Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Review of "At Home with Heather James" by Quent Cordair

I have just finished reading this short screenplay by Quent Cordair, a writer for whom my respect and sheer enjoyment have grown with every piece of his that I have read.

As a beginning writer of fiction myself,  I know what a difficult job it is to concretize a theme in a coherent plot.  As if that were not enough, Mr. Cordair has chosen a theme which has been treated often by Ayn Rand:  remaining true to  the values one wants in those one chooses as friends and a romantic partner.  Among Miss Rand's works the play "Ideal" and the novel The Fountainhead have clear examples of this theme.

I don't want to spoil the story by revealing the plot of  Mr.Cordair's screenplay. But I will say, as a hint and teaser, that "At Home" is an an apt title both in terms of its content and my reaction.  If you are a lover of life and of stories that reveal life not as it is, but as it should and could be, I believe that this screenplay will meet and exceed every expectation you have.

More, please, Mr. Cordair.  This is glorious food for the soul.

P.S.  Producers should take the hint.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Why Obama Won

Search "Bill Whittle -- What Romney should have said"   must see.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Man's diet?

It goes by many names, and the differences that give rise to the names lead to arguments over the differences that their advocates claim are important.  But the essentials are very simple: the turning point for most if not all of mankind's physical ills is the diet we are currently taught is the healthiest -- the high-carb diet which includes whole grains, corn, rice,  and beans.  The advocates of this alternative are growing in number and studies are being done at NIH and other research sites. (google any disease followed by the word 'inflamation')

I was introduced to the concept by my short-lived success on the Atkins diet, which I abandoned for the dim-witted excuse that I love rice and cinnomon buns.  Over the years I have, the advocates of this diet tell me, developed three of the major diseases now associated with that diet and its relation to inflamation: Parkinson's Syndrome, cancer, and diabeties along with my obesity. They trace inflamation back to the science involved in eating as we are now told to, and they take the position that just as mankind has a psychological identity that he must use correctly to live, he has a physiological identity that must be obeyed if he is to live optimally.

The nearest set of principles to that requirement that I have found is the so-called Paleo diet.   If its advocates are correct, it should be called the Human diet.  If you are interested, go first to Diana Hsieh's Noodlefood site and click on Modern Paleo.

I have started and I'll let you know the results.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The "Market Economy" Game

Can there be any doubt in anyone's mind that we are engaged in the final working out of the petty details of a people's state? Yesterday was a turning point for me as I watched the Senate gear up for the kill, and today the knife started to perform its delicate, subtle dance of death.

The before-lunch finale on CNBC was an interview with DemRep Senator Shelby from Alabama. In the course of the conversation the good Senator managed to say a few things about how we, meaning the government, ought to just let "market forces" play out and if that meant the death of the three remaining US automobile companies, well so be it. At this point the reporter asked about the large number of auto builders in Alabama -- enough to make Alabama the foreign car manufacturing capital of the US. "How did that happen?" the good reporter asked. "Didn't Alabama give the companies a tax break?" "Yes, indeed," said the good Senator Shelby. I am paraphrasing here from my memory, “The states are really competing for companies, and we happen to be good at it. Any industry that'd like to come to Alabama, y'all come on down and talk to the Governor's office."

What does this mean? It means that what the government does to make it easier or harder to start and operate a business is now considered part of the "market economy."

For example, the Big Three Auto Makers were called to task on CNBC for not changing their manufacturing plants to accommodate quick changes from the tooling required for trucks to that needed for vans to that needed for SUVs, as the foreign manufacturers are. Leave aside any difference in quality (for which this inability may account), who would be more likely to have the cash reserves or highly rated credit standing to do that? A company hog tied with US regulations and tax structure, or a company with tax incentives?

And what about the cost of supporting unions? If you look on the UAW site you will see that every automotive product built by a US manufacturer is built by a union member. Toyota is the only non-US manufacturer with union members; they build two of Toyota's models.

The question is this: if, indeed, the US builds an inferior product, is that because the companies don't care? Or is it because they are fighting to stay alive in an atmosphere so hamstrung by regulation and government distortions that they can't do anything else?

"But don't worry, you'll find a way, Mr. Rearden." someone says to Hank Rearden as the economy collapses around them. Rearden's realization that the game is now rigged against him is part of his journey to freedom.

But there are no Hank Reardens in the automobile business, and I know of only one in the banking business -- John Allison (who has retired to study and write on Objectivism) -- that is likely to see what Rearden saw. When the forces of reality are such that blindness makes you wealthy and there is nothing left to do but grab as much as you can for as long as you can, is it any wonder that companies begin to attract the only thing that is available -- a CEO that runs to the government for a handout?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I believe that we have gone that far.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Reason? Magazine

One of the biggest pieces of B.S. (bad syllogism) is the following:
  All people who claim to be Objectivists are Objectivists.
Tom claims to be an Objectivist
Tom is an Objectivist.

