input | your two cents)

11:05pm 19/09/2005
  I have a few (large) questions. I figured I'd swallow my pride and see if anyone here is better read on these issues and has anything insightful to say about any of these questions. I apologize beforehand for any spelling or grammatical errors.

1. I'll get a bit political here. Regarding the left there seems to be two major camps - the liberals and the communitarians, and more often a mixture of these. Taylor calls his position in one place (I don't recall where it was) as the "new philosophical communitarianism" to distinguish it from both old communitarianism and to make sure it is known that it is Philosophical communitarianism not just communitarianism. It seems that philosophical communitarianism will criticize liberalism for its atomism, its lack of concern about the community, etc. and not just deal with it on a simple political level. In this way it seems much more adaptable to the 'intersubjectivity' that seems to be many continental philosophers goal. All that I think I understand (except for why it is called 'new'). I see a non-Marxist left-wing political position (in this case Philosophical Communitarianism more than Philosophical Liberalism) as more tenable when building upon the insights of the "defenders of intentionality" group (as Taylor calls it) -ie. Heidegger-Merleau-Ponty-Taylor - than in the neo-Nietzschean poststructuralist wing. Am I right to assume this, that in these figures is the ontological work in which one could build a political theory (ie. communitarianism) on. Is there even a political concern in European philosophy today? It seems that the people working on communitarianism at the moment are all north americans (Taylor, McIntyre, Sandel, Nussbaum), which makes me wonder about its relevance to Continental philosophy.

2. What are some main differences between Gadamer and Taylor. Taylor doesn't seem to mention hermeneutics really, but constantly mentions Heidegger, and focuses our attention onto our own historicity and the roles our horizons (prejudices) play in our own choices. There seems, however, to be possible in Taylor a political leftism that is absent (or maybe impossible) in Gadamer. How can one reconcile the two? Habermas mentions Aristotelian ethics (and I'm assuming his virtue ethics?) in Gadamer (I think this is on 358 of Habermas' "A Review of Gadamer's 'Truth and Method') and I was wondering if this would be enough to build a political theory on (like McIntyre and Taylor seem to). It doesn't seem like Gadamer does, but does he imply this? What are the implications of Aristotelian ethics on Gadamer. There also seems that there could be an account of leftism in Gadamer with the idea of 'fusion of horizons' (of other cultures) and 'tragendes Ein verstandnis' (deep common accord; all misunderstanding presupposes a prior understanding).
I have been wondering for some time what ethical and political implication the philosophy of these thinkers (once again, Heidegger, Gadamer, Taylor, Ricoeur) has on political leftism.

3. I believe it has been mentioned that Hermeneutics cannot or doesn't account for (or accept) the concept of 'false consciousness.' I'm sure this rests on their disagreement with the critics of ideology (habermas, frankfurt school), but I'm wondering why this is the case, and what type of political implications this may also have.

If you can tackle a question or two, that'd be very kind. Thank you very much

(your two cents)

10:52pm 15/03/2005
  Hey everyone,
I'm new to this community but I thought that it might be a good place to get some help on a school project. My friend and I are conducting a survey about the Christian Limits of war. It would be a great help to us if you could go to this website and fill out the survey:

There are no names attached to this survey it's just to find out how people feel.

Sorry if this post is considered off topic or not appropriate. Please delete it if it is.

Thank you for your help.

(your two cents)

are we really rational? 
05:42pm 14/03/2005
  my political economy class has me thinking about advertising to children.

We read a piece called "born to buy" by Schor (first name escapes me), she talks about the consumerism of children and how much effort and money corporations put into starting/pushing trends and getting children to want and buy or want and nag parents for stuff. It seemed to me at first that this is abhorrent that a company could take advantage of a child who was not yet rational. We all allow it every time we let them watch tv or buy those silly magazines filled with ads and nothing else. We don't give enough money to schools forcing them to seek money from corporations willing to give lots of money for exclusive rights for that school to sell ONLY their products (channel One, pepsi, coke etc). Schools may also do it to be greedy for extra money. Either way its at the expense of the children.

But after a time, I started thinking. We, as adults, are not all THAT rational ourselves. We buy things to look cool or look rich or convey some sort of appearence we would otherwise not be able to convey. We buy nike sneakers, the latest brand shirts and jeans, Donna Karen suits, buy SUVs when we could easily get buy with a smaller car or minivan, whatever. These are not rational decisions. They are in that we rationalize our buying them, be it consciously or otherwise. But do we rationally do these things. By rational, I mean, do we do these things in our best interest? Do we even try to do these things in our best interest?

Then I remembered an argument my Ethics professor used. If one chooses to smoke, that person chooses to smoke because they enjoy it (setting aside the children who start smoking). This enjoyment is understood to come with consequences, bad breathe, lots of money spent, possibility of health problems. They rationalize by saying that they choose to be happier at the expense of the future, whatever that future may bring.

This explains the adults but we are still left with the issue of children. I've softened somewhat on this issue. I think Channel One needs to be ripped out of schools. Its one thing to make accessible to children things like pepsi, its another to FORCE them to watch advertising for 20 minutes every morning. I really think advertising (minus the ads on book covers) should be banned in public schools. As for outside schools, I think its ethically wrong but I can find on reason(without a slippery slope)to say advertising to children is wrong other than for things like smoking and drinking. Outside of school, parents should have the ultimate authority.

(3 stated input | your two cents)

where has the natural aristocracy gone? 
10:29am 03/03/2005
  did we ever have it? there was rhetoric to suggest that was the intent, am I not correct in at least saying this about the Constitution and the Federalist papers and other writings of the time period?

The reason I bring this up is because of an article in my local paper about the President's proposal to cut spending to hopfully balance the budget (not bloody likely). At any rate, as one can assume, my local paper didn't give many details about it except to say that federal grants to students (or prospective students) who are of minority, first generatioin college students, low income and others are on the chopping block.

I know that doesn't mean they WILL be cut but the fact that such things are being considered should frighten one, shouldn't it?

Let's get something out of the way now. I'm unaffiliated. I'm currented registered republican so that I can vote in Colorado primaries. So, I'm not a Bush hater or liberal with an agenda, nor am I a desparate republican trying to get an even more right-wing president in after Bush.

That aside, where has the idea of the natural aristocracy gone? Surely, the majority of those in positions of power were rich and powerful to begin with. But that's for many reasons: ease of access for them, upbringing which stresses such positions, etc.

But where has the idea gone that one should help any in society who shows significant promise of being part of this natural aristocracy or of being of great value to the society far beyond leading the country, perhaps finding new drugs or creating better software or a missle defense system that works right. But it seems that this is going out the window.

This cut in federal spending is just fruit on the tree of painful cuts in college spending in my state. If you look at the numbers, colorado spends less than any other state on college by far and with no other reason other than not wanting taxes. If you want the stats, I have them, it will just take a while to get on here and I'm in school right now.

Our state and our federal gov't has given up on even the consideration of a natural aristocracy and created an arbitrary aristocracy.

I pity our children

(2 stated input | your two cents)

Thomas Friedman interview 
10:53pm 16/02/2005
  So, my friend has connections, and to make a long story short, he scored an interview with Thomas Friedman for a documentary he's making. He's asked me to conduct the interview (with the help of another friend). In general, I have carte blanche as to where I take the interview.

Any ideas for some good questions?


(1 stated input | your two cents)