Words by Woods

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Category: Art (page 1 of 3)

Happy Emancipation Day!!

Many Americans were not informed why their tax returns are due Monday, instead of yesterday.

On Friday, the IRS was observing a DC holiday: Emancipation Day, which commemorates President Lincoln signing legislation to free the slaves in the District of Columbia.

A little over a year after the Democrats attacked Fort Sumter in their effort to continue slavery, the Republican Congress and President acted to peacefully rollback slavery through compensation, as had been done in most other places where slavery was ended.

Today, Democrats through arbitrary punitive taxation and regulation seek to impose slavery on all with bureaucratic overseers.  Unfortunately, current Republicans lack the integrity and courage to actually oppose democratic tyranny.

So today, let us celebrate and remember that Americans had acted upon our devotion to individual rights and respected the principle that no one could make a unilateral claim upon another man’s labor and life.

Also, if you have not already, see the Atlas Shrugged movie this weekend to identify the symptoms of today’s political problems; after that, and if you had not already, read the book to emancipate yourself from irrationality, duty, and collectivist lies.

Atlas Shrugged Audience Reactions,  Interviews by Ari Armstrong

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWNn_y8z9zU”]

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The Allegory of Africa

While you are no doubt familiar with Frédéric-Auguste Bartoldi’s “Statue of Liberty,” you have probably not yet been introduced to his “Allegory of Africa.”

The figure of a well muscled African reclines prone, neither rising nor resigned to fall back.  He is frozen in a moment of choice.  His intense eyes communicate his active mind as he weighs his decision, not yet made.  His powerful physique and lion’s pelt testify to his capability.

The installation at the National Gallery allows one to stalk around the statue within the intimacy of an alcove in the back corner of the gallery.  Not life size, the smallish statue could be cradled as a hefty burden to a man’s chest.

The statue invokes in me contemplation of my own decisions not yet made as I momentarily hover between rising and falling as determined ultimately by my own choice.

Allegory of Africa at the National Gallery of Art

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Tuesday’s Podcasts

The following is a list of podcasts that I consumed Tuesday.  In addition to the title, link, and descriptions copied or adapted from the source, I have provided a grade for the relevancy of the topic and the quality of the ideas in the podcast.  Of course, these grades are objectively based upon my own individual values and judgment.  In this variety, you might find something to tickle your fancy.

1) Immigration and Individual Rights (2010-04-01 The Objective Standard)

Relevancy A, Quality A – Zeros in on the basic principle of America and demonstrates that this principle mandates a policy of open immigration, debunks several common arguments for prohibiting or limiting immigration, shows why all such arguments are necessarily invalid, and indicates what Americans must do if we are to reestablish and maintain the kind of moral, rights-respecting immigration policy that was advocated by the Founders.

Craig Biddle is the publisher of The Objective Standard.

2) Peikoff – Episode 123 (2010-08-02 Leonard Peikoff)

Relevancy A, Quality A – Philosopher Leonard Peikoff answers questions.  1) As a student of Ayn Rand did you realize that your understanding of Objectivism to some extent had been in your views even before you read her? 2) If after years of consistent good parenting a child turns out bad, can a parent still feel pride in their accomplishment in raising him to adulthood? 3) Why aren’t Christians the most outspoken opponents of multiculturalism since they claim absolute truth, believe sinners are going to go to hell, and have a huge moral gulf between the godly and the unchristian? 4) Ayd Rand said that there are certain philosophical questions that are improper, namely questions that contradict philosophical axioms. Why did she say these in particular? 5) Have you considered cryogenically freezing yourself in the hopes that future technology will be able to restore you? 6) I am an Objectivist. Why should I make a detailed study of the epistemological ideas that Ayn Rand originated? 7) Imagine you are at your funeral at 80 years old. All of your friends, family, and colleagues come to honor you. Now think about what you would want them to say about you. Most people want to hear how great they were in their relationships, not how great they were in their business or career. What about you? 8 ) Did Ayn Rand ever worry that the KGB might try to do her harm? 9) According to Objectivism, is it okay to have sex with anyone who is the highest and best partner that I can find at this time?

