Words by Woods

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Category: News (page 2 of 14)

Posts on news reports

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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Open Letter to Freddie Mac’s Paige Wisdom

EVP Wisdom,

As you are the Chief Enterprise Risk Officer for Freddie Mac, I write to advise you of a symptom of significant risk to your organization and the public investment in housing GSEs.

April showers have brought a curious bloom of orange and white to Jones Branch Drive.  Perhaps you recognize them as the Freddie Mac loaner umbrellas that the company provides to employees walking between buildings on your sprawling campus.

Now here is the point:  If your employees can not be counted on to check the weather report in the morning and bring an umbrella to work as needed, how can they effectively manage risk for the company?

By not holding employees responsible for the short term risk of today’s predictable and widely known rain, Freddie Mac handicaps their capacity to plan for the complex and long term risks associated with your business.

These umbrellas are symptoms of a flaw in your corporate culture related to risk management and employee responsibility.  I urge you to end the umbrella loaner program with a loud and precise message about the responsibility of each employee for risk management.

Sincerely,

Your Neighbor

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Islam vs. Islamism

Whether we agree with it or not, related to Islamic terrorism, the American strategy is to win the hearts and minds of the ummah.

One policy in that regard is to attempt to use language to alienate Muslims in general from the terrorists.  This is a concrete instance of a legitimate counterterrorism policy – backlash, which is the creation of an environment in which non-state actors who commit political violence can no longer find assistance and support from outside of their organization (narrowly defined).

In that context, I wondered how our neologisms are being translated into Arabic, the language of the supposed target audience.  In essence, are our intellectuals attempting to sell the equivalent of the Chevy Nova in Mexico?

One of the terms that I have been hearing is Islamism to describe the ideology that seeks to justify terrorist violence based upon Islam.

While I am illiterate when it comes to Arabic, I do have access to Google Translate, which provided an identical translation (الإسلام) into Arabic of Islam and Islamism; no bueno.  Thus, someone fluent in Arabic using Google translate from English would read in Arabic that Islam and Islamism is the same thing.

As this can not be the intent of the advocates of this neologism, I referenced Daniel Pipes.  On his website, Islamism is translated as ألتحرك ألأسلامي, which according to Google means “Islamic action”.  However, according to Wikipedia, Islamism can also be translated as الاسلامية (Islamic) or إسلام سياسي (political Islam).

When we use the term Islamism, what are we communicating to Muslims?  It sounds like a confused imprecision in which our message is subject to the shading of the translator.  Further, in all cases, this term appears not to actually distinguish itself from Islam.

Is there an alternative?

One could follow the anti-conceptual approach of the U.S. State Department, which treats each instance of an Islam-inspired terrorist organization as an unrelated case.  According to them, al Qaeda is definitely bad…Hamas could become good…Hezbollah is not necessarily bad if you squint when you look at them…and the Muslim Brotherhood may be the Society of Cincinnati for all Foggy Bottom knows.

On the other hand, Muslims already have names for such terrorists.  Egypt’s Sadat was assassinated by them as was Saudi’s King Faisal.  When the terrorists attacked the Red Mosque in Pakistan and the Grand Mosque in Mecca, what did they call them?  If we wish to communicate with the ummah, should we not take heed of their own terms as English adapts more easily than their own language?

While it would be preferable to integrate our knowledge of Islam-inspired terrorist organizations into a single coherent concept, such may actually be beyond the mentality of our concrete-bound primacy-of-consciousness target audience, the ummah.  For ourselves, the United States and its allies should perform the required integration, which we will need to teach to the State Department and other Washington policy makers.

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Honduran Charter City

Honduras is in the process of amending its constitution to authorize a “charter city” insulated from Honduran economic regulation.

Originally, they investigated allowing a foreign country to establish an “embassy” the size of a city, so that the new city could operate under foreign law as a center for investment and development.

The current plan is based upon economist Paul Romer’s idea of creating new Hong Kongs in developing countries with investment-friendly foreign controlled administrations and insulated from potential local political turmoil.

The idea is reminiscent of 19th century treaty ports. It sounds like neo-colonialism, and I do not mean that as a pejorative.