From this we get:
Tom is an Objectivist
Everything Tom says must, on its face,  be something an Objectivisit would say.
Tom says he won't marry a fat woman who goes to church.
Tom is an idiot (see side syllogism re: Tom's idiocy).
Objectivists are idiots QED

This sort of reasoning was displayed in spades in a New York Magazine column and its comments section just yesterday.  It is then quoted in Reason Magazine's web site without further comment.  Reason is, despite its name, no friend of Ayn Rand or Objectivism.   Had it lived up to its name, it might have pointed out what I just pointed out, that to believe that the people who belong to an organization are uniformly aware of the things they are claiming to believe, is racism at the very least.  But maybe they are more concerned with subscription cancellations than with  speaking up when reason is murdered.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Biden Befuddled

Barbara West of WFTV in Orlando, Florida interviewed the presumptive next VP, Joe Biden over the week end.  See didn't soft ball it either.  She quoted Marx on taking from the able to give to the needy and asked whether that wasn't what Obama was advocating.  Joe's answer?  "Are you joking?  Is this a serious question?"  Clearly ill at ease at the sudden spike in the intellectual level in the room, Biden stumbled through the standard Democratic answer.  But her last question regarding the US becoming the next Sweden and Joe's answer are the highlight. The link is here

While this is bad enough, the Obama organization's blacklisting of WFTV until after the election is evil to the core.  It says, in effect, if you ask us the hard questions we won't talk to you.  Is this censorship? No. But it is close, and it indicates that the Obama organization is prepared to give an Emperor's thumbs down to anyone who crosses them.  Political censorship already exists in the McCain-Feingold legislation, and this move by Obama indicates his willingness to limit political speech if it doesn't conform to his idea of a "valid" question.

I do believe that we should be prepared for that possibility.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Does Anyone Share This Puzzlement?

I keep hearing about the catastrophe that would have happened had we not done all the things that we have done to stop the catastrophe from happening.  Has anybody out there heard anyone describe the might-have-been catastrophe that is worse than the one we have?

Reminds me of the joke about the guy who was throwing watermelon seeds out the window of the bus.  His seatmate asked him, "why?"  "To keep away the elephants," the man answered.  "But there aren't any elephants any where near here," answered the seatmate.   "See how well they work?" said the man.

Just so well have all the things government has done, is doing and will ever do actually worked.

The Immediate Range of the Moment

I suppose it is possible that someone reading this, if anyone is -- I really am writing for myself this time -- hasn't read Atlas Shrugged and doesn't know that there are passages that so mirror today's headlines that if I didn't reject the whole idea of fortune telling I would be inclined to count the text as prophecy.  

Really remarkable and worthy of note is that it is not prophecy  but a logical projection of what happens in a welfare state even without a John Galt to hurry the process along.

That the results of years of social and economic planning should come home to roost in an election year is something that a fiction writer would not make part of a plot on the grounds  of melodramatic overkill.  That we should be talking openly -- and  in the media, approvingly -- of the turn away from the current state of affairs (astonishingly to some, labelled "capitalism" by the media and economic pundits) to socialism.

Since it appears nearly certain that Obama will win the election,  there are good reasons to abstain from voting this year.  I, however,  believe that he should win by a landslide with the majority in the House and Senate riding on his coattails.   My reason is simple: he needs to feel that he has a mandate to destroy the economy.   Only with an overwhelming mandate will he do openly what every ounce of his being wants him to do -- destroy the good for being the good. 

I am not going to argue the case for this claim here today.   Today my purpose is to point out, before the election, that anything less than a mandate will bring Obama to the left middle.  This will give us time to continue the fight, of course, and that time must be weighed in the balance in making your decision. But I believe, given the underwhelming negative response to his ideas. that a "laboratory demonstration" is necessary if we are going to have a truly free country in the long run.

There is a single reason that I believe that the long run (and thus a mandate) is to be preferred -- the fact that this is a psycho-epistemological and ethical war.  Objectivists are fighting a war against an enemy of which most of the public -- and certainly not the mob of students that is so enthusiastically cheering for Obama -- is unaware.  As Tara Smith points out in her essay"The Menace Of Pragmatism" and as Yaron Brook reiterates in "The Resurgence of Big Government," the dominate philosophy in the US is now pragmatism combined with altruism.  She says:

"[P]ragmatism steadily convinces people that they do not need to take a strong action in order to oppose destructive ideologies.  It dampens the willingness to fight for spreading the belief that fights are never constructive."

If that isn't a description of the culture at work today, I can think of no better.

In addition, using Dr. Peikoff's DIM hypothesis, there are only mis-integrators and dis-integrators in leadership positions. 

In short, we need the time to educate and develop a culture that is psycho-epistemologically long range and ethically egotistical and we need time to produce a statesman that is thoroughly steeped in such a worldview.  Nothing could be worse,in my view, than Sarah Palin leading us into a future we do not understand and which they will not support past the first objection or the first claim that they are "extremists."  

Today's voter should get what he is asking for and everything that it implies in immediately graspable perceptual concrete terms.  


Monday, October 20, 2008

Not to be Missed

This piece by Brandon Byrd at NoodleFood straighened out a lot of my thinking about Greenspan's tenure at the Fed and his often referenced connection to Objectivism.  In addition, Mr. Byrd presents a clear analysis of those who attack Rand without actually knowing what she said.


This blog is dedicated to the occcasional jotting down of my more extended essays. My profile will tell you that my areas of formal training are piano performance and philosophy. I have, therefore, the advantage of being an educated layman in economics history, painting, sales, business.

Here is the premise on which my blog is based: A is A. Many consider this an empty, meaningless statement because it is self-evident. But I regard it as powerful for that very reason. It is self-evident that a thing is what it is. In the context of this blog, another way to put it is this: wishing, praying, and government micro- and macro-managemennt will not make it other than it is.