Peikoff is author of Objectivism:  The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

3) Peikoff – Episode 122 (2010-07-26 Leonard Peikoff)

Relevancy A, Quality A – Philosopher Leonard Peikoff answers questions.  1) Around what time would you say that you became a full-fledged philosopher as opposed to a philosophy student? When would you say that you became an Objectivist as opposed to a student of Objectivism? 2) We disregard ESP and the like because we accept the five senses as the only base of knowledge. Would it therefore be rational for a man who was blind from birth to disregard claims about reality based on the sense of sight?, 3) Is environmentalism the new communism? What are the similarities and differences?, 4) Is it permissible or moral to date a non-Objectivist?, 5) I am a homosexual who only finds romantic value in full masculinity. However, in my opinion a fully masculine mind is possible only in heterosexual men, and I am therefore only attracted to such men. How should I deal with this painful situation? 6) How much should you expect to love what you do for a living? Can you settle for non-love, but find ways to like what you get paid to do? Or Is settling like that selling yourself short? 7) Why did Cherryl Taggart in Atlas Shrugged have to commit suicide? 8 ) Can irrational philosophers still be called philosophers?

Peikoff is author of The Ominous Parallels:  A Brilliant Study of America Today – and the ‘ominous parallels’ with the chaos of pre-Hitler Germany.

4) Arts Writer Dianne Durante on Sculpture’s Forgotten Delights (2010-02-24 WFIU )

Relevancy A, Quality A – Arts historian Dianne Durante tells WFIU’s Adam Schwartz how to enjoy outdoor monuments, which she calls “forgotten delights.”

Durante is the author of Forgotten Delights: The Producers and Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan: A Historical Guide.

5) The new dynamics of book publishing (2010-07-19 Seth Godin)

Relevancy B, Quality A – In May, Seth Godin gave a talk to the Independent Book Publishers, which will probably of interest if you are focused on how industries are making (or not)  the shift to the new rules of a digital age.

Godin referencew the ideas from his book on leadership titled Tribes.

6) Social Media Makes Email Even Stronger (2010-07-06 Duct Tape Marketing)

Relevancy B, Quality B – Gail Goodman, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of leading email marketing service provider Constant Contact.

Over the last year or two email marketing has taken a back seat to social media in terms of buzz. However, during the recession, firms that had a solid relationship with an audience via email held a much stronger position. Email marketing still produces the highest ROI of any online marketing tactic.

Eric Groves has written Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing.

7) Russia Update: Is the Reset Working (2009-10-28 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality B – A panel discussion on U.S.- Russian relations, including:  Stephen F. Cohen, Professor of Russian Studies, New York University; Dimitri K. Simes, President, The Nixon Center; and Celeste A. Wallander, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense For Russia, Ukraine And Eurasia.

The discussion refers to Stephen F. Cohen’s recent book Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War.

8 ) Color as a Branding Element (2010-07-13 Duct Tape Marketing)

Relevancy C, Quality C+ – Interview with Kate Smith Color Expert, Career Color Trend Forecaster, and Editor of Sensational Color, a site featuring a wealth of information on the subject of color, which has built in meaning and symbolism and can be a strong element of your brand when used strategically.

Her website features book recommendations, including Real World Color Management.

9) Media Conference Call: CFR Scholars Return from AfPak Region (2010-10-30 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality C – CFR Senior Fellows Max Boot and Daniel Markey, following their recent visit to the Afghan war theater, expressed deep concern about the ability of the Obama administration to stabilize the region with the current level of military and civilian resources.

Max Boot is author of The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power.  Daniel Markey is author of CFR’s Securing Pakistan’s Tribal Belt (Council Special Report No. 36).

10) The Art of Leading Well (2010-07-29 Harvard Business Review)

Relevancy B, Quality C – Warren Bennis, professor at the University of Southern California and author of “Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership.”

11) Why Delighting Your Customers is Overrated (2010-07-23 Harvard Business Review)

Relevancy B, Quality C – Matthew Dixon, managing director of the Corporate Executive Board’s Sales and Service Practice, says that delighting your customer is overrated and that operations should focus on reliability.

Audio of his co-authored HBR article is available from Audible.com.

12) Kosovo’s Moment of Opportunity (2010-07-28 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality C – The International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion  July 22 that Kosovo’s 2008 independence declaration did not violate international law. Though the opinion is non-binding, it has implications for Kosovo and Serbia, as well as countries and secessionist movements around the world.

13) How Evernote Is Changing the Free Model (2010-08-03 Duct Tape Marketing)

Relevancy C, Quality C – Interview with Evernote CEO Phil Libin.

Evernote is a simple service that allows you to track and store everything you want to remember and get it out of your “meat brain” and housed somewhere safe and trustworthy. About 9,000 people a day are joining the free version of this service that also syncs incredibly well with iPads and mobile devices.