Frankly, I do not like the idea, because I prefer that the protection of individual right that would be instituted in these charter cities be available to everybody in the country. Localizing the protection of rights, reminds me of Jack Kemp’s promotion of enterprise zones, which were simply a temporary removal of the disincentives that government imposes upon production through the violation of individual rights.

However, compared to the status quo and a culture unwilling to respect rights, the ephemeral and local toleration of individual rights is an improvement….as Purgatory might be considered better real estate than Hell.

Would I be willing to invest risk capital in a charter city? Probably. Would I invest my life it one? Not likely.

Charter Cities: New Options for the Bottom Billion” by Paul Romer, Council on Foreign Relations, 1/25/2011

The Quest for a ‘Charter City‘” by David Wessel, Wall Street Journal, 2/3/2011

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Tunisia Needs Capitalism, and So Do We

Related to the abdication of Tunisian President, the Washington Post reports:

The simmering discontent erupted into the open Dec. 17 in the inland city of Sidi Bouzid after an unlicensed fruit vendor identified as Mohammed Bouazzi set himself afire. Bouazzi acted after a policeman confiscated the wares off his cart and, according to news reports, after he was slapped by a female city hall employee to whom he had turned to complain.

Thus, concretely, this political change in Tunisia was a response to the oppression of a businessman who attempted to trade without government permission.

As demonstrated by Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto in his book The Mystery of Capitalism, in developing countries, excessive regulation of business activity fosters corruption, extra-legality, and obstructs capital accumulation.  Modern South American history demonstrates that moving from authoritarian regimes to democracies is insufficient as the failure of these democracies led to popular calls for authoritarian leaders.

These concretes demonstrate that young Tunisians who want real change need to demand laissez-faire capitalism as the antidote to government corruption; of course, the same is true of young Americans.

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Statism Advocacy Organizations

I read an interesting item in the Global Legal Monitor; I find that looking at foreign politics illuminates American domestic issues.

In Turkey, according to an estimate by the Umut Foundation, only a quarter of firearms are legal.  Yet, firearm ownership in Turkey is more common than other countries; ranked 14 of 178 countries in a survey.

Surprisingly, in what seems like the correct direction, the Turkish Parliament was responding with an easing of government regulation of firearm ownership.  Unsurprisingly, this effort at rolling back failed government regulation was opposed:

The Umut Foundation, an anti-gun nongovernment organization in Turkey, and some other civil society organizations, were successful in mobilizing public opinion against the proposed changes to current legislation.

This is not intended to be a post about the Second Amendment; instead, I want to focus on two concepts from that sentence (“nongovernment organization” and “civil society organization”) in the context of these particular groups advocating greater government direction of individuals’ lives.

NGOs, nongovernment organizations, advocating expansive government regulation are not nongovernmental.  This reminds me of the absurdity of NGOs being dependent upon public funding to implement government policies claiming to be nongovernmental.

Similarly, civil society organizations are supposed to be free associations independent and separate from government, instead of a participant in the Iron Triangle supporting intrusive government.  The undermining of civil society by government is a critical concern of American foreign policy related to authoritarian regimes; meanwhile, our government appropriates our public funds to such civil society organization, thus corrupting their independence.

In America, we have many so called NGOs and civil society organizations dependent upon public funding and special tax treatment while simultaneously advocating for the expansion of government powers in contradiction to individual rights.  ACORN is probably the most well publicized recent example of this.

My point is that we need a new term as these groups are not NGOs nor are they aspects of the civil society.  I recommend that we call them SAOs, or Statism Advocacy Organizations.

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Return of the C Podcasts

I must be in a rut as I’m not sure why all the sources for these podcasts from Friday again begin exclusively with the letter ‘C’, but they do.

As before, the following is a list of podcasts that I consumed the other day.  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) The Trader Principle (2010-06-04 Cultivating the Virtues)

Relevancy A, Quality A – Situation of the Week (Kelly): Helping a child manage her frustrations, Topic: The Trader Principle (begins at 5:51), and Q&A: Toothbrushing Tactics (begins at 17:07).

Related to the Trader Principle, the Ayn Rand Lexicon identified the following passage from her novel Atlas Shrugged:

The symbol of all relationships among [rational] men, the moral symbol of respect for human beings, is the trader. We, who live by values, not by loot, are traders, both in matter and in spirit. A trader is a man who earns what he gets and does not give or take the undeserved. A trader does not ask to be paid for his failures, nor does he ask to be loved for his flaws. A trader does not squander his body as fodder or his soul as alms. Just as he does not give his work except in trade for material values, so he does not give the values of his spirit—his love, his friendship, his esteem—except in payment and in trade for human virtues, in payment for his own selfish pleasure, which he receives from men he can respect. The mystic parasites who have, throughout the ages, reviled the traders and held them in contempt, while honoring the beggars and the looters, have known the secret motive of their sneers: a trader is the entity they dread—a man of justice.

2) After Words: Mia Bay, “To Tell the Truth Freely” (2009-08-01 C-SPAN Book TV)

Relevancy B, Quality B+ – Mia Bay, associate history professor at Rutgers University, recounts the life of 19th century suffragist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells in her book, To Tell the Truth Freely.  Ms. Bay recalls Ida B. Wells appeal to the Supreme Court after being removed from a seat on a train due to her race, her assistance in founding the NAACP in 1910, and her international campaign against lynching.  Mia Bay discusses her book with Elsa Barkley Brown, associate history and women’s studies professor at the University of Maryland.

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

3) Organized Crime and Transnational Threats (2009-11-18 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality B – This session was part of the CFR symposium, Organized Crime in the Western Hemisphere: An Overlooked Threat?, undertaken in collaboration with the Latin American Program and Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and made possible by the generous support of the Hauser Foundation, Tinker Foundation,  and a grant from the Robina Foundation for CFR’s International Institutions and Global Governance program.  This panel featured: David Holiday (Program Officer, Latin America Program, Open Society Institute),  William F. Wechsler (Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats, U.S. Department of Defense), and Lee S. Wolosky (Partner, Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP; Former Director, Transnational Threats, National Security Council).

Wechsler and Wolosky are coauthors of Terrorist Financing.

4) Local and National Policy Responses (2009-11-19 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality B – This session was part of the CFR symposium, Organized Crime in the Western Hemisphere: An Overlooked Threat?  This panel featured:  Ramon Garza Barrios ( Mayor, Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico) and Rodrigo Pardo García-Peña (Director, Cambio; Former Foreign Minister, Republic of Colombia).

5) After Words: Harry Stein, author, “I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next to a Republican,” interviewed by Stefan Kanfer, City Journal (2009-07-25 C-SPAN Book TV)

Relevancy C, Quality B – In I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next to a Republican, Harry Stein uses humor to describe being a conservative locked in a community of liberals, both in his neighborhood and in his professional life.  He details the difficulties he’s had with family members since crossing the political spectrum from left wing to right, and he talks about being misrepresented as a racist by the Dallas Morning News.  The interview was conducted by author and journalist Stefan Kanfer.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LQ_4bhOzGY]

6) Academic Conference Call: Enhancing U.S. Preventive Action (2009-11-19 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality C – Paul Stares is coauthor of CFR’s special report “Enhancing U.S. Preventive Action.”  Few would dispute that preventing conflict, instability, and humanitarian disaster is preferable to confronting these problems after they arise. Preventive measures are generally less expensive than remedial ones. They also allow policymakers to address potential crises before they threaten international stability, U.S. interests, and human lives. Building an effective U.S. government capacity to take preventive action, however, has proved an elusive goal. And the challenges to achieving it have perhaps never been greater.

7) After Words: Joe Scarborough. “The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America’s Promise” (2009-07-11 C-SPAN Book TV)

Relevancy C, Quality C – From BookExpo America in New York City, Joe Scarborough on his book, The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America’s Promise.  The former Republican congressman and current host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe presents his thoughts on the Bush administration, the current state of the Republican party, and the Obama presidency.  Joe Scarborough discusses his book with Peggy Noonan, columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

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

8 ) Foreign Aid, Civilian Capacity, and U.S. National Security (2009-11-19 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy C, Quality C – U.S. Rep. Nita M. Lowey (Chair, House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs) discusses how if only more money was spent on diplomacy and development through the subcommittee that she leds, then there would be less conflict for the military to resolve.  Isn’t it always the case with the cardinals of the Appropriations Committee: the key to a better world is more money under their domain.