Evernote is reportedly popular with fans of David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, about which friends have heard positive comments.

14) G-Lab ’10: Intergrupo, Columbia (2010-02-24 MIT Sloan)

Relevancy C, Quality C – Growing a business by cultivating relationships.

15) Will the Economic Recovery Run Out of Steam? (2010-07-21 Knowledge@Wharton)

Relevancy C, Quality C – After a year of solid gains, the economic recovery is beginning to slow. Demand is trailing off as inventory levels have been restored and emergency stimulus measures withdrawn. Continued high unemployment and a downtick in housing are weighing on consumer confidence and spending. Add unexpected shocks from Europe and a slowdown in China, and forecasters are now ratcheting down their expectations for growth over the next year.

Peter Cappelli is coauthor of The India Way: How India’s Top Business Leaders Are Revolutionizing Management.

16) Shooting the Messenger: Quarterly Earnings and Short-term Pressure to Perform (2010-07-21 Knowledge@Wharton)

Relevancy C, Quality C – As the quarterly earnings season for the second quarter of 2010 gets underway, investors, analysts and the media will be watching to see how well public companies are emerging from the economic downturn, and what that might mean for the stock market. With unemployment rates still high and federal measures of economic growth shaky, observers are hoping for earnings numbers that reaffirm signs of a recovery.

Michael Useem is author of Leading Up: How to Lead Your Boss So You Both Win.

17) WikiLeaks’ Fallout for U.S.-Pakistan Ties (2010-07-30 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy C, Quality C – The classified U.S. military documents  related to the war in Afghanistan leaked by WikiLeaks.org paint a grim picture of collusion between Pakistan’s intelligence service, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and members of the Afghan Taliban. While the allegations laid out in the documents–that the ISI supports Taliban insurgents fighting U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan–may not be new, they exacerbated strains in U.S.-Pakistan relations. In Pakistan, the allegations feed a growing paranoia that the leaks are part of a “conspiracy aimed at damaging the Pakistan-Afghanistan relationship, which is in a nascent stage, as well as the U.S.-Pakistan relationship,” says Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Washington-based Atlantic Council.

Shuja Nawaz is author of Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within.

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Monday’s Podcasts

The following is a list of podcasts that I consumed Monday.  In addition to the title, link, and descriptions copied or adapted from the source, I have provided a grade for the relevancy of the topic and the quality of the ideas in the podcast.  Of course, these grades are objectively based upon my own individual values and judgment.  In this variety, you might find something to tickle your fancy.

1) Justice Thomas’ Writing Breathes Life Into Important Privileges or Immunities Clause (2010-06-30 Institute For Justice)

Relevancy A, Quality A – The Institute for Justice (IJ) has for decades been among the most consistent defenders of an engaged judiciary and an appropriately originalist interpretation of the Constitution, including particularly the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the 14th Amendment.  As today’s ruling makes clear, the right to keep and bear arms is a uniquely American, and decidedly fundamental individual right.

After this podcast, I am particularly interested in reading Justice Thomas’ concurring opinion, which begins on p. 67 of the Court’s release opinion.

2) Bill Maurer discusses SCOTUS decision on Arizona Clean Elections case (2010-06-09 Institute For Justice)

Relevancy A, Quality A – On January 20, 2010, a federal district court judge declared unconstitutional the challenged “Matching Funds” provision of Arizona’s so-called “Clean Elections Act,” striking a blow for the rights of individuals and groups to speak freely during political campaigns.  The Institute for Justice is challenging Arizona’s scheme of publicly financing elections, which drowns out the voices of individuals and groups who wish to support privately financed candidates who run against taxpayer-funded candidates in a misguided effort to “level the playing filed.”

Historian Eric Daniels has a lecture on Freedom on Speech in American History.

3) EGO Interviews Artist John Cox (2010-05-23 EGO)

Relevancy A, Quality A – Martin Lindeskog’s interview with John Cox provides interesting details about what Cox is up to now and his process.  Most surprisingly, he talks about the possibility of a return of Cox & Forkum…I am willing to pledge money to see that happen.

Collections of Cox & Forkum political cartoons are available at their website.

4) The Linchpin Session (2010-04-09 Seth Godin)

Relevancy A, Quality B – If all you are is a replaceable cog in the system that makes the widgets, and there are a hundred people as competent as you around the world, you might get away from it for a little while, but you’re not going to get away with it in the long run…and that is the challenge.  Seth Godin talks about the six reasons why he thinks this is hard for people and what we need to do to train them to think about it.

Godin discusses his latest concept in Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

5) Fair Elections Now Act (2009-10-07 Federalist Society)  <break> Relevancy A, Quality B – The Fair Elections Now Act (S.752, H.R.1826) would allow qualified, legitimate candidates to receive grants and matching funds to run competitive campaigns instead of relying on contributions from lobbyists and other special interests.  Who will decide which candidates qualify for funding, and how? Is the legislation a step closer to public financing and, if so, what are the implications?  In this podcast, Craig Holman and Bill Maurer debate the proposed legislation. Allyson Hayward moderates.

Allison R. Hayward has written a study “Campaign Promises: A Six-year Review of Arizona’s Experiment with Taxpayer-financed Campaign“.

6) Embracing Reality (2009-09-10 Living on Earth)

Relevancy B, Quality B – After experiencing severe famine in Malawi in 2001, William Kamkwamba wanted to find a way to protect his family in the future. So he set out to build a windmill, using diagrams from an old physics textbook and scrap parts that he collected in the local junkyard. Host Jeff Young talks with William Kamkwamba and journalist Bryan Mealer, co-authors of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

7) DCTS columnists reveal their Tony favorites (2010-06-09 DC Theater Scene)

Relevancy C, Quality C – In what has become an annual tradition on DC Theatre Scene, DCTS columnists Richard Seff and Joel Markowitz met in Richard’s penthouse on the Upper East Side of NYC to share their thoughts with you on the current NYC theatre season.

Seff recounts his life in theater in his book Supporting Player: My Life Upon the Wicked Stage.

8 ) The Light in the Piazza interviews (2010-03-31 DC Theater Scene)

Relevancy C, Quality C – Joel Markowitz interviews actresses Hollis Resnik and Margaret Anne Florence, who star as Margaret and Clara in “The Light in the Piazza“. They talk about the relationship they have built for these mother and daughter characters, and the advice Molly Smith gave them.

9) Irish actor Des Keogh on playing Da (2010-04-10 DC Theater Scene)

Relevancy C, Quality C – Surely, Hugh Leonard writing his autobiographical play Da in the early 70’s could have hoped for no one better to portray his da than the well known Irish actor Des Keogh, who is full of wit and charm with just a touch of mischief.

10) Afghanistan: Defining the Possibilities (2009-10-26 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality F- – U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry [D-MA] spoke at the Washington office of the Council on Foreign Relations on October 26, highlighting the array of U.S. policy challenges in Afghanistan. Kerry stressed that defeating al-Qaeda remained at the center of U.S. mission in Afghanistan. He defined U.S. success in Afghanistan “as the ability to empower and transfer responsibility to Afghans as rapidly as possible and achieve a sufficient level of stability to ensure that we can leave behind an Afghanistan that is not controlled by al-Qaeda or the Taliban.”

I wonder allowed if Senator Kerry’s book The New War:  The Web of Crime That Threatens America’s Security is a comedy of errors.  Published in 1998, it predates 9/11 and his failed Presidential bid while being informed by his experience as the ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations.  I note that a search for al Qaeda and bin Laden in the book found no results.

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This Weekend’s Podcasts

The following is a list of podcasts that I consumed this weekend.  In addition to the title, link, and descriptions copied or adapted from the source, I have provided a grade for the relevancy of the topic and the quality of the ideas in the podcast.  Of couse, these grades are objectively based upon my own individual values and judgment.  In this variety, you might find something to tickle your fancy.

1) Yaron Brook on The Wall Street Shuffle (11/11/09)

Relevancy A, Quality A – Yaron Brook is a guest on The Wall Street Shuffle. Topics include government health care and cap-and-trade legislation.  A collection of information created by the Ayn Rand Center for Individiual Rights and related to health care legislation is available at their health care issue focused page.

2) eBay Jim Griffith TJMax Story (9/17/2009)

Relevancy B, Quality B – When Susan Su asked Griffith for any secrets on getting inventory to sell on eBay, he said, “think local.”  Instead of thinking only about how to sell YOUR stuff on eBay (like your old stereo, computer, designer jeans), think about how to make a micro business selling OTHER stuff on eBay, that you obtain locally…

More information on rethinking your personal finances from Ramit Sethi is available in his book I Will Teach You to be Rich.