I could not find a book by her as evidently ideas and words make her head hurt.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXaC6ubCxww]

9) How Should Governments Drive Industry Change? Lessons Learned from the Global Automotive Sector (2009-11-19 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy C, Quality D – Carlos Ghosn (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Renault-Nissan Alliance) and Steven L. Rattner (Former Head, U.S. Treasury Department’s Auto Task Force) discuss government led industrial policy in the auto industry.

Ghosn is author of Shift: Inside Nissan’s Historic Revival.  Rattner is author of Overhaul: An Insider’s Account of the Obama Administration’s Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry.

10) After Words: Edward Humes interviewed by Matthew Kahn, UCLA (2009-07-18 C-SPAN Book TV)

Relevancy F, Quality F – The Pulitzer Prize winning author profiles the multi-millionaires and high-profile people who are trying to take the planet green.  The episode was filmed on the C-SPAN bus at the L.A. Times Festival of Books about his latest book Eco Barons:  The Dreamers, Schemers and Millionaires Who are Saving Our Planet.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p11P-f782zw]

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A Very C Collection of Podcasts

I’m not sure why all the sources for these podcasts from Thursday begin with the letter ‘C’, but they do.

As before, the following is a list of podcasts that I consumed the other day.  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) Free Range Parenting (2010-05-27 Cultivating the Virtues)

Relevancy A, Quality A – Situation of the Week (Jenn): Dealing with pointless bickering, Topic: Free Range Parenting (begins 4:26), and Q&A: Childhood Fears (begins 18:45).

This discussion references Lenore Skenazy’s book Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry).

2) Cold War Reflections and Today’s Realities (2009-11-16 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality B – Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor, at cfr.org, leads a discussion about “Cold War Reflections and Today’s Realities” with Bob Kimmitt, who’s now with WilmerHale, but in those times was undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, and later became, probably, our first ambassador to the unified Germany; and Jim Goldgeier, who is the senior fellow for transatlantic relations at the council, and also is a professor at George Washington University.

Goldgeier is author of Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy Toward Russian After the Cold War.

3) After Words: Schmidle interviewed by Peters (2009-05-29 C-SPAN BookTV)

Relevancy B, Quality B – Nicholas Schmidle went to Pakistan in 2006 to learn about the country and the people who live there.  He stayed for two years and wrote about his experiences in his book “To Live or to Perish Forever.”  Mr. Schmidle talks about his book with Ralph Peters, columnist for the New York Post and strategic analyst for Fox News.

4) State and Local Officials Conference Call: U.S. Immigration Policy (2009-11-18 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality B – Edward Alden discusses the results for a bi-partisan task force on immigration.  The task force’s report examines immigration into the United States in a foreign policy context. It broadens the debate by analyzing issues of economic competitiveness, terrorism and national security, human rights, and public diplomacy in the context of globalization. The report then offers recommendations for a twentyfirst-century immigration policy that serves U.S. economic, diplomatic, and national security interests.

Alden is the coauthor of U.S. Immigration Policy: Independent Task Force Report No. 63.

5) Trial of Accused 9/11 Terrorists (2009-11-08 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality C+ – The decision to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the accused mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, in federal court in New York has elicited strong reactions from across the political spectrum. CFR Adjunct Senior Fellows John B. Bellinger and Steven Simon  support the Obama administration’s decision, arguing that it gives the United States the opportunity to demonstrate globally the administration’s commitment to fair trials for detainees.

Simon is coauthor of The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam’s War Against America and The Next Attack: The Failure of the War on Terror and a Strategy for Getting it Right.

6) Update on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (2009-11-12 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality C – CFR’s Steven A. Cook discuss the Israel-Palestinian conflict in light of the release of the Goldstone Report, which was recently completed by the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, as part of CFR’s Religion and Foreign Policy Conference Call series.

Cook is author of Ruling But Not Governing: The Military and Political Development in Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey.