3) Letters of Bess Truman (2009-10-29)

Relevancy B, Quality B – Pres. Harry S. Truman’s grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, spoke about the letters written from Bess to Harry Truman at the National Archives in Washington DC.  Previously, Daniel has written the book Growing Up With My Grandfather: Memories of Harry S. Truman.

4) Public Pulse interview with Elan Journo (2009-09-14)

Relevancy A, Quality A – Elan Journo is interviewed on Public Pulse about his book, Winning the Unwinnable War: America’s Self-Crippled Response to Islamic Totalitarianism.

5) Simon Johnson Reports (2009-02-09)

Relevancy B, Quality C – MIT Sloan interview with Prof. Simon Johnson on the financial crisis.  Johnson is co-author of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown.

6) The Teachings of Ayn Rand (2009-08-28)

Relevancy A, Quality A – In this interview from the “Taking Back America” podcast, Onkar Ghate offers an overview of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, the importance of the self, and philosophical reasons for today’s erosion of freedom.  Ghate is a contributor to Postmodernism and Management, Volume 21: Pros, Cons and the Alternative (Research in the Sociology of Organizations).

7) Job Board Scams (2010-03-16)

Relevancy B, Quality B – WNYC’s Brian Lehrer interviews Ask the Headhunter (Nick Cocodilos) about bogus and misleading job advertisements.   Cocodilos’ book is Ask the Headhunter: Reinventing the Interview to Win the Job

8 ) Marc Kudisch in Terrence McNally’s Golden Age (2010-03-10)

Relevancy B, Quality C+ -Terrence McNally’s new play Golden Age, which just had its successful debut at Philadelphia Theatre Company…Actor Marc Kudisch takes us on the journey of this new play – from workshops to rewrites to the debut in Philadelphia,  to more rewrites with a new director, and finally to the Kennedy Center.

I don’t know anything about McNally although this interview raised my interest.  I see a couple collections of his plays on Amazon Three Plays by Terrence McNally (The Lisbon Traviata, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, It’s Only a Play) and Terrence McNally, Vol. 1: 15 Short Plays.

9) Sale Process Engineering Conference Call (2010-04-12)

Relevancy B, Quality A – Justin Roff-Marsh of Ballistix discusses salles process engineering as a preview to his presentation to Constraint Management Group’s annual conference.  His book is Reengineering the Sales Process.  Roff-Marsh is an advocate of applying Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints to the sales process, see Goldratt’s book The Goal as an introduction.

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Autism

I know nearly nothing about autism.  While not impacted by the condition within my immediate family, I have worked with an very capable autistic man in the past.  Given reports that autism is being diagnosed more frequently, the future may hold more such interactions.

In one of its plot-lines, the new TV show “Parenthood” dramatizes a family’s experience becoming aware of their son’s autism, and learning how to adapt and support their son’s development.  While it is a learning experience for me, I can see this dramatization aiding extended families who are going through or have already been through actual experience with an autistic child.

On her blog “The Playful Spirit,” Lady Baker shares her own experience with an autistic son.  I was fascinated by how she used books to leverage her son’s abilities.

I have seen an interesting interview with Temple Grandin, where she discusses her book Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism.  It was very informative to me as she described in detail her own thinking process and how she understands it to be different from others.

Although I do not have the experience to evaluate the material, on their YouTube channel, in the past week, Yale University has posted a series of lectures from a seminar on autism and related disorders:

Treatments for Autism: Overview of Model Programs, Fred Volkmar [41:50 min]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2rK3cl1bVY]

Overview of Autism, Prof. Fred Volkmar [31:58 min]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBR5NUMN7_0]

Behavioral Treatments, Dr. Michael Powers [? min]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45szXxVbozQ]

Parental Perspectives and Supporting Families, Alison Singer [53:49 min]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-pjX0BWn1k]

Communication in Autism, Dr. Rhea Paul [1:50:50]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIaIR28iT-8]

Autism in Infants and Young Children, Dr. Kasia Chawarska [1:14:23]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFr7p8PAwlU]

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Cox Inspired Olympic Image?

Catching a glimpse of USA Hockey’s goalie mask, it struck me as having a John Cox influence?  What do you think?

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Sub Whoring Key Word Challenge

X71 on YouTube has a humorous series of videos teaching the ‘art’ of subscriber whoring to the masses.  The most recent promo vid is below.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7szQpuVFYOs]

Consistent with the spirit of X71’s vid, I invite you to comment, subscribe to my RSS feed, and link to my posts.  Further, I am challenging myself to see how many of today’s published Hot AOL Searches terms I can incorporate into my posts in an interesting way before the end of the month; I excluded the vacation terms from the list.