7) After Words: Wangari Maathai, author of “The Challenge for Africa” interviewed by Nicole Lee (2009-05-26 C-SPAN BookTV)

Relevancy C, Quality C – 2004 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Wangari Maathai talks about her latest book, “The Challenge for Africa.”  In the book, Ms. Maathai looks at the problems facing the continent and provides advice on how to improve things there.  She discusses her book with Nicole Lee, executive director of TransAfrica Forum.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEpcQ-3oJas]

8 ) After Words: Eduardo Galeano, author of “Mirrors” interviewed by John Dinges (2009-06-20 C-SPAN BookTV)

Relevancy B, Quality D – Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano talks about his latest book, “Mirrors,” a history of the world told through 600 brief stories.  Mr. Galeano is interviewed by Columbia University journalism professor John Dinges, author of “The Condor Years: How Pinochet and His Allies Brought Terrorism to Three Continents.”  The two men also discussed Mr. Galeano’s 1971 book, “The Open Veins of Latin America,” which Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez gave to President Obama during the Fifth Summit of the Americas.

This would have a more interesting interview if Dinges had not been such a smitten fanboy, and had engaged and exposed Galeano’s premises.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMFMbIky_8c]

9) After Words: Tierney Cahill, author, Ms. Cahill for Congress, Interviewed by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC (2009-05-28 C-SPAN BookTV)

Relevancy C, Quality D – The story of how an elementary school teacher told her class that anyone can run for Congress and was challenged by them to prove it.  With a $7,000 initial campaign chest and her students as her campaign staff, she won the 2000 Democratic nomination in Nevada’s 2nd district, which includes Reno.

Cahill is coauthor of Ms. Cahill for Congress: One Fearless Teacher, Her Sixth-Grade Class, and the Election That Changed Their Lives Forever.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33BPJiKUWnk]

10) The Challenge of Somalia (2009-11-05 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy B, Quality F – Bronwyn E. Bruton proposes a strategy of “constructive disengagement” to combat terrorism and promote development and stability in Somalia. Instead of supporting Somalia’s unpopular Transitional Federal Government, Bruton argues that the United States should accept an Islamist authority as long as it does not impede international humanitarian activities or support international jihad. Bruton also advocates for a decentralized approach to U.S. foreign aid distribution by working with existing local authorities. And she counsels against an aggressive military response to piracy, making the case instead for initiatives to mobilize Somalis themselves against pirates.

Burton’s book is Somalia: A New Approach.

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Wednesday’s Podcasts

The following is a list of podcasts that I consumed Wednesday.  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.

Also, check out this week’s Objectivist Round Up for insightful posts.

1) Temperment (2010-04-24 Cultivating the Virtues)

Relevancy A, Quality A – Situation of the Week (by Kelly), Topic: Temperament (begins around 4:54), and Q&A (begins around 28:17).  Yes, we went REALLY long on our topic, partly because it’s a favorite one of ours, and partly because we forgot to watch our time!

This podcast mentions two books: Elaine Aaron’s The Highly Sensative Child and Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.

2) Why Non-Punitive Discipline? (2010-05-03 Cultivating the Virtues)

Relevancy A, Quality A – Situation of the Week (Jenn): A child models correct behavior for another child, FTW!  Topic: Why Non-Punitive Discipline/The Ambassador Analogy (begins 3:42)  Q&A: Celebrating Holidays as non-religious parents (begins 12:55)

RationalJenn provides a number of resources related to this podcast at her site, including How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.

3) Independence (2010-05-12 Cultivating the Virtues)

Relevancy A, Quality A – This podcast features a discussion on the virtue of Independence and how parents can encourage independence of thought and action in children. Here’s the lineup:  Situation of the Week (Kelly): Handling conflict with a child/choosing battles, Topic: Independence (begins 5:30), and Q&A: What are some ways to deal with kids interrupting? (begins 19:06).

4) I Am Murdered: George Wythe, Thomas Jefferson, and the Killing That Shocked a New Nation (2009-08-02 C-SPAN Q&A)

Relevancy B, Quality B – Bruce Chadwick recalls the murder of George Wythe, who represented Virginia at the Constitutional Convention and was a close friend and teacher to Thomas Jefferson.  Mr. Chadwick examines what he deems America’s first “trial of the century” as former representative Wythe lived long enough after his deliberate poisoning to attribute the murder to his grandnephew, George Wythe Sweeny.  However, despite Mr. Wythe’s claim and the first-hand account of his maid, Lydia Broadnax (who survived the poisoning), Mr. Sweeny was never found guilty of the charge.