Below are the terms, where quoted terms refer to movies or TV shows:

’24’, AIG, Al Jazeera, Alice Waters, ‘American Idol’, ‘Australia’, Beyonce, Blackberry Storm, ‘Biggest Loser’ , Britney Spears, Charlize Theron, Chevrolet, Chris Brown, ‘Coraline’, Credit Cards, ‘Dancing With the Stars’, Dodge, Elton John, Ford, Free Credit Report, ‘Friday the 13th’, Garmin Nuvi , ‘Hannah Montana’, ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ , Honda, Hyundai, iPhone, iPod Touch, Jeep, Jessica Simpson, Joel Osteen, Jonas Brothers, Kate Moss, Kindle, Lance Armstrong, Lindsay Lohan, Lexus, ‘Lost’, Kim Kardashian, MapQuest, Mandy Moore, Martha Stewart, ‘Madea Goes to Jail’, Miley Cyrus, Mortgage Calculator, NASA, NCAA brackets, Nissan, NIT, Oprah, Paula Abdul, Personal Loans, PSP, Rahm Emanuel, Rihanna, Ron Silver, Roth IRA, Samsung Instinct, Saturn, Shah Rukh Khan, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, Stock Market, Stock Quotes, Stocks, Student Loans, ‘Survivor’, ‘Taken’, Taylor Swift, ‘The Bachelor’, ‘The Reader’, ‘The View’, ‘The Wrestler’, ‘Top Chef’, Toyota, Turbo Tax, ‘Watchmen’, Wii, Xbox 360, Zune

I will give myself credit for AIG as I used it earlier today, but not for student loans because my recent related post dropped the last s.  To track, I’ll probably update this post to color the terms used.

Ready, set, go!

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My New MP3 Player

Although I have purchased four Ipods for my kids, I have never had an MP3 player. As part of my choices to increase my productivity this year, I purchased a Creative Zen 2 GB player, as it was compatible with the NetLibrary on-line audio book service offered by my local library.

Although I’m still having some trouble working out issues with permissions related to the library files, I just filled my player with lots of good stuff.

Since November, I have been accumulating audio files through my RSS feed that I have not had time to enjoy yet. Now, I have started copying these files to my player so that I can consume them during unproductive time driving Ms. Daisy, or multitask while doing things around the house like chores or painting.

What kinds of good things have I added to the player and will be adding to my life?

* Art lectures from the National Gallery of Art.
* Author interviews from C-SPAN.
* Interviews and commentary related to business from Wharton
* Philosophic answers from Leonard Peikoff’s weekly pod cast
* Interviews by Prodos on SolidVox

The player was like $50, but the increased access to great ideas is priceless.

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Lessons from Valkyrie

Recently, I saw the movie Valkyrie, an account of the last German assassination plot against Hitler, and came away with several points relevant to recent history.

First, despite official government pronouncements, our enemies are more than one lone man who hijacked his country. The Valkyrie plotters recognized that killing Hitler was not sufficient for ending Nazi power. Overthrowing, capturing, and executing Saddam was not sufficient to end Sunni and Baathist violence in Iraq. Chavez was restored by others after a successful coup. Mugabe was reportedly going to resign after defeat in Zimbabwean elections until ordered by his subordinates to maintain their power. Despite his exile years ago, Aristide supporters still foster instability in Haiti. More than vilifying a single leader, the motivating ideas and those who hold them must be identified and defeated.

Second, dupes make unreliable allies. The Valkyrie plotters leveraged existing military orders to mobilize the loyal Reserve Army to arrest Nazi leaders and SS forces; however, when it became clear that their orders were unauthorized, these loyal forces turned upon the plotters. This reminds me of the loss of support on Iraq related to claims over weapons of mass destruction, which were not precisely true even if they were substantially true. Instead of narrow criminal justice style evidence or the obligations of treaties, making the case for pre-emption needs to be openly asserted based on principle and interests.

Third, although opposition movements exist in enemy nations, they should not be relied upon to overthrow their governments. The Valkyrie plotters were skilled military men with substantial access to resources and targets, but they still failed. Do we really think that unarmed students and civilians in Tehran would be more successful in overthrowing the bloody mullahs? While our government unproductively spends money supporting Iranian opposition, it does so as an ineffectual alternative to actively causing regime change.

Nothing new here, just tying these points back to a telling historical event.

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