I have added I Am Murdered to my Amazon wishlist.  Also discussed in this podcast is Chadwick’s book Triumvirate: The Story of the Unlikely Alliance That Saved the Constitution and United the Nation, which is about Madison, Hamilton, Jay and the Federalist Papers.

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

5) Neil Sheehan, Author, ”A Fiery Peace in a Cold War” (2009-09-20 C-SPAN Q&A)

Relevancy B, Quality B – Neil Sheehan is the author of a new book, ”A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon.” The book tells the story of the nuclear arms race and the intercontinental Ballistic Missile through the eyes of Air Force General Bernard Schriever. In 1954, General Schriever was the head of a research team that led to putting satellites in space and the development of missiles like the ICBM.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Q-vOZUoVsg]

6) Fiscal Irresponsibility Clouds The Future Of The United States (2009-11-04 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy A, Quality C – Richard A. Posner, judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School, analyzes how past fiscal irresponsibility has led to challenges to the global standing of the U.S. financial markets.

Posner has written A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of ’08 and the Descent into Depression.

7) Christopher Caldwell, Author, ”Reflections on the Revolution in Europe” (2009-09-13 C-SPAN Q&A)

Relevancy B, Quality C – Christopher Caldwell  is the author of the new book, ”Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West.” The book looks at the immigrant experience in Europe, specifically immigration from non-European countries. Caldwell explains that there are 1.7 million new arrivals in Europe each year, half of which are followers of Islam. In his book, he says, ”Europe’s future peace and prosperity depend on how easily these newcomers (and their children and grandchildren) assimilate into European life.’

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1sBXX6WhH8]

8 ) Tracy Kidder, Author, ”Strength in What Remains” (2009-10-11 C-SPAN Q&A)

Relevancy C, Quality C – Pulitzer Prize Winning author Tracy Kidder  talks about his newest book, ‘‘Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness.” It’s the story of a young man from Burundi who comes to the United States after narrowly escaping civil war and genocide in his home country. With little money and few English skills, he works delivering groceries, sleeping in Central Park. Eventually, he meets people who help me in his quest to become a doctor. The man, named Deogratis (Deo), returns to Burundi and builds a clinic and health care system through his organization Village Health Works.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shNPGX-v40Y]

9) International Security: A World Free of Nuclear Weapons: Illusion or Possibility (2009-11-04 Council on Foreign Relations)

Relevancy A, Quality F- – Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, speak about the current nuclear situation, threats to stability, and ways to further promote nonproliferation.

10) T.R. Reid, Author, ”The Healing of America” (2009-09-06 C-SPAN Q&A)

Relevancy B, Quality F- – This week, our guest is T.R. Reid (Reed), author of the new book ”The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care.” The former Washington Post reporter traveled to a variety of  countries, including France, Germany, Japan, India, Canada, and the United Kingdom, for a first hand look at their health care systems. He also looks at the moral question of the right to equal health care notwithstanding ability to pay.

Reid makes a moral argument founded in altruism; thus his book, perspective, and conclusions are utterly EVIL. For an objectively moral investigation of the health care issue see Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM).

[youtube=http://www.westandfirm.org/; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxNhOBemsic]

11) After Words: Peniel Joseph author of ”Dark Days, Bright Nights” interviewed by Kevin Merida (2009-01-16 C-SPAN Book TV)

Relevancy D, Quality F – Peniel Joseph recalls the black power movement in his book, ‘‘Dark Days, Bright Nights: From Black Power to Barack Obama.” Mr. Joseph contends that the 1965 Voting Rights Act played a significant role in the ascendancy of black radical politics and assisted in paving the way for future African-American political leadership. Peniel Joseph profiles several of the movement’s key figures, including Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, and Paul Robeson. He discusses his book with Kevin Merida, national editor of The Washington Post.

Having studied this subject myself, I find Joseph’s historical analysis to be ideologically corrupt in a way that would make Karl Mannheim proud.

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

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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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